excerpts from the book

The Broken Promises of America

at home and abroad, past and present

Volume 2

by Douglas F. Dowd

Common Courage Press, 2005, paper

Volume 2

General Electric's sales - $134 billion in 2003 - give it an income higher than all but about 20 countries in the world.

... in the USA: $2 a day is the maximum in Mexico or China for jobs paying $20 an hour here; then there are no benefits (health care, pensions, etc.) in the weaker countries, no 8-hour days, no sanitary provisions, no environmental costs: Back to the palmy days of the Industrial Revolution in Britain. (BLUESTONE&HARRISON,1988;STIOLITZ/2002/)

When Reagan took over the White House in 1981, the USA was the world's largest creditor nation ever, the rest of the world owing us well in excess of $1 trillion dollars. When he left office eight years later, the figure had been reversed; we had become the world's largest debtor nation by about the same amount. Now it is six times that, and going up by a trillion every two years. (R. Du Boff, "U.S. Hegemony: Continuing Decline, Enduring Danger," M, 12/2003)

Although the once colonized, imperialized societies are now formally independent, their "independence," (like political democracy in the USA) provides a cover story for what in reality is subjection to the power of giant corporations and their political emissaries: in this case, the WTO, IMF, World Bank and, in the Western Hemisphere, NAFTA.



Harvard Medical School study (HIMMELSTEIN/WOOLHANDLER) published July 10, 2002 in the Journal of Health Affairs

Government expenditures accounted for 59.8 percent of U.S. health care costs in 1999... At $2,604 per capita, government spending 'as the highest of an nation-including those with national health insurance .... Estimated total for 2002 is 15,42 7 per capita ...

One of the study's authors (Dr. Woolhandler) commented that "We pay the world's highest health care taxes. But much of the money is squandered. The wealthy get tax breaks, and HMOs and drug companies pocket billions in profits at the taxpayers' expense. But politicians claim we cannot afford / universal coverage. Every other developed nation has national health insurance. We already pay for it, but we don't get it." It adds up to "Public money, private control."

Another of the authors (Dr. _Himmelstein) noted that "We spend over $209 billion each year on paperwork in insurance companies, hospitals and doctors' office-at least half of which could be saved through national health insurance. We spend $150 billion on medications, at prices 50% higher than Canadians pay for the same drugs. By slashing bureaucracy and drug prices we could save enough to cover all of the uninsured and improve coverage for the rest of us."

... while spending more overall and per capita than any other nation we nonetheless manage to provide the least coverage to the average citizen: From 15 to 20 percent of us are completely without coverage; among the other rich countries, the worst rate is under one percent-and all those other societies have higher longevities and lower infantile mortality rates than the USA. (RASSELL, D&S 51993): Number 1 in wealth and power, we are Number #37 in terms of "overall performance" for health care systems. (France is first, Italy second; we are behind Chile, Colombia(!), Saudi Arabia and Singapore. /WHO, 1997/)

If the U.S. were to adopt Canada's single-payer system, it would save approximately $286 billion a year (just) in administrative costs ($982 per capita). The thorny problem of 43 million Americans without health insurance-whom it would cost only about $69 billion a year to insure-could be eliminated, with money to spare. ("Let's not get tangled up in America's red tape." Andre Picard, Globe and Mail 6-10-04)

... top American military leaders [believed] that the bombings were unnecessary-including Generals Eisenhower, MacArthur, LeMay and Arnold (ALPEROVITZ) and Admiral William D Leahy, head of the Navy in the Pacific during the war. And this is what the Admiral said (as quoted in WEALE):

"The use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender because of the effective sea blockade and the successful bombing with conventional weapons .... My own feeling was that in being the first to use it, we had adopted an ethical standard common to the barbarians of the dark ages. I was not taught to make war in that fashion and wars cannot be won by destroying women and children. One of the professors associated with the Manhattan Project told me that he hoped the bomb wouldn't work. I wish he had been right."

When the resistance began and could no longer be ignored, the critics of globalization and the IMF (et al.) were portrayed as ignorant fools, even as dangerous ...

... free markets can be trusted to do no harm, let alone do some good, only when its business participants are small and economically powerless and, politically, no more powerful than any other citizen j Even more, as non-mainstream economist Samuel BOWLES has pointed out,

Markets not only allocate resources and distribute income, they also shape our culture, foster or thwart desirable forms of human development and support a well-defined structure of power. Markets are as much political and cultural institutions as they are economic.

Joseph Stiglitz/ Globalization and its Discontents

Over the years since its inception, the IMF has changed markedly. Founded on the belief that markets often worked badly, it now champions market supremacy with ideological fervor. Founded on the belief that there is need for international pressure on countries to have more expansionary economic policies-such as increasing expenditures, reducing taxes, or lower interest rates to simulate the economy-today it typically provides funds only if countries engage in policies like cutting deficits, raising taxes, or raising rates that lead to a contraction of the economy.

... In the era when Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher preached free market ideology in the United States and the United Kingdom, the IMF and the World Bank became the new missionary institutions through which these ideas were pushed on the reluctant poor, countries that badly needed their loans and grants. In the early 1980s, a purge occurred inside the World Bank. /Whereas/ before... the Bank had focused on how markets failed in developing countries and what governments could do to improve markets and reduce poverty, the new team! saw government as the problem ... free markets the solution ...

... A half-century after its founding, it is clear that the IMF has failed in its mission. It has not done what it was supposed to do-provide funds for countries facing an economic downturn, to enable the country to restore itself to close to full employment .... Many of !its! policies, in particular, premature capital market liberalization, have contributed to global instability. And once a country was in crisis, IMF funds and programs not only failed to stabilize the situation but in many cases actually made matters worse, especially for the poor.

Stiglitz makes it crystal clear 1) that IMF policies are made in terms set by the most powerful companies in the financial community, and 2) that the USA has an effective veto over all IMF policies.

World War II could have and should have brought the world to its senses; it did not. More accurately, it was not allowed to do so. From the vantage point of the half century or more following World War II, it may be said that the peoples of all the participant nations except the USA had finally discovered the need to do everything possible to avoid war. In losing more than 60 million people 1939-1945, and with at least that many having been seriously damaged, plus personal and/or family harm and losses, the Europeans had learned to hate war; and the Japanese are not likely ever to forget Hiroshima/Nagasaki or fire-bombed Tokyo.

