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U.S. Says Canada Cares Too Much About Liberties

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  • Screw you, America (Score:5, Insightful)

    by WolfeCanada (604888) on Monday May 05, 2003 @04:45AM (#5879614)
    Oh give me a break......the US does not hold jurisdiction over Canada, and they can keep their grubby fingers out of my country, thank you very much. If I want to smoke pot in my own country, if that right has been 'allowed' by my own government, what gives the US the right to interfere in the sovereignity of Canada? F*CK OFF!!
  • by inkswamp (233692) on Monday May 05, 2003 @04:46AM (#5879616)
    "Bush says invading Canada only way to free citizenry."

    "Bush administration expresses concern about Canada's weapons of mass destruction."
  • Canada! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by devilspgd (652955) * <slashdot@devilspgd.net> on Monday May 05, 2003 @04:47AM (#5879619) Homepage
    Yeah, heaven forbid we don't give up our freedoms. Who really believes the homeland security act will be used responsibly by the authorities?
  • Hysteria. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mr2cents (323101) on Monday May 05, 2003 @04:49AM (#5879627)
    That's all I can say about it. OK, so terrorism claimed 700 lives last year. In Belgium alone (that tiny country you can never find on the map) 1500 people died in car accidents. Not to mention how many died of the flue. So why is such a pathological, marginal fenomenon causing so much panic? Right. Hysteria. That's always a good way to ruin people's rights.
  • by mindpixel (154865) on Monday May 05, 2003 @04:51AM (#5879632) Homepage Journal
    If we're very very lucky, in 200 years most countries will be like Canada is now. I was going to type a joke here, but I just discovered, I'm serious.
  • sigh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by kabulykos (213285) on Monday May 05, 2003 @04:51AM (#5879636)
    I have a friend from Canada, who came down to the States for college in part because he was tired of the Canadian government crushing his liberty with excessivlely high taxes etc. Thanfully after 4 years here (and 2 years of Bush) he's learned better -- Americans fondness of liberty is mainly a scam. Too many are just too scared or stupid to care.

    (oh I'm not bitter.)
  • by gilroy (155262) on Monday May 05, 2003 @04:54AM (#5879649) Homepage Journal
    Blockquoth the poster:

    the US does not hold jurisdiction over Canada

    Not yet, anyway. But just wait until we finish off Syria and North Korea and a few other small countries. After all, if Iraq looked easy, imagine how trivial invading across an undefended border would be....


    Sad to say, this scenario is no longer really beyond the imaginable. Sometimes my own government makes me ill. No, wait, let me say "the government of my own country" -- there is no way I'll lay claim to this cowboy administration.

  • by geekwench (644364) on Monday May 05, 2003 @04:55AM (#5879651)
    The very fact that the government of the United States is claiming that Canada (or any other country) places "too much emphasis on civil liberties" says something profoundly disturbing about the state of our State, and the Evil Old (and young) Men currently infesting Washington.

    I know that I will sleep much more soundly the day that Ashcroft is forced to clean out his desk.

  • Dillema's (Score:5, Insightful)

    by John_Renne (176151) <zooi@gniffelnieuwAUDENs.net minus poet> on Monday May 05, 2003 @04:59AM (#5879663) Homepage
    There's definately some tension between privacy, political freedoms, law-enforcement and anti-terrorism-measures.

    I'm just concerned about the way the US is trying to tell the rest of the world how to handle this tension. Every country for itself should make it's own descision in how to solve these challenges.

    A different way isn't allways a worse way
  • by bandit450 (118835) on Monday May 05, 2003 @05:00AM (#5879672) Homepage
    Yes, actually...Alberta's full of it.

    Great, now I'm fearing for my life...next thing I know some "glorious" American army is going to "liberate" me from my "prison".

    You all know the sayings:
    War is peace
    Freedom is slavery
    Ignorance is strength
  • Mice And Elephants (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Farley Mullet (604326) on Monday May 05, 2003 @05:01AM (#5879673)

    I think it was former Prime MInister Pierre Trudeau who used the metaphor of the mouse in bed with the elephant to describe Canada-U.S. relations. In a lot of ways it's a good metaphor.

    Canada has to walk a tightrope: on the one hand our economic prosperity as a nation depends on our trade relationship and close economic ties with the U.S. (Canada is the U.S.'s largest trading partner, and vis versa), and certainly Canada's national security is largely tied to that of the U.S. But on the other hand, Canada is a distinct sovereign nation, and it's important to protect our sovereignty, and not become an extension of the U.S. The article mentions the Canadian government's long-standing flirtation with legalizing pot, and not to downplay issues like that [1], there are other, bigger, issues to consider. The current U.S. administration has shown a cavalier attitude towards environmental protection, weakening the EPA and making efforts to open up protected areas in Alaska for oil exploration and exploitation. Canada has been (awkwardly at times) tracing out it's own environmental policy, balancing the need to preserve our unique and precious ecological heritage, while at the same time preserving our resource based economies. It'd be a real shame if that balancing act was thrown out of whack by pressure from south of the border. The situation with freshwater policy is similar, and will perhaps become even more important.

    Canada/U.S. relations loom large over Canadian politics, just as the movements of the elephant loom large in the thoughts of the mouse that it's in bed with. So when U.S. officials make "rumblings", the Canadian government can't help but take note.

    [1] I'm for it. The war on drugs has been an abject failure, especially as far as pot is concerned

  • by Mostly a lurker (634878) on Monday May 05, 2003 @05:01AM (#5879675)
    France has provided outstanding military, judicial, and law-enforcement support to the war against terrorism.

    Unfortunately, they do not support attacks on countries, justified by the war on terrorism, based on a combination of manufactured and inadequate evidence.

  • by samael (12612) <Andrew@Ducker.org.uk> on Monday May 05, 2003 @05:07AM (#5879701) Homepage
    Well, Canada does seem kinda European...
  • by TC (WC) (459050) on Monday May 05, 2003 @05:09AM (#5879711) Journal
    I'm Canadian as well, but guess what? This is how international politics work. You try to influence policies in other countries that you think will negatively affect your own position.
    This isn't just something the US does...

    The country that they're trying to influence can then tell them to fuck off, or decide that their approval is worth bending their policies for. It isn't like the US is going to invade Canada and truely interfere in our sovereignity. It's Canada's choice as to whether we'll let the US affect policy, as it's our choice to decide whether any external political forces should affect our policies.
  • by Fat Casper (260409) on Monday May 05, 2003 @05:11AM (#5879721) Homepage
    With a Bill of Rights. The Constitution protects our rights to freedom of speech, free assembly, to keep and bear arms, privacy, a speedy trial, legal counsel and not to be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process.

    Wow. Watching the news for the last year and a half made me forget all that. Hey, Bush- remember this? "I, George W. Bush, do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and I will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States." Try reading it instead of wiping your ass with it.

    It's not fair. We're the ones with these rights guaranteed, and Canadians are the ones getting them. It's not my fault; I voted for the other loser machine politician.

  • by Billly Gates (198444) on Monday May 05, 2003 @05:12AM (#5879723) Journal
    During the American revolution Canada went one way while the states went the other. Before then they really was no Canada except by the french in what is now Quebec.

    Representatives from upper and lower Canada including Ontario were originally part of the continental congress during the American revolution but backed off when the declaration of independance was signed.

    It was then when loyalist for England moved north into Canada while freedom loving rebels stayed in the states or moved south from Canada.

    How is it that today Canada is more free then the US?

    Americans love freedom and credit the revolution but support the president and look at anyone non conformist as unpatrotic. Guess what?

    Bush is the one who is unpatrotic. I really hope he is not re-elected. Many Americans are becoming wary of not only his economic record but his horrendous foreign policy. Bush advisors mentioned that he will start his reelection on ground zero this september 11 and run on a foreign policy campaing. I think it will fail. They do not look Bush or Powell twisting everyones and threatening everyone they see fit. I think Powell definetely acted inapropriatly in Syria yesterday.

    I was on yahoo messages boards and found many are upset and look at Bush as reckless and a threat to global stability more then anyone else. He really could overreact and create a nuclear war if he is not carefull. Some republicans do not like what is going on with the patriot act and even view bush as more pro-government then Clinton.

  • by weave (48069) on Monday May 05, 2003 @05:13AM (#5879724) Journal
    Bush claimed shortly after 9/11 that we were attacked because they hate us because of our freedoms.

    So what a great way to prevent a future terrorist attack. Remove those freedoms so they (theoretically) have no reason to hate us anymore.

    (Of course, that is a bunch of crap. "They" hate us now more than ever.)

  • by Drakin (415182) on Monday May 05, 2003 @05:14AM (#5879728)
    Sad fact is, the US has had more time to evolve than Canada...

    Maybe it's not evolution though. It's more of a growing up. The parent nation of the US smacked them around a few too many times, and the US fought back, they figured that fighting back was a good way to get what you wanted. This set the course for how the US is.

    Canada on the other hand, benifited from the US fighting back, they got treated better by the same parent nation, and grew into a more stable, responsible country...

    Maybe it's time to teach the US to be responsable, and make it grow up into something more than the school yard bully?

    (just talking out my ass here... I've got nothing against the US, some of it's policies are stupid... but then again, it's not like it's that much better here in Canada.

    Anyone else notice the lack of the AC checkbox?)
  • Re:Hysteria. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fiiz (263633) on Monday May 05, 2003 @05:14AM (#5879729) Homepage
    My friend you have hit the spot *exactly*.

    And the answer is...because it gives a wonderful excuse for any sort of action, and a convenient way of attacking those you don't like for economic, political or geostrategic reasons. Read the arab states, at the moment.

    It gives an unquestionable moral high ground for what the likes of Noam Chomsky call *state terrorism* -i.e. direct wars and state sponsored terrorism. Look at Algeria, Colombia, Israel for recent examples of state sponsored terrorism, some with links to the US...

