Follower mentality..

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    Four recent disturbing events in the last few weeks:

    1. 7th July 2007 – Senator Rick Santorum: “Confronting Iran in the Middle East as an absolute linchpin for our success in that region…. And while it may not be a popular thing to talk about right now, and I know public sentiment is against it [namely, the war in Iraq and expanding the conflict to Iran] … between now and November, a lot of things are going to happen, and I believe that by this time next year, the American public’s going to have a very different view of this war, and it will be because, I think, of some unfortunate events, that like we’re seeing unfold in the UK. But I think the American public’s going to have a very different view….”

    2. Arkansas Republican chairman Dennis Milligan, who describes himself as “150 percent” behind Bush and his Iraq war, said in an on-the-record interview with the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette: “At the end of the day, I believe fully the president is doing the right thing, and I think all we need is some attacks on American soil like we had on [Sept. 11, 2001], and the naysayers will come around very quickly to appreciate not only the commitment for President Bush, but the sacrifice that has been made by men and women to protect this country.”

    3. 10th July 2007 – Although the US Intelligence community spends $100+ billion per year on “intelligence,” Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff prefers to rely on his “gut feeling”. He told the editorial board of the Chicago Tribune that he had a “gut feeling” about a new period of increased risk. Saying that “Summertime seems to be appealing to them,” Chertoff said in his discussion with the newspaper about terrorists. “We worry that they are rebuilding their activities.”

    4. The US now has a formidable strike force in the Gulf with two carrier groups, 50 or more warships with nuclear weapons, hundreds of planes and contingents of Marines and Navy personnel. They’re not there for a social visit…

    5. They’re just waiting for an excuse real or, more likely fabricated to start what will probably be the third and final world war.



    I’m Mira, German, i live in Italy since 1994. When i come to Italy, I fight for “respect your italian laws”, because nobody care about respecting the magnificy laws in this country. When I come to visit Costa Rica I was really surprised how clean and how respectful with the nature are Ticos.
    Here in Italy there are 70.000.000 people who are dirthy, stupid, egoistic, corrupt, lazy, loud, agressive and cruel with animals. And we are living here, enjoying the sun and the sea, without great problems.
    I think – and I saw- that 4.000.000 Ticos are able to live in peace with themselves an the nature without a mega-government and a lot of laws, because the Tico is more sensible and careful of his country and they have a very peaceful caracter.

    Ciao from Italy, sorry for writing errors….. Mira


    I don’t seem to feel a consensus from the readers and sorry I drifted of into US politics but the gist of my article is about CR business and bigger CR Government. This also relates to CAFTA / TLC

    1) In what ways would you want CR to be more like the US?

    2) Should CR welcome corporate big businesses?

    3) Should its government be funded through higher taxes?

    4) Should CR join up with the US by forming an economic bridge (TLC/CAFTA)?

    5) Do you as a long term visitor or resident want CR to have more infrastructures at the expense of higher taxes and changing cultural matrix?

    6) Do you think if there was more participation in the tax system it would make a difference?

    7) Finally, do you want to see Tico culture change to less agriculture and more financial ambition, similar to the US?

    Please answer the above questions and follow up with a bottom line by giving a yes or no answer to – Do you want CR to be like the US?

    My answers:

    1 – less trash – less teenage pregnancy – better roads – faster service
    2 – No
    3 – No
    4 – No
    5 – No
    6 – No
    7- No

    Bottom line – No.

    Although I do long for smooth roads and faster service I would not want these at the expense of CR becoming big government and the cultural changes of a big government nation – which to me, means less freedom.


    Yet, another reason why we expatiate/ drop out…

    If our leaders truly acted in our nations best interest, would they have diverted hundreds of billions to fight a ghost cia_da in Iraq… while virtually ignoring our borders and ports. Would we be scrambling to open another front in Iran while unable to sustain the current one. No, they serve those that put them there, corporate oil/defense interest keen on record profits and neo-con Orwellian fascist thirsty for power.

