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Political discussions and other rants about useless things like culture

Discussion in 'Dark Tranquillity' started by Matse, Aug 9, 2009.

  1. Lina

    Lina kickass elizabethan style

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    I work in the Capitol and had to go in this past weekend, and the protestors were just filled with so much hate. They were completely misinformed about the health-care bill, and I'm guessing 95% of them would benefit from it. But it hardly mattered, because it was just a proxy for their rage. They were yelling about my pals and faggots and gun rights and God and the Constitution and abortion and Mexicans and the liberal media and...just everything. Like you said, the whole party is such a mishmash of interests; it seems to be a catch-all for the dregs of society. What was especially unsettling is they'd be yelling all this hateful stuff and then smile at me and ask where they could get a bite to eat. Like it was just a big party.

    :tickled:
     
  2. stizzleomnibus

    stizzleomnibus Decisively Human

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    I'm sorry you have to put up with that. I work with stodgy old white men (with goatees and law degrees, and occasionally someone in a double-breasted suit), so I hear my share of crap. Thankfully, it hasn't yet come in vogue to use outright hate speech in professional settings, so we're safe. At some point, that mob has got to clear out. I've only been to DC once, and I've been meaning to return (Folger Shakespeare Library + Botanic Gardens Conservatory = Heaven on Earth), but I'm somewhat afraid of running into this amorphous blob of hate.

    The really fucked up thing is that most of those people probably aren't even really "Republican". This tea-party orgy is on the brink of overflowing into it's own movement, with Palin at its head. The thought of that woman touching a federal office scares me. It's like a movement built with defiance of reason as its solo motivation. I don't even understand what everyone is angry about...the economy, maybe?

    What's really disgusting is watching Palin give speeches or get on TV without once stopping to tell everyone to calm down and drop the worst of hate speech. It really pisses me off when I hear someone hold her up as a great role-model for young women. It's an insult to nearly every woman that I've ever met in my life. Also, I would like to incorporate this.
     
  3. Defiance

    Defiance I vårens ljusa kvällar

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    I'm pretty sure that, as you said, most people are misinformed about the health care bill. I can't understand why people think like that, IMO they just hate Obama and homosexuals and (most of them) were using this as an excuse to protest on that.

    Oh, and if the fucking U.S. government even cared they would stop the Mexican immigration to their country. This really bothers me, you have no idea. Many U.S. citizens complain of all the new Mexican immigrants as if immigration were something new in the U.S. :)lol:), but they don't know that many people migrate because of the problems in their countries. Excuse me, problems caused by the U.S. in their countries.

    All this horrible drug problem in Mexico is basically the U.S.'s fault because the majority of drugs go there and to some European countries. It's such a joke that the fucking U.S. government is waging a petrol war in the Middle-East, when Central/Latin America is falling apart, partly because of them. The U.S. should think about that more, it's simply idiotic, they should focus on their neighbours and how they can affect the country.

    And since the Mexican government is actually trying to do something about this drug problem, the 'cuarteles' have now moved to the rest of Central America. Thank you! For the first time there've been cases of 'cuarteles' discovered in Costa Rica! Thank you very much, we really appreciate it!

    They keep complaining about immigration, but they do little to stop it. Oh wait, you built a wall hahahaha; they go from stupid to imbecile.

    Oh please, don't get me started with Palin. I hate her so much, she's the best representation of the Republican ignoramus. I can't believe some people follow her, but then again, it's the U.S. :rolleyes: . Can you expand more on the 'mommy is taking your rights as a woman' issue? I didn't know about that.
     
  4. stizzleomnibus

    stizzleomnibus Decisively Human

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    This bothers me just as much. In 2003 I got all excited about the "Global War on Terror" since (in my visit to DC that fall) I learned a lot about the FARC and other such groups. I was stoked that we'd be fighting that shit... but no, just "Islam and Oil" terrorists.

    It's interesting to note that one of the richest countries in the world sits in a hemisphere with dozens of poor countries. Years of political meddling (how many Latin patriots died in US backed revolutions until we got leaders we liked?), our useless trade protections (which pretty much devalued all of your hyper-efficient agriculture), and our massive consumption of your drugs while ham-fistedly fighting to stop it. Seriously, I wish we could just deploy troops (with permission and cooperation) and beat these cartels drug producers into pulp. It would do everyone a lot of good.

