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Health Care & Environment
11.16 How pesticide bans can prevent tens of thousands of suicides a year [how many thousands more die early from eating pesticide-laced food?]
11.15 The long read: The plastic backlash: what's behind our sudden rage – and will it make a difference? [the world wants to throw-up...]
11.15 Claws out: crab fishermen sue 30 oil firms over climate change [workers are waking-up...]
11.12 This Land is Your Land: The Zinke effect: how the US interior department became a tool of industry [behaving ignorantly again...]
11.11 Trump responds to worst fires in California’s history by threatening to withhold federal aid [behaving ignorantly again...]
11.11 Interior department sued for ‘secretive process’ in at-risk species assessment [behaving ignorantly again...]
11.11 Keystone XL pipeline: judge rules government 'jumped the gun' and orders halt [behaving ignorantly again...]
News Media Matters
US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'
11.17 As Energy for Medicare for All Explodes, Steny Hoyer's Plan Includes Waiting for Trump to Help Make Obamacare Better [Another who is unfit to be Democrat leader]
11.17 'A Staggeringly Bad Idea': Outrage as Pelosi Pushes Tax Rule That Would 'Kneecap the Progressive Agenda' [Unfit to be Democrat leader]
11.16 As 'Green New Deal' Demand Grows, Democrats Have Choice: Confront and Defeat Fossil Fuel Industry or Take Credit for 'Doomed' Planet [Two choices: Save life-on-Earth or help Republicans let it die?]
11.15 Democrats Won Big. Can They Go Bold, Too? [it's about suppressing the influence and leadership by Republican-like Democrats who counsel 'íncremental' (no) change, such as Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, Hillary Clinton, Chuck Shumer and Joe Biden]
11.15 Pentagon Officials Forced to Make Fewer Public Appearances to Avoid Provoking Trump [...by revealing Trump's huuuge ignorance]
11.15 REPUBLICANS USED A BILL ABOUT WOLVES TO AVOID A VOTE ON YEMEN WAR [if there are 'defense industry' profits to be made—including congress-critter insider-trading—and political 'donations' to be had, we mustn't stop killing innocent civilians!]
11.14 The Guardian view on Yemen’s misery: the west is complicit [WAR CRIMES]
Economics, Crony Capitalism
11.16 Amazon’s HQ2 Will Get a Tax Break Designed to Help the Poor [a Republican program that directly helps participating wealthy companies—but only helps workers if and when 'trickle-down' occurs.]
11.16 Trump doesn’t want to punish Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi. His new sanctions prove it. [George W. Bush made a similar immoral decision for the same oily reasons after 9-11, protecting Saudi defense contracts while facilitating the slaughter of poorer Arab "terrorists" in the region.]
11.15 The Earth is in a death spiral. It will take radical action to save us [fossil fuel burning, un-recyclable plastic production/use and methane gas release must cease ASAP.]
International & Futurism
11.17 Thousands gather to block London bridges in climate rebellion [We're losing WWIII because the enemy is invisible while we're like frogs slowly cooking. We aren't informed enough to be alarmed, but must get organized and motivated to fight back. We need a War Plan to ruthlessly pursue the fight of our lives!]
11.17 Policies of China, Russia and Canada threaten 5C climate change, study finds [Climate catastrophe is increasingly likely without worldwide organization, funding and commitment to winning THE WAR AGAINST GLOBAL WARMING.]
11.15 Cuba to pull doctors out of Brazil after President-elect Bolsonaro comments [terms must be negotiated for fairness to Cuba's health professionals without disruption of healthcare for Brazil's poor]
11.14 'Appalling' Khashoggi audio shocked Saudi intelligence – Erdogan [Exposing a psychopath?]
Demanding American Exceptionalism
Published on ConsortiumNews.com on Friday, 10 December 2010
Editorial Note from Bob Parry: Since the Reagan administration, Republicans and the Right have made great political hay out of accusing their opponents of not embracing a thoroughly uncritical view of the United States. As Reagan’s UN Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick put it, there are those who love their country and those who “blame America first.” But this demand for blind patriotism has caused the United States grave harm by discrediting constructive ideas for addressing the nation’s problems. That is, because acknowledging problems requires seeing flaws in America’s “exceptionalism” which opens a politician to attack as an “America-hater” – a dilemma that writer Don Monkerud addresses in this guest essay:
A plethora of wannabe presidential candidates is beating the drum again for American exceptionalism, a warmed-over rehash of bravado, jingoism, and chauvinism.