    See this is Reagan's cold war all over again, a great way of shaping foreign policy to your convenience, and with a heavy hand.

    And the best thing is that the public is buying it!

    Thanks Canada for doing it right ;-p
  • by LittleStone (18310) on Monday May 05, 2003 @05:14AM (#5879731) Homepage Journal
    Americans, look what your lives have change.

    It's just amazing that, when you walked into any government related building in DC, you gotta go through a metal detector. All visitors are treated as potential terrorists.

    Then it's always a pain to fly. All those hassle, especially if you have the wrong look (I thought being a Chinese Canadian is easier, not so. Security officer in airports like to pick me, because they know for sure there's nothing to look at, just to pass the quota.)

    How about Americans visiting other countries? Better pretended to be Canadians.

    That's how the terrorists won. Canadians, on the other hand, just refuse to live like that. The first step Canadians do: be friendly to others. Respect the difference, accept other's value. No matter how inefficient or stupid Canadian governments sometimes are, Canadians still can live peacefully.

    So, if you have the right to vote in US, exercise your right and tell your government what you think.
  • by JohnFluxx (413620) on Monday May 05, 2003 @05:20AM (#5879754)
    >Bowling for Columbine is mostly a work of FICTION

    It might be, but the url you gave, gives no proof of this. It doesn't actually contradict anything in the film, just says it doesn't like what it hears, and says it is a work of fiction, without following it up.

    Do you have any better links?
  • Grim Shadow! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by glenebob (414078) on Monday May 05, 2003 @05:25AM (#5879770)
    U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said although there has been great progress in the last year, terrorism still "casts its grim shadow" across the globe.
    The War on Terrorism is casting a grim shadow across the globe, and I dare say it's darker than the one terrorism ever cast. I am honestly one hell of a lot more afraid of what this administration will do next than I am of any potential terrorist attack.

    Is it just me or is GW the puppet and Rumsfeild the insane puppet master? Or maybe he's got me fooled and they're both insane.

  • by glenebob (414078) on Monday May 05, 2003 @05:34AM (#5879794)
    I have no idea why American politicians gets so wound up about dope...
    Power. Control. Money. What used to be accomplished through the proper application of religion is now done through things like War on Drugs and War on Terrorism. They even tried it with a War on Alcohol a few years back, but that one was way too over the top and it didn't fly. We now have a War on Tobacco ramping up too.
  • by Nicolas MONNET (4727) <nicoaltiva@gmaOPENBSDil.com minus bsd> on Monday May 05, 2003 @05:35AM (#5879804) Journal
    It can't be as much fiction as that war on Iraq (where are the WMDs again?) or the last US presidential election.
  • by Galvatron (115029) on Monday May 05, 2003 @05:37AM (#5879811)
    I agree that pot should be legalized, but you have to recognize that so long as the majority of the US is against it, the US government is going to try very hard to keep Canada from doing it. If pot is legal in Canada, then we (the US; I'm American) are going to have to radically overhaul the way we monitor US-Canada border crossings. It would be an absolute nightmare (even more than it already is) for the US to have pot illegal and for Canada to have it legal.

    The privacy/terrorist issue is similar in nature. It's not that the State Department believes Canada is actively harbouring terrorists, but if Canada is less vigilent (or, less kindly, intrusive) than the US, then the US government will have to make up for the difference with more strict border checks. A system is only as secure as its most vunerable part, and the State Department is worried that Canada will become that vunerable part.

  • by mindpixel (154865) on Monday May 05, 2003 @05:39AM (#5879817) Homepage Journal
    Try living out of the country for a few years...in a second world country like Chile or the USA and you'll stop complaining really quickly.
  • Left and Right (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gonvaled (584635) on Monday May 05, 2003 @05:42AM (#5879827) Journal
    That is the difference between a left and a right government. - A left government promotes state intervention to guarantee a minimum living standard (read taxes) - A right government promotes state intervention to guarantee security (read limit liberties and free speech) I wonder why normal citizens vote right parties. It's happening all around Europe, and it has been happening in the US for a long time. We are selling today the liberties we will need tomorrow, just to get a short term beneffit (some Euros in our pocket)
  • by Asic Eng (193332) on Monday May 05, 2003 @05:50AM (#5879847)
    The problem isn't the fact that they are trying to influence other countries, but the direction in which they are trying to influence them. The US ought to stand for freedom and civil rights, not the opposite.
  • by zakezuke (229119) on Monday May 05, 2003 @06:01AM (#5879874)
    Phase one of possible legalization of pot in america is not complete, this being it's legalization for medial purposes. I'm only familar with some aspects of Canada's pot program, like for example legal to grew if you have a license, unlike western america where you can get a perscription for it, but you can't buy it.

    But reducing marijuana posession to a ticketable offence is reasonable in my minds eye. Less reason to invade someone's privacy, and don't have extreem cases like the Eggleston in tacoma [http://goldwingtom.com/ourtake/eggleston.html]. Given that some regions do permit it for medical use, there is legit reasons why you might have it about. But how this connects to terrorism is beyond me.

    But as far as canada carring more about libraries then we do, they probally do, it's one of the nice things about visiting that nation. How this relates to terrorism is beyond me as... anyone who's only means of communicating an idea is terror is not going to be the type of person who visits a library! If we had trully inteligent terrorists, the body count would be much higher!

  • by ebbomega (410207) on Monday May 05, 2003 @06:03AM (#5879880) Journal
    Very simple. Freedom has become a buzz-word in the states. The flag, the white house, apple pie, Declaration of Independence. It's all become symbol.

    Canadians pride themselves not on their past accomplishments. I know of relatively few Canadians that happen to know about the actions taken at Vimy Ridge during WWI where they took what the British and French had been trying to take for years in half a day, even fewer know about how a Canadian was the first to enact the Uniting For Peace resolution in the UN.

    But we don't base our freedom on these past actions. We base our freedom on our current standard of living and how we live our day to day lives.

    Let me put it this way. Read 1984. It's all based around having relatable symbols to your "freedom": Big Brother, Minutes of Hate, slogans and catchphrases. This is the one way to guarantee your own personal attachment to your government and as such gives more way to control the people. What are our national symbols? Beer and Hockey. These aren't things you pledge alleigance to, these are things that you do to make life more for the living.

    As far as I'm concerned, my patriotism means having a country that makes me happy with my life. It doesn't mean being blissfully in love with a flag or a pledge that you have to say every day at the beginning of class or of a history of accomplishments.

    At least that's my take on it. I'm proud to be a Canadian, but not because I was told to be.
  • Uhh... what? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by AnimeFreak (223792) on Monday May 05, 2003 @06:05AM (#5879883) Homepage
    I guess living in a country that implements laws that limit freedoms in what a consumer can do with their products, allows corporations to run the country like mad, have healthcare funded outside of taxation, go insane when two-thousand people die in one day after a building collapses when the same amount die from various diseases and other mortalities daily, and so on is much better.

    Wait...
  • land of the free (Score:2, Insightful)

    by koi88 (640490) on Monday May 05, 2003 @06:11AM (#5879901)
    I'm glad that I don't live in the US, but in a relatively free european country.
    This is not a joke. I wish it was.
    I somehow ran out of them recently.
  • by patoco12 (562039) on Monday May 05, 2003 @06:22AM (#5879924)
    Deaths from tobacco cigarettes in the US, 2002: 400,000

    Deaths from Marijuana in the US, 2002: 0.00


    These numbers mean very little:
    1. Both are carcinogens.
    2. Most people who smoke marijuana also smoke tobacco; these deaths count as tobacco related deaths.

    I agree that the U.S. marijuana laws are a bit ridiculous, but don't argue that it should be legal because it is "safe".
  • Canadian Jokes (Score:4, Insightful)

    by miketang16 (585602) on Monday May 05, 2003 @06:27AM (#5879936) Journal
    I used to make so many jokes about Canada, and not even think about going there. But, after the past few years of US legislation, I'm now seriously considering moving there. I'd prefer to live in a country where police can't arrest you and keep you in jail for no reason. A good movie to illustrate the good side of Canada is 'Bowling for Columbine'. It's one of the main reasons I'm thinking about moving.

    Canada is awesome. =)
  • Context (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 05, 2003 @06:29AM (#5879944)
    In the US, police have been using roadblocks to check for seat belt compliance and other violations long before terrorism was a problem. This was brought forth by the insurance lobby, not some ominous threat from terrorists.

    If police roadblocks can be coaxed from our system from a mere lobbying group, it stretches the imagination of what 9/11 may have stirred within the government.

  • Shhh! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nagora (177841) on Monday May 05, 2003 @06:31AM (#5879948)
    Don't you know we're all supposed to be pretending there's a "peace process" going on? Next thing you'll be saying that little Jimmy's kneecaps didn't just "fall off" like the nice politician said.

    TWW

  • Re:wow (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gotw (239699) <ninjacyclist@nospAM.gmail.com> on Monday May 05, 2003 @07:10AM (#5880071) Homepage
    Let me explain this a little.
    It is not the US standard of living alone which attracts terrorism, it is what it does to sustain that quality of life. The US cares about civil liberties (at least nominally) within its own shores, but those from other countries are not afforded the same rights (wasn't someone shipped to an american court rather than camp X-Ray due to their being a US citizen, the non americans were illegally imprisoned with the rest of them). It effects politics all over the world for good and bad.

    It's size and cultural power has another interesting implication. The pervasiveness of american culture and media (cinema, McDonalds, nike trainers .... maybe I mean corporate american culture and media) means that everyone in the world not in the US has knowledge of at least two cultures, that of US corporatism and their own, and when one is seen to be overpowering the other it leads to conflict. The american stereotype as ignorant and insular is in no small part influenced by the fact that by and large most americans only see one culture, their own.

