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Author Topic: The Political Thread  (Read 1264952 times)

JayzusB.Christ

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Re: The Political Thread
« Reply #17010 on: 27 May, 2020, 04:44:36 PM »
Sometimes I wonder whether Americans are close to North Korean in terms of indoctrination.  There seems to be this idea that everyone in the world wants to be like them.  Unaffordable healthcare; school shootings; constant war; institutionalised racism; policies decided by people who don't believe in dinosaurs; a petulant baby as a president: no thanks.

That said, it should be remembered that the majority of Americans voted against Trump.
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Funt Solo

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Re: The Political Thread
« Reply #17011 on: 27 May, 2020, 05:15:34 PM »
That said, it should be remembered that the majority of Americans voted against Trump.

That's SO important!

I live in Washington state, which is true blue (that's Democrat). In effect that means that the big cities (like Seattle) are more left-leaning and the countryside is more right-leaning, but there are fewer of them.

Our state governor, Jay Inslee, calls a lot of the shots (which has been good for us during the pandemic). It's like we're a little mini-country. Like Washington (State) is to the USA what Scotland is to the UK. Sort of thing.

We still have bastards around - don't get me wrong. There's evil people that stand outside the abortion clinic accusing patients and doctors of murder. There are people who use derogatory names for latinx folk. People who call Native Americans dirty alcoholics. But there's more people that don't.

If all I knew of the US was what I saw on the news (which is mostly Trump being a knob) I'd never live here in a million years.

But would I live in the UK? Unaffordable housing; dreams of Empire; institutionalized racism; constant war fueled by its own arms sales; policies decided by people who believe in herd immunity; a spoilt bully as a prime minister, a seneschal who tests his eyesight by going driving, a country-wide social caste system, state-driven belief in an ancient sky-god cult from the Middle East, a hereditary monarchy that effectively perpetuates a state of serfdom...
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Robin Low

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Re: The Political Thread
« Reply #17012 on: 27 May, 2020, 05:55:05 PM »
But would I live in the UK? Unaffordable housing; dreams of Empire; institutionalized racism; constant war fueled by its own arms sales; policies decided by people who believe in herd immunity; a spoilt bully as a prime minister, a seneschal who tests his eyesight by going driving, a country-wide social caste system, state-driven belief in an ancient sky-god cult from the Middle East, a hereditary monarchy that effectively perpetuates a state of serfdom...

2000AD and the NHS.

We win  ;)

Regards,

Robin

TordelBack

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Re: The Political Thread
« Reply #17013 on: 27 May, 2020, 05:56:35 PM »
I think this is almost a universal truth, States and their people are different things. So many of my favourite creatives, intellectuals, entertainers, comedians and commentators are Americans; all the Americans I know personally are eloquent and informed, those I met in passing in the States generous and helpful. Historically the US set a standard for secular republican governance, funded the Irish independence movement and  bankrolled our nascent state, saved us from Hitler and brokered a genuinely inconceivable peace on our island. 

In many ways the US's words and actions as a state since 2001, even including the Obama years, have broken my heart precisely because they don't seem to reflect what I know of Americans.  And Trump is the steaming shit on top of that pile of dissonance.

As for your UK strawman yeah,  pretty much that.   ;)

Funt Solo

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Re: The Political Thread
« Reply #17014 on: 27 May, 2020, 06:24:51 PM »
2000AD and the NHS.

We win  ;)

Gah! You DO win. (I try to make myself feel better about the health care debacle over here in the US by leaning on cheaper house and petrol prices, but it's weak sauce consolation placed next to a national healthcare system. There is no way of arguing the 2000AD point - it's the galaxy's greatest comic.)

---

The idea that Trump is the worst thing since sliced bread (and he is demonstrably just an incredibly horrific individual held up by a mean-spirited base) is somewhat diminished if you watch the documentary series The Vietnam War.

It's difficult to pinpoint the worst of the behavior, but there you had an absolutely cynical sequence of presidents who knew full well they were doing the wrong thing, but kept doing it in order to remain in power. And the wrong thing just happened to include things like deliberately fire-bombing civilians and shooting unarmed college students: and then defending those actions.

Which only brings us back to Tordelback's point that "states and their people are different things" (but with a side dish of it has ever been this way).
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TordelBack

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Re: The Political Thread
« Reply #17015 on: 27 May, 2020, 06:44:32 PM »


The idea that Trump is the worst thing since sliced bread (and he is demonstrably just an incredibly horrific individual held up by a mean-spirited base) is somewhat diminished if you watch the documentary series The Vietnam War.

Oh hey,  I'm under no illusions about US foreign policy throughout its history (as a teen I suckled at the teat of Chomsky), and how it has treated its own people, but in the 21st C the facade of its aspiration to global freedom and international betterment, that even in its cynical superficiality served as a kind of standard that base actions could be judged against, just fell away.

