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Sunday, November 11, 2012

Sunday Morning News and Views. November 11, 2012

My wife and I watched "Restrepo", an award winning documentary about Forward Operating Post Restrepo in Afghanistan, and "Armadillo", about Danish fighters and their tour in Afghanistan.(Restrepo's filmmakers later dies covering the revolutio in Lybia). In the past I was more likely to mark Veterans Day with John Wayne and othersemi-propoganda but great if somewhat sanitized war films from the 1940's to 70's.

It's Veterans Day in the US, a day to remember and thank all those who served their country in military service. Most of the  rest of the world have the more solemn Remembrance Day, similar to Memorial Day in the US. Both Veterans Day and Memorial Day came from Armistice Day, the day when the war dead of the "War to end all wars", World War I,

The top officer of the BBC has resigned, following several scandals including falsely reporting on alleged child abuse in high government circles. At a time of economic stress, many changes are now predicted or feared at the world's premiere news and programming service. BBC funding and a trend to compete with England's increasingly Tabloid pseudo-news are equally at risk of radical change in the near future.

Many of our young warriors come home without a job. US law only protects those who left full time jobs.Most volunteers are young, many of whom have never held a full time job. They return without a solid work record, and with employers who do not freely (and in some cases cannot legally) transfer their military training and experience to civilian work. This Veterans Day is a good time to think about why we discriminate against those who serve, and how we can compensate without disseminating against others.


The congress going into lame duck session after Thanksgiving, is now the least effective congress in history, governing through legislation less than any recorded two year period in US history. Major bills were held hostage on a routine basis. The proclamation of making Barack Obama a one term president has failed, but not for a lack of trying by stalling legislation of every type over the last two years. In the next Congress Democrats picked up senate seats (in a year when it was predicted by the media they would lose) and even picked up seats in the House (no where near enough challenge the "just say no" house Republican majority).


Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin was supposed to be too liberal to win a statewide race in Wisconsin, particularly against a legendary former governor. But Baldwin won, and won fairly easily, becoming the first openly gay person to be elected to the Senate.Election day three states approved gay marriage. From baldwin to victories for marijuana sale and use, the 2012 election turned out to be the election most under or missestimated in US Media history. The Conservative wave and horse races so strongly promoted by all media, turned out to be manufactured stories in a year where more women earned office than in any election in US history, and Baby Boom "liberals" joined with the new minorities in proving the media wrong.

Cell phone use, including text, e-mail and facebook, is close to overcoming alcohol as the number one cause of auto accidents in America. Cell phone use can be easily confirmed through phone records. It does not matter if  "hands free" is used. Now manufactures are building in Internet and phone into vehicles. This, law enforcement and experts agree, will only add to distractions and the dangers of driving. We pay lip service to the danger but have be changed? What may seem draconian laws against cell phone use of any kind in a vehicle may be needed.



A famous documentary maker in China and two of his young students have launched a Memory Project, going round villages interviewing peasants about the Great Famine in 1958-61. They are also putting up tombstones listing those who starved to death in country villages during the famine, which was blamed by the Chinese government on a series of natural disasters. However, most historians now believe the deaths of between 23 and 45 million people were largely the fault of the Chinese Communist Party and its leader, Mao Zedong. The students say the project has changed them, and learning the true story of the famine and its impact led to a slow process of shock, disillusionment and disgust.



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