Monday, April 7, 2008

Euro Perspective

Living outside the US gives one an interesting perspective on the way a)the world sees America, and b) the way America sees itself. Being an expat for the better half of my life, I am accustomed to the constant battle cry of the Europeans – “I hate Americans/America/ your government…but not you”. This has always been an interesting issue of the outside world. Having heard it enough, and always given them the doubt that it is just popular to hate America, which it is, I have come to 3 conclusions. 1) Europeans are generally good people. 2) Europeans think they do/ought/must/but don’t really hate Americans, and 3) roughly 98% of the people I’ve heard say they hate Americans actually have NO experience in America, hanging out with Americans or anything outside the innumerous hours they spend digesting American made media, movies, and fast food – so they’re basically just hypocrites. And this has left me with the comforting words to any potential expats and others who want to know that – they don’t really hate you, they just don’t know what to say, because they’re ignorant hypocrites.

Feel better?


But on the other hand, we as Americans abroad, whether travelling or otherwise, need to remember some important ground rules to help eachother out. 1) don’t just accept it when someone says they hate your country – but like you. I know you would like to think they dislike your country in the same sibling rivalry way you do, but they don’t; they aren’t Americans, they shouldn’t talk shit about your family in front of you. 2) don’t argue with them, they like that, don’t give into it. 3) yes, America is much much more conservative than most European countries, however – we also have 24 hour stores, amiable personalities and the last time I checked… there are still more people going to America then leaving.

Some things about Europe:

- in England the bars close at 11pm – 12pm and the police watch EVERYTHING YOU DO. Seriously. Everything.

- In Holland they have some weird fetish with pastel shirts and a lot of the women look like the men and vice versa

- Germans …well, actually germans are kinda cool contrary to popular opinion

- The greeks, as much as I love them, disorganized disorganized disorganized; but great food and awesome tavernas

- Belgians? They don’t’ even know

- French – despite what you might think, more like Americans than expeted

- In Czech republic and Poland….they still like us. For now. Pack mentality will eventually take over there as well

- they all love Lost and Heroes....well, a lot of them do. Not many of americans are watching Eastenders

Keep in mind that these people were perfecting screwing up the entire world while we were wiping out indigenous peoples to make way for railroads. They don’t hate you, they think they’re better. There’s a difference.

(Now I know, I’m saying this as I sit in London with a pretty good job with some benefits we would consider amazing in the US, however I’m an expat and you aren’t (at least i assume you aren't) – it’s what I do.)

Friday, January 11, 2008

An alarming number of americans are idiots!

I just thought I'd add to the clamor. Look, you know why people are tired of all of the news about the primaries? You know why we all get this unsettled feeling when we think over our choices. It's because deep down, deep below our desire to fit in, below our desire to get this one right by god, below our desire to look smart, we know, deep down that they are all full of shit.

I can't believe the number of people on my myspace friends who think Ron Paul is interesting. Actually I'm not that surprised, distressed is more like it. Who told you people it was OK to have opinions anyway. Don't you think you ought to read at least one book on politics that isn't a beginners guide from cover to cover first. I mean come on. Haven't you ever read Anne Rand?Jesus! How about Mussolini? Or Jesus for Christs sake!

Ron Paul is a Libertarian Capitalist eg. his vision for the future is like an Ghost in the Shell, or Akira, do you want to live in Ghost in a Shell. Or like V for Vendetta before shit starts blowing up. Did you listen to a word the man said. Never mind the stuff about a media cover up. Try New Orleans if you want a cover up. How about all of those poor people who were displacesd by the Hurricane having their neighborhoods given away to middle class white folks. There's you illegal settlement. 

How about the media blackout on Mike Gravel? How about the announcement that he had dropped out of the race?

Ron Paul is a corporatist period. In the Mussolini sense, he thinks corporations should be free to rule and that well armed individuals should rome the planet. In other words, no way in hell will his vision ever see the light of day. As if there were any way to distinguish between corporations and the government of this country other than that we still get to vote a little bit in a very controlled environment.

Oh yeah that brings me to the next point; the environment. I guess these moneyed individuals will find it in their hearts to slow global climate change. That'd be great, unfortunately that's all we'll ever have to hope for no matter who wins the presidency.

That's why I'll tell you like I told a friend of mine;

"With so many crazy lying nutjobs spouting rhetoric, I mean, really, all bets are off. We just blindly make through history and hope we don't have to live through genocide, environmental meltdown, or nuclear war. That's what we're trying to avoid, appocolipse right? I'd say middle of the road politicians who lean towards pacifism a little bit but not too much are a pretty safe bet right?

I guess having a reliable income really can calm a person down. Fuck it! Vote Ron Paul and when society collapses we can form the commune, as long as I can still be a Landscaper and there is plenty of Beer."

