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Oldest European fort in the inland US discovered in Appalachians

Oldest European fort in the inland US discovered in Appalachians | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
The remains of the earliest European fort in the interior of what is now the United States have been discovered by a team of archaeologists, providing new insight into the start of the U.S.
Greg Russak's insight:

"Why did the Mississipians wipe the Spaniards out so quickly? Beck and colleagues argue that originally, the Spanish bartered with the natives for food.

"The soldiers believed that when their gifts were accepted, it meant that the native people were their subjects," Beck said. "But to the natives, it was simply an exchange. When the soldiers ran out of gifts, they expected the natives to keep on feeding them. By that time, they had also committed what Spanish documents refer to as "indiscretions" with native women, which may have been another reason that native men decided they had to go. So food and sex were probably two of the main reasons for destroying Spanish settlements and forts."

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Obama Immigration Reform 2014 Speech: Announcing Executive Action [FULL] Today on November 20th - YouTube

Immigration Reform 2014 News: In an address from the White House, President Obama chose confrontation over conciliation as he asserted the powers of the Oval...
Greg Russak's insight:

As the grandson of immigrant coal miners, I stand squarely and strongly with the President on his decision to change the way immigration laws are enforced and to offer undocumented people a way to come out of the shadows. It is the right and moral thing to do.

 

My grandparents were treated as indentured servants by the coal companies who employed them. They were exploited in the same way that employers exploit today's undocumented people. I don't know what people think it means to come to America legally, but it's probably nothing like most people believe. I wonder how many Americans could even pass the Naturalization Test (http://www.uscis.gov/us-citizenship/naturalization-test).


My grandparents had to overcome their fair share of bigotry and hatred, too. From the stories I heard, it was a lot like what some Americans are doing to this generation's immigrants, but make no mistake. My grandparents came here for the same reasons people still come here today - for a better life.


What was different then was that this country had Ellis Island instead of barbed wire and border patrols and idiots screaming at children on buses. There was a port of entry, and the world knew where it was. They came and they stayed and they became citizens - not right away, mind you, and only because their employers "sponsored" them as citizens. They were uneducated. They didn't speak English and they never really learned to speak English all that well beyond "broken" English.


Despite all of that, they stayed. They became part of the people who built what would become the greatest country on Earth as the 20th century dawned. Without them, who knows what America would have become and what it would be today? What would America be without people like them willing to risk it all and to leave absolutely everything and everyone they knew behind to come here for a better life. Sure, they had grand plans to "go back" some day, but they never did. They stayed, and they became America.


How is it that we don't see the same kinds of people with the same kinds of dreams and aspirations coming here today? 

 

How is that some of us think that today's wave of immigrants are any different from my grandparents?

 

And, how is that some of us think the definition of being an American is to embarrass ourselves and this great country by demanding that our government tear families apart for nothing more sinister than the "crime" of coming here to build a better life for themselves and their families?

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The Dirty Little Secret of #Libertarianism: They're Really #Corporatists.

The Dirty Little Secret of #Libertarianism: They're Really #Corporatists. | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it

First, the obvious. Not all libertarians are alike. The same, of course, is true for conservatives and liberals.

 

That said, I’ve had my fill of libertarians acting like they are the only ones who believe in a free society. That’s total bullshit, of course. I don’t know anyone who likes “state oppression,” do you? The debate needs to be – oh, eff that. I’m done debating strawman arguments like that.

Greg Russak's insight:

And that, dear reader, is the dirty little secret of libertarianism as it’s being practiced today. It is a front for Corporatism, and it’s far more dangerous to our society, to our democracy, and to our planet than some misplaced and misinformed hand-wringing about “the state” somehow holding back “free markets.”

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Social Media for #StopFastTrack Week of Action - Citizens Trade Campaign

Social Media for #StopFastTrack Week of Action - Citizens Trade Campaign | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
Sample tweets and memes for the #StopFastTrack Week of Action (Nov. 8 - 14, 2014)
Greg Russak's insight:

Tweets and memes a-plenty

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Despite Outcry of Opposition, Obama Pushes "Horrific" Trade Deal in Asia

Despite Outcry of Opposition, Obama Pushes "Horrific" Trade Deal in Asia | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
Despite consistent and vocal opposition from organized labor, environmentalists, progressive economy experts and others warning against the damaging impacts of a trans-Pacific trade agreement that remains under negotiations by the U.S. and twelve other nations, President Obama on Monday once again voiced his support for what he said would be a "historic" agreement.
Greg Russak's insight:

The President, the U.S. Trade Representative's office, and the 600 corporations guiding this effort must be stopped.

