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Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Having A Puppy

Millions of people  are having dogs. Most are keeping them in the house, but others not. This is for those having their dogs in the house.

You get a dog and most likely it is still a puppy. Congratulations, you have just become a parent for your new family member!
First walk for a pee

Your puppy is 10-12 weeks old when it comes to you. It is a bit scared and needs time to adjust to this life, away from its real mother. So you make sure it feels comfortable. You carry it around, have a nice puppy bed for it and you make sure it gets the right nutritious food. When the first night rolls around you and your puppy stay together in one room, cause your puppy cannot sleep through the night without having to go and pee or even p**p.
If you are consequent, you can potty-train your puppy within 2-3 days.
Finally home and full of expectation

Once that is achieved, you can relax a bit.
Meanwhile, your puppy has received a ton of toys. Squeaky balls and little stuffed animals are strewn all around your place.  Your puppy won't keep the toys all in one place. It carries them around, drops them at will, and picks up others. But most importantly, it wants you to be part of the game. Pretty soon it drops toys at your feet or in your lap. You will be looking into hopeful puppy eyes and you will drop anything you have in your hands to fulfill your puppy's wish.

When you walk through your house, your eyes should be firmly focussed onto the floor. Balls, stuffed animals and other "toys" are perfect obstacles along your way and I'm sure you don't want to trip over them and hit your head at the edge of your dining table.

As your puppy grows, your daily chores grow as well. Now you have to start walking with your pup. You have purchased a tiny collar and a leash and are showing off your puppy to the world. Look here, we got a new family member. There comes your neighbour. As far as you know, she loves dogs, so she screams out her delight of seeing you two. I say "scream", as that it what your dog is hearing. Dogs have great hearing. They can hear a bean rustling in your vegetable garden. So you can calm down your voice when you speak to your dog. And pls. turn down your radio. If you want a quiet content dog, keep a quiet household. Puppies will start copying your behavior. The more you holler around, the more vocal your dog gets.

Your puppy might still be a bit scared of strangers, so the best is asking your friends and neighbours to ignore the puppy for a while. Dixie is still that way! Some puppies are more trusting, but you will find out about that soon. 
Exploring surroundings

Usually their natural curiosity will prevail and they will seek to explore more and more of their world. And "exploring" means also the puppy starts being interested in your furniture. If you are not in favour of damaged table and chair legs and finding stuffing of your couch pillows strewn around on the floor, you must make sure your puppy is not getting bored. You have a lawn around your home? You might find that your puppy is a habitual digger, resulting in new landscaping on your lawn. Playing and walking with the puppy is essential to keep its boundless energies under control. If you don't have the time for it, don't get a puppy.

Napping is vital for puppies

Talking and communicating to your puppy is essential. So are good hand signs. But again, keep the volume down.

As your dog gets older it might start bringing "treasures" home. "Home" means INSIDE your house. Dixie has made it a habit to bring us pieces of wood. This morning I found a tree branch on our couch. And around it plenty of wood chips. Obviously, the nights are growing longer....

Humans and dogs tend to have different ideas about what a good odour is. You can bathe and shampoo your dog until the hair falls out, but if your puppy doesn't like the perfume you prefer, it will soon find some yucky stuff on the ground and roll over it. Dixie's favourite choice is old herring, she finds on the beach. If you transport your puppy in your car you will enjoy the results immediately. Remember there is special dog shampoo available. Get a supply of it!

 The wonders of a beach walk

Most dogs prefer not having a load of water in their fur. So, after a bath, they shake violently with their ears flapping. Get out of the way or you too will enjoy a shower.
Socializing - so important

Besides of learning how to meet your neighbours, your puppy needs to learn how to meet the neighbour's dog. It's called socializing. If you never let your dog meet other dogs, don't be surprised if your dog don't gets along with other dogs once a coincidental meeting along the trail happens. Aggression between dogs is usually rooted in a failed socializing. Watch their tails. If the tail moves between its legs your dog is timid and afraid. If the tail stays up wagging back and forth, your dog enjoys the meeting and wants to play.

