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Requiem for the American Dream: New Noam Chomsky documentary on income inequality draws praise

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In the new documentary Requiem for the American Dream, produced and directed by Peter Hutchison, Kelly Nyks and Jared P. Scott, Noam Chomsky argues that the collapse of American democratic ideals and the rise of the 1% means that the American dream is harder than ever to achieve. And unlike during the Great Depression, there seems to be no end in sight to this class struggle.

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“The effect of the concentration of wealth is to yield concentration of power. [Therefore] the very fact of inequality has a corrosive, harmful effect on democracy,” Chomsky states.

Chomsky was raised in an American middle-class immigrant family in the 1930s. Filmmakers use interviews with Chomsky and archival video from the 1950s onward to illustrate the golden age of American history, as Chomsky calls it. The average worker was able to buy a home, a car and live a life of relative comfort. Upward class mobility was not only aspirational, but achievable.

The widening wage gap, he claims, is “a result of over 30 years of a shift in social and economic policy, completely against the will of the population.” Today, young families are slightly wealthier than their parents were three decades ago, according to a recent BMO Economics Report. However, millennials need to pay more to get their foot in the door and are accumulating debt loads about 260% higher than their parents did at their age.

“It goes back to the founding of the country. If you read the debates at the Constitutional Convention, James Madison, the main framer, said the major concern of society has to be to protect the minority of the opulent against the majority,” Chomsky says.

The New York Times, which historically tends to ignore Chomsky, ran a prominent review in its Arts section, going so far as to praise the film and calling Requiem a “well-paced and cogent seminar.” Reviewer Daniel Gold writes, “citing Aristotle, Adam Smith and James Madison, among others, he melds history, philosophy and ideology into a sobering vision of a society in an accelerating decline. He never raises his voice in this easy-listening jeremiad. ‘There’s nothing surprising about this,’ he repeats gently in describing what he sees as a 40-year trend of government bent to the will of the superrich at the expense of everyone else. ‘That’s what happens when you put power in the hands of a narrow sector.'”

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Requiem for the American Dream is now playing in select cities.

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Florida sheriff ordered his officers to not wear face masks — and then banned the safety gear

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A Florida sheriff ordered his officers to not wear face masks -- and banned the safety gear from his office -- even as the southern US state has hit record daily coronavirus death tolls.

Sheriff Billy Woods, of central Florida's Marion County, emailed deputies Tuesday to tell them of the new mask prohibition, according to local paper the Ocala Star Banner, citing the message.

"My order will stand as is when you are on-duty/working as my employee and representing my Office – masks will not be worn," the email read.

The sheriff allowed for certain exceptions, including for officers who work in prisons, schools, hospitals or with people suspected of being infected with the virus.

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Fast-moving brush fire north of Los Angeles has prompted mandatory evacuation orders for some 500 homes

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A fast-moving brush fire north of Los Angeles prompted mandatory evacuation orders for some 500 homes on Wednesday as firefighters battled the flames that had burned 10,000 acres by early evening, authorities said.

The Lake Fire erupted at around 3:30 pm (2230 GMT) near Lake Hughes, about a 90-minute drive from Los Angeles.

Rapidly-spreading flames had scorched some 10,000 acres (4,050 hectares) within a little more than three hours, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

"Multiple agencies are battling a brush fire near the Lake Hughes area in the Angeles National Forest," the department said in a tweet.

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‘Trump should know how to be in public with a woman who publicly humiliated him’: Trevor Noah jokes

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"The Daily Show's" Trevor Noah couldn't help but notice President Donald Trump's confusion during the Q&A of his daily coronavirus press briefing. Trump was asked about Vice President Joe Biden's pick as Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) as his running mate. In his attacks on Harris, Trump seemed to be spending more time defending Biden than he did attacking him.

Trump claimed the reason he was surprised Biden picked Harris is that she was "very very nasty to Joe Biden," he said she was "probably nastier even than Pocahontas," his nickname for Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). "She was very disrespectful to Joe Biden."

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