Dirty Wars and the future of America

Dirty Wars shows the dark side of America’s war on terrorist. The movie also shows the lack of check and balance in the system with the privatization of the military. The lesson of the movie is that our extreme way of fighting terrorist is actually producing more terrorist. Then we increase the military to fight the new terrorist and that produces more terrorist. It is a never ending cycle.

The documentary is depressing, I never want to think about it. It makes me feel angry towards the government. It makes me feel like the government is all about big private companies who spends millions of dollar to bribe the government. Innocent people, American and non-American, are dying in order for private military companies to make a profit from the American tax system. America spends so much money on the military when that money can be use in domestic issue such as the health care system, food stamp system and our education system. We are fighting in countries most people never heard of, we are always butting into other people’s business for the idea of democracy. But as Freeman points out, many countries became democratic in eastern Europe after the fall of Soviet Union when American military does not get involve.

So from Clinton to Bush to Obama, I feel like America has not change much in terms of its military, war, and foreign policy issues. These are the problems that I tried not to think about because it makes me feel hopeless. I don’t know what the future of America will look like but it is not good if we continue down this path. I wish we will take a lesson from Washington’s Farewell Address of 1796 about staying out of other countries’ affair. I wish politicians will fight for the people instead of private companies.  This is why America has such low voting turn out rate, the people has lost faith in its government and its politicians. There is not much difference between the Democratic party and the Republican party except for social issues.

Restructure of the Army

“By doing so, they hoped to avoid the kind of stealth escalation, without a clear, public decision-making process, that they believe had been one of the mistakes of Vietnam.”

There is major change in war the way Americans fight during war. The major life lost and embarrassment of Vietnam has really shaken Americans’ idea about war. America is using more technology in war and will less likely to fight a war  if the chance of wining is slim. During Vietnam, American soldiers did not have a way to tell if they are winning the war because they did not know who was an enemy and who was on their side. So they use the tactic of counting the dead bodies to tally their wins.But there was still sadness over the death of American soldiers because we value the life of Americans over the life of foreigners. So for the new attic, they prefer methods that attacks from afar that puts American lives farther from danger. With the new method, there is more casualty from the enemy side which includes innocent people. American military also became more secretive and American people sees less of the war images than Vietnam time.

Collapse of Soviet Union

“During the last months of the Reagan presidency and the first months after George H. W. Bush took office, the United States essentially stood on the sideline as the Soviet block underwent cataclysmic changes.”

America’s identity is associate with the fight against communist but when it is finally winning, it took a very passive role in the collapse  of Soviet Union and communist party in Eastern Europe. America did not help to end Soviet Union or the control of communist party in many other countries. The fall of Soviet Union was the result of internal problems where the country spent too much money on military and not enough money in their own country on its own people. I feel like America will face a similar problem as it cuts down its social welfare problems such as medicare/medicaid, social security, and food programs while increasing the budget for military especially for the private industry. The fall of Soviet Union came from a push by Gorbachev who realizes there needs to a change in Soviet Union. It is interesting to know that the fall of communist party was done so peacefully when America was not involve. There was no major bloody war in Eastern European countries except for  Romania as political system changes for a more democratic one.

Ten Thousand Hours- Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

My Favorite Song

One of my current favorite song is Ten Thousand Hours by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. This is the first song of their album so it is the first song to be play every time I listen o the album.  So this song is play often than any other song and I believe you will love a song  if you listen to a song enough times. This album was independently produce and it manages to reach number 1 on iTunes. The song details their journey as a artist and trying to produce music base on their creatively and not falling into what the record company thinks will make the most sale. The title of the song is a referring to Malcolm Gladwell’s theory that 10,000 hours need to be spend on a subject to be an expert on it.  It also point out music needs passionate and handwork since he is singing about working over 10,000 hours on this album.  It is also a great catchy song. Their whole album is great and there is great variety with the songs. The order of the songs in the album also has a nice transition.

