1.08.2006

taking it

In comments here, James brought up an interesting piece.
One of the most common questions I hear up here when yet another example of Bushian idiocy, incompetence, or corruption shows up is, "Why aren't people more outraged by this down there? Why isn't anyone making a fuss?" From up here, it often looks like almost everyone's going along with Bush, though that's certainly not the case.

Of course, one of the big reasons for that is that the major news networks don't think it's newsworthy when people do make a fuss. But serious opposition to Bush and his policies is almost invisible up here, except to those who make a special point of following US politics from a liberal perspective.
I hear this a lot, and it drives me nuts. Millions of Americans are making a fuss. I know because I used to be one of them.

Here's my reply in that same thread:
A fuss? We were - oh, that's "they are" - making a huge fuss. But the Bushies control all branches of govt and the media!

What are the people who say this looking for? An armed rebellion? Even if that were in the offing, it would only trigger flat-out martial law - and slaughter.

An impeachment? The Republicans control Congress - and we know this wouldn't solve the problem anyway.

Massive demonstrations, sure, that would be good, but they are expensive and time-consuming to organize (I know this from personal experience) and then routinely ignored by the media (as you said).

And of course the opposition to Bush is not one big organized party.

People do what they can. They organize, educate, blog, demonstrate... and they live their lives, in both hope and fear for the future.

But what exactly do Canadians and Europeans and others mean when they say, "Why aren't Americans doing anything about this?" Or, as I read recently, "If Americans allow this to stand, they get what they deserve" - ? What are people who say this hoping to see?

I'm asking this in all seriousness, not being sarcastic.
James:
What are the people who say this looking for? An armed rebellion? Even if that were in the offing, it would only trigger flat-out martial law - and slaughter.

Very few Canadians would think of armed rebellion as a solution to anything. ;)

An impeachment? The Republicans control Congress - and we know this wouldn't solve the problem anyway.

Sure, but if people were telling their congressmen (including the Republican congressmen) to investigate the scandals, corruptions, etc -- I mean, as in threatening to vote against the Republicans (and carrying out that threat when appropriate) -- it should be possible to force even the Republicans in Congress to stand up to Bush.

Likewise the Dems, who've been far to complacent. Bizarrely so.

Massive demonstrations, sure, that would be good, but they are expensive and time-consuming to organize (I know this from personal experience) and then routinely ignored by the media (as you said).

Not as expensive as 2000 dead US soldiers, 30,000 dead Iraqis, and $200,000,000,000 in money wasted on the war. The expense and time aren't the problem -- there are always people willing to do it -- it's the ignored by the media part that's the real issue.

But what exactly do Canadians and Europeans and others mean when they say, "Why aren't Americans doing anything about this?" Or, as I read recently, "If Americans allow this to stand, they get what they deserve" - ? What are people who say this hoping to see?

We're hoping to see investigations into the scandals and corruption -- truly independent ones, not like the 9/11 Commission that was stacked with Bush croneys. We're hoping to see the Republicans crash and burn the way the post-Mulroney Progressive Conservatives did. We're hoping the press will some day realize that they should be doing actual investigative work, and not just echoing press releases and giving pre-programmed talking heads airtime.

And most of all, we're hoping to see someone stand up and say, "Have you no decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?" (One of the greatest moments in US political history.)
And one of the great quotes of all time. Laura:
Sure, but if people were telling their congressmen (including the Republican congressmen) to investigate the scandals, corruptions, etc -- I mean, as in threatening to vote against the Republicans (and carrying out that threat when appropriate) -- it should be possible to force even the Republicans in Congress to stand up to Bush.

I know you're not joking, but this sounds like a cruel joke.

I'll give you one example. During the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, Hillary Clinton's office was deluged in faxes, emails and letters, pleading, demanding, threatening (you name it) her to vote against appropriations. Her office was tallying two to one, against the war.

She voted for it.

It's mind-boggling how completely unresponsive these people - who are supposedly representing the people who elected them - are.

Likewise the Dems, who've been far to complacent. Bizarrely so.

And typically so.

Massive demonstrations, sure, that would be good, but they are expensive and time-consuming to organize (I know this from personal experience) and then routinely ignored by the media (as you said).

Not as expensive as 2000 dead US soldiers, 30,000 dead Iraqis, and $200,000,000,000 in money wasted on the war. The expense and time aren't the problem -- there are always people willing to do it -- it's the ignored by the media part that's the real issue.


Naturally I agree with you about the true costs, but believe it or not, money is an issue here. Organizing a massive demonstration costs hundreds of thousands of dollars, and the peace movement isn't exactly getting govt grants.

Visibility is more of an issue, but money is, too. [And raising money is very difficult when visibility is so low...]

We're hoping to see investigations into the scandals and corruption -- truly independent ones, not like the 9/11 Commission that was stacked with Bush croneys. We're hoping to see the Republicans crash and burn the way the post-Mulroney Progressive Conservatives did. We're hoping the press will some day realize that they should be doing actual investigative work, and not just echoing press releases and giving pre-programmed talking heads airtime.

Yes. Of course. Liberal and progressive Americans are hoping the same thing. My question was, and remains, what do people think average Americans can do to make this happen?

When Canadians and Europeans say, The American people aren't doing anything about this, they're allowing it to happen - what do they suggest?

I've been an activist all my life, and this time I am completely stumped.

This is part of what I mean when I say the US is becoming a third-world country, and is no longer a functioning democracy. The govt is not responsive to the will of the people.

And most of all, we're hoping to see someone stand up and say, "Have you no decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?" (One of the greatest moments in US political history.)

It truly is.

My point is that millions of people are standing up and saying that - but they are ignored and dismissed.

In my better moments, I can imagine a movement so massive and so persistent that it can no longer be ignored. History is full of examples.

But that is a long way from happening, for many reasons. Not least of which is the helplessness that's been beaten into people by being ignored for so long...
James:
Naturally I agree with you about the true costs, but believe it or not, money is an issue here. Organizing a massive demonstration costs hundreds of thousands of dollars, and the peace movement isn't exactly getting govt grants.

And yet there have been good, solid demonstrations against this administration's policies (I know 'cause I watch for them -- most people are not aware of how many or how big they've been). If protests actually got appropriate visibility, there'd actually be more of them, because people would be more inclined to contribute and participate -- they'd be able to see that protests are accomplishing something.

My question was, and remains, what do people think average Americans can do to make this happen?

Actually, your question was, "What are people who say this hoping to see?" -- or, at least, that was the question of yours I was addressing. Remember, we're still having trouble really grasping how unresponsive the US government is. :)

My point is that millions of people are standing up and saying that - but they are ignored and dismissed.

I should have said, someone in the government stand up, etc.
Here we have a few intertwined problems.

A few people in government have stood up and made demands (also known as "doing their jobs"). They are few, but they exist. The excellent work John Conyers has done immediately springs to mind. Several others in the house are on the ball. In the Senate, the field gets much thinner. Barbara Boxer... any others? I'm absolutely not up on who's who in Congress anymore, so it's likely that I'm missing a few people here and there.

But this we know. Whoever they are, and whenever they challenge the corrupt, murderous, anti-democratic regime in Washington, they are descended upon, swarmed, attacked, or just ignored. The elected officials who raise these challenges are personally strong enough to withstand the attacks, especially because they know they have the support of millions of Americans. But, so far, their challenges go nowhere.

James:
And yet there have been good, solid demonstrations against this administration's policies (I know 'cause I watch for them -- most people are not aware of how many or how big they've been). If protests actually got appropriate visibility, there'd actually be more of them, because people would be more inclined to contribute and participate -- they'd be able to see that protests are accomplishing something.
And I know, because I was at most of them!

This is a huge part of it, with far-reaching effects that can't be minimized. If the US government learned anything from the Vietnam War, it's: get these damn protests off the air and choke the life out of the peace movement before it gains any steam. That's why we don't see the coffins. That's why when tens of millions of people around the world - including millions of Americans - protested the invasion of Iraq on February 15, 2003, CNN decided it wasn't newsworthy.

If Americans - not just those always committed to peace, but those who believed the White House, and thought the invasion of Iraq was necessary for their own security, but who are now disillusioned and disgusted, and who no longer support the war and the occupation - if these Americans saw a massive peace movement, they would be more inclined to join up in some way. The movement would then build with a groundswell of support. Congresspeople and senators who oppose the war would feel more free to be vocal. Calls for peace would become so loud that they could no longer be ignored. It wouldn't happen overnight, but the movement would grow, and the war would end.

To prevent this from happening, or at least forestall it, the architects of this useless war remove the visibility.

And you can draw the same scenario, substituting any one of the Cheney Administration's many impeachable crimes.

Note what's required to make this work: the media on a leash, and elected officials owned by corporate donations, unresponsive to the electorate.

This is why I laugh scornfully at the accusations that I left the US because of the results of an election. In a healthy, functioning democracy, that would be temporary, and fixable.

110 comments:

mkk said...

Yes! As always, I found this thread to be fascinating, inspiring, and consistent with my own view of the world.

It may take us longer than it did you and Allan to disentangle ourselves from our web of commitments here, but we are painstakingly making our plans for a new life in Canada.

redsock said...

This is a good example of how the US media works.

Not only does the Washington Post bury the most important item at the very end of a long article, and may not mention that fact ever again, it can later claim that it did inform its readers of the truth, so what's the problem?

I'm also reminded of an example from the New York Times. There was a huge pro-Chavez demonstration in Venezuela, say 300,000. There was also a anti-Chavez demo of about 100,000. The Times completely ignored the larger demo and ran an article and photo of the smaller demonstration, and used that to show that most of the country was anti-Chavez.

