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The library is the last, best socialized institution in America today and you're about to lose it

by Democrats Ramshield Wed Mar 12th, 2014 at 10:05:55 AM EST

Cross-posted by author from the Daily Kos.


(This diary is written by an American expat living in the European Union who is a male business librarian who holds a graduate library degree (MLS) and a Master's degree in business administration in marketing).

As an American librarian I am glad to be living in the European Union where library funding isn't under attack to the extent that it is back home in the United States, because readership, literacy and an open based knowledge system that is publicly funded is still valued. In America, library budgets have become low hanging fruit for conservative local and state politicians. Louisiana is the worse case in point where Gov. Bobby Jindal has eliminated state library funding all together. Not only does it beg the question will your state be next but it asks the question what will you do  when they come for your library and your kid's summer reading program? Do you really know how many books it's really going to take to make that special child or grandchild in your life a lifelong reader. Do you think you have anywhere near those numbers of books in your private collection?

Please let's remember the voluminous studies that have been done year after year, decade after decade that show us that prison inmates for the most part are functionally illiterate and that teen pregnancy is directly linked to literacy rates.  

Christian Science Monitor:  November 18, 2013
Louisiana residents choose libraries over jail to receive funds  Residents of Lafourche Parish in Louisiana recently voted down a proposal that would have used money currently going to local libraries to build a new prison.
http://www.csmonitor.com/Books/chapter-and-verse/2013/1118/Louisiana-residents-choose-libraries-over -jail-to-receive-funds

Literacy statistics and juvenile court

85 percent of all juveniles who interface with the juvenile court system are functionally illiterate.

More than 60 percent of all prison inmates are functionally illiterate.

Penal institution records show that inmates have a 16% chance of returning to prison if they receive literacy help, as opposed to 70% who receive no help. This equates to taxpayer costs of $25,000 per year per inmate and nearly double that amount for juvenile offenders.

Illiteracy and crime are closely related. The Department of Justice states, "The link between academic failure and delinquency, violence, and crime is welded to reading failure." Over 70% of inmates in America's prisons cannot read above a fourth grade level.
http://www.begintoread.com/research/literacystatistics.html

According to UNICEF: "Nearly a billion people will enter the 21st century unable to read a book or sign their names and two thirds of them are women."

People who don't grow up as lifelong readers grow up in an America living under a form of de facto censorship and what it means is that the censor, by withholding library funding, limits access to reading materials to children from a young age. So they don't get to see the other side of the coin and wind up developing a one-sided point of view which has been historically associated with sexism, homophobia, racial bigotry and other forms of intolerance and hate. If we don't support libraries, we support going backwards in a type of devolution of the past which is exactly what the Tea Party types mean when they say they want their country back.

My question to you Mr or Mrs Progressive America, just how far back in time will you let the haters take us? Will you let them take us back to a point in time when women didn't have the right to choose, a time before the civil rights movement would let anyone who chose to sit at the lunch counter, or when a time at the back of the bus was reserved, a time when people were hated for who they are or for who they loved or for what God they believed in, that is their America.  But it's not our America, it's not the progressive America that we've come to love and aspire to, because that America is supported by your neighborhood library as an open knowledge learning center, where everyone is treated the same. It doesn't matter if it's the mayor or a homeless person, you can expect to receive the same level of service. You can expect to have access to a collective repository of everyone whose ever thought and everyone whose ever written, that's why I became a librarian and a reader and a listener and someone who you can count on to resist censorship in all of its guises. That includes false arguments related to library funding.

Source: From the U.S. Department of Education, National Institute of Literacy - U.S. Illiteracy Statistics (as of 2013)

Percent of U.S. adults who can't read: 14 %
Number of U.S. adults who can't read: 32 Million
Percent of U.S. adults who read below a 5th grade level: 21 %
Percent of prison inmates who can't read: 63 %
Percent of high school graduates who can't read: 19 %
http://www.statisticbrain.com/number-of-american-adults-who-cant-read/

The library is a public good. It belongs to everyone but only for as long as you're willing to defend it. Public libraries due to budget cuts are cutting their operating hours, their services and yes too many are shutting their doors. Therefore this action diary asks you in support of your local library to write a letter to the editor today and to do it for yourself and do it for the special children in your life. Do it for your community and tell them that you support full community library funding today, tomorrow and forever.
-------------------------------------------
Updated information regarding the functioning of the library as an adult education center, made at the request of a reader.

The library as a children & adult learning center
One of the best parts about being a librarian is the information sharing. So I am pleased to have the opportunity to share with you my experience of working in the library as a children's and adult education center. You always hear these wonderful stories about adults who have come into the library, people of great skill and are essentially completely self educated. Though many librarians hold multiple graduate degrees and often PhDs as well, particularly in academic libraries. I can honestly say some of the most educated people I have encountered were self-educated lawyers. I am from Washington State back when I was living in the U.S. and Washington is one of those states that allows you to be a lawyer without having to go to law school. So I worked with a number of lawyers who were basically self-educated people who served under an apprenticeship under another lawyer who helped them. So they came to the law library with their learning contracts and we worked with them. I have to tell you this was one of the most fulfilling experiences in my working life. So you see libraries really do work. They really are great adult learning centers. They always have been. Let's not lose that, because libraries are an American success story. Please support your community libraries. Thanks.

