It comes as little surprise that a quarter of American adults, perhaps more, are mentally ill. National conditions logically seem to predispose for it. And anecdotal evidence is manifest weekly, if not every day.
The United States, it is often said, is truly the exceptional country.
I don’t see it as even a matter of science because I don’t know that you can prove one or the other. That’s one of those things. We can talk about theology and all of those other things but I’m basically concerned about, you’ve got a choice between Claire McCaskill and myself. My job is to make the thing there. If we want to do theoretical stuff, we can do that, but I think I better stay on topic.
If you count the number of Republicans who are profoundly anti-science, they stack up like cord wood. Every time you turn around — the last was this weekend — there will be some videotape of a Republican Party heevahava going on about the perfidy of scientists, the satanic deception of evolution, weird and offensive explanations of women’s reproductive biology, how one can pray the gay away, and the gigantic hoax of global warming
Indeed, the GOP lines the House Science committee with them showing only how the party is composed of extremists and nitwits, people who are toxic to progress and enlightenment.
The U.S. military trainers handed the new recruit, Mohammad Ismail, his AK-47 to defend his remote Afghan village. He turned around and immediately used it, spraying the Americans with bullets and killing two — the latest of nine U.S. service personnel gunned down in two weeks by their supposed Afghan allies.
The shooting in western Farah province was not the only such attack Friday. Hours later a few provinces away in Kandahar, an Afghan soldier wounded two more coalition troopers.
One turncoat attack per month raised eyebrows last year. One per week caused concern earlier this year. But when Afghan forces turn their guns on international trainers twice in a day — as they now have two weeks in a row — it’s hard to argue there’s not something going on …
“There’s no positive spin on this,” said Andrew Exum, an analyst with the Washington-based Center for a New American Security who has advised the top U.S. generals in Kabul.
And he used to be a military blogger.
“I have never heard of anything in Vietnam comparable to what we have recently experienced in Afghanistan,” said James McAllister, a political science professor at Williams College in Massachusetts who has written extensively about the Vietnam War.
Neil Sheehan. David Halberstam. Bernard Fall … James McAllister. Doesn’t ring a bell.
“We took some fire — fire from South Vietnamese soldiers who probably felt the Americans had betrayed them,” writes Philip Caputo, at the end of “A Rumor of War.”
Exhibition of short term memory problems, too:
Officials say an American soldier has died after an attack on U.S. troops in northern Iraq.
They say two policemen opened fire on U.S. soldiers visiting an Iraqi police station. An Iraqi interpreter was also killed. Three Americans were wounded.
It was the fourth such shooting in the Mosul area in just over a year purportedly involving Iraqi security forces …
BAGHDAD – Two U.S. troops were killed Saturday by an Iraqi soldier who apparently smuggled real bullets into a training exercise and opened fire, raising fresh concerns about the nation’s security forces as the Americans prepare to leave by the end of this year …
Tuesday marked the third anniversary of the last increase in the federal minimum wage. For the last three years, while the prices of gas and milk have risen steadily and the richest 1% have enjoyed huge tax breaks, the federal minimum wage has remained frozen at $7.25 an hour, which amounts to just $15,080 a year — as long as you get paid for any time you take off. That’s more than $7,000 below the federal poverty line for a family of four. As a result, the purchasing power of the minimum wage has slowly eroded — in just three years, its real value has sunk to $6.77 per hour, a nearly 50-cent drop.
The Bush tax cuts, which are simply the perquisite of the moment for the 1%, allow for the richest to prosper at the expense of middle-class and low-income workers. While CEOs make millions and their corporations make billions as part of a so-called economic recovery, the majority of Americans are struggling to make ends meet. This struggle is exacerbated by the low federal minimum wage. As middle-class jobs are increasingly replaced by low-wage work, however, this is the economic reality for a growing number of Americans.
Unless Congress raises the federal minimum wage, economic security for workers in low-wage jobs, the fastest-growing sector, will disappear. It is incumbent on members of Congress to raise the federal minimum wage …
We are watching these corporate forces which are supra-national … reconfigure the global economy into a form of neo-feudalism. We are rapidly becoming an oligarchic state with an incredibly wealthy class of overlords … [it is called] inverted totalitarianism, it’s not classical totalitarianism, it doesn’t find its expression through a demagogue or a charismatic leader but though the anonymity of the corporate state that purports to pay fealty to electoral politics, the Constitution, to the iconography and language of American patriotism, but internally has seized all levers of American power … as to render the citizen impotent.
