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post #61 of 96 (permalink) Old 04-01-2005, 08:49 PM
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RE: Is it wrong for the USA to be militaristic?

Quote:
Joe Bauers - 4/1/2005 3:18 PM

JimSmith: Your assumption is that our military is incompetent to face the threats that linger against us in the 9/11 world. My point is that spending more than all other countries in the world combined on our military has not protected us against terrorism. We need a different approach, one that involves international cooperation, and a concerted effort to end American imperialism around the world. It is not a military problem, to me at least; it is a cultural and moral one.
Joe B.
I quite agree with your statement that a different approach is needed. And, if we were even vaguely capable of compelling an international cooperative effort to recognize the threat to all nations of the world that is posed by terrorism, I might even consider putting eggs in that basket. But we Americans have not had that capability for some time, and (thanks for the opportunity to point out how Bush has endangered us with his Iraq war instead of made us more secure as his supporters hysterically shout at every opportunity), based on having forced our former allies to follow their own consciences and abandon us over the Iraq boondoggle, W has in a single term as President destroyed the last century's investment in developing a trust with the only nations on Earth likely to agree with us. No one feels the need to back us up as we have shown them it better for them to rely on their own sources for information and processing that information. Unfortunately for all of us, that won't change until Europe has its 9-11, and even then there is no assurance they won't hold us ultimately responsible and remain unconvinced.

I am all for ending American imperialism. But I am also all for America retaining its leadership role economically, morally and militarily. Put very bluntly and simply, I would prefer America remain the only world superpower, even if America is not able to avoid knocking some cones over as it steers the world along its course through history. Leading with a strong economy and by consistently improving our example for championing human rights should be enough. But when they aren't, and they won't be, we need to have a strong military. That is not just an expensive one. It is an effective one that can protect us when we are threatened. We do not have such a military for today's threats.

Quote:
Joe Bauers - 4/1/2005 3:18 PM
For example: Had G. W. Bush declared that we must reduce our dependence on fossil fuels by, say, 20% in the same amount of time that he has allotted for our eventual landing on Mars, perhaps there would have been motivation to do that. Instead, we wallow in our oil dependency, causing us to do to third-world countries the kinds of things that reap so much hatred and hostility toward us. Check your auto showrooms today--they're loaded with SUVs, still, and trucks, while the CAFE standards are diluted by exemptions for vehicles that may be used for commercial purposes.
Joe B.
Joe, I think our priorities on a national level are very skewed towards the corporate Nazis. There is an unwavering faith in the strength of the almighty dollar that is revolting and short sighted. But our use of oil is not the source of our present problem. It is a problem to be sure, and, had we never needed the Mideast Oil, Osamma never would have been born as his father would likely have been beheaded by some bigger, stronger badass in the desert of what is now Saudi Arabia, but never would have remained so without American oil company investments.

Our present problem with terrorism is not based on some moral high ground the terrorists occupy over our disgusting consumption of oil. It is first and foremost about Israel, and next all about our need to infuse every corner of the world with our outlook on life. Forget being pissed off about going to Mars (I do not think that was funded so we aren't going anyway), if we just spent the money we have turned into American blood and spilled in the sand in Iraq on a means to find new sources of energy we would be much farther ahead. But the terrorists don't hate us for our SUVs, they hate us because we support Israel's existence, and insist they want SUVs, and Malls and chewing gum and women that drive cars, and so on. I saw a PBS show on this last night. The Saudis were genuinely confused why we did not give the Jews a chunk of Bavaria instead of a chunk of Palestine.

Quote:
Joe Bauers - 4/1/2005 3:18 PM
Your solution is to "nuke the bastards," which sounds simple and complete--but it takes into account nothing of the fallout (real and psychological) from such an action. It amazes me that a man of your considerable intellectual capability is so cavalier about annihilating millions of people, just so we can live threat-free in our comfy world of over-indulgence.
Joe B.
Maybe you overestimate my intellectual capability, or underestimate my threshold for going to war. I am a firm believer we should stay the hell out of anything involving our military that is not an all-out war, in which case nukes are a necessary, by definition, weapon to bring to bear. My apparent "cavalier" attitude about the use of nukes arises only after I have gone over the threshold of going to war. Once there, I find the concept of "giving chances" absurd. Wars should be as short and quick, and violent and revolting as they need to be to secure our safety. Anything else is even more immoral. It is a political game that is played with lives. That, I find, a truly cavalier attitude about the value of life.

