My list for the Ten Worst Presidents of the United States

Here’s a list, based entirely on my opinions; feel free to disagree and make your own.

  1. Donald Trump (for reasons too many to list)

  2. George W. Bush (for starting the totally needless war against Iraq in 2003)

  3. Andrew Jackson (for being a racist who expelled entire Native American tribes to the west)

  4. James Buchanan (for doing nothing to prevent the southern states from setting up the Confederacy)

  5. Herbert Hoover (for doing nothing to end the Great Depression)
  6. Ronald Reagan (for the Iran-Contra scandal, his “Reaganomics” scam and removing the Fairness Doctrine)
  7. Richard Nixon (for Watergate and for his “southern strategy” of making the Republican Party appealing to southern white racists)
  8. Rutherford B. Hayes (for benefiting from an election stolen from the Democrats and ending Reconstruction without reforming the South enough to make it fair to blacks)
  9. Warren G. Harding (for appointing corrupt people to high positions that caused a lot of scandals)
  10. Woodrow Wilson (a racist who endorsed the Ku Klux Klan propaganda film “Birth of a Nation” and led the USA into World War I after being re-elected in 1916 on the slogan “he kept us out of war”. So, he lied!)

The Myth of American Innocence

Read this story:

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/aug/08/unlearning-the-myth-of-american-innocence

Unlearning the myth of American innocence

When she was 30, Suzy Hansen left the US for Istanbul – and began to realise that Americans will never understand their own country until they see it as the rest of the world does

My mother recently found piles of my notebooks from when I was a small child that were filled with plans for my future. I was very ambitious. I wrote out what I would do at every age: when I would get married and when I would have kids and when I would open a dance studio.

When I left my small hometown for college, this sort of planning stopped. The experience of going to a radically new place, as college was to me, upended my sense of the world and its possibilities. The same thing happened when I moved to New York after college, and a few years later when I moved to Istanbul. All change is dramatic for provincial people. But the last move was the hardest. In Turkey, the upheaval was far more unsettling: after a while, I began to feel that the entire foundation of my consciousness was a lie.

For all their patriotism, Americans rarely think about how their national identities relate to their personal ones. This indifference is particular to the psychology of white Americans and has a history unique to the US. In recent years, however, this national identity has become more difficult to ignore. Americans can no longer travel in foreign countries without noticing the strange weight we carry with us. In these years after the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the many wars that followed, it has become more difficult to gallivant across the world absorbing its wisdom and resources for one’s own personal use. Americans abroad now do not have the same swagger, the easy, enormous smiles. You no longer want to speak so loud. There is always the vague risk of breaking something.

Some years after I moved to Istanbul, I bought a notebook, and unlike that confident child, I wrote down not plans but a question: who do we become if we don’t become Americans? If we discover that our identity as we understood it had been a myth? I asked it because my years as an American abroad in the 21st century were not a joyous romp of self-discovery and romance. Mine were more of a shattering and a shame, and even now, I still don’t know myself.

I grew up in Wall, a town located by the Jersey Shore, two hours’ drive from New York. Much of it was a landscape of concrete and parking lots, plastic signs and Dunkin’ Donuts. There was no centre, no Main Street, as there was in most of the pleasant beach towns nearby, no tiny old movie theatre or architecture suggesting some sort of history or memory.

Most of my friends’ parents were teachers, nurses, cops or electricians, except for the rare father who worked in “the City”, and a handful of Italian families who did less legal things. My parents were descendants of working-class Danish, Italian and Irish immigrants who had little memory of their European origins, and my extended family ran an inexpensive public golf course, where I worked as a hot-dog girl in the summers. The politics I heard about as a kid had to do with taxes and immigrants, and not much else. Bill Clinton was not popular in my house. (In 2016, most of Wall voted Trump.)

We were all patriotic, but I can’t even conceive of what else we could have been, because our entire experience was domestic, interior, American. We went to church on Sundays, until church time was usurped by soccer games. I don’t remember a strong sense of civic engagement. Instead I had the feeling that people could take things from you if you didn’t stay vigilant. Our goals remained local: homecoming queen, state champs, a scholarship to Trenton State, barbecues in the backyard. The lone Asian kid in our class studied hard and went to Berkeley; the Indian went to Yale. Black people never came to Wall. The world was white, Christian; the world was us.

We did not study world maps, because international geography, as a subject, had been phased out of many state curriculums long before. There was no sense of the US being one country on a planet of many countries. Even the Soviet Union seemed something more like the Death Star – flying overhead, ready to laser us to smithereens – than a country with people in it.

I have TV memories of world events. Even in my mind, they appear on a screen: Oliver North testifying in the Iran-Contra hearings; the scarred, evil-seeming face of Panama’s dictator Manuel Noriega; the movie-like footage, all flashes of light, of the bombing of Baghdad during the first Gulf war. Mostly what I remember of that war in Iraq was singing God Bless the USA on the school bus – I was 13 – wearing little yellow ribbons and becoming teary-eyed as I remembered the video of the song I had seen on MTV.

And I’m proud to be an American

Where at least I know I’m free

That “at least” is funny. We were free – at the very least we were that. Everyone else was a chump, because they didn’t even have that obvious thing. Whatever it meant, it was the thing that we had, and no one else did. It was our God-given gift, our superpower.

By the time I got to high school, I knew that communism had gone away, but never learned what communism had actually been (“bad” was enough). Religion, politics, race – they washed over me like troubled things that obviously meant something to someone somewhere, but that had no relationship to me, to Wall, to America. I certainly had no idea that most people in the world felt those connections deeply. History – America’s history, the world’s history – would slip in and out of my consciousness with no resonance whatsoever.

Racism, antisemitism and prejudice, however – those things, on some unconscious level, I must have known. They were expressed in the fear of Asbury Park, which was black; in the resentment of the towns of Marlboro and Deal, which were known as Jewish; in the way Hispanics seemed exotic. Much of the Jersey Shore was segregated as if it were still the 1950s, and so prejudice was expressed through fear of anything outside Wall, anything outside the tiny white world in which we lived. If there was something that saved us from being outwardly racist, it was that in small towns such as Wall, especially for girls, it was important to be nice, or good – this pressure tempered tendencies toward overt cruelty when we were young.

