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07.11 7,000+ Colleges and Universities Declare Climate Emergency and Unveil Three-Point Plan to Combat It [Fox News and Betsy DeVos never talk about this stuff so it must be Bull Shit, right?]

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07.19 Trump administration won't ban pesticide tied to childhood brain damage [There is no truth to the persistent rumor that chlorpyrifos pesticide was heavily used at Trump's childhood home in Queens]

07.19 'Unprecedented' Decline of Plants and Animals as Global 'Red List' Reveals Nearly One-Third of Assessed Species Under Threat

07.17 ‘Off-the-charts’ heat to affect millions in U.S. in coming decades

07.17 Planned Parenthood president Leana Wen forced out by board [Given that states have lost abortion rights on political grounds recently, Wen's philosophical approach to protect abortion rights based on ‘health care’ was smarter – therefore it was that smarter strategy that was killed at the secret meeting.]

07.17 Billions of air pollution particles found in hearts of city dwellers

07.17 What is happening in America's Cancertown is tragic, immoral and evil [Niggardly white government policies could change to produce better students, better jobs and net revenue instead of costs. But it seems they enjoy more cruelty—like Trump.]

07.16 US aid cuts to UN agency will hurt vulnerable women and children, critics say

07.16 Trump abortion restrictions in effect for taxpayer-funded clinics

07.15 The response to DRC’s Ebola crisis isn’t working. Here’s what we need to do

07.15 Extinction Rebellion protests block traffic in five UK cities [Non-corporate human animals make their annoying bleating sounds...]

07.14 A Glacier the Size of Florida Is Becoming Unstable. It Has Dire Implications for Global Sea Levels [The willfully ignorant needn't read more, Trump]

07.13 'Climate Despair' Is Making People Give Up on Life [Willfully ignorant governments—having fired many of their best scientists—have made themselves too stupid to despair]

07.13 Trump administration to approve pesticide that may harm bees [The worst government money can buy!]

07.12 These solar panels don’t just generate power—they produce drinking water

07.12 David Attenborough: polluting planet may become as reviled as slavery [1:34 video]

07.10 Plastic Has A Big Carbon Footprint — But That Isn't The Whole Story [Fixing our world begins by educating your consciousness with the best truth from trustworthy news sources—so you'll then insist truly bad things will get fixed. But if instead you are educated by untrustworthy news sources—then your consciousness could be warped to where you are hating and fighting with your best friends. Clue: untrustworthy news sources never seriously report news about the world's most critical emergency—Global warming.]

07.10 Molly Scott Cato: ‘It’s the wealthy who are causing climate change’

07.09 Judge reinstates Madrid's low emissions zone [Yeh!]

07.07 How Solar Panels Work (And Why They're Taking Over the World) [Hope they leave space between panels for wild flowers to grow so birds and butterflies can flourish!]

07.05 Tree planting 'has mind-blowing potential' to tackle climate crisis

News Media Matters

07.19 Fox News’s star names excuse the inexcusable after Trump's latest racist attack

07.18 In Sinclair's New 'Must-Run' Segment, Former Trump Adviser Tries to Defend Racist Attacks on 'the Squad'

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07.19 Are progressives working on a climate plan for 2021? You bet.

07.19 The 51 most outrageous lines from Donald Trump's repugnant North Carolina rally

07.19 The Real Meaning of ‘Send Her Back!’

07.18 Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Breaking up Homeland Security

07.18 Deadly Delays in Jail Construction Cost Lives and Dollars Across California

07.18 Inside Trump's DC hotel, where allies and lobbyists flock to peddle their interests [Also, too much ignored by media, the $millions "donated" corrupting moderate Democrats and Republicans every election cycle must stop]

07.18 This Republican's Case for Medicare for All [A well-informed Republican is rare, so let's hold him in the light so others may learn]

07.18 Trump rally crowd chants 'send her back' after president attacks Ilhan Omar [1:03 video shows Trump pandering to his ignorant idolaters, and together they're making America a greater shit-hole country]

