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[P]
China complains about US human rights abuses

By delmoi in MLP
Tue Apr 03, 2001 at 05:18:37 PM EST
Tags: Politics (all tags)
Politics

Here's something interesting. China complaining about the US's human rights abuses. I read this a while ago, and found it to be a little blown out of proportion, but it's certainly interesting, none the less.


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US human rights record
o Fantastic 1%
o Good 14%
o OK 15%
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China complains about US human rights abuses | 106 comments (90 topical, 16 editorial, 0 hidden)
human rights in china (3.66 / 6) (#1)
by Seumas on Mon Apr 02, 2001 at 08:16:49 PM EST

And here's what the Chinese government wishes people didn't know about.
--
I just read K5 for the articles.
Well, since I think everyone can agree that China (3.77 / 9) (#4)
by ZanThrax on Mon Apr 02, 2001 at 08:54:50 PM EST

isn't neccessarily the best source for human rights abuses, maybe we should ask Amnesty International what they think of the US? That's the US section of the 2000 report, they have many articles about various topics mentioned within. (They're easier to find by searching amnesty-usa.org though)

Before flying off the handle over the suggestion that your a cocksucker, be sure that you do not, in fact, have a cock in your mouth.

AI on China (3.80 / 5) (#10)
by jasonab on Mon Apr 02, 2001 at 09:38:20 PM EST

Compare that report to AI's report on China

--
America is a great country. One of the freest in the world. -- greenrd
[ Parent ]
More from Amnesty (4.66 / 3) (#27)
by imperium on Tue Apr 03, 2001 at 04:26:49 AM EST

This page lists a wide range of abuses, starting with Pepper spray used repeatedly on Native American children, and including Flouting world trends, violating international standards, not to mention Florida and Texas: Brothers Bush must stop this state-sanctioned vengeance!

x.
imperium
[ Parent ]

Capital punishment is not abuse (4.00 / 1) (#49)
by weirdling on Tue Apr 03, 2001 at 12:30:42 PM EST

When capital punishment is meted out, it does not constitute an abuse of human rights. It constitutes a legitimate response to people who have deomstrated that they are a 'detriment to society'. It is an adage that dead men do not repeat crimes. It is funny to me that this is the lead-off in the report, indicating that the rest of the world does not like capital punishment. It is also funny that most of these articles also call for some form of gun control, as if that doesn't *reduce* my rights as a law-abiding citizen.
Other than that, the phrase 'were reported' gets used a lot. How many times? What severity? The US is a big country, and one or two incidents does not constitute a trend...

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
The AI report (3.00 / 1) (#55)
by j on Tue Apr 03, 2001 at 01:52:49 PM EST

I still like the Chinese report better. It's less judgemental.
Kidding aside, am I the only one who finds it weird that 'Ill-treatment in prisons and jails' and 'Women in prison' are two different paragraphs in the AI report? Granted, some of the issues mentioned in the paragraph about women are unique to them. Still, in my eyes, it would have looked better to combine the two paragraphs.

[ Parent ]
I assume that AI (3.00 / 1) (#64)
by ZanThrax on Tue Apr 03, 2001 at 03:31:49 PM EST

seperates the women in prison thing because of the highly unequal treatment women recieve in most of the world.

Before flying off the handle over the suggestion that your a cocksucker, be sure that you do not, in fact, have a cock in your mouth.
[ Parent ]

unequal treatment (3.00 / 1) (#65)
by j on Tue Apr 03, 2001 at 04:24:05 PM EST

That is true enough. But then the section about women should at least be confined to the cases where they are treated differently from male inmates. Unnecessary solitary confinement and sadistic restraining methods are not unique to female inmates, for example, though the latter is certainly even more despicable on a pregnant woman. As far as sexual harrassment by male guards goes: who knows. I wonder whether female inmates get raped by their fellow inmates, too. Probably.

[ Parent ]
Overblown, but still very interesting (3.50 / 4) (#6)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Mon Apr 02, 2001 at 09:10:35 PM EST

I agree that China's assessment is blown out of proportion a little. There are a few issues brought up in this article that I would classify as problems of the US society in general, not human rights violations committed by the government.

"Human rights" violations are kind of like censorship - they can only be done by governments. The US gun problem and the culture of violence in general are not human rights violations. They are problems with society, and society has a tendency to change very slowly. If China and other nations began an embargo against the US, demanding that we become less violent, I think the embargo would be in effect for a very long time. Social norms just don't change quickly.

On the other hand, this paper points out a number of issues which are an easy slam-dunk into the human rights bucket. Among these are the atrocities committed against inmates, police bruatlity, and racial inequalities in the US justice system. As a US citizen, it is a little humiliating to see the human rights violations here exposed. Of course, as the paper points out, US violations are notably absent from the US State Department's own report.

I don't think anyone can discuss this article without considering just who is making these accusations. It's more than a little ironic that China, of all nations, is accusing the US media of being government propaganda. This is coming from a nation that makes no secret that it imprisons critics of the government.

--
jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.

monumentally contentious definition (4.50 / 4) (#32)
by streetlawyer on Tue Apr 03, 2001 at 05:34:10 AM EST

Human rights" violations are kind of like censorship - they can only be done by governments.

This is a very contentious definition, which has the effect of massively slanting the debate in favour of capitalist societies. For example, it takes capitalism off the hook for starving to death millions of Irish and Indians, because this wasn't the action of any particular body but one of the system as a whole. In fact, of course, casting the whole debate in favour of "rights talk" is not neutral in the first place. You have more *rights* in a formal, political sense regarding free speech in the USA than practically anywhere else. However, the actual *speech* which is carried out is so curtailed by social conventions that there is vastly less *freedom* to say what you want than in, for example, France, its anti-Nazi, libel and privacy laws notwithstanding.

Of course, the idea that China is a more free place or a greater respecter of human life than the USA is ludicrous on the face of it, but your restriction of human rights to "things governments do" stultifies other, more interesting debates.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]

Culture Vs. Govt. (3.00 / 1) (#58)
by Devil Ducky on Tue Apr 03, 2001 at 02:00:53 PM EST

There are things the government does not allow me to say (in any of the forms of speech) but there are many more restrictions given by society.

I as a human, American citizen have the government given right to say things that our society does not give me the right to. I have a right to be a racist, KKK membership card carrying, asshole. As long as I do not actually hurt anyone I will not be punished by the government (put on a list to watch perhaps, and then over-reacted to - another story completly) but society (at least the "better" parts) would consider that wrong and would cry out for someone to stop me <- Hence the hypocricy.

The only reason this country hasn't fallen completly apart (some say it already has) is that those spcial mores prevent most of us from using all of what we are allowed to do. In other words, if all there was was government restrictions the only person reasonably safe from threats would be the dumb-ass president; and that's just not right.

Back to the point: most of these so called human-rights violations are not sanctioned by the government. When China/France/Iran/Zaire says "the U.S. is ..." they are refering to the government (that is what their enemy is) but the problems (police-brutality, racial discrimination, child abuse, etc.) are the people's fault. The only thing on any of these sites that is sactioned is the death penalty, but you know with Fry-Em-Up Bush in office those numbers aren't going to go down for awhile.

Devil Ducky

Immune to the Forces of Duct Tape
Day trading at it's Funnest
[ Parent ]
Inaction is action (4.00 / 1) (#60)
by ucblockhead on Tue Apr 03, 2001 at 02:44:11 PM EST

It doesn't take government action, merely government inaction. The lynchings perpetrated by the KKK were possible partially because the government looked the other way. They did not overtly participate the human rights abuse but it certainly bore part of the responsibility for it.
-----------------------
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]
Some points to consider (3.00 / 2) (#46)
by weirdling on Tue Apr 03, 2001 at 12:24:34 PM EST

I strongly question if the rate of abuse of criminals is all that high, but I won't contend that. What I will point out is that when this happens, the people responsible are almost always punished. Often not by the higherarchy above them, but by the civil court system awarding large cash damages. I'd like to see a Chinese dissident sue the Chinese government in open court...

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
Something to discuss (4.46 / 13) (#8)
by delmoi on Mon Apr 02, 2001 at 09:23:39 PM EST

A lot of the comments I've seen are saying things like 'what is there to discuss?' or 'why should we listen to china on human rights?' And I think those people are kind of missing the point, or more likely I didn't do a very good job of expressing it.

What's interesting to me, isn't so much the text itself, (it sounds way over the top, I don't think the US is as bad as Beijing makes it out to be.) but the fact that it was written, and the fact that it could be written at all. I was originally told about the article by My Chinese teacher, who claimed that American media was every bit as biased as Chinese media. There it's controlled by the government, here it's controlled by 3 or 4 corporations.

The idea is, by seeing a paper like this, you might gain some appreciation, and some perspective dealing with things like the US discussion of China's human rights violations. If the US state department (which didn't mention any US violations in its report on world human rights violations) has a political motive to make China look bad, couldn't they do it as easily as Beijing managed to do here?

And, keep in mind this is what the average Chinese person probably thinks about America, and it's almost a mirror about what the average American thinks about China. Misconceptions of the US abound in the rest of the world (It's a common question of Americans in Japan if they've shot anyone, for example).

So, please don't vote my story down for not having enough discussion value :)
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
lack of discussion value (4.00 / 2) (#47)
by ocelot on Tue Apr 03, 2001 at 12:27:09 PM EST

I voted it down not because of lack of discussion value, but because it has so much discussion value. A one line "Look at this report!" writeup really does not do it justice. Summarize the article a bit, include what you've said in this post, and it will be a much better article.

Unfortunatly, it looks like it's going to get posted as-is.

MLP should not be used as a way to post stories without putting effort into them.

[ Parent ]

Sources of Chinese article (3.28 / 7) (#9)
by jasonab on Mon Apr 02, 2001 at 09:35:38 PM EST

The Washington Post had an interesting editorial when this report came out (although I can't retrieve it now). If you look at the sources of this report, most are based in the United States itself. Some of the sources, in fact, are US government sources themselves. Although the State Department does not report directly on US issues, other government departments do have such as their job.

The Post's point was, regardless of whatever problems the US might have, we report on ourselves, and allow our citizens to report on our government. If any of the articles published about the US in the US were instead on and in China, they would never be published in the first place.

--
America is a great country. One of the freest in the world. -- greenrd

Too bad its MLP (2.50 / 2) (#11)
by snap on Mon Apr 02, 2001 at 10:10:32 PM EST

I only give it +1 Section because it was MLP. I think America needs to examine its human rights record more closely (although this article misses many of the real abuses -- see Noam Chomsky for some better examples), but I just can't bring myself to put MLP on the front page.

Voting Rate (3.25 / 4) (#12)
by Osiris on Mon Apr 02, 2001 at 10:36:19 PM EST

...the voting rate for the 1998 mid-term election hit a record low of 36.1 per cent. Compared with 1994, voting rates in 36 states declined, with a 4.3 per cent drop for Republican voters and a 2.1 per cent fall for Democrats.

I just had to comment on that one part. Yes, people choose not to vote. They have that right, and I personally think compulsory voting is a bad idea. Even a 36.1% voting rate is rather better than China's voting rate, which I'd put right around 0.000002% (~20 politburo members out of a billion people?)

I'm not old enough to really remember official Soviet Russian type stuff. Was their propaganda also as bad as this? It reminds me of the scene in Saving Private Ryan, "The Statue of Liberty is kaput!"



An unAmerican solution (4.33 / 3) (#26)
by Sunir on Tue Apr 03, 2001 at 02:51:19 AM EST

An American solution would be to force people to do the Right Thing, for some definition of the Right Thing. Of course it's wrong to force people to vote because people must be free to not vote. But it's only a superficial cure anyway. The first step is asking why aren't people voting?

There could be many reasons. I don't live in the United States, but it's becoming clear there is a large consensus that the government is largely malfeasant. Moreover, from conception America has been anti-government, consequently weakening the ability of its government to act. I understand that democracy must move slowly in order to be stable, but it seems that in America it's so slow it moves backwards.

Maybe it's because America is a large country, and getting a large number of people to agree is nearly impossible. Nonetheless, smaller jurisdictions are experimenting with democratic reforms. For instance, the province of Manitoba recently banned corporate and union donations and limited personal donations to $3000. This would certainly limit the influence of corporations, although it may not be constitutionally valid.

"Look! You're free! Go, and be free!" and everyone hated it for that. --r
[ Parent ]

Soviet propaganda (3.00 / 1) (#45)
by weirdling on Tue Apr 03, 2001 at 12:20:28 PM EST

The Russians were always better at this. Russian propaganda generally had manufactured statistics and facts that were close to the furthest distorted edge of reality and tended to avoid calling the US things they were themselves. However, China of late is not in the same position as Russia. China sees itself as stepping into a great power vacuum, formed when Russia abandoned superpower status. Now, the problem is that China is doing this as a matter of opportunity; the US has plenty of enemies, and China wants to be the rack they hang their hats on. So, without any idea what they're doing, they've gone from isolationist to expansionist, all with the *certainty* that the US will not attack them.

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
What "rights"? (3.83 / 6) (#14)
by qpt on Mon Apr 02, 2001 at 10:46:53 PM EST

While posing as a listing of human rights violations, the article manages to spout a whole bunch of pointless statistics that have nothing to do with rights at all.

