General Question

CaptainHarley's avatar

Are we in the midst of a "new culture war?"?

Asked by CaptainHarley (22414points) May 24th, 2010

For those of you truly interested in America’s future, I strongly recommend you read this article, then tell us what you honestly think. BTW… it blasts both Democrats and Republicans.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/05/21/AR2010052101854.html

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76 Answers

ragingloli's avatar

It may criticise both parties, but apart from that it is incredibly biased and onesided: On the one side the shining white, unregulated, perfect and infallible free market and on the other side the evil, satanic,oppressive ‘statism’. I am not impressed.

JLeslie's avatar

I think it is not all or none. America has been a hybrid of Government and Capitalism forever. We tweek it all of the time, and finding the perfect balance is difficult, and also probably changes with the times. One of the problems I see with issues like these is we tend to be a like a pendulum swinging from one extreme to another. Having cooler heads, and taking little steps seems prudent.

Free enterprise is something I strongly support, but it seems we must have regulations to control things. I would argue that free enterprise and capitalism explains Latin America having basically two classes the very rich and the very poor. The labor class have no rights, no power, are underpaid and the wealthy are superwealthy. In the US labor unions, minimum wages, customer protections help to give a decent wage and safe products to Americans. Not to mention help to grow our middle class.

The people really nervous about a government take over of business, seem to also dwell on programs like welfare and even public education. My biggest beef with the new cultural wars you are referring to is mushing all of these things together. Just because a person is for socialized healthcare does not mean they are also for the government running everything. These type of scare tactics stop coversation.

ragingloli's avatar

May I also add that the Comments below the article are more informative and closer to reality than the entire article itself.

kevbo's avatar

I’m not an expert in logic and rhetoric, but this article seems fraught with straw men and somewhat false dichotomy. It feels like another exasperated cry of “if only we applied some common sense everything would be better!” and then implies everyone center and right of center has common sense and but is getting bullied by this 30% socialist faction who magically got into power with a minority position. All but a slim minority of us are for a free market ecosystem that allows merit-based achievement for individuals. Those of us who aren’t probably hold a contrary opinion out of experiences of minority discrimination which long ago never lived up to the promise of equal opportunity for all. The problem is that global, capitalistic monopolies (or aspiring monopolies) like to hide behind this free market gospel as if they are the equivalent of the entrepreneur, when in fact, they not only leverage their strength to kill competition, but also write the laws and regulations to favor large corporations and make doing business difficult if not impossible for competing independent businesses. Moreover, they can and do influence the government to gain contracts for foreign “aid” projects, phony defense work, private prison contracts, privitization in the schools, “disaster” response and so on. This is corporations “voting themselves the public largesse” and it is reinforced by the revolving door of employment between government and big agra, big oil, big pharma, etc.

If there is anything like a 70/30 split in America, it is a minority of elites who are tilting the table every direction in order to destabilize the rest of us (including entrepreneurs) so that we’ll become more compliant and less empowered customers. (And, some would say, bring us all under a new “international order”—as Obama recently described it). The socialist/statist threat is just one façade of a phenomenon that hides behind multiple facets, and as long as we keep believing that the façades are the problem, we’ll keep getting hosed by the entities that are running the show from the center (and we’ll keep working for them and buying their crap).

dpworkin's avatar

The real tension between idealistic Libertarianism and human justice was revealed when Rand Paul tried to explain why the owners of a lunch counter should be allowed to exclude Black people from the establishment.

laureth's avatar

“In one, America will continue to be an exceptional nation organized around the principles of free enterprise—limited government, a reliance on entrepreneurship and rewards determined by market forces. In the other, America will move toward European-style statism grounded in expanding bureaucracies, a managed economy and large-scale income redistribution.” Gee, they really aren’t very biased there, are they? ~~

Re: the cherrypicked Jefferson quotations. I can cherrypick some of TJ’s best stuff, too. To wit: “The poor who have neither property, friends, nor strength to labor are boarded in the houses of good farmers, to whom a stipulated sum is annually paid. To those who are able to help themselves a little or have friends from whom they derive some succor, inadequate however to their full maintenance, supplementary aids are given which enable them to live comfortably in their own houses or in the houses of their friends. Vagabonds without visible property or vocation, are placed in work houses, where they are well clothed, fed, lodged, and made to labor.” Link TJ also said, “Whenever there is in any country uncultivated lands and unemployed poor, it is clear that the laws of property have been so far extended as to violate natural right.” Link

“The statist narrative also held that only massive deficit spending could restore economic growth.” Well, stimulus spending is counted in the GDP. And economic growth is measured by GDP. Therefore, by definition, stimulus spending restores economic growth.