    As for immigration...yeah, that's America's great irony. Maybe if people coming to America tried to be whiter, like us European Americans, they'd get a better reception. The funny thing about immigration: while it can hurt domestic labor markets (and should probably receive some level of regulation), the choice we've been facing for decades is immigration or outsourcing. In my field, for example, I'd rather work with Indians here than have an Indian overseas doing my job (implicit in this is no negative sentiment towards Indians, there's just a ton of them in IT). But hey, let's just embrace short-sighted hate-based politics and fuck the whole country into ruin.

    It's just a clever riff on the type of woman that Palin is, i.e. a woman fighter. Feminism was always about opening up choices for women, and that included choices for traditional roles (housewife, mother etc). It just meant more opportunity to end up in boardrooms and do whatever else a woman desires. Palin is a hardcore traditionalist. One of those women who wants to move ""past"" feminism and get back to Bible-based traditional life styles, minus any of these silly "options" we try to make available to women today. The only place it really came up politically was her abortion stance. However, most of the socialist issues we described above do have special implications for women: they cost more in health care (which I have no problem chipping in to cover) and they're most likely to be stuck with children (when us boys run out). They've been screwed under the status quo for e-e-e-ver.
     
  5. Maxim1110

    Maxim1110 Member

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    Yeah that may be a little confusing, but we always use abbreviations for political parties here, and then it is just divided into PVV(Wilders) and VVD(People's Party for Freedom and Democracy). VVD was the party in which Wilders started though, but I think he either got kicked out a few years ago or quit himself.

    But I guess this is the other side of the Dutch tolerance. We're usually very tolerant towards other cultures and foreigners, but people such as Wilders are also accepted. And even if he would just be accepted it would be ok, but it is indeed scary that so many people vote for him. Some hope is in the fact that they will need to form a coalition with usually two other parties. They will never get over 50% of all votes by themselves, that has never happened before to any party. It may seem strange to Americans, but we have around 25 (or more, small local parties included) political parties here, of which around 10 are kind of big. That said, they will never be able to get 75 of the 150 seets in the parliament by themselves. Therefore they would have to form a coalition, but there is no other party that is prepared to meet their demands.

    Another debate that is currently going on is about the subsided studies. Right now, all studies in higher education (university, highschool) are subsided by the government. Now, because of the crisis, they want to abolish that and make students pay for themselves. Of all political parties, only the SP (Socialist Party) understood the real consequences: studying in higher education will become impossible for the poor, and become for the rich or bourgeois only. In the end this will lead to a smaller amount of students and that will kill the economy even more.

    Yeah that's right. It's also the reason why I'm often a bit uncomfortable listening to Burzum. I mean, "Dunkelheit" isn't such a bad song at all, but I don't like Varg Vikernes' ideas.

    But there are also some bands that I actually like more because of their political ideas, but those are usually also bands that have such lyrical themes. Biggest examples of this would be Heaven Shall Burn and System Of A Down. I mean, their music is ok, but not THAT great. But it's the lyrics there as well. Also: Eminem. I really don't like his music, it doesn't do me anything, but he's got some good lyrics there.

    Heh, a few weeks ago I read that a local church community in the USA had to pay a large compensation (around 3 million dollars I think) because they had been protesting at military funerals. The reason for their protest: the war in Iraq is god's punishment for the American tolerance towards homosexuals. "What tolerance towards homosexuals?", I thought...
     
  6. Naglfar

    Naglfar As Naglfar devours us all

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    Most people are misinformed by health care reform because it was a deliberate strategy by the Republican Party to do just that, tinker with information. But the issue is relatively complex. Not all policy issues can be broken down into bite-sized 24 hour media nuggets. On the one hand, I can understand why most Americans are uneasy about the reforms, even though a slight majority is for it. Both doing something and doing nothing carries risk. The Republican Party couldn't provide an alternative because there was not a strong moderate wing to produce a counterproposal.

    On the other hand, the issue isn't so much about ignorance but cultural attitudes in certain parts of the country. If you live in mostly rural areas of southern states (which themselves are, with some exceptions, largely poor and rural), the idea of more federal involvement of your life seems like a bother. Cityfolk here are more aware of what that "government" thing is, and as a result they don't have much reason to fear it.

    I think the confusion stems from the way the Republican Party articulated its opposition. They did a good job, even if it undermined their goals in the end, of framing the problem in terms of expansive government, and thus socialism. If you have a wealthy country of 350+ million people, you're going to have a large bureaucracy and government apparatus, period. But that's only in the absolute. Relatively speaking, the American government interferes with its citizens less than in almost every developed or semi-developed country in the world. But in this country people see private property and open markets as being essential to individual rights. I think, because there is a large truth to this, it easily translates into an accessible paranoia about the role of the government in society.

