A major U.S. private prison operator known for inmate abuse, violations, and disregard for the truth reported a 56-percent spike in profit in the first quarter of 2013, due in part to its new strategy for drastically reducing its taxes, the Associated Press reports.
The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. …We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society. …In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons…who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind.
Edward Bernays, the father of public relations, in “Manipulating Public Opinion” (1928).
Has there ever been a Middle Eastern war of such hypocrisy? A war of such cowardice and such mean morality, of such false rhetoric and such public humiliation? I’m not talking about the physical victims of the Syrian tragedy. I’m referring to the utter lies and mendacity of our masters and our own public opinion, eastern as well as western, in response to the slaughter, a vicious pantomime more worthy of Swiftian satire than Tolstoy or Shakespeare.
Were it not for French assistance, it is unlikely that the American Revolutionary War would’ve succeeded — or at least done so as quickly and relatively easily as it did.
Along with Great Britain, France was the greatest military and political power in the world at that time. Aside from significant diplomatic and financial support, France supplied the Patriots with boots, uniforms, supplies, and the most advanced weaponry at the time (including hundreds of cannons and thousands of rifles that outperformed the British ones). Indeed, 90% of our gunpowder was of French origin, and the lack of that alone would’ve made rebellion near-impossible. France provided a navy (as we had none); trained, advised, and even led our troops (hence, in part, the prevalence of French terms in military parlance), and opened up additional battle fronts throughout the world, which helped to spread out and weaken the Crown’s forces.
A total of 300,000 French troops were involved in the conflict, one of the largest armed forces at the time (and one that presumably outnumbered the British). Many of them fought alongside the Patriots; in fact, the decisive Siege of Yorktown — which ultimately ended the war — was won by a combined Franco-American force, involving as many French troops as American ones. Granted, France did all this more for strategic gain against a perennial rival than out of any sympathy to our cause (though some French did support us for ideological reasons). But the facts don’t lie, and our liberation of France in World War II can, in a sense, be seen as returning the favor.
Note that Spain also played an important role as well, after the French convinced them to join in. Unfortunately, Spanish contributions are even less well-known than French ones, and require further scholarship and research.
Hillary Clinton waged a losing fight with Congress for embassy security resources over the course of the first Obama administration. Some of the ringleaders of last week’s hearing were among the prominent opponents to that spending, with Representative Chaffetz and Representative Darrell Issa joining to cut nearly half a billion dollars from the State Department security accounts that cover armored vehicles, security systems, and guards. In Fiscal Year 2011, House Republicans cut $128 million from the Obama Administration’s requests for embassy security funding; in 2012, they cut another $331 million. Issa once personally voted to cut almost 300 diplomatic security positions. In 2011, after one of many fruitless trips to the Hill to beg House Republicans for resources, an exhausted, prophetic Hillary Clinton warned that cuts to embassy spending “will be detrimental to America’s national security.
When several states passed laws banning same-sex marriages, researchers found that the mental health of gay residents seemed to suffer. Conversely, stress-related disorders dropped after the legalization of gay marriage in one state. Researchers say negative media portrayals and loss of safety were contributing factors.
Treating people like second-class citizens does a number on their mental health. While that much is obvious, it’s good to see some research back it up.
Lobbyists for the nation’s biggest banks have persuaded federal regulators to soften a proposed Dodd-Frank rule, a move that is expected to protect Wall Street’s control over the $700 trillion derivatives market.
Canada ranks well in the following areas: clinical medicine; information and communication technologies; physics and astronomy; psychology and cognitive sciences. Canada also punches well above its weight in historical studies and research on the visual and performing arts.
The panel also found found that Canada is a world leader in research on venereal diseases and dermatology, as well as anatomy, astrophysics, general and internal medicine, nuclear and particle physics and zoology. Canada is also a leader in studying business and management, criminology and classics.
As for the future, the survey of Canadian experts identified a number of areas in which Canada is well-placed to become a global leader. They include: personalized medicine, tissue engineering and digital media. Nanotechnologies and wireless technology may also be emerging areas of strength.
Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, often called the the “Muslim Gandhi,” was an Afghan political and spiritual leader known for his nonviolent opposition to British Rule in India. A devout Muslim and dedicated pacifist, he worked with Gandhi to put an end to the British Raj and bring unity among the divided people of South Asia. A man of great integrity, he once declared that it is “better [to] be poisoned in one’s own blood then to be poisoned in one’s principle.”
