Thursday, May 29, 2014

Lest We Forget: GOP Senator Feels the Sting as Veterans Remember

by Nomad via Liberaland

In yet another example of a Republican underestimating the attention span and memory of the average citizen, North Carolina Senator Richard Burr's attempt to make political hay out of a recent scandal at the Veterans' Administration has backfired. 

Last February, when Republicans successfully voted down a $21 billion Veterans Aid Bill, it was seen as yet another defeat for the president, served up cold by Congress. The vote was close at  56-41 but only two Republican Senators voted for the bill.

Bernie Sanders, (I-Vt.) , the chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee and primary sponsor of the bill, warned the Republicans that there would come a time when they would have to explain themselves to the public.
You tell that [veteran] you think we cannot afford to help him or her..."But when you do that I hope you also tell him why you voted to give a trillion dollars in tax breaks to the top 2 percent [of earners]. Virtually all my GOP colleagues thought it was important to find new tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires."
Sanders with clear contempt for the partisan political games, said, "Enough [talk] about how everybody loves the veterans." 

One Senator North Carolina Senator Richard Burr  was openly critical of the aid bill at that time and gave his reasons to the press. 
With $17 trillion in debt and massive annual deficits, our country faces a fiscal crisis of unparalleled scope. Now is not the time, in any federal department, to spend money we don't have.
The year prior to the vote disabled vets were only days away from seeing their monthly checks held up by a GOP-led government shutdown.  

Seizing what he considered a political opportunity, Burr pressed the matter a little too far when he attempted to rally veterans against the Obama administration on the matter of healthcare problems in the VA system. 
The syndicated article below explains the reaction from some veterans' groups to Republican politics in action.

Republican Senator Who Voted No On $21 Billion In Vet Aid Further Infuriates Veterans Groups (via Liberaland)
North Carolina Senator Richard Burr, the ranking Republican on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, voted no on aid for vets earlier this year. Now, veterans groups are lashing out at him for an open letter he wrote the groups condemning them for …

Progress and Poverty: The Life and Warning of Forgotten Crusader, Henry George

by Nomad

Outside of the academic world perhaps, few people have heard of the name of Henry George. That's a real pity since his observations about economic inequality are as timely as they are essential to our own day. 

A Pyramid On Its Apex 
So long as all the increased wealth, which modern progress brings, goes but to build up great fortunes, to increase luxury and make sharper the contrast between the House of Have and the House of Want, progress is not real and cannot be permanent. The reaction must come. The tower leans from its foundations, and every new story but hastens the final catastrophe. To educate men who must be condemned to poverty, is but to make them restive; to base on a state of most glaring social inequality, political institutions under which men are theoretically equal, is to stand a pyramid on its apex.
The life of Henry George reads like a novel from another age. George was born into a large, lower-middle class and devout Episcopalian family in Philadelphia in 1839 . His father was a publisher of religious texts and insisted on a religious education for his son.
By 14, George had left the religious academy and was seized with a wanderlust. In April 1855, young George at 15 went to sea as a foremast on the Hindoo, bound for Melbourne and Calcutta. 

After 14 months at sea, he returned to Philadelphia and began working as a printer. Ever restless, George traveled to California where he married and started a family. Despite marital and familial happiness, times were not easy and according to his own admission, there were times his family was close to starvation. 

He tried unsuccessfully to become a gold miner in British Columbia before finding work as a newspaper printer, journalist and eventually editor and newspaper owner. 

Politically, George initially leaned toward the Republican party of Lincoln but later, after viewing how corporations and industrialists were corrupting the party, switched to the Democratic party. He was a staunch opponent of the railroads which as he saw it were benefited only those fortunate enough to have a financial interest. Everybody else, he said, was being thrown into poverty. Such a stand proved to be his undoing when he attempted to run for politics in the California State Assembly. Executives from the powerful Central Pacific Railroad apparently went to some lengths to ensure George's electoral defeat. 

Incidentally it was from a minor- seemingly unimportant railroad case in California from around that time - along with a few precedents built upon that original case- which provided the Supreme Court a basis for its outlandish Citizen United decision. The Court somehow decided that corporations possess rights equality to citizens, that is, as the Republican candidate in the last election famously said, corporations are people.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

America's Stunning Hypocrisy on Indian Marital Rape Laws

 by Nomad

After a judge in India decided that rape laws could not be applied to married couples, it was easy in the West to sneer at the utter backward-ness of the world's largest democracy. Clearly women are still treated as second class citizens.. there.
Yet how much difference is there between Indian laws and laws in the US regarding spousal rape? The answers might surprise you.

