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by Denis G. Campbell

We are so screwed. We simply don't get it in the USA and EU. After three weeks spent travelling around the globe, the Chinese eat our lunch while we busy ourselves in silly ideological Left vs. Right fights over control of Washington, Westminster and Brussels.

We're bloodied in the UFC Octagon and the Chinese have us slipping out of consciousness in a sleeper choke hold. We're sipping tea, having intellectually dishonest political self-preservation screaming match debates and we somehow think this is croquet on the green vs. our very survival.

The national bird of China is the construction crane. The $40 billion they spent on the masterful Olympics of 2008 is dwarfed by the hundreds of billions in real infrastructure spending across the region. Next to my Hong Kong hotel was the end station of what will be a $200 billion dollar high speed train line connecting the twin economic powers Shanghai and Hong Kong. This internal Chinese rail line will allow one to travel to the centre of both cities, 764 miles (1,229 kilometres) apart, in less than 5-hours. The USA cannot build a single 84-mile high speed line between Tampa and Orlando without lobbyists getting in the way.

Too, the twin architectural masterpieces of Hong Kong International and Singapore's Changhi Airport Terminal 3 offer efficient, spotless, green, easy movement, pristine spaces with lots of shopping and conveniences. They make our crumbling air facilities look like the decrepit bus transfer stations they are.

China and Singapore build one huge structure after another. Retail is alive and thriving in both nations. In the UK and US one sees giant, empty, white elephant complexes. There was not one office building visited in either city that was less than 90% leased. Driving past Reading on the M4, and St. David's in downtown Cardiff, one sees giant empty monuments to economic failure underneath a giant windmill and decrepit rail station.

Are Washington or Westminster, Brussels or Cardiff capable of doing more than talking about investment and infrastructure? No they instead use classic magician's misdirection:

• dealing with the perceived scourge of a website owner,
• engaging in pointless Right vs. Left dishonest debates and
• using the white hot topic of devolution and ballots

to avoid real debate and discussion about the crumbling economic infrastructure and their failure to get the job done.

Election battle lines are drawn and Washington retreats to 60's-style outrage over the latest 'Pentagon Papers' leak and Muslim mosque-site racial fear mongering. Three weeks travelling around the globe and these were barely headlines on later pages in Hong Kong and Singapore.

While Washington is all abuzz over Wikileaks founder Julian Assange as if Wiki-leaks is the '60s Pentagon Papers scandal writ large, it's déjà vu all over again as they attempt to re-write journalist shield laws to stop him vs checking to see if there is any truth or validity to what is being said.

The MSM needs to learn how to do their job again. It's time to reinstall the Chinese Wall between editorial and publishing regardless of who writes the checks or purchases advertising.

Instead of worrying about:

• who gets Helen Thomas' front row seat in the White House Press Room (a room filled with self-important, pampered and overpaid news dinosaurs),
• 'access' to the powerful (by being nice to them and accepting their flak SPIN rules) or
• winning their next higher paid job as someone's PR flak...

they need to stop accepting rubbish talking points on face value in the name of the "fairness/equal time" doctrine/standard and go back to asking tough questions and doing real investigative journalism.

It's time for a return to 1970's style aggressive Woodward and Bernstein journalism, the kind used to break open the Watergate scandal. Then, tough reporting brought down a corrupt US President. In today's media environment, Richard Nixon would still be President and flicking the Post off like pesky flies. Assange may indeed be a scoundrel and... he is saying what needs to be heard otherwise there would not be this tremendous effort to arrest and silence him.

China does not worry about such mindless chatter. They are too busy building the 21st and 22nd Century infrastructure to dominate the world financially. The USA allows $35 billion dollars to be spent on lobbying Washington each year. Thus is Washington gridlocked and broken beyond all repair. These 'players' in the US and EU are merely arranging deck chairs on the Titanic in the name of right vs left ideology. Keep it up Sparky, your lunch is not the only thing being eaten! Blame Assange so no one notices the bigger mess you've created?

Pssst, too late, we noticed.

Now with the choke hold almost done, you'll slip into dreamy unconsciousness and when you wake up the fight will be over, Mandarin spoken everywhere and you will shake your head in amazement wondering what the hell just happened?