Unlike the peoples of all other major powers, however people of the USA have not learned to hate war enough. Indeed, through the economic "benefits" of the Cold War all too many of us-unconsciously, for most-found the militarization of our economy and resulting domination of the world to be a positive development: It was and is effectively portrayed as having created jobs, as having saved the world from a totalitarian takeover, as a triumph of "America!"

Holocaust USA ... when Columbus arrived in 1492,

there were approximately 100 million Native Americans-a fifth, more or less, of the human race. Within decades,., most of those people were dead and their world barbarously sacked by Europeans. The plunderers settled in America, and it was they, not the original people, who became known as Americans .... Unlike Asia and Africa, America never saw its colonizers leave. (WRIGHT)

Indian Removal, as it has been politely called, cleared the land for white occupancy between the Appalachians and the Mississippi, cleared it for cotton in the South and grain in the North, for expansion, immigration, canals, railroads, new cities, and the building of a huge continental empire clear across to the Pacific Ocean. The cost in human life cannot be accurately measured, in suffering not even roughly measured. Most of the history books given to children pass quickly over it. (ZINN, 2000)

We do not see ourselves historically as a people who invaded this (or any other) hemisphere - we settled it and improved it ...

ZINN, in his opening page provides a revealing quote from Columbus himself:

They brought us parrots and balls of cotton and spears and many other things, which they exchanged for the glass beads and hawks' bells. They willingly traded everything they owned .... They were well-built, with good bodies and handsome features... They do not bear arms, and do not know them, for I showed them a sword, they took it by the edge and cut themselves out of ignorance. They have no iron. Their spears are made of cane... They would make fine servants. With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.

Kissinger, Henry

From the late 1960s through the 1980s, Kissinger was in the news all the time; nowadays he pops up only once in a while, proffering his hard-nosed opinions on foreign policy, piling up riches on riches from his consulting business, and occasionally dusting off his Nobel Peace Prize. In a sequence that leaves satire in ashes, Kissinger was awarded that prize for his "peacemaking" in the Vietnam war in the very year in which he was a major participant in U.S. -sponsored and financed overthrow of the democratically-elected government of Chile.

... Kissinger began to become a household name-or epithet after and because of his service as Nixon's secret advisor in the 1968 election campaign-"secret" because he allowed the Humphrey campaigners to believe he was advising them What great fun that must have been for Henry the Specialist in playing both sides against the middle as he raked in the chips. (HERSH, 1983)

What he was doing then, all of it now fully documented (see HERSH and later references) may or may not have been technically criminal, but it was certainly obscene: it had to do with the ongoing Vietnam peace talks in Paris in the early fall of 1968, the November election right around the corner.

Kissinger, although a Democrat, had been an advisor to Republican Nelson Rockefeller's failed attempt to get the GOP nomination; through that he had become known to GOP insiders, particular Richard Allen, Nixon's foreign policy advisor.

The 1968 Paris peace talks were seen by LBJ as the last chance for him to get us out of the bloody "quagmire." Democratic foreign policy bignik Kissinger had covert access to what was going on at the peace talks as the USA and the North Vietnamese sought to forge an agreement which, in ending the war, would also substantially lift the trailing Humphrey's presidential chances. (If there were other- shall we say, nobler-considerations, they are not known.)

Kissinger privately encouraged both the Demos and the GOP to think he was in their camp, and the GOP to think they were alone in receiving his information about the evolving peace agreement. At some point he made the decision to go with Nixon, doubtless because he was sure Nixon would go with him (as Nixon did, making Henry his National Security Chief). Nixon used Kissinger's information to paralyze the peace talks; and the war continued for another five years. Before it ended the USA had dropped at least three times as many bombs on Vietnam as the total tonnage of World War II. Killing and maiming how many?

However, taking advantage of professional friendships while also betraying Democrats with whom he had worked on the still-secret Vietnam negotiating efforts did not suffice for Henry Kissinger. At the same time he was telling colleagues at Harvard and New York about his contempt for Nixon while offering the Humphrey camp information that discredited Nixon-such as making Rockefeller's private files on Nixon available ...

The upshot of all this (and more') was that Nixon, seeking to prevent a peace agreement by LBJ/Humphrey secretly (of course) promised then President Thieu of South Vietnam a "better deal" if Thieu would r go along with the peace deal before November. Thieu didn't, the peace talks flopped, Nixon won, the war descended to always more horrendous depths of devastation-and voila'! Dr. Strangelove was in the White House as National Security Adviser (and, later, as Secretary of State)...

The word "obscene" was used above; the reference was to Kissinger's shiftiness but, even more, to his key role in destroying the real possibility that the war neither LBJ nor Ho Chi Minh wanted could have been ended had it not been for Kissinger's double dealing.

The peace talks having failed, the war went on and on. President Thieu stayed in charge long enough to block all further attempts at an agreement which would have meant his downfall; and then we got rid of him. It should not be forgotten that it was after 1968 that Laos and Cambodia were brought into the war, and that the largest number of Indochinese and U.S. casualties occurred. Obscene? No, criminal as in "war crime."

... that crime led to one rivaling it; namely the secret bombing of Cambodia. That bombing began at Kissinger's behest and Nixon's orders almost immediately after his inauguration in 1969, a created tragedy, indescribable in its horrors then and since.

Kissinger utilized his inclination for doing serious harm in one country after another, large and small. Here I have limited myself to the devastation he helped to wreak only in Indochina and in the overthrow of the democratically-elected Allende government of Chile. In all those countries his touch had the same effect: at a time or in a situation in which without his intervention, peace could have been made or (as in the case of Chile) democracy could have continued, the policies Kissinger aggressively and successfully put forth brought about millions of deaths and distorted the social process for long periods-perhaps, in the case of Cambodia, forever.

... both Kissinger and Nixon remain highly-regarded and respected; despite all. Is it because "we 'Americans" cannot abide the thought that any of our high officials might be, have been, monsters?

First, Indochina. It comprises Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam...
The area, called "Indo-China" by the French, was invaded by the them early in the 19th century; within 50 years or so they had solidified control and, first and especially in Vietnam, had begun their deep exploitation of the people and resources. Then they took over Cambodia and, later, Laos-more because they were "there" than for deep exploitation; otherwise the British would have taken over (as they did with Thailand).

When the Japanese conquered the whole of the East Asia area in 1940, the Vichy French government was allowed to continue its rule over Indochina-until Japan was on the edge of defeat in the summer of 1945.

