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What would it take for Russia to be #1?


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#381 The Beat

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Posted 15 July 2003 - 01:24 AM

Okay,

Let's not forget the 49th state. They do have their contributions.

The thing is, we have so much in California, we don't mind sharing with anybody. We are, after all, the 6th largest economy in the world - a state that is, by itself, the 6th largest. That's larger than 95% of the rest of the world.
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#382 Bader

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Posted 15 July 2003 - 04:04 AM

Perhaps you are a little hasty CPWILL,
I wasn't taking the micky out of T Beat but trying to defend him by taking the heat out of the personal attack on him by using a format he had earlier used to turn something heated into
something light hearted.
You might have seen my comments between the winking, smiling face and the word " seriously" a dead give-away that
what went before wasn't serious.
Nevermind even T Beat didn't even appreciate it. So I will
curb my "indecent" acts and not bother to try and keep a better humor on the thread in future.
Regarding The US and Israel ( all references to states are speaking to their regimes/leaders and both currently are ruled
under the influence of extremists- none are sacrosanct. Turning a blind eye is the same as winking at the LIE)
on 3/10/01 Kol Visrael radio reported the following spoken in
an apparently heated moment by Ariel Sharon to Shimon Peres
"I want to tell you something very clear, don't worry about American pressure on Israel, we the Jewish people control America, and the Americans know it"
Congressman James Moran said back in March" If it were not for the strong support of the Jewish community for the war with Iraq, we would not be doing this." He stepped down from his house leadership role after it was reported. Now the war is a huge embarasment and the truth is not part of modern culture.
If everyone is allowed to have sacred cows, at the end of the day
nothing will change, so lets not talk about cleaning up Russian politics then.
Last but not least any observant person should be able to see
that Bush's foreign policy is a copy of zionist tactics over the last half century. Two countries are fortifying themselves out of the
destruction of other people (real)and economies (real) and if thousands of orthodox Jews in New York can get out on the street and protest against the zionist state of Israel, and Israeli
Rabbis can got to Johannesburg and stand next to Palestinian clerics outside the U.N. international meeting against racism, protesting against "zionist" Israel at which Israel was singly condemned then who are I to turn a blind eye.
Bush, Blair and Howard are all found guilty of using lies to deceave their people to invade Iraq. Watch how the twist it around and make a little thing out of it. Won't bring back the dead and undo the destruction least of all heal those with radiation sickness who did the damage.
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#383 The Beat

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Posted 15 July 2003 - 04:16 AM

Bader,

If I misunderstood your lightheartedness, I apologize. I enjoy lightheartedness, even though it takes me ten minutes to write the word, as much as anyone.

Though I won't get into details here, I can tell you that the specifics of your statements will be brought forth in the next few months.
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#384 machlud haul

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Posted 15 July 2003 - 04:42 AM

Well, what I like in Scandinavia is a certain common trust in institutions. In a weird way this faith actually makes the authorities perform accordingly which in turn reinforces the civic feeling. In some ways (especially in Sweden which hasn't experienced war for 200 years or occupation - if you count the union times - for 500) this can also lead to high levels of naivety and unrealistic highmindedness concerning the state of the world. There is a certain expectation that the rest of world is either like Scandinavia or could very easily be, if they'd want to. Well, Finland (my native country) has acquired a great deal of worldly wisdom being a neighbour of Russia, which has not at times seemed even a mixed blessing, I have to say...

Of course, we have then the specific institutions as well described in donquijote's quote - the main crux is that the so called welfare state includes the middle class which up to now has been a very strong supporter of the model. (This is why our conservative parties would be somewhere on the centre left in the Democratic party - of course in later years this has been changing with the new populist forces especially in Norway and Denmark.) So, in American terms we should be called Social Security states, not welfare states. But the high level of taxation has not stifled competitiveness or technological innovation. I would say, for example, that the Finnish banking system is about light years ahead of the American version: a cheque in our electronic society is a very antique and quaint thing... One wonders why we are so dynamic, given that capitalism should perform much better in American type conditions. Probably the reasons have to do with a very high (and equal) standards of education and with cultural factors such as the (in)famous protestant work ethic.

