The United States is Becoming Like Egypt

Updated January 16, 2017. Colby Cooper removed his posts on Twitter & Facebook related to this incident. I’ve substituted the links to them with screenshots I took.

Two stories demonstrate how the United States is becoming Egypt. Both are associated with Trump, but it would be a mistake to believe that the roots of this transformation did not begin before him. If you’re studying for the SAT, you can use these to help you learn the meanings of obsequious and impunity. Continue reading

White Lives Matter: Eric Posner’s Call to Criminalize Speech Supporting ISIS

tumblr_ms5shyetg41rfgmbqo1_1280On December 15, 2015, weeks after the Paris and San Bernardino, California attacks, Slate published ISIS Gives Us No Choice but to Consider Limits on Speech by Eric Posner (Twitter). Even though many of the victims were non-white, Professor Posner’s article is a perfect illustration of White Lives Matter. Continue reading

The Dangers of USA Civil War Nostalgia & Romanticism

On November 5, 2015, author Robert Hicks (Twitter) talked about his book The Widow of the South and the place of the USA Civil War in history at the Morris Museum of Art in Augusta, Georgia, USA as part of the 5th Civil War Symposium. In my opinion, he oversold the position he took in his New York Times column on the 150th anniversary of the final day of the battle in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. What I heard, which may not be exactly or substantially what Mr. Hicks said, was that the federal government’s victory in the Civil War preserved the United States so it could play a saving role for humanity “twice” in the 20th century C.E. Continue reading

TopRightNews.com’s Misleading Article on Syrian Refugees

In the comments section of my hometown newspaper’s editorial urging blocking resettlement of Syrian refugees in the United States, a user cited an article by TopRightNews.com (using my donotlink.com short link).

#1, some of the links in the article don’t support the claims the article makes or link to incorrect documents. For example,

… The 10,000 Syrian refugees are first flown to the United States, according to the French news wire Agence France-Presse, with the State Department paying the International Organization for Migration (IOM) for the airfare.

If you read the entire article, not just the excerpt toprightnews provided, you’ll see that the 10,000 are not arriving at once, but after a long vetting process. In fact, nobody who’s just started an asylum request today has a decent chance of arriving in the US prior to Obama’s leaving office. Any Syrian refugees arriving now are people who made applications months, or even years, ago.

Later the toprightnews.com article quotes a portion of terrorism expert Barnazzani’s interview on a New Orleans station. The part toprightnews didn’t include was:

“It’s going to be the 18- to 45-year-old male for the most part,” he said. “It’s a percentage game. It’s not fail-safe, but it’s a percentage game.”

Still, as more of the refugees take up residency in the New Orleans area, Bernazzani discourages fear.

“These are just people from another country trying to escape misery by virtue of a civil war,” he said. “We had our own civil war, and so I wouldn’t be worried, but I would be vigilant,” he said.

Regarding the Jeh Johnson quote, it omits the information that Jeh Johnson then provides about the steps the US takes after receiving the asylum request forwarded from international agencies.

Why do USA citizens constantly misunderstand government budgets?

A 2011 CNN Opinion Research survey demonstrated how inaccurate Americans are in estimating what percentage of the federal budget is spent in various programs. Some politicians pretend that cutting funding to public broadcasting could significantly decrease federal expenditures. Chad Stone wrote in US News and World Report in 2012:

At the federal level, most of the budget goes toward defense, Social Security, and major health programs, as the chart below shows. Programs that most Americans oppose cutting—Social Security, defense, education and Medicare (which accounts for almost two-thirds of the Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP slice of the pie)—plus interest on the debt account for about three out of every five federal dollars. Only about 1 percent of the budget goes toward foreign aid. Knowing these facts, would Americans still think that more than half the federal budget is waste that could be cut away without seriously harming government programs they value?

The Friends Committee on National Legislation estimates that 40% of the federal budget in 2014 was devoted to militarism.

On Sunday, October 18, the Augusta Chronicle, in two good articles, nevertheless partially contributed to this national misunderstanding. It placed an article about members of Augusta’s Board of Commissioners using $4,300 in gas allowance money on the front page, and it placed an article about the military contractor running nearby Fort Gordon going more than $104 million over budget on the first page of Section B.

It seems as if the magnitude of the spending was in inverse relationship to the position of the article in the paper.

The Hypocrisy of USA Immigration Policy

From Farmers brace for workforce shortage under Obama’s executive action on immigration in the Augusta Chronicle of December 28, 2014:

Farmers already scrambling to find workers in California – the nation’s leading grower of fruits, vegetables and nuts – fear an even greater labor shortage under President Obama’s executive action to block about 5 million people from deportation.

Thousands of the state’s farmworkers, who make up a significant portion of those who will benefit, might choose to leave the uncertainty of their seasonal jobs for steady work building homes, cooking in restaurants and cleaning hotel rooms.

This article illustrates the hypocrisy of US immigration policy. Whole industries depend on cheap labor, and we deprive those laborers of a legal status so their employers can exploit them.

Let’s just be honest. If we want cheap fruit & vegetables, $0.50 chicken pieces, clean office buildings, manicured landscaping and construction workers on demand, then we have to have immigrants willing to do these tasks. Now the only question is whether we want them to have enough rights to be able to approach the police when landlords, employers and criminals exploit them.

We have a North American Free Trade Agreement which gives the Jalisco tomato and Iowan wheat more rights to cross borders than Mexicans.

If you believe in free markets for products, shouldn’t you believe in free markets for labor?