Sunday Roast: America is NOT the greatest country in the world, no matter how much you wish it were so.

I imagine The Newsroom could be (will be) one of those annoyingly self-righteous, self-satisfied shows, somewhat like the last few years of M*A*S*H*, but I think the point being made in the above video is valid and worth a bit of discussion.

As awful as things were for some people in this country when I was a kid — specifically, minorities and women — and still are awful in many ways, I think that, in some ways, we were better people back then.

We could work together as Americans back then, whether it was the Mom network on the block, or Democrats and Republicans voting together to pass things like the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act, or the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Can you even begin to imagine those pieces of legislation being passed today?  Can you imagine any mother dragging home someone else’s kid, exclaiming to his mother, “You would not believe what I caught him doing!,” and not being sued into oblivion?

Right or wrong has little or nothing to do with what happens in Congress these days; it’s all down to the bottom line — the almighty dollar.  Even the Mom network has been destroyed by various levels of indifference, in addition to the almighty dollar.  We have become truly shitty people.

Our physical and moral infrastructures quite literally are crumbling before our eyes, but some of the 98% are worried sick about the “gays” getting married or the widdle unwanted babies being aborted, before they can get an opportunity to keep the little tykes out of daycare or off food stamps; some of us are worried about who got eliminated from Survivor or Dancing With the Stars — completely unfairly! — and the rest of us either literally do not give a shit (it doesn’t affect me or my family), or are pretty much at the point where we don’t know what the fuck to do.

For a while there, we flirted with “peace, love, and caring for one another,” but that stuff is really hard.  It takes time and money, and what the hell, it’s easier to feel hate and resentment anyway.

We’re a country chock full o’ “self made men,” who never wanted, needed, or asked for help from anyone — self-sufficient from the time they left the womb!  They made money all by themselves, and they damn well are going to keep it — Jesus said they could.  Somewhere or other.  They are easy fodder for the Ayn Rand philosophy of “I got mine, so fuck you, assholes.”

We’re a nation of stupid, ideologically-driven fucks, who haven’t the common sense or good grace to realize that we’re viewed as a nation of morons and clowns.  But hey, at least we’re number one at it, right?

I want that old American attitude back.  I want us to know our neighbors’ names; I want some variation of the Mom network back — they were some crazy mean bitches sometimes, but we felt safe, didn’t we?; I want us to be able to send our kids to school, knowing that they’re going to learn how to think, not just take CYA tests, and will learn things that are based in history and fact; and I want us to care about and for each other again.

Sure, there have always been bad apples, and there always will be, but the bad apples have risen to the top, and they have way too much power over the rest of us.  In this country, money has become the symbol of goodness, authority, and intelligence — even if it’s completely wrong — and they’ve managed to drain off almost all of the money in the last 30+ years, so we tend to feel powerless.

When you feel powerless, it’s easy to hate.  It’s easy to become an army of unredeemed Renfields for the 2% — I’m looking at you, teabaggers.  It’s easy to see what’s on the teevee tonight.  It’s really really hard to love; it’s hard to understand and care for each other, but that’s exactly what we need right now — peace, love, and caring for one another.

I have no idea of how to get to that point, really I don’t, but I do know this:  We cannot fix the ills of this country individually; we cannot be “self made martyrs” to the cause — it doesn’t work!!

We have to do this together.  It’s essential that we do so, for the good of this country and all her people — whether they like it or not.  If we can’t find a way to work together, we will have to go around the Renfields and the nay-sayers, and over the top of the 2% — there are more of us than there are of them.  We can do this thing!  Even though we have stumbled badly, and we’ve broken nearly every bone we have, this country absolutely can rise to the top again, I believe that.

We can do it.  But will we do it?  What are we made of these days?  What’s on teevee…?

This is our daily open thread — Discuss.

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111 thoughts on “Sunday Roast: America is NOT the greatest country in the world, no matter how much you wish it were so.

  1. Excellent post, the perfect summary of my sentiments exactly. America is NOT great, not even close. She is dying, far closer to dead than to great. Me, I’ve given up. The rampant stupidity implicit in “conservatism” (read: teabaggerism), in religiosity, the worship of money uber alles, the hatred of anyone who isn’t obviously ‘white’ (whatever the fuck THAT is), the imposed dumbing down of education to the point where the general population’s intellectual curiosity is satisfiable with crap on TV (that costs fifty bucks or more per month to even watch, for chrissake!) has, collectively, finished me off. My only regret is that I’ve lived to see it all happen. True, the final fires aren’t here yet, but the tinder is dry and millions of matches are at the ready and willing to commence on command.

