Friday, February 16, 2018

Blended Electorate: Two Books that Work to Explain Amerikkka's Complex and Contradictory Voting System

*Note: This review was published after the 2008 presidential election. Despite this, the review, and the books more importantly, are still relevant to the present day political situation in the United States. Especially, since class issues are taken into account. Also, take into account that ultimately, both sides of the isle are bought and paid for by the same capitalist moguls.

Red State, Blue State, Rich State, Poor State: Why Americans Vote the Way They Do

By Andrew Gelman, David Park, Boris Shor, Joseph Bafumi and Jeronimo Cortina

Red Highways: A Liberal’s Journey Into the Heartland

By Rose Aguilar

A Review by Kate Washington

The stark blue and red contrast of the electoral map is misleading: In reality, not just states but groups and even individuals are varying hues of purple. But even with the election over, how shall we make sense of the vast, overwhelming diversity of our political landscape? Two new books offer contrasting models of how to do so, with some tantalizing similarities: Both seek to complicate the easy red-blue snapshot offered on television.

Andrew Gelman and his co-authors’ cleverly titled Red State, Blue State, Rich State, Poor State is not a nightmarish Seussian bedtime story, but rather a dense yet readable statistical excursion through what he calls “the red-blue paradox”: the idea that while blue states are richer and red poorer, it’s not lower-income people voting for Republicans that make it so. In all states, he asserts, poor voters vote Democratic and rich voters Republican—but the pattern is stronger in some states, weaker in others. It’s this pattern variance that yields that red-blue map, where poor Mississippi is red and rich Connecticut is blue, meaning that there’s “an essential asymmetry between the patterns of support for the Democrats and the Republicans.”

Gelman’s analysis hits back at Thomas Frank’s well-known What’s the Matter with Kansas?, in which Frank asked why poor Americans in states like Kansas were voting for Republicans. According to Gelman’s book, if you break out voting patterns within states, they’re not—at least not uniformly: “Kansas has been a symbol of working-class Republicanism and, indeed, low-income Kansans gave George W. Bush half of their votes—but high-income Kansans gave him 70%.” One issue in the book is that “rich” and “poor” are not always clearly defined, so that class issues (always vexed in the United States) can seem a touch cloudy, but Gelman nevertheless spotlights a fascinating series of voting paradoxes.

The book’s complex arguments are supported with copious graphs, and further buttressed by state-to-state and international comparisons (a look at rich-poor voting patterns in Mexico vs. the United States is especially intriguing). This isn’t necessarily an easy read, but its rich vein of statistics and well-crunched numbers are essential to see through those glaring red and blue map hues.

In Red Highways, Rose Aguilar also explores the territory of political contradiction—literally—by getting in a van and driving around red states (Texas, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Montana) to ask people why they vote the way they do. This anecdotal approach could not be more different than Gelman’s, but the spirit of complicating the color map is similar.

Aguilar, a liberal radio host in San Francisco, sets off on the road thinking she will employ “a more effective, less presumptuous approach: ask [people] what they think instead of telling them what to think.” Sounds like a plan—though her asking sometimes sounds enough like a leading question that she often gets herself in trouble with her views (and her boyfriend, who is prone to lecturing strangers or wearing “Free Palestine” T-shirts to gun shows, gets her in even more trouble).

Still, they speak to pastors, congregants, Democrats, Republicans, anti-abortion protesters and a Planned Parenthood clinic director, and just about everything in between—all of which yield a lively and complicated picture of the delicately purple-hued corners in America’s reddest states.

These two books make a riveting pairing as election season finally ends. Their different approaches balance each other nicely; when your head can’t wrap itself around another graph, you can switch to vibrant snapshots of individuals. Either way, you’ll get a fresh slant on that two-color map.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Remedy and Reaction: The Peculiar American Struggle Over Health Care Reform - A Review

Remedy and Reaction

“Regardless of the results of the legislative challenges and the court fights, Remedy and Reaction elevates our understanding of the historical picture of the health care debate.” - John Presta

Remedy and Reaction: The Peculiar American Struggle over Health Care Reform, by Paul Starr, is a definitive history of health care reform in America.

The introductory and the final chapter discuss health care reform and specifically delve into the evolution of the current law: the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). The author discusses the passage of the PPACA and the attempts by the Republicans and the Tea Party to jettison the legislation through Congress, the states, and the courts.

Paul Starr describes the journey to the passage of PPACA in March of 2010. This is a valuable handbook for how we got to PPACA and where we will go from here. What are the chances that the legislation will be derailed in the coming months?

The majority of the book takes us on a walk through American history. In 1883, European countries had already adopted some type of health care for the populace. Countries like Germany adopted sickness insurance. Britain also had reform in response to the growing socialist movements in Europe at the time.

Influenced by Europe, Theodore Roosevelt ran for the presidency in 1912 as a Progressive Party candidate, which included comprehensive health care reform. This was also the year after Britain had passed the National Insurance Act. Roosevelt lost his bid for a third term, and with that, healthcare reform died too. By 1916, discussion of health insurance completely evaporated as World War I absorbed much of the national energy.

Discussion was revived during the New Deal era, but the legislation fell short during Roosevelt’s twelve years in office. Some believe that the issue didn’t quite “grab” President Franklin Roosevelt. Admittedly, Franklin Roosevelt’s plate was quite full with other issues like the SSA, the WPA, and reviving the economy—just a few of the initiatives he pursued during the New Deal Era.

Energy was restored to the debate during the Truman years. He ran in 1948 against a do-nothing Congress and won. A bill nearly passed in 1949, but the American Medical Association (AMA) thwarted passage of the bill with intense lobbying, successfully giving the bill the label of “socialized medicine.”

The debate continued through the Eisenhower Administration. The most notable change during those years was the addition of disability insurance to the social security laws. Many incremental changes occurred after the Eisenhower Administration. One of the results of this intense lobbying for reform was the growth of employer-paid insurance plans, which started in 1950 and continue to this day.

JFK considered some legislation, but he could not get it passed in Congress. It was after JFK’s assassination that LBJ took health care to another level with the passage of Medicare and Medicaid.

It is surprising to learn that President Richard M. Nixon had proposed comprehensive health care reform. Even more surprising is the fact that the bill Nixon proposed was much more liberal and comprehensive than PPACA, but it was derailed by the Watergate scandal.

President Gerald Ford did not attempt to push comprehensive health care because he made one of his primary goals the control of inflation. The Ford Administration felt that the passage of a new law would exacerbate inflation.

The Carter Administration also attempted to address the issue, but intra party politics got in the way as President Jimmy Carter and Senator Ted Kennedy feuded about the approach to health care. Kennedy wanted universal coverage immediately and Carter wanted incremental change. This directly led to Kennedy’s 1980 challenge of Jimmy Carter for the Democratic nomination, and the bad feelings between the two men were taken to Kennedy’s grave.

The Reagan years brought a threat from Reagan to cut Medicare benefits, and the question of expanding healthcare coverage for all Americans was unlikely during those years. Surprisingly, Reagan ended up expanding Medicare benefits by the time he left office.

Change came when Bill Clinton was elected President in 1992, and his administration hit the ground running. Clinton was committed to fight for expanded health coverage for all Americans. His wife, then First Lady Hilary Clinton, was the point person in the administration for health care. The author, Paul Starr, was part of the administration, at the time, and gained his expertise in this area during those years.

Paul Starr neatly ties together the impact of the Clinton fight for reform, the influence of that fight on the 2008 election, and how it became a major campaign issue.

Regardless of the results of the legislative challenges and the court fights, Remedy and Reaction elevates our understanding of the historical picture of the health care debate. The issue will be in court in the summer of 2012 and that will surely have an impact as to which candidate will get elected to the Presidency on November 6, 2012.

*Note: The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act survived the Summer of 2012, and President Obama won his bid for a second term the following November.

Since this occasion, President Trump, elected in November of 2016, and the Republican Party have made it their near life goal to assault the PPACA, luckily with only very little success; they have only managed to get the tax penalty for not being able to get insurance removed. Ultimately, this was a popular move to many. Their latest threat to health care is that they believe that they need to make necessary cuts to Medicare and Medicaid in order to pay for their latest round of tax cuts; tax cuts which, curiously, benefit only the people writing the laws. Protesters have responded to Republican's efforts to dismantle American health care with arguments that health care is a fundamental human right and cries of "Love it. Improve it. Medicare for All!"

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

The Amerikkkan Empire is the True Axis of Evil, and It is Going to Get Us All Killed

"There's nothing like a good 'ole war." - President Theodore Roosevelt

“The greatest happiness is to vanquish your enemies, to chase them before you, to rob them of their wealth, to see those dear to them bathed in tears, to clasp to your bosom their wives and daughters.” - Genghis Khan

"The battlefield is a scene of constant chaos. The winner will be the one who controls that chaos, both his own and the enemies." - Napoleon Bonaparte

Growing up in the Amerikkkan Empire, one is indoctrinated into a false paradigm from a very early age. Children are taught early on that the United States of Amerikkka is land of the free and the home of the brave, where everything is as it should be, and all is well. They are also taught that Amerikkka can do no wrong; that Amerikkka's reputation is pure, and that Amerikkka is clothed in a pure white robe depicting Amerikkka to be the world's purest warrior. Further, children are taught of all of the other places on Earth where evil resides, and for every war the Amerikkkan Empire has ever fought, there has always been an enemy other that bears the title of evil. Whether it was the "Tyrannical King," the "Heathen Savage," the "Axis Powers," the "Red Communists," or the "Terrorist Axis of Evil," Amerikkka has always found someone to fight, someone to test its strength against, or someone to take advantage of.

