Tag Archives | United States

Up in Arms: Why America is More Divided Than People Realize

upinarms-map

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Colin Woodard, writer of American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America, explains how America is more divided than most people realize and why.

via Tufts Magazine

THE BATTLE LINES OF TODAY’S DEBATES OVER GUN CONTROL, STAND-YOUR-GROUND LAWS, AND OTHER VIOLENCE-RELATED ISSUES WERE DRAWN CENTURIES AGO BY AMERICA’S EARLY SETTLERS

Last December, when Adam Lanza stormed into the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, with a rifle and killed twenty children and six adult staff members, the United States found itself immersed in debates about gun control. Another flash point occurred this July, when George Zimmerman, who saw himself as a guardian of his community, was exonerated in the killing of an unarmed black teenager, Trayvon Martin, in Florida. That time, talk turned to stand-your-ground laws and the proper use of deadly force. The gun debate was refreshed in September by the shooting deaths of twelve people at the Washington Navy Yard, apparently at the hands of an IT contractor who was mentally ill.

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Farm Confessional: I’m an Undocumented Farm Worker

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513 migrant workers jammed inside a truck trailer

Are Americans fat and lazy, or do the farms hiring undocumented farm workers bring down the pay and working conditions?

via Modern Farmer

I’ve seen on the news that some Congress members or American citizens say undocumented workers are taking their jobs. We’re not taking their jobs. In the 14 years I’ve been here, I’ve never seen an American working in the fields. I’ve never seen anyone work like Mexicans. In restaurants and construction, you’ll find Salvadorans and Guatemalans, but in the fields, it’s almost all Mexicans.

The work is hard — but many jobs are hard. The thing that bothers me more is the low pay. With cherries, you earn $7 for each box, and I’ll fill 30 boxes in a day — about $210 a day. For blueberries, I’ll do 25 containers for up to $5 each one — $125 a day.

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Jonestown: Paradise Lost (documentary)

This is a hybrid documentary about Jim Jones, Peoples Temple, Jonestown, and the victims. This includes the words of some of the survivors and dramatization of the real events. Please feel free to share your thoughts and recommendations.

via Top Documentary Films

An evangelical preacher led nearly a 1,000 followers from the United States deep into the jungles of South America. They would build a new community free of oppression and violence and it was to be their paradise on Earth, but outsiders threatened to expose the dark side of their leader. In one day two worlds collidedand paradise was lost. In November 1978 reporters around the world broke the news that Jim Jones and more than 900 of his followers died.

By the late 1960s and early 70s the streets of America erupted in violence and civil strife. War in Vietnam, civil rights marches and political assassinations played out on television.

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An excerpt from ‘They Thought They Were Free: The Germans, 1933-45′ by Milton Mayer

960002_267614923363550_993352090_nEchoes from the past to consider in the present.

via University of Chicago

But Then It Was Too Late

“What no one seemed to notice,” said a colleague of mine, a philologist, “was the ever widening gap, after 1933, between the government and the people. Just think how very wide this gap was to begin with, here in Germany. And it became always wider. You know, it doesn’t make people close to their government to be told that this is a people’s government, a true democracy, or to be enrolled in civilian defense, or even to vote. All this has little, really nothing, to do with knowing one is governing.

“What happened here was the gradual habituation of the people, little by little, to being governed by surprise; to receiving decisions deliberated in secret; to believing that the situation was so complicated that the government had to act on information which the people could not understand, or so dangerous that, even if the people could not understand it, it could not be released because of national security.

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Target is Still Iran: Clear Cutting the Middle East and the Coming Blood Bath (Mapping World War III)

via chycho

world conflicts large

I. Introduction

One of the main reasons that we are on the brink of one of the greatest global catastrophes ever known to human civilization is because people do not have a clear picture of what is happening in the world.