Remember, you read it here first.

Originally posted to DenisinWales on Sun Aug 08, 2010 at 09:16 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Hi DenisinWales (13+ / 0-)

    Your informant is dead wrong about one thing.

    There is no struggle between left and right.

    There is only a struggle for the allegiance of upper classes between righties.

    Lefties are seldom heard from.

    Best,  Terry

    •  Bingo. (6+ / 0-)

      The inconvenient part for both ruling class parties though is that their deceptions only work when capitalism is functioning relatively smoothly (i.e. when people are able to work, pay their bills, and have a little left for leisure).  Now the cruelty and irrationality of capitalism have been laid bare and people are finally starting to take notice.  The plutonomists (thanks to our buddies at Goldman for the memorable coinage) will soon be in for more serious inconveniences.  Which will be a good thing.  Let's be as inconvenient to them as possible.

      The supremacy of finance capital over all other forms of capital means the rule of the rentier and of the financial oligarchy -- Lenin (1917)

      by GiveNoQuarter on Sun Aug 08, 2010 at 10:41:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The Earth is dying & the Senate filibusters on (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chuckvw, Major Tom, CMikkelson

    of course it's the GOP doing the filibustering, but the minority GOP seems to control legislation in the Senate and thus also the house.

    Screw the whole congress.  They just keep screwing
    things up.

    80 % of success is just showing up; Obama doesn't want to be disruptive, but I voted for disruptive!

    by Churchill on Sun Aug 08, 2010 at 09:31:44 PM PDT

    •  'Screw the whole Congress' is GREAT 4 GOP (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      samddobermann

      Since they are the minority party that old refrain just helps them the most!

      Say Hello to Speaker Boehner and Senate Majority Leader McConnell

      They LOVE to hear this!

      Please vote Democratic in November. If the GOP wins we will all be forced backward another decade, who wants that?

      by Wary on Mon Aug 09, 2010 at 04:18:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  we don't think big here anymore, (10+ / 0-)

    too worried about the cashier at quikmart who has conversations in spanish with some customers & what the ladies down the street are doing with their genitals.

    Whatever action a great man performs, common men follow. And whatever standards he sets by exemplary acts, all the world pursues. The Gita 3.21

    by rasbobbo on Sun Aug 08, 2010 at 09:35:54 PM PDT

  •  I love this line ... (10+ / 0-)

    They are too busy building the 21st and 22nd Century infrastructure to dominate the world financially.

    Meanwhile, here in America (according to a recent NYTimes article), cities are tearing up roads and replacing them with gravel because they can't afford the upkeep.  Huge swathes of cities are in the dark at night as streetlights get turned off to save money.  Utah is thinking of making 12th grade optional or doing away with it altogether.

    Meanwhile, corporations are sitting on trillions of dollars while millions languish in unemployment and poverty.

    I think we need a little push into the 21st Century, now sure how we backslid so far.

    •  We had roads paved in KY in 2007 (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      samddobermann

      When GOP Gov Ernie Fletcher was trying to win an election, which he lost, and his paved roads were unpaid for and not approved, so vote for Republican Party for paved roads?

      For over 20 yrs in Louisville, we've had proposals for first  one Bridge then two with GOP Representative Ann Northup. Thing is she never built them, never got them funded but the people still want BOTH of them.

      Fast forward to now, sure we can have BOTH--TOLL Bridges-- $6.00/Day--people ARE outraged, they know gvt is holding BACK all of their hard earned tax payments just because they want to hurt the people.

      What to do when people are so ignorant?

      Please vote Democratic in November. If the GOP wins we will all be forced backward another decade, who wants that?

      by Wary on Mon Aug 09, 2010 at 04:24:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I have the solution: (12+ / 0-)

    Pretty soon now we will be outsourcing the few remaining sectors of our economy to them, and lastly we'll be outsourcing the government. So don't worry, soon we'll be back up to speed again.

    Moderation in most things. Except Reactors. IFR forever!

    by billmosby on Sun Aug 08, 2010 at 09:49:22 PM PDT

  •  Journalism? (5+ / 0-)

    This msm? I think they have a few basics to brush up on first before they get back to the advanced stuff like investigative reporting.