After the NSA affair, the German government is steering towards a serious confrontation with the US

by Democrats Ramshield Thu Feb 20th, 2014 at 03:14:42 PM EST

(This diary is cross posted by the author from the Daily Kos) (Written by an American expat living in the European Union)

German magazine Der Spiegel reports,"Nine months after the NSA affair, the German government is steering towards a serious confrontation with the US"

In the wake of the Snowden affair, whistler blower Edward Snowden revealed that Angela Merkel's telephone had been spied on by the NSA. Please let's understand according to Forbes magazine Angela Merkel as the Chancellor of Germany which has become the richest and most powerful country in the European Union (the number 2 exporting nation in the world) has according to Forbes magazine rated Angela Merkel as the most powerful woman in the world. So as you can well imagine, to reiterate the Snowden revelation that Angela Merkel's phone had allegedly been spied on by the NSA sent shock waves through the capitals of the great social democracies of Western Europe and sent shock waves through the German capital, that if the chancellor's private cell phone had been illegally wiretapped, then no one was safe from an illegal alleged NSA wiretap. The very real anger and humiliation this produced throughout the European Union, which as a population of 500 million people is larger than the population of the US, and whose economy is likewise larger than the US and of course the Euro rivals the US dollar in power. So it is that Europe has taken a very dim view of the NSA alleged spying matter on millions of its citizens, to include the head of the European Union's most powerful country, German chancellor Angela Merkel.

So it is that in the recently published Spiegel article which this diary attempts to review, we see that Germany appears to be on the road to declaring a defacto sort of counter-espionage war against the United States on German soil. This turn of events has alarmed diplomats, scholars and statesmen/statespersons around the world. As such I invite you to give a very careful reading of the review of the Spiegel article whereupon I invite you to read in full for yourself the Spiegel article being reviewed entitled "Striking Back: Germany Considers Counterespionage Against US".


"Unsatisfied with the lack of answers provided by Washington in the NSA spying scandal, officials in Berlin are considering a new approach. Germany might begin counterespionage measures aimed at allies."......."In other words: Germany intends to defend itself against all spying efforts in the future,"...."While the minister's words may have sounded innocuous, they marked nothing less than the start of a political about-face. Away from the public eye, the German government is moving toward implementing plans to turn its own spies against partner countries like the United States, putting allies on the same level as the Chinese, Russians and North Koreans".

To reiterate, diplomats, scholars and Statespersons the world over are alarmed and indeed dismayed at this turn of events. Whereupon we should ask how did it ever come to this and why has this been allowed to happen? Whereupon this diary asks you to write to your member of Congress today to ask them these very questions so as to provide their leadership for a diplomatic solution before matters in this sad, retrograde state of affairs are allowed to progress any further.

"When whistleblower Edward Snowden first went public with his revelations about the NSA's efforts to spy on Europe and other parts of the world. In response to the allegations surrounding the documents he leaked,.....after months of waiting, no satisfactory answers have been provided".

Aren't we as American voters legitimately allowed to ask our members of Congress why it is that the NSA to date has not provided the German government and other allied governments with the answers that they reasonably seek in the matter of the whistler blower Edward Snowden's disclosure. Shouldn't we be allowed to ask our members of Congress this question before the US is dragged into an expensive counterespionage new Cold War. Shouldn't we as American voters hold our members of Congress responsible for providing the public with this information in a transparent democracy, wherein government is held accountable to the people who have voted them into office.

Humiliating Revelations from the Wild West!

"The stubbornness of the Americans, who have answered few relevant questions from Germany during the National Security Agency spying scandal...Now, pressure is growing for Germany to find its own answers to the questions Washington has been ignoring."...........  "They're like cowboys who only understand the language of the
Wild West," sources in Merkel's party say, referring to the Americans' intractability.
Two government agencies are at the center of the strategy to restore respect that has been lost over months of humiliating revelations that the US has been spying on Germany: the Office for the Protection" of the Constitution and the Federal Prosecutor's Office."

Honestly as American voters, shouldn't we be alarmed at the NSA's conduct in humiliating our allies into declaring a counterespionage war against the United States, but more to the point shouldn't we as American voters be allowed to ask our members of Congress, whose taxes do they intend to raise in order to pay for the NSA's declared new cold espionage war. Or perhaps we should hold a national referendum asking for tax payers to volunteer to pay for this latest NSA undertaking produced in our name.

In America today, we have 59 million people who don't have medical insurance, 133 million people who don't have dental insurance, over 45 million people who are on food stamps, 60 million Americans get no paid sick leave. The United States is the only major industrialized nation in the world that by law doesn't provide job protected paid maternity leave by right of law. As such, please excuse us for asking just who the hell is going to pay for the NSA's self-declared new counterespionage cold war? And exactly whose taxes do you intend to raise (and whose benefits do you intend to cut) in order to pay for it, now that the Europeans have been humiliated into defending themselves, their people and their leaders through counterespionage defensive measures. Because in the mind of this reviewer, this Spiegel article seems to be telling us along with other European press sources that the Europeans have undertaken exhaustive diplomatic measures to resolve the matter and the US government has simply ignored them. Aren't these questions something that we should reasonably ask our members of Congress who we voted into office?


