To Provoke War: Cheney Considered Proposal To Dress Up Navy Seals As Iranians & Shoot At Them + Worst Person

Dandelion Salad

Updated: Aug 3, 2008 Added another video

TheLibertyChannel

Seymour Hersh: Cheney’s provocateur plans to kick off war with Iran

Sy Hersh interviewed by Faiz Shakir, at a Campus Progress journalism conference. In this interview, Mr. Hersh discloses info, from his own White House sources, on Dick Cheney’s plan for a false flag in the Strait of Hormuz.

Cheney would have Navy Seals, disguised as Iranians, to attack US Navy vessels — resulting in the Seals’ deaths, and in the justification for an American attack on Iran.

Hersh claims that this was only 1 of *12 ideas* to get a war with Iran started.

Mr. Hersh has the *moral responsibility* to disclose what Cheney’s other 11 ideas were. And it is the moral responsibility of the public to encourage him to do it.

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more about “To Provoke War: Cheney Considered Pro…“, posted with vodpod

h/t: ICH transcript and original source

  • **

Updated

Countdown: Worst Person

videocafeblog

August 01, 2008
And the winner is….Dick Cheney. Runners up Theo Rosmulder and Brian Sussman.

see

The NYT: Making Nuclear Extermination Respectable

If Iran is Attacking It Might Really be Israel By Philip Giraldi

Plain Facts About Iran’s Military By Eric Margolis

Acts of War By Scott Ritter

Call on AP to retract false reporting on Iran

The possibility of a retaliatory attack by Iran on US bases in the region

Does a leopard change its spots? By William Bowles

Preparing the Battlefield by Seymour M. Hersh

Iran

What will real economic change look like?

Dandelion Salad

TheRealNews

More at http://therealnews.com/c.ph…
Downturn and record high deficit mean next Prez must protect Americans from ‘vagaries of the market’

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The Economy Sucks and or Collapse

Mosaic News – 7/31/08: World News from the Middle East

Dandelion Salad

Warning

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This video may contain images depicting the reality and horror of war/violence and should only be viewed by a mature audience.

linktv

For more: http://www.linktv.org/originalseries
“Radovan Karadzic Appears at UN War Crimes Tribunal,” Al Arabiya TV, UAE
“Diyala Offensive Creates More Refugees,” Al Jazeera TV, Qatar
“Iraqis Evicted to Make Room for Returning Refugees,” Sumaria TV, Iraq
“Assassination Attempt in ‘Ain al Hilweh,” New TV, Lebanon
“Displaced Somali Family,” Al Arabiya TV, UAE
“Olmert to Step Down as PM of Israel,” Dubai TV, UAE
“Hamas & Israel: Truce or Preparation for War?” Abu Dhabi TV, UAE
“Non-Alignment Movement Unanimously Supports Iran’s Peaceful Nuclear Program,” IRIB2 TV, Iran
“How is the Fighting Fairing in Afghanistan?” Al Jazeera English, Qatar
Produced for Link TV By Jamal Dajani.

The Most Important Election In The United States of America in 2008


So, You Want Impeachment? Vote Cindy Sheehan

Originally uploaded by Dandelion Salad

Thanks, Asher for making the flyer!

Click picture, click “all sizes”

and download and make copies.

by Guadamour
featured writer
Dandelion Salad
Guadamour’s blog post
Aug. 1, 2008

The most important election in the United States of America in 2008 is not the one that will take place between Barack Obama and John McCain, nor will it be if the Democrats gain a commanding majority in the two houses of Congress.

Ultimately there is little difference between Senators Obama and McCain. This statement is made much to the chagrin of Obama supporters who are treating him like a messiah who will lead the nation out of its floundering confusion. Given that Obama has done little, has little experience and has been raised and educated as part of the ruling elite, I believe Obama supporters are going to be severely disappointed.

Continue reading

Has America become Fascist? by Sherwood Ross

Dandelion Salad

by Sherwood Ross
Global Research, August 1, 2008

If it hasn’t gone the way of Mussolini’s Italy and Hitler’s Germany, it sure is teetering on the brink. America is a nation in deepening crisis, a nation whose leaders repeatedly plunge their citizens into, and make them pay for, serial wars abroad, while stealing their liberties at home. USA has become a country that trashes its citizens (New Orleans), tortures its enemies (Abu Ghraib), threatens other nations with nuclear fire (Iran), flouts international treaties (UN Charter re Iraq), and spies on (FISA), and intimidates, its critics (No Fly). Americans that can clearly see the totalitarian machinations of Vladimir Putin in Russia and Hu Jintao in China are blind to the fascism threatening to envelop them as well.

Continue reading

The Mother Of All Paradoxes: The American Social Model

Gaither Stewart
by Gaither Stewart With Patrice Greanville
featured writer
Dandelion Salad
The Greanville Journal (includes lots of photos)

August 1, 2008

The dismal demise of the American Dream (if it ever really existed), the dream not of what we believe it was but of what we wanted to believe it was.

“It seems to me that the nature of the ultimate revolution with which we are now faced is precisely this: That we are in process of developing a whole series of techniques which will enable the controlling oligarchy who have always existed and presumably will always exist to get people to love their servitude.” (Aldous Huxley in a 1962 speech at Berkeley)

Dateline: (Rome) July 31, 2008

IT’S UNDENIABLE THAT THE AMERICAN SOCIAL MODEL (the vaunted “American Way of Life”) is a paradox in the world. All you have to do is look around at other nations and the difference is clear as the Rome sky in July. Even today at the nadir of its profound social crisis because of its flagrant, outright failure, America continues unabashedly to hammer away at its people how fortunate they are, while simultaneously proposing itself to the world as the paradigm, the quintessence, the very epitome of western civilization.

There is the image of our leaders exuding goodness and, above all, good feelings. Sentimental feelings for the oppressed handed down to the good people of the Republic. I have read that sentimentality implies a lack of real feelings. That might be true. But I don’t want it to be true. I mean how often are we sentimental about some touching scene or memory that we want to hold. Yet, are we all lacking in genuine feelings? Because feelings often do escape us, fleeing, hiding, vanishing, then reappearing, stepping forward and backward into … into what? Into unreality? Into nothingness? I don’t want to believe so. But is our history not carrying us there, straight back into the faded American Dream?

Ah, the American Dream! To the degree the model appears to the rest of the world as honeycombed and as full of holes as Swiss cheese, the more America’s ideological operation morphs into a contest between good (the US model) and evil (the rest). America’s private struggle between good and evil becomes in turn the ideological platform and the inspiration-justification of puritanical, individualistic and greedy America’s age-old universal crusade against the rest of the world. Moreover, lest one forgets or believes the doctrinal crap, the American social system is all the more insidious for human society today because it has become the social model for the world of capitalist globalization.

How did it come about that the ballyhooed “American Dream” turned out to be nothing more than institutionalized social injustice? And cheapness and tackiness, to boot. Like the banal dialogue of an unreal, real-life sitcom. The self-righteous social trajectory described in the glowing terms of “freedoms” in the Bill of Rights (e.g. the right to have arms) is undermined by a social philosophy of niggardly, tight-fisted individualism implying the right to individualistically shoot down fellow students or foreigners called terrorists who resist. Thus the poisonous combination of that individualism (personal avarice and fuck-the-rest) and the glaring absence of an incisive workers’ movement (I have in mind a genuine popular political opposition) is the original sin that has led the nation and the world at large under its sway into the blind alley of entire unprotected social classes, irrational environmental hostility and pre-emptive, perpetual war.

