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Is there a U.S. culture war?

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    Posted: 05 Jul 2011 at 03:58
Hi there,

Many social conservatives in the U.S. say that there is such a thing. But I haven't seen any evidence that liberals are waging any culture war. In fact, without the help of conservatives explaining what this is, I and many like me wouldn't even know that such a violent cultural event was happening. In fact, I often forget about it, only to be reminded by a conservative friend mentioning it.

For those who are not familiar with the "culture" war, here is my understanding of it: U.S. social conservatives believe that in the U.S. liberals are waging a culture war to take away our ye olde ways. So we liberals are trying to get homosexuals accepted, gay marriage legalized. There is also this issue of secularism, which is that we want to drive a wedge between God and our government. And we also advance the ever scary "humanism."

On the liberal side, none of these are coordinated, and frankly, none of them seem to be an assault to anything. The homosexual issue is one of human rights, human decency, or outright Christian love, depending from the perspective that you are approaching it.

Secularism is written in the U.S. constitution, right before the right to bear arms. So this is a value that was written in the constitution, so there is nothing new about it.

And growing up, I always thought that humanism was good. I still do. I don't understand what is scary about it. Oh, yeah, right, I believe that some people think of it as a name for atheism. It is not, but as many nihilists among us will point out, humanism, in its values, is not that different from Christianity of Judaism.

So here you have it: a human rights/civil liberties issue, another civil liberties issue, and a non-issue issue. That is the view from the left.

I cannot see how there can be war when one side is unaware that it is being waged, especially since, in the conservative narrative, they are on the attack.

I do see conservative rights attempting to push their views, but I don't interpret that as their waging war. They are just trying to convince others that they are right; but so everyone else does that, so I don't see it as a cultural aggression.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Jul 2011 at 03:59
I rather would say the U.S. has a war culture.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Jul 2011 at 08:37

While admitting I am an "outsider" and therefore not very qualified regarding specific US-phenomena, I still have some questions and opinions.

I think, one thing is "personal nostalgia" or longing for certain elements of the past as attractive.
It is all human, and I have little problem with that.
Another thing is "political/societal nostalgia", something not so different from a "reactionary" attitude. That is more questionable. Could those advocating such an idea please give some more specific data about that "golden age of the past"? "From the year ?? to year ??" our society was all happy but since then something (what excactly) destroyed it. For the US an additional question: Was it the period before most of its inhabitants and their ancestors arrived?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Panther Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Jul 2011 at 12:39
Okay, most of this post is from a first person perspective. And for the sake of clarity, labels will be generously but respectfully applied as much as possible.

Originally posted by hugoestr hugoestr wrote:

Hi there,

Many social conservatives in the U.S. say that there is such a thing. But I haven't seen any evidence that liberals are waging any culture war.


That is probably because it isn't directed towards liberal beliefs.

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For those who are not familiar with the "culture" war, here is my understanding of it: U.S. social conservatives believe that in the U.S. liberals are waging a culture war to take away our ye olde ways. So we liberals are trying to get homosexuals accepted, gay marriage legalized. There is also this issue of secularism, which is that we want to drive a wedge between God and our government. And we also advance the ever scary "humanism."


No. What is really happening goes down to the very root of what it meant to be an American. A troubling sense of exclusiveness has popped up that has certain elements on the left endeavoring and in some cases succeeding in  turning conservatives on the right into malignant force. Gay marriage for instance, i sincerely doubt they are solely interested in the idea of marriage for the sake monogamy alone. Rather, i think it has more to deal with property rights and in some cases social rights, especially when one partner becomes sick or deceased. From what i have read, hospitals do not recognize the rights of their partners because they lack a certificate. The current laws do not recognize their rights to the property from one to the other, they say, because they lack a certificate, in this case a certificate of marriage.

Okay... i am sure there is more to it, but the debate had ended right then and there and all the screaming from the left began being hurled at those evil conservatives. Of course, i do realize the situation on the right isn't helped much when the issue of homosexuality had been approached in a religious fashion and for some time now. Conversely, i do sympathize with their current plight in a way, especially in bereavement. However, what ever sympathy i have can be quickly over come if i perceive this issue as taking on an emotionally forceful and illogical tone rather than purely on rational grounds. The former seems to be the case here in the states rather than the latter and that is how i perceive it at the moment; And regretfully i might add,  feel psychologically bound to dig in my heels more than i might and fight this because i feel something about all of this is simply not right. Too childishly bullish in nature rather than adults working through an important issue.

As for Secularism, i haven't really a problem with the separation of church and state. In fact, i am a supporter of the necessity of it, now more so than ever.

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On the liberal side, none of these are coordinated, and frankly, none of them seem to be an assault to anything. The homosexual issue is one of human rights, human decency, or outright Christian love, depending from the perspective that you are approaching it.


Well no, people such as you and i are not interested in tearing each other down for the sake of seeing only our views prevail. However, there are people out there in some position of power, and not necessarily government, who are taking advantage of what this country has given them to force their views on the rest of us. Further, without a doubt, outside powers, mostly benign but more worrisome are the malignant ones (No names), who are as intertwined in this issue more so than we are intertwined with the outside world.

