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Tue, Aug. 3rd, 2004, 08:23 pm
Showing weakness

With ristin in Gladstone, I feel lonely and upset. I'm going to go to bed so I don't have to feel this way anymore. If I have caused offence, I most humbly beg pardon. Though I don't admit it often, I have a lot of admiration for America.

Tue, Aug. 3rd, 2004 07:02 am (UTC)

*hugs you tight*

Tue, Aug. 3rd, 2004 02:40 pm (UTC)

I never did ask where in Gladstone he was applying - I know a few people there.

Tue, Aug. 3rd, 2004 07:49 pm (UTC)

Marko, this is going to be long, but stick with me:

I’m very sorry if I hurt your feelings. Sorry I made you sad. That was not my intention. I would be crushed if I lost you or Ristin as friends. I’m sure Ristin didn’t see your “gift” in the entry because (1) he’s as pissed off at Bush as are you, and (2) he was born in the U.S., but raised in Australia. You or he can correct me if I’m wrong, but why does the fact that he was merely born in Miami ensure that he would bristle at anti-Americanism?

Ristin, however, strikes me as quite level-headed, politically. He supported the Iraq war, at least initially, and I greatly appreciate that, and I told him so via e-mail (to which he has never responded). That tells me a great deal about him or anyone. It’s too easy to engage in knee-jerk anti-Americanism, and the whole ruckus over Iraq really brought these headcases out of the woodwork.

I don’t mind my foes engaging in this behavior, because I simply dismiss them as ignorant mush-for-brains anyway. But when people I consider friends alarm me, I call them out on it. And that’s all I did with you. Do not take this personally; we are having a political discussion, that is all. You didn’t mean for me to take your entry as anti-American; I didn’t mean for you to take my response so personally.

You yourself said your gift was geared toward “Americans of the left-wing persuasion.” OK, fine. What about Americans of a slightly Right of Center position, such as me? I don’t agree with all Bush has done, and I certainly don’t fault you for being pissed off with the line he has towed with gays—that is understandable. But still, who do I trust to protect my country at least for another four years? Not Kerry. And not the Libertarians as they want to pull us out of Iraq which will, of course, be seen as capitulating to terrorism, Spain and Philippines style. I’m sorry, Marko, but the only man I trust is Bush to do the job that’s needed. I never wanted Bush in the first place, when the Republicans nominated him in for the 2000 Presidential race, I rolled my eyes and sighed. If I had any credible choice at all in this coming election, I’d seriously consider it. But I don’t see that I have any choice.

Tue, Aug. 3rd, 2004 07:55 pm (UTC)

And this is to help you learn a bit more about the issue of free trade:


If free trade between nations did not exist, then economies would stagnate. You cannot impose tariffs without costs rising for consumers. Sure, the Greens and other assorted grab-bag Lefties love a policy like that as they are opposed to a consumer culture. Well, sorry, but it’s capitalism, innovation and entrepreneurship that drive a nation’s economy, and free trade, which allows nations to flourish at what goods and/or services they excel at providing, fits into this scenario like a hand to a glove.

And Australia, isolated enough to begin with just given its geographical position, can ill afford a protectionist policy. Don’t tell me that there aren’t a plethora of products already on the Australian market from China. Any thoughts on that? Free trade with America will give Australian consumers more, and cheaper, choices. And by cheaper, I don’t necessarily mean as a result of using cheap labor, though it’s no doubt true to an extent. But usually, what we define as “cheap labor” is simply a wage that we can’t imagine living on but which suits the worker in a poorer country. For instance, I couldn’t live on a wage of U.S. $5.50 per hour, but a Mexican worker could. If NAFTA hasn’t propelled Mexico into first-world status, that’s hardly the fault of free trade.

Mexico has no unemployment insurance and no social assistance (what we call “welfare.”) Socialized medicine does not exist. Only those who work for the government or a private company which is registered with the national system (IMSS) have any pension, about one-third of the economically active population. The ability to provide social programs has been limited by the structural adjustment programs imposed on Mexico by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund and supported by the Mexican political and economic elite (how is this solely a point of blame for America?). Perhaps your amigo en Mexico should consider the inequities and inefficiencies of his government, as I pointed out yesterday. It’s far too easy to point the finger of blame at free trade. Far too easy.

Consider, if you will, if America adopted a protectionist policy and had no interest in trading with Australia. Then we’d have a reputation for being a nation of nativist thugs, interested only in ourselves, proponents of a sure-to-be-mocked America First policy. Look at how the European Union skawked when Bush threatened them with steel tariffs, which he was wrong to do. So what do you prefer—an isolationist, nativist America or one that is willing to open its markets to anyone willing to take advantage of them, and reap advantages in return. And give your government some credit. Do you honestly believe that the Australian leaders are going to let us devious, imperialist Americans trounce your copyright laws? They might have “sold out” on Iraq, but surely they’re not so stupid as to accept piracy as part of any FTA. Piracy violates free trade, it is not a platform on which free trade operates.

I have provided two links which I dearly hope you’ll read with an open mind. The first is from the libertarian Cato Institute. The second is from an American economics professor, and though his article is slanted toward what benefits the American economy, the same argument can be applied to any nation’s economy.


Tue, Aug. 3rd, 2004 08:17 pm (UTC)

Ristin, however, strikes me as quite level-headed, politically. He supported the Iraq war, at least initially, and I greatly appreciate that, and I told him so via e-mail (to which he has never responded). That tells me a great deal about him or anyone. It’s too easy to engage in knee-jerk anti-Americanism, and the whole ruckus over Iraq really brought these headcases out of the woodwork.

Call me a headcase, if you must, but I did, and do, oppose the war in Iraq. Given that there were and are much better targets for world hostility (North Korea, Israel, Sudan, and Zimbabwe spring to mind), I think the whole deal was, as a friend of mine is fond of saying, "A fucking joke". Worse still is the constitution that they established in Iraq - there are several parts that are in violation of the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights. But, I guess that is to be expected, because not even the USA conforms to that document with their own constitution.

Sorry to bring this here, Marko, but I thought it had to be said.
(Deleted comment)

Thu, Aug. 5th, 2004 12:24 pm (UTC)


You, fellow raccoon-boy! I didn't mean to start any trouble, Ristin, and thanks for this clarification.

*snugs* (Sorry, Marko!)

Wed, Aug. 4th, 2004 02:50 am (UTC)

I am one of these grab-bag lefties you so despise, and I don't feel compelled to apologise for that. Most of my friends temd to have a left-wing slant themselves, so it tends to be a bit of a culture shock when I meet someone with a conservative viewpoint. I managed to "forgive" Ristin for that, so I'm sure I can do the same for you. ;) Sadly, we will have to agree to disagree. I'm one of those zealots you just can't argue with. I do know my own mind and I consider myself fairly intelligent, all evidence to the contrary.

My view on the FTA is not as locked in as my rant would make me sound (I was letting off steam, which always tends to be a polarising experience) and Labor has introduced some amendments which partly address my concerns.

I also want to explain the "Shove it, Bush" graphic has nothing to do with the FTA; it was just bad timing and poor judgment on my part that may have made it seem so. I thought it would be amusing to Quentin and others on my LiveJournal. Those of a right wing persuasion are free to ignore it or produce their own rival graphics as they see fit. :)

In spite of my posts over the last few days, I'd rather my LiveJournal not become a forum for political debate. I've decided I don't have the blood for it. I think I'll stick to evangelising gay rights and being cute and furry. (It's good for ratings.)