28. Dezember 2014

Eleven Reasons I'm Ashamed to Be an American - Dave Lindorff


written by Jahn J Kassl
translated by Franz

Honored Readers!

I’m going to say it: I am ashamed to be a US citizen.“

This is how the investigative reporter Dave Lindorff starts 
his article listing 11 reasons for it.
Besides the last and eleventh reason, whereby, from my 
perspective, Dave Lindorff portrays a wrong picture of the 
causes of climate change, I can totally agree with every point.

The mood and progressing destabilization of America are described 
by someone, who must know it, because he lives in the USA, and 
looks at the developments with open eyes. What is already known 
to many of us, is deepened here and it becomes more than obvious 
that the rat pack in Washington has already abolished democracy a 
long time ago and has replaced it with a flawless fascism (fascism 
in power is the “open, terrorist dictatorship of the most reactionary, chauvinistic, most imperialistic elements of financial capital.” 
Georgi Dimitrov (1882-1942), Politician and from 1946-1949 
Bulgarian Prime Minister, (Wikipedia).

It is good that we do not have to fool ourselves also in the 
New Year, and we face the facts courageously, which means: 
To call persons and things by name, until they are recognized 
in the Light of truth by all of mankind and until the 
criminals will be held responsible for their 
crimes in front of mankind and in front of 
a world court. 

2015, the year of truth, is ante portas and with it 
further disclosures, until the good triumphs over evil. 
„Only the good, if it encounters evil and is not infected
by it, prevails over evil.” Lew Nikolajewitsch 
Count Tolstoi, Russian Writer (1828 -1910)

In Love

Jahn J Kassl

Eleven Reasons I'm Ashamed to Be 
an American
Tue, 12/09/2014
written by Dave Lindorff

I’m going to say it: I am ashamed to be a US citizen. 
This doesn’t come easily, because having lived abroad and 
seen some pretty nasty places in my time, I know there are a 
lot of great things about this country, and a lot of great people 
who live here, but lately, I’ve reached the conclusion that the US 
is a sick and twisted country, in which the bad far outweighs the 

I can remember first feeling revolted about my country 
several times. The first was when I realized, at the tender 
age of 17, what an atrocity the US was committing against 
the people of Vietnam in my name the rape and murderous
destruction of peasant villages and the napalming of children 
in the South, and the carpet bombing of North Vietnam (including 
dikes, schools and hospitals). Later, I was shocked and revolted 
when I belatedly learned how my country had rounded up native 
born and naturalized Japanese-Americans and Japanese legal
residents into concentration camps during WWII, and how the 
national government had been complicit in the taking of those 
vilely incarcerated people’s farms, homes and businesses by
conniving white fascists in California.

But those crimes, horrific as they were, pale in the 
face of what I see this country doing now. Let me 
count some of the ways that this country makes me sick:

1. It’s not just the latest release of a heavily redacted report on 
the Bush/Cheney administration’s deliberate program of torture, 
launched in 2001 in the wake of 9-11, and carried on for years 
against not just alleged terrorists, but even against people known 
or suspected to be completely innocent of anything. 
It’s that nothing has been done, or likely will be done, to punish 
those who authorized and advocated for these war crimes and 
crimes against humanity. And it’s not just that, but that so many 
of my fellow Americans are okay with that. Even in the media, 
including on NPR, I hear reporters saying that one of the “questions”
about the government’s torture program is whether it “worked”
or not in obtaining information about acts of terrorism.
Because it doesn’t matter whether torture “worked” or not.
The US and the rest of the nations of the world signed a treaty 
after World War II saying that torture is a criminal act (the 
penalty includes death under international law!). And so is 
covering up or failing to punish the crime of torture.