Now from my perspective, the right as i perceive it, is the liberal issue taken up with all Christians, the GOP, Businesses and Corporations and the heartland and bible belt of the US.

On those who are on the left, the conservative issue taken up seems to be with extreme secularism, the Democrat party, the entertainment industry and Hollywood and the scoffing elitist attitude taken on the east and west coast towards what they consider as no better then being named fly-over country, or the heartland.

And so it seems to me how the line is being drawn. Fortunately so far, there is a lot of room for common ground at this point if we start recognizing the problem for what it is, as needlessly divisive, by my highlighting the underlined portion of your quoted statement above.

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Secularism is written in the U.S. constitution, right before the right to bear arms. So this is a value that was written in the constitution, so there is nothing new about it.


If the second amendment can be abridged and the right to bear arms curtailed, then who is to say that the first amendment itself won't ever suffer the same fate that sees this country dominated by a single religion and no recourse for their duress of the powerless. 

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And growing up, I always thought that humanism was good. I still do. I don't understand what is scary about it. Oh, yeah, right, I believe that some people think of it as a name for atheism. It is not, but as many nihilists among us will point out, humanism, in its values, is not that different from Christianity of Judaism.


According to wiki, i believe you hold that to be a credible source(?),  there is Secular humanism which is an ideology that espouses reason, ethics and justice while specifically rejecting the supernatural and religious dogma as a basis for morality or religious dogma. Then there is Religious humanism that integrates the ethical philosophy of humanism with religious rituals with a belief that centers on human needs, interest and abilities.

And again, i do not have much of an issue with humanism.

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So here you have it: a human rights/civil liberties issue, another civil liberties issue, and a non-issue issue. That is the view from the left.


And hopefully i have given you a bit more of perspective from the right.

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I cannot see how there can be war when one side is unaware that it is being waged, especially since, in the conservative narrative, they are on the attack.


Many are aware of what is going on. It is just that some people, such as yourself, are either not that interested in it, as invested in the issue as your ideological predecessors once were or in a more regretful sense, take a large amount of glee in retribution. Now that the shoe is on the other cultural foot and conservative chickens have been coming home to roost for about fifty years now; The only problems is, those who are shaping our culture have their own narrow minded stereotyped views and are implementing them Having only learned one thing from their conservative predecessors, the subtle art of the blacklist and the social cold shoulder once they are exposed.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3PxG0vmd-zs

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I do see conservative rights attempting to push their views, but I don't interpret that as their waging war. They are just trying to convince others that they are right; but so everyone else does that, so I don't see it as a cultural aggression.


I am glad you don't see it as aggression, as i haven't never read into the civil rights movement as one of aggression or the fact that i recognize that all of this goes back onto the deplorable era of McCarthy. Because in reality it isn't anything but the exercise of the 1st amendment rights in hopes of seeking a redress. Clumsy attempt , maybe? I don't know....  So perhaps culture wars is perhaps a misnomer? Perhaps something more appropriate is needed too better explain what is going on under the shadow of your tv or in the darkened theater of the big screen?

One thing i would like to ask while i am at this, why does every issue we face have to include the word "war" and more recently "battle" or other types of elimination rhetoric among the issues of the day? I mean really, how preposterous!

Note: A plea for a little literary leniency. Am currently going through a cluster headache period.


Edited by Panther - 05 Jul 2011 at 13:10
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote hugoestr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Jul 2011 at 13:42
Hi, Panther,

Yes, I agree, the word "war" is over the top for what should really be a "dialogue" or "stating different opinions".

Maybe you can explain this ,but I find it weird that people on the right feel that they are being attacked when conservatives have controlled politics and the media for the last 30 years.

The the gun ownership issue, for example. Total win for the right. Many leftists, who have their hearts on gun control, won't even bring up the issue because they find it that there is no political point. Again, gun owners feel this overwhelming attack on them, but the reality is that is is easier to get a gun in the U.S. than a drivers license. Even though weapons can be and have been used in terrorist/psychotic attacks, my twitter feed has more government oversight than if I bought several AK47s. Frankly, our gun regulation laws are so lax that they are in the negligent: point in case, the U.S. is the main source of weapons to drug traffickers in Mexico. Or another example: Virginia couldn't strengthen its gun laws after the Vriginia Tech shooting even though Cho legally bought his weapons, when he wasn't supposed to be able to do it due to mental illness. I mean, does the NRA have to defend mentally ill people's right to own assault weapons? On this issue, the right has won, but why do people on the right complain about the horrible restrictions when they are barely any?

Also, I don't believe that most leftist have a problem with Christians. The vast majority of them are Christian themselves. They got a problem with fundamentalists who want to push for blending of church with state an force children to learn Creationism. As a parallel, many fundamentalist Christians state that they don't have a problem with Islam, but with fundamentalist Islam, so it would be pretty much the same thing: a problem with fundamentalism.