    The Cold War paranoia in that regard still exists. But I mean... the failure of communist governments in the Cold War was precisely that they didn't figure out how to protect individual rights in the absence of private property. And the appropriation of state resources for enriching the ruling party bureaucracy. So Americans aren't totally off base in worrying about their government, to a certain extent it's healthy. Just not in the way it's being expressed by the right wing in this country at this moment and time. It's either extreme or incoherent (re: Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck).
     
  7. stizzleomnibus

    stizzleomnibus Decisively Human

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    Yeah, I was reading about Burzum the other day. I can understand pride in heritage, which is a lot of what Vikernes has going. Unlike Americans, he is a native in the land his people grew up in. There's not a thing wrong with pride, but associating with white power groups is not the way to enjoy your heritage.

    As for the other artists that you mentioned: that's a very safe kind of politics. Anything anti-establishment is, at the very least, cool in a hippy kind of way. Opposing corporations and governments will always be hip. Picking a side in government debates, however, is just asking for trouble.

    Oh, my. I thought they were our own private embarrassment. I really have to apologize about that. You're referring to the Westboro Baptist Church. I should mention that nearly every Christian in America hates these people, and no other mainstream Baptist group wants anything to do with them. There's really not much to say about how incredible disturbing they are. There is an amazing BBC documentary, and there's always Wikipedia. The song in the opening of the documentary is "Proud to be an American", which is something of a modern classic patriot song, but those aren't the original lyrics.

    I like to bring up the WBC every time someone starts talking about how we need God and Religion in government. I always suggest Fred Phelps, the WBC pastor as my candidate for president. People always back-pedal; "No, not someone like that... he's too radical." They never really seem to get the irony that any element of faith in government carries the same risk.
     
  8. Defiance

    Defiance I vårens ljusa kvällar

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    Haha that's quite amazing even by U.S. standards :p . Yeah S(o)(a)D has good lyrics, and some decent songs actually. I'm not into rap, but Z-Ro has great lyrics and is quite good.

    Interesting, I didn't know T.N. had so many parties. How can someone run a country like that? Then again, I guess most parties don't even win seats.

    It's like :/Official_Monster_Raving_Loony_Party. Haha I'd vote for them :lol: . I'm actually thinking of creating a political party like that here hehe.

    Hey you don't have to apologise, you weren't there. You should say you're sorry for not recycling or something like that.

    Wow thanks for the link of the documentary, it looks very good, I'll show it to my students.

    I saw one called Irreligilous or something like that, not as professional as a BBC documentary (what can be as professional as that hehe? :p), I'll post the link when I remember the correct name.

    EDIT: The movie is Religulous, check it out.
     
  9. Defiance

    Defiance I vårens ljusa kvällar

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    I am totally perplexed. It's just so sad…, I feel very, very sorry for those kids and the girl. It is very hard to express what I feel, but I'm basically about to cry. It is all so miserable, so despairing.

    It was really offensive, I got all 'red' when I saw the Canadian flag turned upside down.

    I seriously can't believe that they haven't been killed or something. It is all just plain insulting, wearing those flags upside down and going to the funerals to insult those poor families.

    I am so depressed right now.

    P.S.: I'll definitely show this to my students, it's great cultural components, but mostly so some can understand (get) that going to any extreme isn't good.
     
  10. stizzleomnibus

    stizzleomnibus Decisively Human

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    You should definitely do something about philosophies which don't admit discourse. It's a common cult/religion thing: Beyond the basic beliefs is the belief in the infallibility of the organization and the untrustworthiness of outsiders. That kind of multi-layered close-mindedness makes it impossible for any reason to get in. That's why it's so hard to deprogram cult survivors.

    I had a mixed reaction, though. Obviously, I find their speech absolutely deplorable, but when they mentioned the Swedish minister being arrested for hate-speech, it got me thinking about the American 1st Amendment. It's so weird reading news from other countries and hearing about reporters being arrested, or someone being arrested for "sedition." In the US, you can more or less say whatever you want, though stipulations apply to certain types of expression such as child porn (usually to avoid supporting exploitation, but also mysteriously applies to drawings and fictional descriptions) and obscenity (language of little redeeming value meant only to offend). Certainly, our culture does not encourage people like the WBC or any other hate group, but our police have a long history of showing up to events like KKK rallies to make sure that the proceedings aren't interrupted by protesters. That's how much we value speech.