Another thing is the very low level of crime, especially street crime. I remember my American professor telling us how outraged he was having seen a baby left alone in a carrige outside a shop in Helsinki. (A Danish citizen was lately arrested in New York for doing the same - she was not believed when she told that this is a common practice where she lives.) There are no no-go areas in Helsinki, even the so called bad areas are laughable when you compare them to the actual slums in the rest of the industrial world. Social mobility is actually higher than in the USA and the primary education is universally of high quality (the same goes of course for our public health).

So, a paradise on Earth, a model ready to be exported to Zimbabwe? Well, I just feel that our societies (like all) are the result of specific historical circumstances which can't be exported. Some solutions might work, some will not. Still, it is as good as it has ever been in the industrial world, and it is quite a thing for applied capitalism as well: it can be combined with a high degree of social justice and economic security. I'm afraid that I'm not totally confident of our current direction, there is not an economic crisis, but I would say that a certain cultural one - we might be in the process of forgetting our origins, capitalism might be stronger than lutheranism, in the end. But we'll see, in any case no country is an island (not even the UK!), and this crisis is quite universal in the West, with just different emphasis in different conditions.
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#385 The Beat

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Posted 15 July 2003 - 04:53 AM

machlud haul

You speak with great wisdom. If you are running for a post here in the US, let me know and I will campaign for you.
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#386 cpwill

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Posted 15 July 2003 - 05:02 AM

you can't export democracy to other cultures? i dunno....
people said the same thing about post WW2 japan and germany
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#387 The Beat

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Posted 15 July 2003 - 05:09 AM

CP,

This person is obviously from the UK. And, he is extremely intelligent, although the references to our origins leaves one in doubt.

So, a paradise on Earth, a model ready to be exported to Zimbabwe? Well, I just feel that our societies (like all) are the result of specific historical circumstances which can't be exported. Some solutions might work, some will not. Still, it is as good as it has ever been in the industrial world, and it is quite a thing for applied capitalism as well: it can be combined with a high degree of social justice and economic security. I'm afraid that I'm not totally confident of our current direction, there is not an economic crisis, but I would say that a certain cultural one - we might be in the process of forgetting our origins, capitalism might be stronger than lutheranism, in the end. But we'll see, in any case no country is an island (not even the UK!), and this crisis is quite universal in the West, with just different emphasis in different conditions.
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#388 machlud haul

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Posted 15 July 2003 - 06:19 AM

The Beat - thank you for your kind words! Would it be possible to lose in more than 50 states...

To clarify a bit: I would call (especially social) liberalism the secular version of protestant (especially lutheran) Christianity - in this secular case the actual, equal and perfect homeland is not in heaven but in the future. If this impulse for ethical betterment weakens and pure materialism wins, then our societies will suffer terribly. Many signs are already pointing towards this direction.

To add one important thing that was left out from my previous description - the very progressive ideas about gender equality and sexuality in the Nordic countries. Women have a very central role in politics and education (they are much less well represented in business). But all this is of course comparative: in many areas of society things are somewhat better here than in most industrialized countries - which doesn't mean that the situation would be perfect: it's very far from it and I'm not at all confident about the direction where we are currently going.
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#389 Bader

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Posted 15 July 2003 - 09:13 AM

A learnt from discussions with Volt how easy it is to mis-interpret
what people are actually saying and it can be so easy to
assume a "colour" in relation to the other person rather like a
first impression not lasting once one starts to get to know someone.
Well we are three dimentional trying to communicate on a two dimentional media, or something like that. At the same time one can become so focused we can't even see spelling mistakes etc let alone ambiguities.
Yeah, probably in a few months.
My last newsletter from the States is talking about people in the media looking to exit the country because of new security acts.
These are ordinary people not radicals and they see the dark side.
Cheers
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#390 Bader

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Posted 15 July 2003 - 10:20 AM

Much of what you described Mach H in the Nordic zone is quite
typical of what was common in the Keynesian model world
that developed from the forties but starting with the Thatcher and Reagan governments the free-market revolution rheteric
rubbished it all, sounds like the nordic perifery of the world is the last outpost and as said no country is an island. But there is still
strong social policy surviving in France and probably others.
Not only is what you have described supposed to be obsolete
but so is nationalism and remembering ones roots or culture.
It is good to hear Norway is doing so well. Back in the fifties they
seriously considered joining the British commonwealth. I should say their standard of living is better overall than the British who
sided with the Treaty of Rome rather than develop a potential
global common market with its "children". Japan had to
challenge the world (no eec for them) and no children and yet
did better than Britain as well. Today its all global in scope anyway. Today the UK is facing the prospects of their county leaders being appointed from Brussells and not accountable to the constituents. Would the Viking accept that?
Democracy is only for looking at, not to wear.