Pure lies.

If you don't live in the US and do some research on how the media works as hard as it can to obscure the truth, it's really hard to comprehend how serious the problem is.

L-girl said...

we are painstakingly making our plans for a new life in Canada.

!!!!

This is a good example of how the US media works.

Excellent - thank you.

James said...

I just wanted to make sure I was clear, 'cause on re-reading the post you quoted I think I was a little ambiguous:

By "that", in "one of the big reasons for that", I mean "why people ask 'Why aren't people making a fuss?'", not that people really aren't making a fuss. People up here ask these questions because they can't see the outrage.

Which, I suppose, is the key answer to "What can the average American do?" -- get the word out. Fill in for the absent press and let people know what's happening. Get involved in a word-of-mouth campaign to keep people informed. The Bushites are experts at using this to misinform the public, so fight fire with fire.

L-girl said...

I mean "why people ask 'Why aren't people making a fuss?'", not that people really aren't making a fuss. People up here ask these questions because they can't see the outrage.

Thanks for that clarification. I knew what you meant, but it could be seen as ambiguous.

Which, I suppose, is the key answer to "What can the average American do?" -- get the word out. Fill in for the absent press and let people know what's happening. Get involved in a word-of-mouth campaign to keep people informed.

That's where the blogosphere is invaluable - all of us educating ourselves and each other.

doug said...

it's just been the perfect storm scenario for Bush and the Republicans, what with 9/11 and the hysteria that gripped the states afterwards, and for the politicians it created a environment for the repulicans to flourish, it's not unlike the atmosphere that existed during the McCarthy hearings and the fear of communism, etc....time resolves those issues...but what time doesn't solve is leadership voids and that's where the republicans are also in a position of power....the biggest issue is the lack of democratic will, debate, opposition, leadership. Even now it's the moderate republicans, and individuals like Specter, that are forcing changes at the present time...where are the democrats, where are the joe biden's, Clinton has been quiet, and then Lieberman is a republican in democratic clothes.....so people should be focussing not on the Bush admin(whose days are dwindling) but rather to the democrats being a viable opposition party and with-in that a strong candidate emerging to be the next president...if not then it plays right into the republicans hands....the democrats would have won the last election if Kerry was a stronger candidate, they are still under the Clinton effect, they had a leader that could have/ would have been a 4-termer if allowed and the democratic party has been searching for that replacement..so people can march, protest, do whatever but if their is no leadership or voice coming from the opposition party then it is all for nothing...isn't that the purpose of the opposition party? The democrats for whatever reason are not being the voice of the disenchanted which number more then the contented....mind-boggling, and therein lies the bigger problem for the States now and in the future...

redsock said...

And if someone in the US can't see the outrage -- and the 24-hour cable stations avoid showing protestors unless they are dressed up as Wavy Gravy -- then that person will feel like they are out of step. And will likely not do (or say) anything. That is why the internets are so important.

Polls have *'s approval ratings in the high 30s and low 40s. I maintain that it is at least 10 points lower.

I can't figure out why he isn't in single digits. If the US press went after him like they ran with every stupid lie and rumour about Clinton, he would be.

Hell, if the media did even half of what a responsible press should be doing, he and Cheney would be behind bars.

And more than 2,100 American men and women -- and over 100,000 innocent Iraqi citizens -- would still be alive.

L-girl said...

time resolves those issues...but what time doesn't solve is leadership voids

Time doesn't bring back lost lives, lost legs and eyes, lost sanity. Time won't bring back civil liberties and the First Amendment. Etc. etc. Structural changes are going on that would take generations to unravel.

where are the democrats

That's been the big question for a long time.

so people should be focussing not on the Bush admin(whose days are dwindling) but rather to the democrats being a viable opposition party and with-in that a strong candidate emerging to be the next president

I'd like to agree with this, but I feel the problems are too deep - the foundation is too rotten - for a solution to be found through the election process, the way things stand right now.

Canadians may not realize - and tons of Americans don't, either - the extent to which corporate money controls American politicians. In order for there to be real change, that whole system has to be scrapped. If it costs tens of millions of dollars to get elected, only industry has that kind of money, they contribute heavily, and expect payback.

Then there's the gargantuan issue of fair elections.

the democrats would have won the last election if Kerry was a stronger candidate

Don't you believe it. Without the media's help - giving credence to false accusations, reporting things like the "swift boat" fiasco as if it were news, while masking most of Bush's lies and hidden agenda - and without Diebold's help - Kerry would have won.

Now I don't think for one second electing Kerry would have solved the US's problems. But don't blame the outcome of the 2004 phony election on a supposedly weak candidate.

The democrats for whatever reason are not being the voice of the disenchanted

They have not been that for a very, very long time, if they ever were.

James said...

That's where the blogosphere is invaluable - all of us educating ourselves and each other.

That's how I keep on top of things.

Hell, if the media did even half of what a responsible press should be doing, he and Cheney would be behind bars.

Maybe not -- he might have been impeached back in his first term, before he could have done most of what he had done.

And more than 2,100 American men and women -- and over 100,000 innocent Iraqi citizens -- would still be alive.

The 100,000 figure is a hard one to work with, as it's based on a statistical study with a confidence range of 8,000 - 198,000. Not to mention that the study's over a year old now.

The most solid numbers available are those from Iraq Body Count, which are based on media reports. They are undoubtedly low, though by how much, no-one's sure.

L-girl said...

Whatever the actual number, it should be zero.

The Cheney-Rumsfeld team are surely the most lethal terrorists on the planet right now.

redsock said...

I know the 100,000 figure has been the subject of much debate, but in one of Bob Woodward's two pro-Bush books, he says Pentagon sources told him that in the first 2-3 weeks of the invasion, 30,000 Iraqis were killed.

If that is true, then the actual figure is well over 100,000.

And because journalists in Iraq can't leave their hotel for more than 10 minutes -- even in the supposedly US-protected Green Zone -- there is no real way to check what is going on throughout the country.

And the US is running dozens of bombing raids every sngle day. The recent story about the US bombing the wrong house -- and killing everyone inside -- mentioned that at least 58 bombing runs were conducted that day.

If the Regime says 30,000 total dead -- and they have -- you can be well fucking sure it is way, way, way higher.

***

And as for the Election, Kerry won -- and Gore won. There is no doubt about that.

The poll takers kept, and the media reported, the poll numbers at or near a dead heat so there could be minimal vote shifting in a few key areas (eg, Ohio).

You know what's amazing? In 2004, the Bush team was ready, if necessary, to fight to challenge the electorical college results if Kerry won that, but Bush had won the popular vote (as Gore did in 2000).

redsock said...

Yes, if even minimal actual reporting had been done after the 9/11 attacks, Bush would have been out of office well before the 2004 election.

The Official Story of 9/11 is so full of holes and obvious contradictions -- how anyone with an IQ over room temperature (in Celsius!) can believe it is beyond me (but again, that goes back to the US's state-run media) -- it makes the Oswald/Lone Gunman Theory sounds as solid as saying water is wet.

L-girl said...

And that, boys and girls, is why I think finding a strong Democrat to run in 2008 is not much of a solution.

redsock said...

Re the Iraq Body Count:

It relies on a "comprehensive analysis of over 10,000 media reports published between March 2003 and March 2005".

Relying on the media for these figures makes them highly suspect -- as I know you know.

Plus: what's up with this?

***
Who did the killing?

US-led forces killed 37% of civilian victims.

Anti-occupation forces/insurgents killed 9% of civilian victims.

Post-invasion criminal violence accounted for 36% of all deaths.

Killings by anti-occupation forces, crime and unknown agents have shown a steady rise over the entire period.
***

First of all, the total adds up to only 82%. And again, it's what is reported in the media.

Claiming US-led forces (or those identified as such; they are no doubt also part of the "unknown agents" category) have killed a little more than one-third of the dead?

I know they don't have a choice if they rely on media reports ... but I have a bridge in Brooklyn ...

doug said...

you are dwelling on a fact and wish it were different, well it isn't...the fact being that the Americans are in Iraq and yes thousands of innocent lives have beeen sacrifaced over what....oil...well the fact is they are there and the next step is to get them out as fast as possible...and it will get done, soon enough no...did you see Letterman the other night, O'Reilly was on and Letterman went up one side of him and down the other, it was beautiful...look to sit and complain, and to lament this and that is not pro-active, the system is what it is and isn't going anywhere...and yes the Democrats would have won the last election Kerry was enamoured with the thought of being president not with what it would take to be president...he had no policies on a withdrawal timetable for instance, if there was a stronger candidate it wouldn't have been such a close race and Ohio wouldn't have entered into the mix...and the media argument is hogwash as Clinton won two terms decisively and the so-called impeachment hearings were a joke, and if anything just showed the Republicans for what they are....the system is what it is, yes everyone realizes money controls the issues, the system you'd have to be terribly naive to not see that, I think people realize that when they are 15 and buying there first I-pod...but so what that's the system and there is lots of room with-in that system for political manipulation, and in turn the introduction of policy....you are far to pessimistic, the tide ebbs and flows right now if your a democrat it's low, repub high it will change that's a democracy...and will that save lives in Iraq no, and it's a travesty of a incalcuble nature, but are the troops coming home tomorrow, no....so they need to come home, and that won't happen by focussing on what was or even what is...it'll be done by being pro-active and that is being done now....the tide has drastically changed in the last 6 months...the Patriot ACT is losing it's punch, the political tide has changed, at anytime in the last 5 years now is the time for hope, and the Republicans are seeing it feeling it....

redsock said...

