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Old 2008-08-24, 07:31   Link #1821
Quzor
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Originally Posted by solomon View Post
Ioono, I never thought of our government as really statist. Wouldn't many western european (France is a good example) be more statist then us? I don't think either more or less gov't intervention on issues is inherently bad as doctrine. It depends on the issue at the time. Like how you talk about infrastructure. I mean yea it needs fixing but roads and PT are funded by taxes and it seems like gov't always paints taxes as EVIL
I think, largely, taxes are viewed by government as evil for two reason; 1.) Society is always shouting "Lower Taxes!", and 2.) Government officials don't want to pay taxes any more than anyone else. Regardless of how true or false those possibilities are, there are plenty of other ways for government to be involved. As in your example (PT and roads), I think tolls are a fantastic idea. Lots of states have them, and all money collected through tolls goes toward road repair and maintenance of PT. There are lots of ways for the government to be involved and still stay on the periphery, rather than go diving in head first like they know exactly how to solve the problem.

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To add to that, i found a great instance of my issue by issue status. People have been hollering about Illegal immigration for a while, but certain free trade agreements and practices (like the subdizising of US farmers) put mexican farmers at a disadvantage thus they come up here to work and the whole thing snowballs. So while I am not against subsidizing industries or institutions sometimes, I see this an instance where it isn't always the best or right thing to do.
Personally, I think the whole illegal immigrant issue has been blown way out of proportion. Now, I don't agree with people living here outside of the government's watchful eye (as much as I'd like to do that), and I don't think it's fair that nationalized citizens should have to pay more to support those who aren't putting in a fair contribution (see above for my opinion on taxes). However, lets be serious about this for a second. Illegal immigration, for as bad as the situation has gotten, has been hyped through media frenzy to make it seem as though we're being taken over by Mexican workers, who are coming in and taking jobs away from American citizens. This is due, in part, to two things. One, Americans have, for the most part, become lazy when it comes to attitudes and ethics of work. We're perfectly content to sit around for long hours, only to rush at the last minute to get everything done, which produces sloppy results and generates an excess of expenditures.
Second, is that business recognize internal incentive to hire illegals, because they can expect them to work harder for less money. In the strictest sense, they're just looking at it from a business point of view; it's good business to save money any way you can. Bigger profit margins equal more investors, equal more money, equal bigger profit margins, etc. Personally, I maintain a rather radical solution to this problem; direct government intervention. Either A.) Force these illegals to nationalize, or B.) Force companies to pay illegal immigrants the same wage as an American citizen. The former idea eliminates the problem completely, but probably won't ever happen. However, the latter opens up a whole new avenue; do some work. Illegal immigrants aren't showing up in our country and becoming Fortune 500 CEO's. They're not becoming investment bankers, or aeronautical engineers. They're becoming janitors, landscapers, etc.; physical laborers. If the government were to step in and force companies to pay illegal immigrants the same wage as American citizens, the incentive to hire those illegals goes out the window, provided the American can get off his/her lazy ass and actually put in a full days work.

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Wow are we really THAT much more to the right?
I can't speak on that. We're certainly farther to the right than I'd like us to be, but that's not saying much.

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I mean i can see it, when anyone talking about any social democracy practices are tarred in and feathered politically and when Christian Fundamentalist wingnuts get a hold of signifiganct govt influence. (I don't have anything against any religion, but I think fundamentalism can limit progress and inclusiveness).
Agreed. Fundamentalism = bad news.

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Vexx, what did you think of Reagan's America? My family is like meh it was ok. But they don't hold Reagan up as a messiah or anything.
My pops holds him up as a messiah. Everything I've read leads me toward leaning the other way. I wasn't alive when he was president, so first hand experience I've not got.

I know this wasn't directed at me, but I felt like interjecting. I tend to agree that government intervention should be based on an issue to issue basis, but it's not always simple to do that. It can be costly, and less effective, because government has it's hands in so many jars that it can't always keep them straight. Instead, I like to think the government should be the referee; let the players play, until there's a really big problem, then jump in there, break that shit up, and get people re-focused.
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Old 2008-08-24, 08:10   Link #1822
solomon
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I guess for me, I am open to some European ideals of Social Democracy like in Western Euro states like Denmark or Sweden. People say that welfare and high taxes could contribute to an unindustrious populace who just wanna scrape off the govt. This does happen, but if this contributes so much laziness why is Denmark in the top 20 or 30 world economies (GDP) based off of the CIA world factbook and World Bank.