I was lucky that I had a mother who nourished my early-onset book addiction, an older brother with mysteriously acquired progressive politics, and a father who spent his evenings studying obscure golf antiques, lost in the pleasures of the past. In these days of the 1%, I am nostalgic for Wall’s middle-class modesty and its sea-salt Jersey Shore air. But as a teenager, I knew that the only thing that could rescue me from the Wall of fear was a good college.

I ended up at the University of Pennsylvania. The lack of interest in the wider world that I had known in Wall found another expression there, although at Penn the children were wealthy, highly educated and apolitical. During orientation, the business school students were told that they were “the smartest people in the country”, or so I had heard. (Donald Trump Jr was there then, too.) In the late 1990s, everyone at Penn wanted to be an investment banker, and many would go on to help bring down the world economy a decade later. But they were more educated than I was; in American literature class, they had even heard of William Faulkner.

When my best friend from Wall revealed one night that she hadn’t heard of John McEnroe or Jerry Garcia, some boys on the dormitory hall called us ignorant, and white trash, and chastised us for not reading magazines. We were hurt, and surprised; white trash was something we said about other people at the Jersey Shore. My boyfriend from Wall accused me of going to Penn solely to find a boyfriend who drove a Ferrari, and the boys at Penn made fun of the Camaros we drove in high school. Class in America was not something we understood in any structural or intellectual way; class was a constellation of a million little materialistic cultural signifiers, and the insult, loss or acquisition of any of them could transform one’s future entirely.

In the end, I chose to pursue the new life Penn offered me. The kids I met had parents who were doctors or academics; many of them had already even been to Europe! Penn, for all its superficiality, felt one step closer to a larger world.

Still, I cannot remember any of us being conscious of foreign events during my four years of college. There were wars in Eritrea, Nepal, Afghanistan, Kosovo, East Timor, Kashmir. US embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam were bombed. Panama, Nicaragua (I couldn’t keep Latin American countries straight), Osama bin Laden, Clinton bombing Iraq – nope.

I knew “Saddam Hussein”, which had the same evil resonance as “communism”. I remember the movie Wag the Dog, a satire in which American politicians start a fake war with foreign “terrorists” to distract the electorate during a domestic scandal – which at the time was what many accused Clinton of doing when he ordered a missile strike on Afghanistan during the Monica Lewinsky affair. I never thought about Afghanistan. What country was in Wag the Dog? Albania. There was a typical American callousness in our reaction to the country they chose for the movie, an indifference that said, Some bumblefuck country, it doesn’t matter which one they choose.

I was a child of the 90s, the decade when, according to America’s foremost intellectuals, “history” had ended, the US was triumphant, the cold war won by a landslide. The historian David Schmitz has written that, by that time, the idea that America won because of “its values and steadfast adherence to the promotion of liberalism and democracy” was dominating “op-ed pages, popular magazines and the bestseller lists”. These ideas were the ambient noise, the elevator music of my most formative years.

But for me there was also an intervention – a chance experience in the basement of Penn’s library. I came across a line in a book in which a historian argued that, long ago, during the slavery era, black people and white people had defined their identities in opposition to each other. The revelation to me was not that black people had conceived of their identities in response to ours, but that our white identities had been composed in conscious objection to theirs. I’d had no idea that we had ever had to define our identities at all, because to me, white Americans were born fully formed, completely detached from any sort of complicated past. Even now, I can remember that shiver of recognition that only comes when you learn something that expands, just a tiny bit, your sense of reality. What made me angry was that this revelation was something about who I was. How much more did I not know about myself?

It was because of this text that I picked up the books of James Baldwin, who gave me the sense of meeting someone who knew me better, and with a far more sophisticated critical arsenal than I had myself. There was this line:

But I have always been struck, in America, by an emotional poverty so bottomless, and a terror of human life, of human touch, so deep, that virtually no American appears able to achieve any viable, organic connection between his public stance and his private life.

And this one:

All of the western nations have been caught in a lie, the lie of their pretended humanism; this means that their history has no moral justification, and that the west has no moral authority.

And this one:

White Americans are probably the sickest and certainly the most dangerous people, of any colour, to be found in the world today.

I know why this came as a shock to me then, at the age of 22, and it wasn’t necessarily because he said I was sick, though that was part of it. It was because he kept calling me that thing: “white American”. In my reaction I justified his accusation. I knew I was white, and I knew I was American, but it was not what I understood to be my identity. For me, self-definition was about gender, personality, religion, education, dreams. I only thought about finding myself, becoming myself, discovering myself – and this, I hadn’t known, was the most white American thing of all.

I still did not think about my place in the larger world, or that perhaps an entire history – the history of white Americans – had something to do with who I was. My lack of consciousness allowed me to believe I was innocent, or that white American was not an identity like Muslim or Turk.

Of this indifference, Baldwin wrote: “White children, in the main, and whether they are rich or poor, grow up with a grasp of reality so feeble that they can very accurately be described as deluded.”

Young white Americans of course go through pain, insecurity and heartache. But it is very, very rare that young white Americans come across someone who tells them in harsh, unforgiving terms that they might be merely the easy winners of an ugly game, and indeed that because of their ignorance and misused power, they might be the losers within a greater moral universe.


In 2007, after I had worked for six years as a journalist in New York, I won a writing fellowship that would send me to Turkey for two years. I had applied for it on a whim. No part of me expected to win the thing. Even as my friends wished me congratulations, I detected a look of concern on their faces, as if I was crazy to leave all this, as if 29 was a little too late to be finding myself. I had never even been to Turkey before.

In the weeks before my departure, I spent hours explaining Turkey’s international relevance to my bored loved ones, no doubt deploying the cliche that Istanbul was the bridge between east and west. I told everyone that I chose Turkey because I wanted to learn about the Islamic world. The secret reason I wanted to go was that Baldwin had lived in Istanbul in the 1960s, on and off, for almost a decade. I had seen a documentary about Baldwin that said he felt more comfortable as a black, gay man in Istanbul than in Paris or New York.

When I heard that, it made so little sense to me, sitting in my Brooklyn apartment, that a space opened in the universe. I couldn’t believe that New York could be more illiberal than a place such as Turkey, because I couldn’t conceive of how prejudiced New York and Paris had been in that era; and because I thought that as you went east, life degraded into the past, the opposite of progress. The idea of Baldwin in Turkey somehow placed America’s race problem, and America itself, in a mysterious and tantalising international context. I took a chance that Istanbul might be the place where the secret workings of history would be revealed.

