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COMMENTARY: What Have We Accomplished?

Posted: December 29, 2012 at 1:27 a.m.

If you’re reading this column, that’s a good sign we have once again survived a doomsday prediction, this one some said to be projected under the Mayan calendar.

This story is only available from our archives.

Opinion, Pages 5 on 12/29/2012

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An interesting imaginative exercise, asking
What have we (American culture) accomplished?
I agree with about half of Mr. Ockert's choices but find some of them overblown.
+++
The first four seem right on--a successful revoluion, model of democratic republic, constitution, and Bill of Rights.

Posted by: Coralie

December 29, 2012 at 1:22 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

I wouldn't list the Civil War as an accomplishment and our recovery from slavery is still not complete after 200+ years..

Posted by: Coralie

December 29, 2012 at 1:24 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Is it an accomplishment to have commercialized the birth of Jesus more than any other country?
"Yuletide sales account for $400 billion in economic activity.... For many shops, this season accounts for nearly half of their annual revenue."

Posted by: Coralie

December 29, 2012 at 1:30 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Our accomplishment in World War II should have read "we HELPED to stop the advance of Nazism and fascism." Or "we played an essential role in stopping the advance."
The Brits were fighting for their lives for several years before the U.S. entered the war, in the air and pushing back the Axis in North Africa and Burma/India. I believe more Brits/Commonwealth took part in D-Day than Americans.
The Soviets were fighting greater numbers of Axis forces throughout the war, and suffered immense casualties.
"After the war, Hitler's foreign minister Joachim von Ribbentrop listed three main reasons for Germany's defeat:
•Unexpectedly stubborn resistance from the Soviet Union
•The large-scale supply of arms and equipment from the US to the Soviet Union, under the lend-lease agreement
•The success of the Western Allies in the struggle for air supremacy."
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/450...

Posted by: Coralie

December 29, 2012 at 1:47 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Coralie, your comments are well researched and I agree with you. That is why history called it a World War. Slavery is still a problem in the United States, the Civil War just changed the degree of slavery from no wages to below proverty wages. Most to the slaves today are in slavery to the govertnment.

Since history does not record the month, day, or year of the birth of Jesus, it can only be a made-up day for a commericial purpose. And when you are right, I agree with you 100% and when you are wrong, well, I disagree the same %

Posted by: Moneymyst

December 29, 2012 at 2:20 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Not to take anything away from our allies, but WWII would have been lost by the Allies if not for the US... just like WWI. This was a matter of industrial and combat contributions. Soviet apologists will tell you differently.

Holiday commercialism has nothing to do with Christmas.

Slavery doesn't exist in this country and saying so is nothing but pandering to individuals or organizations looking for an excuse for any short coming. The abolition of slavery ranks among our greatest accomplishments.

Posted by: Tankersley101

December 29, 2012 at 3:37 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

WW 2 would have been lost before the US even entered it, if not for Great Britain. Holiday commercialism is Christmas to most, but to some it is the birth of a child. Chinese labor in the 1800's to build railroads was slavery in its worst form. Indentured servitude of emigrants to work in coal mines to pay back a mine owner for passage to America that the emigrant would never be able to pay back was slavery

Posted by: Moneymyst

December 29, 2012 at 4:18 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Money,

Indentured servitude is the same a slavery, yes. But for one to suggest that we still allow slavery/indentured servitude in that context is preposterous.

WWII would have been lost if the brave folks in the UK and France would have let Hitler keep gobbling up Europe. I am not taking anything away from our Allies. Especially the brave stand made by the RAF in the Battle of Britian.

As far as the Soviet Union goes... that deal was for nothing but convienence. We should count our blessings they didn't remain in league with the NAZIs.

Posted by: Tankersley101

December 29, 2012 at 4:31 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Money, good to have you on the same side for once!
+++
Tank says "For one to suggest that we still allow slavery/indentured servitude in that context is preposterous."
If you are referring to my comments, then you are not a very good reader. I said "our recovery from slavery is still not complete after 200+ years.."
Somebody may take a long time to recover from pneumonia without having pneumonia the whole time.
Our recovery included 100 years of Jim Crow with sharecropping, poll taxes, and lynchings.
The continuing residue of racism and inequality shows that recovery is not 100% complete.
Better all the time but not all well.

Posted by: Coralie

December 29, 2012 at 4:43 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Tank mentions " Soviet apologists."
You don't have to be one to acknowledge that the USSR played a huge role in WWII and suffered terrific casualties, both military and civilian.
"The battles on the Eastern Front constituted the largest military confrontation in history. They were characterized by unprecedented ferocity, wholesale destruction, mass deportations, and immense loss of life variously due to combat, starvation, exposure, disease, and massacres. The Eastern Front, as the site of nearly all extermination camps, death marches, ghettos, and the majority of pogroms, was central to the Holocaust. Of the estimated 70 million deaths attributed to World War II, over 30 million, many of them civilians, died on the Eastern Front. The Eastern Front was decisive in determining the outcome of World War II, eventually serving as the main reason for Germany's defeat."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastern_...)