Hell, France and UK aren't the mammoth of the US but are hugely influential world economic powers while they still have strong welfare practices and many prominent nationalized institutions that seem to serve them well. I'm kinda skimming the top, France has some problems with business productivity and over-regulation but I don't think large taxes and welfare are fundamentally detrimental to hard working societies and robust economies. I think that is hype. Partly for keeping america "NUMBER 1".

I DONT CARE ABOUT AMERICA BEING NUMBER ONE, I CARE ABOUT IT BEING HEALTHY.

As for the illegal immigration thing, it's all about keeping buisness happy and the middle class content. Government is gonna do what ever it needs to stay in power, get campaign money and get votes.

I'm no idealist who wants "open borders", I think border security is important for accountability for who comes into the country, this is not moral, it's logical

That being said, you make a good point, many many hispanics just wanna come here to work. They aren't here to "take over america" like Lou Dobbs thinks. While part of the concern of illegal workers is legitimate, too much I see getting mixed up with people just disliking Hispanics for whatever bullshit reason. It isn't just a majority thing, some Afro Americans do it too. However (no disrespect to any tolerant good american whites on this forum) I see it partly as these immigrants are more threatening cause they are too different from a white majority culturally.

Fine deport all the illegals, but then you lose your rural farmer/factory worker/fisherman voter base cause no american is gonna work for the wages and horrible conditions that some good hard working Hispanics have to deal with. America was built partly by hard working natural citizens but also on the backs, exploit and expense of immigrants and minorities. Many countries and societies have.

What you said the gov't should do is something that i can agree with, the whole referee idea.
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Old 2008-08-24, 08:53   Link #1823
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The major difference between the United States and the autonomous countries of Europe is that the United States has the issue of maintaining not only one of the largest nations by population but also by size. What seems sound in all aspects in Europe may not apply to our somewhat disproportionately and unevenly distributed population. Considering all the issues that come with densely populated settlements, our government has a pivotal role in establishing order and paving the way for progress. In certain cases like our own, leaving the people to themselves may end up giving way to abuse and worst case scenario, anarchy. Even China, with a government that asserts its grip on its populace, has an issue maintaining its huge population.

On the other hand, I do agree with social welfare provision. It is just extremely unfortunate that people either take advantage of it in all the wrong ways or they, on the opposite extreme, waste it on rather unsound investments.

I also agree that taxes are necessary to the extent that they are allocated appropriately to the nation’s infrastructure and other investments essential to securing what I think should be the government’s role in society: the good health and protection of its people.

Of course, health care is an extremely sensitive issue nowadays and that it my biggest qualm with our government today. If we can provide people with social welfare provisions, why can we not allow them appropriate, universal health care?

It is understandable that our relatively large population makes it burdensome to the coffers of our government but where else will our taxes be going otherwise? The same systems that exploit the people due to the lack of universal health care?


Illegal immigration is another issue that’s hard to address, putting to mind all of the factors involved. Considering their motives it is more than understandable that people across the border would want to try and make a living here, but by doing so may deprive another completely legitimate, upstanding, and taxpaying citizen of our own soil from work. I do not think that we should completely shut out people hoping to start a new life here from across the border (or even go as far as deporting them) but at the same time their presence should not have to interfere in the progress of other citizens place in the workforce. Certain immunities an illegal immigrant may boast by not being a citizen of this country only reinforces the notion that the nation should better address this issue more urgently. The system dealing with illegal immigrants should be revised thoroughly. Instead of forcing them to try even harder to evade the clutches of the government, the government should open up to them to the extent that they can more legitimately be integrated to our workforce and entitled to not only the same rights, but the same simple requirements citizens have in the US.
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Old 2008-08-24, 10:16   Link #1824
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Quote:
Originally Posted by solomon View Post
I guess for me, I am open to some European ideals of Social Democracy like in Western Euro states like Denmark or Sweden. People say that welfare and high taxes could contribute to an unindustrious populace who just wanna scrape off the govt. This does happen, but if this contributes so much laziness why is Denmark in the top 20 or 30 world economies (GDP) based off of the CIA world factbook and World Bank.
I can't say for certain, but be aware that different cultures and different societies have different expectations. The western European psychology has been defined as one where people are highly individualistic and out for themselves. One could extrapolate that this sort of mindset is conducive to laziness and gaming of the system. Other societies have more of a collective mindset. This is one among many reasons why you can't look at one nation or society and make the claim that what they're doing can't be bad [for other countries to follow].
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Old 2008-08-24, 10:27   Link #1825
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Good point about apples and oranges but aren't we similar to Europe in being more individualistic?