    Americans with an interest in the civil liberties of all people, not just those americans with the power and money to defend their own (and to take those of others), many of whom I'm sure read slashdot should fight terrorism in their own way. By making America the state it was founded to be, by scrutinising businessmen, politicians (and anyone else in a position of power and influence) by using the power of their wallet, their vote and whatever else it takes to make america a state and a symbol that is not viewed by the rest of the world with contempt. It's not about what they cannot do, but what they see America (as a symbol for the global economic system?) doing to them.

    A perception of america as a greedy, self interested, intefering, imperialist power is what attracts terrorism. To fight terrorism america should look within.
  • by ArcticCelt (660351) on Monday May 05, 2003 @07:20AM (#5880116)
    We were in Afghanistan and indirectly with our patrol and defense ships even if we did not officially supported US on the Iraq war we helped much more than any other country (except for Britain). But whatever. ...An occasional "thank you" instead of the usual stab in the back would be appreciated once in a while... We were in Afghanistan and indirectly with our patrol and defense ships even if we did not officially supported US on the Iraq war we helped much more than any other country (except for Britain). But whatever. Reading this distorted vision make me just happier to live in Canada and please just change your Commander in chief as soon as possible he is an insult to all the great accomplishment of your great nation. (Yes, Canadians can recognize that other nations can also be great.) ...An occasional "thank you" instead of the usual stab in the back would be appreciated once in a while... An occasional act of courtesy and respect for other nations will be needed first and on many occasion it's us who are still waiting for the thanks. Like when we received all those planes on September 11 because you diverted them all to Canada and that hundreds off US citizens were living for a couple of days in Canadians family's who just decided to take them as guests. At the same time many Canadians where guiving blood and collecting founds for you. I remember that your Commander in chief did not even mentioned Canada in is thanks speech a couple of days latter but did mentioned numerous insignificant country's.
  • Re:Nifty Numbers (Score:5, Insightful)

    by niola (74324) <jon@niola.net> on Monday May 05, 2003 @07:30AM (#5880153) Homepage
    It must be nice to live life with blinders on. Are you totally ignorant of what is going on?

    Patriot Act made it so that in many cases law enforcement does not have to go to a judge to get a search order. There is an article in the Constitution against illegal search and seizure. This is one right being trampled.

    How about the AMERICAN citizens being held in connection with terrorism and not being told what they are being charged with and not being allowed to contact lawyer or family? That is another right being trampled.

    There are many other examples, but it is just too depressing to get into it.

    The terrorists have won. The goal of terrorism isn't death or property destruction. That is collateral damage. The MAIN goal of terrorism is to inflict FEAR and POLICY CHANGE. Now we have the media and the war-mongering Bush administration keeping everyone afraid as they slowly strip away our liberties.
  • by pudge (3605) * <slashdot@nospAM.pudge.net> on Monday May 05, 2003 @07:41AM (#5880194) Homepage Journal
    "yeah the constitution also says that congress is the only one allowed to call war but Bush does it whenever he wants."

    First of all, "war" does not mean "military action." Hundreds of years of precedent maintain that the President, as Commander in Chief, may use military force abroad without the initial consent of Congress (though that consent must be granted at some point, else the troops must be recalled).

    Further, Congress overwhelmingly approved last fall a bill giving the President the authority to use military force against Iraq [whitehouse.gov].

    See the War Powers Act of 1973 [indiana.edu], which says, in part:


    Within sixty calendar days after a report is submitted or is required to be submitted pursuant to section 4(a)(1), whichever is earlier, the President shall terminate any use of United States Armed Forces with respect to which such report was submitted (or required to be submitted), unless the Congress (1) has declared war or has enacted a specific authorization for such use of United States Armed Forces, (2) has extended by law such sixty-day period, or (3) is physically unable to meet as a result of an armed attack upon the United States.


    Nothing in the War Powers Act takes away from the Constitution, which says, the Congress has the power "to declare war." Declaring war is a political act not directly related to the use of force. The Constitution says nothing about the use of force. It does grant Congress strong powers over the military, but the War Powers Act, if anything, *shrinks* the power of the President by disallowing long-term military action without Congressional approval, and enumerating the power of Congress to end military action at any time.

    So, as the Congress did authorize the use of force, and as it has not been 60 days even if it had not, and as the Constitution does not prohibit it and the War Powers Act and precedent allows it, there is nothing illegal or unconstitutional about what has happened or is happening in Iraq, in regard to the power to use military force.

    Oopsie on you.
  • Re:Canada (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MarvinMouse (323641) * on Monday May 05, 2003 @07:54AM (#5880253) Homepage Journal
    Are you talking about the hate crimes legislation?

    IE. I cannot go and beat up a black or a native american just because they are black or native americans.

    or are you talking about some other law?
  • by Black Parrot (19622) on Monday May 05, 2003 @07:54AM (#5880255)


    > Bush advisors mentioned that he will start his reelection on ground zero this september 11

    Whereas in fact he already started it on an aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf.

  • Re:Canada (Score:2, Insightful)

    by kilimangaro (556424) on Monday May 05, 2003 @07:58AM (#5880272)
    First, i live in Canada and i don't know a law like this one. Second, imho, liberty is not inversly proportionnal to the number of laws... but to the way the are enforced.
  • Franks and Karimov (Score:5, Insightful)

    by KjetilK (186133) <kjetil@kjeUMLAUTrnsmo.net minus punct> on Monday May 05, 2003 @08:02AM (#5880295) Homepage Journal
    Scroll to the bottom of Eurasia Overview [state.gov] and you'll see Tommy Franks cheerfully shaking hands with Islam Karimov, the president of Uzbekistan. Here, you see why people really do not believe that the war in Iraq has anything to do with freedom.

    In the early 1990-ties, Islam Karimov was a cheap Soviet-style dictator wannabee. But he worked hard, intensive surveillance of pro-democracy workers, rigged elections, and eventually, political assassinations, extensive use of torture, etc., gaining real, dictator power.

    Most political dissidents have fled, notably, Mohammad Salih, who ran against Karimov in one of the elections. He was the subject of an assassination attempt, that fortunately failed. Salih is a member of the Erk Democratic Party [uzbekistanerk.org].

    After 9/11, the US has given Karimov all the support he needs to grow from a dictator wannabee to a full Saddam/Hitler-style tyrant. There is hardly any serious democratic opposition left in Uzbekistan. What there is, however, is a bunch of extreme muslim fundamentalists, so, should Karimov loose power, it is not going to be the democratic opposition taking over, it is going to be the religious extremists (which is a development we're unsurprisingly seeing in Iraq too).

    When I see Tommy Franks shaking hands with of the worst tyrants on the planet, it makes me wanna puke... It is history repeating itself, it is a reminder that Saddam too was a dictator wannabee before Donald Rumsfeld went to shake hands with him in 1984.

    If the US wants to have any credibility whatsoever with the war-for-freedom rhetoric, they should at least stop supporting the worst dictators on the planet.

  • You, sir, are an idiot.

    Your right on arsenic. You must have read that somewhere.

    Modern oil extraction techniques are 'generally' safe. That doesn't mean that every oil company out there uses state of the art technology.

    Trust me, they don't---its a question of properly regulating their operations in certain areas to ensure that undue harm isn't caused. I have no idea whats going on in Canada---but I have a fair amount of knowledge of small/medium oil extraction operations.

    The war on drugs is a success? Har Har Har-- you must be trolling.

    You might like the idea of sentencing 'druggies'. This is stupid, for a number of reasons.

    From your failure to demonstrate any sort of indepth knowledge, I'll surmise that your an alcoholic, and have already fried all your neurons.

    Maybe you want to bring back prohibition, 'cause that worked out fine and dandy.

    Not to mention Tobacco----There is research to suggest that nicotine is the most addictive substance know to man.

    But Tobacco gets to be the second largest cash crop of Kentucky. (Obviously another success of the drug war. Black market prices have made Marijuana the LARGEST cash crop of Kentucky. Not only do we have a great deal of property damage/life lost in the OPEN WARFARE between rich growers and heavily armed DEA agents, it has become an artifically huge sector of certain areas of the U.S., driving a significant percentage of domestic transactions into an untaxable, and impossible to regulate industry.) This, of course, is strange, because the street price to potency ratio, in dollars adujsted for inflation, has declined over the years.

    Not just Pot. Cocaine. Heroine. Ecstasty. LSD.

    Drugs have gotten stronger, and cheaper.

    Hey---maybe it is a success---After all, the way the government 'regulates' the controlled substances industry has produced both reductions in cost and increases in quality. It's the American Way, baby---Where there is demand, supply will improve, given free market conditions.

    The only problem is we now send 'young punks' to jail. In droves. And pay for court costs, jail fees, and vast law enforcement budget. For commiting a victimless crime.

    Beyond that---The Office of National Drug Policy says drug users fund terrorism. Well, guess what, bub-- Why does the black market use money laundering? Why are all those funds untracable and impossible to regulate? And why are there such large profits, anyways?

    Prohibition.

    [i]Wake up, dumbass.[/i]

    If Drug Money goes to terrorism, its the Government's fault. If Drug Money funds innercity, its the Government's fault. If Drug Money kills your son, its the Government's fault.

    The DEA has so much as admitted that usage rates continue to increase. Approximately 35% of Americans have tried Marijuana at least once. Extremely high levels of highschoolers consider themselves regular users (this has tapered off slightly since '98, but only because it would have had trouble getting ANY higher).

    Hell, nearly every political candidate has had some degree of experimentation with various illegal drugs.

    And their children (Bush's daughters, who got caught try to buy ecstasy, trying to buy pharmaceutical opiates, and possession of marijuana; Ashcroft's Nephew, who was GROWING pot, and dealing POUNDS---escaped the manditory minimums of Mississippi (When Ashcroft was state attorney general) because of political pressure)) are ALWALYS high.