In India, issues related to rape have in the last few years been, for the first time a matter of public discussion. In a sign- perhaps- of a flourishing democracy, ideas on this subject are evolving at a rapid pace. Yet, in some respects, public attitudes might seem hopeless trapped in the past.
For example, the question of recognizing rape within the bounds of marriage, marital rape or spousal rape, is still a thorny one in India. The syndicated news story below provides us with an example.

Marital rape is officially legal in India

A judge in India has officially confirmed that rape laws do not apply to married couples — once you’re legally wed, forced sex is no longer a crime.

What’s especially chilling is that the judge, Virender Bhat, was hearing a case in which a woman alleged she had been drugged, then forced to marry, and then raped — in other words, she hadn’t consented to the marriage or the sex. Bhat said there was no evidence that the accuser had been drugged, but he also said that if the woman’s husband (identified only as Vikash) had forced himself on her, that wouldn’t qualify as rape under Indian law....

This isn’t the first time marital rape has been an issue in India. Recently, after a student was raped and murdered in Delhi, a committee headed by former Indian Supreme Court chief justice J.S. Verma made a number of recommendations for improving India’s rape laws, including doing away with the marital rape exemption. According to the Verma Committee’s report:
Under the Indian Penal Code sexual intercourse without consent is prohibited. However, an exception to the offence of rape exists in relation to un-consented sexual intercourse by a husband upon a wife. The Committee recommended that the exception to marital rape should be removed. Marriage should not be considered as an irrevocable consent to sexual acts.
The country strengthened its sexual assault laws based on the committee’s recommendations, but the marital rape law remained unchanged — and this new ruling just reconfirms it.

This story- replete with the colorful images of India- made a few waves on the vast Internet sea.  But it was really only half of the story.

Before we get on a high horse and "tsk, tsk" at that backward India, it is important to add a little perspective. India is not any more backward in this respect than the 38 other countries where marital rape is not recognized as a crime. This includes nations like Nigeria, Kuwait, Singapore, Uganda, Mongolia, Iran, China and Saudi Arabia. From Afghanistan to Zambia, the laws, in effect, do not allow wives to refuse their husbands' demands for sex.
Here's something else you might find surprising.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Paul Ryan, Bill Bennett and the Exclusive Country Club Mentality

by Nomad

This quote by Herman Melville was the impetus for this post about two well-known conservatives, Paul Ryan and Bill Bennett.   Whenever you hear two elitist white guys pontificating about what's wrong with the "inner-city" culture, it's hard not catch the faint scent of racism. 

Paul Ryan and the Dog-Whistle
On March 12 of this year, Republican Paul Ryan was on Bill Bennett’s Morning in America radio show to share his brand of wisdom about poverty in the US. He was quoted as saying:
"We have got this tailspin of culture, in our inner cities in particular, of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working or learning to value the culture of work, so there is a real culture problem here that has to be dealt with."
The whole conversation was absurd on so many levels even Melville could not have held back a chuckle. Of course, the thought that unemployment is a just moral/culture failure no doubt provides a welcome sense of superiority to some of the more privileged among us.

Monday, May 26, 2014

A Stand against Evil Corporations or just Progressive Hypocrisy?

by Nomad

I saw this photo online the other day. It is pointing out, I suppose, the inherent hypocrisy of the Left and progressive when they condemn corporations. 

(If you read my blog at all, you'd know that this is not a view of mine.) 

Still, there may be some validity to the argument. I have my own counter-arguments to the idea this image is promoting. I will refrain from sharing my opinions... with great difficulty.
It's more important to me to hear what you think. Do you agree or disagree with the position? Why? 
How would you counter this argument?

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Musical Sanity Break: Van Morrison- And It Stoned Me

by Nomad

The magical power of water is the theme in this Van Morrison song. From the downpour that nearly spoils the day, to dive into the fishing hole, to the quenching of your thirst.
"Oh, the water. Get it myself from the mountain stream." 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Law Professor's Advice: Guilty or Innocent, Never Speak to Police.. Ever

by Nomad

If there's one thing that most defense lawyers will tell you, it is this: Whether you are guilty or innocent, never dare to speak to the police.
Once upon a time, the Supreme Court gave its full support to every citizen's constitutional right to remain silent. 