I would rather explain why we used nukes to protect America from a genuine threat, for centuries if needed, than allow America to fall to the likes of those who threatened us, and not be here to make those explanations. I happen to believe we are much more vulnerable than others, and I therefore do not find we have the treasure and lives to whittle away on conflicts that are not wars.


Quote:
Joe Bauers - 4/1/2005 3:18 PM
In America, we believe that the only problem with instant gratification is that it takes too long. So, too, our attitude toward this newest threat. I believe that we must live with the threat of terrorism for the foreseeable future, while one would hope we set about changing our course as a country, so as to reduce at least some of the reasons that terrorism exists in the first place. This is not a palatable answer to most--we have swallowed the myths about our own superiority to such a degree that most of us cannot abide the notion that we might not actually be omnipotent.

Joe B.
We are on the same coin here, just not exactly the same side. One of us is on the edge.

I agree. We are already not the superior economic, moral or military entity we once were. It is hard to become superior, and apparently even harder to stay superior. We took about thirty years off and indulged ourselves in our superiority and we are now second rate in nearly every measurable category, except perhaps military spending and having nukes. My view is we are now brittle and vulnerable. We cannot survive on the path we are presently taking.

So, we need to change. Change takes a long time, and some kind of external stimulus to force it. Change, without a plan and leadership capable of directing the process along the plan, is not necessarily going to be change for the good.

I do not think we have the plan or the leadership to embark on any changes of any significant scale, especially while we have the cover of being at war with terrorists to cloud the issue. Anyone questioning our motives, direction or leadership is drowned in sea of "patriotic" sewage.

Also, there is nothing acceptable about terror. We should not aspire to learn to live with it for any period of time. We should respond, if we are threatened, the best way we know how, with the intent of learning to eradicate that which threatens us.

With time we may learn how to eradicate threats before they mature into reasons to go to war. Until then, we would be advised to keep the nukes functional, deliverable, reliable and secure. Jim
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post #62 of 96 (permalink) Old 04-01-2005, 09:40 PM
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RE: Is it wrong for the USA to be militaristic?

Quote:
Joe Bauers - 4/1/2005 3:18 PM

JimSmith: Your assumption is that our military is incompetent to face the threats that linger against us in the 9/11 world. My point is that spending more than all other countries in the world combined on our military has not protected us against terrorism. We need a different approach, one that involves international cooperation, and a concerted effort to end American imperialism around the world. It is not a military problem, to me at least; it is a cultural and moral one.
Joe B.
Joe, I think we agree a little here. I wrote a long winded response that got lost in cyberspace, so I will try again. But not as long winded.

I am possibly more pessimistic than you, although I consider it being more realistic. We suck at some things, and understanding other cultures is right at the top of the list. We alienated Europe over Iraq, and even worse, we taught them to question our motives, abilities and honesty. The prior relationship with Europe was based on WWII, the Marshall Plan, and the Cold War. We do not have the time to recreate all that to earn their trust, so we cannot lead an international coalition or group to snuff out terrorism using an international network of cops. It will be a military job and we suck at that too.

I wholeheartedly agree we should shed the American Imperialism act.

Quote:
Joe Bauers - 4/1/2005 3:18 PM
For example: Had G. W. Bush declared that we must reduce our dependence on fossil fuels by, say, 20% in the same amount of time that he has allotted for our eventual landing on Mars, perhaps there would have been motivation to do that. Instead, we wallow in our oil dependency, causing us to do to third-world countries the kinds of things that reap so much hatred and hostility toward us. Check your auto showrooms today--they're loaded with SUVs, still, and trucks, while the CAFE standards are diluted by exemptions for vehicles that may be used for commercial purposes.

Your solution is to "nuke the bastards," which sounds simple and complete--but it takes into account nothing of the fallout (real and psychological) from such an action. It amazes me that a man of your considerable intellectual capability is so cavalier about annihilating millions of people, just so we can live threat-free in our comfy world of over-indulgence.
Joe B.
Joe, you either overestimate my intellectual capability, or you underestimate my threshold for going to war. War is a last resort. A do or die situation. You do not go to war unless it is all out. Going to war and "giving chances" for any reason is absurd. Wars should be as short as possible, and as violent, horrifying and gruesome as they need to be, to be as short as possible. You do anything and everything to win. To do anything else, to enter into a conflict with military force under any other circumstances, is spending lives to play some political game. That, in my assessment is being much more cavalier with the lives of American soldiers and other populations involved.