Torture was okay,  assassination was a valid strategy, blatant lying to create cassus belli was fine, wars of religion were back on the table... It had always done these things, everyone knew it, but always with a sense of shame and denial, that it should be better than that.

Now, instead of a republic that was struggling towards noble ideals, but always dragged down by dirty money, deep-rooted oligarchy, dishonest hawks, gun nuts and ignorant zealots, it suddenly seemed to accept that all it was was the sum of those terrible things. And that that was fine.


« Last Edit: 27 May, 2020, 06:48:23 PM by TordelBack »

Funt Solo

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Re: The Political Thread
« Reply #17016 on: 27 May, 2020, 10:29:19 PM »
That's really an interesting point. Like they've stopped pretending.

---

In the news today, Trumpet responds to Twitter labeling his bullshit as bullshit by threatening to shut them down. Sometimes the idea of free speech in the U.S. means the freedom to shout "fire" in a crowded theater. (Or "drink bleach" at a crowded press conference.) And, apparently, also the freedom to threaten to shut down the media's right to free speech.

---

Just in case anyone forgot about it - I feel it's my duty to remind you all that Dominic Cummings told everyone the other day that his trip to a scenic beauty spot on his wife's birthday, in which they sat on a riverbank in the glorious sunshine, was just a test drive to see if his headache and temporary blindness were getting any better. And then the prime minister told everyone that was fine and it was time to move on.
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Dandontdare

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Re: The Political Thread
« Reply #17017 on: 28 May, 2020, 07:10:15 AM »
Apparently Cummings isn't trending on Twitter because his name triggers the anti-porn filters

IndigoPrime

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Re: The Political Thread
« Reply #17018 on: 28 May, 2020, 11:45:03 AM »
Mrs IP now so upset at the fuckwits running this country that she’s going offline for the foreseeable. Her final tweet, directed at me, was “we have to move”. Somewhat related, we just instructed an immigration lawyer to explore how the latest bit of goalpost shifting will affect the citizenship application that’s already cost us well into four figures, and this will add another £360. Fun times.

(Edit: And sorry for lumping this here, but I need to vent a bit, and this is basically the only forum I post on these days.)

Rately

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Re: The Political Thread
« Reply #17019 on: 28 May, 2020, 12:06:08 PM »
Mrs IP now so upset at the fuckwits running this country that she’s going offline for the foreseeable. Her final tweet, directed at me, was “we have to move”. Somewhat related, we just instructed an immigration lawyer to explore how the latest bit of goalpost shifting will affect the citizenship application that’s already cost us well into four figures, and this will add another £360. Fun times.

(Edit: And sorry for lumping this here, but I need to vent a bit, and this is basically the only forum I post on these days.)

Hope everything can be resolved for you as swiftly, and with as little hassle as possible, IndigoPrime. Awful situation to be in.

shaolin_monkey

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Re: The Political Thread
« Reply #17020 on: 28 May, 2020, 12:50:27 PM »
Mrs IP now so upset at the fuckwits running this country that she’s going offline for the foreseeable. Her final tweet, directed at me, was “we have to move”. Somewhat related, we just instructed an immigration lawyer to explore how the latest bit of goalpost shifting will affect the citizenship application that’s already cost us well into four figures, and this will add another £360. Fun times.

(Edit: And sorry for lumping this here, but I need to vent a bit, and this is basically the only forum I post on these days.)

Hope everything can be resolved for you as swiftly, and with as little hassle as possible, IndigoPrime. Awful situation to be in.

I feel you totally.  My partner and I re-opened discussions about moving to NZ last night. A few minutes later, one of my NZ ex-pat friends said he's so glad he still has his NZ passport, as he's getting the hell out of here.

JayzusB.Christ

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Re: The Political Thread
« Reply #17021 on: 28 May, 2020, 12:59:00 PM »
Sorry, Funt, bit of a sweeping and unfair generalisation about Americans from me. Like Tordels says, the vast amount of Americans I've met are clever, open-minded and decent - I suppose the way news works is that we only hear about the bad guys (particularly the bad guy-in-chief).

I suppose what irks me is the arrogant side of national pride in general. Like when George W claimed that his enemies-du-jour 'hate us for our freedom' - I seriously doubt it was jealousy that drove the terrorist attacks.
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IndigoPrime

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Re: The Political Thread
« Reply #17022 on: 28 May, 2020, 01:47:08 PM »
My partner and I re-opened discussions about moving to NZ last night.
I suspect our discussions will shift quite rapidly now from being flights of fancy to genuine plans to potentially put in motion. Our problem is where to go. Mrs IP is keen on Scotland, but that would be a massive gamble on several levels (whether indy2>EEA happens; negative impact in the meantime), and yet beneficial in others (language; familiarity; proximity to Iceland). Iceland’s likely a no-no (climate; lack of opportunities). We don’t have a support network anywhere else, and so would have to start from scratch in other places (which, IIRC, are in current order of preference Netherlands==Spain/Sweden==Denmark/Ireland).

