Editor’s Note – Covid

Stephan:  I got back from India where I went at the invitation of the Indian equivalent of our National Institutes of Health to present a paper on my research on the nonlocality of consciousness, religions, and spiritual practices, and began to feel unwell. In spite of all my vaccinations and boosters, I tested positive for Covid, and am now flat on my back with an extremely sore throat and aching ears with what my doctor calls moderate Covid -- one step short of hospitalization. A very nasty illness. I am sorry but I will have to postpone SR for a few more days until I recover. -- Stephan
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Editor’s Note – 21-27 September

Stephan:  The Indian Government has asked me to come to Bangalore, India, and I have accepted, to present my research on Nonlocal Consciousness and the Anthropology of Religions and Spiritual Practices at a large conference the Indian government is sponsoring. So today's edition will be the last until the 27th of September when I return. I am not sure that while I am in India I will be able to spend the hours needed each day to do the necessary research and prepare the daily edition that SR requires.
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‘What happened to your country?’: The poisoned well of the Trump era

Stephan:  I watched bits of the Trump rally the other day, and thought I was listening to Joseph Goebbels on a bad day, and watched the crowd raise their arms and make what amounted to a Nazis salute only with one finger raised. In my view, Trump is frightened he is going to be indicted, and he is gearing up the MAGAts for civil violence to frighten the weak leaders of Congress and the DOJ and keep them from indicting him as he deserves. The Great Schism Trend has never been greater, nor our democracy at greater risk.
An activist participates in the “March On for Washington and Voting Rights” in August 2021. Pew found voters have intensely negative views of people not in their political party. Credit: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

The small SUV bounced along one of Washington’s many pothole-scarred streets as dusk set in when its driver asked a simple but complicated question.

“What happened to your country?” the Lyft driver, who identified himself as Patrick, asked this columnist as we locked eyes in his rearview mirror.

Born and raised in Kenya, Patrick explained on the evening of Sept. 10 that he emigrated to the United States three decades ago. Back then, and until a few years ago, he said, he was able to understand American politics and culture — even as it underwent inevitable changes.

An affable fellow with a hearty laugh and thin black eyeglasses, Patrick listened as the Donald Trump years — which I covered up close as CQ Roll Call’s White House correspondent — were summarized from the backseat. He nodded as former President Barack Obama’s shortcomings and the driving […]

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More US Employers Are Trapping Workers in a New Form of Indentured Servitude

Stephan:  A reader wrote me because she was trapped in exactly the situation described in this report. I had never heard of this but, as I dug into it a bit, I realized this is a growing trend, and a very nasty business. If you apply for a new job I suggest you ask about this.
An employee at Dunkin’ Donuts awaits to-go orders at the empty food court of a rest stop on Route 24 North in Bridgewater, Massachusetts, on March 16, 2020.
Credit: Stan Grossfeld / The Boston Glode / Getty

Bosses in industries such as retail, health care and logistics are reverting to an old tactic and trapping people in miserable jobs by threatening to saddle them with debt if they quit. Workers across the United States in fields ranging from nursing to trucking have been discouraged from leaving jobs they hate or can’t afford to keep because employers vow to charge them for training costs if they quit before an arbitrary deadline.

The threats are backed by so-called Training Repayment Agreement Provisions (TRAPs) in employment contracts. The practice has been likened by critics to indentured servitude and peonage — formerly common types of debt bondage in which a borrower was bound to perform labor for a creditor.

TRAPs have recently come under fire from policymakers because of class action litigation against the pet store chain PetSmart, and reporting on the […]

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Border Wall Construction Resumes Under President Joe Biden

Stephan:  White Americans have an irrational fear of brown immigrants, and it affects every administration be it Republican or Democratic. They fear they are going to be replaced. It is completely irrational and insane, but no less present, and Biden should be ashamed of himself for pandering to it for blatantly political purposes.
An area where the mountainside was blasted along the border wall between the U.S. and Mexico near Sasabe, Ariz., Jan. 23, 2022. Credit: Salwan Georges/Getty

Myles Traphagen didn’t need a government presentation to tell him that border wall construction was kicking back up. He saw everything he needed on a recent visit to the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge and the Coronado National Forest, near the town of Sasabe in southern Arizona.

As the borderlands coordinator for the Wildlands Network, Traphagen had visited the area many times before. It was among the sites he examined in an extensive report published in July documenting the environmental impact of the border wall expansion under President Donald Trump — President Joe Biden paused the construction shortly after his inauguration.

Traphagen spotted a new staging area and water holding tanks under construction. Fixed to the wall were new signs citing an Arizona trespassing law. A security guard at the scene told him construction was resuming. Later, a Border Patrol agent ordered him to leave the area.

“It’s feeling like it felt during border wall […]

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