After World War I “American society became enveloped in the psychosis of permanent war where in the name of anti-communism we could effectively banish anyone in the society who questioned power in any serious kind of way.”
From two to twenty-four minutes will give you the full measure. “In theological terms, these are forces of death … I know what happens when wheat prices increase by 100 percent, children starve,” Chris Hedges tells Bill Moyers, on his view of US financialism.
It’s very discouraging. It’s also impossible to pull away.
The general American attitude toward war: Our troops are the greatest as long as I don’t have to serve and I promise to make appreciative mouth noises or go to parades on key days of remembrance … The honest approach: Admitting you don’t give a rat’s ass about Memorial Day as long as you get hot dogs and hamburgers. I don’t buy the argument that anyone’s fought for my freedoms in the last ten years.
The military, our political leadership, and the people all wanted a fighting force that was unrepresentative of the nation and only a sliver of the population. One that would insulate the country from Viet Nam-style war protest because the sacrifice is not shared.
And that’s what they have.
And this is impolite and churlish but accurate:
The US military, despite being the largest, most well-equipped and capitalized of any in world history, is BAD. It smashes weakling countries and bombs the guilty as well as the innocent who have nothing in the desperate places of the world, delivering it all with a special brand of American pomposity that tolerates no soul-searching or regret.
It is thought to be led by men deemed the best and the brightest. So best and bright the majority of Americans cannot name one general, admiral, or even the guy who led the force that invaded Iraq a decade ago.
I guess it’s predictable that Paul Ryan (for foreign readers, the fellow pictured prominently in the above video) is now trying to say he was never an Ayn Rand fan. This because religious scholars have bricked him on passing off his austerity plans to cut foodstamps to the poor as informed by his Catholic faith. Rand was notorious for reviling religion.
And Ryan has made himself an equally notorious liar.
In the Catholic faith there are two types of sin: venal and mortal. Mortal sins queer your relationship with God. You have no chance to ascend into Heaven with one on your soul. You will go to Hell. But the sacraments of Confession and Penance allow you to take care of that, making your soul, once again, white as a new sheet.
Breaking any of the ten commandments is a mortal sin. However, lying is a bit more subtle in interpretation. Lying can be venal or mortal, depending on the gravity and depth of the truth intentionally deformed or misinterpreted by the lie.
Has Paul Ryan committed a mortal sin? Yeah, probably, since it’s such a big issue reaching into every corner of American society.
However, the news archive of the Internet won’t let him get away with it — except in GOP circles. Evidence of any kind makes no difference there, ever.
At the Rand celebration he spoke at in 2005, Ryan invoked the central theme of Rand’s writings when he told his audience that, “Almost every fight we are involved in here on Capitol Hill is a fight that usually comes down to one conflict – individualism versus collectivism.”
In that struggle, Ryan argued that shifting Social Security (which he called a “collectivist system”) toward personal investment accounts was not only good policy, but would change the political landscape, according to a recording of the event made by its host, The Atlas Society.
“If we actually accomplish this goal of personalizing Social Security, think of what we will accomplish. Every worker, every laborer in America will not only be a laborer but a capitalist. They will be an owner of society. That’s that many more people in America who are not going to listen to the likes of Dick Gephardt and Nancy Pelosi, Ted Kennedy, the collectivist, class-warfare-breathing demagogues,” said Ryan.
What is happening to most citizens in a country? When you look at America, you have to concede that we have failed. Most Americans today are worse off than they were fifteen years ago. A full-time worker in the US is worse off today than he or she was 44 years ago. That is astounding – half a century of stagnation. The economic system is not delivering. It does not matter whether a few people at the top benefited tremendously – when the majority of citizens are not better off, the economic system is not working …
We are facing a very difficult transition from manufacturing to a service economy. We have failed to manage that transition smoothly. If we don’t correct that mistake, we will pay a very high price. Already, the average American is suffering from the failed transition. My concern is that we have set in motion an adverse economics and an adverse politics. A lot of American inequality is caused by rent-seeking: Monopolies, military spending, procurement, extractive industries, drugs. We have some economic sectors that are very good, but we also have a lot of parasites. The hopeful view is that the economy can grow if we rid ourselves of the parasites and focus on the productive sectors. But in any disease there is always the risk that the parasites will devour the healthy body parts. The jury is still out on that …
It will require a strong third party or civil society to do something about this.
