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Tag: News

So What Does Revolution Look Like?

Having grown up an American citizen I’ve heard many enchanting stories about our own revolution. It is often glamorized by heroic acts of humble farmers fighting against elitist Brits with more people, and better weaponry (i.e.: The Patriot with Mel Gibson). Revolution is sometimes very necessary, but it is not pretty… And it is no secret that the world is experiencing some unrest, and has for the last few years. Well, let’s face it, there is always unrest somewhere. The most recent unrest that has the rest of the world’s attention is the uprising in the Ukraine. Below are some videos produced by VICE that might help serve as a refresher if you already know about what is going on, or it might serve as a quick update if you don’t.

This is the VICE correspondence from inside the home of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich… Ooooooh myyy.

Since this was produced much has ensued, but I still felt that these short Vice videos might help some people who were hoping to learn more about the uprising in this historically beaten and tattered nation.

“Corruption? In The Motherland?! No Way…” – Why these will be the most expensive Olympics of all time – VICE


As many of us around the world are watching these winter Olympics over the next couple of weeks we will find ourselves dreaming about what we could’ve been/done, and hopefully what we still can be/do. With that said, it’s probably just as important that we look at these Olympics realistically. I don’t think that it’s going to surprise much of anyone that there is a lot of corruption in Russia. This short news report however puts faces and numbers on that alleged corruption. I just really love Vice for strong reports like this one

I Just Signed Up To Go Skydiving… Sooooooo, Can I Get A Refund?! (Video)


I am going skydiving for the fist time next week, and this new story about these planes crashing mid flight has turned my stomach completely upside down… Thankfully everyone survived, so I guess that makes me feel a little better, but seriously, we’re doing this?!

Ground Zero: Syria – VICE (WARNING: Very Graphic)


Feel free to skip ahead and not read all of my thoughts if you don’t have that much time, the video is way more important. But WARNING, it is very graphic.

I generally get really excited when I start hearing people, and seeing people talk about current events. However, this time around in regards to Syria it has kind of broken my heart. It’s rather bizarre to see what it takes to get people interested, however they are now interested and it’s time to pay attention.

I hate war. I really hate war. Having believed in God pretty much my entire life I always try to see other people as an extension of myself, and I don’t want them to die, especially in the midst of hatred and violence. Part of that frame of mind has led me to not get so hung up on land borders, or social groups. One of the biggest talking points on whether or not we should go into Syria has been whether or not it’s in our nation’s best interest. I think that this standard misses the mark by quite a bit. The standard should be “is their oppression, and do we have evidence that we can help?”. In the past when we have tried to help it seems that we have often ended with an enraged population, at home and abroad, that then blames us for all of their problems.

I don’t want the United States to be the police of the world, we don’t need to be in charge of being everyone’s moral authority. However, being supportive of those who are oppressed and being brutally murdered is not simply being the police of the world. For all those who want us to be an isolationist country the only way that I can find that to be a real noble cause is if they somehow think that by example or through accumulated resources we will someday be able to help others in need. Maybe this would be comparable to securing your own oxygen mask before you get the mask for the child next you on the airplane, I’ve used this example before. If being isolationist is only for our own benefit, then I hope all with that belief system never find themselves at the end of the barrel of a gun of an oppressor with only themselves to lend a hand.

Syria is different from Iraq in multiple ways: chemical weapons were used in Iraq 15 years before our war started there, chemical weapons are being used now in Syria. Of course there’s still the debate of justice and punishing those who have hurt others in the past, but we need to have a conversation about eminent threats to mankind right now. I don’t want to go to war, but if there are actions that we can take to help the people in this video I think they need to be strongly considered. Forget about the politics, rhetoric, teamsmanship, tribalism, I don’t care about that. These are people… If you don’t care about them something is wrong with you. And if in this discussion your primary goal is to find out who is wrong in America you’re missing the mark. Before you come to an absolute decision on what is right and wrong in this situation please research all of the options. I know this is an unattainable quest, as we don’t have all the information, and we won’t have all of it. But please don’t make up your mind so flippantly, we’re talking about our brothers and sisters in humanity.

