Sanctuary for those who want to constructively criticize the US

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by TreeCave, Jul 12, 2002.

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  1. TreeCave Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2001
    star 4
    Nothing improves without criticism - the determination of what, specifically, is wrong or lacking. This is a place for a polite, respectful discussion/debate about what needs to change in the US.

    While most people agree the US isn't perfect (what is?), we're sure not to agree on what's wrong with it. Half of us probably feel like shipping all the liberals or conservatives to the moon would be the best start. ;) But let's get beyond that stuff, as it only incites flaming. Let's get into detail and get specific.

    Facts and opinions are both welcome. You may be asked to back up your facts with research, and that's fair. Opinions need not be proven, of course, but be prepared to "agree to disagree". People who think there's virtually nothing wrong with the US are very welcome to participate.

    I'll let someone else start this off: Name something you feel needs to change in the US.
  2. KaineDamo Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Mar 6, 2002
    star 5
    Gun Laws.
    Death Sentence Laws.
    A couple of the attitudes in the general society.
    The current laws on cannabis.
    And your gung honess about the whole "War on Terror".

    Thats more or less it.
  3. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2001
    star 9
    And your gung honess about the whole "War on Terror".

    Elaborate, if you would.
  4. Sarajevo Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Jun 6, 2002
    star 3
    cannabis

    Whats that? :)
  5. KaineDamo Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Mar 6, 2002
    star 5
    Ok. The US public is very very eager to get the military out there, and basically its like alot of people are begging for blood. A few people, though they are in the minority, wouldn't mind at all if Afghanistan was just blown off the face of the earth. Its a little disturbing, and i would be really anxious to see what the US does after Bush catches up with Bin Laden, if he ever does.
  6. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2001
    star 9
    The US public is very very eager to get the military out there, and basically its like alot of people are begging for blood.

    You do realize, of course, that that is a major generalization?
  7. MadMardigan Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 8, 2001
    star 4
    Name something you feel needs to change in the US.

    I'm all in favor of the MYOB law. A law that prevents people from sticking their noses in places that it neither belongs or affects them. I'm tired of the morality legislation in this country. I'm tired of personal freedoms that are slowly chipped away by a little law here or a little there.

    My philosphy in life: If it doesn't affect you, then get out of my face, go home and chill out. Worry about your own problems.
  8. Darth_Pseudomorph Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    May 30, 2002
    star 1
    I was just thinking....its a good thing, in this country, we don't NEED a "sanctuary for those wo want to constructively criticize the US."
  9. TreeCave Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2001
    star 4
    Dath Pseudomorph, apparently we DO, because some mods have closed other threads for "America bashing" when most of the posters agree that was not happening. In this forum, the private owners can censor anyone they want, unless we sue and the court finds they're discriminating against a specific minority, thus making it a civil rights violation.

    Your comment seems idealistic to me. It was once much easier for the KKK to set up a protest than a black civil rights group. Free speech has not always been as consistently applied as the writers of the amendment probably intended.

    Kaine, I (an American) don't support the war at all myself, and many do not. Many Americans do not want to put children to death for murder, either, especially in cases like gunshots where a small child really might not get the impact of what it's doing.

    But all you hear in your news OR we hear in ours locally is how many Americans want the death penalty for the neighbor with the loud stereo, and fully support nuking Afghanistan. I'm not sure how representative that is here, because first of all, few people like to argue with me personally, so I'm not sure they would tell me if they DID feel that way.

    MadMardigan, I fully agree that what grown adults do with their lives has no bearing on me unless they're shoving it in my face. So while I would object to, say, porn on a billboard tiny kids will see, I don't care what, say, adults do in their bedrooms or with whom.

    However, is the nosiness a specifically American trait, or human nature? Are we the only nation who goes around passing bans on gay marriage even though such marriages are already illegal? (Sorry, that has to be the most stupidly-written piece of legislation I've ever seen, and yet the brilliant voters of my beloved CA passed it, sigh).

    Obviously, we're not the only nation who does this. But we may be the only one who does it without fully admitting our government is religion based. Take the Taliban - they don't pretend that beard-lengths or female flesh coverage laws exist for any other reason than that this is how they interpret Muslim precepts. Are we the most restrictive of the allegedly non-religious nations?
  10. Darth_Omega Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2002
    star 6
    But we may be the only one who does it without fully admitting our government is religion based

    IMO state and religion don't work well together it's best to keep them apart...

    Because wars should never be based on religions...

    Kaine, I (an American) don't support the war at all myself, and many do not. Many Americans do not want to put children to death for murder, either, especially in cases like gunshots where a small child really might not get the impact of what it's doing.