Watching out for visitors

Much of what is valid for dog's behaviour is also depending on the breed of your dog. Dixie is a guard dog and as such keenly aware of her surroundings. She watches the street through our living room window and she lets us know in no uncertain ways that something is about to move around there. But she is not an incessant barker. 

If you get a Beagle, be prepared to move to a different place. Even if you should enjoy the constant howling, your neighbours won't. Beagles are "Hounds" and hounds howl. It's also called "baying". They are excellent hunting dogs, but don't belong on your front lawn, where they will enjoy "entertaining" the neighbourhood.

So with all that in mind, enjoy the most wonderful of all relationships. Your dog will love you and all of your family and it deserves to be a full family member. The love your dog offers is unconditional. Treat it the same. They have gentle souls and are very capable of understanding if you are worried, sad or aggressive.
Molly, the calmest and most pleasant dog.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Would You Like To Live In North Korea, China Or Russia?

Moving to the countries mentioned above would be the perfect thing to do for those of you Americans who approve of Trump having the authority to punish and shut down certain news outlets. It has long been known that a free press is the enemy of any dictator. Since the countries mentioned above are all under authoritarian rule they also control the press. It is just so tragic that 48% of Americans got it all wrong, thinking and believing Trump's message that the press is the enemy of the people. Are you getting tired of living in a free country? Then go pack up and leave. Try live in North Korea. Or maybe a south American Banana Republic with its nicer climate would fit your desires.

More than 40 percent of Republicans believe that when President Trump castigates "fake news," he should be allowed to shutter certain outlets as punishment for "bad behavior."

A new poll conducted by Ipsos and published by The Daily Beast on Tuesday found that 43 percent of Republicans think Trump should have that authority, while 36 percent disagreed that he should be able to close news outlets. Smaller proportions of other groups also thought Trump should be the media watchdog-in-chief, with 12 percent of Democrats and 21 percent of independents saying the president should have that authority.

Meanwhile, 48 percent of Republicans agree with the president's assessment that "the news media is the enemy of the American people," with just 28 percent disagreeing. While many agreed that the "mainstream media treats President Trump unfairly," most Republicans did not think that Trump should specifically shut down CNN, The Washington Post, and The New York Times.

The general anti-press sentiment was somewhat in conflict with some of the poll's more general questions. When asked about whether the media industry as a whole was valuable, 57 percent of respondents said it's "necessary to keep the Trump administration honest," and 85 percent called freedom of the press "essential for American democracy."

The Ipsos poll was conducted August 3-6, surveying 1,003 adults who responded online. The credibility interval is 3.5 percentage points. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Give Me August

August is here, in fact, we are halfway down to the middle already. If you think July was hot, then August must be named super hot. High temps in the high eighties are over us with high humidity and most homes have no air condition. My days are filled with either driving or hanging out where it is cool, which is either inside the house, on the porch or under the maple tree. Dixie needs to be walked however, but the walking is limited to the beach during early morning and early evening hours. It is way too hot for Dixie to walk along the road in the middle of the day.
 Big washed-up root on Herring Cove Beach

This evening we first walked along Herring Cove Beach where we watched the setting of a herring net from the beach. Returning, we crossed over to Lake Glensevern, which runs parallel along the other side of the beach. The water there has at least 75F and shoes and socks flew off to wade out into the shallow water. 

A log served as a bench and Dixie was not only drinking but also enjoying the water as she walked around. This was truly enjoyable. 

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Red Hot Days Of Summer

When the mercury is creeping higher and higher and it tops out at around 82F (28C),  then people of Campobello are slowly disappearing off their lawns. They go inside in hopes of finding a cooler place in the house or at least the lawn chairs are moved to a shady place under a big maple tree. The brown sand of Herring Cove Beach is reaching dangerously high temperatures which can cause burns on your feet. That is indeed the reason why we are never going there on a hot summer day. And hot summer days we've got for sure. Never before did we experience a summer this hot out here at the Bay of Fundy.

