Elephants and Donkeys and Lasers Galore, False Flags and Mysteries, and a Whole Lore More!
Greetings, and welcome to our USA Really daily podcast for October 4. I’m Jesse Dominick for USA Really, and this podcast is our chance to have a little chat about all the latest and freshest news and intriguing opinions from some fine Americans on real American topics.
Before we jump into the news and opinions, I want to remind you all again about our USA Really contest—the Global Democracy Award. There’s a little of everything—fit for journalists, writers, filmmakers, artists, etc. We’re giving out sweet cash prizes for essays, poems, memes, and more, and prizes are up to $3,500, so definitely check out the contest page for all the details about how you can enter!
First up there’s today’s opinion piece.
K. E. Benois’ article, “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 today’s opinion piece, so be sure to keep an eye out for it.
How about we take a look at today’s this day in history piece next, eh? We’ve got three events for you today. The Battle of Germantown of the Revolutionary War took place this day in 1777. This battle turned out to be a disaster for the American troops under Washington with 152 killed, 521 wounded, and 438 captured, while the Brits lost only 71, with 448 wounded and 14 missing. In 1997, $17.3 million were yoinked from the Loomis Fargo Bank in Charlotte, North Carolina by a whole group of people. Did they get away with it? And WikiLeaks was launched this day in 2006. Over the past 12 years it’s built up a database of 10 million documents. Head on over to the article for all the details.
Two people were hospitalized after exposure to a “white powdery substance" at Sen. Ted Cruz's office in Houston, Texas. A few hours before, it was announced on Tuesday a pair of packages suspected of containing a deadly poison had been sent to the Pentagon, officials said. A Pentagon spokesman then confirmed that two packages addressed to U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis and the Navy's top officer, Admiral John Richardson, are suspected of containing ricin. What is going on here? Leading up to the Civil War, there was a conflict between two competing visions of the state and social future of the U.S. Is that what we’re dealing with today? Is it on that level? Our piece on a war between political groups in the U.S. jumps into all the nooks and crannies for you.
Then we’ve got some more goodness for all your sports fans. The first night of the latest hockey season has come and gone, and we’ve got the scores for you. The main news—some Canadians beat other Canadians!
And did you know that scores of children, separated from their parents at the border, still haven’t been reunited with their families? Even though there was a July 26 court-ordered deadline to get them back together? Do you realize how many children are still waiting? Some 350 children have still not been reunited! Whatever you think about Trump’s approach to immigration, and whoever you think is to blame for these families being broken up—it’s a sad state of affairs. Parents in 141 of these cases waived their rights to reunification or indicated they did not immediately intend to reunite with their kids—likely because they reasoned their children would have a better chance at an asylum claim if they stayed in the United States. Another 136 just haven’t been reunited yet—authorities are already working overtime to get it all done. “’Zero Humanity’ Policy Ongoing: Hundreds of Migrant Kids Still Not Reunited With Parents” has that sad story for you.
Then, one unfortunate “Officer is in Critical Condition After a Massive Brawl at a Bronx Juvenile Center.” Apparently a fight between two rival gangs in the Horizon Juvenile Center broke out around noon yesterday, leaving twenty corrections officers injured. Some were treated on the scene, while others had to be taken to the hospital. Most suffered minor injuries, but one officer is in critical condition. Head on over to this piece to find out why so many rowdy youths were in this center all together, and what authorities are saying they can do about it.
And the Senate has received the FBI’s report on the Kavanaugh allegations, but is anyone else going to be privy to what’s in it? Background checks are a routine part of any nominee’s vetting process and are generally delivered to the Senate without much fanfare. This background check, requested by a trio of senators who are undecided on Kavanaugh’s confirmation, will be different. “None of that stuff’s public,” Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, told reporters on Wednesday. “If you want people to be candid when they talk to the FBI, you ain’t going to make that public.” To accommodate the senators, and to guard the sensitive information, the FBI’s report is expected to be held in a secure room normally reserved only for classified matters. There are several of these rooms in the Capitol complex. According to a preliminary schedule, Republicans will read the first hour, starting Thursday morning, and Democrats will read the hour after that. No copies of the report are allowed. So how much will we find out? We’ll see, we’ll see….