Between the 1830s and the 1940s, the French had managed to destroy a venerable, attractive, and, in Vietnam, democratic society. From 1945 on, the USA participated in its further destruction, going well beyond the French in the havoc wrought upon the land, the people, the society.

It is relevant here to note that neither the people nor the government of the USA have ever found their way to acknowledge our vicious and baseless destruction in Indochina-as, for example, the Germans have in at least some degree, as regards the Holocaust. It is as though-well, we went there to help them be free, and..,, and..., well, we left. Or something.

... we focus Cambodia, for two reasons: 1) because, although the U.S role in Indochina was under way well before Nixon took office, the catastrophe that became Cambodia from 1969 on was due entirely to Kissinger/Nixon decisions. Because of them, ultimately, over two million Cambodians were cruelly displaced, with many imprisoned and tortured and mistreated, and at least one million killed; and what Cambodia had been was destroyed forever.

Certain things must be known to understand the dimensions of the crime against Cambodia: 1. When Prince Norodom Sihanouk came to the throne there in 1947, he issued a constitution promising to replace a monarchy with a democratic government. 2. Two years later, the French granted Cambodia independence within the French Union and agreement to a constitutional monarchy entirely free of France by 1955. 3. When the Vietnam war began to heat up from 1946 on (see Cold War and Vietnam) and especially after the French defeat at Diembienphu in 1954 and the subsequent always rising presence of the USA, Sihanouk did everything possible to keep Cambodia out of any involvement whatsoever. He didn't have a chance.

That France was inclined to grant Cambodia its freedom was due almost entirely to its post-World War II weakness and that Cambodia had few resources of value (to the French). That the French were in any way able and inclined to contest Vietnamese independence after the war was due almost entirely to the USA's interference and financing.

As the USA increasingly involved itself after l954-politically, militarily and covertly-Sihanouk correctly anticipated that nothing but harm could come from any involvement of Cambodia with either side.

The main U.S. rationale for its ultimate bombing of Cambodia was that Sihanouk had allowed the North Vietnamese to use "the Parrot's Beak" in the NE corner of Cambodia as a path for transporting troops and materiel, and that the area was a combination of a headquarters and a vast munitions dump for the Viet Minh. When, after the devastation, those claims were found to be either totally untrue or only minimally true, like the "weapons of mass destruction" raison d'etre for Iraq the damage had been done, the arguments forgotten. (SHAWCROSS)

... Initially, our onslaught on Cambodia took the form of bombing; as time went on, the catastrophe was a consequence of our politicking. First, the bombing.

It is vital to note that when the bombing began Cambodia was a neutral nation;, therefore, to bomb it would be illegal in U.S. law. For that reason, it was kept secret even from the pilots doing the bombing (see below).

The bombing began on March 17, 1969. By the time it ended, 14 months later, 3,630 bombing raids-raids not flights-had been carried out by flights of 50 or so 8-engined B-52s flying mostly from Guam or Okinawa.

When the planes took off the pilots had been given "legitimate" targets in Vietnam; as they reached Vietnam, they were given p coordinates by radio: in Cambodia. We know that from the sworn testimony of one of the pilots. (SHAWCROSS)

Each plane carried dozens of 750-lb. bombs: carpet bombs. The planes dropping them were 30,000 + feet above the target, safe from any danger from below or nearby, and unable even to imagine what or who they were hitting, burning, killing.

All of that is disgusting in itself; the way in which the targets were named by Kissinger and Nixon turns disgust into revulsion: The overall name of our leaders' murderous plans for Cambodia was "Menu," with the progression of targets named "Breakfast," "Lunch," "Snack," "Dinner," "Dessert," and "Supper." (SHAWCROSS)

In 1970, while Sihanouk was away from Cambodia, a U.S.-organized coup put Lon Nol into power. He was immediately recognized by the USA; our troops invaded, and the bombing was stepped up (leaving almost a third of the population without shelter). Then, after a long string of related disasters, the Khmer Rouge came to power.

In 1970, the Khmer Rouge's numbers were in the 100s; in the ensuing social chaos accompanying the heavy bombing and Sihanouk's removal, traditional Cambodian society simply dissolved and the Khmer Rouge's numbers multiplied. As covertly as possible the USA supported the Khmer Rouge throughout its devastating rule over Cambodia; in doing so, its principal ally in that regard which if not so tragic, would be funny-was China. Like the USA, China saw the North Vietnamese as the enemy. Be reminded that one of our reasons for going to war in Vietnam was because, as we put it, if the Viet Minh of the North were to win, they would link up with their Red Chinese ally and.,. the dominoes would fall all the way to the Mediterranean.

In fact, as everyone but the USA seems to have known, the Chinese and the Vietnamese of the North had been enemies for at least 1,000 years. (YOUNG)Details, details, Henry the K could say; bombs away!)

Once in full power, the Khmer Rouge wrought sheer disaster on their own people and the venerable society of Cambodia. It is impossible to find any official (or unofficial) statements from the USA during or since the Nixon years that might constitute even the beginnings of an admission of what we did, anything like, even, an apology; nor have we done anything significant toward finding ways of undoing the vast harm we have done to those people-people who never did and never could have done any harm whatsoever to the United States of America. The blame falls most directly on the Nixon White House and, within it, to its main strategist, Kissinger.

Having achieved all that, Kissinger went on from one nasty maneuver to another; now we now turn to one of the most flagrant, accomplished, as noted earlier, in the very year in which he won that Nobel Peace Prize. Depths below depths.

Chile In terms of political democracy and modern capitalism, Chile may be seen as the most advanced of all the Latin American nations; but political democracy does not equal socioeconomic democracy; that has never been more than mildly approximated in a few western and northern European nations and considerably less so in the USA-which also did its very best in Western Europe to hold it back (most intensely in Italy), and went beyond that in Latin America ....

Kissinger's energies were not entirely used up in Cambodia; as that continued in 1973, he found time also to play a monstrous role in Chile. From the mid-1970s on, that role was heavily documented in, among other works, two 1975 Reports by the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee (USSIC), the biography of CIA Chief Helms by Cord MEYER, the book by Chilean UN official Armando URIBE, and in the comprehensive work on Kissinger and Nixon by Seymour HERSH (1983).

Chile is a country blessed-or cursed-by its rich deposits of copper and nitrates. They have long attracted foreign investment, most of all from giant U.S. mining companies such as Guggenheim (for nitrates), and Anaconda and Kennecott for copper. Before and after World War II other companies jumped on the wagon: Grace Airways, GE. ITT, Pepsi-Cola. Standard Oil....