    Who has gained.
    Have we scored a victory for “Freedom”? No, our constitution (our most precious birthright) has been trampled…
    Our we safer? No not, when we orphan Iraqis every day. If they had no reason to hate us before, they do now.
    Our troops? No … They have paid and continue to pay the ultimate price. At best coming home disfigured physically and mentally to under-funded run down VA Hospitals, foreclosure and bankruptcy.

    The two party system with its false debates and phony elections has failed us. Did the midterm elections change anything? No.. Did we send a message? Yes, Did they listen? No…
    Let’s pray that amongst our political ranks we still have a “Statesman”. One driven by conscience, compelled to serve his country. Not Israel, Not Iraq, Not oil money … The American People… Till that day: free thinkers will fear repression, parents for their kids future and the world our arsenal.

    Take the path of least resistance…. Find a port in the storm…. Not much of an activist but still clinging to our convictions. We, “Love it and Leave it” … Be thankful we had a choice and pray for those we leave behind….


    Diego – in light of recent postings in this forum I completely understand why you would feel the need to apologise for making your case with related issues like politics. But really it shouldn’t be necessary and there is no need to do so whether you have the consensus or not.

    Edited on Jul 26, 2007 09:05

    Edited on Jul 27, 2007 09:45



    Your English is very good…. No apologies needed when writing in your second or third langauge… Most of us can only err in one or two….



    I’m in…I can buy into “No” across the board, let things be… But, how can we satisfy our need to fix things? Can we fight our obsession to straighten out that crooked picture frame… Adopt a pot hole, etc…

    Or is this a Zen “Do without doing” exercise? do we dare flap our wings and set off a storm? Do we wait for momentum to build arournd a newly learned behaviour (good or bad), sending the new behaviour across the collective mind of Costa Rica.. (a la “Hundredth Monkey”…)

    Humm, maybe.

    Keep thinking the good thoughts…


    Diego, This is the kind of survey that gets right to the core feelings and opinions, and gives us US citizens an opportunity to vent on what we like or don’t here. I would not want to impose my opinions on the Ticos though. It is ultimately for them to decide, but I would like to air my feelings.

    1. Better roads and improved security through a better paid police force. This has to be carefully weighed and instituted as for Costa Rica not to become a police state.

    2. NO! Corporate giants have all but ruined small business in the USA. The once backbone of business, small business entrepreneurship in the USA is overburdened by taxes and regulations that the big guys can sidestep. Once entrenched in an industry, the real wages go down for employees in big corporations, especially in the retail sector which they can prey on illegal immigrants and undereducated workers.
    Costa Rica has, from what I’ve seen, a vibrant small business system.

    3. Yes and No. Government has only the means of taxation to operate. Unless all industries are nationalized, as in the telephone and electric companies there, the country has no alternative but to tax in order to run. However, with more income comes more waste and over spending and the inevitable corruption.. I don’t think anyone has come up with a governmental system to correct this. So for me it is a Yes, No.

    4. NO! Not at this time. No one seems to be able to decipher CAFTA and what its short and long term implications will do to the economy of Costa Rica. The best, or should I say worst example would be to look at what NAFTA has done.

    5. Yes, Infrastructure is the necessary means for growth in a nation that is willing to compete in the world market. If CR chooses not to be so involved in the world’s markets, it still needs the infrastructure to maintain a quality of life and growth for its own citizens.

    6. Yes, If the Costarricense would contribute what is expected, by law, to the system, they would be more involved in how and where their legislators distribute the funds. I believe we don’t live in a perfect world, but in a Democracy the people have an opportunity to hold elected officials feet to the fire.

