What has happened to America?


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What has happened to America?

Postby Grazerism » Tue Jul 03, 2012 9:18 pm

This will be a little of a tirade, but I am actually really curious about y'all's opinions. I have been an ex-pat for 22 years, and find it hard to understand how the level of political discourse in the US has deteriorated.

I see two main problems. The first is a breakdown of the American education system. Years ago, Kurt Vonnegut was asked in a PLAYBOY interview about the basis of his strong political values. He replied, "High school civics class." As far as I know, high school civics classes no longer exist--and the idea of civic responsibility seems to have disappeared as well. Many Americans seem to have no sense of how society is supposed to work and that they all bear some responsibility for one another. And some politicians haven't helped the situation. As one of my wise New York friends says, "Ronald Reagan made greed respectable."

The second problem (ironically, given the name of this forum) is free speech. I have long believed in unfettered free speech, and still do, in principle. But Fox News (and the Internet, of course) has made me realize that the media functioned much better in my youth, when CBS, ABC, and NBC, by some unwritten consensus, presented responsible, serious journalism. Of course there was some bias and self-censorship. But Paul Harvey was not allowed to call his program an official news program, and "Fox News" would have been forced to call itself an "entertainment program". I live in "old Europe", where the basic source of news is state media. This idea is anathema to Americans--but the dispensing of news functions much better here. The citizens get relatively accurate information about what is going on in the world.
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Re: What has happened to America?

Postby MightyBurner » Tue Jul 03, 2012 9:53 pm

MSNBC and Fox have started a war to try to go as far to the left and right as possible, and are killing CNN in the process.
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Re: What has happened to America?

Postby jeremyp » Wed Jul 04, 2012 10:59 am

MightyBurner wrote:MSNBC and Fox have started a war to try to go as far to the left and right as possible, and are killing CNN in the process.

I don't think CNN needs much help in committing suicide! Wolf Blizer? Oy Ve!
The power of the media has grown and it's veracity has diluted. The media's role to inform and educate has now become: make profits! Entertain!
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Re: What has happened to America?

Postby Flumpy » Wed Jul 04, 2012 11:07 am

I don't know the reasons for what is happening to America (Although the whole world is watching it happen) but undoubtedly your news media has a lot to answer for.

For a country that produces that intelligent TV drama (Thankyou HBO) your news is a complete joke. Everytime I'm in the USA I'm aghast at the complete drivel that passes for reporting there. Where are the serious, heavyweight journalists that you used to produce and why is there absolutely no gravitas in anything broadcast?

You used to have Walter Cronkite now it's Bill O'Reilly.

It's scary.
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Re: What has happened to America?

Postby odelltrclan » Wed Jul 04, 2012 11:08 am

People too often equate individual programs, such as "Hardball" or "Hannity" with "news". They don't profess to be so, but opinion programs of the host. There are other programs on these networks that discuss news.
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Re: What has happened to America?

Postby kuha » Wed Jul 04, 2012 11:14 am

MightyBurner wrote:MSNBC and Fox have started a war to try to go as far to the left and right as possible, and are killing CNN in the process.


Once again, we have this absolutely false sense of equivalence. It's sort of like splitting the difference between:

a) "the president is a radical socialist, bend on destroying America, and isn't even a citizen"
and
b) "all of this is laughably false"
to get:
c) the president is a run-of-the-mill socialist, generally against America, and he has dual citizenship
to which, of course, the proper response remains:
b) "all of this is laughably false"

"Both sides" of some issues do not deserve equal credibility and the answer may well not lie halfway in between.

FOX and MSNBC were both begun in 1996, but their histories are very different. FOX was highly political from the start: both O'Reilly and Hannity began their programs there in 1996. MSNBC only began specialize in politics in about 2001 and their current lineup didn't happen till a major revamp in about 2006. So, pretty clearly, MSNBC evolved, gradually, into something like an opposing voice to the FOX propaganda machine. Further, I defy anyone to equate them in terms of their relationship to the "reality based community" of ACTUAL facts and issues.
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Re: What has happened to America?

Postby TN1965 » Wed Jul 04, 2012 11:29 am

Flumpy wrote: Where are the serious, heavyweight journalists that you used to produce and why is there absolutely no gravitas in anything broadcast?


