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El_Diablo
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#121

Posted 13 December 2013 - 02:27 PM

El_diablo, in reference to how and whether Europe/NZ are more "free" than the US, there are a few key areas:

1) Freedom of the press. There's a great deal of political interference in the media. Less so in Europe.
2) More transparent judicial system. The US judicial system is extremely opaque. Miscarriages of justice are disproportionately frequent and legislation concerning drug possession and laws like the 3-strike rule inhibit individual freedoms greatly. Then there's the farce that is the death penalty.
3) Business. Much harder for resident aliens and foreign nationals who are afforded the same rights as citizens during their time in the US to own and operate businesses. Opaque business taxation system and IRS as judge, jury and executioner. No independent ombudsman to address complains regarding business law and taxation.
4) Basic civil liberties. Higher degree of freedom from harassment or persecution based on race, religion, gender, sexuality or disability in Europe. Constitutionally enshrined public oversight for intelligence agencies and law enforcement. Arguably better protections from cruel and unusual punishment, torture, extraordinary rendition and detention without trial.

well first off, I would say please don't preface your rebuttal by simply lumping New Zealand in with all of Europe given the context.

tree-hugging yokel anomalies do not count in this discussion ;)

 

but lets get down to brass tax.

I need examples. without serious examples this debate goes nowhere fast. you'll notice already that I've tried to provide Freedom House scores as a general reference point for my line of argument. it's just a jumping off point. but you're already going too wide-range here with your response. without specifics, this will just be endless "he said, he said." I'll take the points in order.

 

1) what exactly are we talking about here? our press couldn't be more free if it was tripping acid and skydiving over Vegas. our press and our media (and any citizen, for that matter) can say ANYTHING they want about the government. and they routinely do.

and I mean, of course there's a great deal of political interference in the press. but is it infringing on our rights? I'll be the first to agree that significant aspects of our press have become weak and are sleeping with the enemy too often. it's threatening our prosperity a little. it's hurting our electoral process a little. but is it infringing our rights?? I'll need to hear something a little more convincing than how there's "a great deal of political interference."

are you just talking about our (lack of) political choices at the polls?

are you talking about access of the press to government agencies?

 

2) can't really argue with this.

but again Sivis; what are we talking about here? I'm not sure I agree to the terms. is a miscarriage of justice an infringement on our rights? I thought this started because The Admiral was convinced that the US "has no rights," since apparently the words of George Carlin are scripture. judges can be corrupt and juries can be totally inept. but this is by no means unique to the US nor is poor judgement necessarily an infringement on our rights. right now it still sounds like a non sequitur to me. convince me.

 

once again; I'll be the first to agree that the death penalty is absurd.

but in the context of the discussion, does the fact that North America executes more people than Europe make us less free than Europeans? it's not a blanket context either. you know as well as I do that numerous states in the US have abolished capital punishment. sure, I wish it were a national policy though.

 

3) this point I have to concede.

our capitalism is run amok. utterly. the wealthiest / most powerful corporations absolutely control all access points to the elite club by working their way hand-in-hand with our government to keep down anyone who is not one of them. they literally trample the underclass to maximize personal financial gains and maintain a specific, highly loyal, and completely malleable ruling class (AKA Democrats and Republicans). they ensure that laws are written to abscond and benefit themselves while criminalizing and suppressing those who cannot take advantage. it's disgusting and if we don't seriously shake up this system then it is doomed to ruin the country as we know it.

 

so... yeah you got me on that one. :breadfish:

 

4) I'm going to have to disagree. and that's before we get into the whole France, UK, versus the Arab world thing.

I mean, you're really going to have to get more specific. are you talking about harassment legally? harassment in the workplace? harassment socially? I can't argue the point about our intelligence community, but I take issue with your broad strokes on law enforcement. again; the US is a hodgepodge in this regard with every individual state running its own police force from the Governor's office.

 

your final point is also too vague.