The great paradox is that the list of declared, claimed and proclaimed—but not guaranteed—fictitious rights for Americans have deflated and become non-rights for others.

What do I have mind, specifically? We see it all around us. In places the world shrinks. In others, it expands. Things change and shift around. But America Land of the Free, part of the shrunken world, tries not to see its shattered dream. Dazzle their minds with impossible dreams. Implant in their mindsets visions of triumph. Then, mask the inevitable loss of hope by the masses. Feebly, old dreams try to resurface and again vanish. The glamorous glitter of once-upon-a-time has been reduced to a tacky faint flicker of the lonely used-car lot or the mottled colors of empty Burger Kings blinking in the night. Begrudgingly, struggling for former space and bickering and resisting, cars get smaller. Houses peel and run down. Legions of “Walmarters” experience a new sense of abandonment while new sets of beautiful celebrities look out of TV screens soothingly and travel around the world and buy villas on Lake Como. More and more American megacelebs like Madonna, Johnny Depp, Jack Nicholson, launched by the US mediaplex, are now world celebrities, but their acquired, discerning multimillionaire taste makes them spend a substantial part of their time in Europe and in other spots favored by the rich and famous.  Even Depp, despite his hip non-materialist image, is in fact a very rich bourgeois married to a similarly rich French actress, who enjoys more than five big residences in various continents, and the dilettante pleasures of playing winemaker and restaurateur in Paris.  He naturally prefers year-round residence in France. The point here is that for those who, as a result of wealth, leave behind their American provincialism, America is no longer the only game in town.

So what is happening elsewhere in the world?

Well, though Europe’s one hundred year old social state based on a spirit of solidarity is weakening and ceding ground to the brash, selfish American capitalist-individualistic-everyman-for-himself society and its neo-liberal allies of the European Union, the European Idea of the social state hangs on and resists. Europeans, as a rule, understand the idea of class better than Americans, where class is the dirty family secret. Thus, there is still a veritable abyss between on one hand the American market model based on individualism (that is the hosanna-ed American Dream), with a high (albeit slowing down) rate of mobility at the cost of a low level of protection of its people, and on the other the European system based on the social state, which is the European Idea.

The absence of a solid and stable workers movement in the USA (let’s just list it as the number one truant)—which should be this nation’s third party, (or in actuality, its legitimate second party, as Democrats, conceits aside, totally belong with the Republicans in the current single party system representing the corporatocracy)—is responsible for America’s anti-social answer to what is in essence a central social issue. Once-upon-a-time workers’ movements and trade unions in America chalked up some important achievements, once. That was a long time ago. The day of the Wobblies, for example. On the east side of the ocean the diverse histories of workers’ movements had a close relationship and connection with the rise of the nation states and the effects of the industrial revolution and the eventual emergence of the social state.

America’s dissonant, reactionary voice is instead the anti-social divergence of the model projected by the USA. Therefore the pernicious halo surrounding propagandistic Americanism. Therefore, the transformation of the American Dream into nightmare, which, intrinsically always was. That impossible dream, that at the very most dream-gone-wrong, that incubus, has in turn provided the foundations for an enduring Corporatism-Fascism, in America stubbornly referred to only as individualism.

The same individualism, the nightmare, the Americanism that has transformed our “duly elected” leaders into terrorists.

It should be clear that at the root of America’s social evil lies the truancy of an organized workingman’s movement, a stable and permanent nationwide movement that would provide the framework and structure for a workingman’s political party and an accompanying representative trade union to serve as a genuine balance of power in our one-sided, non-representative criminal political system. Who for example represents working people today? Who? Our millionaire congressmen? Our billionaire presidents? Or perhaps our corrupt, sellout political parties, the fundraisers necessary to elect our non-representatives?

The sad reality is that the workers’ movement in the USA never matured. It was never powerful enough to mark a permanent direction of the social organization of civil society. It never succeeded in creating permanent low cost cooperatives and mutualities, social clubs and educational societies and other forms of political-social expression to confront the Corporatist system of a nation that today hardly “makes” anything yet exports … it exports what? Democracy? Or terrorism?

In fact, the word “social” in the title of this essay is misleading, illusory. It is a travesty to use the word “social” in reference to the form of American society under a government that as Gore Vidal once said does nothing for its people. And it gets away with it! People don’t revolt. We should label this individualistic, eternally atomized, lift-yourself-up-by- your-bootstraps and to hell with everybody else society “anti-social” and rebel against it.

UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE – One Aspect of a Just Society

In recent days I went to my local Universal Health Plan doctor in Rome for a health problem. I called the nearby office for an appointment, fixed for the next afternoon. When I arrived there was one patient ahead of me already in the doctor’s office. I was admitted after a five-minute wait. My wife and I had chosen this doctor rather than another as our primary doctor because she is young, dynamic and scrupulous and besides will also make home visits. I keep home visits by doctors in mind because when my father in North Carolina was paralyzed for years after a stroke, each time he had some new problem such as influenza he had to hire an ambulance to carry him the few blocks of the one-half mile to the office of this “good Christian man” who had been his doctor for many years. The Rome universal health care doctor examined me, asked the right questions about my medical history and sent me to a nearby radiological center for x-rays. Two days later I picked up the analysis, made another appointment with my primary doctor who after looking over the x-rays, prescribed the appropriate medication which I immediately picked up at the pharmacy. Within a period of four days, including two medical visits, the x-rays and analysis and medicine, my problem was resolved: Total costs to me: ZERO.

That is Italy’s universal health care at work, which despite cuts by today’s extreme rightwing, neo-liberal government still offers its people (both citizens and residents) universal health care. And, it bears mentioning, France’s system is even better, in fact, even today, under attack by Sarkozy, the French Bush clone, the best in the world.

The Italian social state—by far not the best in Europe—guarantees most workers one-month vacations, retirement at between 57 and 60 years, months-long maternity leave for both mother and father, unemployment pay, national category contracts, pensions, housing, food and other “social” benefits. That is a social system!

In Italy, in all of Europe, no political party, no candidate for public office, no politician at any level, would even dare run on an anti-social program. Budgetary cuts, savings, reforms, yes, but never the adoption of the American anti-social system. The American system is not even imaginable to most other peoples. Not in Europe. Not in Latin America or Canada or Iran or in any industrialized nation of the world. ONLY in the United States of America. That lack is enough reason for revolution. And that is just reason enough to refuse one’s vote for anyone less than a defender of social justice.

I don’t know what a universal health service for the USA would cost. Certainly only a minimal part of conducting perpetual wars or building a space shield or financing vassal states around the world or a fraction of the advertising costs for junk foods and products that make us obese and ignorant. In any case the point is not the cost. It is not an economic problem of the nation. We have to keep that in mind. The problem is the power of the greedy vested interests of medical associations, the pharmaceutical industry (the manipulative “Big Pharma” so eloquently shown in Michael Moore’s SiCKO), hospitals, and related medical care organizations. The problem is the power of money!

