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OpEdNews Op Eds    H1'ed 9/3/11

Here's what UnAmerican really is!

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Thom Hartmann
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Apparently I ruffled some feathers over at the right wing website Newsbusters when I suggested that today's Republican Party is infected with a powerful strain of Anti-Americanism. And I'm not really sure if the right-wingers are upset with my argument - or upset with the fact that I took their buzz word. 

It's time to start calling people out - because there's no more room in this critical debate over America's future for individuals who are fundamentally anti-American. That includes the politicians - the so-called newsmen - the phony economists - and the greedy CEOs who have no problem destroying this nation just for a few bucks. They spew poll-tested terms like "job creators" to push for even more tax breaks for transnational corporations that already pay nothing in taxes. While forgetting that this nation was founded as a result of an anti-corporate revolt against the world's largest transnational corporation at the time - the British East India Tea Company. They call up hucksters like Thomas Friedman to tout so-called Free Trade policies that sell off our factories and manufacturing jobs to the lowest bidders around the world. While forgetting that our nation's first Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton laid out an 11-point plan literally called "The American Way" that promoted protectionsism and promoted American industires - and NOT so-called Free Trade. They give millionaires and billionaires the power to run amok in our politics - claiming that corporations are people - and as people have a right to free speech - and to dump as much money in our elections as they damn well please. While forgetting that none of the founding fathers considered corporations important enough to not even mention them in our nation's Constitution. 

And that the author of the Declaration of Independence himself - Thomas Jefferson - had a deep-seated mistrust of too much corporate power and fought tirelessly to include freedom from monopolies in the Bill of Rights. Jefferson described corporate powers-that-be as, "the selfish spirit of commerce (that) knows no country, and feels no passion or principle but that of gain." Jefferson's tradition was carried on by both Republican and Democratic Presidents throughout the nation's history like Grover Cleveland who said, in his 1888 State of the Union address, "As we view the achievements of aggregated capital, we discover the existence of trusts, combinations, and monopolies, while the citizen is struggling far in the rear or is trampled to death beneath an iron heel.  Corporations, which should be the carefully restrained creatures of the law and the servants of the people, are fast becoming the people's masters."

And like Teddy Roosevelt who challenged corporate power by passing the Tillman Act in 1907 which read, "It shall be unlawful for any national bank, or any corporation...to make a monetary contribution in connection with any election to any political office." And like Franklin Roosevelt who called the corporate shills "Economic Royalists" At the 1936 Democratic Convention - Roosevelt directed his speech at these Economic Royalists saying, "These economic royalists complain that we seek to overthrow the institutions of America. What they really complain of is that we seek to take away their power. Our allegiance to American institutions requires the overthrow of this kind of power. In vain they seek to hide behind the Flag and the Constitution. In their blindness they forget what the Flag and the Constitution stand for."
Thirty years ago - riding the coattails of Ronald Reagan - these Economic Royalists have returned to power in America - and have been infecting this nation with their anti-American propaganda ever since - trying to clog up everything this nation has accomplished from the New Deal to the Great Society. They are dismantling the very programs and institutions that Americans have fought and died for - from labor unions to the social safety net - to the right to vote itself. And they do it the same way they did it in Roosevelt's time - by hiding behind the flag and the constitution. Even worse - these anti-American cowards beat the drum for war because they know that in times of war - there's money to be made! - and our nation is more vulnerable to an ideological take-over. 

They rally around a war criminal like Dick Cheney whose incompetence is only outweighed by his brutality. Here's a man who was head of the anti-terrorism task force in the White House in 2001 - who was warned by former Vice President Al Gore to keep an eye out for Al-Qaeda - and who neglected to hold one meeting on the threat of terrorism - but instead spent his time figuring out how to divvy up and sell off the oil fields of Iraq. We got hit on 9/11 because Dick Cheney dropped the ball - he didn't keep us safe - he's guilty of gross negligence. And to cover up his grotesque mistake - Cheney resorted to war crimes - to torture - and illegal invasions. There's nothing more anti-American than torture. Historian David Fischer explained the sentiment of our founding fathers toward torture during the Revolutionary War by writing, "American leaders believed it was not enough to win the war. They also had to win in a way that was consistent with the values of their society and the principles of their cause."  That's why when General George Washington captured 1,000 Hessians in the battle of Trenton during our war of independence - he carefully sent instructions to his soldiers on how to treat the prisoners - writing, "Treat them with humanity, and let them have no reason to Complain of our Copying the brutal example of the British Army in their treatment of our unfortunate brethren.... Provide everything necessary for them on the road."

Unlike our nation's first President - Dick Cheney sent down instructions to torture people until they gave phony confessions about phony WMDs in Iraq - and then under his orders we went on to humiliate our prisoners of war in ways that have caused Muslims around the world to want to join Al Queda. And Cheney wasn't satisfied with one war - he got two wars - and as he documents in his new book, he was pushing for an attack on Syria - he wanted three wars. Cheney wanted continual warfare - continuous kickbacks to his defense contractor buddies - and his own company Halliburton that was almost bankrupt when he went into office - until his administration started handing them juicy no-bid contracts. Dick Cheney would have horrified another one of our founding fathers. James Madison who famously said, "Of all the enemies of true liberty, war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other" No nation can preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare." Cheney isn't just anti-American - he's caused endless death and destruction around the world - and is responsible for the deaths of thousands and thousands of Americans - a crime he himself should answer for. 

The summary point is - this is what the billionaires who've seized control of Dwight Eisenhower's once-proud Republican Party are offering us today - this is their vision of America. More wars, more billionaires, and a devastated middle class. For thirty years - they've campaigned and spoken openly about their dislike for our government - that extraordinary gift that was created by the Founding Fathers is, as Reagan said, the "problem and not the solution" to our problems. I beg to differ. I love America and believe in America, and am encouraged by the knowledge that most Americans agree with that sentiment. It's time to quit p*ssy-footing around and call the hustlers running the Republican Party - and their mouthpieces on the right -  what they are. They're anti-American.

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Thom Hartmann is a Project Censored Award-winning New York Times best-selling author, and host of a nationally syndicated daily progressive talk program on the Air America Radio Network, live noon-3 PM ET. www.thomhartmann.com His most recent books are "The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight," "Unequal Protection: The Rise of Corporate Dominance and the Theft of Human Rights," "We The People," "What Would Jefferson Do?," "Screwed: The Undeclared War Against the Middle (more...)

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