    Grow up----Not everything is as it should be in the Drug Way. For 60 years now our drug policy has been nonsensical, permitting two drugs, but banning other ones indiscriminately, without any amount of review or common sense. Crimes rates continue to rise, Usage rates continue to rise, billions of dollars are spent, and the industry GROWS.

    Even if I thought it was a good idea, the failure of drug prohibition to acheive even minimal success in either detering dealing, reducing usage rates, or decreasing avaliability is incre
  • Re:Canada (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pudge (3605) * <slashdot@nospAM.pudge.net> on Monday May 05, 2003 @08:09AM (#5880338) Homepage Journal
    Are you talking about the hate crimes legislation?

    IE. I cannot go and beat up a black or a native american just because they are black or native americans.


    No, I am talking about hate SPEECH legislation. American has hate crimes legislation too, though I think it is mostly nonsense. If someone beats me up because I am tall and beats you up because you're Chinese ... sorry, I don't feel like I am any better off than you are. I know it is different because "hate crimes" *may* have effects beyond the actual act, but I still dislike the idea of penalizing people for their thoughts. But that is not what I am talking about.

    What I am talking about is that it is illegal for me in Canada, and many European nations, to say I hate you because you are a part of some protected group group. Hate Speech. This is surely a freedom I do not wish to exercise, but to take away such a fundamental component of free expression -- the expression of unpopular ideas -- is chilling.

    I am no fan of the ACLU, but I am proud that they recognize that such liberties are some of the most important to protect, because someone else's banned abhorrent view today could be your banned abhorrent view tomorrow. Maybe tomorrow it will be illegal to speak out against government officials, or corporate executives, or spammers.

    I am not saying the US is admirable in comparison to Canada, overall. I think it is mostly a wash (except for, perhaps, when you throw the DMCA into the mix ... ugh). I'm just saying that Canada has its own problems with liberty (I mentioned hate speech, but there are many others, including in the health care business ...), and I frankly couldn't care less about a Canadian's idea to lecture American on relative liberties. Attacking a specific policy is fine, but to make it a "the US is authoritarian, has less liberty, blah blah blah" is nonsensical tripe.
  • Re:Left and Right (Score:2, Insightful)

    by gonvaled (584635) on Monday May 05, 2003 @08:10AM (#5880347) Journal
    Right, it is oversimplified, but it nevertheless highlights one of the biggest differences between leftist and rightist parties: one stresses living standard, the other uses security concern to achieve class benefits.

    I was talking about democratic governments, not about totalitarian governments. To the Soviet Union example, I offer you the Spanish or Italian dictatorship contraexamples: the soviets had a very strong police state, which they used to guarantee the equal distribution of richeness. The two dictatorships I mentioned had a strong police state (granted, probably no so strong as the soviets), which they used to assure that some social groups (rich, nobles and religious people basically) had economic and other kind of beneffits.

    The current trend in the USA and in an increasing number of countries in Europe is to surrender our liberties to the government, so that it can guarantee our security. What the government acually does, is to use these reduced liberties to beneffit the ruling class. Long term security does not increase significantly, not even as a by-product - despite government claims of the contrary.

    One wonders how do we, plain citizens, elect such governments. The only plausible explanation I find is the pressure of the media, and the control that the ruling class has over it. In the USA this can be seen in how quickly any opinion opposed to the government is immediately qualified as being "antiamerican" or "communist". I am happy that in Europe this does not happen (yet!).

  • by privacyt (632473) on Monday May 05, 2003 @08:25AM (#5880478)
    At the risk of getting myself declared an "enemy combatant," I urge my fellow Americans to bookmark this site [cic.gc.ca] if you are interested in finding refuge in the free state to our north. Canada is looking for skilled workers. Take this handy self-assessment tool [cic.gc.ca] to see if you qualify. You get points for having an advanced degrees. Also, knowledge of French gets you some credit.

    You have to act fast, however, since Canda is tightening its immigration requirements. A few years ago you could score a 70 on the test and be admitted. Today the threshold is 75 and rising.

    Why would you want to immigrate to Canada? Because not only do Canadians have civil liberties, but people in the bottom 55% of incomes have higher after-tax incomes than the bottom 55% of Americans (which is most of us). Indeed, the average after-tax income for the middle class of most industrialized countries is higher than in the United States. (SOURCE: Up From Conservatism by Michael Lind.) Americans in the top 10%-20% are by the most affluent in the world, but the rest of us have fallen behind, since our jobs have gone to India and Taiwan. Not only do we have lower after-tax incomes, but we also have more crime (which is paradoxical since US law enforcement is dangerous and out of control), worse public education, and far costlier health care.

  • Re:wow (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Wylfing (144940) <brian&wylfing,net> on Monday May 05, 2003 @08:25AM (#5880479) Homepage Journal
    The pervasiveness of american culture and media (cinema, McDonalds, nike trainers .... maybe I mean corporate american culture and media) means that everyone in the world not in the US has knowledge of at least two cultures, that of US corporatism and their own, and when one is seen to be overpowering the other it leads to conflict.

    Let's take the lefty propoganda down a notch. There is no "culture of US corporatism" stomping around evilly destroying foreign victims. How about we apply a much simpler theory that doesn't require a bunch of convoluted motives?

    Because we have the freedom to pursue whatever business we like, Americans have gotten very good at supplying what people want. In other words, people have a much easier time satisifying desires [1] in the U.S. than in, say, Saudi Arabia. It seems like simple logic to me that any human being would naturally gravitate toward systems that bring greater satisfaction. There, no complex motives required, just basic human behavior.

    Now if you want to talk about motives, the likely reason there is a reaction against choosing the American way of life is that there are people (i.e., dictators, zealots) benefiting from the status quo who don't want to see that go away. Joe Saudi might say what the cleric tells him to say vis a vis the U.S., but he does so while wearing a GAP shirt and Sketchers on his feet.

    [1] Desires means, for example, praying how you like or reading a book of your choice as much as it means eating a Big Mac and watching X2.

  • by maroubra (640058) on Monday May 05, 2003 @08:27AM (#5880494)
    I'm not an American...

    I'm not even Canadian... ...but it always intrigues me the number of Americans who love bagging out 'their govt' like it's a weird-god-like-outer-body-experience-type-entity or something...

    Intriguing.

    I reckon America's tops. I also live in a democracy (Australia). In a democracy, the people are the govt.

    Sure, I don't always agree with the Aussie Govt of the day on heaps of issues, but on the whole, I reckon they do a top job. Australia has been built up over 100 years to be a top place to live! And, every two-four years, I get to give our govt their performance appraisal. Pollies are just like us.

    They're tops. The system's tops. And if I don't like it, I got the right of protest, so I can change it, or I can move somewhere else if it's really **THAT** bad, which is isn't. It's tops.

    Don't be so hard on your country mate, it's a top place.

    This Canadian comment in the report is just some temporary pettiness between long term mates. Mates sometimes fight, don't worry. You guys will kiss and make up.

    Enjoy your day!
    M.
  • Re:Hysteria. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mr2cents (323101) on Monday May 05, 2003 @08:29AM (#5880508)
    You may now all bow your heads in a moment of silence to thank the United States of America for your freedom.

    Thank you, America, for training and funding Osama Bin Laden.
  • Re:Left and Right (Score:3, Insightful)

    by awol (98751) on Monday May 05, 2003 @08:30AM (#5880511) Journal
    Left and Right == Minimum Living Standard vs Security. Give me a break. In continental Europe your argument is almost sustainable until you identify that the Christian Democratic "right" is still basically a socialist political ideology, funding unemployment benefits, health care and education. The problem is that the left and right of politics in a "civil society" (and I mean that in a technical sense) is not as relevant as the other dimension of Totalitarianism versus liberalism. A cute site to illustrate is www.politicalcompass.org.

    I would quite happily describe my politics as right of centre (eg deregulated labour market and what it implies), but if someone was to call me a socialist because I believe in free healthcare, seondary education and a safety net of unemployment benfits, then so be it, however I would be deeply concenred to be classed as anything other than a libertarian because I believe very stringlky that the state has little or o place in my private life and the goal should be for the _reduction_ in power of the state as our societies expand and we become more civilised. That the contrary movement in power is true breaks my heart. But I digress.

    The erosion of liberites by the state is the real fight. Forget the left and right. It is irrelevant and both sides will just as happily do the deed. To focus on the left and right will alienate those who are libertarians first and politicians second and make it impossible for the libertarian front to consoplidate and stop the death of a thousand cuts to which our liberty is being subjected (around the western democratic world)
  • Re:Hysteria. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by flwombat (190748) <jack@@@pinette...org> on Monday May 05, 2003 @08:33AM (#5880528) Homepage
    It just bugs me the hypocricy of those who criticize everything the U.S. does but either do it inconsistently or who fail to appropriately criticize those who have done enormously worse.

    The point is not that the U.S. is worse than other countries; comparing American foreign policy to that of Stalin's USSR or various other monstrous regimes is just ridiculous.

    The problem is that most Americans assume that since America is such a great place to live, our foreign policy must also be great, bighearted, generous, unselfish, etc. This is also not true; our foreign policy is sometimes nice and sometimes spectacularly bad, in measure approximately equal to other large powers (the difference being that we're the most powerful!).

    I genuinely believe that if Americans could have the magical ability to suddenly see American foreign policy from the perspective of non-U.S. citizens, most of them would be horrified and embarrassed about many things. But if anybody, including Americans like myself, try to point out the excesses of U.S. behavior in the world - in the interests of improving the country we love so much - our patriotism is called into question and we're immediately discredited.

    9/11 was horrifying and tragic; of that there's no question. But it's equally obvious that the response has been all out of proportion, and that some of the actions taken in the fight against terrorism have been politically motivated and/or resulted in less security, not more.

  • MOD DOWN FLAMEBAIT (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Joe the Lesser (533425) on Monday May 05, 2003 @08:48AM (#5880638) Homepage Journal
    Seriously, Moore is a nice guy, who just asks tough questions.