 

For more information about these disastrous free trade deals, visit - and please add to - this site.

 

http://didyoucheckfirst.wordpress.com/tppttip-resources/

 

 

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In Response to 'Unprecedented' Public Outcry, Obama Goes Big on Net Neutrality

In Response to 'Unprecedented' Public Outcry, Obama Goes Big on Net Neutrality | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
Greg Russak's insight:

Well, well, well. Look at who opposes Net Neutrality. File this under, "Sad, and no surprise."

 

It's just more libertarian, right-wing, conservative failure to understand the issues BUT to obediently do as they're told and ignore the facts. It's also how people end up voting against their own self-interests and the best interests of society.

 

http://www.lp.org/blogs/michelle/fcc-should-remain-neutral-on-net-neutrality

 

http://libertarianstandard.com/2010/04/07/net-neutrality-developments/

 

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/ted-cruz-net-neutrality-obamacare

 

 

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A State-by-State Map Reveals There Is Shockingly Little Voter Fraud in the United States

A State-by-State Map Reveals There Is Shockingly Little Voter Fraud in the United States | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
Since the 2010 elections, many Republican state legislatures (as well as Rhode Island's Democratic-controlled body) have moved to pass stronger voter ID laws. Though the supposed goal of this legislation is to stop voter fraud, the data on how much fraud is actually happening are hard to come by. News21,...
Greg Russak's insight:

There is statistically no in-person voter fraud. None. Zero. Period. End of story.

 

There is one party, and only one party, who is trying to gin up fear that there is any meaningful in-person voter fraud.

 

Their goal is simple: To limit the ability of some citizens to exercise their right to vote.

 

That's just about as treasonous as it gets, isn't it? If it doesn't fit the technical definition of treason, it most certainly is un-American.

 

It's just one of many thoughts I'll carry with me into the voting booth tomorrow.

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Key Study On Obamacare 2015 Premium Rates Is Out And You Won't Believe What's Going To Happen

Key Study On Obamacare 2015 Premium Rates Is Out And You Won't Believe What's Going To Happen | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
While political slanting continues to dominate the public’s opinion on Obamacare, there is nothing like throwing a few facts into the mix to cause people to begin scratching their heads in confusion. One of the best sources of actual facts is the annual study done by the McKinsey Center for U.S. [...]
Greg Russak's insight:

My favorite line from this article:

 

"So, if you are all about the politics of being anti-Obamacare, you’ll want to simply pretend you never read this article as any rational individual will find it hard to continue to terrify the nation with predictions of fewer policies, smaller competition, and double-digit increases in premium rates."


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My disappointments with Cenk Uygur's interview with Sam Harris

My disappointments with Cenk Uygur's interview with Sam Harris | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it

I’ve watched all 3 hours of Cenk Uygur’s “interview” of Harris. Twice. It’s definitely worth watching at least once if you haven’t yet.

I went into this as a big fan of both men. That, unfortunately, has changed somewhat. Here’s why.

Greg Russak's insight:

All in all, I still believe Cenk to be a bright individual and a better journalist than he demonstrated in this interview.

 

What I’m also convinced of is that Harris has been misunderstood and intentionally misrepresented. Far too many people, it seems, have latched onto those misrepresentations. While this 3-hour interview should convince the viewer of the same, I strongly encourage the reader to first read Harris’s books and his blogs before taking the words of his detractors as “gospel” for what Harris actually means by his own words.

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States Ease Interest Rate Laws That Protected Poor Borrowers

States Ease Interest Rate Laws That Protected Poor Borrowers | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
Lawmakers in several states have voted to increase the fees or the interest rates that lenders can charge on personal loans used by millions of poor or financially struggling borrowers.
Greg Russak's insight:

We're taken for suckers everyday by this kind of bullshit. I believe that there's an awakening happening among the 98%, and I believe we're capable of changing our country for the better.

 

"The lenders argued that interest rate caps had not kept pace with the increased costs of doing business, including running branches and hiring employees. Unless they can make an acceptable profit, the industry says, lenders will not be able to offer loans allowing people with damaged credit to pay for car repairs or medical bills.

 

"But a recent regulatory filing by one of the nation’s largest subprime consumer lenders, Citigroup’s OneMain Financial unit, shows that making personal loans to people on the financial margins can be a highly profitable business — even before state lending laws were changed. Last year, OneMain’s profit increased 31 percent from 2012.

 

........

 

"Under the previous law, lenders could charge 30 percent interest on loans up to $1,000 and 18 percent on a remaining balance of $6,500. The new law allows for rates of up to 30 percent on the first $4,000 of a loan and 24 percent on the next $4,000.