However, foremost and above all it is a problem of the a priori negation of anything smacking of a social state (as present in much of the world) in opposition to the concept of the capitalistic market economy of America which does less for its people than do Canada in the north or Mexico to the south, or France or Italy or Russia or Bulgaria, in fact less than every European country. (I can almost hear at this point the knee-jerk chauvinist programmed reaction of many American readers: “Go live in Bulgaria, then!”  To which I reply: My point is that Bulgaria gives its citizens, in proportion to its resources, wealth and potential, much more than America. Do not compare absolutes here as you have been misleadingly taught to do; keep things in proportion.)

The creation of a receptive atmosphere for the “social idea” should/would be the major role of a nationwide, organized workers’ movement. That lack, that default, that truancy, is methodically destroying the health of our nation. For workers everywhere represent the average national interest. What affects them affects the vast majority of the nation. What benefits them, benefits the vast majority of the nation. The decoupling of the workers’ interests from the interests of the “average citizen”, “middle class” America, etc., its portrayal as a corrupt, self-seeking “special interest”, is one of the all-time victories of capitalist propaganda in the United States. It needs to be debunked.

The USA with its individualistic everyman-for-himself society today ranks poorly among other industrialized countries in health care, 23rd in infant mortality, 20th and 21st in life expectancy for women and men respectively. Yet the USA spends more per capita for health care than other countries. Where does that money go? We all know the answer: it goes to a greedy health care system of doctors, hospitals, private health insurance and pharmaceutical giants and to their related inflated and inefficient bureaucracies, to their powerful respective lobbyists and into the hands of our “democratically” elected representatives.

So deeply engrained is the anti-social nature in the “American republic” that the brainwashed people themselves have been conditioned to believe that universal health care is contrary to their best interests. It just doesn’t make sense. The reality is vastly different than in the popular imagery.

America is a walk in and out of a world of shadows. Images and contrasts are strong, overpowering, and confused and bizarre. Drinking beer from bottles and cans but martinis from elegant crystal, parks with manicured paths patrolled by policemen on horseback but streets without sidewalks walked at the risk of loitering fines in hopes of finding a bus shelter rest station. How quickly in America you pass from light to shadow. And you wonder if you will get the chance to try again and do better next time.

No. It doesn’t make sense to continue whacking our way through this jungle of the world’s most bizarre and costly medical care system. Some twenty years ago I covered the American presidential elections for a European newspaper in the state of North Carolina where I grew up. The first question I posed to a cross-section of the population of that one state concerned universal health care. Not one single person at the time came out strong in favor of it. The most favorable response was “well, if they want to give it to me.” Most did not even know what universal health care meant. After my explanation, the knee jerk reaction of the great brainwashed citizenry was “We couldn’t choose our doctors!” or  “The Canadian system doesn’t work.” As if they knew! It does work!

Health costs continue to soar, care is compromised and quality is in free fall as obese Americans die of coronary disease. The health care world lies in the shadows. Health care for profit does not work. It cannot work. It is not a solution now and can never be a solution. Profit and greed stand in the way. No matter what the industry explains, health care will always be a right and a necessity, not merchandise like a Blackberry or an i-phone. It is estimated that a single payer (the state) universal health care system would save 100-200 billion dollars a year, it would cover everyone and it would guarantee more medical visits and hospital days to all. Now a recent encouraging poll shows that some 75% of Americans favor universal health care.

Many of “our” representatives say health care is not the domain of the state. That’s right! You heard me. HEALTH CARE IS NOT THE DOMAIN OF THE STATE! Bullshit! What can they mean? If health care is not the domain of the state, in what domain should health fall? Or was health care always intended for the world of shadows? It makes you wonder? Why can’t the USA treat its citizens at least as well as other countries do??

Part of the answer: a nation led by terrorists is not likely to care for its people, either.

Health care is one of the great mysteries. But what about the other social issues our government holds prisoner in the shadows? What about month-long paid vacations? What about more job security and a tiny bit less mobility? What about more taxes—make that simply fair taxes— for the super rich? What about a little less individualism and much more social solidarity? What about a third and a fourth political party? What about a workingman’s movement?

The headlines in this Sunday’s edition of Italy’s major daily newspaper, La Repubblica reflect the mood of the moment in only one of Europe’s social states:

“Precarious workers (workers without contracts) in revolt”

“Trade Unions in revolt against raising the pension age to 62!”

“Create conditions for a general strike!” (an exhortation)

“Fear is an invention.” (to keep the Left under control)

“Farewell to the future” (of our children if capitalism continues unimpeded)

“The Left failed, we need a new start from a workers position”

“The Left has nothing to lose but its chains”  (sic!)

As they say in Italy, “La lotta continua.” The struggle goes on. But when will the American masses truly join in?

Gaither Stewart is a Senior Contributing Editor for Cyrano’s Journal/tantmieux, a novelist and journalist based in Italy. His collections of fiction, Icy Current Compulsive Course, To Be A Stranger and Once In Berlin are published by Wind River Press. (www.windriverpress.com ). His recent novel, Asheville, is published by Wastelandrunes, (www.wastelandrunes.com).

Patrice Greanville is Cyrano’s Journal’s founding editor.

Originally published at http://www.bestcyrano.org/cyrano/?p=667

see

Medicaid: Why It’s Broken and How To Fix It

Americanism: “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” by Gaither Stewart

Sicko by Michael Moore (full movie)

Socialism

What is Socialism? (archive of posts)

McCotter and me. Episode XV

Dandelion Salad

Erik is my hero! ~ Lo

EROX07

Well, it’s been a month and still no answers. Time to take it to the next level.

***

On myspace:

Impeach. Fast.

Impeach. Fast. (blog)

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A Few Minutes With: A Man On A Mission To Impeach + Fasting for Impeachment

Fasting for impeachment “The Southfield/12 Mile situation”

Impeach

The ‘Empire of Chaos’ or living in the age of impunity By William Bowles

By William Bowles
featured writer
Dandelion Salad
williambowles.info
Aug 1, 2008

Review: International Justice and Impunity – The Case of the United States, edited by Nils Andersson, Daniel Iagolnitzer and Diana G. Collier. Clarity Press, 2008.

Impunity: N. Nonliability, exemption, let-out, immunity, special treatment.
Impunity: Vb. Exempt, set apart, absolve, grant immunity, are just some of the descriptions my Roget’s Thesaurus lists for the word impunity.

Other descriptions listed by the Thesaurus are perhaps even more apt:

Owe no responsibility, be free from, have no liability, spare oneself the necessity, exempt oneself, excuse oneself, the list goes on…

“The American ambassador to the United Nations in the middle of the 1970s, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, has thus congratulated himself in his memoirs, for having rendered “totally ineffective, on the instructions of the State Department, all measures taken by the United Nations [with regard to the 40-plus UN resolutions on Palestine]”. — ‘Rudolph El-Kareh, The American Politic in the Middle East, Force, Impunity, Lawlessness.’ (p.64)

Another way of describing impunity is that ‘might is right’ but a ‘right’ reinforced and delivered by the corporate media’s complicity in the process of granting immunity (invisibility) to those who practice mass murder and genocide on a scale that almost defies description.

The book is divided into three sections: Part I: From Hiroshima to Guantanamo; Part II: Humanitarian Law: Legal and Moral Values to Defend and Part III: In Pursuit of an End to Impunity.