For this, I 'd try PBS and C-SPAN. Well, not "heavyweight" but certainly serious. Of course, far more people watch Fox and MSNBC, but that's their choice.
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Re: What has happened to America?

Postby TrakFan » Wed Jul 04, 2012 11:34 am

IMHO as for one of our problems.... It's counter-productive to to claim you are/have the best at whatever, and fail (refuse) to recognize your TRUE shortcomings in specific areas. When politicians thump their chests and claim our prominence (We're number-1!!) as a reason to go with the status quo... Well, the ultimate result will be continued decline those areas.
Last edited by TrakFan on Wed Jul 04, 2012 12:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What has happened to America?

Postby TN1965 » Wed Jul 04, 2012 11:50 am

kuha wrote:...the president is a run-of-the-mill socialist, generally against America, and he has dual citizenship.


Actually, it is Michelle Bachman who is secretly "foreign." But I haven't heard any comnment from Fox News on that issue. :)
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Re: What has happened to America?

Postby Conor Dary » Wed Jul 04, 2012 11:54 am

Flumpy wrote:I don't know the reasons for what is happening to America (Although the whole world is watching it happen) but undoubtedly your news media has a lot to answer for.
It's scary.


It seems to me the UK media isn't all peaches and cream. The print media---with a few exceptions, such as the Guardian perhaps---in the UK, for the most part really sucks....and the News of the World fiasco is still not over.

The BBC however, is excellent. Both radio and television. I wish we had the same here. And no, NPR and PBS don't count, since it is not at all the same.
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Re: What has happened to America?

Postby Daisy » Wed Jul 04, 2012 12:01 pm

Conor Dary wrote:The print media---with a few exceptions, such as the Guardian perhaps---in the UK, for the most part really sucks

There are a few more good ones than the guardian. But you're right that the worst are terrible.
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Re: What has happened to America?

Postby Conor Dary » Wed Jul 04, 2012 12:11 pm

Daisy wrote:
Conor Dary wrote:The print media---with a few exceptions, such as the Guardian perhaps---in the UK, for the most part really sucks

There are a few more good ones than the guardian. But you're right that the worst are terrible.


A few, but not many. I use to read The Telegraph because of their sports section and doing the crossword. The rest of the paper was Tory propaganda.
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Re: What has happened to America?

Postby Flumpy » Wed Jul 04, 2012 12:29 pm

TN1965 wrote:
Flumpy wrote: Where are the serious, heavyweight journalists that you used to produce and why is there absolutely no gravitas in anything broadcast?


For this, I 'd try PBS and C-SPAN. Well, not "heavyweight" but certainly serious. Of course, far more people watch Fox and MSNBC, but that's their choice.


But that's what I mean. They may be there but you have to go looking for them instead of serious news being on mainstream primetime as it is in the UK.
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Re: What has happened to America?

Postby Flumpy » Wed Jul 04, 2012 12:31 pm

Conor Dary wrote:
Flumpy wrote:I don't know the reasons for what is happening to America (Although the whole world is watching it happen) but undoubtedly your news media has a lot to answer for.
It's scary.


It seems to me the UK media isn't all peaches and cream. The print media---with a few exceptions, such as the Guardian perhaps---in the UK, for the most part really sucks....and the News of the World fiasco is still not over.

The BBC however, is excellent. Both radio and television. I wish we had the same here. And no, NPR and PBS don't count, since it is not at all the same.


I didn't for one moment suggest that it was. Much of the print media is a total disgrace but TV news on all channels is relatively serious and bias free.
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Re: What has happened to America?

Postby mump boy » Wed Jul 04, 2012 1:09 pm

MightyBurner wrote:MSNBC and Fox have started a war to try to go as far to the left and right as possible, and are killing CNN in the process.


MSNBC could would never be called left never mind far left in anywhere else. Political discourse in US has moved so far to the right that the middle ground would be considered right anywhere else :?
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Re: What has happened to America?

Postby Conor Dary » Wed Jul 04, 2012 1:16 pm

mump boy wrote:
MightyBurner wrote:MSNBC and Fox have started a war to try to go as far to the left and right as possible, and are killing CNN in the process.


MSNBC could would never be called left never mind far left in anywhere else. Political discourse in US has moved so far to the right that the middle ground would be considered right anywhere else :?


