Comments for http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html en-gb 30 Tue 26 May 2015 02:53:48 GMT+1 A feed of user comments from the page found at http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html RHCracker http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=99#comment182 4. At 04:18am on 20 Aug 2010, Andy Post wrote:Mark:However, this one isn't. You have every right to complain. The American citizens who are your hosts need to do something about it. This isn't evidence of the demise of America, it's evidence of the fact Americans have simply been irresponsible with regard to infrastructure maintenance. We just don't feel like paying taxes.This is a ridiculous statement when we are paying over 30percent of our income to the feds,and everything we do is taxed.It is simply fraud and mismanagement of funds,the people of America are doing their jobs ,at least the few jobs that are left,but our officials in government are over payed,they spend on their pet projects instead of infrastructure,every state entity has use it or lose it budgets where if they don't spend all the money left at the end of the fiscal year they will not get as much next year,so every one of them go on spending sprees as the fiscal year ends buying things they did not need,instead of rolling over the funds for use the next year.Try this in private business and see how long you stay the black. Sat 28 Aug 2010 16:08:12 GMT+1 Interestedforeigner http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=98#comment181 181. At 02:08am on 27 Aug 2010, LucyJYour first point had to do with the excessive influence of corporate interests on government, a topic raised by many commentators.The issue there is the need for campaign finance reform.On that issue the US Supreme Court has made a ruling that isn't quite the modern day equivalent of the Dred Scott case, but it is pretty bad nonetheless. On this subject President Obama cannot be faulted - he has been highly critical of the court on this subject. (In my opinion, rightly so, too.)Campaign finance reform is not likely to create jobs, at least not directly. It is, however, likely to lead to better government policy. Eventually that would likely lead to a stronger economy, but I wouldn't be holding my breath.As for deporting illegal aliens, we've been through that exhaustively. It sounds like a great idea until you begin to lost at the cost side of the cost-benefit analysis, and you realize that there are an awful lot of more important things to do with public money. Fri 27 Aug 2010 02:38:41 GMT+1 LucyJ http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=98#comment180 Interestedforeigner wrote:174. At 04:20am on 26 Aug 2010, LucyJ wrote:If the factory jobs are from American companies, can't we find some sort of incentives to bring them back? American corporations are supposed to be governed by American laws...or is America being governed by our corporations?[[ How can somebody who makes this statement in one breath oppose President Obama in the next? What you are asking for is campaign finance reform - which America very badly needs - and which is strongly supported by president Obama, and Senator McCain, and many others. ]]This is where he said that...I guess it was just the second part, not the first.The whole ruling about corporations being counted as people with individual rights is a sham! It is wrong and should be overturned!A corporation does not breathe, does not sleep, does not eat, does not live. It is not alive. A corporation does not feel love, envy, strength, etc. A corporation is a network of people put together for business and money, so it is not one person.-------------------------------------------------------------------------St Dom. wrote: A similar situation exists with the illegal immigration issue. If mass deportation takes place our choices will be a very strict diet (which may not be a bad thing) or paying as much as 400% more for groceries.------------------------------------------------------------------------All we have to do is deport all the illegals back to their homelands so they can support and help their homelands, then we can hire guest workers with green cards to (fill the vacancies) come to our country legally, so at least we know who is in our country... Fri 27 Aug 2010 01:08:50 GMT+1 SaintDominick http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=97#comment179 Ref 177, InterestedForeigner "This is the echo of complaints by employers in manufacturing. How ironic."For large corporations the employee benefits package is often between 40% and 50%, with healthcare being the second largest labor cost after wages. The public option would have made healthcare accessible to all Americans, and would have reduced corporate production costs by about 20%, enough to make our products competitive and enough to entice corporations to keep jobs in the USA. Unfortunately the people that are calling for solutions are not interesting in pragmatic solutions, they want fixes that satisfy their ideological leanings without taking the time to reflect on the long term implications of their decisions.A similar situation exists with the illegal immigration issue. If mass deportation takes place our choices will be a very strict diet (which may not be a bad thing) or paying as much as 400% more for groceries.Hopefully, there are still enough centrists and calm people around to vote based on facts and what they believe is in our best interests because if it is up to the TP crowd we are going to be in deep trouble. Thu 26 Aug 2010 23:32:16 GMT+1 SaintDominick http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=97#comment178 Ref 178, Lucy"Int. For. claims that Obama is going to revitalize the economy with campaign finance reform, but why isn't it working? Where are the new good lasting jobs?"I guess I missed the part where IF said President Obama plans to revitilize the economy with campaign finance reform. Not sure how that would work...However, if what he said was that President Obama is trying to limit the influence of special interests in Washington, that is an entirely different matter. The task, which was already daunting became much more complicated when the Supreme Court decided to allow unlimited political donations. In fact, I believe politicians don't even have to reveal the identity of the donors! Thu 26 Aug 2010 23:23:23 GMT+1 LucyJ http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=96#comment177 The whole thing is ridiculous and needs to be remedied as soon as possible. But who is willing to make a stand and do the right thing? As the great Sheryl Crow sings, "Its hard to make a stand, Yes it is..."It seems like the politicians are getting more corrupted all the time- where is our Lincoln? Its not Obama, that's fo' sho- he is dividing us, not bringing us together!Int. For. claims that Obama is going to revitalize the economy with campaign finance reform, but why isn't it working? Where are the new good lasting jobs? Thu 26 Aug 2010 22:19:48 GMT+1 Interestedforeigner http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=96#comment176 176. At 8:28pm on 26 Aug 2010, SaintDominick wrote:"...As a result they have been hiring a lot of foreign network designers, software analysts, programmers and engineers who are not only well qualified but willing to travel and do whatever the corporation expects of them."[[And, of course, the people being laid off in droves from manufacturing companies tend not to have those skills ... another can of worms.]]"If a pool of qualified workers, willing to work for a fraction of American workers earn in places such as China or India, and who seldom complain or ask for bigger or better benefits, the few US companies that still operate in the USA are likely to move their facilities overseas."[[And one of the points here is that it isn't the absolute cost of labour but rather the ratio of labour cost to labour productivity. This is where the hard currency peg that China is using is a rod for our own backs.]]"One of the most fascinating parts of the anti-Obama and anti-healthcare reform phobia is that some of his policies, and healthcare in particular, is likely to reduce corporate operating costs to the point that it may offset the impact of higher wages."[[I noticed today that the Secretary of Defense was complaining about the cost of health care for the military. This is the echo of complaints by employers in manufacturing. How ironic. ]]"Unfortunately, those that prefer short term solutions are only interested in instant gratification rather than policy decisions that would bear fruit 10 or 20 years from now. "[[Yes. It took us 40 years to get into this problem, and it isn't going to be solved overnight. But we won't even make much of a start on it until we start taking responsibility for the problem instead of trying to blame bogeymen.]] Thu 26 Aug 2010 21:24:43 GMT+1 SaintDominick http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=95#comment175 Ref 175, InterestedForeignerGood points.A couple of days ago I was talking to my eldest son, a mathematician who works for the largest software company in the world. The division he works in designs and deploys software architecture for government institutions and large corporations. He either drives hundreds of miles or flies to customer facilities throughout the USA every week. When I asked him about the economic outlook for the company he told me that their problem is not finding work, but hiring qualified people willing to travel. They have actually turned down Requests for Proposal from potential customers because they don't have enough people to keep up with demand. As a result they have been hiring a lot of foreign network designers, software analysts, programmers and engineers who are not only well qualified but willing to travel and do whatever the corporation expects of them.US companies are not moving overseas because they don't like American workers or because they are unpatriotic. Their decision is based strictly on business considerations. If a pool of qualified workers, willing to work for a fraction of American workers earn in places such as China or India, and who seldom complain or ask for bigger or better benefits, the few US companies that still operate in the USA are likely to move their facilities overseas.One of the most fascinating parts of the anti-Obama and anti-healthcare reform phobia is that some of his policies, and healthcare in particular, is likely to reduce corporate operating costs to the point that it may offset the impact of higher wages. Unfortunately, those that prefer short term solutions are only interested in instant gratification rather than policy decisions that would bear fruit 10 or 20 years from now. Thu 26 Aug 2010 19:28:38 GMT+1 Interestedforeigner http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=95#comment174 174. At 04:20am on 26 Aug 2010, LucyJ wrote:If the factory jobs are from American companies, can't we find some sort of incentives to bring them back? American corporations are supposed to be governed by American laws...or is America being governed by our corporations?