Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 28th Mar 2017 22:47 UTC
Legal

The United States, a country in North-America bogged down by extensive corruption, just passed a bill allowing ISPs to share and sell users' browsing history without their consent.

Internet providers now just need a signature from President Trump before they’re free to take, share, and even sell your web browsing history without your permission.

The House of Representatives passed a resolution today overturning an Obama-era FCC rule that required internet providers to get customers' permission before sharing their browsing history with other companies. The rules also required internet providers to protect that data from hackers and inform customers of any breaches.

The corrupt US senator who sponsored this clearly atrocious bill, Marsha Blackburn, from an area in the southern part of the country called Tennessee, received 693,000 US dollar in bribes from AT&T, Comcast, Verizon, and other related companies who operate in the country's dysfunctional telecommunications sector.

In the United States, officially a representative democracy, it is entirely normal for high-level figures - up to and including the president of the troubled nation, a man named Donald Trump - to receive vast sums of money to enact laws written by corporations, regardless of their effects on civil liberties or the poor and needy people of the country.

Americans, as citizens of the nation are called, often lack access to basic necessities such as healthcare, parental leave, clean drinking water, high-quality infrastructure, and so on. This is in spite of the country's vast natural resources and wealth, to which only a few percent of the country's population of 320 million have access to.

Thread beginning with comment 642454
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
A few percent?!
by jasutton on Wed 29th Mar 2017 01:11 UTC
jasutton
Member since:
2006-03-28

Thom,

While I agree with your basic premise that politicians in the US are corrupt (as they are just about anywhere outside the US also), and that this bill is unjustifiable, your final paragraph where you state that only a few percent of the US's citizens have access to clean drinking water, healthcare, et. al., simply isn't true; in fact, the opposite is true.

As someone who actually lives and works in the US, I can attest to the fact that anyone can go to any Emergency Room and get treatment if needed, even if they have no way to pay for it. I can attest to having traveled throughout my country and finding infrastructure to be built up sufficiently for me to travel to an area to which I've never been and survive quite easily. And while the taste of the tap water varies from place to place, it is always safely drinkable. Your attempt to point to one case of unsafe drinking water and suggest that it reflects a common occurence in my entire country (to which you don't live) seems disingenuous at best, and downright malicious at worst.

I understand our respective countries have very different governmental structures. I'm okay with that. I won't attempt to deeply analyze your country, as I have no experience there, but my quick perusal of Wikipedia suggests that a big difference between our countries is that mine taxes less and provides less to it's citizens (allowing them to make their own choices, and yes, even mistakes) while yours tends to tax more and provide more (more safety nets). While you might imagine that your country has FAR lower poverty than mine because of this difference in structure, yours has about 91% of it's citizenry above the poverty line while mine has about 85%; not really that far off.

I am what most in the US would classify as "middle class." My tax rate after everything is said and done is around 30% (which is average for the population). I have a job in technology in which I work around 40 hours a week, sometimes more, and sometimes less but still pays the same regardless (salaried, not paid hourly). I have paid vacation days every year. I have health insurance for which my employer assists with, but doesn't pay for completely. I have always had clean drinking water, even when I was growing up in a family which was significantly poorer than I am today. I have a wife and a child on the way.

What I have experienced in my country, and have embraced, is the opportunity to make my life better by making good choices for myself and my family. I agree that not everyone has the same opportunities, and that motivates me to give of myself to help others on a personal level.

Ultimately, my country isn't perfect, and I don't think you would claim that yours is either. My bottom line is that attacking another country (which is what I perceived from your post) without having any experience there doesn't make a lot of sense to me.

Reply Score: 3

RE: A few percent?!
by cb88 on Wed 29th Mar 2017 01:49 in reply to "A few percent?!"
cb88 Member since:
2009-04-23

Another difference is that some people can live quite comfortably below the poverty line in the USA.... It's very cheap to live some places, and some people live largely off their land. I have no idea what percentage these make up but they surely exist in larger numbers here in the USA just because it's a bigger country and land is more available.

Reply Parent Score: 0

RE[2]: A few percent?!
by CaptainN- on Wed 29th Mar 2017 03:22 in reply to "RE: A few percent?!"
CaptainN- Member since:
2005-07-07

Poverty and hunger are both objectively higher here than many other industrialized nations. Let's leave the illusions and deceit to the corrupt politicians.