    Kain did say a minority

    apparently we DO, because some mods have closed other threads for "America bashing" when most of the posters agree that was not happening

    Agree with that one TreeCave... :p
  11. EnforcerSG Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Sep 12, 2001
    star 4
    This is an old example of a problem that really tickes me off.

    Basically in a general sense, people need to care about stuff more, and think about what they care about.

    Too many people I know dont care who becomes president. Very few people know who their senators or representives are...ect. If people cared more, then maybe things would get better.

    Also people have to look at things and think if they are important. People know more about celbratories than they do about the people who actually make the rules. Also, and this is a real old example, but IMHO, nothing has changed. When an old computer game was releaced, there were guard and Natz's atacking you, but also guard dogs, and to stop them you had to shot and kill them. People were outraged that you had to kill a dog, but didnt care about the people dying at all. It is stupid, it is like they rate a dog above human life. Peoples atitudes in that respect should develop.

    Also the people in the government should stop thinking about their adgendas and think about what needs to be done. Laws need to be enforced instead of new ones made. If a person breaks a law, do you need to add more redundant laws? No, but it looks good if you do, makes it look like you are doing something.

    People need to take responsiliblity for their actions, honesty and what not. We all had a great example of that from 1992-2000... It may have been stupid, but it also proved that with enough clout, you can lie and get away with it.

    Less big government. This is more of a general thing, but allot less should be done on the national, and much more should be done on the state or local level. Also people and the governments should think of what would work best where. It may be best for say nation wide standards on education be made, but for local governments to impliment them in school. Things like that.

    I believe that there should should be very few laws limiting peoples individual rights, but the damn problem is too many people I would not trust with the rights that they have now. I dont know, maybe a very basic unbiased citizenship test that all people must take every 10 years or so, just to keep the unenlightened out (and if i would be kicked out, i would take it like a man).
  12. TreeCave Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2001
    star 4
    I just finished reading a thread that explains why they've shut this board for creation of new topics temporarily, and I now realize the mods are having a lot more hassle than I realized - I only saw a few "America" threads myself, but there are apparently too many for them to keep up with, which resulted in some closings (on both sides of the issue) which *I* don't feel were necessary, but I realize the mods are under a lot of pressure (and it's not like it's a paying job). I'm glad this thread hasn't been closed yet, and I invite the mods to edit the first post and/or change the title if they feel doing so would be helpful. This is as much a sanctuary from those who want to flame pro- or anti-US sentiments at the rest of us as from any overworked mods who don't have time to read every post to make sure the tone is polite.

    Too many people I know dont care who becomes president. Very few people know who their senators or representives are...ect. If people cared more, then maybe things would get better.

    I've always been told - and my experience with immigrants bears this out - that a lot of other advanced nations teach their kids more about the US form of govt and US history than US schools do.

    People need to take responsiliblity for their actions, honesty and what not. We all had a great example of that from 1992-2000... It may have been stupid, but it also proved that with enough clout, you can lie and get away with it.

    Actually, if no one gets into a huge Clinton debate, this brings up an interesting point. Under the letter of the law, Clinton really didn't lie, even though common sense tells us he did: his two lies were that he "did not have sexual relations with that woman" and that he didn't recall ever being alone with her. Because the Senate didn't define "sexual relations", he was legally free to interpret it as most Southern men do - what he did with Lewinsky "didn't count". As for not recalling being alone, no one can legally say what he recalls (and some experts do believe the Secret Service would have been no further away than the other side of a door cracked open during his sessions with Lewinsky in the Oval Office - thus fitting Clinton's interpretation of "not alone"). This is a case of "the law is an ass" as the saying goes.

    The reason these lies become legal truths is rooted in the history of laws protecting due process - the prosecution has the burden of being specific in its questioning (had the Congressional panel asked Clinton, "Did she at any time touch your -----?", Clinton would have had to either lie or fess up). If we allow the prosecution to claim that "Oh, he knew what I meant!" when it phrases poor questions, people who don't speak English well, people from different regions with different colloquialisms and so forth could have their rights violated.

    Is all this a flaw in the US legal system? If so, how do we fix it without leaving room for lazy prosecutors to violate rights just to secure convictions?
  13. tenorjedi Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Aug 17, 2000
    star 5
    I'd say the biggest problem is with the justice system is high profile trials. To find someone that hasn't heard of OJ or Robert Blake would be near impossible and would required the most ignorant or uninformed person around which wouldn't be a good thing. Lets face it, we all had some kind of opinion on OJ before the trial.
  14. Devilanse Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 11, 2002
    star 5
    For a start...start paying teachers more than a lawyer, more than a pro basketball player, more than the president. (notice I didn't capitalize "president").

