Cartoon for June 14

Disaster looms. You can feel it. But the candidates keep yammering about inanities.

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31 Responses to “”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Sad but true … sigh, why am I alive in such times?

  2. Anonymous Says:

    Two questions, Ted:

    1)Pick your disaster and what is its time of arrival?

    2)What is the US equivalent of Huns at the gate?

    PS. Your Roman McCain tangentially addresses the real problem in his cartoon world.

  3. Aggie Dude Says:

    I’m interested to hear how Ted answers that question, Anon 5:37, for my part, I think we’ll fade like Spain, as Europe reasserts its relationship with Africa, China dominates East Asian relationships, and a schizophrenic United States is unwilling to shore up its relationship with Latin America. The 21st Century is going to be about longitude, not latitude, and I suspect the biggest story of this all 100 years from now will be how the two great empires of the 20th century, USSR and USA, both lost without ever having gone toe to toe.

  4. As anonymous as aggie dude Says:

    I disagree…. America will continue to be a great country. It’s economic engine and military will continue to provide stability for the free world. The greatness of America will survive self-hating so called intellectuals on college campuses. These beard strokers who would fail if they had to apply their marxist ideas in the real world, unless their world were a hate-filled church.

    Just to show I am not anonymous, I’ll sign myself:

  5. nietzchuck Says:

    Cartoon McCain tangentially addresses the real problems in the cartoon’s world in much the same way the Romans did; continuous Empirical Wars, large-scale domestic unemployment (implimentation of slavery for them, NAFTA for us) which exacerbated domestic problems with crime; crime and other domestic problems went largely ignored as the Romans ‘took the fight to the enemy,’ of which they always managed to find new ones. Oh, and the creation of an official state religion (and why the sudden importance of Christianity and religion-based definitions of marriage in this country?)

    Didn’t the Roman citizenry actually open the gates to let the Huns in? Do you blame them?

    So tell me anonymous, did that work as well for the Romans as McCain hopes it will work for us? Please, I’m all ears.

  6. Anonymous Says:

    Jesus’ teachings were based on finding the flaws in oneself and correcting them. America, as a “Christian” nation, cannot and will not look at itself as the cause of it’s own problems. Love, Jesus Dorme bene

  7. Aggie Dude Says:

    Anon:

    “The greatness of America will survive self-hating so called intellectuals on college campuses. These beard strokers who would fail if they had to apply their marxist ideas in the real world, unless their world were a hate-filled church.”

    Let’s first start by saying nothing in my post attacked anyone.

    Now let’s go through a few facts:

    1. As life expectancies continue to rise in the rest of the world, they are actually falling in the United States.

    2. Student loan debt, credit card debt, and national debt are all skyrocketing, and the most intense increases have been since 1980. Within the next 10 years the national debt will surpass the country’s GDP.

    3. The United States’ reputation since the breakup of the Soviet Union has been devastated and continues to fall.

    4. The military expenditure of the United States as a ratio of its wealth now rivals that of the USSR’s in the 1980s, when it started to fall apart. Yet federal response to Katrina is more indicative of Myanmar’s than China’s recent response.

    5. Political leaders shamelessly and publicly accept industry money, get industry-friendly legislation passed through Congress, and then ascend into multi million dollar corporate jobs for which they have no actual experience.

    These are simply facts that transcend ideological arguments. Typically people here state their opposition (“I disagree..”), and their position (“America will continue to be great…”), which you did, but then go about backing up their claims. Instead you just started ranting about how academics don’t live in the real world…because of course…REAL Americans live in the REAL world, and that’s why at best only 3 in 4 can accurately state how many stars are on the American flag, and only 38% can locate Great Britain on a world map.

    Your attacks are tired and unoriginal, anyone of above average intelligence has been subjected to them since junior high school, where the barbaric anti-intellectual culture of American meat-headedness and bullying starts.

