American Pride, Ferguson Exposed & The War of the Worlds: July 3, 2015

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RadioWhoWhatWhy: Finally, a Meaningful Report on Ferguson, MO
By Jeff Schechtman
WhoWhatWhy
podcaster Jeff Schechtman gets the lowdown on the federal investigation into the death of Michael Brown at the hands of a policeman in Ferguson, Missouri. What was that really about? Was there more to it than an isolated event? In short, yes. Find out in this interview with an NAACP official what systemic issues played a role in generating the deep anger in Ferguson—and throughout the country.

WHO

These Disunited States
Author Colin Woodard wrote the book on America’s hyper-regionalism and distinct cultural divisions. Now he writes about America’s demographic divides and continual shifts into like-minded communities. Interestingly enough, The American Conservative sees localism as the future of civic-minded patriotism. Perhaps the biggest hurdle to American unity is the basic disagreement about its history.

Smaller Majority “Extremely Proud” to Be an American
This is not a dire as it may sound. Add up the number of “extremely” proud (54%) with the number of “proud” (27%) and you’ve got an overwhelming majority of Americans who feel good about being in the USA. Only 1% said they feel nothing… zippo… nada. The most interesting part of this survey is the blip around 9/11, when extreme pride spiked to 70% from 55% and how quickly it dropped as the Iraq War turned into a train wreck.

ISIS Marks Independence Day, Too
So far, the US has hit the Islamic State with tens of thousands of airstrikes, re-deployed “advisors” back into Iraq and spent $9 billion on this latest chapter in the War on Terror. That’s $103 per second, by the way. “Successful” drone strikes notwithstanding, the Islamic State persists and the National Security state reacts with dire warnings. Stratfor Middle East analyst Michael Nayebi-Oskoui says, “There’s nothing about ISIS that makes them uniquely suited to endure as an informal state.” But the people of Iraq and Libya are seeing very little light at the end of the tunnel dug for them by Uncle Sam.

WHAT

Behind the Curtain: A Look at the Inner Workings of NSA’s XKEYSCORE
Here’s part two of The Intercept’s exposé of the NSA epic spying tool. According to the report, the NSA needs a Google-like interface to cope with the staggering amount of data that pours into hundreds of severs it has stationed around the globe. If you log on, there is a good chance its Linux-based software will process what you do.

Money Trails: Where the United Nations, the World Bank, and Eleven Countries Send Foreign Aid
If you’ve ever wanted to follow the money, here’s is an excellent infographic from Lapham’s Quarterly that looks an awful lot like a map for the London Underground.

WHY

The ‘War of the Worlds’ Panic Is a Myth
The Daily Beast looks at a new book titled Broadcast Hysteria: Orson Welles’s War of the Worlds and the Art of Fake News. In it, author A. Brad Schwartz dispels the long-standing belief that Welles sparked a panic with his infamous adaptation of H.G. Wells’ classic novel. But it is more than that. The persistence of the myth offers an insight into the ways our collective psychology copes with “scary new technology” and how the newscycle creates panics out of rumors of panics.

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