 

"North Carolina lawmakers, meanwhile, collected hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign donations from the consumer finance industry. Speaker Thom Tillis, who supported the bill in the House, was one of the biggest beneficiaries. Mr. Tillis, a Republican who is running for United States Senate, has received more money from the American Financial Services Association than any other Senate candidate, according to OpenSecrets.org.

 

"Mr. Tillis’s campaign manager, Jordan Shaw, said the donations did not sway his voting record. “He wanted to make sure that people still have these loans as an option,” Mr. Shaw said."

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The New Challenge to Market Democracies: The Political and Social Costs of Economic Stagnation

The New Challenge to Market Democracies: The Political and Social Costs of Economic Stagnation | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
William Galston explores the difficulties market democracies face in an era of diminished growth and a weakened middle class. Galston argues that if the West fails to address economic stagnation, other domestic and foreign policy issues will prove intractable. Economic stagnation means a continuation of gridlocked, zero-sum politics and represents a threat to democratic institutions, he writes.
Greg Russak's insight:

This treatise on our democracy is an absolute must-read for everyone. Below is the spoiler, but don't miss the opportunity to read and contemplate everything Galston has to say.

 

"In modern circumstances, then, economic growth is more than a material goal; it is a moral enterprise as well. Because I cannot improve on the economist Benjamin Friedman’s formulation of this proposition, I conclude by quoting a passage that summarizes his magisterial book, The Moral Consequences of Economic Growth.


“The value of a rising standard of living lies not just in the concrete improvements it brings to how individuals live but in how it shapes the social, political and, ultimately, the moral character of a people. Economic growth—meaning a rising standard of living for the clear majority of citizens—more often than not fosters greater opportunity, tolerance of diversity, social mobility, commitment to fairness, and dedication to democracy. . . . Even societies that have already made great advances in these very dimensions, for example, most of today’s Western democracies, are more likely to make still further progress when their living standards rise. But when living standards stagnate or decline, most societies make little or more progress toward any of these goals, and in all too many instances they plainly retrogress.”

 

"That is why, as Friedman insists, the central question the United States now faces is whether the next generation will again achieve broadly shared prosperity or rather experience the stagnation of living standards. Broad prosperity is both the oil that lubricates the machinery of government and the glue that binds our society together. Economic stagnation means a continuation of gridlocked, zero-sum politics and a turn away from the spirit of generosity that only a people confident of its future can sustain.

 

"At long last, our leaders must turn away from peripheral squabbles and attend to the one issue that more than any other will define our country’s prospects. The stakes could not be higher, and we have waited long enough."

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Best of the Left Podcast

Best of the Left Podcast | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it

Chris Matthews auditions for Fox News. 

Greg Russak's insight:

I don't get my news from tv and that includes MSNBC. Independent and non-commercial outlets are the last bastions of real investigative journalism.

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On the Mechanics of Defamation : Sam Harris

On the Mechanics of Defamation : Sam Harris | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
Sam Harris, neuroscientist and author of the New York Times bestsellers, The End of Faith, Letter to a Christian Nation, and The Moral Landscape.
Greg Russak's insight:

Reza Aslan (@rezaaslan) and Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) are two people that I've read and respected in the past. No longer, and not until they issue a public apology to Sam Harris (@SamHarrisOrg) for knowingly defaming him.

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Columbus and the Lens of History | HowardZinn.org

Columbus and the Lens of History | HowardZinn.org | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
For Columbus Day, we feature an excerpt from Chapter One of A People’s History of the United States. Howard Zinn describes why he tells the story of Columbus’s arrival “from the viewpoint of the Arawaks” and “the inevitable... Read More
Greg Russak's insight:

"To emphasize the heroism of Columbus and his successors as navigators and discoverers, and to deemphasize their genocide, is not a technical necessity but an ideological choice. It serves—unwittingly—to justify what was done. My point is not that we must, in telling history, accuse, judge, condemn Columbus in absentia. It is too late for that; it would be a useless scholarly exercise in morality. But the easy acceptance of atrocities as a deplorable but necessary price to pay for progress (Hiroshima and Vietnam, to save Western civilization; Kronstadt and Hungary, to save socialism; nuclear proliferation, to save us all)—that is still with us."