“The chorus of denunciations of the New Hitlers in Teheran and the threat they pose to survival has been marred by a few voices from the back rooms. Former Mossad Chief Ephraim Halevy recently warned that an Israeli attack on Iran ‘could have an impact on us for the next 100 years.’” – Noam Chomsky, August 6, 2008

To remedy the lack of appreciation of this situation, the following maps are being presented to help in the visualization of what the United States of America is proposing, referred to as a crusade by some, World War III (2):

But even with the help of the Israelisespecially with the help of the Israelis!

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“Credibility” is Obsolete

Picture: Evan-Amos (CC)

Picture: Evan-Amos (CC)

Winslow Myers writes at Common Dreams:

Lord have mercy, a half-century beyond the Cuban Missile Crisis and almost as many years beyond Vietnam, our erstwhile leaders are still mouthing stale clichés about “credibility.” Remember Dean Rusk saying we went eyeball to eyeball with the Soviets and they blinked? Of course the world almost ended, but never mind.

And to go back a little further into the too-soon-forgotten past, some historians surmise that Truman dropped nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki not to force an already forthcoming Japanese surrender, but to make ourselves more threateningly credible to the expansionist Soviets as the World War II wound down.

Credibility was the main motif of Secretary of State Kerry’s statement rationalizing possible military action against Syria. If we’re going to kill a few thousand non-combatants in the next few days or weeks, and it looks increasingly as if we are, could we not do it for some better reason than maintaining to the world, as if the world cared, that we are not a pitiful helpless giant?

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United States May Strike Syria as Soon as Thursday

Missile-Command_3NBC quotes anonymous sources that a missile strike against Syria could occur as early as Thursday. Presumably Obama will orchestrate this in the brief time between polishing his Nobel Prize medal and approving drone strikes around the world.

Via NBC:

The U.S. could hit Syria with three days of missile strikes, perhaps beginning Thursday, in an attack meant more to send a message to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad than to topple him or cripple his military, senior U.S. officials told NBC News on Tuesday.

The State Department fed the growing drumbeat around the world for a military response to Syria’s suspected use of chemical weapons against rebels Aug. 21 near Damascus, saying that while the U.S. intelligence community would release a formal assessment within the week, it was already “crystal clear” that Assad’s government was responsible.

White House press secretary Jay Carney repeated Tuesday that the White House isn’t considering the deliberate overthrow of Assad.

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The Forgotten Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico, Norton I

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Emperor Norton Making His Daily Rounds Inspecting the City

An  odd tale about an eccentric old timee entrepreneur.

via Today I Found Out

Today I found out about the largely forgotten colorful benevolent dictator of the United States and protector of Mexico, Emperor Norton I.

His Imperial Majesty Joshua Abraham Norton I was born between 1811 and 1818 in England. Records of his birth date vary considerably, but it’s likely that the latter date is the correct one. His family immigrated to South Africa when he was quite young, where his father headed a small Jewish community. As a young man, he initially attempted to run his own business in Cape Town but quickly went bankrupt and started working at his father’s ship chandlery instead.

By 1848, Emperor Norton had suffered some severe losses: his mother, father, and both of his brothers had died. With no other family, Norton inherited all $40,000 of his father’s estate and was eager to search for a new beginning.

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The Horrible Psychology of Solitary Confinement

isolation_by_neriak

Prison isolation is torture, and America, like many other things is the biggest proponent of it.

via Wired

In the largest prison protest in California’s history, nearly 30,000 inmates have gone on hunger strike. Their main grievance: the state’s use of solitary confinement, in which prisoners are held for years or decades with almost no social contact and the barest of sensory stimuli.

The human brain is ill-adapted to such conditions, and activists and some psychologists equate it to torture. Solitary confinement isn’t merely uncomfortable, they say, but such an anathema to human needs that it often drives prisoners mad.

In isolation, people become anxious and angry, prone to hallucinations and wild mood swings, and unable to control their impulses. The problems are even worse in people predisposed to mental illness, and can wreak long-lasting changes in prisoners’ minds.

“What we’ve found is that a series of symptoms occur almost universally.

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