Particularly irksome were the sections dealing with economic and social rights. The article doesn't seem to come to an actual point, but just quotes statistics that appear to prove a rising gap between the rich and poor in the US. What does this have to do with human rights?

Is there some right to economic equality? Of course there isn't, that's absurd. If you don't like others being able to afford more than you, the problem is with your jealous and narrow attitude. There are much more important things in life than money.

On the other hand, it is important that everyone be able to acquire what they need to survive. The article didn't bother to touch on this, however. It was far too busy spouting idiotic socialist propaganda. I know it sounds cliche, but listing to Chinese perspectives on human rights is a waste of time.

They haven't even the first clue what a right is.

Domine Deus, creator coeli et terrae respice humilitatem nostram.

Actual quotes from the Declaration of Human Rights (4.62 / 8) (#39)
by Sunir on Tue Apr 03, 2001 at 11:46:07 AM EST

You obviously weren't aware there was a Universal Declaration of Human Rights from the United Nations, so I shall summarize the relevant Articles for you. You will see there are quite a lot of economic and social protections afforded as pure capitalism creates imbalances in the social order.

By the way, I'm kind of dismayed that you "haven't even the first clue what a right is." Do they not mention the U.N. Declaration in U.S. civics classes? That would be very sad.

Article 22.

Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.
Article 23.
  1. Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.

  2. Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.

  3. Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.

  4. Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.

Article 24.
Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.
Article 25.
  1. Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.

  2. Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.

Article 28.
Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.

"Look! You're free! Go, and be free!" and everyone hated it for that. --r
[ Parent ]

Completely irrelevent. (3.85 / 7) (#41)
by qpt on Tue Apr 03, 2001 at 12:05:35 PM EST

The fact that people think that writing something down on a piece of paper makes it a right only proves how little they understand the concept of rights.

If they had written down, "Everyone has the right to two cars," would it have made it a right? No, that's idiotic. Rights aren't created or destroyed by stupid pieces of paper. They can be listed, but that's all.

What makes the "rights" you listed so exceptionally stupid is that they put an obligation on someone else to fulfill them. Most of them require that someone else do something for you, such as give you money or a job or a house. True rights put obligations on others not to do something.

The UN deciding to write a bunch of shit on a piece of paper means nothing. I hope they don't teach that bull-crap schools, just as I hope they don't teach the idiocy of creation. Both show a complete lack of connection with reality.

Domine Deus, creator coeli et terrae respice humilitatem nostram.
[ Parent ]

Completely wrong--the U.S. view on the Declaration (4.85 / 7) (#54)
by Sunir on Tue Apr 03, 2001 at 01:51:55 PM EST

I think you ought to read more widely before you weigh in on the topic. First, read the article in question. China is holding the U.S. to human rights standards. The only internationally recognized standard is the U.N. Declaration.

So, while this piece of paper doesn't create rights in your little world view, that paper is certainly the paper that China is holding your little world to. And it is the same piece of paper that the U.S. is holding China to.

Quoting the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor:

The UN Commission on Human Rights is the world's largest and most important international forum for the discussion, review, and promotion of human rights worldwide. The 53-member Commission meets for six weeks in March and April -- each year -- in Geneva, Switzerland. Human rights have been a cornerstone of American values since the country's birth and the United States is committed to support the work of the UN Commission in promoting the principles embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
You are wrong, too, that rights aren't created by writing them on paper. That's the only way to create rights. In the U.S., only the constitution and Bill of Rights create rights in your sovereign nation. As China points out in the article, the United States doesn't recognize international law instead its own borders. However, it does apply it elsewhere...

Seriously, reading about this stuff is a lot more interesting than swearing up and down flaunting your ignorance of the issue. If you had on the other hand really tried to say why you think the fundamental principles of the Declaration are wrong in a calm way, that would have been a lot more fun.

"Look! You're free! Go, and be free!" and everyone hated it for that. --r
[ Parent ]

Wrong (4.40 / 5) (#67)
by qpt on Tue Apr 03, 2001 at 07:37:48 PM EST

You're so utterly confused about the concept of rights that I'm most likely wasting my time, but I suppose that I really don't have anything better to do than explain elementary principles to fools such as yourself.

Despite what modern humanist dogma might like to claim, their are laws and principles that are not governed by human opinion. The so called "laws of nature" are a good example of this. One can measure the quality of a science or math textbook by examining how closely its content aligns to fact. There are objective standards for evaluating the content of science and math textbooks.

Because of this, even if all the textbooks in the world said that the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter was 3, they would all be wrong. Rights work in the same way. Even if every country on earth decided that everyone had a right to a nice new hat, it wouldn't make it so.

The stand that you want to take is ridiculous and dangerous. If human rights are constituted only by an agreement between nations, then anything at all can be agreed upon. What if the UN decides that capital punishment meted out for simple theft is not a violation of human rights? Under you idiotic model, you would have no grounds for saying that the UN is wrong.

You are rapidly eroding my faith in the intelligence of K5's readership.

Domine Deus, creator coeli et terrae respice humilitatem nostram.
[ Parent ]

A Question (none / 0) (#72)
by fsh on Tue Apr 03, 2001 at 11:19:50 PM EST

What makes the "rights" you listed so exceptionally stupid is that they put an obligation on someone else to fulfill them.
Then what rights do we have that *aren't* guaranteed by the cooperation of those around us? If a right is only something that is inherently true, and can't be taken away, I can't really think of anything that is a right. Not trying to be an ass, I'm just trying to understand what you are saying. As far as I can tell, if the only rights we have are ones that can't be taken away, in the same way that pi cannot equal three by simply saying so, then our only rights are things like 'you have the right to be a mammal, Homo Sapiens'. I don't have the right to live, for instance, because I can die, and I don't have the right to speak my mind, because I can be silenced.

Here's the relevant definitions I pulled from Dictionary.com:

6: Something that is due to a person or governmental body by law, tradition, or nature: "Certain rights can never be granted to the government, but must be kept in the hands of the people" (Eleanor Roosevelt).

7: A just or legal claim or title.


-fsh
[ Parent ]
An example right (5.00 / 1) (#74)
by physicsgod on Wed Apr 04, 2001 at 12:53:04 AM EST

You have the right to live. It's a right because nobody else has to do anything for you for you to keep living. Health care would not be a right, since it obligates someone (doctors, me) to do something (care, pay).

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]
The right to live? (none / 0) (#86)
by fsh on Wed Apr 04, 2001 at 10:11:58 PM EST

In a capitalist society, even the right to live is still dependant on others. One must have a job to get the money to buy the house and the food one needs to live. Without the job your employer gives you, you end up living on government welfare. Land to till or to build your own shelter on also requires money, which must come from some outside source. Many many jobs also require education and literacy, which is also provided by the government in the form of public schools.

Even if this money is inherited, you still depend upon your parents to provide it to you. Even the very source of life, your parents, requires that they care enough to nurture you as a child.

As I said, I did not mean to be an ass with this question. Rights, as I understand them, are agreed upon by society, and are thus completely dependant upon other humans in that society.


-fsh
[ Parent ]

Yes and No (none / 0) (#90)
by physicsgod on Thu Apr 05, 2001 at 01:20:43 AM EST

I agree with you that rights are determined by the society, they're all part of the social contract. I don't think that you have to be dependant on others to survive, even in a capitalistic society. You can go out to the midwest, pick up a patch of land (this is left as an exercise for the reader) and start a subsistance farm. True, you're not going to have any kind of life we'd recognize as comfortable, but you would not be dependant on others, at least not under the rights the US was founded on.

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]
Clarification (none / 0) (#91)
by fsh on Thu Apr 05, 2001 at 02:21:09 AM EST

I hate to pick nits, but all land in the USA is owned, either privately, corporately, or governmentally. This means that while you could do so, you'd be stealing under the terms our society is based on. And if you were caught before seven years was up (if I remember the squatter's laws correctly), you'd be kicked out.

Also, the point about farming assumes the knowledge of farming, which must be taken from society. Humans, unlike many other species, are not born with the knowledge necessary to keep them alive, so they depend on the teachings (as well as property and resources) of others.

This is the point I was trying to make, that under our current system, you *must* get something from someone, whether legally or not.


-fsh
[ Parent ]

I knew it was a sticky bit (none / 0) (#94)
by physicsgod on Thu Apr 05, 2001 at 11:32:20 PM EST

That's why I said it was an exercise for the reader, meaning I don't know how to do it. The big problem is that people have been here so long that only the unusable stuff is left. I really don't think rights are time dependant.

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]
I'm tired of pointing out (2.00 / 7) (#44)
by weirdling on Tue Apr 03, 2001 at 12:15:38 PM EST

The US is a *sovereign* nation. We do not recognize the UN bill of rights as binding on the US, nevermind the fact that it is a bunch of socialist claptrap. Everyone has the right to pursue happiness: 'life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness', but there is no guarantee of finding it. That is the relevant US law.

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
Then we shouldn't be a member. (5.00 / 1) (#73)
by fsh on Tue Apr 03, 2001 at 11:24:37 PM EST

If the UN really has nothing to do with us, then we shouldn't be a member. We, or at least our representatives, helped to create these laws that we so summarily ignore. If we want nothing to do with them, then we really shouldn't be helping to draft them in the first place.
-fsh
[ Parent ]
The UN isn't what it used to be (none / 0) (#83)
by weirdling on Wed Apr 04, 2001 at 01:57:50 PM EST

The UN got away from its original charter. When it was initially constructed, it was not a governing body but a treaty organization, similar to NATO in that it presented a first place for greavance before war. However, of late, the concept of international law is being pushed by the European bloc of the UN, largely driven by European political motives. The US is not signatory to any treaty requiring it to recognize international law, but is a member of the UN. There is a difference.
However, the US is signatory to treaties in specific incidents so long as the treaty itself does not violate US law. Unfortunately for those who would wish to form a world government, those are only *treaties* and do not constitute international law, as they have no independant enforcement authority and, like any treated, can be abdicated at any time.
For the US to abandon the position at the security counsel that it currently holds would be unwise. This would allow the UN to gain some real teeth, as it is the veto power the US holds in the security counsel that keeps the UN from having any real enforcement arm.

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
Now I get it. (4.00 / 1) (#87)
by fsh on Wed Apr 04, 2001 at 10:27:42 PM EST

You're absolutely correct. I do tend to forget what the UN was originally designed for, and the trend lately of it trying to police the world for what it considers moral infractions.
For the US to abandon the position at the security counsel that it currently holds would be unwise. This would allow the UN to gain some real teeth, as it is the veto power the US holds in the security counsel that keeps the UN from having any real enforcement arm.
Of course, if the UN had a real enforcement arm, it would run counter to what the US wants to do as far as policing certain foreign countries, in any case. The current fuss over us not signing the Kyoto treaty, for instance, has started many other UN countries to talk about enforcing trade sanctions against us. Probably won't amount to anything, true, but at least they're trying. The combined might of the European nations would certainly amount to a threat to US military dominance. Not much of a threat, but something to worry about.
-fsh
[ Parent ]
Of course, what pisses me off (4.00 / 1) (#92)
by weirdling on Thu Apr 05, 2001 at 12:43:09 PM EST

Is the fact that the US uses the UN to force other countries to do its will but does not allow the UN to be used the other way. I don't want the UN to be used the other way, but I'm also tired of the US acting as the moral police of the world. Frankly, I don't care about Chinese human rights violations or some war in the Balkans. Neither of these are strictly US matters. The Gulf War, now that was something that concerns us, and, if we hadn't fought it, gas prices would be astronomical right now.
See what I'm trying to say? Moral reasons are terrible ones to interfere in someone else' country. Selfish ones are at least predictable and the other country can say, well, they're working in their own best interest, but the US is so overbearingly moral these days that this sort of thing can't happen.

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
I don't dispute the 'facts'... (3.00 / 2) (#15)
by nstenz on Mon Apr 02, 2001 at 10:51:56 PM EST

...But the pot is calling the kettle black here. and I'd be inclined to think the pot is a lot blacker than the kettle is... Of course, I'm not Chinese... But I don't have a lot of the problems the Chinese rant about in that mess of a document, and I'm far from rich. It's almost laughable...

I wonder if you can read K5 in China. *ponders*



Some clinkers in there, heh heh: (3.75 / 4) (#17)
by Canimal on Mon Apr 02, 2001 at 11:15:04 PM EST

Had to vote -1 cause there wasn't enough to hang a discussion on. But still kind of interesting.

Here's a couple of factoids that caught my eye:

"According to a Reuters report on April 22, 1999, the United States reported an average of 1 million gun-related murders annually."

"children in 15.2 per cent of American families are starving."

Oh my goodness. If you are going to make up facts to support your position, at least have a tangential connection to reality. Tell me this was really some l33t k1dd3s social studies paper that was hacked onto china-embassy.org.

Matt



1 million murders *around the world* (3.00 / 2) (#25)
by Sunir on Tue Apr 03, 2001 at 02:31:37 AM EST

The full quote is

According to a Reuters report on April 22, 1999, the United States reported an average of 1 million gun-related murders annually. Since 1972, over 30,000 people have died in gun related homicides, accidents and suicides every year.
This only makes sense if there are 1 million gun-related murders around the world each year, with 30 000 in the United States alone.