Our activities that have reaped the hatred of the Mid East have nothing to do with our disgusting appetite for their oil. That is a problem, for sure, but it is not the root cause of terrorism. The root cause of terrorism is our support of Israel, and our inability to let other cultures be. We force our beliefs and ways into the culture of these nations, changing them in ways they never agreed they wanted to be changed. PBS had a show on last night tracing our involvement with the Saudis. At one point they stated they were genuinely confused why we gave the Jews a chunk of Palestine instead of Bavaria. They also went into detail of how Saudia Arabia has not dealt with the presence of Americans well, and how disturbing our outlook on life is to them. The fact that we enabled the ruling family to become much more powerful, and wealty, is not necessarily attributed to us as a negative consequence. The fact that they are selling us a lot of oil is also not viewed as a bad thing. Both of them are bad things in the grand scheme of world events, but they are not the reasons behind the terror attacks.

Quote:
Joe Bauers - 4/1/2005 3:18 PM
In America, we believe that the only problem with instant gratification is that it takes too long. So, too, our attitude toward this newest threat. I believe that we must live with the threat of terrorism for the foreseeable future, while one would hope we set about changing our course as a country, so as to reduce at least some of the reasons that terrorism exists in the first place. This is not a palatable answer to most--we have swallowed the myths about our own superiority to such a degree that most of us cannot abide the notion that we might not actually be omnipotent.

Joe B.
I think our nation has taken about thirty or more years off and has been loafing along under the impression that we are superior. I think it has made us brittle and vulnerable. I do not think we have the means to change as you would like, and I am not sure it is even feasible.

I noted earlier that change, especially the kinds of changes you advocate that affect human behavior, are not well understood. Social engineering is not practiced with any scientific rigor. There is no assurance using our present tools and methods that the root of the problem is identified, that specific actions can be taken to rectify the problem, and that results can be predicted, measured and the process validated. WE NEVER DO THIS. We stop somewhere around half way through the first step and just do something that benefits someone making the decison, or paying for someone making the decision. The proces is therefore unreliable.

Change is needed. In our present environment, likely to last a while, where the nation is proclaimed to be at "war" the kind of change you advocate is even less likely as any criticism of the leadership and actions underway are immediately washed away with this political "patriotic" sewage that now permeates everything.

While I agree we are no longer that superior economic, moral and military entity we once were, I am not sure we should aspire to learning to live with terror for any length of time. I would much prefer a world being run by America, even if we knock some cones over as we steer the world through its course. So, I think we should aspire to reestablishing that superiority with an overhaul of our economic priorities, our moral stance on human rights, and our military. That will take a long time. In the mean time we need to be secure. So I suggest we keep those nukes functional, reliable, and secure. Jim
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post #63 of 96 (permalink) Old 04-02-2005, 04:42 AM
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RE: Is it wrong for the USA to be militaristic?

Jim, I have to agree with Joe & Z here. The problem with the doctrine you espouse is that it is very, very dangerous. I understand you are Utilitarian, ethically, but that position is open to question. Utilitarians think they can perform a calculus weighing up the all the complex good and evil consequences of an action or set of actions; this sounds attractive, but is actually impossible for all but the simplest philosophy textbook examples. You have no way of knowing that by using nuclear weapons it is the lesser of many evils. It is also very dangerous, because in a world dominated by psychopathic corporate interests and toadying, brainwashing media (not to mention populations of dolts), it is so open to abuse. Another problem is that once nukes have been used, a line has been crossed and the remote obliteration of millions of men, women and children becomes easier and easier. The environmental consequences I will not even go into.

The way to preserve what is good about our western civilisation - and much is very good indeed - is to deal with the worst of it first - then our problems with others will be more manageable.

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post #64 of 96 (permalink) Old 04-02-2005, 06:37 PM
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RE: Is it wrong for the USA to be militaristic?

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Zeitgeist - 3/29/2005 10:12 PM

...wait, what side am I on, again?
I don't see 'sides'. I see a position or argument with which I agree.
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post #65 of 96 (permalink) Old 04-02-2005, 07:05 PM
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RE: Is it wrong for the USA to be militaristic?