2. The police in the United States have become so militarized 
in both a physical sense and in terms of their training and self-image, 
that they are now more of an army of occupation than “peace officers” 
(there’s an anachronistic term you don’t even hear used anymore). 
Over and over we see police aggressively using force, including 
deadly force, in situations that call for calm and understanding. 
The most sickening thing to me, was watching a squad car in
Cleveland race directly onto a park lawn right up to an enclosed
gazebo where 12-year-old Tamir Rice was sitting, alone,
playing with a toy gun. In less than two seconds, one of
the cops exits the car and shoots the boy fatally in the stomach. 
There was absolutely no call for this execution. No one was around 
being threatened by the kid. The cops should have pulled up safely 
at a distance, assessed the situation, and then called on Rice to 
exit the gazebo and drop the gun, even if they feared it was real. 
Or they should have ordered him to stay put and drop the gun, and 
then, if he didn’t comply, waited for back up, including a trained 

Instead, they just raced in like it was a hostage rescue 
attempt, and blew a little kid away. Then they did nothing to 
help him after shooting him. Ugh! And yet, there is not a wave of
universal outrage over this monstrous police murder. Nor is there
universal outrage at the cops involved in the execution slaying
of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO or in the completely pointless
choking death of Eric Garner in Staten Island, New York, both of
whose uniformed killers were exonerated by grossly manipulated
and misled grand juries. Instead, we hear whites interviewed 
on TV shows saying that the cops did the right thing.

3. But that’s just part of it. I’m disgusted by having as 
our president a man who lacks the intestinal fortitude to call 
out these above crimes and to insist that he will prosecute those 
who ordered the military and the CIA to use torture on captives 
in the so-called War on Terror. President Obama should be 
demanding that his so-called Justice Department aggressively
prosecute those cops who are killing unarmed civilians if local 
prosecutors won’t do it, and he should be ordering the prosecution 
of everyone who ordered, authorized, enabled or covered up torture 
by US government agents. (No wonder President Obama has been 
diagnosed with acid reflux: at least the man’s alimentary canal 
appears to have a conscience!)

4. I’m disgusted that according to the Prison Policy Initiative,
the US has at any given moment some 2.4 million people 
locked up (only two-thirds of whom have even been convicted
of a crime, with most of the rest awaiting trial because they 
can’t post the excessive bail set by our corrupt court system). 
And no wonder: Just between the late ‘80s and 2008, the number 
of federal laws for which someone can end up being jailed has 
soared from 3000 to 4450, and it keeps rising as charlatans in 
Congress keep passing laws to create ever more “crimes” to punish. 
And that doesn’t count state and local governments, which 
explains why the US, with 5% of the world’s population, 
accounts for 25% of the world’s prison inmates. Myself, I was
threatened with jail not long ago by a thug cop in a neighboring
town for hitch-hiking an activity that actually is legal in my state,
and that, if done improperly, is at most a citation offense like a 
parking violation calling for a ticket, not an arrest. No matter
if I hadn’t put down my thumb, this bully in a uniform with 
sidearm would have cuffed me, and trumped up something:
resisting arrest, disturbing the peace or some such tripe. 

We live in a punishmentobsessed society, 
overseen by cops who seem to derive 
pleasure in lording it over the public.

5. I’m sickened to see community after community pass 
laws making it illegal to feed the homeless. This in a country 
where in the wake of the Great Recession, we still have a real
unemployment and underemployment rate of between 18% 
and 20% depending on how you’re counting.

6. I’m ashamed and angry that Wall Street is essentially 
one gigantic crime scene -- the place where trillions of dollars 
of wealth over the last decade has been siphoned out of the 
pockets of ordinary Americans into the hands of the wealthiest
1% or 5%, making this now the most unequal society among 
the 34 developed nations of the world. Not one leading banker 
from the nation’s top so-called too-big-to-fail banks has 
even been charged with a crime, much less convicted and jailed 
for the biggest swindle the world has ever seen. On those rare 
occasions when the Justice Department has gone after some
of these bankster crimes, it has reached settlements” in the 
form of meaningless fines, and hasn’t even, as part of the deal, 
required any of these crooked executives to leave their lucrative 
positions of power, or even to admit wrongdoing. In fact, these 
crooks in pinstripes instead of jail stripes are regularly invited
guests at the White House and Congress, called upon to give
their “wisdom” on points of government policy, for which they 
then reward their hosts generously with perks and “campaign 
contributions” that are little more than bribes.

