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Contrasting views of the USA

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Deda 13 Sep 01 - 11:38 AM
Deda 13 Sep 01 - 11:45 AM
Deda 13 Sep 01 - 11:45 AM
gnu 13 Sep 01 - 12:53 PM
McGrath of Harlow 13 Sep 01 - 12:53 PM
Deda 13 Sep 01 - 01:34 PM
GUEST,Timbrel 13 Sep 01 - 01:52 PM
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Subject: Contrasting views of the USA
From: Deda
Date: 13 Sep 01 - 11:38 AM

This morning I found two emails which give very different views of the USA, all in light of the tragedy we're living through. The first is by Michael Moore, who made the movie "Roger and Me"; the second is from a Canadian defending the US. Here's #1:

Death, Downtown Dear friends, I was supposed to fly today on the 4:30 PM American Airlines flight from LAX to JFK. But tonight I find myself stuck in L.A. with an incredible range of emotions over what has happened on the island where I work and live in New York City. My wife and I spent the first hours of the day -- after being awakened by phone calls from our parents at 6:40am PT -- trying to contact our daughter at school in New York and our friend JoAnn who works near the World Trade Center. I called JoAnn at her office. As someone picked up, the first tower imploded, and the person answering the phone screamed and ran out, leaving me no clue as to whether or not she or JoAnn would live. It was a sick, horrible, frightening day. On December 27, 1985 I found myself caught in the middle of a terrorist incident at the Vienna airport -- which left 30 people dead, both there and at the Rome airport. (The machine-gunning of passengers in each city was timed to occur at the same moment.) I do not feel like discussing that event tonight because it still brings up too much despair and confusion as to how and why I got to live-- a fluke, a mistake, a few feet on the tarmac, and I am still here, there but for the grace of--