    I don't see why the Right has to search for 'inaccuracies' and then claim he's worthless because some facts or assumptions may be off.

    He's ideas are still correct, and if you are trying to disprove him, you're missing the point of what he does.

    But then, if someone challenges your ideas, it's best to try and discredit them or shut them up isn't it?

  • Re:Then Leave... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by conteXXt (249905) on Monday May 05, 2003 @08:50AM (#5880648)
    Canada's health care system is by no means FREE.

    When I send my checque to the government every year, the payment for my health insurance is in there.

    When you send your check to the government, regime change and prison building and liberty stripping is in there.

    It's a matter of choice for both nations as to what is more important.

    If a federal election candidate (in Canada) ran on the platform of lower taxes (ala bush) at the expense of healthcare, they would have their careers abruptly terminated.

    If a federal election candidate (in America) ran on the platform of lower taxes at the expense of healthcare, they get elected.

    It just illustrates what is important to the populations. We are WILLING to pay taxes to not have to deal directly with (and pay) private health insurance (when it can be afforded in the first place).

    just my $.02 CAD (or $.0170 US)
  • by bfl (619363) on Monday May 05, 2003 @08:54AM (#5880686)
    As Trudeau said:
    "I know a man whose school could never teach him patriotism, but who acquired that virtue when he felt in his bones the vastness of his land, and the greatness of those who founded it."
  • Re:blame canada! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by uncoveror (570620) <webmasterNO@SPAMuncoveror.com> on Monday May 05, 2003 @08:55AM (#5880693) Homepage
    In the states, freedom and liberty are buzzwords. They don't mean anything. We are less free in the U.S. than in any other industrialized nation, yet we think we have special privileges because our masters tell us we do. Americans are sheep. Is it hard to emigrate to Canada?
  • Re:Hysteria. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by js7a (579872) <jamesNO@SPAMbovik.org> on Monday May 05, 2003 @08:57AM (#5880711) Homepage Journal
    Canada wouldn't be able to 'do it right' if the U.S. didn't exist. That's right: the U.S. the sole source of freedom on this planet

    Well, since you're tracing causality, what country does the U.S. have to thank most for its freedom? France.

  • by Apostata (390629) <apostata&hotmail,com> on Monday May 05, 2003 @09:13AM (#5880808) Homepage Journal
    Is anyone else sick of the word "terrorist attack" being tagged onto any tragedy that, pre-2001, would've been called a "politically-motivated attack"?
    To describe every act of destruction (against "us", as it seems) as "terrorism" is negating any inspection of why the act took place, politically or otherwise. It's an instant demonification without need for inquiry...and thus, no lessons are learned.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 05, 2003 @09:17AM (#5880837)
    Well, I read your article. I think you missed the point. Who cares if there are 11% non-white or 14%? Bowling isn't a statistics movie. It points out problems, and the few percentage points that you found that didn't match the statistics *you* had do nothing to change any of the questions Moore's movie asks.

    Yes, Bowling isn't really a documentary. More often than not, Moore doesn't document things, he creates them, but that doesn't change the fact that these things *did* and *do* happen.

  • Re:USA 2nd World? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by digidave (259925) on Monday May 05, 2003 @09:20AM (#5880867)
    Canada is among the world leaders in medical advances, including work on the human Genome project, Cancer, AIDS and Autism research. I wouldn't expect anyone in the know to put the US much higher than Canada in medical research.
  • Re:Hysteria. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by AusG4 (651867) on Monday May 05, 2003 @09:23AM (#5880887) Homepage Journal
    Let's not forget that it was the US who funded and trained Iraq's soldiers during the war against Iran.

    Oh, and what about DROPPING THE GOD DAMN A-BOMBS ON JAPAN? The country who first unleashed the nuclear menace are now the ones who are responsible enough to protect us from it? PLEASE.

    Let's not forget the use of agent orange in Vietnam, a decision that still yields deformed births and poisoned natural resources to this day.

    Or how "Old" Europe (which is what you call Germany, for some reason) was battled against by Britain and the French Underground (along with countless other allies, such as CANADA) for 2 full years before the Americans graced us with their own contribution. Just because France fell under the might of the German army quickly doesn't mean the French citizens fell with them. Without the French Underground, the war effort would have never advanced as quickly as it did.

    I can go on and on. If the U.S. is the sole source of "freedom" on this planet, then it's a sad, sad world we live in.
  • Re:Canada (Score:3, Insightful)

    by JohnnyCannuk (19863) on Monday May 05, 2003 @09:30AM (#5880938)
    (2) Subsection (1) does not apply to a private communication or to a communication intended to be private.

    You appear to have answered you own question. You can say you hate anyone for any reason...this law does not stop that and, as indicated above, actually says it does not apply in that situation.

    But you can't publish it. Publish means flyers, leaflets, newspapers (other than letters to the editor), videos etc (and possibly web sites, but this has never been tested...and likely never will since most ISP have their own rules about this ans would teminate your service).

    This law is a direct result of the various trials in Toronto of Holocaust denier Ernst Zundel, who was formerly procecuted under an old law for "knowingly spreading false news". The law is not meant to stiffle free expresion of opinions, but to prevent propoganda that incits violence and hatred against identifiable groups and minorities (or even women, who in Canada are a minority of 52% of the populace). You should have provided a link to the purposes [gov.bc.ca] of the act. BTW, even if this was challenged, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms [justice.gc.ca]would prevail.

    BTW, the law you've quoted is the Human Rights Code of the Province of British Columbia from 1996. It does not apply to all of Canada nor is it a criminal law.It applies only in the province of BC. This law is a private law sanction requiring an individual or group to file a complaint with the provincial human rights commission for investigation within 1 year of the incident. Therefore there is no prior restraint of an individuals actions. This act also has nothing to do with or no affect on the University of Toronto, which is a different province!

    Canada Customs has been quite "overzealous" in it's holding up of shipments of various forms of "porn" (gay literature, occasionally some pro-choice literature, and, of course, the kooks from the aynrand institute), but the information has almost always get through (as in the case you quoted).

    In other words, no-one's liberty was taken away without due process of law...perhaps we could ask some of the prisoners at Gitmo or Jose Padilla and his ilk about due process, habeous corpus and fair trails, if we or their lawyers were allowed to meet with them.

    As for displaying swastikas publicly, you've clearly never been to Toronto when the Heritage Front or when the Church of the Creator/George Burti and those pin heads are marching.

    Canada may not be perfect, but it does a hell of a lot more for individual and group liberties and rights than is the current norm in the US. And next time, please at least get you facts straight before spreading your right-wing, libertarian, Ayn Rand-ish FUD. :)

  • by ianscot (591483) on Monday May 05, 2003 @09:32AM (#5880950)
    There is no "culture of US corporatism" stomping around evilly destroying foreign victims.

    Oddly enough, you know, the people who're presently bitterly resenting our foreign policy are decrying exactly such a culture. And I'm not just talking about in Iraq, or Syria, or Egypt -- I'm talking about in France and in our closest ally, the UK, too. Out of passing curiosity, had you ever considered actually listening to the nature of the criticisms against us? Or are you completely isolated in your solipsistic echo chamber?

    Because we have the freedom to pursue whatever business we like, Americans have gotten very good at supplying what people want... It seems like simple logic to me that any human being would naturally gravitate toward systems that bring greater satisfaction. There, no complex motives required, just basic human behavior.

    It's the echo chamber, then... Talk about your "propoganda (sic)." The Arab world hates us because our businesses are so efficient at giving people what they want. It's all just basic human nature.

    Gee, how do you explain the Shias in Iraq right now? They were cheering when the tanks went into Baghdad; why are they now telling us to go home, if they're gravitating toward more satisfaction as you say? Why is the Shiite reaction so similar to their reaction to the British in 1919? Were the British also exceptionally good at giving the people the satisfaction they wanted? Or does this explanation of yours float in a totally ahistorical fantasy universe where you don't need to deal with comparisons like that?

    More to the point: supply us with one clear case in which this has motivated a specific terrorist act. We know a fair amount about the 9/11 hijackers. Were Mohammed Atta's attitudes toward skyscrapers born of this way of thinking you describe? They seem to fit the "corporatism" critique much better, to me.

    Please, please, look into how the educated Arab world feels about US foreign policy. There are many, many people out there whose desperate desire is to bring secular, democratized states to the Arab world, but who also seem to understand the sources of terrorism. They do understand the despotic regimes out there -- they seem particularly aware of ones like Egypt, and of the Shah in Iran. You know, the ones the US props up? Like in Pakistan, where Bush W. applauded the military coup that brought Musharraf to power back during the 2000 election? (Those regimes really don't fit into your idea of leaders oppressing the people to preserve the status quo, incidentally. The people resent our backing their leaders. Ever notice that? Ever hear of Anwar Sadat?) Those people aren't living in fantasy la-la land where "The terrorists hate us because we provide the people with more satisfaction." They're saying things about how US foreign policy is counterproductive. You might want to try listening.

  • by TheWickedKingJeremy (578077) on Monday May 05, 2003 @09:34AM (#5880966) Homepage
    * Or the Justice Department of how many had marijuana in their systems prior to dying or killing others in shootouts/robberies/whatever.
    * Or how many spouses/partners killed their partners and/or themselves and had marijuana in their system
    * Or how many boaters/jet skiers die each year during accidents and marijuana being in their systems

    I'll venture a guess... "not many."

    I am sorry to hear about your friend, but its silly to think they commited suicide because of marijuana. Most people who commit suicide do so for valid reasons (or, what they perceive to be valid reasons). Was he/she depressed? The "marijuana" could just have easily been "alocohol" or "Xanax" or nothing at all. I assure you, this person was thinking about suicide before lighting up that joint. Also, people have commited suicide from ODing on myriad perfectly legal substances. What's the solution - banning everything that can be an aid to suicide? Its, unfortunately, all very arbitrary - and easy to blame something like marijuana for the suicide when the real reasons behind it are much more scary and personal.