Reply Parent Score: 9

RE: A few percent?!
by galvanash on Wed 29th Mar 2017 05:25 in reply to "A few percent?!"
galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

As someone who actually lives and works in the US, I can attest to the fact that anyone can go to any Emergency Room and get treatment if needed, even if they have no way to pay for it.


I work for a EM management company in the US (one of the larger ones). The problem with this, imo, is:

1. It creates a giant unfunded liability which ends up getting funded by everyone else because it requires raising rates to compensate for it. Someone always pays for it in the end - right now it is the patients that actually have insurance/money.

2. People without insurance/money going to the ER for basic care clogs the system and wastes resources intended to address emergency situations. People can and do die because of this.

3. All an ER is required to do (and what they exist for) is to stabilize the patient so that hospital/doctor care can take over. If you don't have insurance/money, it sounds nice that all ERs will treat you - but your on your own once you are basically not dying anymore...

4. ER doctors are extremely expensive resources. They are expensive because there are not nearly enough of them, so they can demand high wages. Misuse of ER resources compounds this issue and makes them even more expensive for everyone else.

Anyway, its better than throwing people out on the street, but it is FAR from a good system... Very far...

ps. The HCA didn't really fix anything to be honest. It is the right idea, but it only addresses one side of the equation (increasing access) and not the other (reducing costs). I don't know what the answer is to be honest, but it isn't simply spreading the costs around - because right now it costs are simply too high to bear. Everything needs to be restructured and streamlined imo, basic healthcare should be cheap, not expensive - no matter how it ends up being paid for.

ps.ps. I have no clue why anyone would downvote your post. It was unoffensive, well written, and imo as a US citizen pretty damn spot on accurate. I find it ironic that you seemingly got downvoted for going out of your way NOT to flame anyone... Sad.

Edited 2017-03-29 05:34 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: A few percent?!
by jasutton on Wed 29th Mar 2017 13:34 in reply to "RE: A few percent?!"
jasutton Member since:
2006-03-28

My sense is that the ACA was intended to not work from the start, in an attempt to force a single-payer system.

I agree with your analysis of the issues, and appreciate your perspective. My point on ER availability was ONLY availability, not cost, which as you pointed out is ridiculous. The ACA has only made it worse, as piling on regulation just drives up cost.

Widespread use of health insurance was introduced as a result of government interference (i.e., wage controls during a time of war, leading to non-monetary compensation in the form of health insurance by private-sector companies competing for labor with the gov't). Additional paperwork involved in supporting this and "someone-else-will-pay" mindset led to massive price increases, which continue to this day. It's a self-feeding problem in my opinion.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE: A few percent?!
by moltonel on Wed 29th Mar 2017 11:07 in reply to "A few percent?!"
moltonel Member since:
2006-02-24

You misread the article. It's "the country's vast natural resources and wealth" which is only available to a few percents, not the "basic necessities" (which are merely "often" lacking).

It's hard to argue against the "few percents" bit, since this is what the whole "we are the 99%" movement was based on. You can argue about whether "often" is an exaggeration or not, but I think that when it concerns basics such as clean water and healthcare, the threshold should be pretty low (so that IMHO "often" is appropriate wording in this case).

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: A few percent?!
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Wed 29th Mar 2017 13:49 in reply to "A few percent?!"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

Emergency room care does not qualify as sufficient health care. Its last resort, and the law that requires emergency treatment is limited. Only certain kinds of treatment are available. And the care is only required to be provided by hospitals that partake in the medicare system.

There are hospitals in parts of the country that do not participate. You either have proof of insurance, or services are paid for up front.

Our water infrastructure is old and in peril. You only have to look at flint and related cases to see the dangers. In the wake of flint many other industrial rust belt cities have found similar issues, as well as many schools have issues with lead in the water due to internal lead piping.

Heck my house once had a well for drinking water. Can't use it any more due to industrial pollution.


Infrastructure, is one area I might be in agreement with you. Its much more diff ult due to the lower density populations we have in parts of the country that make it much more expensive to do. However, there are plenty of bridges, overpasses, roads in urban areas that are falling apart. And High speed rail can't seem to get off the ground.


I also think that our politicians are uniquely corrupted due to the Citizens United decision that allowed a flood of money into the system. I don't think one can seriously argue that we've ever had a more corrupt white house than the current occupants.

Reply Parent Score: 3