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Friday, August 31, 2012

America Is Not the Greatest Country in the World

I been watching proceedings at the Republican National Convention in Florida. If you think it's annoying for most liberal Americans, imagine what it's like for us furriners!

Coincidentally, we watched the last episode of The Newsroom a few days ago then decided to re-watch all ten episodes. It's one of the best shows on television. Makes me sad that The West Wing was cancelled. It's not a show that Republicans will enjoy.

Here's the clip from the first episode that sets the tone for a new kind of TV news show. The hero, Will McAvoy, is a cable news anchor who wants to tell it like it is instead of chasing ratings. The excerpt is from a town hall meeting at Northwestern University. A student has just asked why America is the greatest country in the world. (The student shows up again in Episode #10 when she wants to become a "greater fool.")


  1. Well, that clip has me convinced I should watch the series now. But I have to say a speech like that could never be made in the real world. I've seen individuals on TV make statements that have been similar - Chris Matthews or even Bill Maher- but it never has the fake gravitas we see on a TV show such as this. If someone did make a speech like that to a large mixed audience they'd be booed continuously, most would watch indifferently and no one would stare in awe and amazement in the way the characters here did.

    1. Agreed completely. People don't just sit and take stuff like this, especially if they don't agree with it.

      What's worse, TV anchors today are PAID to drown out the facts under the pretense of fairness and balance. If someone went on Fox or CNN to give a speech like this he'd be cut out 3 words in by some idiot screaming rethuglicon sell-out.

  2. USA not the greatest country in the world? I don't know how Prof. Moran can say such a thing. In what other country could know-nothing morons like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck become multimillionaires?

    1. Oh, I dunno, maybe a country that has a creationist chiropractor as Minister of State Science and Technology?

    2. Not fair, Prof. Moran is stealing my stuff. I suspect that if the Romney/Ryan team wins in November, we may see some appointments even worst then Goodyear.

  3. Who's the fairest in the land?!
    America is now and has been the greatest nation in mankinds history.
    Strength , wealth, security, justice, freedom, and any marker that man uses to compare mankind.
    This is why so many foreign peoples have been desperate to move to a very English Protestant civilization and probably everyone would go if they could. including a lot of Canucks.
    America is , more then other nations in history, a reflection on the quality of her people.
    Thus she is the winner.
    This is a American planet in reality.

    As a Canadian i see us as number two man for man.
    The Canadian is in fact a immigrant from Yankee America. I mean the oNtario folks and maritimes greatly.
    That is why we have the same accent as Northern yankees.
    We were settled in the beginning by american settlers who became the dominant people and everyone else assimulated into them.
    We are not the result of British(English, Scottish, Scotch-Irish) migration. They came later, including the first Byers, and didn;t affect the original Yankee civilization in Ontario.
    great bRitain is only a grandparent to us despite we were owned by them.
    our parents are yankees and mostly post revolution.
    That is the core of our being and then time gave/prevented further events that developed us.
    We are yankee protestants and share in the origin of America's past and present status.
    north America taught the world that free people will prevail over les or completly unfree peoples.
    Allow man freedom and he will make a better world.
    Freedom really has always been our identity and the origin of top of the charts.
    The future looks good but who's to say competition won't knock us from our perch.

    1. ...I was a Flower of the mountain yes when I put the rose in my hair like the Andalusian girls used or shall I wear a red yes and how he kissed me under the Moorish wall and I thought well as well him as another and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down Jo me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes.

    2. Robert Byers said this about Canada.

      The Canadian is in fact a immigrant from Yankee America. I mean the oNtario folks and maritimes greatly.

      That is why we have the same accent as Northern yankees.

      We were settled in the beginning by american settlers who became the dominant people and everyone else assimulated into them.

      I live in Ontario. My Canadian ancestors have spoken English for centuries.

      One of my ancestors was Pierre Montaras who came to Canada from France in about 1665. Two others are Guillaume David and his wife Marie Germaine Arnault-Armand, also from France. They settled in Canada in 1655.

      The children of Pierre Montaras and his wife, Marguerite David, intermarried with Dutch settlers from New Amsterdam (New York).

      I'm pretty used to seeing American exceptionalism coming from Americans but I don't think I've ever seen it coming from a Canadian.