    7. No. But that is totally for the Tico to decide. Agriculture is a tradition in Costa Rica and also one of their strong points. As the world population increases so does the need for food. In the long term agriculture may come full circle and be one of their best assets.
    Also the young Ticos are becoming better educated and may find fields such as computer technology, engineering and the like to be a good option for them.
    My personal opinion is, I like the agricultural society and its traditions and values.

    The last thing you asked for is an opinion if we think Costa Rica should become like the US.
    An emphatic NO! In my thinking, which is purely self centered, I love Costa Rica because it is Costa Rica and not the US. This thinking comes from growing older and looking towards retirement. When one is youthful in the US, doors of opportunity are easy to open for most of us, if we choose. As we get older, the ability to be creative and the want to build new empires diminishes. I have had a relatively good life in the US, and the prospects when I am finished with my working days does not look so rosy here. We worship youth and try to hang on to it surgically, nutritionally and by any other means we can. I would love to grow old with my wife in a place that has a peaceful atmosphere, where the people still say good morning to strangers, where parents still take their kids to the park on Sunday, where older people are respected and looked to for the wisdom that their years on this planet has imparted to them, and where the celebration of religion is not looked down upon as some outdated belief.
    When I get older, I want to be able to act my age for a change, but still have a youthful and wonderful outlook on life. I don’t know if all these things are possible, but I can still hope.


    Diego I don’t understand. You seem to be for low taxes. But you like Obama so far for a candidate. Do you think he wants a lower tax rate.

    If Obama does become President and increases taxes will you pay them.

    As for the survey. I tend to think smaller government and small businesses is the way to go. But all big businesses were once small businesses at one time and I despise government getting in the way of businesses trying to expand or build.

    The interesting thing about your survey I vote the same way you do on all accounts.


    This doesn’t disturb me! As for #5 radical muslims started this third world war years ago. America, under the leadership of George W. Bush, finally decided to engage. When America engages and commits we win. America is on the right side of history, and we are winning. The worm has turned in Iraq. Iraqis understand we won’t leave and they don’t like being blown up by terrorists. The surge is working.

    The only thing that disturbs me is you have democrats wanting to bale out of this mess and not finish the job. If we do what the democrats want, there will be a genocide.


    How exactly did the Muslims start “this third world war years ago.” I’d love to know.

    Please also elaborate on how exactly “we are winning” and how the “surge is working?”

    Scott Oliver – Founder


    I can answer your questions by referring you to these articles. For the record I did say “radical muslims.”

    The Surge Is Working
    July 13, 2007; Page A13


    For nearly three-and-a-half years, the two most dangerous enemies of the American mission in Iraq — and of the majority of Iraqis who want to build a stable democracy — had been growing in terms of their capacity to inflict damage. This despite the losses they suffered in battles with Iraqi and American security forces.

    Moqtada al-Sadr, on the one hand, grew from a small annoyance as a gang leader in Najaf in April 2003 to become the leader of a monstrous militia that, with the spark al Qaeda provided by bombing the Askari shrine in Samarra, created the sectarian bloodbath we witnessed throughout 2006.

    On the other side, al Qaeda’s network in Iraq grew from a few dozen infiltrators, supported by disgruntled locals, to an entity that was until recently bragging about establishing Islamic rule on the soil of at least two Iraqi provinces east and west of Baghdad.

    And so this country was going through the worst times ever as we moved towards the end of 2006. Iraq was being torn apart by these two terror networks and Iraq was said to be on the verge of “civil war,” if it wasn’t actually there already.

    But the situation looks quite different now.

    Last year’s crisis made Washington and Baghdad realize that urgent measures needed to be taken to stop the deterioration, and ultimately reverse it. So Washington decided to send in thousands of additional troops. And Baghdad agreed to move its lazy bones and mobilize more Iraqi troops to the capital and coordinate a joint crackdown with the American forces on all outlaw groups, Sunni and Shiite alike.

    The big question these days is, did it actually work? Even partially?

