Category Archives: America

About American politics, our spirit, and our soul

Ten powerful ways to celebrate Memorial Day

Summary: There are many ways to celebrate Memorial Day. Some you do each year. Some you have thought of, but not gotten around to doing. Some you might not have thought of, but will find reward when you do them.

Blue Star Mothers

USO Patch

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(1) Personally help those in our armed forces, active duty and retired

Donate to support the Blue Star Mothers of America

Volunteer or donate to support the USO

Volunteer at the Veterans Administration

These service agencies are there for our troops when they need help. When they’re traveling, on isolated bases (especially during holidays), when injured, when returned home with disabilities, and on a thousand other occasions. Supporting them is a great way to celebrate the sacrifice of those who died while serving in America’s armed forces.

Hire a Veteran

(2) Hire a veteran

Thousands of men and women are leaving the service — some voluntarily, some not — now that our wars wind down and DoD’s mad overfunding gets cut (except for the funds going to military contractors). Give our vets a helping hand.

Veterans Administration

(3) Force Congress to better fund care for Veterans

There is no excuse for underfunding care for veterans. Many will require long-term care. Persecuting the VA officials attempting to spin gold from straw does not help. Write your Representative and Senators! Tell them to fix it now.

Military cemetery

(4) Stop our vain wars

Let’s add no more chapters to American history about wars that do nothing for America, like Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan. It’s a democracy. We bear full responsibility, collectively, for sending our troops into harm’s way — for what they do, and what happens to them.

Veterans' Day

(5) The basics: ways to celebrate Memorial Day

Don’t forget the usual things to do on Memorial Day. Visit cemeteries to place flags or flowers on the graves of our fallen heroes. Visit war memorials. Fly the U.S. Flag at half-staff until noon. Join or cheer a parade!

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An anthropologist reviews “Where to invade next?”, Michael Moore’s powerful new film

Summary: Anthropologist Maximilian Forte reviews Michael Moore’s new film about America. It has been panned by both neoliberals and neoconservatives, more evidence that there is little political polarization among our elites. Forte gives a dispassionate review, looking at it with an anthropologists’ eyes.

“’Where to Invade Next‘ is a powerful, touching film, filled with a humanizing vision of better possibilities, of real solutions and how the US shares their historical roots, that challenge the brutal and degrading reality of gross inequality fostered by the endless greed of the power elites.”

Where to Invade Next

 

Review of Michael Moore’s
“Where to Invade Next”

By Maximilian C. Forte.
From Zero Anthropology
Reposted with his generous permission

Having seen almost all of Michael Moore’s films to date, I have no difficulty in applauding “Where to Invade Next” as his best film yet. I may have many disagreements with Moore, on his allegiance to the Democratic Party, his past support for Obama, his ties to MoveOn, and his occasional glossing over the pro-war and regime change records of some of his icons, among other things — but this is not meant to be the focus here. Instead, credit must be given when it is due, and this is a skilfully designed and carefully conceptualized work that does much in just two hours, and that inevitably leaves out much context as well. None of the media reviews, and not even the official trailers, do real justice to the film.

The film should not be judged as a “comedy” or even an attempt at one, like some reviewers have mistakenly suggested. It is a relatively subdued film, with Moore looking like a shabbily-dressed wounded veteran, limping out of a declining empire. The overall sense is of a representative of the US, reflecting on the grave degree to which his own society has been broken.

Briefly, and without spoiling the film for those who have yet to see it, “Where to Invade Next” is not a war film, and is not about current geopolitics (there is some of that, at the start). It is not a film about the next expected war overseas, in other words. The idea is for Moore to venture out and find ideas to “steal” so that he can take them back to the US with the hope of repairing his society. He thus undertakes friendly, mock “invasions” of Italy, France, Finland, Slovenia, Germany, Portugal, Norway, Tunisia, and Iceland — in roughly that order. He meets with people working in police forces, in the fashion industry, in a motorcycle factory, in a pencil factory, in schools, in prisons, in kitchens, in health clinics and spas, in banks, and in government. He meets with students of all ages. He meets with CEOs in Italy, Germany, and Iceland. He meets with Italian trade unionists. He meets with a mayor and former president of Iceland, and a recent former president of Tunisia. He meets with the current president of Slovenia, and the Minister of Education in Finland.

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Holiday snapshots of America, food for year-end thoughts about 2016

Summary: Here are snapshots of America at the end of 2015 that give us food for thought about the New Year. None of stories are what they appear to be. If you liked this post, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Distorted Reality

Contents

  1. How Saddam Hussein Gave Us ISIS.
  2. Six Signs That 2016 Will Be Much Worse Than 2015.
  3. Revisiting the ticking time bomb of US stocks.
  4. The Great Republican Revolt.
  5. About the war on Christmas.
  6. Afghan forces battle to push back Taliban in Helmand.
  7. ISIS: The Threat to the United States.
  8. Recommendations of two books & two films.

(1)  Apologists for the Deep State are always welcome in American newspapers: “How Saddam Hussein Gave Us ISIS” by Kyle W. Orton (Henry Jackson Society), op-ed in the NYT — Big demand for explanations why it is not our fault that our invasions and occupations set the Middle East afire.

(2)  A pointless but popular year-end tradition: “Six Signs That 2016 Will Be Much Worse Than 2015” by Claudio Grass (a Libertarian, loves Austrian economics). It is a generic list of the sort that can be produced every December about the New Year.

(3) Revisiting the ticking time bomb” by Mark Spitznagel (CIO of Universa Investments) at Pensions & Investments — His analysis concludes “that the crash should commence right about now.” It’s a powerful analysis. However, it is misleading to describe a 20% drop in stock prices as a “crash”. Long bull cycles in equities tend to end with 40%+ drops as the economy turns down AND the inevitable valuation correction overshoots to below average levels. For more about this see…

(4) The Great Republican Revolt” by David Frum at The Atlantic — “The GOP planned a dynastic restoration in 2016. Instead, it triggered an internal class war. Can the party reconcile the demands of its donors with the interests of its rank and file?” Frum buries the lede: he correctly refers to Trump and the other GOP insurgents as “populists” but quickly drops that insight. It is too hot and implies that the GOP’s “revolutionaries” are potentially powerful.

For more about this see Next phase of the Trump revolution: rise of the new populism.

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