      I see you've adopted some of the common characteristics of the American patriots; namely, making things up to suit your distorted view of history.

    3. mr Moran.
      I made nothing up.
      I understand about French canadians or others who immigrated or migrated to Ontario and the maritimes.
      Yet the fact is that most people who settled Ontario were Northern, yankee,Protestants from the America.
      up til about the mid 1800's.
      they defined and created the civilization here.
      language and accent and the Non-Anglican Protestant denominations demonstrates this.
      Yes small numbers of Germans and Dutch from America however even they were already assimulated into being Yankees.
      The British migrants to ontario etc came after the mid 1800's , including one side of my family, but they did not contribute or change the dominant society here.
      Yes it was a tiny British establishment but the society was 100% American.
      Foreigners could never tell the difference between a ontario guy and a New York state guy.
      its the same guy .
      Different adventures and so on created minor differences between us but as a canadian i see myself largely as a Yankee Protestant, even Puritan, who has been living elsewhere.
      We are just suburban sprawl from the U.S.
      We are not a British people like Australians.
      This is not my invention.
      It was a successful attempt of a small minority establishment to turn a American settler into a British subject and why we went to the big wars.

      We are not or ever were Englishmen.
      We are just Northern Ohio'ians.
      In all this I'm specking of the great majorities back in those days.
      Yes i do believe everyone else just assimilates entirely into the herd.
      Even if in heart maintaining a segregated identity.
      I refer to Ontario and Maritimes from whence the rest of the country was settled.

      I don't know what exceptionalism means .
      People look at nations like they do at schools.
      Better ones and not so. Winners and losers.
      I don't mind Yanks saying they are the best.
      I think they are but I include my people just as the world does.
      If your saying all nations are equal then all students and professors and schools are equal.
      I never have heard that said.
      People see results in human moral and intellectual and so on achievement.
      Who are the best nations if not America and Canada?

    4. The non-native population of Ontario was about 6000 at the beginning of the American Revolution. Most of them were French.

      Following the American Revolution, about 8,000 British citizens from former Thirteen Colonies emigrated to Ontario. By 1820 the population was close to 100,000 and most of the growth was due to further immigration from Europe especially from Great Britain following the economic collapse after the Napoleonic Wars.

      By 1850 the population was nearly one million. Most of this growth was due to immigration from Europe, mostly from Great Britain.

      The culture, religion, and language of Ontario in the 1830s was dominated by recent immigrants from Scotland.

      Yet the fact is that most people who settled Ontario were Northern, yankee,Protestants from the America.
      up til about the mid 1800's.

      This is an untrue statement.

      Even if you count the influx of settlers from the southern colonies at the end of the 1700s it is very misleading to refer to them as "Yankees." They were British citizens who moved to Canada because they did not want to be citizens of the newly formed United States.

    5. Yes they were British citizens but they were in identity or what they call today culturally Puritan Protestant people of 150 years living in the north.
      They were Yankees who left America because of the revolution.
      its fine about the pop numbers but you surprise me in saying the growth came from British immigration.
      In the famous Durham report , dealing with the unrest of the 1830's, he said 9/10's of the pop was from america and this was represented by the Protestant denominations that were not Anglican nor presbyterian .
      In fact paying for a state church as in engliand was a complaint in the unrest.
      In all my readings and in the durham report it was very clear ontario was filled from the border at Niagara etc and settled upwards.
      In fact there was a aggressive decision to slow american immigration and bring in british settlers.
      These were over the decades Scotch Irish and Scottish mostly.
      i disagree Ontario was influenced by these immigrants to any noticable extent as like today.
      We do not speak with a Scottish accent or Scotch-Irish one.
      Its not like australia.
      We speak with the nOrthern Yankee accent because we were settled by them in the beginning and they were dominate.
      everyone else merged into them.
      anyways further persuasion on either part here would require greater documentation.
      Byers did come from Scotch Irish background but in no way am I these people.
      i'm a cAnadian which means I'm a Yankee Puritan at core.
      Things were moving quick back then with immigration but not enough to erase the original identity .
      I do think the accent and customs are the clue if there was no accurate counting.
      Yet I always understood from history Canadians were a Yankee settlers. The rest coming later in smaller numbers.
      it would change understanding here of our moral and intellectual origins for one of us.
      I can't link to anything but the durham report did talk about identity for Upper Canada/Ontario and he was very certain it was a American province though loyal to the british crown.
      Interesting conversation.