7. I’m outraged and ashamed that my country spends well 
over $1 trillion a year on its military, and has military personnel 
based in over 800 locations around the globe. This at a time when 
50 million Americans are reportedly “food insecure”another way of 
saying that 50 million people, many of them children, go hungry at 
some point in the year and when support programs like Food Stamps 
and Unemployment Compensation are being cut to save money.
Worse yet, there is no national scandal over this. 
In fact, many Americans, perhaps a majority,
think that all that spending on the military is a 
good thing, because it supposedly “keeps us safe” and 
maybe “creates jobs.” The sad truth is that today,
the US, my country, is the world’s 
largest terrorist state based objectively 
on its recent unrivaled history of illegally 
invading other lands, conducting drone 
killings across borders, kidnapping, 
torturing and disappearing people, 
and funding and assisting in the overthrow 
of foreign, often democratically elected, 

8. I’m sick at heart because half a century after the Freedom 
Riders and courageous local people won an end to Jim Crow laws 
in the South that had for generations kept black people from voting, 
at least half the country, and not just in the south but everywhere, 
are now trying to make it hard or impossible for blacks, hispanics
and other people of color to vote. And our corrupted court system 
is backing them in many cases, right up to the US Supreme Court,
which is now dominated by fascists, proto-fascists, 
and religio-fascists.

9. I’m embarrassed that my fellow Americans, by and large, 
care more about whether they can get the latest iPhone, 
or whether they have a god-given right to own an unlicensed
automatic weapon, than about whether we still have a right to 
privacy, a right not to be spied on by the government, or whether 
corporations should be allowed, as now under Citizens United, 
to buy government officials directly, like sides of beef.

10. I’m disgusted that my countrymen and women 
no longer believe it is important for society to provide 
everyone with the basic services that allow all people a
fair shot at climbing out of poverty. There is no longer a 
sense that everyone should be able to attend a decently
funded public school, or have access to a tax-funded state 
college for free or for a small tuition the kind that could be 
covered with a 10-hour work-study job. There is no longer 
any sense that all Americans should be entitled to quality 
health care. 

Even what support there is for the socalled Affordable Care 
Act, far from being about making quality care available for all, 
is mostly from individuals who selfishly want to be able to 
afford insurance for themselves. It’s not about making it 
available to all. It’s like, if the ACA enables you to afford 
insurance, you’re for it, but it you have employer-provided 
insurance, you’re against it. This is basically true in every area.
Americans today have lost any communal sense of 
shared responsibility and shared struggle.
People used to talk (incorrectly, I think) about the ‘60s 
generation being the “me” generation. Actually, it’s pretty 
much the entire US that has become a “me” country.

11. Finally, I can't forget the issue of climate change. 
The US has unquestionably been the primary contributor to 
climate change over the last century, as the most industrialized 
nation in the world. Even today, as it's carbon emissions are 
surpassed by China, the undeniable fact is that on a per capita 
basis, we Americans dump far more carbon into the atmosphere 
per person than anyone in China, by a factor of five or more. 
Yet our country has been a primary obstacle to any real efforts 
to slow or reverse climate change. The US, during this administration 
and the last, has actively subverted efforts to reach international 
agreements to limit greenhouse gases, even using the National 
Security Agency's spying abilities to monitor other countries' 
negotiation positons and to blackmail leaders. It is simply sickening
too, how the selfishness of Americans even extends to caring not a 
whit about the horrors that will be faced by not just our grandchildren, 
but even our children (the World Bank, no environmental radical hotbed, 
warns that today's teens will face a world that is a staggering 
6-8 degrees Fahrenheit hotter by the time they are 80!). 

This is selfishness or madness on a scale that is to me 
incomprehensible. I could go on, but I think eleven reasons 
to be ashamed of one’s country ought to be more than enough.

It is for me.

Source URL: http://thiscantbehappening.net/node/2585

Dave Lindorff is an American investigative reporter,  
a columnist for CounterPunch, and a contributor to 
Businsessweek, The Nation, Extra! and Salon.com. 
His work was highlighted by Project Censored 2004, 
2011 and 2012.  
Born in 1949, Lindorff lives just outside Philadelphia.

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