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Number 1?
The Austin Chronicle ^ | Jan 21, 2005 | Michael Ventura

Posted on 03/04/2005 9:42:33 AM PST by TWohlford

No concept lies more firmly embedded in our national character than the notion that the USA is "No. 1," "the greatest." Our broadcast media are, in essence, continuous advertisements for the brand name "America Is No. 1." Any office seeker saying otherwise would be committing political suicide. In fact, anyone saying otherwise will be labeled "un-American." We're an "empire," ain't we? Sure we are. An empire without a manufacturing base. An empire that must borrow $2 billion a day from its competitors in order to function. Yet the delusion is ineradicable. We're No. 1. Well ... this is the country you really live in:

• The United States is 49th in the world in literacy (The New York Times, Dec. 12, 2004).

• The United States ranked 28th out of 40 countries in mathematical literacy (NYT, Dec. 12, 2004).

• One-third of our science teachers and one-half of our math teachers did not major in those subjects. (Quoted on The West Wing, but you can trust it – their researchers are legendary.)

• Twenty percent of Americans think the sun orbits the Earth. Seventeen percent believe the Earth revolves around the sun once a day (The Week, Jan. 7, 2005).

• "The International Adult Literacy Survey ... found that Americans with less than nine years of education 'score worse than virtually all of the other countries'" (Jeremy Rifkin's superbly documented book The European Dream : How Europe's Vision of the Future Is Quietly Eclipsing the American Dream, p.78).

• Our workers are so ignorant, and lack so many basic skills, that American businesses spend $30 billion a year on remedial training (NYT, Dec. 12, 2004). No wonder they relocate elsewhere!

• "The European Union leads the U.S. in ... the number of science and engineering graduates; public research and development (R&D) expenditures; and new capital raised" (The European Dream, p.70).

• "Europe surpassed the United States in the mid-1990s as the largest producer of scientific literature" (The European Dream, p.70).

• Nevertheless, Congress cut funds to the National Science Foundation. The agency will issue 1,000 fewer research grants this year (NYT, Dec. 21, 2004).

• Foreign applications to U.S. grad schools declined 28% last year. Foreign student enrollment on all levels fell for the first time in three decades, but increased greatly in Europe and China. Last year Chinese grad-school graduates in the U.S. dropped 56%, Indians 51%, South Koreans 28% (NYT, Dec. 21, 2004). We're not the place to be anymore.

• The World Health Organization "ranked the countries of the world in terms of overall health performance, and the U.S. [was] ... 37th." In the fairness of health care, we're 54th. "The irony is that the United States spends more per capita for health care than any other nation in the world" (The European Dream, pp.79-80). Pay more, get lots, lots less.

• "The U.S. and South Africa are the only two developed countries in the world that do not provide health care for all their citizens" (The European Dream, p.80). Excuse me, but since when is South Africa a "developed" country? Anyway, that's the company we're keeping.

• Lack of health insurance coverage causes 18,000 unnecessary American deaths a year. (That's six times the number of people killed on 9/11.) (NYT, Jan. 12, 2005.)

• "U.S. childhood poverty now ranks 22nd, or second to last, among the developed nations. Only Mexico scores lower" (The European Dream, p.81). Been to Mexico lately? Does it look "developed" to you? Yet it's the only "developed" country to score lower in childhood poverty.

• Twelve million American families – more than 10% of all U.S. households – "continue to struggle, and not always successfully, to feed themselves." Families that "had members who actually went hungry at some point last year" numbered 3.9 million (NYT, Nov. 22, 2004).

• The United States is 41st in the world in infant mortality. Cuba scores higher (NYT, Jan. 12, 2005).

• Women are 70% more likely to die in childbirth in America than in Europe (NYT, Jan. 12, 2005).

• The leading cause of death of pregnant women in this country is murder (CNN, Dec. 14, 2004).

• "Of the 20 most developed countries in the world, the U.S. was dead last in the growth rate of total compensation to its work-force in the 1980s. ... In the 1990s, the U.S. average compensation growth rate grew only slightly, at an annual rate of about 0.1%" (The European Dream, p.39). Yet Americans work longer hours per year than any other industrialized country, and get less vacation time.

• "Sixty-one of the 140 biggest companies on the Global Fortune 500 rankings are European, while only 50 are U.S. companies" (The European Dream, p.66). "In a recent survey of the world's 50 best companies, conducted by Global Finance, all but one was European" (The European Dream, p.69).

