I'm going to interleave his text with mine here, since it makes the discussion easier to follow.
A blog huh? To be perfectly honest, I'm not a big fan of blogs. From what I've seen, they end up as the rants of bored, self-absorbed individuals who pontificate (in nefarious TXTSPK no less!) on about the trivial details of their life i.e. recent romantic trysts, what their favourite food is etc. - BORING! However, they do offer a convenient way to out one's thoughts and opinions should they choose to do so. As you can see, I really like the < i> HTML tag.
Legalising drugs would be validating an incorrect approach to solving what, I believe, is fundamentally a social problem. A huge amount of people, in Ireland anyway, live completely unfulfilled lives. They work jobs they hate, are forced to live on the breadline because of scandalous overcharging throughout the economy, and are forced to tread through their lives in an agonisingly mundane fashion paying bills, taxes and living to work as opposed to working to live.They go out on a friday night, take out a twenty euro note and decide to do a few lines of coke to pep them up. Nobody gets hurt. Until you have a heart attack or your septum falls out. Look at the streets of Dublin city centre on a saturday night. Generally civilised human beings are transformed into violent thugs by alcohol, resulting in them kicking the shit out of each other because of a "look" or gesture. Alcohol has destroyed countless lives and families, and it's legal!
We need to address this problem, I won't suggest how, because I'm not an economist or sociologist, but drug use is a symptom of it, not some clandestine solution being stifled by "the man."
Drug related crime might decrease marginally, as it's likely that in the event of legalising drugs, pharmaceutical companies would be allowed develop patents for safer versions of heroin, crystal methamphetamine etc., but the drugs are still addictive and probably would remain so, as the dealer would be replaced by a corporation, who ironically share the same intentions (making money off your habit). That handbag in the empty car is still going to look rather appealing to a junkie 24 hours after his last fix, if he has to pay for his next one. Mind altering substances are just that, they warp the personality of the user and result in completely unpredictable behaviour. Forget terrorism, this is a bigger threat to civilisation.
I believe drug use should be clamped down on, but I don't think imprisonment is the solution. It's probably more expensive for the taxpayer to keep an addict in jail for a year than to treat his addiction. Also, we shouldn't punish people for falling into a situation caused by forces beyond their control such as economic deprivation, homelessness etc. Rehabilitation is the answer.
As a response you say: "No evidence?? Where has he been looking? Try Ethiopia, a country known for its coffee, but lesser known for the horrific exploitation of workers by first-world companies such as Nescafe, Maxwell House etc."
"Ethiopia" does not mean "Coffee" to me.
(Maybe I have a less glamorous lifestyle than you!)
Rather, it means "Genocidal communist butchers who deliberately caused the "Live Aid" starvation, famine and democide in the 1980s. Soviet-allied marxist butcher Mengistu who killed at least 2 million men, women and children with the help of Castro's Cuba and other allies."
Today, Ethiopia ranks as only "Partly Free" in democracy and human rights, and as "Mostly Unfree" in free enterprise and economic freedom. And here you are claiming that Nescafe etc. are the main cause of poverty in Ethiopia!
Instead of looking at the obvious - the Ethiopian government - the left seems determined to find out that we (the West) are somehow guilty. So you pick on irrelevant stories like Nescafe. I'm not saying Nescafe are saints, I'm just saying they're not the cause of poverty in Ethiopia. They may exploit workers, but even if they do, they probably also reduce poverty.
Prove me wrong: How to prove me wrong: Find a graph that shows a positive (rather than a negative) correlation between the number of multinationals in third world countries and their poverty. Good luck with that.
I can prove my theory: In contrast to the unproven "multinationals theory" of poverty, I can prove my point that lack of political and economic freedom correlates with poverty:
The fact is the third world is not poor because of us. It's poor because of rotten third world governments that stamp on freedom, don't protect private property, and so on. So please, stop talking about Coca Cola, etc. They are simply not relevant. Coca Cola is not the major cause of poverty in Colombia.
The correlation between lack of political freedom and poverty. Freedom House, 2001.
The correlation between lack of political freedom and poverty. Freedom House, 2004.
The correlation between lack of economic freedom and poverty. The Heritage Foundation, 2006.
But as a factor in world poverty it has not been very important. Socialism was probably the single major cause of poverty and famine in the last century. Followed by dictatorship, tribalism and Islamism.