In Turkey and elsewhere, in fact, I would feel an almost physical sensation of intellectual and emotional discomfort, while trying to grasp a reality of which I had no historical or cultural understanding. I would go, as a journalist, to write a story about Turkey or Greece or Egypt or Afghanistan, and inevitably someone would tell me some part of our shared history – theirs with America – of which I knew nothing. If I didn’t know this history, then what kind of story did I plan to tell?

My learning process abroad was threefold: I was learning about foreign countries; I was learning about America’s role in the world; and I was also slowly understanding my own psychology, temperament and prejudices. No matter how well I knew the predatory aspects of capitalism, I still perceived Turkey’s and Greece’s economic advances as progress, a kind of maturation. No matter how deeply I understood the US’s manipulation of Egypt for its own foreign-policy aims, I had never considered – and could not grasp – how American policies really affected the lives of individual Egyptians, beyond engendering resentment and anti-Americanism. No matter how much I believed that no American was well-equipped for nation-building, I thought I could see good intentions on the part of the Americans in Afghanistan. I would never have admitted it, or thought to say it, but looking back, I know that deep in my consciousness I thought that America was at the end of some evolutionary spectrum of civilisation, and everyone else was trying to catch up.

American exceptionalism did not only define the US as a special nation among lesser nations; it also demanded that all Americans believe they, too, were somehow superior to others. How could I, as an American, understand a foreign people, when unconsciously I did not extend the most basic faith to other people that I extended to myself? This was a limitation that was beyond racism, beyond prejudice and beyond ignorance. This was a kind of nationalism so insidious that I had not known to call it nationalism; this was a self-delusion so complete that I could not see where it began and ended, could not root it out, could not destroy it.

In my first few months in Istanbul, I lived a formless kind of existence, days dissolving into the nights. I had no office to go to, no job to keep, and I was 30 years old, an age at which people either choose to grow up or remain stuck in the exploratory, idle phase of late-late youth. Starting all over again in a foreign country – making friends, learning a new language, trying to find your way through a city – meant almost certainly choosing the latter. I spent many nights out until the wee hours – such as the evening I drank beer with a young Turkish man named Emre, who had attended college with a friend of mine from the US.

A friend had told me that Emre was one of the most brilliant people he had ever met. As the evening passed, I was gaining a lot from his analysis of Turkish politics, especially when I asked him whether he voted for Erdoğan’s Justice and Development party (AKP), and he spat back, outraged, “Did you vote for George W Bush?” Until that point I had not realised the two might be equivalent.

Then, three beers in, Emre mentioned that the US had planned the September 11 attacks. I had heard this before. Conspiracy theories were common in Turkey; for example, when the military claimed that the PKK, the Kurdish militant group, had attacked a police station, some Turks believed the military itself had done it; they believed it even in cases where Turkish civilians had died. In other words, the idea was that rightwing forces, such as the military, bombed neutral targets, or even rightwing targets, so they could then blame it on the leftwing groups, such as the PKK. To Turks, bombing one’s own country seemed like a real possibility.

“Come on, you don’t believe that,” I said.

“Why not?” he snapped. “I do.”

“But it’s a conspiracy theory.”

He laughed. “Americans always dismiss these things as conspiracy theories. It’s the rest of the world who have had to deal with your conspiracies.”

I ignored him. “I guess I have faith in American journalism,” I said. “Someone else would have figured this out if it were true.”

He smiled. “I’m sorry, there’s no way they didn’t have something to do with it. And now this war?” he said, referring to the war in Iraq. “It’s impossible that the United States couldn’t stop such a thing, and impossible that the Muslims could pull it off.”

Some weeks later, a bomb went off in the Istanbul neighborhood of Güngören. A second bomb exploded out of a garbage bin nearby after 10pm, killing 17 people and injuring 150. No one knew who did it. All that week, Turks debated: was it al-Qaida? The PKK? The DHKP/C, a radical leftist group? Or maybe: the deep state?

The deep state – a system of mafia-like paramilitary organisations operating outside of the law, sometimes at the behest of the official military – was a whole other story. Turks explained that the deep state had been formed during the cold war as a way of countering communism, and then mutated into a force for destroying all threats to the Turkish state. The power that some Turks attributed to this entity sometimes strained credulity. But the point was that Turks had been living for years with the idea that some secret force controlled the fate of their nation.

In fact, elements of the deep state were rumoured to have had ties to the CIA during the cold war, and though that too smacked of a conspiracy theory, this was the reality that Turkish people lived in. The sheer number of international interventions the US launched in those decades is astonishing, especially those during years when American power was considered comparatively innocent. There were the successful assassinations: Patrice Lumumba, prime minister of the Democratic Republic of Congo, in 1961; General Rafael Trujillo of the Dominican Republic, also in 1961; Ngo Dinh Diem, president of South Vietnam, in 1963. There were the unsuccessful assassinations: Castro, Castro, and Castro. There were the much hoped-for assassinations: Nasser, Nasser, Nasser. And, of course, US-sponsored, -supported or -staged regime changes: Iran, Guatemala, Iraq, Congo, Syria, Dominican Republic, South Vietnam, Indonesia, Brazil, Chile, Bolivia, Uruguay and Argentina. The Americans trained or supported secret police forces everywhere from Cambodia to Colombia, the Philippines to Peru, Iran to Vietnam. Many Turks believed that the US at least encouraged the 1971 and 1980 military coups in Turkey, though I could find little about these events in any conventional histories anywhere.

But what I could see was that the effects of such meddling were comparable to those of September 11 – just as huge, life-changing and disruptive to the country and to people’s lives. Perhaps Emre did not believe that September 11 was a straightforward affair of evidence and proof because his experience – his reality – taught him that very rarely were any of these surreally monumental events easily explainable. I did not think Emre’s theory about the attacks was plausible. But I began to wonder whether there was much difference between a foreigner’s paranoia that the Americans planned September 11 and the Americans’ paranoia that the whole world should pay for September 11 with an endless global war on terror.

The next time a Turk told me she believed the US had bombed itself on September 11 (I heard this with some regularity; this time it was from a young student at Istanbul’s Boğaziçi University), I repeated my claim about believing in the integrity of American journalism. She replied, a bit sheepishly, “Well, right, we can’t trust our journalism. We can’t take that for granted.”