    As for your other friend - again, I am sorry to hear about what happaned... Driving under the influence of drugs (legal and illegal alike) is ill-advised. Also, you are also not supposed to drive shortly after giving blood. *shrugs*
  • Re:wow (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Peer (137534) <rene@nosPAM.notfound.nl> on Monday May 05, 2003 @09:38AM (#5881005) Homepage
    There is no "culture of US corporatism" .... Americans have gotten very good at supplying what people want. In other words, people have a much easier time satisifying desires [1] in the U.S. than in, say, Saudi Arabia.

    [1] Desires means, for example, praying how you like or reading a book of your choice as much as it means eating a Big Mac and watching X2.


    How does this fit in:

    DMCA

    Ahhh.... they don't desire that in Saudi Arabia yet.
  • Re:Hysteria. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Bake (2609) on Monday May 05, 2003 @09:40AM (#5881023) Homepage
    How many tens of millions of civilians has the U.N. watched die while it has sat on its ass?

    Quite a few. But, then again, that's mostly due to the fact that the US used its veto in the Security Council, thus negating UN involvement. Don't blame the UN for sitting on its ass when it's the US that pulled up the chair for it to sit on.

    Care to guess how often the US has NOT vetoed against resolutions regarding illegal, israeli settlement in Palestine? Answer: 0, Zero.

    It never ceases to amaze me that, since WMD's are apparently so bad in the Middle East, how come the US doesn't interfere with the ONLY nation that literally has all sorts of WMD's, that single nation being Israel?
  • Re:Hysteria. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MKalus (72765) <mkalus AT gmail DOT com> on Monday May 05, 2003 @09:46AM (#5881076) Homepage
    So you think the world was a better place *with* Saddam?


    The world would just be the same.

    Maybe it will take a WMD attack for the people used to comfy life in the first world to realize that there are lot of nasty folks out there who wish us ill.


    A lot of people don't even care about "us" (whatever us is) as they have enough problems of their own. Maybe you should stop being so self centred for a change.

    I really don't give a crap if there is a direct relationship between 9/11 and Iraq or not.


    And so does the US foreign policy and that is why everybody does not agree with it.

    The entire Middle East and other parts of Asia are in need of massive reforms, I am glad to see it finally happening. You can't have a safe neighbourhood if you refuse to lock up the criminals.


    Says the biggest Bully of the all. Let's not forget for a moment that a lot of those criminals were best buddies with the US for the longest time, if they not even have to thank the US for their rise to power in the first place.

    Some might argue that "reforming" the Middle East will invite more terrorist attacks on the U.S., but strangely, this has not happened.


    Yet It hasn't happened yet. You make the mistake to think that it's already over. For most people it only just started.

    My theory is the reason that there haven't been any more attacks on the U.S. is because al Qaeda's initial little plan to persuade the U.S. to withdraw its troops from the Middle East backfired enormously.


    Yet so far I still haven't seen the Al-Qaeda proof. It is interresting though that the people who pull the trigger right now keep insisting that they do exist, are that bad.... I guess I am wrong in asking for proof?

    There are more U.S. troops in the Middle East now than ever (well, except during Gulf War: Part I), and two countries have fallen. Just imagine what the U.S. will do if it takes a WMD attack on its soil. I suspect that the "kid gloves" might come off.
    /me thinks that you have been successfully brainwashed. You seem to think as black and white as your leader and it doesn't even occure to you that whoever caused the attacks on the WTC has gotten exactly what they wanted: An aggressive US that is threatening people who already felt betrayed and threatened by the US. If someone has nothing to loose they usually don't care if they surive. Most of those countries (and their individuals) have nothing to loose. Can you say the same about yourself? Your way of life? The US as a whole?

    Iraq is a wakeup call that the U.S. will actually crack some skulls.


    If countries dare to use the Euro instead of the US Dollar. You think I am dreaming? Iraq changed from USD to Euro a couple of months ago, Iran is threatening it and North Korea has already done this.

    In fact the only way your way of life is as good as it is is because of the USD. Don't believe me? You might want to read this [colorado.edu]then.

  • Re:wow (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cybercuzco (100904) on Monday May 05, 2003 @09:47AM (#5881085) Homepage Journal
    the reason why America is targeted by terrorists is that "certain elements" are simply jealous of our outstanding quality of life.

    Thats because (Surprise!) thats not the real reason the terrorists hate us. They hate us frot he same reason the canadian wrote this article. Because we try to interfere in other countries buisness very aggressively. Second reason is that we support israel, which is anathema in the arab world. The israeli army uses US abrams tanks, US apache helicopters, and US f-15 fighters. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, Israel uses them to kill palestinians (justified or not). Ultimately the terrorists want us to change our foriegn policy: stop selling arms to israel, stop supporting israel, pull US forces out of the region. Canada may support israel, but its not a canadian tank that palestinians see rolling down the street, and its not a canadian army invading iraq.

  • by thatguywhoiam (524290) on Monday May 05, 2003 @09:52AM (#5881148)
    Michael Moore is one of the sleaziest documentary makers/authors around. Almost nothing he says is true.

    Once again, prove it. Your silly stats - which vary only marginally from the actual atats in the movie - do not do the job.

    Clearly Moore touched a nerve in the US populace, which is what the film was intended to do. Tell me, do you really think they'd give an Academy Award to such a 'blatantly obvious hack job'? Or a 10-minute standing ovation at Cannes?

    Oh, right. You hate the French. Never mind.

  • by whereiswaldo (459052) on Monday May 05, 2003 @09:55AM (#5881199) Journal
    "I have a fever and need to see a doctor.."

    "Alright sir, we'll schedule you in for next December."


    That's an exaggeration, but still better than the US version:

    "I have a fever and need to see a doctor.."

    "No health plan? Take a hike."
  • Re:Hysteria. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dogfart (601976) on Monday May 05, 2003 @10:04AM (#5881283) Homepage Journal
    Yes, and the people of Chile will now thank the US for liberating them from the socialist government of Allende, and giving them decades of freedom under the Pinochet government. The families of those who vanished will have the most appreciation for this freedom.

    The people of Argentina support you for the support you gave in eliminating leftism from their fair country.

    The people of Angola will now thank the US for supporting UNITA, and fighting a brave war against that communist government. The families of those who perished in that decades-long slaughter salute you.

    The people of Cambodia salute the US, for when Vietnam finally ended the killing fields, the US government sanctioned the Vietnamese agressor.

    The people of Italy salute you, for making sure they did not foolishly include the Italian Communist Party in any post-war government, despite the number who voted for this party in democratic elections (making it at times the second largest party).

    And the people of Australia thank you, for removing Gough Whitlam [ozpeace.net] when they did not have the sense to do it themselves.

  • Re:Left and Right (Score:3, Insightful)

    by joss (1346) on Monday May 05, 2003 @10:05AM (#5881292) Homepage
    Wow. You really believe this don't you ? I never realised the RIAA/MPAA was a plot by the democrats before.

    Try to get your head around this idea: there are people who consider the democrats and republicans as two wings of same party. Your fear and hatred of democrats sounds to them like a stalinist denouncing leninism when someone proposes capitalism.
  • Re:blame canada! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Karpe (1147) on Monday May 05, 2003 @10:10AM (#5881341) Homepage
    They are not only buzzwords. They have been used too long as propaganda during the cold war era by the government (Let's see, what can we use to justify that we are right and they are wrong? Freedom!) to justify an economic and politic event.

    Population was led to believe that soviets were monsters because they didn't have the freedom that americans had, but most americans couldn't even figure out what freedom really meant. The funny thing is that the same people (Rumsfeld et al.) is trying to convince americans that the terrorists attack the USA because of freedom, and then what they do? Remove some freedoms from the people! Makes a lot of sense, only in the politics logic.
  • by WildBeast (189336) on Monday May 05, 2003 @10:10AM (#5881346) Journal
    Damn it, how can you let your country be so easily taken over by a soviet-like mentality? Take back your country and get your rightfully owned freedoms back. Remember what the founding fathers of the US stood for. Make them proud. Do the right thing in the next elections.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 05, 2003 @10:16AM (#5881406)
    Some US law-enforcement officers have expressed concern that Canadian privacy laws

    Read that part again. Note the part where it says "some US law enforcement officers". Note how this does not equate with "the US government". Fudging the facts is called spin. Feel free to grab a dictionary or other aid if needed.

    Also feel free to actually read the report, where you will find phrases praising the Canadian government. Read phrases like "the Government of Canada has been a helpful and strong supporter of the United States in the fight against international terrorism", or "overall antiterrorism cooperation with Canada remains excellent and is a model for bilateral cooperation on counterterrorism issues". Pay attention to the fact that there is one small paragraph containing criticism of "Canadian civil liberties" and it is surrounded by many larger paragraphs giving praise to the Canadian governments efforts. The act of taking a small statement or part of an article out of context and blowing it up to create a headline that becomes the whole point is also called spin. I hope this hasn't been too tough to follow.

    Yes I am an asshole, and I'm fine with that.

  • by intermodal (534361) on Monday May 05, 2003 @10:20AM (#5881446) Homepage Journal
    actually, I find that one of the big problems in the US is mislabeling what should be called "Nationalism" as "Patriotism". A patriot stands up against his government when it does wrong, but loves his countrymen above the government. A nationalist does whatever the government compels him to. Nationalism was big in Germany in the thirties I hear. These are sad times for the true American patriot.
  • by RedCard (302122) on Monday May 05, 2003 @10:33AM (#5881601)
    Bull. Canada never had nuclear weapons. There were American weapons & bombers stationed in Canada, but there never were Canadian nuclear bombs.

