Either, a situation in which someone being attacked for possessing language ability, or the depressing reality that such petty squabbles, in the politics of the US, are felt to be deserving of attention from the rest of the world…
Fortunately I’m rather confident that those that hold the opinion that ability in a second language is a bad thing are people are few and far between (yes, even in the US). Unfortunately I think stories like this get repeated in the US media as well as other countries because people love hearing about other peoples crazy opinions. The crazier the better. That said, I think this is the case no matter where you are in the world. Its just that US news tends to be covered more around the world than probably any other country.
As for predictions, Romney. Republicans tend to vote for “the next guy in line” more often than not and Romney is just that person. Also, he could win the general election if unemployment stays as high as it is. Americans tend to vote for the opposing party anytime unemployment is high. In fact I don’t think any incumbent has been reelected with unemployment above about 8-9%. I’m not sure of the exact number.
I’m not sure of how good a politician Ron Paul is but he seems a whole lot better than any of the others. Obama has proven to just be another good in rhetoric but delivering little more than the same restriction of rights as his predecessors.
Ron Paul is too radical in many areas to ever win the nomination or draw enough votes in the general election. He has a huge following down here in Austin, but a deep examination of his policy leaves him coming up short for the tastes of many Americans (beliefs like wanting to abolish the minimum wage, the Civil Rights act, etc.), though his honesty and consistency is always refreshing and admirable.
There isn’t a single Republican contender that has a much of a chance at all of defeating Obama in this upcoming election cycle. It would take a miracle and a major Obama blunder for the Democrats to lose in 2012, but I could see Congress becoming more Republican during the next year. I think that if anyone has a shot at unseating Obama, it might just be a Romney/Huntsman ticket (though I still think Obama is almost guaranteed his reelection).
I think that Ron Paul very much believes in the power of the free market. Personally, I very much agree with him there. It should be noted that there has never been a true example of this happening yet. Many people don’t understand this and believe that this is what we have now and therefore react against it as if capitalism itself is the problem. There has been a lot of study done on this topic and what I’ve taken from it all is that it’s neo-capitalism which is running the show - and poorly. The thing is that there is a lot of influence which prevents our markets from being anything near ‘free’. (Social welfare, bailouts, subsidies, etc.) Some of these things are seen as good and some are seen as bad. He does indeed appear radical to people because I think most people don’t realise the economic and political situation nor the ideas behind these things.
Back in the day before minimum wages, if people didn’t get enough money for working, they would strike. Now, people are paid as low as possible (which isn’t enough) and they have little legal recourse to do anything about it. Because people aren’t forced to thing about such things, they become complacent. They grumble about it and just accept the debt spiral.
Personally, I think that many of these things are great ideas but America is definitely not ready for most of them. However, if he did become president and there was enough majority, he would push through a few positive things which would balance some of the ridiculous things that have been implemented since the 80s.
Imyirtseshem: I feel like you’re making some false assumptions. I can’t see how you came to the conclusion that a minimum wage keeps workers from demanding decent conditions. You will find that in most countries that do have a minimum wage (and which is a hell of a lot better than in the US, though I have yet to see one I think is actually reasonable) workers just as well manage to defend their rights whenever they are being trodden on. Instead of waiting for workers to become so fed up they go on strike and possibly have their demands met - which takes months at a time at least - it seems like far less of a hassle to just simply raise the minimum wage.The situation you are describing no doubt has more to do with the abysmal worker’s rights of the US, the betterment of which is hardly a priority of the average Republican.