Diplomats Leave Washington Empty-Handed

"A number of high-level German delegations have traveled to Washington on fact-finding missions, but they have also returned empty-handed for the most part". .........."And no progress whatsoever has been made on a "no-spy agreement."Last week, US President Barack Obama himself rejected any form of a "no-spy agreement". "There's no country where we have a no-spy agreement," Obama said in a press conference during a visit by French President François Hollande.The French leader, who had expressed similar wishes to those of the Germany, was forced to travel back to Paris empty-handed".

I must say having voted for President Obama twice, I really find his statement in this regard to be a real disappointment as it relates to an unwillingness for a diplomatic solution in the matter.

Teaching the US a Lesson

"The changes mean that, nine months after the NSA affair, the German government is steering towards a serious confrontation with the US. ...... "Increased monitoring of allies could trigger unforeseen consequences and potentially cause damage to existing intelligence partnerships".

The trading relationship that we have established with the European Union is vital to the American economy, vital to a strong American dollar, vital to the future of America's children. I therefore ask and urge you today to take the time to write to and call your member of Congress on this important issue. To stand up and be counted and tell them how you feel and most importantly ask them exactly how much they intend to raise your taxes to pay for a counter intelligence espionage cold war that will only benefit NSA bureaucrats and contractors.

PS: I'd like to invite you to another diary that maybe of interest to you. Thank you for your support of progressive issues.
Switzerland far right party of hate declares war on European immigration
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/02/11/1276694/-Switzerland-far-right-party-of-hate-declares-war-o n-European-immigration-UPDATED
 

Comments >> (2 comments)

Comeback of the Hitler Youth haircut worries Jewish and progressive groups fearing intolerance

by Democrats Ramshield Wed Feb 19th, 2014 at 05:54:27 PM EST

(Written by an American expat living in the European Union)

I understand the Daily Kos is a serious online community where important progressive issues of the day are discussed. So why am I writing a diary about (yes you guessed it!) hairstyles! Well, quietly some would say insidiously a Nazi haircut known as the Hitler Youth haircut has made a comeback (with 74,000 hits in Google) according to urban legend from German speaking rural Switzerland to becoming a global presence. This has alarmed Jewish groups around the world to the point where they have began voicing concern at the rise of intolerance and anti-semitism that is coming back to haunt Europe in this 100th anniversary year of world war 1, which is 75 years from the end of world war 2. Now recently just last week these fears were realized by the populist Swiss SVP party in an anti-European immigration referendum passed by a majority of Swiss voters. I wrote a diary on that very issue (not that anyone actually read it) entitled "Switzerland far right party of hate declares war on European immigration".
Link:http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/02/11/1276694/-Switzerland-far-right-party-of-hate-declares-war-o n-European-immigration-UPDATED

When fashion is allowed to favorably reflect on the Nazi period in terms that put that history in a favorable light then something has happened in Europe and around the world that we need to take notice of. As the old saying would have it, all that needs to happen for evil to triumph is for good people to sit by and do nothing. This last century saw not one, but two world wars come and go, with a warning, which is for those of us who aren't prepared to learn from history are therefore doomed to repeat it. Clearly the history of World War one and two is something that America can ill afford not to learn the lessons of.

What is in a haircut any way? It's just a fashion statement isn't it? The Hitler Youth haircut. Well, sure it's just a haircut but more to the point it's an idea that people want to look like that again. It's a look associated with historical intolerance. It's a look that was associated with the Holocaust, the destruction of Europe and the pain and suffering of millions, that now is being celebrated in making a comeback as a fashion statement in our neighborhoods and schools and on the fashion pages and even on the silver screen. The Hitler Youth haircut is back in the limelight and it's coming to a shopping mall near you!

It comes out of a time when the government failed the people, when jobs were lost, too many of them being shipped abroad, people were losing their homes, people were afraid and people were insecure. People were looking for a new look, new ideas, a new day of hope. Some people think the Hitler Youth Aryan look is in and it's cool. Well let's be honest it wasn't just worn by Germany's Hitler Youth, it was worn by Adolf Hitler himself as well as most German front line troops, but too many people think it doesn't mean anything. It's just a hair style after all? There's no political message attached to it? It's just a lot of silliness. That is what they said about the brown shirts in Nazi Germany in the beginning, they said it wasn't a military uniform, it was a political party uniform (manufactured by fashion designer Hugo Boss that is."It was Hugo Boss who made uniforms for the Nazis.").but then the S.A. got to be 3 million strong. Three times the size of the German army that changed Germany and in turn changed the world. Also please let's remember that at the time this was simply viewed as the fashion business. Ergo by way of a corollary we must conclude that the Nazi fashion business has a dark side and so does the fashion history of the Hitler Youth haircut. Given that history may we simply write the whole thing off as nothing more than a lucrative fashion tread and nothing more in the matter of the Hitler Youth haircut's strong global comeback.

Jewish World By David Lev
"Some Jewish community officials have expressed concern over the
latest style in haircuts - the "Jugend," or "Hitler Youth" hairdo".