  •  let us dream (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Major Tom

    Finally, a prosperous People's Republic, socialism taken to its logical conclusion, command economy allowing greater adaptation and directed development. Prosperity and power finally giving rise to a government that serves the people. Western capitalist empires finally losing their grasp on the throat of the world. If only Chinese government wasn't as corrupt and diabolical as its Western counterparts. But one can dream.

    "If you don't have control of the population, you can't secure the population," said Brig. Gen. Hodges, subgruppenfuhrer, NATO regional command, Afghanistan.

    by Marcion on Sun Aug 08, 2010 at 09:51:37 PM PDT

  •  China can't keep it up forever without the (5+ / 0-)

    energy and mineral sources.  Enter the U.S. and NATO militaries.  We're in the midst of 21st century resource wars and although China holds the cards financially, the U.S. does militarily and strategically.  Something's gonna give.  

    "I will no longer be labeled, except as a human being."

    by BigAlinWashSt on Sun Aug 08, 2010 at 09:51:59 PM PDT

    •  China is busy (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      A Man Called Gloom, nchristine

      using their excess capital to buy up resources all over the world: metals in South America, arable land in Africa, oil just about everywhere. If the US is going to take in a military that can't subdue a relatively uninhabited country, and try to confiscate what the Chinese have bought and paid for, they might have a fight on their hands, both from the Chinese and from the native populace. All the MSM nattering over drug fuelled celebrities covers the fact that, as the diarist says, there's a real failure in our ruling classes to see beyond the interior of their own wallets.

      If nothing is very different from you, what is a little different from you is very different from you. Ursula K. Le Guin

      by northsylvania on Mon Aug 09, 2010 at 01:29:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Should we be in competition with China? (6+ / 0-)

    Should I be afraid that China is growing and prospering?

    I don't really care if China surpasses the US economically, good for them.

    I just want my government, and the Chinese one too, as well as the people in power to give a shit about something other than profit

    "We have a pool and a pond... the pond would be good for you."

    by ranger995 on Sun Aug 08, 2010 at 10:00:49 PM PDT

    •  Doesn't much matter if we should (3+ / 0-)

      or not. We compete with the whole world now. China just happens to be the big dog with the cold nose. Now, if Wall Street actually gave a F* about the red white and blue then China wouldn't amount to a pimple on an elephant's ass. Alas, they pledge allegiance to nobody except the Corporatists, Capitalists and the almighty dollar, so... So, Americans can take a flying leap. You earn $25 an hour?? Did. We can't afford your slacker butt. Your job has been "outsourced" to... you guessed it... China.

  •  Our empire needs the further knockdown (5+ / 0-)

    I don't know how we can worry about the Chinese when we can't even tie our own shoelaces. We're fighting two useless wars to empty our treasury and keep a power base in the oil regions, our elite don't think our population deserve a decent living, and you're asking us to wake up and smell the china?? We can't even tie our own shoelaces. However, we do have decent shoes, cheap ones from China, so we're not that desperate, just very, very depressed.

    The Great Recession is a happy happy joy joy time to drop your obsolete skills and train for new ones.

    by doinaheckuvanutjob on Sun Aug 08, 2010 at 10:26:47 PM PDT

  •  Not all that glitters is gold (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FG, A Man Called Gloom

    and China's ultramodern infrastructure and other wealth is good part due to exploiting and socializing costs onto their rural population of ~1 billion people.

    The problem the U.S. and U.K. have is that too much of their labor force is involved in wealth extraction- in just digging stuff out of the ground (U.S.), or getting it done in the Third World (U.K.), and then skimming money out via middlemen who product nothing.  This produces perverse economic incentives, lots of weird regional economic development efforts that ignore the realities of how and where wealth is obtained, and almost irredeemably corrupt and lazy business classes.

    The best answer is basically the German one: actually produce high value goods and services, minimize middlemen and skimming, move young populations to where the jobs are.  Let the rural areas and outlier cities age and diminish to the population sustainable by what they actually produce.

    Most societies worldwide are splitting politically between younger and urban people who are relatively Modern and older and rural/small town people who are relatively pre-Modern or anti-Modern aka reactionary.  In continental Europe and Japan the eventually most reactionary generations were diminished and strongly decimated by the World Wars.  In the U.S. and U.K. the 'heroic' generations stayed relatively intact and have more forcefully obstructed Modernization due to their larger numbers.