Hi - it's me again! (can you tell work is slow this afternoon)?

As per the election and how lame the Dems are, I'm reminded of two blog spots I wrote back in early January 2005:

1.06.2005

Democracy: Yea or Nay? Only 32 out of 530 members of the Senate and House voted Yes to investigate Election Day problems in Ohio.

There have been scores of oddities reported since November 2, including the fact that two Perry County precincts reported turnouts of 124.4% and 124% of registered voters. Nearly 94% of the Senate and House said that wasn't worth taking a closer look at, so those totals were officially certified today as part of the final count. ... Move along, nothing to see here.

I undoubtedly have disagreements with many of the 32 names listed below, but on the issue of having fair elections in this country, they are only ones worth listening to. The other 498 can go to hell.

Senate (74-1, 25 non-votes):

Barbara Boxer (California)

House (267-31, 132 non-votes):

Corrine Brown (Florida)
Julia Carson (Indiana)
William Clay Jr. (Missouri)
James Clyburn (South Carolina)
John Conyers (Michigan)
Danny Davis (Illinois)
Lane Evans (Illinois)
Sam Farr (California)
Bob Filner (California)
Raul Grijalva (Arizona)
Alcee Hastings (Florida)
Maurice Hinchey (New York)
Jesse Jackson Jr. (Illinois)
Sheila Jackson Lee (Texas)
Eddie Bernice Johnson (Texas)
Stephanie Tubbs Jones (Ohio)
Carolyn Kilpatrick (Michigan)
Barbara Lee (California)
John Lewis (Georgia)
Ed Markey (Massachusetts)
Cynthia McKinney (Georgia)
John Olver (Massachusetts)
Major Owens (New York)
Frank Pallone Jr. (New Jersey)
Donald Payne (New Jersey)
Jan Schakowsky (Illinois)
Bennie Thompson (Mississippi)
Maxine Waters (California)
Diane Watson (California)
Lynn Woolsey (California)

Several other Democrats made excellent speeches -- Mel Watt (North Carolina), Grace Napolitano (California), Barack Obama (Illinois) (as did Independent Bernie Sanders (Vermont)) -- but they all turned chickenshit when the time came to vote.

AND

1.07.2005
So What's The Difference?*

Yesterday, many Republicans used the words "frivolous," "crying wolf" and "conspiracy theory" to describe the suggestion of some Democrats that the Ohio votes in the presidential election might need investigating. One problem was the fact that some counties had more votes cast than actual voters.

But now another day has dawned and what do we see? ... Why it's the Republicans filing a lawsuit to challenge the results of the governor's race in Washington state because (wait for it) there are "lingering questions about why the county shows more votes counted than people voting on Nov. 2."

Unbelievable.

And by "unbelievable," I mean "completely believable."

Any of the conservative people reading this blog care to explain this one?

[* - besides the fact that a Democrat won, I mean]

L-girl said...

the political tide has changed, at anytime in the last 5 years now is the time for hope, and the Republicans are seeing it feeling it....

I guess if you think Democrats = hope, you are in a different universe than me (and many people here).

If I had a dollar for every time I've heard how the political tide is changing, I could retire. It's been getting worse for 25 years, and I'm including Clinton in that.

By the way Doug, your posts would be much easier to read if you would hit the enter key once in a while. Just a thought.

But thanks for reading, and for your thoughts. Are you a new wmtc reader? Just curious.

L-girl said...

look to sit and complain, and to lament this and that is not pro-active, the system is what it is and isn't going anywhere.

Isn't this a huge contradiction? You're saying "the system is what it is" and we have to accept it - then saying we should be proactive?

Maybe I'm not reading you right, but this seems very contradictory.

But really, if you don't think Kerry and Gore actually won both elections, you're seriously uninformed or misinformed. There's a mountain of evidence in both cases.

I know lots of people are focussing on a strong Democrat for 2008. It's a nice thought, but I think they're missing the point.

And this...

and the media argument is hogwash

is utterly beyond my comprehension.

redsock said...

I know lots of people are focussing on a strong Democrat for 2008. It's a nice thought, but I think they're missing the point.

What gets me is that after the 2000 Supreme Court coup, so many Democrats vowed we'll never let that happen again.

Then there were bizarre voting patterns in the 2002 mid-term elections (which benefitted the Republicans), and the Dems said nothing.

Then came 2004 -- in which Kerry conceded even before the final vote totals were in.

Now I guess the mantra is "wait until 2006" or "wait until 2008".

It's like the Dems saying "We'll let Bush nominate this guy to such and such position, but we'll go after his next choice really hard."

Then next time, they say the exact same thing.

Laura and I got sick of waiting a long time ago. That train ain't coming through this station.

The Democratic Party is in no way, shape or form the answer to the US's problems.

I mean, most Dems STILL can't muster the courage to speak out against the Iraq occupation in any meaningful way.

WTF?

Seriously.

WTF?

orc said...

[redsock]

>> Polls have *'s approval ratings in the high 30s and low 40s. I maintain that it is at least 10 points lower. <<

I'm not sure. People are willing to believe that their candidate is looking out for their best interests way past the point when third-party observers have given up. And it's certainly not as if the "govern as a conservative, campaign as a liberal" policy is a receipe for failure; Stephen Harper and the CPC appear to be getting a slim but constant plurality in the polls, and Canada has an example of how the local superpower works after a campaign as a liberal conservative took control of the country.

doug said...

your missing the point about Kerry, yes the election was fixed, that's old news but the fact being is that Ohio aside the election was there for the taking the democrats should have won without Ohio being a factor and could have won with a stronger candidate

(happy I hit enter) the media argument is hogwash and it's not beyond your comprehension the media is what it is, and to suggest that people take the media information on face value is ludicrous, it's beyond ludicrous it's laughable, take Toronto you have the Sun, the Star, the National, the Globe so you can get the news however you want to get it and it's not in anyways affecting my viewpoint or altering my opinions, nor anyone I know for that matter...that's a insult to peoples own decision making powers..

it's not a contradiction, the system is what it is and within that system and whatever obstacles are thrown at you so be it, but be pro-active within it...that's why the Green Party candidates are to be admired as they are fighting in a system that they have no chance of winning in but at least they are fighting,and at least we have a system that accepts 3rd, 4th party candidates

You want contradictions look at the states when Gore "lost" and all the democrats are blaming Ralph Nader for splitting the vote, and losing them some key electorate votes(valid, yes) but they are missing the big picture and that was Nader's stance that it should be more then a 2 party system....well thats a liberal ideaology and here were the democrats castigating Nader for trying to get a viable alternative to the Demos, Repub's...

James said...

The Democratic Party is in no way, shape or form the answer to the US's problems.

Maybe this is another reason I like the NDP...

The NDP has no hope or illusions that they will be forming a government any time soon. So they don't have to "play it safe" to keep themselves "electable". They can take (relatively) principled stands against this or that because they know those aren't going to be what keeps them from forming a government.

There's something to be said about having a professional opposition party.

Of course, it often seems that the US political scene doesn't really grok the concept of "loyal opposition".

L-girl said...

Hey Doug, thanks for those paragraphs :)

Of course I agree with you about blaming Nader, that is hogwash. That drove me nuts all through the 2004 campaign.

But I do feel very strongly that the media is complicit in this problem. What was "beyond my comprehension" is letting them off the hook.

It's all well and good to say "people should know better", but that doesn't take in the reality of most people's lives, or the responsibility of the media in the first place, what they're supposed to be doing.

You have an American family, working three jobs between two parents, struggling to provide, to deal with the kids' homework, to deal with whatever problems and crises come up, worried about health care and their mortgage and whatever else of daily life.

They should be able to come home, flip on the TV, and learn what's going on in the world.

They shouldn't have to go online for two hours every night to dig up the news, which they probably don't have time for, and may not have the education or background to guide them through.

to suggest that people take the media information on face value is ludicrous, it's beyond ludicrous it's laughable... that's a insult to peoples own decision making powers.

Actually, you are the one insulting people here.

You may think it's ludicrous or laughable for anyone to believe what they see on CNN, but people do. And that won't change. So they have a right to be reasonably informed, and to expect the media to be independent.

All I'm saying is that finding a good person to run in a bankrupt, broken system is useless.

Systemic, structural changes are needed: campaign financing, fair and verifiable elections, an independent media. These are pre-requisites for a healthy democracy. Take even two of those away, and "the system is what it is and within that system and whatever obstacles are thrown at you so be it" no longer makes any sense.

doug said...

I agree James 100% in Ontario we have had a liberal government, a NDP government, a conservative government and now another liberal government in the last 15 years...

I n federal politics we had a conservative party that had been around since confederation decimated, obliterated off the map to the point it was no longer a viable party...

we have seen that lived through it so to me the biggest difference between the two systems (U.S.,Canada) is that I don't have to conform, I have choices and I, WE will exercise them as voters in recent history has shown.

Ans that's how we are, can be pro-active within the system and it works, just ask Bob Rae...

doug said...

the media has not changed, nor will it ever change it is owned and operated by individuals, corporations with their own mandates....do you honestly know anyone that turns on Fox news, listens to Limbaugh, or a Ann Coulter and have that affect their opinion, vote for that matter.

They may elicit a response which in my opinion is healthy but they don't influence mine or anyone I know in their beliefs.

The media from McCarthyism, to Vietnam, whatever was just as implicit as the government was, is....that's a known fact and the population understands that, and chooses to interpret, read between the lines however they want to, wherever there personal beliefs lie, the media doesn't drastically influence people as is thought, marketing does, media no...the media elicites responses the individuals actions elicite change.....