It is unusual but welcome to see the word “parasites” used in association with “monopolies,” “military spending,” and “extractive industries,” the latter which includes Wall Street.
Very fundamentally, Stiglitz is telling the interviewer that America can’t be a decent country, in any sense, where the majority is left to exploit or rot for spoil and the sole benefit of those at the very top. Plus, the the evil-doers may win.
This urge to punish business with hysterical campaigns is not always driven by pure intentions. The main facilitators are lawyers, often joined by anti-capitalists of one type or another – unions, Occupy activists, leftwing agitators. All tend to have dubious motives, cloaked in weasel words such as “holding the powerful to account”, “fairness” and “preventing exploitation”.
The BP Gulf oil spill of two years ago cost the business perhaps $40bn in fines, clean-up expenses and payments to various sufferers. No doubt a high proportion of that cash will end up in the hands of law firms that specialise in getting money out of big companies in class action lawsuits. It was certainly a tragedy, with 11 deaths on the rig. Management clearly made serious mistakes. But the west needs oil and drilling for it is inherently dangerous. Are we not all at least partly complicit, by virtue of our addiction to cheap petrol to fuel our consumer lifestyles? (Yes, it’s a shame about all the deformed crabs and things.)
Diverting money from industry that would otherwise be invested to create jobs can only make nations such as the US and Britain less competitive
Companies are sometimes guilty of boasting too much in their advertising, and promising goods they cannot deliver. And occasionally rogues work within organisations, behaving badly in various ways. But if we persist in bashing and suing business like a competitive sport, then how can it grow, generate jobs and help maintain our standard of living? And who would want to be a business leader?
Companies like Starbucks could help stimulate the economy, too–by giving their low-wage employees a raise …
Our corporations are as profitable now as they have ever been. So I’d like to see a lot of them voluntarily decide to invest more and pay their low-wage employees more and hire more employees. They can afford it, and “cash flow” isn’t the sole objective or reward of running a business.
Say hello to “the United States of Awesome Possibilities” as it looks to visitors from abroad to help lift it out of the economic doldrums.
By soft-pedaling patriotism, the newly-formed US national tourism board tasked with getting more tourists — and their money — onto US soil is reinventing the nation as a hip new land of diversity and possibilities.
“We’re rebranding America for the first time,” said Jim Evans, chief executive of the Corporation for Travel Promotion, ahead of the World Travel Market that opened Monday in London.
“Over the last 10 or 12 years, people have seen America as unwelcoming as we’ve focused on security …
Today from the wires, two young Englishes, refused entry at Los Angeles International because of exuberant Twitter tweets reported on the national anti-terror tip and squealer network.
A pair of U.K. tourists were arrested after landing in Los Angeles on terror charges after joking on Twitter they were going to ‘destroy America’ and ‘dig up Marilyn Monroe.’
Leigh Van Bryan, 26, was detained last Monday after landing in Los Angeles with his friend, 24-year-old Emily Bunting, according to the British Daily Mail.
Bryan was flagged as a potential threat after tweeting this message about his upcoming trip to Hollywood “@MelissaxWalton free this week for a quick gossip/prep before I go and destroy America? x”
Bryan and Bunting told officials the term “destroy” was British slang for “party.” Despite the explanation, they were held on suspicion of planning to commit crimes and their passports were confiscated, the Daily Mail reported.
Bryan was also questioned about another tweet quoting the animated show, “Family Guy:” “3 weeks today, we’re totally in LA p****** people off on Hollywood Blvd and digging Marilyn Monroe up!”
Bryan’s luggage was searched for spades and shovels as a result.
Boost jobs in travel and tourism. This industry is one of America’s largest employers, but the U.S. has lost significant market share. By making it easier to visit the U.S. through improved visa processes, we can win back market share in travel and tourism and create hundreds of thousands of jobs.
But as head of Obama’s expired jobs advisory council Immelt was nothing if not an odious fellow, unmoored from all reality except his own private Idaho.
Apparently homeland security and the TSA never got the memo and sent the Englishes home as undesirables.