Saturday, February 8, 2014

Judge how free you are by the extent to which the 'truth'can be reported!

I have written a great deal (via my blogs) about many aspects of freedom, corruption, cheating, and the more negative aspects of life in a number of countries, including my own. Of course on the 'freedom to express your thoughts and beliefs metre', there is a huge difference between those nations. In some, no such right exists and in others there is an apparent downward slide as megalomaniac leaders or groups take hold over their respective countries.
I have often criticised the USA for a number of reasons and I have 'shoved the stick' at our neighbours across the ditch; Australia, but not for lack of freedoms (yet!). But, it has to be said that in the USA it is still possible for a large range of views, being expressed and lived, ranging from the 'cult-like' groups who espouse certain religious/cultural beliefs, right though to the abhorrent actions of racists marginal sectors who still hold to old, dangerous and badly informed criteria. Those groups of course are under constant surveillance.
The USA is a huge country and that such a range of espoused beliefs should come as non surprise. These groups quote the Constitution as the basis for their right to exists and for now, who am I to challenge that, even if others suffer because of that?
If we look at the less extreme in the USA, it is not hard to see enacted every day on our TV screens and other media, the constant belittling of the leader of the USA, The President. On one hand we have the likes of Fox TV who seem to be constantly trying to curtail his Obama Care along with many other aspects of his Presidency. Fox can do this, just as other news outlets can proclaim him as their 'hero.' This is how it has been for a long time in  the USA, even though at times there have been curtailments upon the freedom of the press and others to express their views. Take the time in the 50's when a certain head of a major Governmental organization took it upon himself to throw a spanner in the 'freedom works.' That period in American history has gone but not forgotten, because it must not be, or it will arise again.
The difference between the USA and it's 20thC rival the USSR and now Russia, is that the tradition of free speech in the USA runs so much deeper and one that many (on the extreme) would take up arms to defend that right. In that respect at least I can understand the position some on the' gun lobby' side take, but I still will not be swayed that unfettered gun ownership protects democracy.
The differences between the USA and Russia are huge. For every move that any President in the USA takes that may threaten freedom of then press, there is strong opposition, but the Russian leadership is able to take a move on the opposite direction, as we are witnessing on a daily basis. You can be assured that any thawing , is just for the time when the world is focussed on the Sochi Games. After that is all over, the regime will resume it's stranglehold over any voices who dare to criticise the new oligarchy.
I suspect that the USA will hold itself up as a 'torch to freedom,' and Russia will be there on the other side, as the Great Pretender.' The rest of us will be merely observers in a process that is way beyond our influence.
Those who are most influential in the USA will continue to play the 'balancing act' that they have pursued for decades; allow open discussion, but find ways to control anything that threatens their existence as the main power brokers within the USA. Compared to what we are witnessing (and not seeing) in Russia, such moves are lost in the comparison between the 'extreme' and the--well moderate. I know which country I would feel 'less threatened.' Then again, there is a lot to be said for living in a small 'democratic' country at the bottom of the South Pacific, where we all know one another, and still have the capacity to change things, if we bother to get off our butts!
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