They and other U.S. companies have never been able to leave Chile's domestic policies alone, least of all those having to do with unions and recurring moves to nationalize resources. Going back to at least the 1920s, attempts to organize labor and move toward social democracy or socialism in Chile were common; such attempts made headway and then fell back. Not until 1970 was a left coalition candidate ever elected to be president.

That was Salvador Allende, a medical doctor and a moderate Marxist. He was criticized from the right and the center for his Marxism and from the Communist left for his insistence upon seeking to move toward socialism within the functioning framework of democracy.

Even before his election, the CIA was doing what it could to keep him and left-leaning activities down. After the election?

Declassified documents show that the Nixon administration, which had tried to block Mr. Allende's inauguration, began plotting to bring him down just 72 hours after he took office. (Editorial, NYT, 9-11-03, "The Other Sept. 11.")

Then the CIA stepped-up its efforts, with the distinct aim of having him overthrown by any means at hand, including assassination (USSIC, Nov. 1975)-with financial assistance from U.S. companies.

With or without U.S. intervention, Allende faced opposition from his left (which saw him as too moderate and from the Chilean business world; but that came to be broadened, deepened, and organized: covert CIA activities, including the siphoning of U.S. corporate "contributions" to the opposition: buying up or buying out elements of the media, arranging and financing demonstrations and strikes and transport shutdowns against Allende's policies, not least. (USSIC, Dec. 1975)

Allende became president in a free election, with every reason to expect free elections to follow. Given that Chile was a political democracy, on the surface it might seem that the USA and foreign capitalists should have had little to fear. Not so, thought the CIA and the White House; they saw the situation as distinctly threatening. Why?

The other two-thirds of Chile were dominated by the Christian Democrats (led by Eduardo Frei) and the Communists. But for Nixon, even Frei was a danger: Had he not recognized Castro's Cuba in the 1960s? And, by 1970, had he not supported nationalization of copper? ... The arithmetic for the USA as the 70s began was that the conservatives + the fascists equaled only a third of the electorate.

In a nutshell, free elections in Chile over time were veering to the left toward policies seen as harmful not just to U.S. interests there, but as setting in place another scary example for the rest of Latin America: one Cuba was already too much; the only hope was to find a way to bring a centrist/fascist government into power.

U.S. CIA and business activities-echoing those of Italy in the decade or so after World War 11-contributed to ongoing economic crises which were easily transformed into a social crisis. The tactics included transport and other strikes, punitive actions by U.S. companies, against left workers, and media campaigns financed by the CIA. URIBE, HERSH)

As the 1970 election approached, the USA withdrew support for Frei, moving instead to support the campaign of Jorge Alessandri, a long-time campaigner for office-archconservative, and very friendly to foreign investors.

Thousands of newsletters were mailed, booklets printed, posters distributed, walls painted-under the aegis of the CIA that equated Allende's election with the Soviet invasion of Prague... Until election day, the CIA confidently predicted a huge Alessandri victory.

... Allende won the popular election in September. Customarily, it had to be affirmed by congressional vote, on October 14. Between the September victory and the congressional affirmation, the CIA was involved in a complex of economic and media efforts to have the election reversed, up to and including support for a military coup before the congressional vote in October.

That in turn required "proper" control of the Chilean army. However, General Rene Schneider, its Commander in Chief "was viewed as the only man capable of stopping a faction of right-wing officers from staging a coup to prevent Allende's /confirmation/" (HERSH) Two days before the October 24th election, Schneider was kidnapped and assassinated.

Notwithstanding all that, Allende won. Time for Act Two; Enter right, Nixon and Kissinger. From before the 1970 election until the day Allende was overthrown and killed-along with 3,000 others (more than on our 9/11)-the USA and its CIA covertly spent at least $11 million, used every trick in the book, had its own agents doing some of the work, and paid the Chileans doing the rest, beginning with the attempt to wreck the Chilean economy, as pronounced in "National Security Decision Memorandum (NSDM) No 93'

Within the context of a publicly cool and correct posture toward Chile... /the Nixon administration will! undertake vigorous efforts to assure that other governments in Latin America understand fully that the United States opposes consolidation of a Communist state in Chile hostile to the United States and other hemisphere nations, and to the extent possible encourages them to adopt a similar posture. (quoted in HERSH)

Such as? 1. Guarantees of private investments in Chile. 2. Study which existing guarantees and financing can be terminated. 3. Bringing maximum feasible influence to bear in international financial institutions to limit credit or other financial assistance.

In addition were the continuing efforts to promote discontent through the media and production sabotage and transport obstructions, as well as the expansion of hooligan activities reminiscent of Berlin in the early 1930s.

° It all culminated in the military overthrow of the Allende government, the arrest, torture, imprisonment, and murder of at least ) 40,000 Chilean citizens, and the imposition of General Pinochet's fascist government.

Henry the K wasn't responsible for all of this, of course; he was "just doing his job"; that is, encouraging and doing the bidding of Nixon. Nixon was a hater and he very much hated Allende and all he stood for:

President Nixon took Allende's election as an affront, "it's too much the fashion to kick us around..." (NYT, ibid.), not least his friendly attitude toward Cuba.

If ever there was a marriage made in Hell, it was that of Kissinger and Nixon. As HALDEMAN makes explicit, the two men circled each other like panthers; a gilded Mafia brotherhood of hate creating or exacerbating death and destruction. If you wish to be brought to some combination of laughter and tears, see HALDEMAN'5 rendering of the moment in the early 70s when, in the Oval Office, they knelt together to pray-for what and to whom, exactly, who knows.

Before Nixon's hasty exit from the White House he had made Kissinger Secretary of State; he continued in that office (while continuing to rule over National Security, of course) when Gerald Ford inherited the presidency. Ford was hapless; LBJ had wonderfully characterized him as a guy who "couldn't chew gum and cross the street at the same time."

Although Henry has continued to enrich himself and harm others through his consulting company, he has happily lost any significant say over our foreign affairs-or has he? In May, 2003, in Iraq, General Garner was replaced as Chief of the New Iraqi Order by one L. Paul Bremer III, ex-CIA, ex-Assistant to-guess who? Henry Kissinger.