On corporations an business, again, the problem is not their existence but their abuse of economic power. At least with the conservatives here in the forum, I think that I and other liberals and leftist and the conservatives agree that they have too much power, that they are taking too much from the government in tax cuts, subsidies, and bailouts. Most liberals that I know are in favor of competitive markets. Those occur normally with good regulations.

On the heartland I will admit that there is a cultural riff, but it goes both ways, and it is cultural. For one thing, most people in the coasts are not "elites." Most of them are middle class and below. And most elites are actually conservative. The number of rich conservative donors seems much, much greater than the number of rich liberal donors, although the liberal ones have a greater profile. Also, part of the resentment that does exist is that there is this feeling that people in the heartlands, which get more taxes from the federal government than they pay (not Texas, I believe), and then those states push for laws that affect people in the coasts. One final thing: most of the people with a lot of resentment toward the heartland that I met in California and in DC were people who grew up there. On the states that I have visited, most people seemed great. Also, I don't believe that people in the Coasts think of "The heartland" as such. Most will think in terms of specific states or geographical regions such as "The Midwest", "Western states", or "The South", or use specific states, such as "Utah", "Arizona," "Iowa."

The topic above should be a full thread

As for entertainment, many on the left don't like it either, as culture jamming shows. I don't like many of the messages that entertainment gives, but I just refuse to watch it or show it to my kids.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Panther Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Jul 2011 at 13:57
Originally posted by hugoestr hugoestr wrote:

Hi, Panther,
Maybe you can explain this ,but I find it weird that people on the right feel that they are being attacked when conservatives have controlled politics and the media for the last 30 years.


To be honest, i haven't quite figured that one out. Why do both see the other as controlling the media? Just a guess, but all i can tell you right now is that next to enjoying their profits from sensationalized news stories and advertisements, they seem to be quite easily manipulated by anyone or thing with an agenda.

Now if you may give me some time,  i would like too munch over in my brain your interesting views down below....


Quote
The the gun ownership issue, for example. Total win for the right. Many leftists, who have their hearts on gun control, won't even bring up the issue because they find it that there is no political point. Again, gun owners feel this overwhelming attack on them, but the reality is that is is easier to get a gun in the U.S. than a drivers license. Even though weapons can be and have been used in terrorist/psychotic attacks, my twitter feed has more government oversight than if I bought several AK47s. Frankly, our gun regulation laws are so lax that they are in the negligent: point in case, the U.S. is the main source of weapons to drug traffickers in Mexico. Or another example: Virginia couldn't strengthen its gun laws after the Vriginia Tech shooting even though Cho legally bought his weapons, when he wasn't supposed to be able to do it due to mental illness. I mean, does the NRA have to defend mentally ill people's right to own assault weapons? On this issue, the right has won, but why do people on the right complain about the horrible restrictions when they are barely any?

Also, I don't believe that most leftist have a problem with Christians. The vast majority of them are Christian themselves. They got a problem with fundamentalists who want to push for blending of church with state an force children to learn Creationism. As a parallel, many fundamentalist Christians state that they don't have a problem with Islam, but with fundamentalist Islam, so it would be pretty much the same thing: a problem with fundamentalism.

On corporations an business, again, the problem is not their existence but their abuse of economic power. At least with the conservatives here in the forum, I think that I and other liberals and leftist and the conservatives agree that they have too much power, that they are taking too much from the government in tax cuts, subsidies, and bailouts. Most liberals that I know are in favor of competitive markets. Those occur normally with good regulations.

On the heartland I will admit that there is a cultural riff, but it goes both ways, and it is cultural. For one thing, most people in the coasts are not "elites." Most of them are middle class and below. And most elites are actually conservative. The number of rich conservative donors seems much, much greater than the number of rich liberal donors, although the liberal ones have a greater profile. Also, part of the resentment that does exist is that there is this feeling that people in the heartlands, which get more taxes from the federal government than they pay (not Texas, I believe), and then those states push for laws that affect people in the coasts. One final thing: most of the people with a lot of resentment toward the heartland that I met in California and in DC were people who grew up there. On the states that I have visited, most people seemed great. Also, I don't believe that people in the Coasts think of "The heartland" as such. Most will think in terms of specific states or geographical regions such as "The Midwest", "Western states", or "The South", or use specific states, such as "Utah", "Arizona," "Iowa."

The topic above should be a full thread

As for entertainment, many on the left don't like it either, as culture jamming shows. I don't like many of the messages that entertainment gives, but I just refuse to watch it or show it to my kids.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Jul 2011 at 20:05
Originally posted by Panther Panther wrote:

Originally posted by hugoestr hugoestr wrote:

Hi, Panther,
Maybe you can explain this ,but I find it weird that people on the right feel that they are being attacked when conservatives have controlled politics and the media for the last 30 years.