Pinochet is a really bad example for you to use here, by the way. He was a murderous dictator who should face justice, yes, but he reduced poverty, not increased it. He was good for Chile's economy, not bad. Why? Because although there was no political freedom, there was economic freedom.
I'm not sure the West ever supported anyone who caused poverty and famine on the titanic scale of a Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Kim Il Sung, King Jong Il, Mengistu or Omar al-Bashir (unless you count our support for Stalin in WW2). Let me know if you can think of any poverty-maker on that scale that we ever supported.
Updates on America's "support" for SaddamOn the one hand, I am happy to link to even more damning evidence of that sleazy 1983 meeting:
Also consider arms sales to Iraq under Saddam:
We'll just have to agree to disagree here. I support the West. I don't support its enemies. I think the West should attack those who threaten it.
The top enemies of the West are the dictatorships of Iran, Syria and North Korea. But more than that, I want to see all dictatorships destroyed, peacefully if possible. By war if necessary. But I want all these regimes to fall in my lifetime. As I say, we'll just have to agree to disagree.
I disagree. Bin Ladens, like Hitlers and Lenins, will always be with us. They do not need rational grievances to base their movements on. These movements are based on self-pity, pride, hatred, bigotry, fantasy and hallucination, not on anything so rational as "root causes" or "western foreign policy". See the idea that 9/11 must have had some logical cause. The idea that hatred has to have a good reason is absurd and ignores history. See The Paradox of Cruelty: The greater the hatred, the less the reason.
If there is any "root cause" it is that the rotten states of the Middle East encourage a rotten ideology like Islamism to flourish. The enemy is Islamism, not Islam, by the way. Islamism is a modern, 20th century utopian ideology, very much like violent utopian communism. All Muslims should join with us in defeating it.
Well, America's brief support for Saddam against Iran has been greatly exaggerated. But yes, you are right, supporting such people is wrong and often self-defeating. That's where the neo-cons come in - they're the ones who want to stop doing that kind of thing. You should be a neo-con!
And America has made up for it anyway by deposing Saddam and the Taliban. Surely you are pleased with that!
It's true that the neo-con revolution is only partial. Bush himself is half-realist, half-neocon. He is still allied with the dictatorships of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. Afghanistan is still rated "Not Free". Iraq is still rated "Not Free". There's a long way to go. But the movement is in the right direction.
Don't misunderstand me - I'm not a libertine who thinks a life of hedonism is a good idea. I'm a libertarian who believes we should all be treated like adults. If consenting adults want to pay each other for sex, watch porn, worship satan, or take drugs, in the privacy of their own home, it is not the government's business. But you have to behave like an adult. That means you can party, but only if you can pay for it, and only if you can fulfill your responsibilities in the rest of your life - do your job, pay your taxes, mind your children, etc. Let me quote what I say about sex: "I'm a libertarian or a classic liberal, not a conservative. I believe in hard work and responsibility, but I see no reason why consenting adults cannot do anything they like. It's your life. It's not for the state to tell you what to do. You can have fun, but similarly it's not for the state to save you from yourself. You can have fun, provided you take responsibility for your own choices."
All the things you mention are people not taking responsibility for their own choices - assaulting people, clogging up A&E, damaging their fetus. I am sympathetic to the argument that such people should: (1) pay for what they have done, and: (2) be individually banned from further purchasing drugs or alcohol (they should "lose their licence"). People who can't handle drugs and alcohol shouldn't be allowed take them. I'm happy to go with that. Just as people who can't handle driving are banned from driving.
Locking up in jail people who take drugs, even if they harm nobody and are leading productive lives, just seems wrong to me. And that's what we currently do.
I see the David C. James post. Amusing title! I guess I'll reply to him shortly too.