The collection of essays gathered together in ‘International Justice and Impunity’ encompasses the views of many people and organizations united by one thing, namely the examination and condemnation of the ‘right’ enjoyed by the United States and its principal allies the UK, the EU and Japan, to be extremely selective about international law and human rights, applying such laws as and when it suits them to and simply ignoring the self-same international laws when it doesn’t.

Of course such behaviour by the imperialist states is nothing new but given the power of a hegemonic global media to blank out the crimes of the US and its allies, impunity takes on an ominous significance given the awesome power the US employs as it seeks to extend its control of the world and its resources.

Again (and again), I have to return to the simple fact that without the corporate (and state) media’s collusion in this massive sleight-of-hand such deceptions would be well nigh impossible to carry out. And, if I have a criticism of the book it is the omission of a section that directly addresses the role of the mass media in delivering the imperialist message, without which it would be difficult to persuade us to go along with the slaughter and the barbarity practiced by those who impudently like to call themselves civilized.

The process is plain to see for anyone who cares to look; it’s the media equivalent of saturation bombing. The names Zimbabwe, Darfur, Tibet, Islamist, Hamas, Hizbollah, Chavez, Cuba, immediately come to mind but over the years the list is an extremely long one.

The recipe is extremely simple: take one event where there are obvious human rights violations eg in Sudan and go hell for leather in swamping the ‘news’ outlets with cries of rage and indignation about the Sudanese government’s treatment of its population and keep on doing it until the word DARFUR is burned into everyone’s brain. Follow this up with demands for intervention, and, in the supreme irony, demand that a special (and illegal) criminal tribunal be convened, using the cover of the ‘United’ Nations to bring the miscreants to justice before the eyes of the world.

Ironic because the US fought tooth and nail to stop the formation of the International Criminal Court and failing to do that, watered it down at every step along the way and then, to add insult to injury, refused to recognize its jurisdiction, when over 100 countries signed up to it (Bush even removed the US signature from it when it realized that even with its awesome power, it couldn’t prevent its formation).

Worse still, the US was instrumental in the creation of ad hoc ‘criminal tribunals’ by arm-twisting the United Nations whose Charter has no powers to convene such creatures.

The degree to which the US perverts every international law (including those that it has reluctantly signed) is perhaps best exemplified by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) for contrary to the mass media misconception, the NPT is not just about stopping the spread of nuclear weapons (beyond the original six signatories) but is specifically aimed at reducing and eventually eliminating existing nuclear weapons entirely.

So all the while that the US and its allies engineer an hysterical campaign against Iran and its alleged development of nuclear weapons, the US is actively developing new nuclear weapons not as deterrents but to use in combat. The 2002 Nuclear Posture Review[1] spells it out in horrendous detail as Tadatoshi Akiba relates in his contribution to the book ‘Toward the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons’.

“…instead of simply utilizing nuclear weapons as a means of deterrence, they [the US] will start manufacturing bombs and other devices of mass destruction for the purpose of actually using them … and the most important point I believe, is that they clearly stated their intention to use those weapons in combat.” (p.26)

At first reading the selection of essays chosen for this book seemed to have no immediate connection one to the other but on closer inspection they reveal that Impunity is the thread across the decades which, as Samir Amin’s contribution ‘The Geostrategy of Contemporary Imperialism’ shows is an intrinsic component of the US ruling class’s project to “extend their military control over the whole planet”, a project that Amin describes as

“…overwheening, even crazy, and criminal by what it implies, [and one that] did not come out of President Bush Junior’s head, to be implemented by an extreme right junta, seizing power through dubious elections.

“It is the project which the ruling class of the United States has unceasingly nurtured since 1945, even though its implementation evidently passed through ups and downs, encountered a few vicissitudes, and was here and there checked, and could be not be pursued with the consistency and violence that this implied in certain conjunctural moments like that following the disintegration of the Soviet Union.” (p.34)

It is, as Amin states, the Monroe Doctrine extended to to the entire planet and one that he describes in his conclusion as “The Empire of Chaos and Permanent War”. (p.54)

As an aside, the reality described by Amin and other contributors bears absolutely no resemblence to what we are all fed by the corporate media, indeed it’s as if we live on two different planets, so integrated is the media into the ‘Empire of Chaos’s’ view of the world and how it works and currently best exemplified by the incessant hammering of the ‘War on Terror’ motif that insinuates itself into our daily lives. But again, the ‘War on Terror’ is merely the War on Communism by another name, which in turn was the war on any country that dared defy the imperialist ‘right to rule’ which in turn is, as Michael Parenti’s excellent summation of imperialism’s ‘divine right’ to own the planet, ‘Rulers of the Planet – The Real Reasons for the US Invasion of the Planet’ puts it,

“The objective of US global policy is not just power for its own sake but the

  • power to control the world’s natural resources and markets,
  • power to privatize and deregulate the economies of every nation in the world,
  • power to prevent alternative self-defining, self-developing economic models from arising,
  • and power to hoist upon the backs of peoples everywhere—including Europe and North America—the blessings of an untrammeled global “free market” (pps. 123-124)

The integration of the media into the imperialist project is total and virtually seamless, made possible by a veritable army of a complicit intelligentsia created by an education system designed literally to “mold” a view of the world that complies with the imperialist project.[2]

Two essays reveal the two realities most tellingly, the first is Rudolph El-Kareh’s, ‘The American Politic in the Middle East, Force, Impunity, Lawlessness,’ and Monique Chemiller-Gendreau’s contribution, ‘Impunity and Massive Breaches of Humanitarian Law in Vietnam’, the war that slaughtered perhaps three million Vietnamese and whose consequences haunt the Vietnamese people to this day through the US use of Agent Orange which was dropped on around 8.5% of Vietnamese territory or 2.5 million hectares.

“It is notably in the Middle East, and surrounding the question of Palestine, that the United States has systematically instituted impunity in the face of violations of international law…. The violation of international law and the work of sapping the United Nations were not only infractions of its Charter, of which the United States was one of the principal authors, but also contravened Article 6 of the American Constitution considering this as an integral part of the “supreme law” of the country.” (p.64)

Hey, but this is what impunity is all about, ‘don’t do as I do, do as I say!’ As Bill Blum’s contribution ‘Freeing the World to Death – How the United States Gets Away with It’ says,

“When I speak before American university students I say this to them: If I were to write a book called The American Empire for Dummies, page one would say: Don’t ever look for the moral factor. US foreign policy has no moral factor built into its DNA. Clear your mind of that baggage which only gets in the way of seeing beyond the clichés and the platitudes they feed us.” (p.102)

If it weren’t all so tragic, it would be laughable. The gulf between the words and the actions of the United States is demonstrated by the contribution of Daniel Iagolnitzer, ‘International Law Relative to War and the United States’, an overview of the progress made over the past century and a half in the development of international law as it applies to war and how the US has demolished every last one of them!

Ironically, one of the first laws governing the conduct of the state when engaged in war was president Lincoln’s Lieber Code, introduced in 1863 which included the prohibition of the use of torture,

“Military necessity does not admit of the inflicting of suffering for the sake of suffering or revenge, nor of wounding except in fight, nor of torture to extort confessions. It does not admit of the use of poison in any way or of the wanton devastation of a district… (Art. 16).”

