I read this article, and since all I've ever known is America, I was wondering what is it like in other countries? All our media shows us is wars, bombings and sweatshops.
Also, are there any online news sites that could be recommended? I no longer bother watching the news on TV, it is obviously biased at best. I'd especially like to be able to read about advances in medicine. I know for a fact American medicine is held up by greed (I know researchers who have shared some breakthroughs they made but cannot release because their sponsors have no way to profit from them), and I'm curious how the rest of the world fairs.
Hey that's a great article - I think it's probably a bit biased (the ex-smoker syndrome) but it is well written. I'm a Brit living in Vermont, USA so if you like, I'm in the opposite ferry. I also do not get newspapers here. You ask for an online news site. Have you tried BBC news?
Yeah, it is definitely a biased article, but I agree with it from what I've seen. I cannot verify what he says about other countries myself, though.
I do like BBC news, though I try to keep a skeptic's eye when reading anything from a major news provider. It is well-funded and well-known, so I worry it may be almost as bad as our major news providers here in the US.
The BBC has proven to me through the years to be a very excellent source of information and the least biased of news outlets. Plus, their website has some excellently written articles. As far as American TV goes, local stations and newspapers are probably best for most people. CNN (despite what most conservative Americans say) is fairly neutral I can't even watch Fox or MSNBC anymore. They are both just too virulent in their political stances.
Al Jazeera gives a different slant, Fark gives an odd collection of news,
[On Americans having worst quality of life]… I know this because I am an American, and I escaped from the prison you call home.
I doubt this. I think this author has lived in the United States but is not from here. I say this because of my own experience and the idioms and words the author uses, like "university" as opposed to "the university" or "a university", as but one example of many. Outside the United States universities are almost always referred to without other parts of speech, regardless of country.
I have lived all around the world, in wealthy countries and poor ones, and there is only one country I would never consider living in again: The United States of America. The mere thought of it fills me with dread.
So have I and he/she is misrepresenting the true situation. Other countries like Portugal, Germany, Malta, Netherlands, Cyprus and on and on are much more enlightened than the United States and have far more liberties … in reality. But economically they are either poor or largely equivalent (some exceptions, like Netherlands and Norway might be applicable as they are very wealthy countries) by comparison. Some countries like Kashmir, Russia and Iran are just very different, but not nearly as materialistic as the United States. That is not a bad thing, but that puts it in perspective. The common denominator overseas is that their focus is not as materialistic, and that is the key point. Our materialism here is very unhealthy. And even the wealthier nations like Netherlands are not nearly as materialistic, they are just successful.
Consider this, you are the only people in the developed world without a single-payer health system. Everyone in Western Europe, Japan, Canada, Australia, Singapore and New Zealand has a single-payer system. If they get sick, they can devote all their energies to getting well. If you get sick, you have to battle two things at once, your illness and the fear of financial ruin. Millions of Americans go bankrupt every year due to medical bills, and tens of thousands die each year because they have no insurance or insufficient insurance. And don’t believe for a second that rot about America having the world’s best medical care or the shortest waiting lists: I’ve been to hospitals in Australia, New Zealand, Europe, Singapore, and Thailand, and every one was better than the “good” hospital I used to go to back home. The waits were shorter, the facilities more comfortable, and the doctors just as good.
I think he/she is slowly moving toward the real issue here, which is the differing focus vis-à-vis materialism.
This is ironic, because you need a good health system more than anyone else in the world. Why? Because your lifestyle is almost designed to make you sick.
Let’s start with your diet: Much of the beef you eat has been exposed to fecal matter in processing. Your chicken is contaminated with salmonella. Your stock animals and poultry are pumped full of growth hormones and antibiotics. In most other countries, the government would act to protect consumers from this sort of thing; in the United States, the government is bought off by industry to prevent any effective regulations or inspections. In a few years, the majority of all the produce for sale in the United States will be from genetically modified crops, thanks to the cozy relationship between Monsanto Corporation and the United States government. Worse still, due to the vast quantities of high-fructose corn syrup Americans consume, fully one-third of children born in the United States today will be diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes at some point in their lives.
