Friday, September 9, 2011

The End Of The American Dream, The Fading Great Experiment As Myths and Denial Can No Longer Hide The Truth Of Who And What We Really Are As A People.

The End Of The American Dream, The Fading Great Experiment As Myths and Denial Can No Longer Hide The Truth Of Who And What We Really Are As A People.

Friday 9 September 2011
by: Cary Fraser, Truthout | News Analysis

For much of the 20th century, the United States of America was perceived as the pre-eminent symbol of the Western vision of modernity and, after 1945, with the exception of the Soviet Union and its ideological kin, that image was largely unchallenged across the globe. However, the election of the Bush-Cheney administration in 2000, on the cusp of the 21st century, laid bare the failure of the United States to maintain its capacity to withstand increasing concern about the quality of American political life and its claim to international leadership.
The erosion of American legitimacy had already become evident during the decade of the 1960s with the assassinations of four very prominent Americans - President John F. Kennedy, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy - as America grappled with the domestic and international repercussions of the civil rights movement and the Vietnam War.
However, the disputed 2000 presidential election drew increased global attention to the signs of dysfunction in American politics. The resolution of that election in favor of the Republican candidate, George W. Bush, against the sitting Democratic Vice President, Al Gore, by a deeply divided US Supreme Court provided a bird's eye view of a deeply flawed American electoral system.
With the benefit of hindsight, the 2000 presidential election was an early indicator of the dysfunctional democracy that has become institutionalized in American political life and culture since the 1960s. In 1968, the victory of Richard Nixon came in the aftermath of the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy, who had become vigorous critics of the failed war in Vietnam pursued by the Johnson administration.
The election also revealed the depth of popular antipathy to that war and to Johnson, which Nixon skillfully exploited to win the election. It is arguable that, since 1968, every American president has left office under a cloud of popular doubt - Johnson over Vietnam, Nixon over Watergate, Ford over his controversial pardon of Nixon after the latter's resignation under the threat of impeachment, Carter over the Iran Hostage crisis, Reagan over the Iran-Contra scandal, George H.W. Bush over the Savings and Loan scandal, Clinton over the scandal triggered by his relationship with Monica Lewinsky and George W. Bush over the strategic blunder of pursuing two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as the Wall Street debacle that triggered the most serious economic downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s.
For more than four decades, the American political system has been defined by a growing gap between the electorate and the presidency as a symbol of good governance and political legitimacy.
It would appear that the serial crises affecting presidents since 1968 have served to entrench a "credibility" gap within American politics. That gap is now a bellwether of the American political system and it is an indicator of the political polarization that has overtaken the American political system.
The fissures in American politics have been provoked by and contributed to, the escalating conflicts among the three branches of government - the legislature, the judiciary and the executive - and internecine war within the two major political parties.
The "credibility" gap has also spread from the presidency to the entire political system. The shifting majorities in the Congress over the last two decades - from Democratic to Republican and back again - serve as a barometer of political discontent within the electorate.
The lack of stable governing coalitions has been exacerbated by ideological conflict that accompanied the realignment of American politics after 1968 when the Southern states shifted into the ranks of the Republican Party as the region spurned the progressive civil rights policies adopted by the Democratic Party in the 1960s.
Thereafter, the Republican Party became the shelter for a wide range of constituencies and groups, which resented and continue to resent the erosion of white supremacist ideas that were the cornerstones of American life and legal systems until the mid-1960s. In 1968, Richard Nixon showed it was possible for the Republicans to build a majority coalition in which Southern conservatives like Strom Thurmond and Jesse Helms could be key players.
Every Republican victory in presidential elections since 1968 has been built upon winning decisively in the South by advocating conservative and religious themes that invoke the white Christian nationalism that has defined much of the South after the American Civil War.
It is noteworthy that before Barack Obama's victory in 2008, the only Democratic candidates who won the presidency between 1968 and 2008, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, were both Southern sons of the soil, who were able to compete effectively against the Republicans in the region.
However, since the 2008 presidential election campaign when Barack Obama became the first African-American president, following the failures and excesses of the Bush-Cheney administration, the fissures within American political life have become even worse.
The backlash against the Obama administration has spawned the Tea Party movement with roots in the deep currents of xenophobia and racism that have periodically shaken American politics.
The Tea Party's campaign against Obama, its pursuit of a hysterical campaign challenging tax increases on the wealthy and its opposition to the use of Keynesian responses to the current economic crisis have allowed it to redefine political debates in contemporary America.