[[ How can somebody who makes this statement in one breath oppose President Obama in the next? What you are asking for is campaign finance reform - which America very badly needs - and which is strongly supported by president Obama, and Senator McCain, and many others. ]]Are we regulating them or are they controlling us?Where are the politicians for the people where you need them? American corporations should want to stay here- why ship our technology overseas? Who wants to buy the cow when you get the milk for free?It is ridiculous and preposterous that we cannot make at least half of our own products.There has got to be a way to re-start our industrial revolution.There has got to be a way to create new lasting good jobs.Creating new lasting good jobs is the ticket out of recession.[[ There is, and it has been the same solution that has worked since the start of the industrial revolution: Build better products at a lower price.The problem is that the productivity of North American workers is simply too low. That is why all of the low skill jobs have migrated overseas.The two keys to solving that problem are (a) education; and (b) realistic expectations.On education you have to fight (i) the teachers' unions, who have a record of blocking every suggested improvement; and (ii) the religious groups who want to debase the school system by deciding what schools should and should not be allowed to teach. These are the twin curses of education in America.On realistic expectations, you have to fight the entire mentality of the baby boomer generation and everything that has followed. You have to fight against the idea of easy credit that never has to be paid back; you have to fight an omnipresent entertainment industry on TV that is based entirely on selling people the belief that they can have everything they want, right away, now, as if they were Hollywood movie stars, without every having to get their hands dirty working for it, without ever having to learn to be thrifty, and without ever having to be patient. In the Hollywood presentation of America, there is no link made between the glamorous lifestyle they sell, and any concept that being able to afford that kind of lifestyle requires hard word in school, hard work on the job, and pretty good interpersonal skills. There are plenty of shows and movies that glorify rebellious youth that has no respect for anyone over age 30, that is rude, that disdains academic success as "not cool', and so on. But where does Hollywood ever show someone who works hard, slowly, patiently, and over many years to achieve something in life in a positive light?This is the problem of unrealistic expectations, and it lies behind a great deal of America's problems with runaway consumer debt and an unsustainable trade balance in manufactured consumer goods.And then there is the (rather more temporary) problem of the Chines manipulating the exchange rate of their currency. Thu 26 Aug 2010 18:11:02 GMT+1 LucyJ http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=94#comment173 If the factory jobs are from American companies, can't we find some sort of incentives to bring them back? American corporations are supposed to be governed by American laws...or is America being governed by our corporations?Are we regulating them or are they controlling us?Where are the politicians for the people where you need them? American corporations should want to stay here- why ship our technology overseas? Who wants to buy the cow when you get the milk for free?It is ridiculous and preposterous that we cannot make at least half of our own products.There has got to be a way to re-start our industrial revolution.There has got to be a way to create new lasting good jobs.Creating new lasting good jobs is the ticket out of recession. Thu 26 Aug 2010 03:20:42 GMT+1 SaintDominick http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=93#comment172 Ref 172, Lucy"Someone needs to help us get our good jobs back!!!!!"Wouldn't that be wonderful? Unfortunately, the only one that can help us is ourselves. The factory jobs that put food on the table for tens of thousands of American workers are no longer here and are not coming back. They have been stedily moved overseas during the last 4 or 5 decades along with much of the technology we have developed. Barring a shareholder revolt and CEOs willing to invest at home regardless of the cost impact and potential shortages of skilled personnel those old jobs are gone for good. They are not coming back.The other problem is that we have plenty of good jobs available in the medical field, chemistry, physics, engineering and other high tech field; unfortunately our unemployed workers don't qualify for them and those lucrative jobs are going to foreigners who enter the country under a H2B visa to satisfy demand. If it wasn't for them some of those jobs would have already migrated overseas, and many have.The worst part of this scenario is that there are no easy solutions and that it is going to take years to re-train our workers and prepare them for the jobs that do exist and those that are bound to emerge as time goes by. We have transitioned from a low tech, labor intensive, model; our companies are benefitting from it, but millions of Americans have been left behind.Hoping for a miracle is not going to do the trick, we created this mess and it is up to us to solve it. Wed 25 Aug 2010 22:38:50 GMT+1 LucyJ http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=93#comment171 because we're hard-pressed for electricity... which we're forging with fossil fuels... so we're digging/using more coal...which is making it hot... so we turn on our air conditioners... which uses more electricity...-------------------------------------------------------------------------It makes me grateful and appreciative for days when it is nice and breezy out, when the air conditioner is not needed and you can just leave all the windows and doors open...although in the cities, it might not be safe...but it sure feels a lot better with the fresh air and cool breeze!I still stand by my statement that Obama should focus on creating good jobs. We have so many committees in USA, why not a jobs committee? Someone needs to stand up for the hard working class!!!!!Someone needs to help us get our good jobs back!!!!! Tue 24 Aug 2010 23:50:35 GMT+1 Philly-Mom http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=92#comment170 Rumor has it AMTRAK/Regional Train is closed in & around Philly due to power outages.So, train commuters in Philly will need to ride bus/taxi/car... which will require more fossil fuel... because we're hard-pressed for electricity... which we're forging with fossil fuels... so we're digging/using more coal...which is making it hot... so we turn on our air conditioners... which uses more electricity...I find this annoying. Maybe I should move to Montana with a rifle and a fishing rod and build a little cabin in the woods. Keep bees. Make candles. Fed-Ex junk food delivery.Saint Daniel Boone! We pray to you to save us! I swear I'll remember the Alamo forever!!! Philly Trivia of the Day: Saint Boone was born in them thar hills just over yonder. In fact, there's a lovely state park near the Boone Homestead. I recommend camping and renting a canoe. Of course, Mobile Phone reception ain't great there. (Bonus!) Tue 24 Aug 2010 14:29:14 GMT+1 MagicKirin http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=92#comment169 This post has been Removed Tue 24 Aug 2010 11:12:12 GMT+1 KScurmudgeon http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=91#comment168 145. At 04:07am on 23 Aug 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:ANY;"Insinuating President Obama is a Muslim and questioning his citizenship are part of a demonization strategy..."It is unfortunate because it detracts from the legitimate arguments ..."_____________________________It is, It is EVIL ITSELF!! (Did I sound Republican?)KScurmudgeon Tue 24 Aug 2010 07:02:54 GMT+1 MarcusAureliusII http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=91#comment167 #157There is hardly a place in America that doesn't suffer some severe environmental conditions. Drought in the Southwest, Hurricaines in the Southeast, tornadoes in the Midwest, blizzards and ice storms in the Northeast. And we do have periodic droughts in the northeast as well. Would you have everyone move away from the Mississippi river because it floods over? It's a little late for that. BTW, you get too much water in the Northwest anyway. Doesn't Seattle get over 200 days of rain a year? How much water do you need? Tue 24 Aug 2010 00:10:52 GMT+1 LucyJ http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=90#comment166 dm, it doesn't matter how hard it is to create good jobs. Has something being hard stopped us in the past? No, in fact, it makes us work harder! If we care about the future of America, creating good jobs is something that needs to be done.As the great Melanie sings,"There is a time to be lazy and there's a time to hang around,but there's work to be done, so buckle down!" Tue 24 Aug 2010 00:02:49 GMT+1 d_m http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=90#comment165 163. At 11:31pm on 23 Aug 2010, AndreaNY wrote:161. d_m:"Threre's an army of retired of people out there with an enormous skill set at its disposal, though it need not be limited to retirees. What do you think?"*****************You know, that's one of the most interesting ideas I've heard in a long time. There are also many unemployed people.Obama promised line-by-ine budget checks. Maybe we could hold him to his word.---------Maybe we can, Maybe we should try. It's our government and maybe we all just need to help take charge of it.Budget cuts become a lot more personal when you are the one recommending cuts that costs someone their job. Mon 23 Aug 2010 23:08:13 GMT+1 McJakome http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=89#comment164 153. At 3:02pm on 23 Aug 2010, SaintDominick wrote:Ref 151, Magic“How do you explain the fact that Red Cross donations to flood victims in Pakistan is a mere $1 million compared to Red Cross donations to victims of the tsunami and the Haiti earthquake, which exceeded half a billion dollars each?I don't think racism is a major factor, but Islamophobia is.”I am sure you are not a racist. However, reverse racism, often contained in PC positions, is equally bad.I don’t think not wanting to hand money to a corrupt regime known to have misspent our aid in the past is racist or "Islamophobic." Also, giving money to a country whose military intelligence is widely believed to be supporting the Taliban and Al Qaida could be considered as supporting the people who are killing our neighbors and kin in uniform.I think you are at the very least jumping to conclusions. Mon 23 Aug 2010 23:03:19 GMT+1 d_m http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=89#comment163 160. At 11:04pm on 23 Aug 2010, LucyJ wrote:To me, its not what we cut.Its what we produce.Its our jobs that will make all the difference.But its not just jobs- its GOOD jobs. I mean, jobs that pay well, that offer health care, etc.The only way out of this recession is with GOOD jobs...---------I think it's both. But jobs are probably harder to create than budgets are to cut, and budgets are hard to cut! And then, as you point out, there are jobs and there jobs. Most good jobs these days require a highly trained and educated workforce. The problem is that even though workers with the right skillset are out there, businesses aren't hiring.We need to get the economy going again so it will generate jobs. But, as you might expect, there is no agreement on how to do that--tax cuts or government spending programs. Some people, for example, think the government should fund infra-structure projects (repairing roads and bridges etc.), while others think the government should cut taxes so that people can invest and thereby stimulate both business and the econony. Probably we will need to both and more. Near term, however, I think we need to solve the debt problem, however we decide do it. Mon 23 Aug 2010 23:00:07 GMT+1 AndreaNY http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=88#comment162 161. d_m:"Threre's an army of retired of people out there with an enormous skill set at its disposal, though it need not be limited to retirees. What do you think?"