I would be a fool to argue in support of the way we treat enemy combatants, POWs, and those we label as suspicious or "terrorists" during times of war. our record in this regard is not very proud. but when it comes to civilians and/or during peacetime then I really cannot concede the point. I haven't exactly noticed anyone disappearing in the middle of the night to the hidden Gestapo underneath the Washington Monument... though Guantanamo Bay is another story.


sivispacem
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#122

Posted 13 December 2013 - 03:09 PM

I'm on a mobile device at the moment so struggle to quote and reference properly, so I'll just pick examples out of the various freedom indices:

Economic Freedom Index 2013
New Zealand- 3rd
Switzerland- 4th
Finland- 7th
Canada- 8th
Australia- 10th
UK- 12th
Denmark- 14th
US- 17th


World Freedom Index 2013
New Zealand- 1st
Netherlands- 2nd
Australia- 4th
Canada- 4th
Ireland- 4th
US- 7th


Press Freedom Index 2013
Finland- 1st
Netherlands- 2nd
Norway- 3rd
New Zealand- 8th
Sweden- 10th
Ireland- 15th
Canada- 20th
UK- 29th
US- 32nd


Corruption Perception Index 2013
Denmark- 1st
New Zealand- 2nd
Finland- 3rd
Sweden- 4th
Norway- 5th
Australia- 9th
Canada-10th
UK- 13th
Belgium- 15th
US- don't know as the summary I have only lists top 15.

theadmiral
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#123

Posted 13 December 2013 - 03:23 PM

Yep, totally agree with Sivis. The only people who maintain the "America is the most free land in the world" illusion are clueless Americans with an overactive sense of patriotism. It is common knowledge that it is anything but.

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The Yokel
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#124

Posted 13 December 2013 - 08:08 PM

US- don't know as the summary I have only lists top 15.

They share 19th place with Uruguay.


El_Diablo
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#125

Posted 14 December 2013 - 01:21 AM Edited by El_Diablo, 14 December 2013 - 01:23 AM.

I'm on a mobile device at the moment so struggle to quote and reference properly, so I'll just pick examples out of the various freedom indices:

Economic Freedom Index 2013
New Zealand- 3rd
Switzerland- 4th
Finland- 7th
Canada- 8th
Australia- 10th
UK- 12th
Denmark- 14th
US- 17th


World Freedom Index 2013
New Zealand- 1st
Netherlands- 2nd
Australia- 4th
Canada- 4th
Ireland- 4th
US- 7th


Press Freedom Index 2013
Finland- 1st
Netherlands- 2nd
Norway- 3rd
New Zealand- 8th
Sweden- 10th
Ireland- 15th
Canada- 20th
UK- 29th
US- 32nd


Corruption Perception Index 2013
Denmark- 1st
New Zealand- 2nd
Finland- 3rd
Sweden- 4th
Norway- 5th
Australia- 9th
Canada-10th
UK- 13th
Belgium- 15th
US- don't know as the summary I have only lists top 15.

 

this is utterly meaningless without details. this doesn't tell us anything.

as of yet no one has responded to any of the concrete examples I've provided.

 

I'll just keep waiting.


theadmiral
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#126

Posted 14 December 2013 - 01:23 AM

Its ok, El_Diablo, you can keep living in la la land.


El_Diablo
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#127

Posted 14 December 2013 - 01:25 AM

:lol: yeah... says the guy who is literally incapable of forming any kind of coherent argument...

 

you can talk to me when you do something other than fire off one-liners and blindly agree with Sivis.


theadmiral
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#128

Posted 14 December 2013 - 01:28 AM

:lol: yeah... says the guy who is literally incapable of forming any kind of coherent argument...

 

you can talk to me when you do something other than fire off one-liners and blindly agree with Sivis.

You can go look up those indexes with a simple google search and find out what they are measured on. I disagree with Sivis as much as I agree with him, and I listed all of those countries prior to any of this kicking off. I just prefer to conduct discussions off the cuff rather than linking things from the internet.


Myron
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#129

Posted 14 December 2013 - 01:45 AM

I tried to respond to some of the points here, but my browser f*cked up and I lost a lot of the stuff I wrote which wasn't saved in the auto saved content thing. Even the stuff that was was f*cked up so I'll just say this: You clearly are too brainwashed into thinking that America is the greatest country in the world in every aspect that there is no convincing you otherwise. People have provided various links and evidence showing you which areas that the United States is lagging behind Europe, and in some cases behind  less industrialised countries. As for your rebuttal that those pieces of data aren't good enough for you, well they're good enough for just about everyone else on the planet, so you're jut going to have to deal with it. The evidence is in the statistics charts and the reasonings behind the rankings are clearly explained.

 

I'm sorry that your country isn't the fairytale land that your teachers told you, I really am, but you're going to have to deal with this fact and move on.

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WhatsStrength
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#130

Posted 14 December 2013 - 04:45 AM

Yep, totally agree with Sivis. The only people who maintain the "America is the most free land in the world" illusion are clueless Americans with an overactive sense of patriotism. It is common knowledge that it is anything but.