    Well, it’s time for the morning walk. Six miles amongst the birds, the fresh air, the deer, foxes, the rising sun, the mountains off to the west — all of that which remains of what was, once long ago, a great country, a fine place in which to live and grow up, now become no longer the shining city on the banks of that grand river to somewhere, but rather the cardboard shacks on the fringe of a fetid sewer that leads only to where sewers typically lead.

    And all in the name(s) of — for the sake of — money, power, hatred, and god. Yuck.

  2. EV,
    Best damn F1 race of the season!
    Better than Monaco, if that is even possible! Webber was AWESOME!

    • I had to have the in-laws. Can you imagine a greater tragedy? I almost wept when I read about the race.

      • The race is tape delayed here on Fox. It starts at noon eastern, which is right now. If you could get on of the US Fox links to work at http://www.tvpc.com/ChannelList.php, you could still watch it. I watched it live online on BBC Two. Usually F1 is on BBC One, but today it was Wimbledon.

  3. Doesn’t raise an eyebrow: Men marrying each other.
    Raises both eyebrows: When men marrying have a 30-year age difference.

    Barney gets Ready.

  4. One of the reasons that people don’t know their neighbors is because the suburban house design promotes staying indoors on hot days. In urban areas before all this air conditioning, people would sit on their front porches to cool off and talk with each other. The houses were built closer together so people were closer together. Suburban housing comes with driveways so there is no more “let’s clear out parking spaces for everyone together” when it snows. We as a society have become an indoors bunch that only spends time outside on summer holidays. The suburbia model also forces people to drive everywhere, even if it’s only for a carton of milk or a loaf of bread, instead of walking to the local stores where they could meet their neighbors along the way. If we want to get back in touch with each other, then we need to return to the “village” model because it does take a village to raise a child and to be human.

    • A few years ago there was a flurry of movement toward a model of development that was designed to replicate that small town atmosphere and drastically reduce auto use. It’s been awhile since I’ve heard much about it. Urban areas, on the other hand, are pushing a mixed-use, Transit-Oriented-Development model with very similar goals. Portland (and the metro area) has done a pretty good job on this, due in large part to plans that began in the 70s — an a Republican governor!

      • They have a couple of mixed use development areas in my metro area. But they don’t really work because the shops are all boutiques and trendy stores that real people don’t actually use on a regular basis, the restaurants are mostly high-end, there are no grocery stores, and the residential components are only token and very yuppie and not very family-friendly. Oh, and public transit’s a joke in Kansas City, so they don’t even try to fit that into it here.

  5. We outnumber the ruling class, which is exactly why the ruling class pits us one against the other. Pro-choice v. Pro-life. Pro gay marriage v. Pro Protecting Marriage. The list is, literally, endless. Find issues that divide, hype the divide. Hate those that are different – and find any difference to hate.

    I’ve said it before – at some point, a charismatic leader will rise from the masses, be it another Hitler or another Ghandi. I don’t know which, but the masses will follow this leader in rebellion, be it violent or non-violent. (remembering, of course, that even in “non-violent” revolutions, people get killed)

    I think back about 8 years ago, when a mother of a soldier killed in Iraq got ticked off when Bush said he died for a noble cause. She camped out at Bush’s ranch to ask, What noble cause? And started the anti war movement: Cindy Sheehan. She was revered by many, and villified by the reich-wing press.
    Anything to divide the masses. Divide and conquer.

    We’re not the greatest country in the world. But we live in that illusion. But who’s to blame? The rich, for controlling the masses, or each individual who opts for the easy solution – to hate, instead of to learn. Perhaps both. Perhaps the minions employed by the rich who have sold their souls to create and disseminate the means by which the rich maintain control over the masses through disinformation and manipulation of social psychology.

    The only thing that truly amazes me is the fact that someone hasn’t gone ballistic and begun killing off CEOs (like the guy who picked up a $44 million severance package for one day on the job. – the rich take good care of their own.). It may be the ultimate irony – the rich drive people into armed rebellion, all while fighting for the right to allow people to buy as many assault rifles and ammo as they can.

    • I’m in a check out line of a hardware store this morning.
      Long story short.
      She is working for her citizenship.
      She is totally shocked at how ignorant we are about virtually every historical and social issue of our times.
      I told her not to fear.
      Most U.S. citizens couldn’t pass the test if their lives depended on it.
      Cheap gas, gigantic SUV’s and Lindsey Lohan are what most people are concerned about.

