10 Signs That America Is the Most Corrupt Nation
15 February 2016, Ц TRANSCEND Media Service
A poem based on an article by Juan Cole:
1. Wealth Disparities
Trickle down economics
Is an excuse
For the rich to piss on the poor.
So, look up, ye wretched of the Earth!
WeТre happy to piss on your faces
While you cry out for УmoreФ!
2. Human Carbon Emissions
I deny with a straight face
That IТve anything to do
With the CO2 I haphazardly spew
From my Lotus, or my factoryЧ
Bringing to you
The latest baubles IТve convinced you
You canТt live without.
3. Endless Political Campaigns
Ridiculous to think they last a year or two
When, in fact, theyТve been going on
Since Washington chopped down the cherry tree
Then dressed in military garb
Impressing all the delegates
He was best-suited to make us Уfree.Ф
4. Lobbyists, Bankers, Bribes
Excuse me for being
But wasnТt that the very thing
The Уself-radicalized,Ф reforming Jew
Got so upset about when he threw
all those money-changers out
Of the Temple?
5. Not Prosecuting the Villains of the Meltdown
What else is new?
When Polk invaded Mexico
And our legislators cheered him on,
Did anyone besides Thoreau
Cry Уfoul,Ф letТs end this now
Once and for all?
6. Bloated Military Budgets
Forget the nitpicking, if you please!
ItТs not easy to maintain
A thousand military bases around the world,
Уdedicated to the propositionФ
That weТre the УexceptionalФ people
And God loves us best!
WhatТs a couple of trillion bucks mislaid
Got to do with Уbad guysФ slayed?
7. Our Prison-Industrial Complex
3 Strikes and youТre outЧ
Works in baseball, why not crime?
WeТre a sporting people, and besides,
Better to pay the minimum-minimum-minimum wage
To polish belt buckles for the troops
Then deal with marchers in the streets
Squawking about Уfairness.Ф
8. Domestic Spying
How else control a restive group
Of malcontents out-of-the-loop
Of what the country stands for?
When everyone fears everyone
Everyone will get a gun.
FearТs the friend of governments
Seeking to steer malcontents
Against each other.
9. Insider Trading & Revolving Doors
If IТm spying, why wouldnТt I
Profit from some Great Collapse
I see coming down the gilded pike?
If prices of a stock should spikeЦ
and my foreknowledge tells me whenЧ
why shouldnТt I collect a million,
put the kid through the Ivy League,
take my seat on the Corporate Board?
10. Asset Forfeiture
Why shouldnТt our cops seize what they can?
Could anything be more American?
Forget your CitizensТ RightsТ complaints!
TheyТre neither paid nor trained for being saints!
Gary Corseri has published his works in countless venues around the world, including TRANSCEND Media Service, Op Ed News, Counter Punch, Common Dreams, Dissident Voice, L.A. (and HollywoodЦ) Progressive, Village Voice, and The New York Times. He has published two novels and two collections of poetry, edited Manifestations, a literary anthology, and his dramas have been produced on PBS-Atlanta and elsewhere. He has taught at US public schools and prisons and at US and Japanese universities. He has performed his work at the Carter Presidential Library. firstname.lastname@example.org.
ABCТs of the US Empire
15 February 2016, Ц TRANSCEND Media Service
УAФ Is for УAsininityФ
ThatТs a particular kind of stupidity.
All of us can be stupid at times. (Ever see that picture of Einstein with his tongue hanging out like an aardvarkТs, clowningЧone supposesЧfor the camera?)
ItТs in our genes to be stupid at times. Looking back on the Vietnam WarЧwhich ultimately took his own sonТs lifeЧSecretary of Defense McNamara attributed his own stupidity to the Уfog of war.Ф
I would rather call it Уasininity.Ф
Asininity is stupidity that is stubborn as a jackass; stupidity that insists on itself in spite of all contrary evidence.
The US has been guilty of asininity for a couple of centuries now. We insist on telling ourselves and the world that we are a democracy, that УWe the PeopleФ are running the show. (ItТs in our sacred documentЧour Constitution, consulted about as often as Donald Trump consults his Bible. We pick out phrases like Уlife, liberty and the pursuit of happinessФ the way Mr. Trump picks out a phrase from У2 Cornthians,Ф and we insist that weТve gleaned the wholeЧall 1291 pages of my Gideon Bible, with all its contradictions, amassed over centuries by men (and probably some women who snuck into the writersТ den) of varying capabilities with often divergent viewpoints.