*****************You know, that's one of the most interesting ideas I've heard in a long time. There are also many unemployed people.Obama promised line-by-ine budget checks. Maybe we could hold him to his word. Mon 23 Aug 2010 22:31:41 GMT+1 SaintDominick http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=87#comment161 Ref 154, Magic"...for instance Hati your pal Hugo gave very little"The fact that I challenge your unsubstantiated claims about Chavez, particularly your tendency to call him a dictator even though he was elected and re-elected by a considerable margin and continues to enjoy the support of most Venezuelans, and the fact that I have explained the reasons for his popularity does not mean I like him or his policies. The reason you make assertions like this is because you are a political partisan zealot with an absolute lack of objectivity, extremely ignorant, and devoid of a sense of decency. Your views and efforts to demonize or discredit not only politicians but fellow bloggers are a fundamental part of the GOP political strategy and, I have to admit, it seems to be quite successful, which brings into question the intellect and common sense of those that endorse your pronouncements. Mon 23 Aug 2010 22:23:51 GMT+1 d_m http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=87#comment160 159. At 10:38pm on 23 Aug 2010, AndreaNY wrote:158. d_m:"Trying to find ways to cut government spending is really hard to do. "*********************Not all cuts would "force people into hardship". If we cut Medicare fraud, for example, that would not produce the hardship you are talking about. Line by line budget checks might be a good idea now. Remember them?--------I especially like line by line checks. Maybae we need citizen groups in every state to go over the budget line by line and recommend changes. That was done at the school district where my wife teaches and, even if it didn't result in a better outcome overall, it did shift the areas where cuts were made. It also got people involved and informed. In the end it was a good thing. Cutting fraud is a great idea too. We've tried to tackle fraud before. The results are always mixed at best. Remember the 500 dollar toilet seats? Human nature being what it s, there is probobly fraud in every program supported by the federal government. Perhaps we need citizen panels to look over all budgets for waste. I'm beginning to like this idea. Threre's an army of retired of people out there with an enormous skill set at its disposal, though it need not be limited to retirees. What do you think? Mon 23 Aug 2010 22:06:57 GMT+1 LucyJ http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=86#comment159 To me, its not what we cut.Its what we produce.Its our jobs that will make all the difference.But its not just jobs- its GOOD jobs. I mean, jobs that pay well, that offer health care, etc.The only way out of this recession is with GOOD jobs... Mon 23 Aug 2010 22:04:10 GMT+1 AndreaNY http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=86#comment158 158. d_m:"Trying to find ways to cut government spending is really hard to do. "*********************Not all cuts would "force people into hardship". If we cut Medicare fraud, for example, that would not produce the hardship you are talking about. Line by line budget checks might be a good idea now. Remember them? Mon 23 Aug 2010 21:38:45 GMT+1 d_m http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=85#comment157 152. At 2:11pm on 23 Aug 2010, AndreaNY wrote:147. d_m:"A minor point, but I think Fox, Rush, and the republicans generally want to cut taxes, or you might say ressurect supply-side economics. Not a good plan when what the government needs is more revenue not less. Even David Stockman, Reagans budget director, and the architect of supply-side econmics, says that cutting taxes now is foolhardy. "***********************A not-so-minor point is the range of opinions from economists on this question. You can, literally, find a well-known economist to support either view. Two points raise questions about either position for me. First, Bernanke has called our situation "unprecedented". Second, economists are rarely 100% accurate in their predictions.So you can follow your party's line on this, but it doesn't mean it will result in the desired results. But if higher spending or lower taxes is your real objective, it won't really matter, though, will it?----------I don't have a party, but I agree, you can find people on both sides of any issue. Often, you can find them on more than two sides of any issue. As a nation, I think we need to focus on paying off our debt. My preference is for a 'temporary' national sales tax or a VAT, where the revenues would be limited to paying off debt. Once the debt was paid off, the tax would be retired. Also, since either of the taxes would generate revenue and likely discourage consumption, they would be helpful. Trying to find ways to cut government spending is really hard to do. There is hardly an expenditure out there that one or the other parties doesn't support. I'm not an economist, but it seems like there are no cuts you can make that won't make things worse for some one or some group--for all or part of some family, including many types of small business. But I'm certainly open to suggestions. The budget categories listed below (from Wikipedia) represent broadly where our taxes go. Where would you cut? Military: 23% Soc Sec 20%Medicare/Medicaid 20%Discretionary 12%Mandatory 17%TARP 4%Interest 5%Forget political parties for the moment. Debt is the problem. All of us have benefitted in many ways over the decades from deficit spending. Every single one of us. And now, every single one of us needs to step up and help pay down the debt. That is, everyone of us who can. Personally, I would rather pay more taxes in order to retire the debt than force people into hardship. Mon 23 Aug 2010 19:36:15 GMT+1 Scott0962 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=85#comment156 An observation to those who were commenting on the need to build infrastructure to redistribute fresh water in the U.S.: this is largely a problem in the southwest where people have decided they like living in the desert. I don't see why the rest of the nation should subsidize thir choice to make their home in a place where the resources won't support the population. And has anyone done an evironmental impact study on the effects of diverting massive amounts of water from other parts of the country to the desert southwest? We're only just beginning to understand the effects that dams had on salmon and sturgeon here in the northwest, diverting water to the southwest will only aggravate the damage to fish stocks that used to support a thriving commercial fishery and conserving water to save fish will require cutting back on agricultural use.Price water in the southwest at a realistic rate based on scarcity and the situation will quickly sort itself out as people move from the desert to places where water is more plentiful and affordable. On second thought, having millions of those people move up here and do to us what they've done to California might be worse than sending them the water. Mon 23 Aug 2010 18:32:19 GMT+1 Scott0962 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=84#comment155 re. #80. At 5:35pm on 21 Aug 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:33. At 5:41pm on 20 Aug 2010, Scott0962 wrote:"A 50% tax on consumer goods is much too high, it could actually infuriate American consumers enough to vote out the politicians who imposed it and since no politician wants to risk that so the idea is a non-starter."____________I didn't say all consumer goods, just consumer electronics and products that are overwhelmingly produced in China.The point is that China's currency is 50 - 60% undervalued.If China's currency were floating properly, the prices would be 50 - 60% higher, or maybe the goods would be made elsewhere on a competitive basis.The point is that while American consumers would, of course, be prepared to pay higher prices because of currency fluctuation (or make the voluntary decision to do without), the idea of achieving the same effect by imposing a tax equivalent to the difference you reject out of hand as "much too high" - even though American consumers could also still voluntarily choose to do without.A 50 % tax isn't "much too high" at all - it is, in fact what the price would be if the Chinese weren't manipulating their currency.And the money raised by that sales tax would stay in America employing Americans to construct long term assets of enduring benefit to the American economy. Not one penny would be spent on consumer goods from China, or increasing consumer debt.--------------You really don't understand American consumers. Tell them they have to pay a 50% tax rate on anything and you're in for a fight. It doesn't matter why you want to impose the tax or what the revenue generated would got to. Politicians know that living with the voters is like living next to a hornet's nest, you don't go poking it with a stick if you don't want to get stung. A modest import duty on Chinese goods would be a much easier sell and although it might take longer to bring the rate up to a point that would reduce consumption or encourage domestic production it would offer significantly lower political risk of a consumer backlash. Mon 23 Aug 2010 18:00:02 GMT+1 KB_AustinTX http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=84#comment154 ********************62. MarcusAureliusII wrote:KerSmudge, that's a total cop out and completely false. There are Public Utility Bureaus in every jurisdiction ....********************One more distinction please; you are referring to a MUNICIPALITY. SOME cities OWN their own utilities, most do not. For instance, Dallas' electricity is TXU which serves that QUADRANT of the state. I worked for a utility in West Texas that served MANY towns. Electric Power in the US is a collection of private and city/state owned. Mon 23 Aug 2010 15:35:39 GMT+1 MagicKirin http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=83#comment153 ref #153 SaintDominick wrote:Ref 151, Magic"(Just because you and Time Magazine think opposition to the moslem cultural center equals racism does not make it so."How do you explain the fact that Red Cross donations to flood victims in Pakistan is a mere $1 million compared to Red Cross donations to victims of the tsunami and the Haiti earthquake, which exceeded half a billion dollars each?I don't think racism is a major factor, but Islamophobia is.