But of course, all that sunshine is good for tourism, and as visitors flock to the island which still is a lot cooler than the hot inlands, I am getting busier every day. The other day I was driving the van out of the park, when I discovered an old S-Class Mercedes pull out in front of me. It was a 300SDL, a diesel, but the same body style as our Benz. We drove into the same direction, and when the Mercedes stopped in front of our old church, I did as well. I jumped out and approached the driver side where I met Joan and Doris, two lovely older ladies from Maine. I introduced myself and commented on their beautiful golden car, and told them about my own. I mentioned that I had just returned from a tour with guests when I had seen their car. Promptly the ladies wanted to know about our tour. I told them and they made a reservation for Thursday (today) morning.

This morning, I was curious whether they really would meet up. My van was in the shop for a little repair, so I took out the Mercedes. I thought it might be a big surprise for the ladies to take the tour in a similar car as their own. Arriving at the visitor center a few minutes before 10am I saw the golden Mercedes right away - and parked beside of them. Naturally, they were thrilled to see the car and we ended up comparing notes.

The tour grew more than 3 hours long and it was a great experience, not only for Joan and Doris, but also for me.

Campobello Island is currently celebrating "FOGFEST" and there are cars from all over the U.S. Fog is here celebrated with a lot of music in many different venues. It's a great way to keep up the mood when the mornings are starting out with thick fog banks.

Fogfest is going on from August 1 to 5 and all concerts are free of charge. It's an excellent opportunity to take the tour up through Maine and hang out a few days on the island.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Why Are Trump Voters Dumb?

It is enough to look at Trump supporters appearing at a rally to understand that Trump voters are potentially dumb. Their hapless cheering and shouting right-wing slogans shows that they suffer of a significant lack of IQ.

Their genetically impaired understanding of how a civilized society is functioning leads to a couple of key shortcomings.

1. They do not respect human rights.
2. They are unable to recognize how a demagogue is manipulating the people.
3. Their lack of intelligence has lead to a poor level of education.
4. They do not know the principles of how government reaches their decisions in a democracy and are therefore prone to endorse a dictatorship.
5. They don't know history, and are largely uninterested in it and unable to draw conclusions.
6. They believe in rumours.
7. They don't care about the environment.
8. All they care about is the economy, but they don't understand its complexities.
9. They have not understood that corporate America is taking advantage of them.
10. Most of them are racists.
11. They have a profound lack of respect for women and people "from away".
12. They are essentially ego-maniacs and don't care about the international reputation of their country.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

If I Would Enrich Myself

If I'd be a dictator like Trump, I would bash international trade agreements, impose tariffs on my trade partners and watch the stock values go down. Then I would use one of my many companies to buy up stocks. The next step would be relieving my trade partners of all previously imposed tariffs and watch my new stock portfolio go up and up and up. And then I would sell my stocks at a healthy profit. After a few weeks I would create the next trade disaster, watch the stocks go down, buy them again and watch them go up in value, selling them again after reaching top value. 

I am sure you get what I am saying. Mr. Trump is enriching himself without getting caught. He is (ab)using the presidency for his own financial gain.

Dear Americans, your president is a treasonous crook! And besides of being a crook, he is an impolite monster and a general embarrassment to your country. In fact, meeting Americans in my work every day I hear it from them as well. They are ashamed of their corrupt government and apologize to the Canadians they meet. 

But at the end, all dictators have suffered the same end of their tyranny. It'll just be a matter of time.

Monday, July 16, 2018


So Mr. Dumb-Trump is playing his games on the world stage again. But these "games" are now so grotesque that even his political allies in the house and the senate are now starting to say "Enough is enough". Naturally, the dumb-Trump voter base is still celebrating their hero as their own level of intelligence is deteriorating for every word spoken by this moron of a president. Putting off the facts found by American Intel agencies but believing one of the worst autocrats and former top KGB agents is nothing else but TREASON.

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

One might say that Trump's non-existing ability is the reason for his treason, but nevertheless it remains treason. 