I wonder as I write this entry if I am exercising my narcissistic side by presuming people will read it. Judging from the distribution and quantity of hits I have beem getting, there is a smidgeon of people who are interested in what I think. Better than nothing! My political opinions have oscillated to and from either end of the spectrum in recent years. Right now I would have to say I probably fall into the centrist category. I think that capitalism is the most practical and pragmatic economic model there is. I believe in reasonable civil liberties, democratic and therefore civilised society. I also however, think that such a society does not work without having intrinsic and fundamental inequalities. In the book "1984" by George Orwell, there is a section detailing a book by the enemy of the state of Oceania, Goldstein, called "The theory and practice of oligarchical collectivism." Although the book was in part written by, and therefore denounced by O'Brien, a senior member of the totalitarian "Party," it states some things which I believe to be true. Firstly, there are always three groups in society; the high, the middle and the low. Secondly, even when that pattern is disturbed, through war etc., it always re-asserts itself. This is something which I believe to be true. Society is a pyramidal structure in my view, with a large working class, sizeable middle-class and small but elite upper class. Some speculate that Ireland's social hierarchy has a more hourglass figure, with a diminishing working class and burgeoning burgeois group. I believe this may be true in material terms and educational attainment, as more and more people have degrees than ever before. However, as Ireland moves more and more towards having a completely service-oriented economy, I believe the working class' role whill change to suit this, but they will still exist.
When I think of George Bush, I can't help but feel slightly grim. I refer to his government in previous entries as the Bush dictatorship, because he bought and manipulated his way into power. This is a well known fact. This is the behaviour of dictators. Now that he is in power, I believe him to be the world's most successful, if not competent, demagogue. He achieves his aims via sweeping statements, propaganda, indoctrination and manipulative rhetoric, which he doesn't write himself. I Also believe him to be one of the world's most regressive leaders, taking his country back as opposed to forward. He has his business partners' interests at heart - not the American people. The reponse to hurricane Katrina made this self-evident. He has eroded American civil liberties with the "Patriot Act." Neo-conservatives love him. He's the best thing since sliced bread in their opinion, because he is homophobic, a Christian, a WASP gives tax breaks to the rich elite, and appears to have family values at heart. However, as a leader, I think he is incompetent, a poor speaker, inarticulate,the quintessential mediocre president. He is the exact opposite to what I'd want in a president - an anti-intellectual. He is what Jimmy Carter would like to have been. His government keep the people of America in a constant state of fear with his warning colour system. Big Brother would have been proud of him.
Isn't this all just a long-winded way of saying: "We lost the election. It's not fair! Wah!".
Bush is not a dictator. That's just silly. There is a free and critical press (freer than our press in Ireland for a start), and free and regular elections. The fact is, your arguments got a good airing, and the American people didn't buy them. Michael Moore even had a hit film promoting your theory that the war in Afghanistan was somehow about an oil pipeline. The American people didn't buy it. The 2000 election may have been a draw, but the 2004 election clearly wasn't. The American people clearly rejected your side and voted for Bush. You (and the Democrats) need to listen to the people, and not invent silly conspiracy theories as to why you lost. It happened because they didn't buy your arguments. And neither do I.
If the Democrats really want to win, they need to stop whining and analyse why they lost. Basically, if they want to win in 2008, they need to get serious about national security. See my posts after the 2004 election: Will the Democrats ever win again? and The new media lie: "It's all about religion". I'd like to see the Democrats recover. We need two parties. The Republicans need a proper opposition. And all things being equal, I would prefer a liberal who was sound on the war to a religious conservative who is sound on the war. But the Democrats have to become a serious party.
You need to understand the difference between neo-conservatives and paleo-conservatives. To crudely simplify, neo-cons tend to be left-wing and libertarian on social issues, right-wing and idealistic on foreign policy. Neo-conservatives don't agree with Bush on religion, creationism, gay rights, stem-cell research, etc. It's just that foreign policy trumps everything else, until Islamism is defeated.
I am not American, and I have no vote in America. But if I did, I would vote for George W. Bush. Yes I know he's not perfect. I know he brings religion into public life. I know he's a creationist. I know he's pro-Drug War. I know he's a protectionist. I know he's against stem cell research, human cloning and gay marriage. But we are at war, and the war is more important than all of these issues.
Bush is not the ultimate neo-con hero. He's just the best since Reagan.
By the way, is there something inherently wrong with being "Christian and WASP"? Aren't you being a bigot? I'm an atheist for the last 21 years, but I've no problem with Christians and WASPs. I have a problem with specific policies, such as opposition to cloning, or promotion of creationism, but you seem to regard it as a criticism that someone is "Christian and WASP" at all. That seems like bigotry to me.