It has been able to mount a serious effort to prevent or circumvent debates about the most effective strategy for dealing with an economic crisis triggered by a mix of greed and recklessness on Wall Street and the simple-minded economic prescriptions that shaped the Bush-Cheney administration's economic and fiscal policies.
American public debates thus reflect an unwillingness to engage in serious reflection about the return to economic policies that have created severe economic disparities across the society and have succeeded in restoring a social order in which populations of color are placed at a serious disadvantage.
The Tea Party's campaign to fan the flames of hysteria that emerged from the post-2008 backlash against the election of Barack Obama and its mobilization of the populist rhetoric of anti-government sentiment has brought it electoral success and institutional power in the Republican Party.
 That power was vigorously deployed in the recent debates over raising the debt ceiling to push the negotiations within a hair's breadth from a default on the American government's debt. It is striking that the Tea Party has become a symbol of the rising tide of American anti-intellectual tendencies as a frame of reference for shaping American policies.
The stunning display of Tea Party influence in the 2011 debate over raising the debt ceiling should give pause to both the American leadership across the major parties and to the international community, which has operated on the assumption that American leadership is a sine qua non in the international system.
The former Secretaries of the Treasury in the Clinton administration, Lawrence Summers and Robert Rubin, and Timothy Geithner as the secretary for the Obama administration, apparently helped to craft a seamless web of influence by advocates of Wall Street in the early years of the Obama administration. The policies that were adopted created a climate where salvaging the financial houses remained a priority and signaled continuity with the Bush-Cheney administration.
 It was a message that key players in the financial sector that had lost their sense of accountability to the wider society would be allowed to continue with the illusion that American financial leadership in the global context would not be tarnished.
Despite the Obama administration's protestations about the Standard & Poor's decision to downgrade the American debt rating from AAA to AA-plus, in the wake of the debt ceiling debates, it is clear that the US government's approach to debt management and, ultimately, the central role of the US dollar in international economic affairs, are under increasing question.
The long-term costs of the debt ceiling debates are yet to be determined, but the Obama administration's deference to Wall Street cannot be discounted as a factor in the shift in perceptions of American international leadership.
In addition, it has become evident that the American commitment to military intervention around the world as a cornerstone of its foreign policy has also raised serious questions about the thrust of American foreign policy on the global stage.
More important, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been an enormous drain on the American Treasury over the past decade. Inevitably, it is becoming clear that cuts in military budgets and deployments will have to be instituted to introduce corrective economic policies that will promote new investments to prepare the American economy to be competitive with its global partners and rivals into the future.
The redefinition of America's military goals and its role in the international system will also have to be considered in light of the growing military capability of other states, including China.
America's financial weakness provides no sure guarantee that it can sustain the global role that it played after 1945, and American policymakers will have to address the structural problems that arise from its military ambitions and financial burdens.
The killing of Osama bin Laden has not provided an easy solution to dealing with Afghanistan, and the "Arab Spring" provokes memories of the consequences of the fall of the shah of Iran for American policy in the Middle East and the Persian Gulf after 1979. The American dependence upon the stability of oil exports from the region will require a redesign of foreign and military policies to deal with the new realities in a region that is pivotal in the global political economy. 
In effect, the crisis of credibility in American politics over both domestic politics and military misadventures since the 1960s and the increasing evidence that fringe tendencies have gained enough traction to shift the terrain of American politics in the contemporary context pose fundamental challenges to American leadership aspirations into the future.
 Like the perestroika era in Soviet politics when Mikhail Gorbachev sought to promote change in an ossified Soviet system, the Obama administration has been unable to make a decisive break with the past amid signs of political decay, economic crisis and intellectual paralysis. Recent events suggest that America's 20th-century odyssey as a model of Western modernity has been placed at risk. Is America's relative decline now irreversible?
Cary Fraser is a historian of international relations, who teaches the history of American foreign policy, American and Caribbean history in the 20th century and the history of the African Diaspora in the Atlantic world at Penn State University. He is the author of "Ambivalent Anti-Colonialism" (Greenwood Press, 1994), and his essays and articles have been published in Canada, the Caribbean, the United Kingdom and the United States. He is currently writing a study of race in American politics and foreign policy in the mid-20th century.