    So you’re damned right I stay anonymous, because Americans can be self-righteous, arrogant, militant animals who feel justified in aggressively persecuting anyone that falls out of the “us” category for them.

    Our political, economic and social systems look more like Russia’s than they do like Sweden’s. Why is that? Maybe because there’s a reality that exists outside ideology.

    Lastly, “hate filled churches”? How about the Westboro Baptist Church, that pickets at the funerals of anyone from school shooting victims to military veterans? How about the entire religious-right movement that preaches hate toward gays, and subjugation of women? These are the same groups with the same mentality that preached segregation as God’s Will, and before that, slavery as God’s Will. Now the persecution of gays is God’s Will, and the continued obsession with male domination of women is God’s Will.

  8. Anonymous Says:

    You know what, guys? You are right. I used to think that people like you want America to fail. But now I realize that I watch too much Sean Hannity.

    We all want the same thing, I just thought that the way to get it was to start wars and try to dominate other countries. Now I see that intellectuals and other countries are not the problem. The real America haters are the corporations and speculators who hide behind the “free market” and rob us all blind.

    I promise to stop watching Sean Hannity and start using my own brain, or what’s left of it. You will know this is me, because no one else has the name “anonymous”.

    yours truly,

    Anonymous

  9. Anonymous Says:

    ADAAD,

    America was a great nation. We won the Cold War leading by example. We showed that a nation with free speech and due process was more robust than an authoritarian state. We showed that a country with a strong civilian economy can defend itself. We showed that trade with equal partners is more beneficial than intimidation.

    I realize that we didn’t always live up to these ideals, but the fact that we tried to base a society on these principles did more damage to Communism than any weapon system in our arsenal.

    How did we respond when we won? Did we keep our ideals? One terrorist attack later, and we’re torturing political prisoners. Next we invade strategic real estate on based on tenuous terrorism connections. All the while, we let our military contractors squander our wealth and choke off what’s left of our economy.

    We deserve to go the way of the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union did not come close to bringing about Marx’s workers’ paradise. It was merciful that it dissolved. We came close to bringing about the kind of world our founding fathers dreamed about 200 years ago. Now we are our own worst enemy.

  10. Incitatus Says:

    Aggie, for once I can say I agree whole-heartedly with you and would only add, re the demise of the American Empire: God speed!
    Evil Empires: One down, one more to go.
    Oops, make that two to go, thanks to the heroic Irish!

  11. Incitatus Says:

    As Anonymous As Aggie:

    There are some of us who only wish for the fall of the American Empire, i.e., endless foreign occupation, meddling in other countries affairs, aggressive and misguided foreign policy.
    We have nothing against America and its great people, who I think will thrive after the Pentagon is in shambles.

  12. Anders Says:

    This cartoon made me imagine Bush playing while D.C. burns.
    Of course, since it’s Bush II, a kazoo would be more appropriate than a lute.

  13. SDS Says:

    I don’t think the descent is actually so inevitable, and regardless, not so bleak. History will proceed likely as it has: we’ll have a declining share in an increasing pie. The long named anonymous guy is right though, the American engine has legs. But those legs are less military related and more tied to R&D. If we wise up on immigration (get the brain drain back in order), shore up our capital funding markets, and learn to nurture third world partners (Brazil! Mexico! India!) we’re good to go. Our dominance will be like an elder-statesman’s. I’ll say to Aggie Dude this counter: the 21st century will announce the death of individual superpowers. We can’t go it alone much longer nor should we try. It doesn’t help us, our allies, or hurt our “enemies” meaningfully.

    Even global warming will probably wash away, and we’re not likely to feel the real pain. Once again, Africa, Asia, and Latin America will suffer because they lack the infrastructure to handle the pending natural disasters, diseases, and droughts. But all in all, the world is honestly improving. The shame is that we don’t try to make it improve more quickly and equitably.