    6. Yes they were British citizens but they were in identity or what they call today culturally Puritan Protestant people of 150 years living in the north.
      They were Yankees who left America because of the revolution.

      The 20,000 United Empire Loyalists who came to Canada were a mixed bag. Many of them were Anglicans who left the United States because they knew they would be persecuted for being Anglicans. Others were Roman Catholics or Quakers. I have ancestors who came from Long Island, Upstate New York, New Jersey, South Carolina, and Connecticut and none of them were "Puritans," although several had Puritan ancestors.

      Like many of the people in the Thirteen Colonies (and in Great Britain), they were fans of the enlightenment and religion wasn't that important to them. I know a little bit about the history of some of these families and they certainly weren't very "puritanical."

      In all my readings and in the durham report it was very clear ontario was filled from the border at Niagara etc and settled upwards.

      Where in the world did you get such a silly idea? Buffalo was only founded in 1789 and even then it was only a small trading village. Western New York was practically empty at the time of the revolution so there wasn't much opportunity for white settlers to move across the Niagara river.

      Most of the UEL's who settled in Ontario located along the northern shore of Lake Ontario between Kingston and Toronto. Quite a few settled in the Ottawa valley. One of the houses built by a UEL family is still standing on the shore just south of where I live in Mississauga.

      Some other UELs followed the road to Hamilton (now Dundas Street) and ended up in Southern Ontario near London and Brantford. Brantford was actually founded by Captain Joseph Brant in 1784. Brant was a native American who lived in Western New York. Following the revolution he and the Mohawks moved into Canada because they were supporters of the British.

      BTW, the Mohawks were not Puritans. :-)

    7. I don't disagree with your facts.
      However the original loyalists were swanped by the influx of Northern American immigration up until the 1830's. Then the establishment started stopping them and desiring for British migrants.
      Ontario was rapidly settled by the same energy and people that rapidly settled the Northern states over to the Mississippi .
      It was quick and massive. So indeed the they crossed over the niagara area by the earky 1800's.
      Only a small number were UEL by the 1830's.
      Its hard to believe to so many yanks crossed over to a British place but they did.
      They brought, as I'm confident, the entire present core of Canadian(English speaking) civilization.
      I don't see any relevance from later immigrants/migrants.
      My fathers side arrived in the 1840's but were absorded by the Canadian people.
      We are just puritan protestant yanks ourselves save in minor differences.

      By the way even if the religion was different for the UEL refugees they still were just the same people as all of the Northern Thirteen colonies.
      Puritan protestant society dominated and created them.
      Denomination was irrelevant to the Yankee society or for some southern society they lived in. unless they were very segregated. Perhaps some elements of the upper class or outlying German and Dutch immigant settlements.

      There is very little British about us today. WE are very like Americans and this is because of historical roots.
      not because of modern communication systems.
      You position suggests to me not many people realize we are just displaced yankees in our souls.
      i wonder if people knew the truth it would make a difference?
      I realize you disagree but again authoritative documentation is needed at this point.
      Its been a interesting conversation.

  4. Its amazing that to recognize short-comings and faults is akin to high treason in U.S. A perfect storm of religiosity and nationalism in many quarters. Poisonous.

  5. Oh yes, those golden days when we never beat our chests! (02:08) Sorry folks, this is entertainment, not history. And Yosemite is pretty freakin' amazing.

  6. Americans are kept in ignorance of the world so that an effective percentage of them can be sold this kind of thing. The free press, which means free to sell themselves to the highest bidder are the primary avenue of both the ignorance and the PR.

    The United States Constitution is an outmoded, anti-democratic, dangerous document that is being successfully gamed by the same oligarchs who are fronted by the Republican Party. The Founders Fetish and other Federalist Society propaganda is promoted to keep us from changing the constitution. They're afraid that real democracy might happen if that is done.

  7. I have to say watching the convention was quite the ordeal. Though listening to Mittens and Ryan blather on was awful I found it most difficult to listen to Rice's speech. She strikes me as one of the few remaining republicans that still possesses a thread of morality as well as the intelligence to assimilate complex ideas. Maybe it was simply nerves but she didn't sound like someone who believes the words coming out of her own mouth. Am I projecting?