Verifiable Media Reports on 9/11

To verify statements, click on links to articles on major media websites 
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America's top military leaders drafted plans to kill innocent people and commit acts of terrorism in US cities to trick the public into supporting a war against Cuba in the early 1960s. Approved in writing by the Pentagon Joint Chiefs, Operation Northwoods even proposed blowing up a US ship and hijacking planes as a false pretext for war. [ABC News, 5/1/01, Pentagon Documents]

1996-2001: Federal authorities are aware for years before 9/11 that suspected terrorists with ties to Osama bin Laden are receiving flight training at schools in the US and abroad. One convicted terrorist confesses that his planned role in a terror attack was to crash a plane into CIA headquarters. [Washington Post, 9/23/01, CBS, 5/30/02, more] 

1996-2001: On multiple occasions spies give detailed reports on bin Laden's location. Each time, the CIA director or White House officials prevent bin Laden's elimination. [Los Angeles Times, 12/5/04, New York Times, 12/30/01, more] 

2000-2001: 15 of the 19 hijackers fail to fill in visa documents properly in Saudi Arabia. Only six are interviewed. All 15 should have been denied entry to the US. [Washington Post, 10/22/02, ABC, 10/23/02] Two top Republican senators say if State Department personnel had merely followed the law, 9/11 would not have happened. [AP, 12/18/02, more]

2000-2001: The military conducts exercises simulating hijacked airliners used as weapons to crash into targets causing mass casualties. One target is the World Trade Center (WTC), another the Pentagon. Yet after 9/11, over and over the White House and security officials say they're shocked that terrorists hijacked airliners and crashed them into landmark buildings. [USA Today, 4/19/04, Military District of Washington, 11/3/00, New York Times, 10/3/01, more]

Jan 2001: After the November 2000 elections, US intelligence agencies are told to "back off" investigating the bin Ladens and Saudi royals. There have always been constraints on investigating Saudi Arabians. [BBC, 11/6/01, more]

Spring 2001: A series of military and governmental policy documents is released that seek to legitimize the use of US military force in the pursuit of oil and gas. One advocates presidential subterfuge and hiding the reasons for warfare "as a necessity for mobilizing public support." [Sydney Morning Herald, 12/26/02, more]

May 2001: For the third time, US security chiefs reject Sudan's offer of thick files on bin Laden and al-Qaeda. A senior CIA source calls it "the worst single intelligence failure in the business." [Guardian, 9/30/01, more]

June-Aug 2001:  German intelligence warns the CIA that Middle Eastern terrorists are training for hijackings and targeting American interests. Russian President Vladimir Putin alerts the US of suicide pilots training for attacks on US targets. In late July, a Taliban emissary warns the US that bin Laden is planning a huge attack on American soil. In August, Israel warns of an imminent Al Qaeda attack. [Fox News, 5/17/02, Independent, 9/7/02, CNN, 9/12/02, more]

July 4-14, 2001: Bin Laden reportedly receives kidney treatment from Canadian-trained Dr. Callaway at the American Hospital in Dubai. Dr. Callaway declines to comment. During his stay, bin Laden is allegedly visited by one or two CIA agents. [Guardian, 11/1/01, Sydney Morning Herald, 10/31/01, Times of London, 11/1/01, UPI, 11/1/01, more]

July 26, 2001: Attorney General Ashcroft stops flying commercial airlines due to a threat assessment. [CBS, 7/26/01] In May 2002, Ashcroft walks out of his office rather than answer questions about it. [Fox News/AP, 5/16/02, more]