  14. Anonymous Says:

    Poor Aggie, just sitting in his office doing whatever it is professors do during their office hours, and was suddenly attackd for no reason. You continually post here about how stupid the rest of humanity is except for your brilliance. Why else would you be offended at being called a beard stroker?

  15. Anders Says:

    It’s amusing how you Usanians tend to talk about the “Founding Fathers” and what they apparently envisioned for the country they founded, while they could hardly be said to be more representative of the actual people inhabiting the then-colonies, being, as they were, mostly wealthy land-owners and/or businessmen.

  16. Aggie Dude Says:

    SDS

    I agree with you that the descent is not inevitable, and I think it has all the potential of being a soft landing at that. The reason I think it is is inevitable is because I don’t believe our political system will react quick enough to maintain US stature.

    But look on the bright side, by 1950 Great Britain had lost an empire and gained universal health care.

  17. Aggie Dude Says:

    …One more thing….

    I DO stroke my beard quite a lot. Every time I stroke my beard, another politician gets bought by industry.

    I’ve been stroking my beard a lot over the past 10 years.

  18. Anonymous Says:

    Anders,

    You say wealthy businessman like its a bad thing. Running a business requires leadership and attention to detail. Founding a nation requires the same.

    Besides, nearly all of the staples we rely on are produced with a profit motive; food, clothing, fuel, etc. There’s a big difference between a businessman who gets rich selling people things they want to buy and a businessman who gets rich forcing people to buy things they don’t want or need. It is a difference between a free market and the military industrial complex.

    The Founding Fathers may have been douchebags. I didn’t know them personally. The facts that Jefferson owned slaves and Franklin abused his wife would support that accusation. Still, there’s nothing wrong with making heroes out of flawed historical figures if they stood for something genuinely admirable. Especially if its something that’s being lost in present America.

  19. Anonymous Says:

    Aggie,
    How many strokes when you found out the six Democrats that were bought and paid for by Countrywide?

  20. Anders Says:

    Anon @ 6/16/08 2:32 PM,
    while a lot of people disagree, I believe the people are capable of making important decisions themselves, not having to rely on a “vanguard party” or political elite to decide, though an executive committee is of course needed to make the decision making smoother. But the criteria for committee membership should not be “rich, white, old guy”.

  21. Anonymous Says:

    you will have to excuse me aggie, I am laboring under the delusion that all liberals swear blind allegiance
    to the democratic party the same way conservatives suck-off republicans.

    I put Hillary in the same category as Noam Chomsky. I have absolutely no idea that Hillary is actually conservative. It all goes back to being really simple.

    yours,

    the one and only, Anonymous

  22. SDS Says:

    Anders,

    I think that’s the sad reality of nearly EVERY POLITICAL LEADER EVER. You might be from Latin America, but I’m speculating you are from Western Europe. (Apologies if I was presumptuous.)
    It isn’t clear to me that the downtrodden led any revolt of ideas in most of the world. (Yes, the great Jewish carpenter is excepted, along with Mohammed, Moses, and several others.)
    But if you peel back at any semi-modern leader in almost any nation, you’re going to find privilege, taints of corruption, oversights in ethics, and many other lapses. But, call me naive, it’s fine. I’ll take my heroes of the revolutions from my various backgrounds (Adams, Jefferson, Washington, Franklin, Gandhi, Jinna, Patel, and Nehru) and say there’s a lot to be learned from them. And the Indian guys were privileged too. So was Che. Being middle class or rich doesn’t make you wrong. It does, perhaps unfairly, make you unlikely to be literate and have access to law. Does it help my case that my other major heroes are Malcolm X and Ida Wells? I think the lesson here is there are many people to learn from in the history of the world. I’d prefer to look at the idealized bests of them and aspire to make our world reflect what I believe their dreams were.

  23. Aggie Dude Says:

    six strokes, Anon…corruption is corruption, regardless of the party. I do, however reserve a measure of discretion based on degree of severity…lying about an affair vs. lying about starting a war, ya know.