Here's an interesting - but rather long- lecture by Mr. James Duane, a professor at Regent Law School and a former defense attorney, telling his students why a defense attorney should always advise his client never, under any circumstances, talk to the police. His reasoning is sound but it's the kind of advice that most police investigators would prefer you didn't know.. and certainly not apply. 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Turkey and the Soma Mining Disaster: How Not to Deal with a National Tragedy

by Nomad

The downside to a photo-op is, of course, that something unexpected or embarrassing might happen. That's unfortunately exactly what occurred when the Turkish Prime Minister traveled to Soma, the site of the nation's worst mining disaster.

In the aftermath of the historic mining disaster in Soma, Turkey, the Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan promptly journeyed to the area, supposedly to give comfort to the grieving relatives of the over 300 victims.

In what could be considered phenomenally poor judgement, the Prime Minister delivered a speech to the crowds in which he told the crowds that mining disasters happen all the time. Even, in more developed countries, he said, such unfortunate things occur. It was, he implied, simply a risk that miners take.
He then cited examples to support his contention.. from 100 years ago. In fact, critics pointed out- nearly instantaneously- that Turkey's record for mining disasters outranks other nations.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Swiss Bank Pleads Guilty to Felony Conspiracy with American Tax Dodgers

Syndicated news with introduction by Nomad 

Swiss banking giant Credit Suisse has admitted that it conspired to help some US clients avoid paying taxes. It has agreed to pay over $2.5 billion and to cooperate with investigations. 
This would make the Swiss company the largest bank in 20 years to plead guilty to criminal charges.

As much as I think this is a good- and long overdue- step, imposing a fine on Swiss banks for helping Americans hide their wealth is a little like punishing dogs for peeing on fire hydrants. It's what they do. There's nothing very "brazen" about either case. 

Perhaps the only surprising aspect of this news is that the US government found the wherewithal to actually do anything about it. As Forbes describes the news, the IRS took on Swiss banking and it won. According to that article, IRS is the big winner in this plea bargain arrangement.
Plus, the IRS earns dividends in the form of account holders applying for amnesty. And for the IRS, it isn’t just Switzerland, but everywhere now that FATCA has expanded U.S. tentacles almost worldwide. Attorney General Eric Holder wins big too, getting the benefit of a guilty plea. He can’t be accused of letting another big bank off the hook for being too big to fail.
The U.S. Treasury and New York State both make out well. Credit Suisse will pay nearly $1.8 billion to the Justice Department, $100 to the Federal Reserve, and a whopping $715 million to New York’s Department of Financial Services.
With FATCA approaching its launching date, some would see this in a little less cheery light. The US, they'd say, is simply attempting to assert its control over all international banks. 
Amid all this back slapping, and at a time when Putin is threatening to renew a Cold War, what is left unsaid is that the long-term consequences may be hard to calculate.

Credit Suisse guilty on US felony charge, pays $2.6 bn (via AFP)
Credit Suisse pleaded guilty and was fined $2.6 billion for helping Americans avoid taxes, the first time in 20 years a major bank has been punished on US criminal charges. US authorities said the "brazen" Swiss bank, one of the world's largest wealth…

Monday, May 19, 2014

How Cleveland's Urban Farming Project is Helping Neighborhoods Find Homegrown Solutions

by Nomad

In many urban neighborhoods, a lack of access to affordable food, especially fresh produce, has reduced the inter-city to "food deserts." As many US cities are learning, urban farming can bring oases to such communities.

One doesn't normally associate hunger with urban life. Cities were supposed to be about shared resources and shared responsibilities. That's how they came into being in the first place.
Today, however, for the poor, the problem is trying to find nourishing food at affordable prices.
As UNICEF reported back in 2012,
Urban areas may appear to have great levels of food availability and security, however not every family is granted access to those resources. The urban poor experience high levels of food insecurity because of poverty and social exclusion. Urbanization ultimately leads to poverty because families incur high costs in paying for food, housing, health fees, transportation, school and other basic necessities.
The food, especially fresh produce, simply isn't available at an affordable price.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Chilling the Messenger: Turkish Officials Fine News Channel for Reporting Child Murder Case

by Nomad

Turkish media watchdog agency fines TV news channels for broadcasting "disturbing" news in child murder case. What does this mean for press freedom in Turkey?