I guess you didn't hear they are owned by the lefty group Comcast.....
And the channel has the commie Joe Scarborough...
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Re: What has happened to America?

Postby mump boy » Wed Jul 04, 2012 1:19 pm

Conor Dary wrote:
mump boy wrote:
MightyBurner wrote:MSNBC and Fox have started a war to try to go as far to the left and right as possible, and are killing CNN in the process.


MSNBC could would never be called left never mind far left in anywhere else. Political discourse in US has moved so far to the right that the middle ground would be considered right anywhere else :?


I guess you didn't hear they are owned by the lefty group Comcast.....
And the channel has the commie Joe Scarborough...


I don't know what any of that means but i've watched MSNBC and it's what we would consider centre right if anything. There are no actual LEFT wing views. Democrats would be considered right wing where i'm from !!
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Re: What has happened to America?

Postby JRM » Wed Jul 04, 2012 1:41 pm

mump boy wrote:I don't know what any of that means but i've watched MSNBC and it's what we would consider centre right if anything. There are no actual LEFT wing views. Democrats would be considered right wing where i'm from !!


Americans don't realize (or don't care) how far right their left is... and how beyond crazy their far right is.
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Re: What has happened to America?

Postby kuha » Wed Jul 04, 2012 1:50 pm

JRM wrote:
mump boy wrote:I don't know what any of that means but i've watched MSNBC and it's what we would consider centre right if anything. There are no actual LEFT wing views. Democrats would be considered right wing where i'm from !!


Americans don't realize (or don't care) how far right their left is... and how beyond crazy their far right is.


Exactly. A really toxic combination of irrationality and unjustified, but bottomless, foaming-at-the-mouth, rage.
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Re: What has happened to America?

Postby JRM » Wed Jul 04, 2012 1:54 pm

By the way, if I'm not mistaken, the terms "left wing" and "right wing" have their origins in Mump's Parliament. The Tories and Liberals (Labour?) traditionally inhabited each wing of the House -- am I right? Please feel free to comment/correct!
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Re: What has happened to America?

Postby TN1965 » Wed Jul 04, 2012 2:02 pm

mump boy wrote:I don't know what any of that means but i've watched MSNBC and it's what we would consider centre right if anything. There are no actual LEFT wing views. Democrats would be considered right wing where i'm from !!


"You see, everyone in Europe is a communist who would make Democracts look like right wing. That's why we should never be anything like them... The United States of America is the last bastion of freedom!" :wink:
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Re: What has happened to America?

Postby Flumpy » Wed Jul 04, 2012 2:04 pm

From wiki.....

"The political terms Left and Right were coined during the French Revolution (1789–1799), referring to the seating arrangement in the Estates General: those who sat on the left generally supported the radical changes of the revolution, including the creation of a republic and secularization,[5] while those on the right were supportive of the traditional institutions of the Old Regime. Use of the term "Left" became more prominent after the restoration of the French monarchy in 1815 when it was applied to the "Independents".[6] The term was later applied to a number of revolutionary movements, especially socialism, anarchism[7] and communism as well as more reformist movements such as social democracy and social liberalism."
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Re: What has happened to America?

Postby mump boy » Wed Jul 04, 2012 2:38 pm

JRM wrote:By the way, if I'm not mistaken, the terms "left wing" and "right wing" have their origins in Mump's Parliament. The Tories and Liberals (Labour?) traditionally inhabited each wing of the House -- am I right? Please feel free to comment/correct!


Left and Right come from French parliament ofter the revolution i believe
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Re: What has happened to America?

Postby mump boy » Wed Jul 04, 2012 2:39 pm

But i did it without Wiki :P
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Re: What has happened to America?

Postby Marlow » Wed Jul 04, 2012 6:09 pm

[quote="mump boy"There are no actual LEFT wing views. [/quote]
Watch The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. THAT'S what left wing should always be - incredulous of and bitterly satiric of the Right.
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Re: What has happened to America?

Postby kuha » Wed Jul 04, 2012 6:20 pm

Marlow wrote:[quote="mump boy"There are no actual LEFT wing views.

Watch The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. THAT'S what left wing should always be - incredulous of and bitterly satiric of the Right.[/quote]

Sorry, but no--they're barely to the left of the old center line. A TRUE left would include genuine socialists, strong labor voices, strong environmental voices, the whole "nationalize the steel industry" (or whatever) crowd, and more. These folks have been as rare as dodo birds for too long. I probably wouldn't support a whole lot of that agenda, BUT it would be extremely useful to make clear what a TRUE centrist position really was.
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Re: What has happened to America?