You mean (dare I say it?)....

Spoiler
?


sivispacem
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#131

Posted 14 December 2013 - 10:54 AM

this is utterly meaningless without details. this doesn't tell us anything.
as of yet no one has responded to any of the concrete examples I've provided.
 
I'll just keep waiting.


With all due respect, it says a great deal. You claimed, as highlighted below:

none of the countries you mentioned are "more free" than the US.


Which is what I was objecting to. I furnished you with some examples from my head but when asked to expand further, not being in a position to do so due to posting from my phone and therefore not having easy access to sources that verify the points I was making, I chose instead to demonstrate the point I was making in a different way.

Now I will address each of the examples I gave but given that I've substantiated my point I don't really see the need to. Your claim was that "none of the countries [specifically Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the Netherlands, with reference to wider Europe] are more free than the United States". The placing of these countries ahead of the US on the various freedom indices that I highlighted refutes this. New Zealand, Canada and Finland each rank higher than the United States in the four freedom indices I presented, which- unless you are claiming that each of these independent assessments is fundamentally biased against the United States is entirely convincing proof that, indeed, Canada, New Zealand and Finland are all more free than the US.

1) what exactly are we talking about here? our press couldn't be more free if it was tripping acid and skydiving over Vegas. our press and our media (and any citizen, for that matter) can say ANYTHING they want about the government. and they routinely do.

Okay, let's furnish you with some examples highlighted directly by the RSF Press Freedom report:
1) The summary detention of reporters covering the Occupy protests.
2) The Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (2005) which is so ambiguous in it's definition of "press" that it is possible for citizens posting their opinions in unmoderated form to be accused of improper advocacy or electioneering and fined for it.
3) Limitations on reporting issues of national security- criminal cases where evidence must be given in secret are generally held entirely behind closed doors and are therefore not subject to scrutiny; in most of Europe including the UK only evidence that is actually protectively marked or that which refers directly to things that hold classification levels of Restricted or above can be seen in secret whilst the rest of the case remains public.
4) The current campaign against whistle-blowing being taken by the US administration, which whilst designed to prevent the distribution of Secret and Top Secret PMM is being applied to distribution of materials at much lower levels of classification, and in some cases to material that isn't classified at all.
5) Restrictive libel laws and a legal bias against the defender in cases of libel and slander, which effectively permit corporations to gag journalists with injunctions and threats of libel action. The issue with this is that a caveat in the existing legislation applies the "actual malice" clause only to "public figures" which means that corporate bodies (which are not legally treated as public figures in the US) don't actually have to demonstrate malicious intent or careless disregard as to whether evidence is true or not in order to launch defamation suits against detractors.

2) can't really argue with this.
but again Sivis; what are we talking about here? I'm not sure I agree to the terms. is a miscarriage of justice an infringement on our rights? I thought this started because The Admiral was convinced that the US "has no rights," since apparently the words of George Carlin are scripture. judges can be corrupt and juries can be totally inept. but this is by no means unique to the US nor is poor judgement necessarily an infringement on our rights. right now it still sounds like a non sequitur to me. convince me.
 
once again; I'll be the first to agree that the death penalty is absurd.
but in the context of the discussion, does the fact that North America executes more people than Europe make us less free than Europeans? it's not a blanket context either. you know as well as I do that numerous states in the US have abolished capital punishment. sure, I wish it were a national policy though.


In reference to point 1, yes, miscarriages of justice are indicative of less freedom and less fairness in the judicial system. There are numerous root causes for miscarriages of justice- improper behaviour on the part of law enforcement (corruption), failures on the part of technicians or other personnel (varying between honest mistakes and negligently undermining the justice system), jury tampering, undue pressure on witnesses. In the US, as we've seen recently in several of the large patent suits, prosecutors are able to mould both the jury (through having a direct say in the selection process) and choosing the venue (not so applicable in criminal law) to a much greater extent than defendants can. Then there's the fact that extremely invasive questioning of expert witnesses on issues only peripherally related to the case in order to discredit them is entirely legal. Then you have central government interference in certain civil cases- like the recent case of Rahinah Ibrahim, whose suit against the government over being placed on a no-fly list was brought to an abrupt end by the DHS putting one of her witnesses (her daughter) on the no-fly list to prevent her from testifying (the airline actually presented the "no-board" order to the defendant in the trial as part of her case) and then flat-out lied about it, claiming that she'd "missed her flight".
 