”‘Generally, do you think people are better off in a free-market economy, even though there may be severe ups and downs from time to time, or don’t you think so?’ Almost 70 percent of respondents agreed that they are better off in a free-market economy, while only 20 percent disagreed.” It depends what you mean by “free market economy.” Interestingly, the people that I hear most often touting a “free market economy” as the cure for the economy are often the ones who also promote tort reform and limited liability for corporations. Yet only when they are fully responsible for their errors can a free market exist, which economist Milton Friedman expressed in an interview. If we’re better off under a free market economy, why not push for an actual free market economy?

“Free enterprise brings happiness; redistribution does not.” My response. Please note that some of the most “evil, redistributive” countries top the “Happy” list, whereas the U.S. does not.

“Benjamin Franklin (a pretty rich man for his time) grasped the truth about money’s inability by itself to deliver satisfaction. “Money never made a man happy yet, nor will it,” he declared. “The more a man has, the more he wants. Instead of filling a vacuum, it makes one.”” Yet the article is lauding “earned money” as the key to happiness. Which way does the article want to go?

” And that’s exactly what the free enterprise system does: It makes earned success possible for the most people. This is the liberty that enables the true pursuit of happiness.” Interestingly, it also enables the rich to get richer and the poor to get poorer, too. While I’m sure the top of the pyramid is quite happy, there are many more at the bottom of the pyramid. Also, the notably “socialist” countries actually have more social mobility than we do in the U.S., implying that free enterprise is alive and well in those nations. From my link: ” If you believe your society is already economically mobile, you don’t spend a lot of time trying to solve the problem of insufficient economic mobility.”

“This defense is already underway, in a disorganized, grass-roots, American kind of way. Protests against the new statism have flared around the nation for more than a year.” I disagree that it’s disorganized, or grass-roots. The Tea Party, which I must assume they’re talking about, is well-funded, trying to sell $300—$500 a plate dinner fund raisers, and is also well-organized, by Dick Armey’s FreedomWorks. Since Dick Armey lobbies for Big Business, I have to see a connection between what Big Business wants and what Dick and his organization are pushing for. It would seem to mesh nicely, that Big Business interests are, well, interested in keeping up the status quo, since that’s how they profit.

Re: the comparison of the protests in the USA and in Greece: It is important to understand, too that the U.S. nothing like Greece when it comes to this.

“We stand for equality of opportunity” Do an inner-city kid and Warren Buffet’s kids have exactly the same opportunity to go to college, work hard, and make lives for themselves? Republicans would say yes, but I disagree. To work for real equality of opportunity, far more social justice is needed – and social and economic justice and true opportunity are what this article is railing against.

In short, people who do approve of the Free Enterprise-like status quo do so because they believe that they, too, can become as prosperous as the big guys with just a few lucky breaks and hard work. They seem to ignore that the system is tilted against them. It’s hard to believe that people could vote against their best interests, but they do.

I could go on, but this is already so long that I doubt anyone will actually read it. ;) If you’ve made it this far, good on you.

AmWiser's avatar

@laureth I read it, but it will take me another couple of days to understand it. I’m just not political. All I know is we are moving to a new America and it won’t be anything like we have known.

laureth's avatar

@AmWiser – The America of the 2000s is nothing like the America of the 1900s which is nothing at all like the America of the 1770s. ;) We’ve always been moving to an America unlike anything we’ve ever known.

kevbo's avatar

@laureth, I would argue that the Tea Party is grassroots, and definitely a group that at a grassroots level is among this purported 70% of “real Americans,” but the movement has been more or less hijacked and sabotaged by the Republican Party to keep it under control. Hence, the $500 dinner plates.

Abject racists notwithstanding.