You also complain that he "appears to have family values at heart" and a commenter complains that he has a "simplistic supposed concern for the traditonal 2.1 family". Are these meant to be criticisms? I have no problem with gay marriage being legal, but the traditional family is clearly the best system for society, where possible.
Actually, the people of Afghanistan can't understand why people like you are opposed to their liberation. 82 percent of Afghans support the American war on Afghanistan.
Iraq has not gone as well as hoped, it is true. But this was probably inevitable - or rather it was inevitable that a fightback would happen somewhere. This is a long-term War on Islamism, and it was inevitable that Islamism, after its initial hammering, would regroup and fight on a front somewhere. It is Iraq's bad luck, like northern France in WW1 and WW2, to be that front.
Why the jihad chose Iraq to fight in, when the majority of Iraqis hate them and want them dead, is a mystery. But such groups rarely care about popular support. They are certain in their own minds.
Did anything encourage the jihad to make a stand in Iraq? Yes, I think the year-long, worldwide fury about the Iraq invasion encouraged them to fight here. Had Bush invaded Iraq straight after doing Afghanistan, without consulting the UN at all, it would have gone much better and there would have been far less resistance. The Arab world would have been stunned and shell-shocked. But the Iraqi people would have enjoyed their democracy and would be delighted with the change. The jihad would never have bothered with Iraq.
Instead, stupidly, Bush listened to Tony Blair and went to the UN, and there was a year of fury across the Arab (and western) world to get the jihad stoked up and ready for resistance. The "anti-war" marches before, during and since liberation have encouraged the jihad to think that here, in Iraq, it could win. And the endless ongoing negativity from the media, the left, and I'm afraid people like you, encourages them to think that America will bail out eventually. See: The media and the left encourage the enemy (even if they don't mean to). The Iraqi fascist resistance cannot beat the U.S. militarily, but they can win if opinions like yours win the day back home in the U.S., and America pulls out as it did in Vietnam. See: The left wants Iraq to be Vietnam.
This is the only way they can win and stop democracy - if the left win in America. If not, well eventually the jihad will simply give up, as they did before (e.g. in Algeria).
Afghanistan attacked America. America had to attack Afghanistan. It's very simple.
There are lots of brutal Islamist, communist and other dictatorships in the world that I would like to see destroyed, by force if necessary. I guess that's why I am not a leftist. If America announced it was going to topple the regime of Sudan tomorrow, for example, I would just say "Go for it". I would not need to hear any specific reasons.
Firstly, a few things need to be clarified. Dr Humphrys had responded to my latest entries as you can see below in the comments section. I want to say that I am not implying that if you are a neo-con you're homophobic or a WASP etc. That was my fault that I didn't clarify that, but I'm usually writing these pages quite quickly, so I often miss typo's, scripting errors etc. What I meant is, there are elements within the American neo-conservatism movement which are. However, I stand by my assertion that George Bush is a poor president. Hillary Clinton and John Kerry both said that "history will be a harsh judge of this administration..... it has a completely apolitical approach to governing the country and is devoid of a sense of responsibility." They led their country into war on the basis of non existent intelligence and have probably broken international law. It doesn't look too likely that they will be held accountable for their actions however.
" By the way, is there something inherently wrong with being "Christian and WASP"? Aren't you being a bigot? I'm an atheist for the last 21 years, but I've no problem with Christians and WASPs. I have a problem with specific policies, such as opposition to cloning, or promotion of creationism, but you seem to regard it as a criticism that someone is "Christian and WASP" at all. That seems like bigotry to me."
I say: No, I don't believe there is anything wrong with being a Christian or a WASP. I am a Christian by baptism, although I don't practice and am generally more inclined towards secularism. What I have a problem with is the exclusive promotion of agendas of such groups. The only people who seem to have a voice in America are white and middle class. The incident with hurricane Katrina and the government's astonishing apathy towards the plight of the (largely black) group of victims in New Orleans made this self-evident. Surely in a democracy, one should embrace the notion that all are born free and equal. But this simply isn't so in America.