Nor is it utterly wild to speculate that Kissinger secretly, of course-is behind the USA's continuing refusal to join the International Criminal Court unless it exempts our guys from indictments. That is meant to protect many U.S. personnel who have done shady or deadly acts. But surely at the very top of that list one would find the name Henry Kissinger. He has already been singled out for trial in Chile for his role in the overthrow of Allende and the installation of General Pinochet (whose murderous government, incidentally, lasted for 17 years)...




Our tortured and torturing relationship with Cuba began just a year before President Monroe issued his warning to the European colonizers: In 1822 our armed forces set foot on Cuban/Spanish soil four times, in search of something or other. We returned in 1899, when we "supported" their struggle for independence against the Spanish. For reasons best left undiscussed, we took it upon ourselves to "police" Cuba from 1899 to 1902.

We stopped that after a provision-the Platt Amendment was inserted into the Cuban constitution "confirming" the right of the USA right to intervene militarily if the political situation "deteriorated."

In 1934 that "amendment" was abrogated in favor of a trade agreement. In the interim, U.S. Marines "intervened militarily" four times-in 1906, 1912-13, 1917, and 1933. As all that unrolled, we also laid claim to Guantanamo -of recent infamy. On what basis other than sheer force we did so has been left unspecified. Ah, yes; we have a "lease"; by whom it was written, holding what weapon, escapes my memory.

Be all that as it may, it became and remains a strategic U.S. military base; and if Castro doesn't like it, well .... Now, of course, it is the home for Camp X-Ray, seen by some as our smallest, most recent, and best-behaved state; concerning which, a separate comment will conclude the ensuing discussion of Cuba.

As a newly-independent society, much burdened by slavery throughout its history, after 1900 Cuba quite naturally became home to political struggles aimed at democracy. For the U.S, democracy is something best confined to voting; however, in that the great majority of Cubans were poor meant that they came to have a broader and deeper view of democracy in mind; a socioeconomic not just a political democracy.

Thus there was intermittent turmoil. To put an end to that, the USA installed Army Sgt. Fulgencio Batista. He ruled with an iron fist, torture, and a bulging pocketbook from 1933 through 1944. Distracted by World War II and its clarion calls for democracy, from 1944 through 1952 two less ferocious governments were allowed; our nervousness led the USA to re-install Batista.

If Batista had taken any lessons in politics, they were from Hitler and Mussolini; more likely, his natural viciousness and greed served as his guidebook. He was so vile that in 1957 the USA 1) cut off its normal supply of arms to Cuba and, get this, 2) encouraged the resistance movement of one Fidel Castro. A few words about Castro himself, before going on.

Son of a comfortable middle class family, by the early 1950s he was thinking and acting very much as many young people would in the 1960s in the USA and Europe. He was just 25 when he led an assault on the Moncada Barracks in 195. Before going off to prison for two years Castro gave his

It is a justly famous, humanistic and, for many, an inspiring document. Reflecting on his words in that speech, and on the needs and possibilities of Cuba after the successful revolution of 1959, one cannot help but wonder how uniquely wonderful Cuba would almost certainly have become had the USA not done every damned thing it could to bring back the glorious days of Fulgencio Batista.

The conventional critique of Castro's Cuba is that in "turning toward the Soviet Union and China" he was also becoming a threat to the Western Hemisphere, and not only as a proxy military base for the Soviets and Mao.

Turn toward them he did, and in doing so, necessarily, he also developed friendly political relationships with them. But the original impetus came from the USA, not from Cuba. As with the new Soviet Union after World War I and the new Red China after World War II, the USA responded to the new Cuba with economic, military, and political hostility.

The first move was when Cuba's sugar exports to the USA-its prime, almost its only, source of income-were blocked, first and foremost at the instance of U.S. sugar growers. Along with that, the

U.S. began the embargo that endures still against Cuban imports and exports-with strong pressures to participate on our allies. From that point on, one thing followed another, most dramatically (at first), the Bay of Pigs invasion.

It was a spectacular flop, and was blamed on JFK. The blame that should have fallen on him was that he did not cancel an invasion organized by Nixon, then VP. of the recently departed Eisenhower administration.

Cuba was one of many stinking roses in the CIA's very large bouquet. True to form, the CIA had assured Ike and then JFK that if we armed and trained the Cuban opposition to Castro (which was done in Guatemala), then on the basis of CIA intelligence, a relatively small invasion at the appropriately-named Bay of Pigs would be followed by spontaneous uprisings against Castro, and then .... Hearty congratulations! As for Guatemala?

Nothing of the sort happened. Why not? First, we now know that those the CIA questioned were among that minority of relatively well-off Cubans (still in Cuba or in Miami) who were dead set against Castro, no matter what. Next, already by the April 1961 invasion the revolution was popular, and its popularity was to increase for many years afterword - despite, as will be noted, reasons for dissent. Again, why?

Because the Cuban Revolution promised and soon began to deliver a better life to the overwhelming majority of Cubans in terms of clothing, food, shelter, education, and health care; in terms of dignity and hope.

Castro rules as autocrat, to be sure, and one who has treated at least a small number of Cubans badly-to the point, recently, of executions. From his first public appearances, it was clear that Castro had a compelling ego; in recent decades what was once compelling may now be seen as manic. But two points:

1) Certainly in material and probably in many "non-material" realms, the Cuban people are having far better lives than any prior Cuban generation or, than most of the people in the world; all that despite living in a small country with limited resources and under embargo; 2) the USA will have to answer this question: Had we left Cuba alone-to say nothing of, had we assisted them-who can say with reasoned arguments that the Castro of 1959 rather than the Castro of 2004 would not have prevailed; it is not so much Castro himself but the treatment of Cuba by the USA that has produced the Castro of today. (For an excellent and balanced summary of Cuba since 1960, see the articles in , January, 2004: "Cuba! 45 Years of Revolution.")

Came X-Ray. For those who can get away with it, resort to the double standard is "normal." The entire history of U.S.-Cuban relations, if viewed "objectively," can be seen as a series of outrageous mistreatments, with variations. Given the history noted above, our behavior regarding Cuba's Guantánamo Bay then would rank high on any list of imperialist excess.

That an enormously rich powerhouse of a country would stoop to demanding of a newly-independent and very small nation such as Cuba that it must allow the giant to occupy and use a valuable portion of its land in perpetuity take the military consequences was, is, would always be, outrageous.

It would be interesting to poll the people of the USA on this question: "The Spanish have demanded that the USA relinquish a piece of Florida for a naval station"; or, "The British have demanded we relinquish a portion for a military outpost on Long Island." Mr. and Mrs. America, what say you?