___________________Honestly charity fatigue, which is reflected by lack of donations through out the world.BTW why do rich oil states never contribute much in these situations.for instance Hati your pal Hugo gave very little. Mon 23 Aug 2010 14:46:46 GMT+1 SaintDominick http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=83#comment152 Ref 151, Magic"(Just because you and Time Magazine think opposition to the moslem cultural center equals racism does not make it so."How do you explain the fact that Red Cross donations to flood victims in Pakistan is a mere $1 million compared to Red Cross donations to victims of the tsunami and the Haiti earthquake, which exceeded half a billion dollars each?I don't think racism is a major factor, but Islamophobia is. Mon 23 Aug 2010 14:02:41 GMT+1 AndreaNY http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=82#comment151 147. d_m:"A minor point, but I think Fox, Rush, and the republicans generally want to cut taxes, or you might say ressurect supply-side economics. Not a good plan when what the government needs is more revenue not less. Even David Stockman, Reagans budget director, and the architect of supply-side econmics, says that cutting taxes now is foolhardy. "***********************A not-so-minor point is the range of opinions from economists on this question. You can, literally, find a well-known economist to support either view. Two points raise questions about either position for me. First, Bernanke has called our situation "unprecedented". Second, economists are rarely 100% accurate in their predictions.So you can follow your party's line on this, but it doesn't mean it will result in the desired results. But if higher spending or lower taxes is your real objective, it won't really matter, though, will it? Mon 23 Aug 2010 13:11:47 GMT+1 MagicKirin http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=81#comment150 ref #150 mabelwhite wrote:"The Republican Party, in its death throes has sunk to its lowest common denominator. In order to get warm bodies to the polls, every “ism” in the book is thrown around, and the fear card is played at every xenophobic turn. Apparently now you can toss freedom of religion under the bus while wearing a cloak of patriotism, and you can throw around the “n” word and not be considered a racist.(Just because you and Time Magazine think opposition to the moslem cultural center equals racism does not make it so. As far as the death throes of the Republican party, I see major gains and hopefully a far more ethical congress than the one lead by Pelosi and Reid)"There are days when I don’t recognize my country, and this is one of them... and I was always taught to believe that our diversity was our strength. And in my school, kids of different faiths were friends, and it didn’t matter. You weren’t condemned because of the bad behavior of others in your race, religion, nationality or gender.(Now you are condemened for having an oppion that a self appointed minority rights group might not like) Mon 23 Aug 2010 12:04:44 GMT+1 mabelwhite http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=81#comment149 "The Republican Party, in its death throes has sunk to its lowest common denominator. In order to get warm bodies to the polls, every “ism” in the book is thrown around, and the fear card is played at every xenophobic turn. Apparently now you can toss freedom of religion under the bus while wearing a cloak of patriotism, and you can throw around the “n” word and not be considered a racist."There are days when I don’t recognize my country, and this is one of them... and I was always taught to believe that our diversity was our strength. And in my school, kids of different faiths were friends, and it didn’t matter. You weren’t condemned because of the bad behavior of others in your race, religion, nationality or gender.I want my country back."-themudflats.net Mon 23 Aug 2010 11:17:35 GMT+1 mabelwhite http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=80#comment148 #140 - Right, so you agree! Obama has publicly stated his religion, as he is a public figure - so you can let that one rest. Everyone else can keep it free and private because this is "America".What I notice and observe is that a large number of people voice concerns over concerns they are 'making up' just so they can say 'what if this is true? - if it's true then Obama has lied'. Then they say, 'he was born outside the US, he has a secret religion, his administration hasn't actually been accused of any corruption as yet but its 'the most corrupt administration in history'.' Nutso. Mon 23 Aug 2010 11:03:58 GMT+1 MagicKirin http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=80#comment147 This post has been Removed Mon 23 Aug 2010 09:05:28 GMT+1 d_m http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=79#comment146 142 SaintDominick----A minor point, but I think Fox, Rush, and the republicans generally want to cut taxes, or you might say ressurect supply-side economics. Not a good plan when what the government needs is more revenue not less. Even David Stockman, Reagans budget director, and the architect of supply-side econmics, says that cutting taxes now is foolhardy. Mon 23 Aug 2010 06:07:50 GMT+1 Hippofeet http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=79#comment145 Hello all.Interesting read, and comments. Forgive me for this dull one. Our infrastructure is in poor shape, our econonmy is not improving from anyone I talk to (I am not a pollster), and power, water and fossil fuelsare bound to be problems that only worsen as the population grows, and technology and bad winters and summers cause each individual to consume more, in the U.S. at least. As a midwesterner, weather and power outages don't bother me much. Kind of fun, until the freezer is no longer...frozen. Liberals are full of rage, seems like. Conservatives seem unrealistic in their hopes that the country will find the strength (cruelty?) to ignore the world at large, and maintain or raise a standard of living without paying for it, someway. But those are the extreme elements in both parties, I think. No single one of us, repub or dem, is responsible for where we are at, or going. Most people I know do their best to slog on, some are more proactive. (generators spring to mind.) I like most people I have met all over the world, face to face it is nice to laugh together, or shake our heads in wonder over the decisions made by those in power, elected or not. Mon 23 Aug 2010 04:19:22 GMT+1 MarcusAureliusII http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=78#comment144 ANY;"Insinuating President Obama is a Muslim and questioning his citizenship are part of a demonization strategy..."It is unfortunate because it detracts from the legitimate arguments about the failures of his policies including regarding the flagging economy, the way the health care bill was rammed through Congress in a most shabby and contemptable way, his failure to act more quickly and forcefully after the oil rig disaster, and his failures in successfully fighting the war in Afghanistan, the war he wanted to fight or so he said when he was campaigning for President. The noise about him being a Moslem diverts attention from the real issues. How could anyone doubt he's a Christian after his association with the Reverend Wrong. Mon 23 Aug 2010 03:07:25 GMT+1 MarcusAureliusII http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=78#comment143 Philly-Mom;I live in a relatively new development in a rich white exurb (rural area) about halfway between New York City and Philadelphia. I've got neighbors on boths sides of me who are from India, that's how rich it is. And we lost power today during a storm. This time the outage only lasted about five or ten minutes but we've had them for many hours and ten years ago we had one that lasted two days. Things are definitely going downhill. Mon 23 Aug 2010 03:01:51 GMT+1 Philly-Mom http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=77#comment142 Golly - and here I thought Philly neighborhoods lost power during storms because we're a bunch of Po' Folk with a crappy city service infrastructure... How nice to see that we're in good company. Mon 23 Aug 2010 01:59:43 GMT+1 SaintDominick http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=77#comment141 Ref 138, Magic"I even was around for the Nixon administration and the corruption of this administration and congress drawfs it."In that case your earlier assertion about the Obama administration's performance must have been based on a very peculiar way of assessing corruption and ineptness.President Obama has been a breath of fresh air, and his intelligence, ethics, vision, focus, hard work and composure when faced with childish unsubstantiated claims should serve as an inspiration to us all.As for Congress, I am delighted the do-nothing Congress of yesteryear were replaced with one that managed to pass historic legislation that will have a very positive long term effect on our society and our economy. Unfortunately, a clear vision of the future and commitment are anathema to the disciples of Rush Limbaugh and FOX who, while unable to provide alternatives to overcome the problems we are facing, have managed to demonize and discredit all the progress that has been made in the last 18 months. Mon 23 Aug 2010 00:23:05 GMT+1 AndreaNY http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=76#comment140 136. SaintDominick:Closer to home, I suspect some GOP strategists concluded that since the Rev Wright controversy did not get too much traction in 08 it was time to shift gears and try something different. Insinuating President Obama is a Muslim and questioning his citizenship are part of a demonization strategy that is bound to produce good results in some circles.*********************A lot of the media avoided Obama's religion like the plague during the election. What you resist persists. Sun 22 Aug 2010 23:37:02 GMT+1 AndreaNY http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=75#comment139 139. mabelwhite :"#129 Religion is a person's own business. "******************Yes, well, if Obama wanted his business to remain private perhaps he shouldn't have run for president. Sun 22 Aug 2010 23:27:04 GMT+1 mabelwhite http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=75#comment138 #129 Religion is a person's own business. Not sure why you would need a system for 'others" to be able to define all 'other' people's faith. More labelnomics I suppose. Sun 22 Aug 2010 23:17:14 GMT+1 MagicKirin http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=74#comment137 ref #135 SaintDominick wrote:Ref 133, Magic"...this is the most corrupt admininstration and congress in m lifetime"I guess you are a toddler!_________I even was around for the Nixon administration and the corruption of this administration and congress drawfs it. Sun 22 Aug 2010 22:21:51 GMT+1 Simon21 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=74#comment136 135. At 10:31pm on 22 Aug 2010, SaintDominick wrote:Ref 133, Magic"...this is the most corrupt admininstration and congress in m lifetime"I guess you are a toddler!-------------------------------------------------------------------------I reached this conclusion a while ago.However I like the point about the west and east coasts being against the middle.If a civil war broke out that would an interesting scenario Sun 22 Aug 2010 22:02:08 GMT+1 SaintDominick http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=73#comment135 Ref 104, Andrea"Technically, does that mean he's a former Muslim?"No, technically it means that in some countries religion is more powerful than logic, and that women rights remain as elusive as they were in medieval times.Closer to home, I suspect some GOP strategists concluded that since the Rev Wright controversy did not get too much traction in 08 it was time to shift gears and try something different. Insinuating President Obama is a Muslim and questioning his citizenship are part of a demonization strategy that is bound to produce good results in some circles. Sun 22 Aug 2010 21:48:39 GMT+1 SaintDominick http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=73#comment134 Ref 133, Magic"...this is the most corrupt admininstration and congress in m lifetime"I guess you are a toddler! Sun 22 Aug 2010 21:31:20 GMT+1 Simon21 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=72#comment133 113. At 1:47pm on 22 Aug 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:Unless and until the moderators choose to publish the my full comment, here's a link to the largest desalination plant in the world...in Israel."