L-girl said...

the media has not changed, nor will it ever change

Not so. For the last 25 years, increasing number of media outlets have been owned by fewer and fewer corporations. There has been a huge conglomeration of media, which has brought enormous changes in the number of point of views that are out there.

Media was never free of bias, but when there were 10 newspapers in one city, or 10 TV stations all owned by different companies, there was a broader spectrum of points of views.

That spectrum has been narrowed, and continues to narrow. It is very dangerous, very unhealthy.

Readers of The Nation, the progressive weekly, see a "media family tree" every year, and every year, it gets worse and worse.

do you honestly know anyone that turns on Fox news, listens to Limbaugh, or a Ann Coulter and have that affect their opinion, vote for that matter.

I wasn't talking about opinionists or columnists at all. I was talking about straight news. Not getting opinions - learning what is happening in the world around you.

But yes, there are hundreds of thousands of people who get their opinions from Limbaugh and Coulter, sadly.

The media from McCarthyism, to Vietnam, whatever was just as implicit as the government was, is

What? The media was totally different during the Vietnam era.

....that's a known fact

You obviously know facts differently than I do.

the media doesn't drastically influence people as is thought

The media gives people information. If that information is wrong, or purposely falsified, or if important information is routinely omitted to suit a particular political agenda, of course it influences people's decisions!

Maybe you don't have a clear idea of what's happening in the US, how the govt has paid journalists to mis-report the news, to spread disinformation, to suppress facts? How press releases were released as news? How the adminstration met with news agencies and told them what to write - and how they obeyed?

redsock said...

...do you honestly know anyone that turns on Fox news, listens to Limbaugh, or a Ann Coulter and have that affect their opinion, vote for that matter.

There are millions and millions of people who take Fox, Rush, Coutler (and Hannity, O'Reilly, John Gibson. etc.) as the truth.

I do not associate with them, but I read comments from people in news stories/interviews around election time (and other times) that prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that they believe what they hear on those TV and radio stations.

I have heard them in upstate New York, I have heard them sitting near me at baseball games, and I have read their posts on the internets.

To deny that those insane right-wingers do not have very real influence over huge amounts of the American populace is naive.

It is depressing and anger-producing -- and I likely don't know the half of it.

redsock said...

doug:

you should check out media matters, the daily howler, left i on the news, or even eschaton to get an idea of what is going on down south.

i honestly don't mean this as an insult -- but you don't know what you're talking about.

L-girl said...

i honestly don't mean this as an insult -- but you don't know what you're talking about.

I've been thinking the same thing, and I also mean no insult or offense, truly. Perhaps you had to live in it to know.

I wish I had a good link that explains how drastically the media has changed, why conglomeration is so dangerous. I've read great things by writers like Lewis Lapham, Eric Alterman, Mark Crispin Miller, among others. But I don't have the time to see if I can find anything online.

In addition to the sites Redsock listed, Media Channel is another good one. Also Danny Schechter's News Dissector.

redsock said...

More info on media conglomeration:

According to Ben H. Bagdikian"s The Media Monopoly, Sixth Edition:

"In 1983, fifty corporations dominated most of every mass medium ... [I]n 1987, the fifty companies had shrunk to twenty-nine. ... [I]n 1990, the twenty-nine had shrunk to twenty three. ... [I]n 1997, the biggest firms numbered ten ..."

Bagdikian again:

"It is not often the public hears of ... clear destruction of editorial independence. In most cases there is no visible imposition of the parent firm's policies, and the policies are often not absolute, conditioned as they are by the desire for profits. ... The problem is ... subtle and profound. In a democracy ... a wide spectrum of ideas has equitable access to the marketplace [justifying a private publisher's imposing his personal politics on the decision of what to print]. The effect of a corporate line [exerting control over public ideas] is not so different from that of a party line [of a country imposing controls]. ...

"Detecting how most of the mass media impose political tests on what the public will see and hear is not as straightforward as [it may] seem. Political intervention in its most pervasive form is not open and explicit but is concealed under seemingly apolitical reasons [such as the natural choices that have to be made on the countless number of works that might not be published for legitimate non-political based reasons]. ...

"Most difficult of all to document is the implicit influence of corporate chiefs. Most bosses do not have to tell their subordinates what they like and dislike. ...

"The deeper social loss of giantism in the media is not in its unfair advantage in profits and power; this is real and it is serious. But the gravest loss is in the self-serving censorship of political and social ideas, in news, magazine articles, books, broadcasting, and movies. Some intervention by owners is direct and blunt.

"But most of the screening is subtle, some not even occurring at a conscious level, as when subordinates learn by habit to conform to owners' ideas. But subtle or not, the ultimate result is distorted reality and impoverished ideas."

I got that excellent quote from here.

See also Noam Chomsky's What Makes Mainstream Media Mainstream and Mark Crispin Miller's What's Wrong With This Picture?

redsock said...

From that Miller article:

"Take "the public interest"--an ideal that really isn't hard to understand. A media system that enlightens us, that tells us everything we need to know pertaining to our lives and liberty and happiness, would be a system dedicated to the public interest. Such a system would not be controlled by a cartel of giant corporations, because those entities are ultimately hostile to the welfare of the people.

"Whereas we need to know the truth about such corporations, they often have an interest in suppressing it (as do their advertisers). And while it takes much time and money to find out the truth, the parent companies prefer to cut the necessary costs of journalism, much preferring the sort of lurid fare that can drive endless hours of agitated jabbering. (Prior to 9/11, it was Monica, then Survivor and Chandra Levy, whereas, since the fatal day, we have had mostly anthrax, plus much heroic footage from the Pentagon.)

"The cartel's favored audience, moreover, is that stratum of the population most desirable to advertisers--which has meant the media's complete abandonment of working people and the poor. And while the press must help protect us against those who would abuse the powers of government, the oligopoly is far too cozy with the White House and the Pentagon, whose faults, and crimes, it is unwilling to expose. The media's big bosses want big favors from the state, while the reporters are afraid to risk annoying their best sources. Because of such politeness (and, of course, the current panic in the air), the US coverage of this government is just a bit more edifying than the local newscasts in Riyadh."

***

I think a good example of ignoring working people and their issues is news broadcasts telling us daily about the stock market (the Dow Jones was up .3%) and having that stock ticker running at the bottom of the screen.

It means less than nothing to most of the population, so why is it there?

Here's a good one for fluff and ignoring the news: Shortly after the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake/tsunami of about a year ago -- which killed more than 283,000 people -- CNN did a long report on how the storm disrupted the vacations of many celebrities.

I am not kidding.

L-girl said...

Here's a good one for fluff and ignoring the news: Shortly after the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake/tsunami of about a year ago -- which killed more than 283,000 people -- CNN did a long report on how the storm disrupted the vacations of many celebrities.

And this IS how most people get their news and find out what's happening in the world around them. You may not like that, you may mock them, but it's a fact.

What's more, in their town or city, the parent company of CNN (Time Warner) may own more than half the TV and radio stations!

And we're not even getting into the govt payoffs and disinformation campaigns...

doug said...

you guys need to settle down..I do know what I am talking about, and I have read many articles blah,blah, blah on media proliferation and it's impact...yes I am aware of the radio industry for instance which has gone from many independents to a umbrella of 2, newspapers etc..

that's all well and good but so what, it's all contingent on personal beliefs, sure the audience for fox is huge, O'Reilly a star, Limbaugh a celebrity so more power to them I think there trash but they are what they are. People react to fact, Nixon impeached based on fact, Clinton's indiscretion based on fact, no weapons of mass destruction fact, latest spy scandal fact...the fact being that yes the media hides fact, or doesn't divulge the "truth" but they are what they are....they are a rating run, corporate run entity seeking to increase the bottom-line or their market share....take them for what they are, why look to them for the answers, or the truth do you not have the ability, the beliefs, to seek your own truths....

I have visited the states many,many times and yes it is a broken system as is ours but I don't look to the media to repair or all of a sudden get a conscience, anyone I know and I work in a hospital with a lot of divergent views, but no one I know is influenced by the evening news, the newspapers....they may react to fact, but it doesn't change their fundamental beliefs...

doug said...

also you are making general statements like talking about CNN's comments regarding the tsunami and it's impact on celebrity's lives......that's amusing but tell me one person that took that report seriously or had it change their personal beliefs, I can hear you now yes but millions watch and get there news from CNN, which they do but do they get their personal, belief set, no.....and give me a specific example of someone doing so...

L-girl said...

Doug, we are both quite settled down. No one's jumping around or foaming at the mouth. We are simply disagreeing with you.

Once again, I repeat, I was never talking about where people get their opinions. The tsunami example isn't about that.

We are both talking about people being informed about the world around them.

It is through information about our world that we form opinions. If the information we get has been purposely falsified to advance a particular political agenda - but we do not know that, we think we are getting objective, factual news - we cannot make intelligent decisions.

Most of the US public gets their information from TV news. If that news has been falsified, or on the other hand is such vapid fluff that there's barely any real news reported, that public cannot make intelligent voting decisions, no matter who is running.

As far as a specific example of a person who forms their opinions based on such news...? I'm not sure what you're asking for. Names out of a phone book? In my brief experiences as a political canvasser, it was quite clear to me that people had formed their opinions from what they see on TV. If not from there, then where? If that seems un-specific to you, well...

L-girl said...

also you are making general statements like talking about CNN's comments regarding the tsunami and it's impact on celebrity's lives......that's amusing

That is exactly a very specific example, not a general statement at all. And neither Redsock nor I think it is amusing. It is part of the death of democracy. Not amusing at all.