The fact that some central figures in the GOP are now starting to see the writing on the wall, does not mean that the rest of this coward bunch will start acting upon it. but we all know that if anything, just anything of this would have happened under President Obama the days of his presidency would have been over immediately, - and with good reason I might add.

While Trump is continuing his presidency as a Russian puppet, officials in Russia are gleefully celebrating their victory.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

The New Terrifying America

A month without mom: 2 Guatemalan kids share what it's like to be all alone in the U.S.
Sylvia and her 10-year-old brother Christian are among the nearly 3,000 migrant children who have been separated from their parents at the southern border — about one-third more than previously reported by the U.S. government.

Sylvia and Christian spent 32 days in the shelter, separated from everyone they knew, until early last Saturday morning. The shelter arranged to fly them to Los Angeles where their aunt Rebecca lives.
ll three of them join Rev. Fred Morris inside the North Hills United Methodist Church, where they stand in front of a map of the Americas pinned to the wall.

"They must have gone more or less like this," Morris says, tracing the likely route the family would have taken from their home in Retalhuleu, Guatemala, to McAllen, Texas.

Morris runs the San Fernando Valley Refugee Children Center, which helps connect migrant children with their relatives.

"These two children who arrived here today are totally traumatized," he says.

Rebecca says after she got in touch with her sister, locating the children wasn't easy. It took days just to find their shelter and plenty of wrangling to get them released.

"That's why the majority of children aren't finding their family," she says. "Because it took a lot of hunting around to find them and they didn't know where they were for several days."

It's a story Abril Escobar is hearing more and more often these days in her role as a program assistant at the San Fernando Valley Refugee Children Center.

She says federal officials and shelter workers are making it "as hard as possible" to place separated children with families in the U.S. They're making families jump through too many hoops and delaying their requests with red tape, she says. "They might give up, and that might be the plan that the government has for these families," Escobar says. "There is no set plan to reunite them."
He says he doesn't have much faith in the Trump administration's ability to reunite migrant children with their parents.
"There's no way you can reunify these children," he says. "There are 2,500 children who in all probability will never see their parents again."

Thursday, July 5, 2018

EDA (Environmental Destruction Agency) Boss Gone.

"I'm gonna drain the swamp", was one of the most loved campaign promises Trump came up with. And it surly is one of the least accomplished goals in his controversial agenda. Mr. Pruitt, the most destructive administrator of the EPA, and most certainly one of the most corrupt cabinet members, finally had to go home. His many scandals of financial misconduct made his head barely visible as he sank deeper and deeper into the Trump swamp. And besides of being corrupt, he was relentlessly at work to remove environmental regulations against pollution of rivers, streams, air and land areal. Transforming the EPA into an EDA was his goal. Yet, his policy of removing environmental protection regulations for the coal mining industry failed to bring back the thousands of jobs promised by his boss Trump. Also the rust-belt area has not yet seen any new plant start-ups. It's all smoke and mirrors in the world of Trump and only his notoriously dumb voter base is still believing the fairy tales of Mr. Trump.

Sunday, July 1, 2018


First I want to say HAPPY CANADA DAY to all Canadians! We love you Canada, you are beautiful far and wide.

It's been quiet here for 2 weeks, because I have been shell-shocked about what has been playing out south of the border. What I once loved so much has become a pit of cruelty and fascism. Families have been torn apart and children have been caged up without knowing whether they ever will be reunited with their parents. The nation America, once known for liberty and open-minded humanity, which once liberated Europe from the rule of a cruel dictator, has now turned out the ugly side of its face to see for the whole world. Instead of love and compassion, we are seeing hate, xenophobia and hypocrites. 

Yet, this morning, on Canada day, I also see hope. The real America, as I knew it, is not dead. There are thousands and thousands of Americans, all across the country standing up and telling Trump and his executioners "You Have Gone Too Far". And there could not be a better spirit than this on Canada Day, when we as your northern neighbours, are grieving about what is happening all around in America.

