How the media loves to split this country in two. Take the case of Bowe Bergdahl, who’s recently exchanged his Taliban prison in Afghanistan for a US military prison (sorry, that should have read ‘hospital’) in Germany.
It’s interesting to note Bergdahl was a lowly private first class when he disappeared from his platoon, apparently after just walking away from his base. He’s been twice promoted while held in captivity by the Taliban: once, to specialist, and then, to sergeant. (So far as we know, it was the US army that promoted him, in absentia, – not the Taliban!)
The release of Bergdahl was agreed with the Talban on condition five detainees were freed from Guantanamo Bay in exchange. The US media has played up the idea these five are dangerous individuals who will return to the battlefield and fight against America. It’s probably true. No-one held without trial for years, and treated with gross inhumanity during that time, is going to thank their captors on the way out.
The idea that five mere human beings are going to make a huge difference to the Taliban’s grudge against the West in general, and America in particular, is beyond ludicrous. Yet it serves to divide this nation down the middle, with many viewing Bergdahl as a deserter who should have been left to rot, and others agreeing with the US president, who authorized the exchange without consultation with Congress. The corporate media is once again deploying its power to divide and conquer.
News recently of the tragic road accident that killed one man and put the comedian, Tracy Morgan into intensive care, has now revealed the driver of the Walmart truck that collided with their vehicle had not slept for twenty-four hours.
Walmart say their driver was ‘operating well within federal regulations’. It is, perhaps, the type of irresponsible reaction one might expect from Walmart, but the sad fact is that the only legislation addressing the subject states that drivers can work a maximum seventy hours a week. This means a man or woman may drive fourteen hours a day, every day, for five days of the week. How many us could keep that up without having an eventual accident?
Showing, yet again, a reliable lack of consideration for the safety of US citizens, Congress last week moved to relax these already lax regulations following sustained lobbying from the truck industry. A 24/7 economy apparently requires truck drivers to work 24/7, and Congress is only too happy to oblige big corporations like Walmart.
Apparently, it’s gone unnoticed in Congress that Europe’s economy is also 24/7. It might seem amazing to certain US senators and representatives that European economies manage to operate despite truck drivers having to adhere to these rules:
Daily driving must not exceed 9 hours, although this may be extended to 10 hours twice a week.
Weekly driving must not exceed 56 hours.
Fortnightly driving must not exceed 90 hours in any two consecutive weeks.
Drivers must take breaks that total at least 45 minutes during or after a maximum of 4.5 hours of driving. The break can be split into two periods, one of at least 15 minutes followed by one of at least 30 minutes. You cannot split breaks into three periods of 15 minutes.
Drivers must normally take at least 11 consecutive hours of daily rest. This can be reduced by up to 2 hours on no more than three occasions between any two weekly rest periods…
It’s amazing what Europe manages to achieve, that America finds quite impossible. In this instance – the saving of many lives.
In company with the US mainstream news media we’ll finish with a feel-good story, to warm our souls and revitalize the love each human being holds in his heart for his fellow man.
Are you feeling stressed, low, depressed or suicidal? Fear not, the folks at Los Angeles airport will be happy to help you. There you’ll find the soothing company of a ‘therapy dog’, complete with handler, to ease your cares away.
Yes, LAX is running a “Pets Unstressing Passengers” program (acronym: PUP – get it?) designed to put your stress to rest and allow you to fully enjoy the airport experience.
What a truly wonderful idea! Though, there is perhaps one concern.
Given that the stress experienced by airport users is created almost entirely by the airlines and airports, and domestic animals can be equally affected, those ‘therapy’ dogs may just end up needing therapy themselves.
Who’ll be the first unfortunate traveler to get bitten?
 “Army Promotes Missing-Captured Soldier” US Dept of Defense, June 16th 2011
 “DRIVERS HOURS RULES FOR GOODS VEHICLES IN THE UK AND EUROPE” Warwickshire Police, UK.
 “Meet the PUPs of LAX” LAX Website