    So, I kind of see it as wrong to arrest someone as in the Swedish incident mentioned, no matter how reprehensible the guy's speech was. Of course, the downside is that you get people like the WBC wandering around free. They've got a special set of laws, like Maxim mentioned earlier, that forbid them from assembling in certain areas (namely, you can't assemble near a funeral-in-progress). So, beyond extremism, maybe the lesson is that, no matter how bad it gets, there is great beauty and freedom in keeping the government from deciding what types of expression are legal.

    Great example: the UK actually banned rock & roll once upon a time. An entire genre, regardless of lyrical content, banned. They banned collections of notes.
     
  11. Defiance

    Defiance I vårens ljusa kvällar

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    Well IMO they shouldn't be allowed to go on and say those hateful things. I believe that liberty ends as soon as you trespass other people's liberty.
    It's a very particular situation, but I wouldn't let them go around doing that. Still, the U.S. is a country that 'has' 'freedom' of expression. (Still, I don't really believe the latter to be honest.)

    It's a very controversial issue, to what extremes should you go? What is censorable and what not? The best example is the Chinese government, which censors a lot of sites which would have info on the Tiananmen_Square_protests_of_1989. I wouldn't be surprised if they've banned Ultimate Metal hehe, let's hope our friend Zach.Zang can still visit us.

    And seriously, being the U.S. a country as violent as it is, I'm seriously wondering how nobody has shot them.


    Ah I didn't know about that in the U.K., it was probably Margaret Thatcher hahaha :lol: .

    Yes, I usually think of Nicaragua. The U.S. basically decided to cause a war, and when they lost they caused another one so they could put the president they liked :) . These are the famous 'Somosa' wars.

    And the U.S. did try to invade Costa Rica (through Nicaragua), but we won! :kickass:

    I wished too you could just deploy some troops and stop the carteles. Then again, the government doesn't really care, since even a U.S. woman got shot in Mexico by some drug-mafia guys and the government did, as usual, naught.

    Take Haiti too, no one (C.R. included) cared until the earthquake. The U.S. could've easily helped, but they didn't do anything, knowing that Haití was/is the poorest country of the continent. And now you have Bush and Clinton wanting a piece of the pie by going together and 'help'. It's very funny to see them hand in hand, though :lol: .
     
  12. stizzleomnibus

    stizzleomnibus Decisively Human

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    See, that's the crux of the issue. Once you politicize free speech rights, whomever is in control decides what is and is not appropriate. Incitements to violence classify as an action, so it's no surprise that those are illegal. I think we've also got some laws prohibiting calls for political assassination (someone just called for Obama's death the other day).

    We're a pretty religious country, so you can imagine critique of religion is something that religious people would love to get rid of. In fact, the Church of Scientology was just making a civil rights case (I'm not sure where, but I don't think it was here) over hate speech against them as a "religious body." Losing the right to condemn and critique organizations and worse, losing your history (as with Tiananmen Square) is serious. That's why we allow everyone (mostly) uninhibited expression.

    In fact, in a way we have to be thankful for the controversial people out there. Anti-speech activists are so busy working at silencing the Howard Sterns and WBCs of the world that they mostly ignore all of the relevant, controversial dialog going on down here on earth.

    Watching our old presidents march out hand-in-hand is pretty common. I swear there's a secret presidential rule about it. Clinton and Bush the First were all over the place after September 11th.

    The situation in this hemisphere is so screwed up. The history of Latin American governments is filled with US-backed coups (I think Castro was our 3rd planted dictator in Cuba alone). After all of that interference and the massive tariffs, we've pretty much destroyed some of the most viable countries in the world. In cooperation (like most of Europe), we'd have a kickass economy going over here on the continents, with fewer violent cartels and less drug growing/importation. It would be awesome, but it probably wouldn't serve some back room agenda in Washington.

    I can't talk politics anymore tonight. I spent the day arguing with morons about health care reform, and got a futility headache so bad I almost vomited. Here's what I learned: middle-class white Americans can't comprehend their own classism, racism or xenophobia. They don't know what's in their own Constitution, they don't understand the health care system as it stands now, and they can't quote Benjamin Franklin properly to save their lives (or quote him in a relevant context, apparently).