For your information, the murder statistics for 1999 are around 17 000 murders, down 5 percent from the year before (continuing a trend since 1992). While officials are happy about this, it's still pretty ludicrous compared to other countries.

What's even more ludicrous is that link is on a gun advocacy cite where they try to discount the alarming statistics where the only countries with higher homicide by firearm rates are Brazil, Mexico, and Northern Ireland. Most other countries have roughly a tenth the rate of the United States.

But that's gun advocacy for you.

"Look! You're free! Go, and be free!" and everyone hated it for that. --r
[ Parent ]

Two things (3.00 / 1) (#43)
by weirdling on Tue Apr 03, 2001 at 12:12:24 PM EST

First, the 17,000 you quote is a durn sight lower than the 30,000 they claim and the 1 million they imply. However, the fact is that, for the last ten years or so, crime has been steadily decreasing here in the US, which is another thing they got wrong in the report.
Second, I think you may have missed Australia and Great Britain in countries with higher violent crime. See, the problem with these comparisons is one of reportage: the US reports arrest numbers as well as conviction numbers, but the primary statistic used is arrest. The UK model reports convictions only, and counts multiple instants as one crime if they are processed by the same court. So, when correctly reported, GB has more violent crime per capita than the US. However, under-reportage is common in Europe, with most states reporting conviction rates. Now, for Australia, whose violent crime rates are higher with their reporting methodology, or South Africa, whose violent crime rates have always been higher. How about Italy? Practically no legal gun ownership and ridiculously high violent crime?

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
more clarification (4.00 / 2) (#57)
by Sunir on Tue Apr 03, 2001 at 01:58:18 PM EST

First, the 17,000 you quote is a durn sight lower than the 30,000 they claim and the 1 million they imply.
Please read the excerpt again. They don't imply 1 million homicides per year. They state the U.S. has had 30 000 a year since 1972, which means an average per year since then.

It's really amazing that crime rates have dropped that significantly since 1972 though, I agree. Nonetheless, they are still ridiculously high. Comparing the United States against other highly violent societies and saying, "Hey, we're not so bad," is like comparing an earthquake to a typhoon. Neither are worth defending.

Still, I also agree these kinds of political statistics are dubious.

"Look! You're free! Go, and be free!" and everyone hated it for that. --r
[ Parent ]

An interesting thought (3.00 / 1) (#62)
by weirdling on Tue Apr 03, 2001 at 03:17:34 PM EST

I always wonder why people pick 1972 to start the comparison. I think I have a reason: the US has been under a crime wave that peaked in the eighties and early nineties and has been going down since. Much before the 70s, and crime was very low. What people who make this comparison don't know or fail to understand is the huge societal upheaval of the times. Vietnam war did a large amount of damage to the American psyche, as did the Kent College shootings (National Guard troops opened up on college students), the whole pacifist 'flower child' movement, the rise of drug use and the subsequent war on drugs, all started in the 70s.

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
This is propaganda... (2.50 / 4) (#18)
by TheLaser on Tue Apr 03, 2001 at 12:31:28 AM EST

...but then again so was the US report on China.

Human Rights in the States... (4.08 / 24) (#19)
by DoomHaven on Tue Apr 03, 2001 at 12:31:33 AM EST

Okay, as a Canadian immigrant living in the Land of the Free, I can offer a bit of "non-American in America insight" into your so called human right infractions, largely through heresay, mis-interpretation, and observation. Yes, it's a little prosy, but it's a *healthy* outlet.

Police brutality: I was given some advice on being pulled over by America police (police. Not peace officers). Pull over. Now. Don't wait for a good position. Don't pull over to the right side of the road. Pull over quickly out of traffic. Turn off your engine. Roll down the window. Hands on the steering wheel; 10 o'clock, 2 o'clock. "Yes, sir, officer sir? My registration, sir? It's in the glove compartment, sir. I will get it, sir." Reach for the glove compartment. Slowly. Sssllllooowwwwlllyyy. No sudden moves. No need for the revolver to leave the holster. Hand over the papers. "Yes, sir, stepping out of the car, sir." Slowly. Hands on the hood. "Yes, sir. Thank you for pistol whipping me, sir. Have a good evening, officer, sir." Still alive. This time.

Not really how things are done back home. But this isn't home, now is it?

Police state: It's Chicago. Downtown. Election buzz in the air. Autumn; cool and crisp. THEY'RE COMING! Both candidates! Flags flying high. Apple pie and slogans. Contagious patriotism. Proud to be an American! Your choice counts! Democracy's finest hour!

But wait? There's no traffic. There's *always* traffic. Helicopters. Men in blue suits and sunglasses; lockstep. Police EVERYWHERE. Snipers on the rooftops. Is that a fully automatic weapon? "State your business here, civilian!" Challenged. "Move along!" An order. Barricades. Crowds controlled. Safety's off. Real bullets. No. One. Move. One spark from chaos; one beating to bloodshed. Motorcade. The first wave appears. Police on motorcycles. Armed. Unsmiling. Next wave. Four limos? But...but, there is only two of them? Decoys. Marching around them. Blue business suits; not as men, but as sheathed swords. Scanning the crowd; the buildings. Ambush? Last wave. More police. Then...gone! "Did you see him?" "Who?" "Either!" "No. You?" "No."

Democracy's finest hour? Or prelude to worse?

Treatment of minorities: As I stepped off the plane, transported from a backwaters city of a mere 120 000 to the greater world of eight million, I noticed it. You miss it if you aren't looking, and most Americans simply aren't. Chicago's Latino Underclass. A slave race. Every menial job, every broom-pusher, every luggage person, every janitor. Mexicans. No Caucasians, and very few blacks. Mind you, the blacks have it better, but only in comparison. Immediate supervisors to Mexicans. Security guards. A low class, of course, but better dressed, perhaps? Still slaves, but now have been appeased with slaves of their own? And as I was driven into the suburbans (as, I guess, they were driven into me), that's all I noticed: Latinos slaved to Negros slaved to whites. A very well-defined social strata. Very neat. Sure, there is a little intermixing, exceptions that only prove the rule rather than shatter it. Gas-jockeys and monkey wrenchs to restaurant servers (but never waiters) and dishwashers. My food brought to me by Latinos; my mess cleaned by them as I leave. The cheque paid to the white waiter. Picking up little snippets and quick phrases: por favor, gracias, manana. If Chicago is the city of broad shoulders, then the mind that crowns those shoulders hable espanoles, amigos!

May it take fifty years, I will laugh when the oh-so proud US of A becomes a bilingual country. It will happen within my lifetime. Trust me.

Last notes: of course what do I know about civil rights? I come from a country where eugenics, pepper-sprayed protestors, involutary sterilization, language police, and marital rape have all been legal in my life, and my birth was mere years short in preventing me from witnessing martial law declared nationally. Who am I to talk?

My bleeding edge comes from cutting myself on Occam's Razor.
Which Chicago do you live in? (4.30 / 13) (#21)
by Miniluv on Tue Apr 03, 2001 at 01:10:52 AM EST

I was given some advice on being pulled over by America police (police. Not peace officers). Pull over. Now. Don't wait for a good position. Don't pull over to the right side of the road. Pull over quickly out of traffic. Turn off your engine. Roll down the window. Hands on the steering wheel; 10 o'clock, 2 o'clock. "Yes, sir, officer sir? My registration, sir? It's in the glove compartment, sir. I will get it, sir." Reach for the glove compartment. Slowly. Sssllllooowwwwlllyyy. No sudden moves. No need for the revolver to leave the holster. Hand over the papers. "Yes, sir, stepping out of the car, sir." Slowly. Hands on the hood. "Yes, sir. Thank you for pistol whipping me, sir. Have a good evening, officer, sir." Still alive. This time.
Gee...I've been pulled over a half-dozen times in the last four years. Twice for speeding, pretty excessive amounts too, and neither time was the cop anything but pleasant. Asked me if I knew how fast I was going, asked for my license and registration. Wrote me up the ticket, asked me to take it a little slower next time, even wished me a pleasant evening.

But wait? There's no traffic. There's *always* traffic. Helicopters. Men in blue suits and sunglasses; lockstep. Police EVERYWHERE. Snipers on the rooftops. Is that a fully automatic weapon? "State your business here, civilian!" Challenged. "Move along!" An order. Barricades. Crowds controlled. Safety's off. Real bullets. No. One. Move. One spark from chaos; one beating to bloodshed. Motorcade. The first wave appears. Police on motorcycles. Armed. Unsmiling. Next wave. Four limos? But...but, there is only two of them? Decoys. Marching around them. Blue business suits; not as men, but as sheathed swords. Scanning the crowd; the buildings. Ambush? Last wave. More police. Then...gone! "Did you see him?" "Who?" "Either!" "No. You?" "No."
You ever thought of publishing your fiction? I'd be quite willing to say no Chicago Police Officer had the safety of their weapon in any position other than locked during their duty. Of course the bullets were real, what the hell good are fake ones? Security measures are necessary to a certain extent because citizens don't know how to behave themselves. Ask Ronald Reagan how good it feels to be shot just for being elected. Better yet, ask John Kennedy. Or perhaps you'd prefer to talk to his brother. Maybe his wife might have insight into the miracle of public office and the depositing of your husbands brain in your lap when a citizen exercises his rights.

Treatment of minorities: As I stepped off the plane, transported from a backwaters city of a mere 120 000 to the greater world of eight million, I noticed it. You miss it if you aren't looking, and most Americans simply aren't. Chicago's Latino Underclass. A slave race. Every menial job, every broom-pusher, every luggage person, every janitor. Mexicans. No Caucasians, and very few blacks. Mind you, the blacks have it better, but only in comparison. Immediate supervisors to Mexicans. Security guards. A low class, of course, but better dressed, perhaps? Still slaves, but now have been appeased with slaves of their own? And as I was driven into the suburbans (as, I guess, they were driven into me), that's all I noticed: Latinos slaved to Negros slaved to whites. A very well-defined social strata. Very neat. Sure, there is a little intermixing, exceptions that only prove the rule rather than shatter it. Gas-jockeys and monkey wrenchs to restaurant servers (but never waiters) and dishwashers. My food brought to me by Latinos; my mess cleaned by them as I leave. The cheque paid to the white waiter. Picking up little snippets and quick phrases: por favor, gracias, manana. If Chicago is the city of broad shoulders, then the mind that crowns those shoulders hable espanoles, amigos!
Funny, my order was taken by a hispanic gentleman the other night. And gee, I was a white busboy. Perhaps you're looking hard to find the examples of people who still hold misguided ideas of a racially derived class structure? I work in an office full of ethnic diversity, in fact every office I've worked in has been so. When I worked at IBM I worked for two hispanic managers. The head of one of the major support groups was black, many of my fellow help desk employees were black, latino or indian. Is that racist?

Last notes: of course what do I know about civil rights? I come from a country where eugenics, pepper-sprayed protestors, involutary sterilization, language police, and marital rape have all been legal in my life, and my birth was mere years short in preventing me from witnessing martial law declared nationally. Who am I to talk?
Beautiful endgame. Of course it's not worthwhile to listen to you, after we already bothered to read your screed. See, the thing is that your opinion does matter, even if I disagree with you. People have talked themselves out of participatory democracy and it is beginning to ruin our nation.

"Its like someone opened my mouth and stuck a fistful of herbs in it." - Tamio Kageyama, Iron Chef 'Battle Eggplant'
[ Parent ]
Um, Chicago, IL? (3.75 / 8) (#22)
by DoomHaven on Tue Apr 03, 2001 at 01:39:25 AM EST

The police point was actual advice. I have never been pulled over; I don't even own a car. I believe I prefaced my comment with a disclaimer about "heresay, mis-interpretation", and I do state that this was advice, not experience.

I will assume your comment about publishing my fiction is sarcastic. Firstly, since when are Secret Service officers are Chicago Police Officers, and must check their safeties? And Canadian peace officers do use rubber bullets for crowd control. According to rioters, they seem to work quite well. Lastly, what does it say about your country, then, if your president's live in a very tangible fear of assassination and take such precautions? Name one Canadian Prime Minister assassinated in office, or even one aborted attempt.

About class distinction. I call that as I see it, and compared to Canada, it's rampant here! Every Canadian here I talk to says the same thing: Chicago has a Mexican underclass. As for my place of employment, I come from a very diverse work force: of the dozen test engineers in my group, four were born on this continent (North America), one of which is second generation only. Myself and another were not born Americans. Ironically, the only true-blue American is our manager. There is absolutely no racism that I know about in our group, and our dozen treat each other like family, and frequently jump skin colour when we call each other surrogate "relatives". Is that diverse enough for you?

Um, so, you are saying that I should move the last paragraph to the front of my comment? Actually, that would be a good idea; but not as good as your "talked themselves out of participatory democracy" phrase. That's good, but it wasn't the point of my ending remarks. The point was that I come from an imperfect country too, and realize and understand that. But that, sometimes, it takes an outsider to come in and say what's wrong with your world, even if his own isn't any better.

Understand?