Hello Donq,
You might be pleased to know Aminal Farm is being produced for
the stage in Tehran.
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#391 Buttersideup

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Posted 15 July 2003 - 02:06 PM

"My last newsletter from the States is talking about people in the media looking to exit the country because of new security acts.
These are ordinary people not radicals and they see the dark side."

The Patriot Act is so "un-American" it's downright evil. As for Hollywood brats leaving...yea whatever.

http://shamon.com/repeal/
http://www.petitiono...e/petition.html
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#392 donquijote

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Posted 15 July 2003 - 06:56 PM

Hey, guys, this is a vary interesting articles. These people in India are poor but prosperous. There's more than one way to "development," I'm sure...

Poor but Prosperous

A FIFTH of the world's people live on a dollar a day. More than a third are illiterate, and more than a hundred million have no access to basic health care, sanitation, or education. They make up a worldwide underclass whose continued deprivation defies the global rush toward prosperity that has otherwise defined much of this century. Today in the West and in parts of Asia living standards are at unprecedentedly high levels, but for 80 percent of the world's people, that prosperity remains elusive: they continue to earn less than 20 percent of the world's income.

Paradoxically, if there is hope for these people, perhaps it is to be found in a sliver of a state, 24,000 square miles, on the southwest coast of India -- one of the poorest countries in the world. That state, Kerala, is poor even by Indian standards. The gross domestic product per capita is just $1,000 a year -- some $200 less than the Indian average, and about one twenty-sixth of the American figure. Houses in Kerala are small; clothes are simple and unadorned. For most of Kerala's 33 million citizens life appears to be governed by the narrow circumscriptions of agriculture. Yet consider the following:

Life expectancy in Kerala is seventy-two years, which is closer to the American average of seventy-six than to the Indian average of sixty-one.

The infant-mortality rate in Kerala is among the lowest in the developing world -- roughly half that in China, and lower than that in far richer countries such as Argentina and Bahrain.

Population, too, is under control in Kerala. The fertility rate is just 1.7 births per woman -- lower even than Sweden's or America's.

What is perhaps most impressive is that 90 percent of Keralites are literate -- a figure that puts the state in a league with Singapore and Spain. Children in Kerala are likely to beg for pens, not money. Schools -- their classrooms clean, well-maintained, and filled with students in brightly colored uniforms -- are found seemingly every few miles throughout the state.

These are all indications of a way of life one would expect to find only in parts of the industrialized world -- not in a state whose per capita income is lower than that of Cambodia or Sudan. But Kerala is more than just proof that even the poorest of societies can attain a decent standard of living: it also challenges the prevailing view that quality of life is best measured by per capita income. In recent years that orthodoxy has increasingly come under assault by a group of economists and social scientists who would like to see the narrow concept of economic development replaced with a broader notion of social, or human, development. For this group -- the driving force behind an annual Human Development Report published by the United Nations -- health, literacy, and freedom from discrimination are as necessary to a good life as is material wealth. Amartya Sen, a leading economist who has drawn attention to Kerala, has argued that the success and failure of development efforts cannot be judged merely in terms of income and output. "What ultimately matters,"he has written, "is the nature of the lives people can or cannot lead."

full text...

http://www.theatlant...8sep/kerala.htm
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#393 donquijote

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Posted 15 July 2003 - 07:11 PM

<Don, good buddy,

I feel like you are almost family.>

Likewise Beat. We are a little happy Pravda family. Pravda is doing a very cool job is allowing us to meet and even discuss the future of Russia. :cool:

I'm currently watching the documentary 'Blood Upon the Snow," based on Stalin's rule. How much the Russian people have suffered is beyond words. If she haven't had a lion, she could have gone like her neighbors the Scandinavian countries. She still can...