    Oh, and the show looks great, I wish I had HBO.

    1. I imagine it will be picked up in syndication by other networks within a year or two.

      I am an American who grew up very close to Canada. We received more than half of our television from Winnipeg; CBC, CTV and an independent station owned by a Canadian that broadcast from a border town in North Dakota. We spent a great deal of time shopping in Winnipeg and that is where we went for cultural events.

      I don't think that Canadian individuals underneath were much different from us Minnesotans, but there were some differences in culture which broadened them in ways that most Americans wouldn't expect. In Manitoba, at least, there was not this insistence that people adopt English as the only language and there are many settlements in which German, Ukrainian, French and Chinese were the languages of culture.

      The Canadians were not afraid of changes such as adopting the metric system. It didn't take them long to learn it and use it. At first the government posted information in both the English and then the Metric system, and so we learned how many Km/H were safe on the highways. Within a brief time, they completed the switch and while they actually are now on metric the US in in the confusion of a system in which we often have to look up the volume measurement tables in order to calculate recipes for larger or smaller portions. Ask a Canandian how many cc's are in a liter and they will tell you straight up. Ask an American how many cups are in a gallon and they will scrunch our eyes and try to calculate it without paper. And then get a scratch pad.

      The Canadians were not afraid to eat bread that has flavor. A grocery store in Canada would have good rye bread, in the States we would have to find a specialty store or settle for Wonder/Hostess white blandness.

      Don't get me started on the beer. I was 21 before I knew how awful "The Champagne of Beers" truly is.

      More importantly, I didn't see the Canadians as being oppressed. They seemed quite able to express opinion, even that counter to Liberal government in power under Trudeau. While the cigarette taxes and the GST and the PST seemed to raise the prices of most goods to levels that would hardly seem affordable, many people from my town discovered that they could go north for medical services and even though they would pay non-Resident prices for orthodontia and the like they still saved substantially over what they would pay in the states.

      I think that even though I have never been to Europe, my experience in Canada has helped me to understand that American exceptionalism is a myth that we tell each other to justify paying more on defense than our top 25 competitors combined.

      Robert, you are living in a great country and there are many great countries in the world from which to choose. I am not sure where you live, but I am sure that if you live in Toronto, Winnipeg, Vancouver or Montreal you will see just by looking around you that people are immigrating in great numbers to Canada for "freedom and opportunity."

      I am not sucking up to Larry, here, I am just speaking from experience. I also know Canadians who have come to the United States and are quite disillusioned that it is not a "wonderland."

    2. You addressed me but I don't why?
      I'm not aflame about who is the greatest in the universe.
      I do think one can score these things and the winners have a right to yell yeah.
      I yell yeah.
      Yes foreigners come here because we have the better nation and we don't go to their nations because we have the better nation.
      A nation is a reflection on her people.
      Its a reflection on you if everybody is desiring to live with you and enjoy your nation.
      Its a reflection on you if you let them willingly.

      I haven't watch the republican thing but i never find yanks parade themselves too much.
      Everyone does but Yanks sincerely believe they have right too.

    3. Re Mike Haubrich

      It is my information that Booby Byers is a Canadian.

  8. I know it's just television, but it seems unfair and incorrect to list out three ways in which the US leads the world, and include defence spending while leaving out the fact the US has the world's largest GDP, both nominal and by purchasing power parity. While it's true the US doesn't lead by GDP per capita, it doesn't lead by defence spending per capita either.

    Also, while I agree that US defence spending is unnecessarily high, the statistic of leading the next 25 (probably closer to 20) nations by defence spending is based on nominal values, rather than purchasing power parity. This is somewhat unfair, because the US defence spending is inflated relative to many of the other countries on the list by the fact that the US currency has a relatively high value, largely due to its status as a reserve currency. Based on purchasing power parity, it's closer to the next 10 nations.

    Also, I can think of at least two nations on that list of nations that I would not describe as US allies, Russia and China. (Yes, China is a major trading partner, but not an ally in political or military sense.)

    While I agree with the general gist, a few inaccuracies in the areas I know of always makes me suspect the rest.