My bleeding edge comes from cutting myself on Occam's Razor.
[ Parent ]
Ummm.... (4.50 / 2) (#38)
by Anonymous Commando on Tue Apr 03, 2001 at 11:19:27 AM EST

Name one Canadian Prime Minister assassinated in office, or even one aborted attempt.

Does the Inuit scuplture incident count? Or how about the pie incident?
Corporate Jenga™: You take a blockhead from the bottom and you put him on top...
[ Parent ]

Well... (3.00 / 1) (#40)
by DoomHaven on Tue Apr 03, 2001 at 11:49:39 AM EST

I am not sure about the Inuit sculpture incident; as it was an armed man in the Prime Minister's house. I think the motive was armed robbery, rather than assassination, but that might be wishful thinking. I will compromise half-way with you about that incident.

The pie-incident, though, we can all agree was not an attempt on the Prime Minister's life. It was damned funny, though!

My bleeding edge comes from cutting myself on Occam's Razor.
[ Parent ]
The pie was funny as hell (none / 0) (#78)
by ZanThrax on Wed Apr 04, 2001 at 01:40:06 AM EST

but Jean's security guys started making noise about having to improve security, "'cause it could have been a gun." Of course, that may have just been a result of getting their asses chewed out by a pissed off (and highly embarrased) PM.

Before flying off the handle over the suggestion that your a cocksucker, be sure that you do not, in fact, have a cock in your mouth.
[ Parent ]

Latino subculture (2.00 / 3) (#42)
by weirdling on Tue Apr 03, 2001 at 12:06:26 PM EST

These people are a subculture *precisely* because they choose to be. There is *nothing* in the US that restricts them to that role. I have a latino friend who is a programmer making good money. The fact is that they do not mind doing the menial jobs, do not mind low pay, and so that is how they make their life. If they ever wished, college is within the reach of any American, and they could advance their position in life. However, in Canada, moving out of a menial position often involves myriads of paperwork and liscences until it simply isn't worth it. My aunt lived in Canada for a while and was a liscenced nurse in Michigan and Missouri, but would have had to go back to college for a few years to be a Canadian nurse. The only thing she was 'qualified' for in Canada was McDonald's. So, yes, it isn't any particular race that is oppressed in Canada, but Canada most definately has class-based distinctions.

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
A raised bar limits choices (3.50 / 4) (#52)
by DoomHaven on Tue Apr 03, 2001 at 01:08:26 PM EST

First, if the Latinos choose that type of the work, it doesn't negate the fact that they are *doing* that kind of work. Coming from a country *without* a working <ethnic> underclass (well, not counting teenagers, but they don't count as real human beings :), it is very noticeable to see when coming into the States. Secondly, my Hispanic programming friend takes great offense to your words, and wants me to ask you the following question: "If you woke up tomorrow black or latino, do you think the world would treat you the same?" I really have my doubts.

Yes, it is very hard for "educated" Americans to receive professional licenses in Canada. Bluntly, we have higher standards and a significantly higher bar to attain to than most American professions, and a good chunk of Americans thankfully just don't cut the mustard. I mean, what's this garbage about "Associate" degrees? If I spend two years in my life at university, and leave with a piece of paper, that paper has "Required To Discontinue" scrawled on it, not "Associate Degree in X". I am appalled that an associate degree is enough to get (as a specific example) a nursing degree. In my home province (of Saskatchewan), most automotive mechanics need three years of studying at a techinical institute and two years professional experience for their journeyman's certificate (not a *degree*, a mere *certificate*). Two years to become a nurse, feh. If that's the kind of education standards you have here, then it is no wonder why you need to increase the number of H-1B visas to get usefully educated foreigners to think for you.

My bleeding edge comes from cutting myself on Occam's Razor.
[ Parent ]
OFF-TOPIC: Who the heck else is from SK? (2.40 / 5) (#53)
by Anonymous Commando on Tue Apr 03, 2001 at 01:38:15 PM EST

OK, you're originally from Saskatchewan, I'm in Saskatchewan, Inoshiro's in Saskatchewan... considering the small population of our province, is there a dis-proportionate number of current or former Saskatchewanites (Saskatchewanians? Dang it, we've never quite known what to call ourselves!) here on K5?

Go Riders! This year for sure! :=]
Corporate Jenga™: You take a blockhead from the bottom and you put him on top...
[ Parent ]

Holy cow! (1.66 / 3) (#59)
by DoomHaven on Tue Apr 03, 2001 at 02:29:57 PM EST

That's unbelievable! I thought I was the only Sasker (Saskite?) who knew about K5! How are things back home, aside from Monsato's victory and the Lana Nyugen Incident? I have been away much too long.

What is Inoshiro doing there (read as: what the hell would possess someone to *voluntarily* move there)?

Lastly, Go Riders! All hail the mighty Green and White! You know, it could be worse for a Rider fan. In Sask, we only have one professional sports team that is medicore; here in Chicago, they all suck! I think the Rider fans don't realize how lucky they are!

My bleeding edge comes from cutting myself on Occam's Razor.
[ Parent ]
Typical Saskatchewan "spring"... (2.50 / 4) (#63)
by Anonymous Commando on Tue Apr 03, 2001 at 03:30:52 PM EST

Today it's hovering around the freezing point, and snowing... wait, it's raining... no, that's snow... nope, it's rain again... :=]

You'll have to ask Inoshiro why he's here - I think he grew up here, and is/was going to U of S. As for me, I grew up in Saskatoon, now living in a small town about an hour south of the city.

Go Riders! According to an online poll at CFL.CA, we're the best fans in the league (well, duh!). This year, we'll take the Grey Cup for sure! No, really, this time we mean it! Why are you laughing?
Corporate Jenga™: You take a blockhead from the bottom and you put him on top...
[ Parent ]

Ah, yes, home sweet snow... (none / 0) (#76)
by DoomHaven on Wed Apr 04, 2001 at 01:26:00 AM EST

Rain this early in the year? You have to be kidding! :) I have taken the liner out of my summer leather jacket already in Chicago!

And of course we are the best CFL fans in Canada. You should check out the attendance records for the league: generally Taylor Field leads the league in terms of percentage of capacity filled (I think for the Labour Day Classic, we generally reach about 110% capacity). And yes, this year is the year! Green and white to take the Grey!

My bleeding edge comes from cutting myself on Occam's Razor.
[ Parent ]
yay SK (3.00 / 3) (#68)
by mikpos on Tue Apr 03, 2001 at 07:45:45 PM EST

I've noticed a couple other people from SK, and it does seem a bit disproportionate. I remember on Inoshiro's story about the 2000 Federal General Election someone else from Saskatoon was posting, but I can't remember who it was.

Anyway, FWIW, I lived in SK until 2 years ago. Yay.

[ Parent ]

Two things (2.00 / 1) (#61)
by weirdling on Tue Apr 03, 2001 at 02:59:32 PM EST

I have no doubt the world would not treat me the same; the point is that race discrimination is illegal in this country. College costs practically nothing and is available to all. My point was that very few of those in what you term 'repressed classes', which include a sizable portion of whites, as well, ever aspire to anything else, which is their problem, not mine. Every one of them I've seen who has tried to improve their position has, often at the expense of their familial relations, as the new position comes with new political leanings.
I also expect that if I woke up black or latino (I find it odd you assume I'm white), I'd have two real quick observations: most of what people term 'racial discrimination' is actually 'cultural discrimination', and, in my profession (software engineering), it matters not one whit on any interview I've ever been on or a part of what color my skin was, but the attitude is all-important. If I come in as a minority and act like I got something coming, I'm finished. If I come in and act competent, with a crisp, finished resume, good references, and knowledge to back it up, I get the job. It doesn't matter anything else.
Now, as to associate's degrees: First, it is not a failure in the second year that creates an associate degree; one has to declare a major that is an associate's degree, and if one fails, one fails. True, classes that a bachelor's degree require, particularly a bachelor of science degree, such as mine, are waived for an associate's degree, so if one can't pass those classes, then the person can switch to an associate's degree. However, they are still required to *pass* the requirements for said degree.
Now, having a bunch of over-qualified people is not economically a good idea. First, you have to pay them more simply to make up for their lost time and money in college. Second, they tend to bolt for higher-paying jobs at the first chance. However, if someone has an associate's degree because they were not able to achieve a bachelor's degree, they are still competent to do system administration, networking, or whatever their degree is in, making more money than 'you want fries with that?'
As to nurses with associate's degrees, it seems to me that it is not necessary to take all that much time to learn something like nursing. There isn't an awful lot of nurse malpractice, so it seems your fears are unfounded.
And, it seems that a person could get quite bored studying mechanics for *three years*. I'll have to ask my mechanic friend what he thinks of that.
I know my aunt is a competent nurse: three years ER experience, eight years private practice. Seems that Canada is overly concerned with stamps and certificates and underly concerned with competence...

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
No wonder... (4.00 / 2) (#66)
by Rhamadanth on Tue Apr 03, 2001 at 06:19:25 PM EST

You don't think nurses need to be well trained? No wonder Canada has a nursing crisis. All of our nurses are hired out of the country as soon as soon as they get out of University. Our nurses (presumably your nurses as well, assuming that they made it through all 4 years) are well trained enough to make decisions on what kind of drugs and such patients are given. I happen to know that young doctors often ask the advice of well established nurses because they really know the score. You can keep your associate degree nurses, thanks.

And while I'm sure that your Aunt was well qualified, it's important that certain standards are met. We may be in need of nurses, but we need to know that they know everything that they should. Experience does count for a lot, but formal training means something too.


-- The /bin/truth is out there.
[ Parent ]
Nursing certification (none / 0) (#70)
by Miniluv on Tue Apr 03, 2001 at 10:18:59 PM EST

Actually, most nurses who have associates degrees are grandfathered in because 10 and more years ago a bachelors wasn't required. Same as police officers and fire fighters didn't used to be required to have 4 year degrees.

When a person has 10 or more years of practical experience, but not a little piece of paper that means exactly zero, it is pretty ridiculous to refuse certification. If they got it once, proved competency through professional experience, and then get turned down what does that say about a system?

"Its like someone opened my mouth and stuck a fistful of herbs in it." - Tamio Kageyama, Iron Chef 'Battle Eggplant'
[ Parent ]

The reason nurses are hired away (none / 0) (#82)
by weirdling on Wed Apr 04, 2001 at 01:48:51 PM EST

It's probably that the US pays more for nurses than Canada, not that Canadian nurses are necessarily superior. In Canada, minimum wage is ridiculously high, but at the same time, professionals get paid less than the US. This compression of the pay scale causes low-pay jobs to flee south and good professionals to follow them. In the US, professionals are paid as much as anywhere, but we do have a minimum wage, so low-pay jobs still tend to go south to Mexico, where the workers are cheap.
I'm not even going to discuss the Canadian health system in comparison to the American one. It is a point of sore contention depending on whether you're American or Canadian. However, the American health system is as effective as any in the world, and if it isn't good enough for you, you can pay more to get better service.
Should a doctor, on the advice of a nurse, give the wrong medication, it is the doctor that will be sued, not the nurse, so I'm sure doctors are very careful about that.
Here in the States, nurses cannot ever make decisions about medicines and dosages. That is a doctor's job. It takes ten to twelve years to become a doctor. I'd much rather have a doctor who has had ten to twelve years of schooling and internship prescribe medicine than a nurse with four years.
In some cases, nurse practitioners are taking over the doctor's job, but that is largely in a clinic setting, so the nurse practitioner can deal with the flu, etc., and nurse practitioners are the equivalent of a master's degree, anyway.

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
H-1B Visas (none / 0) (#101)
by coffee17 on Fri Apr 06, 2001 at 08:17:02 PM EST

American businesses don't want all the H-1B's because there was a shortage of talent. They wanted them because there was a shortage of talen willing to work for peanuts. These numbers might be complete bunk, but I seem to remember that the average programmer there as an H-1B makes about 15K less per year. Not only do companies get them for less money, but the H-1B's can't walk out from bad working conditions, so they also get more loyalty. the H-1B's are simply modern day indentured servants.

-coffee


[ Parent ]

Presentation (5.00 / 1) (#71)
by Miniluv on Tue Apr 03, 2001 at 10:38:26 PM EST

The police point was actual advice. I have never been pulled over; I don't even own a car. I believe I prefaced my comment with a disclaimer about "heresay, mis-interpretation", and I do state that this was advice, not experience.
Which is why I refuted it with my experience with police in this area. Fine, somebody gave you preposterously exaggerated advice. And yes, police brutality has happened in Chicago, same as many other large cities. I don't like it any more the next guy, but I hardly think sensationalizing the rate of its occurence is reasonable either.

Firstly, since when are Secret Service officers are Chicago Police Officers, and must check their safeties? And Canadian peace officers do use rubber bullets for crowd control. According to rioters, they seem to work quite well
I reread your original comment and you did sort of imply Secret Service members instead of Chicago cops. I still wonder how you got close enough to their weapons to notice the setting on the safety however. As to the rubber bullet question, if they were USSS members, crowd control isn't their job. Preventing the assassination of the President is, and that requires live ammunition.