-------------------------------------------------------------------------Is that true?Doesn't seem as big as this onewww.greenprophet.com/2009/05/saudi-arabia-desalination/ Or is it just that Arabs being arabs and therefore non-white, cannot build anything bigger than Israel?The problem with desalination is that it relies, no matter what method you use on an energy supply.And the plants are extremely expensive to buildPlus the fact that RO is hardly ideal technology in itself.Saudi cliams that already 70% of its water comes through desalination, but again that is not cheap.And of course both countries have not predicated on ever rising demand.http://www.water-technology.net/projects/israel/20 of these would meet the entire country's requirements for fresh water all by themselves. Sun 22 Aug 2010 21:11:47 GMT+1 MagicKirin http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=72#comment132 ref #112The US seems to be going through a kind of [pre-]civil war right now. There is a sharp ideological divide, people are unable or unwilling to make compromises or work together. Moreover almost the same regional configuration is present as in the first one. I found it very distrubing to compare an 1860 Blue/Grey map to a modern Red States/Blue States map. The bad guys with the seriousely warped notions of "Christianity" are in the same place, with a different color._______________-The ideological divide geographicly is different:It East Coast and West Coast against the rest of the country.I think you can definitly lay the blame this time on the blue. From lying, stealing election and in the case of our state disenfranchising are second Senate vote this is the most corrupt admininstration and congress in m lifetime Sun 22 Aug 2010 20:42:50 GMT+1 Simon21 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=71#comment131 131. At 8:56pm on 22 Aug 2010, AmericanGrizzly wrote:Wow! Mark do you feel vindicated? I live in a rural area, the main trunk that feeds us power is on poles. But where it enters my property it is underground, because of trees, snow, ice and such. I do agree underground is better. But lets take it a step further shall we. Like why are we rebuilding Afghanistans infrastructure, while I drive over marginally safe bridges, cracked, heaving, and potholed roads, and those pesky above ground wires you mentioned in the US. Perhaps the US would be better to spend the trillions here in the US than on Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, and any other nations. Lets bring our troops home secure our own border, build schools, educate our own people, jobs, healthcare, social security, or any needs of the American CITIZEN. Rather than squander it overseas on fair weather friends and con artists (err heads of states, paid religious ambassadors)------------------------------------------------------------------------Well quite. I have long said if the average US citizen worried about their job, whether they could pay their mortgage etc was asked whether the US should continue to pour billions into useless conflicts in Afghanistan (of all places) - the answer would be a simple one and it would not be yes.I also think that if they were asked should the US continue to give practically unlimited aid to Israel and billions to Egypt the answer would also be simple.People faced with mass unemployment and economic uncertainty are not generally concerned with affairs in countries on the other side of the world. Sun 22 Aug 2010 20:40:15 GMT+1 american grizzly http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=71#comment130 Wow! Mark do you feel vindicated? I live in a rural area, the main trunk that feeds us power is on poles. But where it enters my property it is underground, because of trees, snow, ice and such. I do agree underground is better. But lets take it a step further shall we. Like why are we rebuilding Afghanistans infrastructure, while I drive over marginally safe bridges, cracked, heaving, and potholed roads, and those pesky above ground wires you mentioned in the US. Perhaps the US would be better to spend the trillions here in the US than on Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, and any other nations. Lets bring our troops home secure our own border, build schools, educate our own people, jobs, healthcare, social security, or any needs of the American CITIZEN. Rather than squander it overseas on fair weather friends and con artists (err heads of states, paid religious ambassadors). Well at least Obama is pulling out some of the troops out of Iraq, of 65,000 or so 15,000 may leave. Sounds like declaring a promise fulfilled? Because after the last 50,000 troops leave it could possibly collapse? Where would the victory be then? Keep an iron in the fire perhaps, Obama would be screwed if it collapsed before the election. Yeah underground maybe the way to go, it may create some jobs, as your electric bill will climb anyways under this administration. Or does the BBC pay yours? Courtesy of the British taxpayer, perhaps? Well anyways, have a nice day. Sun 22 Aug 2010 19:56:57 GMT+1 LucyJ http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=70#comment129 Love poker, great for fun, not so much if people take it too seriously or have gambling problems. I am one of those people who has some skill, but a lot of luck, which drives my friends crazy, so they never know what to expect...its the Irish in me... :)But I never rely on luck...I let the luck happen. If you try to force luck, it will not appear, but if you let luck happen, it never fails... Sun 22 Aug 2010 19:28:30 GMT+1 AndreaNY http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=69#comment128 128. mabelwhite:"#115 Sorry, from an American perspective, the thought that you could burden me with a religion "by birth" makes me laugh out loud, or possibly be nauseated if you are really serious."****************Having an "American perspective" shouldn't preclude you from being able to entertain a thought, should it?I was merely discussing what makes one a whatever-religion. If all it takes for one to be a Muslim, Christian, etc., is for one to declare oneself that religion, then that does simplify things. However, more defined practices do exist within certain religions, including Christianity. Obama can declare himself whatever he likes. Likewise, he can declare himself not a whatever or that he never was a whatever he likes. The fact that there's so little definition around actually being a whatever may explain people's confusion, which, by the way, is not limited to republicans. Sun 22 Aug 2010 19:02:35 GMT+1 mabelwhite http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=69#comment127 #115 Sorry, from an American perspective, the thought that you could burden me with a religion "by birth" makes me laugh out loud, or possibly be nauseated if you are really serious. None of that nonsense matters to anyone unless they are "inside" some obsessive religious group and trying to prove they have some "right" to be there. As for President Obama's religion, he set it out in his autobiography clear as day for anyone to read about well before he ran for office - there is no mystery for the Reverend Graham to pontificate upon. Sun 22 Aug 2010 18:23:51 GMT+1 MarcusAureliusII http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=68#comment126 Lucy I never bluff. Just ask my weekly poker game victims. Osmosis and reverse osmosis have been known since donkey's years. It also allows winemakers to produce better wines!Necessity is the mother of invention. Where there's a will....there's relatives. Sun 22 Aug 2010 17:32:24 GMT+1 hms_shannon http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=68#comment125 123. At 5:16pm on 22 Aug 2010, Curt Carpenter wrote:115. At 4:14pm on 22 Aug 2010, mabelwhite wrote:"But according to BBC Pakistan people are blaming the West for their flood troubles and lack of aid (go figure) - I guess they'll have to get in line."My wife and I have made our small contribution to Pakistan relief through the IRC because we believe each of us has to try to help the children and modest village people who have lost so much and are in such need. I admit, though, that it galls me to hear and read repeated reports of threats and anger on the part of the Pakistani establishment to the effect that my country is not doing enough to help their country. We struggle to keep reminding ourselves that we are in solidarity with the poor farmer that has lost his crop and his livestock -- and to ignore the rest.-----------------------------------The last sentence on your post is a good one,often news Wallas like totwist things for the reaction,you are right in helping others.Those onthe ground who need & receive aid would only thank you if they could. Sun 22 Aug 2010 17:01:41 GMT+1 faeyth http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=67#comment124 All these Companies want the same thing,they want the State or Federal Government to pay for up dates to the system for them,many times they the energy companies increased rates but instead of investing in burying lines etc.. they want to pay higher dividends to stockholders instead many of which, who also rely on energy but don't understand that they have to pay for it either way as customers,tax payers,or with slightly smaller returns on stocks.Greed.Money is a tool to barter to progressively make life better but some people just don't get it. Sun 22 Aug 2010 16:29:40 GMT+1 AndreaNY http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=67#comment123 115. mabelwhite:#106 What a load of absolute rot! "...how one becomes a christian or muslim if not from birth..." - rolling on the floor dear****************May I ask why? Sun 22 Aug 2010 16:24:47 GMT+1 Curt Carpenter http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=66#comment122 115. At 4:14pm on 22 Aug 2010, mabelwhite wrote:"But according to BBC Pakistan people are blaming the West for their flood troubles and lack of aid (go figure) - I guess they'll have to get in line."My wife and I have made our small contribution to Pakistan relief through the IRC because we believe each of us has to try to help the children and modest village people who have lost so much and are in such need. I admit, though, that it galls me to hear and read repeated reports of threats and anger on the part of the Pakistani establishment to the effect that my country is not doing enough to help their country. We struggle to keep reminding ourselves that we are in solidarity with the poor farmer that has lost his crop and his livestock -- and to ignore the rest. Sun 22 Aug 2010 16:16:35 GMT+1 hms_shannon http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=66#comment121 The only adventures over seas we should send our young folk away on.http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-11048130The spirit of adventure is still alive in Europe,What a Bonny,Bonny Lass.. Sun 22 Aug 2010 16:06:45 GMT+1 mabelwhite http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=65#comment120 #120 nope, waste of time to my mind, but BBC thinks its a problem in terms of any continuing local support for US troops etc. Sun 22 Aug 2010 16:04:43 GMT+1 Interestedforeigner http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=65#comment119 115. At 4:14pm on 22 Aug 2010, mabelwhite wrote:"But according to BBC Pakistan people are blaming the West for their flood troubles and lack of aid (go figure) - I guess they'll have to get in line."