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Back in Black

The authors of RIUTFP are on a short, and deserved stint away from we aren't sponsored in any way and have to

However, look forward to some interesting dirt digging in the near future and interview... sort of.

at any rate.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Progressive Mayoral candidate in Greenville NC

Jacek Teller an ex Marine who served in Iraq, a progressive, and founder of ECU Peace and Justice is running for Mayor of Greenville NC as a Dem. Word on the street is he has some powerful support comming from some old school politico's in Greenville and will actually make a decent run for it.

stories with Jacek;

'The Story' from American Public Media

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

ABC Stores Privatized - Getting Rid of State Control of Liquor

Below is the latest from NC Spin Online:

Should we abolish ABC stores?

Posted: Thursday, August 23rd, 2007

Some 500 members of local ABC boards met at the Grove Park Inn in July and were wined (literally) and dined by liquor brokers and other vendors.

News coverage of the event raised questions about whether or not the free golf games, free drinks, food, and hospitality were legal in light of the laws passed last year regarding lobbying and conflicts of interest. First blush is that the ABC boards used poor judgment in allowing this practice, albeit a longstanding one, to continue.

But the story raises a more serious question as to whether or not this state should eliminate the government operated stores. This system was established when North Carolina allowed only brown-bagging, not the current liquor by the drink. It is probable that the state would generate more revenues by licensing retail stores.

If this happened we could expect much opposition from those saying that there would be a liquor store on every corner and we would be encouraging people to drink more. Right. Like they don't already do it.

Bring on the debate. We think it is time to privatize the sale of liquor. With strong controls that include STIFF fines for violators and effective enforcement we would raise revenues for our state and get the government out of a business in which we shouldn't be involved to begin with.
Tom Campbell

Why? I mean....why? There's nothing broke with the system we have. I have never heard one person complain about the State of North Carolina having a monopoly on liquor sales. As far as I'm concerned actually, I prefer to know where to go for my Bombay and Wild Turkey. I don't think lawmakers should be spending their time with this issue when there are better things to concern oneself with, such as the lack of adequate public transportation in North Carolina, or bike lanes, or health care options, or any of the many other things they could fix first....things that actually need fixing.

Secondly, what's up with the statement :
If this happened we could expect much opposition from those saying that there would be a liquor store on every corner and we would be encouraging people to drink more. Right. Like they don't already do it.
Who is 'they' actually, Mr. Campbell? I'd like to know who 'they' are who are implied drunkards to elaborate?


Free Markets And The Women Who Love Them

Do Americans really support Free Markets? Or is it the fact that someone got to coin the term, adding the all powerful, all lovable word - 'free', before anyone else could think to think about it. A recent poll by the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) finds that there is a wide consensus across nations that free markets are the best way forward for the future.

Not drastically surprising for the US, however China is an interesting one according to the authors:

"Ironically, the country that showed the highest level of support for the free enterprise system was China, with 74% agreeing that it is the best system."

I don't know if i find that extremely ironic, since the steam of communism in China dulled some time ago, much to our designs - real or imagined.

A few Google searches later and I had arrived, not surprisingly, at the man himself commenting on the subject...which by the way saves me the time of doing my own rant. (one thing degrees in social sciences will teach you is the ability to rant on either side of any issue - I'm no exception to this rule and anyone who says they aren't are still in denial - after a while, thankfully, you pick the one you actually believe...which you later debunk yourself, and so it goes).

Without further ado, Mr. Chomsky on the subject:

Noam Chomsky: The poll was interesting, but one has to look at it carefully. First, just to mention the conclusions, the major ones were:

(1) "a striking global consensus that the free market economic system is best"

(2) "an even greater consensus in favor of more government regulation of large companies."

(3) Large majorities agree that "Large companies have too much influence over our national government." In the US, 85% agree, 59% strongly.

So the respondents are calling for more government regulation of large businesses, which undermine democracy. And are also calling for a "free market," that is, one with no government regulation of businesses.

That raises the question what people mean by "free market." They can't possibly mean what exists in the US, or anywhere else in the world (except impoverished countries subject to structural adjustment and neoliberal rules instituted by force, as in Haiti, for example). Just to take the US, departure from free market principles is extreme. Just take what you and I are now using: computers and the internet. Like most of the "new economy," they largely derive from the state sector of the economy. And that's just the beginning.

Presumably people mean something like the economies of the rich industrial countries, that is, some kind of state capitalist economy, which developed by radical violation of free market principles for centuries. Counter to doctrine, to be sure, but perfectly familiar to economic historians. And when they say that's what they prefer, in comparison to what? Very likely, in comparison to the statist economies of the Soviet sphere -- which, awful as they were, raised third world countries to the "second world" of developed societies. It's unlikely that respondents know enough recent history to be aware of the great growth period of the modern world: from World War II to the mid-1970s, the period of import substitution and state intervention in much of the South, and of capital controls and regulated currencies in the industrial world. Few would be aware that the partial imposition of "free market" principles in the "neoliberal" period that followed led to decline in standard macroeconomic indices and other negative effects, more extreme to the extent that countries followed the rules (e.g., Latin America), while growth took place, sometimes spectacular growth, in countries that ignored the rules, as in East Asia.


Read the entire piece on Mr. Chomsky's blog at:


Monday, September 3, 2007

Sorry but this is too good