RSSCategory: American Culture

Bernie Sanders sums up what we can learn from Denmark

May 27, 2013 | By | Reply More

At Reader Supported News, Bernie Sanders notes that Denmark and the United States are very different countries, but insists that there are lessons the U.S. can learn from Denmark:

While it is difficult to become very rich in Denmark no one is allowed to be poor.

Health care in Denmark is universal, free of charge and high quality. . . . They spend about 11 percent of their GDP on health care. We spend almost 18 percent.

Danes understand that the first few years of a person’s life are the most important in terms of intellectual and emotional development. . . [M]others get four weeks of paid leave before giving birth. They get another 14 weeks afterward. . . . [B]oth parents have the right to 32 more weeks of leave during the first nine years of a child’s life. The state covers three-quarters of the cost of child care, more for lower-income workers.

[V]irtually all higher education in Denmark is free.

In Denmark, adequate leisure and family time are considered an important part of having a good life. Every worker in Denmark is entitled to five weeks of paid vacation plus 11 paid holidays. The United States is the only major country that does not guarantee its workers paid vacation time. The result is that fewer than half of lower-paid hourly wage workers in our country receive any paid vacation days.

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A breast is a breast is a breast

May 17, 2013 | By | Reply More

According to PolicyMic,

Ladies of New York , you are free to walk bare-breasted through the city! New York City’s 34,000 police officers have been instructed that, should they encounter a woman in public who is shirtless but obeying the law, they should not arrest her. This is a good step towards gender parity in public spaces.

So, a woman’s bare breast should be treated no differently than a man’s breast under the law. Nonetheless, the fact that this NY law is so contentious (or at least newsworthy), means that a breast is not the same as an arm or a leg, especially a woman’s breast. I explore the existential connotations of breasts here.

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Ronald Reagan’s Budget Director describes today’s Republican Party

May 10, 2013 | By | 1 Reply More

I’m convinced that if Ronald Reagan ran for president today, he would not have any chance of being the Republican Party nominee. Further proof of how far the Republican party has drifted comes from David Stockman, who served as Ronald Reagan’s Budget Director. During a recent interview, Stockman was asked about today’s Republican party:

I think the Republican Party is not really a party. It doesn’t stand for anything except reelecting itself. It’s a coalition of gangs….

The Neo Cons which I have no use for are only oriented to an aggressive imperialistic foreign policy, a big defense establishment, and suppression of our civil liberties. That’s a bad. I am against that.

The Tax Cons want to just cut taxes anytime any day regardless of the fiscal situation. That has gone to absurd lengths. I oppose that.

The Social Cons, social policy people, the right to life issue, gay marriage and all that, that’s irrelevant to governing a democracy in a free society.

That is basically the heart of the Republican Party. In that mix how can you find anything that is going to stand for conservative economics, fiscal rectitude, free markets, sound money; it’s not there. The Republican Party is basically irrelevant to the economic crisis that faces the country.

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Lee Camp brings it

May 10, 2013 | By | Reply More

Over the past week, I’ve watched about 20 episodes of Lee Camp’s Moment of Clarity. Camp has the technique down well. Be well informed, then let it fly with equal parts wit and sharp sword. His targets are those who hurt or disparage honorable ordinary people. His videos are well-planned and executed, with the timing of an experienced comedian. Take a look at any of the four posted episodes below, and I suspect that you will become a Lee Camp fan too.

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About Americans

May 2, 2013 | By | 1 Reply More

I know that this article at Bananenplanet is filled with generalizations, but many of them rang true to me. Thoughtful article that suggests that Americans need to look in the mirror. Here are some of the main points:

  • We Know Nothing About The Rest Of The World
  • The Quality of Life For The Average American Is Not That Great
  • The Rest Of The World Is Not A Slum-Ridden Shithole Compared To Us
  • We’re Paranoid
  • We’re Status-Obsessed And Seek Attention
  • We Are Very Unhealthy
  • We Mistake Comfort For Happiness
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Daily Show skewers U.S. resistance to gun control

April 27, 2013 | By | Reply More

The Daily Show uses the Australian decision to enact meaningful gun control legislation to show the dysfunction of the U.S.

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Common Sense, Grammar, and Original Intent

April 8, 2013 | By | 1 Reply More
Common Sense, Grammar, and Original Intent

According to recent polls, a growing number of Americans believe that the Second Amendment was put in the Bill of Rights in order to guarantee that our government will not impose any kind of tyranny upon us. That an armed populace is a bulwark against government oppression. [More . . . ]

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The mainstream media attack on Martin Luther King for his criticism of warmongering

April 7, 2013 | By | Reply More

Here is a basic rule of American journalism: Don’t speak the truth during times of war. Martin Luther King received received harsh treatment by the mainstream media when he dared to speak out about the Vietnam War, even after his many successes in the area of civil rights. The occasion was King’s somber Riverside Church speech.

Part II of King’s speech is here.   King’s speech is accurately described as follows at this Youtube page:

By 1967, King had become the country’s most prominent opponent of the Vietnam War, and a staunch critic of overall U.S. foreign policy, which he deemed militaristic. In his “Beyond Vietnam” speech delivered at New York’s Riverside Church on April 4, 1967 — a year to the day before he was murdered — King called the United States “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today.” Time magazine called the speech “demagogic slander that sounded like a script for Radio Hanoi,” and the Washington Post declared that King had “diminished his usefulness to his cause, his country, his people.

At the recently concluded National Conference for Media Reform, Amy Goodman of Democracy Now commented on the propensity of the media to become obeisant to warmongering American politicians, and the equal propensity of the media to criticize those who criticize warmongering. To hear Goodman’s excellent speech, go to minute 28:00 of the composite video.

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Obama drone policy gets some sunshine

March 8, 2013 | By | Reply More

From Truthout:

Only because Rand Paul, Ted Cruz – and now others – have been willing to stand up to the administration and demand transparency on drone strike policy are Americans learning the chilling truth about the executive’s elastic definition of “imminence” in “imminent threat.”

If you’re concerned about the lack of transparency and accountability of the policy of drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, you have to concede that Senators Rand Paul and Ted Cruz have done us a great service: Cruz, R-Texas, with his questioning of Attorney General Eric Holder in the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Paul, R-Kentucky, with his widely reported filibuster on the Senate floor. Unfortunately, some Democrats don’t want to acknowledge this contribution. That’s a shame.

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