L-girl said...

or the truth do you not have the ability, the beliefs, to seek your own truths....

I'm not talking about seeking our own truth. I'm talking about facts. One cannot seek "one's own facts". Facts are facts. There is no "version" of facts.

If the media spouts lies and says they are facts, most people cannot be expected to know otherwise.

L-girl said...

That is exactly a very specific example, not a general statement at all.

Typo. I meant "That is actually a very specific example..."

L-girl said...

But in any case, goodbye for now! See y'all later.

redsock said...

you guys need to settle down

I'm at work, not doing much of anything. We are having a dicussion about things we care about. No one needs to settle down.

This disucssion seems to have gotten sidetracked, and the initial topic forgotten.

We were talking about why Americans aren't more pissed off and why don't they speak out against the Cheney administration?

The way the US media operates is huge part of the answer.

You say that "they are what they are" and "take them for what they are" as though that is beside the point when it is the exact point.

but no one I know is influenced by the evening news, the newspapers....they may react to fact, but it doesn't change their fundamental beliefs...

Where did these people get their fundamental beliefs? They obviously weren't born with them. Where did they come from? How did they develop? How did they learn what they know?

redsock said...

also you are making general statements like talking about CNN's comments regarding the tsunami and it's impact on celebrity's lives......that's amusing

But that is time that could be spent talking about the lie-based invasion, the social security scam, the ongoing torture of innocent people by the US, the Plame case, and dozens and dozens of other topics that are actually important.

Instead we get hours and hours and hours of stories about missing white women on vacation.

That emphasis creates a nation of ignorant people.

So they end up voting for the guy they'd most like to have a beer with. That's their criteria.

In 1805 Thomas Jefferson wrote:

"[People] are not safe unless enlightened to a certain degree[.] I have looked on our present state of liberty as a short-lived possession unless the mass of the people could be informed to a certain degree."

Do you agree? And if so, and acknowledging that the media has not done its job, how can people be informed?

redsock said...

More T. Jefferson:

"Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves, therefore, are its only safe depositories. And to render even them safe, their minds must be improved to a certain degree." Notes on Virginia Q.XIV, 1782.

"The most effectual means of preventing [the perversion of power into tyranny are] to illuminate, as far as practicable, the minds of the people at large, and more especially to give them knowledge of those facts which history exhibits ..." Diffusion of Knowledge Bill, 1779.

"Though [the people] may acquiesce, they cannot approve what they do not understand." Opinion on Apportionment Bill, 1792.

I like that last one.

doug said...

I just don't appreciate being told I don't know what I am talking about when in fact I do, just because my opinion differs doesn't make it wrong, a discussion is a discussion is it not?....you've opened a huge can of worms I refuse to get into to, you say we are obviously not born with our beliefs, that is a huge statement and since I am a behavioural psychologist will stay away from that one......

people watch fox news, for a reason sure millions watch it but those millions already are of that mind-set, or if they are not they take it for what it is..

this conversation has become side-tracked, yes Americans are ticked off at Cheney and the administration and yes last time I looked, 50 million last election were oppossed to that administration and the polls now show around (give or take) 60% oppossed, so they are up in arms...there's nothing to discuss there....

L-girl said...

Oops, I said I wasn't coming back today but here I am.

It's been shown repeatedly how the percentage of actual news on so-called news shows and stations has shrunk every year, how the sound bites have gotten shorter and shorter, how even though there are more hours of so-called news on the air, less time is spent on hard news than ever before.

This has been documented and proven, but if you want an eye-opener, look at a newscast from 1975, then from 1985, then from 1995, then from last year. The difference is unfuckingbelievable.

All quantifiable. All very specific. All creates an uninformed and misinformed public.

I suppose this doesn't matter because people form their opinions from some other place so they don't need facts... and because "it has always been this way", even though it hasn't...

L-girl said...

I just don't appreciate being told I don't know what I am talking about when in fact I do

I'm sorry if I insulted you. I didn't mean to. I meant it only based on your statements about the US. It did appear, does appear, that you are unaware of what's going on there. If you think the system can operate status quo, but if we find "a Joe Biden" (your words, not mine), it will turn things around, you are thinking of some other country. Or saying the media has not changed - it seems a tad ignorant.

I've opened a can of worms that you refuse to get into? Um, ok. It looks like you're pretty into it, but I guess I'm imagining that.

doug said...

I am glad I visited this site(although you may not be) but it in itself is a study in human behaviour...look we have become a fast-food society you want studies I'll give you studies, everything is shorter then it was the whole mentality of people has changed so short sound bites are more than a media manipulation,

and do you not realize I am talking about MY beliefs and what affects me and my perceptions. In the clinical field we deal in specific case studies, validation not generalizations, quotes, because for one sources are obviously biased....whether you accept it or not it's all personal choice and belief and to say the media influences us in a large way is just not true, the factors are endless but to lay it all at the feet of the media is puzzling.....

doug said...

by can of worms I was reacting to Redsock's comment about "obviously we are not born with our beliefs", that is the huge can of worms I was referring to, that is a statement that is rather large in scope...

redsock said...

I just don't appreciate being told I don't know what I am talking about when in fact I do, just because my opinion differs doesn't make it wrong, a discussion is a discussion is it not?

I understand, but some opinions are wrong. I can state "I can fly" as a solid fact until I'm blue in the face -- it's my opinion -- but I'm still wrong.

Your statment:

the media argument is hogwash ... to suggest that people take the media information on face value is ludicrous, it's beyond ludicrous it's laughable ... that's a insult to peoples own decision making powers.

is bizarre to me. It makes no sense.

If people don't get their information from media -- TV, radio, books, newspapers, films -- if the very idea of that is laughable -- then where do they get it from?

Where?

doug said...

If people don't get their information from media -- TV, radio, books, newspapers, films -- if the very idea of that is laughable -- then where do they get it from?
Where?

Come on your not serious..look we are born with a brain, a personality a predisposition towards different areas, beliefs....so when we read books, watch movies, listening to the radio etc. we interpret those all differently from individual to individual....it's not information it's the interpretation of that information
the media doesn't form who we are, never have I seen it so yes it is ludicrous it is based on the assumption that we are born with a clean slate and the media is forming who we are...

can you not take it beyond the surface and see it, you REACT to the media, it's messages beliefs, based on who YOU are, your personality....sit two babies down and watch there reaction to different stimuli it's astounding..the media is the same, information is the same.

some people honestly believe the Holocaust never happened, what's that based on...the media shows it did, facts show it did...

redsock said...

I have to vent. Sorry.

where are the joe biden's

Do you mean the Joe Biden who:

Voted Yes on banning partial birth abortions (Oct 1999)

Voted Yes on prohibiting same-sex marriage (Sep 1996)

Voted Yes on Bush Administration Energy Policy (Jul 2003)

Voted Yes on $86.5 billion for military operations in Iraq & Afghanistan (Oct 2003)

Voted Yes on authorizing use of military force against Iraq (Oct 2002)

That Joe Biden?

With "liberals" like that, no wonder the Democrats are going down the shitter.

Uh, I mean further down the shitter.

doug said...

Joe Biden was a name I mentioned about Democrats not stepping forward, his name could be interchanged with any democrat...as none of them have stepped forward, don't be so literal,

James said...

The news media in the US has changed drastically in a number of ways:

* With the repeal of the law requiring balance in broadcast media, news stations are no longer required to balance right-wing shows with left-wing shows (or vice versa), which has led to the rise of right-wing talk radio and skewed the information the general public has access to.

* With the advent of the 24-hour news networks (starting with CNN), news has become corporatized. In the "olden days", the head of CBS once said that CBS News doesn't need to make money -- he has Jack Benny for that. Now, however, the news must make a profit, and are beholden to advertisers. Not only that, they have to be "entertaining" in order to hold enough viewers to satisfy the advertisers. So many stories get sat on 'cause they wouldn't help the ratings.

* Corporate ownership has become concentrated. Not only are there fewer companies presenting news, they own more different outlets than ever. It used to be that you could easily get viewpoints from a couple of dozen independent sources in a given town. Now, one company can own the papers, radio stations, and TV stations you watch.

The way people use the news media may not have changes, but the news itself certainly has. And the fact that people haven't changed to accomodate this is a big part of the problem.

redsock said...

his name could be interchanged with any democrat...as none of them have stepped forward

sadly, that is true. i thought you were expecting him to speak out, and he hadn't. ... he isn't a democrat i'd count on for much progressive action.

redsock said...

information the media doesn't form who we are, never have I seen it so yes it is ludicrous it is based on the assumption that we are born with a clean slate and the media is forming who we are...

i guess we simply disagree on this.

nataleo said...

"you say we are obviously not born with our beliefs.."

So what are you saying, beliefs are encoded in our DNA?

I think we develop our beliefs by knowing all sides of an issue, although IMHO with religion, many just blindly believe..but that's a whole other thread :)

Let's face it, most people don't examine the world political stage all that closely and take their 'beliefs' from what is fed to them via media. I think most people assume it's being presented in a factual manner and don't question it. Or maybe they don't want to believe that THEIR country could be corrupt!

doug said...

I agree with James the delivery of the news has changed, and that's what I stated awhile ago it's a profit driven, market share driven commodity, no different than any other commodity...but that is separate from the the impact it has...all I can say is you take 2 individuals born at the same time and have them watch, be exposed to the EXACT same media stimuli in a controlled experiment over let's say 25 years ....they would react differently,in fact radically different ....it's people reaction it's not the presentation, it's innate....

