Is Washington Giving the Finger to Its Own Former Employees?
Welcome back once again dear listeners out there to our USA Really daily podcast for October 26. I hope you all had a nice weekend and aren’t pulling a Garfield and dreading this Monday too much. Back to the daily grind, right? I know, it’s rough, but it keeps food on the table. My parents have been visiting here in Moscow for the past week and I just saw them off at the airport. I’m sitting in the Aeroexpress train back into the city now to get this work week going. Happy happy joy joy!
Anyways, as you well know, the news doesn’t take the weekend off, so we’ve got plenty to go through today, including a few articles from over the weekend and then all the latest and greatest news that we are publishing for you today.
But as always, I want to kick things off by telling you about our big hot fat chances for you to win big fat hot stacks of cash! First is our Global Democracy Award, and pay attention, cause the contest is just about over! We’re looking for original works on the US government’s interference in other states—whether it be essays or videos or poems or memes, and it ends DECEMBER 1! So get your creative juices flowing and get us your original works by DECEMBER 1. Then there’s our Zuckerberg Wanted action where we’re looking for solid evidence of the government enforcing illegal censorship online, and especially on social networks. In both cases, you could find yourself the happy owner of several thousands of dollars, so check both of these items out!
Alright all you fine people, with that let’s dive right on into the articles. On Saturday we posted an opinion piece from Vladislav Ginko called “Why doesn’t Washington care about its former state employees?” Vladislav is an economist and lecturer at Touro College, and this piece takes a comparative look at the health care systems in America and Russia through the lens of the author’s friend who worked for the government for decades and, when he found himself pretty sick, didn’t get the best treatment around. According to Ginko, he could have gotten much better in Russia. It really seems like, at least in this case, doctors had no idea what they were doing. They couldn’t figure out what to prescribe the guy and then he had to get a costly procedure which would have been immensely cheaper in Moscow. Does that grab your attention? I hope so! Check out the piece for all the details!
And of course we had our trusty “This Weekend in History” piece that covered November 24 and 25. On November 24, 1906, the first major football scandal broke out regarding the final game of the Ohio League series (the direct predecessor to the National Football League) between the Canton Bulldogs and the Massillon Tigers. It seems one guy made a pretty hefty bet on the game and lost, so he showed up at a bar a few nights later screaming about how it was fixed. Well, a brawl broke out. We’ll leave the rest of the details for you to read on your own. On November 24, 1917 there was a bombing at the Milwaukee police department. They never found out who did it and it’s one of the most fatal single events in U.S. history. And on November 25, 1783, Evacuation Day went down, which marks the day when the last British soldier left the U.S. after the Revolutionary War.
Next up from Saturday was Part 17 in our ongoing “Voting Problems, Fraud, Scandals Plague Polling Places Across America” series, this time on Kentucky. You know the drill—there was a shortage of poll workers, even though they knew well in advance that this problem existed. It seems poll working just doesn’t pay enough to entice anyone but the most fervent of patriots to do it. Thus long lines, and there was also a lack of ballots. And some places did the voting entirely by electronic machine—no paper trail to check against if need be. But authorities say it’s all fine. Although there are 6 counties there that use exclusively paper-backed systems. Plus, the voting machines are old and slow as molasses. Oh, and apparently a ton of garbage was left behind. Good times, right?
Aaaand let’s kick things off for today right with a look at today’s opinion piece: “Thanksgiving and Other Pagan Holidays and Monuments, THANKS BUT NO THANKS!” by Jeffrey Silverman. It looks like if you love Thanksgiving and cherish the time together with family, then Silverman is here TO RAIN ON YOUR PARADE!! Here’s how he kicks things off: “Thanksgiving is a day when we Americans celebrate taking advantage of Indians, stealing their land and destroying their culture - in order to obtain trinkets, help God civilize people and make manifest destiny a national policy. This is the stuff fairy tales are made of, as I remember growing up. The sad story about the Pilgrims escaping religious persecution who found their way from England to Massachusetts in 1620, was a staple of everyone´s upbringing. Once there, and aided by the friendly Indians, the Pilgrims survived in a new and harsh environment, and celebrated with a harvest feast in 1621 following their first winter. But in reality the persecuted soon became the persecutors – and soon those same Pilgrims would be killing off the native population to grab more land.” Well, I’m sure elements of this are true, but I’m certainly not sold on the whole kit and caboodle, but check out the piece to see what you think!