  6. Does anyone know anything about this website: free-watch-series.com? I wondering if it is safe to download the video converter on this website. I would be willing to pay a monthly fee for HBO via my computer but HBO won’t allow that to happen. I must have TV service in order to access HBO and I don’t plan on getting DISH or any other service at this time.

        • Maher is on hiatus til mid-August. ‘The Newsroom’ is pretty disappointing. Think Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip but in the news world.

          • My problem with the Newsroom is that they used actual old news stories like the BP spill that are old. Why didn’t they write their own stories so they wouldn’t be past history by the time they aired?

            • But that’s exactly Sorkin’s point and premise of the show. By replaying major recent events – and covering them right this time – he is focusing on the disastrously poor state of journalism today.

              Think of it as a news reporting with 20/20 hindsight and probably a liberal bias. The lamest aspect of the show is the stilted love triangles and romantic relationships between people we hardly know and don’t find particulalry attractive in any way. My $.02.

            • I think The Newsroom will be a good clip show. Watch the clips, but don’t try to watch the whole thing. *barf*

    • I’m not sure why HBO doesn’t sell an online subscription because a lot of people would pay for it. I suppose the big cable companies would throw a fit if they did.

      • A streaming only HBO could be costly if some of their 30 million plus subscribers decided to go for a cheaper streaming only a la carte option.

        Do what I’ve done for several people: If you know someone who gets HBO on cable, they are entitled to online access for all HBO programming at HBOGO.com. They just create a user name and password and have online access. I’ve given people my password (they create their own user name) and they watch on their own computer(s).

    • Get Netflix. Most series eventually come out on DVD (usually a year after they aired) and you can watch them then. That’s how I’ve been watching TrueBlood.

  7. Mormon patriotism has a more complex past than you might think:

    “Many of those Latter-day Saints pushing American exceptionalism “forget the Book of Mormon is a tale of woe about America, full of warnings,” says American religion scholar Kathleen Flake, who teaches at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee. “They’ve completely lost the sensibility of first-generation Mormons who believed that America was indicted for having killed the prophet (Smith).”

    http://www.religionnews.com/politics/government-and-politics/mormons-love-hate-relationship-with-america

    • Here’s hoping that the Fundies stay home or vote for someone else in November. I don’t get the impression that Mormons accept Christians. It seems more like they believe that they are now god’s chosen people. This pushes Jews and Christians out of the way.

      • Both Momons and Jehovah’s Witnesses claim to be THE true religion.

        nuff siad.

        • The Catholics are in on that game as well!

          This is the sole Church of Christ, which in the Creed we profess to be one, holy, catholic and apostolic.”256 These four characteristics, inseparably linked with each other,257 indicate essential features of the Church and her mission. The Church does not possess them of herself; it is Christ who, through the Holy Spirit, makes his Church one, holy, catholic, and apostolic, and it is he who calls her to realize each of these qualities.

        • Trying to think of a religion that does NOT think it’s the one that’s “true.” Nothing so far. Too bad there’s not a god; it could help them all sort shit out.

    • I think Mormons are sneaky and power hungry and don’t share with us what they really think or what they are planning.

  8. Arthur C. Brooks has an op-ed in the NYT today:

    Conservatives Are Happier Than Liberals

    Short take: Ignorance is bliss.

  9. It’s hotter than hell out there! 100 degrees by 1 p.m., and still not the hottest part of the day yet. It just takes my breath away.

  10. Jesus fucking christ! I just got a call that someone tried to use my credit card number in a men’s clothing store to the tune of $5K+.

    It’s just one god damned thing after another. Shit!

    • Arrrggghhhhhh!!!!

      It seems someone lifted my credit card number via the wifi connection at the gas pump. I had no idea that was possible, but I guess any creep within 7-10 miles of a gas station can intercept a credit card number. Best to go inside to pay.

      Now my credit card is canceled, and I have to wait for my new one to arrive.

      I’m glad they refused the charge at the time of attempted purchase, since that would be a nightmare to clean up.

      • Damn, Z – life is tossing you around in its waves.

        That tampered credit card readers ripped off people using the “self service” checkout lines at Lucky’s stores.

  11. Awesome vows. :lol:

    BARNEY AND JIM: Do you promise to love each other and be each other’s best friend,
    In sickness and in health,
    In Congress or in retirement,
    Whether the surf is up or the surf’s flat,
    For richer or for poorer,
    Under the Democrats or the Republicans,
    Whether the slopes are powdery or icy,
    Whether the book reviews are good or bad,
    For better or for worse,
    On MSNBC or on Fox,
    For as long as you both shall live.

    Barney and Jim answer: We do.