GA, by the way. Nice use of TJ.

dpworkin's avatar

@laureth Thanks for the fine, probing, thoughtful answer.

laureth's avatar

@kevboHere you have it, the very dawn of the Tea Party movement caught on camera for posterity. It is a reporter on the floor of the Chicago Commodities exchange, upset about mortgage bailouts and calling for a Chicago tea party. I’m not sure how grassroots that is, nor how the Republican party could sabotage a former vice president of a trading firm’s whinging into something else. (Apparently he didn’t realize that the original Tea Party was a protest against a tax cut.)

kevbo's avatar

I’ll take your word for it. ;-)

janbb's avatar

Lurve for Mr. and Mrs. @laureth .

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CaptainHarley's avatar

If we continue this leftward swing too long, we will wind up killing the goose that laid the golden egg. Since most of the truly wealthy are insulated from almost anything either party can throw at them, it’s the middle class which gets hit the hardest when all these “changes” for the sake of change are implemented. We could argue the specifics of this article until the cows come home, but the bottom line is that people in the middle class are really pissed and intend to do something about it.

JLeslie's avatar

@CaptainHarley I am middle class, and I fail to see how taxing the rich and requiring business owners to pay a decent wage hurts the middle class? I hear right wingers (I am not calling you a right winger) talk about small business constantly and when I ask them the definition of a small business they have no clue. They have no idea what the definition truly is. Most businesses are consider small up to 500 employees, some industries up to 1500. Here is the link for the parameters http://www.sba.gov/contractingopportunities/officials/size/summaryofssi/index.html

I think many of the people who are all hyped up about business taxation and harming the average guy have no real idea what they are really talking about. I don’t mean they are stupid, I just mean they don’t have the proper definitions, and politicans love the assumptions the average guy is making.

laureth's avatar

@CaptainHarley – Don’t worry, this “leftward swing” is in the context of a larger rightward swing. Old-school Republicans (like Barry Goldwater) had views that look downright Democratic now, and even Ronald Reagan sometimes looks like a bleeding-heart liberal if you compare his policies and beliefs to the Conservatives of today.

Obama’s election was a result of how bad GWB sucked. The centrists and left finally had something to unite them (it’s like herding cats) and were able to squeak him in. Again, not to worry. I have no doubt that the lockstep Right will vote in their guy (or God forbid, Sarah) next time. People get the government they deserve, eh? And when that person sucks badly, there will be protests and a Leftie will be voted in. It’s a pendulum.

@janbb – The ire is mine, also the commentary, but he shot me a few of the links. ;)

CaptainHarley's avatar

Being neither Democratic nor Republican, I can safely stand on the margins and scoff at the Babbitts. : D

walterallenhaxton's avatar

No. It is the same war that we and our ancestors have been involved in for thousands of years. The people versus the current ruling gang.

chamelopotamus's avatar

The title of the question you asked sparked hope in me, I thought: “New culture war? Could that finally be the pronounced schism in society between people permanently indoctrinated into the old ways, and people interested in our greater potentials, coming out in the open with a split vision of our future?”. I’m looking forward to that “new culture war”, and that’s because we’re nowhere near our potential as a creature and as a society. Do I want a war? (A battle of ideologies) No, I don’t, but we have two courses: the one we started on which will destroy us, and the one we have to make for ourselves which will save us and actually propel us on to greater things.

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mammal's avatar

@walterallenhaxton the gang being the gargantuan corporate enterprise, their Public Relations team ie the Republicans and Democrats, their STASI like FBI and of course the guard dogs, or rather the attack dogs depending upon your perspective, deployed strategically in kennels all over the world…..

Anyways, that article is a diabolical piece of propaganda. A child could pin point the logical and historical inconsistencies, it is riddled with contradiction and moral ambivalence with regards to money, the most glaringly obvious omission is that money doesn’t make you happy, ok, but lack of it makes for a miserable existence. Clearly. Unless you’ve voluntarily renounced all material ambition for an ascetic life of wandering. You are continuously under the heel of the propertied class, who you either forced to enrich through employment, or beg. Either way you are treated with contempt.

This great nation with it’s lofty notions of freedom was born out of Bloody Revolution, not against the British but rather the Indigenous, who as a people, held a radically differing concept of property than the European, one that was wholly less rigid, that would ultimately lead to their extermination notwithstanding through the Buffalo culls (by proxy).

And of course property rights even extended to Slavery. But strangest of all, as the individual rights of Americans, all Americans, became more enshrined, through protest, civil movements etc, the State turned it’s attentions outwards toward other regions with which to accumulate it’s wealth, where, how shall we put it? Individual rights are less of an impediment to profitable business. Where individual rights in order to become a reality, have to be bitterly fought for against a super power of truly monstrous proportions.