Chapter One of A People’s History of the United States, by Howard Zinn

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AFLCIO

AFLCIO | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
Visit the AFL-CIO for the latest updates, including news, videos and information on how you take action and get involved in your community.
Greg Russak's insight:
TELL CONGRESS TO STOP FAST TRACK

Any trade deal is going to have a huge impact on America's workers. And we want to make sure that future trade deals protect U.S. jobs, don't give multinational corporations unfair advantages, don't harm the environment and don't turn a blind eye to countries that abuse workers. But Fast Track legislation allows power brokers to shape trade deals to their advantage and shields the details from the public and policy experts alike. Fast Track legislation is undemocratic and trade deals should not be crafted behind closed doors.

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Progressives and Tea Party join forces, beat big money in Florida

Progressives and Tea Party join forces, beat big money in Florida | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
In Tallahassee, progressives and conservatives put aside their differences to wage an historic battle to end corruption in their community.
Greg Russak's insight:
"On Nov. 4th, 2014, voters in Tallahassee, Florida made history by approving the first city Anti-Corruption Act in the United States by an overwhelming 2 – 1 margin."
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Support the Teamsters - Oppose Fast Track

Greg Russak's insight:
Fast Track Is the Wrong Track for Teamsters - Sign the Petition Today

Fast Track undermines the authority that we have entrusted to Congress to make sure that trade agreements with other nations are fair and in the best interests of working families – not corporations. If Fast Track is passed, job-killing trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership that have been negotiated largely in secret could become law by a simple “yes” or “no” vote, without the possibility of any amendments. Congress will not be able to change a single word of the agreement, no matter how bad the provisions may be!

Please help us tell Congress that Fast Track is the wrong track by signing the Teamster petition today. And please share the petition with your family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers.

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Time To Say Goodbye To Judicial Overreach

() The Supreme Court has turned America from a republic into a constitutional monarchy. Last week, the Supreme Court announced that it would hear yet another conservative-fueled challenge to Obamacare.
Greg Russak's insight:

Conservatives are the ones always over-reaching, and that's never been on better display than in the Roberts Court.

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U.S. House results -- 2014 Election Center -- Elections and Politics from CNN.com

U.S. House results -- 2014 Election Center -- Elections and Politics from CNN.com | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
See the latest 2014 elections results from House races around the country.
Greg Russak's insight:

The GOP won back the Senate and gained seats in the House and in state capitals the only way they still can win any election: when old, white conservatives show up in greater numbers than younger, non-white, and liberal voters.

 

Did you not learn anything from 2008 or 2010?

 

Just because you're fed up, disillusioned, or disinterested, and decide to stay home doesn't mean the other side will.

 

Some of us old white liberals are fighting awfully hard to stop our fellow and far more conservative Baby Boomers from effing things up even worse. It would be nice to have you 18-29 year olds take an interest and start making up more than 13% of the voters in a midterm.

 

Staying home is not a protest. It's surrender. Wearing your Anonymous masks and rallying is all well and good, but the rich and powerful aren't paying any attention to that in this neoliberal police state we live in.

 

No, the American campaign finance and electoral processes are far from perfect, and some of my fellow old white Baby Boomers are winning - for now - at making it even harder to vote. Yes, those are fights we must keep fighting even in the face of the awfully rich and awfully powerful forces at work against us and against you and your future.

 

So, you can sit idly by and let them do it to you, or you can do the one thing they fear the most. Vote.

 

Vote AND stay active at rallies, Vote and sign petitions. Vote and write emails and go to protests and rail against the old establishment, but for chrissakes, we need more than 1 in 10 voters to be young voters if we're ever going to dump these corrupt old fuckers out of our government at every level and replace them with people who actually care about us more than they care about money and power.

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40 Maps That Explain The Middle East

40 Maps That Explain The Middle East | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
These maps are crucial for understanding the region's history, its present, and some of the most important stories there today.
Greg Russak's insight:

I've always been drawn to maps. This collection is, without a doubt, the most instructive one on the Middle East that I have ever found.

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Why Be a Patriot? Why Prefer Our Fellow Americans? - Ricochet

Why Be a Patriot? Why Prefer Our Fellow Americans? - Ricochet | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
In response to my most recent post, Peter Robinson poses a fundamental question: Why should the government of the United States prefer the welfare of those who are citizens of this country to those who are not? To begin to answer Peter’s question, one must ask what a political community is and what it is for. In addressing this question, Thomas…
Greg Russak's insight:

A prime example of why I find it so challenging to find common philosophical ground with conservative doctrine. It is inward looking, selfish, and paranoid, and that just isn't how I see the world and the people in it. Are there bad people in the world? Yes, of course there are, but how does hiding behind a "citadel" do anything to change that? 