Safe. Secure. I'm an American, living in America. I like my illusions. I walk through a metal detector, I put my carry-ons through an x-ray machine, and I know all will be well. Here's a short list of my experiences lately with airport security: * At the Newark Airport, the plane is late at boarding everyone. The counter can't find my seat. So I am told to just "go ahead and get on" -- without a ticket! * At Detroit Metro Airport, I don't want to put the lunch I just bought at the deli through the x-ray machine so, as I pass through the metal detector, I hand the sack to the guard through the space between the detector and the x-ray machine. I tell him "It's just a sandwich." He believes me and doesn't bother to check. The sack has gone through neither security device. * At LaGuardia in New York, I check a piece of luggage, but decide to catch a later plane. The first plane leaves without me, but with my bag -- no one knowing what is in it. * Back in Detroit, I take my time getting off the commuter plane. By the time I have come down its stairs, the bus that takes the passengers to the terminal has left -- without me. I am alone on the tarmac, free to wander wherever I want. So I do. Eventually, I flag down a pick-up truck and an airplane mechanic gives me a ride the rest of the way to the terminal. * I have brought knives, razors; and once, my traveling companion brought a hammer and chisel. No one stopped us. Of course, I have gotten away with all of this because the airlines consider my safety SO important, they pay rent-a-cops $5.75 an hour to make sure the bad guys don't get on my plane. That is what my life is worth -- less than the cost of an oil change. Too harsh, you say? Well, chew on this: a first-year pilot on American Eagle (the commuter arm of American Airlines) receives around $15,000 a year in annual pay. That's right -- $15,000 for the person who has your life in his hands. Until recently, Continental Express paid a little over $13,000 a year. There was one guy, an American Eagle pilot, who had four kids so he went down to the welfare office and applied for food stamps -- and he was eligible! Someone on welfare is flying my plane? Is this for real? Yes, it is. So spare me the talk about all the precautions the airlines and the FAA is taking. They, like all businesses, are concerned about one thing -- the bottom line and the profit margin. Four teams of 3-5 people were all able to penetrate airport security on the same morning at 3 different airports and pull off this heinous act? My only response is – that's all? Well, the pundits are in full diarrhea mode, gushing on about the "terrorist threat" and today's scariest dude on planet earth -- Osama bin Laden. Hey, who knows, maybe he did it. But, something just doesn't add up. Am I being asked to believe that this guy who sleeps in a tent in a desert has been training pilots to fly our most modern, sophisticated jumbo jets with such pinpoint accuracy that they are able to hit these three targets without anyone wondering why these planes were so far off path? Or am I being asked to believe that there were four religious/political fanatics who JUST HAPPENED to be skilled airline pilots who JUST HAPPENED to want to kill themselves today? Maybe you can find one jumbo jet pilot willing to die for the cause -- but FOUR? Ok, maybe you can -- I don't know. What I do know is that all day long I have heard everything about this bin Laden guy except this one fact -- WE created the monster known as Osama bin Laden! Where did he go to terrorist school? At the CIA! Don't take my word for it -- I saw a piece on MSNBC last year that laid it all out. When the Soviet Union occupied Afghanistan, the CIA trained him and his buddies in how to commits acts of terrorism against the Soviet forces. It worked! The Soviets turned and ran. Bin Laden was grateful for what we taught him and thought it might be fun to use those same techniques against us. We abhor terrorism -- unless we're the ones doing the terrorizing. We paid and trained and armed a group of terrorists in Nicaragua in the 1980s who killed over 30,000 civilians. That was OUR work. You and me. Thirty thousand murdered civilians and who the hell even remembers! We fund a lot of oppressive regimes that have killed a lot of innocent people, and we never let the human suffering THAT causes to interrupt our day one single bit. We have orphaned so many children, tens of thousands around the world, with our taxpayer-funded terrorism (in Chile, in Vietnam, in Gaza, in Salvador) that I suppose we shouldn't be too surprised when those orphans grow up and are a little whacked in the head from the horror we have helped cause. Yet, our recent domestic terrorism bombings have not been conducted by a guy from the desert but rather by our own citizens: a couple of ex-military guys who hated the federal government. From the first minutes of today's events, I never heard that possibility suggested. Why is that? Maybe it's because the A-rabs are much better foils. A key ingredient in getting Americans whipped into a frenzy against a new enemy is the all-important race card. It's much easier to get us to hate when the object of our hatred doesn't look like us. Congressmen and Senators spent the day calling for more money for the military; one Senator on CNN even said he didn't want to hear any more talk about more money for education or health care -- we should have only one priority: our self-defense. Will we ever get to the point that we realize we will be more secure when the rest of the world isn't living in poverty so we can have nice running shoes? In just 8 months, Bush gets the whole world back to hating us again. He withdraws from the Kyoto agreement, walks us out of the Durban conference on racism, insists on restarting the arms race -- you name it, and Baby Bush has blown it all. The Senators and Congressmen tonight broke out in a spontaneous version of "God Bless America." They're not a bad group of singers! Yes, God, please do bless us. Many families have been devastated tonight. This just is not right. They did not deserve to die. If someone did this to get back at Bush, then they did so by killing thousands of people who DID NOT VOTE for him! Boston, New York, DC, and the planes' destination of California -- these were places that voted AGAINST Bush! Why kill them? Why kill anyone? Such insanity! Let's mourn, let's grieve, and when it's appropriate let's examine our contribution to the unsafe world we live in. It doesn't have to be like this! Yours, Michael Moore

Here is Number two, from a Canadian newspaper, worth sharing.

America: The Good Neighbor.

Widespread but only partial news coverage was given recently to a remarkable editorial broadcast from Toronto by Gordon Sinclair, a Canadian television commentator. What follows is the full text of his trenchant remarks as printed in the Congressional Record:

"This Canadian thinks it is time to speak up for the Americans as the most generous and possibly the least appreciated people on all the earth. Germany, Japan and, to a lesser extent, Britain and Italy were lifted out of the debris of war by the Americans who poured in billions of dollars and forgave other billions in debts. None of these countries is today paying even the interest on its remaining debts to the United States. When France was in danger of collapsing in 1956, it was the Americans who propped it up, and their reward was to be insulted and swindled on the streets of Paris. I was there. I saw it. When earthquakes hit distant cities, it is the United States that hurries in to help. This spring, 59 American communities were flattened by tornadoes. Nobody helped.