Nullo's avatar

I hope not. We’re still in the midst of the old culture war.

laureth's avatar

@mammal – Hear, hear. Interestingly, that same Thomas Jefferson had this to say: “I am convinced that those societies (as the Indians) which live without government, enjoy in their general mass an infinitely greater degree of happiness than those who live under the European governments. Among the former, public opinion is in the place of law, and restrains morals as powerfully as laws ever did anywhere. Among the latter, under pretense of governing, they have divided their nations into two classes, wolves and sheep. I do not exaggerate… Experience declares that man is the only animal which devours his own kind; for I can apply no milder term to the governments of Europe, and to the general prey of the rich on the poor.”—Thomas Jefferson to Edward Carrington, 1787. ME 6:58

CaptainHarley's avatar

So what do we do with the ( apparently sizeable ) portion of our population who are materialistic and self-aggrandizing. Are you advocating shooting them, or just interning them in camps?

laureth's avatar

I don’t suggest shooting, or interning anyone in camps. I’ll leave that for the fascist right to do with outgroups when there is political and economic turmoil.

The materialistic are always with us. :) What I suggest is legislation to limit the damage, which is what the original article seems to be a polemic against.

laureth's avatar

(and Communist Left, for that matter.)

CaptainHarley's avatar

Why don’t we just lock all the radicals in a huge stadium somewhere, sell tickets, and pay off the national debt with the proceeds? : D

janbb's avatar

“And then they came for me, and there was no-one left to save me….”

janbb's avatar

If you were addressing my comment, here’s the full text. I don’t find it specious at all.

Pastor Martin Niemöller

There are several versions of the well-known statement attributed to the German anti-Nazi activist, Pastor Martin Niemöller (his family name can also be writted without the umlaut as “Niemoeller”). The following is said, by someone who heard him speak at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, GA, in 1959 (or 1960), to be what he actually said:

————————————————————————————————————————

In Germany they first came for the Communists,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant.

Then they came for me —
and by that time no one was left to speak up.

CaptainHarley's avatar

Who said anything about “coming for” anyone? Hmmm… pastor?

dpworkin's avatar

We know that people are “come for” because we haven’t forgotten history. Hmmmmm…... revisionist?

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walterallenhaxton's avatar

@laureth How to you propose to limit the damage of legislation. Using force on another human being other that as protection from them harming another person is always damaging. Force distorts behavior which results in further distortions all through society.
I really would like someone to explain to me what the difference is between right wing socialism and left wing socialism. They both mess up peoples lives and make them hard or impossible to live..

CaptainHarley's avatar

I just joined the Libertarian Party. I really don’t agree with some of their stands, but I’ve nowhere else to go, politically speaking. : ((

laureth's avatar

@walterallenhaxton – Perhaps what you see as “damaging legislation,” I see as something more akin to the guardrail at the edge of a highway. Sure, it totally limits your freedom to go over the edge, but it also protects me from having to come get you with an ambulance, it spares your insurance company or the taxpayers from paying your hospital bill, and it spares your family from having to identify your mangled body after you went down the mountainside.

Example: I hope the BP spill situation will be this generation’s equivalent of the 1969 Cuyahoga River fire. That’s the time (unlike all the other river fires since the industrial age began) when people sat up, took notice, and demanded things like the Clean Water act. Of course, new environmental laws will be “damaging” to BP and other companies, making them install safety devices and safety procedures that they pretty much ignored up ‘til now (too expensive?). However, I’m guessing that a $500,000 part (which is required in other countries, such as Norway and Brazil) might seem really cheap compared with their current mess.

Of course, making them add safety through legislation is completely damaging – or it may be that what we had before was overvalued because it didn’t count all the externalities. What’s “damaging” to one is, in short, “safety and protection” to another.

JLeslie's avatar

@CaptainHarley Why not just be an independent?