To be honest, i haven't quite figured that one out. Why do both see the other as controlling the media?
They don't. They boh claim the media are controlled by the other side for propaganda piurposes. EXtreme conservatives control most of the old media and television, whereas Hollywood and the music industry barring Willy snd one or two others,  have a more liberal bias because unlike the others they rely a lot on foreign and minority markets.
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 Just a guess, but all i can tell you right now is that next to enjoying their profits from sensationalized news stories and advertisements, they seem to be quite easily manipulated by anyone or thing with an agenda.

As long as the agenda doesn't conflict with the interests of the management. 'Twas ever thus.
Luckily the internet doesn't have a management, yet anyway.

A bulletin from one front of the war -
http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2011/07/01/256823/pregnant-women-criminal-charges/


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Jul 2011 at 10:47
I screwed up the sentence in which I referred to Willy (Nelson)
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

 ... whereas Hollywood and the music industry barring Willy snd one or two others, have a more liberal bias....
should have been
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...whereas Hollywood and the music industry (except for C & W barring Willy and one or two others), have a more liberal bias...

 


Edited by gcle2003 - 06 Jul 2011 at 10:48
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Jul 2011 at 15:15
A perfect example of this purported conflict and the ambiguous nature of any attempt at setting forth an honest political setting within the context of ideological perspectives has just come to an end: The Casey Anthony Murder trial! After three years the MSM had its collective jaws drop when after a brief deliberation the jury in this trial delivered a succession of "not guiltys" on the principal charges [we will not go into the strange phenomenon of "mass" charges]. Was the "jury" being strictly conservative in its interpretation of "Burden of Proof" with respect to due process despite the steady three year diet on the MSM over this "rotten" mom. Or as some have already implied, the jury was really composed of namby-pamby "liberals" (are there really such groups in Pinellas County Florida?) strictly motivated by a distaste for "capital" punishment.
 
If there is an "old conservative" strain behind the Constitution itself, it is one premised upon a distaste for "mob mentality" and the inherent assumption that momentary "popular opinion" is in itself a medium for error under democratic premises.


Edited by drgonzaga - 06 Jul 2011 at 19:30
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Panther Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Jul 2011 at 16:54
Originally posted by hugoestr hugoestr wrote:


The the gun ownership issue, for example. Total win for the right. Many leftists, who have their hearts on gun control, won't even bring up the issue because they find it that there is no political point.


There is a political point and much too be lost in furtherance of the point. Conservatives are not the only ones who value being armed, there a plenty more liberals just as passionate of guns than conservatives are. Anyhow, as the perceptions appears to be currently that conservatives have the topic on guns all wrapped up only as far as liberals have the abortion topic currently under control.

Quote
 Again, gun owners feel this overwhelming attack on them, but the reality is that is is easier to get a gun in the U.S. than a drivers license. Even though weapons can be and have been used in terrorist/psychotic attacks, my twitter feed has more government oversight than if I bought several AK47s.


That is only a half truth. While it is easy to get a gun at a Wal-Mart providing documents that your not a nutter or that your certifications are in order, getting more powerful weapons are exceptionally difficult without any documentations or papers backing you up.However, each state is different in how it enforces it's gun laws, some are incredibly more stringent than others are. About terrorist attacks, i would like to add that the worst terrorist attack this county has seen was perpetrated with only psychological fears of a bomb being aboard and box cutters. No guns was present or needed, except when the hijackers were losing control of flight 93.

Quote
 Frankly, our gun regulation laws are so lax that they are in the negligent: point in case, the U.S. is the main source of weapons to drug traffickers in Mexico.


About that, I'm sure you have heard of the ATF gun running scandal? Obama seems to be using it as a political point about the evils of guns, while Mexican legislators are uniquely p!$$ed at us, or our law makers for running such a haphazard scheme and for what? More deaths. Needless too say, their legislators are considering in bringing charges against the officials involved, including the decision makers. So much for smart diplomacy, huh? Perhaps a reset is in order?

Quote
Or another example: Virginia couldn't strengthen its gun laws after the Vriginia Tech shooting even though Cho legally bought his weapons, when he wasn't supposed to be able to do it due to mental illness. I mean, does the NRA have to defend mentally ill people's right to own assault weapons?


I'll give you that there was a lapse in Virginia's gun legislation, however, the rest of the story is that educators and mental health professionals never noticed his deteriorating conditions, the gaps and misunderstandings of the privacy laws in that states mental health field as well as it's gun laws; And further, also the slow reaction of the administrators in taking action once the rampage had begun.

http://www.governor.virginia.gov/TempContent/techPanelReport.cfm

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On this issue, the right has won, but why do people on the right complain about the horrible restrictions when they are barely any?


I suppose for the same reason liberals get very edgy when a conservative broaches upon a liberal topic? It's a no-no to mess around on someone else's turf. Or so the message seems to be.

Quote
Also, I don't believe that most leftist have a problem with Christians. The vast majority of them are Christian themselves. They got a problem with fundamentalists who want to push for blending of church with state an force children to learn Creationism.