Think not? Consider these numbers just released by the Hampton Institute. Amerikkka's annual military budget is $824.6 Billion. It has 1.3 million active duty troopers and another 850,000 reserve troopers. It has 3,476 tactical aircraft, 2,831 tanks, 760 attack helicopters, 637 drones, 157 bombers, 93 cruisers and destroyers, 60 submarines, 10 aircraft carriers, and 6,800 nuclear warheads. This does not account for artillery pieces. Of all this, roughly 200,000 personnel are deployed in more than 170 countries worldwide on approximately 800 military bases. The only continent that does not have have Amerikkkan troops on it is Antarctica. The estimated collateral damage since World War II caused by Amerikkkan military operations in 37 "victim" nations, is roughly 20 million people. Worse, yet, these instances are not the beginning. Perhaps, we should take a stroll down memory lane to when the Amerikkkan Empire was first granted life.

The Amerikkkan Revolution

The standard story, of course, is that the Amerikkkan colonies were being subjected to the tyrannical rule of a king, George III, who lived 3,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean and who cared nothing for the true well being of his Amerikkkan subjects. There are a number of minor complaints that the Amerikkkan colonists had, but their biggest complaint was Taxation without Representation. This, to a degree has merit, but only until you understand why the Amerikkkans were being taxed. The Amerikkkans were being taxed for a war that they started. In short, George Washington, a Virginia Militiaman, was sent into the Ohio River Valley to scout for a possible French incursion into British territory. He was then supposed to return to Virginia and send a report back to England. Rather than do that; when he encountered a French patrol, he attacked it and started a seven year long war, the Seven Years War, that stretched across the entire globe costing the British crown what today would likely be billions of pounds. Worse, it cost a total of 213,000 British citizens their lives, and the lives of an estimated 700,000 enemy soldiers. So, one can imagine that just about anyone would think it only fair that the colonies help foot the bill for the war they started. Several boycotts and a rather rambunctious display later, the Boston Tea Party. the colonies were refusing to pay the taxes that the Crown was levying on them. Perhaps, a few representatives in Parliament may have solved this problem, but that is not likely, as the Amerikkkan colonies just did not want to pay the taxes either way. So, the initial reason for starting the Revolutionary War was not Taxation without Representation, but rather Tax Evasion.

Okay, so here is an even better one, and it is something that people in Amerikkka have never even thought of. There were more than just thirteen British colonies in North America at the time that the Amerikkkan Revolution was about to break out. Nova Scotia had been a colony in own right, as had Quebec, which had been taken from the French in the Seven Years War. When the Continental Congress first sent out invites to the colonies the congress, they invited to these two colonies as well, both of which declined. Quebec declined because they were guaranteed certain protections for the practice of their faith by the British government and feared that Amerikkka would force them to become Protestant, and Nova Scotia declined because they were largely a military establishment with families alongside them whose loyalties were to the Crown. This, of course, was not going to stop the Amerikkkans.

The Invasion of Quebec in 1775 was the first major military initiative by the newly formed Continental Army during the Amerikkkan Revolutionary War. The objective of the campaign was to gain military control of the British Province of Quebec, modern day Canada, and convince French-speaking Canadians to join the revolution on the side of the Thirteen Colonies. One expedition left Fort Ticonderoga under Richard Montgomery, besieged and captured Fort St. Johns, and very nearly captured British General Guy Carleton when taking Montreal. The other expedition left Cambridge, Massachusetts under Benedict Arnold, and traveled with great difficulty through the wilderness of Maine to Quebec City. The two forces joined there, but were defeated at the Battle of Quebec in December 1775.

The Battle of Fort Cumberland was an attempt by a small number of militia commanded by Jonathan Eddy to bring the Amerikkkan Revolutionary War to Nova Scotia in late 1776. With minimal logistical support from Massachusetts and four to five hundred volunteer militia and Natives, Eddy attempted to besiege and storm Fort Cumberland in central Nova Scotia in November of 1776. The fort's defenders, the Royal Fencible American Regiment led by Joseph Goreham, a veteran of the Seven Years War, successfully repelled several attempts by Eddy's militia to storm the fort, and the siege was ultimately relieved when the RFA plus Royal Marine reinforcements drove off the besiegers on November 29th. The successful defense of Fort Cumberland preserved the territorial integrity of the British Maritime possessions, and Nova Scotia remained loyal throughout the war.

In both of Amerikkka's first attempts at invasion, they failed miserably. It can also be argued that they were attempting to steal the land since they could not convince the people to join them peacefully, which means they are guilty of Attempted Real Estate Fraud. Now the Amerikkkans have three charges against them. They start an illegal war that the imperial government is obligated to finish, which adds War Mongering to their list of crimes, they refuse to pay for it, Tax Evasion, and then during the Amerikkkan Revolution, they invade Quebec and Nova Scotia and fail, Attempted Real Estate Fraud. All of this combined was Treason against the Crown. By the end of the war, after garnering the assistance of France, Spain, and the Netherlands, the Amerikkkans won their independence. So, they got away with all, but only after adding to the body count. The Amerikkkan Revolution cost between both sides an estimated 150,000 lives.

The War of 1812

Since the outbreak of war with Napoleonic France, Britain had enforced a naval blockade to choke off neutral trade to France, which the Amerikkkans contested as illegal under international law. To man the blockade, Britain impressed Amerikkkan merchant sailors into the Royal Navy. Incidents such as the Chesapeake–Leopard Affair inflamed anti-British sentiment. In 1811, the British were in turn outraged by the Little Belt Affair, in which 11 British sailors died. The British supplied Indians who conducted raids on Amerikkkan settlers on the frontier, which hindered Amerikkkan expansion and also provoked resentment. Historians remain divided on whether the desire to annex some or all of British North America contributed to the American decision to go to war. On June 18, 1812, President James Madison, after receiving heavy pressure from the War Hawks in Congress, signed the Amerikkkan declaration of war into law.

With the majority of their army in Europe fighting Napoleon, the British adopted a defensive strategy. Amerikkkan prosecution of the war effort suffered from its unpopularity, especially in New England, where it was derogatorily referred to as "Mr. Madison's War." Amerikkkan defeats at the Siege of Detroit and the Battle of Queenston Heights thwarted attempts to seize Upper Canada, improving British morale. Amerikkkan attempts to invade Lower Canada and capture Montreal also failed. In 1813, at the Battle of Lake Erie the Amerikkkans won control of Lake Erie and at the Battle of the Thames, defeated Tecumseh's Confederacy, securing a primary war goal. At sea, the powerful Royal Navy blockaded Amerikkkan ports, cutting off trade and allowing the British to raid the coast at will. In 1814, one of these raids burned the capital, Washington, although the Amerikkkans subsequently repulsed British attempts to invade New England and capture Baltimore.

At home, the British faced mounting opposition to wartime taxation, and demands to reopen trade with Amerikkka. With the abdication of Napoleon, the blockade of France ended and the British ceased impressment, rendering the issue of the impressment of Amerikkkan sailors moot. The British were then able to increase the strength of the blockade on the United States coast, annihilating Amerikkkan maritime trade and bringing the United States government near to bankruptcy. Peace negotiations began in August of 1814 and the Treaty of Ghent was signed on December 24th as neither side wanted to continue fighting. News of the peace did not reach Amerikkka for some time. Unaware that the treaty had been signed, British forces invaded Louisiana and were defeated at the Battle of New Orleans in January of 1815. These late victories were viewed by Amerikkkans as having restored national honor, leading to the collapse of anti-war sentiment and the beginning of the Era of Good Feelings, a period of national unity. News of the treaty arrived shortly thereafter, halting military operations. The treaty was unanimously ratified by the United States on February 17, 1815, ending the war with Status quo ante bellum.

The Creek War, 1813-1814, also known as the Red Stick War and the Creek Civil War, was a regional war between opposing Creek factions, European empires, and the United States, taking place largely in today's Alabama and along the Gulf Coast. The major conflicts of the war took place between state militia units and the "Red Stick" Creeks. The Creek War was part of the four-century long Indian Wars. It is usually considered part of the War of 1812 because it was influenced by Tecumseh's War in the Old Northwest, was concurrent with the American-British war and involved many of the same participants, and the Red Sticks had sought British support and aided Admiral Cochrane's advance towards New Orleans.

The Creek War began as a conflict within the Creek Confederation, but local white militia units quickly became involved. British traders in Florida as well as the Spanish government provided the Red Sticks with arms and supplies because of their shared interest in preventing the expansion of the United States into their areas. The war effectively ended with the Treaty of Fort Jackson, signed in August of 1814, where General Andrew Jackson forced the Creek confederacy to surrender more than 21 million acres in what is now southern Georgia and central Alabama. These lands were taken from allied Creek as well as Red Sticks.