CaptainHarley's avatar

@JLeslie

That’s what I was before I joined the Libertarian party, but it severely limits your ability to influence the political process. You only get to vote for those the major parties have already picked to run. At least as a member of the Libertarian Party I’m with people who kinda, sorta think the same way, and get to help decide who runs for the Libertarian Party’s candidate slate, as well as being able to vote in the general election.

walterallenhaxton's avatar

@laureth The problem with the BP spill is where it is located. It is there because places where it is far easier and safer to drill for oil have bee n placed off limits legislations. You can do anything you like with BP. It is merely a tool the customers use to get what they want to live their lives. When you talk about hurting a tool you talk nonsense. What you are really talking about is the customers. It is them who you wish to hurt. The mother who wants fresh milk for her baby. The father who needs to get to his job so that he can feed his family. They are the ones that you wish to make things hard for.

laureth's avatar

@walterallenhaxton – BP is, besides a “tool,” made up of people. Careless people, at that. As you see, without safety regulations (or when those are not enforced), BP made quite a mess. I fail to see how allowing BP to make a mess helps moms who need milk, or fathers who need jobs. Notably hurt, though, are fishermen in Louisiana who need jobs, and bayou moms who need baby milk. Those are the people that would be protected by stronger legislation that might ward off the damages of people (BP is headed by people) that are a little too greedy sometimes.

JLeslie's avatar

@CaptainHarley That is why my dad is a registered Democrat now. He was a Republican my entire life until 3 years ago. He would have preferred independent, but in his state it would have basically left him out of the primaries, because you can only vote within your party.

CaptainHarley's avatar

@JLeslie

I understand. In a very few states you can vote in either primary, but those are the exceptions.

walterallenhaxton's avatar

@laureth The point I was making was that they were working at the limits of technology. Things are inherently unsafe there. They were using the best developed safety methods. They simply failed. I do not watch TV so can guess. Those idiots are talking their heads off. They are probably counting small technical safety violations and making a big deal of them. When you are doing a complex job you would be derelict in your duties to not concentrate on the job and instead be going around and looking for safety violations. Pulling people from the main job to tidy up is also a safety hazard and must be taken into account too. Rocks are not uniform substances and they sometimes have unseen weak spots in them. It is a risky job that they do. It would be far better if they had been drilling in the oil lands that the government is hoarding onshore. Maybe that deep is not so good an idea.
They have to work within the context of what is possible for them. The government defines much of that context. A valve failed. Who made the failing valve. If it was BP then they are responsible. Was the quality control up to engineering specs? Was it designed for that depth and those pressures? Were the metals it was made from of the highest quality? Halliburton poured the cement. Was it the right cement for those conditions. Was the job done correctly? Was the valve installed properly? Were the bolts of the proper grade and quality of metal? Did the mechanical staff on site have the power to shut down the job at anytime when they saw a flaw that needed fixing?

dpworkin's avatar

The drill chief saw pieces of the annular come through the pipe, told a supervisor, and was told to forget about it. The annular seals the riser against methane. Methane is what blew the rig.

mattbrowne's avatar

I wonder about the obsession of some Americans when it comes to the word “war”. Not every clash or conflict or debate should be seen as something violent. In this case it’s more about a competition of ideas and concepts.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Oh yes it’s a Meme Virus. May the strongest Meme survive!

Huh… Sounds a little like biological evolution… No. No, I’m not going there… here ;)

ragingloli's avatar

@mattbrowne
Well, the US gained their independence from the great British Empire in a war.
They abolished slavery with the civil war.
And they brag with World War 2 where they “saved” Europe from the Nazis (never mind that it was the Soviets that did the vast majority of the work.)
It would seem that to many Americans, war is something glorious.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Yes. Americans are the only people in history who view War as something glorious.

dpworkin's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies I guess the Prussians were outside of history, along with Napoleon, Genghis Kahn, Achilles, Homer, Churchill, Czar Nicholas, Ivan the Terrible, Sun Tzu, Ho Chi Minh, Pol Pot, the Hmong Warriors, Clausewitz, Heidegger, I could go on…

ragingloli's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies
That is not what I said, is it?

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@dpworkin check your sarcasm meter against my comments

@ragingloli No. That is not what you said.

JLeslie's avatar

@ragingloli I am American and I don’t think of Americans as thinking of war as glorious. I would say we take pride in defeating Hitler, and fighting for right in the civil war. We feel some shame regarding Vietnam. I guess we want to feel like if we are in a war, that it was for the greater good and that we faught with skill. I think there are some war mongers amongst us, who revel in the glory of war, but there are many people who question the wars we have been, and do not see it as glorious, but rather as sometimes a necessary action. Even then, many historians question whether some of our wars are necessary. I recently heard someone speaking about the civil war, and that eventually the south would have given up slavery most likely, and further that maybe we should have let the south secede. Obviously many Americans question going to Iraq. I think we cannot paint all Americans the same.

