Tuesday, December 12, 2006

THE DARK SIDE OF AMERICAN HISTORY

A THUMBNAIL HISTORY OF AMERICA’S DARK SIDE
The War of Independence. From the earliest days of the Republic, Revolutionary fighters were put in prison for debt. Congress suppressed uprisings by force. Slave states, like Missouri, remained. Explorations were made for conquest. Killing of Indians continued unabated. The colonization of Texas was part of the westward movement of empire. The idea of "Manifest Destiny" was used by American expansionists to justify U.S. annexation of Texas, Oregon, New Mexico and California, and later U.S. involvement in Alaska, Hawaii, and the Philippines. The U.S. was also bent on acquiring Cuba, and drew up the manifesto saying that if Spain refused to sell Cuba, the United States would be justified in taking it by force. At the same time, massive anti-Irish, and antiimmigrant sentiment ocurred in the wake of Irish immigration into the country. William Walker, with a small army, invaded Nicaragua, legalizing slavery. The westward movement fueled the desire for land, leading to a long series of evictions of Plains Indians from their lands onto less desirable reservations. Mining rushes elsewhere in the years of the war resulted in the forcible takeover of the territories of Arizona (1863), Idaho (1863), and Montana (1864) and Wyoming.
The economy. Robber barons used deception, violence, kidnappings and extraordinary dishonesty to gain economic power and industrial supremacy. Their capitalist heart only beat when the market went up or down’ otherwise they were indifferent to human suffering. In the same way when capitalists spoke of discipline or "being responsible," they meant coercion, which is lacking in moral content. The most rapacious of the money makers, who are prepared to indulge in any roguery, deception and crime, amassed enormous fortunes. At the same time there is a depression and numerous wage reductions. Lack of safety in the workplace was illustrated in the shirt factory fire when forty-seven young women, mostly immigrants, leaped to their deaths, while another 99 died in the flames. To keep working people under control, Jim Crow laws were introduced, leading to a segregated society. This inspired record lynchings of African Americans.
In Bisbee, Arizona, local officials rounded up over 1,000 striking miners, one-third of them Mexican Americans, and about 50 recent members of the Industrial Workers of the World, and shipped them into the desert of New Mexico without food or water. Sacco and Vanzetti were falsely accused of robbery in Braintree, Massachusetts. The trial lasted seven years and represented the culmination of widespread attacks on persons of foreign birth.
Expansion outside the U.S. 1898, the U.S.S. Maine was blown up by Hearst in Habana harbor, to create a strong feeling against Spain in the United States. In 1916 the U.S. began its occupation. U.S. military rule encouraged the dislodging of small landowners and favored the interests of large corporations. The CIA launched "Operation Success" to overthrow the Arbenz government in Guatemala. The U.S. Navy bombarded San Juan de Puerto Rico and invaded the island. U.S. troops entered Panama City to put down striking workers who were calling for lower rents. Numerous workers were killed in the incident. U.S. Marines are landed in Honduras. Somoza, under U.S. instructions ordered Sandino's execution. In the following weeks scores of Sandino's followers were rounded up and executed. The U.S. gained control of customs in El Salvador, in in the event of default on loans, and accelerated its emergence as the dominant investor. The U.S. Marines occupied Haiti seized $500,000 in gold coin from the National Bankand took over banks and customs houses and broke up small-scale peasant holdings to protect and expand U.S.-owned enterprises. U.S. administrators devastate traditional landholders. Hostilities in the Phillipines broke out, and for the next three years an American army of 60,000 fought guerrilla warfare, with all its attendant horrors.
The Stock Market Crash was the culmination of the boom market and unrestrained speculation of the Coolidge era. It ushered in a prolonged depression that gradually settled upon the country with increasing unemployment, bank failures, and business disasters. The Taft-Hartley Act was passed to weaken the trade unions, restrict political rights of unions, outlaw the closed shop, and empower the president to defer strikes indefinitely. Unemployment and underemployment became an increasingly serious problem and was aggravated by the shift from high-wage manufacturing to lower-paying jobs in various service industries.
Assassinations. President Kennedy in Dallas, Tex., Martin Luther King was killed by an assassin. American cities become the scene of pitched battles between Blacks aroused by government terrorism and police reinforced by army units. Malcolm X, former Black Muslim leader, in New York City was assassinated. Students were shot at Kent state. Black Panther leader Fred Hampton was mudered in a Chicago police raid.
Further foreign adventures. The invasion of Korea was described as a "police action," The mercenary invasion of Cuba, coded "Operation Pluto", was made up of 1,500 men who landed at the Bay of Pigs. From Nicaragua, 8 B-26 bombers attacked 3 Cuban airports. The U.S. announced that its troops would join South Vietnamese forces in an invasion of Cambodia to destroy North Vietnamese and Viet Cong bases near the border of South Vietnam. In Chile, President Allende is overthrown in a U.S.-backed military coup.