So, here, once again, the Amerikkkans sought to take Canada by force, and they failed miserably. Their second early attempt at empire building gone awry. However, during the conflict they had some secondary goals. They wanted to finally subdue the Native Americans living in the territories that they had won from their victory in the Revolutionary War, which they did. In what is known as Tecumseh's War and what is known as the Creek War, the Amerikkkan government gained total control of both what is now the Midwest and the Deep South. What did it cost the world, though? Their feudal attempt at empire building, but first successful shot at genocide, cost another 35,000 human lives.

The Louisiana Purchase

The Louisiana Purchase was the acquisition of the Louisiana territory by the United States from France in 1803. The U.S. paid fifty million francs, $11,250,000 USD, and a cancellation of debts worth eighteen million francs, $3,750,000 USD, for a total of sixty-eight million francs, $15,000,000 USD, or around $250 million in 2016 dollars. Its non-native population was around 60,000 inhabitants, of whom half were African slaves. The Kingdom of France controlled the Louisiana territory from 1699 until it was ceded to Spain in 1762. In 1800, Napoleon, then the First Consul of the French Republic, hoping to re-establish an empire in North America, regained ownership of Louisiana. However, France's failure to put down the revolt in Saint-Domingue, coupled with the prospect of renewed warfare with the United Kingdom, prompted Napoleon to sell Louisiana to the United States. The Amerikkkans originally sought to purchase only the port city of New Orleans and its adjacent coastal lands, but quickly accepted the bargain. The Louisiana Purchase occurred during the term of the third President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson. Before the purchase was finalized, the decision faced Federalist Party opposition; they argued that it was unconstitutional to acquire any territory. Jefferson agreed that the U.S. Constitution did not contain explicit provisions for acquiring territory, but he asserted that his constitutional power to negotiate treaties was sufficient.

So, here, one sees a couple of arguments; Spain and France going back and forth over possession of the territory; Napoleon selling the territory to the Amerikkkans to fund his war in Europe; and Congress, arguing whether or not the Constitution gives any branch of government the express power to obtain new any territories other than those already owned with President Jefferson arguing that his treaty powers gave him the right. Nowhere in any of these conversations were the rights and will of the Natives inhabiting those lands considered, especially not by the Amerikkkans, as history will soon tell. So, half a continent just trades hands, a piece of paper is signed, and the lives of millions of people are suddenly under the jurisdiction of a government they have never heard of or even met, yet they will soon be expected to pay homage to. If that is not another case of Real Estate Fraud there is no telling what is; and ultimately, this one succeeds. Worse, it will cost millions of more lives.

The Mexican-Amerikkkan War

The Mexican-American War, 1846-1848, marked the first U.S. armed conflict chiefly fought on foreign soil. It pitted a politically divided and militarily unprepared Mexico against the expansionist-minded administration of U.S. President James K. Polk, who believed the Amerikkkan Empire had a “manifest destiny” to spread across the continent to the Pacific Ocean. A border skirmish along the Rio Grande River started off the fighting and was followed by a series of U.S. victories. When the dust cleared, Mexico had lost nearly half of its territory, including nearly all of present-day California, Utah, Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico.

Texas gained its independence from Mexico in 1836. Initially, the United States declined to incorporate it into the union, largely because northern political interests were against the addition of a new slave state. The Mexican government was also encouraging border raids and warning that any attempt at annexation would lead to war. Nonetheless, annexation procedures were quickly initiated after the 1844 election of Polk, who campaigned that Texas should be “re-annexed” and that the Oregon Territory should be “re-occupied.” Polk also had his eyes on California, New Mexico and the rest of what is today the U.S. Southwest. When his offer to purchase those lands was rejected, he instigated a fight by moving troops into a disputed zone between the Rio Grande and Nueces River that both countries had previously recognized as part of the Mexican state of Coahuila. He did this knowing that the Mexican government would see it as an act of war.

On April 25, 1846, Mexican cavalry attacked a group of U.S. soldiers in the disputed zone under the command of General Zachary Taylor, killing about a dozen men. They then laid siege to an Amerikkkan fort along the Rio Grande. Taylor called in reinforcements, and with the help of increased firepower, was able to defeat the Mexicans at the battles of Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma. Following those battles, Polk told the U.S. Congress that the “cup of forbearance has been exhausted, even before Mexico passed the boundary of the United States, invaded our territory, and shed American blood upon American soil.” Two days later, on May 13, Congress declared war, despite opposition from some northern lawmakers. No official declaration of war ever came from Mexico. This was a war started on false pretenses, whose goal it was to build empire. It was not Amerikkka's first attempt to do such a thing, and it would not be its last.

At that time, only about 75,000 Mexican citizens lived north of the Rio Grande. As a result, U.S. forces led by Col. Stephen W. Kearny and Commodore Robert F. Stockton were able to conquer those lands with minimal resistance. Taylor likewise had little trouble advancing, and he captured Monterrey in September. With the losses adding up, Mexico turned to old standby General Antonio López de Santa Anna, the charismatic strongman who had been living in exile in Cuba. Santa Anna convinced Polk that, if allowed to return to Mexico, he would end the war on terms favorable to the United States. But when he arrived, he immediately double-crossed Polk by taking control of the Mexican army and leading it into battle. At the Battle of Buena Vista in February of 1847, Santa Anna suffered heavy casualties and was forced to withdraw. Despite the loss, he assumed the Mexican presidency the following month.

Meanwhile, U.S. troops led by Gen. Winfield Scott landed in Veracruz and took over the city. They then began marching toward Mexico City, essentially following the same route that Hernan Cortes followed when he invaded the Aztec empire. The Mexicans resisted at Cerro Gordo and elsewhere, but were bested each time. In September of 1847, Scott successfully laid siege to Mexico City’s Chapultepec Castle. During that clash, a group of military school cadets, the so-called ninos heroes, purportedly committed suicide rather than surrender. Guerilla attacks against Amerikkkan supply lines continued, but for all intents and purposes the war had ended. Santa Anna resigned, and the United States waited for a new government capable of negotiations to form. Finally, on February 2, 1848, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed, establishing the Rio Grande and not the Nueces River as the U.S.-Mexican border. Under the treaty, Mexico also recognized the U.S. annexation of Texas, and agreed to sell California and the rest of its territory north of the Rio Grande for $15 million plus the assumption of certain damages claims.

So, the Amerikkkans succeeded in expanding their empire by forcefully taking land from another nation that did not want to give it up, and they justified it by creating the false dichotomy "Manifest Destiny;" meaning that it was Amerikkka's destiny to stretch from sea to shining sea. What they really meant was that it was the destiny of the white man's empire to stretch from sea to shining sea. Further, it helped the Amerikkkans that Mexico was both politically and militarily weak and were unable to sustain themselves against a foreign aggressor who was hell bent on making their name against them. For that is what this war did as well. It set up the Amerikkkans as the regional power in the Americas. In fact, Mexico is lucky that it survived the war at all because there members of Congress in Amerikkka wanted that the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo to include the complete turnover of all Mexico's territory. These were men from Amerikkka's southern states who saw an opportunity for a massive expansion of the institution of slavery. Luckily, men from the northern states won over. This, of course, was not before Mexico lost nearly half of its sovereign territory to the Amerikkkans in an illegal war that cost the lives of another estimated 25,000 men.

The Amerikkkan Civil War

The Amerikkkan Civil War was a truly unique event in that it was not a matter of external imperialism, but rather a matter of internal capitalistic competition over the preferred mode of capitalist production. The question that was being disputed was whether the country would continue as a slave power or an industrial power. Would the nation force its workers to work for nothing at the crack of the whip, or would they be paid a wage that they choose to work for at will? Of course, the South fought hard to preserve slavery; but in the course of four years, they were overpowered by the industrial power of the North. The fact that the Civil War ended Chattel Slavery is a very good thing, but its replacement, Wage Slavery, was not all that much better. In fact, neither is preferable, but back then, those were the only two options. A third option, Communism, had not been truly effective yet. In the end, for this fight, for this competition over the capitalist means of production, what was the punishment? An estimated 850,000 soldiers and civilians combined lost their lives just so Amerikkka could work out its identity crisis.

The American Indian Plains Wars

It is impossible to numerate the number of Natives that were wiped out in the Plains Wars after the Civil War; but suffice it to say, the Amerikkkan Empire finally took the time it needed to clear the Louisiana Purchase out of its rightful owners. They did so for many reasons. Among them was the need to connect the East to the West, and also to get a hold of valuable natural resources, like the gold buried in the Black Hills of the Dakotas. To command this effort, the Amerikkkan government chose a veteran of the Civil War William Tecumseh Sherman. He was brutal then, and he would prove to be brutal again. He knew that a direct war against the Natives in their lands would be difficult to win, so he chose another strategy. He knew that the Plains Culture was dependent upon the Bison herds that roamed the plains, and so he opened the plains to hunters with no limits. The Natives call it "Genocide By Another Means" because it is estimated that in the mid to late 1800s the Great Plains went from 30 million head of bison to less than 1,000. This crashed the Plains Tribe's economy and left many of them dependent upon handouts from the very enemy that had just ruined them. Those that did not die from starvation or war were ushered on to ill supplied reservations, where they were then expected to live as farmers, contradictory to their traditional nomadic past.