But, our УleadersФ assure us that they know TruthЦwith all the asinine surety of George W. Bush standing on a pile of rubble after 9/11, proclaiming that Уwe know who did this,Ф and Big Sheriff is coming after them!
(But how could that fool know anything, when all that rubble and Уforensic evidenceФ was about to be shipped to China for burial (talk about УoutsourcingФ!).
With murderous fools like Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Madeleine Allbright we went after our former ally, Saddam Hussein, and destroyed what was probably the most progressive country in the Middle EastЧcertainly, in terms of the way women lived and worked there, far better than Saudi Arabia!
A few years down the bombed-out road, and weТre destroying LibyaЧprobably the most progressive nation in AfricaЧno real threat to us except that Quadaffi wants to institute a new kind of currency throughout Africa, pay for goods with gold, not dollars, and besides that, he has rather outlandish tastes in menТs clothing! Caught between rehearsed speeches during a TV interview, informed that the former leader has just been sodomized with a sword, asinine Hillary Clinton chortles, УWe came, we saw, he died.Ф
УBФ Is for УBelligerenceФ
For most of my Уschool yearsФЧfrom 1st grade through Grad School, I heard that the US was a УpeacefulФ nation whose УGod-fearingФ citizens only fought when attacked.
Somehow, JeffersonТs epithet of УsavagesФ for the Original Peoples of this land sailed over my highschool boyТs head. There it is in our Declaration of Independence, a few paragraphs after Уlife, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.Ф It seems befuddled King George had supported the УsavagesФ when the Colonists tried to expand into their land!
In fact, our Revolution had much to do with our not-so-peaceful УpilgrimsФ and the newcomers wanting to УmigrateФ beyond our borders.
Our little cities had become fairly crowded with newcomers/immigrants. Between the end of our УFrench and Indian WarФ and the beginning of our Revolution, a scant 13 years or so, the population of the colonies pretty much doubled. There has never been so great a period of growth in North American history! This was pre-Industrial Revolution, of course, so there wasnТt much for all these farmhand-УmigrantsФ to do except look Westward lustfully to the lands of the undeserving Уred-skinФ savages. The migrants couldnТt subsist on already subsisting farms, increasingly crowded with post-war kids and babies. (Our first Уbaby boomers!) one way the Revolutionists convinced the Уexcess feedersФ (as asinine Kissinger might have it) to enlist was to promise new land in the West. The fact that this Уnew landФ was already occupied by old tribes really did not matter.
УFour-score and seven yearsФ later, weТre still lusting WestwardЧespecially after the discovery of gold in California and our annexation of Texas from recently independent Mexico! Our Civil War is mostly fought over who would control the new territories gained from MexicoЧabout 1/2 of their country becoming about 1/3 of our continental land mass! Who would master our expansionism? Would it be the slave-holding plantation barons of the South or the Corporate barons of the Industrialized North?
During the Vietnam War, I heard news anchor David Brinkley wonder that we seemed to have a major war every 20 years. It has actually been much more often than that, and if one considers our racist wars on non-whites, our drug wars, NixonТs УWar on Cancer,Ф etc. our hotheads have been at war perennially.
УCФ Is for УCupidityФ
Cupidity rhymes with Уstupidity,Ф but like Asininity, itТs specialЧa special kind of greed!
YouТll find the word УCupidФ thereЧthe Roman god of Love!
But, this is not soul-love, or hearts-and-flowers-Valentine love.
This is love of things; materialism; love of lucreЦbillions and billions of dollars.
Donald Trump epitomizes such love, and he has convinced a fair number of the asinine among us (which is a pretty fair number anyway) that more and more will make us Уgreat again.Ф
It doesnТt matter that we are poisoning our once pristine skies and weТll all soon be drinking Flint water!