  12. Back to the old grind. Ha! I crack me up.

    First step in making sausages is grinding the meat. Get it? Har har.

    These should be good, though. Pork, sun dried tomatoes, anchovies, basil, oregano… gimme!

  13. Umm, what’s this?:

    THE Watering Hole, Wednesday, 7/11/12: The New Republican Conspiracy

  14. Excellent commentary! Excellent and truthful video clip from ‘Newsroom’

  15. I made a quick run to the store, cuz I’m nuts, I guess.

    When I got into my car, the temp thing read 111 degrees, but when I started moving down the road, it cooled down to 107 degrees. Woo! Where’s my sweater…?

    • What does Dog do to stay cool? Ralph and I went early to the dog park where there were a ton of dogs getting their exercise in the morning cool. After I turn off the a/c at night Ralph spends his time on the kitchen linoleum.

      • Honeybump doesn’t play well with others, so I took her for a short walk on the levee early this morning — short, because she’s limping quite heavily again. Now she’s sprawled out in front of the AC. :)

  16. I know you’re all dying to know, so: sausages came out very well. When I was trying this a few years ago my links were pathetic but today I took it slow and am beginning to get a glimpse of the true path. Thank FSM for the dishwasher, though. Cleanup is a drag.

    • Thanks Jane, great minds, right? That’s not even all of it, but I’d still be typing if I tried to get it all out. :)

      I’ve always been hopeful — always. But having said that, I’m not nearly as hopeful as I used to be.

  17. I don’t know, I think we are extraordinary, in the same way that people everywhere are capable of being extraordinary, of rising above whatever constrains or blocks them and achieving great things that advance the whole of mankind. We used to be a country that nurtured that, that provided education to those who could, whether or or not they could afford it. We used to be a country that wanted to provide opportunity to all who came here, knowing that if two work together they will have a greater reward. We used to be bigger. Now we jealously guard every scrap of privilege we can claim, as if our souls and dreams had shrunk to fit what we perceive as the small remaining pool of resources. We’re no longer even surprised by our lowered expectations. Our politics have become an argument about the need to accept less than we used to believe every human could claim. With such narrow minds, we as a nation are squandering our opportunities to advance what used to be the american dream. We’ve turned it into a cheap cartoon, sound and fury, signifying nothing.

    • Excellent comment, Outstanding.

      To me, all of this seems to result from the massive inequality in our society, at every level I can think of. Do you think that could be a large part of the problem?

      • I don’t know Z, I’ve been in the wine. I think the problem is the scale we use to measure equality. We’ve forgotten that the point of our country is that we are all equal when it comes to the things that are important, that whatever you perceive our creator to be, we all have the same needs and worth as individuals. I think we miss the point when we define inequality by what a man can or cannot purchase. I think we lost our purpose when we defined each other by net worth rather than by how a human treats another human. I guess I don’t want to hear about class warfare. I want to live in a world where we are valued according to our willingness to work to lift up all of mankind. I want to live in a world where an individual achieves prominence for his willingness to serve, not the size of his home. I am perhaps foolish.

  18. I’m about to get whacked by another thunderstorm. I hope it brings good rain. Thanks for bearing with me. I’m having a hard time dealing with the lack of value in what many in our society deem valuable,

    • Hope the power stay on for you. That is some nasty weather that’s being experienced!

      Mittens has no value system. Extreme wealth and no compassion makes him a stiff cardboard cut out.
      I’ve never seen a photo of him actually showing any kind of warmth or compassion to another human (no hugs or looks of concern while listening to others).

    • Stay safe, Outstanding. I hope the storm brings you some relief from the heat.

      Since so many of us no longer have jobs or much money left, I’m noticing a trend toward recycling, bartering, and anti-materialism. I’m hoping it takes hold, cuz I’m really enjoying the ridicule Mittens is getting for his rich man thing.

      It’s a good sign, I think.

  19. To add, I hope, to what Outstanding has eloquently written is a quotation from one of my most treasured writers, and thinkers…

    ” I am suggesting that most people now are living on the far side of a broken connection. Most people are now fed, clothed, and sheltered from sources toward which they feel no gratitude, and exercise no responsibility. We are involved now in a profound failure of imagination. Most people appear to assume that when they have paid their money for these things, they have entirely met their obligations.”
    Wendell Berry

    • Most people appear to assume that when they have paid their money for these things, they have entirely met their obligations.

      A sad yet true observation!

      • not to parse too much, that dilutes his overall observation, his conclusion, which just hammers at the right side of my grey matter…
        We are involved now in a profound failure of imagination.

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