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Evaluating Ebola as a Biological Weapon

Evaluating Ebola as a Biological Weapon | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
Although the media has speculated that terrorist groups might try to use the Ebola virus as a weapon, the disease is a poor agent for a biological attack.
Greg Russak's insight:

An important read, especially if you're concerned that some terrorist organization is trying to weaponize Ebola. Spoiler alert. You can stop worrying.

 

And, you should stop listening to mainstream media. Their business model relies on turning absolutely everything into fear, uncertainty, doubt. It's called FUD. Those of us who've spent a career in sales and marketing are intimately familiar with the concept of FUD. It's a damn shame that newsrooms are now beholden to my profession and the people on the business side; i.e., to the people in media companies selling advertising.

 

The breakdown of the wall between "church and state" in media is one of the most damaging things ever to occur in our democracy because it turns us into scared and misinformed sheep.

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Time to Rethink the War on Terror

Time to Rethink the War on Terror | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
(Thom plus logo) When Eric Holder eventually steps down as Attorney General, he will leave behind a complicated legacy, some of it tragic, like his decision not to prosecute Wall Street after the financial crisis, and his all-out war on whistleblowers like Edward Snowden.
Greg Russak's insight:

It's never been "a war." We were sold a bill of goods that played on our fears, bigotry, and xenophobia. 9/11 was a crime. A terrible, heinous crime, but a crime, nonetheless. We and future generations will pay the price for our playing directly into the hands of the criminals by allowing ourselves to become terrorized, and for not behaving the way a civilized and mature country who stands on its principles of the rule of law should behave.

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Baby boomers ruined America: Why blaming millennials is misguided — and annoying

Baby boomers ruined America: Why blaming millennials is misguided — and annoying | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
It may be fun to bash today's youth -- but here's where the awful job economy and ailing planet actually came from
Greg Russak's insight:

We Baby Boomers have been the ones in charge for a generation. To deny that we're the ones who effed things up royally is not only disingenuous, it's a lie and the epitomy of immaturity. I was taught growing up to admit my mistakes and to apologize when I was wrong. Too few of my generation are willing to do that with our kids. For what it's worth, I admit we failed you, and for that, I am sorry.

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I lost my dad to Fox News: How a generation was captured by thrashing hysteria

I lost my dad to Fox News: How a generation was captured by thrashing hysteria | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
Old white people are drowning in despair and rage. Here's how my father lost his mind -- thanks to his cable diet
Greg Russak's insight:

I felt like I was reading words I could have written; not so much about my own father who died almost 26 years ago but, sadly, of some of my contemporaries who now fit the Fox Profile in more ways than just gender, race, and age.

 

All hope is not lost. Not by a long shot.

 

First, I have total faith and confidence that my children and their generation will not be the scared and uninformed fuck-ups we Baby Boomers have become. We have the set example for them starting with the early 80s for how NOT to run a government, an economy or, with rare exceptions along the way, a civil society.

 

There's also this. It's how the article concludes. It sums up nicely where my hope rests when it comes to the rest of us.

 

"I, and people like me, have managed to break the cycle of conservative red-and race-baiting. I’ve noticed similar attitude shifts among some of my close friends, who have likewise drifted from the televised rage of our fathers. I only wish I could do something to ease the anxiety of those I love, an emotion that is a cash cow for exploitative right-wing commentators. But I have no real solution, other than to turn off the television. Sadly, for some of the nation’s elderly, they seem to have no desire whatsoever to rethink the politics of fear and Fox News. It’s a criminal waste of retirement."

- Edwin Lyngar, self-professed "libertarian and frequent Republican voter" and one-time fan of Fox News

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Idle No More: Why We Don’t Celebrate Christopher Columbus

Idle No More: Why We Don’t Celebrate Christopher Columbus | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
We don’t celebrate Columbus Day in this house, and we never will. It’s not that we don’t enjoy holidays when they come around. We love holidays around here as much as anyone, but there are some hol...
Greg Russak's insight:

"How many of you know that before Christopher Columbus and his brother, Bartholomew, left to return to Europe in 1496, that they agreed to murder 1.1 million people because they were angry they hadn’t been able to humiliate the Taino into being subservient animals?


"How many of you know that on Columbus’s second trip to San Salvador, that he and his crew enslaved thousands of indigenous peoples and exported them to countries such as France and Spain to be treated as beasts of burden? Did you know that those who weren’t shipped back as product were kept for the sexual gratification of Columbus and his crew?

 

"Let’s not go down the road of believing that Columbus deserves a day of recognition because of his nautical genius. The man was lost at sea and history proves that his crew were ready to mutiny when they accidentally found land ho!"

 

By Elyse Bruce, www.elysebruce.wordpress.com
October 6th, 2014

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