My belief is there is some marketing going on. Since we have a volunteer military, it behooves the military to promote themselves as a glorious endeavour. Also, it is reinforced in America that we are a great superpower economically and militarily, kind of a mantra that is repeated over and over again.

janbb's avatar

I love the way this question keeps changing and evolving.

@ragingloli Although I often agree with your views, I’m with @JLeslie and @RealEyesRealizeRealLies on this one. America is not the only country to glorify war and many, many Americans are anti-war. We are made very aware of the bloody toll that the Civil War took on soldiers and civilians and there are many who objected to both Vietnam and the Iraq War. Don’t tar us all with the same brush.

Nullo's avatar

@JLeslie Actually, the Civil War wasn’t about slavery. I know. Surprised me, too.
I agree, though; by and large we don’t glorify war. What we do glorify, I think, is the willingness to do what must be done.

JLeslie's avatar

@Nullo I think of the civil war as being about slavery and secession. What do you think it is about? Any references? My history is horrible, so always willing to learn and/or check my current knowledge.

Nullo's avatar

@JLeslie Secession, mostly, with some state’s rights dribbled on top. Slavery was a side dish, or perhaps the appetizer.
You might read up on the Civil War, sometime. It’s an interesting period.
As with all conflicts, there are sides and biases, even in our modern textbooks (which are, after all, based on older sided and biased accounts). There is a saying, that history is written by the victorious. I suggest that you balance your research accordingly.

laureth's avatar

@walterallenhaxton – Thanks for your explanation, but my point is exactly the opposite. They were not using the best possible safety methods. I linked to a story up there and I will link to it again.

Here’s the upshot, if you don’t want to read the whole article. BP…

1. Was rushing things, because they were over time and over budget. Some workers were told to do double their normal workload on the final day. At least one test, when it gave a “Danger, Will Robinson!” result, was re-run; when the second test was normal, it was ignored as an anomaly, instead of investigated as a possible problem. Problems with the blowout preventer (including leaking hydraulic fluid) were ignored, and the mud sealing the pipe was pumped out before installation of a spring and cement plug to seal the well.

2. Cut short a procedure to detect natural gas in the well; while the test would take 6 to 12 hours to complete for a well this deep, it was cut short after 30 minutes.

3. Skipped what professors of drilling call the only procedure that can test the reliability of cement.

4. Designed this well in such a way as to make it easier for natural gas to rise in the well (which, I suppose, could be useful, if you had platform equipment that can handle natural gas as well as crude oil).

5. Put an engineer with extensive experience in drilling on land in charge, “to learn deepwater drilling”.

6. When the cement contractor said the well needed 21 centering devices in order to properly cement the well, BP decided that 6 would be good enough.

7. Chose an unusual well design, that made it easier for gas to seep into the pipe.

It is not clear if the blowout preventer completely failed, or if it merely was overpowered by more gas pressure than it could handle without the spring and cement that BP planned to install after replacing the mud in the pipe with seawater. But it certainly sounds like, at every decision point, a choice that incrementally increased the danger of an accident was made.

As such, you can see they were not working safely, were not using the best methods, and were in fact about as shoddy as you can get. Meanwhile, they seem to be messing up the recovery as well (caution: link goes to video with adult, NSFW language). This is what I want to prevent if at all possible! And to think (I’ll repeat again) that it could have been prevented, all of this mess, with a single part that is required in other countries, but not this one. A part which, if added, might raise the cost of a barrel of oil by a few cents. I suppose a few cents more for a barrel of oil is “harmful to business,” though, which is why it’s not required here. It would harm the baby milk moms and the dads who need work, etc.

janbb's avatar

@laureth Thanks for the great summary.

walterallenhaxton's avatar

@dpworkin I guess they do have a criminal case. I supervisors word should never trump a drill chief’s.

walterallenhaxton's avatar

I hereby declare formal Jihad against bullshit.

CaptainHarley's avatar

[ Joins @walterallenhaxton in Jihad against bullshit ] I think we’ll have our best results by doing away with both major political parties! Heh!

mattbrowne's avatar

@ragingloli, @JLeslie – In my opinion Americans are right in taking pride in defeating Hitler, and fighting for right cause in the civil war. But this means the word ‘war’ should not be used in the context of drugs or poverty or culture, because this belittles real and very horrible wars.