The words “take that for granted” gave me pause. Having lived in Turkey for more than a year, witnessing how nationalistic propaganda had inspired people’s views of the world and of themselves, I wondered from where the belief in our objectivity and rigour in journalism came. Why would Americans be objective and everyone else subjective?

I thought that because Turkey had poorly functioning institutions – they didn’t have a reliable justice system, as compared to an American system I believed to be functional – it often felt as if there was no truth. Turks were always sceptical of official histories, and blithely dismissive of the government’s line. But was it rather that the Turks, with their beautiful scepticism, were actually just less nationalistic than me?

American exceptionalism had declared my country unique in the world, the one truly free and modern country, and instead of ever considering that that exceptionalism was no different from any other country’s nationalistic propaganda, I had internalised this belief. Wasn’t that indeed what successful propaganda was supposed to do? I had not questioned the institution of American journalism outside of the standards it set for itself – which, after all, was the only way I would discern its flaws and prejudices; instead, I accepted those standards as the best standards any country could possibly have.

By the end of my first year abroad, I read US newspapers differently. I could see how alienating they were to foreigners, the way articles spoke always from a position of American power, treating foreign countries as if they were America’s misbehaving children. I listened to my compatriots with critical ears: the way our discussion of foreign policy had become infused since September 11 with these officious, official words, bureaucratic corporate military language: collateral damage, imminent threat, freedom, freedom, freedom.

Even so, I was conscious that if I had long ago succumbed to the pathology of American nationalism, I wouldn’t know it – even if I understood the history of injustice in America, even if I was furious about the invasion of Iraq. I was a white American. I still had this fundamental faith in my country in a way that suddenly, in comparison to the Turks, made me feel immature and naive.

I came to notice that a community of activists and intellectuals in Turkey – the liberal ones – were indeed questioning what “Turkishness” meant in new ways. Many of them had been brainwashed in their schools about their own history; about Atatürk, Turkey’s first president; about the supposed evil of the Armenians and the Kurds and the Arabs; about the fragility of their borders and the rapaciousness of all outsiders; and about the historic and eternal goodness of the Turkish republic.

“It is different in the United States,” I once said, not entirely realising what I was saying until the words came out. I had never been called upon to explain this. “We are told it is the greatest country on earth. The thing is, we will never reconsider that narrative the way you are doing just now, because to us, that isn’t propaganda, that is truth. And to us, that isn’t nationalism, it’s patriotism. And the thing is, we will never question any of it because at the same time, all we are being told is how free-thinking we are, that we are free. So we don’t know there is anything wrong in believing our country is the greatest on earth. The whole thing sort of convinces you that a collective consciousness in the world came to that very conclusion.”

“Wow,” a friend once replied. “How strange. That is a very quiet kind of fascism, isn’t it?”

It was a quiet kind of fascism that would mean I would always see Turkey as beneath the country I came from, and also that would mean I believed my uniquely benevolent country to have uniquely benevolent intentions towards the peoples of the world.

During that night of conspiracy theories, Emre had alleged, as foreigners often did, that I was a spy. The information that I was collecting as a journalist, Emre said, was really being used for something else. As an American emissary in the wider world, writing about foreigners, governments, economies partaking in some larger system and scheme of things, I was an agent somehow. Emre lived in the American world as a foreigner, as someone less powerful, as someone for whom one newspaper article could mean war, or one misplaced opinion could mean an intervention by the International Monetary Fund. My attitude, my prejudice, my lack of generosity could be entirely false, inaccurate or damaging, but would be taken for truth by the newspapers and magazines I wrote for, thus shaping perceptions of Turkey for ever.

Years later, an American journalist told me he loved working for a major newspaper because the White House read it, because he could “influence policy”. Emre had told me how likely it was I would screw this up. He was saying to me: first, spy, do no harm.


American innocence was a lie from the very beginning.

White Americans need to grow up!

https://dalehusband.com/2015/10/08/the-louisiana-purchase/

Indeed, the entire history of the USA, can be summed up as follows:

WHITE people from Europe came to North America, displaced RED people from lands they had lived on for thousands of years, captured and brought from Africa BLACK people to be our slaves, conquered more land from BROWN people in the southwest, and finally fought not one, not two, but three wars against YELLOW people on the other side of the world.

There are other matters to consider that most American don’t usually think about, but they are no less true.

The simple fact that Cuba’s Communist government did not collapse soon after the ones in eastern Europe did totally discredited the political narrative that the USA has made about Cuba since the 1960s: that Communism is by nature oppressive and when given the chance all people will embrace democracy and capitalism. The reason this is false: Cuba never had democracy, but before the 1960s was ruled by dictators that were friendly to the USA because they were also pro-capitalist! CAPITALISM DOES NOT PROMOTE DEMOCRACY! And the trade embargo forced on Cuba actually enabled Fidel Castro to demonize the USA as a bully and hypocrite for decades, keeping him in power.

Indeed, throughout the Cold War period (late 1940s to late 1980s) we Americans were NOT fighting for freedom and democracy against Communism but for capitalism, which led us to do some really despicable things to other countries (Iran in 1953, Chile in 1973, Vietnam in the 1960s and Nicaragua in the 1980s, among other examples). The notion that capitalism promotes freedom is one of the biggest lies ever invented; A corporation in a capitalist economy actually operates like a dictatorship, with the workers taking orders from their superiors and having no say in who their corporate executives are or what they do.

____________

Remember when Hitler referred to the Holocaust as the “final solution”? Because the Nazis has been discriminating against Jews for years and most Jews remained in Germany.
Once you start down the path of dehumanizing anyone, you make it easier to kill them eventually.
It could also happen in America against any despised minority, such as Mexican-Americans and Muslims.
There are two “problems” with my argument above about the Holocaust. One, we tend to demonize Hitler, calling him a monster rather than a man. Second, we think very highly of ourselves and our country and think we would never been so horrible.

But he wasn’t a monster, he was a human product of his time and culture, just as most of us are. And we HAVE committed acts of genocide and outright conquest! We actually put Native American tribes by the thousands into concentration camps called “reservations”. We even did the same to Japanese-Americans during World War II, even while fighting Hitler! We did not exterminate them….but we could have!