____________You're thinking that next time there's a flood or hurricane damage it would be just as logical for Americans to lay the blame for all their problems on Pakistan? Sun 22 Aug 2010 15:53:28 GMT+1 mabelwhite http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=64#comment118 Anyway, support our troops, and this veteran's song, "it took years to mess this county up, its gon' take more to fix"http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=75_aaIBb70w&feature=player_embedded Sun 22 Aug 2010 15:48:47 GMT+1 LucyJ http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=63#comment117 113, MAII, you weren't bluffing...that desalination plant is definitely cutting-edge and very productive. Israel knows that in the future, water could be scarce, and that this is something to invest in. Even if the process takes a long time or if it is not as inexpensive as would like, it is getting this started that is the most difficult. Once things get started and more experimentation is done, then discoveries are made and that is the fun part. It is a wave of the future... Sun 22 Aug 2010 15:37:28 GMT+1 Interestedforeigner http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=63#comment116 113. At 1:47pm on 22 Aug 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:http://www.water-technology.net/projects/israel/____________That is very impressive.The cost of freshwater produced, $0.53/M3, is about $ 650/acre-ft. (This figure is for 2006 apparently. Obviously the price is going to be extremely sensitive to the price of fuel/electricity.) By North American standards, that is a lot for agricultural purposes, but not bad for residential use.The power consumption figure is also very impressive - less than 4kWh per cubic meter, = 5000 kWh per acre-ft = 16Wh per US Gal. Again, that's pretty good. Sun 22 Aug 2010 15:23:17 GMT+1 mabelwhite http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=62#comment115 #114 - You do realize that Pepco, a subsidiary of Pepco Holdings, is a private for-profit company ? Did you mean un-privatize the recently privatized utilities to make them more effective? Sun 22 Aug 2010 15:18:50 GMT+1 mabelwhite http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=62#comment114 #106 What a load of absolute rot! "...how one becomes a christian or muslim if not from birth..." - rolling on the floor dear.But according to BBC Pakistan people are blaming the West for their flood troubles and lack of aid (go figure) - I guess they'll have to get in line. Sun 22 Aug 2010 15:14:43 GMT+1 radiorat http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=61#comment113 Once again a city folk complain when the power goes out. I guess you city types have no idea what to do when the internet and plasma tv is down. Ya think by now as a father you would have a back up plan. Blaming the power company does not work. Just like everything eles in America politics hampers improvement. Most private power companies pay taxes on every pole they stick in the ground. Moving the power lines under ground is a pain. Some protected bug,rodent,animal or bird may use the ground you are passing the power line though.So a "study" has to be made-- Ya what to put an end to power outages remove the "public" utility and replace them with private company. Sun 22 Aug 2010 14:01:25 GMT+1 MarcusAureliusII http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=61#comment112 Unless and until the moderators choose to publish the my full comment, here's a link to the largest desalination plant in the world...in Israel.http://www.water-technology.net/projects/israel/20 of these would meet the entire country's requirements for fresh water all by themselves. Sun 22 Aug 2010 12:47:50 GMT+1 McJakome http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=60#comment111 110. At 12:23pm on 22 Aug 2010, ErnestPayne wrote: "Americans do not want to hear Garibaldi's / Teddy Roosevelt's / Churchill's statement that he had nothing to offer but "blood, toil, tears, and sweat". Americans are about to find themselves living in "interesting times"/"You are quite correct in all but one point. This is not just an American failing. Every country, especially those that have achieved great power or conquered an empire, has gone, is going and will go through the same experience.In personal terms, every spoiled child on the planet is in the same situation and for some of the same reasons in microcosm.The US seems to be going through a kind of [pre-]civil war right now. There is a sharp ideological divide, people are unable or unwilling to make compromises or work together. Moreover almost the same regional configuration is present as in the first one. I found it very distrubing to compare an 1860 Blue/Grey map to a modern Red States/Blue States map. The bad guys with the seriousely warped notions of "Christianity" are in the same place, with a different color. Sun 22 Aug 2010 12:42:45 GMT+1 MarcusAureliusII http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=60#comment110 This post has been Removed Sun 22 Aug 2010 12:29:56 GMT+1 ErnestPayne http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=59#comment109 Americans have been told, and resolutely believe, that they are a "special" democracy. Apparently this belief allows them to ignore the rules of economics with the result that they have (for the past half century) dug themselves ever deeper into bankruptcy. In the US it is never "your" fault but the "other guys" and if we do get into trouble the Lone Ranger/outsider/Superman is going to arrive and "save us". As the Duke of Wellington said (of the emigrees returning to France "They have learned nothing and forgotten nothing". Americans do not want to hear Garibaldi's / Teddy Roosevelt's / Churchill's statement that he had nothing to offer but "blood, toil, tears, and sweat". Americans are about to find themselves living in "interesting times"/ Sun 22 Aug 2010 11:23:20 GMT+1 MagicKirin http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=59#comment108 As far as Obama religion he says he is a christian so be it.there is so many areas that one can criticize him on: ineperience, incomptence , policy decisions that hurt the economy and our standing in the international comunity etc.There is no need to dredge up this old chestnut. Sun 22 Aug 2010 09:31:43 GMT+1 McJakome http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=58#comment107 100. At 01:49am on 22 Aug 2010, LucyJ wrote:“I guess I was somewhat defensive, just don't really like the word 'ignorant.'”I did not like being called ignorant either. I was in my twenties, I posessed new BA and MA degrees but had only been to Canada and South Korea. I responded by travelling [to over 30 more countries], reading voraciously, working in 6 more countries and eventually getting a second master's.There are one or two posters here who have tried calling me ignorant. I obviously know more than they do [on at least some subjects], so I laugh and refuse to read or respond to their nonsense.The cure for ignorance has actually been a lot of fun, in my case. On the cautionary side, one must not let ones education or experience go to one's head or one becomes a pompous donkey [I've met a few and would not like to face another in my mirror]. Sun 22 Aug 2010 02:44:00 GMT+1 Curt Carpenter http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=57#comment106 (In the interest of "fair and balanced," Fox-news caliber reporting, I should have mentioned in the above that many of those same Texas Veterans broke party ranks and voted for LBJ once.) Sun 22 Aug 2010 02:37:31 GMT+1 AndreaNY http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=57#comment105 95. Interestedforeigner:"The issue of President Obama's religion is not a political view. It is an issue of fact, well documented on the public record, and easy to verify. For 1/6 of voters to get this wrong, after the man has been in office for 18 months..."*********************It does bring to mind how one becomes a Christian or Muslim or anything if not from birth. There are "conversions"; however, I'm not sure he actually went through a formal process, such as a baptism, to become a Christian. (That might bring his Christianity into question for some Christians.) Reverend Billy Graham's son, Franklin, said something about Obama's saying that he had renounced Mohamned and accepted Jesus but that only Obama could really know whether he had done that.Obama, himself, has fed the confusion by stating he was never a Muslim, a statement then clarified to, "He was never a practicing Muslim" and "He never prayed in a mosque." It does appear that he was a Muslim as a youth, then drifted away and ultimately found his church.He chose to be a Christian. That pretty much settles it for me. Sun 22 Aug 2010 02:27:47 GMT+1 Curt Carpenter http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=56#comment104 98. At 01:14am on 22 Aug 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:"It would be easy enough to check, but it seems to me that Junior Bush received 53 % of the votes cast in 2004, and turnout was something like 51%. I.e., he was re-elected with the votes of something under 27% of the total electorate."Ah, technicalities.Members of the electorate that don't vote are, in my Grand System of Political Analysis (v4.0) not classified as "American voters." They belong to another category entirely.And my Grand System also takes into account the common knowledge (among everyone "in the know") that AT LEAST five percent of the Republican votes in every election are generated by dead Civil War veterans, many of whom once voted honorably for President Abraham Lincoln. (Worth noting also that many of these "zombie Republicans" are dead -Texans-, which should pretty much clinch the case for even the most closed-minded and partisan skeptic.)So I will stand by my original, more-carefully-derived figures, which take into account the many critical externalities (of which I have mentioned only two) that belong in any -comprehensive- analysis.Good day. Sun 22 Aug 2010 02:27:02 GMT+1 AndreaNY http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=56#comment103 95. Interestedforeigner:The NY Times wrote this. Blame it."As the son of the Muslim father, Senator Obama was born a Muslim under Muslim law as it is universally understood. It makes no difference that, as Senator Obama has written, his father said he renounced his religion. Likewise, under Muslim law based on the Koran his mother’s Christian background is irrelevant. Of course, as most Americans understand it, Senator Obama is not a Muslim. He chose to become a Christian, and indeed has written convincingly to explain how he arrived at his choice and how important his Christian faith is to him. "Technically, does that mean he's a former Muslim?http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/12/opinion/12luttwak.html---------------As for the ignorance of Americans, apparently there are Americans who are unaware that