• "Fourteen of the 20 largest commercial banks in the world today are European. ... In the chemical industry, the European company BASF is the world's leader, and three of the top six players are European. In engineering and construction, three of the top five companies are European. ... The two others are Japanese. Not a single American engineering and construction company is included among the world's top nine competitors. In food and consumer products, Nestlé and Unilever, two European giants, rank first and second, respectively, in the world. In the food and drugstore retail trade, two European companies ... are first and second, and European companies make up five of the top 10. Only four U.S. companies are on the list" (The European Dream, p.68).

• The United States has lost 1.3 million jobs to China in the last decade (CNN, Jan. 12, 2005).

• U.S. employers eliminated 1 million jobs in 2004 (The Week, Jan. 14, 2005).

• Three million six hundred thousand Americans ran out of unemployment insurance last year; 1.8 million – one in five – unemployed workers are jobless for more than six months (NYT, Jan. 9, 2005).

• Japan, China, Taiwan, and South Korea hold 40% of our government debt. (That's why we talk nice to them.) "By helping keep mortgage rates from rising, China has come to play an enormous and little-noticed role in sustaining the American housing boom" (NYT, Dec. 4, 2004). Read that twice. We owe our housing boom to China, because they want us to keep buying all that stuff they manufacture.

• Sometime in the next 10 years Brazil will probably pass the U.S. as the world's largest agricultural producer. Brazil is now the world's largest exporter of chickens, orange juice, sugar, coffee, and tobacco. Last year, Brazil passed the U.S. as the world's largest beef producer. (Hear that, you poor deluded cowboys?) As a result, while we bear record trade deficits, Brazil boasts a $30 billion trade surplus (NYT, Dec. 12, 2004).

• As of last June, the U.S. imported more food than it exported (NYT, Dec. 12, 2004).

• Bush: 62,027,582 votes. Kerry: 59,026,003 votes. Number of eligible voters who didn't show up: 79,279,000 (NYT, Dec. 26, 2004). That's more than a third. Way more. If more than a third of Iraqis don't show for their election, no country in the world will think that election legitimate.

• One-third of all U.S. children are born out of wedlock. One-half of all U.S. children will live in a one-parent house (CNN, Dec. 10, 2004).

• "Americans are now spending more money on gambling than on movies, videos, DVDs, music, and books combined" (The European Dream, p.28).

• "Nearly one out of four Americans [believe] that using violence to get what they want is acceptable" (The European Dream, p.32).

• Forty-three percent of Americans think torture is sometimes justified, according to a PEW Poll (Associated Press, Aug. 19, 2004).

• "Nearly 900,000 children were abused or neglected in 2002, the last year for which such data are available" (USA Today, Dec. 21, 2004).

• "The International Association of Chiefs of Police said that cuts by the [Bush] administration in federal aid to local police agencies have left the nation more vulnerable than ever" (USA Today, Nov. 17, 2004).

No. 1? In most important categories we're not even in the Top 10 anymore. Not even close.

The USA is "No. 1" in nothing but weaponry, consumer spending, debt, and delusion. end story


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; Government
KEYWORDS: americadecline
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To: Lekker 1

No, I think it is perfect for this discussion. Can we get one of those Liberal HOTEL ALPHAS in a room and film it while you explain it to them?


41 posted on 03/04/2005 10:44:37 AM PST by rlmorel (Teresa Heinz-Kerry, better known as Kerry's "Noisy Two Legged ATM")
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To: SkyPilot

"If you separate illegal immigrants who cannot speak or write English....."

Maybe we should put this article on big posters every 1000' along our borders so they'll decide not to enter such a worthless country.


42 posted on 03/04/2005 10:48:56 AM PST by geopyg ("It's not that liberals don't know much, it's just that what they know just ain't so." (~ R. Reagan))
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To: TWohlford

This guy has #2 for brains.


43 posted on 03/04/2005 10:53:34 AM PST by steveo (Member: Fathers Against Rude Television)
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To: TWohlford
The United States is 49th in the world in literacy because of entrenched liberal academia.

The United States ranked 28th out of 40 countries in mathematical literacy because of entrenched liberal academia.

One-third of our science teachers and one-half of our math teachers did not major in those subjects because of entrenched liberal academia.

Twenty percent of Americans think the sun orbits the Earth. Seventeen percent believe the Earth revolves around the sun once a day because of entrenched liberal academia.


