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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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