    In the U.S. the defining cultural turning point is denoted by a year: 1968.  To be conservative or reactionary in the U.S. is to desire the pre-'68 condition(s) to be maintained or restored.  To be liberal or moderate is to be willing to go on and to insist on evolving beyond 1968.

    Here in the U.S. it's all about the former (conservatives) outnumbering the latter (liberals).  They well do so for another 5-10 years.  Until they drop under 50% of the electorate we're going to see this game of obstruction of the new though necessary carry on.

    •  not if we take them down a peg NOW (0+ / 0-)

      in 2010.  The Palinites are touting all their "wins" politically and the trad-med are echoing it without pointing out that primaries don't count for much. Their only (arguable) win was Scott Brown (assisted by all the insurance corp, etc money) and he hasn't turned out real well for them.

      A lot of money and time is being wasted on Angel and Paul and a few other loonies.

      If we quit trashing our Democrats in office for a while and quit doing the biggest part of running down real achievements because we don't actually understand them or they aren't perfect in all respects we might get someplace.

      After the election we could go back to bashing our own but please, please let's try to teach Republican that NO doesn't work.

      I'm asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about real change in Washington ... I'm asking you to believe in yours. Barack Obama

      by samddobermann on Mon Aug 09, 2010 at 03:24:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I don't admire the Chinese... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    A Man Called Gloom

    they remind me of America a century ago: exploiting labor terribly, thinking "big", ecologically disastrous (we still are), wasteful of their country's natural resources. Yep, not a lot to admire there unless you are an ardent capitalist, which I'm not.

  •  $200 bln is not for one train line, it's for (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    A Man Called Gloom

    the whole network of train lines (15,000 miles planned). China has its own problems as well. Ecological mess, poverty etc.

  •  Btw, where did you get the $35 bln spent on (0+ / 0-)

    lobbying number? It's way off. In fact, it's $3.5 bln.

    http://63.e5bed1.client.atlantech.ne...

  •  Yeah, let's be like China: a one party state (0+ / 0-)

    that puts the Party uber alles, censors content in all books, newspapers, internet sites, magazines, etc., controls how many babies a couple may have, executes thousands of people a year, and so on.

    Since the Greater Glory of The State and Party are not the goals of western democracies, I'd say this diary is a little misdirected. You like democracy and individal freedom? Then you have to accept the tangential bullshit that goes with it.

  •  Many thanks for all your comments. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tobendaro

    I agree China is far from ideal on human rights and other issues. The article was meant to show the focus needed on what is right.

    USA (and EU) politicians are spending far too much time talking 'at' rather than 'with' each other. There is no middle ground for them to retreat to for compromise and that is the beginning of the end.

    Reagan and Tip hated each other but found a way to get things done through discussion and compromise vs. mindless NO! That was real leadership on all sides.

    A lead from one news site this a.m. showed how certain US Counties are filling potholes with gravel because of lack of funds.

    We are seeing now how much of missed opportunity we had 18-months ago to build a WPA style programme of jobs and infrastructure in the USA. There are far too many 'cojones' on all sides in Congress, what is lacking is courage.

    Thanks for the spirited discussion.

    Denis Campbell

  •  Great diary (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tobendaro

    "I Want To Be Sedated" should be our national anthem.

    I'm not worried about your state of mind, 'cause, you're not the revolutionary kind - Gomez

    by jhecht on Mon Aug 09, 2010 at 05:26:29 AM PDT

  •  The older people worried that Nixon (0+ / 0-)

    sold out to China.  It did open up the possibility of our jobs being sent there, but it took awhile to become the problem it did. I our jobs hadn't been sent there they would have went to India and other countries.

    All kinds of 'groups' with unknown members are buying up property in other countries that are in trouble.  Prime waterfront property, etc.

    Our leaders have managed to put almost every country, including ours, under the thumb of the IMF and other global organizations formed by the rich of the countries.

    We have lost. Nothing will be public, not even schools.  We will pay dearly for anything we want or need to the 'owners' of this society. If you think prescriptions are hard to pay for, just wait.

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