The health discussion is fairly accurate because deception, cons and schemes are used constantly to gain profit … for materialism. Other countries don’t tolerate these extremes.
If you think I’m making this up, check the stats on average annual vacation days by country:
Of course, you don’t have any choice in the matter: the system is designed this way. In most countries in the developed world, higher education is either free or heavily subsidized; in the United States, a university degree can set you back over US$100,000. Thus, you enter the working world with a crushing debt. Forget about taking a year off to travel the world and find yourself – you’ve got to start working or watch your credit rating plummet.
Up to this point what the author is describing is a gigantic Ponzi scheme that has less to do with the hard numbers of economics as it does with basic liberty … keep reading.
All this begs the question: Why would anyone put up with this? Ask any American and you’ll get the same answer: because America is the freest country on earth. If you believe this, I’ve got some more bad news for you: America is actually among the least free countries on earth. Your piss is tested, your emails and phone calls are monitored, your medical records are gathered, and you are never more than one stray comment away from writhing on the ground with two Taser prongs in your ass.
And this is becoming more and more the case as materialism spirals out of control and it becomes more valuable as a public commodity than liberty and civil rights.
And that’s just physical freedom. Mentally, you are truly imprisoned. You don’t even know the degree to which you are tormented by fears of medical bankruptcy, job loss, homelessness and violent crime because you’ve never lived in a country where there is no need to worry about such things.
But it goes much deeper than mere surveillance and anxiety. The fact is, you are not free because your country has been taken over and occupied by another government. Fully 70% of your tax dollars go to the Pentagon, and the Pentagon is the real government of the United States. You are required under pain of death to pay taxes to this occupying government. If you’re from the less fortunate classes, you are also required to serve and die in their endless wars, or send your sons and daughters to do so. You have no choice in the matter: there is a socio-economic draft system in the United States that provides a steady stream of cannon fodder for the military.
If you call a life of surveillance, anxiety and ceaseless toil in the service of a government you didn’t elect “freedom,” then you and I have a very different idea of what that word means.
If there was some chance that the country could be changed, there might be reason for hope. But can you honestly look around and conclude that anything is going to change? Where would the change come from? The people? Take a good look at your compatriots: the working class in the United States has been brutally propagandized by jackals like Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity. Members of the working class have been taught to lick the boots of their masters and then bend over for another kick in the ass. They’ve got these people so well trained that they’ll take up arms against the other half of the working class as soon as their masters give the word.
If change can’t come from the people or the media, the only other potential source of change would be the politicians. Unfortunately, the American political process is among the most corrupt in the world. In every country on earth, one expects politicians to take bribes from the rich. But this generally happens in secret, behind the closed doors of their elite clubs. In the United States, this sort of political corruption is done in broad daylight, as part of legal, accepted, standard operating procedure. In the United States, they merely call these bribes campaign donations, political action committees and lobbyists. One can no more expect the politicians to change this system than one can expect a man to take an axe and chop his own legs out from underneath him.
Individual liberties in the United States are contracting, but the money being made here is phenomenal and it has reached virtually every corner of the economy. The problem is a lack of management of this wealth and the manner in which the wealth is being created. The profiting schemes thus far described are accurate descriptions of a system that is based on lies, fraud and cheating in order to profit. Yes, they are contracting, eviscerating, individual liberties in the United States for profit. We are selling freedom for money.
While the United States was running up crushing levels of debt, it was also busy shipping its manufacturing jobs and white-collar jobs overseas, and letting its infrastructure fall to pieces. Meanwhile, Asian and European countries were investing in education, infrastructure and raw materials. Even if the United States tried to rebuild a real economy (as opposed to a service/financial economy) do think American workers would ever be able to compete with the workers of China or Europe? Have you ever seen a Japanese or German factory? Have you ever met a Singaporean or Chinese worker?
