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Friday, Oct 24th

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Why American Exceptionalism Is Inherently Immoral

AmericaThe origins of the phrase “American exceptionalism” are not especially obscure. The French sociologist Alexis de Tocqueville, observing this country in the 1830s, said that Americans seemed exceptional in valuing practical attainments almost to the exclusion of the arts and sciences. The Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, on hearing a report by the American Communist Party that workers in the United States in 1929 were not ready for revolution, denounced “the heresy of American exceptionalism.”

In 1996, the political scientist Seymour Martin Lipset took those hints from Tocqueville and Stalin and added some of his own to produce his book American Exceptionalism: A Double-Edged Sword. The virtues of American society, for Lipset -- our individualism, hostility to state action, and propensity for ad hoc problem-solving -- themselves stood in the way of a lasting and prudent consensus in the conduct of American politics.

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Bob Alexander: The Clown Behind the Monster is a Monster

monster clownOnce upon a time there was a thoroughly mediocre man. He was incapable of finishing secondary or vocational school. By age 22, he found some small success as a salesman. He lived with his parents when not on the road making sales calls. Eventually he lost interest in the job, his performance dropped, and he was fired.

On the advice of his father’s friend he joined a political party. He didn’t join out of any sense of conviction. He didn’t even know the party’s platform. He just wanted the sense of being part of something - of belonging. When the party came into power he saw it as his best chance at some sort of success.

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Greenwald: Canada, At War For 13 Years, Shocked That ‘A Terrorist’ Attacked Its Soldiers

Canadian PMIn Quebec on Monday, two Canadian soldiers were hit by a car driven by Martin Couture-Rouleau, a 25-year-old Canadian who, as The Globe and Mail reported, “converted to Islam recently and called himself Ahmad Rouleau.” One of the soldiers died, as did Couture-Rouleau when he was shot by police upon apprehension after allegedly brandishing a large knife.

Police speculated that the incident was deliberate, alleging the driver waited for two hours before hitting the soldiers, one of whom was wearing a uniform. The incident took place in the parking lot of a shopping mall 30 miles southeast of Montreal, “a few kilometres from the Collège militaire royal de Saint-Jean, the military academy operated by the Department of National Defence.”

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The NFL's breast cancer scam sells bunk science to profit off pink clothes

NFL breast cancer scamLike many other large brand names, the National Football League has long tried to use its alleged commitment to breast cancer to distract the public from its misdeeds around this time of year – particularly concerning women.

Don’t look at the unchecked domestic and sexual violence, the extraordinarily high rates of brain disease that ruin careers and families, or the poor pay and working conditions for cheerleaders. Look over here at this enormous pink ribbon on the field! Look at the players wearing pink helmets and gloves and shoes! You can even buy your own! See how much we care about women?!

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Bruce Enberg: What's the daily bag limit on McDucks?

mcDucksDallas Federal Reserve President Richard Fisher said Friday in a Fox News interview that the US economy is threatened by higher wages. His solution is to head this calamity off by raising interest rates so that hiring is cut back. He fears that higher wages are inflationary.

The Fed as a whole has been trying to create inflation in order to stop the rich from hoarding cash. The Fed has set a modest goal of 2% inflation instead of the 4 to 6% we really need to make such a policy work to jump start real investing (real as in creating jobs). Creating jobs is part of the Fed's legal mandate and the results have not been stellar to say the least.

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Bob Alexander: By My Clock It’s Always 9/11

9/11I wrote this about 4 years ago:

We were in a canoe paddling towards the middle of the lake. The sky and water was blue as the blue in a Maxfield Parrish painting. I looked down and it seemed I could see forever into the depths of the lake. And I wondered … What would it be like to lose something … Something of great value … Right here in the middle of the lake? What would it be like if my wedding band slipped off my finger into the lake?

It would be lost the moment it hit the water.

Even if I immediately dove in after the ring it would sink faster and deeper than I could swim. But I would be able to clearly see it as it sank … for a long time. That’s the terrible part. To see it fall away with absolute clarity … sunlight glinting off the gold as it rapidly receded farther and further into the depths … finally passing deeper than light can penetrate … and then … wink out of existence.

Lost.

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Bob Alexander: Postcard From Another World

British ColombiaA friend recently wrote me:

Remember the realization back in the early 70's that the whole country was insane? Could it be true, could a whole country go insane?

Way back when, in the dim distant past, when dinosaurs ruled the Earth and pterodactyls swooped through the skies - You know - the 70s - my friend and I were trying to get a sense of What’s Going On. Here we are, millions of years later, still trying to map out a strange land. The only difference now is he still lives in that strange land, and my family escaped across the border into Beautiful British Columbia. In fact August 22nd, marked our Third Anniversary in Canada.

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