Lastly, what does it say about your country, then, if your president's live in a very tangible fear of assassination and take such precautions? Name one Canadian Prime Minister assassinated in office, or even one aborted attempt
Oh boy...here's a great argument. It's the, "I've run out of fact so now I'll hurl random aspersions on your culture" tactic that desperate people are so fond of. Perhaps it indicates a rise in mental illness, as several would-be assassins of US and foreign leaders have been mentally unstable. It might also indicate a rise in the prevalence of murderous conspiracies, as many believe Oswald, he killed Kennedy (remember that?), was part of one such conspiracy. The final answer might be that agencies such as the USSS prepare for the worst and pray for the best. I suspect that is the closest to the truth, as there hasn't been an attempt on the life of the President in quite a few years, however that doesn't lower the risk at all. There are several nations who bear the United States a great degree of ill will. These nations have made plain their willingness to take the life of random US citizens, and their desire to take the life of the President. Do you not believe that under the circumstances a few precautions are in order?

Every Canadian here I talk to says the same thing: Chicago has a Mexican underclass
What part of Canada are you from? What percentage of your population wasn't lily white? My Calgarian friends have a joke about their racial make up...it involves the four black citizens and how they're out and about it in shifts so it will seem like there're more of them. You might want to concede the different racial mixture of Canada when compared with the US before you attempt to draw false parrallels.

You make further comments in response to a comment made by weirdling that even if they choose not to pursue an education or a better job they are still an underclass. How much more asinine would you like to get? If I choose a janitorial job does that make me alienated by society, or does it make me a janitor? Is there something wrong with bussing tables, cleaning bathrooms or any of those other jobs? If so, who really has the discriminatory nature?

Ultimately, I jumped all over your post not because it was entirely false, which it wasn't. Instead because the presentation made it seem far different than it was. That is what sparked the sarcastic remark.

"Its like someone opened my mouth and stuck a fistful of herbs in it." - Tamio Kageyama, Iron Chef 'Battle Eggplant'
[ Parent ]

Shall I don the asbestos underwear? (4.00 / 1) (#75)
by DoomHaven on Wed Apr 04, 2001 at 01:20:47 AM EST

While I didn't mean to sensationalize the police brutality, I was given the advice deadpan by someone seriously. In comparison to what *I* know of the RCMP, I would not be given that advice even in jest. There *is* a difference, if only in reputation (but probably statistics as well) between Canadian and American police forces. That was the point of that section: this isn't how it's done back home, but this isn't home.

As with American police, I generally like a lot of distance between myself and the USSS. I wouldn't walk up to one to ask if his gun's safety is off. That part was largely fictional; however, if I see snipers on the rooftop, and those guns are pointed, then those guns are without safety. Period. A pointed gun is a fired gun, as far as I am concerned. But it maybe should have been cleared up to state which guns were ready to fire and which weren't. Crowd control, you are right, isn't the area of the USSS. That's the police, and they could have had rubber bullets.

Okay, now let's get dirty. Maybe the amount of defense needed to protect the presidential candidates is warranted, because of either your internationally tarnished reputation as a country or that your citizens are out "exercising their rights" (as you so aptly put it) to bear the arms that shot the president. Now, this probably isn't the place to idly speculate on why this nation seems to draw both the domestic and foreign gun-toting psychopaths in droves. However, this is the place to say that this isn't how it's done in Canada, and we seem to get along just fine (aside from the occasional national embarrassment). The Canadian people can *access* our leaders, with a lot more freedom than the American people can access their own. Compared to Canada, this *is* a police state in that respect. From my Canadian eyes, that is what I see: a too heavily armed motorcade travelling in a overly protected route. That's my view. And perhaps I dressed my view up a little, but Americans, because they are used to it, need it stretched to understand how *I* view it.

The percentage of lily-white is smaller than you think. Yes, we don't have Hispanics or Blacks (I wouldn't really be surprised that only 4 blacks live in Calgary, actually), but we make up for it in Natives. The current Saskatchewan belief is that white and native populations will be even in about fifty years. In some cities in northern Saskatchewan, that ratio is either realized or very near (IE: Prince Albert). Winnipeg, the capital of Manitoba (the next province to the east), has 300 000 natives in a city of 750 000. I wouldn't be surprised of race riots and wars happening within my lifetime. It's a scary thought.

Continuing on: when I look around here in Chicago and the suburbs, I seriously see Hispanics working lower class jobs in a very consistent manner. I was at the grocery store before posting this (I love American 24 hour grocery stores...). Hispanics mopping the floors, restocking the shelves, a white cashier, and a Hispanic bag man. I really hate to say it, but that is the truth through my eyes: a consistent lower class. You can argue and disagree all you want; I trust my eyes more than I trust *anyone* else. It's there as far as I can see, and that's as far as I'm concerned.

And no, while there isn't anything *wrong* with working a lower class occupation, that fact that it is done with such consistency by Latinos makes it noteworthy. They have been regulated to the lower class, at the start, and their own social momentum keep them there. If you really think that Latinos choose this social status *voluntarily, then you should keep your "asinine" accusations to inanimate objects that, relative to you, deserve them. They live in a social system that is used to them being there. They are unnoticed. They are expected to be there. I have Americans say that they won't do that kind of work because it's *their* work, and I won't do it, thank you very much (I guess, we will see how the recession affects that :). If enough people tell you that you are worthless, you'll believe them.

My presentation, where it was extreme, was extreme to prove a point: it was trying to magnify the differences between our countries, and to show how differently we look at those specific areas. The seriousness of the advice given, to show the differences of the police forces, real or imagined. The blatant show of implicit firepower by specially trained operatives (soldiers?), to show the differences of how we treat our leaders and how they implicitly treat us. The social strata. Whether or not you wish to acknowledge it, these are major differences between our countries that, in their respects, put your country closer to the dark area of civil rights violations in comparison to my own (which is by no means perfect). These are areas that are easily ignored if you don't have them pointed out and questioned. I can't ignore them, as they are very new to me, and I think that they should be questioned, because I don't agree with them.

Do you understand, now?
Why I didn't mean to sensationalize the police brutality, I was given the advice deadpan by someone seriously. In comparison to what *I* know of the RCMP, I would not be given that advice even in jest. There *is* a difference, if only in reputation (but probably statistics as well) between Canadian and American police forces. That was the point of that section: this isn't how it's done back home, but this isn't home.

As with American police, I generally like a lot of distance between myself and the USSS. I wouldn't walk up to one to ask if his gun's safety is off. That part was largely fictional; however, if I see snipers on the rooftop, and those guns are pointed, then those guns are without safety. Period. A pointed gun is a fired gun, as far as I am concerned. But it maybe should have been cleared up to state which guns were ready to fire and which weren't. Crowd control, you are right, isn't the area of the USSS. That's the police, and they could have had rubber bullets.

Okay, now let's get dirty. Maybe the amount of defense needed to protect the presidential candidates is warranted, because of either your internationally tarnished reputation as a country or that your citizens are out "exercising their rights" (as you so aptly put it) to bear the arms that shot the president. Now, this probably isn't the place to idly speculate on why this nation seems to draw both the domestic and foreign gun-toting psychopaths in droves. However, this is the place to say that this isn't how it's done in Canada, and we seem to get along just fine (aside from the occasional national embarrassment). The Canadian people can *access* our leaders, with a lot more freedom than the American people can access their own. Compared to Canada, this *is* a police state in that respect. From my Canadian eyes, that is what I see: a too heavily armed motorcade travelling in a overly protected route. That's my view. And perhaps I dressed my view up a little, but Americans, because they are used to it, need it stretched to understand how *I* view it.

The percentage of lily-white is smaller than you think. Yes, we don't have Hispanics or Blacks (I wouldn't really be surprised that only 4 blacks live in Calgary, actually), but we make up for it in Natives. The current Saskatchewan belief is that white and native populations will be even in about fifty years. In some cities in northern Saskatchewan, that ratio is either realized or very near (IE: Prince Albert). Winnipeg, the capital of Manitoba (the next province to the east), has 300 000 natives in a city of 750 000. I wouldn't be surprised of race riots and wars happening within my lifetime. It's a scary thought.

Continuing on: when I look around here in Chicago and the suburbs, I seriously see Hispanics working lower class jobs in a very consistent manner. I was at the grocery store before posting this (I love American 24 hour grocery stores...). Hispanics mopping the floors, restocking the shelves, a white cashier, and a Hispanic bag man. I really hate to say it, but that is the truth through my eyes: a consistent lower class. You can argue and disagree all you want; I trust my eyes more than I trust *anyone* else. It's there as far as I can see, and that's as far as I'm concerned.

And no, while there isn't anything *wrong* with working a lower class occupation, that fact that it is done with such consistency by Latinos makes it noteworthy. They have been regulated to the lower class, at the start, and their own social momentum keep them there. If you really think that Latinos choose this social status *voluntarily, then you should keep your "asinine" accusations to inanimate objects that, relative to you, deserve them. They live in a social system that is used to them being there. They are unnoticed. They are expected to be there. I have Americans say that they won't do that kind of work because it's *their* work, and I won't do it, thank you very much (I guess, we will see how the recession affects that :). If enough people tell you that you are worthless, you'll believe them.

My presentation, where it was extreme, was extreme to prove a point: it was trying to magnify the differences between our countries, and to show how differently we look at those specific areas. The seriousness of the advice given, to show the differences of the police forces, real or imagined. The blatant show of implicit firepower by specially trained operatives (soldiers?), to show the differences of how we treat our leaders and how they implicitly treat us. The social strata. Whether or not you wish to acknowledge it, these are major differences between our countries that, in their respects, put your country closer to the dark area of civil rights violations in comparison to my own (which is by no means perfect). These are areas that are easily ignored if you don't have them pointed out and questioned. I can't ignore them, as they are very new to me, and I think that they should be questioned, because I don't agree with them.

Do you understand, now?

My bleeding edge comes from cutting myself on Occam's Razor.
[ Parent ]
Damn key bounce! (none / 0) (#77)
by DoomHaven on Wed Apr 04, 2001 at 01:33:42 AM EST

I must have hit the blasted "Paste" key twice by accident!

For those of you trying to read that, it repeats itself after the, "Do you understand, now?" line. If there are differences (and I am not going to bother looking), the one with the spelling mistakes corrected is canonical. I would look it over normally, but fuck it, I'm going to bed.

My bleeding edge comes from cutting myself on Occam's Razor.
[ Parent ]
A couple of comments: (4.00 / 1) (#80)
by SnowDogAPB on Wed Apr 04, 2001 at 11:19:44 AM EST

"Hispanics mopping the floors, restocking the shelves, a white cashier, and a Hispanic bag man. "

Is there anything better about being a cashier than being a bag man? They're both crap jobs (speaking from experience here). Here's one for you: the majority of people in the US speak English. Therefore, if your job involves interacting with those people, you usually are required to speak English. If your job doesn't, it's more lenient.

It isn't about race, it's about language, IMO.

Arguing that is a whole different story....


[ Parent ]
No need to flame (3.00 / 2) (#88)
by Miniluv on Wed Apr 04, 2001 at 10:52:50 PM EST

As quick preface, I am not intentionally flaming you. To some extent I'm flaming your ideas, but I'm viewing the entire thing as a spirited debate. IMHO this is a good thing.

I will disagree with the perspective that a pointed weapon is a shot weapon. In the hands of a trained professional a weapon can, and at times is, safely pointed at anything and not shot. To say otherwise is, in my opinion, sensationalist and wildly untrue.

Winnipeg, the capital of Manitoba (the next province to the east), has 300 000 natives in a city of 750 000. I wouldn't be surprised of race riots and wars happening within my lifetime. It's a scary thought.
Why is there a feeling impending racial collision? Is it perhaps because you are substituting the underclass you perceive in Chicago of Latinos with an existing underclass of Natives in Manitoba? I have to admit, this jibes very closely with my experiences in Calgary. It is somewhat assumed that a Native on the street is a drunkard, unemployed, and generally useless. I found the attitude incredibly distressing, especially when I saw the fair degree of accuracy in it.

I have to continue to question though the emphasis on imposing a class label on something that is not about class at all. I wouldn't consider working a "blue collar" job a lowerclass indicator. I would consider it a label of what industry I was in. I will admit, there are many folks of Latino descent in menial labor positions in this area. The reasons for this are varied, but one of the most common is a language barrier. When I worked at Dennys our bus and kitchen staff was almost exclusively Mexican, the reason being language. They were adult immigrants who were working on learning English, but who did not yet have a functional fluency in the language. This meant they could not wait tables, not because they were Mexican but because they did not speak the language of our customer base. Is this discriminatory? Of course, in a strict sense of the word. It was also correct hiring practices, because a business that does not cater to its customers does not retain them.

As far as native born Latinos who do speak English working "lower class" jobs, sometimes its because our educational system failed them, in conjunction with other failures in their upbringing. They may not have the skills to perform any job other than what they have, though I would hardly call it a concerted effort on the part of the system to hold them down. There are so many factors contributing to the failure of schools in poor neighborhoods, and increasingly in "rich" ones, that to call it racist would be wildly inaccurate. Instead I call it a failure in education and society. People don't care anymore, so they don't raise their children to care. You can give a student the finest teachers on Earth, with the richest tools of learning, but if they do not care they will not learn.