This may be a distraction, but I think that I am in some sort of agreement with something both Joe and Jim have observed, though the causality thing will stand between us and complete agreement.

I agree that our military is not optimal for fighting a war on terrorism. Our military reflects the mindset of the electorate that pays for it: We define enemies by geography. This worked fine until just after WWII. The commie totalitarians and the western democracies both realized that we were at a military stalemate. MAD brought peace. An insanely dangerous peace, IMO. So we all began developing alternative means of forceful persuasion and encouraging our various client states (AKA "pawns") to use them against each other while we superpowers concentrated on building systems capable of annhilating life on Earth.

After forty years of extremely clever innovations, we (western democracies) built a military with power unimagined back when WWIII (the 'Cold War") began. The commie totalitarians fell from power or changed direction resulting in western democracies having the only cohesive world-class military. That is, a military that can project overwhelming power anywhere at any time. The power tools of the former totalitarians are still laying around, but that's a subject for another time.

These tools are designed to intimidate, wound, or kill states. We have demonstrated their near invincibility to the world and the world noticed. There is no challenge to our ability to engage our military in conventional warfare.

But our military is nearly powerless against stateless threats. We projected our matchless military against two states and quickly destroyed both of them as political entities. But we have not defeated their ability to project power so in that sense, we have not defeated them.

I do not believe that MORE military is the answer. In frsutration, we think nuking cities will bring them defeat. That is a dangerous, illusory and false hope. It will not defeat a man with a gun and a will and determination to use it.

So what can a poor boy do?

After military defeat of the state, you gotta fight the 'hearts and minds' war or you must embark on a war of annhilation.

"Hearts and minds" are won by offering people a path with hope and self-determination. This does not mean write everybody a check who is mad at us. It means helping the people to build a society predicated on the worth of every individual. Help them to open their minds to new ways of thinking and working. Open their eyes to see a future for their children that is better for them than the future offered by the stateless enemies--who offers TNT jacket and seventy virgins in an eternal afterlife.
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post #66 of 96 (permalink) Old 04-02-2005, 08:48 PM
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RE: Is it wrong for the USA to be militaristic?

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The United States needs to rethink the things it does in the world that result in a terrorist mentality.
This is the responsibility of every individual, from any democratic country. We must understand that we are judged by the claim our nations are run by their individual citizens directly. Therefore it may be that our cultures themselves may be held more responsible than any government administrations we elect, by nations whom govern in an entirely different fashion.
And the truth is this claim supposedly holds. Democratic governments respond directly to their voters...which means you.
Many systems govern by a philosophy. In the event this is what we democratic individuals may be lacking, and these are combative times, perhaps a medieval philosophy (not science), may be prudent to at least regard.
From the Japanese Shugenja (Shidoeshi-teacher of the warrior ways of enlightenment), "A warrior is (personally) responsible for everything which happens in his world."

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post #67 of 96 (permalink) Old 04-02-2005, 08:49 PM
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RE: Is it wrong for the USA to be militaristic?

cont.

It's how you personally treat those whom visit or live in your country, which your government supports and is judged by outsiders. You, personally. What you say here on this forum, and what you do on the way to buying milk from the store. How you won't lift a hand to help someone who is being raped, or even others who might try to help them. Or, how you are nice to an outsider no matter their apparent wealth or lack of. Open a door of opportunity for them. You, personally.
Or how everything fits into a classification and others tell you what those mean.

Here's a thought, when religion becomes unanymously illogical, it has finally been achieved.

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post #68 of 96 (permalink) Old 04-03-2005, 12:00 AM
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RE: Is it wrong for the USA to be militaristic?