Perhaps the most devastating exposé of not only the United States actions but also of other Western states and especially the UK, is revealed in Jan Myrdal’s contribution ‘The Necessity of Defending the Rule of Law!’. Myrdal quotes sections of the testimony of Reich Marshal, Defendant Hermann Goering at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trial. The parallels between his defence of the concentration camps and ‘preventive detention’ and that of the US in creating Guantanamo (and in the UK of ‘preventive detention’ under its ‘anti-terror’ laws) are most illuminating and chilling. Referring to what Goering called “protective custody”:

Mr. Justice Jackson: … You did prohibit all court review and considered it necessary to prohibit court review of the causes for taking people into what you called protective custody?

/…/

Goering: In connection with your question that these cases could not be reviewed by the court, I want to say that a decree was issued by me and jointly to the effect that those who were turned over to concentration camps were to be informed after 24 hours of the reason for their being turned over, and that after 48 hours, or some short period of time, they should have the right to an attorney. But this by no means rescinded my order that a review was not permitted by the courts of a politically necessary measure of protective custody. These people were simply to be given an opportunity of making a protest.

Mr. Justice Jackson: Protective custody meant that you were taking people into custody who had not committed any crimes but who, you thought, might possibly commit a crime?

Goering: Yes. People were arrested and taken into protective custody who had not yet committed any crime, but who could be expected to do so if they remained free, just as protective measures are being taken in Germany today on a tremendous scale.

Sound familar? You bet it does as it describes exactly the situation today as the result, allegedly of the ‘war on terror’.

Finally, the sub-text of impunity must also be described as a crime of ‘omission’, omission that is, on the part of us, the citizens of empire.

The section by Amy Bartholomew “Strategies of the Weak”? Contesting Empire Through Litigation Under International Humanitarian Law’ addresses the issue of ‘omission’ directly (and not merely of the media), when she says,

“Such a felt sense of political responsibility for Empire’s actions by its citizens is dependent on viewing oneself not as an innocent or impotent bystander but rather as an implicated agent.

…as a relationship of perpetrators of atrocities liable for legal prosecution for having committed crimes of commission, their innocent and violated victimes, and bystanders who may be viewed, at most, as culpable of sins of omission, morally guilty, of the “excusable and forgiveable misdeed of “bystanding’”. This approach … misses the fact that there is a necessary relationship—a “grey area”—between perpetrayors and ‘bystanders’. But by constituting them as distinct categories we miss the fact that there may be “common ground to both”, an “affinity between ‘evil doing’ and ‘non-resistance to evil”’ and this needs not just be recognized but also to be the object of our political efforts to bring these these two categories under the lens of moral political concern.” (p.221)

As Bartholomew says, citizens of empire,

“do have a responsibility to act to resist empire. This is based on an analysis of the impunity of empire for it is the idea that there is a nonreciprocal right of Empire to run roughshod over everyone else in the name of spreading its own values and its own conception of security globally—one of the essential hallmarks of ‘empire’s law’— that must be contested.” (pps.222-223)

It is only by directly addressing the issue of our complicity, by our failure to act that the Empire does indeed run roughshod over all opposition. Moreover, Bartholomew suggests that,

“while capitalism is unleashed and “economic forces are free to act globally”, there are at best only germs and premonitions of a globally binding legal and juridicial system, global democracy or globally binding, enforceable and obeyed ethical code.”

This is because, “Ethically motivated and informed global action has no adequately global instruments.” (p.225) But Bartholomew does suggest an approach that I believe is extremely important, based upon our raising the issue of legally challenging the right to wage war,

“What the American Empire fears, and I think rightly, is that such strategies may contribute to our capacities to become the ‘strong’…my claim is that such politically inspired attempts litigating against American Empire under international humanitarian law may contribute to the goals of cultivating a sense of poitical responsibility, while both depending on political action for their broad effectivity and contributing to further political action.” (p.228)

But warning us that “the development of cosmopolitan law, of global law” will not, by itself lead to “perpetual peace and universal freedom”, only a coherent, progressive and anti-capitalist (socialist) agenda has even a chance of achieving the defeat of Empire of Chaos.

Notes

1. See for example, ‘Secret Plan Outlines the Unthinkable’
A secret policy review of the nation’s nuclear policy puts forth chilling new contingencies for nuclear war. by William M. Arkin

2. The national education system implemented by the Tory government in the closing days of WWII described the advantages of such a system using the term “molding” an entire generation. Molding our views to support the idea of our ‘divine right’ to rule, a strategy that up until now anyway, appears to have been very successful.

This essay is archived at: http://www.creative-i.info/?p=305

see

Americanism: “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” by Gaither Stewart

Mosaic News – 7/30/08: World News from the Middle East

Dandelion Salad

Warning

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This video may contain images depicting the reality and horror of war/violence and should only be viewed by a mature audience.

linktv

For more: http://www.linktv.org/originalseries
“Karadzic in Hague After Protest by Loyalists,” Al Jazeera TV, Qatar
“Olmert Declares Intent to Step Down,” IBA TV, Israel
“Fatah Vs. Hamas,” Dubai TV, UAE
“45 Palestinian MPs Still Held in Israeli Jails,” Al Aqsa, Gaza
“Caught on Tape,” Al-Alam TV, Iran
“35 Arrested in Diyala Province,” Al Arabiya TV, UAE
“Victory for Ruling Party in Turkey,” Al Jazeera English, Qatar
Produced for Link TV by Jamal Dajani.

Verdict: No Immunity For White House Aides

Dandelion Salad

videocafeblog

Dan Abrams reports on Bush appointee Judge John Bates ruling that White House aides do have to appear before Congress to testify. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and David Iglesias weigh in on what might happen when and if they finally do appear before Congress and Abrams talks about and Karl Rove’s continued thumbing of his nose to the rule of law and Congressional oversight.

Americanism: “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” by Gaither Stewart

Gaither Stewart
by Gaither Stewart
featured writer
Dandelion Salad

August 1, 2008

(Rome) It is a paradox that the Americanism of which Americans are so proud is the source of the pandemic anti-Americanism throughout the world. Precisely the same Americanism of which Americans boast generates a worldwide antipathy toward them. And today, not just toward the US government, but in many places—to begin with in Iraq, as testified by blog writers from there—that antipathy, that hate, is directed against Americans in general.

“We hate Americans!”

One wonders if there is some great misunderstanding at play. Is this a cultural matter? A lack of true information about Americanism and what it stands for? Are Americans simply misunderstood in the world?

However that may be, the nature of Americanism as it is understood by the majority of Americans and that perceived and experienced by non-Americans are so diametrically opposed that sometimes the two concepts seem to concern different historical times and different geographical places; Americans and the others seem to inhabit different worlds.

So what is it, this Americanism? From my vantage point I experience forms of Americanism chiefly in the context of the hegemonic tendencies, bullying globalization, arrogance, militarism and imperialism of the United States of America. One glaring, arrogant example is the construction of yet another US military base in the ancient city of Vicenza in north Italy, where (anachronistically) American soldiers in military dress jog over the cobbled streets of the city center, as if it were wartime, as if it were theirs, past cathedrals and Palladium architecture, weaving and dodging among startled women and children. This military display is a form of the Americanism become anti-Americanism in Europe. In this particular case the insistence on making of small and vassal Italy an aircraft carrier at the service of imperialistic America has alienated much of north Italy.