    Fix the justice system. If you smoked for 20 years, got cancer, and then sued the tobacco company...your case should be laughed at.

    Start putting a limit on the media. Too many problems exist because of media interest. And none of that "1st amendment" excuses. Its your right to free speech, not to keep OJ, and such on my TV every night.

    Affirmative action. Its not ok to be racist unless its against white people.

    And for the love of god....get Jerry Springer off of TV!!!!
  15. sleazo Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Aug 13, 2001
    star 4
    Besides the Governement, people in America (not all) do not sit back and enjoy the life that America's prosperity brings. Too many people live life way to stressed out and dont take time to sit back and enjoy the simple pleasures of life.
  16. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2001
    star 9
    Start putting a limit on the media.

    First step down a dark and dangerous road.
  17. sleazo Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Aug 13, 2001
    star 4
    Knight rider we agree again, putting these limits on the media would be the first step to living in a brave new world, or 1984, or whatever other pessimistic sci fi book you can think of.
    The way i look at it in america there are so many different media outlets with so many different points of view, the only way to see the truth is to read as many as you can. Mostly in america conservatives read conservative newspapers and liberals read liberal ones and stupid people read the enquirer. People mostly just want to read things that agree with their own viewpoints as if to justify these viewpoints to themselves.
  18. TreeCave Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2001
    star 4
    I'd say the biggest problem is with the justice system is high profile trials. To find someone that hasn't heard of OJ or Robert Blake would be near impossible and would required the most ignorant or uninformed person around which wouldn't be a good thing.

    A lawyer I once knew remarked to me, "Look at who can't get out of jury duty, and you know what's wrong with the jury system."

    If you smoked for 20 years, got cancer, and then sued the tobacco company...your case should be laughed at.

    I would tend to agree with you, if the case is just about getting cancer. But some cases have alleged (with solid evidence) that the tobacco companies "spiked" one out of every [whatever number] packs - running into one of the spiked packs and smoking it at the same rate as a normal pack causes you to become more heavily addicted. Now, I think the tobacco companies must be punished for this, as it's a deceptive and dangerous practice. But who should get the money? Just the government in fines? Or private individuals who may or may not have received spiked packs? The argument against the private individuals is that they knew cigarettes were addictive anyway - avoiding spiked packs probably wouldn't have saved their lung tissue. Perhaps the best thing to do would be to have the govt fine the snot out of fraudulent companies, then (in the case of tobacco) put most of the collected fines into a fund to subsidize insurance companies that cover smokers' health costs. That could - if done properly - bring health care costs down a smidgeon for everyone.

    Its your right to free speech, not to keep OJ, and such on my TV every night.

    Are you talking about controlling this at a govt level? If so, I believe the best way to control a relatively private industry, like TV, is for consumers to let broadcasters know what they do and do not want.

    There are many restrictions on free speech. You can have any religious belief you want, but you can't scream about it in a crowded restaurant without expecting to be thrown out. You can make certain forms of sexually explicit material, but you can't post it in elementary schools. Etc. However, if you want to have the govt keep trial coverage off TV, then I want to see all simulated rape scenes banned from TV, and someone else will want to see all religious programming banned, and someone else will want all programming critical of religion banned.... This is not something that needs to happen at a govt level. Consumers need to become more active in letting companies know what we will and will not tolerate.

    For example, I'm still waiting for, say, the average citizens of CA to sue Enron class-action style - some of us paid $500 a month and more for electricity due to that company's duplicitous practice of buying the power and selling it back via other companies. There is a case here, or so I've heard - why wait for Congressional panels to take action against Enron? Grass roots consumer action is one of the most novel freedoms Americans have - groups of nobodys can take on big corporate and govt somebodys and win.

    Besides the Governement, people in America (not all) do not sit back and enjoy the life that America's prosperity brings. Too many people live life way to stressed out and dont take time to sit back and enjoy the simple pleasures of life.

    I'm just musing aloud here, but it seems to me we identify ourselves by our work. When you meet someone, it's: "What's your name?" then "What do you do for a living?" So Americans seem to invest much of themselves in their work. IMHO, too little emphasis is put upon family, hobbies and passions, simple joy. I don't think the US was founded to provide a joyless state of freedom - if we don't enjoy our freedom, why bother to defend it?

