T-R (Tribal Reports) brings News Items, Historical Notices and Other Relevant Information from Nations
amongst whose population we find a significant proportion of Israelites from the Ten Lost Tribes.
4 Costa Rica
10 New Zealand
By Bruce Stokes
Jun 8 2011, 10:00 AM ET13
The pursuit of happiness is one of America's promises to its citizens, enshrined
in the Declaration of Independence. But today, Americans are a profoundly
unhappy people. Their sour mood in the wake of the Great Recession reflects
growing disillusionment with the exceptionalism of the American Dream and a
widespread sense that the United States is in decline. The perceived fall from
greatness, and who is to blame for it, are already shaping up as major themes
for the 2012 campaign.
"Many in Washington--including the president--are really arguing over how best
to manage the decline of our nation," Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., the House Budget
Committee chairman, charged in an early salvo last month.
But a very narrow set of objective economic indicators will fuel much of the
debate over the United States' stature: annual growth of the gross domestic
product, unemployment, and overall wealth. As it happens, the country's
performance based on these metrics is remarkably good compared with other major
industrial nations. Although the public gloom reflects doggedly high
unemployment, it doesn't fully explain the broader sense of a national slide in
stature. Looking at a wider array of measures about the quality of life may
better explain that uneasiness.
One early version of such a tool now exists, just in time to help frame--and
perhaps inform--the 2012 election debate about American exceptionalism.
In late May, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the
Paris-based think tank supported by 34 industrialized nations, released its
first-ever Your Better Life Index. The interactive database compares member
countries along 11 separate lines, from indicators of wealth and income to
measures of health, education, personal fulfillment, and leisure time. The goal,
OECD officials say, is to help people identify their preferences and encourage
public debates within countries about the broadest meaning of well-being.
"People around the world have wanted to go beyond GDP for some time," the
organization's secretary-general, Angel Gurria, said. "This index is designed
for them. It has extraordinary potential to help people help us deliver better
policies for better lives."
AMERICA IN DECLINE'
... The U.S. economy is still the largest and wealthiest in the industrialized
world. Relative to Europe and Japan, the United States is recovering quite well
from the Great Recession. The International Monetary Fund expects America's
economy to grow 2.8 percent this year, much better than the 1.8 percent
expansion that the IMF forecasts for the European Union or the 1.4 percent it
foresees in Japan. The U.S. is likely to outperform both of those economic
rivals at least through 2016. Moreover, America ranks first in global
competitiveness, up from third last year, in the International Institute for
Management Development's annual ranking of nations' economic performance. That
determination is based on an array of measures that include public finances,
productivity, education, and basic infrastructure.
Nevertheless, China's economy is now expected to be larger than America's by
2016, thanks to years of stronger growth. The IMF foresees unemployment in the
United States averaging 8.5 percent through 2011, about 2 points higher than
joblessness in Germany and 4 points higher than in Japan. The U.S. government's
deficit will remain close to 11 percent of the economy, higher than that of
Japan and more than four times that of Germany. On its current trajectory, the
federal debt will equal 90 percent or more of U.S. gross domestic policy by
2020, many analysts predict.
Given the trauma of the past several years, it's not a surprise that many
Americans embrace a declinist worldview rather than an exceptionalist vision. In
a November 2010 Allstate/National Journal Heartland Monitor poll, only 20
percent of Americans thought that the United States had the world's strongest
economy. More than twice as many, 47 percent, picked China. Asked which nation
will have the best economy two decades from now, 37 percent chose China and 34
percent the United States. In the latest Heartland Monitor survey, taken last
month, 58 percent of Americans thought that the country was on the wrong track.
(See "Race to the Top.")
In terms of its raw economic size and wealth, the United States is still No. 1.
But America is doing poorly in managing its finances and creating jobs, a fact
not lost on its citizens.
THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS
Money isn't everything, of course, and purely economic metrics are, at best,
limited indicators of national well-being. Just ask any Washingtonian stuck on
the Capital Beltway at rush hour. Traffic jams increase gasoline consumption,
which shows up in economic data as a plus for the GDP, but they obviously don't
improve the quality of life. Ill health can have the same effect, with increased
spending and "production" of medical services reflected as a positive for the
If your only interest is earning money, for example, you might assign a maximum
weighting of 5 to "income" and a zero to everything else. By that measure, the
U.S. comes out solidly on top, after the city-state of Luxembourg. If your
primary interest is joy of life, by contrast, you might place the greatest
weight to surveys of "life satisfaction," "life-work balance," and perhaps
"community." That would put Denmark at No. 1, followed closely by most other
Western European countries, as well as Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. The
United States ranks 17th. Put another way, America is a good place to make
money, but it's not as much fun or as fulfilling to live there as in a lot of
The Better Life Index has clear shortcomings. It has no measure for inequality,
despite a rising gap between the rich and the poor in the United States and in a
number of other major economies. Human happiness is relative. It is not just a
function of how people are doing, but how their lives stack up against those of
Moreover, the index has no indicator of environmental sustainability, such as
carbon emissions or rates of natural-resource depletion that would link a
nation's economic growth to the Earth's carrying capacity. Strong economic
performance at the expense of future generations may create a better life for
those living today, but be regretted by those alive tomorrow.
And the index itself is also built with limited statistical indicators. The
environmental component is based solely on particular matter in the air of
cities. The health component is based only on life expectancy and self-reported
' Income. As might be expected of the world's richest country, Americans enjoy
the most disposable household income and have the greatest household financial
wealth among the nations that make up the OECD index. Only the residents of tiny
Luxembourg are better off, but that country has fewer people and a lower average
household income then San Diego County.
Based on these economic metrics, Americans still top the list. At nearly $38,000
annually, after adjusting for purchasing power, Americans' after-tax income is
two-thirds higher than the OECD average and outpaces the second-place
Norwegians' income by more than $8,000 a year. Americans are also wealthier, on
average, than their counterparts in every other OECD country. Adjusted for
purchasing power, the average U.S. household has $98,000--about $5,000 more than
the second-place Swiss.
Income and wealth indisputably help provide many Americans with a better life,
giving them access to quality education, health care, and housing.
' Community. Americans' sense of exceptionalism has long been rooted in their
strong communities, a phenomenon recognized by Alexis de Tocqueville in
Democracy in America in the early 19th century. More recently, however,
commentators such as Robert Putnam in Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of
American Community have lamented Americans' growing alienation. This theme has
been picked up by politicians, who have called for policies that bolster
families and communities. For their part, average Americans do not complain much
about alienation. At the same time, there is nothing exceptional about
Americans' sense of community.
As social creatures, people's well-being is framed by the frequency and quality
of their personal relationships, which provide both emotional and practical
support, such as job opportunities. Nine out of 10 Americans (92 percent) say
they know someone they can rely on in a time of need, a percentage that is above
the OECD average. Conversely, very few--only 3 percent--say they rarely spend
time with family and friends, which is much better than average.
Nevertheless, if Tocqueville were writing about community today, he would find
better evidence of exceptionalism in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and
Scandinavia, whose citizens are more likely than Americans to have tight bonds
with family and friends.
2. UK: The New British Christian Menace
to the Jewish People.
UK BISHOPS COME OUT CLEARLY AGAINST ISRAEL
by Giulio Meotti
... now the entire Christian hierarchy in the UK, Catholic and Protestant
as well, is part of the global battle against Israel.
There is a virulent animosity towards the Jewish state in the established
churches in Britain, which promulgate inflammatory libels against it.
Recently Barry Morgan, the Archbishop of Wales, compared Israel to apartheid in
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, spiritual leader of the worldwide
Anglican Communion, joined the Church of England's General Synod, which voted to
disinvest Church funds from 'companies that make profits from Israel's
Archbishop Morgan said in a lecture on the relationship between religion and
violence: 'Messianic Zionism began a policy of cleansing the Promised Land of
all Arabs and non-Jews rather than co-existing with them'....
According to Canon Andrew White, replacement theology is dominant and present in
almost every church, fueling the venom against Israel.
The revised version of 'Whose Promised Land'', a highly influentiual book by the
Anglican thinker Colin Chapman, recycles the worst Christian anti-Jewish
A Palestinian cleric, Naim Ateek, has an immense influence in contemporary
British Christianity, not least through his Sabeel Centre in Jerusalem. Ateek's
denunciations of Israel include imagery linking the Jewish State to the charge
of deicide that for centuries fueled anti-Jewish bloodshed.
At the beginning of the XIX century, the UK Christian clergy was a driving force
behind the Zionist enterprise, inspired by a brave interpretation of the Bible.
A century later, British Christianity is one of the major producers of blood
libels against the Jews.
3. Ireland: Interesting Article About
'No wonder Michael was never caught: all the women wanted to hide him...'
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