I say: "When it comes to Fox News Channel, conservatives don't feel the need to "work the ref." The ref is already on their side. Since its 1996 launch, Fox has become a central hub of the conservative movement's well-oiled media machine. Together with the GOP organization and its satellite think tanks and advocacy groups, this network of fiercely partisan outlets--such as the Washington Times, the Wall Street Journal editorial page and conservative talk-radio shows like Rush Limbaugh's--forms a highly effective right-wing echo chamber where GOP-friendly news stories can be promoted, repeated and amplified. Fox knows how to play this game better than anyone. Yet, at the same time, the network bristles at the slightest suggestion of a conservative tilt. In fact, wrapping itself in slogans like "Fair and balanced" and "We report, you decide," Fox argues precisely the opposite: Far from being a biased network, Fox argues, it is the only unbiased network. So far, Fox's strategy of aggressive denial has worked surprisingly well; faced with its unblinking refusal to admit any conservative tilt at all, some commentators have simply acquiesced to the network's own self-assessment" - taken from FAIR.org.
I have already had a response to this before I was able to complete it. My point basically is that the press in America is not as free as one would hope. The example of Fox is a good one, but there is a far bigger machine at work. News Corporation, owned by Rupert Murdoch has essentially become the media arm of the Republican party. This is undeniable. We remember Fox news announcing George Bush had won the last election, only to find out that he had in fact lost some of the states that Fox initially quoted. News Corp. also owns The Wall Street Journal, another prominent right-wing publication. Then we have Clear Channel, who own it seems every concert venue and billboard on planet Earth, who also sponsor pro-war rallies The fact is that American media is dominated by a small number of huge conglomerates, whose voices are overpowering and have a huge amount of control over what the media says to Americans. Both major political parties in the states have received donations from the media corporations. This says a lot of what I want to say, only better. Vast sections of the American media have collaborated with the government in creating a climate of fear in America and attempting to rally the Americans towards the administration and gain support for the war on terror. So overpowering is the voice of republicanism in American media (NOT society!) that it seems like they are the only ones talking. I do acknowledge in this country that there is not a strong right-wing voice which should be rectified. I for one am open to hear all sides of an argument.
And the Hispanic Attorney General. And the Hispanic Secretary of Commerce. And the Hispanic Secretary of Housing. And the Japanese-American Secretary of Transportation. And the Chinese-American Secretary of Labor.
All these people were appointed by George W. Bush, who you are calling racist.
"The incident with hurricane Katrina and the government's astonishing apathy towards the plight of the (largely black) group of victims in New Orleans made this self-evident."
Nonsense. That's just Michael Moore-ish spin by people who hate Bush.
"Surely in a democracy, one should embrace the notion that all are born free and equal. But this simply isn't so in America."
Nonsense. Have you lived there? It's no different to Ireland.
You're changing the subject. I know much of the Arab world and much of western Europe has stupid, even disgusting, opinions. That's why I rate half of western Europe as in the "Axis of Weasels", and I rate much of the Arab world as in the "Axis of Evil". The good guys should simply ignore their stupid opinions and get on with changing the world without them. Not a lot of people supported Britain in 1940, remember, when it was the only fighting democracy left in Europe. We (Ireland) certainly didn't.
I'm not disputing your surveys at all. But you (and that book) conclude that we should listen to these opinions. I think we should ignore them.
"My third and final survey, conducted by the EU in early 2003 found "widespread support" for the proposition that America is reponsible for harming the environment and operates to keep poor countries poor, which backs up a point I made in an earlier post rather nicely!"
No it doesn't.
Lots of people believe the stupid socialist idea that America (or the West) is rich because the third world is poor. That third world poverty is not caused by medieval tribalism and juntas and maniac dictators, but rather is caused by sinister rich white men. So what. Lots of people believe in God. That doesn't mean that God exists.
The stupidity of the world, summed up in one easy graphic
Survey of world opinion, Sept 2008.
You said: "When it comes to Fox News Channel ..."
So Fox has an angle.
All media have an angle.
The New York Times does. RTE
and the BBC
certainly do. Everyone does.
The Irish Times and the Guardian always spin the news to suit their soft-left agendas (which is why I don't read them much since the war started on 9/11).
No one forces you to watch Fox, so what on earth are you complaining about? If you don't like it, watch something else.
He says:"Your surveys are not relevant to the point here. My survey is."
I said: "The only people who seem to have a voice in America are white and middle class."
He said:"You mean apart from the black former Secretary of State, the black former National Security Adviser and the black present Secretary of State? And the Hispanic Attorney General. And the Hispanic Secretary of Commerce. And the Hispanic Secretary of Housing. And the Japanese-American Secretary of Transportation. And the Chinese-American Secretary of Labor."