And tragedy has struck in North Yarmouth, Maine, as the mysterious disappearance of a teacher has terrified locals. A local teacher was last seen when she went to bed with her husband, Jay, around 8 p.m. Sunday, according to the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office. 47-year-old Kristin Westra, a teacher at Chebeague Island School, was nowhere to be found when her husband woke up Monday morning, although her personal belongings, vehicle, cell phone, and keys were at home, police said. At least 50 police officers and civilian volunteers joined in the search party. Police have hypothesized that she was having some kind of mental issue, but family members have said that can’t be, but that she has been under a lot of stress from construction going on both at work and at home. She’s not on any kind of medication either. She’s already been missing for a few days now, so I sure hope they can find her safe and sound!
Our next piece moves over to the wild world of science, and more specifically physics, and more specific yet—lasers! The Nobel Prize in Physics has been awarded, and it went to Arthur Ashkin of the United States, Gérard Mourou of France, and Donna Strickland of Canada. Dr Ashkin won for creating a tool named “laser tweezers” that uses the pressure from a highly focused laser beam to manipulate microscopic objects, including living organisms such as viruses and bacteria. Mourou and Strickland worked together and won for their work on laser amplification, allowing lasers themselves to be used as more effective tools. The work has had a wide range of real-world applications, enabling manufacturers to drill tiny, precise holes and allowing for the invention of Lasik eye surgery. That’s a lot of stuff that’s way over my head. Dr. Strickland is only the third woman to win the prize, and the first since 1963. Check out our piece on the prize for more.
Our next piece brings you a really wild story: “Missing Teen Found After 20 Years: Mysterious Story of Crystal Haag.” She was 14 when she went missing from Baltimore on April 26, 1997. She was helping a friend babysit, and decided to wait outside while her friends went into the children’s house to get them. When her friend came back, Crystal was gone, and she didn’t come home that night. Police soon classed her as a runaway, though a few months later that was changed to “endangered missing,” which essentially means the case is hopeless. But now, more than 20 years later, she’s been found alive and well. Just a year after disappearing, she somehow entered the City College of New York, at the age of 15! Where’d she get the money? Anyways, she somehow got a degree in business management. She even has children. So she was just up in New York while her family was down in Maryland. What on earth was she doing? Why didn’t she contact them? This case is so weird—it reminds me of that show Unsolved Mysteries that used to freak me out in my childhood. And lots of users on Reddit have gotten interested in the case too. Check out this crazy piece to get all the details and find out what they’re saying.
And that’s the scoop on the news piece we’ve got for you today. Before we close up shop for the night, let’s have a quick look at tomorrow’s opinion piece.
The overall job market in America is keeping people in purely survival mood—it really sucks. Many with degrees and high school diplomas have no REAL marketable skills. That is a problem that needs to be addressed, and few are willing to go there. The education that most Americans are receiving is not the kind they will need to make a decent living. And in this environment, is Jeff Bezos’ Amazon an enslaver or a savior? Jeff Silverman shares his thoughts on the topic with you in tomorrow’s opinion piece. Jeff Bezos is filthy rich, but his employees make less than $30,000 on average and overtime isn’t readily available. He’s also accused of cooking the books and other misdeeds. Does he have a moral obligation to provide something better for his employees? Silverman also shares the experience of two former Amazon employees whom he spoke with, and he also offers his thoughts on what we need in the future. Be sure to check it out!
And that brings us to the end of another podcast. This is Jesse Dominick for USA Really saying thanks for listening, thanks for reading, and be sure to keep an eye on our site for all the best news and essays, just for you.