As a counterpoint to the Latino minority I would point to the Indian (India not Native American) and Asian minorities. Why do these two groups tend to have many more "successful" children? Why are they not relegated to a cycle of poverty? Perhaps because culturally they tend to place high importance on education? Because parents ensure homework is done and learning takes place?

Before you point out the stereotypical jobs an Indian in America holds, let me do so and put forth my reasoning for disregarding these roles. The two stereotypical jobs are convenience stores and cab driving. The first one is a non-issue when you look at the number of Indians you see working in convenience stores (7-11 and the like) which they own outright or have franchised. They work in the store to keep costs down, because they want to get ahead. I often see them walk around back, hop in their BMW or Mercedes and drive home to their middle-class house in a nice neighborhood. Hardly poverty stricken.

Cab drivers don't do quite as well, but they can make a pretty nice living too if they're good at it. Depending on the company they often own their own cab, and when that is the case the profit margin can be astonishingly high, with net profits being quite a respectable living. A couple weeks ago I rode in a cab and asked the driver how much he made. I quickly considered a career driving a cab, as it was more than I make as a junior sysadmin.

I have Americans say that they won't do that kind of work because it's *their* work, and I won't do it, thank you very much (I guess, we will see how the recession affects that :). If enough people tell you that you are worthless, you'll believe them.
To be perfectly blunt, those people are useless. I wouldn't give a job to someone with an attitude like that. I have a work ethic that states that I'm too damn proud not to work. Sure, I prefer a higher paying office job like I have now, but I've done menial labor. I stocked the paint department at a hardware store for a couple months, I waited tables at Dennys, I drove a forklift for a freight company. None of those are upper class, or even middle class, jobs. I did them because I needed work and was too proud to be out of work for very long. While I held them I was looking to better myself, through education and job hunting, but I did the work I was given to the best of my ability. People who hold the attitude you stated cannot, in my experience, be trusted to do the same. If they decide a job is beneath them you might as well not let them touch it, because it's sure to get minimal attention.

Whether or not you wish to acknowledge it, these are major differences between our countries that, in their respects, put your country closer to the dark area of civil rights violations in comparison to my own (which is by no means perfect).
I don't see these as civil rights issues. They're societal issues, with a wide variety of causes, far too complex to label merely as oppressive government. I would also challenge you to broaden your horizons even further and examine the social structure of countries outside of North America.

The closest I've ever seen to a police state was Italy, truth be told. From the moment I stepped off the plane at Da Vinci airport I was aware of the presence of their police. Not just the proponderance of blue uniforms, but the submachine guns they wore strapped over their shoulders. When I got lost in Rome I ended up in front of the Israeli embassy. To get there I had to walk past a minivan with 6 cops, all armed with automatic weapons, that was stationed there all day, every day. You wouldn't see that in the US. Especially not in Chicago.

"Its like someone opened my mouth and stuck a fistful of herbs in it." - Tamio Kageyama, Iron Chef 'Battle Eggplant'
[ Parent ]

Chicago... (3.25 / 4) (#28)
by slaytanic killer on Tue Apr 03, 2001 at 05:06:13 AM EST

His accont of Chi-town, while fictional, is fairly accurate. In their desire to make the midwestern city have a nice State Street, the police are very active in pushing away the homeless. The Mexican underclass exists, especially on the West Side. As far as I know, it really does view itself as a "second city," and has that midwestern need to conform to what it thinks is the East Coast style.

The one thing saving it is the U of C.

[ Parent ]
Again, I disagree (4.00 / 2) (#69)
by Miniluv on Tue Apr 03, 2001 at 10:13:12 PM EST

I do not claim Chicago is perfect. I do claim his account is crap. I've never seen any desire to conform to "East Coast style", nor do I even know what you mean. Maybe I'm too midwestern?

"Its like someone opened my mouth and stuck a fistful of herbs in it." - Tamio Kageyama, Iron Chef 'Battle Eggplant'
[ Parent ]
The Two-Faced US (4.00 / 16) (#23)
by Jin Wicked on Tue Apr 03, 2001 at 02:02:34 AM EST

While I don't think I can agree with all of the claims this article makes, particularly the statistics wanting to count suicides as human rights violations, since that is more a psychological issue (though one could argue it's the general situation here that causes it), I am generally somewhat disturbed by the reactions to this article.

It has been said by someone else here that China makes no effort to hide the fact that it jails or imprisons people opposing the government. I do not doubt that. However, I believe the US is more guilty of human rights violations than even this article implies. The only difference between the US and China is that while China is in the habit of using the government to abuse its citizens, the US is more fond of doing it with big business. The government allows its citizens to be abused and silenced by corporations daily. It's one of the favourite topics of the /. and k5 community, as a matter of fact -- fair use and copyright issues, censorship, and so on. For the time being, government officials for the most part still pretend to care whether or not a certain law is Constitutional. To me, however, it is simply a meaningless piece of paper, and I fear as the corporations grow, one day too it will be a meaningless scrap of paper to them.

My major issue here is that while China does not have any apparent problem with admitting its transgressions, the US seems to enjoy pretending it is some mighty bastion of freedom and human rights, when in fact it is not. It allows an economic system to run rampant while the vast majority of its citizens either live below the poverty line, or fester in debt while trying to keep up with the Jones' and play "middle class." It allows corporations to do things like hire nothing but part-time employees to avoid paying them any health benefits. Speaking of health, if you are unable to afford insurance or a doctor you are left to die in the street. In America, the wonderful land of freedom and opportunity, even if you slave away at a 40 hour/week job, at minimum wage you will still be unable to afford even the most basic of needs. Education is not the answer, as so many like to claim. Even if you or your neighbour gets a better job, someone must do the low-paying work. Nevermind that only the generally well-off to begin with can afford to attend University, with few exceptions. Eventually, as in my home state of Texas, and California (and many other states soon to come), that work falls to immigrants, who are willing to live three families in a home with not even the smallest amount of privacy that most of us would need to stay sane. As soon as one of them works their way up, someone else will take their place. This is hardly the great view of America that the government likes to try to convince us exists.

Does the US really believe in freedom of speech? It pays lip service to it, but other than that, no. It allows me to publicly voice my complaints, yes. And I'm sure if I became too loud they would find some excuse to silence me or lock me up. Perhaps they would concoct some story that I am a violent protester, and was planning to commit some terrible crime, to garner public support for their actions against me. I would, in that case, have no chance for justice. I would be a victim of the Patriotism machine.

Does China violate human rights? Yes. Does the US? Absolutely. Does China believe in freedom of speech? No. Does the US believe in freedom of speech? Well, I will put it to you this way. When it takes you, for twelve years of your life, and puts you into a school system designed to make you believe this is the best damned country on Earth, that our founding fathers were the most noble men to walk the planet, when it hails the Constitution as if it were written on pure gold (when in fact it cares little about abiding by it!), when it forces you to say a pledge every day for the first several years of your life, when it plasters the flag on television and products to induce you to buy them because it's "American," when it does all this every single day of your young life (and adult life) -- does it really need to worry about freedom of speech? Few people will ever come to question these ideas hammered into their head. Of those that do, their opinions are easily brushed off as unpatriotic, and the seething masses will boo and hiss at them appropriately. Any legitimate claims against the government are drowned in the constant spew of propaganda from the "media." Look what China is doing! Look what Iran is doing! Look what Cuba is doing! [Insert your favourite distraction here.] We're so perfect, and you're so not.

China is certainly no promised land, and most assuredly a trying and hard place to live. However, I would kindly appreciate it if the US would stop pretending like it is so much better, because it is not. If anything, the US is one of the worst of all. It presents itself as a land of great opportunity and freedom, when in reality it is almost the exact opposite. Of course, no one ever realizes it, because they are too busy singing The Star Spangled Banner before a game of good ol' American baseball.


This post was probably not written by the real Jin Wicked. Please see user "butter pie" for Jin's actual posts.


Horsefeathers (3.91 / 12) (#33)
by B'Trey on Tue Apr 03, 2001 at 07:35:35 AM EST

Does the US violate human rights? Certainly it does. Civil forfeiture is a huge violation. So is the entire War on Drugs. There are plenty of things the US government can be taken to task for. Unfortunately, you missed most of them.

First, you need to define human rights. Human rights do not place obligations on others. Rights can and do limit behaviors. Your rights make it immoral for me to attack you or steal your property. But your rights do not entitle you to a portion of my income, for example. Rights can constrain action but they do not obligate action. Anytime you start requiring actions of others, you've left the arena of rights.

Your egalitarian bias shows up all through your post. "[The US government] allows an economic system to run rampant while the vast majority of its citizens either live below the poverty line, or fester in debt while trying to keep up with the Jones' and play "middle class." The whole idea of the government allowing things assumes that it's the government's duty to step in and take control. If the average person is too stupid to run their own finances without running up a large debt load, why then the government should just step in and fix things so that they can't get into debt. For their own good, of course. Paugh! You may want to live in such a world. I'll pass.

[ Parent ]

Re: Horsefeathers (4.75 / 8) (#48)
by Jin Wicked on Tue Apr 03, 2001 at 12:28:07 PM EST

Does the US violate human rights? Certainly it does. Civil forfeiture is a huge violation. So is the entire War on Drugs. There are plenty of things the US government can be taken to task for. Unfortunately, you missed most of them.

I did not miss most of them, I quite agree with you. However it is rather obvious to me the War on Drugs, etc, are awful rights violations, and since it has been said numerous times before I did not think it needed repeating. These are issues I have seen go around and around many times already. I did not feel like bringing up a stale argument.

First, you need to define human rights. Human rights do not place obligations on others. Rights can and do limit behaviors. Your rights make it immoral for me to attack you or steal your property. Rights can constrain action but they do not obligate action. Anytime you start requiring actions of others, you've left the arena of rights.

Forcing inaction is no different than forcing actions, IMO. By telling you that you cannot smoke while standing next to me at a bus stop on the street, I could just as easily say "put out that cigarette." The only difference is in phrasing, and that the government uses one to justify putting limitations on its citizens, and the other to make people feel they still possess some semblance of freedom. As for rights, the only thing I can think of is equivalent to human needs; the need for shelter, food, and to be free from the threat of physical violence.

But your rights do not entitle you to a portion of my income, for example.

Did I ask for a portion of your income? My point was that the government, who likes to pretend it is working in all our best interests (and convinces many that it is), does not really care about it citizens or it would not allow these kind of abuses to come to pass. In the US it is perfectly acceptable for me to work away 8 hours of my life a day and still slowly starve to death. I in no way advocate a government solution to this, because the government cannot solve it anymore than capitalism can. However, I find it extremely appalling that this is the situation. There is no reason why anyone here should be starving or homeless. I'm not talking about people who choose to be homesless or refuse to work. I am talking about the working poor. The cashier at the grocery store who allows everyone to obtain groceries so cheaply, while being able to afford none herself, because her employer pays her as little as he can get away with. She also has the miserable priveledge of standing in one place for hours on end, putting up with abusive customers, and developing health problems from repeatedly entering numbers into the cash register. Can she see a doctor about them? No, because even though she works 40 or more hours a week, her employer has her listed as part-time status, so she receives no benefits. She can't complain about it, for fear of losing her job and what little she has. I can think of no logical reason in the world why someone should work such a miserable job, serving YOU and hundreds of others, and then be denied even the most basic of human needs. As far as human rights are concerned, I can think of little worse than a society that allows the people holding it up -- the workers, the people building houses and bringing you your food, the people you expect "service with a smile" from, while at the same time struggling every day of their private lives to survive. These people don't want or need handouts from the government or anyone else. They should be given what they deserve, however, in the form of compensation that actually allows them to live in reasonable comfort.

Your egalitarian bias shows up all through your post.

Was I supposed to be offended by this? I must have forgotten again that is is not only inappropriate for anyone to speak out against the US government, but that anyone who wants people to not starve or needlessly suffer deserves to be dragged through the mud. Only in the wonderful US of A, my friends. Only here.

If the average person is too stupid to run their own finances without running up a large debt load, why then the government should just step in and fix things so that they can't get into debt.

Again, I did not and do not ever advocate a government solution. My beliefs, as a matter of fact, are quite the opposite.

In many cases people have little choice to run up a debt load. Things like purchasing a car or a home are running up a debt load. These people are owned by their banks and mortgages for years until they have paid them off. If you happen to have a credit card, and no money, but your only pair of pants for work gets a big hole in them, or you have no milk, the immediate solution becomes very clear. Not everyone runs into debt solely because they wanted that new CD player, or a Hawaiin vacation. I myself have had to use credit to purchase food because I was out of a job and could not find work.

You may want to live in such a world. I'll pass.

Regardless of what kind of world I would like to live in, I hope that you have the opportunity to some day experience the situation of those less fortunate [read: lucky] than you. If I am mistaken and you have already experienced this, and you're now better off, then my apologies. I, for one, did not forget what it feels like to starve for months the second my belly was full.


This post was probably not written by the real Jin Wicked. Please see user "butter pie" for Jin's actual posts.