I say:: Yes exactly! Everyone apart from those people. All 35.9 million Americans living below the poverty line, according to an annual Census Bureau survey (one survey I think is "relevant"). 24.4% of African-Americans live below the poverty line, the highest incidence of any racial group. 4.3 million people have slid in poverty during the reign of the Bush administration. That is pretty much the whole population of Ireland. The top 1 percent of all U.S. households own 38 percent of all wealth (property, cash, savings, stock value, and insurance policies.minus mortgage payments, credit card debt, and other debts). Wealth inequality generally fell from 1929 to the mid '70s. Since then, it's doubled. African Americans are 12.2 percent of the population but account for 37 percent of all AIDS cases. Latinos are 11.9 percent of the population but account for 19.2 percent of all AIDS cases. The fastest-growing population of those infected with the AIDS virus is African American women. - taken from villagevoice.com. Yet the war on terror and privatising Iraq's industries without open tender are more important.
You seem to think we should accept FAIR.org as an unbiased group. In reality, they are just another biased, left-wing, anti-Bush, anti-neocon group who spin the news the way they want. And that's fine. That's what free speech is all about. I don't like FAIR.org's particular spin on the news, so I read other meta-commentary sites about the media.
For example, I prefer Accuracy In Media, or the Media Research Center. See the latter's survey: TV's Bad News Brigade: ABC, CBS and NBC's Defeatist Coverage of the War in Iraq. They looked at 1388 stories about Iraq on these three massive TV networks, that you claim are "attempting to rally the Americans towards the administration and gain support for the war on terror". They found that 848 stories focused on negative topics or presented a pessimistic analysis of the situation. Only 211 stories featured U.S. or Iraqi achievements or offered an optimistic assessment. Just 8 stories recounted heroism or valor by U.S. troops. While 79 stories were on allegations of combat mistakes or misconduct by U.S. military personnel. I think that puts paid to your theory that the American media is pro-war.
Anyway, as I say, everyone spins, including all the media you read. I don't like FAIR.org's spin, so I don't read it. This is the beauty of a free press - that I'm not forced to listen to FAIR.org. Likewise, if you don't like Fox, stop complaining about it. Watch something else. It's really a very simple point.
I think the problem is really that some people - like the FAIR.org lefties - just can't stand the fact that an alternative is allowed to exist, and even worse, that it is popular. They can't believe people could be so stupid as to be Republicans or right-wing, so they go on and on about how Fox is sinister propaganda brainwashing the masses. It may make the lefties feel better, but it leaves me unmoved.
"My point basically is that the press in America is not as free as one would hope."
Sorry, but really, this is nonsense. A "free" press does not mean a press where everyone buys the papers that you like. A "free" press means a press unconstrained by law. The American press is unconstrained by law. It is a free press. If people use that freedom to voluntarily watch Fox and buy the Wall Street Journal (if only they did!) then tough luck for you, but it does not make the press any less free. This is really a very simple point.
"News Corporation, owned by Rupert Murdoch has essentially become the media arm of the Republican party. This is undeniable."
Who cares? Why is this of any importance? So News Corp tilts to the right. So what. If you don't like it, don't watch it. Almost every other big media outlet in America tilts to the left (see survey above).
And all of Europe is full of shills for the Democratic party and against Bush, often on taxpayer money. RTE, BBC and Channel 4 are brazenly anti-neocon, pro-Democrat, anti-Israel and anti-Bush. I really resent that RTE forces me to pay for their consistently soft-left, anti-American, anti-Israel spin on the news, such as Carole Coleman's dreadful interview. If taxpayers are going to pay for them, the least they could do is be unbiased, don't you think? Same for BBC, who spin the news to the soft-left on taxpayers' money. It really is shameful. At least Fox doesn't force people who don't agree with it to pay for it. Sky News is the only neutral TV channel I can seem to get on my set (I can't get Fox).
"Vast sections of the American media have collaborated with the government in creating a climate of fear in America and attempting to rally the Americans towards the administration and gain support for the war on terror. So overpowering is the voice of republicanism in American media (NOT society!) that it seems like they are the only ones talking."
