Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Jake, I am  glad that we can discuss these issues in such a civil matter. Let me address just a couple of your good points you have made.
It's funny how Singapore and Hong Kong are the two examples repeatedly trotted out by free-market-enthusiasts. The only two examples. Sure "do like Singapore" is a good prescription for wealth - assuming that you're located smack dab in the middle of one of the most highly trafficked straits in the world. Oh, and assuming that you're a city-state that doesn't have to worry about a rural population.
I am not even saying this is an example of "free-markets" and I already noted that the people of Singapore lack many freedoms that you and I enjoy. I provide this as only that a country that engages in the world and tries to find its comparative nitch can succeed without natural resources. I also pointed out the industries that are not necessarily dependent on location. Thus no reason that Haiti could not benefit from its close relationship with the US and the proximity to large North American markets.

I have a friend that was engaged in some tourism development in Haiti in the early 80s. Well instead of these projects going to Haiti they ended up in Dominican Republic. Much to do with attitude.

True they could have pulled them out of the arse. At times other reporting agencies seem to do that also, but for a look at something that might be of interest:
Survey Methodology
And more information at here for some PDFs:
Freedom in the World 2008 Survey Release

Carry on and I look forward to seeing some diaries from you on these subjects.

Rutherfordian ------------------------------ RDRutherford

by Ronald Rutherford (rdrradio1 -at- msn -dot- com) on Sat Apr 19th, 2008 at 04:16:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The plural of "anecdote" is "anecdotes" not "data."

The list of standards and methods sounds good (except that they have a rather one-eyed focus on government propaganda, and seem to completely exclude oligarchic control of the press from the list of indicators).

However, when I compare them with the list of rankings, I find that they have clearly not been consistently applied.

Under the criteria provided, for example, the USA is only partly free.

  • There is no genuine multi-party system, and oligarchic interests completely dominate both parties.

  • There are not equal campaigning opportunities for all parties, since the opportunity to campaign is intimately tied to the campaign budget, which again tilts the playing field in favour of the oligarchs.

  • There is no rotation of power among parties representing different interests - because both parties represent broadly the same interests.

  • There are no serious attempts to curtail the influence of oligarchs upon the political process.

  • People's political choices are completely dominated by economic oligarchies.

  • Civil servants are employed and promoted chiefly based on political affiliation.

  • The federal authorities routinely and openly discriminate against minorities.

  • The United States torture with impunity. Both in the military system and in civilian prisons.

  • US prisons are notorious for their lack of concern for basic human rights and dignity.

  • The US arbitrarily arrests and detains without trial.

I didn't keeps accurate score, but my guesstimate is that on at least two thirds of the bullets being evaluated in the first half of the list, the USA would score less than half points. I could probably go on through the second half of the list as well, but frankly I have more interesting things to do with my time.

None of the points I raise are particularly controversial. Except perhaps the claim that the parties are largely indistinguishable. But that is documented to excess here on ET: If either party didn't represent the moneyed interests, it would be making noises about cutting off Wall Street's and K Street's balls and hanging them from the nearest streetlight.

And yet the USA gets a perfect score in Freedom House's assessment. That really ought to tell you everything you need to know about them.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Apr 19th, 2008 at 04:43:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This avenue of discussion has been very interesting but I have to say I disagree with your assessments of the USA. And under the 6 sigma standards most European countries would do badly also.

Let us talk latter, seems that this thread has gone off stream to a degree.

Rutherfordian ------------------------------ RDRutherford

by Ronald Rutherford (rdrradio1 -at- msn -dot- com) on Sat Apr 19th, 2008 at 05:17:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Which parts of my assessment do you disagree with?

Does the US torture, according to you? Does it treat its prisoners inhumanely? Does it arbitrarily arrest and detain without trial both its own citizens and foreign nationals?

If you answer no to any of these, how do you explain the concentration camp at Guantanamo Bay, which fulfils all these criteria and is long-standing policy.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Apr 20th, 2008 at 02:42:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I guess it would depend on what you define as torture.
No, not any more than FRANCE, no. Guantanamo Bay is not a concentration camp, only a prison detention facility off shores.

I use the six sigma to signify that if you find a trace of something negative then the whole is corrupt. But we are not judging against a perfect God like powers but humans. As noted above Asylum and immigration has some interesting information to peruse. Also HRW has some interesting things to say about France also: Insufficient safeguards in national security removals.

And the British have some nasty immigration "centres". Hell they seem to be more like concentration camps...

Rutherfordian ------------------------------ RDRutherford

by Ronald Rutherford (rdrradio1 -at- msn -dot- com) on Sun Apr 20th, 2008 at 04:42:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Tu Quoque.

- Jake

PS: I don't define torture. The international treaties that forbid it do. If you have an alternate definition, then let's hear it.

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Apr 20th, 2008 at 06:38:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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