The Native's, of course, did not take this treatment lying down. In 1875, the Great Sioux War of 1876–77, the last serious Sioux war erupted, when the Dakota gold rush penetrated the Black Hills. The U.S. Government decided to stop evicting trespassers from the Black Hills, and offered to buy the land from the Sioux. When they refused, the Government decided instead to take the land, and gave the Lakota until January 31, 1876 to return to reservations. With the deadline's passing, the tribes were absent from the reservations, and military action commenced. After several indecisive encounters, Lt. Colonel George Custer found the main encampment of the Lakota and their allies at the Battle of the Little Bighorn. Custer and his men, who were separated from their main body of troops, were all killed by the far more numerous Natives, who had the tactical advantage. They were led in the field by Crazy Horse and inspired by Sitting Bull's earlier vision of victory. The defeat of Custer and his troopers as a popularized episode in the history of western Native warfare was fostered by an advertising campaign by the Anheuser-Busch brewery. The enterprising company ordered reprints of a dramatic painting that depicted "Custer's Last Fight" and had them framed and hung in many American saloons, helping to create lasting impressions of the battle and the brewery's products in the minds of bar patrons.

Later, in 1890, a Ghost Dance ritual on the Northern Lakota reservation at Wounded Knee, South Dakota, led to the Army's attempt to subdue the Lakota. On December 29th, during this attempt, gunfire erupted, and soldiers killed up to 300 Natives, mostly old men, women and children in the Wounded Knee Massacre. Following the massacre, author L. Frank Baum wrote: "The Pioneer has before declared that our only safety depends upon the total extermination of the Indians. Having wronged them for centuries, we had better, in order to protect our civilization, follow it up by one more wrong and wipe these untamed and untamable creatures from the face of the earth." And so it goes, the Natives were not even allowed to practice their indigenous religion without having to fear death. The Amerikkkan Empire showed its ruthlessness once again, as it sought to consolidate its holdings. It showed the lengths to which Amerikkka would go to ensure that the white man's Manifest Destiny prevailed, and it proved that the Empire that won the Civil War was different only in how it compensated its workers. Amerikkka had no real room for non-whites and this should have proven that.

 The Spanish-Amerikkkan War

The Spanish-American War, 1898, was a conflict between the United States and Spain that ended Spanish colonial rule in the Americas and resulted in Amerikkkan acquisition of territories in the western Pacific and Latin America.

The war originated in the Cuban struggle for independence from Spain, which began in February of 1895. Spain’s brutally repressive measures to halt the rebellion were overly graphically portrayed for the Amerikkkan public by several sensational newspapers, and Amerikkkan sympathy for the rebels quickly rose. The growing popular demand for Amerikkkan intervention became an insistent chorus after the unexplained sinking in Havana harbor of the battleship USS Maine, which had been sent to protect Amerikkkan citizens and property after anti-Spanish rioting in Havana. Spain announced an armistice on April 9th and speeded up its new program to grant Cuba limited powers of self-government, but the Amerikkkan Congress soon afterward issued resolutions that declared Cuba’s right to independence, demanded the withdrawal of Spain’s armed forces from the island, and authorized the President’s use of force to secure that withdrawal while renouncing any Amerikkkan design for annexing Cuba.

Spain declared against the Amerikkkans on April 24, 1898 followed by an Amerikkkan declaration of war on the 25th, which was made retroactive to April 21st. The ensuing war was pathetically one-sided, since Spain had readied neither its army nor its navy for a distant war against the rising power of the Amerikkkan Empire. Commodore George Dewey led an Amerikkkan naval squadron into Manila Bay in the Philippines on May 1, 1898, and destroyed the anchored Spanish fleet in a leisurely morning engagement that cost only seven Amerikkkan seamen wounded. Manila itself was occupied by U.S. troops by August.

The elusive Spanish Caribbean fleet under Admiral Pascual Cervera was located in Santiago harbor in Cuba by U.S. reconnaissance. An army of regular troops and volunteers under General William Shafter, and including Theodore Roosevelt and his 1st Volunteer Cavalry, the “Rough Riders,” landed on the coast east of Santiago and slowly advanced on the city in an effort to force Cervera’s fleet out of the harbor. Cervera led his squadron out of Santiago on July 3rd and tried to escape westward along the coast. In the ensuing battle all of his ships came under heavy fire from Amerikkkan guns and were beached in a burning or sinking condition. Santiago surrendered to Shafter on July 17th, thus effectively ending the war.

By the Treaty of Paris, signed December 10, 1898, Spain renounced all claim to Cuba, ceded Guam and Puerto Rico to the United States, and transferred sovereignty over the Philippines to the Amerikkkan Empire for $20,000,000. The Spanish-Amerikkkan War was an important turning point in the history of both antagonists. Spain’s defeat decisively turned the nation’s attention away from its overseas colonial adventures and inward upon its domestic needs, a process that led to both a cultural and a literary renaissance and two decades of much-needed economic development in Spain. The victorious Amerikkkan Empire, on the other hand, emerged from the war a world power with far-flung overseas possessions and a new stake in international politics that would soon lead it to play a determining role in the affairs of Europe and other regions of the globe. The Amerikkkan Empire was now a minor global power, and it only cost them another 17,500 lives.

The Philippine-Amerikkkan War

The Filipinos saw the conflict as a continuation of the Filipino struggle for independence that began in 1896 with the Philippine Revolution; the Amerikkkan government regarded it as an insurrection. The conflict arose when the First Philippine Republic objected to the terms of the Treaty of Paris under which the Amerikkkan Empire took possession of the Philippines from Spain, ending the Spanish-Amerikkkan War. After the Spanish-Amerikkkan War, while the Amerikkkan public and politicians debated the annexation question, Filipino revolutionaries under the command of Emilio Aguinaldo seized control of most of the Philippines’main island of Luzon and proclaimed the establishment of the independent Philippine Republic. When it became clear that Amerikkkan forces were intent on imposing Amerikkkan colonial control over the islands, the early clashes between the two sides in 1899 swelled into an all out war. The Amerikkkan Empire tended to refer to the ensuing conflict as an “insurrection” rather than acknowledge the Filipinos’ contention that they were fighting to ward off a foreign invader.

There were two phases to the Philippine-Amerikkkan War. The first phase, from February to November of 1899, was dominated by Aguinaldo’s ill-fated attempts to fight a conventional war against the better trained and equipped Amerikkkan troops. The second phase was marked by the Filipinos’ shift to guerrilla style warfare. It began in November of 1899, lasted through the capture of Aguinaldo in 1901 and into the spring of 1902, by which time most organized Filipino resistance had dissipated. President Theodore Roosevelt proclaimed a general amnesty and declared the conflict over on July 4, 1902, although minor uprisings and insurrections continued against Amerikkkan rule periodically in the years that followed.

The Amerikkkan Empire entered the conflict with undeniable military advantages that included a trained fighting force, a steady supply of military equipment, and control of the archipelago’s waterways. Meanwhile, the Filipino forces were hampered by their inability to gain any kind of outside support for their cause, chronic shortages of weapons and ammunition, and complications produced by the Philippines’ geographic complexity. Under these conditions, Aguinaldo’s attempt to fight a conventional war in the first few months of the conflict proved to be a fatal mistake; the Filipino Army suffered severe losses in men and material before switching to the guerrilla tactics that might have been more effective if employed from the beginning of the conflict.

The war was brutal on both sides. Amerikkkan forces at times burned villages, implemented civilian reconcentration policies, and employed torture on suspected guerrillas, while Filipino fighters also tortured captured soldiers and terrorized civilians who cooperated with American forces. Many civilians died during the conflict as a result of the fighting, cholera and malaria epidemics, and food shortages caused by several agricultural catastrophes.

Even as the fighting went on, the colonial government that the Amerikkkan Empire established in the Philippines in 1900, under future President William Howard Taft, launched a pacification campaign that became known as the “policy of attraction.” Designed to win over key elites and other Filipinos who did not embrace Aguinaldo’s plans for the Philippines, this policy permitted a significant degree of self-government, introduced social reforms, and implemented plans for economic development. Over time, this program gained important Filipino adherents and undermined the revolutionaries’ popular appeal, which significantly aided the Amerikkkan Empires’ military effort to win the war. Here again, the Amerikkkan Empire conquered a brown people, knowing that their land was rich in resources, and all it cost them was another 270,000 human lives.

The Great World Wars

The Amerikkkan Empire can not be blamed for starting this massive conflagration, but it can be blamed for profiting from it. First of all, one must properly understand how World War I and World War II are actually connected. World War 1 and World War II should actually be combined and understood to be one single event. The Treaty of Versailles, which ended World War I, was an instrument of revenge used by primarily France, but with Great Britain's signature upon it, as well. The French were seeking to completely disarm Germany in an effort to keep Germany from defeating them, yet again, in a major war. France was still stinging from the Franco-Prussian War, fought from 1870 to 1871, in which Germany had taken some key provinces from France. After World War I, France took them back and did not want to give them back. The treaty was also meant to keep Germany from becoming a competitive economic force over France again.