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/149954#.UwUQ_c5u78k

(There should be some sort of a movement brought about to disassociate the hair style from the name of Adolf Hitler). A further danger is that anyone, especially young people Googling the name "the Hitler Youth haircut" will be exposed to voluminous Nazi materials, which is an insidious way of this type of (old and new) propaganda material to find readers. As such this is one more reason why an effort should be brought about to change the name of this hair style.  

So when we look back at the 100th year anniversary of World War I and we look back at World War II that ended 75 years ago, perhaps we should also remember the slogan "Never Again". For it is said all that needs to happen for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing. Perhaps we should therefore this time all do something. To that end I invite you to post your thoughts below and speak out and you will be heard.

(Crossed posted by author from the Daily Kos)
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/02/18/1278477/-Comeback-of-the-Hitler-Youth-haircut-worries-Jewis h-and-progressive-groups-fearing-intolerance

Comments >> (1 comment)

Spiegel's interview on: "The End of Working Class Men in America!"

by Democrats Ramshield Wed Jan 9th, 2013 at 12:29:24 PM EST

(This review is written by a male Business Librarian, who holds MBA, MLS degrees, the diary is written from the perspective of an American Expat living in Germany!)


http://www.dailykos.com/user/classwarfarenewsletter

A LIBRARIANS BOOK DISCUSSION ON "THE END OF MEN".
The German mainstream magazine Der Spiegel, which may be thought of as the German speaking world's equivalent of Time Magazine, published an important article translated into its English language edition of an interview given by the controversial author Hanna Rosin, critically acclaimed book "The End of Men." This in the world of business and economics sets out in broad strokes the case for the end of the blue collar working class American male.


Spiegel quote:Former city of industry Detroit: "Factories close and the men don't have jobs anymore."

In a SPIEGEL interview, Israeli-American author Hanna Rosin, 42, whose book "The End of Men" is to be published in Germany this month, discusses the identity crisis being experienced by the male sex in America. Men, she argues, are the losers in the economic downturn because they are too rigid and inflexible.

Read more... (4 comments, 1997 words in story)

Are you ready for a 2nd Wall Street crash and taxpayer bailout?

by Democrats Ramshield Thu Dec 13th, 2012 at 05:29:23 PM EST

Updated and republished Written by an American Expat living in the E.U. The mainstream publication Der Spiegel truthfully reported that the Wall Street banksters committed "a monumental insider bank robbery" for which no one went to jail. Since the date of publication, 2 years ago the US for-profit plutocrat owned media has ignored this story but more to the point perhaps is the fact that not only did they ignore the story, they failed to report it in the first place. Why is that? Here's why, because it's going to happen again. The needed regulation to prevent it from happening again has never been put in place. There's too much money to be made by too many people for it not to happen again. Therefore as it is incentivized, it will happen again. In fact the only question the smart money is asking is when will the next crash occur?

Read more... (1821 words in story)

The Spiegel: "Notes on the Decline of a Great Nation"

by Democrats Ramshield Mon Nov 26th, 2012 at 02:33:35 PM EST

(Republished and updated: November 2012) A look at our empire in decline through the eyes of the European media...

SPIEGEL: Notes on the Decline of a Great Nation: The United States is frittering away its role as a model for the rest of the world. The political system is plagued by an absurd level of hatred, the economy is stagnating and the infrastructure is falling into a miserable state of disrepair.
As an American expat living in the European Union, I’ve started to see America from a different perspective through the prism of the European media. The European Union has a larger economy and more people than America does. Though it spends less -- right around 9 percent of GNP on medical, whereas we in the U.S. spend close to between 15 to 16 percent of GNP on medical -- the EU pretty much insures 100 percent of its population. The U.S. has 59 million people medically uninsured; 132 million without dental insurance; 60 million without paid sick leave; 45 million on food stamps. Everybody in the European Union has cradle-to-grave access to universal medical and a dental plan by law. The law also requires paid sick leave; paid annual leave; paid maternity leave. When you realize all of that, it becomes easy to understand why many Europeans think America has gone insane, particularly as 2 million long-term unemployed Americans are getting ready to lose their jobless benefits as America approaches the year end fiscal cliff.

Read more... (10 comments, 1372 words in story)

Sex, Lies & the CIA. The General Betray U.S. Affair in Congress!

by Democrats Ramshield Tue Nov 20th, 2012 at 08:31:43 AM EST

(Written by an American expat living in the European Union)
The German mainstream magazine Der Spiegel has published an article entitled, Sex, Lies & the CIA. That title has inspired me to write this diary, as ours has become a land where betrayal of the trust that we put in public officials has not only become common place, it is in fact expected, as if it had become part of our American DNA, or national political genome, as part of the natural order of things in the modern day neo-feudalist America. Where we're told by the media, Americans punish honesty and reward betrayal, and therefore the media merely gives the American people what they want, which is 'happy talk.'

The media tells us that Americans accept betrayal by the political class willingly by their apathy, and therefore get the government they deserve.
In a clear case wherein the oaths of office and campaign promises of elected and appointed officials are generally disregarded, because their betrayal of us has become an accepted norm in America, which rarely if ever is punished. Therefore this makes the resignation of David Petraeus as spy master and chief over a sex scandal somewhat unique in modern American history.