I don't know what fantasyland you're getting this from. Most of the American media is hostile to Bush, survey after survey shows that American reporters are well to the left of the American public, and most of the American media has been negative and defeatist about the War on Islamism since about early 2002.
Fox is popular because there is a hunger for something different from what the mainstream media is providing. I read Internet blogs for the same reason - because I am hungry for something different to the cynical, negative defeatism on RTE, BBC and the Irish Times.
You have it completely backwards. The voice of the Democrats is overpowering in American media, while American society leans more Republican. The 2004 election was only one of many occasions when American society showed it was far more Republican than the media. Are you familiar with these figures, that show how Republicanism is mainstream in American society:
"I for one am open to hear all sides of an argument"
Then I suggest you read the RSS feeds on my blog for a few months and see if your opinions don't change. In particular, they will introduce you to the wonderful world of National Review, and my favourite modern writer, Victor Davis Hanson. Though I can't say I read this kind of stuff myself before the age of 33.
I said: "You mean apart from the black former Secretary of State, the black former National Security Adviser and the black present Secretary of State? And the Hispanic Attorney General. And the Hispanic Secretary of Commerce. And the Hispanic Secretary of Housing. And the Japanese-American Secretary of Transportation. And the Chinese-American Secretary of Labor."
You said: "Yes exactly! Everyone apart from those people."
Good lord, didn't my reply even make you stop and think for a second about your lazy assumption that Bush is racist?
You are confusing poverty and inequality. Serious poverty in historical terms or world terms does not really exist in the West. It exists in the third world, where children starve to death and people genuinely cannot afford medicine, food, clothes and shelter. It existed in the West up to the early 20th century. But it does not really exist any more, unless people deliberately reject the chances they get and the help they are given (e.g. because they are drug addicts or mentally ill).
What exists in the West is "inequality". I refuse to call this "poverty" because that is an insult to the millions of people in the third world suffering real poverty.
Of those 35.9 million "poor" Americans, for example, the majority own a car, a colour TV, a VCR, a telephone, a stereo system, a fridge, a microwave oven and a washing machine. Do you own a car, or a washing machine? The majority have air conditioning (which I do not have).
The majority of those 35.9 million "poor" Americans have 2 or more rooms per occupant (many have more). I and my family have only 1.3. "Poor" Americans have an average of 440 square feet of living space per person (many have more). I and my family have only 240 square feet. This is the nonsense that comes from your (and the Census Bureau's) redefining of inequality as "poverty".
First, no they don't. Almost no African-Americans live in real material poverty.
If we talk about equality, however, it is true that African-Americans don't do as well as, say, Asian-Americans. Why is this? The left's simplistic answer is "racism". That may have been true 50 or 100 years ago (when Asian-Americans would have been discriminated against as well). But it's hardly true now. There is nothing stopping blacks, Asians or anyone else working hard at school, starting businesses and raising themselves up.
Well there are things stopping young people leaving the ghetto, whether in America, Ireland or Britain, but it's things the government can't really change - lack of family support, absent fathers, peer pressure from your gangsta dropout friends, and so on. It's culture.
Ghetto culture tells young kids that the only way to get rich is music, sport, celebrity or crime. This of course is rubbish. None of these is a reliable route out of the ghetto. Whereas working hard at school is. (Boring! Boring! But unfortunately true.) Young ghetto kids have to be smart enough to figure this out for themselves, with no help from popular culture or their peers or (often) their families. As I say:
To leave the ghetto the young person must adopt a completely different set of values to the culture all around him - for example, he must work hard in school and try to improve himself. This is impossible for most young people in the face of constant discouragement from his peers, who mock his hard work and may even assault those who work hard in school.
If you don't want to listen to me because I'm a privileged white man, listen to Walter Williams: "Real material poverty, to any significant degree, simply does not exist in the United States. ... Poverty of the spirit and dependency are today's problems." He's written a lot more on this topic.
I do, however, respect the left for the pioneering work it did historically for women, blacks, gays, atheists and other minorities. However, all this work has been done, and success has largely been reached, in the West at least, and the action has now moved to the non-western world, where women, blacks, gays, atheists and other minorities are oppressed everywhere, notably in Islamic countries. The right seem to be the only people who want to change this.
So I don't really see what the point of the left is anymore. They seem to be fighting yesterday's battles.