The restrictions placed on Germany put Germany in a position of extreme poverty raising inflation dramatically. This turned the people of Germany against the other Western powers, building the base for another war once the rope that was the Treat of Versailles snapped. By the early 1920s, that rope was beginning to tighten up, and on November 8, 1923, Europe was introduced to Adolf Hitler when he tried to take over the Bavarian government in a failed armed rebellion that history remembers as the Beer Hall Putsch. By the time Hitler was elected Supreme Chancellor in 1933, the rope was near to snapping. He used a propaganda machine that played on the German people's sense of national pride. He told them that he could reverse the conditions of the evil Treaty of Versailles and he promised to make Germany a powerful nation again. When he was appointed Supreme Chancellor of Germany; and later President, he began to make good on his promises. Once in power, he took full control of Germany and began working to rebuild what was a torn nation. Little did the people of Germany know what they were getting themselves into. Hitler's psychotic behavior nearly brought the world to the brink of destruction, but the Amerikkkan Empire was right their along sided him to help it along as they developed bombs strong enough to level entire cities in one stroke.

Europe actually believed, at least at first, that he was a good thing for Europe because he would put an end to the economic strife in Germany and reduce the risk of violence or even revolution. To this end, on multiple occasions they appeased some fairly aggressive actions on his part hoping that doing so would prevent another conflict on the scale of World War I. Britain and France also delayed acting against Hitler because they admitted that the treaty ending the 'Great War' was too harsh. Unfortunately for Europe, they let him get away with too much and hostilities broke out again. This was not the beginning of a separate conflict, however; but rather, the resumption of hostilities from the 'Great War,' as it was the Treaty of Versailles that gave rise to Hitler in the first place.  So, essentially, the period between the to World Wars was nothing more than temporary cease fire, or in other words, a brief armistice.

Of course, the Amerikkkans were on the winning side of the conflict, and when the conflict was all over, they came in and threw money at the situation to help make the damage in Europe all better. This was called the Marshall Plan, or officially, the European Recovery Program. It was an Amerikkkan initiative to aid Western Europe, in which the United States gave over $13,000,000,000, nearly $140 billion in current dollar value as of September of 2017, in economic assistance to help rebuild Western European economies after the end of World War II. The plan was in operation for four years beginning on April 8, 1948. The goals of the United States were to rebuild war-torn regions, remove trade barriers, modernize industry, make Europe prosperous once more, and prevent the spread of communism.The Marshall Plan required a lessening of interstate barriers, a dropping of many regulations, and encouraged an increase in productivity, trade union membership, as well as the adoption of modern business procedures. One of things that is not commonly mentioned, however, is that the plan also renewed the contracts for Amerikkka's military bases across Western Europe. This must be part of the effort to stymie the spread of communism. The contracts for Amerikkkan Army, Air Force, and Navy bases were renewed for another fifty years. The Amerikkkan Empire was secure. The total number of dead between these two wars was astronomical 41 million people lost their lives in World War I, while and estimated 60 million people lost their lives in World War II.

The Korean War

The Korean War was a war between North Korea, with the support of China and the Soviet Union, and South Korea, with the principal support of the Amerikkkan Empire. The war began on June 25, 1950 when North Korea invaded South Korea following a series of clashes along the border. The United Nations, with the Amerikkkan Empire as the principal force, came to the aid of South Korea. China came to the aid of North Korea, and the Soviet Union also gave some assistance to the North.

Korea was ruled by Imperial Japan from 1910 until the closing days of World War II. In August of 1945, one day after the bombing of Nagasaki, the Soviet Union declared war on Imperial Japan, as a result of an agreement with the Amerikkkans, and liberated Korea north of the 38th parallel. Amerikkkan forces subsequently moved into the south. By 1948, as a product of the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the Amerikkkan Empire, Korea was split into two regions, with separate governments. Both claimed to be the legitimate government of all of Korea, and neither accepted the border as permanent. The conflict escalated into open warfare when North Korean forces, supported by the Soviet Union and China, moved into the south on June 25, 1950. On June 27th, the United Nations Security Council authorized the formation and dispatch of UN forces to Korea to repel what was recognized as a North Korean invasion. Twenty-one countries of the United Nations eventually contributed to the UN force, with the Amerikkkan Empire providing 88% of the UN's military personnel.

After the first two months of war, South Korean and Amerikkkan forces rapidly dispatched to Korea were on the point of defeat, forced back to a small area in the south known as the Pusan Perimeter. In September of 1950, an amphibious UN counter-offensive was launched at Incheon, and cut off many North Korean troops. Those who escaped envelopment and capture were forced back north. UN forces rapidly approached the Yalu River, the border with China, but in October of 1950, a mass of Chinese forces crossed the Yalu and entered the war. The surprise Chinese intervention triggered a retreat of UN forces which continued until mid-1951.

After these reversals of fortune, which saw Seoul change hands four times, the last two years of fighting became a war of attrition, with the front line close to the 38th parallel. The war in the air, however, was never a stalemate. North Korea was subject to a massive bombing campaign. Pyongyang was flattened to the ground, killing millions of innocent civilians. Jet fighters confronted each other in air-to-air combat for the first time in history, and Soviet pilots covertly flew in defense of their communist allies. The fighting ended on July 27, 1953, when an armistice was signed. The agreement created the Korean Demilitarized Zone to separate North and South Korea, and allowed the return of prisoners. However, no peace treaty has been signed, and according to some sources the two Koreas are technically still at war.

As a war undeclared by all participants, the conflict helped bring the term "police action" into common use. It also led to the permanent alteration of the balance of power within the United Nations, where Resolution 377, passed in 1950 to allow a bypassing of the Security Council if that body could not reach an agreement, led to the General Assembly displacing the Security Council as the primary organ of the UN. This, of course, is the official story, but what the story leaves out is that the Amerikkkan Empire has not left South Korea since end of the conflict. In fact, just south of the Demilitarized rests an entire division of the Amerikkkan army, plus detachments of the Navy, Air Force, and Marines. So, how much did this cost? What was the expense for the Amerikkkan Empire to spread its influence all the away across the globe? Combining military personnel and civilians, from both sides, 3,330,000 people lost their lives.

The Vietnam War

The Vietnam War, also known in Vietnam as the Resistance War Against America, or simply the American War, was a conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from November 1, 1955 to the fall of Saigon on April 30, 1975. It was the second of the Indochina Wars and was officially fought between North Vietnam and the government of South Vietnam. The North Vietnamese army was supported by the Soviet Union, China and other communist allies and the South Vietnamese army was supported by the Amerikkkan Empire, South Korea, Australia, Thailand and other anti-communist allies. The war is therefore considered to be a Cold War-era proxy war.

The Viet Cong, also known as the National Liberation Front, or NLF, a South Vietnamese communist common front aided by the North, fought a guerrilla war against anti-communist forces in the region, while the People's Army of Vietnam, also known as the North Vietnamese Army, engaged in more conventional warfare, at times committing large units to battle. As the war continued, the military actions of the Viet Cong decreased as the role and engagement of the NVA grew. Amerikkkan and South Vietnamese forces relied on air superiority and overwhelming firepower to conduct search and destroy operations, involving ground forces, artillery, and airstrikes. In the course of the war, the Amerikkkans conducted a large-scale strategic bombing campaign against North Vietnam.

The North Vietnamese government and the Viet Cong were fighting to reunify Vietnam. They viewed the conflict as a colonial war and a continuation of the First Indochina War against forces from France and later on the Amerikkkan Empire. The Amerikkkan government viewed its involvement in the war as a way to prevent a communist takeover of South Vietnam. This was part of the domino theory of a wider containment policy, with the stated aim of stopping the spread of communism. Though they will never admit it, it was also an effort by the Amerikkkan Empire to secure land for more permanent bases in the region with the obvious goal of increasing their ability to strike at enemies more easily in Southeast Asia.

Beginning in 1950, Amerikkkan military advisers arrived in what was then French Indochina. Most of the funding for the French war effort was provided by the Amerikkkan Empire. Amerikkkan involvement escalated in the early 1960s, with troop levels tripling in 1961 and again in 1962. Amerikkkan involvement escalated further following the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin incident, in which an Amerikkkan destroyer clashed with North Vietnamese fast attack craft, which was followed by the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which gave the Amerikkkan president authorization to increase Amerikkkan military presence. Regular Amerikkkan combat units were deployed beginning in 1965. Operations crossed international borders: bordering areas of Laos and Cambodia were used by North Vietnam as supply routes and were heavily bombed by Amerikkkan forces as Amerikkkan involvement in the war peaked in 1968, the same year that the communist side launched the Tet Offensive. The Tet Offensive failed in its goal of overthrowing the South Vietnamese government, but became the turning point in the war, as it persuaded a large segment of the Amerikkkan population that its government's claims of progress toward winning the war were illusory despite many years of massive Amerikkkan imperial military aid to South Vietnam.

Gradual withdrawal of Amerikkkan ground forces began as part of "Vietnamization," which aimed to end Amerikkkan involvement in the war while transferring the task of fighting the communists to the South Vietnamese themselves. Despite the Paris Peace Accord, which was signed by all parties in January of 1973, the fighting continued. In the Amerikkkan Empire and throughout the Western world, a large anti-Vietnam War movement developed as part of a larger counterculture. The war changed the dynamics between the Eastern and Western Blocs, and altered North–South relations. Direct Amerikkkan military involvement ended on August 15, 1973. The capture of Saigon by the North Vietnamese Army in April of 1975 marked the end of the war, and North and South Vietnam were reunified the following year. The war exacted a huge human cost in terms of fatalities. It is estimated that upwards of 2,000,000 Vietnamese soldiers and civilians lost their lives. It is further estimated that an estimated 270,000 Cambodians lost their lives, while another 50,000 Laotians lost their lives. The Amerikkkans suffered the lightest casualties, losing only 60,000 soldiers.