National deterioration. A serious accident occurred at the Three Mile Island reactor in 1979 in Pennsylvania. The U.S. experienced the painful transition from a creditor to a debtor nation, with the world's largest foreign debt and a rising foreign trade deficit that peaked at $171 billion in 1987. The The Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization union (PATCO) struck to protest a two-tier pay system and overly stressful working conditions. Pres. Reagan fired the more than 10,000 striking members of PATCO, about three-quarters of the nation's air traffic controllers. Reagan's get-tough policy began an era of business anti-unionism. The Reagan administration secretly sold arms to Iran, which was at war with Iraq, hoping to gain Iran's cooperation in freeing American hostages. The first of several mines in Nicaraguan harbors, planted by U.S. agents, was detonated. The nation's "thrifts," as the Savings &Loans are called, were deregulated in the early 1980s to allow them to invest in commercial real estate and business. However, the thrifts became unstable because many of their investments reflected the growth in the 1980s of high-risk "junk bonds," which were speculative or fraudulent. In 1987, the instability of these investments became apparent as stock prices plummeted and with them the solvency of the thrifts. The losses were great. Close to 12.8 percent of all Americans, about 31.5 million people, were classified as poor by federal standards; that is, they sustained an income of $12,675 or less for a family of four. The Persian Gulf War was led by the United States. Black motorist Rodney King is arrested and brutally beaten by members of the Los Angeles Police Department. A civilian video of the arrest and beating led to criminal charges against the A U.S. Department of Defense report revealed that at least 117 naval officers could face disciplinary action growing out of sexual assaults on some 90 people at a 1991 Las Vegas convention of the Tailhook aviators group.More than 300 Republican candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives met outside the Capitol building in Washington, DC, and signed what they called a "Contract with America," a 10-point plan of conservative reforms designed to reverse expenditures for social welfare, "get tough on crime," and add a balanced budget amendment to the constitution, among other objectives. Pres. Clinton signed NAFTA into law, creating unemployment and hunger in Latin American countries. A huge car bomb exploded in Oklahoma City killing more than two hundred people, including approximately 24 children. The government began to disclose information about radiation experiments it conducted from the 1940s through the 70s on people who has no knowledge of them. The U.S. launched missile attacks on Iraqi military sites.A U.S. House ethics subcommittee found that Speaker Newt Gingrich violated House ethics rules by accepting tax-exempt donations and using the funds for political purposes.The tobacco industry reached an agreement with dozens of claimants in lawsuits against the industry. Production rose while purchases stagnated, a sure sign of overproduction.The IMF slashed living standards, strongly resisted by Brazilian workers. U.S. unemployment rose, compounded by the reduction of anti-poverty measures and elimination of affirmative action. The invasion of Iraq cost that country more than 120 billion in oil revenues, left a million Iraqi children malnourished and 700,000 dead. The objective was to force privatization of Iraq’s oil reserves to benefit American oil giants. The U.S. destroyed a pharmaceutical manufacturing facility in Khartoum falsely accused of making chemical weapons. A retaliatory strike for U.S. embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania, the United States forces played a key role in NATO bombing missions against the Serb government in Yugoslavia.The Kansas Board of Education removed Darwin's Theory of Evolution from the state's science curriculum. The U.S. Senate rejected ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which would bar nuclear weapons testing in any form. Microsoft Corp. went on trial for two antitrust lawsuits. US.-bombed other countries like Iraq and Yugoslavia; tried to starve countries as in sanctioning Cuba and Iraq; aiding and abetting massacres in Timor and Turkey, and with increasing danger, Colombia; propelled IMF and World Bank income inequality and ecological devastation; advanced domestic police and prison violence that turned communities into occupied battle zones; imposed welfare havoc that further impoverished the already poor; facilitated generalized corporate rapaciousness that materially and socially diminished workers’ lives; legislated the collapse of health care that allowed people to drop dead instead of being cared for and restored; entrenched citizen and worker disempowerment from all sides of economic and political decision-making; abetted media madness that robed culture of content; enabled dis-education of the youth that they might fit awaiting social slots needing them to obey authority and endure boredom; partaking of the alienation of most sides of life by elevating profits over people; procuring weapons without limit; and battering and bashing the poor, the homeless, the gay, the female, the black or latino…with minimal outcry and reply. A whispering campaign of lies in the South Carolina Presidential Primary to destroy Republican John McCain.
The Bush regime saw the largest and most miserable failures of corporate accountability in modern history: Enron, Worldcom, and Fannie Mae. The 2004 budget set the record for the largest deficit in history: either $477 billion or $521 billion (CBO and OMB numbers, respectively). The value of the dollar collapsed 30% during his term. Bush fired anyone critical or objecting of his policies, while he rewarded those who spoke welcome lies. He held 660 prisoners in Guantanamo, Cuba for over two years without trial or formal charge. His prisoners, several of whom were between the ages of 13 and 16, were never formally charged. They were kept in steel cages, subjected to ongoing torture, and denied access to legal counsel in opposition to Supreme Court rulings (Rasul v. Bush). His Secretary of Defense was the first in US history to have acknowledged ordering an intentional violation of the Geneva Conventions, in which Abu Ghraib prisoners are held "off the books" and hidden from the Red Cross. The United States unilaterally delivered an ultimatum demanding that Saddam Hussein leave Iraq within 48 hours. Hans Blix compared the selling of the Iraq war to the selling of a refrigerator. The Bush administration falsely claimed that Iraq had ties to al Qaida, that it was building nuclear weapons. The invasion of Iraq was a violation of international law because it was not passed by the UN, giving rein to massive protests worldwide. US forces illegally used white phosphorous in Fallujah, burning women and children to death. Iraq rapidly hurtled to disintegration under the weight of Abu Ghraib torture and abuse, the Haditha muder of 24 women and children, the Ishaqi muder of civilians, the Hamadiyah incident, the kidnaping and murder of a civilian, the Malmudihay incident, the gang rape and murder of a 14 year old girl and her parents and sister, and Mukaradeeb, the bombing and killing of 42 civilians.
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