What our government has said is measured by what it has done; and our people's silence is our answer, with only now and then a dissent ...


Even as late as the 1950s, when TV began to be common by comparison with today, the media were merely a now and then "presence"; today they are "in our face." Whether we are conscious of it or not, and mostly we are not, there are few indeed of our / thoughts, our feelings, our inclinations, our behavior patterns . which, for the young and not so young are not shaped or directed in significant degree by the media.

Business knows that, politicians know it; most of us know it. Yet almost all who know it also "make believe" that what is true is not

In a recent essay-"The Numbing of the Mind"-the author put it in a nutshell:

Our minds are the product of a total immersion in a daily experience saturated with fabrications to a degree unprecedented in human history.] People have never had to cope with so much stuff, so many choices in kind and number. (DE ZENGIITA)

P.T. Barnum
"There's a sucker born every minute."

... newspapers, radio, and TV depend for their profits upon satisfying their advertising clients, upon whose toes they will seek not to step.

Commenting on a much-publicized firing by the NYT of a reporter for numerous minor falsifications, Edward HERMAN, in "Little Versus Big Lies (and Structures of Lies)," states the problem succinctly:

... the New York Times itself, both as a media institution and the product that is delivered in its name on a daily basis, is built and thrives on structures of disinformation and selective information that constitute Big Lies.

The five largest of these giants in 1997 were, in order, AOL Time Warner, Disney, Bertelsmann, Viacom, and News Corporation. Among the others control emanates from outside the media, as with Sony, Seagram, and GE.

... once upon a time, though, before the 1970s ended, there were quaint rules whose aim was to prevent centralized control over the sources and dissemination of "infotainment," For example:

From 1953 into the Reagan years ownership limits were fixed by the 7-7-7 rule (7 AM, 7 FM and 7 TV stations per owner), and cross-ownership of newspapers and broadcasting stations within the same market was barred (although over a hundred exceptions were grandfathered). These limits were raised to 12-12-12 in 1985, with TV station owners allowed to reach up to 25 percent of the national population. The ownership limits for radio were raised to 24-24-24 in 1992 and owners were given the right to acquire multiple stations in each market. The 1996 Telecommunications Reform Act removed the national ceiling on radio station ownership and allowed as many as eight stations to be acquired by a single owner in the largest market. The ceiling on TV ownership was raised to allow a single owner to reach 35 percent of the national audience. (HERMAN, MAN, 1999

The News Hour at least takes a strong pass at presenting more than sound bites and cheap drama. But when a major issue is under discussion, and a "roundtable" of 2-4 is organized, almost invariably there will be two conservatives and one reactionary and, maybe, one liberal-whether the issue is health care, taxes, Iraq..., whatever.

There is a discussion, and it is not as vulgarly one-sided as on other shows, or a mere shouting match. But only rarely is a seriously dissenting voice heard, and even then it barely gets a tenth of the time. And PBS is the best available on the national level.

... 85,000 + private firms that profit from the military contracting system; that number of firms in turn gives them considerable direct and indirect political influence-much added to by their sway over millions of "defense" workers-to push for ever-higher military budgets.

... the lion's share of military contracts then (and even more now) is delivered to a tiny and always shrinking fraction: During World War II, only 100 giant companies received two-thirds of the dollar value of milex contracts; in the past few years the top 25 companies get more than 50 percent, the top 10 ...


Prison Industrial Complex

In 2003 there were 2.3 million federal, local and state prisoners in the USA; almost 600 per 100,000. Compare that with / the Russian Federation: 335; the UK: 93; France and Germany: 1 80; the Netherlands: 40, Philippines: 22, France: 81; Japan: 10. (HERIVEL/WRIGHT)

In California, for example, blacks are but 6.8 percent of its population, but 31.6 of its prisoners; for Latinos the figures are 25.1 to 33.9; for Whites 55.6 to 29.6.

NYT editorial ... pointed out that New York's drug-driven expansion, while providing jobs to largely white upstate communities has devastated black and Hispanic neighborhoods in the cities. Though most drug users are white, 94 percent of the people jailed for drug offenses are black or Hispanic, (NYT, 8-23-01)

In California, the average annual pay for a prison guard is now $64,000; higher than that of an experienced school teacher or a new university prof.

The accepted estimates are that 20 million Africans were taken away from their homelands, but that only 4 million survived the months' long voyage. This says nothing of the horrors endured on the trip, or how the survivors' subsequent health was affected. (MINTZ; NORDHOLT; WILLIAMS, E. /1944/; GENOVESE)

... after the attack (Pearl Harbor), at least 150,000 Japanese men, women, and children were rounded up, placed in concentration camps and, without access to lawyers or visitors, left there until war's end; the precedent for Camp X-ray, Guantánamo.


Ronald Reagan

Vietnam, "Pave it over and use it for a parking lot."

protestors: "It's time for a little blood to flow."

"See one redwood tree, and you've seen 'em all."

It was on Reagan's watch that "supply-side economics" was born, The notion refers almost entirely to fiscal (taxing and spending) policies; they were (are) the Second Coming of pre-1930s policies and added up to something pretty simple: 1. Lower individual and corporate income (direct) taxes while increasing military expenditures. 2. There will be-surprise!-a budget deficit. 3. Lower social expenditures (whose nickname among his gang was "Starve the Beast." 4. Raise non-income (indirect) taxes-payroll taxes, sales taxes, diverse fees (national parks, etc.). Bush II's policy are a full copy.

State of the Union Address
"Our days of weakness are over. Our military forces are back on their feet and standing tall."

when it was shown that his gang had illegally made a deal with Iran to buy arms from them in order to give them to the U.S. organized and financed "contras" seeking to overthrow the Nicaraguan government. This was his public statement;

"I told the American people I did not trade arms for hostages. My heart and my best intention still tell me that is true, but the facts and the evidence tell me it is not." (DRAPER)

The white South after Reconstruction.., transformed lynching into a festival of racist violence.,.. Between 1880 and 1930, the number of black men, women, and children who died in ten Southern states "at the hands of persons unknown" almost certainly exceeded 2,500... /3,400 by 1945/ During that half century, a black person was murdered by a white mob nearly every week in every year. (LEWIS, DL.; DRAY, P.)