Get the picture?
This is why the "Know Child Left Behind Act" is just us lining the pockets of liberal controlled Teachers Union Administrative staff and throwing the rest of the money down the toilet.
44 posted on 03/04/2005 11:04:49 AM PST by TheForceOfOne (Social Security I thought pyramid schemes were illegal!)
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To: TWohlford

Yeah, we are so poverty stricken in this country that our poor have a car, have at least one TV, and usually a cable hookup, running water and electricity, and multiple sets of clothes.

Gee, if we compare our poor with China's middle class, you think we would see any difference ? Fact of the matter is, poor is relative to the country you live in. We actually have very few who truly qualify as poor, unable to clothe, house or feed themselves.

If you drive by housing projects or very poor neighborhoods in cities, what's the common charactistic of many of the supposed poor ? Obesity. I ask you, if we have so many prople going hungry, why are they mainly so fat ?

Garbage article.

/rant


45 posted on 03/04/2005 11:07:13 AM PST by cinives (On some planets what I do is considered normal.)
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To: TWohlford

Apparently...none of those things are important enough to make other countries #1. So, what's the point? That we're somehow "graced"? Now THAT'd make lefties heads explode!


46 posted on 03/04/2005 11:22:16 AM PST by AmericanChef
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To: TWohlford

Most countries that mean anything in the world today think they are #1 for some reason or another. We've just got the most to back up our claim.


47 posted on 03/04/2005 11:26:50 AM PST by honest2God
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To: TWohlford

"The United States has lost 1.3 million jobs to China in the last decade (CNN, Jan. 12, 2005)."

Is that net jobs or only those lost but not counting those gained through new trade? Why doesn't he point out the other side of the coin that in that period hundreds of millions of Chinese have been able to enter the middle class (based on their per capita standard), gain greater freedoms, adopt capitalism, create large new markets, finance a huge part of the U.S. deficit as well as keep inflation low through their producivity, all during a Pax Americana sacrificed for by the American taxpayer and American veterans? Otherwise we would be talking about the "sick man of Asia" instead of the vibrant, growing, reforming Asian trading partner with more of a stake in solving things peacefully than going to war. One North Korea is enough.


48 posted on 03/04/2005 11:30:43 AM PST by baseball_fan (Thank you Vets)
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To: TWohlford
Jeremy Rifkin's superbly documented book The European Dream : How Europe's Vision of the Future Is Quietly Eclipsing the American Dream

Mr. Rifkin's Pipe Dream
http://www.techcentralstation.com/092704B.html

As he is wont to do, Rifkin frequently invokes flawed assumptions and "facts" that are made up and contradicted by data. Contrary to his prognostications, the evidence suggests that if there is evolution toward greater congruence between the European and American Weltanschauungen, it will be the result of the Europeans moving in our direction, rather than the opposite. Recently, major German labor unions have agreed to work longer hours without additional pay, and the leaders of France, Germany and other countries are beginning to acknowledge that their profligate social welfare programs are unsustainable.

In stark rebuttal to Rifkin's paean to European society and institutions, European countries and their Union are, in comparison to the United States, in dire straits. They have aging populations and low birth rates, their productivity is in decline, and their economies are stagnant.

Everything in Europe is not on the decline, however: Stultifying taxation, over-regulation, obstruction of free markets, unemployment, anti-immigrant sentiment, anti-Semitism, and envy of the American economic miracle are alive and well.

Finally, Rifkin is an adviser to the president of the European Union, and it should come as no surprise that he fawns on the hand that feeds him.

Nice Dream If You Can Live It
http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/04_37/b3899028_mz005.htm

But the bigger question challenging Rifkin's thesis is whether the European Dream is economically sustainable. The U.S. has roared back from recession, while growth in most of Euroland is anemic and unemployment remains high. What's more, Europe's aging workforce is straining its generous welfare and labor policies.

Rifkin agrees Europe's demographic shift is serious but says it can be resolved with more liberal immigration. He disagrees Europe is an underachiever. In fact, he reports, six European nations -- including Germany and France -- are more productive than the U.S., proving these countries "are even better at commerce than we are." Maybe so. But every major report I've seen on productivity growth -- by the European Commission, OECD, World Economic Forum, McKinsey, and the Conference Board -- bemoans how Europe is falling behind America. Measured by output per hour worked, U.S. productivity rose 2.6% in 2003. In the EU, the pace slowed to 0.8%, from an already weak 0.9% in 2002.

