The hyperpatriotism trap

Bill Maher had a good segment on the deep strain of jingosim in America that demands that one should never say anything negative about its past or present actions. The problem with such a stance should be obvious. If you think that your country can do no wrong and has never done anything wrong, then you are going to continue doing those wrong things. Politicians of the major parties relentlessly pander to this way of thinking, making it worse. Obama panders a lot too but not enough for some people because he has the audacity to say that maybe not everything was always great.
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How the government treats whistleblowers

The Daily Show looks at how governments treat whistleblowers, starting with the case of the UK-based megabank HSBC where a whistleblower accused his employer of helping its clients avoid taxes in their home countries. Of course the people who take advantage of these kinds of sophisticated tax avoidance schemes are the very wealthy and well-connected and includes the HSBC chief so you can guess how they were punished, and what happened to the person who revealed it.
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Infrastructure – The Movie

Jon Oliver has another excellent investigative report, this time on the way that America’s leaders act so cavalierly about the nation’s crumbling infrastructure. The American public of course thinks that raising money to pay for repairs and maintenance is a sign that godless Communists are taking over by taxing the rich of their hard-earned dollars when that money could be used to buy yachts. They seem to think that elves will magically appear in the night and repair things for free.
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What Fox News and Republicans stand for

Jon Stewart is at his best when responding to Fox News attacks on him. His announcement that he was leaving the show sometime later this year led them to reflect on his influence and argue that he brought little to the national political conversation except lies, snarkiness, selective editing, and unfair characterization of them and the Republican party. It is clear that, as one of the major media figures who consistently outs their deceitful propaganda, he has got under their skin.

In responding, he gives an excellent analysis of what they stand for, why they are so successful at driving home their damaging message, and how we should respond.
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On electing judges

One of the things that shocked me when I first came to the US was the practice of electing judges. While I can understand that appointing judges can lead to insider cronyism, it should be possible to find a way to ensure that competent and reasonably impartial people can be found to serve as judges without putting them through the inherently corrupting process of raising money for elections and then pandering to low-information voters.
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John Oliver takes on the tobacco companies

Tobacco companies are clearly in the running for the title of the most evil, lying, despicable companies on Earth, relentlessly marketing a product that when used as intended causes disease and death. Last Week Tonight takes on the issue of how tobacco companies are targeting people in other countries as the anti-smoking campaigns in the US cut into their profits here. In the process, he shows how news can be investigative, informative, and hard-hitting and yet interesting and worth watching.
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