What was this all for? Was is it so that the Amerikkkan Empire could spend billions of dollars and millions of lives in a failed effort to expand its empire? It certainly did not succeed in stopping the unification of Vietnam and it definitely failed to prove the Domino Theory. What was all the killing really good for? Just consider this. When the war started, the Army used M14 bolt action rifles. When the war was over, they were using M16 fully automatic rifles. The same goes for the types of ground artillery used as well as tanks. By the end of Vietnam, the prototype for the M1 Abrams Assault Tanks, one of the most advanced tanks in the world at the time, was ready for use. Vietnam was also a testing facility for chemical warfare, as it as been proven that the Amerikkkan Empire perfected the chemical Agent Orange in Vietnam. Vietnam was not just an effort to stop the spread of communism, or to spread the ability to respond to regional threats. Vietnam was used by the Military Industrial Complex as a Field Testing Facility for new technology, over the space of twenty years, it served the Amerikkkan Empire's purpose like a gem. The Amerikkkan Empire was now a pure killing machine.

Iran, Granada, Colombia, Venezuela, Persian Gulf War, Kosovo, Somalia, Etc.

From the end of Vietnam until the opening salvos of the Afghanistan War in 2001, there were dozens of smaller conflicts in which the Amerikkkan Empire engaged itself in. These conflicts served many purposes. First, and probably, the easiest guess is that the Amerikkkans were after untapped natural resources that the nations involved would not give at a price that was favorable to the Amerikkkans. Second, it was an effort by the Amerikkkans to spread the span of the empire. They wanted to add more bases to their already wide spread array of military installations. They also wanted to field test new weaponry. Finally, but not last, they wanted to show muscle. They wanted to show the world that the Amerikkkan Empire still had the muscle to make its will known anywhere in the world that they chose. Interestingly enough, though, they never chose to take that message to an opponent that was big enough to really fight back, say China or Russia. In the end, during this period, wherever Amerikkkan troops were, no matter their stated purpose for being there; perhaps humanitarian aide, there was always an ulterior  motive, and that was usually always the expansion of Amerikkka's imperial influence.

The Afghanistan War

The War in Afghanistan was supported initially by the United Kingdom and Canada and later by a coalition of over 40 countries, including all NATO members. The war's public aims were to dismantle al-Qaeda and to deny it a safe base of operations in Afghanistan by removing the Taliban from power. The War in Afghanistan is the longest sustained war in the history of the Amerikkkan Empire next to Vietnam.

Following the September 11 attacks in 2001, U.S. President George W. Bush demanded that the Taliban hand over Osama bin Laden and expel al-Qaeda; bin Laden had already been wanted by the U.S. since 1998. The Taliban declined to extradite him unless given evidence of his involvement in the September 11 attacks and also declined demands to extradite others on the same grounds. The U.S. dismissed the request for evidence as a delaying tactic, and on October 7, 2001 launched Operation Enduring Freedom with the United Kingdom. The two were later joined by other forces, including the Northern Alliance, which had been fighting the Taliban in the ongoing civil war since 1996. In December of 2001, the United Nations Security Council established the International Security Assistance Force, to assist the Afghan interim authorities with securing Kabul. At the Bonn Conference the same month, Hamid Karzai was selected to head the Afghan Interim Administration, which after a 2002 loya jirga, grand assembly, in Kabul became the Afghan Transitional Administration. In the popular elections of 2004, Karzai was elected president of the country, now named the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.

NATO became involved in ISAF in August of 2003, and later that year assumed leadership of it. At this stage, ISAF included troops from 43 countries with NATO members providing the majority of the force. One portion of Amerikkkan. forces in Afghanistan operated under NATO command; the rest remained under direct Amerikkkan command.

Following defeat in the initial invasion, the Taliban was reorganized by its leader Mullah Omar, and launched an insurgency against the government and ISAF in 2003. Though outgunned and outnumbered, insurgents from the Taliban, Haqqani Network, Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin and other groups have waged asymmetric warfare with guerilla raids and ambushes in the countryside, suicide attacks against urban targets and turncoat killings against coalition forces. The Taliban exploited weaknesses in the Afghan government, which is among the most corrupt in the world, to reassert influence across rural areas of southern and eastern Afghanistan. In the initial years there was little fighting, but from 2006 the Taliban made significant gains and showed an increased willingness to commit atrocities against civilians. ISAF responded in 2006 by increasing troops for counterinsurgency operations to "clear and hold" villages and "nation building" projects to "win hearts and minds." Violence sharply escalated from 2007 to 2009. While ISAF continued to battle the Taliban insurgency, fighting crossed into neighboring Northwest Pakistan. Troop numbers began to surge in 2009 continued to increase through 2011 when roughly 140,000 foreign troops operated under ISAF and Amerikkkan command in Afghanistan. Of these 100,000 were from Amerikkka. On May 1, 2011, Amerikkkan Navy SEALs killed Osama bin Laden in Abbotabad, Pakistan.

In May of 2012, NATO leaders endorsed an exit strategy for withdrawing their forces. UN-backed peace talks have since taken place between the Afghan government and the Taliban. In May of 2014, the Amerikkkan Empire announced that its major combat operations would end in December of 2014, and that it would leave a residual force in the country. In October of 2014, British forces handed over the last bases in Helmand to the Afghan military, officially ending their combat operations in the war. On December 28, 2014, NATO formally ended ISAF combat operations in Afghanistan and officially transferred full security responsibility to the Afghan government. The NATO led Operation Resolute Support was formed the same day as a successor to ISAF. As of May of 2017, just over 13,000 foreign troops remain in Afghanistan without any formal plans to withdraw.

So, why on Earth would the Amerikkkan Empire engage itself in yet another elongated military conflict? Much like the huge explanation that was given for the twenty years that it spent in Vietnam, the time that it has spent in Afghanistan has served as an open air military weapons testing facility. Infantry units are now giving up the M16 automatic rifle for the more compact and durable M4 automatic rifle. Attack helicopters have evolved. Stealth technology for individual troops is evolving; but most of all, in this war, drone technology has evolved dramatically. The Amerikkkan Empire has evolved new ways to kill the enemy at a distance without putting as many of their men in harms way. There is, however, yet another reason that Amerikkka set its eyes on Afghanistan. Afghanistan is the largest producer of poppy in the world, which is the flower that produces opium, the base for opiate products. Let it be marked as no coincidence that since the Amerikkkans entered Afghanistan, deaths from opium based products, legal or illegal, have sky rocketed by over one hundred percent. If you do not think this is true, why is it that Amerikkkan troops have been tracked patrolling and defending poppy fields? It would also be important to note that in service to these needs that the Amerikkkan Empire has developed, another 135,000 people, military and civilians from sides, gave their lives.

The Iraq War

The Iraq War was a protracted armed conflict that began in 2003 with the invasion of Iraq by an Amerikkkan led coalition that overthrew the government of Saddam Hussein. The conflict continued for much of the next decade as an insurgency emerged to oppose the occupying forces and the post-invasion Iraqi government. The Amerikkkans became re-involved in 2014 at the head of a new coalition; the insurgency and many dimensions of the civil armed conflict continue. The invasion occurred as part of a declared war against international terrorism and its sponsors under the administration of Amerikkkan President George W. Bush following the September 11th terror attacks.

The invasion began on March 20, 2003, with the Amerikkkans, joined by the United Kingdom and several coalition allies, launching a "shock and awe" bombing campaign. Iraqi forces were quickly overwhelmed as Amerikkkan forces swept through the country. The invasion led to the collapse of the Ba'athist government; Saddam was captured during Operation Red Dawn in December of that same year and executed by a military court three years later. However, the power vacuum following Saddam's demise and the mismanagement of the occupation led to widespread sectarian violence between Shias and Sunnis, as well as, a lengthy insurgency against Amerikkkan and coalition forces. Many violent insurgent groups were supported by Iran and al-Qaeda in Iraq. The Amerikkkans responded with a troop surge in 2007. The winding down of Amerikkkan involvement in Iraq accelerated under President Barack Obama. The Amerikkkans formally withdrew all combat troops from Iraq by December of 2011.

The Bush administration based its rationale for the war principally on the assertion that Iraq, which had been viewed by the Amerikkkans as a rogue state since the Persian Gulf War, possessed weapons of mass destruction and that the Iraqi government posed an immediate threat to the Amerikkkan Empire and its coalition allies. Select Amerikkkan officials accused Saddam of harboring and supporting al-Qaeda, while others cited the desire to end a repressive dictatorship and bring democracy to the people of Iraq. After the invasion, no substantial evidence was found to verify the initial claims about WMDs, while claims of Iraqi officials collaborating with al-Qaeda were also proven false. The rationale and misrepresentation of Amerikkkan prewar intelligence faced heavy criticism both domestically and internationally, with President Bush declining from his record-high approval ratings following 9/11 to become one of the most unpopular presidents in US history.