I’ll finish with this, I am no military mastermind but I don’t think that we should put troops on the ground. It seems as if we aren’t going to anyways. I also don’t think that we should arm either side, and of course the only side here that we would arm potentially is the rebels, or the “Free Syrian Army”. When we’ve armed groups in the past it is come back to bite us, and even if they are on the side of lesser evil the rebels still have extremists, just look at the video of the guy eating the Syrian soldiers heart. I think that if we are going to do some isolated strikes on military bases that are attacking their people I might be open to that, but boy does that make me uneasy… What will the repercussions be? In our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan drone strikes have multiplied Terrorist responses against our troops by 10 times… This doesn’t seem to be helping anybody. I understand that I can’t know the military strategy as it would be silly to make it public, but for me to support any action I would need to know that it is founded in some sort of a logical approach that will not hurt civilians, as they will turn against us, and actually prevent Assad from hurting his people as soon as possible.


Why Dennis Rodman Went to North Korea – VICE on HBO: Episode 10 “The Hermit Kingdom”


This is one of the wilder experiements in journalism I would imagine that there has really ever been… I mean, North Korea being as cartoonishly backwards as it is being mixed with Dennis Rodman and the Harlem Globetrotters for a friendly game of pick up basketball just sounds like something from the show South Park.

I’m very glad that Vice has been putting their HBO episodes on YouTube, as they are all very informative and important, and news like that should be shared with as many people as possible. If you follow this blog you are already aware that I love Vice, and I recommend that you love it too 🙂

Enjoy the video, considering it’s free it is probably the best bang for your buck you’re going to get anytime soon for news or entertainment.

(Video Description on YouTube):
Chances are, the first time you heard of our HBO show was when news outlets around the world reported that we took Bad-as-I-Wanna-Be NBA Hall-of-Famer Dennis Rodman to North Korea, along with members of the legendary Harlem Globetrotters, to take on the Hermit Kingdom’s national team in a friendly, if entirely absurd, experiment in basketball diplomacy. As you probably know, the enigmatic young ruler of the country, Kim Jong Un, showed up to the game, making us the first American news organization to meet him. It was pretty much the most thrilling thing that could have happened, and when pictures were beamed back to Brooklyn that day, the poured-concrete floors of our offices rippled in cracks and dents as our jaws collectively hit the floor.

Already seen this episode, have you? But have you seen the season one outtakes? Watch them on VICE here:

More from Shane Smith:
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Subscribe to VICE here!
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Israel’s Killer Robots – VICE


I have had mixed feelings about drones for a long time… However, the further I look into them the more terrified I get about what the future of this world might actually look like. I appreciate that drones don’t require a pilot, and thus take one life out of danger, however they have shown to have devastating results on those who stand bellow their flightpaths.

I have written multiple posts about drones, and it is something that continues to fascinate me. One of the posts is about Rachel Maddow’s criticism of the Obama administration’s drone policies. And one of the others is a talk by Malcolm Gladwell at Ted talks about connecting history to our current drone debate. If you only have time for one I recommend the Malcolm Gladwell talk entitled “the strange tale of the Norden bomb site”.

1. Rachel Maddow on Drone Policy
2. Malcolm Gladwell on History, War, and Technology

Lara Logan: The Longest War – 60 Minutes (Full Video)

Lara Logan: The Longest War – YouTube.

I had a lot of thoughts about this report, and for some reason it seemed like a better idea to just put them in a bullet point format. Long story short, I think that we are being told that things are better off in Afghanistan than they really are. The next big problem is that this isn’t necessarily because we are failing, we just might be facing an unwinnable situation (go as the Russians what they think about war in Afghanistan…). The fact that our troops are getting killed by the Afghan troops who we’re training is unacceptable… But if we leave are we just giving up? You don’t have to go through my bullet pointed thoughts, but I do recommend at least watching the report, and if you are still interested watching the BGA conference video. Feel free to let me know what you think.