Aug 6, 2001: President Bush receives an intelligence briefing warning that bin Laden might be planning to hijack airliners. Titled "Bin Ladin Determined To Strike in US," the briefing specifically mentions the WTC. Yet Bush later claims it "said nothing about an attack on America." [CNN, 4/12/04, Washington Post, 4/12/04, Briefing, 8/6/01, more]

Aug 27, 2001: An FBI supervisor tries to ensure that a hijacker doesn't "take control of a plane and fly it into the World Trade Center." [Senate Report, 10/17/02] Headquarters chastises him for notifying the CIA. [Time, 5/21/02, more]

Sept 10, 2001: A number of top Pentagon brass suddenly cancel travel plans for the next morning, apparently because of security concerns. Why isn't this news spread widely? [Newsweek, 9/13/01, Newsweek, 9/24/01, more]

Sept 11, 2001: Data recovery experts extract data from 32 damaged WTC computer drives. The data reveals a surge in financial transactions shortly before the attacks. Illegal transfers of over $100 million may have been made through WTC computer systems immediately before and during the 9/11 disaster. [Reuters, 12/18/01, CNN, 12/20/01, more]

Sept 11, 2001: Described as a bizarre coincidence, a US intelligence agency was set for an exercise on Sept 11 at 9 AM in which an aircraft would crash into one of its buildings near Washington, DC. [USA Today/AP, 8/22/02, more] 

Sept 11, 2001: Hours after the attacks, a "shadow government" is formed. Key congressional leaders say they didn't know this government-in-waiting had been established. [CBS, 3/2/02, Washington Post, 3/2/02, more]

Sept 11, 2001: Six air traffic controllers who dealt with two of the hijacked airliners make a tape recording describing the events within hours of the attacks. The tape is never turned over to the FBI. It is later illegally destroyed by a supervisor without anyone making a transcript or even listening to it. [Washington Post, 5/6/04, New York Times, 5/6/04]

Sept 13-19, 2001: Bin Laden's family is taken under FBI supervision to a secret assembly point. They leave the country by private plane when airports reopen days after the attacks. [New York Times, 9/30/01, Boston Globe, 9/20/01, more]

Sept 15-16, 2001: Several of the 9/11 hijackers, including lead hijacker Mohamed Atta, may have had training at secure US military installations. [Newsweek, 9/15/01, Washington Post, 9/16/01, Los Angeles Times, 9/15/01, more]

Sept 20, 2001: Several 9/11 hijackers later mentioned in the 9/11 Commission Report turn up alive. "Five of the alleged hijackers have emerged, alive, innocent and astonished to see their names and photographs appearing on satellite television...The hijackers were using stolen identities." [quote in Times of London, 9/20/01, see also BBC, 9/23/01, more]

Dec 2001-Feb 2002: The US engineers the rise to power of two former Unocal Oil employees: Hamid Karzai, the interim president of Afghanistan, and Zalmay Khalizad, the US envoy. The big American bases created in the Afghan war are identical to the route of the projected oil pipeline. [Chicago Tribune, 3/18/02, more]

May 17, 2002: Dan Rather says that he and other journalists haven't been properly investigating since 9/11. He graphically describes the pressures to conform that built up after the attacks. [BBC, 5/16/02, Guardian, 5/17/02, more]

May 23, 2002: President Bush says he is opposed to establishing an independent commission to probe 9/11. [CBS, 5/23/02] Vice President Cheney earlier opposed any public hearings on 9/11. [CNN, 1/29/02, Newsweek, 2/4/02, more]

May 30, 2002: FBI Agent Wright formally accuses the FBI of deliberately curtailing investigations that might have prevented 9/11. He is threatened with retribution if he talks to Congress about this. [Fox News/Reuters, 5/30/02, more] 

July 22, 2004: The 9/11 Commission Report is published. It fails to mention that a year before the attacks a secret Pentagon project had identified four 9/11 hijackers, including leader Mohamed Atta. The Commission spokesperson initially states members were not informed of this, but later acknowledges they were. [New York Times, 8/11/05, more]