This latest super-patriotic call seeks to revive a concept dragged from the dustbin of history by George W. Bush. Bush resurrected American exceptionalism as an excuse for his destruction of Iraq, and the unilateral disregard for the rest of the world.
Under Bush, the U.S. overturned international treaties, denounced the U.N. and international cooperation -- except when to America's advantage -- and rejected legal views routinely accepted around the world. Bush and his neocon cheerleaders claimed that the U.S. has its own set of rules, judgments, and solutions to every issue, based on national advantage.
Many of today's politicians, urged on by Fox News, are replaying these old arguments.
Exceptionalism reaches back to historic national decisions that were similar to the invasion of Iraq: dropping the atomic bomb on Japan; clearing out indigenous people to make room for white settlers; and enslaving Africans to build and run plantations. Those in favor of such moves claim God gave America a unique right to rule, and ignore the rest of the world, because we are special.
In one way, exceptionalism is merely another weapon now being used to undermine President Obama and pave the way for the GOP to capture the presidency in 2012. The term also justifies conservative policies, such as unbridled capitalism, limited government, abolishing taxes, and imposing Christianity on the nation.
Let's examine the concept. A 2008 Brookings Institute conference on American Exceptionalism outlined the ways Americans diverge from world opinion.
Some 75 percent of Americans are proud of their country, while only a third of Germans and Japanese are. Half of Americans consider a public safety net important while 75 percent of Europeans do. Two-thirds of Americans believe success comes from individual effort, while the same proportion of Europeans believes success is the result of forces beyond their control.
Above all, America is deeply rooted in religious belief. Half of Americans believe God is essential to morality, while only a third of Europeans do. Forty percent of Americans go to church once a week, while less than 10 percent attend in Europe. Do these characteristics justify America forcing its will on the rest of the world?
The notion of exceptionalism includes the boast that America is the greatest nation on earth. Perhaps because few Americans read newspapers or travel abroad, they cannot adequately judge the truth of this claim.
Corporate-controlled politicians claim America has "the greatest healthcare system in the world," only to reveal their ignorance. The World Health Organization ranked the U.S. 37th among nations in healthcare performance in 2000, although we pay more for less service.
Numerous studies reveal that the U.S. is mediocre in treating illness. For example, compared to the G-8 countries, the U.S. has the highest infant mortality, the most mothers who die during childbirth, the most lives lost that could have been saved, and the worst in treatment of cancer.
The U.N. rates the U.S. even worse: 74th in healthcare performance. And in 2009, the C.I.A. ranked the U.S. 49th in life expectancy in the world.
Nor is the U.S. "the greatest" in essential categories. The U.S. is second after the European Union in GDP, 41st out of 130 in public debt, has the worst balance of trade of any country, and is 32nd in student math, reading and scientific performance.
We do have the greatest wealth disparity in the world. In 2007, our top ten percent controlled 72 percent of the wealth, while the bottom 50 percent controlled 2.5 percent. The poverty rate increased from 12 to 14 percent since 2004, and the current recession has left over a quarter of the working population either under-or un-employed.
The U.S. does have the most expensive military in the world because we spend almost as much as the rest of the world combined. We also spend more on our for-profit medical system-two and-a-half-times more than the world average.
Pointing out an anomaly of historic development is one thing, but adopting "exceptionalism" as government policy ignores the disastrous failures in Iraq and Afghanistan, the meltdown of the world economy, huge national deficits, and the rise of Iran and China on the international scene.
Flag-waving politicians like Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Mike Pence, and Newt Gingrich use the concept of "exceptionalism" to prove how much they love America. Such hyper-nationalism, usually tied to a Christian God, denies our common humanity with the rest of the world, undercuts international cooperation, and promotes an arrogant disregard for world opinion.
It remains to be seen how Americans will react when they realize their imperial ambitions in the New American Century -- a neocon dream of world dominance -- is a hollow myth. America lived beyond its means for too long and now must accept its place in a new world. China, the E.U. and even small countries increasingly challenge America's role in the world.
Will the U.S. become isolationist, engage in more militaristic adventures, or join the nations of the world to push for world peace? We shall see.
Don Monkerud is an Aptos, California-based writer who follows cultural issues and politics and writes occasional satire.
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Mr. Monkerud's stories are republished in the Baltimore Chronicle with permission of the author.
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Baltimore News Network, Inc., sponsor of this web site, is a nonprofit organization and does not make political endorsements. The opinions expressed in stories posted on this web site are the authors' own.This story was published on December 11, 2010.