But speaking of Americanism I don’t have in mind only American militarism and its preemptive wars! Not by a long shot. I have in mind the homeland. For there is something in the exaggerated patriotism in the homeland itself that the others out there experience first hand. Those others who know America well detest the super patriotic, Amerika über alles America—the foreign specialists and US-based foreign journalists and academics and scientists, even those foreigners in the arts attracted by one of the admirable aspects of “America”—these days increasingly hard to find—i.e. the velocity and high ceiling afforded new ideas.

Even bedazzled non-American tourists of the kind who visit Disneyland and Las Vegas, who know little about American life, instinctively see the super patriotic flag-waving, Star Spangled Banner singing America as vulgar expressions of Americanism.

Finally, such worldviews coincide with the Americanism pinpointed, analyzed and criticized by a small but growing group of awakened Americans.

The implications of the term Americanism had long lingered in my mind before recently I heard the word used in an Italian talk show in reference to America’s foreign wars. My spontaneous thought was, OK, but that’s much too reductive. The thing is, once you use the word in that one context, it’s like opening Pandora’s box; you have to be prepared to take the next step and delve into what Americanism really is.

Je vous demande pardon! if I immediately begin to skirt too much around the edges. My excuse is that the subject is too menacingly broad to undertake in a single article. Still, digressions sometimes inevitably lead back toward the bull’s eye. Or, to use the old Italian seaman’s term, avanzare di ritorno—advance by return. And for that matter the first paragraph above already pinpoints the target.

WHERE TROUBLES MELT LIKE LEMON DROPS

“Somewhere over the rainbow
Way up high
There’s a land that I heard of
Once in a lullaby.”

The overly sweet, overly optimistic image returns like a leitmotiv. It both repels and attracts, the land that I heard of, the land that exists only in the imagery of dreamers. What I have in mind is a pet theme, the famous go-to-war-for “American way of life,” which for me again underlines America’s persistent claims of a monopoly on morality.

What is it, this American morality? This righteousness? Is it our religious roots in the fable of the Puritan settlers, those super religious people who in their hardships were bigots, perhaps also practitioners of incest and racists soon morphing into dogmatic chauvinists who early-on labeled their dissidents and different-thinkers witches and demons.

Pre-Americanism! The same Americanism initiated then which today fosters the rights of the rich to become richer, the strong to trample the weak and the contempt for and the crushing of anything smacking of the social in our land, real trade unions and, heaven forbid, universal health care.

Meanwhile, out in the empire, as long as it is distant, the Puritan legacy instills blindness to the use of cluster bombs from the stratosphere and hidden torture in places with foreign names like Guantánamo and Abu Ghraib … and while our neighbors in Haiti eat dirt, literally?

When I asked a friend and writer colleague in heartland America what he understands by Americanism, he stunned me and overwhelmed me with the following:

“From birth I have been immersed, enculterated, inculcated, and surrounded by the myriad toxic components of the ‘American Dream’ or ‘Americanism.’ There are some admirable aspects to ‘America’ but by and large we live in a spiritual/psychological sewer.” He then listed two dozen aspects of Americanism, which I repeat here: narcissism, greed, hyper-individualism, consumerism, capitalism, corporatism, faux democracy, media whoredom, asphyxiation of the Left, Christian fundamentalism, Mammon worship, moral retardation, militarism, imperialism, celebrity worship, wars on drugs and terrorism, prison industrial complex, mean-spiritedness, self-absorption, American exceptionalism, bullying, anti-intellectualism and the abandonment of many uninsured and homeless in the wealthiest nation on earth.

Whew! That is article, essay, denouncement and indictment.

The indictment raises many questions: Is that the American way of life? Do you recognize the indictment—for an indictment it is—as representative of “our way of life”? As Americanism? But most important do you accept and hold to that “way of life?”

Meanwhile more and more people of the world are answering, non merci, nein danke, no, grazie, no, muchas gracias, we can live without the American way of life.

ISMS AND MORE ISMS

The Greek “ism” suffix is a devilish affair indeed. Those three letters continue to create problems when applied to religious, philosophic, political or artistic movements or to tendencies or qualities of certain persons or groups: misunderstandings and disputes, hate and love, blind faith and war on whomever doesn’t fall in line. “Ism” wanders from Classicism to Futurism in the arts, from Romanticism to Realism in literature and from Nazism to Communism in European 20th century politics.

Today the West—the Occident!—uses the word Islamism in a negative sense—much as the word Communism or terrorism still emerges from a magician’s sleeve by a slick sleight-of-hand for our enemies in general—to slander Islam and the Islamic religion, its peoples and nations as something negative or to condemn political adversaries.

At The Same Time

others too are adopting the term Americanism. The way it is viewed is crucial. The Americanism seen by the others is America’s excessive admiration for non-admirable displays of American culture. For its unjustified optimism … where troubles melt like lemons drops. For its insistence on calling things by their opposites, such as peace for war. For the political correctness and false questions of “taste” and “sensitivity,” as Joan Didion once recalled, in the demand for more information about what really happened on 9/11; it was not the “appropriate time.”

In this sense the difference between Americanism and anti-Americanism is like the two sides of the same coin. The two concepts are the black and the white. Americanism becomes the backside of the moon. In Italian it is common to use the word Americanata to define an ostentatious, negative and unreliable action; an Americanata reveals the negative nuance of Americanism. A bad American film is always an Americanata.

The bitter truth is that the Americanism of many Americans, who, sheathed in their false consciousness, believe they are exceptional and the envy of the world, is an illusion. An illusion! A mirage in the desert. For the others out there, there is something childlike about their blind faith in their supposed superior life style and phony democracy that sometimes even sparks a feeling of commiseration and pity in other peoples who tend to consider them at the very best spoiled but dangerous brats.

And they continue to sing where troubles melt like lemon drops….

There was a time after World War II when other peoples imitated the way Americans speak, dress, walk and think. No longer! Once Americans were welcomed everywhere. No more! The aura of the “American dream” once made of Americanism a cult. Now the others do not understand why they feel unwelcome in America; they do not understand the reigning terrorism mania; they cannot understand the wars.

Although Americans have been spoiled, foreigners are becoming aware that the former personal freedoms that were once the key to Americanism have diminished. (Pardon these generalizations but sometimes in such matters surveys and polls and data are useless.) Though without comparing charts and scales on salaries and rents and economic aspects of life, Europeans realize their living standards are higher. Admittedly on the other hand, they do not yet appreciate the difficulties or the extent of the unfairness many many Americans face—unemployment and precarious employment, lack of basic health care, homelessness.

For arriving foreigners ten fingerprints and body searches at US entrance points serve to accentuate the sensation of “America-fortress-against-the-world and aggravate America’s globalization-imperialism urge. Europeans’ former positive, envious feelings toward America have vanished in the swirl and whorl of US militarism. The reality is that except in personal cases, few Europeans aspire to live in the USA today. As a rule only the very poor of the world seek to immigrate to the USA.