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Der Spiegel: Total capitalism is America's true ruler, and it has the power to destroy the country!

by Democrats Ramshield Thu Nov 15th, 2012 at 10:58:02 AM EST

A diary of a reluctant Obama voter!
(Written by an American expat who holds a M.B.A. degree and lives in the E.U.)

                                           DEATH OF THE AMERICAN DREAM
Just before the elections the German Der Spiegle wrote:

Spiegel quote:Germans see the US election as a battle between the good Obama and the evil Romney. But this is a mistake. Regardless of who wins the election on Tuesday, total capitalism is America's true ruler, and it has the power to destroy the country.

Clearly the weak American social safety net has become an international badge of shame, worn with pride around the necks of American capitalist elites who have put America up for international pillory as a pariah state wherein estimates show 1.5 million Americans live on less than $2 a day, which is on par with many third world nations.

----------------------------------
Le Monde quote:
"on February 24, the USA Today daily published a feature on extreme poverty in the United States, reporting that the number of families living on less than $2 a day had more than doubled in 15 years, going from 636,000 in 1996 to 1.5 million in 2011."
-----------------------------------

The U.S. has 59 million people medically uninsured; 132 million without dental insurance; 60 million without paid sick leave; 40 million on food stamps. Everybody in the European Union has cradle-to-grave access to universal medical and a dental plan by law. The law also requires paid sick leave; paid annual leave; paid maternity leave. When you realize all of that, it becomes easy to understand why many Europeans think America has gone insane.
 

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A superpower in decline and the death of the American dream

by Democrats Ramshield Thu Nov 8th, 2012 at 11:43:25 AM EST

(Written by an American expat living in the European Union)

  America's plutocratic government by the rich and for the rich failed to protect the American people on 9/11. Failed to protect the American people during Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and now they have failed to protect New York during Hurricane Sandy, because the American government doesn't work for the 59 million Americans who don't have medical insurance. It doesn't work for the 45 million Americans who live on food stamps and live under the poverty line.

In the cover article Divided States of America: Notes on the Decline of a Great Nation, German magazine Der Spiegel scornfully and quite rightly points to the fact that millions of Americans are without power now on the east coast. Particularly in and around New York city because of antiquated power systems that deliver electricity on power lines akin to what is seen commonplace in third world developing nations. Whereas modern electrical utility systems in Germany and prevalent in many other countries in the European Union have their power lines buried underground, because they know if you want good infrastructure that protects the people, you have to be prepared to pay for it. There is no such thing as a free lunch and that means that you have to step up and speak out. The ultra rich must pay their fair share of taxes. A fact that is lost on Capital Hill, lost in government by the rich, for the rich, (remember half of the members of Congress are millionaires) where conservative America's right wing Taliban sacrifices 45,000 Americans annually who according to a recent Harvard study die preventable deaths each and every year because they don't have access to medical care.

Read more... (48 comments, 1801 words in story)

German Spiegel says "Both men, Kelly and Browne, aren't telling the truth." in shooting

by Democrats Ramshield Mon Oct 22nd, 2012 at 05:42:39 PM EST

(Written by an American expat of European ancestry living in the European Union)

In the heart of New York City in Times Square, a youthful in appearance African-American male, who was obviously mentally ill produced a knife, given his lack of capacity and clear copus mentis impairment, and almost as if it were a magic wand, everyone and everything it seems in Times Square stopped what they were doing and followed him. Now a foreigner seeing or reading this might ask why? Only a foreigner could ask this because the Americans all instinctively knew that the police at any second could kill Darrius lawfully. When the video starts out Darrius has 2 minutes 51 seconds left to live. He would retreat until his pursuers boxed him in, and then he would be summarily executed. This case deserves to be full investigated by a body outside of the NYPD!

SPIEGEL QUOTE: Police spokesman Browne will later say that the officers opened fire after Kennedy had come within "two to three feet" -- less than a meter -- of them. Police Chief Kelly will report: "The officers got out of the car. As a result, Kennedy approached the officers with the knife; they had no place to go."  BOTH MEN KELLY AND BROWNE, AREN'T TELLING THE TRUTH.
(End of quote)

 No one in America's press would criticize these actions, because they are common place. So it was that the mainstream German magazine 'Der Spiegel' in true investigative reporting spoke the truth in the above quote, which is that the police were clearly prevaricating. (Please note: In the youtube video below, when shots ring out the person taking this video was about 25 yards away form the shooting).

SPIEGEL QUOTE:The various videos circulating on the Web clearly show that KENNEDY IS AT  LEAST 15 to 20 FEET AWAY FROM THE officers STANDING AT THE SQUAD CAR WHEN THEY START SHOOTING. And it isn't as if they had just gotten out of their cars and were taken by surprise by their victim or somehow found themselves in a situation requiring self-defense. In fact, they are standing there with their weapons drawn, waiting for Kennedy, who passes another shop, the Jewelry Patch, before turning around and facing his death.

Read more... (3 comments, 1723 words in story)

Spiegel reports German Upper House set to introduce wealth tax, shouldn't the US do the same?

by Democrats Ramshield Mon Aug 13th, 2012 at 01:03:05 PM EST

(This economics diary was written by an American expat who holds an MBA degree and lives in the European Union).