Jesus is perfect. he turned the other cheek,I turn the other cheek every day.I do unto others as I would have them do unto me. I'm an imperfect sinner & thet's why Jesus came. If someone attacks me or my loved ones I wont turn the other cheek, I will defend my rights to be left alone. Your right, if everyone followed Jesus's or the Bible's example this world would be a lot better off that is why I stated good Muslims should take care of their own & take care of the radicals out there. Good Christians should as well. It takes one "bad apple" to ruin it for a lot.Yuo are also right that I'm a gung-ho $#@& head.I don't believe in doing things half way. It's all the way or no way, that's what made this country strong,everyone pulling their own weight.I will continue to treat people regardless of who they are the way I would like to be treated but if some crazy person wants to harm me or someone else than I will look for the best way to take them out of commission. I will use all my resources to deal with it. So if it means "nuking" another country that wont behave so be it.The U.S.unleashed this evil on Hiroshima & Nagasaki so it's just a matter of time before the wrong person gets them & uses them on us.In the mean time we must fight the good fight & take care of those idiots out there teaching their children that we [Americans] are evil.The U.S. must reap what it sows & I think we've helped more countries than we've hurt.We should've followed the advice of Patton & Macarthur & dealt with the rest of the world back in the forties & we wouldn't have the problems we have now. OOPS! I just opened another can of worms [:D]Good fortune to all

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post #69 of 96 (permalink) Old 04-03-2005, 12:03 AM
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RE: Is it wrong for the USA to be militaristic?

Jesus is perfect. he turned the other cheek,I turn the other cheek every day.I do unto others as I would have them do unto me. I'm an imperfect sinner & that's why Jesus came. If someone attacks me or my loved ones I wont turn the other cheek, I will defend my rights to be left alone. Your right, if everyone followed Jesus's or the Bible's example this world would be a lot better off that is why I stated good Muslims should take care of their own & take care of the radicals out there. Good Christians should as well. It takes one "bad apple" to ruin it for a lot.You are also right that I'm a gung-ho $#@& head.I don't believe in doing things half way. It's all the way or no way, that's what made this country strong,everyone pulling their own weight.I will continue to treat people regardless of who they are the way I would like to be treated but if some crazy person wants to harm me or someone else than I will look for the best way to take them out of commission. I will use all my resources to deal with it. So if it means "nuking" another country that wont behave so be it.The U.S.unleashed this evil on Hiroshima & Nagasaki so it's just a matter of time before the wrong person gets them & uses them on us.In the mean time we must fight the good fight & take care of those idiots out there teaching their children that we [Americans] are evil.The U.S. must reap what it sows & I think we've helped more countries than we've hurt.We should've followed the advice of Patton & Macarthur & dealt with the rest of the world back in the forties & we wouldn't have the problems we have now. OOPS! I just opened another can of worms [:D]Good fortune to all

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post #70 of 96 (permalink) Old 04-03-2005, 12:25 AM
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RE: Is it wrong for the USA to be militaristic?

Quote:
jjl - 4/1/2005 7:56 PM

Quote:
benmaples - 4/2/2005 1:33 AM

No it is not wrong for us to be militaristic. Ther is a time for war & a time for peace. Muslim extremists brought it on & we need to finish it. No "w.m.d.'s" were found in Iraq. WAAAH! They had 10 years to move them people. We now have forward operating bases in Iraq,Afghanistan,Saudi Arabia,Kuwait etc. & now Pakistan is supposed to be letting C.I.A. operatives work out of their country. Sounds like a pretty good battle plan to me. The Muslim community should have taken care of their "own", meaning infiltrate & destroy the so called extremists on their own which would have prevented 9-11. Instead of taking our money & help while screaming death to americans. The Muslim faith focuses on Muhamid whose main claim to fame was being a profit & defeating large numbers in battle. Never performed a miracle, never heald or raised anyone from the dead but is comparable to Jesus in their eyes.Evil& non-believing people will pay on judgement day,until then the good people of the world must fight the good fight. It was a Muslim extremist that started this whole death to Christians thing centuries ago & in the end GOD & JESUS CHRIST will prevail,until then we [Americans] need to keep our Country strong & kick a little butt when need be.I say nuke em all & if we die from radiation fallout,I know where I'm going. DO YOU?[8)]
I guess you must have missed the part about loving your enemies and turning the other cheek. Would Jesus us nuke? You are just another crazy religious gung-ho fuck-head. Is there some factory churning you guys out?
Yup! TEXAS. We're real friendly til you mess with us,then you've opened up a hornets nest.We're pretty adaptable & resourceful too.We treat people the way we want to be treated but if they treat us like bull hocky then we give 'em bull hocky. We believe in honor & integrity & looking out for those stray mavericks in the world that need a good bulldoggin' & hog tying like Osama Bin butt lick & Sodom Hussien. [:D]

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