Well then, here i and the left share the same view, pretty much, except i don't accept the touted fear for teaching creationism alongside evolution. In fact, i think the two can be rather complimentary to one another if given a chance.

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As a parallel, many fundamentalist Christians state that they don't have a problem with Islam, but with fundamentalist Islam, so it would be pretty much the same thing: a problem with fundamentalism.


Fundamentalism. Ah... Here we have the seeds for such a great misunderstanding, don't ya think?  To put it frankly,  i never made it a secret for my respect of Islam and not buying into the term Islamophobia or even the more perverse Islamofascism. What i do recognize, without going into specifics, is that there is a problem of out of control extremists of the worst sort, in that part of the world. Once small and of no consequence to others, that has been allowed to grow into a global problem by the indifference of rest of us, and in certain unfortunate cases, even being nurtured for reasons that suited any particular state's needs. The particular PR problem has always been what to call this phenomenon without alienating our friends and allies in the region. It is a case of knowing the threat, but the name escapes for the time being.

On the other side of the world here in the west, i don't think we have much to really worry about from our small unmerry band of religious extremist just yet. Of course, that can all change in an instant, or perhaps be changing even now as i type this? Whatever they (Islamic extremists) lacked in style, organizational ability and military prowess, they sure have made up for it with spectacular media driving sensationalism. That is a concern any of us ought to be mindful of with any of our extremists. Be they Christian, Jewish, Anarchist, Secularist, Nationalist, Islamic, environmentalists or whatever happens to have sited it's target for any particular western government, or any other global state government.

Quote
On the heartland I will admit that there is a cultural riff, but it goes both ways, and it is cultural. For one thing, most people in the coasts are not "elites." Most of them are middle class and below. And most elites are actually conservative. The number of rich conservative donors seems much, much greater than the number of rich liberal donors, although the liberal ones have a greater profile. Also, part of the resentment that does exist is that there is this feeling that people in the heartlands, which get more taxes from the federal government than they pay (not Texas, I believe), and then those states push for laws that affect people in the coasts. One final thing: most of the people with a lot of resentment toward the heartland that I met in California and in DC were people who grew up there. On the states that I have visited, most people seemed great. Also, I don't believe that people in the Coasts think of "The heartland" as such. Most will think in terms of specific states or geographical regions such as "The Midwest", "Western states", or "The South", or use specific states, such as "Utah", "Arizona," "Iowa."


LOL Indeed, this may need to be in a topic all it's own.

Quote
As for entertainment, many on the left don't like it either, as culture jamming shows. I don't like many of the messages that entertainment gives, but I just refuse to watch it or show it to my kids.


If i were to spend money in going to a movie theater or devote some of my time in watching a program on television (that is not based on the sharing of information), then the absolute last thing i would want is to be preached too or treated with a healthy dose of condescension. 

Edited by Panther - 06 Jul 2011 at 16:54
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Panther Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Jul 2011 at 17:04
Originally posted by drgonzaga drgonzaga wrote:

A perfect example of this purported conflict and the ambiguous nature of any attempt at setting forth an honest political setting within the context of ideological perspectives has just come to an end: The Casey Anthony Murder trial! After three years the MSM had its collective jaws drop when after a brief deliberation the jury in this trial delivered a succession of "not guiltys" on the principal charges [we will not go into the strange phenomenon of "mass" charges]. Was the "jury" being strictly conservative in its interpretation of "Burden of Proof" with respect to due process despite the steady three year diet on the MSM over this "rotten" mom. Or as some have already implied, the jury was really composed of namby-pamby "liberals" (are there really such a group in Pinellas County Florida?) strictly morivated by a distaste for "capital" punishment.
 


I guess i am too old school. I prefer innocent until proven guilty, rather than accepting this trial by media. The prosecution wasn't anywhere as energetic or as animated in proving her guilt as much as the defense had ran circles around the prosecutions team by leaving so much room for reasonable doubt. This may be studied in law schools for a while as just another reason for being absolutely prepared for their cases and any eventualities that arise.

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If there is an "old conservative" strain behind the Constitution itself, it is one premised upon a distaste for "mob mentality" and the inherent assumption that momentary "popular opinion" is in itself a medium for error under democratic premises.


Pure Hamiltonian.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SPQR Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Jul 2011 at 17:59
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

I rather would say the U.S. has a war culture.


gotta agree with Pinguin on this one... our country can't seem stay away from any armed conflict for more than 5-10 years at a time.

there is a quote from a video game (of all places) that is true to an extent and it goes like this

"We are the most powerful military force in the history of man. Every fight is our fight, because what happens over here matters over there. We don't get to sit one out."

It is how our country projects power, we do this by getting in everyone's business and affairs.

The U.S. has taken on the role of a world police force, which has done many good things and bad things to this world. I personally don't like it because many countries that we aid wind up turning on us. Whenever there is a conflict, American soldiers are there and they die. Some of these wars where countrymen die have little to no importance at all to the greater scheme of things. It makes you wonder if troops that died in Iraq died for anything at all.