WHY DOESN'T THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA HAVE A PROGRESSIVE WEALTH TAX FOR MILLIONAIRES?

Why in America are millions of millionaires allowed to hold an estimated $11.6 trillion dollars in assets without an introduction of a wealth tax? At a time when America is broke, when 59 million Americans have no medical insurance; over 44 million live below the poverty line and subsist on food stamps, and childhood poverty has hit record levels, wherein a third of American homeowners are in underwater mortgages. Isn't it time for America to join other highly industrialized countries in calling for a wealth tax on the millions of Americans who are millionaires?  

Read more... (3 comments, 1305 words in story)

Marianne Hoynes, medically denied American turned healthcare activist. Expat's view from EU

by Democrats Ramshield Mon Jul 23rd, 2012 at 05:25:05 PM EST

This diary is written by an American expat living in the European Union reporting on grassroots healthcare reform issues for Main Street America.

As an American expat living in the E.U. no matter where I go, every resident I see has access to medical coverage. Imagine that a Continent full of people with a population that is greater than that of the United States can afford to offer this to it's citizens, as the European Union is  now rated the second largest exporter in the world in a posture wherein as part of the E.U. Germany is rated the 3rd largest exporter in the world, whose currency the Euro rivals the US dollar, wherein everyone is medically insured with a full prescription benefit program from cradle to grave as a human right.

At this point I would like to introduce you via the magic of Youtube to Marianne Hoynes, who's a great American, who is fighting for her life and yours! As it happens Marianne Hoynes is one of millions of medically indigent Americans. But with Marianne Hoynes there's a difference she's turned into a healthcare activist, as she cannot afford her prescription medication bill, which will be forcing her into medical bankruptcy along with millions of other Americans. Thanks to the robber baron policies of the 1% in the American neo-feudalist state. Marianne Hoynes is exposed to substantial pain everyday of her life with every step that Marianne takes, she is in pain and her pain and her suffering exemplifies the pain and the suffering of millions of  Americans who are denied medical access based on their inability to pay.  

Marianne bravely gives voice to the voiceless and a human face to pain and suffering of the medically excluded. You shouldn't turn away from this diary. You shouldn't turn your back on Marianne. You should hear her story, because her story is America's story. There's no better time to tell America's story than on the 4h July! The day of American birth and rebirth. Time to remember our neighbors. Who is Marianne Hoynes? She is the all American girl next door. Today we are all Marianne's family, and so it is that I ask you as our American brothers and sisters please do not look away.


(Please click on the link below to watch the video.)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fsP5dkNF38w

Let me add that I'm an American expat who has German insurance. If Marianne Hoynes were in Germany, her medication could be purchased with a $12 co-pay. Stunning isn't it!

For anyone unable to watch the video, here is a quote from Marianne Hoynes:

"Please hear this voice of the disabled. Don't let the insurance lobby win this fight. From the exhortion of the pharmaceutical industry, I'm a citizen of the
United States and I need Congress to stand up for me, because I cannot stand up for myself."

Read more... (1631 words in story)

The French newspaper Le Monde reports 1.5 million living the American dream on $2 a day

by Democrats Ramshield Sun May 27th, 2012 at 01:16:20 PM EST

Written by an American Expat who holds an M.B.A. degree living in the E.U.
My email address is: democratsramshield@yahoo(dot)com

Surely the death of the American working class dream is not news to the American 1 percent elites. The truth be known simply put they like it that way, as they surely are the architects of the GOP led class warfare against the American working class.

(The Statue of Liberty in the photo below is located in Paris, France and is believed to have become emblematic as the American dream now resides in Europe instead of America).  

Le Monde quote: "From Near And Far, Bidding Farewell To The American Dream
    By Claire Gatinois

    LE MONDE/Worldcrunch
     No matter what the frame of reference of the person examining it, its bottom line is unambiguous: the United States - not supposedly fusty Europe -- rates lowest in terms of this relationship in the distribution of riches and social mobility. Yes, Paris Hilton's America ranks way below the Scandinavian countries, but also below France, New Zealand, Japan, the United Kingdom, and others."
    ---------------------


Read more... (13 comments, 1781 words in story)

The mainstream German Magazine Spiegel asks, has the US mixed Economy turned into an Oligarchy?

by Democrats Ramshield Thu May 10th, 2012 at 05:26:11 PM EST

Author's preface:
Written by an American expat living in the E.U. (who holds an M.B.A. degree). This diary is a review of the Spiegel article entitled "Has America Become an Oligarchy?" written from the perspective of a business librarian.  
 My email is: democratsramshield@yahoo.com

------------------------

Spiegel quote: 2002 and 2007, 65 percent of the income gains went to the top 1%

"Spiegel quote: Indeed, if you look at the reports it compiles on every country in the world, even the CIA has concluded that wealth disparity is greater in the US than in Tunisia or Egypt."

Late last year this mainstream German news outlet asked, has America become an Oligarchy?Has America stopped being a mixed economy?