Harlan County USA

If the coal strike was more recent, it would be one of the most liberal event of this year. I was shock to see a pro-union labor strike in Kentucky. A state that has mostly been voting on the conservative side for the last 20 years. Somewhere between the coal strike and current day, Kentucky turned very conservative in terms of their voting pattern. The coal strike want to form a union and have some type of health insurance due to black lung disease. The strike gets violent as the company hires men to protect the company man who were hire to replace to coal miners. It is really hard to imagine such event can take place today because with the internet, everything in public is on the internet and it can be view by the whole world. To hold such long protest to be unionize is also hard to imagine because what do people do for months without a source of income. The documentary is very emotional because it really shows the struggles of living in a small town with only coal mining as a big source of jobs. It also shows the strength of the community as they stay together to fight the company. The songs they sung also pushes the emotions because it is a sad tone but also it is a story in the song and with some  melody and repetition that makes easy to sing along to.

Chapter 13: The Politics of Stagnation

“Congress rejected almost all of Ford’s proposals” page 323

There was a raise in inflation and a increase in unemployment, the government did not know how to deal with such problem. The price of goods were on an increase and the jobs were on a decrease. This type of problem has never occur in the past and the government’s Keynesian solutions were not going to work.  The economy is in trouble and the conflicts between the Democratic majorities Congress and the Republican President does not solve the economic issues. The President Ford want to tackle the inflation issue first and the Congress, House and Senate, want to tackle the unemployment issue first.  So the Congress would reject most of Ford’s proposals and Ford would not work with the Congress to come up with a solution that both parties agree on. So the economy suffers from the tension between the two branches of the government. Americans sees this problem and their trust in the government falls every year. The percentage of eligible  voters who actually vote also falls by every election. The government’s inability to fix the economy and  scandals from politicians really push people to lose trust in the government as well as being political actively.

Migration and Downfall of American Spirit

“No hope could be found in the web of emotions that left the singer unable to stay and unable to leave, not wanting to cry but ‘crying anyway ’cause you’re all broke down.'” -page 310


This line really represents the spirit of Americans during the 1970’s. Industrial jobs were moving from eastern regions to the south and the western regions. People either had to move with the jobs or find a new field of work. This lead to an increase in unemployment in the eastern regions as well as high unemployment in the cities. With the high unemployment in the cities came high levels of drug use and crime which lead some of the middle class to move out to the more peaceful suburbs. When the middle class moves out of cities and the poor class losing their blue collar jobs, many cities in the eastern regions such as New York City faced financial crisis due to the loss of industries and tax income. Causing the cities to crumble under the financial crisis brought on by the loss of tax revenue. With the downfall of the eastern region, there was a movement of wealth and people into the south and Midwest which lead to an increase in the political power of those regions with an increase in population. Americans felt like their world was falling apart due to of high unemployment, increased inflation, the feeling of losing the cold war, and deregulation of its media. Film industry used to be heavily censured, but when the monopoly of the film industry broke, so did the censorship of the whole industry.  Without censorship, movies “capture(d) the downbeat sensibility of the 1970s. (Freeman, 310)” With the increase of the television, the images of violence from the war across the ocean could be brought to the homes of millions of Americans every evening. American spirit was at an all time low as they lost hope in their own country and the politicians who were running the country.

Can’t Stop Won’t Stop, Ch. 1 and 3

The chapters discuss reason for the downfall of Bronx. It is interesting to note that Robert Moses’s plans for New York City can cause such destruction for one community.  When I first learned of Robert Moses, it was about his funding for High Way expansion into the outer boroughs as well as Long Island. He used the funding to build Flushing Meadows Corona Park. This park still exists today and it is a big part of the Queens community because it has become an iconic symbol of the Unisphere and all the free resources such as swimming pool, soccer fields, and BBQ pits. The destruction of Bronx caused by Moses’s plan is a shocking comparison to the result of Flushing Meadows Corona Park.


Moses’s plan destroyed South Bronx and its community. Landlords made more profit from destroying its property than improving it and collecting rents. This resulted in more apartment buildings being damaged and abandoned. There was a lack of funding into South Bronx as well as lack of police officers in the community. Teenagers often had to join gangs for their own safety. These gangs were often the police of their community and they kicked out drug addicts and protected their turf. Eventually the gang activity escalated into violence with their neighboring gangs. The view people had about South Bronx grew worse as people saw images of collapsed and abandoned buildings and images of teen gangs and violence.