__________________

The Gulf War of 1990-1991 was notable for two things that I did not even consider when it was happening but are clear to me now.

  1. The dispute between Saddam Hussein and the government of Kuwait that led to the invasion of Kuwait was absolutely NONE of the United States’ business, period. It should have been kept a local matter.
  2. There was never any evidence that Saddam Hussein was planning to attack Saudi Arabia or any other country.

So why did we launch Operation Desert Shield, Operation Desert Storm, put Iraq under economic sanctions and no-fly zones for over a decade and then finally finish off Saddam in the Iraq War starting in 2003? I have not the foggiest idea. Everything I was told before about why we went to war both times was shown over time to be……lies.

When we attacked Iraq in 2003, we claimed it was because it had weapons of mass destruction. But we seemed to ignore just how much smaller and weaker Iraq always was compared to us Americans. The whole point of a small and weak country developing such weapons would be to deter attacks by its enemies. So in essence, even if the claim was true, we would have been attacking Iraq for trying to prevent its being attacked! Bush Jr was not just a liar, but a pathetic bully too!

_______________

People who consider the Japanese during World War II as horribly evil for what they did to their neighbors and to Americans never consider two things:

  1. The Japanese were isolationists for much of their history and rarely attacked anyone else before the 20th Century.
  2. They were finally forced to open up to the rest of the world by….the United States, which wanted to trade with them.

And when Japan looked at the rest of the world, including the United States, what did they see? Imperialism everywhere! So of course they thought they had just as much right to wage war on others as the Europeans and Americans were doing themselves.
WE made Japan what it became in that war! As the old saying goes, what comes around goes around.

____________

I was born in 1969, raised in a family of Republicans and came of age when Ronald Reagan was still President, but I am now so hard-core liberal that some might call me a socialist. Why? Because the more I look at how America and much of the world has been run since the 1980s, the more I see white, rich and “Christian” people screwing with the rest of the world to profit themselves while keeping poor white Christians sedated with bogus issues like “religious freedom” and you can’t do that and sincerely claim to promote freedom and justice for all. And if you are not doing that, you are a DAMNED PARASITE!

____________

Conservatism itself has never been an honest, ethical, or productive ideology. All Donald Trump really did was tear off the phony rhetoric and show the people what is at the actual core of right-wing political ideas. To be a conservative in the USA, you must believe at least one of the following:

  1. That whites deserve more social power than non-whites.
  2. That men deserve more social power than women.
  3. That Christians deserve more social power than non-Christians.
  4. That straights deserve more social power than gays/lesbians.
  5. That cis-gender people deserve more social power than trans-gender people.
  6. That the rich deserve more social power than the poor.

That’s it. If you truly believe in “liberty and justice for ALL”, then you CANNOT be a conservative!

Conservatism is not so much a distinct political philosophy as it is an attitude based on the already powerful doing whatever they can via social engineering to keep their power. For example, in the last days of the Soviet Union, hard-line Communists were the conservatives of that society. In the late 1770s, conservatives in the American colonies were called “Loyalists” because they opposed the American Revolution and professed loyalty to the British King. In the early 19th Century, they supported slavery and in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, they opposed equal rights for racial minorities. In religions, they support traditional dogmas and morals, even at the expense of objective truth and justice.
 
Conservatives are backstabbers of every democracy, every scientific advancement and every movement to make equality a genuine thing in real life. We must find a way someday to destroy it completely and forever!

Conservative political philosophy is based on three standards that were the norm centuries ago:

  1. Obedience to religious authorities.
  2. Every person or family fending for themselves.
  3. The majority ruling as an upper class over minorities, regardless of merit.

Under those standards it was common for people to starve, to become homeless, and to be treated with contempt for either being a lesser being or failing to obey unrealistic rules.

Liberals have an absolute standard of justice that rejects all these standards. The Declaration of Independence and the U S Constitution were LIBERAL documents. We have been generally moving in a more liberal direction ever since 1787. But conservatives constantly lie to the people to justify their hijacking our government so they can try to restore the older standards that benefit them.

I am a white, cis-gendered male of Protestant background and a natural born American citizen, so I have several reasons to feel privileged and thus vote for conservatives that claim to represent MY interests. Then I remember that I am also a member of the working class and all those other issues mean NOTHING. If you are poor, what does being of a certain race, gender, or anything else matter? Only an idiot thinks otherwise.

I abandoned the myth of American innocence in college when I was about age 20. And I didn’t need to go to a foreign country to see the truth about America either.

Thomas Jefferson was a perfect embodiment of both sides of American Politics

Thomas Jefferson is known as one of America’s Founding Fathers. He helped write the Declaration of Independence in 1776, served in many positions in government, and finally was the third President of the United States.

Reference to him was made on this blog earlier here: The Louisiana “Purchase”

Note that this was a deal made between two white leaders, Thomas Jefferson (himself a slaveowner and rapist of at least one of his slaves) and Napoleon (a military dictator who would later wage war on a massive scale across Europe, just as Adolph Hitler would over a century later). The various Native American tribes who lived in the vast regions north of New Orleans were never consulted about the purchase and would most likely not have agreed to it had they been informed of it. What the hell was France doing even claiming so much land to begin with???

After his wife died, Jefferson began having sex with one of his slaves, perhaps justified in his mind by her also being a half-sister to his wife, but despite having several children with her, he never did the honorable thing by freeing and marrying her. So technically, he raped her.

And yet Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

ALL men? Weren’t the slaves he owned men? Weren’t the Native Americans whose land that he bought from France also men? Of course they were!

Since the USA was founded, liberals in American politics have sought to make our laws and policies live up to Jefferson’s idealistic WORDS, while conservatives have repeatedly made America reflect Jefferson’s DEEDS, making the USA a nation of hypocrites. Perhaps that explains why we have been so cursed over the centuries, so tolerant of bigotry. Among other things, we saw fit to elect to the Presidency an increasingly corrupt and bigoted line of men (Nixon, Reagan, Bush Sr., Bush Jr, and finally Trump) that have made us look dishonorable before the world. And Jefferson started the trend. Perhaps we should someday end it by tearing down his legacy completely and try to build a new order without reference to him at all. One with absolutely NO room for conservatives and the bigotries that motivate them from start to finish. One in which only “good” and “godly” people would ever be able to rule America.