    EDIT - Just to clarify, I should have said "employment" not work. Work includes many unpaid things - raising kids, learning musical instruments, doing laundry. Deriving your identity from things you choose to put effort (work) into is not so unheal
  19. sleazo Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Aug 13, 2001
    star 4
    "I don't think the US was founded to provide a joyless state of freedom - if we don't enjoy our freedom, why bother to defend it? "


    Truer words cannot be spoken. Treecave you my new friend.
  20. JediStocky Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Dec 26, 2001
    star 3
    Not a dig specifically at the US, but what seesm to have been born there: The almost ludicrous fanatacism with litigation.
    The common threat seems to have gone from physical violence to painful litigation. What's more threatening? Getting punched in the face or getting sued for everything you have?
    And over what? "My McDonalds coffee was hot (as it should be) and I spilt it on my pants and it burnt me, give me money." years ago this would have been laughed at, and the person in question told not be to so stupid and be more careful with obviously boiling water. These days, those who hurt themselves on someone else's property through their own stupidity, get $$$ for doing so!
    This trend is now becoming prevalent in Australia, and as a result, claims on public indemnity insurance (the stuff that companies need in case they get taken to court) have skyrocketed, and so have the premiums that need to be paid for this insurance (700% increase). This is putting people out of business!

    I don't know how or why this started. Maybe it was the advent of court-room tv series, well publicised court cases where the plaintiff gets millions or movies that stylise the court environment. Who knows? But from what I know, it looks like it started in the US, and I would like some laws changed, both in the US and in Australia that let courts recognise an idiot when they see one and throw the case out. I don't want my insurance money going to morons.
  21. TreeCave Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2001
    star 4
    JediStocky, here's my theory on why this began. Every decade, people tell high school graduates in the US "Major in [whatever], and there will always be jobs and everything will be lovely forever". And the next decade, 8 billion people graduate with degrees in [whatever], go to work for low wages (as they're a dime a dozen), and have to practically kill for jobs.

    In the 70's, the profession everyone went into was law. In the 80's, suddenly we had more lawyers than houseflies.

    I actually have sympathy for these law graduates - some of them went into law hoping to change the world, and came out with a degree that couldn't even pay for itself. Unfortunately, the solution many of them found was making work where there was none - chasing ambulances and convincing accident victims to sue, advertising on TV, etc. Quite simply, it gave people ideas how to make money and/or not have to pay for their own mistakes, and it's human nature to take advantage of such things.

    Doesn't make it right - but hopefully explains a bit.

    I have less sympathy for people who studied law in the 80's and 90's - by then we knew the field was oversaturated. They can't ALL have sincerely have a passion for law - they just wanted to make a quick buck, and the possibilities for someone with no scruples are endless.

    I'm all in favor of making it easy for wronged individuals to sue big corporations - the powerless to beat the powerful. But have these crazy cases helped that cause? I don't think so. It's now harder to sue a doctor for wrongful death or malpractice than it used to be - and that's a pity in cases of truly incompetent doctors. I don't see that these lawsuits have made a dent in bad police work - beating suspects, improperly interrogating suspects, using racial profiling to choose who they pull over in which neighborhood, etc.

    I love what the ACLU and other orgs like it stand for - but like most good movements, it hasn't gone quite the way they started out to go.
  22. Jedi_Xen Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Sep 26, 2001
    star 4
    stupid people read the enquirer

    I couldnt have said it better myself, working at Kmart I have to put these things on the shelves at time and I laugh at some of the headliners, such as "Noahs Ark found on Mars" the flood must have been worse than I ever thought, it went through space; or another favorite, "Amelia Earharts plane lands with skeleton at controls" that plane must get some hell of gas mileage.

    Back on topic, my biggest beef with Americans is they don't vote. Then they whine and cry and boo hoo they dont like whats going on. I am a conservative, but I have more respect for a liberal who votes liberal than a conservative who agrees with my every word who wont seal themselves in their voting cubicle and elect people they want.
  23. TreeCave Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2001
    star 4
    [link=http://www.huppi.com/kangaroo/8Comparison.htm]Comparison of US to other Rich Nations[/link]

    This is a very useful article providing a lot of stats (from 1991, but that's not ancient history) that might help support arguments any of us might make. I warn you, the article uses the stats to conclude that bigger govt with more liberal policies would help us. I personally don't agree, but still found the article wonderful - just read the stats and draw your own conclusions.

    Don't miss the one about "People who have not had sex by age 20" - we have the lowest percent of people who are still virgins at that age. I bet a lot of folks will be surprised by that. The article blames our lack of sex education in schools, but I disagree.

    Very interesting article, guaranteed to get you thinking.
  24. sleazo Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Aug 13, 2001
    star 4
    very interesting article. I wonder what all of the gung ho patriotic americans think of this?
  25. tenorjedi Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Aug 17, 2000
    star 5
    Is there a more up to date article? I'm just curious since those figures are a decade old. It states facts without reasons and like you I disagree with its conclusions. It's interesting to compare %'s but the data is hardly comparative in several catagories for many reasons.
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