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American Politics

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Past Imperfect. Americans have certain ideas about the good old days, especially in this nostalgia-inducing era of mortgage foreclosure, Wall Street meltdown, and healthcare crisis.

Past Imperfect

Sure, between the advance of civil rights and modern technology and medicine, most would agree that life has generally become easier, longer, and more just. But wasn’t there a time when Americans lived debt-free? When our needs were simple and our luxuries few, and Christmas was about loved ones instead of a capitalist carnival of consumption? When families cared for an ill grandma themselves, instead of abandoning her to public welfare or a nursing home? Back then—it is never clear when, exactly—weren’t Americans more devoted to their kin, more faithful, less violent? The answer, Claude Fischer says, is no.

We do not know our ancestors nearly so well as we thought we did. Not only does Fischer argue that there is an American mainstream, but he is unapologetic about who forms its core. Obama and his fight against a winner-take-all society. All the doubting Thomases who wondered whether Occupy Wall Street would have a lasting political impact got their answer this week in Osawatomie, Kan.

Obama and his fight against a winner-take-all society

That’s where President Barack Obama travelled to deliver a speech that is being billed as the mission statement for his 2012 re-election campaign. He chose that town of fewer than 5,000 people, 80 kilometres southwest of Kansas City, for its historical resonance – it is where Theodore Roosevelt journeyed just over a century earlier to give his seminal “New Nationalism” address.

But Zuccotti Park in New York, the informal epicentre of the leaderless Occupy Wall Street movement, served as an equally important, albeit less explicit, inspiration. The movement’s accomplishment is to have legitimized discussion of rising income inequality in the United States – Mr. Obama described it as “the defining issue of our time.”

Mr. But as Mr. He compared the creative destruction of today’s economic transformation with the Industrial Revolution. But Mr. Philippine-American War: The War They Don’t Teach in US Schools (Scroll down to view documentary) Introduction In the aftermath of writing about Manny Pacquio’s Extraordinary Character two weeks ago, I’ve been writing posts that tend to be a bit inspirational, and I’ve enjoyed looking at some very positive things in the process.

Philippine-American War: The War They Don’t Teach in US Schools (Scroll down to view documentary)

Full disclosure: this isn’t one of those posts. If you’re looking exclusively for inspiration I suggest you jump from here to the BBC Documentary About Manny Pacquiao as that will be more inspirational for sure. If you’re still interested to hear more about the War They Don’t Teach in American Schools — then read on. Why Don’t They Teach it in American Schools? What were American leaders thinking?

In the Philippines It’s Not Forgotten — But Perhaps Misunderstood Against that background — I want to say that now that I’m writing more about the Philippines and Philippine/American issues, this is one that I’m going to come back to now and then and try to explore a bit. Welcome to Boston, Mr. Rumsfeld. You Are Under Arrest. Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has been stripped of legal immunity for acts of torture against US citizens authorized while he was in office.

The 7th Circuit made the ruling in the case of two American contractors who were tortured by the US military in Iraq after uncovering a smuggling ring within an Iraqi security company. The company was under contract to the Department of Defense. The company was assisting Iraqi insurgent groups in the “mass acquisition” of American weapons. The ruling comes as Rumsfeld begins his book tour with a visit to Boston on Monday, September 26, and as new, uncensored photos of Abu Ghraib spark fresh outrage across Internet.

Awareness is growing that Bush-era crimes went far beyond mere waterboarding.Torture Room, Abu Ghraib Rumsfeld resigned days before a criminal complaint was filed in Germany in which the American general who commanded the military police battalion at Abu Ghraib had promised to testify. Abu Ghraib Prisoner Smeared with Feces. U.S. cuts off UNESCO funding after Palestinian vote. Occupy Wall Street: The Most Important Thing in the World Now. I was honored to be invited to speak at Occupy Wall Street on Thursday night.

Occupy Wall Street: The Most Important Thing in the World Now

Since amplification is (disgracefully) banned, and everything I say will have to be repeated by hundreds of people so others can hear (a k a “the human microphone”), what I actually say at Liberty Plaza will have to be very short. With that in mind, here is the longer, uncut version of the speech. We Recommend.