The Constitution’s Broken Promise, a Monster Invasion, and 1, 2, 3 What Are We Fighting For? The U.S. Army’s Not Ready for War
Hello and welcome one and all to our USA Really daily podcast for October 3. As always, I’m Jesse Dominick for USA Really, and this is your look at all the latest news and opinion pieces to make their way onto our pages.
First, we want to remind you all of USA Really’s first ever contest, the Global Democracy Award. It’s for everyone, but especially for independent journalists, writers, activists, artists, script writers and media-members who are ready to tackle the topic of how the U.S. government interferes in the affairs of other countries. The competition includes 5 categories-awards: The John Reed “Best Essay” Award, The Sacco and Vancetti “Best Video” Award, The Nathanael West “Best Poem” Award, The Aldous Huxley “Future Intervention Prediction” Award and, of course, as many of our readers requested, The Pepe the Frog “Best Meme” Award! There’s some serious cash prizes, including $3,500 for the best essay, so definitely check out the contest page for all the sweet deets.
Now let’s jump right into the articles by first taking a look at Walt Garlington’s opinion piece for today: “The False Promise of Unity,” which takes the division in the country over the Kavanaugh issue as a starting point for examining the Constitution’s promise of a more perfect unity. The peoples of the States have a hard question in front of them, then: Do they really want unity? And if they answer Yes, this leads to a second question: How do they propose to achieve it? Unity comes ultimately from shared religious beliefs and the shared way of life that flows from them. But the American boast has always been in the freedom of religion of its various peoples. With religious pluralism, however, comes different conceptions of God, of right worship, right living, and so on. Again, this does not lead to unity but to conflict. And Garlington make a shocking assertion: The only thing that has ever brought a measure of oneness in America has been war. You’re definitely going to want to check out this piece to see just what he’s talking about.
Next up: today’s this day in history piece. Probably the most important event to happen on October 3 was that in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln declared the fourth Thursday in November to be Thanksgiving. The First Thanksgiving, as it’s called, happened way back in 1621, but didn’t become a federal holiday until under Lincoln. Of course, today it’s one of the nation’s most beloved holidays along with Christmas. Then we’ve also got a couple of war-related events, and the first Latin player to make it to the World Series, back in 1919. Check this piece out for the long and the short of it.
Fake news! It’s the beast that’s terrorizing the whole country! Of course, “fake news” often just means the accuser doesn’t like the news, but sometimes it’s straight legit. Apparently a Macomb County, Michigan outlet called NBC9News published a report on Sunday that local residents had declared war against three pedophiles that were allegedly found dead outside a local fast food outlet in Warren. The murders were reportedly initially considered drug related until a second pedophile was also found dead in similar circumstances later in the week. The only thing is, the site has absolutely no connection with the real NBC and Michigan authorities had to come out with a statement that the story was fake. I’m not sure what this fake NBC hoped to accomplish with this fake story—I guess just clicks.
Our next piece focuses on legitimate local news outlets and how they do their business—do they have a website and/or a Facebook page, do they have their own app, do they use YouTube or some other video hosting site, and so on. Jesse Holcomb from the research center of the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia's Graduate School of Journalism has released the new study, “Digital Adaptation in Local News,” and our piece has the numbers for you. The most surprising part for me is that 12% of news outlets still don’t even have a website!
Fast food workers hit the streets in Flint, Michigan on Tuesday to protest for the right to form unions and for $15/hr., but an unfortunate accident had several of them hitting the streets in another way. It seems a red pick-up truck veered out of control and into the crowd, hitting 9 people, with 8 hospitalized and 2 in serious condition. And a twist in the story is that Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gretchen Whitmer was there.
Then we’re jumping into some more Kavanaugh related news. The dust has settled from the confirmation hearing somewhat, so our piece, “The Kavanaugh Circus: The Almost-Rape of a Dizzy American Virgin in a One Piece Swimsuit,” takes the opportunity to summarize the events in hindsight. Who’s winning here? Who’s losing? Who’s really suffering, and does anybody care? There’s a lotta ins, lotta outs, a lotta what-have-you’s, so head on over to this piece for the full scoop.
And, I mean, if everyone is so worked up over Kavanaugh and the remote possibility of him being a sexual predator, why does no one care that good ol’ Hillary is making appearances with a democrat senator who the Justice Department claims has had sex with underage prostitutes? And not 35 years ago—only in 2012! It seems Bob Menendez of New Jersey was enjoying some underage booty in the Dominican Republic just six years ago, and although the charges were eventually dropped, the Justice Department claimed that Menendez was unconvincing in his denials. Methinks there’s some major hypocrisy going on here, and our piece, “The Silence of the Lambs” will tell you more about it.