<My goal is to express the opinion that peace DOES work. MLK used it, though it killed him. Ghandi and Jesus both espoused the idea. It is especially hard in these times to imagine that a peaceful solution might win the day, but I can guarantee you that any other solution means death. Just look at Iraq today - one more GI dead. And how many civilians, of whom we almost NEVER talk about.>

It sure works. If we put this into place war would be as unthinkable as Denmark going to war with Sweden...

<And for all of you California bashers, the next time you go to see your "favorite" movie - remember who produced it okay??>

Everything I own says "made in China"... :confused:

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#394 donquijote

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Posted 15 July 2003 - 07:26 PM

<You speak with great wisdom. If you are running for a post here in the US, let me know and I will campaign for you. >

Chances are he--or I--would get corrupted. I'm trying to see the movie 'Herod's Law,' but I read somewhere how this man with no political experience and good intentions sinks into the prevalent corruption of Mexico's PRI...

The first one who sees the movie will tell it here...

Do you think the politicians can be better than the system? Remember that fairly recent post where it was said that politicians had to be--or pretend to be--stupid?
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#395 donquijote

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Posted 15 July 2003 - 07:39 PM

<So, a paradise on Earth, a model ready to be exported to Zimbabwe? Well, I just feel that our societies (like all) are the result of specific historical circumstances which can't be exported. Some solutions might work, some will not. Still, it is as good as it has ever been in the industrial world, and it is quite a thing for applied capitalism as well: it can be combined with a high degree of social justice and economic security. I'm afraid that I'm not totally confident of our current direction, there is not an economic crisis, but I would say that a certain cultural one - we might be in the process of forgetting our origins, capitalism might be stronger than lutheranism, in the end. But we'll see, in any case no country is an island (not even the UK!), and this crisis is quite universal in the West, with just different emphasis in different conditions.>

Hi Mach

I posted elsewhere something about Kerala, a Poor but Prosperous place. And it looks to me like something that could be applied to Zimbabwe, at least initially...

As for the Scandinavia, it could be a model for the Developed World. I posted elsewhere an article about Scandinavia funding the children, not the elderly like in America and Europe. The working parents are provided with day nurseries, or the option to receive the money. It's so important.

Somebody said the elderly vote based on a $3 difference in the check, and the corrupt politicians oblige. Should their voting privilege be taken away?

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#396 Buttersideup

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Posted 15 July 2003 - 07:41 PM

It all comes down to how you define wealth. Sounds like they "got it going on" in Kerala.
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#397 Buttersideup

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Posted 15 July 2003 - 07:44 PM

"As for the Scandinavia, it could be a model for the Developed World"

You forget frunzeeeeis from those parts. :P
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#398 donquijote

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Posted 15 July 2003 - 07:47 PM

<you can't export democracy to other cultures?>

You can... Just look at Iraq! :confused:

<people said the same thing about post WW2 japan and germany>

Nothing can be exported like it is, but it sure can be adapted and even improved upon.

Iraq won't buy democracy though because the original model itself needs to be overhauled to say the least. Perhaps they can learn from Kerala, but I don't thing America wants something that good for them. She probably wants a jungle...

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#399 donquijote

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Posted 15 July 2003 - 08:20 PM

<To clarify a bit: I would call (especially social) liberalism the secular version of protestant (especially lutheran) Christianity - in this secular case the actual, equal and perfect homeland is not in heaven but in the future. If this impulse for ethical betterment weakens and pure materialism wins, then our societies will suffer terribly. Many signs are already pointing towards this direction.>

A couple of pieces of advice: Firstly, stay away from American tv, particularly talk shows. They corrode. When I visited Norway I saw some channel with that crap. Secondly, stay away from American preachermen... :D

Shop, Go To Church, Support Bush's War And Wait For Armageddon
by Saul Landau
April 17, 2003

In my neighborhood of trimmed lawns and two or more car garages, with
one or two more vehicles parked outside the garage, I counted fifteen
American flags in less than five minutes of my slow trot, most of them
new since the US invaded Iraq. One house had a sign with a US flag
waving over a map of Iraq. Americans learn geography through war,
experience the traumas of battle-well, virtually-and root for the good
guys. We know we're good because God blesses America and f..s our
enemies-with the help of the missiles, bombs, tanks and other war
technology with which He has blessed us. Our God loves peace and keeps
us, as Gore Vidal quipped, in "perpetual war." Our God does not like
opposition, from within, or from our former friends abroad. He has
told our leaders, all of whom remain in close contact with Him, to
punish such heretic behavior.