And on Mondays we give you a double dose of history here on the podcast, with the piece from the weekend then also today’s “This Day in History” piece. Here’s something exciting for all you sports people out there: On this day in 1917, the NHL was founded. Apparently, there had been several failed attempts to bring all the teams together, but it finally worked, with the original league consisting of the Montreal Canadiens, the Montreal Wanderers, the Ottawa Senators, and the Quebec Bulldogs. The Montreal Canadiens would go on to win the Stanley Cup 24 times so far—the most of any team in the league. On this day in 2000, liberals everywhere melted into a puddle of tears when George W. was certified as the winner of the presidential race. Of course, there are those who still refuse to accept the results of that election. Then again, there are those who still don’t accept the results of 2016 either… And on this day in 2011, NATO troops attacked Pakistani troops at Salala, Pakistan. We’ll leave you to read the piece for the details, but apparently before this went down, both NATO and the US considered a Pakistan an ally. Not so now…
And oh snap: ““What happens in Prague … doesn't stay in Prague”: Was Trump right on the “foreign aid issue?”” President Donald Trump recently said that the United States should not support any opposition forces abroad that have spent American taxpayers money in vain. However, some opposition candidates from different countries, such as Russian oligarch Mikhail Hodorkovsky, don’t seem to care about such statements very much. Between November 23 and 25 the “Russia instead of Putin” conference, organized by him—a runaway oligarch—was held in the luxurious interiors of the Grandior Hotel in the capital of the Czech Republic, Prague. The conference was also funded by the well-known Russophobic William Browder Foundation. And apparently the conference was pretty thuggish, not letting in anyone who didn’t seem disloyal enough to Russia to the people putting the thing on, so that’s always fun. These people want a Russia without Putin, but do they want a better Russia, or a better life for themselves?
Aaaaaaaaand the US border is in flames. Ok, well that might be a bit dramatic, but there IS tear gas being shot all over the place! So metaphorical flames of struggle. It began Sunday. US border agents fired tear gas on hundreds of migrants protesting near the border after some of them attempted to get through the fencing and wire separating the two countries; American authorities shut down border crossings from Tijuana where thousands are waiting to apply for asylum. The situation devolved after the group began a peaceful march to appeal for the US to speed process asylum claims for Central American migrants marooned in Tijuana. As the chaos unfolded, shoppers just yards away on the US side streamed in and out of an outlet mall. Children screamed and coughed. Fumes were carried by the wind towards people who were hundreds of feet away. But here’s something I wasn’t aware of yet: Mexico's Interior Ministry said Sunday the country has sent 11,000 Central Americans back to their countries of origin since Oct. 19, when the first caravan entered the country. It said that 1,906 of those who have returned were members of the recent caravans. Mexico is on track to send a total of around 100,000 Central Americans back home by the end of this year.
And finally some small piece of good news for California after so much horrible destruction: “Camp Fire,” has the blaze in northern California, has been dubbed, is “Now Fully Contained.” U.S. emergency services have reported the complete localization of one of the most destructive wildfires in California history. The catastrophic wildfire in northern California is nearly out after several days of rain, and many in southern California are returning home after the worst fire in a century continued for two weeks. But searchers are still completing the meticulous task of combing through now-muddy ash and debris for signs of human remains in the worst-hit city of Paradise. It sounds like terrible work, that I can’t even imagine doing, but God bless these men and women who are searching for the poor people who suffered. The fire burned down nearly 19,000 buildings, most of them homes, and displaced thousands of people, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said. Meanwhile, Los Angeles County sheriff's officials said they were in the last phase of repopulating Malibu and unincorporated areas of the county. At the height of the fire, 250,000 fled their homes. May God have mercy upon all those who have perished and upon those who are still suffering!
And it’s bad news for Nebraska: The rural population is shrinking, which means farming is shrinking, but, like, that’s what Nebraska is supposed to be known for. Recent research has indicated that 69 out of 93 Nebraskan counties, primarily rural ones, are now losing population, with 60 of the counties having more deaths than births. People simply prefer to live in towns and cities than in rural areas. Urbanization is an objective trend in many developed countries and there’s nothing bad in it at first glance, but, if we look deeper we can see that such a trend could cause serious problems for the agricultural sector of the economy, in which Nebraska plays a key role. They’re also facing massive baby boomer retirement. Oh, whither thou, Nebraska?!
And that’ll do it for the news today my friends. So before we wrap this whole thing up, let’s take a sneak peek look at tomorrow’s opinion piece: “The Failure of Middle Class Christianity” by K. E. Benois. This is a pretty interesting piece—one of my favorites out of all the opinion pieces I’ve reviewed. Benois starts it off: “In looking at the important subject of American religiosity, the spectacular death spiral of the country’s once dominant Protestant culture is truly a feast for sociologists. In the post-WWII secular landscape of Europe, America was often regarded as the ‘outlier’ of irreligion’s somewhat exaggerated march. It was believed that Christianity in the United States had staying power for a number of reasons, the first being it was never subject to the catastrophe of WWI to any notable degree, but also because the establishment clause of the Constitution meant that it was a difficult scapegoat in times of political divides. This was the consensus at least, until the early 2000s. What exactly went wrong? The creepy apostles of ‘New Atheism’ would like people to believe that greater knowledge of the scientific method, and widespread access to the internet, sounded the funeral drum of American religiosity. However, this is a pathetic kind of godless wish-fulfilment. Such activists desperately want the decline of religion to be based in ‘facts’, but unfortunately the innate human lack of interest in facts spoils their theory. One might say a reason for the staying power of religion more generally is the human preference for the significance of narratives over facts. Unfortunately, the spiritual autism of ‘out and proud’ atheists prevents them from seeing any significance in narratives at all, and they thus tend to view themselves as the only sane people in a lunatic asylum.” Yah, and the whole piece is that captivating, so you HAVE to check this one out tomorrow.
Welp, yins, that’ll do it for the night. Thanks for listening, thanks for reading, and keep it right here for all the news you need to know.