... The birthplace of western civilization, ancient Greece, was also / a slave society. Although slavery is one of the most abominable of all social crimes, it seems to have escaped the condemnation of all but a very small minority of the citizens of the slaveholding nations or of their societies' admirers elsewhere: Neither Aristotle nor Jefferson-like four of our first five presidents, a slave owner-found Greece to be reprehensible; nor did many free Germans or many non-Germans (nor the US or UK governments(BREITMAN) express horror as numberless people were enslaved to work in German factories in the 1930s; nor, finally, does today ongoing slave trade gain more than passing attention, and that from a few.

The relationship of the USA with slavery began when it was still a colony. Slaves were just another commodity but, by the 17th century the slave trade had already become a major economic factor for Britain, and its colonies in the western hemisphere.

Also, by then, enslavement had received the full support of the Church on the grounds that the merchant slavers were providing an opportunity for Africans to become Christians. That "opportunity" was denied most of them in the South; their masters vigorously opposed slaves learning anything, least of all the attachment of Jesus to equality.

By the next century, the trade was controlled by Britain. By then the gains from the slave trade and the plantations had become the prime source of profits and economic strength, providing the base for subsequent economic development in North America. In turn, that was a key element in the larger processes of the colonialism that provided the basis for the industrial capitalism in the 19th century:

The discovery of gold and silver in America, the extirpation, enslavement and entombment of the aboriginal population, the beginnings of the conquest and looting of the East Indies, the turning of Africa into a warren for the hunting of black-skins, signalized the rosy dawn of the era of capitalist production. These idyllic proceedings are the chief moments of primitive accumulation. (MARX, 1867 /1967/)

The manner in which the slaves were treated, whether upon capture, on the deadly "middle passage," or after arrival, was anything but "Christian." In order to maximize their profits, the traders typically overloaded the boats-e.g., carrying 600 slaves instead of the maximum of 415 they were built to carry; the slaves were chained hands to feet, effectively unable to move freely for most of every day and night-for months The horrible realities of eating their few scraps of food, defecating, and sleeping are beyond our comprehension:

Once landed, the slaves'-including children's- lives were dominated by hard work for 12-16 hours, whether under hot sun or freezing snow; were separated from families (even as infants); were whipped and raped; were treated as though not human. When one considers that the slaveowners were thus harming their own "investments," it is easy to infer that fear and hate were very much a constant in their thoughts. (NORDHOLDT; WILLIAMS, E.

Withal, slavery as a sociopolitical (let alone ethical) issue, was never a concern for more than a small minority of the white populations in either the North or the South, before or after the Civil War. ARABLE)

But what of the Underground Railroad? The Abolitionists? And wasn't the Civil War fought to end slavery? We take them up in turn,

The "Railroad" and its "conductors" were people; they did not of course involve locomotives. Beginning late in the 18th century, its black and white volunteers assisted escaping slaves toward freedom with a pattern of secret routes that went into and through 14 northern states. Its volunteers went South, and to lead the way, they provided food, shelter, and money to the escapees furnished in part by northern supporters. Hiding by day, moving by night, it is estimated that about 50,000 escaped slaves ultimately gained freedom with deadly risks for all concerned. INN, 200l)

That was a truly heroic chapter in our history, both for those who escaped and those who helped them. But the volunteers and conductors who helped were few in number: the peak estimate is for 3,000 in 1850. Congress showed what it thought of their principles and their courage when, in 1850, it passed the Fugitive Slave Act: Anyone caught helping a runaway slave was subject to a crippling fine and six months in prison. Slaves were, after all, property.

The Abolitionists undertook few physical risks, but they too were admirable. It was a small group and to be part of it before the Civil war was unpopular. It is pertinent in that regard to remember that the early 1960s civil rights struggles and the resistance to U.S. intervention in Vietnam were also carried on by small and initially very unpopular groups throughout the 1960s.

In all of those cases-as the 60s ended for civil rights and Vietnam and as the Civil War began for slavery-a significant element of public opinion had at least begun to "change sides": so much so in the case of the Civil War that it came to be and is still cited as a war to end slavery.

But there are many reasons for understanding that the Civil War was p fought to end slavery-most persuasively the words of President Lincoln to Horace Greeley, Editor of the New York Tribune August, 1962:

My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or destroy Slavery. If I could save the union without freeing any slave I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves, I would do it; and if I could free it by freeing some and leaving others alone, I would also do it. (quoted in ZINN)

A month later Lincoln issued his preliminary Emancipation Proclamation. It gave the South four months to stop rebelling and threatened to emancipate their slaves if they continued to fight, while, however, promising to leave slavery untouched in states that came over to the North; indeed, still in 1863, the slave states occupied by northern troops-Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, and parts of Virginia and Louisiana-were able to retain their slaves. ZINN quotes the reaction of the London Spectator "The principle is not that a human being cannot justly own another, but that he cannot own him unless he is loyal to the United States."

The war proceeded, always more violently, always more tragically for all concerned, with numberless shattered families and over 600,000 dead soldiers-equal to more than 5 million today. Our total dead from World Wars I plus II were also about 600,000 (for a population more many times larger).

After the war ended, a turbulent period ensued: northern troops occupied the South, the slaves were freed, and for a "brief period..., southern Negroes voted, elected blacks to state legislatures and to Congress, /and/ introduced free and racially mixed public education in the South": (ZINN) It seemed as though a new era had opened.

It had, but it closed shut violently a decade later, with the "Compromise of 1877." Setting the Underground Railroaders and Abolitionists aside, there were two main viewpoints among the white people of the North: 1) Among the men who were to be drafted to fight the war, few wished to fight: those who could afford it bought their way out of the draft, and many of the others joined bloody riots to avoid duty-including riots against northern blacks; 2) however, the rich and the powerful did want the war, for "the Union" was necessary to retain the markets and enormous resource-rich territory for the rapidly industrializing USA.

In the infamous "Compromise," Congress agreed to allow the South to govern itself, thus bringing "reconstruction" to a halt and undoing it: it assured U.S. governmental indifference regarding the physical and social treatment of the freed slaves in exchange for unlimited access for northern capital to invest in and control the South's vast mineral and forest resources, its railroads, and the like.

Thus unleashed, the South set about to diminish the social, economic, and political conditions of black people down to their prewar levels-or worse: There had been no KKK before the war, then there was; nor, compared to post-1877, had lynchings been common. When enslaved, blacks, although badly treated, were assets, and to some extent protected; after 1877, as sharecroppers. They were of no concern, except as targets:

... The white South after Reconstruction.., transformed lynching into a festival of racist violence,... Between 1880 and 1930, the number of black men, women, and children who died in ten Southern states "at the hands of persons unknown" almost certainly exceeded 2,500... /3,400 by 1945/ During that half century, a black person was murdered by a white mob nearly every week in every year. (LEWIS, D.L.; DRAY, P.)