Spiegel quote: "A generation ago, the United States was a recognizable, if somewhat more unequal, member of the cluster of affluent democracies known as mixed economies, where fast growth was widely shared. No more. Since around 1980, we have drifted away from that mixed-economy cluster, and traveled a considerable distance toward another: the capitalist oligarchies, like Brazil, Mexico...

 Clearly, the subject matter presented by the article asking if America has turned into a Oligarchy is not news to American elites, who in fact not only know all about it already, but the truth be known simply put they like it that way. The Spiegel article which may be shocking to the sensibilities of the American plutocrat owned media correctly portrays an American society which has become essentially speaking depoliticized, wherein elections have become by way of sophistry a meaningless public relations extravaganza that has been bought by private capital in support of a legalized robber baron system of theft.  

Read more... (27 comments, 2012 words in story)

I knew I had to leave America when I was no longer able to go to the county fair.

by Democrats Ramshield Wed Jan 18th, 2012 at 12:10:31 PM EST

(This diary was cross-posted by author from the Daily Kos and was rated as the number #1 diary on January 14th 2012 as indicated at the link below.)

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/01/15/1054991/-High-Impact-Posts:-January-14,-2012

(Written by an American Expat living in the E.U.)

That's when I knew the America I grew up in was gone for good.  

For me leaving home, family and friends was easier for me to live with than watching the America that I grew up in die!

In order for me to stay human! I couldn't allow myself to become desensitized and assimilated to the hunger, fear and suffering. I knew for me to not be assimilated and stay human I was going have to leave America for good. I had to leave America! It was just too painful to stay and watch the America I grew up in die!

There's something deeply medieval about neo feudal America as 132 million Americans who can't eat normal food because they can't properly chew anything because they have no dental insurance. While some people like to wake to music from their clock radios, these Americans can't really appreciate the rendition that you and I hear fully, because they have ringing in the ears, that's what dental pain does, and too many of them millions, many of them children live that way everyday in the richest country in the world which doesn't really give a shit about them!

As an American expat people tell me I'm a brave soul to have left America, home, family and friends, that people like me are a brand of the new American pioneer, who no longer just go West but every direction of the compass now. I realize I had to leave America when I saw I could no longer go to the fair. The America that I was raised in, county fairs were a big event. They had rodeo's and clowns. The future farmers of America had events where they could win prizes. The fairways were busy with people and eating wonderful things like cotton candy in big reddish orange plumes, and laughing and going on bumpy rides to the cheers and screams of delight echoing through the fairgrounds.

Now the fairgrounds of America from sea to shining sea are regularly turned into what some are calling the nightwalkers' waiting room, who stand in long lines sometimes all night to get urgently needed dental care. They don't mind staying up and standing out in the cold, in the dark often times with their family members, because they and the people around them live in chronic pain, probably almost everyday. These people are desperate and they are too afraid to go to sleep, because they know that with first come, first serve, people will be getting turned away before daybreak. Some have been quoted as saying that farm animals are treated better than they are.

In the America I grew up in we used to care about each other.
 What the Hell happened to us? Where did America lose its way?

Read more... (42 comments, 2987 words in story)

Why Europeans Think We're Insane

by Democrats Ramshield Tue May 24th, 2011 at 07:41:40 PM EST

This diary was originally published at Alternet. Please note this diary was published both in English and in the German language. The German language edition full text is located below the English language edition in this diary in its entirety.  
----------------------------------

(Written by an American expat living in the European Union).

It wasn't until I left America that I started to realize how badly the American plutocrat owned media lies to the American people through its disinformation campaign.

Well today for a span of at least this one Daily Kos diary, you will get to see what the American plutocrat owned media never wants you to see, and that is how Europe in particular and the world in general has come to see America as a country in decline, whose people are so badly misinformed by the media, they actually don't realize that America is the only major industrialized nation in the world that by right of law does not offer universal medical access, paid sick leave, paid maternity leave and paid annual leave. It just seems almost impossible to get that word out to the American people. Even diaries on that subject at the Kos top out at just over 2,000 views. Let's please remember the purpose of the plutocrat owned commercial media isn't so much to inform us but rather to sell commercial advertising space.

Therefore this diary today will try to do something different. It will show you what the European media is saying about the American dream and you will be shocked!

Read more... (1 comment, 5189 words in story)

Amerika Sei Verrückt Geworden. America in Decline: Why Germans Think We're Insane

by Democrats Ramshield Thu May 12th, 2011 at 03:26:53 PM EST


(Written by an American expat living in the European Union.)
This diary announces the launch of the foreign language group at the Daily Kos. Our group is dedicated to bringing the voices of progressive American bloggers to the international community through foreign language media and bi-lingual diaries to every corner of America and the globe.

This diary was originally published at Alternet and additionally as its author I was grateful that it did receive some attention from progressive radio show host Thom Hartmann who provided a detailed review and commentary. This diary was also featured on Current TV where it gratefully received a large number of comments. As such this original diary is now presented in bi-lingual format both in German and in English. It presents the struggle of the American working class vs the plutocracy in what can only be described as class warfare. These Daily Kos groups invites any and all interested persons to become members and followers.
---------------------------------------------------
(Please note I am not a professional translator, but rather a citizen journalist, and what is offered in this diary is an interpretation of my English language diary into German. I also offer my interpretation of quotes from English into German. In a time of class warfare wherein the plutocracy tries to buy the Congress, the American working class in order to defend itself and helps shape progressive public policies must be free to appeal to the world court of public opinion from America's progressive grassroots diaries.)