[ Parent ]
Government roles (none / 0) (#79)
by B'Trey on Wed Apr 04, 2001 at 07:26:27 AM EST

Forcing inaction is no different than forcing actions, IMO. By telling you that you cannot smoke while standing next to me at a bus stop on the street, I could just as easily say "put out that cigarette." The only difference is in phrasing, and that the government uses one to justify putting limitations on its citizens, and the other to make people feel they still possess some semblance of freedom. As for rights, the only thing I can think of is equivalent to human needs; the need for shelter, food, and to be free from the threat of physical violence.

Forcing inaction is fundamentally different from forcing action. Forcing inaction is merely stating that you may not cause me harm. Forcing action, on the other hand, is asserting that I control you. It is differentiated from slavery only by degree. And, incidentally, you don't have a right to tell me that I can't smoke at an open air bus stop. You can certainly ask, and I'd likely accommodate you (if I still smoked).

Did I ask for a portion of your income? My point was that the government, who likes to pretend it is working in all our best interests (and convinces many that it is), does not really care about it citizens or it would not allow these kind of abuses to come to pass.

Sigh. If you really cared about people, you would not allow these types of abuses to come to pass. Does that make sense? The government has no more business trying to stop these "abuses" than you do. I allow or I do not allow my children to watch television. That's because I have the authority to control my children's behavior. It can't reasonably be said that I allow or do not allow my neighbor's children to watch TV. That's because I have no authority to control my neighbor's children's behavior. Government doesn't "allow" this any more than the government "allows" hurricanes and earthquakes. Government doesn't (or at least shouldn't) have a dog in that fight.

And, incidentally, if you're proposing government or populist solutions, you are asking for a portion of my income unless you've come up with a novel way of funding government services.

"Your egalitarian bias shows up all through your post."

Was I supposed to be offended by this? I must have forgotten again that is is not only inappropriate for anyone to speak out against the US government, but that anyone who wants people to not starve or needlessly suffer deserves to be dragged through the mud. Only in the wonderful US of A, my friends. Only here.

Were you supposed to be offended? Only if you're ashamed of your socialist philosophy. You don't appear to be, so I wouldn't expect you to be offended.

As for speaking out against the US government, feel free to do so. I rail against it quite regularly myself. I'm the last person to ever be an apologist for them. And I have absolutely no problem what-so-ever with your stated goal to prevent starvation or needless suffering. The problem is that most people who share that goal seem to want to solve it by redistributing my assets.

My beliefs, as a matter of fact, are quite the opposite.

Wow. Do you really believe that? Aside from the fact that it's completely clueless as to human nature, it sounds like an absolutely horrid world to live in.

In many cases people have little choice to run up a debt load. Things like purchasing a car or a home are running up a debt load. These people are owned by their banks and mortgages for years until they have paid them off. If you happen to have a credit card, and no money, but your only pair of pants for work gets a big hole in them, or you have no milk, the immediate solution becomes very clear. Not everyone runs into debt solely because they wanted that new CD player, or a Hawaiin vacation. I myself have had to use credit to purchase food because I was out of a job and could not find work.

I find it curious that you refer to having a financial obligation to someone as "being owned" while you support a social system that essentially reduces the individual to a property of the system.

Certainly, bad things happen. Life is not fair. No amount of good intentions, even good intentions backed by large amounts of force, will ever change that. It's a fact of life. Deal with it. But most private debt is not a result of catastrophic events. It's the inability to control impulses and the lack of any coherent financial plan on the part of the individual.

Regardless of what kind of world I would like to live in, I hope that you have the opportunity to some day experience the situation of those less fortunate [read: lucky] than you. If I am mistaken and you have already experienced this, and you're now better off, then my apologies. I, for one, did not forget what it feels like to starve for months the second my belly was full.

Would you like to borrow the t-shirt? I have several. I and my brother were raised by my mother, a single parent, making minimum wage at sewing factories. I'm no stranger to pinto beans for supper; on good days, we had cornbread to go with it.

[ Parent ]

Point about Socialists (5.00 / 1) (#85)
by fsh on Wed Apr 04, 2001 at 09:23:17 PM EST

My beliefs, as a matter of fact, are quite the opposite.

Wow. Do you really believe that? Aside from the fact that it's completely clueless as to human nature, it sounds like an absolutely horrid world to live in.

Just wanted to say that the World Socialist Organization is probably not what you're thinking of. The USSR, for example, was not really a socialist government, but rather a state capitalist government. The World Socialist Organization promotes something much more along the lines of anarchy than any government has ever tried. If they succeeded, then there would be no state. As far as your statement on human nature, the nature we perceive is a function of society. The reason capitalism has flourished world wide is because we were able to take advantage of the trusting and peaceful peoples around the world, to subdue and destroy them (a rather classic case of the Prisoner's Dilemma).
I find it curious that you refer to having a financial obligation to someone as "being owned" while you support a social system that essentially reduces the individual to a property of the system.
As I previously said, the WSO is basically working to put itself out of 'business'. Much of the information on their website is there to talk about the perception of socialism vs. their beliefs. Their idea of socialism, rather than 'reducing the individual', would actually reduce the government to nothing. By removing money as the be all and end all of existance, economic vs. moral decisions (as typified by the Prisoner's Dilemma) would cease to be an issue.


-fsh
[ Parent ]

Thank you so much... (5.00 / 2) (#89)
by Jin Wicked on Thu Apr 05, 2001 at 12:54:34 AM EST

...for actually reading the link, and pointing that out. It was quite obvious to me from his/her comment that he just saw the word socialism and decided he didn't like it, but I am so weary of going through explaining myself over and over to people that have been programmed to recoil at the sound of the word that I couldn't bring myself to reply this morning. The WSM said the USSR wasn't socialist then, and they say it now. They published a very nice pamphlet on it, I believe I've read it, but I don't have any of them with me here in Houston and the title escapes me. Only the capitalist interests want people to associate the horrid state capitalism of the USSR with the word socialism. Since the capitalists control the media, guess who wins?

You know, when I first started hearing about it, it was difficult for me to consider too, mostly because of the kind of "training" I described in my original post. When you actually break away from that indoctrination, it is overwhelming to realize just how much effect it had on you.

It is my desire to live in a world where people produce quality goods for use (as opposed to mostly cheap, disposable junk for profit), work signifigantly less hours, not have capitalists destroying the planet in the name of the almighty dollar, not have the kind of racism and predjudice that comes with a system that literally pits people against each other to survive, and have a higher standard of living in general. The more people who understand how the system works and how their lives would benefit by it, the greater the chance it has of becoming reality. The WSM openly states that the only way socialism could be achieved is through education and understanding and majority support. The proper term for the system is anarchosocialism; yes, it is a brand of anarchy. The other is anarchocapitalism -- better known as the Libertarians. I dread to think of a world with companies like Microsoft running free to do as they like.

I do not know what kind of world he/she desires to live in. Perhaps one where he/she desires to be able to exploit others. If so, there's nothing I can do about that.

Granted, barring some major change in opinions, socialism will be a long time coming [if ever]. However, capitalism has been tried and failed miserably. It is my belief that it cannot be repaired. I also see the enviroment being destroyed before my eyes; I have watched even the few critters that live in my neighbourhood disappear in the last few years. I am sick all the time because the air here is so dirty. No legislation in the world is going to convince company owners to behave more responsibly as long as there is a profit to be made. I give the world another 300 years to be habitable by humans, if not less, if things continue at this rate.

Charity organizations seek to help the poor, but until you eliminate the reason they are poor (no work, wages too low, etc) you're just throwing money and energy away. The only way to help everyone is to attempt to solve the problem, and actually do it.

It is for this and a number of reasons I am a socialist. I will readily admit my cause is probably hopeless; that is, if you want to look at it in terms of my lifetime. However, you have to start somewhere. If 200 years from now people instill a socialist society, then they'll be the better for it. I won't consider my time wasted. I cannot in good conscience support a system that destroys the planet, as well as the lives and aspirations of the majority of the humans living on it -- not when I know a better alternative exists. Sorry, but I'm just stubborn that way.

The problems people have with my beliefs and how much I get attacked astound me sometimes. It really just stems from ignorance of the subject. All in all, my political leanings hurt no one. All I can do is talk, and if someone happens to listen, it's not as if I'm telling people to come take away your paycheque or something. Honestly, I'm harmless. I'm a tiny female with no physical strength at all and no money to hire goons. Socialists aren't big red monsters with pointy teeth or anything. That's just silly.

(I apologize if this reads a bit choppy; I've got a nasty headache and I'm having trouble concentrating, but I wanted to make a timely reply. Fsh [or anyone, for that matter]: Feel free to contact me privately if you'd like to talk about it.)


This post was probably not written by the real Jin Wicked. Please see user "butter pie" for Jin's actual posts.


[ Parent ]
I did read the link (none / 0) (#96)
by physicsgod on Fri Apr 06, 2001 at 12:40:22 AM EST

And I agree that these people have absolutly no idea about human nature, and the society they postulate sounds pretty damn horrid to me. I especially like the line "People will have to work, but it will be voluntary." If you have to do it, it's not voluntary, by definition. I'm surprised they think people will voluntarially do all the shit jobs that are required for any society to function, e.g. garbage collection, janitorial, refining, large scale farming, etc.

Maybe when we have pseudo-AI robots to take care of all the menial crap we can have the society they imagine, but until then world socialism falls under the same category as organic farming and water-powered cars; sounds nice, but ain't gonna happen.

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]
Garbage Men and Farmers (4.00 / 1) (#97)
by Jin Wicked on Fri Apr 06, 2001 at 09:03:28 AM EST

Yes, that's precisely right, working under socialism is entirely voluntary, just as it is under capitalism. If you don't work, you will most likely become homeless and starve to death. That is, unless you are one of the tiny percentage of the population now under capitalism that doesn't have to work, and instead makes all your living off the work of others.

As for unpleasant jobs, with the exception of maybe garbage collectors, most of the professions you named do not pay particularly well, yet people do them now -- mostly because they have no choice. There is no reason to think it is impossible that unpleasant jobs could not be shared amoung members of the community. If you only worked two or three days a week to begin with (with the elimination of bankers, cashiers, and other money-related positions, there would be more than enough manpower to go around), would it really be that big of a deal if one of those work days a year it was your turn to collect the garbage?

We tend to mostly look down on the people who do our "dirty work;" I know that they have unpleasant jobs, and I appreciate that they do it. It is work just like any other job, however. I think the problem that you have with actually doing it is that you don't want your friends pointing and laughing at the fact you might be picking up trash. Well, if everyone has a turn doing it, I think it would go a long way in removing the "disgrace" of being a janitor, etc.

As for farming, many of the people who do that choose to because they enjoy it. My grandfather used to own a ranch, and he is in his 80s and still maintains a large piece of property out in the country. Farming is hard work, but there are those who enjoy it -- and, as it has become more automated with technology, it is also becoming easier for less manpower to produce more. Once upon a time nearly everyone was a farmer -- that is no longer so. It may well be possible that in 50 more years a relatively small network of men could be producing the entire food needs of North America.


This post was probably not written by the real Jin Wicked. Please see user "butter pie" for Jin's actual posts.


[ Parent ]
Do you see what's happening? (none / 0) (#98)
by physicsgod on Fri Apr 06, 2001 at 02:24:35 PM EST

Now you're forcing people to do specific jobs, how is this any different than capitalism? In one case people are doing the work because they need money to eat, and in the other they're doing the work because of peer pressure.

The reason janitors, et al. get paid so little is because there is a large supply of unskilled labor that's willing to do the work for low wages. If people could do anything else you'd see the wages for these jobs go up until enough people found it worth thier while. Behold the beauty of capitalism.

The other problem I see with this is you lose the major benefit of civilization, namely specialization. It's not possible for one person to achieve the same level of competency in five fields as in one field. Your model is going to end up with a dozen half-assed janitors and time away from the jobs people can do well.

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]
Janitorial Technicians (none / 0) (#99)
by Jin Wicked on Fri Apr 06, 2001 at 04:19:20 PM EST

Last time I checked, there was no such thing as "janitor college." It's a mop and a bucket. There's only so much you can do with it.


This post was probably not written by the real Jin Wicked. Please see user "butter pie" for Jin's actual posts.


[ Parent ]
Can we say "superficial" ? (none / 0) (#103)
by coffee17 on Fri Apr 06, 2001 at 09:25:32 PM EST

Last time I checked, there was no such thing as "janitor college." It's a mop and a bucket. There's only so much you can do with it.

That's a very superficial way to look at things. Where are the supplies kept, just what areas do you clean (I.E. toilets get cleaned every night, but vacuuming is weekly, is your night the night?) and many other things. Which exact cleansors do you use for which jobs, do you take the time to read up on all the MSDS sheets, etc... Considering that the normal person finds being in new situations very stressful, I think that this sounds like a fucked up way to live. Sure, it might be easy to be a cashier, but have you ever seen someone on their first day, or even their first week? They are slow and inefficient as hell. I've taken to paying attention to the buttons, so that when I go to carl's J and want a bacon crispy chicken sandwich, if the person's eyes glaze over and they start looking for the manager, I can just show them which buttons.

And this is just low level jobs, what about the jobs which require a lot of training but are still unattractive to do? Such a society would probably have to be working 7 days a week 12 hours a day, despite the lack of bankers.