This free market we keep hearing about might be the solution, sure. But all that is of course speculation. At any rate I wouldn’t gamble away whatever safety net still exists on the off chance that the “free market” will automatically correct all of this. Furthermore, seing as the greater part of the capital, assets etc is currently in the hands of giant corporations, simply dismantling the welfare state would seem to me pointless unless you would at the same time expropriate and redistribute it to the population. If you at all care about their well-being, that is. However that stance would obviously not be a very popular one. (Note that I’m not necessarily advocating this in particular, just hypothesizing)
Regarding Ron Paul, well. The guy is certainly remarkably clear-headed for a Republican, I find him very honest and I do like that he’s one of very few politicians around who (at least in some sense) truly cares about liberty and integrity. However his stubborn hostility to anything resembling welfare as well as his anti-abortion stance, among other things, is where he shows his colors and becomes really sketchy in my opinion. Also I can’t stand his fanbase. Oh well.
kokorodoko: I believe that you are making some false assumptions about the average Republican not caring about the betterment of the human condition. Republicans do care, and they understand that improvements in the living conditions of society cannot be sustained in the long term by a government, but must come from the private sector. If you make it the job of the government to hand out rights and free ponies to everybody as if they were candy, then you wind up with a situation like Greece, Italy, and Spain, where the older working class has a ton of cushy (and expensive to the state) benefits in exchange for very little work required to keep their jobs, which in turn creates a huge burden on the national treasury and worse, and extremely high unemployment rate among young adults.
Quality of life of a society improves with a strong economy and with innovations in technology, both both of which come from the private sector. For example, in the United States in the early 1900’s poverty meant you were lucky if you had a steady supply of toilet paper. Now most people under the poverty line here have at least 2 tvs and many have access to the internet. Everybody is talking about the increasing gap in the United States between the rich and the poor, but the fact remains that today’s poor and far richer now than anybody in poverty has ever been in the past. This is all due to the free market and the private sector.
Imy…most sweat shops in China are run by local Chinese small and medium sized corporations. I repeat, large corporations usually have better wage and other conditions than small corporations. Check it out.
I was in China in October. People there work hard for low wages. From what I could see, most were happy to have the work. Many many people have improved their standard of living. There is no comparison to what I saw there 30 and 40 years ago, not to mention the millions who died in famines 50 years ago.
Corporations, big and small, domestic and foreign, buy from Chinese factories. Whenever factories are owned by foreign “big mean corporations”, conditions are much better than in small medium sized Chinese owned factories, almost without exception. From what I saw Chinese factories pay people on a piece work basis and workers word long hours with little time off. They are happy to have the work, because on the farm there is no work to be had, or only work at much lower wages. That is why China is competitive. China has cheap labour costs. That is why foreign companies from all over the world, big and small, buy there.
Is that difficult to understand? Is there something particularly evil about the role of big corporations in all of this. Should they stop buying from China ? I don’t understand the point.
The thing is that there are some big corporations which do some awful things. This is on various levels - worker rights, environmental issues (there’s an endless list of abuses here), intervention within the political arena which is leading to various anti-democratic laws being passed or considered (let’s look at SOPA and PIPA?), medling with legal and academic systems (let’s look at the tobacco companies back in the day) and so forth. The negative aspects of these corporations are partially conscious, some opportunist, and some unconscious.
Not everything they do is horrible but corporations have a lot to answer to. A corporation should be help accountable if it makes people work for 16 hours a day for a pittance, or spills a chemical into a river, or chops down 500 year old forest which destroy the habitats or rare species of throw dynamite into caves to kill a bat colony…only to later say they aren’t going to mine it after all (a case from here in Australia).
Capitalism is to a degree, inherently exploitive. It has its positive sides but this one needs to be realised instead of just ignoring the faults and sweeping them under the carpet. Basically, cheaper labour = cheaper prices…yeah it’s hard to see what’s not to like about that. What’s a good business move to one person, is possibly a life destroying move to another. It just so happens that the group that benefits the most are the rich and the few. Add a little neo-con nonsense and you’ve got a much deeper exploitation occurring. This is what many people around the world are most upset about when they complain about the ‘big bad corporation’.
A free market plus strong democracy is a winning combination. The truth is that we don’t exactly have either in full swing right now.