Posted by: Coralie

December 29, 2012 at 4:51 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

>>The doomsday prediction goes back as far as the 1960s, when an archaeologist said the Mayan calendar ended in 2011 or 2012. According to a modern scholar, the archaeologist also said jokingly that meant the end of the world.<<

Thanks Roy for one major point of clarification.

There was never any "end of world" prediction by the Mayan culture or its priests/scholars. Their calendar counts, long and short, were based upon the cycles of Venus as it moves from morning "star" to evening "star." What some of their inscriptions did indicate was a major change in civilization, the outcome of different circumstances and consciousness.

After the prior Transit of Venus set (2004 & 2012) I set up my planetary program to calculate, in heliocentric mode, the next set of Transit of Venus. It doesn't happen again until 2117/8 in exact longitude and latitude.

What that may portend for Earthlings is beyond me.

Posted by: cdawg

December 29, 2012 at 4:51 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Now, let me agree with you, if FDR had not been encouraged to enter WW2 by Churchill, the allied assault on Germany would not have been accomplished and Hitler not defeated. All the Soviet Union did is rattle sabers, keep Hitler occupied on the Russian front, freeze a bunch of Germans, and when the the Allied troops marched into Berlin. the Russians came in on the northern side and claimed victory.

Indentured servitude occured during the 1930s and 1940s because of the Great Depression and the Great American Dust Bowl. Read "The Worst Hard Time" by Timothy Egan and "The Grapes of Wrath" by John Stenbeck. You are right is not allowed now, but under those conditions it could rear its ugly head again.

Posted by: Moneymyst

December 29, 2012 at 4:58 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Ah, cdawg, did Free give you his old tin foil helmet?

Posted by: Moneymyst

December 29, 2012 at 5:08 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

While we are on the topic of WWII, isn't it funny how all the fans of the Soviet Union forget how the US was fighting a two front war.

Yeah the Soviet Union played a "huge" role in WWII, highlighted with things like the Katyn massacre, mass rape everywhere their forces went, the decimation of Eastern Europe by occupation and deportation, etc, etc, etc....

Posted by: Tankersley101

December 29, 2012 at 7:30 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Coralie,

RE-

"The continuing residue of racism and inequality shows that recovery is not 100% complete.
Better all the time but not all well."

I think the racism is subsidized and getting worse. It's called "affirmative action" these days. As a society, we create a race issue.

Posted by: Tankersley101

December 29, 2012 at 7:35 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

I think "affirmative action" is reverse discrimination not necessarily racism, but could be if based on skin color and not gender.

I was working for a Sheriff in west Texas who was also a large farm owner. Every year, about the time crops were to be harvested, the Sheriff would order a crackdown on vagrancy and off we deputies would go looking for field hands of the brown or black variety. About the time the crops were harvested, charges were droped to time spent in jail/fields and they were released. Most never came back, even though the Sheriff was generous enough to buy a bus ticket to a neighboring state or country just to help them out. I always saw this as a form of slavery.

Posted by: Moneymyst

December 30, 2012 at 5:25 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

"I always saw this as a form of slavery."
Good insight, Money.
++++
BUT
"All the Soviet Union did is rattle sabers...."
Total military dead: 10,700,000
Total civilian dead: 15,900,000
Total USSR dead WWII: 26,600,000
Percent of population: 13.7%

Posted by: Coralie

December 30, 2012 at 3:30 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

I stand corrected, Coralie. I'll smash an egg on my face.

Posted by: Moneymyst

December 30, 2012 at 3:36 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Bit early for Easter.

Posted by: Coralie

December 30, 2012 at 3:45 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Fresh egg, peace

Posted by: Moneymyst

December 30, 2012 at 4:38 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

How about the 6 million people forcibly displaced (put in gulags) by the Reds. One hell of a war contibution.

Posted by: Tankersley101

December 30, 2012 at 11:28 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Tank said "Slavery doesn't exist in this country and saying so is nothing but pandering to individuals or organizations looking for an excuse for any short coming. The abolition of slavery ranks among our greatest accomplishments."

I have to do disagree with you. "Legal" slavery no longer exists in the United States, but there are multiple cases of human trafficking (modern day slavery) prosecuted each year. This practice is found in many industries including the sex trade, domestic service and agriculture. Take a look at www.polarisproject.org and you may be surprised at the things that still go on under our noses right here in the United States.

Posted by: superdave10

December 31, 2012 at 9:17 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

superdave10,

I agree with you that human trafficking is slavery. I am well aware of its existance. My employer has a pretty good awareness campaign. The thing is, human trafficking is not protected by the government like legal slavery was.

Posted by: Tankersley101

December 31, 2012 at 9:47 a.m. ( | suggest removal )