The Marshall Plan and the Truman Policy pumped billions of dollars! into discouraged countries. Now newspapers in those countries are writing about the decadent, warmongering Americans.

I'd like to see just one of those countries that is gloating over the erosion of the United States dollar build its own airplane. Does any other country in the world have a plane to equal the Boeing Jumbo Jet, the Lockheed Tri-Star, or the Douglas DC10? If so, why don't they fly them? Why do all the International lines except Russia fly American Planes? Why does no other land on earth even consider putting a man or woman on the moon? You talk about Japanese technocracy, and you get radios. You talk about German technocracy, and you get automobiles. You talk about American technocracy, and you find men on the moon -! not once, but several times - and safely home again.

You talk about scandals, and the Americans put theirs right in the store window for everybody to look at. Even their draft-dodgers are not pursued and hounded. They are here on our streets, and most of them, unless they are breaking Canadian laws, are getting American dollars from ma and pa at home to spend here.

When the railways of France, Germany and India were breaking down through age, it was the Americans who rebuilt them. When the Pennsylvania Railroad and the New York Central went broke, nobody loaned them an old caboose. Both are still broke. I can name you 5000 times when the Americans raced to the help of other people in trouble. Can you name me even one time when someone else raced to the Americans in trouble? I don't think there was outside help even during the San Francisco earthquake.

Our neighbors have faced it alone, and I'm one Canadian who is damned tired of hearing them get kicked around. They will come out of this thing with their flag high. And when they do, they are entitled to thumb their nose at the lands that are gloating over their present troubles. I hope Canada is not one of those."

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Subject: RE: Contrasting views of the USA
From: Deda
Date: 13 Sep 01 - 11:45 AM

Just saw the other thread which also posted the Michael Moore piece -- sorry for the duplication, great minds and all that.

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Subject: RE: Contrasting views of the USA
From: Deda
Date: 13 Sep 01 - 11:45 AM

Just saw the other thread which also posted the Michael Moore piece -- sorry for the duplication, great minds and all that.

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Subject: RE: Contrasting views of the USA
From: gnu
Date: 13 Sep 01 - 12:53 PM

Gordon also cut a "song" in this vein. It played well on the radio here... some twenty or thirty years ago. He was a helluva guy, long dead now. He was dead to rights in his views. God bless America... from another grateful Canuck.

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Subject: RE: Contrasting views of the USA
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 13 Sep 01 - 12:53 PM

Why do people keep posting that ancient piece by Sinclair as if it was new? Being 30 years old or so doesn't mean an article mightn't be worth reading, but how does anyone think it gets more authority be the pretence that it is new? (And I'm not suggesting you are doing that Deda, but someone clearly is.)

Michael Moore's is a much better piece to help people see America in a favourable light. Sinclair's idea of saying good things about America seems to have been pointing out bad things about other people. So in effect he's saying America could be worse, while Moore is saying America could be better, which is paradoxically enough a much much more positive and productive way of looking at these kind of things.

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Subject: RE: Contrasting views of the USA
From: Deda
Date: 13 Sep 01 - 01:34 PM

Thanks, McGrath -- I had no idea it was 30 years old, I hand't seen it before. Deda

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Subject: RE: Contrasting views of the USA
From: GUEST,Timbrel
Date: 13 Sep 01 - 01:52 PM

The reason it's getting sent around again is that Americans right now are just like a grieving family. We need to know we have support. We need to call in the help of our friends and allies. We need to hear that have made positive contributions to the world, not just ones that arouse hatred and jealousy. We need to remember what a mighty nation we are and have been, so that we can convince ourselves we are strong enough to survive this.

Does that answer your question?

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