Before 9/11, I had occasion to live in New York City for a couple years in an apartment building on the Upper West Side in which the 16-man staff of service personnel were all Latin Americans, living frugally on low pay. Each of them confessed his dream of returning “home” to Mexico or to the Dominican Republic or to Peru as soon as he accumulated enough savings for a house or to open a business there.

In that immigrant microcosm the “American dream” was dead and gone.

Since the majority of people of the world seem to be infected with the disease, anti-Americanism is a good starting point to understand Americanism. But first, one wonders why has anti-Americanism contaminated the world? Once, the US government blamed it on the nefarious European Left and Radical Chic and Communists and also on Europe’s green envy of the American way of life.

That the real European Left from Sartre on has always been wary of America is true, but never as today.

Instead the real reasons as seen from Europe and Latin America stem first of all from stupid, arrogant and self-defeating US foreign policy. At the same time, French or Dutch can hardly believe the ignorance and naiveté of Americans about the world. While many Americans boast of their anti-intellectualism and their President has trouble finding strange places like Kenya or even Afghanistan on the map, the “green” media inform French and Italians that the waste and consumerism in the USA is destroying planet earth and Germans and Scandinavians are realizing that American democracy is a sham and has defiled the very word.

People are more and more aware that the Patriot Act and legislation subsequent to 9/11 have eroded America’s civil liberties. That the divide between rich and poor has never been more profound, the word “social” is taboo, and American capitalism has become more and more savage and vicious. For many others, American culture seems to be limited to mall shopping and TV sports, while America’s absurd theories of exportation of democracy and globalization as a solution to world poverty are widely scoffed at: exportation of democracy means war and globalizations means loss of jobs in Italy or France.

Europeans are right to wonder why Americans, even well intentioned people of the Left, cannot see the obvious. The answer is that their continuing faith in a mythical Americanism blinds them. And their false consciousness created and maintained by disgraceful mainline media that distorts the concept of freedom of the press.

American conservatives twist things around and point out that foreigners don’t know the USA. Nothing more false! Europeans are well-informed about the USA. In these months day after day arrive into peoples’ homes news and talk shows about the USA and its incomprehensible money-based electoral system. People are familiar with South Carolina and New England and Colorado. Italian TV and press have their correspondents following the primaries today because it matters to Europe, to the world, who is elected, they believe (naively). In this, Europeans show their good faith. They still believe there is a difference between America’s two political parties, when they could be suggesting and advising and pleading for third and fourth parties in the USA—in their own interest—something Americans seem loath to do.

Each new school shooting somewhere in the USA, each new massacre in Iraq and Afghanistan, the death tolls of US and European casualties, and analyses and media coverage of US events, the decline of the US economy, the falling stock market in New York and the threat of recession are all part of Europe’s daily fare.

I was perplexed this morning when my wife, an Italian, asked me in all sincerity as to why what happens in the USA so important to the rest of the world. My point is that though the world studies the USA, the others out there in the world are terrified of what the next fool-hardy, dangerous and unpredictable act this big oaf of a child will pull off in the name of its Americanism.

European American specialists often return to those Puritan individualists I mentioned earlier “who so passionately believed that they could individually establish a direct relationship with God,” who emigrated to North America and invented “an explosively new and radical ideology” that justified “an individualist rather than a social view of property.”

The decline of that idea we are all witnessing shows that in an individualistic world that is wholly private we lose our bearings; deprived of any public anchor, all we have are our individual subjective values to guide us. According to even a minimum social philosophy (which for Washington and US capitalism is straight out of Marx’s Communist Manifesto and Mao’s Little Red Book) one simple but pressing need would be publicly owned TV with the (impossible) mandate to provide a universal public service to guarantee ordinary citizens core news and comment free of hype and spin. While the U.S. spends little money on public TV, European governments finance and aggressively regulate broadcasting content so that state TV has remained more complete and in some countries surprisingly free.

American private broadcasters instead plead the First Amendment’s commitment to absolute free speech, making public interest regulation almost impossible.

THE IMPUSLE FOR U.S HEGEMONY IN THE WORLD

I often return to the passage from Mexican writer Carlos Fuentes’ masterpiece, The Death of Artemio Cruz, the gist of which is that one cannot commit what North Americans have committed against Mexico and expect to be loved. The historical imperialistic, hypocritical, vicious, greedy and vulgar attitudes of the United States toward its southern neighbor are the model for America’s drive for world hegemony and its urge to control other peoples. From the beginnings of the nineteenth century until the present era, the United States has attempted to export its “American dream” to Mexico. Hypocritically that manifest destiny vision tried to superimpose Protestant values, a capitalist free market and a consumer society onto a culture foreign to such Protestant values.

The results: Shouts of “Long Live Mexico” and “Death to the Yankees” today echo similar protests ringing out from Afghanistan to the Middle East.

It is fact that more and more peoples of the world consider America evil, distant and cut off from the rest of humanity. I believe American people too, no less than Europeans, could bear up under the reality that the message of Americanism is not true. You know, people do not need to be lied to. Most can take the truth. Or they might prefer the truth after they get used to it; our minds after all have the task of distinguishing between true and false.

Still, it continues to be bizarre that we live our little lives inside our shell and have no idea of what is taking place on the outside. Only a thin wall separates our shell of comfort and ease from the exterior world where torture continues. In my mind, the kind of Americanism spoken of here, a life style based on comfort and ease, reflect anti-reality, anti-man, anti-life.

If anything, we have to learn to live without illusions.

No matter how clever, how perceptive and well grounded its positions, official America—and many Americans—seem to see Iraq and Iran, Kosovo and Algeria, from a virtual point of view. Europeans see those peoples instead as real places in a real world. A fundamental difference in attitude toward war is that Europeans know what war is on home soil. They know that war is not peace. War means suffering and destruction and death. War does not bring democracy.

A glaring assumption of Americanism is that the US military is a force for good (as reactionaries like to put it). That the US is the guiding light for the world, and is in sole possession of moral authority.

Cold War Revisionism

Because I once felt lonely in my nascent revisionist ideas on Soviet Communism and Stalinism and doubted the validity of my own thinking, I have postponed the question of Soviet Communism, which is not as distant from the power of Americanism as it might seem. Though as a rule I dislike the constant revisionism (that ism suffix again!), it goes without saying that the last word about Lenin’s heirs has not yet been spoken.

So careful here, for we’re speaking of seventy plus years of the 20th century that changed our world. Nor can one dispute that the Bolshevik Revolution changed the face of America, too. The revolutionary myth and four great events remain fixed in the memory of some of us: the American, French, Mexican and Russian revolutions. However, in America the revolutionary legacy morphed into one of the worst aspects of Americanism.

Fear and terror of Revolution transformed Americanism into a “way of life”, crusaded for in uninterrupted anti-progress wars ever since, accompanied by the Nazification of America’s institutions.

Like the many questions today open to re-interpretation, Communism is not a closed issue. Likewise, Soviet Communism is not a closed issue. With the broadening of the European Union toward the East the question of Communism is recurrent today because the EU is formed by peoples with opposite perceptions of it. For many East Europeans Communism was a nightmare. Nor was the exit from totalitarian regimes in East Europe a happy one in that it led some of those countries to blind faith in a savage market economy and abandonment of the spirit of social solidarity.