James said...

the media doesn't form who we are, never have I seen it so yes it is ludicrous it is based on the assumption that we are born with a clean slate and the media is forming who we are...

No-one is making that claim. The only claim is that the news media is a major source of the information people use to base their decisions on -- not that it forces decisions on them.

No-one is born with an opinion on softwood lumber tariffs -- or knowledge of what softwood, lumber, or tariffs are, for that matter.

redsock said...

....it's people reaction it's not the presentation, it's innate....

So when CNN lies, its viewers are just supposed to know innately it's a lie?

In the case of telling lies, the "presentation" is everything.

James said...

it's people reaction it's not the presentation, it's innate....

Whether that's true or not, it's irrelevant to whether the media is presenting accurate information. Decisions based on bad information will be bad decisions. And if the press is giving bad information, then it's causing bad decisions to be made.

L-girl said...

I am glad I visited this site(although you may not be) but it in itself is a study in human behaviour

Of course I'm glad you're here. I welcome discussion. I'm not angry or offended by anything you have to say, although I may be puzzled by much of it.

and do you not realize I am talking about MY beliefs and what affects me and my perceptions.

Well, not really. You were making broad sweeping statements, for example, claiming that the media is not part of that, challenging me to "name one person" who does that. You didn't seem to be talking about your beliefs at all.

don't be so literal,

The only way to have a discussion online is to respond to what is written. No one can guess or assume that what you wrote isn't actually what you meant.

L-girl said...

the media doesn't form who we are, never have I seen it so yes it is ludicrous it is based on the assumption that we are born with a clean slate and the media is forming who we are...

No-one is making that claim. The only claim is that the news media is a major source of the information people use to base their decisions on -- not that it forces decisions on them.

No-one is born with an opinion on softwood lumber tariffs -- or knowledge of what softwood, lumber, or tariffs are, for that matter.


James very nicely underscored what I've been hammering at all along, and what Doug has been ignoring.

I never said people form their core beliefs via the media, although I find the notion that beliefs are predestined and preprogrammed bizarre in the extreme. (So if I were raised as a Jehovah's Witness in Iowa, I'd have the same core beliefs as I do now, raised by liberal Jews in the New York area? Interesting...)

I was talking about how people get their information.

An uninformed, misinformed populace is anathema to democracy, and that is what exists in the US.

And that is because the govt has allowed the media to be controlled by a very few, whose interests are solely profit-driven, and also because of increasing government interference in the business of news.

L-girl said...

Let's face it, most people don't examine the world political stage all that closely and take their 'beliefs' from what is fed to them via media. I think most people assume it's being presented in a factual manner and don't question it.

Sorry Nataleo, you must name an actual person whom you know personally who does this, or your opinion will be discounted.

Oops, sarcasm. Slipped out. Bad Laura.

redsock said...

(So if I were raised as a Jehovah's Witness in Iowa, I'd have the same core beliefs as I do now, raised by liberal Jews in the New York area? Interesting...)

No, what's interesting is that you used Jehovah's Witnesses as an example.

:>)

L-girl said...

No, what's interesting is that you used Jehovah's Witnesses as an example.

:)

I did that on purpose, since our friend Redsock here is someone whose beliefs have changed radically over the course of his lifetime. Both sets of beliefs - earlier life, and now - were most definitely learned, not innate.

some people honestly believe the Holocaust never happened, what's that based on

A combination of bigotry and misinformation. There is a huge amount of media out there that will tell you the Holocaust never happened.

That example actually goes to our side of the argument. A person reads a book and sees websites that say the Holocaust is a fiction created by ZOG. And he believes it. A belief created by media. A belief, not a fact.

Crabbi said...

...people watch fox news, for a reason sure millions watch it but those millions already are of that mind-set, or if they are not they take it for what it is..

All of them? How about Wil Wheaton's family? I realize this is just one example, but it's a striking one. Wheaton's Christmas was nearly ruined by arguing with his winger talking points-spewing family. The odd thing is that his parents are highly intelligent, educated fomer progressives. They only starting spouting the party line after years of listening to Rush, Hannity, etc. Who knows what caused this, but the Wheatons clearly weren't always people "of that mind-set."

I don't have any answers, but I do know that right wingers use talking points, constant repetition of their messages and other advertising/marketing techniques because that shit works -- and not just on the "ignorant masses."

BTW, this is a fascinating discussion.

doug said...

no one is saying beliefs are preprogrammed, your distinct personality is, and yes it is DNA driven and then from that arise your beliefs,

you have brothers, sisters are their beliefs the same as you, were they not exposed to the same stimuli as you, yes people are different...I see a car crash I react different then you...I see a news report on WMD I react differently then you, it's not the message....


in regards to your sarcasm that's all right all I was saying is tell me someone who watched let's say Bill O'Reilly and walked away saying you know what that guy makes sense, I'm changing my political beliefs....you don't know one....Redsock has his views, James his, you yours the media is not changing them you are reacting to it...

in terms of information, misinformation that's not the media's job it's to make money, they could care less about the truth...that's are job to seek out the truth and we do that by using our own knowledge, beliefs, support network etc...

this whole argument has to do with people not liking what they hear, not being tolerant, in terms of the media...is not the media just entertainment, from O'Reilly, to Jon Stewart it's about money, misinformation, and the twisting hiding of the facts...whenever was it the media's mandate to be a impartial conveyor of the news, facts...

from the hearst empire, on in American politics the media has twisted it to whatever their means, but it's still up to me to decipher it how I choose..

L-girl said...

Hi Crabletta! *waving*

Almost all the wmtc readers are Canadian now. I'm glad you're still out there.

And what a scary story!

redsock said...

I am a behavioural psychologist

Silly question: Were you born with the knowledge you now have about psychology?

Of course not. You had to be taught and to learn.

What if every psychology teacher you ever had told you wrong things about psychology, twisted the entire history and meaning and application of it around?

Would you know innately that all these teachers were wrong?

Of course not. It was how you were taught. There was no way for you to know what was right or wrong. You had to rely on those who taught you -- and trust they were teaching you well.

Same thing with news media (though we can hear news from people who are also exposed to media, so we are not in the bubble I just described).

But we rely on them to tell us facts. A lot of the time -- or for a lot of us -- it is hard to tell when a fact is not a fact and is a half-truth or a fabrication.

We are not born knowing the truth and lies about world history and events that have yet to happen (but will happen as we mature).

We have to hope we have good teachers (who can also teach us how to think critically (that is also not innate)).

L-girl said...

right wingers use talking points, constant repetition of their messages and other advertising/marketing techniques because that shit works -- and not just on the "ignorant masses."

Many masses have been led to embrace facsism using these tried and true techniques.

If we fool ourselves into thinking the people who accepted Hitler, Mussolini, Franco (etc. etc. etc.) were innately predisposed to do so, we can smugly - and falsely - believe it could never happen here, could never happen to us.

There was nothing inherently different about the Germans who embraced Hitler, just as there was nothing inherently different about Southerners who owned slaves.

Why some people are able to resist and rebel is an interesting question. I don't discount that some of that may be encoded deep within us. But it's a rare quality. Much more common is the tendency to fall in line.

I know this is way off the subject, but I find it an interesting tangent.

redsock said...

you have brothers, sisters are their beliefs the same as you, were they not exposed to the same stimuli as you

actually, no. i was born in 1963, my sister in 1967 and my brother in 1972. when each of us was 5 years old, for example, our parents were at very different points in their lives, so each of our experiences was different.

we had different friends, different teachers at school, read different books, experienced different history events at different ages, thought different thoughts -- all based on we took in with our eyes and ears.

I see a car crash I react different then you

this is different from the sibling example, because we are seeing the same crash at the same time. but since we cannot occupy the same space and share the same eyes and ears, yes our reactions will be different to some degree.

...I see a news report on WMD I react differently then you, it's not the message....

but you are weighing that message against thousands of other facts you have heard -- and using all that media-derived input to make a decision about this report.

bush and company repeated over and over that saddam had WMD. he did not. they knew he didn't, but lied and lied and lied abou tit.

even now, more than half of all Americans believe saddam had WMD.

those of us who did not believe them had other information to rely upon. many people did not -- so the way the media spun that story was vital to what they believed.

nataleo said...

..."and yes it is DNA driven and then from that arise your beliefs.."

uh oh....my mother believes Stephen Harper will make a good PM, maybe I was switched at birth :)

Granny said...

Andrea in Japan recommended you and I now understand why. I'll be back.

I spent most of my Sunday contacting bloggers (I don't have the contacts you do) asking them to help overturn a Supreme Court nomination here. We have quite an interlinking network when be are focused. Not much - letter writing, phone calls and trying to swing a few of our "red state" senators. I even asked one Canadian friend to spread the word and he agreed.

Canada is tempting but I'm 67 and raising three great-granddaughters so imagine I'll stay put.

I hope for the day when I can once again casually visit our closest friend and ally.

Best wishes,
Ann
rocrebelgranny.blogspot.com
isamericaburning.blogspot.com

L-girl said...

from the hearst empire, on in American politics the media has twisted it to whatever their means, but it's still up to me to decipher it how I choose..

In Hearst's day there was much more competition. More news outlets, so more places to get information.

That media empire certainly worked for its own aims, and helped rally the public to more than one war, but there was more to counter-balance the lies.

If you know you have to decipher the news, you are already way ahead of the game. Zillions of people do not know that.

By the way, you say this

no one is saying beliefs are preprogrammed, your distinct personality is, and yes it is DNA driven and then from that arise your beliefs,

as if it's fact, but it is not.