2004 - 2005: A growing number of top government officials and public leaders express disbelief in the official story of 9/11. 100 prominent leaders and 40 9/11 family members sign a statement calling for an unbiased inquiry into evidence suggesting high-level government officials may have deliberately allowed the attacks to occur. [Various Publications] 

Aug 9, 2006: A book by 9/11 Commission chairmen Kean and Hamilton outlines repeated deceptions by the Pentagon and FAA, including the timelines of Flights 77 and 93. CNN News: "The fact that the government would ... perpetuate the lie suggests that we need a full investigation of what is going on." [CNN, 8/9/06 , MSNBC/AP, 8/4/06, more]

2006-2011: Over 50 senior government officials, 100 respected professors, and 1,000 architects and engineers criticize The 9/11 Commission Report as flawed, and call for a new, independent investigation. [Professors, Officials, Architects]

For a 10-page version of this 9/11 cover-up timeline:
For a powerful, engaging video revealing lots more on 9/11:
For reliable resources on the 9/11 cover-up and what you can do: 9/11 Information Center
VR's Brad Friedman Reveals Secret Tape Recording Of Koch Brothers Retreat
Koch Calls 2012 Election "Mother of All Wars"
VR calls for investigations and files records request

On Tuesday, September 7, 2011, VR co-founder Brad Friedman reported in Mother Jones magazine that Charles Koch alluded to President Obama as "Saddam Hussein" and called the 2012 election, the “mother of all wars,” as revealed in the no-longer-secret audio recording secretly made at the Koch brothers 2011 Summer Seminar in Vail, Colorado on June 26, 2011. Mr. Koch used the event to thank and name 32 donors who each gave a million dollars or more to the Koch’s right wing foundation, which uses its funds to influence elections across the nation and sway public opinion on everything from health care and hydro-fracking to labor policy and government spending.

The release of the audio tape went viral across the media, and included appearances by Brad on CNN and MSNBC and well as broad media coverage nationwide. Attention is focused once again on the dark agenda of the Koch brothers and their funding of astroturf Tea Party groups such as Americans for Prosperity.

In attendance at the event were Texas Governor Rick Perry, Florida Governor Rick Scott and Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell. But most interesting was the role played by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who gave the keynote address. His participation was kept a total secret even from the voters and media in New Jersey until revealed this week in Brad's exclusives. Christie said that upon taking office he exploited "the most powerful constitutional governorship in America" to declare a fiscal emergency in order to impound billions in planned spending, explained how he'd snookered “stupid” Democratic legislators into cutting pensions and collective bargaining, that similar tactics and policies must be applied nationwide, and that his next plan was to "take on the teachers union once and for all". 

VR intends to take additional action, to follow up and demand transparency in explanation of Christie's behavior, as related to the secret trip, and to use discoveries from that investigation to help guide our future actions. In fact, we have already called for investigations in New Jersey to determine whether Governor Christie broke rules or laws, and whether he used state resources for the trip. We have also filed a formal New Jersey Freedom of Information request for all records related to the trip. We would, of course, appreciate your support in our continuing efforts.

We do not take money from corporations or political parties. Instead, we rely on you, our members, to support our work. So please take a few minutes to make a donation of at least $10 so we can continue our fight for democracy and accountability.

For more info:
Read part One of Brad's Mother Jones expose 
Read part Two of Brad's Mother Jones expose 
Read Gavin Aronsen's breakdown of top Koch donors: "Exclusive: The Koch Brothers' Million-Dollar Donor Club"
Check out Audio and Transcripts posted at The BRAD BLOG

For more information on the Koch brothers and their attacks on democracy, visit our campaign.