It is only a few more days and America is celebrating its Independence day. This is the time for Americans to think about what their independence is built on. Think about your constitution, your values, your flag and what your country has become.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Hilarious Birthday

It was that day again when my birthday was coming up. And yesterday I threw together my own birthday cake. And while it had been raining all day yesterday, today was the most beautiful day one could imagine. So we invited some neighbours over for coffee and cake. 
                   Havin' fun with the birthday cake

And while three of them are dog owners, only 2 brought their dogs along. So we had 2 standard poodles, (Summer and Scarlet) a miniature poodle (Rosy) and of course Dixie. I have to admit I was wondering how this get-together would go as both Standard poodles and Dixie are still puppies and can get pretty wild. But it all turned out in the most amazing way. Before we knew it, the dogs started to entertain us people with their funny interactions. 
                                The crew is arriving

Finding safety with daddy

But it all topped out when one of the dogs kicked over a flowerpot and everybody in our group reacted with a scream. That led to Summer being scared so much that she leaped up and across the armrest landing right into her owner's lap. Now we were all bursting into laughter.
Of course a group picture was taken before they all left with their dogs. 
The day ended with a wonderful dinner at Campobello's newest restaurant, the PIER WATERFRONT, which has great food and a dream-like location right on the Passamaquoddy Bay.
                   At "The PIER WATERFRONT"

And when we returned I had a great evening walk admiring all the beautiful lupines, glowing in the setting sun.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

An American Apology

Below apology for the behaviour of Trump shows us that most Americans do not agree with their president's behaviour. This man comes late for his meetings, leaves early, is being wined, dined and entertained by Cirque du Soleil and then insults his host, our Prime Minister - and all Canadians - after leaving. Without going back too much in history, he does not seem to remember that it was Canadians who gave 6000 Americans shelter when their planes were diverted on 9/11, that it was Canadian Hydro to help them restore power during several ice storms, hurricanes and Canadian fire crews help them fight their large forest fires in California.

Dear Canada, you deserve better from
President Trump. 
Here's an apology from me.
Ross K. Baker, Opinion columnistPublished 3:15 a.m. ET June 11, 2018 | Updated 6:18 p.m. ET June 11, 2018

I'm sorry, Canada. I have no explanation for Donald Trump's rudeness at the G7 summit. There could be no better ally or neighbor than you.

(Photo: Evan Vucci, AP)

Dear Canada, I know that it’s presumptuous of me to apologize to you for the crude and unmannerly behavior of our president, but even as a private citizen I feel that you deserve better than to have your prime minister treated harshly and disrespectfully. The minimum of simple courtesy, not just diplomatic protocol, entitles him to be addressed respectfully by his title and not by the condescending use of his first name.

But that’s just one bit of human decency that the president forgot to have his valet pack for him when he left for Quebec. He also neglected to include a briefing book on the sturdy bonds of history that have marked us among the nations of the world as the best of neighbors.

Our president who purports to revere the military has forgotten that we and the Canadians have been comrades in arms since World War I. Maybe it slipped his mind —or perhaps he never learned — about the blood of Americans and Canadians mixing on the stony beaches at Dieppe in 1942 or our joint sacrifices on D-Day in Normandybeaches and across Northern Europe in 1944 and 1945.

Americans fought and died together in Korea, and after the attacks on the United States in September 2001, Canadians didn’t even need to be asked to be part of the NATO effort against the fanatics who had murdered our people. A friend like you deserves better from a president of the United States, and a dispute over tariffs just isn’t an important enough matter to call forth his disrespect.

But it is more than our military partnership over the years that brings us together. We also share the joys and beauty of our respective countries. Canadians are our guests at Old Orchard Beach in Maine in the summer and in Florida in winter. Americans visit Banff and Whistler. They go hunting in the woods of northern Ontario and sail in Nova Scotia. We are bound together both in sacrifice and joy. We have made Canadians into baseball fans and they have given us hockey including a Stanley Cup for a team in our own capital city.

We enjoy a peaceful border with you, and along the frontier the American and Canadian towns are indistinguishable and in many places our currencies are interchangeable. We poke gentle fun at you for being “Canadian nice” but any U.S citizen who has visited your country knows the underlying reality of that stereotype. You are the best neighbors an American can have.