Sometimes I wonder, is America really THAT different from Europe? Or do we have more in common then we want to believe and don't want to admit it for what ever reason.
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Old 2008-08-24, 10:33   Link #1826
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Originally Posted by solomon View Post
Good point about apples and oranges but aren't we similar to Europe in being more individualistic?

Sometimes I wonder, is America really THAT different from Europe? Or do we have more in common then we want to believe and don't want to admit it for what ever reason.
I italicized western European, but perhaps I should have just italicized the western part. Europe is not one unanimous blob. It has been roughly divided in western European and eastern European, and you could further make the case that there's a northern European (nordic?) as well. Southern European is essentially Mediterranean. Even then, those are rather rough generalizations, and there are further cultural and societal differences within each of those loosely defined regions.

Americans were originally derived specifically from western Europeans. Eastern European immigrants were viewed as being totally alien and incompatible with American (western European) culture way back when they first began arriving in large numbers in America. You've cited Denmark, a northern European country, and compared it overall to Europe. I admit that I'm unsure just how the northern European nations weigh in on the collectivistic/individualistic scale, but from what I hear it sounds that they're slightly more collectivist than traditional western Europeans.
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Old 2008-08-24, 10:52   Link #1827
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Well for me i wonder if because of percived cultural divides we can't look to other countries for models and tweak them to suit us. Or if we limit ourselves. China has used free-market capitalism but is in a communist govt.

I

But otherwise. Wow real good point man. I'll try and keep that in mind. If I were to focus in somwhat, I would ask how different are we from say THE BRITISH. They seem farily similar to US as a country in many ways.
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Old 2008-08-24, 13:30   Link #1828
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CONVENTION TIME!! According to KCFR radio and Denver Post radio, it's gearing up as we speak.
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Old 2008-08-24, 15:32   Link #1829
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Biden is Obama's running mate? This is hilarious.

Joe "FBI's Favorite Democrat" Biden?
Joe "Author of the Precursor to the Patriot Act" Biden?
Joe "CALEA" Biden?

This guy may have been in Congress for several decades, but so had Ted Kennedy. He is the very picture of the threat to freedom and privacy that Repubicans are accused of being. (Not that most people realize that support for this stuff comes equally from both parties.)

He is is the antithesis to so much of what Obama claims to stand for. So why is he Obama's running mate? Well, he's also a staunch party-line man when it comes to issues Democrats actually do vote differently than Republicans on (instead of just forgetting that they voted the same way after the fact). For instance, he was the man behind the 1994 "Assault Weapons Ban", which didn't actually ban anything dangerous or create useful controls, but included lots of new regulations removing safety features and essentially harassing legitimate firearm owners.

But this is just par for the course.

Why on earth would people vote for McCain? They'll hold their noses and vote for him only because the alternative seems worse.
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Old 2008-08-24, 15:47   Link #1830
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Regarding Biden, yeah. Biden much more suits McCain, and personally I dare say he actually likes him more? Lol..

I think Obama's put himself in hot water.. Lately, it seems like his popularity is dropping. Of course I wasn't really keeping up so I don't know, but from what I see of McCain winning landslides over and stuff.. I don't know anymore.

Obama's playing a gamble with Joe Biden as running mate. Wonder if he'll pull through..
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Old 2008-08-24, 16:57   Link #1831
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No landslides, the race is tight. That being said, these polls really don't matter that much as of right now.
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Old 2008-08-24, 17:01   Link #1832
Slice of Life
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Originally Posted by Ledgem View Post
I italicized western European, but perhaps I should have just italicized the western part. Europe is not one unanimous blob. It has been roughly divided in western European and eastern European, and you could further make the case that there's a northern European (nordic?) as well. Southern European is essentially Mediterranean. Even then, those are rather rough generalizations, and there are further cultural and societal differences within each of those loosely defined regions.