Edited by SPQR - 06 Jul 2011 at 18:04
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Jul 2011 at 19:32
Beware entangling alliances...notice how entangled we have become as a result of "progressive" government throughout the 20th Century!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote lirelou Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Jul 2011 at 05:47
SPQR, in re:  "Whenever there is a conflict, American soldiers are there and they die."

While I agree that there are people within government who see a need to put "boots on the ground" at the first whiff of a crisis, I still find your statement to be vastly overdrawn. Just in the Western Hemisphere I can think of: The Falklands War, the Peru-Ecuadorian border conflict, the undeclared Jamaican Civil War of the 1970s and 80s, The Mexican Zapatista rebellion, and the list goes on.

But, as to the allegation that many countries we help end up 'turning on us", it helps to remember that nations don't have friends, they have interests. No one owes us a permanent debt of gratitude, any more than we owe such to other countries.


Edited by lirelou - 07 Jul 2011 at 05:48
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote whalebreath Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Jul 2011 at 01:52
Quote the undeclared Jamaican Civil War of the 1970s and 80s

That one I've never heard of-a certain amount of strife but civil war?

Could you elucidate?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Jul 2011 at 03:42
Originally posted by lirelou lirelou wrote:

...
But, as to the allegation that many countries we help end up 'turning on us", it helps to remember that nations don't have friends, they have interests. No one owes us a permanent debt of gratitude, any more than we owe such to other countries.


Countries may have not friends but they have memories. Defeat a country and sooner or later, a way or the other, that country will take revenge. Sometimes, the revenge are so sutil, so strange that it is not even noticeable. For instance, would you think Vietnamese would preffere American or German products? Confused
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Panther Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Jul 2011 at 03:51
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

Originally posted by lirelou lirelou wrote:

...
But, as to the allegation that many countries we help end up 'turning on us", it helps to remember that nations don't have friends, they have interests. No one owes us a permanent debt of gratitude, any more than we owe such to other countries.


Countries may have not friends but they have memories. Defeat a country and sooner or later, a way or the other, that country will take revenge. Sometimes, the revenge are so sutil, so strange that it is not even noticeable. For instance, would you think Vietnamese would preffere American or German products? Confused


 In case you haven't noticed Pinguin, the US does plenty of shopping around globally rather than local. Why heck, just look at China-US trade? Oh, never mind....
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Jul 2011 at 03:54
It is not shopping only what matters. You can shop wherever you wish. Saling is a little bit different. It is a bit difficult to sale goods, machinery and other stuff to former defeated enemies.
And China will be a great friend of the U.S. while the ballance of trade stay at theirs favour.


Edited by pinguin - 08 Jul 2011 at 03:55
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote lirelou Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Jul 2011 at 04:57
Penguin, in re your: Defeat a country and sooner or later, a way or the other, that country will take revenge. Sometimes, the revenge are so sutil, so strange that it is not even noticeable. For instance, would you think Vietnamese would preffere American or German products?

Well, what is the product? The Vietnamese are very brand loyal. Malboro cigarettes are highly valued there (as is the Benson and Hedges '555' brand), as is Beer 33 (Beer 333 for the masses, Saigon export for the high rollers, and it is a French brand)   The automobile with the greatest common cachet is the Mercedes Benz (Bentleys for the real High Rollers), while the most highly valued motorcycles are Japanese, followed by Korean. As for watches, the great majority of Vietnamese prize the Seiko (again, Japanese), while the high rollers in the know go for the prestige European watches. American products have a high level of respect among Vietnamese comsumers, however Chinese products are priced within their range, though they despise the motorcycles. WShen it comes to wines, which the great majority of Vietnamese do not drink, French wines rule, but there was a recent presentation of Chilean wines in Hanoi. The local stuff, Dalat Red, is considered plonk, but, as they say in Chile...en el reinado de los ciegos, el tuerto es Rey. I did my part by advising my Vietnamese friends that for the price, Chilean Carmeneres and Argentine Malbecs are the very best, and they don't have to tell anyone that they 're not French..

As for the point your were trying to make, the great majority of Vietnamese do not give a sh*t as to who 'won' the war. They were born after it ended, and it is ancient history to them. What really concerns them is their future, and how they can get jobs that pay a decent wage, marry (weddings in Vietnam are very expensive, and the groom must pay), and raise a family. Among those from the North about my age, you will find some resentment against the Americans. And among those in the South, to include some number of former VC, there is a residue of anti-American feeling for the way we "sold them out to the Communists". In other words, for quitting, without putting a hundred thousand or so more of their fellow citizens in the grave. But, again, both of these groups are a minotiry, though the last controls the government. The great majority of Vietnamese simply have better things to worry about.

You should really go there, Penguin. I would recommend two weeks, with four or five days in Saigon (Yes, real Saigonese do not like the new name),maybe a day or two in Dalat, followed by three or four days in Nha Trang, then a flight up to Hue to see the Nguyen capital, followed by Hanoi for a few days, and then home. Give it two weeks, and I'd bet that you'd be figuring some way out to live there as an expatriate. And here's a secret. The Vietnamese like Latin dancing, so if you search the music shoppes, you can find tangos, cha chas, and rumbas set to Vietnamese instrumentation and sung in Vietnamese.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote lirelou Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Jul 2011 at 05:05
Whalebreath, will this do?