And here’s something you don’t really want to hear: “The U.S. Army Is Not Ready for War.” My first thought upon reading that is, “Then what the crap are we spending so much money on the military for?!” A study of 17,000 servicemen from November 2015 to March 2016 shows that, in particular, the main problems currently besetting the U.S. military include recruits being overweight (65.7% of U.S. military recruits have such problems), and promiscuity or possible sexual assault (19.4% have had more than one sex partner in the past year, about 2% raped women and have been charged). 9.9 % have PTSD, 37.8% have chronic pain, 8.6% take sleeping pills daily. However, the main problem seems to be … how soldiers respond to video games? Interesting … check out the article for all the details.
And poor North Carolina—it just got rocked by Hurricane Florence, and now it’s suffering a monster invasion! Well, monster-sized mosquitoes, that is. “They were inundating me, and one landed on me. It was like a small blackbird. I told my wife, ‘Gosh, look at the size of this thing.’ I told her that I guess I'm going to have to use a shotgun on these things if they get any bigger” one Carolinian commented. Gallinippers, or Psorophora ciliata as they are properly known, have a wingspan of up to 3/8 inches and are known for their painful bite and aggressive nature toward humans; but despite their annoying nature, thankfully, they do not pose a major health hazard. $4 million have been pledged to fight the infestation, so let’s hope that works before this turns into a plague of Biblical proportions!
Next up, the UN International Court of Justice is calling on the U.S. to lift a number of sanctions against Iran that actually affect the importation of humanitarian goods and products and services linked to civil aviation safety. Trump pulled us out of the 1955 Treaty of Amity, Economic Relations, and Consular Rights, and Iran challenged the sanctions in a case filed in July at the International Court of Justice. In a preliminary ruling, the court said that Washington must remove, by means of its choosing, any impediments arising from the re-imposition of sanctions on the exportation to Iran of medicine and medical devices, food and agricultural commodities, and spare parts and equipment necessary to ensure the safety of civil aviation. The U.S. is expected to challenge the court’s jurisdiction in a future hearing, so we’ll have to wait and see what happens.
And everyone would just love to get a piece of Big Tobacco, and now it looks like the fine people of Montana are making a run at it. “'Tobacco Protests' Could Spread All Across Montana” gives you the lowdown on how hundreds of people in Montana are opposing the efforts of tobacco companies to throw out a ballot initiative that would raise the price of a pack of cigarettes by $2, with the extra money being used to pay for Medicaid expansion in the state. Together, several companies have poured more than $3.5 million into the effort. There were already protests in August about it, but with the controversy continuing, Montanans could be gearing up for some more demonstrations across the state.
“I want the death penalty, lethal injection, please. The court does not want me alive and neither do I.” That’s a pretty sad statement to read. It was said by Asenka Miller Wilber of Clark County, Washington who has admitted to killing her 75-year-old mother. Apparently the two lived together and often fought. Usually, Asenka would just leave the house to cool down, but this last time, she started beating her mother over the head instead. Her mother died. The woman freaked out and tried to bury her mother in the backyard, but, it turns out, was just too old and tired to dig a proper hole. So she turned herself in. Get the whole story in “Washington Woman Accused of Killing Mother Asks for Death Penalty.”
That’ll do it for today, so let’s wrap things up with a preview of tomorrow’s opinion piece.
K. E. Benois' piece, “False Flags: The Truth Behind the Joke” focuses on a topic that I find pretty fascinating—conspiracy theories, and, as the title indicates, false flag operations in particular. False flags: any destructive action undertaken by an actor with the intent of making it appear the fault of another party—sometimes they’re bunk, but then again, there are some that really are undeniable—the Gulf of Tonkin being perhaps the most famous one, which pulled America into the Vietnam War. And you know the White Helmets in Syria? What’s up with them? It’s easy enough to find tons of articles and FB posts claiming they’re actually terrorists, so what’s the truth there? Benois has that, and a whole lot more for you in tomorrow’s opinion piece, so be sure to keep an eye out for it.
And with that, it’s time to sign off. I’m Jesse Dominick for USA Really saying thanks for listening, thanks for reading, and WAKE UP! America.