Wednesday, May 4, 2016

After Ebola: Congress Would Rather Take Time Off than Vote on $1 billion in Emergency Zika Funding

by Nomad

Less than two years ago, the nation was gripped by hysteria over the possibility of an Ebola epidemic inside the US. Republicans, assisted by right wing media, largely incited a panicked overreaction with baseless conspiracy theories  along with an irrational distrust of health officials.
Strangely, when it comes to Zika, Congress appear to be ignoring the problem altogether. So, what gives?

The Ebola Hysteria

Remember when Republicans and the right-wing media wigged out when they imagined Ebola was poised to attack the US? 
There are a lot of members of Congress who, if they could, would prefer that everybody forgot the things were said and done during the so-called Ebola panic. Understandably too. 

At that time, if you listened to right-wing media, (and much of the mainstream media) you might have thought the world's population was just about to be wiped out. Action had to be taken to save the US. 

Fox News became the theater in the round for the performance which went on for weeks in September and October 2014. At one point, talk show host Elisabeth Hasselbeck demanded that the entire country be put on lockdown like a prison. 
Hasselbeck is described as a "television personality," not- repeat, not a doctor nor political analyst and certainly not a journalist. Yet, despite her lack of serious credentials, before stepping down from Fox and Friends, she pulled in a million dollar salary at Fox News
Nice work if you can get it.

In a bit of race-baiting, Andrea Tantaros of Fox suggested that people who travel to the country and show symptoms of ebola will “seek treatment from a witch doctor” instead of go to the hospital. Fox host Steve Doocy suggested the CDC is lying about ebola because they’re “part of the administration”. Fox also promoted a conspiracy theorist who is trying to claim the CDC is lying when they caution people not to panic.
Fox News was, by no means, the only outlet that used the Ebola crisis to boost ratings. Probably not since the days of yellow journalism has the mass media clamored so stridently for the sitting president to make such a sizable blunder.
The hysteria spread through the right-wing media faster than the most virulent contagion.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Homefront: How WWII and the US Military Provided the First Spark for the Civil Rights Movement 2 / 2

by Nomad

In Part One, we took a look at how the approaching World War provided an opportunity to reform hiring practices in the defense industry.
In this part, we examine the post-war years and the momentum from that initial reform were about to push for an even more astounding shift in attitudes.

Upon Roosevelt's death, the torch was passed to Truman who was far less reserved support for income equality for all. After the war was over, the pressure was off the defense industry to hire minorities.
The question was: would the federally-imposed hiring practices for the defense industry during the war be recognized as a standard for all hiring?

G.I. Bill and the Discovery of Two Americas

As we mentioned in the first installment in this series, Roosevelt signed the G.I Bill of Rights on June 22, 1944.
It was an attempt to prevent the miserable situation that Depression-era veterans faced. The Bonus Army March on Washington was a shame for the entire country and, the president felt, should never be allowed to happen again.

In real terms, the law provided enough support so that vets who had served their country should not be burdened economically after his service.

Among the benefits offered to veterans: low-cost mortgages, low-interest loans to start a business, cash payments of tuition and living expenses to attend university, high school or vocational education, as well as one year of unemployment compensation

Professor Suzanne Mettler, Cornell University, points out:
Four out of five men born in the United States during the 1920s served in the military, and about half of them used the G.I. Bill for education and training.... Vocational training also led to jobs with middle class incomes and benefits.... The G.I. Bill helped make U.S. democracy more vibrant in the middle of the twentieth century.
By 1947 half of all college students were veterans and thanks to the G.I. Bill, one-fifth of all single-family homes built in the 20 years following World War II were financed with help from the GI Bill's loan guarantee program, symbolizing the emergence of a new middle class.

The rise of the middle-class in the Eisenhower years was, it has been argued, based on the positive economy-enhancing effects of the G.I. Bill. 

The results of Roosevelt's law enriched the prestige of the future administrations and gave the post-war American society was transformed from the days of the Great Depression and the austerity that followed.
By the time initial GI Bill eligibility for World War II veterans expired in 1956 – about 11 years after final victory – the United States was richer by 450,000 trained engineers, 240,000 accountants, 238,000 teachers, 91,000 scientists, 67,000 doctors, 22,000 dentists, and more than a million other college-educated individuals.
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According to the law, these benefits were open to all veterans, regardless of race. However, in practice, it was a different story. Discrimination was such a widespread feature of American society at the time that its unequal application was practically guaranteed.