In the aftermath of the invasion, Iraq held multi-party elections in 2005. Nouri al-Maliki became Prime Minister in 2006 and remained in office until 2014. The al-Maliki government enacted policies that were widely seen as having the effect of alienating the country's Sunni minority and worsening sectarian tensions. In the summer of 2014, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) launched a military offensive in Northern Iraq and declared a worldwide Islamic caliphate, eliciting another military response from the Amerikkkan Empire and its allies. What was the real purpose of this conflict? It had nothing to do with weapons of mass destruction. It had to do with the fact that Saddam Hussein had nationalized the Iraqi oil industry and was now charging the Amerikkkans a higher price for Iraqi oil than the Amerikkkans were willing to pay. So, they took him out and replaced him with someone who would behave better and meet the Amerikkkan Empire's needs. In the mean time, this conflict over oil cost another 650,000 people, soldiers and civilians from both sides, their mortal lives.


Given all of this, why are the people that live in the Amerikkkan Empire so thoroughly convinced that the Amerikkkan cause is so just and true? Very simply, the Amerikkkan Empire has in its employ one of the most effective propaganda machines in history. It has scared its population into compliance for now two-hundred and forty-one years, and if left to its devices it will continue to do so for double that time period. Further, as it does so, the body count will continue ratchet upwards. After all, to date the Amerikkkan Empire, according to the numbers shown here, have been directly or indirectly involved in the deaths of nearly 110 million people. One can only imagine that Amerikkka's annual military budget will soon exceed the already egregious $824.6 Billion and eventually top a trillion dollars; and when it does, one can also imagine that just as now, as is being done now, the corrupt leaders of the empire will fund the increase by cutting deeper into public service programs like Medicare and Social Security. It is only a matter of time.

The only real question then is; will the Amerikkkan Empire be able to survive? As has been noted, it has 1.3 million active duty troopers and another 850,000 reserve troopers. It has 3,476 tactical aircraft, 2,831 tanks, 760 attack helicopters, 637 drones, 157 bombers, 93 cruisers and destroyers, 60 submarines, 10 aircraft carriers, and 6,800 nuclear warheads. This does not account for artillery pieces. Of all this, roughly 200,000 personnel are deployed in more than 170 countries worldwide on approximately 800 military bases. This is definitely impressive, but the Amerikkkans are not the only big kids on the block. The Russians are always someone to watch out for, Iran is developing into a regional power in the Middle East, and many of the allied nations in Western Europe are beginning to lose their trust in the Amerikkkan Empire's ability to defends its interests. Above all, however, there are the powers in Asia. India and China combine together for over one-third of the human population, and their militaries, especially China's, dwarf the Amerikkkan Empire's numbers. One conflict with either of these powers and the Amerikkkan Empire is done for.

So, how long will it be before Amerikkka incurs their wrath? One can only imagine, but when they do, it is going to be brief; and it is going to be humiliating. Hopefully, before that, someone along the way will come to their senses and make a deal that does not involve bloodshed; one that involves clear heads and up front diplomacy. Unfortunately, to date, that has not been the standard operating procedure in the Amerikkkan Empire. Rather, they shoot now and ask questions later. They immediately assume that everyone else is inferior and in need of Amerikkkan civilization without taking any time to first learn about who it is they are dealing with. They rob, cheat, steal, kill, rape, burn, pillage, and worse, and then wonder why people around the world hate them. They play the 'everyone else does it too' card and think that it is suppose to protect them from the repercussions of their crimes. Well, soon enough, the Amerikkkan Empire will be brought to bare, and charged for the crimes that it has committed against humanity; and who will defend them? Their guilt is clear as red blood on a white t-shirt. They are the True Axis of Evil. Everyone can see it, and soon enough, if they do not change, Amerikkka's time will be up. In the mean time, all of our lives are in jeapordy as they continue to make more enemies. The seconds are ticking by.....

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

The Colfax Massacre: Two Books That Bring the Brutal Event Back to Common Memory - A Review

The Day Freedom Died: The Colfax Massacre, the Supreme Court, and the Betrayal of Reconstruction

By Charles Lane

The Colfax Massacre: The Untold Story of Black Power, White Terror, and the Death of Reconstruction

By LeeAnna Keith

A Massacre and a Travesty (

A Review by Eric Foner

Unbeknownst to most Americans, our nation's history includes home-grown terrorism as well as attacks from abroad. Scholars estimate that during Reconstruction, the turbulent period that followed the Civil War, upwards of 3,000 persons were murdered by the Ku Klux Klan and kindred groups. That's roughly the same number of Americans who have died at the hands of Osama bin Laden.

In the last generation, no part of the American past has undergone a more complete scholarly reinterpretation than Reconstruction. Once portrayed as a tragic era of rampant misgovernment presided over by unscrupulous carpetbaggers and ignorant former slaves, Reconstruction is today seen as a noble, if flawed, experiment in interracial democracy, an effort to provide free blacks with land, education and political rights. The tragedy is not that Reconstruction was attempted, but that it failed.

The work of historians, however, has largely failed to penetrate popular consciousness. Partly because of the persistence of old misconceptions, Reconstruction remains widely misunderstood. Popular views still owe more to such films as "Birth of a Nation" (which glorified the Klan as the savior of white civilization) and "Gone With the Wind" (which romanticized slavery and the Confederacy) than to modern scholarship.

Thus, the new books by LeeAnna Keith and Charles Lane are doubly welcome. Not only do they tell the story of the single most egregious act of terrorism during Reconstruction (a piece of "lost history," as Keith puts it), but they do so in vivid, compelling prose. Keith, who teaches at the Collegiate School in New York, and Lane, a journalist who covered the Supreme Court for The Washington Post, have immersed themselves in the relevant sources and current historical writing. Both accomplish a goal often aspired to but rarely achieved, producing works of serious scholarship accessible to a non-academic readership.

The Colfax massacre took place on Easter Sunday 1873, when a force of about 150 heavily armed whites assaulted an equal number of blacks, many of them militia members, holed up in the courthouse at Colfax, La. After chivalrously allowing women and children to leave, they overran the outgunned defenders. Some blacks were killed trying to escape; 40 or so were taken prisoner and then executed. The final death toll remains unknown -- Lane estimates between 62 and 81, Keith thinks it may have reached 150. Three whites also died.

Both authors offer a gripping account of the assault and subsequent atrocities. But overall, their books complement rather than repeat each other. While shorter, Keith's is more comprehensive, devoting more space to the history of slavery, emancipation and Reconstruction in west-central Louisiana. She explores the brutal nature of slavery on the sugar and cotton plantations of local magnate Meredith Calhoun, one of the richest men in the United States. Calhoun seems to have been the model for Simon Legree, the cruel master in Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin. Ironically, after the war, his son William became a leading proponent of blacks' rights. He lived openly with a black woman, rented land to black farmers, established a school for their children and aligned himself with the Republican party.

In his bestselling book, April 1865: The Month that Saved America (2001), the journalist Jay Winik commended defeated Confederates for returning to peaceful pursuits after Appomattox, thus "saving" the United States from the agony of a long guerrilla war. Would that this were so. Organized violence emerged around Colfax almost as soon as the Civil War ended, targeting black leaders, school teachers, freedmen who tried to acquire land, and, once blacks won the right to vote, local officeholders. Not all the victims were black -- Delos White, a Freedman's Bureau agent, was assassinated in 1871. What happened in Colfax was not atypical. "Murder," Keith writes laconically, "played a central role in Louisiana and throughout the region" during Reconstruction.

While Keith illuminates the massacre's historical context, Lane offers a far more detailed account of the ensuing court cases. If his story has a hero, it is J. R. Beckwith, the U.S. attorney in New Orleans, who became obsessed with bringing the perpetrators to justice. He received little assistance from his superior, Attorney General George H. Williams, who thought it would be better if the murderers simply fled the state. Beckwith persuaded a federal grand jury to indict nearly 100 men under the recently passed Enforcement Acts, which made it a federal crime to deprive citizens of constitutionally guaranteed rights. But because of local white resistance, only a handful of those charged could be arrested.

Eventually, nine men went on trial before a biracial jury. Dozens of witnesses, almost all of them black, related what had happened at Colfax. The initial trial resulted in a hung jury; a second produced the conviction of three defendants. But Supreme Court Justice Joseph P. Bradley, acting while on circuit court duties, voided the indictment because, he insisted, most of the rights that had allegedly been violated were matters of state, not federal, authority.

Because the presiding judge courageously refused to go along with Bradley, his judicial superior, the case went to the Supreme Court. In 1876, in U.S. v. Cruikshank, the justices unanimously threw out the convictions. As Lane points out, nowhere in Chief Justice Morrison Waite's 5,000-word opinion did he mention the fact that dozens of black men had been murdered in cold blood at Colfax. Cruikshank hammered the final nail into the coffin of federal efforts to protect the basic rights of black citizens in the South. Reconstruction effectively ended a year later, and the Jim Crow era began.