Our God is one of love and compassion, although he seems to act out of
rage and retribution. But some of the media, particularly Fox and CNN,
seem to have found hidden in FCC regulations some clause that dictates
that their major news reporting task is to follow the orders of our
God-chosen political leaders-since the majority did not choose them.
Former officers, like Lt. Col. Oliver North who, in violation of the
law, conspired to sell missiles to Iran in the 1980s in order to fund
the Nicaraguan Contras-another violation of the law-now appear as
honored war experts and cheerleaders for our troops .

On April 6, before I jogged through my neighborhood, I watched TV
images of bombs and artillery shells decimating Iraq, Iraqi women and
children pleading for water. One scene even showed a full hospital
without running water, so the doctor could not mix plaster with which
to make a cast for a small boy's broken arm.

On line I saw more horrific images from non-US sources, including
Agence France Presse. Mutilated bodies of children and weeping adults
holding their dead kids! Liberating Iraq! Yes, death is the ultimate
liberation!

Bush has set forth "a worldview that is intrinsically paranoid,"
writes philosopher Francois Bernard in the March 31 Ha'aretz, "imbued
with visions of the most regressive Crusades, drenched in a
frightening symbolism that sees any external opposition as evidence of
crime and in which every decision and every action bear the seal of a
vengeful divinity." Since 9/11/01-was this the work of the Devil?-God
has emerged as the dominant force in US politics. This God preaches
democracy, although its meaning has yet to become clear. It has
something to do with good, the United States, the United Kingdom and
other members of the coalition of the willing, versus the axes of evil
and their tacit partners in malice.

Our God teaches us that shopping and going to Disneyland constitute
the highest spiritual values-outside of attending church once a week.
Our God has singled us out among all peoples, even though we came from
all peoples, as His chosen elite to reside in His promised land. After
all, the Puritans of Massachusetts Bay believed in that very ethos as
did the first slave owners in the South. Since God had sent them to
this land without first providing them with knowledge of farming, He
must have meant for them to acquire slaves to do their work. How else
could they remain free to think noble thoughts, engage in carefree
sexual adventures with their more comely servants and copse patriotic
songs, like Dixie? Yes, tradition vibrates strongly in this land of
ever newly arriving immigrants.

Well-dressed people pour out of churches, get in their SUVs and drive
to their $400,000 plus homes. Some will watch sports on TV, others
will tune in to the presstitutes, as Uri Avnery calls them, who report
on the war in Iraq. "Their original sin," he says, "was their
agreement to be 'embedded' in army units. This American term sounds
like being put to bed, and that is what it amounts to in practice. A
journalist who lies down in the bed of an army unit becomes a
voluntary slave. He is attached to the commander's staff, led to the
places the commander is interested in, sees what the commander wants
him or her to see, is turned away from the places the commanders does
not want him to see, hears what the my wants him to hear and does not
hear what the army does not want him to hear. He is worse than an
official army spokesman, because he pretends to be an independent
reporter. The problem is not that he only sees a small piece of the
grand mosaic of the war, but that he transmits a mendacious view of
that piece."

to be continued

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#400 donquijote

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Posted 15 July 2003 - 08:21 PM

continues...

The rosy reports on the "news" of the virtuous coalition troops'
steady triumph over the unfair-fighting forces of evil give several
residents of my suburban neighborhood reason to feel righteous, if not
downright pious in their support of the Bush Administration's policy.
Those Bush supporters I have spoken to see no relationship between
their comfortable life styles and the devastation the US military has
inflicted in Iraq. "Now we're even for what they did to us," said a
sales manager at a local hotel chain. He referred to 9/11, as if
Saddam Hussein and the Iraqis had actually done those foul deeds.
"They're not going to try that one again," he said smugly. Almost half
of Americans polled blame Saddam for 9/11-thanks to President Bush's
constant references to "his links" to terrorists, reported without
critical comment by the media.