In Turkey the ministry in charge of overseeing broadcasting, RTÜK, recently issued fines on two TV channels totalling 500,000 Turkish Liras - or around 175,815 Euros or $241,000. At issue, according to the watchdog agency, was the manner in which news of child abuse/ murder case was covered. 

Kanal D was fined 342,000 liras while Show TV was fined 157,000 by the Supreme Board of Radio and Television (RTÜK) for their coverage of the murder of a 9-year-old boy in Kars last month.
In that incident, a 9-year-old boy was found dead in the northeastern province of Kars last month. Police arrested a suspect in the case, a man acquainted to the family.
The story explains the rationale behind the imposition of fines for the coverage.
Ali Öztunç, a RTÜK member from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), said news stories about child abuse created public pressure on the possible criminals but may also encourage criminals to commit similar acts. He said the news channels must be very careful and act appropriately while delivering such stories on TV.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Short Changed: Why Americans Are No Longer The Tallest People in the World

by Nomad

A study reveals that the height of Americans on average is being outpaced by other countries for the first time in its history. The reasons are surprising.

Precise measurements of the living standards of any country can be a tricky business. In the past, economists have relied on a variety of tools to chart a nation's development or decline. 

One method that has found a lot of support in the last few decades might seem a little unorthodox. By its medical name, it is known as auxology, the study of growth.
By merging two seemingly unrelated fields, the study of medicine and the study of the economy, researchers began making some interesting discoveries. They found that the average height of a citizen can say much about the overall living conditions inside a nation. The analysis can be applied to the bones of ancient Romans or to the records from modern nations. 
And working on that basis, what they found when they looked at the US was intriguing but a little disturbing.

Monday, May 12, 2014

How One California Farm Will Provide Organic Vegetables and Hope for Veterans

by Nomad

One farm in Monterey County California offers an example of a innovative idea to help US veterans transition back into civilian life. By providing vocational agriculture training, such farms can provide fresh food for the local community.
More importantly, it offers them a safe place among like-minded to begin a long healing process.

As the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq wound down, President Obama faced  a challenge that his predecessor never had to worry about: How to find work of millions of veterans returning home in an already-depressed economy. So that was no small feat and some steady progress has been made.

According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics figures released in March of this year, the unemployment rate for veterans who served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces (at any time since September 2001) edged down to 9.0 percent in 2013.

And where there is unemployment, there is homelessness. At one point, around 2006, one in four homeless Americans was a veteran. Those numbers have been in steady decline due to an improved economy and increased funding to those on the streets. Although the situation might have improved, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan said last year that the Obama Administration goals remain the same: to eliminate the problem by the end of 2015.
That won't be won't be easy.
While there is still so much more that needs to be done for those who risked life and limb,  that duty is much harder when partisanship seems to cripple progress in Washington.
The shameful fact is that now that the veterans are no longer so vital to the defense of the nation, many  legislators in the capitol have turned their backs.

A Veterans bill,  a sweeping $21 billion bill that would have expanded medical, educational and other benefits for veterans, was derailed in the Senate in February this year  by the Republicans. They dismissed the legislation as election year campaign and an example of unnecessary and excessive spending.  
That's why, despite the discouraging lack of significant progress, it was it was inspiring to read about one small project on the other side of the nation.

Farming the Pastures of Heaven
A pair of Marine Corps veterans in California, John Wagner and Bryan Showalter, are business partners in a venture which may offer one answer to the problem. 
Their 20-acre Semper Fresh Farm, located in Corral de Tierra in Monterey CountyCalifornia, is part commercial farm and part vocational training for veterans.  
The project which opened last week, is still operating on a rather small scale. The initial market for their organic heirloom tomatoes will be at the farm, as well as local restaurants and other farmers' markets in the area. Once the farm is open to the public later this year, visitors will be able to  this year for the public to come and harvest the 100% organically-grown tomatoes. Picking off the vine is about as close to fresh as you can possibly be. 
The farm is located in Steinbeck country, and provides the setting for stories in his book  The Pastures of Heaven
Can't get a better advertisement than that.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Liberty, Marriage Equality and Your Silent Sanction

by Nomad

When it comes to politics, your silence means your approval. 