There is no satisfactory explanation for our president’s rudeness. He was a bad guest: he arrived late and left early and never said thanks. Worse than that, he petulantly refused to sign the joint communique and pouted because Russia hadn’t been included and suggested that the reason for Moscow’s absence was because of some vague minor incident rather than its armed invasion of an adjacent country. How sad it would be if President Trump’s understanding of neighborliness was patterned after Vladimir Putin’s.

I hope that our friends in Canada will overlook this singular act of rudeness and disrespect to their leader. Canadians, being who they are, probably will. I also hope that Americans will continue to recognize the rare privilege we enjoy in having Canada as our neighbor.

For our part, my wife and I are looking forward to visiting Quebec with our grandchildren in August and if the occasion arises, we will offer some words of apology although, knowing the Canadians, they’ll probably just politely dismiss it as a minor incident.

I am less charitable. Our president behaved badly and although atonement does not come easily to him, it is owed to our good friends north of the border.

Most sincerely,

A grateful American citizen.

Ross K. Baker is a distinguished professor of political science at Rutgers University and a member of USA TODAY's Board of Contributors. Follow him on Twitter: @Rosbake1

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Dogs can understand human speech, scientists discover

 Brain scans discover evidence that dogs process language in a similar way to humans and are only truly happy if a praising tone of voice is matched by the actual words spoken

Ian Johnston Science Correspondent
Tuesday 30 August 2016 14:27

Dogs, seen here around an MRI scanner, appear to having an understanding of some human words ( Eniko Kubinyi )

Dogs understand what some human words mean, according to a study published in the
prestigious journal Science.

In a world-first experiment, academics in Hungary trained 13 dogs to voluntarily lie in an MRI scanner to monitor what happened in their brain when the researchers spoke to them.

They discovered that dogs’ brains process language in a similar way to humans, with the right side dealing with emotion and the left processing meaning.

It was only when both sides of the brain agreed they were hearing praise that the dog was truly happy.

While this was only the dogs’ “word-meaning representation”, it still shows they had an idea of what message the specific sound of an individual human word was designed to convey.

Lead researcher Dr Attila Andics, of Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, said: “During speech processing, there is a well-known distribution of labour in the human brain.

“It is mainly the left hemisphere’s job to process word meaning, and the right hemisphere’s job to process intonation. The human brain not only separately analyses what we say and how we say it, but also integrates the two types of information, to arrive at a unified meaning.

“Our findings suggest that dogs can also do all that, and they use very similar brain mechanisms.”

During the brain scans, the researchers spoke words like “good boy” and “well done” spoken with a praising intonation, the same words in a neutral voice and also words that were meaningless to them, like “however”, in both intonations.

The scans showed the dogs left brain tended to be activated when they heard words that were meaningful to them. This did not happen when they heard words they did not understand. The right hemisphere activated when they heard a praising intonation.

But the reward centre of their brains – which responds to pleasurable sensations like being petted, having sex and eating nice food – was only activated when they heard praising words spoken in a praising intonation.

“It shows that for dogs, a nice praise can very well work as a reward, but it works best if both words and intonation match,” Dr Andics said.

“So dogs not only tell apart what we say and how we say it, but they can also combine the two, for a correct interpretation of what those words really meant.

“This is very similar to what human brains do.”

This appears to contradict the idea that dogs only understand tone of voice and do not have an idea of the words actual meaning.

While they might respond tentatively to a praising tone using words they do not understand – or even insults – they are only genuinely happy when they understand the praise they are receiving.

The researchers described their work as a first step towards understanding how dogs interpret human speech.

A statement about the study said the researchers believed their results could “help to make communication and cooperation between dogs and humans even more efficient”.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

An American About His Country:

My friend from Germany says America is not the greatest country in the world. How can I convince him otherwise?

Kevin Dolgin, Entrepreneur, writer, musician, humanist
Updated 13d ago · Author has 561 answers and 1.3m answer views

No problem, I can help.