-coffee


[ Parent ]

Beauty of Capitalism (none / 0) (#104)
by fsh on Sun Apr 15, 2001 at 11:22:01 PM EST

The downside to this is that under capitalism there is a strong pressure to stay in one job for as long as possible; economic stability is especially important if you have a family. This means that despite the fact that the job of janitor does not require skilled labor, it's a job with stability, meaning that someone might have to stick with that job for their entire career.

Think of your house, for instance. It doesn't become clean because people are paid to clean it, it becomes clean because it's a job that has to be done. The cleaning chores are generally handled in a way that requires the least amount of work, providing the greatest amount of free time for everyone. The family unit is typically socialist in nature.

In a fully socialist society, there would be a geat surplus of people in relation to jobs that need to be done, simply because a lot of jobs in a capitalist society are created for the sole purpose of employing the greatest number of people - this is what is best for the economy. In a socialist society, many people could shirk jobs as long as some people recognized the jobs that needed doing.

Imagine living in a community where there was a central posting area, where the jobs that needed doing on any particular day where shown. Anyone who was feeling a bit bored could head down there with a friend, find a job that needed doing, and do it with the help of their friend. This way the garbage collectors and the sewer cleaners would be seen as very responsible people.

This is something I've been thinking about for a while, and I can't say as it would necessarily work. Since it's never been tried in our society, however, I also can't say that it won't work. I try to be open to new ideas, but if we have an aversion to testing these ideas, we'll never know.

As to the issue of specialization, I would much rather be operated on by a doctor who entered the field to become a doctor, rather than one who is doing it for the money. I would rather be represented in a court of law by a lawyer who enjoys the work rather than one who does it for the moeny. I would rather hire a computer programmer who loves to code rather than one who does it for the money. The best people in any field are the ones who truly love their work. A socialist society would allow people to try several different jobs when younger, and, when they find one they enjoy, they can specialize in it. Under a capitalist society, where a specialist education costs money, this option is only open to the rich minority.


-fsh
[ Parent ]

Cleaning (none / 0) (#105)
by physicsgod on Wed Apr 25, 2001 at 01:54:21 AM EST

Since you used cleaning the house as an example I'll stick with it. I moved into my current residence 9 months ago. I have never cleaned my room. I have only taken part in the cleaning of the common areas when specifically asked, and only then because I'm a nice guy. I for one would not want my garbage collection to depend on the kindness (or dirt intolerance) of strangers.

I really don't think people would do garbage collection to alleviate boredom, maybe something interesting like cabinetmaking or blacksmithing, but not garbage collection. How many times have you heard children say "I'm bored" only when parents aren't around. Even now that I'm an adult I know that if I tell my mom I'm bored she'll find something for me to do, and it won't be pleasant. In fact the only way I can see to get my garbage taken away reliably is to do it myself, but even that doesn't work, since modern waste disposal is somewhat more complex than "pile your crap over on this useless hunk of land that no one goes near."

As for doctors, lawyers, etc. I'd rather have a specialist that was GOOD. I could care less about why they got into the career, and I don't see any evidence for your claim that those who love their work are better at it, certanly happier, but not necessarilly better.

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]
debt spending (none / 0) (#102)
by coffee17 on Fri Apr 06, 2001 at 09:11:09 PM EST

Things like purchasing a car or a home are running up a debt load.

If you can't afford to buy a car or a home, then ... don't buy one. I don't think that a brand new suv, nor even a used beattle is a right. Guess what, after some hard times spent living homeless, I wasn't able to afford a car. I was lucky to know some people who helped set me up with housing ("charities" tend to not want to help you if you have long hair, don't believe in a god, or in any way do not try to be as subserviant to them as possible), and got a job myself. But I couldn't afford a car, so do you know what I did? I rode the bus. I lived in a low rent district, rode the bus, and ate shit food rather than start making flagrant use of my credit cards. When I really started getting sick of the bus, I saved up to buy a car. I did not take out a loan for a car, and I certainly did not take out a loan for a new car. I didn't buy a TV, I didn't buy brand name clothing, I saved. Similarly, I'll likely never buy a house. It might be cheaper in the long run to own property (that's debatable in silicon valley), however one doesn't end up paying a banker huge sums in interest, one doesn't have a mortgage hanging over them, and it is significantly ties me down less. Anyone who purchases a car or home deserves what they get for either their short sightedness or long-sightedness.

If you happen to have a credit card, and no money, but your only pair of pants for work gets a big hole in them, or you have no milk, the immediate solution becomes very clear. Not everyone runs into debt solely because they wanted that new CD player,

Yes, there are some people like us who try and spend responsibly, however I know too many people who's debt problems are from swallowing the capitalist propaganda that the answer to life is things. Gee, I'm poor, can barely make ends meet, but I have a credit card with a $500 limit so I'll buy a TV and some decent clothes and fast food because it will make me happy, despite the fact that this will just dig me in deeper.

However, on the note of debt spending, while it is quite sad to see some poor schmoe die themselves into a horrible pit, who here is laughing at the lot of web monkeys trying to pay off $30,000 SUV's? I know I sure am. I laugh at them almost as much as I laugh at myself for digging myself deeply into debt thru student loans, but at least I think my education was/is worth more than a land rover... especially as I win any battle of wills over merging as I drive a $800 POS that I don't care if it gets scratched to hell, while they'd shit a brick scratching (and therefor devaluing there car more than mine is worth) their SUV just to get in front of me.

-coffee


[ Parent ]

hemp (5.00 / 1) (#81)
by ouroboros on Wed Apr 04, 2001 at 12:05:16 PM EST

when it hails the Constitution as if it were written on pure gold

No, the constitution was written on hemp paper. That's right, the very stuff that is now illegal.

cheers, ouroboros
terradot | growing awareness

[ Parent ]

US isn't perfect, but at least we can complain (3.85 / 7) (#34)
by rng on Tue Apr 03, 2001 at 08:59:35 AM EST

Could you imagine if we talked about human rights abuses if we were in China? Most likely not. The government would harass, censor, maybe even jail you for "subversive" activities to overthrow the government. The point is that no country, including the USA is perfect, but at least we can criticize, protest and speak out on the abuses of our government. Once in a while, we can even change things. Not so with many other countries, where their governments are not accountable to their people.

That happens in the US too (none / 0) (#106)
by rdskutter on Tue Aug 20, 2002 at 08:41:02 AM EST

I bet you've never even been to China.


If you're a jock, inflict some pain / If you're a nerd then use your brain - DAPHNE AND CELESTE
[ Parent ]

Sad thing is, most of it is true (4.33 / 12) (#50)
by jester69 on Tue Apr 03, 2001 at 12:46:24 PM EST

I agree that their write up is rather shoddy, and biased. However, most of what they write is true.

I have long hair and drive an older car, it is absolutely stunning the ammount of attention i get from the police. Being pulled over, searched, harrased for no apparent reason. Being pulled over for minor or fabricated traffic infractions and being asked the equivalent of "your papers please" smacks of facism. Some may say, "well cut your hair dummy, get a new car, blend in!" But that i will not do. That is what a person would do in a facist state who was afarid of the government. As bad as it may be, i am not ready to give up yet.

Being required by the government to positively identify myself to all campgrounds and hotels in case i am a fugitive. (you cannot get a hotel room without identification without breaking the law.) Driving through New Mexico and being required to pull over at immigration checkpoints to make sure i am a United States Citizen.

Here in Missouri, they have "Gatewy Clean air vans" at many metro on and off ramps. These take a picture of your license plate and sample your emissions. How long before this data becomes available to law enforcement types... The potential for abuse is there.

All of this speaks to me of a government that wants its thumb on people. You may say, well dont break the law then. That is impossible. Our government has made so many things illegal, i dont care how law abiding you think you are, you are breaking laws.

We have free speech, sure, but if you speak freely enough to make waves, the government will sic its dogs on you and find some law you are breaking. And even if they don't manage to put you in jail, you will be ruined from the investigations etc.

It is likely they would put you in jail however. Mandatory minimums ahve made it almost impossible for a judge to apply leniency to your scentence. The government uses extortion and bribery to make witnesses come out against you. The government takes all your money when you are accused of most types of crime. You are innocent until proven guilty but your assets are guilty until you prove them innocent. Good luck doing that, If a prosecutor has 100 cases, and 1 of them is going to allow the government to keep a substantial chunk of change, which one do you think will be more vigorously prosecuted?

As they say, we DO have the largest percentage of our population in prision of any developed nation. If these people are felons (likely as felonies have very low limits nowadays) they permanently loose their rights including the right to vote. But, prisions are big business and prisioners are counted towards a politicians district headcount as well as toward any federal monies disbursed to that area, even though the prisoners will never see a dime of it.

A free country we are no longer. Perhaps we are a Fee country, due to rampant consumerism and the wholesale buying and selling of government.

My only hope is that things get bad enough that people become willing to change our government. If the change doesnt come from within we may well have a revolution. That will only lead to murder, instability and even more unsavory people in power. Look at what happened in Yugoslavia, it was bad pre revolution but, look how much worse afer.

Currently, I still think the United States is a good place to live, but I am afraid what may transpire in the next 10 years or so.

There is so much more to say here i could go on for pages, perhaps i will write a story and submit it. Sorry to have rambled on.

The Jester, 69
Its a lemming thing, Jeep owners would understand.
Wen Ho Lee vs Gao Zhan (none / 0) (#84)
by fsh on Wed Apr 04, 2001 at 04:21:02 PM EST

Saw an article on CNN today taking China to task for holding a suspected spy, Gao Zhan, for 52 days without filing charges, 22 days longer than was allowed under China law. No mention, in the same article, of the lack of any formal charges against Wen Ho Lee, who was held in prison for 279 days with no charges being filed for several months (which is illegal in the USA for any length of time). Lee was finally charged with mishandling nuclear secrets, despite the fact that his handling of secrets was the same practiced by many other non-chinese people at Los Alamos. They also held him without bail and finally decided to *plea bargain* his release - hardly what you would do with a dangerous criminal being held without bail. In addition, a director of the FBI, at almost the same time, was slapped on the wrist for allowing full internet access to his confidential laptop at home.

What's New with Bob Parks (president of the American Physical Society) has some very interesting links referring to the reading purchases of people living in the Los Alamos area after Lee's arrest & news about mandatory polygraph tests for all employees. Very amusing....

I'm not trying to say that either the US or China is better wrt human rights, I simply think that if the US has the gall to publish our opinion of the world's human rights violations on a yearly basis, we shouldn't be surprised when other countries do the same to us. The fact that countries have human rights violations in no way indicates that they don't also do very good things for the citizenry.


-fsh

let's all take a deep xeneophobic breath Americans (none / 0) (#93)
by nomadlogic on Thu Apr 05, 2001 at 02:50:31 PM EST

<sarcasm>first things first....show of hands: how many people here have lived in china or have friends in china....ok. just wanted to make sure that you all were not getting you opinions from the Western media but instead from *real* expereince.</sarcasm>

look i don't want to start a flame war here, and i don't want to defend china (or any country for that matter) but in a larger scope the US in *no* diff. than any other major super power. china is ruled from a central govermental counsole, the US/western europe/canada is ruled by a central counsole of corporations. sure the US is great, it's got pretty nice people and the scenery is nice and all...but please: we don't have to feel obligated to make the US into something it's not....a free democracy were we can speak out with no fears of retribution.

you shouldn't breath so deep (none / 0) (#95)
by physicsgod on Fri Apr 06, 2001 at 12:16:29 AM EST

You're not getting enough oxygen to the brain.

I'm sick and tired of hearing people bitch and moan about how the country (US) is being run by _SpecialIntrest and not the people. Get off it, just because the majority don't agree with you doesn't mean they're being duped or democracy is failing. Sure the average american is an idiot who had trouble remembering his name without hints and flashcards, but they can still make decisions for themselves, and if they decide to be lead by the (media|corporations|unions|envirowhackos|etc.) then that's their right. They also have the right to gather, you don't see much footage of tanks running over the stages of Woodstock, do you?

The moral of the story: There is a difference between America/Western Europe/Canada and China, and I would much rather see the world run along our lines than theirs.

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]
sure (none / 0) (#100)
by nomadlogic on Fri Apr 06, 2001 at 05:55:31 PM EST

hey i like the U.S. Altho, I was trying to point out that the U.S. is far from perfect; and honestly, the U.S. is not a democracy, it's a republic.

>>Sure the average american is an idiot

um i would have to disagree with that, altho comments like this tend to make me think that may be true

>>you don't see much footage of tanks running over the stages of Woodstock, do you?

honstly i'm not sure what this comment was supposed to mean, but i'll take a shot ;) students were shot in Kent state (woodstock ref.), homeless people have been (and continue to be) beaten and thrown into jail while demading the "democratic" right to free and equall housing. i mean the list goes on and on...all in all i really don't see many differences in how the U.S. is run, how most of Western Europe is run, and how China is run. I only bring up those three areas b/c those are the only area's that i personally have come in contact with.


[ Parent ]
China complains about US human rights abuses | 106 comments (90 topical, 16 editorial, 0 hidden)
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