In the case of point 2, yes. The very principle of the death penalty limits individual rights because it effectively prevents an individual from being freed should their conviction be quashed as unsafe after their execution.

4) I'm going to have to disagree. and that's before we get into the whole France, UK, versus the Arab world thing.
I mean, you're really going to have to get more specific. are you talking about harassment legally? harassment in the workplace? harassment socially? I can't argue the point about our intelligence community, but I take issue with your broad strokes on law enforcement. again; the US is a hodgepodge in this regard with every individual state running its own police force from the Governor's office.
 
your final point is also too vague.
I would be a fool to argue in support of the way we treat enemy combatants, POWs, and those we label as suspicious or "terrorists" during times of war. our record in this regard is not very proud. but when it comes to civilians and/or during peacetime then I really cannot concede the point. I haven't exactly noticed anyone disappearing in the middle of the night to the hidden Gestapo underneath the Washington Monument... though Guantanamo Bay is another story.

Sorry, what does your first point even mean? I'd say that despite some cultural tensions Europe is a far more welcoming and less suspicious place towards Muslims, both on a governmental level and on an individual one. Various organised groups that preach anti-Semitism, racism and other forms of discrimination use their right to free speech as a platform to instigate tensions and cause violence- the only practical difference between the US and Europe in terms of free speech is that hate speech is illegal in Europe and permitted in the US. Hate crime legislation, though now much better than it used to be, has historically been very weak in the US as the bar for determining what constitutes a crime driven by hatred of defining characteristics used to be very high. Five states still don't have any kind of hate crime on their statute books, several don't recognise sexuality as a determining factor in hate crimes for anything other than statistical reporting, and only about a dozen specifically include violence based on gender identity as a hate crime.

I know that tarring all law enforcement with the same brush is foolish but that wasn't my intent- it was merely to point out how closed the US system of independent oversight actually is. In Europe we tend to have entirely independent bodies (the IPCC in the UK) who have the legal authority to hold police forces to account for alleged inappropriate behaviour. Essentially all law enforcement is answerable to a central body with direct powers of judicial oversight. Does such a body or system exist in the US? Is there any effective mechanism for citizens to hold law enforcement to task in an open, transparent and public way? If there is I've certainly never heard of it.

El_Diablo
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#132

Posted 15 December 2013 - 12:28 AM Edited by El_Diablo, 15 December 2013 - 03:32 AM.

You clearly are too brainwashed into thinking that America is the greatest country in the world in every aspect that there is no convincing you otherwise

:yawn:  you couldn't be more wrong.

this doesn't describe me at all.

 

if that's what you're getting out of this discussion, then you clearly don't understand it or the points I am making.

time for you to move along with the Admiral since you contribute nothing but baseless assumptions.

 

Now I will address each of the examples I gave but given that I've substantiated my point I don't really see the need to. Your claim was that "none of the countries [specifically Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the Netherlands, with reference to wider Europe] are more free than the United States". The placing of these countries ahead of the US on the various freedom indices that I highlighted refutes this. 

I was never arguing that the US is more free than the countries in question, only that it is not significantly less free.

 

 

Okay, let's furnish you with some examples highlighted directly by the RSF Press Freedom report:

1) The summary detention of reporters covering the Occupy protests.
2) The Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (2005) which is so ambiguous in it's definition of "press" that it is possible for citizens posting their opinions in unmoderated form to be accused of improper advocacy or electioneering and fined for it.
3) Limitations on reporting issues of national security- criminal cases where evidence must be given in secret are generally held entirely behind closed doors and are therefore not subject to scrutiny; in most of Europe including the UK only evidence that is actually protectively marked or that which refers directly to things that hold classification levels of Restricted or above can be seen in secret whilst the rest of the case remains public.
4) The current campaign against whistle-blowing being taken by the US administration, which whilst designed to prevent the distribution of Secret and Top Secret PMM is being applied to distribution of materials at much lower levels of classification, and in some cases to material that isn't classified at all.
5) Restrictive libel laws and a legal bias against the defender in cases of libel and slander, which effectively permit corporations to gag journalists with injunctions and threats of libel action. The issue with this is that a caveat in the existing legislation applies the "actual malice" clause only to "public figures" which means that corporate bodies (which are not legally treated as public figures in the US) don't actually have to demonstrate malicious intent or careless disregard as to whether evidence is true or not in order to launch defamation suits against detractors

1) isolated incidents. abuses of power.

those few reporters didn't exactly disappear into secret police custody or torture or anything. that's not representative of how our 1st Amendment is typically applied.