"However a strange thing happens in Jamaica, week after week after week, or I daresay day after day, there is some major ammunitions find somewhere in Jamaica. Its kinda wierd, I mean how exactly does a country that not make guns, afford to have this many guns in its possession. There are a number of answers to this question and it stems far back in our history specifically in the 1970s - 1980's when Jamaica went through what can only be described as a mini civil-war... and that's where I'll start.

Essentially in this 70's-80's period there was what can only be described as political violence and unrest. Jamaica had always been under a 2 party system, and people by this time had aligned themselves strongly to a party, so strongly in fact that people were willing to fight for and die for their parties. The politicians at this time realized that a way to gain votes was to make this fight a part of life and they fueled the fight by getting more weapons and distributing them to whoever wanted them (and whoever were willing to align to a party). Of course all the politicians who were active in this period of time will deny that such a thing ever happened, of course this was embarassing behaviour and also quite damaging to the political clout, however anybody who was alive during the time period will tell you that they saw these things happening on a day by day basis. It is basically a part of an unwritten but immensely truthful Jamaican history, and this proved to be one of the first and main sources of guns in Jamaica. Literally thousands of guns came into the islands and changed hands throughout the ages and as any gun enthusiast will tell you, these things have a really long shelf life (as long as they are being cared for), so dont be surprised if guns are found which seem to be decades old... they probably are."


http://www.jamaicanjournal.com/index.php/2010/02/04/guns-being-imported-to-jamaica

Or this: 

"Today We Start The Tivoli Stories - the reality of the Jamaican Civil War

First let us give you a little history lesson from Jamaica. this is the story that breaks the seal on the book. you see Tivoli is the heart of Jamaica for many reasons. most of them stem from the money links developed through the kingston stronghold and their community leaders - like the man Jim Brown."

more at:  http://blacktalkradionetwork.com/profiles/blogs/pod-tivoli-stories-some-bad


Edited by lirelou - 08 Jul 2011 at 05:13
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Panther Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Jul 2011 at 11:11
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

It is not shopping only what matters. You can shop wherever you wish. Saling is a little bit different. It is a bit difficult to sale goods, machinery and other stuff to former defeated enemies.
And China will be a great friend of the U.S. while the ballance of trade stay at theirs favour.


I think that is irrelevant. If a country really wants to trade with a former enemy bad enough, they will. Just look at the Iranian government. They hate our guts with a passion, but i think i can safely guarantee, in a hypothetical scenario, that if we were to open trade with them tomorrow, they would show up the next day with a long shopping list, especially for their military requirements and the badly needed upgrades they so sorely need, primarily for their aging fleet of aircraft from the days of the Shah.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Jul 2011 at 14:10
It is relevant when some countries are perceive as agresive. If you have the chance to chose, you chose the more friendly people to buy from.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote lirelou Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Jul 2011 at 15:16
Penguin, in re:  "If you have the chance to chose, you chose the more friendly people to buy from."

Nice that you condition that with "if..."  But as for buying from the 'more friendly people', are you presuming that all governments and corporations reflect the 'friendliness' of their people? Business is business, and one buys and sells where the market conditions, to include price, are most favorable. To do otherwise is to pay too much for the product, or sell it at a loss. The only countries who flout that rule are authoritarian ones, where policy trumps market sense. Hugo Chavez is a good example. By selling his country's oil to Cuba below the market price, he is underwriting the failed Cuban economy with money from his citizen's pockets. There are undoubtedly some Venezuelans who support such a policy, but obviously there are many who do not. But in the end, the Venezuelan treasury has less money to meet public expenditures. Many countries follow a similar tactic by using price controls to favor particular internal markets, essentially robbing Peter to subsidize Paul (Mexico's petrol prices are an example). But at least in these cases, the profits and losses theoretically remain within the nation (unless, of course, the major beneficiaries bank their profits overseas).     
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote hugoestr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Jul 2011 at 03:13
Hi, Panther,

On the gun issue, I may be biased because I live in Virginia, and the gun laws do have this huge legal loophole where people can buy whatever they want in a gun show without having to go through the checking process.

On the issue of Cho, he had been held in a mental hospital. That means that there was a clear record of mental instability which should have prevented him from buying weapons. Moreover, there were instructors that noticed his erratic behavior and reported it.

I am not against gun ownership: I am against having criminals and mentally ill people getting guns. And I want to keep kids away from them when not being used under the supervision of an adult. The previously mentioned Virginia gun shows are these beautiful ways in which criminals can get hold of guns legally.

