FROM Jill Cashen
Rough Jobs, Illegal Immigration and Identity Theft Horrendous working conditions in meatpacking plants were exposed by Upton Sinclair in his novel, The Jungl e, back in 1906. One hundred years later, the plants are staffed mostly by recent immigrants, both illegal and legal. Last week, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Bureau raided Swift & Company plants in six states. Agents, some wearing riot gear, locked down the plants and divided employees by citizenship status. The expressed purpose of Operation Wagon Train was to crack down on identity theft, but only 65 charges were filed against 1282 people arrested. It's alleged that some of those arrested were separated from their families, even though they were legal residents who left their papers at home. Scattered families are trying to get back together where meatpacking is all that keeps towns together. Will the incident spark immigration reform in the new Congress?
The flight bumping heard around 'round the world Recent video of a passenger forcibly removed from a United Airlines plane is a worst-case example of what's happened since consolidation into just four US-based carriers. Management seems to be tone-deaf to a decline in service — and even abuse — of passengers.
Why Don't Facts Matter? "Fake News" may have a long history, but social media and 21st Century politics have brought it front and center. One reason for its appeal and its power is the tendency of so many people to cling to their beliefs — even when confronted with contradictory evidence. Today, another look at the Emotional States of America.