I think much of our personality is shaped by the myriad environmental forces around us, from nutrition to education to all the images thrown at us from day one. Although we certainly have predispositions, I would never discount that, I think the current emphasis on DNA is overdone. I think it makes people feel better because it lets them off the hook for their own choices and behaviour.

Crabbi said...

Hi L (and everyone else)!

Waving back. I'm still here :) wmtc is one of my favorite blogs, so I visit often.

...in terms of information, misinformation that's not the media's job...

Um, yes, it is. The news media may be all about making money, but that's just more evidence that they've failed at their job -- which is to accurately inform the public.

L-girl said...

you have brothers, sisters are their beliefs the same as you, were they not exposed to the same stimuli as you

actually, no. i was born in 1963, my sister in 1967 and my brother in 1972. when each of us was 5 years old, for example, our parents were at very different points in their lives, so each of our experiences was different.

we had different friends, different teachers at school, read different books, experienced different history events at different ages, thought different thoughts -- all based on we took in with our eyes and ears.


Excellent point!

There was a time when people believed birth order within a family was an important factor in determining personality.

I think there are multitudes of factors that make us who we are. But if it were all up to DNA, wouldn't that be grand - so simple.

L-girl said...

Andrea in Japan recommended you and I now understand why. I'll be back.

Thank you Ann, you're very kind.

I didn't have any contacts when I started blogging. Thoughtful Americans and Canadians found me, and it grew.

Good luck on the fight. I'll always do what I can, even though I've physically left the fray.

doug said...

a lie is a lie, WMD lie was one that is not media driven it was a lie to all but a few, who knew the truth ...so that's not media related....

my mom thinks Harper would make a good PM to, thank-god I have my own beliefs and my fathers DNA as well...

no, people on the whole attribute DNA testing to CSI:Miami and stuff...and you are exactly right there is a multitude of situations, etc that impact who we are, but the way we react is yes to a large degree who we are...

"To present an adequate notion of learning one must first explain how the individual manages to construct and invent, not merely how he repeats and copies." that's a quote from Piaget and a very good one, it's the essence of this discussion..

L-girl said...

WMD lie was one that is not media driven it was a lie to all but a few, who knew the truth ...so that's not media related....

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Doug, you are not nearly as familiar with the state of the US as you imagine yourself to be. If you were, this preposterous statement could never come out of your mouth or your keyboard.

Now I must leave this discussion before my head explodes.

I simply cannot believe an intelligent and educated person could say that.

doug said...

well thanks for the discussion we are going to the movies, and I won't be seeing Good Night and Good Luck, I need a break from the media....actually seen it and it was excellent....well have a good one and thanks again...

redsock said...

a lie is a lie, WMD lie was one that is not media driven it was a lie to all but a few, who knew the truth ...so that's not media related....

if the lie wasn't media-driven, how did people come to believe it then?

indeed, how did they even think about it in the first place?

doug said...

one last thought I hadn't read your last post, well I should explain that one...

yes I do know the American media that's all I watched my whole life...and I am going to Chicago tomorrow for a week for work so I am not a naive Canadian...

what I meant in that statement was if the CIA and the administration misrepresented the facts, and the U.N. conducted their inspections and all knew there was no wmd BEFORE the invasion then HOW was the media to blame for that...we all knew from the U.N. inspectors, etc. there were none...so if Bush-Rumsfield-Cheney-Wolfowitz decide to lie further then HOW could the media stop that....they couldn't...Bush and the gang had decided on war, plain and simple

redsock said...

Now I must leave this discussion before my head explodes.

Too late -- mine already blew!

I simply cannot believe an intelligent and educated person could say that.

He must be just screwing with our heads.

He must be.

He.

Must.

Be.

...

...

... right?

Crabbi said...

If we fool ourselves into thinking the people who accepted Hitler, Mussolini, Franco (etc. etc. etc.) were innately predisposed to do so, we can smugly - and falsely - believe it could never happen here, could never happen to us.

Exactly. And perhaps that's why the people who are resisting these thugs are so passionate -- because we fear that it could happpen. I believe it's already started.

This film adds some visuals to Dr. Britt's points.

L-girl said...

I believe it's already started.

Crabbi, as you know, I believe that, too.

I watched the movie you linked to - thank you. When I heard the opening notes, tears came to my eyes, remembering those scary blonde children from TSOM.

It's so scary, and so very sad.

I've just poured myself a glass of wine and I'm off to watch The Simpsons, Family Guy and American Dad. Sometimes you just gotta tune out.

redsock said...

if the CIA and the administration misrepresented the facts

which they did

and the U.N. conducted their inspections and all knew there was no wmd BEFORE the invasion

except the UN didn't finish its inspection. bush knew they wouldn't find anything and that fact would undermine his war plans, so he told the inspectors the bombing was starting at Time X so they better get out. they got out.

HOW was the media to blame for that

they called anyone who disagreed with bush a liar (like hans blix and scott ritter) and sought to discredit them anyway they could ... they hyped the fear of mushroom clouds over US cities, etc. ... they laughed and played along with the french-bashing and freedom fries. ... they never did any investigation into these WMD claims -- they were simply white house stenographers.

we all knew from the U.N. inspectors, etc. there were none

nope -- see above.

bush said later he let them finish their work, but that's a bold faced lie.

so if Bush-Rumsfield-Cheney-Wolfowitz decide to lie further then HOW could the media stop that

they could report the truth -- that the cabal was twisting the facts and lying.

they could have done some research and done their jobs.

Bush and the gang had decided on war, plain and simple

that is 100% true. and the media, by swallowing everything they said and not questioning it even one iota, was complicit.

and the public -- assuming that this was the "news" and not government propaganda -- figured it must be true.

L-girl said...

and the public -- assuming that this was the "news" and not government propaganda -- figured it must be true.

And this is what Doug refuses to believe.

One, that the media actually has a job to do other than turn a profit (see Crabletta's comment).

Two, that people use the media to get information, from which they form opinions.

And three, that vast millions of Americans do form their opinions based on false news reports.

Despite all protestations to the contrary, he clearly has no idea what's going on in the US.

And you know what? He's lucky. Those of us who understand are sick over it.

Bye.

doug said...

well I really have to go, my girlfriend is none amused, but I had to respond I do get it, it has nothing to do with American, non-American viewpoint, that's irrelevant

that is 100% true. and the media, by swallowing everything they said and not questioning it even one iota, was complicit.
thanx...that's my point I said long ago the media was complicit so if we know that why would the media influence my beliefs, judgements etc....if a friend is a liar he is no longer a friend, if the media distorts I know longer give them credibility...simple axiom of HUMAN BEHAVIOUR, and what we do with what we see, hear....thanks for proving my point...

nataleo said...

.."if the media distorts I know longer give them credibility..."

so...if the media has been found to have distorted, who will report that? THE MEDIA??

Crabbi said...

Sometimes you just gotta tune out.
Absolutely. I plan to do just that tonight. I'll be watching Fox's subversive cartoons three hours after you do :)

Crabbi said...

if the media distorts I know longer give them credibility.

Well, hooray for you! You're a professional with an advanced degree, access to a variety of information sources and, I assume, good research skills. What about people who don't have those luxuries - say, the family that Laura describes -- working three jobs and struggling to get by? I'm sure you don't mean to sound elitist, but that's how it's coming across (to me).

Also, excellent point, Nataleo.

redsock said...

that's my point I said long ago the media was complicit so if we know that why would the media influence my beliefs, judgements

WE know the media sucks, but millions and millions of Americans do not.

And THAT is who we have been talking about for 90+ comments.

Those people think it's called the "news" because it's the NEWS.

C'mon, you gotta know this.

(I'm going to go bang my head on a desk for awhile.)

L-girl said...

I'm just quoting some recent comments that I liked a lot.

****

if the media distorts I know longer give them credibility.

so...if the media has been found to have distorted, who will report that? THE MEDIA??

****

if the media distorts I know longer give them credibility.

Well, hooray for you! You're a professional with an advanced degree, access to a variety of information sources and, I assume, good research skills. What about people who don't have those luxuries - say, the family that Laura describes -- working three jobs and struggling to get by?

****

if the media distorts I know longer give them credibility.

(I'm going to go bang my head on a desk for awhile.)

****

Those people think it's called the "news" because it's the NEWS.

You just can't say anything without ironic quotes anymore. Take this sentence, for example: The other day, I was watching "election" coverage on the "news", and they said a lot of people were going to "vote" for "President" Bush.

I guess we can go bang our heads on desks without any ironic quotes.

doug said...

I find a comment like that frustrating....I talk in a discussion on a blog and I am labelled as being elitist, a professional, above others whatever....if you knew anything about me that couldn't be further from the truth, I am educated yes, did I come from a rich family no, I busted my ass to get where I am , and where I am is working with adolescents in a crisis unit at a psych hospital, kids that have been abused, beaten, are drug addicts, were born drug addicts or worse....I am far from elitist, if you don't agree with me then fine...but leave the personal attacks aside...yes I am totally aware of the people L-girl alluded to, but I am also not going to speak for them, nor can I speak for them...I speak for me, my experiences, not others, I don't walk in their shoes...

so...if the media has been found to have distorted, who will report that? THE MEDIA??

actions will report that, no wmd it shows, there are none, actions show us the truth not the media....the media tells me the Colts will win the Super Bowl but the actions/facts will tell me truth in time....if the weatherman says it will snow tomorrow the actions of tomorrow will show me what happens, the truth...if a politician says we are going to decrease hospital waiting times as reported by the media do I believe it no, the actions will prove the truth not the media....actions are the end result, actions prove the truth, words don't....and the media operates in words, conjecture...

doug said...

