Serious Question - Do European countries really hate the USA?

Started by TRang, November 8, 2013, 08:38:14 AM

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I am English/British/European and I certainly don't hate the US. I think Mr Peanut has it right in that I feel an element of pity for America. There are so many things to admire- the ideals of the Constitution particularly freedom of speech (English libel laws suck), the generosity and kindness of many Americans I have met, the desire to make the world a better place (even if it often goes wrong- see all the military intervention in this thread), their work ethic and drive and their "can do" attitude to name but a few (plus wonderful national parks, scenery).

However it is not all that rosy. For the richest nation on the planet, the levels of poverty and disadvantage are unbelieveable (some discussed in this thread already, including the highest rate of incarceration in the develped world and the truely terrible life chances if you are black). Violence and gun crime. The lack of proper universal healthcare and the fact that the cost to benefit ratio for those that do have it is comparable to the upper end of third world nations (and a significant chunk actually perform better) is a source of disbelief for most Europeans I know. While there is supposedly separation of church and state the UK has better separation despite the Queen being both the head of the church of England and of government- this leads to all sorts of problems (disclaimer- I am an evangelical Christian). The corruption of your political system where money effectively buys votes and corporations write laws, and don't get me started on that recent "throwing the toys out the pram" event of refusing to approve the budget (the last few years in the uk has seen political scandals in the form of abuse of expense claims, but that was often a few £1000s - would that even be noticed in the US?). The intervention in foreign countries (much of Europe has hundreds of years of experience of meddling in other counties where they should have left alone, but the US seems to want to make all the same mistakes again, against advice). The truely broken legal system which allows things like law firms to run extortion rackets (see Prenda law) by threatening to tell people's neighbours they have downloaded deviant porn (bestiality, incest, underage etc) despite having little or no evidence- it is almost always cheaper to settle than to fight, even if you win. The patent system and patent troll firms. A significant portion of the population who choose to disbelieve established science because err... well I really don't know why. I could go on.

Still I love America. Some of my best holidays have been spent in San Fransisco, Los Angeles, other bits of California, New York etc and I have many American friends. However I have also been to Florida which seemed to reflect more of the broken things. Everything that is great is why I have enjoyed my time there and will go back. The broken things are why I would not want to live there.

The GrimSqueaker

Prenda (and their assorted socks and shells) have run face first into the law though. Rather than symptomatic of the legal system  they've been more overlooked and now that's biting them in the arse big time as court after court is through with their shenanigans.  Yes, they do represent some of the worst of copyright trolls and I see I'm not the only one enjoying them being exposed to the sunlight finally. I don't seem them as representative of a broken legal system (the War on Drugs is better for that) than more a loophole that needs to be exterminated quickly.

For those interested: The evil that is Prenda.

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Unfortunately, Prenda are not on their own and, to my mind, are a good example when it comes to abusing the legal, copyright and patent system in America and its inherent brokenness and using it to pick on others mostly incapable of defending themselves. Some more fuel for those interested:

MPHJ Technology  sues (or threatens to) small business for $1000s for using scan to email functionality of network printer-copiers. The scanner manufacturers are not liable because you have to connect it to a network to infringe (if this does not fail at obviousness I don't know what would )

Jammie Thomas was convicted of willful copyright infringement for $1.92million for sharing 24 songs via bit-torrent (it was reduced to $600k on appeal, and yes she was guilty and foolish, but how can that be even remotely reasonable?). This is just the highlight of the RIAA's multi year campaign against its customers.

New Egg the online electronics retailer was ordered to pay $2.3million to a patent troll for infringing on an encryption patent for use on the internet. Not unreasonable you might think, but New Egg had the inventor of public key cryptography (the central part of the patent) testify in court that the details of how to use it was published years before the patent was filed and a former CTO of Microsoft demonstrated prior art in a published software package. Unfortunately, juries in Marshall, Texas generally find in favour of patent holders regardless of the facts. (Yes New Egg are quite big, but many other smaller (and larger) companies settled in advance)

Widespread abuse of the DMCA (it's a link to a pdf hosted by the EFF) for more that a decade, suppressing scientific research, disclosure of root kit vulnerabilities (Sony), preventing modification of video game consoles (Microsoft, Sony) and the arrest, jailing (several weeks) and detention (for 5 months) of a programmer for writing a piece of software that might be used (among a range of other uses) to circumvent Adobe's book encryption (there was no evidence he did this himself or even helped anyone else do it). He was eventually cleared of all charges.... 18months later.

Widespread abuse of the legal system by FISA with no option for those affected to fight back because it is all secret.

I could go on....

While some of these are slowly starting to be addressed it is all to easy to use the law to oppress and obstruct making it hardly seem like the land of the free... Forcing those with frivolous cases to pick up the defendants costs would help, but only a a couple of areas. I do agree that the War on Drugs is also a travesty.

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