Who was Joseph Smith?

Joseph Smith…..
……was born on December 23, 1805, in the town of Sharon, Vermont.

…..lived as a teenager in the “burned-over district” of upstate New York.

……was originally known as a treasure seeker and a teller of tall tales among his friends.

……married Emma Hale on January 18, 1827, despite the objections of her father.

……had a total of nine children with his wife, only four of whom lived to adulthood.

……claimed to have been visited by an angel named Moroni who instructed him to found a new Christian church and locate golden plates.

……..allegedly used the golden plates to write the Book of Mormon.

……named his new religious movement the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and its members “Mormons”.

…….founded the Mormon Church on April 6, 1830 with five other men.

……moved to Kirtland, Ohio, then to Jackson County, Missouri and finally to Nauvoo, Illinois to build up his religous community.

……..claimed that God now permitted polygamy in the Mormon church.

………faced bitter opposition from non-Mormons almost everywhere he and the Mormons settled.

……….was arrested for ordering the destruction of a printing press called the Nauvoo Expositor that had published criticism of Mormonism.

……….was killed on June 27, 1844 with his brother Hyrum in a gun battle against a lynch mob at the local jail of Carthage, Illinois.

The Articles of Confederation and the beating down of Libertarianism on YouTube

In an earlier blog entry, I referred to the Articles of Confederation as the ultimate expression of Libertarian thought and noted their complete failure. Of course, the term libertarian was not used back then; what we call Libertarianism now is merely a repackaged form of “classical Liberalism”, much like today’s Tea Party is merely a repackaged form of the “Religious Right” that plagued American politics in the 1980s. Same shit, different label. Now two channels on YouTube, Extra Credits and the Alternative History Hub, have teamed up to give the Articles of Confederation the public beatdown they so deserved but never seemed to have gotten. Why not? Perhaps because their failure shows that the Founding Fathers of the USA were not after all the nearly infallible saints they are often depicted as, though I suppose George Washington comes close. Anyway, here are those videos:

Continue reading

The Dishonorable Versailles Treaty

This is a blog entry I’ve been wanting to write for over a year now, but I’ve been very hesitant to do so because of its controversial subject matter (and that’s saying a LOT, considering what I have written in the past). When it comes to issues like the Holocaust, you have to be very sensitive about them because they involved the loss of many innocent lives. But I have always believed in telling the truth, period. I know this blog entry may be subject to misrepresentation by those who want to see absolutely nothing good or honorable about one of the sides in World War II, but this is an attempt to EXPLAIN what led to that war, not JUSTIFY the extreme results of it.

Today, I will write about the Versailles Treaty, which was forced on Germany after World War I ended. Contrary to official accounts, it was not a “peace treaty” at all, since a real peace treaty would have enabled all nations involved in a war situation to repair themselves and move forward together. Instead, it was actually a treaty of continued aggression against Germany. Indeed, the entire premise of the treaty that Germany was primarily to blame for starting the war was an outright lie; the war actually began because of the assassination of the Archduke of Austria by a Serbian nationalist, prompting the Austro-Hungarian Empire to declare war on Serbia. Russia was in a pact to defend Serbia, so it declared war on Austria-Hungary and then Germany joined the war to defend its ally Austria-Hungary. So in truth, Serbia, Austria-Hungary, Russia AND Germany were all to blame. But Germany was the strongest of the Central Powers left standing after the collapse of Austria-Hungary, so it was made the obvious target. In addition to paying vast reparations to France and Britain, Germany lost all its African colonies, which were taken over by the western allies. How convenient! Weren’t the worldwide British and French Empires massive enough?!

Honestly, if I’d been a German living after World War I, I would have seen the Versailles Treaty for what it was, a power and resource grab by France and Britain and would have opposed it from day one. And I would have been very happy to see France get defeated in World War II. If only Hitler had stopped there, he might have gotten the revenge against France that most Germans really did want. No Holocaust, no war with the Soviet Union and no stupid alliance with Japan that later caused the USA to declare war on Germany after it did so against Japan. But Hitler got greedy, and two wrongs certainly do not make a right! But most Germans fighting in the war were not really evil like Hitler was; they merely wanted to right what they saw as a wrong committed against their country by France and Britain. Hitler took advantage of their frustration, and that would not have happened if a real peace treaty favored by President Woodrow Wilson of the USA been drawn up instead.

Responding to The Future of Freedom Foundation

Freedom is a precious thing, but the best way to promote it is to take all facts into account, not merely the ones that make your cause or extreme positions look good. That’s cherry picking, a classic tactic of denialism and thus dishonesty.

Check out this statement on the The Future of Freedom Foundation website. It will be in red and my responses will be in blue.
http://www.fff.org/about/
Our nation was founded on the principles of individual freedom, free markets, private property, and limited government. As the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution reflect, people have the natural and God-given rights to live their lives any way they choose, so long as their conduct is peaceful. It is the duty of government to protect, not destroy or infringe upon, these inherent and inalienable rights.
Note that the Articles of Confederation are not mentioned. This was the first actual Constitution of the United States and was based on pure “libertarian” ideals (then known as “classical liberalism”).  But reality eventually proved the Articles unable to maintain order in the USA. Government that is too limited leads to anarchy, which benefits only would-be tyrants that flourish in a society where they can engage in abuse of others and not fear punishment. Eventually, a tyrant may become popular enough to impose his own law on the society, resulting in despotism. But despotism and anarchy have no provisions for human rights. Only a government can protect them. And if rights are given by God (who is by nature an absolute monarch), they can also be taken away, making the concept meaningless. And rights cannot be natural because animals do not have any, as their behavior shows. Only humans have rights among themselves and those rights only exist when they are recognized by both governments and the people.
For well over a century, the American people said “no” to such things as income taxation, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, welfare, public schooling, economic regulations, immigration controls, drug laws, gun control, paper money, the Federal Reserve, overseas empire, militarism, entangling alliances, and foreign wars. Despite the tragic exception of slavery, the result was the most prosperous, healthy, literate, and compassionate society in history.