However, for many people in the world the word Communism is not a dirty word. Former East Germans in Berlin have described to me the nostalgia for the sense of social solidarity in former East Germany. Though the totalitarian regimes in East Europe vanished and Communist parties are marginalized, for the 450,000,000 people of the now twenty-seven nations of the European Union the sensation of something missing is real. Even though controversial, the memory of Communism is alive. Though Communism in practice is no longer considered a credible alternative in free market democracy, and though it no longer aims at revolution and though it still suffers from the image of Soviet totalitarian past, its memory is alive. The question of Communism has not been settled.

George Washington, the Founding Fathers, Abraham Lincoln, John Kennedy have each been re-evaluated. I believe the time will come when also Joseph Stalin will be regarded with different eyes. In the end, the six to ten million or more dead will not all be charged to evil Uncle Joe. Most certainly he will not be charged with the Cold War, which engaged America’s chief energies for four decades and has now reawakened over the wars for oil and gas.

In the list of aspects of Americanism, anti-Communism is a cornerstone. Revisionism of Stalin (the word means steel man!) rings seditious. The suggestion that Josef (Koba) Vissarionovich Djugashvili was not the anti-Christ incarnated overturns the history of Americanism. Yet that historical revisionism circulates here and there among a small circle of academics who believe that history will judge Stalin a great leader, as suggested by the historians Grover Burr and Yury Zhukov in his Inoy Stalin, A Different Stalin. Maybe not in our lifetime, but Stalin will one day be recorded as no worse and maybe better for Russia than many Russian Tsars.

But the gulags? one objects. Gulags? Well, read Dostoevsky among other Russian writers to experience the gulag existence since the early phases of Tsardom and the formation of Russia.

Then what about his “Socialism in one country,” the abandonment of world revolution and adoption of Russian nationalism? Lenin and Trotsky’s program of world revolution was the romantic view: without a world Socialist revolution, the Russian Revolution was doomed. Trotsky charged Stalin with betrayal of the Russian Revolution because he aimed at limiting original and necessary revolutionary goals. Now, in comparison, Stalin’s “Socialism is one country” turns out to be Russian nationalism and paradoxically differs chiefly in degree and methods from modern European leaders struggling for independence within the European Union.

Thus the Cold War remains a sore spot. For Soviet Russia there was NATO and US aggressiveness to contend with. There were the US-NATO military bases encircling the USSR, symbols of many aspects of continuing Americanism. Many Americans and Germans of those times agreed that the United States had fought the wrong war. The generals were ready to march on Moscow, again. Post-war German writer Wolfgang Borchert’s Verrostet träumen Waffen von Kriegen described the nearly rusted arms (in the generals’ fantasies) dreaming of wars to be fought. They should combat the real enemy: the Russkies. Moscow had good reason to believe that the US goal was the overthrow of the Soviet regime.

In post-war West Germany the former Nazi General Reinhard Gehlen (1902-1979) and chief of Hitler’s Soviet intelligence service headed the nucleus of surviving German intelligence … under American direction. Gehlen’s Org, a nest of former SS and Gestapo killers, war criminals responsible for the deaths of millions in the Soviet Union and East Europe, became a decisive component of the CIA’s growing worldwide apparatus. Its thousands of experienced operatives, older and more cosmopolitan than incoming CIA recruits, had a major effect on the future culture of the CIA and thus on America.

So dependent was American intelligence on their Nazi brothers that it has been said that the new CIA was built around the Gehlen Org, the history of which is still misty today. The creation of the Gehlen Org thus constituted the most extreme provocation, contributing to the general climate of hostility, which came to be known as the Cold War.

The Cold War deformed our immature minds; not only two generations of Americans were brainwashed and hoodwinked; a whole world was brainwashed and hoodwinked. But, in the long run, I like many others concluded that despite the brainwash and the Cold War, Russia was Russia, complex, grand, enigmatic; but it was Russia.

CONCLUSIONS

For anyone with eyes to see it is clear that the reasons for the clash of the United States with the world today—while its presidential candidates traipse around the electoral circuit speaking of the new wars to come—are to be found in that complex of historical, social and political factors and the false values, which constitute today’s Americanism. That is, “our way of life,” in the name of which our increasingly illegitimate political leaders pontificate and send our troops, “our boys”, around the world, which, far from defending social justice or the downtrodden, serves to separate the people of America from the rest of the world.

A growing number of Americans realize that the time has arrived for a radical shift in American thinking. All those little placards of the electoral campaign bearing the word change reflect the necessity. Yet, with the Americanism mindset described above, revolution is still hardly conceivable in the minds of the masses.

A close analysis and dissection of the American values that constitute Americanism will be necessary in order to create a new set of values. A new mindset that will include a basic conception of social justice to counteract and replace the pervasive and visible sense of gloom and hopelessness in the obesity of consumerist America.

And that, I hope, I believe, is where people like us count.

________________________________________________________________________________
Addendum: I have excerpted a few lines from my short story of New York: “Brooklyn Bridge-Arch Number Six” about a Hispanic muralist and Americanism.

“I’m painting the history, past, present—and future—of the city,” he (the Hispanic immigrant, painting his mural on arch number six.) whispered.

From clouds and nocturnal mists of memory emerged outlines of arriving ships—they were the Anglo-Saxons and the Dutch. Ghostly silhouettes of Indians with their indistinct faces painted white looked toward the sea. Out of ocean mists then came waves of blacks, with round faces and frightened eyes. New houses crept up the island of Manahatta like waves of the sea. Blue and gray uniforms and cannons and flags and luxurious mansions rose from the ground. Layer after layer—boatloads of dark foreigners with cardboard suitcases and packed ships departing with soldiers, railroads like spokes of a wheel and subway tracks in tunnels, parks with mansions on one side, slums on the other, dandies and rag pickers. The colors were speaking, crying and screaming, brilliant under powerful searchlights from above, the colors of the skins, white, yellow, red, brown, black. Palaces, cinemas and vaudeville halls, beer parlors, art galleries, train stations and stadiums, ships on white rivers turning black, smoke and steam, pale women and silent girls seated in long lines of old urban factories. In the night his story was exploding onto the walls of Arch No. 6. The banks, the Stock Exchange façade shrouded in ticker tape and bands of strikers whose ranks are gradually transformed into homeless sleeping in doorways, in parks, in subway stations. And in the lower right corner ranks of policemen in blue face to face with legions of the city’s homeless.)

Gaither Stewart is a Senior Contributing Editor for Cyrano’s Journal/tantmieux, a novelist and journalist based in Italy. His collections of fiction, Icy Current Compulsive Course, To Be A Stranger and Once In Berlin are published by Wind River Press. (www.windriverpress.com ). His recent novel, Asheville, is published by Wastelandrunes, (www.wastelandrunes.com).

Originally published at http://www.bestcyrano.org/THOMASPAINE/?p=587

Back online after 25 hours of forced vacation by Lo

The Internet connection went out yesterday morning and finally came back on this morning after 25 hours of non-service.  I called the company and they had some automated response saying that they “were working on it”.

Will find and report the news here as fast as I can today.

Thanks for your patience as always,

Lo

PS: I did have the time to continue reading The Hammer of God by Arthur C. Clarke and went out and socialized last night.  At least I didn’t lose my electricity.