What gives? Rifkin himself uses Conference Board data, noting that while the average U.S. worker produced $38.83 of output per hour worked in 2002, the average German produced $39.39 and the French worker $41.85. There are problems with such a selective use of statistics. For one, this gap narrowed in 2003. Also, hourly output for the 15 EU nations averaged just $36.20 last year -- compared with $39.20 in the U.S. And there could be many reasons, other than Rifkin's suggestion that happier workers are more productive, to explain higher average output in some countries. Unemployment is higher across Europe, points out Conference Board economist Robert H. McGuckin. So perhaps those with jobs have higher skills.

49 posted on 03/04/2005 12:54:30 PM PST by Stultis
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To: TWohlford

Lessee now, our economy is the largest in the world (the E.U. keeps slipping in comparison) and our military is by far the best.


50 posted on 03/04/2005 1:04:41 PM PST by Frumious Bandersnatch
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To: TWohlford
The idea for the article was ripped off from here: http://www.conway.com/ssinsider/snapshot/sf011210.htm written three years earlier. Here's the beginning of that article:

"We're No. 1!" That refrain is relentlessly sounding out now through much of the United States, as bowl-bound college football teams (all 50 of them, no less) ready for holiday-season tussles. Things are a bit awry, however, in Bowlsville. The once vaunted BCS, designed to determine a decisive No. 1, has seen the "C" rudely ripped from its pretty little acronym. This year it's the WCS - Worst-Case Scenario - with common sense slaughtered at the altar of the statistical crunch.

Also I haven't found the New York Times article from Decemeber 12th 2004 quoted by Ventura. There is an NYT article from that date with the 28/40 statistic from the OECD. But no other articles on that date with "literacy" in them. Nor have I found any statistics showing us as 49th in literacy, we seem to be around 15-20 in most studies.

51 posted on 03/07/2005 6:07:36 AM PST by palmer ("Oh you heartless gloaters")
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To: palmer; ClearCase_guy; fish hawk; MacDorcha; i_dont_chat; rudypoot; groanup; dirtboy; Sloth; ...

Plagerism and BS alert (see post 51)


52 posted on 03/07/2005 6:11:23 AM PST by palmer ("Oh you heartless gloaters")
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To: TWohlford
Our workers are so ignorant, and lack so many basic skills, that American businesses spend $30 billion a year on remedial training (NYT, Dec. 12, 2004). No wonder they relocate elsewhere!

Wonder how much of this was for diversity training, and how much to keep track of insanely complex regulations? Also wonder how many of these workers are illegal?

"The U.S. and South Africa are the only two developed countries in the world that do not provide health care for all their citizens" (The European Dream, p.80).

Read the article about the British doctors that had a girl walking around with a backpack with food pumped directly into her stomach until she was SEVEN because the doctors misdiagnosed? When was the last time you heard of a child being sent from the US to France to get medical treatment unavailable in the US? How many Canadians come to the US for treatment because they don't want to wait months or years to get treatment in Canada?

Sometime in the next 10 years Brazil will probably pass the U.S. as the world's largest agricultural producer. Brazil is now the world's largest exporter of chickens, orange juice, sugar, coffee, and tobacco. Last year, Brazil passed the U.S. as the world's largest beef producer. (Hear that, you poor deluded cowboys?) As a result, while we bear record trade deficits, Brazil boasts a $30 billion trade surplus (NYT, Dec. 12, 2004).

What about the rain forest that's being cut down to finance this agricultural revolution? Get EPA, PETA, and OSHA down there and they'll take care of that.

One-third of our science teachers and one-half of our math teachers did not major in those subjects. (Quoted on The West Wing, but you can trust it – their researchers are legendary.)

Well, that tells me what an impeccable researcher you are. If it's on a sitcom, it must be true.

The Austin Chronicle is a flaky left-wing counter-culture newstand giveaway. About half of it is sex ads. This clown read, The European Dream, and decided to write the book in article form. I'll bet if you pick up a copy of the book (I won't), that every single statistic he quotes is in it, except the West Wing reference. He didn't go to those sources for the article, but quoted them and used the footnotes in the book to make his "exhaustive" list of statistics.

That's the terrible thing about having been a hack article writer. I now recognize all the lazy cheats I used to pull in other people's writings. I'm sure mine were just as obvious.

53 posted on 03/07/2005 6:47:48 AM PST by Richard Kimball (It was a joke. You know, humor. Like the funny kind. Only different.)
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