    Quote of the Day: "More people die in countries with socialized medicine than the US." WTF? Is this meant to imply that any country on Earth actually has a per capita death rate of less than 100% Everybody dies. If there are people in the US not dying, then we need to prepare for the zombie apocalypse. :zombie:Maybe it's talking about life expectancy...but, according to the CIA World Factbook, we're 50 in the world on that count so...

    My headache is back now.:ill:
     
  13. Maxim1110

    Maxim1110 Member

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    Well it's a bit weird indeed, and we also get the weirdest kind of parties. But it works like this: the parliament is made up of 150 seats, so 1/150 of all votes would mean one seat. The party that gets the most votes also provides the MP (like Wilders would be if PVV wins or our current JP Balkenende, or Harry Potter as we usually call him). It never happens that one party would get over 75 seats, so they'll have to form a coalition, agree on certain compromises etc. The winning party is always in the coalition.

    Now, there's a few rather large parties, and some smaller. The biggest ones are generally central right-wing CDA (Christian Democratic Party) and central left-wing PvdA (Labour Party). The last elections, in 2006, the SP (Socialist Party) became quite big too, partially because of a very charismatic leader (Jan Marijnissen). Now, in the polls PvdA is the biggest with 27 seats, but followed on foot by Geert Wilders' PVV which has 26 seats and CDA which has 24 seats.

    A government can fall for different reasons. One of them may be because the opposition requests the government to be dismissed, with reasonable arguments etc. What happened in february was that there was a problem within the coalition that couldn't be solved. It was formed of the CDA, PvdA and CU (Christian Union), and in 2007 they had said to finally leave Afghanistan in 2010. CDA en CU now wanted to continue the mission, but PvdA refused.

    Basically, everyone could form a party, only thing you need is a certain amount of money and signatures of at least (I think) 1500 people who would support the party. The result of this is that we sometimes get the weirdest parties, that usually don't even get a seat. One weird party that does have one is the PvdD (Party for the Animals). I mean, come on, environmentally conscious, ok, but you shouldn't exaggerate. We also had some controversion over a party named the "Pedophiles Party." It never got a seat, but according to the constitution it couldn't be banned.

    One thing I do find weird, is that the OM (Openbaar Ministerie, Public Services or something I think) hasn't been able to sue Geert Wilders. The first article of the constitution clearly says that freedom of speech is allowed, but expressions of racism and discrimination are not. Still, Wilders was acquitted.

    Funny fact: the UK is NOT a democracy. One of the features of a democracy is a constitution, and the UK doesn't have one.
     
  14. Naglfar

    Naglfar As Naglfar devours us all

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    We're the first ones who showed up... we put up the most money... the U.S. and Haiti have an ugly history together, but so does Haiti and the rest of the Americas.
     
  15. Defiance

    Defiance I vårens ljusa kvällar

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    Yeah, even if I wished someone would 'censor' those guys, then you'd have to censor a lot of other stuff. I'm still not president, so I can't do that :p .

    Ah well I never really think of former presidents getting together until now :p .

    Haha that I didn't see coming, I thought most middle-class U.S. Americans would kind of get what's going on. Poor Ben no one quotes him correctly :p .

    Ahhh OK that explains it :p .

    Haha well 'we' do kind of have a constitution, just not one printed document :p .
     
  16. stizzleomnibus

    stizzleomnibus Decisively Human

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    While I respect the distinction, and appreciate your specificity, you're not going to get me to say it.:p

    @Maxim: you are just packed with useful information about your political system. For your virtue, I award you one U.S. citizenship credit, redeemable at any border station for lifetime membership in the fight against our ignorant electorate. It's a selfish gesture.:)
     
  17. Naglfar

    Naglfar As Naglfar devours us all

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    You could use USAins or United Statesians. Less unwieldy than US Americans.
     
  18. Maxim1110

    Maxim1110 Member

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    Fuck yeah, PVV dropped to 18 seats in the polls now, going the right way here!
     
  19. Defiance

    Defiance I vårens ljusa kvällar

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    Haha I wonder what took you so long ;) . Yeah it's OK I'm not going to make you, although I've already convinced a U.S. American (hehe) to change. Because America is a continent and yada yada yada :p .
     
  20. stizzleomnibus

    stizzleomnibus Decisively Human

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    No, I noticed it every time. It seemed like a strange thing to say (I've never heard it before), but then it made sense. But, I would be betraying my heritage if I were to do anything other than assume that we're the only ones on the continent that matter. The only ones in the world, for that matter.
     

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