Friday December 19 , 2014



Instead of being the most militarized, debt ridden, fundamentalist, stupefied, historically illiterate, consumer driven, energy gulping, empire building, sports and celebrity obsessed, advertising drenched, and dangerous nation in the world today, the U.S.A. could, as it once was, be a beacon of hope.

America has the largest empire in world history, with more than 700 military bases around the world; yet most Americans don’t know there is such a thing as the American empire, even though they’re paying for it.  Most Americans don’t know that dismantling the empire would be the single most important step toward world peace and the solving of our ongoing, ever deepening federal deficit and domestic financial crisis.

Gore Vidal coined the phrase “The United States of Amnesia.”  Of course, citizens can’t forget what they never knew.  Here are some facts to compensate for the American system of compulsory miseducation, political disinformation, and mainstream news media distortion and distraction:

1 – If U.S. naval commander Commodore Perry had not sailed his warships into Tokyo harbor in 1853, forcing Japan to end two centuries of international isolation, Japan could not have industrialized so quickly as to invade China in 1936, bomb Pearl Harbor a few years later, and launch the Second World War in the Pacific.

2 – Mark Twain, witnessing America’s eight-year terror campaign against the people of the Philippines in the so-called “Spanish-American War,” declared: “America’s flag should be a skull and crossbones.”  During the Spanish-American war, America never went to war with Spain, but merely took for its own the former Spanish colonies of Puerto Rico and the Philippines.

3 – American troops invaded Russian in 1918 in an effort to reverse the Russian Revolution of 1917, which overthrew centuries of Tsarist dictatorship and economic apartheid.  American soldiers were ordered to side with the remnants of the Tsar’s army, thereby helping create and sustain a devastating Russian civil war, preventing Lenin from instituting democratic reforms, and giving rise to Stalin’s dictatorship.  Woodrow Wilson’s invasion of Russia sought to prevent the rise of “social democracy” as a political, egalitarian alternative to capitalism.  This agenda was furthered by Harry Truman, who, after WWII, demonized Russia to frighten the American people into paying for a monstrous and unnecessary war machine.

4 – President Truman created an unaccountable national security state in 1947, when he sanctioned a secret government in the form of the National Security Council and the Central Intelligence Agency.

5 – Vietnam was America’s ally in World War Two.  After Japan’s defeat, Vietnam persistently sought American friendship.  Vietnam was, briefly, an independent and united country with a newly written constitution and plans for democratic elections.  Shortly after Japan’s surrender, President Truman helped the French do to the Vietnamese what the Nazis had just done to them.

6 – Note the moral contradiction in saying that German, Italian and Japanese imperialism is not OK, but that British, French and American imperialism is just fine.  Most American citizens remain oblivious to the logical and moral obscenity of presidents saying, decade after decade, that we have to support dictatorships around the world in order to make the world safe for democracy.

7 – The Eisenhower Administration, in direct violation of the Constitution, promoted the insertion of “In God We Trust” on America’s coins.  The Eisenhower Administration walked out of the Geneva Peace Conference of 1954 after the Vietnamese won their eight-year war against the French; then the U.S. undermined the 1956 Vietnamese democratic election guaranteed by the Conference, installing an American financed Catholic puppet dictator in a mostly Buddhist “South Vietnam,” who immediately began killing and imprisoning those Vietnamese who fought the eight-year war of independence – 1946 to 1954 – from the French.

8 – The Eisenhower Administration overthrew social democracy in Iran in 1953, supporting a subsequent, 26-year dictatorship that profoundly contributed to Middle Eastern hatred of America.  Eisenhower’s CIA did same in Guatemala in 1954.

9 – Nelson Mandela spent 26 years in a South African prison thanks to the Central Intelligence Agency’s informing the South African apartheid government of Mandela’s whereabouts, leading to his arrest and imprisonment.

10 – After the assassination of President Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson had a full two months to respond favorably to a South Vietnamese call for peace and the withdrawal of American troops.  Instead of making peace possible, Lyndon Johnson did what President Kennedy never did: launched a full scale war, during which, in violation of international law, and constituting an indisputable war crime, America sprayed 19 million tons of Agent Orange across the Vietnamese landscape, and dropped more bombs on Vietnam than all the bombs dropped in World War Two.

11 – The first 9/11 occurred on September 11th, 1973, when Nixon and Kissinger overthrew the elected government in Chile, the longest running democracy in South America, beginning’s America’s subsequent support of the 16-year Pinochet dictatorship.

12 – The Carter administration launched a terror campaign against the newly elected social democratic government of Afghanistan in 1979, leading to the Russian counter-intervention in 1980, which led to Reagan’s eight-year creation, arming and financing of Al Queda to fight “the godless communists” occupying Afghan territory and preventing the installation of American pipelines for the transport of Iraqi oil.

13 – Ronald Regan transformed America from the largest creditor nation in the world to the largest debtor nation in the world.

14 – Ronald Reagan conducted an eight-year terror campaign against the social democratic government of Nicaragua, which had finally overthrown 40 years of American supported dictatorship.

15 – The Bush-Cheney wars against Iraq and Afghanistan were an almost exact repeat of the lies that led to America’s Indochina Holocaust (euphemistically called The Vietnam War to obliterate memory of U.S. devastation of Laos and Cambodia).

16 – The Bush-Cheney Administration’s continuation of Reagan’s attempt to unravel Roosevelt’s New Deal for the American people, with its regulatory safeguards, led directly to the all too predictable economic meltdown of 2008: the largest stock market crash since 1929, from which millions of Americans, and many people around the globe, are still suffering.