    First I think we need to remember that states and their traditional armies need to be judged by different metrics than gangs and terror organizations. The latter don’t need to win the majority of their battles with American and Iraqi forces. The strength of terrorists and militias is simply their ability to subjugate the civilian populace with fear.

    Here is exactly where the American surge and Iraqi plan have proven effective in Baghdad.

    The combined use of security walls, the heavy security-force presence in the streets, and an overwhelming number of checkpoints have highly restricted the movement of terrorists and militias inside Baghdad and led to separation. Not a separation of ordinary Sunnis from ordinary Shiites but a separation of both Sunni and Shiite terrorists from their respective priority targets, i.e., civilians of the other sect.

    With their movement restricted and their ability to perform operations reduced, they had to look for other targets that are easier to reach. After all, when the goal is to defeat America in Iraq and undermine the democratic political process any target is a good target.

    Just look at the difference between the aftermath of the first Samarra bombing in February of 2006 and that of the second bombing in June of 2007. Days after the 2006 bombing more than a hundred Sunni mosques were hit in retaliatory attacks, and thousands of Sunnis were executed by militias in the months that followed. This time only four or five mosques were attacked, none of them in Baghdad proper that I know of.

    Sadr’s militias have moved the main battlefield south to cities like Samawah, Nasiriyah and Diwaniyah where there’s no American surge of troops, and from which many Iraqi troops were recalled to serve in Baghdad. But over there, too, the Iraqi security forces and local administrations did not show the weakness that Sadr was hoping to see. As a result, Sadr’s representatives have been forced to accept “truces.”

    I know this may make things sound as if Sadr has the upper hand, that he can force a truce on the state. But the fact that is missing from news reports is that, with each new eruption of clashes, Sadr’s position becomes weaker as tribes and local administrations join forces to confront his outlaw militias.

    Al Qaeda hasn’t been any luckier than Sadr, and the tide began to turn even before the surge was announced. The change came from the most unlikely city and unlikely people, Ramadi and its Sunni tribes.

    In Baghdad the results have been just as spectacular so far. The district where al Qaeda claimed to have established its Islamic emirate is exactly where al Qaeda is losing big now, and at the hands of its former allies who have turned on al Qaeda and are slowly reaching out to the government.

    While al Qaeda and Sadr are by no means finished off militarily, what has changed is that both of them are fighting their former public base of support. That course can’t lead them to success in fomenting the sectarian war they had bet their money on.

    It would be unrealistic to expect political progress to take place along the same timeline as this military progress. The obvious reason is that Iraqi politics tend to be affected by developments on the battlefield. Anyone familiar with the basics of negotiations should understand this.

    First things first. Let’s allow our troops to finish their job. And when that is done nation-building will follow, and that’s where diplomats and politicians will have to do the fighting in their own way while American soldiers can finally enjoy a well-deserved rest.

    Backing off now is not an option. The light at the end of the tunnel faded for a whole dark year, but we can see it again now and it’s getting brighter. It’s our duty to keep walking towards it.

    Mr. Fadhil co-writes a blog,, from Baghdad.

    By the way, do you think the people we are fighting are evil, and do you think they are winning? What do you think will happen if we were to lose?

    Edited on Jul 26, 2007 21:41

    Edited on Jul 26, 2007 22:23


    The point is this entire war was a sham from day one.


    Radicals don’t start wars , opportunist do… Radicals merely provide the warped ideology. It takes an economy to fuel it and useful idiots to cheer it on. The Sinking of the Maine, Bay of Tonkin, Pearl Harbor and 911, etc.. All highly suspicious events or confirmed/documented “false flag” attacks orchestrated to ignite war. By who? Follow the money… Do radicals take part, share blame? yes…merely as bit players/peons…

    The 3 Horsemen of the Apocalypse won’t be on horses. They’ll be sporting laptops and blackberries…

    Did they start it before, or after the Crusades…


    Wow Alfred,

    That was beautiful, well thought out and heartfelt. I especially liked the last part.

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