This tragic story is more than ancient history. Into the 20th century, bones turned up in Colfax when the foundations for buildings were being laid. There still stands in the town a plaque, erected in 1951, commemorating the Colfax "riot" -- not massacre -- and "the end of carpetbag misrule in the South." As recently as eight years ago, Chief Justice William Rehnquist cited Cruikshank as a precedent in overturning a conviction under the Violence Against Women Act. The Constitution, he declared, gives the states, not the federal government, the power to punish rape. Whether we realize it or not, Reconstruction and its overthrow remain part of our lives today.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration - A Review

Freedom Trains

In the winter of 1916, as Americans read the news of unimaginable slaughter in a distant yet rapidly spreading European war, it was easy to overlook stories like the one in The Chicago Defender reporting that several black families in Selma, Ala., had left the South. A popular ­African-American weekly, The Defender would publish dozens of such stories in the coming years, heralding the good jobs and friendly neighbors that awaited these migrants in Chicago, even printing train schedules to point the way north. Smuggled into Southern railroad depots by Pullman porters, dropped off by barnstorming black athletes and entertainers, The Defender emerged as both cheerleader and chronicler of an exodus that would lead about six million African-Americans to abandon the states of the Old Confederacy between 1915 and 1970. “If all of their dream does not come true,” it confidently predicted, “enough will come to pass to justify their actions.”

Prophetic words, indeed, Isabel Wilkerson insists in The Warmth of Other Suns, her massive and masterly account of the Great Migration. Wilkerson, who won a Pulitzer Prize for feature writing at The New York Times in 1994 and currently teaches journalism at Boston University, has a personal stake in the story. Her mother left rural Georgia, her father southern Virginia, to settle in Washington, D.C. Wilkerson knows well the highly charged nature of this field. For many years, commentators routinely demeaned these migrants as the dregs of a failed society. Even the distinguished black sociologist E. Franklin Frazier fretted over the “ignorant, uncouth and impoverished” throngs that had invaded his beloved Chicago. Arguments raged for decades about the tangled pathology of black families divided from their rural roots and thrown together in dead-end Northern slums. “The migrants were cast as poor illiterates,” Wilkerson says, “who imported out-of-wedlock births, joblessness and welfare dependency wherever they went.”

But the more recent scholarship, which Wilkerson embraces, tells another story. Today, these black migrants are viewed as a modern version of the Europeans who flooded America’s shores in the late 1800s and early 1900s. What linked them together, Wilkerson writes, was their heroic determination to roll the dice for a better future. It is no surprise, therefore, to find census data showing that blacks who left the South had far more schooling than blacks who stayed. Or that the migrants had higher employment numbers than Northern-born blacks and a more stable family life, as shown by lower divorce rates and fewer children born outside of marriage. Put simply, Wilkerson says, the well-known “migrant advantage” has worked historically for Americans of all colors.

The Warmth of Other Suns is Wilkerson’s first book. Its title is borrowed from the celebrated black writer Richard Wright, who fled Jim Crow Mississippi in the 1920s to feel the warmth of those other suns. Based on more than a thousand interviews, written in broad imaginative strokes, this book, at 622 pages, is something of an anomaly in today’s shrinking world of nonfiction publishing: a narrative epic rigorous enough to impress all but the crankiest of scholars, yet so immensely readable as to land the author a future place on Oprah’s couch.

Wilkerson follows the journey of three Southern blacks, each representing a different decade of the Great Migration as well as a different destination. It’s a shrewd storytelling device, because it allows her to highlight two issues often overlooked: first, that the exodus was a continuous phenomenon spanning six decades of American life; second, that it consisted of not one, but rather three geographical streams, the patterns determined by the train routes available to those bold enough to leave.

People from Arkansas, Alabama and Mississippi boarded the Illinois Central to Midwestern cities like Cleveland, Chicago and Detroit; those from Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas and Virginia rode the Seaboard Air Line up the East Coast to Washington, Philadelphia and New York; those in Louisiana and Texas took the Union Pacific to Los Angeles, Oakland and other parts of the West Coast. Wilkerson is superb at minding the bends and detours along the way. She notes, for example, that some migrants, unfamiliar with the conductor’s Northern accent, would mistakenly get off at the cry of “Penn Station, Newark,” the stop just before Penn Station, New York. Many decided to stay put, she adds, giving Newark “a good portion of its black population.”

The first of Wilkerson’s three main characters, and plainly her favorite, is Ida Mae Brandon Gladney, a sharecropper’s wife from Mississippi. Married at 16, the mother of three, Ida Mae lived to serve her husband, George, whose dire prospects reflected the feudal Southern agriculture that had replaced slavery after the Civil War. Each December, at “settling time,” George would meet with Mr. Edd, the white landowner, to learn how he had done. In a malevolent ritual, played out across the cotton South, Mr. Edd would open his ledger book to prove that the annual debt for supplies bought on credit almost exactly matched the value of George’s annual crop. George Gladney didn’t know much about arithmetic, but he did know the dangers of challenging a white man’s figures. So he’d thank Mr. Edd and return to his shack with a few dollars to show for a year’s worth of backbreaking toil.

In 1937, a cousin down the road was beaten almost to death by a white posse that wrongly suspected him of stealing a few of Mr. Edd’s turkeys. Fearing he’d be next, and tired of working dawn to dusk for pennies, George told Ida Mae to pack up the family. A few days later, they boarded the Jim Crow car of an Illinois Central train heading north.

They eventually settled in Chicago, where George found work in a Campbell Soup factory, Ida Mae in a hospital. There no longer were “colored” and “white” signs to degrade them, but the specter of racial caste was omnipresent. The Gladneys survived by exploiting the small but significant advantages of Northern life, while retaining the work ethic of their rural Mississippi roots. In one especially telling episode, Ida Mae had to decide whether to join a strike against her hospital or cross an angry picket line in order to pay the monthly bills. It wasn’t a hard decision, Wilkerson explains. “The concept of not working a job one had agreed to do was alien to Ida Mae.”

The other main characters, George Swanson Starling and Robert Joseph Pershing Foster, also had compelling reasons to leave the South. Starling, the valedictorian of his “colored” high school class in central Florida, had dropped out of college when his money ran out and gone to work picking citrus in the fields. Appalled by the conditions, he tried to organize a work stoppage; a friend warned him that the local growers, backed by a homicidal sheriff, were planning to lynch him. In 1945, Starling boarded the Silver Meteor bound for New York.

Foster, from Monroe, La., had the most privileged background of the three. The son of demanding middle-class parents, educated at Morehouse, the most prestigious black college in America, trained as a surgeon, Foster wasn’t about to waste away in the small-minded South, delivering sharecroppers’ babies and being paid with “the side of a freshly killed hog.” Monroe was known for sending its migrants to California, a route taken by the parents of the future basketball star Bill Russell and of the Black Panther leader Huey Newton. In 1951, Foster joined that western stream.

Both Starling and Foster represent the contradictions of the Great Migration. Starling took a porter’s job on the same Silver Meteor that once brought him north. The life he led in Harlem was richer than anything he could have imagined. But he also knew that the migrants now riding his train would reap the blessings of a civil rights movement that were unavailable to him: history had come too late for the once promising student from the citrus groves. Foster, for his part, matured into one of Los Angeles’s finest surgeons. But his rejection of his Southern roots was so exaggerated, Wilkerson says, as to leave him adrift, nursing ancient wounds, unable to relish the blessings of his life.

The book is not without problems, however. One is repetition: a number of anecdotes and descriptions appear more than once. Another is omission. Though she relies on many sources, Wilkerson ignores Nicholas Lemann’s classic 1991 account of the black migration to Chicago, “The Promised Land,” which paints a somber portrait of its impact upon the migrants and their progeny. In contrast, Wilkerson has little to say about the following generation or its problems beyond a cheerful listing of politicians, athletes, musicians, writers and film stars who got the opportunity “to grow up free of Jim Crow and to be their fuller selves” because their parents had joined the Great Migration.

Some historians, moreover, may question Wilkerson’s approach to her subject. She tends to privilege the migrants’ personal feelings over structural influences like the coming of the mechanical cotton picker, which pushed untold thousands of Southern blacks from the fields, or the intense demand for wartime factory labor, which pulled thousands more to manufacturing cities in the North. Wilkerson is well aware of these push-pull factors. She has simply chosen to treat them in a way that makes the most sense to her. What bound these migrants together, she explains, was both their need to escape the violent, humiliating confines of the segregationist South and their “hopeful search for something better, any place but where they were. They did what human beings looking for freedom, throughout history, have often done. They left.”

In 1998, Wilkerson accompanied Ida Mae Gladney on a visit to Mississippi. It was October, and cotton was still in the fields. “We cross a gravel road,” Wilkerson writes, and “Ida Mae said, her eyes growing big, ‘Let’s go pick some.’ ” Wilkerson wasn’t thrilled by the prospect of two black women trespassing on what was very likely a white man’s plot of ground, but Gladney insisted. “It’s as if she can’t wait to pick it now that she doesn’t have to,” Wilkerson writes. “It’s the first time in her life that she can pick cotton of her own free will.”

The experience fired old memories. “I just couldn’t do it,” Gladney confessed. “I’d pick and cry. I ain’t never liked the field.” The next day found her at the local cemetery, surveying the headstones of people she left behind long ago. “Ida Mae, you gonna be buried down here?” her brother-in-law asks. “No, I’m gonna be in Chicago,” she replies. The South is behind her. Chicago is home.