Category: Good Times and Bad

GI Coffeehouses Recalled

 The New York Times has published an op-ed piece by historian David Parsons about the coffeehouses started near US bases during the War in Vietnam. Parsons had interviewed me and I must have been the source of the details he got wrong. (He got the big picture right.) His piece is indented below, with my comments. —Fred Gardner In the summer of 1967, Fred Gardner arrived in San Francisco with the Vietnam War weighing heavily on his mind. Gardner was 25 years old, a Harvard graduate and a freelance journalist for a number of major publications. He was attracted to Northern California’s...

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You asked good questions, Mr. President

Donald Trump is a New York City real estate developer getting OJT as he conducts international affairs. He asked some experienced politicians why people from Haiti and Africa are desperate to emigrate North and why the US should let them in. Disapproval erupted when the media learned he had used the term “shithole countries.” Focus was on his crude language; the crucial questions he posed were ignored. We’re here to help, Mr. President: People are fleeing lands that “we” —the United States and European powers— have robbed of their natural resources and where “we” have installed corrupt regimes that...

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The Drug-Testing Racket

January 3, 2018. Drug rehab clinics have added their own testing services to wring more profit out of their clients, according to a well-researched exposé by David Segal of the New York Times. Segal explains: “in 2010, as opioid abuse evolved into a crisis and the Affordable Care Act offered insurance to millions more young people, the cost of urinalysis tests soared. It was soon common for clinics and labs to charge more than $4,000 per test, and to test clients two or three times a week.  A retired insurance investigator describes the victims as “thousands and thousands of kids,” adding, “This...

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A most revealing lede

There’s a serious error in David Leonhart’s op-ed in the New York Times bidding farewell to 2017: I expect that future historians will look back on it as one of the darker non-war years in the country’s history — a year when the president lied constantly, America’s global influence suffered… How do Leonhardt and the Times’s editors and fact-checkers and style book define “non-war?”  The Pentagon acknowledges that US military personnel are fighting seven wars (in concert with US contractors) and maintaining bases in more than a hundred foreign countries. We, the people, spent countless billions in 2017 on...

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The Great Trend of Our Time is Privatization

US liberals were dismayed this week when President Trump opened some two million acres of federal land to private exploitation. As reported by Julie Turkewitz in the New York Times December 4: The administration shrank Bears Ears National Monument, a sprawling region of red rock canyons, by 85 percent, and cut another monument, Grand Staircase-Escalante, to about half its current size. The move, a reversal of protections put in place by Democratic predecessors, comes as the administration pushes for fewer restrictions and more development on public lands. The decision to reduce Bears Ears is expected to set off a...

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