Wrong! The people did not say no to income taxation, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, welfare, public schooling, economic regulations, immigration controls, drug laws, gun control, paper money, the Federal Reserve, overseas empire, militarism, entangling alliances, and foreign wars.  Many of these were simply not political issues at all until the 20th Century, the public schooling was done as early as the mid-19th Century, and the first of the foreign wars was the Mexican War of 1846-1848. Slavery was not merely a “tragic exception” (what an insult to the descendants of those slaves); it was a basic part of American society and thus proving that America was not at all the libertarian paradise being implied here. Slavery was ended by federal government force as a result of the Civil War (a denial of property rights of the slaves’ owners) , and more federal government force was eventually required to end the institutional racism that remained in the Southern states. The proliferation of bureaucracies resulted from the people demanding more and more services from their government, which must be paid for.
In the 20th century, however, America moved in the opposite direction—in the direction of socialism, interventionism, and imperialism. The result has been massive infringements on our economic liberty, civil liberties, gun rights, and privacy, along with out-of-control federal spending, debt, and inflation, all of which have reduced our prosperity, damaged our families, and weakened our sense of morality, self-reliance, and voluntary charity.
Again, only because the people have demanded certain things to improve their lives and then we become dependent on them. An example would be the interstate highway system. Without that, trade, tourism, and other matters relating to commerce would be far more difficult and would thus limit our economic growth. And the very reason government welfare programs were established was because with welfare being only voluntary, people still starved. People simply are not generous enough to provide for the needs of all without government intervention and force. If they were, we would not have so many billionaires in America, along with so many that are impoverished, even with government helping the poor. So that statement above is simply absurd!
The time has come for the American people to lead the world out of the statist morass in which it has plunged. The time has come to restore libertarian principles to our land. It is to that end that The Future of Freedom Foundation is dedicated.
We never had the kind of freedom they are calling for, and we likely never will. What they may really be saying is that we need to use force to overthrow the government and have libertarian extremists take over and run it their way – which would negate their entire premise of promoting freedom. If the people WANT an authoritarian government and elect one, via a free and fair democratic process, it is the height of arrogance for anyone in the name of “liberty” to say that is unacceptable.

Why party labels in the USA are completely useless

Watch this video:

The anti-slavery party of Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War was NOT the party of Big Business from the 1870s to the 1930s. The party that defended slavery before and during the Civil War was NOT the party that fights for the rights of blacks and other minorities today.  The Religious Right which infested the Republicans in the 1980s had almost nothing in common with the likes of Donald Trump now.

This is why we need a MULTI-PARTY system like in some European countries. The two-party system we Americans have always had is by nature misleading. The south has ALWAYS been conservative compared to the north. If the Ku Klux Klan was founded today, it would be founded by southern REPUBLICANS. Conservatism is the ideology we must always fight, no matter what party label it marches under.

For the record, it is not BIG government we should oppose, but STUPID government which is a problem no matter what its size. Did you know that Ronald Reagan, a conservative Republican, actually increased government by massive military spending….that we also never needed in the first place?! And why did Reagan do that? Because so many big businesses have had contracts with our military and profit from every war we end up fighting in! I can guarantee that if a Republican gets the Presidency in the next decade or so, then he will find an excuse, any excuse to get us into another overseas war like Bush Sr. did when he pushed us into war with Iraq in 1991. and his son did again in 2003. Consider yourselves warned!

As for illegal immigration, the rules were designed beforehand to exclude non-white people from Latin America, including Mexico. Ironic considering we conquered and annexed half of Mexico’s territory in the 1840s. “Hey, thanks for all your land, but we do not want your people! GO AWAY!!!” Meanwhile, Puerto Rico, which is majority Spanish-speaking and non-white, remains a mere possession of the USA and not a state. Go figure.

Newton’s Laws of Politics, sort of

Conservatives often complain that poor and minority peoples are never satisfied, despite the gains supposedly made for them over the past two centuries. So they assume that their opponents are just being greedy and bigoted against whites and the rich. But there is another way of seeing what has happened and what can be done to stop the problems. Consider Newton’s Third Law of Motion, which states:

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Continue reading

The Louisiana “Purchase”

Imagine this scenario:

You are an Azari, a native of the planet Azar. Your people have developed a global civilization with technology comparable to that of mid 20th Century humans on Earth. One day, dozens of alien spaceships appear in the skies above your world and then land, disgorging thousands of alien troops and tens of thousands of alien settlers. The aliens tell you they are Marlos and they claim to OWN your world, having bought it from their neighbors the Carlics a few years earlier. You remember having contact with the Carlics a century ago and even trading with them, but you had no idea they claimed to own your world, let alone that they had “sold” it to another interstellar power. So you reject the Marlos’ claim and attempt to repel the invaders.  But the Marlos use their superior technology to quickly defeat you! Most of your people are exterminated and the few survivors are forced into concentration camps of poor land where they can only survive by farming, while the Marlos take over the richest land and nearly all the resources of the world your people evolved on! Your civilization, which could have become an interstellar power in its own right in a few thousand years, is instead broken forever.

Continue reading

What if the American Civil War had never been fought?

The election of Abraham Lincoln to the Presidency of the United States in 1860 triggered the succession of most of the southern states where slavery was legal, because the wealthy whites who dominated those states feared that the federal government would force them to give up slavery. The result was the four bloodiest years in all of American history. But what if cooler heads had prevailed and the Civil War had never happened? What if instead the South had remained in the Union?

For one thing, the fact that so many young men had not died in battle meant that the USA would have been able to conquer the western regions much faster than it actually did, and the Native American tribes living on those lands would have been even more brutalized in the process. Anti-immigrant sentiments would have been greater in the late 19th Century then they were, since there would be no perceived need for more people to come to the USA from other parts of the world. States that entered the Union after the 1860s might still have had slaves if they were in the southwest, but the Industrial Revolution of the late 19th Century would at the same time had made slavery largely unprofitable. Both northern abolitionists and European states opposed to slavery might have succeeded in putting enough pressure on the United States for it to pass a Constitutional Amendment abolishing slavery, but the southern states would have been able to block amendments granting citizenship and voting rights to freed blacks. As a result, the Supreme Court of the United States would have had no legal basis to condemn the Jim Crow laws and procedures of the South, resulting in racial segregation continuing to this very day. Many aspects of American culture, such as rock & roll and hip/hop music, would never have become popular among white youths. The United States would have regarded Mexico as an invader due to so many of its people coming undocumented across the border between them and this might have eventually led to another war with Mexico by the end of the 20th Century. The Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union would have lasted much longer and been more damaging to the interests of the USA around the world because most other nations would see the Soviets as more enlightened and honorable than the racist Americans. Most black Americans would have been far more supportive of Communism and this in turn would have made capitalist supporting whites hate blacks even more.