I’m not German, but I do spend a lot of time there (I’ll be there next week, in fact). I think it’s safe to say that German culture is pretty rational. If you’re going to succeed, you’ll need to be systematic and provide some hard facts. I’ve brought some together for you.

First, we need to establish what exactly we mean by “best”, otherwise we don’t know what data to provide. As I see it, our idea as Americans has tended to be that we’re the richest, most powerful, freest country in the world, the place where it’s best to live. So let’s focus there.

Let’s get right to it: we’re the richest. The United States has the highest GNP at over $20 trillion. China is second.

However, that might not be the best to lead with, because it’s more a question of GDP per capita. Unfortunately, the USA is only 20th by that measure. The top country is Liechtenstein. In fact, even Ireland is higher[1].

But then, it’s not just about wealth, it’s about the ability to better your situation. The United States was always about the “Cinderella story”, the ability to pull yourself up by your bootstraps. This is known as social mobility, and obviously the United States is tops in that, right?

’Fraid not. In fact, it comes out as 16th, after Argentina. Most of Europe, including the “socialist” Scandinavian countries provide better environments for “making it from nothing”[2].

But certainly, it’s not just that, it’s also about not being poor. So let’s consider the percent of people living in poverty. Unfortunately, the USA comes in at 42nd[3], right below Morocco.

But there’s freedom. The USA is definitely number one in freedom! Except that it isn’t. According to the Cato institute it comes in at 17th, which is all the same one better than Albania[4]. Ah, but there’s the United States’ vaunted economic freedom. The USA doesn’t regulate companies to death like so many other nations. Well, there it comes in at 11th, tied with Canada, and behind most other English speaking nations (UK, Ireland, New Zealand)[5].

But we’re healthy! We have access to the world’s best healthcare, right? Actually, the USA lags in just about every health indicator, including life expectancy (45th), where once again, we are just ahead of Albania[6], who we absolutely trounce when it comes to infant mortality… although we do only rank 56th[7], well behind pretty much all of Europe (and of course Cuba, which beats the US in most health measures).

But we can of course be proud of our history. The United States made the greatest sacrifice at the beginning of the 20th century and saved the world from tyranny in the second world war. 420,000 Americans gave their lives in that war. Their valor will honestly never be forgotten. It must, however, be put into context… the USSR lost between 20 and 27 million people in that war, China lost 15 to 20 million. In fact, among the allied nations, the United States came in 12th in casualties. Both the UK and France lost more people, and of course much higher percentages of their populations[8].

OK, but happiness. Down to earth happiness: where is the best place to live? Turns out it’s Finland. The United States comes in 18th[9].

There is one measure, though, that the United States definitely leads every single other country by: guns per capita. 1.01 guns per inhabitant. The number two country, Serbia, doesn’t come close, with only 0.58[10]. So, if your German friend is really into guns then that might sway him.

Or, you can perhaps just understand that the United States is a great country for people who like American culture. Some people would only feel comfortable there, nowhere else. Most people who were not raised there, though, would find very few objective measures by which the country is better than theirs, assuming they come from the developed world, therefore by definition it can not be “the greatest country” by any objective measure.

I would point out that pretty much every one of those measures shows the much derided, “socialist” Scandinavian countries outperforming the United States. Interestingly, Ireland does as well. So if you happen to be of Irish or Scandinavian descent, maybe you can take solace in that.


So, after about twelve hours up, this has received many comments and views, and a couple of things were pointed out, so I thought I’d add an addendum.

First, thank you to all the people who seem to have appreciated the post. I have in the past received rather scathing comments on a number of posts and support is always appreciated.

For those who stated that I cherry-picked, all I can say is that as a researcher I try very hard not to do that. I was aware of many of these stats before I looked for them, but I tried as hard as possible to find unobjectionable sources (the CIA is in there for many) and I always post the first, best source regardless of whether it is in line with my pre-established ideas. Perhaps the most contentious stat was people below the poverty line because yes, it is relative, but frankly, I’ve travelled to over sixty countries and it is very true that you can live a hell of a lot better on ten dollars a day in Cameroon than in Switzerland, that’s why I took that measure. If, though, you want to look at percent of the population living with less than $5.50 a day then the United States still comes out at 20th, behind pretty much all of Western Europe, Australia, etc[11].