I’m just sick of a government that doesn’t give a shit, and that is routinely anti-migrant. Also, from a purely selfish standpoint, I’m sick of lobbing thousands of pounds at immigration stuff that shouldn’t even be an issue. But, hey, they’re coming over here to steal our jobs, and so moving the goalposts every so often without bothering to inform anyone is a perfectly viable and sensible thing to do.

As for Americans, there’s a guy called Evan Edinger on YouTube who I quite like watching. Often, he does comedic comparison videos, but he does also delve into why the USA acts like it does. A lot of it comes down to de-facto indoctrination — all those essays about why one should love the flag, and why America is best. He recently had a story about a teacher being reprimanded for showing her class what other countries think of the USA because — and this is horrifying — it would “make the children love their country less”. We have the same in some areas of British education, notably in the archaic and indefensible mandated daily act of worship; and our notion of the country’s history is distinctly warped. But at least we’re not being hit at childhood to the same level — although that might now only be a matter of time, given the current lot in charge.

EDIT: I’m reminded reading back the above on the British values thing mini-IP learned at school and that Mrs IP had to swallow for her Life in the UK test. They were actually really good values. I only wish they were true.
« Last Edit: 28 May, 2020, 01:49:46 PM by IndigoPrime »

Funt Solo

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Re: The Political Thread
« Reply #17023 on: 28 May, 2020, 03:09:48 PM »
Sorry, Funt, bit of a sweeping and unfair generalisation about Americans from me. Like Tordels says, the vast amount of Americans I've met are clever, open-minded and decent - I suppose the way news works is that we only hear about the bad guys (particularly the bad guy-in-chief).

I suppose what irks me is the arrogant side of national pride in general. Like when George W claimed that his enemies-du-jour 'hate us for our freedom' - I seriously doubt it was jealousy that drove the terrorist attacks.

No worries from me, JB - before I moved here (from Scotland) I was far less able to see what a mixed bag this place is. And I only live in one small corner, and it's a left-leaning corner. Plus, like you, I hate the flag-waving bullshit and the idea that it's "the best country in the world". Posturing tribalism.

---

My Salute to the Flag story: every morning at school it's the law here that we carry out a flag ceremony. The idea is that everyone stands up, places their hand on their heart, faces the flag (which is displayed prominently in every classroom in the country) and recites The Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag, which goes like this: "I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

So far, so North Korea, right?

But now the waters muddy. This thing was invented in 1892, then adopted by the government in 1942. Interestingly, for a secular nation, the words "under God" only got added in later, in 1954. (As I lead my students in the pledge each morning, because it's a legal requirement that I do so, I somehow always get terribly confused just after the word "nation" but then recover my senses just in time for "indivisible". I just can't bring myself to bow quite that low.)

Now how about students who don't want to play? Well, this has been tested at the Supreme Court under  Freedom of Speech (the first amendment). See, that freedom also includes the freedom not to speak. Or, even, not to stand up (because that could signify assent). So students are free to ignore the flag ceremony in whole or in part. But, it's the law that the ceremony must be held, and (because freedom of speech works in both directions), students who don't want to take part are not allowed to disrupt the ceremony.

So, this is where my personal views start to conflict with my desire for clean classroom management. I tried the version where I told the students "It's your right not to participate, but you also need to sit nice while the ceremony happens", and that results in a shit-show. So, I've changed my approach: now I just pretend (like I expect a lot of people are pretending) that my views on the ceremony are set in stone, and the whole thing goes off without a hitch. The quiet ones and sitters are left alone, most people take part and I get to quietly and gently reprimand anyone who decides it would be a good time to get some work done or go for a drink of water.

tl;dr - the US sometimes reminds me of North Korea, but there's more food.
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IndigoPrime

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Re: The Political Thread
« Reply #17024 on: 28 May, 2020, 03:28:25 PM »
To my mind, the option for people to not take part isn’t always helpful anyway. I remember our daily act of worship at school, where a few kids would be ushered out before out teachers would force us into some fucking awful bout of piano and singing in praise of Jesus. They were the odd ones. That wasn’t great for them. I’m trying VERY hard to be pragmatic with mini-IP and her school is fairly soft touch on this stuff. But even so, her head’s being filled full of Christian teachings as an ‘accurate thing that definitely happened’ rather than historically dubious retellings of stories that have barely more confirmed accuracy beyond common myths from anywhere else in history.

I think a flag ceremony would just break me, even if the prospect of home schooling isn’t terribly appealing, for all manner of reasons.