10 Signs That America Is the Most Corrupt Nation
15 February 2016, – 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!
We’re happy to piss on your faces
While you cry out for “more”!
2. Human Carbon Emissions
I deny with a straight face
That I’ve anything to do
With the CO2 I haphazardly spew
From my Lotus, or my factory—
Bringing to you
The latest baubles I’ve convinced you
You can’t live without.
3. Endless Political Campaigns
Ridiculous to think they last a year or two
When, in fact, they’ve 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 “free.”
4. Lobbyists, Bankers, Bribes
Excuse me for being
But wasn’t that the very thing
The “self-radicalized,” 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 “foul,” let’s end this now
Once and for all?
6. Bloated Military Budgets
Forget the nitpicking, if you please!
It’s not easy to maintain
A thousand military bases around the world,
“dedicated to the proposition”
That we’re the “exceptional” people
And God loves us best!
What’s a couple of trillion bucks mislaid
Got to do with “bad guys” slayed?
7. Our Prison-Industrial Complex
3 Strikes and you’re out—
Works in baseball, why not crime?
We’re 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 “fairness.”
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.
Fear’s the friend of governments
Seeking to steer malcontents
Against each other.
9. Insider Trading & Revolving Doors
If I’m spying, why wouldn’t I
Profit from some Great Collapse
I see coming down the gilded pike?
If prices of a stock should spike–
and my foreknowledge tells me when—
why shouldn’t I collect a million,
put the kid through the Ivy League,
take my seat on the Corporate Board?
10. Asset Forfeiture
Why shouldn’t our cops seize what they can?
Could anything be more American?
Forget your Citizens’ Rights’ complaints!
They’re 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 Hollywood–) 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.
ABC’s of the US Empire
15 February 2016, – TRANSCEND Media Service
“A” Is for “Asininity”
That’s 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 aardvark’s, clowning—one supposes—for the camera?)
It’s in our genes to be stupid at times. Looking back on the Vietnam War—which ultimately took his own son’s life—Secretary of Defense McNamara attributed his own stupidity to the “fog of war.”
I would rather call it “asininity.”
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 “We the People” are running the show. (It’s in our sacred document—our Constitution, consulted about as often as Donald Trump consults his Bible. We pick out phrases like “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” the way Mr. Trump picks out a phrase from “2 Cornthians,” and we insist that we’ve gleaned the whole—all 1291 pages of my Gideon Bible, with all its contradictions, amassed over centuries by men (and probably some women who snuck into the writers’ den) of varying capabilities with often divergent viewpoints.
But, our “leaders” assure us that they know Truth–with all the asinine surety of George W. Bush standing on a pile of rubble after 9/11, proclaiming that “we know who did this,” and Big Sheriff is coming after them!
(But how could that fool know anything, when all that rubble and “forensic evidence” was about to be shipped to China for burial (talk about “outsourcing”!).
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 East—certainly, in terms of the way women lived and worked there, far better than Saudi Arabia!
A few years down the bombed-out road, and we’re destroying Libya—probably the most progressive nation in Africa—no 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 men’s 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, “We came, we saw, he died.”
“B” Is for “Belligerence”
For most of my “school years”—from 1st grade through Grad School, I heard that the US was a “peaceful” nation whose “God-fearing” citizens only fought when attacked.
Somehow, Jefferson’s epithet of “savages” for the Original Peoples of this land sailed over my highschool boy’s head. There it is in our Declaration of Independence, a few paragraphs after “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” It seems befuddled King George had supported the “savages” when the Colonists tried to expand into their land!
In fact, our Revolution had much to do with our not-so-peaceful “pilgrims” and the newcomers wanting to “migrate” beyond our borders.
Our little cities had become fairly crowded with newcomers/immigrants. Between the end of our “French and Indian War” 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 wasn’t much for all these farmhand-“migrants” to do except look Westward lustfully to the lands of the undeserving “red-skin” savages. The migrants couldn’t subsist on already subsisting farms, increasingly crowded with post-war kids and babies. (Our first “baby boomers!) one way the Revolutionists convinced the “excess feeders” (as asinine Kissinger might have it) to enlist was to promise new land in the West. The fact that this “new land” was already occupied by old tribes really did not matter.
“Four-score and seven years” later, we’re still lusting Westward—especially 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 Mexico—about 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, Nixon’s “War on Cancer,” etc. our hotheads have been at war perennially.
“C” Is for “Cupidity”
Cupidity rhymes with “stupidity,” but like Asininity, it’s special—a special kind of greed!
You’ll find the word “Cupid” there—the Roman god of Love!
But, this is not soul-love, or hearts-and-flowers-Valentine love.
This is love of things; materialism; love of lucre–billions 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 “great again.”
It doesn’t matter that we are poisoning our once pristine skies and we’ll all soon be drinking Flint water!
“C” is also for Corporatism—that system of government that replaced our shaky “Republic” about 200 years ago when our less-than-Supreme Court declared that corporations were “persons.” (Okay, they didn’t say that outright.Crimes, especially corporate and government, crimes are seldom committed in an outright manner. The culprits and plotters hate “conspiracy theories,” but love to conspire! They fashion laws and “amendments” that are “open to interpretation.” “You have a Republic,” wily Ben Franklin told the charwoman—“if you can keep it.”
“C” is also for all-embrace Culture… and ours is sinking rapidly.
Last weekend, I watched “Saturday Night Live” because I heard Bernie Sanders might appear. I like Sanders almost as much as I liked Rand Paul—Paul for his anti-war/”fiscal responsibility” stance and Sanders for his egalitarianism. (I wish he had called it that from the beginning!) At this point in this belligerent nation’s history, it is probably too much to expect a candidate to be both anti-war and a “democratic Socialist.” (Emphasizing is our – L.S.)
I turned the TV off soon after Larry David’s opening monologue. David said that he used to be a “poor schmuck,” but now he was a “rich prick.” 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 “Big Electron”—so sorely missed!)
I thought”: Whatever happened to “Ozzie and Harriet,” or “The Waltons” or even “Saturday Night Live” 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: “Who’s watching the kids?” 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 anything—it’s on TV and the adults are saying it!
You can say that we can now torture our enemies in IS—never mind “due process,” of course—just as long as you really-really suspect them!
You can be Bill Clinton who accoutered his young and foolish aide with “Presidential knee-pads” in the Oval Office, and now declares that voters who shun his wife must be “sexist”!
You can be a repetitive Rubio-bot or an earnest “Bridgegate” critic like Christie because nobody’s checking the facts, “history” is “an agreed-upon myth” (as Napoleon had it), and “truth” and “beauty” (which Keats equated) are disappearing in our chem-trailed skies.
Lector, si monumentum requiris, circumspice! Reader, if you seek our monuments—look 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.I’ve 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," “Counterpunch.org," “The Japan Times,” “Outlook India,” 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: “A Fine Excess: An Australian Odyssey” and, “Holy Grail, Holy Grail: Quest East, Quest West.”My first collection of poems, “Random Descent,” was published by Anhinga Press.