Intro:
As an American expat living in the European Union, I've started to see America from a different perspective.
Einleitung:
Als ein Amerikanischer Auswanderer der jetzt in der Europäischen Union lebt, sehe ich Amerika von einem anderen Blickpunkt.
#1)
The European Union has a larger economy and more people than America does. Though it spends less on medical -- right around 9 percent of GNP, whereas we in the U.S. spend between 15 to 16 percent of GNP on medical -- the EU pretty much insures 100 percent of its population.

#1) Die EU hat eine größere Wirtschaft und Bevölkerung als Amerika. Obwohl sie weniger für Gesundheitliches ausgibt -- in etwa 9 Prozent des BNE, während wir in Amerika zwischen 15 und 16 Prozent des BNE für Gesundheitliches ausgeben --, versichert die Europäische Union annährend 100 Procent der Bevölkerung mit medizinischer Betreuung.

Read more... (10 comments, 3033 words in story)

Glenn Beck denigrating the E.U. causes European media to respond

by Democrats Ramshield Thu Mar 10th, 2011 at 11:09:56 AM EST

(Written by an American expat living in the European Union)
On Nov. 16th, Glenn Beck basically announced that its "God's will" that the European Union will fail. Let's remember that the great social democracies of the European Union, unlike America have a strong working class social safety net. Since then the steady stream of criticism of Glenn Beck from the mainstream European media outlets, have been making European readers aware of the Beck phenomenon, such as the German magazine Der Spiegel and the British newspaper the Guardian; wherein European media asks the question, is Glenn Beck's reign at Fox News finally over calling him a person full of hatred, an agitator in a throwback to the Weimar Republic and a conspiracy theorist whose sagging ratings seem to be pushing him off Fox News. This diary offers a fresh look at criticism of the Fox News Glenn Beck propaganda regime from the perspective of the European media. As such this offers insights from a European perspective not usually available in the American plutocrat owned media.

Read more... (12 comments, 2056 words in story)

US media ignores Germany's Spiegel's report that Wall St committed a monumental insider bank robbery

by Democrats Ramshield Mon Mar 7th, 2011 at 03:53:09 PM EST


Just over six weeks ago, a German mainstream publication Der Spiegel truthfully reported that the Wall Street banksters committed a monumental insider bank robbery. Since the date of publication, the US for-profit plutocrat owned media has ignored this story but more to the point perhaps is the fact that not only did they ignore the story, they failed to report it in the first place.

As an American expat who holds an MBA degree in marketing, currently living in European Union, I was struck once again by the reality that the job of the American media doesn't seem to be about really informing us but rather to sell commercial advertising space as a marketing profit center. I've learned through truthful reporting to rely on the European mainstream media sources like Germany's Der Spiegel and Britain's BBC networks. What I have also learned is that we have to reach out to our fellow Americans and citizens of the world in alterative media and ask each of our readers to help us get the word out through email and social networking sites like Facebook in order to get the truth out.

To that end, will you help us get the word out?

The reason we need your help is because the German Spiegel magazine also reported that the Wall Street banksters are at it again, behaving just as shamelessly as they did before the crash. To which I would ask how long before a second Wall Street crash and how long before a second tax payer bail out?  

Read more... (27 comments, 1081 words in story)

The Library is America's last truly socialized institution and you're about to lose it

by Democrats Ramshield Wed Mar 2nd, 2011 at 10:07:21 AM EST

(Written by an American expat living in the European Union)

Did you know that the library is America's last truly socialized institution and that everyday you come a bit closer to losing it! As a male who is a business librarian, (that is to say someone who holds graduate degrees in library science and an MBA degree in marketing), I understand very well that fee for service in America's library systems are creating a class of information have-nots. For some of you this means that your children aren't going to be able to read as well. It also means that as voters in a democracy, you will no longer be as well informed without full library services. As the series, the American dream vs the European dream which I was able to generously publish with the support of the Daily Kos community, we have seen that we cannot depend on the plutocrat owned radio and television media. Sometimes we have to go to print sources, even international print sources of the variety and scope that you can't possibly afford as an individual to subscribe to them all. Additionally libraries make online databases available to their patrons that allow you with the touch of a button to read international media sources from around the globe. You're in the process of losing this all and a lot more.

Now let's ask why should you be interested in defending America's last truly socialized institution? Well, let's get down to it shall we? So you don't think the library is a completely socialized institution. Well, let's talk about the theory of a library for just one minute, which is everyone who walks in the door and holds a library card has access completely to the same services. It doesn't matter if they're the mayor or a homeless person. Everyone in the library is supposed to be treated the same. It is the one place in America where equality doesn't just get lip service. The American Library Association has produced a wonderful statement called the Freedom to Read Statement wherein it is believed that your freedom to read comes directly from the first amendment of the constitution of the United States. You're about to lose that and that's pretty darn important.

Read more... (12 comments, 1475 words in story)
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