Again, on the media I may be biased because the main newspaper that I have access is the Washington Post, and the OpEd section is dominated by right-wing columnist. I stopped reading that newspaper because of it. Even the liberal columnists are not full liberals but more like center-left people at the most.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote hugoestr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Jul 2011 at 03:14
lirelou,

What do you mean by Mexico's petrol subsidies? Gas in Mexico has historically cost more money than gas in the U.S.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote lirelou Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Jul 2011 at 06:11
Yes, at a private pump. But not if you are a taxi driver, teamster, PEMEX employee or retiree, etc. They have cooperatives that sell them gas at prices below what the public pays. At least that was my understanding.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote eventhorizon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Jul 2011 at 09:08
Social conservatism may not be bad for advanced societies:

- less consumption and frugal habits promoted by religious value systems, as it is good for the environment
- emphasis on family values and preventing too much concessions to populations with non-traditional sexual preference, as it creates a tremendous disconnect between population of the West with all others, creating misunderstanding and hostility
- pornography, violent and sexually explicit video games/movies etc. in the name of freedom of expression, I believe are at the root of much psychological degradation of many on the planet today - human mind is a much more fragile entity than we may realize, it should be guarded not just by individuals themselves but society as a whole as well and it has to be done on a planetary scale. Just like drugs they are addictive, so I do not support making them illegal, instead, they should be taxed heavily and punitively like other addictive products such as cigarette, so the corrosive effects can be treated with collected tax revenue
- gun control laws must be improved and enforced so they are kept out of hands where it can be dangerous, such as mentally unstable people and kids, like hugoestr mentioned, but I also think that people who want to own guns, must go through rigorous tests about their psychological makeup, in addition to stringent background checks, have training just like drivers training and pass tests similar to driving tests that cover all aspects of safety and careful handling and storing of guns and ammunitions. In addition, I believe all gun owners should be registered with local authorities and should renew registration every year showing their guns with local authorities, as long as they own guns to show that they did not sell them off. All this to make sure that guns stay in safe and trained hands and are not sold to third unknown questionable parties

On the liberal side:

- religious freedom as it is enshrined in the constitution is as relevant today as it was several hundred years ago, as is separation of church and state. Pseudo science like creationism should not be allowed to creep into school curriculum, nonsense such as these is a clear sign of decaying and degeneration of a healthy democratic polity. I believe no world religion is totally incompatible with scientific progress, only some half educated extremists are
- I am on the side of abortion, because over population is a big big problem in todays world, at the root of many problems and it is getting worse till we reach a peak and even then we may have to reduce population to a level that is sustainable for the planet in a sensible way

World religions are still relevant in the world stage, we should use traditional religious values that can be used for positive influence on societies, while trying to reign in the negative traits such as fundamentalism, fanaticism, extremism, intolerance etc. Voluntary and orderly transition of societies from a religious and conservative state to a more liberal and enlightened state is desireable, on the other hand a disruptive fight between the two poles will only cause division and polarization of societies that will be detrimental in the short and long term.

As we live in an increasingly smaller globally interconnected village, we need to consider the socio economic conditions of human societies on the rest of the planet, before any group tries to promote a certain state-wide or national policy.

Finally we need to watch out for charlatans like todays US corporate elite and their bought and paid for Right wing politicians who themselves do not believe in socially conservative values, but use them as Moolah (carrot) to recruit the clueless religious and pious people and push disastrous financial policies that rob the future of not just democrats and liberals, but also the future of their own recruit, the religious conservative majority. The threat to Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid by Republicans while getting elected on the vote of older church going grandma and grandpa's, a large majority of whom are dependent on Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid is a good example. This cynical swindle must come to an end.


Edited by eventhorizon - 09 Jul 2011 at 09:21
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote hugoestr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Jul 2011 at 15:15
Originally posted by lirelou lirelou wrote:

Yes, at a private pump. But not if you are a taxi driver, teamster, PEMEX employee or retiree, etc. They have cooperatives that sell them gas at prices below what the public pays. At least that was my understanding.


First, I don't believe that the teamsters exist in Mexico. Mexican unionism was strongly associated with PRI, the government party, and independent unions were fiercely fought. Moreover, those independent unions tended to be Marxist-inspired.

Second, there are no real private pumps, at least there weren't when I was in Mexico the last time. They had a franchise system, but all of it was PEMEX.

My uncle was a taxi driver and so was his son. I never heard of the cheaper prices that he got to pay. He would have talked about it.

I don't know about PEMEX employees getting a discount either. But then, I didn't live in a place that had many PEMEX employees. That may be the case, but it would be more of a employee benefit, such as many people get when they work in a private business and can get a discount for a product.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Jul 2011 at 19:01
Before we get into the realm or rumor and ribaldry with respect to PEMEX [and in terms of history there are rather many "complications" such as the official PEMEX "selling" product to cooperativas at special rates with distinct pricing scales] perhaps intricacies should be discussed with respect to pre-1992 and post 1992 practices. Given that transparency is now the operative word of this government owned and autonomously administered corporation, a review of their web site would prove of interest:
 


Edited by drgonzaga - 09 Jul 2011 at 19:02
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