(C'mon, you gotta know this) come on yourself if we know the media sucks you are assuming millions of Americans don't know that, how do you know that, that's a huge assumption and one I don't agree with, and it has nothing with me knowing nothing about the americans or their media...look it's like Sparky anderson (old baseball manager said when asked about how the Tigers would do in the coming season, his answer was "well we will win 50 games and lose 50 games before the season starts as all the teams will, it's how I manage the other 62 that matters").....the relevance in this is in a given election in the states the politicians know that 60-70% of the vote has been decided, 30 repubs-30 dems, it's the other 40 % that are being fought over...and in that 40% out of 100 million people who vote we are talking about 40 million people, you follow, out of that 40 million people they are not the uninformed, the misinformed that vote....they are the informed and to that degree the media has a minimum of influence look at the stats, the demographics of voters, they are informed...they are not for the most part the people that form their beliefs on the night of a election, it is a gradual process....

redsock said...

actions will report that, no wmd it shows, there are none, actions show us the truth not the media...

So why do a majority of Americans still believe Iraq had WMDs?

Indeed, something like 33% in one poll last year said the US had found WMDs!

***

As far as the Colts are concerned, millions of people watch the Super Bowl and thousands see in in person. It's hard for ESPN to lie about the final score.

Now if we could only get lots and lots of people to follow Bush, Cheney and other politicians around every day -- maybe we could give them notepads and tape recorders and cameras -- and have them report back to us on what really happened and what was said and done?

They could write down what happened in a sort of journal -- we could call them, oh I don't know, how about journalists?

Wouldn't that be neat? I'd like to try that sometime.

redsock said...

...if a politician says we are going to decrease hospital waiting times as reported by the media do I believe it no, the actions will prove the truth not the media

how can you be sure the subsequent media report is accurate?

L-girl said...

I talk in a discussion on a blog and I am labelled as being elitist, a professional, above others whatever...

To myself and many others reading this discussion, that is how you come across. I thought Crabletta said it as nicely and delicately as possible, far nicer than I would have been.

If you are inadvertantly misrepresenting yourself, then this reflection from others can let you know that.

My guess is that the reverse is true - your words are an accurate reflection, but you do not see yourself that way.

I'm referring to the word "elitist". Professional is not a description, it's a fact. If you're a psychologist, you are an educated professional.

yes I am totally aware of the people L-girl alluded to, but I am also not going to speak for them, nor can I speak for them...I speak for me, my experiences, not others

But that's not true. You've been speaking for others all along, claiming, for example, that no one gets their opinions from TV news, that all but a very few people knew there were no WMDs in Iraq.

Then when someone calls out one of your statements, you back off and claim only to be speaking for yourself.

L-girl said...

actions will report that, no wmd it shows, there are none, actions show us the truth not the media

Think of what you're saying. What actions? Whose actions? How could Americans, who were being asked to support the invasion of Iraq, know whether there were WMDs there before the invasion? Only through the media!

People cannot know something like this by actions. It needs to be reported - truthfully.

Instead, lies were reported as facts, to advance a political (and profitable) agenda.

M@ said...

Gonna sidestep the debate so far, and return to the original post for a moment.

I've been thinking for a while, where is today's Edward R. Murrow? Who can come along and find the tipping point, give people -- the general feeling in the population -- pause and actually make them change their minds?

I've been waiting for that tipping point to come along. The more of this thread (and this blog, and the blog world I read in general), the less hope I have that it will ever happen.

What surprises me is not that you guys decided to get out of the USA. It's finding that you see this as a long-term thing. While we can all agree that Bush II is a spectacularly bad presidency, did you have this same feeling during Clinton's reign?

I'm trying hard to understand the whole thing. It's all pretty new to me -- I'll admit I've been a paragon of Canadian smugness in the past, and I'm trying to get a handle on what's happening down there.

L-girl said...

I've been thinking for a while, where is today's Edward R. Murrow?

There doesn't have to be one individual. There are dozens, hundreds, of terrific people studying, writing and analyzing. The tipping point, that's a different question.

What surprises me is not that you guys decided to get out of the USA. It's finding that you see this as a long-term thing. While we can all agree that Bush II is a spectacularly bad presidency, did you have this same feeling during Clinton's reign?

We both voted for Clinton - once. After he sold out the Democratic party during his first term, we both voted for Ralph Nader.

Neither of us is a Clinton fan, and believe me, that has nothing to do with his sex life.

I've voted for Nader three times: 1996, 2000 and 2004. New York State always goes Democrat, so it's perfectly safe to do that. I can vote my conscience without helping the Republicans into office.

If I may speak in the "we" form here, our problems with the US are much bigger than the current occupant of the White House. I always say, anyone who would have been happy enough if Gore or Kerry won in 2000 or 2004 (I mean officially won, of course), did not move to Canada.

You could try reading some of my earlier posts, from before we moved, to learn more about our thinking.

M@ said...

Thanks -- fair enough. I have read a lot of your earlier posts but there is a big backlog for me. :)

I know that there are many responsible, brilliant journalists in the USA -- the thing that mystifies me is that they seem to make so little penetration into the general consciousness. However, that probably runs back to the basic problem of the small number of companies who have most of the viewership. Maybe a new Murrow isn't possible today.

So -- while I'm asking simple questions with hugely complicated answers -- what qualities of the long-term US decline do you perceive in Canada? (I'm assuming there must be some.) Do you think the US decline is a probable, or even possible, course for Canada too?

redsock said...

Wait a minnit. You voted for Nader in 2004??

I thought we both voted Kerry to boost his country-wide total (by only 2 (more symbolic than anything)).

L-girl said...

Um. Hmm. Really?

Maybe I'm misremembering. I know we discussed it. And I thought we went Nader.

But you know, maybe you're right. Maybe we voted Kerry on the Working Family Party line.

Yes. I think so.

But I swear I don't really remember!

I know I spent large portions of my life convincing other people to vote for Kerry! :)

L-girl said...

I have read a lot of your earlier posts but there is a big backlog for me. :)

There's a shitload of them. :)

I'm not trying to avoid the question, I'm just pressed for time.

The short version is this. One is a country where my taxes support useless foreign wars, one after the next, for the profit of a few. The other is a country where my taxes support health care for all.

An oversimplification, but there is truth in it.

I think Canada is more democratic, more humane, more egalitarian and more just than the US.

the thing that mystifies me is that they seem to make so little penetration into the general consciousness.

Yup. Media conglomeration, as you said, but also a very non-literate, consumer culture that discourages critical thinking. Indeed, discourages thought of any kind.

So -- while I'm asking simple questions with hugely complicated answers -- what qualities of the long-term US decline do you perceive in Canada? (I'm assuming there must be some.) Do you think the US decline is a probable, or even possible, course for Canada too?

I don't think I know enough about Canada to make that call. If anything, I see Canada improving in the opposite direction that the US is declining - Canadian society becoming more secular and liberal as the US's becomes more religious and regressive (and oppressive!).

And though I do think the US has declined, I don't think it was ever half as good as its PR. There were brief periods of openness - the 1920s (if you were white), mid-60s to mid-70s (if you weren't being slaughtered in Vietnam) - but mostly its been a corrupt, profit-driven machine. What's good about the US has come from people who opposed the system: the civil rights movement, the women's movement, the labor movement.

Do you know Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States? That's the book to read for my view of the US.

L-girl said...

Redsock: I think you're right. I voted Nader in 1996 and 2000, and Kerry in 2004.

My votes never do shit. :)

M@ said...

:) I wasn't demanding an answer, especially not so quickly. You and Redsock both have written plenty in this thread already.

I haven't read the Zinn book but I've heard of it. I'll pick it up if I come across it.

By the way, I do agree that the US only rarely lives up to its hype. But there is just so much to admire about the founding principles of the country, I can understand where the hype came from. It was quite an incredible experiment -- such a shame it went so sour.

L-girl said...

I haven't read the Zinn book but I've heard of it. I'll pick it up if I come across it.

It's required reading, IMO. I recommend reading a section at a time, taking breaks. I found it too heavy to read all at once.

But there is just so much to admire about the founding principles of the country, I can understand where the hype came from.

Words are cheap.

They are beautifully written words, I love them. But they applied to so few, and the fight to extend them to everyone was so bitter, and long.

redsock said...

This probably deserves its own post at some point, but during a drive to Buffalo (?) recently, Laura and I were wondering when the US was living up to its ideals most completely.

There are times that could be automatically excluded, anytime before 1920, when slavery existed and women could not vote.

I think we settled on somewhere around 1975.

Certainly after the Reagan gang conspired with Iran to steal the White House in 1980, things got worse -- so we figured it was most likely post-civil rights, but pre-Reagan.

L-girl said...

I wish I could write something good about that. I don't think I can do it justice.

But yes, IIRC, we settled on a brief period from 1975 to 1980. The US was out of Vietnam, civil rights and women's rights were underway, there was still a general belief in the power of government to help people (but a healthy distrust of institutions and a wariness of power and corruption), the religious right had not come to power, a secular society was seen as positive.

doug said...

just wanted to say that after our meeting yesterday we went out for a few pops and about 6 of us had a discussion exactly on this topic as I brought up the blog and our discussion

there were 4 Americans, and 2 canadians present and we were split on our viewpoints, with the 2 americans and me on one side, so it was good, many good points, to much to go into here, my new nickname is the "elitist" this topic defintitely has a book in it as it riles up both right-wingers, left-wingers and no wingers....