.So the ultimate result would have been an America that was even MORE racist than today!

A critique of the Declaration of Independence.

United States Declaration of Independence

United States Declaration of Independence (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Declaration of Independence here refers to the document drafted and signed in 1776 declaring the separation of 13 colonies along the Atlantic coast of North America from the British Empire. It is indeed one of the greatest writings ever made in human history…..but that hardly means it is flawless. Indeed, in this age it may be considered obsolete and merit some serious criticism. I will post text from it in red and my critiques of it in green. Continue reading

White Americans need to grow up!

Note: the writer of this blog is a white guy.

From the very beginning of the United States of America’s existence as an independent nation, it was totally white dominated. Not just the union as a whole, but every single state within that union, was white dominated. Not a single state was ever allowed to be ruled by non-whites, not Native American tribes, not blacks, nor Asian-Americans. Even states that you would expect to be ruled by non-whites were taken over by whites before they could become states.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oklahoma#History

During the 19th century, thousands of Native Americans were expelled from their ancestral homelands from across North America and transported to the area including and surrounding present-day Oklahoma. The “Five Civilized Tribes” in the South were the most prominent nations displaced by American expulsion policy, an atrocity that came to be known as the Trail of Tears during the Cherokee Nation’s removals starting in 1831. The area, already occupied by Osage and Quapaw tribes, was called for the Cherokee Nation until revised American policy redefined the boundaries to include other Native Americans. By 1890, more than 30 Native American nations and tribes had been concentrated on land within Indian Territory or “Indian Country.”[45] In the period between 1866 and 1899,[43] cattle ranches in Texas strove to meet the demands for food in eastern cities and railroads in Kansas promised to deliver in a timely manner. Cattle trails and cattle ranches developed as cowboys either drove their product north or settled illegally in Indian Territory.[43] In 1881, four of five major cattle trails on the western frontier traveled through Indian Territory.[46] Increased presence of white settlers in Indian Territory prompted the United States Government to establish the Dawes Act in 1887, which divided the lands of individual tribes into allotments for individual families, encouraging farming and private land ownership among native Americans but expropriating land to the federal government. In the process, nearly half of Indian-held land within the territory was taken for outside settlers and for purchase by railroad companies.[47]

Major land runs, including the Land Run of 1889, were held for settlers on the hour that certain territories were opened to settlement. Usually, land was open to settlers on a first come first served basis.[48] Those who broke the rules by crossing the border into the territory before it was allowed were said to have been crossing the border sooner, leading to the term sooners, which eventually became the state’s official nickname.[49]

Delegations to make the territory into a state began near the turn of the 20th century, when the Curtis Act furthered the theft of Indian tribal lands in Indian Territory. Attempts to create an all-Indian state named Oklahoma and a later attempt to create an all-Indian state named Sequoyah failed but the Sequoyah Statehood Convention of 1905 eventually laid the groundwork for the Oklahoma Statehood Convention, which took place two years later.[50] On November 16, 1907, Oklahoma was established as the 46th state in the Union.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hawaii#History

In 1887, Kalākaua was forced to sign the 1887 Constitution of the Kingdom of Hawaii, which stripped the king of much of his authority. There was a property qualification for voting, which disenfranchised many poorer Hawaiians and favored the wealthier white community. Resident whites were allowed to vote, but resident Asians were excluded. Because the 1887 Constitution was signed under threat of violence, it is known as the “Bayonet Constitution”. King Kalākaua, reduced to a figurehead, reigned until his death in 1891. His sister, Liliʻuokalani, succeeded him on the throne.

In 1893, Queen Liliʻuokalani announced plans for a new constitution. On January 14, 1893, a group of mostly Euro-American business leaders and residents formed a Committee of Safety to overthrow the Kingdom and seek annexation by the United States. United States Government Minister John L. Stevens, responding to a request from the Committee of Safety, summoned a company of U.S. Marines. As one historian noted, the presence of these troops effectively made it impossible for the monarchy to protect itself.[36]

In January 1893, Queen Liliʻuokalani was overthrown and replaced by a Provisional Government composed of members of the Committee of Safety. Controversy filled the following years as the queen tried to re-establish her throne. The administration of President Grover Cleveland commissioned the Blount Report, which concluded that the removal of Liliʻuokalani was illegal. The U.S. government first demanded that Queen Liliʻuokalani be reinstated, but the Provisional Government refused. Congress followed with another investigation, and submitted the Morgan Report on February 26, 1894, which found all parties (including Minister Stevens) with the exception of the queen “not guilty” from any responsibility for the overthrow.[37] The accuracy and impartiality of both the Blount and Morgan reports has been questioned by partisans on both sides of the debate over the events of 1893.[36][38][39][40]

Then, of course, there is the Mexican War of 1846-1848, in which nearly half of Mexico’s territory was taken over by the United States, along with Texas that had been annexed prior to the war’s beginning. All those territories and later states were later, you guessed it, WHITE dominated, not Hispanic dominated. Of course, it is understandable that allowing  Hispanics to rule those territories or states might eventually result in the secession of some of those states from the USA either to seek independence or to rejoin Mexico.

Also, Puerto Rico has never been allowed to become a state, even though it has been a protectorate of the USA for over a century!

Could that be what fuels anti-illegal immigrant agitation in the United States today? Fear of states that were once part of Mexico being returned to Mexico by the mostly Hispanic people wouldn’t be such a problem if the territories that made up those states had not been TAKEN BY FORCE FROM MEXICO IN THE FIRST PLACE! And liberalizing immigration laws would be a positive step to someday allow non-whites to rule at least one state in the USA, finally! Ironically, illegal immigrants are profitable for American businesses that employ them, since the businesses don’t have to pay the illegals according to minimum wage laws. But they would lose those profits if the illegals were able to gain American citizenship. And the 14th Amendment grants American citizenship to the children of illegal immigrants born in the United States, so the proportion of Hispanic American citizens will rise dramatically a generation from now. OH, NO!

So to white politicians like Tom Tancredo who have made a career out of bashing illegal immigrants from Mexico and elsewhere, I have but one thing to say:

FUCK YOU!