View from outside the United States? America’s rightwing nutters are the biggest threat to the world economy!

Vince Cable never has learned to be polite to idiots

Vince Cable has launched an extraordinary attack on “rightwing nutters” in America who are trying to block the raising of the US government’s debt ceiling and who are, he said, a bigger threat to the world economy than problems in the eurozone…

He said: “The irony of the situation at the moment, with markets opening tomorrow morning, is that the biggest threat to the world financial system comes from a few rightwing nutters in the American Congress rather than the eurozone.”

Negotiations on raising the US government’s debt limit above its current level of $14.3 trillion collapsed in acrimony late on Friday over details of a package of spending cuts and tax rises that would help to pay for such a move…

A visibly angry Barack Obama attacked the Republican speaker of the house, John Boehner, for refusing to return his phone calls and said he had been “left at the altar” in trying to reach an agreement. Most experts agree that if the US were to default on its debt payments, stock and bond markets worldwide would plunge, threatening a new great recession. The deadline for agreement is just over a week away, on 2 August.

On the crisis in the eurozone, Cable said the coalition government wanted to see the euro succeed, even though Britain was not a part of it.

With GDP figures this week expected to suggest that growth has stalled, the senior Liberal Democrat conceded that the state of the economy was “not great”.

“It is not surprising that it isn’t great because of the problems we inherited,” he said, while dismissing the idea of easing the coalition’s austerity measures. The UK was in a “German rather than Greek” position because there was confidence in the country’s finances, he said…

The same fools who think the United States operates in a vacuum are twins to those who think nothing should change in how the American economy functions, e.g., they want dependence on consumer spending, ballooning housing prices, reliance on credit spending to continue to rule the way our nation lives.

That many people have begun to increase savings is a sin. That many of us realize that actually being able to qualify to buy a house benefits the economy and the home-building trade. That many have learned to pay down their credit cards balances to zero ASAP is not only good for your credit rating – it leaves you in control of your finances. That bigger isn’t better by any sensible definition – whether you’re buying a car or a home. And that home is something you and your family intend to live in for the foreseeable future – not something to be flipped as a business investment.

Just us folks, that’s all. No Wall Street analysts or Congressional/White House campaign organizers. Not anymore.

Sheriff ties violence to populists, opportunist media

Daylife/AP Photo used by permission

The tenor of American political rhetoric became a centerpiece in the national debate over Saturday’s attack by a gunman in Tucson, Arizona, that killed six people and left local Democratic congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords with a bullet wound to the brain…

While not stating a motive for the shootings, Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik in Tucson used a nationally televised press conference to condemn the tone of political discourse in his state. He charged that public debate is now “vitriolic rhetoric,” which has rendered Arizona “the mecca for prejudice and bigotry…”

“We need to do some soul searching,” Dupnik told reporters. “It’s the vitriolic rhetoric that we hear day in and day out from people in the radio business and some people in the TV business.

“When you look at unbalanced people, how they respond to the vitriol that comes out of certain mouths about tearing down the government, the anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this county is getting to be outrageous. Unfortunately, Arizona, I think, has become sort of the capital,” Dupnik continued.

We have become the mecca for prejudice and bigotry,” Dupnik said…

“People who are unbalanced may be especially susceptible to vitriol,” Dupnik said. “It’s not unusual for all public officials to get threatened constantly, myself included. That’s the sad thing that’s going on in America. Pretty soon we’re not going to be able to find reasonable people to subject themselves to serving the public…”

“People tend to pooh-pooh this business about the vitriol that inflames American public opinion by the people who make a living off of that. That may be free speech but it’s not without consequences,” Dupnik said.

The smarmy, opportunist politicians who climb aboard the rhetoric of violence from retrograde misfits like the KoolAid Party deserve all the credit they can get – for leading the nation to this violent state. Like conservatives who rode Joe McCarthy’s coattails – even though they personally espoused freedom of thought [they said], like Republicans who worked at assuming the cloak of racism with Nixon’s Southern Strategy – even though they voted for the Civil Rights Act, the political goon squad that owns the 2-party revolving backwardness account should stand up and take credit for the nutballs.

They lay the groundwork, they manage the job site. Just because some looney comes along and takes them at their word doesn’t erase responsibility.

This would be a good day to stand in front of Dick Armey’s house – or either Koch brothers mansion – with a poster of Gabrielle Giffords. No words needed. No explanation. These thugs know what they have wrought.

Rote memorization of facts adds to collective cluelessness

As fans of talk-show host Jay Leno’s man-on-the-street interviews know, Americans suffer from a national epidemic of historical and civic ignorance. But just because most Americans know more about “American Idol” than they do about American government doesn’t necessarily mean it’s entirely their fault.

Americans’ historical apathy is also an indictment of the way history is taught in grades K-12, according to a University of Illinois professor who studies and teaches historical instruction.

Brenda M. Trofanenko, a professor of curriculum and instruction in the College of Education, says that teaching history by rote – that is, by having students memorize historical dates and then testing them on how well they can regurgitate that data on a test – is a pedagogical method guaranteed to get students to tune out and add to our collective civic and historical cluelessness…

“I agree that there should be a base knowledge that students need to know about their country and their community affiliations,” she said. “But its relevance lies not just in knowing historical fact but being able to see what can be gleaned from historical inquiry, including cause and effect, progress and decline, and historical significance. You still have to know what happened, but you also have to be able to put it into a larger context of what was happening at the time, why it was happening, and what relevance it has to the current day.”

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