Postby cullman » Wed Jul 04, 2012 6:49 pm

America has become more socially conservative and fiscally liberal the last few decades...but I do like kuha's "really toxic combination of irrationality and unjustified, but bottomless, foaming-at-the-mouth, rage" comment :P

Request from the cheap seats...can we have a special Presidential Election one day free-speech brouhaha...say sometime in October? :twisted:

cman :wink:
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Re: What has happened to America?

Postby bushop » Thu Jul 04, 2013 4:33 am

Conspiracy nut alert.

Why are our pubic schools so poor?

It may be part of the three prong strategy to keep our penal system overflowing and billions flowing to a select few penal systems profiteers.

1.) Dismantel free Public Schools.
a. Eliminate vocational education.
b. Grow charter school system that serves the mobile parent/ student and does not serve the sever special education student; leaving the 'expensive' students in the public school.
c. Eliminate alternative education.
d. Push class sizes over 35 students.

2.) Dismantel public Mental Health.
a. Cancel funding and empty mental hospitals (and the patients move into prison)
b. Eliminate long–term residential care for youth.

3.) Criminalize recreational drugs.
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Re: What has happened to America?

Postby Marlow » Thu Jul 04, 2013 4:36 am

bushop wrote:Conspiracy nut alert.

Why are our pubic schools so poor?

1.) Dismantel

2.) Dismantel


And there ya have it! :D
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Re: What has happened to America?

Postby bushop » Thu Jul 04, 2013 4:36 am

The elite have instructed their politicians to implement the best from socialism and capitalism.

Socialist employment practices... no employer provided health insurance or retirement
Capitalistic taxation system... pay little, if any, taxes
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Re: What has happened to America?

Postby KDFINE » Thu Jul 04, 2013 7:40 am

Part of the problem dates back to ABC turning over the News Division to Roone Arledge and the Entertainment Division. "News"was sacrificed to the corporate bottom line. Its lead to the dumbing down of everything.
Of course the growth of cable vision with a zillion outlets hasn't helped. He who shouts loudest...Growing up in the early 1950s in New York there were seven T.V. stations. Visiting relatives in Detroit in 1954 made me realize that other places had less. The evening news was 15 minutes long. Then it grew to 30 minutes, and now 35 minutes of so-called news, half of which is entertainment and commercials.
Gerrymandering is now a national sport. Last week's Supreme Court Decision repealing parts of the Voting Rights Act has opened the way for Texas to bring back a discredited re-districting plan. In the last election there were more votes cast for House Democrats than for House Republicans, but you wouldn't know that from the makeup of that body. While this is a cornerstone of our republic ensuring that democracy is more than merely majority rules its lead to house members of both parties having the ultimate goal of merely being re-elected rather than trying to figure out what is good for the entire country.
Over-population. This is not just a problem in the U.S.A. In his later essays Reverend Malthus pointed out that excess population leads not to just the commonly believed famine, pestilence, and war, but to decline in people's levels of subsistence. We're now living in a world of too many people for the number of meaningful ways to earn decent livings. With a pot shared by too many people folks turn inward and even tribal.
I think that the decline of the draft and the rise of the all volunteer army has had a negative side. While the military is more professional and efficient, the burden of the defense of the country is not equally shared. Finally, the universal draft, with all its flaws, was a great socialization process for the citizenry.
I'm sure that with time I could find some other things to sound off about such as the rise of social media at the expense of face to face contact. I won't be on-line again today.
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Re: What has happened to America?

Postby cullman » Thu Jul 04, 2013 3:22 pm

It's chugging along as it always has. Much of America's bipolar behaviour you see today has happened before. Journalism and the media are as wacky today as they were in the days of William Randolph Hurst and those who preceded.
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Re: What has happened to America?

Postby lonewolf » Thu Jul 04, 2013 11:37 pm

Parting shot.
Whatever was/is wrong with America was exacerbated by the election of Obama. :(
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Re: What has happened to America?

Postby Flumpy » Fri Jul 05, 2013 1:38 am

The rest of the world begs to differ.
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