The Richest 0.1% Have Launched A War On Us – It’s Time To Fight Back And Hold These 400 Billionaires Personally Responsible For Our Economic Crisis

--We have endured financial oppression for long enough. In a time of national crisis and shared sacrifice, the richest one-tenth of one percent of the population cannot continue on their merry way, living in obscene wealth and detached from reality, while the majority of the population desperately struggles to make ends meet. We are under attack, and it’s time to fight back. [Read More]

Noam Chomsky | After 9/11, Was War the Only Option?
Noam Chomsky, The New York Times Syndicate: "This is the 10th anniversary of the horrendous atrocities of Sept. 11, 2001, which, it is commonly held, changed the world. The impact of the attacks is not in doubt. Just keeping to western and central Asia: Afghanistan is barely surviving, Iraq has been devastated and Pakistan is edging closer to a disaster that could be catastrophic ... Even the most obvious and elementary facts about the decade lead to bleak reflections when we consider 9/11 and its consequences, and what they portend for the future."
Read the Article

New Documents Suggest DoD Watchdog Covered Up Intelligence Unit's Work Tracking 9/11 Terrorists
Jeffrey Kaye and Jason Leopold, Truthout: "Senior Pentagon officials scrubbed key details about a top-secret military intelligence unit's efforts in tracking Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda from official reports they prepared for a Congressional committee probing the 9/11 terrorist attacks, new documents obtained by Truthout reveal."
Read the Article

Tens of millions of people will soon observe the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks. In New York City, the names of the nearly 3,000 people who died on that day will be read out loud and Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama will join the families of the victims to unveil a new memorial. Obama will also visit the Pentagon, and both he and Vice President Joe Biden will visit the Pennsylvania site where a jetliner crashed after passengers overpowered terrorist hijackers. There will be television specials, opportunities to volunteer, speeches by politicians and more.

The 9/11 attacks shattered my sense of security. When I lived in New York City, I walked through the basement of the twin towers of the World Trade Center nearly every day on my way to work. I was living in Washington, DC when the attacks happened. I can remember joining hundreds of other people looking toward the skies as if we could somehow see the airplane that we all heard was heading our way.

On this anniversary I'll stand with friends in New York City, reading out the names of people who died that day. I'll also be mourning the tens of thousands of others around the world who have died since then in the wars Washington launched in response to the 9/11 attacks. As a country, I hope we can do better than that.

On the 10th anniversary of those attacks, we need to ask if the U.S. invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, the kidnappings on foreign soil that violate international law, and the torture allegedly carried out by the CIA and U.S. government contractors in the name of a broad global war on terror have made our country safer. I believe that they have undermined our security instead.

A decade after 9/11, I don't know anyone who is confident that the current U.S. war strategy in Afghanistan will produce a stable nation. In Iraq, after agreeing to leave by the end of 2011, the U.S. military is now arguing that maybe they need to stay a little longer. And in the other countries such as Yemen and Somalia where the United States is waging an undeclared war, our military actions are helping extremists recruit new fighters.

Finally, as the world knows today, the man behind the 9/11 attacks wasn't found in any of the countries the United States has invaded. Eventually, U.S. forces located and killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan. The Saudi-born terrorist lived his final years in reasonable comfort in a large house near the capital city of one of the closest U.S. allies in the region.

Washington's reaction to 9/11 damaged our country as much as the attacks themselves. Today, our nation is waging a permanent war that's taking the lives of our soldiers and draining our treasury. Ten years later, our leaders need the courage to change course. We know that this war without end won't provide comfort to those of us who experienced 9/11. And, it won't make our country safer.

So what should we do?

One place to begin would be for Congress to repeal the authorizations for the use of military force that were used to launch the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and has served as the justification for torture, kidnappings on foreign soil, and covert wars in Yemen and other countries.

Another step would be to insist that the United States complete the withdrawal of U.S. military troops from Iraq and articulate a strategy that will lead to the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Congress should pass three bills from Rep. Barbara Lee. The California Democrat has sponsored legislation that would cut off all funding for the war in Afghanistan except that needed to pull out U.S. troops. She has introduced a bill that would require the last U.S. soldier to leave Iraq on schedule by December 31, 2011. Last year, she also introduced a bill to repeal the authorization for the use of military force.

September 11 will be a solemn day. It should also be a turning point toward a new U.S. foreign policy.

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