    Nope, you're the one who's lacking in history class.

    Canada had nuclear missiles on a number of CF-18 hornets (note: CF = 'Canadian forces').

    Here's a link. [gov.sk.ca] ...It wasn't hard to find. The relevant information is near the bottom of the page.
  • Re:blame canada! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 05, 2003 @10:34AM (#5881612)
    > We are less free in the U.S. than in any other
    > industrialized nation

    Do you really believe that? How is the man keeping YOU down?
  • by Happy go Lucky (127957) on Monday May 05, 2003 @10:48AM (#5881736)
    Oh give me a break......the US does not hold jurisdiction over Canada, and they can keep their grubby fingers out of my country, thank you very much.

    So, freedom of speech doesn't apply to anybody other than Canadians?

    The US isn't threatening invasion. I, as a cop about a thousand miles south of you, am not drafting a warrant to toss your house for MJ. Nor are we threatening even escalate this subsidized-lumber mess. Our government merely is making public a criticism of certain acts of the Canadian government.

    Or do we yanks not have any business having opinions about other governments and their actions, and giving voice to them?

    Which is it? Do we have thy most beneficient permission to speak, or should we do like Poland and Bulgaria and "sit down and shut up" and leave all of the thinking and speaking to our erstwhile betters?

  • Stop this crap (Score:5, Insightful)

    by WildBeast (189336) on Monday May 05, 2003 @10:51AM (#5881767) Journal
    I am Canadian and I'm quiet offended by how some Canadians all of a sudden see this subject as a reason to tell the US how better we are at liberties and stuff. Grow up, everyone thinks his country is better than everyone else's.

    With the wrong political party in power we could experience the same problems. So please have some respect.

    We are not so different and we should be supportive of each others rights to freedoms and liberties. Saying that Canada is better than the US or that US is better than Canada, really doesn't address the subject at all, au contraire, you'll all try to justify some bad law your country have and as a result, it says that you approve of such laws.
  • by sjanich (431789) on Monday May 05, 2003 @11:01AM (#5881871)
    The current candian military is a pale shadow of the force that fought so well in WW2.
  • by sjanich (431789) on Monday May 05, 2003 @11:06AM (#5881928)
    Do you really want to know why Canada didn't join your war against Iraq? We all agree that Sadam is bad and should have been removed. There is no argument about that. We didn't join in because we do not want to be a TARGET. That's right, a TARGET. Just think about this in a logical fashion. Look at the possible chain of events.

    The above is a pretty good example of the appeasement mindset. Unfortunately, on the international stage, this is what Canada has become.

  • Re:blame canada! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by enjo13 (444114) on Monday May 05, 2003 @11:18AM (#5882044) Homepage
    Your an idiot.. It's not hard to emigrate, have fun.

    I've actually lived abroad, and while I enjoyed my time (Australia and Italy) overseas.. I do know that most of the rest of the industrialized world has more or less the same amount of freedom that I do right now.

    We all have our faults, the U.S. included (and you may not beleive it, but Canada as well). Yet we, as a people, ARE free. We can live where we want, say (most anything) we want, and live the life we want to live. Sure, we have our problems, and we as a people have long been working to fight through them. We (along with the rest of the world) are constantly evolving and trying to find the balanace between outright freedom and the order we need to continue to live the lives we do.

    Am I always happy with the U.S. ? Nope.. yet I recognize that we as a people really are a free. If your to blinded by your 'enlightened nature' and your very large chip that resides on your shoulder to see it, well then I hope you spend a few years somewhere else so that you can see exactly how wrong you really are.
  • Re:USA 2nd World? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Spellbinder (615834) on Monday May 05, 2003 @11:19AM (#5882063)
    can you prove this????
    and what about the poor???? is it better for them too???
  • Re:blame canada! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by maxpublic (450413) on Monday May 05, 2003 @11:26AM (#5882134) Homepage
    Yet another argument that goes along the lines of 'things are still pretty good, so don't complain'.

    I will continue to complain so long as the Constitution of these United States is violated. I will settle for nothing less than full compliance with the Constitution. Arguments to the contrary are irrelevant; if you want to change the Constitution in order to legally install your repressive state, then do so - the mechanism is there, and it's been done numerous times in the past.

    But until you pass that amendment, you *will* abide by the Constitution whether you like it or not. And if you or the government violates the supreme law of the land, you can bet your ass that I and others like me will stand up and cry 'foul!'.

    Our Founding Fathers would expect no less.

    Max
  • Thank you /. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by corebreech (469871) on Monday May 05, 2003 @11:28AM (#5882157) Journal
    Many times I have been concerned that so many here just don't understand how perilous a time this is in America.

    This discussion appears to have brought the patriots out.

    It's a sight I really needed to see. Thank you.
  • by Waffle Iron (339739) on Monday May 05, 2003 @11:31AM (#5882182)
    If you or a member of your family had any health problems at all (and you will, sooner or later), you would find that just about the only way to purchase health insurance is to get a low paying dead end job so you can get on their group plan. The whole system is set up to keep you pinned down to your corporate employer. Don't forget that.
  • Re:wow (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mpe (36238) on Monday May 05, 2003 @11:55AM (#5882397)
    It is not the US standard of living alone which attracts terrorism,

    If it were this simple then there would be a lot more places being subject to terrorism.

    it is what it does to sustain that quality of life.

    Quite likely more the quality of life of US based corporate interests, rather than the average US citizen.

    The US cares about civil liberties (at least nominally) within its own shores, but those from other countries are not afforded the same rights (wasn't someone shipped to an american court rather than camp X-Ray due to their being a US citizen, the non americans were illegally imprisoned with the rest of them)

    US authorities have arrested US citizens and tossed them in jail without any sign of a trial. e.g. the Intel employee who is supposedly a witness to something or other.
    The sequel to "US PATRIOT" allows arbitary stripping of US citizens of their citizenship. Which would put them in an even worst situation than the people kidnapped and taken to Cuba.

    Americans with an interest in the civil liberties of all people, not just those americans with the power and money to defend their own (and to take those of others), many of whom I'm sure read slashdot should fight terrorism in their own way.

    Hopefully some of them might survive to see things through.

    By making America the state it was founded to be, by scrutinising businessmen, politicians (and anyone else in a position of power and influence)

    There is a disinction between a politican being a "leader" (somehow above the populace) and being a "public servant"

    by using the power of their wallet, their vote and whatever else it takes to make america a state and a symbol that is not viewed by the rest of the world with contempt.

    What people around the world especially don't like is hypocracy. The principles on which the US was founded and the US constitution are a matter of public record. Yet people around the world see the US government behaving (sometimes even towards its own citizens) in ways totally against these principles.

    A perception of america as a greedy, self interested, intefering, imperialist power is what attracts terrorism.

    Consider the situation in Iraq. The US hand picking which Iraqis will be in any new Iraqi government. This is the way imperial powers have operated for thousands of years.
  • by Art_Vandelai (596101) on Monday May 05, 2003 @12:00PM (#5882451)
    I think Canada was a victim of poor timing on this one - almost all of the confirmed cases could be traced to a single individual visiting Canada from the far east, which occured before any warnings about travellers from those areas were ever made public.

    Some of our political leaders and media overreacted, and as a result, the crisis was made to be worse than it really ought to have been. Toronto was not quarantined - just a few of the hospitals. I work downtown, and some precautionary moves had to be made - mostly to prevent a situation where a whole department would be taken out for 10 days due to a precautionary quarantine. Life went on, business as usual, except for the tourism and convention business which were hurt badly by the fearmongering.

    I've often suspected some deliberate economic motivation behind the WHO's advisory on travel to Toronto - given that the Canadian economy has seriously ourperformed the U.S. for the last 6-12 months. First the softwood lumber, and now the Durum Wheat fiasco, the U.S. has been hitting us hard economically, yet we still seem to be doing incredibly well despite the headwinds. Americans only seem to believe in free trade when it benefits them.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 05, 2003 @12:00PM (#5882454)
    "Gee, how do you explain the Shias in Iraq right now? They were cheering when the tanks went into Baghdad; why are they now telling us to go home, if they're gravitating toward more satisfaction as you say? Why is the Shiite reaction so similar to their reaction to the British in 1919? Were the British also exceptionally good at giving the people the satisfaction they wanted? Or does this explanation of yours float in a totally ahistorical fantasy universe where you don't need to deal with comparisons like that?"

    Because having a US presense interferes with their own plans. Similiar in some ways to Afghanistan. Alturistic thoughts and motivation really is a rare thing, regardless of what society your talking about.
  • by MagnusDredd (160488) on Monday May 05, 2003 @12:21PM (#5882652)
    >Deaths from tobacco cigarettes in the US, 2002: 400,000
    >Deaths from Marijuana in the US, 2002: 0.00

    Actually this is complete and utter fiction. I spent two and a half years on a rescue squad. A significant percentage of auto accidents are caused by drivers who are high on pot. Some are pot and alcohol (a really bad combination for driving), and some are just pot. I have seen more than a few drivers who were stoned out of their minds (and not drunk) who missed the curve and hit a tree. I dont have any real statistics on how many actual fatalities were caused by stoned drivers, however I am completely certain the number is NOT zero.

    While it may be possible that not a single case of cancer has been attributed to smoking pot, I would imagine that cancer patients who have smoked a great deal of marijuana would hardly be inclined to volunteer that fact. Given the current "witch hunt" mentality of the current political establisment, I would bet that it would be hard to find anyone who may have gotten cancer from an illegal substance who would purposely also create legal issues for themselves. Basically speaking, if I smoked a ton a weed, and got cancer there is no way in hell that I would also want to face possible jail time on top of fighting cancer.

    The truth is that lighting something on fire and inhaling SMOKE is damaging to your body. Then again, drinking a great deal of alcohol tends to pickle your liver, however that's not illegal.