The Longest War Video


And at a conference by an organization called the Better Government Association Logan talked about what it meant to be a part of this report, and why she is disappointed with the politics of today.

BGA Conference


Thoughts about the war:

  • I want the truth
  • I love Lara Logan, I think that she’s a Great reporter.
  • Republican’s have cried wolf for so long about so many things it has been difficult to listen to them about most things. They have behaved very disrespectfully, and the biggest problem with this is that they have made it difficult to hear even the strong points that they might make. Democrats might pander about Afghanistan, and about what happened and is happening with the attack on our service members in Libya – and if they do I want to know about it.
  • Even though the Republican’s have been difficult to deal with both Vice-Presidential candidates in their debate agreed that Al Qaeda is getting weaker in Afghanistan – so we’ll need to see why the agreed if that’s not true, and whether or not they are being unfair if they decide to start disagreeing
  • We have spent too much money
  • Things are not safe enough
  • What does this mean for the President?
  • How do we deal with this war in a tribal culture
  • The government says we’re virtually one drone strike away from winning, Logan says that this isn’t true
  • If President Obama is in the wrong about his rhetoric about this war in Afghanistan we need to demand better – But we can’t forget that this is not simply indicative of him, and this is not the first time anything like this has happened (The Pentagon Paper, and “No End in Sight”)
  • This as an issue in American politics is very,  very tricky…….

60 Minutes: Saying Farewell to the Extraordinary Mike Wallace

Saying farewell to the extraordinary Mike Wallace – YouTube.

I remember Mike Wallace, mostly for his voice, and this segment about his life and Career at 60 Minutes is really extraordinary. He passed away in April of 2012, but losing a cultural giant like Mike doesn’t become irrelevant in the span of months… I love a good old fashioned journalist, and Mike was truly an old fashioned reporter. I would love to add my commentary, but I don’t think that there is much I can say that would add to this story. I only want to mention that as much as I’m drawn to the public square (whether that be politically ideological debates, or making room for challenging stories), watching a video like this really moves me to keep asking questions.

The First Presidential Debate of 2012 (Complete) Romney vs.Obama – 10/3/2012 University of Denver

Presidential Debate 2012 (Complete) Romney vs.Obama – 10/3/2012 – Elections 2012.

Here is the full debate, and I’m going to put my quick thoughts below (so that I don’t spoil anything if you want to make up your own mind), but I’ll post some more thorough thoughts later.

Full Debate

OK, so far all of the analysis that I’ve heard tonight is that people feel that Mitt Romney got the best of this debate. On a personal note I don’t necessarily agree, but I understand how that might be true when speaking about the electorate. I think that this is going to be surprising to many because of the views that people have about these 2 people and their person-ability (and on that note I think that Obama looked much more comfortable but that Mitt looked more engaged, as he looked the President in the face almost the entire time that he wasn’t speaking). However, this isn’t all that surprising as this debate was about domestic issues (aka: The Economy), and considering the fact that this debate was almost entirely about President Obama’s record (because the voters know at least something about it), and the roles will likely flip in the coming debate (particularly in the foreign policy debate).

I think that the topics that we will likely hear more about over the coming days will be much of the same:

  • Medicare – Romney supports the voucher approach, and Obama doesn’t
  • Taxes – they both need to define more clearly what they want on personal and corporate rates
  • Military – (this may be wishful thinking) They didn’t talk too much about this, and it mostly seemed like a preview of the Foreign Policy debate when they did

I would love to hear more specifics about each of these things however. I want to hear about Romney’s plans to close loopholes, but I’m in suport of that. And I want to hear Obama defend the Affordable Care Act, as it still seems mysterious in a lot of ways (although I support so much of it), and I want to hear them both define their approach their plans for foreign policy from this point forward (even though I feel like I understand the President’s approach so far). I would also appreciate a more cooperative conversation about regulation, but I think that’s pretty wishful thinking.

I took some notes, and I’m going to watch this video again, and consolidate my notes so I can make a few more observations about what took place tonight. Please feel free to let me know what you thought about this debate if you have an opinion, I would love to hear from you.


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