17 – The single greatest factor leading to the outbreak of World War Two was the U.S. stock market crash of 1929.  That crash had ripple effects around the globe, including the implosion of Germany’s already impoverished economy.  In desperation, the German people elected a charismatic lunatic named Hitler.

18 – America’s neutrality during the so-called Spanish Civil War (actually a coup d’état) from1936 to1939 – the only place in Europe where ordinary citizens were actively fighting the rise of fascism – led to the overthrow of Spanish democracy by a cabal of Hitler-supported bankers, bishops and generals, and persuaded Hitler that he could continue Nazi expansion into other parts of Europe, including Czechoslovakia and Poland.

19 – American banks and corporations (including Ford and General Motors) helped Hitler build his war machine, and sanctioned Hitler’s persecution of German socialists (hoping that Hitler would invade Russia and put an end to the Soviet experiment in communism).

20 – Japan was begging to surrender in late 1945, asking only that their emperor, Hirohito, be left in place as the nation’s nominal leader.  Truman refused to accept Japanese surrender because of that single condition.  No American troop invasion of Japan was necessary to end the war.  Truman dropped American bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki primarily as a warning to the Soviets.  After Japan’s surrender, Hirohito was allowed to maintain his nominal political title.

21 – During World War Two, the American air force was ordered not to bomb Nazi war-making factories owned by Ford and General Motors.  After the war, the CEOs of Ford and General Motors were awarded millions of taxpayer dollars in compensation for “collateral damage,” instead of being tried and convicted for treason.

22 – The post-9/11 ubiquitous slogan – United We Stand – was created by the Bush-Cheney administration, and promoted by Wall Street and the mainstream media, as a means of silencing dissent and inhibiting the exposure of the Bush-Cheney-Powell-Rumsfeld-Rice-Wolfowitz lies that launched America’s wars against Iraq and Afghanistan.

23 – America’s military might is not only politically and economically self-defeating and absurd, it is practically useless against the threats we now actually face.

24 – The primary function of America’s military empire is to make the world safe for the Fortune 500.

25 – California used to have one of the highest quality and most egalitarian education systems in the world, which California Governor Ronald Reagan systematically dismantled.

26 – During the course of George W. Bush’s governorship, Texas became the most polluted state in the country, and Houston replaced Los Angeles as America’s most polluted city.  Yet Bush became president partly on a pledge to do for America what he had done for Texas.

27 – There is almost nothing in American history more unpatriotic than the Bush-Cheney U.S.A. Patriot Acts.

28 – The civil war in Yugoslavia, leading to its breakup into three American supported neo-fascist nation states (Serbia, Bosnia, Croatia) was the desired and direct result of President George Bush Senior’s attaching to the 1991 Fiscal Appropriations Act – immediately approved by congress – an amendment squeezing Yugoslavia (a 40-year successful experiment in social democracy and an increasingly powerful economic competitor to the Trilateral dominance of the world economy by America, Europe and Japan) out of the world financial system, refusing the necessary “credits” that system demands, causing the Yugoslavian economy to crash, its people thrown increasingly into financial desperation, and leading to the outbreak of the ethnic tensions and fighting that destroyed Yugoslavia as an independent, pluralistic, economically successful, social democratic nation, one of the world’s richest in natural resources.  Those natural resources have since been opened to plunder by the richest of American, Japanese and European corporations.

29 – Most Americans don’t know that there is such thing called a “presidential signing,” whereby an American president can sign a piece paper which allows him legally to break the law and be free of subsequent legal prosecution.  The morally appalling existence of “presidential signings” – which congress could easily and instantly invalidate – is undoubtedly the (hopelessly unacknowledged) reason why disgraced President Nixon could say in his infamous post-presidential interview with David Frost: “When the president does it, that means it’s not illegal.”

30 – President George W. Bush signed more “presidential signings” than all previous American presidents combined

31 – America’s military’s use of depleted uranium in its weapons systems is condemning Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Central Asia to becoming a poisonous wasteland for the next thousand years, as America’s radioactive bullets, rockets and bombs sink into water and soil sources necessary for food production.

To paraphrase George Santayana: Those who don’t learn from history are condemned to repeat it.

Not only is America the most militarized and largest debtor country in the world, it remains the only technologically advanced country lacking universal health care and still clinging to the death penalty.

Since 1985, middle class income in Germany has risen five times faster than middle class income in America.  German workers have two months paid vacation per year; guaranteed, taxpayer financed, universal health care; and a higher quality, more egalitarian national education system than America, with generous funding for the arts.

Meanwhile, among the advanced industrial nations of the world, America has one of the highest infant mortality rates, the highest percentage of citizens in prison, and more than 40 million American families deprived of health insurance.

In addition to his militarization and deficit spending, Ronald Reagan’s most profound domestic legacy was the vast expansion of two segments of the American population: billionaires and the homeless.

Instead of being the most militarized, debt ridden, fundamentalist, stupefied, historically illiterate, consumer driven, energy gulping, empire building, sports and celebrity obsessed, advertising drenched, and dangerous nation in the world today, the U.S.A. could, as it once was, be a beacon of hope.

This could easily be accomplished by instituting: a four-day work week, a five-hour work day, universal health care, affordable child care, guaranteed economic security and a living wage, taxpayer-financed life-time educational opportunity, global interfaith dialogue, nuclear disarmament, demilitarization, democratic pluralism with multi-party choice, supremely well-paid full-time teachers across the educational spectrum, a sane and modest teacher-student ratio in classrooms, the teaching of real history instead of mythic mush, the de-monopolization of the media, the “greening” of ecological sustainability, and vastly increased funding for the arts in schools and beyond, with daily street fairs and festivals for everybody and time enough to enjoy them.




Stefan Schindler