07.18 "Can't Change a Corrupt System by Taking Its Money": Sanders Urges All 2020 Democrats to Reject Insurance, Big Pharma Cash [49:02 video w/ lousy sound]

07.17 Why Democrats’ oversight machine is moving so slowly against Trump

07.17 Here's the real reason Trump is attacking 'the squad': he's scared of their politics

07.17 'Good,' Says Elizabeth Warren, After Billionaire Right-Winger Peter Thiel Says She's 2020 Democrat He Is 'Most Scared By'

07.17 The American Right Defines Patriotism As Complacency About Racism

07.17 This is what today's America looks like. The squad is us

Justice Matters

07.19 UN urged to act over 'purge' of Turkey's lawyers by Erdogan

07.19 DOJ Releases Strong Evidence of Trump’s Campaign Finance Violations But No Explanation of No Charges [The statement]

07.16 Contempt [Variations of frequent loss & theft of property title by organized legal efforts against black owners]

07.15 Australia 'deeply concerned' about China's treatment of Uighur people [What are the reasons, exactly, that justify harsh imprisonment of a million people?]

07.15 Zuma tells South Africa corruption inquiry he is victim of foreign plot [Unaccountable corrupt governments are so in fashion these days...]

High Crimes vs. Human Rights

07.19 Conscientious objectors of first world war – their untold tales [The record proves they were morally right by avoiding violent early deaths of their cousins and themselves]

Economics & Corrupt Capitalism

07.18 Corporate tax cuts blocked at least 15,000 affordable homes in California. Here’s how

07.15 China’s Economic Growth Hits 27-Year Low as Trade War Stings

International & Futurism

07.19 U.N.'s Bachelet says Congresswomen opposing Trump are 'fantastic'

07.19 Iran makes 'substantial' nuclear offer in return for US lifting sanctions [Was barbaric Saudi Arabia—whose citizens were more involved in the 9-11 attacks—the wrong ally all along?]

07.19 “The Task Ahead Is Enormous, and There Is Not Much Time” [Read this and learn. Or read Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) | Twitter and/or President Trump (@POTUS) | Twitter. Are you serious? Or are you in hideously criminal denial?]

07.18 Foreign purchases of American homes plunge 36% as Chinese buyers flee the market

07.18 There are 16 million slaves around the world making our stuff

07.18 ‘No rioters, only a tyrannical regime’: Thousands of Hong Kong seniors march in support of young extradition law protesters [Most people around the world have more in common with these Hong Kong Chinese protestors than with the ignorant people at Trump rallies]

07.18 Dozens Arrested as Over 1,000 Jewish Activists and Allies Shut Down Entrances to ICE Headquarters Demanding Closure of Trump Detention Camps [Obviously these are not the immoral and less educated right-wing jews who support Netanyahu, Trump and ICE, and who slowly exterminate Palestinians when no one is looking]

07.17 Trump Murdered the Iran Deal—And Europe Isn’t Too Happy About It [Only psychopathic Saudi Arabia and Russia are U.S. ’allies’ now...]

07.17 Trump’s Unlawful Asylum Policy Is a Jab at Mexico

07.16 Trump’s race fantasy is clear: the US as home for whites fleeing Europe [1:09 video]

07.15 India’s Terrifying Water Crisis

07.15 Australia now has the highest minimum wage in the world [From 1960 to 2018 – the U.S. has fallen from 1st place to below the tenth place and off the chart]

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  Print view: Demanding American Exceptionalism
PERSPECTIVE:

Demanding American Exceptionalism

by Don Monkerud
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.

To comment at Consortiumblog, click here. (To make a blog comment about this or other ConsortiumNews stories, you can use your normal e-mail address and password. Ignore the prompt for a Google account.) To comment to us by e-mail, click here. To donate so we can continue reporting and publishing stories like the one you just read, click here.

Mr. Monkerud's stories are republished in the Baltimore Chronicle with permission of the author.



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This story was published on December 11, 2010.
 

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