УCФ is also for CorporatismЧthat system of government that replaced our shaky УRepublicФ about 200 years ago when our less-than-Supreme Court declared that corporations were Уpersons.Ф (Okay, they didnТt say that outright.Crimes, especially corporate and government, crimes are seldom committed in an outright manner. The culprits and plotters hate Уconspiracy theories,Ф but love to conspire! They fashion laws and УamendmentsФ that are Уopen to interpretation.Ф УYou have a Republic,Ф wily Ben Franklin told the charwomanЧУif you can keep it.Ф
УCФ is also for all-embrace CultureЕ and ours is sinking rapidly.
Last weekend, I watched УSaturday Night LiveФ because I heard Bernie Sanders might appear. I like Sanders almost as much as I liked Rand PaulЧPaul for his anti-war/Фfiscal responsibilityФ stance and Sanders for his egalitarianism. (I wish he had called it that from the beginning!) At this point in this belligerent nationТs history, it is probably too much to expect a candidate to be both anti-war and a Уdemocratic Socialist.Ф (Emphasizing is our Ц L.S.)
I turned the TV off soon after Larry DavidТs opening monologue. David said that he used to be a Уpoor schmuck,Ф but now he was a Уrich prick.Ф It seemed he liked that vocabulary because he kept repeating himself like a bad can of beans.
No subtlety, no wit, no greater connections. (Oh George Carlin of the УBig ElectronФЧso sorely missed!)
I thoughtФ: Whatever happened to УOzzie and Harriet,Ф or УThe WaltonsФ or even УSaturday Night LiveФ of the days of Gilda Radner or John Belushi? I thought of the time decades ago, when I was in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco and a park-ranger was talking about the bison and some pre-teen kids were climbing trees dangerously and the adults were chattering among themselves until the ranger called loudly: УWhoТs watching the kids?Ф And attention was paid!
What about the kids? Surely there are prepubescent and young kids gorging on this TV junk-food and concluding: anything goes now; you can say anythingЧitТs on TV and the adults are saying it!
You can say that we can now torture our enemies in ISЧnever mind Уdue process,Ф of courseЧjust as long as you really-really suspect them!
You can be Bill Clinton who accoutered his young and foolish aide with УPresidential knee-padsФ in the Oval Office, and now declares that voters who shun his wife must be УsexistФ!
You can be a repetitive Rubio-bot or an earnest УBridgegateФ critic like Christie because nobodyТs checking the facts, УhistoryФ is Уan agreed-upon mythФ (as Napoleon had it), and УtruthФ and УbeautyФ (which Keats equated) are disappearing in our chem-trailed skies.
Lector, si monumentum requiris, circumspice! Reader, if you seek our monumentsЧlook around!
Gary Steven Corseri.BIO
I grew up in Brooklyn and Queens in New York City.(Roots: Sicilian-Catholic and Ukrainian-Jewish, raised in a secular home!).My family moved to Miami Beach when I was 16; I started at the U. of Florida at 17.I've lived in Atlanta, Georgia; Boston; Gainesville, Florida; San Francisco; Washington, D.C.; Sydney, Australia; Tokyo and Sapporo, Japan.IТve traveled in 33 countries and 40 US states.
I started writing when I was 8 years old.I've performed my work at the Carter Presidential Library and Museum in Atlanta, and at scores of universities and coffee houses and pubs/taverns/bars around the world.My dramas have been performed at universities and public schools in the US; a movie version of the libretto I wrote for the opera, "Reverend Everyman," was broadcast over PBS-Atlanta.I have written articles, fiction, non-fiction, dramas and poetry, with such work appearing at "The New York Times," "Village Voice," "Global Research," УCounterpunch.org," УThe Japan Times,Ф УOutlook India,Ф and hundreds of periodicals and websites around the world.
I hold a B.A. cum laude (Phi Beta Kappa) from the University of Florida; I attended Harvard on a scholarship, have an M.A.T. degree from there; I attended Florida State University on a fellowship, and hold a Ph.D. in Literature and Creative Writing from there. I have taught in US public schools and prisons and have been a professor in US and Japanese universities.I have been a freelance editor for decades.
My poems, fiction and articles have been anthologized.I have published two novels: УA Fine Excess: An Australian OdysseyФ and, УHoly Grail, Holy Grail: Quest East, Quest West.ФMy first collection of poems, УRandom Descent,Ф was published by Anhinga Press.