 

2) and how many times have ordinary citizen bloggers been the subject of these fines?

are they being systematically silenced? not exactly...

 

3) fair point.

 

4.) too ambiguous.

I'll be the first to admit our intelligence community is sh*te and that way too many people have top-secret clearances. transparency is not our strong suit. for that matter, Edward Snowden is more of a patriot than all the flag-pin-wearing cocksuckers on Capitol Hill combined.

 

5.) isolated incidents. abuses of power.

how many reputable journalists working for significant news outlets have been silenced by corporations?

 

In reference to point 1, yes, miscarriages of justice are indicative of less freedom and less fairness in the judicial system. There are numerous root causes for miscarriages of justice- improper behaviour on the part of law enforcement (corruption), failures on the part of technicians or other personnel (varying between honest mistakes and negligently undermining the justice system), jury tampering, undue pressure on witnesses.

aside from the fact that our Justice system varies in effectiveness as you travel from one side of the country to the other, I fail to see how it's any more corrupt or negligent at times than any other Western style judicial system has been. judges and juries and police are still made up of human beings wherever you find them and humans are terrifically imperfect. when the UK has eradicated all instances of jury tampering and witness leaning, then I suppose we can cast our stones at the US.

 

aside from sensational examples, I don't see a pattern that demonstrates the US as being any more susceptible to this nonsense than anywhere else. my concern is with the aggregate behavior and the hyperbolic language that certain people are using to compare US civil liberties to China (which is absurd).

 

the only practical difference between the US and Europe in terms of free speech is that hate speech is illegal in Europe and permitted in the US. Hate crime legislation, though now much better than it used to be, has historically been very weak in the US as the bar for determining what constitutes a crime driven by hatred of defining characteristics used to be very high. Five states still don't have any kind of hate crime on their statute books, several don't recognise sexuality as a determining factor in hate crimes for anything other than statistical reporting, and only about a dozen specifically include violence based on gender identity as a hate crime.

but this is exactly why this point doesn't work as a counterargument.

you just said it. I've said it.

 

if there's one thing the US consistently does wrong it's the total lack of consistency. and I can't defend it.

our legal system varies too much from one side of the nation to the other. I can't defend 5 states failing to adopt hate speech laws. however this still does not excuse the fact that MOST of the country has adopted and hate speech is routinely prosecuted as such. once the precedent for those lawsuits have been established they don't usually go the other way. the media hates talking about it, but racial crime is prosecuted correctly more often than not.

 

they'd just rather focus on incidents like Trayvon Martin and claim the entire country is going to hell in a handbasket.

it's really not. but hey, that's how you sell newspapers.

 

In Europe we tend to have entirely independent bodies (the IPCC in the UK) who have the legal authority to hold police forces to account for alleged inappropriate behaviour. Essentially all law enforcement is answerable to a central body with direct powers of judicial oversight. Does such a body or system exist in the US? Is there any effective mechanism for citizens to hold law enforcement to task in an open, transparent and public way? If there is I've certainly never heard of it.

no you're right.

 

police departments are typically expected to police themselves and they can be found lying or trying to protect the officers rather than seeking blind justice. I can't argue this. it's wrong. but it also excuses the reality that most PD's do an excellent job of their own oversight and discipline. I can't speak to sensational / isolated incidents like when a few cops unload 164 bullets into a guy who was reaching for his wallet and then no one gets fired. I can't defend the indefensible but being far from perfect doesn't mean we're at the bottom of the barrel.

 

it's not like the police routinely get away with unjustifiable homicide or torture or kidnapping political rivals.

it all comes back to my original point. not that the US is more free, not that Europe is less free; that's getting away from the issue.

 

the original issue is that a few people had said the US is becoming an "oppressive" "dictatorship" that was hardly "any better than China" and had "no rights" and "no freedoms." these are the phrases and words that were used by a few dumb people. these are things I was disagreeing with.

 

I'm well aware that the US is not perfect.

I never thought that the US was the greatest country on Earth.

I have no problem admitting the numerous areas in which we need improvement.

 

but we're nowhere near as bad as those handful of dumb people were implying we had become.


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#133

Posted 22 December 2013 - 07:46 PM

Not surprised. At least now Liberals can't call me crazy for saying politicians want to confiscate guns.





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