I saw this intelligently-written article about equality and the values that hold this nation together. I thought it was worth sharing. 

While Ayn Rand is probably not a person I would normally quote, in this context, her words are spot-on. The idea that "Silence means sanction" can also be applied on a larger scale. By not voting in elections, liberals and moderates are giving a stamp of approval for every thing wrong with Congress. Whether they know it or not, they send the message that mixing religion and government is okay, that healthcare is only for those who can afford it, that pushing the country back to the time before the Civil Rights Act is fine and the treating women as second-class citizens is a great idea. 

Marriage Equality, the Ex-Marine and Ayn Rand (via Pride & Equality Post)
Ex-marine Roger Huffstetler discovered two friends were gay. One was a bunkmate from Afghanistan; the other a childhood friend. He started to wonder what kind of friend he was and went to them. Both assured him he had never said or done anything that…

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Quote of Ancient Roman Poet Martial Just as True Today

by Nomad

A cynical observation about economic inequality has been handed down to us from Ancient Imperial Rome. Here are the words- as true today as they were then- of the poet, Martial (Marcus Valerius Martialis)
If you are a poor man now, Aemillanus, a poor man you will always be. Nowadays, riches are bestowed on no one but the rich.
Things really haven't changed much since mankind's boyhood days. At one point in Roman history, the state of politics became so corrupted that the position of emperor was actually auctioned off to the highest bidder.  We haven't gotten to that point yet. Or have we?

When it comes to the Congress, the problem is a more basic form of corruption. We can thank the Supreme Court for further opening the doors by its preposterous rulings giving corporations more and more influence in campaigns. Another quote by Martial should have given the esteemed justices pause for thought.
Whoever makes great presents, expects great presents in return.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Reading Lips: How JFK Award for Courage is a Major Re-Writing of George Bush, Sr.'s History

by Nomad

Ex-president George H.W. Bush recently received an award for his courage in putting aside partisan politics and in raising taxes. In doing so, it was said at the ceremony, Bush the election in 1992. However, to those of us who actually witnessed these events, this rewriting of history comes as quite a shock.

Why was George Bush, sr. a one-term president? Was it all about his courage.. or was it about his dishonesty?

Profile in Courage?
Sometimes historical revisionism plunges into enters into the world of total fabrication.
The other day, I was dismayed to see an article about an awards ceremony held at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston. President George H.W. Bush was given the 2014 John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award. Of course, awards for former presidents are a dime a dozen, but what struck me was the reason. 
Former President George H.W. Bush was honored Sunday with a Kennedy "courage" award for agreeing to raise taxes to confront a spiraling deficit, jeopardizing his presidency that ended after just one term.
Really? When Carter was a one-term president, it was because he was an incompetent. With Papa Bush it was because he was too courageous. It is the first time I have heard this spin on the historical record.
The award crossed generations and political parties. It was given by Jack Schlossberg, son of the late Democratic president's daughter, Caroline Kennedy, to Lauren Bush, granddaughter of the former Republican president.

Conservatives denounced Bush for raising taxes, breaking a key promise in his successful 1988 campaign for the White House.

Schlossberg said the award recognizes Bush for taking action, even if it was unpopular.

"We celebrate courage today, in a moment of profound change and challenge, in a world gripped by partisan gridlock and inaction," he said.
Jack Schlossberg and Lauren Bush, whether they know it or not, are participating in a bizarre species of political fraud.  Whatever their motivations- presumably to shame Congress out of its long intransigence- both Schlossberg and Bush had really ought to do a little more historical research on the matter. (Especially Yale-graduate Schlossberg whose family connections might actually count for something.) 

At the awards ceremony last week, Lauren Bush told the audience:
"America's gain was President Bush's loss, and his decision to put country above party and political prospects makes him an example of a modern profile in courage that is all too rare."
To say that George H.W. Bush took the unpopular stand of raising taxes and therefore deserves our praise is a nausea-inducing spinning of the history. It is almost a little too much for one who actually lived during those days- unlike both of these two innocents- to stomach.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Eurovision's Conchita: The Face that Launched a Thousand Russian Rants

  by Nomad

Austria's entry in the Eurovision Song Contest has created quite a controversy. In fact one Russian politician has called for a boycott and for the singer to be banned from this year's program. What does this really say about Russia today?