Americans were originally derived specifically from western Europeans. Eastern European immigrants were viewed as being totally alien and incompatible with American (western European) culture way back when they first began arriving in large numbers in America. You've cited Denmark, a northern European country, and compared it overall to Europe. I admit that I'm unsure just how the northern European nations weigh in on the collectivistic/individualistic scale, but from what I hear it sounds that they're slightly more collectivist than traditional western Europeans.
I think you simplify things that should not be simplified. A collectivist/individualistic distinction can mean at least two things. First, there is the question how much the society does, should, or can dictate your personal life style. This refers to the authoritarian/libertarian axis of the political compass. A different question is if the collective (= the state) should interfere in the economic sphere. This is the communism/laissez-faire capitalism axis of the political compass. Since you're talking about welfare here it's the second one that matters.

But the distinction is important. The Nordic countries are generally said to be among the more individualistic countries of Europe when we use the first definition and among the more collectivist when we use the second.

Now what's important is that in my experience the US fits well among the European countries on the first axis somewhere to the individualistic side but there is a significant gap between "collectivist left" Europe and "individualistic right" US on the second axis. I also don't see the US to be more western European as opposed to northern, eastern or southern. It seems to me that Britain is a bit more similar to the US than the rest of Europe but I would blame this more on the shared culture due to the common language than on the common history. One should also not forget that cultures are not static. They don't change from year to year but they do change over generations. Just compare the ideas about the role of women from today to those only 50 years ago. So you can learn only so much from looking at who immigrated into the US 100, 200, or 300 years ago.

Generally speaking there are deep running cultural differences between the US and (any part of) Europe right to the axioms of belief about how society works. I wouldn't say the cultural gap between the US and Europe is as large as between Japan and Europe but it's not insignificant on that scale either. I have my WTF? moments when watching Hollywood productions as I have them when watching anime.

So bottom line, there is a limit of what you can learn from Europe when you want to win elections.
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Old 2008-08-24, 17:05   Link #1833
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Biden will still run circles around McCain and his VP in a debate, at least until McCain throws in the POW experience as a get-out-of-jail free card...

Obama made the pragmatic choice and I don't think it is a bad one.
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Old 2008-08-24, 17:15   Link #1834
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great insight moe, however I wanna point out that I wasn't looking at European examples to win electiions.

I was looking at examples at how cultural tendencies affect public policy and so an so forth. And therefore comparing somethings about what the gov't preaches/does compared to what the populace is concerned about/wants.

So My (admittedly very general ) original question was this.

In a very broad sense, how different is our culture/challenges to that of other nations and where can we learn to apply solutions from other nations that suit and which are feasible? Particularly, in the question of healthcare and infrastructure?

Or in the wedge issue of gay marriage/civil unions? It's a hot thing everywhere, even places where it's legal. Say if you're a guy whose against gun control, against any form of high taxation, against smoking ban etc. That's more "small state" but then you are against the legalizing of gay civil unions? Isn't that big state? Why should the govt care about what ancestry you are, or who you sleep with at night unless you are hurting others?

So I look at other places such as in European countries like well France, Norway, Ireland (quite catholic mind you?) and even in Uruguay, Canada and South Africa? Maybe there are not as many conservatives relgiouslly as there are heere, but these are by no means "God-less, faith-less or soul-less societies" (are there even any countries who aren't spiritual?)

I look there and say, yea some cultural differences are there. But not TOO much in regards to this particular sitiuation. Especially in Canada. And I ask, has there been any real bad concequence for allowing same sex marriage? I haven't read any and I doubt there even is. (somewhat off topic I know).

I say yea, culturally yes there are vast differences amongst countries and cultures. But it seems like people are unwilling sometimes to look at ok, where are there similarites? (Would christian fundamentalists be driven to become any less wacko (militant) then islamist fundamentalists if put into a same situation?)

I know we can't just adopt whatever other countries do and make it work for us in a simple manner. However, I wonder where are instances where we can learn from other countries? And just don't want to for whatever reason.

Last edited by solomon; 2008-08-24 at 17:33.
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Old 2008-08-24, 20:15   Link #1835
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Originally Posted by Slice of Life View Post
I think you simplify things that should not be simplified. A collectivist/individualistic distinction can mean at least two things. First, there is the question how much the society does, should, or can dictate your personal life style. This refers to the authoritarian/libertarian axis of the political compass. A different question is if the collective (= the state) should interfere in the economic sphere. This is the communism/laissez-faire capitalism axis of the political compass. Since you're talking about welfare here it's the second one that matters.
Your definitions are more political than mine. When I used the terms "individualistic" and "collectivisitic" I was doing so in regard to social mentality, not necessarily government structuring. How people think and act would impact the success of certain social programs; someone who is more collectivistic would likely try to get off of social welfare as soon as possible due to feelings of responsibility for their society and desire to provide for those around them rather than to burden them, whereas someone from a more individualistic mindset might feel that they are entitled to the welfare or that they should try to get as much out of the welfare as they can for their own personal gain. However, I agree with your post.
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Old 2008-08-24, 20:30   Link #1836
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Originally Posted by cors8 View Post
Obama made the pragmatic choice and I don't think it is a bad one.
Let's wish good luck to Obama in dividing Iraq into three pieces (by giving one to Iran). Though, I wonder if he would enjoy the resulting blood-fight that will be caused by the obvious power struggle. That will also be a good test for Biden to show how experienced he is compared to Bush. As long as the final number would be less than a million, Biden will be the better one.

(And I just learned that he has a big crush on my country (a bit sadistic one, they say). Which means any kind of positive thought I have about him just got reset. But, that is not related to what an average American would think of him.)
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Old 2008-08-24, 21:28   Link #1837
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My mom told me some cool stuff about Joe Biden since I didn't know who he was, and I have to say, he seems to be a pretty cool guy. He kinda sounds like a hippy after a couple things he said yesturday at Springfield (I was just there before the summer ><).

Looking forward to his action and stuff until november(afterall, what else can I say as a democrate). Oh yeah, PLEASE LET IT BE NOVEMBER ALREADY ><!!!! I'm sick about hearing about politics (I never was into politics anyway. More into anime stuff). And why do I feel like that Obama is gonna win?? Hmm.. no clue

About McCain the oldfart. LMAO he didn't even know how many houses he had (feels another George W. Bush stupidity coming in). But thats okay because maybe he forgot, or he was faking it to show how filthy rich he is (well his wife anyways). It's amazing that they own 7 houses and how much money could've been use for other people to live in. It's just sad to just see this, but whatever, it is the land of free haha.
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Old 2008-08-24, 22:34   Link #1838
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It's amazing that they own 7 houses and how much money could've been use for other people to live in.
7 is amazing? With the money McCain's wife brings to the table (because of her family's business), they should have easily owned 40-50 more than that.
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Old 2008-08-24, 22:36   Link #1839
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^ Well, of course it is amazing, but kinda depressing at the same time. After having a summer for 6 weeks about Gentrification and how is the community is affected, that is kinda makes me kinda sad especially when housing is a issue now. Now after the experience, I gonna sound like a little activist now ><.

Back on topic: Whoever becomes president in my country, they better have some plans about our ecosystem because I'm sick of seeing the dying animals (well we are animals too) out there becoming extinct. If they are gonna do something about that, they I'll be happy because I care more about Nature than anything else right now, then housing, and then MONEY!!!
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Old 2008-08-25, 00:01   Link #1840
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Originally Posted by mimi_girl View Post
^ Well, of course it is amazing, but kinda depressing at the same time. After having a summer for 6 weeks about Gentrification and how is the community is affected, that is kinda makes me kinda sad especially when housing is a issue now. Now after the experience, I gonna sound like a little activist now ><.

Back on topic: Whoever becomes president in my country, they better have some plans about our ecosystem because I'm sick of seeing the dying animals (well we are animals too) out there becoming extinct. If they are gonna do something about that, they I'll be happy because I care more about Nature than anything else right now, then housing, and then MONEY!!!
Gentrification is part of a wider issue of how to fix our cities, without totally harming the poor Which is part of a wider cultural issue as a community. Some wonder, should we care about the poor anyways when they "don't work" due to "over reliance on welfare". Or are we just pushing people out of their homes just cause "I got the money and I can flaunt it/use it however I want" greedy selfish mentailites rule.
It's a complex issue and no one really want to put the thing in wider context beyond what will benefit "ME". (That happens too much of the times anyway).

Case in point;
If you notice current political campaign talk and what it revolves around, it revolves around HUMANS, because we are voting, not rabbits or bears in the forests. Oh and here's something else; some people don't see us humans anywhere close to animals They wonder if we worry too much about the plight of another horned owl when it can facilitate more land development that we "need". (I'm paraphrasing something Rush Limbaugh said on Nightline in 92). There is still a big debate over weither or not global climate change exists or weither we produce as much pollution as whoever does. As long as politicians and more importantly voters don't think about animals outside of their own dog or cat as worthy of protection when necessary, the ecosystem will continue to be abused.

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