Khan was also a reformer and social activist who sought to alleviate the poverty, violence, and hatred of his society. To that end, he formed the Khudai Khidmatgar (Servants of God) movement, in which members would take an oath of honesty, integrity, self-sacrifice, and the serving of others without regard to faith or ethnicity. The success of this group led to a harsh crackdown by the British, though Khan remained committed to nonviolence.
He opposed the partition of India, and because of this – as well as his lifelong opposition to authoritarian rule – he was frequently arrested, exiled, and harassed by the Pakistani authorities. Despite this, he never wavered in his values and remained a pacifist for the rest of his life.
As nearly every political writer will attest, it’s nearly impossible to write about a right-wing agitator like Glenn Beck, Ann Coulter or Rush Limbaugh without someone smugly commenting, “why do you even give them the time of day? If we ignore them, they’ll go away.”
On this day in 1954, the US Supreme Court ruled unanimously in Brown v. Board of Education that racial segregation in public schools was unconstitutional, because “separate educational facilities are inherently unequal,” which thereby violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
A map of the world’s most and least racially-tolerant countries. Read the methodology of the study, and its conclusion, here. The analysis was as follows:
- Anglo and Latin countries most tolerant. People in the survey were most likely to embrace a racially diverse neighbor in the United Kingdom and its Anglo former colonies (the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand) and in Latin America. The only real exceptions were oil-rich Venezuela, where income inequality sometimes breaks along racial lines, and the Dominican Republic, perhaps because of its adjacency to troubled Haiti. Scandinavian countries also scored high.
- India, Jordan, Bangladesh and Hong Kong by far the least tolerant.In only three of 81 surveyed countries, more than 40 percent of respondents said they would not want a neighbor of a different race. This included 43.5 percent of Indians, 51.4 percent of Jordanians and an astonishingly high 71.8 percent of Hong Kongers and 71.7 percent of Bangladeshis.
- Wide, interesting variation across Europe. Immigration and national identity are big, touchy issues in much of Europe, where racial make-ups are changing. Though you might expect the richer, better-educated Western European nations to be more tolerant than those in Eastern Europe, that’s not exactly the case. France appeared to be one of the least racially tolerant countries on the continent, with 22.7 percent saying they didn’t want a neighbor of another race. Former Soviet states such as Belarus and Latvia scored as more tolerant than much of Europe. Many in the Balkans, perhaps after years of ethnicity-tinged wars, expressed lower racial tolerance.
- The Middle East not so tolerant. Immigration is also a big issue in this region, particularly in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, which often absorb economic migrants from poorer neighbors.
- Racial tolerance low in diverse Asian countries. Nations such as Indonesia and the Philippines, where many racial groups often jockey for influence and have complicated histories with one another, showed more skepticism of diversity. This was also true, to a lesser extent, in China and Kyrgyzstan. There were similar trends in parts of sub-Saharan Africa.
- South Korea, not very tolerant, is an outlier. Although the country is rich, well-educated, peaceful and ethnically homogenous – all trends that appear to coincide with racial tolerance – more than one in three South Koreans said they do not want a neighbor of a different race. This may have to do with Korea’s particular view of its own racial-national identity as unique – studied by scholars such as B.R. Myers – and with the influx of Southeast Asian neighbors and the nation’s long-held tensions with Japan.
- Pakistan, remarkably tolerant, also an outlier. Although the country has a number of factors that coincide with racial intolerance – sectarian violence, its location in the least-tolerant region of the world, low economic and human development indices – only 6.5 percent of Pakistanis objected to a neighbor of a different race. This would appear to suggest Pakistanis are more racially tolerant than even the Germans or the Dutch.
Note that there are many caveats to keep in mind: for example, different societies have different perceptions of race (certain social, religious, and sectarian groups may be perceived unfavorably as distinct races) or may have no concept of race at all. Similarly, there is a difference between actually liking someone of a certain race, and being willing to live near them. Many national surveys from these countries will reveal strong racist attitudes in conjunction with a begrudging ability to tolerate said races.
Chiwa - Mchinji, Malawi Shot over a period of 18 months, Italian photographer Gabriele Galimberti’s project Toy Stories compiles photos of children from around the world with their prized possessions — their toys. Galimberti explores the universality of being a kid amidst the diversity of their circumstances.