    All that being said, I think that pot should be legal for medical purposes. It's an incredible anti-nausea agent, and pain management substance, and is great in brownies... LOL. The current and previous administration's policies with regards to marijuana are stupid. I am however not recommending it's use. I know quite a few guys that I went to school with (I'm 30) who are still living in my home town, still working at Burger King, renting a shabby apartment (or living with parents), and still just "hanging out man, and smoking weed". They are functionally 15 to 17 years old from a social and emotional stand point. They have not changed a bit since high school (hint: this is not a good thing). I'm buying a house and they are sneaking around trying to score some doobage. It's really depressing for me to catch up with these guys.
  • by ekc (594380) on Monday May 05, 2003 @12:41PM (#5882825)
    I grew up in Canada and still live there, but my dad and wife are both from the States, and I maintain a dual citizenship. What I have noticed is that Americans tend to express strong opinions on various issues and are frank and open about most things. Canadians tend to be a little more reserved and fearful of offending others.

    America was founded by people who broke away from an oppressive regime, which makes Americans tend to explore their opportunities to their fullest potential and seek to change the world. Canada was founded by two groups who had been at each others throats throughout history, which makes us a nation of diplomats, all trying to smoothe over our differences and find common ground and compromise.

    I remember attending a debate in Toronto between an evolutionist and a creationist. At the end, when the audience was encouraged to speak up, people kept saying things like "must evolution exclude the hand of God" or "couldn't evolution be a part of God's creation plan"? The evolutionist (who was American) looked at them like they were from another planet, but this is how Canadians tend to think.

    That's why this Iraq war was so hard on the national psyche. It's not so much that we were opposed to the war as it was that we couldn't stomach the rift that was forming between the US and its allies. We spent all our energies trying to find a position that would placate the US, France, and others which was, of course, futile.

    Anyway, that's just my spin on things as a Canadian, but if you all have different views on the subject, I'm sure I can find some way to accomodate them. :-)
  • Re:wow (Score:3, Insightful)

    by be-fan (61476) on Monday May 05, 2003 @02:04PM (#5883604)
    The WWII situation tends to cloud people's perspective on foreign affairs. The situation in WWI/II was very different. Germany at the time was a highly industrialized nation and a world power. It was (and still is) the population and economic center of Europe. None of the nations in which we have intervened (not even Iraq) could be placed on a comparable scale. For the situation in Iraq to escalate to anything more than a regional conflict would require a powerful country like the UK, France, Germany, or China to get involved. Further, the alliances in place today are vastly different. Europe is no longer divided. Despite all the harsh words traded between the US and it's allies in Europe, if a country like Iraq and its allies (of which it has very few) were to wage war, the opposition would be impossible to overcome.

    PS> I always find it rather funny how people keep bringing up the US in WWI/WWII. In WWI, we came in at the tail end of the war. For example, for every 100 artillery shells fired by the French of British, the US fired 6. Europe sacrified a great deal in WWI. The French (which many Americans today are fond of deriding) lost 27% of their population between ages 18 and 27, and 10% of their population overall. These "cowards" all died defending their homeland. Moreover, this war was actually fought in their homeland. WWI decimated European infrastructure. The land was literally (physically) torn up after the war. War hasn't actually seen American shores since bombs fell on Pearl Harbor, and even then, how can we compare an attack on a navel base thousands of miles away to the bombing of London? WWII was another war in which the US takes more credit than is due to it. A large part of the US involvement was in the Pacific. The Russians turned Hitler back in Stalingrad all by himself, and the British managed to prevent being overrun by Hitler's forces and keep a bridge to the mainland intact. The fact that US was able to come in and make the final push to topple Germany is a great credit, but saying stuff like "we saved Europe from Germany" (which I've heard far too often of late) minimizes the contribution of the European resistance, doesn't take into account the handicap Europe started with after having lost so much just 20 years before in WWI, and badly distorts the actual progression of the war.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 05, 2003 @02:23PM (#5883833)
    low penalties for marijuana possession (also not a civil liberty)

    Speak for yourself, brother.

    The way I read it is that "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" are rights. If the cultivation, possession or use of marijuana doesn't injure other people, it should be legal. The decision to use it, or not, should be a personal choice.

    Remember, it wasn't until after 1900 that marijuana was criminalized...so far the main result has been that countless thousands of potentially productive citizens have been placed behind bars, where we all get to pay for their care and feeding until they are released to be a further burden on society. You need look no further than the massively unsuccessful "war on drugs" to see why the United States has the highest per-capita prison population of any industrialized nation. We also have a nasty surplus of lawyers.

    The United States is rapidly transitioning from a "free" country to something else. As Heinlein said (paraphrased) "Once a country has a national ID system, it's time to think about leaving". The many technological advances in the area of privacy invasion just make things worse.

    The world needs a true new frontier, badly.

  • Re:wow (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Master of Transhuman (597628) on Monday May 05, 2003 @04:34PM (#5885118) Homepage
    - Name an example of how we "interfer in other
    - countries buisness very aggressively." You
    - can't.

    Name an example where we DON'T interfere in other countries business very aggressively. You can't...even Tuvalu gets it! You ever hear of a little place called Vietnam? How about the Phillipines? How about virtually anywhere in Central and South America? Haiti? Cuba? Somalia? Libya? Saudi Arabia? South Africa? Fucking Antarctica?

    You really don't have a clue, do you?

    Is your name Rumsfeld? The guy who shook hands with Saddam in 1983 AFTER he gassed Kurds? Who sold nuclear reactors to North Korea? Who now wants to invade North Korea and take 50,000 US casualties so he can prove what a big man he is?

    No, you're just a right-wing troll...

  • by Kombat (93720) <kombat@kombat.org> on Monday May 05, 2003 @04:45PM (#5885234) Homepage
    Something occurred to me the other day that lead me to conclude that in the future, the US will be forced to adopted a socialised health care system similar to Canada's. Let me explain.

    Ever since its creation, insurance has been a numbers game where the house always wins. When you insure your car, you're gambling that someday you'll have a crash which costs more to fix than you've paid into the system. The insurance companies, on the other hand, gamble that you'll pay more in premiums than you'll cost in claims. Of course, the insurace company always wins. If it is ever any other way, they simply raise your rates. Otherwise, insurance companies would go out of business. It's simple math: they must take in more than they pay out.

    When you apply for auto insurance, they guess at how much of a risk you will be. They check to see if you've had any past claims, accidents, speeding tickets, or whatever. They even discriminate based on factors that would be blatantly illegal in any other context. Your sex and age affect your rate. However, in the end, it's all a crap shoot. No one can predict the future. You have complete control over what kind of driver you will be. If you have no speeding tickets, you might very well be an extraordinarily safe and cautious driver. Or, you may just be lucky.

    Health insurance is similar. No one knows what they will die from. The insurance companies ask you all sorts of questions to try and find out, and your rates are based on your medical history. But in the end, the healthy ones are subsidising the sick ones.

    We are at the threshold of some unstoppable, extraordinary changes in the health insurance industry. Soon, very soon, it will be possible to take a drop of your blood, and generate a very detailed schedule of your future illnesses and eventual doom, assuming you don't crash your car first. They will know with great certainty that you will definitely develop Parkinson's. That will affect your rate.

    Those who are destined to be expensively ill will not be able to afford health care, or will be denied coverage completely. The only people who will be able to afford health care will be those who won't need it.

    The only fair solution will be to force everyone to subsidize the sick, for the good of society. This will most likely be implemented as a tax of some sort, or maybe simply a component of existing taxes (like in Canada). Canada's system will survive these advances intact, but the US's will require massive evolution, or scores will die. Government is going to have to take over health care. It is extremely unrealistic to expect the insurance companies to be altruistic and generous when it comes to covering the inevitably ill.

    It will most certainly be interesting. It will be controversial. Many still cling to the hope that this type of genetic screening will be successfully held at bay through legislation; a hope which runs counter to evolution itself. It is human nature to relentlessly advance science.
  • Sure the jubilent Iraqis look umm... jubilent, but the rest of them just look thirsty, scared and hungry. I was against the war, not because I thought Saddam should be left alone, but because the motives of Bush and his reasons for war were, and still are highly suspect. The WMD still have not been found and the links to global terrorism are still just as tenuous as before. If the initial justification had been to free Iraq, or prevent the human rights abuses I think Bush and Blair would have done a far better job of selling the war, but it wasn't. The whole driving force behind this war was the wave of FUD that Bush seems to be trying to ride all the way to the next election, while at the same time getting all his good corporate buddies a nice kick back in fedral spending. If Bush was acting within the rules perhaps he would be more morally justified in demanding that other countries do so too, however by ignoring the howls of protest from the UN and his former allies he has sent a much more powerful message to the rest of the world. Specifically "We're too good to follow the rules we dictate to the rest of you". Maybe i'd listen to Bush when he complains about WMD in the hands of terrorists if he wasn't spending money investigating nuclear bunker busters, and if rumsfeld hadn't sold them to Saddam in the first place. Perhaps I'd pay more attention to his calls for freedom for all people if he wasn't holding people without charge in cuba. There's even a possibility I'd support his calls for Iraqi soldiers to be tried for war crimes, if he would allow the same rules to be applied to his own soldiers conduct.

    It is my belief that America is at a dangerous point in its history. It appears to believe that whatever it does is right, that it can do no wrong, and that if it does wrong then the good outweighs the bad. That may be true, America is on the whole a good country, however it is becoming blind to its faults, and those faults are being allowed to grow. Any attempt to focus on these faults is described as unamerican, or unpatriotic.
    There is an old saying, "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel". Its an idea that America would be well advised to think about, because otherwise you are in danger of becoming a nation of flag wavers who will support whatever the government chooses to do because you still believe the country belongs to the people. Go away and read 1984 again and think how, although it is about communism, it could just as easily be applied to Bushes America.

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