health care legislation passed.http://www.cato-at-liberty.org/has-obamacares-unpopularity-caused-abject-panic-at-the-white-house/ Sun 22 Aug 2010 01:17:41 GMT+1 ExiledAlaskan http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=55#comment102 Also, on a note about the Obama is a Muslim stuff, this is nothing new. According to the opposition, Thomas Jefferson was a sodomist and electing him president was going to bring about the destruction of the US by god himself. I personally am very disappointed in Obama. He never takes a stand on any issue and constantly tries to pander to both sides. As a result he gives ammunition to everyone and never gets anything done. Sun 22 Aug 2010 01:09:04 GMT+1 ExiledAlaskan http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=55#comment101 There's a certain romanticism to power outages. As long as they last less than 6-8 hours or so I am all for them.The mid-Atlantic to the Northeast are the worst for outages though. Go West (specifically northwest) and you'll find that the infrastructure is far better. They are still not sunken, but they do a better job of clearing away the tree branches. Sun 22 Aug 2010 01:05:17 GMT+1 Andy Post http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=54#comment100 Ref. 96, Interestedforeigner:"In some ways we are a lot like a larger version of Puerto Rico: we tend to end up having to comply with US law, without having a vote or representatives in Congress."I'm very fond of Canada. I don't look at Canada as a little brother as much as a childhood friend that, like us, has matured over the years. None of the peoples in the world know us better than the Canadians.http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/12/Mexicans would be their equal, though, I believe. Sun 22 Aug 2010 00:56:14 GMT+1 LucyJ http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=54#comment99 96, Canada is a great neighbor. That's neat you have relatives here. I have been to Canada only once, to Niagara Falls and it is one of the most beautiful places in the world. The Canadians were very nice and hospitable, the food delicious and the maple syryp fantastic. And you do have really great hockey players. You got us good the last time...I guess I was somewhat defensive, just don't really like the word 'ignorant.' Sun 22 Aug 2010 00:49:40 GMT+1 Andy Post http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=53#comment98 Ref. 71, Norman Conquest:"Fact is America has about exhausted all its energy resources."Fact, it is not.The U.S. has extensive natural gas resources and uranium deposits, and while we are over-stretched when it comes to oil deposits, we still have quite a bit. Consider that we just slathered our southern coast with the stuff.If you start considering green energy, well, we have all sorts of that. The economics of it is an issue, no doubt. Sun 22 Aug 2010 00:47:18 GMT+1 Interestedforeigner http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=53#comment97 85. At 6:20pm on 21 Aug 2010, Curt Carpenter wrote:"To InterestedForeigner at (81) above:"I am frankly astonished that ONLY 18% of my countrymen think President Obama is a Muslim. I mean, let's not allow ourselves to forget that almost HALF of American voters turned out to give President George W. Bush a second term in office. And in that context, 18% sounds like real progress to me."____________It would be easy enough to check, but it seems to me that Junior Bush received 53 % of the votes cast in 2004, and turnout was something like 51%. I.e., he was re-elected with the votes of something under 27% of the total electorate.My guess would be that a relentlessly public examination of why roughly half of voters did not vote might perhaps yield improvements in the electoral system, particularly in the fields of campaign finance, congressional re-districting, and public education. Sun 22 Aug 2010 00:14:53 GMT+1 Interestedforeigner http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=52#comment96 91. At 9:54pm on 21 Aug 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:"LucyJ;""America has an abundance of water. But it has it in the wrong places at the wrong times. ...""America should put top priority on a national water management system with manmade lakes, reservoirs, and aqueducts. To get water from where we have it but don't want it to where we don't have it and need it. The Romans did it thousands of years ago, so can we. ..."------------[[Which might happen more readily if water were priced correctly. But it isn't, and so there is great waste and inefficient use.Gotta love those Romans, though, eh? First class engineers.]]------------"We have exploited hydroelectric power in America to its fullest potential. There isn't any more to be had. Wind and solar power are inefficient, expensive, and unreliable. We produce more of it than anyone else in the world now yet it accounts for only about 1% of our electrical power need. It is not the future either. For the time being, most of our power will come from burning fossil fuel."[[Sad, but largely true.]]""After all, electricity is a luxury"""Not anymore. Not today. BTW, using electricity is one way to turn salt water into potable fresh water. The sun is another way... The Israelis do it. Others do it. So can we."[[Very expensive way to obtain fresh water, but, again, it goes back to the basic economic issue of scarcity and pricing.]] Sun 22 Aug 2010 00:07:15 GMT+1 Interestedforeigner http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=51#comment95 84. At 6:06pm on 21 Aug 2010, LucyJ wrote:Int. For., For someone who calls some Americans "ignorant" because you disagree with their political views, you sure have studied a lot about America and our history. That being said, you are Canadian, love Canada and swear your allegience to Canada. Canada is Canada, it is not America, but America is kind of like Canada's big brother..._____________As you and others here know, I am very fond of the United States. At one time or another in my life I have visited 48 of the 50 states, and of the other two, I have flown over one, and seen the other from the deck of a ship.Obviously I visit some parts of the US - New York, Chicago, and Washington, for example - far more frequently than others. Many of my extended family members are US citizens - some of them born and raised in Illinois, even. 80 % of my business is conducted in the United States. The majority of my professional colleagues are Americans. Hardly a day goes by that I am not on the phone or exchanging e-mails with US colleagues. I have no idea how many times I have crossed the border, but it would be many, many times.Canadians, by and large, simply do not regard the United States as a foreign country. I don't think we ever will. That's one of the reasons we find heightened security at the border so irksome. It is just inconsistent with our understanding of the relationship.We also do not regard America as a big brother. I think most of us tend to regard America as a good friend and neighbour. We have our differences, but when you get right down to it we have many shared cultural values, and we have a long shared history. Most of the time we co-operate pretty well.------------On a small note, we do not actually "swear" allegiance or loyalty in this county, at least I never have. (Oh, no, now Stephen Harper will be after me ...) But nobody would doubt my great affection for our sturdy, reliable, trustworthy Queen, for our country, or for its Constitution.------------We are very concerned about what goes on in the United States. It is hardly surprising: roughly 80% of our exports go to the US, and roughly 75 % of our imports come from the US (these figures may be a bit out of date). We do the largest two-way trade of any two countries on earth. For any number of reasons we only want peace and prosperity for our neighbours.As an American you may not be aware of, or particularly sensitive to, the extent to which American laws, and American political decisions affect people in other countries. On that subject, no country is more strongly or immediately affected by changes in US law or policy than Canada.In some ways we are a lot like a larger version of Puerto Rico: we tend to end up having to comply with US law, without having a vote or representatives in Congress.At the end of the day, other than the Scandinavians or the Swiss, it is hard to think that either country could have a much better neighbour than each other.------------Finally, when I make postings here, some of which are highly critical of US policy, don't ever mistake criticism for dislike. (The postings that are highly critical of the current Canadian government are another story, though). I won't say that every posting is positive, but, for the most part, I usually try to make postings that are positive and constructive.Yes, compared to most people, I have probably read a fair bit of US history. There are others here, though, who have read far, far, more. Sat 21 Aug 2010 23:57:48 GMT+1 Interestedforeigner http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=51#comment94 84. At 6:06pm on 21 Aug 2010, LucyJ wrote:Int. For., For someone who calls some Americans "ignorant" because you disagree with their political views, you sure have studied a lot about America and our history. That being said, you are Canadian, love Canada and swear your allegience to Canada. Canada is Canada, it is not America, but America is kind of like Canada's big brother..._____________Thanks to J-i-D for his comments.------------The persistence of the whole "Obama-is-an-A-rab" lie, and of the "Obama-wasn't-born-in-America" lie, actually remind me most of the vicious, unconscionable smear campaign that was run against John McCain in South Carolina in the Republican primaries in 2000 in which it was suggested that a child he had adopted - a decent act by a good man - was in fact a child he had fathered illegitimately.As I understand it, apparently this particular lie was traced back not to any Democrat opponent, but to his own fellow party members in the Republican Party.To my way of thinking the moral bankruptcy of that conduct is egregious. How do these people sleep at night? Fundamentally, what they are doing is an attack against the democratic process itself.Why did the candidate for whom they worked not fire them outright, immediately, and in disgrace, when the story came to light? That too, I regard as a moral and ethical failing of the first order on the part of that candidate himself.Once lies like these get started, they never end. In my view, the people behind stuff like this ought to be in jail. For life. Throw away the key.------------The issue of President Obama's religion is not a political view. It is an issue of fact, well documented on the public record, and easy to verify. For 1/6 of voters to get this wrong, after the man has been in office for 18 months...They're just not paying attention at even the most minimal reasonable level to meet the basic presumption of an educated electorate.It raises the question of the level of general knowledge and intelligence they bring to other public policy issues. Sat 21 Aug 2010 23:56:29 GMT+1 Simon21 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=50#comment93 91. At 9:54pm on 21 Aug 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:Not anymore. Not today. BTW, using electricity is one way to turn salt water into potable fresh water. The sun is another way. With many thousands of miles of coastlines, we can do as much of that as we want and need to also. It's a matter of political will and long term commitment of resources. Fewer mergers and acquisitions, fewer govenment handouts and entitlements, and more desalination plants. The Israelis do it. Others do it. So can we."