A number of people pointed out that I didn’t say anything about safety, and that was an oversight. The United States has a higher incarceration rate than any other country save one, the Seychelles. The USA has 666 people per 100,000 in prison, the next highest country, El Salvador, has only 586[12]. As for the Seychelles, it’s not really that the country is all that keen on throwing its citizens in prison, it’s just that it’s a tiny country with a slew of Somali pirates in jail, since it’s the closest lawful country to where they tend to be captured, so the USA is pretty much alone in its incredible enthusiasm for jailing its citizens (typically on relatively minor drug charges)[13]. In comparison, France, where I live, has about 100 prisoners per 100,000 in people.

In terms of safety, the United States is far more violent than many other nations. The intentional homicide rate in the United States places it 99 out of 194 countries, once again, just edging out Albania! And, of course, every nation in Western Europe has much lower homicide rates[14].

As for those who pointed out that despite all that, it’s still the greatest country because “there aren’t long lines of people trying to get into Germany”…. well, nope. In fact, there are. It’s hard to get immigration figures, but asylum seekers are logged. Germany actually has more people asking for asylum than does the United States, many more, over 722,000 compared to 262,000. In fact, if you adjust for population, the United States comes in at 12th in terms of the most sought-after destination (i.e. asylum seekers per population) after Germany, Austria, Greece, Switzerland, Hungary, Sweden, Italy, France, Australia, the Netherlands, and Turkey, and just in front of Canada[15]. In case you’re tempted to say this is because of Trump’s restrictions I’m afraid not, these are 2016 data, before he became president.

Lastly, please keep in mind that I’m not saying the USA is a bad place. I love my home country, but this quasi-religious need to consider it superior to everyplace else, even for someone who is not from the States (as implied by the OP) is unique to the United States. Really, I’ve spent my life travelling, I’ve been to well over sixty countries (I kind of lost count) and have worked in many… even created companies in at least six or seven - the United States is unique in its citizens having this need to consider the country objectively superior. The only two objective things you can say that make it “superior”, though, is that it has the largest absolute GDP and the most powerful military. However, I’m sure you wouldn’t say that the most worthy person in school is the strongest and richest of the lot. If you as an individual think it’s best for you, then great, I have no issue with that at all, but don’t think that it’s some kind of objective nirvana that every other country should emulate.

The facts aren’t with you.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

America In The 21th Century

6 beliefs of right-wing Americans:

1. The earth is flat.  
     How could I  ever miss this important fact?
2. The waters of the oceans are rising because of all the rocks falling into the water!
      I must admit, I never thought of that! Why didn't we  learn that in school?
3. God chooses the President
     Is that election manipulation and why did God chose Obama?.
4. There never was any evolution.
    Another important information I missed in school.
5. Undocumented immigrants are animals.
    What kind? And Jews are animals too (A.Hitler)
6. White Americans are genetically superior.
    Just wondering why they hide in those costumes.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

It's All About Dixie

I am still busy, but by getting up early at (6am) I manage to have some fun with Dixie. This morning we went to the beach again and she had a ball with running around, sniffing up some old crabs and digging holes into the soft sand. The sun was shining brightly causing glittering reflections on the calm Bay of Fundy. Not another soul around, we had it all to ourselves. What a paradise, indeed!

We kept it going for nearly an hour and were back home shortly after 8am. Dixie was now ready to take another nap in the shade, while I had to get myself down to the wharf to welcome a speedboat with 5 international visitors from St.Andrews.

Next point on my agenda was starting re-shingeling part of a wall on a neighbour' s car garage. I kept at it until 2:30pm when I called it quits for the day.

Even though we had a sunny day, temps were remaining in the high 50s. At least it kept the black flies at bay.