Eurovision Song Contest
Most Americans have probably never heard of the Eurovision song contest. It's kind of a shame. Then again, most Americans probably wouldn't appreciate the fun of it. 
That aspect of the long running song contest is a little hard to describe. Not a lot of people take it very seriously- as a contest of real talent. Practically every year, the best performer is passed over for something a little more trite, or silly or bland. It can be so cheesy that it borders - and often goes beyond the borders- on farce. 

Nevertheless, Eurovision pretends to take itself very seriously. And it is certainly entertaining. Since it began in 1956, the basic formula has been the same. Each member country (including for some peculiar reason, Israel and Turkey.) submits a song to be performed on live television and radio and then casts votes for the other countries' songs to determine the most popular song in the competition.
The elaborate voting process nearly always falls along predictable political lines, with nations throwing their votes to their national pals, instead of the best performance.
Cyprus votes for Greece but Greece never votes for Turkey. Germany- with it large Turkish population- generally votes for Turkey. Macedonia never votes for Greece and so on and so on.
Talent isn't really much of a factor in the voting process. 
For that reason, the results provide a good argument about what's wrong with the idea of European Union

In spite of that, it's fun to watch.. in a weird sort of way.

Even before the contest kicks off this month, one candidate has already caused a stir. You only have to look at the photo above to understand why.

Gender-bending singer from Austria, Tom Neuwirth, (stage name: Conchita Wurst) could never be accused of taking himself too seriously. In one interview, he revealed that his look was only a way of getting attention. (Implying perhaps- in a rather covert way - that talent alone won't do it at the Eurovision contest.) 

His over-the-top get-up is what Kim Kardashian would look like after two weeks on a testosterone skin patch.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Soccer Violence: Fatal Flying Toilet Bowls in Brazil and Horse Punching in Bristol

by Nomad

In the world of soccer- better known as football outside the US, the support of fans very often reaches a fevered pitch. The possibility the things will get out of control is always on the minds of the authorities. In two unrelated incidents yesterday, things not only got out of control, they became dangerous and bizarre.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Victimhood Chutzpah: SUV Driver Sues Family After Fatal Cycling Accident

by Nomad

A Canadian driver has opened a legal case in an Ontario Superior Court against the family of a teenage accident victim. Demanding compensation of over $1 million, she claims the tragic event has lessened her "enjoyment of life." 

In Hebrew, there's a good word for it. Chutzpah.  It means "extreme arrogance, brazen presumption." 
What other word can express the audacity of the motorist, who after hitting and killing a teenage bicyclist, has now decided to sue the estate of the boy's family for over $1 million? That takes a hell of a lot of nerve.

The Ottawa Citizen reports that lawyers for Sharlene Simon filed the claim last December in Ontario Superior Court, alleging that she “has sustained and will sustain great pain and suffering,” including “a severe shock to her system.” On top of that, according to the court documents, Simon's  "enjoyment of life has been and will be lessened.”

Thursday, May 1, 2014

May Day: America's Induced Amnesia of International Worker's Day

by Nomad

All around the world, workers are celebrating their own special holiday. Noticeably absent will be American workers. Since its creation, International Workers' Day -if it is ever mentioned at all- has been portrayed as some kind of Communist propaganda tool. 
In fact, it is as American as apple pie. 

As if any more proof were needed that the American public has been brainwashed by the ruling class, there's the example of May Day, otherwise known as International Workers' Day

It's a pity that so few Americans are aware of the historical origins of the worldwide May Day celebrations and protests. It is something that America should definitely be proud of.  The struggle for worker rights is ongoing and the lack of American participation has always been a handicap to the worldwide labor movement. 
Stranger still, those who are aware of the workers' holiday might assume it was a product of a Communist country like the Soviet Union or Cuba or China.  

However, the birthplace of this idea was Chicago back in 1886. Declared two years earlier, it was also the day in which an eight-hour work day was established as a standard. Here's a good source for that history.
At its national convention in Chicago, held in 1884, the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions (which later became the American Federation of Labor), proclaimed that "eight hours shall constitute a legal day's labor from and after May 1, 1886."
On May 1, 1886, more than 300,000 workers in 13,000 businesses across the United States walked off their jobs in the first May Day celebration in history.
Today, May Day is celebrated all over the world. In fact, May 1 is a national public holiday in more than 80 countries. except in the US. 
Take at look at this: