In re the comment above: it could be seriously argued that we have looked honestly at ourselves, for the past 50 years or so. We produce people like Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn, who are constantly "looking honestly" at our country, at the same ignoring other countries that are equally evil. And this person remembers the anti-war movement, which burned it's own nations flag in public, something no other movement has done in any other country.
One is not at all supporting the previous administration and it's policies. It just seems that the "America is too proud and haughty" neme just does'nt work upon reflection. Rather, Americans-particularly the left-seem too self-critical, without offering any solution to pressing problems.
Be careful here. Drugs may cause a lot of health problems. Read Elliott Currie's pieces-he attacks both drugs and the war on drugs, and as well opposes the whole war on crime, not just the drug part of it. Maybe decriminalization would be better. I am all in favor of that.
Also be careful in accepting uncritically the Latin American position on everything. However rotten American policy towards them has been-and most of these policies, like most of the bad policies towards the rest of the world, occured in the past 50 years-Latin Americans have a bad habit of blaming others for their own problems. They should acknowledge their own faults, the way Americans, such as this blogger, does.
Look up Gershom Schocken's article in the May 28, 1981, issue of the New York Review Of Books. In it he, clearly and simply, speaks of the Jewish Lobby, not the Israeli Lobby, as a major factor in American politics.
Yes, this is right, very much so. Until we get a universal "cradle-to-grave" welfare state earmarks are a useful substitute. Also they take up a far smaller proportion of the budget and the deficit than is commonly supposed-far less than the military.
Be careful here. Clinton did'nt just ram economic liberalization down the throats of Latin America, he rammed it down the throats of everybody. Oh yes, and he also rammed it down the throats of Americans as well. Furthermore, and at the risk of contradiction, these were never forced upon down other peoples as much as claimed. The real reason they were adopted was the complete bankruptcy of alternatives, such as Communism, a bankruptcy that continues to this day. Finally, American attempts to dominate Latin America can be exagerated and often have been.
That said, the embargo should be repealed and normal trade and diplomatic relations should be restored.
Remember, America still spends less than any other advanced industrialized country in the world, and also that earmarks ( according to many reputable economists) do not cause as much waste as is commonly supposed-in fact, they make up about 1-2% of all government spending. Do not go overboard on this.
That said, cut military spending in half. The amount of spending vis-a-vis the actual size of the military is out of all proportion. We cut military spending after World War I, after World War II, and after the Korean War. We can do it again.
We had that in 1935-64, and that was the period of "the great compression." Also, does not such rates involve taxing away the fortunes of the rich and bringing about equality, which is Lemos (supposedly) wants. It would be a great step in the direction of wiping out both wealth and poverty in favor of a truly middle-income, middle-class society.
I agree with NSW. We need much more taxes on the rich. 90% top rates. It would be nice if handled incrementally, but will that be done? Did Clinton ever increase taxes upon the rich, after the first increase, in 1993? I don't think so.
Also, much as I like the basic trend of Charles Lemos' thought, he is waxing too much over this modest tax increase. It is not the greatest thing ever, it is more like "the end of the beginning." As well-and like so many progressives-he is emphasizing minority aspects too much. He fails to realize-or, prehaps, does not want to realize-that it was concentration upon programs that help only certain people, instead of everybody, that really got this country and it's cities into such a mess. Add to that the divisive policies pursued by so many progressives, and you have a recipe for disaster.
Finally, what about pro-labor proposals? That would help inequality a lot more than anti-poverty programs would.
"...Anti-government assumptions that are deeply rooted after a long conservative era..."
Sorry, but wrong. The American people were never anti-government. The reason why conservatives tended to win is because the Democrats never offered Americans a choice, rather nothing but echoes. They constantly reinforced conservative nemes (Carter, Clinton) or, when they seemed to be pro-government, only came up with "programs" that only benefited small minorities of the population and were inadequate anyway to cope with the rapidly spiralling problems of modern urban life (LBJ). The people have always wanted large-scale government intervention in the economy, on their behalf, and also universal social services. Hopefully, Obama will give it to them.