In 1996 Samuel P. Huntington used the term ‘The Clash of Civilizations’ in his famous book. He didn’t use the word ‘war’.

I don’t have a problem discussing a clash of cultures.

JLeslie's avatar

@mattbrowne That is something to think about. I never thought of it that way. English, as you know, especially the common verbal usage of the language, is very lazy about coming up with words. We use one word for many meanings. I don’t know how German is, but my husband has always pointed this out (he is Spanish speaking) and recently I had a Russian woman point it out. And, by coincidence a couple of days ago on a rerun of Little House on the Prairie an new immigrant to Walnut Grove, who was trying to learn English, said the same thing. I would guess that when we use “war” and other words for multiple meanings there is more risk of it gettin misunderstood when translated or when people who speak English as a second language hear the use of it is possibly more offensive. However, I do think it is a very good point. We should probably use a different word.

mattbrowne's avatar

@JLeslie – On German television when American press conferences get translated into German, the word ‘war’ often gets replaced with the German word for ‘fight’ depending on the context. Same for the word ‘hate’ (also overused in English). It often gets replaced with the German word for ‘dislike’ depending on the context of course.

JLeslie's avatar

@mattbrowne I did not mean to imply that people who are translating are translating incorrectly, sorry if it came out that way. I know, obviously, you are very fluent in English and understand the context in which we are using the word. Again, I think you make a good point. I want to make sure I did not offend you in any way. I was actually agreeing that English, maybe more so in America (not sure), we are very lazy with the spoken word in my opinion.

walterallenhaxton's avatar

@mattbrowne Matt you should learn a little more about the Civil War. For those in power it had little to do with abolishing slavery. Read the 13th amendment. It does not abolish slavery at all. That is just a current custom.

JLeslie's avatar

@walterallenhaxton You probably will take issue with this link, but everything I have ever read does site slavery as part of the reason for the war http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Civil_War

walterallenhaxton's avatar

@JLeslie They leave out the causes of the battle. at fort Sumter. There was an agreement to not reinforce it and the Union broke it. They started the war that way. Maybe you have not noticed it but with the exception of Gettysburg well into the war all of the battles were in the south and in border states with strong leanings toward the south. It was a tax war by the north. It had been settled some years before that that the tariffs on the south that were spent in the north were not to be raised any more. The north had just broken that promise when succession took place. They knew when they raised those taxes that it had already been decided by the southern states that it would be impossible for them to live under. Slavery was on the way out at that time. The rest of the world with few exceptions abolished slavery without any war to do so. We certainly could have done it the same way here.

dpworkin's avatar

@walterallenhaxton That is a one-sided and counter-historical summary of the American Civil War. I think you know that. I wonder what your agenda is in propagating it.

JLeslie's avatar

@walterallenhaxton Even if we agree that slavery would have eventually went away on its own, it was going on at the time. Are you saying that the North thought they were fighting about slavery? Kind of like we thought we went to Iraq for weapons of mass distruction? I don’t question your taxation story, I guess that makes sense for why maybe the North wanted to keep the southern states? My history knowledge sucks so I don’t have a way to refute it. I often wonder what the US would be like if we had let the south go bye bye.

mattbrowne's avatar

@JLeslie – No, no, I wasn’t offended in any way. Actually, I wanted to point out that intellectual Americans such as Samuel Phillips Huntington prefer terms like ‘clash’ over ‘war’ because in a certain context ‘war’ is not the appropriate term.

War on drugs was coined by Richard Nixon.

War on terror was coined by the Bush administration.

mattbrowne's avatar

@walterallenhaxton – It is my understanding that the Civil War was about many things. And slavery was one of them.

wilma's avatar

“It is my understanding that the Civil War was about many things. And slavery was one of them.”

@mattbrowne That is my understanding as well.

JLeslie's avatar

@walterallenhaxton Ok, lets say the civil war was not about slavery. The south still was holding on to it. Still thought slavery was ok. I am sure there were southerners who were against it, you can never say everyone, but I Iive in the south, the midsouth, and I cannot believe what I still hear down here.

Also, I am curious, why is it important to you that the people think the war was not about slavery? Is it just that you feel the history needs to be corrected, or is it that you don;t like the idea of the south being portrayed as slave owners?

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