------------------------------------------------------------------------No Israel imports water from Turkey and Lebanon. Desalination sounds a nice idea but it doesn't workAustralia has been trying to find an effective method for decades.Both countries in fact face disaster in terms of fresh water. Sat 21 Aug 2010 23:15:13 GMT+1 Simon21 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=50#comment92 81. At 5:45pm on 21 Aug 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:This, by the way, is a classic:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-11027568Among Republicans, the number who got the right answer was roughly equal to the number who got the wrong answer. Just how little effort does it take to ascertain the truth? And these people are allowed to vote ...If they can't get something that easy right, on what basis are they forming their opinions on far more difficult and complex questions?How is a democracy supposed to function with that level of ignorance?Forget about mosques, and illegal aliens. Poor education is much more potent threat to America's future.------------------------------------------------------------------------It is worth remembering that it was the US who passed prohibition, and then lived with the consequences for over 10 corrupt and on ocassion bloody years.And even now here is apprently some Republican running for office using a (highly unflattering) pic of him in his Pyjamas apparently claiming he sleeps in his office. This is apparently meant to be taken seriouslyAnd that is before we get to such genius' as Sarah Palin, who actually ran for office and on a public interview revealed that she barely had a clue what this involved.She later expressed a love for the founding fathers, but was apprently unable to specify any of them.Yet these are the sort of people who claim to know how to run a country. Sat 21 Aug 2010 23:11:40 GMT+1 Interestedforeigner http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=49#comment91 83. At 6:01pm on 21 Aug 2010, LucyJ wrote:Poor education is much more potent threat to America's future.------------------------------------------------------------------------So says the Americanized "Canadian"...____________To be fair, it's a pretty big threat to our future, too. Sat 21 Aug 2010 22:32:49 GMT+1 MarcusAureliusII http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=49#comment90 LucyJ;America has an abundance of water. But it has it in the wrong places at the wrong times. After Katrina we had a lake that was larger than the United Kingdom. Every few years the Mississippi River overflows with floods. This is why America should put top priority on a nationa water management system with manmade lakes, reservoirs, and aqueducts. To get water from where we have it but don't want it to where we don't have it and need it. The Romans did it thousands of years ago, so can we. Much of Southern California's water that sustains the population and irrigates the fertile Imperial, San Joaquin, and other valleys where much of our produce comes from arrives via aqueduct from Northern California.We have expolited hydroelectric power in America to its fullest potential. There isn't any more to be had. Wind and solar power are inefficient, expensive, and unreliable. We produce more of it than anyone else in the world now yet it accounts for only about 1% of our electrical power need. It is not the future either. For the time being, most of our power will come from burning fossil fuel. "After all, electricity is a luxury"Not anymore. Not today. BTW, using electricity is one way to turn salt water into potable fresh water. The sun is another way. With many thousands of miles of coastlines, we can do as much of that as we want and need to also. It's a matter of political will and long term commitment of resources. Fewer mergers and acquisitions, fewer govenment handouts and entitlements, and more desalination plants. The Israelis do it. Others do it. So can we. Sat 21 Aug 2010 20:54:09 GMT+1 LucyJ http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=48#comment89 No, John, obv. he is Canadian (hockey, Molson, etc.), but I am just saying that Int. For. seems to sometimes act like he knows what is best for America...advice is good, but name calling not so much...But I do think Int. For. is smart and often gives good comments. Clearly has a lot of knowledge and intelligence, just needs to realize that ultimately it is up to Americans to decide who we want to be, not up to foreigners- only we can decide, determine and define who and what we want to be, regardless of outside opinions... Sat 21 Aug 2010 20:30:27 GMT+1 qmrfc67 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=48#comment88 At 67 powermeerkat asked "are Europeans better off or worse off than Americans? Ask some of the citizens of Old Europe." As a naturalized US citizen who came here 40 years ago from Europe let me try to answer that. First off everyone who has ever done any polling knows the answer always reflects the phrasing of the question. "Better or worse off?" carries an implicit notion that the answer is dependant on one's financial status, an eminently American perspective. There have always been, and always will be, Europeans of similar ilk and many over the years have come to the US. For most of the last century the US enjoyed a far higher "standard of living" than anywhere else on earth That playing field is rapidly being levelled however, just ask a Norwegian or a Kuwaiti.The fact is that Americans live in bigger houses and drive bigger cars (and more of them) and have bigger yards than Europeans and if you define that as being "better off" you have answered your own question.I think that is only a small part of the equation however. I still have several friends in the UK who are ordinary middle class working stiffs. My pal who is a window cleaner just returned from a month travelling in India and has made several trips to Africa and Australia. Another pal is a mid level civil servant married to a school teacher who last summer spent a month vacationing in Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam after taking a short spring vacation in Portugal. Sure he lives in a small 3 bedroom English house and he and his wife have one car and he uses public transport to get to work. I could go on.My point is. ask most Europeans if they would trade their 6 weeks vacation for one or two. Ask them if they would trade their health care for a system where they may loose their house due to sickness. They are healthier than us, they live longer, are less obese, use far fewer drugs (the legal kind), are far less stressed etc.So to rephrase your question "Do Europeans have a higher quality of life than the US?" You can draw your own conclusion but I guarantee that the vast majority of Europeans would answer "Yes." Sat 21 Aug 2010 20:01:51 GMT+1 Curt Carpenter http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=47#comment87 In 6 above, MarcusAureliusII wrote: "Real wealth in created by building things and keeping them working or replacing them with better things."There are, of course, several other sources of "real wealth" -- extractive industries, for example (mining, oil). But in our modern times, the most popular source of "real wealth" is finding some (preferably large and powerless) group of people to exploit shamelessly, and doing so relentlessly until either there is a revolt or some other people find a way to exploit -us-! This is called "21st Century Capitalism" and often takes the form of a "financial innovation" (eg. a Credit Default Swap or an Adjustable Rate Mortgage). We do, indeed, live in interesting times. Sat 21 Aug 2010 17:37:54 GMT+1 John_From_Dublin http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=46#comment86 # 84 LucyJ wrote:"Int. For., For someone who calls some Americans "ignorant" because you disagree with their political views, you sure have studied a lot about America and our history. That being said, you are Canadian, love Canada and swear your allegience to Canada. Canada is Canada, it is not America, but America is kind of like Canada's big brother..."While IF is more than able to reply for himself, a number of points occur(a) Your first sentence is a quite superb non sequitur. It might make some sense to say to someone, eg, “For someone who calls some Americans "ignorant", you don’t know much about the US” or even “For someone who calls some Americans "ignorant", you don’t know much about your own country”, but what you said makes no sense whatsoever. It is precisely because IF knows about the US that he is entitled to call some Americans ignorant.(b) Much more seriously, “For someone who calls some Americans "ignorant" because you disagree with their political views...” The last part of this is arrant nonsense. Not for the first time you are departing from the truth, whether deliberately or otherwise. Thinking Obama is a Muslim is not a ‘political view’ that one may disagree with or otherwise. It is a nonsensical view counter to the facts. If I think Palin is a mendacious demagogue, and support this view with evidence – not difficult - you may call that a political view. If I think she is a Martian or a Mormon or a Scientologist, without any evidence, that is not a ‘political view’ it is a ridiculous misapprehension. (c) . “Canada is Canada, it is not America”. Well spotted. The words Sherlock, No and one other spring to mind. (d) “but America is kind of like Canada's big brother”. Or noisy and annoying neighbour perhaps... Sat 21 Aug 2010 17:37:24 GMT+1 John_From_Dublin http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=46#comment85 # 83. At 6:01pm on 21 Aug 2010, LucyJ wrote:"Poor education is much more potent threat to America's future.------------------------------------------------------------------------So says the Americanized "Canadian"..."1. "Canadian"? Are you claiming IF is not Canadian? Any evidence for this view? Or just another of those 'gut feelings' unrelated to actuality?2. To me, 'Americanized' implies someone more American than their original nationality. same question as at 1. Just because someone has knowledge of or interest in the US does not make them 'Americanized', any more than an Irish person with knowledge of or interest in England - which would be most, to some degree - is 'Anglicised' Sat 21 Aug 2010 17:21:19 GMT+1 Curt Carpenter http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=45#comment84 To InterestedForeigner at (81) above:I am frankly astonished that ONLY 18% of my countrymen think President Obama is a Muslim. I mean, let's not allow ourselves to forget that almost HALF of American voters turned out to give President George W. Bush a second term in office. And in that context, 18% sounds like real progress to me. Sat 21 Aug 2010 17:20:57 GMT+1 LucyJ http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/washington_powerlessness.html?page=45#comment83 Int. For., For someone who calls some Americans "ignorant" because you disagree with their political views, you sure have studied a lot about America and our history. That being said, you are Canadian, love Canada and swear your allegience to Canada. Canada is Canada, it is not America, but America is kind of like Canada's big brother... Sat 21 Aug 2010 17:06:12 GMT+1