    On the foundation of the United States: The group of people at the Continental Congress, which led to the legal establishment of the United States, were certainly not perfect, but had it not been for some truly gifted and exceptional people there, this country may very well have simply become another petty dictatorship. When I criticize the way things are now, I do so with in mind the potential of this country I see utterly squandered.

  24. Aggie Dude Says:

    SDS, just as an aside, both the Jewish Carpenter and The Profit were extremely well connected; one was actually named and raised to restore the House of David, and the other was a governor.

  25. Aggie Dude Says:

    SDS has sound advice

  26. Anonymous Says:

    ‘s funny but, we can bitch all day about the effects of class on intellectualism, yet the uneducated lower classes seen happy to wallow in their ignorance. A quick glance at television content should be enough to prove that. In all honesty, I feel, that they don’t want to be saved or enlightened. Ahh, futility. Dorme bene

  27. Aggie Dude Says:

    I agree that there seems to be some surface-validity to the idea that the ignorant are happy to wallow in ignorance, but I think that it can be logically debunked and is an example of somewhat circular reasoning (by definition any expression of dissatisfaction is not going to be adequately directed toward the problem, for which they are ignorant).

    I think the television content argument is misplaced as well, though it is a really good point. It’s less about the intelligence of the viewer, and more indicative of the way mass marketing reduces a product to a lowest common denominator in order to capture the broadest possible audience.

    This is true of everything from soda to music on the radio to the content of news on television. Mass marketing is about making things bland enough not to offend anyone into rejecting it. On the other hand, it doesn’t truly inspire anyone either…it’s sort of just “eh.”

    The flip side of this is the rise of niche marketing. So yes, “mainstream” appears bland and dumbed down to capture a broad audience through the production of numbness, but niche markets exist wherever the economic structure allows them to.

    There is crappy television, but there are some outstanding shows. They’re just on stations that are geared toward specific audiences. The same with any other product.

    This is about marketing, not about the latent intelligence of the population. Likewise, the stupidity of political discourse in the United States is NOT a reflection of the lack of individual thoughtfulness, but the lack of understanding the need for collective movement.

    The C word leads down the road to the S word, which a lot of people really don’t like.

  28. Angelo Says:

    quoth aggie:
    “Mass marketing is about making things bland enough not to offend anyone into rejecting it.”

    If enough people are offended by facts that it becomes profitable not to provide facts, then it becomes useful to view the problem in terms of the “latent intelligence” of the viewers.

    Do you think audiences used to have a higher tolerance for facts, or was it that TV News organizations just did not understand capitalism until the 80s?

    (Edward, are you here? I would be interested to get your contribution to this discussion.)

  29. Aggie Dude Says:

    Angelo:

    Excellent point! To answer your question with my impression, keeping in mind that I was 4 in 1980…My understanding of history is that several long term trends started coalescing in the 1980s which contributed to television news becoming far more entertainment oriented. One is the consolidation of industries into corporate conglomerates, where the upper management was far less knowledgeable or interested in the content of the product, only whether it enhanced the bottom line.

    Another was the merging of news departments into other departments, forcing news to compete with entertainment. Lastly, and completely unsubstantiated, I wonder if the fact that by the 1980s the first adult population starts who grew up on TV starts becoming politically and economically dominant.

    Beyond that though, I believe that people are socialized into consumerism, that it’s a trained process, and therefore audiences simply except a reduced quality of information.

    I base this on the fact that I very rarely watch TV news, other than specific shows like Meet the Press, and each time I catch CNN or so I’m utterly baffled by the packaging of the information (such that there is any) and pure conjecture of the talking heads that convey it.

  30. Angelo Says:

    What was the point of the Revolutionary War if Great Brittan has a higher standard of living than the US 224 years after the fact?

  31. Angelo Says:

    the cyprus trees really made this one

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