This, once again, is reflective of a superficial understanding of global economics. Americans don’t need to work, to put it bluntly, because they can rob the rest of the world, which is the paradigm in play right now. It is not sustainable, though.
His/her discussion about “collapse” is, imo, off. What is going to cause a collapse is when USG can no longer control the population. And now he/she gets into the large economic analysis which parrots a common set of public myths. The reason why is that most people discussing this don’t really understand global economics. “Lending” money to the United States is a little deceptive. Countries like the PRC cannot simply “dump” the U.S. dollar since their buying of bonds and other instruments is an investment on their part in speculation of the profitable future performance of the U.S. economy. So, it isn’t that simple. I’ve written much about this on kirkomrik.wordpress.com and you can read about it there.
On top of all that you’ve got vast factory farms, sprawling suburbs and a truck-based shipping system, all of it entirely dependent on oil that is about to become completely unaffordable. And you’ve got guns. Lots of guns. In short: the United States is about to become a very unwholesome place to be.
Yes, but the United States is holding and increasing its hegemony on the remaining petroleum supply, starving all other countries of it; also discussed in detail at kikromirk.wordpress.com. Do a search there in the search box.
Right now, the government is building fences and walls along its northern and southern borders. Right now, the government is working on a national ID system (soon to be fitted with biometric features). Right now, the government is building a surveillance state so extensive that they will be able to follow your every move, online, in the street and across borders. If you think this is just to protect you from “terrorists,” then you’re sadly mistaken. Once the shit really hits the fan, do you really think you’ll just be able to jump into the old station wagon, drive across the Canadian border and spend the rest of your days fishing and drinking Molson? No, the government is going to lock the place down. They don’t want their tax base escaping. They don’t want their “recruits” escaping. They don’t want YOU escaping.
I am not writing this to scare you. I write this to you as a friend. If you are able to read and understand what I’ve written here, then you are a member of a small minority in the United States. You are a minority in a country that has no place for you.
Now he/she gets to the meat of the issue. The problem is that we are selling our liberties for money; plain and simple. The United States is not going to economically collapse anytime soon, unless it does so because it becomes so repressive that the government can’t control the population.
The reality is that the oligarchy here is engaging in repressive policies globally on account of its obsession with materialism.
As long as Americans keep convincing themselves that they live in the best country in the world, there is no need for change.
Hey Dr. Grixis,
Thank you and I agree, it is a bit of a delusion. I think the best way to fight this is to expose these truths so that people will wake up. Most people have no clue that all this is going on.
The think the most telling evidence that it wasn't written by someone from the US is the distinct and almost total lack of the use of first person pronouns. It's almost totally written in the second person of You or Your. The only time it switches to first person is at the end when talking about where the author currently lives.
On top of it, the author's name is Lance Freeman. Freeman, really? The dude is going to write an article about how America doesn't have much in the way of freedom saying things like, "All this begs the question: Why would anyone put up with this? Ask any American and you’ll get the same answer: because America is the freest country on earth. If you believe this, I’ve got some more bad news for you: America is actually among the least free countries on earth." And then he's going to name himself Freeman. That just smacks of purposeful, poetic irony.
I seriously doubt if the man has ever even visited our country. By the by, I think the article is mostly trash consisting of hyperbolic facsimiles of American life.
Hey Sagacious Hawk,
It's almost totally written in the second person of You or Your.
Yea, that kind of stood out to me as well. I hadn't thought about the Freeman name, interesting.
Thank you for this detailed reply. I wish I could come up with an eloquent response, but I've had a migraine for a few days now and can't think straight. I wanted to let you know I've read it and appreciate it. =)
Hey Jennifer B,
No worries, and thank you
As I sit on the overstuffed couch with my feet propped up high, barely able to see out over my bulbous belly and view the six foot wide high definition idiot box, I wonder if Mr. Freeman's accusations and observations contain any truth. Well, maybe. Let me polish off another bag of Doritos and think about this some more.
Materialism and obesity may be our eventual downfall. Or are we already on the slippery slope and don't realize it?