The always increasing thousands of "poor white trash" who were sharecroppers and, later, heavily exploited textile factory workers, were free to take their rage and frustration out on blacks, and did, with neither remorse nor interference. Thus, as the northern economy resumed its feeding off the South, the South turned its energies toward institutionalized racism-with very little or no interference, until the 1960s. (DOWD, 1956)

In seeking to understand the nature and ongoing consequences of slavery and racism to the USA, therefore, it is important to identify the role of the North in its existence and functioning. Quite apart from the fact that slavery was also practiced in the North until the late 1820s, perhaps most revealing is the role of slave trade in the economy of New England: our "City on the Hill," where the "land of the free and home of the brave" first spread its wings. (DAVIS, D.B.)

The South used and abused the slaves once arrived and sold, but the slave trade that made it possible was centered in New England. Here is VEBLEN's ironic comment on the home of U.S. Puritanism and freedom:

The slave trade was never a "nice" occupation or an altogether unexceptionable investment-"balanced on the edge of the permissible." But even though it may have been distasteful to one and another of its New England men of affairs, and though there always was a suspicion of moral obliquity attached to the slave-trade, yet it had the good fortune to be drawn into the service of the greater good. In conjunction with its runningmate, the rum-trade, it laid the foundations of some very reputable fortunes at that focus of commercial enterprise that presently became the center of American culture, and so gave rise to some of the country's Best People. At least so they say.

Perhaps also it was, in some part, in this early pursuit of gain in this moral penumbra that American business enterprise learned how not to let its right hand know what its left hand is doing; and there is always something to be done that is best done with the left hand. (1923)

Since then, the "moral penumbra" has enlarged beyond measure, and "American business enterprise" and our government have become magicians with that "left hand"-at home and abroad.

Whether in the deep past or the present, what became the ) USA was a slave society for more than half of its existence; the consequences of that for our nation's economic and noneconomic evolution cannot be measured with precision, but in both respects they were decisive. Slavery normally implies and requires, and especially did so in the USA, a slavery-dominated society as much as a society dominating slaves. In turn, this meant that whatever business considerations were needed for the continuation of the slave-cum-cotton system of the U.S. South, they were immeasurably reinforced by the social and political imperatives for maintaining a slave society.

Slavery was the functional core, of our always richer and more productive agricultural economy before the Civil War, going back to colonial times. It was therefore also the functional core of the always-strengthening trading and financial centers of the North. From the early colonial era into the early national decades, the always accelerating trade and finance of the northern (and, later, western) cities were critically dependent upon the growth of unfinished exports and finished imports of the South, as was the steady development of land and sea transportation. For the entire economy, until mid-19th century, the "growth point" (as economists put it) was the agricultural South, and its "growth point" was slavery. And everyone knew it. (CASH)

"Everyone" also knew that the slaveholding South usually controlled the entire government of the USA from 1789 to 1860: the White House 70 percent of those years, with similar or greater percentages for Congress and the Supreme Court. Those most concerned and disturbed by this were the rising industrialists of the North. They needed an interventionist State for protective tariffs, subsidized railroads (2/3 of whose construction costs were paid for by the government), and profitable access to mines and forests. (PHILLIPS)

Therefore, if the positive side of the slave South's role was to continue-that is, its contribution to economic growth and development-it also became essential to reduce its political power, even if, as Lincoln made clear, that required freeing the slaves. Even if, but only if.

The negative side is the mirror image of the positive: our people learned to see black people as "others" or, worse, not as people at all: more exactly, they were officially counted as 2/3 of a person for the voting purposes of their owners. The taking of the first steps of enslaving Africans and killing or mistreating "Indians allowed the rest to follow easily. But "the rest" did not end with the dehumanization of others; nor did it end with ... the dehumanization of one's self.

In learning to ignore or overlook what we as a people were doing to others, we learned to do something of the same regarding what was being done to ourselves, and in all corners of our lives: economic, social, cultural, political, military and environmental.

Abiding in or, worse, taking satisfaction in the making into creatures of other human beings, we lost our ability to note that we too were and are being made into creatures: creatures of militarism, of nationalism, of exploitation, of consumerism and of debt-creatures able to be manipulated by fear and hate and attitudes of superiority, greed and selfishness.

None of that is due entirely to slavery and the racism it depended upon and fed; of course not. But all were accomplished more easily because of them,

"Those whom the Gods would destroy, they first make mad."

We are now well into the second (2004 the third) generation of children for whom television has been their first and most accessible teacher and, for many, their most reliable companion and friend .... There is no audience so young that it is barred from television. There is no poverty so abject that it must forego television. There is no education so exalted that it is not modified by television. And most important of all, there is no subject of public interest-politics, news, education, religion, science, sports-that does not find its way to television. Which means that all public understanding of these subjects shaped by the biases of television.

Gabriel KOLKO

American society has had a class structure without decisive class conflict; a society that has had conflict limited to smaller issues that were not crucial to the existing order, and on which the price of satisfying opposition was relatively modest from the viewpoint of continuation of the social system. In brief, a static class structure, serving class ends might be frozen into American society even if the interest and values served were those of a ruling class. (KOLKO, 1970)

Despite some qualms, a large majority of our people see no need for us to be involved political beings. Those with wealth and power know better than to allow that dictum to apply to them: they pay out tens of billions of dollars annually for tens of thousands of lobbyists, institutional advertising, and bought-and-paid-for candidates' campaigns. They know that "the free market" doesn't take care of their needs and possibilities. It is worth repeating the cautionary words of Adam SMITH, the unwitting father of today's free market ideology:

Businessmen are an order of men whose interest is never exactly the same with that of the public, who have generally an interest to deceive and even to oppress the public, and who accordingly have, upon many occasions, both deceived and oppressed it.

... the USA has been "slouching towards" a postmodern form of fascism: one depending more upon the techniques of advertising and religious zeal than jackboots and death camps ...

The administrations of Nixon and Reagan were among the most disgraceful in our history; yet Nixon, who committed major crimes both at home and abroad, had been "rehabilitated" in the public mind by the time he died, while Reagan, despite his carefree militarism and cruel social policies, remains one of the most popular presidents in our entire history.

The Broken Promises of America

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