Most Americans don't have access through TV news or the daily print
press of critical reporting coming out of Iraq. On April 8, Robert
Fisk of the Independent filed this report:

"It looks very neat on television, the American marines on the banks
of the Tigris, the all-so-funny visit to the presidential palace, the
videotape of Saddam Hussein's golden loo. But the innocent are
bleeding and screaming with pain to bring us our exciting television
pictures and to provide Messrs Bush and Blair with their boastful talk
of victory. I watched two-and-a-half-year-old Ali Najour lying in
agony on the bed, his clothes soaked with blood, a tube through his
nose."

Ignorant of and therefore oblivious to Iraqi pain, one would think the
suburbanites would at least respond to their state's fiscal crisis.
How much will they have to pay if Bush actually tries to realize his
post-war reconstruction plans for Iraq? Californians, already faced
with a $35 billion state deficit, look forward to paying heavier state
and local taxes to make up for the shortfall from the federal
government's yearly allocation to the states. They do not seem to
worry about additional costs for rebuilding Iraq. When I mention the
tax-cut for the very wealthy, their eyes glaze over.

I have also met the programmed "born-agains," those who believe
robot-like that what they view on TV as current history is the working
out of biblical prophecy. One woman mentioned the battles of Gog and
Magog that must precede the final reckoning. She identifies "100% with
our President." He, unlike the lascivious Bill Clinton, "is a true
Christian." Most of the neighbors with whom I spoke said that the
bloodshed had upset them, but "that's the price we have to pay for
security," one man said as he pruned his roses.

In Iraq, the born-again Christians work with the US military. Meg
Laughlin in the April 5 Miami Herald quoted Evangelical Christian Army
chaplain Josh Llano. "They want water. I have it, as long as they
agree to get baptized," he said. "In so many ways," write Laughlin,
"this represents the true mindset of the individuals who have pushed
this war. It is right down the line with the actions of this
administration over the past three years; recall that, when our airmen
were being held in China back in 2001, Mr. Bush was only concerned
with whether or not they had Bibles."

Nothing in the fundamentalist theology seems to inhibit consumption,
however. These God-fearing people buy gas-guzzling vehicles, pay
Mexicans to mow their lawns and drop chemicals into their swimming
pools and take periodic vacations in Las Vegas-where God does not
always bless them. In church, they listen to the pious sermons about
what being a Christian means in daily life. But their interpretation
of the Bible does not sensitize them to the pain of the Iraqis. I
notice a satisfied, almost smug smile on the faces of the men as they
announce their support for the president and his war like policies.
They repeat Bush's lines about the need to get rid of Saddam's
"weapons of mass destruction" and "we had to act because the UN is
worthless" arguments.

My neighbors have problems, like all people. Their suburban-reared
kids often drink and then drive, use drugs and get caught or fail to
make college-level grades. But many of the parents themselves also
tend to use addictive substances and then go into religious programs
to recover-or get divorced, go bankrupt and even commit suicide. Those
I spoke with consider themselves good people, kind, charitable. Like
many suburban families, my neighbors spend parts of their weekends on
shopping expeditions for lawn, garden, patio and pool supplies, home
furniture, kitchen needs and of course clothing. Most of them cannot
quite understand why some people would protest a war against a brute
like Saddam Hussein in Iraq.

"Those hedonistic terrorists are getting what they deserve," opined
one older neighbor with a prominently displayed flag on her lawn. She
had just returned from her Baptist church service where she prayed for
President Bush to prevail. Later she will take advantage of a sale to
buy her grandchildren some new back packs for their school backs.
"Lord knows, they sure get plenty of use." I nod. She says: "God bless
you!"

In Iraq, Saddam invokes God as well. Alive or dead, his words continue
to call on his people to resist in the name of the Muslim homeland and
Allah. That God has lost this war. Or maybe just this battle for Iraq
in the last days of born-again history?

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