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China decries US 'moral authority' (yes CHINA!)

PostPosted: Sun Oct 26, 2008 11:16 am
by bigearth
China decries US 'moral authority'
By Tony Cheng in California

Many South Los Angeles residents say they are being denied their rights [GALLO/GETTY]

Nowhere personifies the American dream more than Los Angeles, California.

From the Hollywood Hills to the glittering boutiques of Rodeo Drive, the material rewards of success are easily visible, attracting millions from all over the world to trade in their rags for riches.

But according to the Chinese government, the American dream is exactly that, a myth perpetrated by the rich to keep millions locked in a cycle of poverty that is virtually impossible to escape.

In a report issued annually by the Chinese State Council, the Chinese government accuses the US government of "widespread human rights abuses on its own territory", and says that US criticism on the human rights records of other countries is simply hypocrisy.

It is an accusation that rings true to Manya Anderson, an unemployed African-American woman living in the notorious South Los Angeles area, formerly known as South Central and infamous for its gang culture and high levels of crime.

Manya has a masters degree from the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA), but after a shooting at her last place of employment several years ago, she was forced to take a leave of absence, and she has not been able to find work since.

Racial 'suffering'

In what she refers to as a systematic degradation of the area, public facilities have been closed, hospitals shut down, and even grocery stores forced out, leaving fast food outlets the only source of food.

"The US doesn't have a leg to stand on in criticising other governments for [some] practices when it itself is engaged in them"

Alison Parker, Human Rights Watch

"I don't have the same rights as people on the other side of town," says Manya.

"If I had blonde hair and blue eyes I would be in a better financial situation today."

Of course civil rights have long been talked about in the US, but the Chinese government report suggests human rights are essentially the same, and minority groups, particularly African-Americans, are suffering now more than ever before.

"We have our faults but we have a functioning democratic system," concedes Robert Wood, a spokesman for the US state department.

But his response to the report suggests the current administration does not take kindly to criticism. "I'm not going to respond to Chinese government accusations," he says.

Nonetheless, it is undeniable that the US has lost some of its moral authority during George Bush's term in office.

Once regarded as the world's policeman, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and abuses of prisoners at Abu Ghraib have damaged global perceptions, something that many Americans seem to feel acutely.

"Holding people without trial for years on end at Guantanamo, using secret prisons and blackhole sites for interrogations, subjecting people to torture, the US doesn't have a leg to stand on in criticising other governments for those practices when it itself is engaged in them," says Alison Parker of Human Rights Watch.

Domestic concerns

On the streets of California opinions are divided about how much the US should look to the outside world.

Orange County has the highest concentration of conservative voters in the US, and incomes are clearly high, with luxury cars parked in many driveways and yachts moored in the backyard.

With a jewelled "stars and stripes" badge adorning her blazer, one woman told Al Jazeera she wanted the next president to spend more time concentrating on domestic issues rather than worrying about the opinion of the rest of the world.

And when we asked whether the US should come under the same scrutiny as China, one man told us: "We're the United States. We make our own laws and should follow our own laws."

Uncertain future

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By contrast, Haight Ashbury in San Francisco has been famous since the 1960s for its hippies and liberal thinkers.

Pointing to the lack of gay rights, the failure of a social safety net and the growing gap between the rich and poor, many we asked felt the next president had much to do to repair the US's reputation.

"Nobody here is going to agree with anything the administration has done in terms of the war," one woman said.

"In terms of Guantanamo Bay, in terms of the way they deal with the poor, in terms of the way they deal with black people."

But as Americans prepare to go to the polls to decide their future, some feel there is not much to look forward to.

"Living is overrated," Manya Anderson tells me with a defeated tone, as she sets out for another day of job searching.

"I'm not looking forward to tomorrow," she says. "The rent is due." ... 56814.html

PostPosted: Mon Oct 27, 2008 2:22 am
by zhivkov
bigearth thanks so much for putting these links and stories here. I was on SSI benefits for a brief time-4 or 5 months due to my deteriorating health. Out of the blue in mid-March 08 they cut me off. If I did not have a family that cared about me I would be homeless by now. What really smokes me is that I have so much medical documentation and during the bad days I can barely move-before getting up tonight I spent 13 hours in bed due to pain. I do consider myself very lucky all things considered-many have no choice but to go to the streets or live in their cars. This being America I am surprised there is any kind of safety net at all. When you have to get a lawyer for your Social Security case it usually takes 12-14 months to get approved-how many in today's society have this kind of time. I am especially frightened for families with young children.

PostPosted: Mon Oct 27, 2008 9:42 am
by bigearth
imo, america could have all the hospitals, schools, soup kitchens and hostels it could ever hope to need..if it wanted.

the worlds biggest mafia, the military industrial complex runs your country, not the people.

monkey-boy is just a front man for dark chicanery, halliburton's guy on the inside. think of all those meals supplied to the army at inflated prices?

daylight robbery!

when as a nation, you can break the back of those pigs, wasting money by the train load on silly military toys and wasted foreign adventures (iraq has cost over $500bn so far), you will truly be free.

oh and don't get me started on 'bailing out' money-pigs and their pathetic gambling habits..the fires all stoked by that "financial genius" alan greenback bolting interest rates down for an unduly long period, creating cheap fuel for the fire..

everyone could be housed, fed and looked after...AND you could still have all the "defence" you ever needed..

regards :)

PostPosted: Mon Oct 27, 2008 12:06 pm
by zhivkov
You sure have got that right! If I think about what the ruling class has done to this nation sometimes it literally makes me ill. A year ago or so I read that the average American's IQ is 97. If true, and it wouldn't surprise me at all if it is, no one can tell me that is not by design. Paraphrasing George Carlin- 'The ruling class doesn't want a smart,educated people. Only people who are bright enough to take orders and never question authority.' He did it much better and that is not exact. I believe Mr. Carlin and Mr. Hicks were right on top of what has happened and will continue to happen to us, unless we ever have the guts to get rid of the plutocracy. I hope to high heaven we are in the last stages of monopoly capitalism and can form a true Republic, of by and for ALL the People. Best wishes and thanks again.

PostPosted: Mon Oct 27, 2008 1:28 pm
by bigearth
zhivkov wrote:I hope to high heaven we are in the last stages of monopoly capitalism and can form a true Republic, of by and for ALL the People.

mm, let's see what this "change" will bring..

i wish you and all the american people well for the future :)