Mark Twain’s Autobiography Honors Helen Keller

July 21st, 2013


Helen Keller and Mark Twain, 1895 (MTP)
Mark Twain felt he had to write an autobiography, but didn't feel right doing it. He found the literary form too rigid, and drudgery to write year-by-year, cradle-to-grave. After several false starts, he at last found a way that suited him:
Finally in Florence in 1904, I hit upon the right way to do an Autobiography: start it at no particular time of your life; wander at your free will all over your life; talk only about the thing which interests you for the moment; drop it the moment its interest threatens to pale, and turn your talk upon the new and more interesting thing that has intruded itself into your mind meantime. Also, make the narrative a combined Diary and Autobiography. In this way you have the vivid things of the present to make a contrast with memories of like things in the past, and these contrasts have a charm which is all their own. No talent is required to make a combined Diary and Autobiography interesting. And so, I have found the right plan. It makes my labor amusement—mere amusement, play, pastime, and wholly effortless. It is the first time in history that the right plan has been hit upon.

To spare the feelings of some that he wrote about, and to give himself the freedom to write honestly, Twain -- also known by his birth name, Samuel Clemens -- left an instruction that the book not be published in whole until he was 100 years dead. And so it happened -- in 2010 the first of three volumes of the autobiography came out, issued by The Mark Twain Project, which is stationed at the University of California. The entire work is published online HERE.

So, by design, this diary-autobiography, filled with rich depiction and dashed with wit, rambles -- for 265 pages in volume one. Twain tells of his brush with subconscious plagiarism; of Ulysses S. Grant's answer that the "march to the sea" was neither his nor General Sherman's idea, but the enemy's doing, for surprisingly leaving the way open; how his daughter Suzy and his wife were best friends; how proud and happy he was to get a big laugh from telling his first humorous story; how his first two minutes on the lecture circuit spent in total stage freight steeled him against it ever after; and many more stories. But where did the editors stop, and with what story and words do they leave the reader?

The last story begins with the prior night's meeting of an association to uplift the adult blind, at which Twain served as chairman, and for which he held high hopes:

It will do for the adult blind what Congress and the several legislatures do so faithfully and with such enthusiasm for our lawless railway corporations, our rotten beef trusts, our vast robber dens of insurance magnates; in a word, for each and all of our multimillionaires and their industries—protect them, take watchful care of them, preserve them from harm like a Providence, and secure their prosperity, and increase it.

Helen Keller was to have spoken at the meeting, but, due to illness, could not attend. Next, Twain tells of the first time he met Keller, when she was 14:

Mr. Howells seated himself by Helen on the sofa and she put her fingers against his lips and he told her a story of considerable length, and you could see each detail of it pass into her mind and strike fire there and throw the flash of it into her face. Then I told her a long story, which she interrupted all along and in the right places, with cackles, chuckles, and care-free bursts of laughter. Then Miss Sullivan put one of Helen’s hands against her lips and spoke against it the question “What is Mr. Clemens distinguished for?” Helen answered, in her crippled speech, “For his humor.” I spoke up modestly and said “And for his wisdom.” Helen said the same words instantly—“And for his wisdom.” I suppose it was a case of mental telegraphy, since there was no way for her to know what it was I had said.

Keller sent a letter for Twain to read at the meeting. Twain recounts how he had introduced the letter to the assemblage:

... I said that if I knew anything about literature, here was a fine and great and noble sample of it; that this letter was simple, direct, unadorned, unaffected, unpretentious, and was moving and beautiful and eloquent; ... I said I believed that this letter, written by a young woman who has been stone deaf, dumb, and blind ever since she was eighteen months old, and who is one of the most widely and thoroughly educated women in the world, would pass into our literature as a classic and remain so. I will insert the letter here.

And the last words in volume one of the "Autobiography of Mark Twain" are not Twain's, but Keller's:

At your meeting New York will speak its word for the blind, and when New York speaks, the world listens. The true message of New York is not the commercial ticking of busy telegraphs, but the mightier utterances of such gatherings as yours. Of late our periodicals have been filled with depressing revelations of great social evils. Querulous critics have pointed to every flaw in our civic structure. We have listened long enough to the pessimists. You once told me you were a pessimist, Mr. Clemens; but great men are usually mistaken about themselves. You are an optimist. If you were not, you would not preside at the meeting. For it is an answer to pessimism. It proclaims that the heart and the wisdom of a great city are devoted to the good of mankind, that in this the busiest city in the world no cry of distress goes up, but receives a compassionate and generous answer. Rejoice that the cause of the blind has been heard in New York; for the day after, it shall be heard round the world.

~ ~ ~

NOTE: The prior verion of the article had the wrong assumption that the whole work had been published and that Twain had chosen to end it with the Helen Keller story. Volume two is due out October 1, 2013, and volume three in 2015.

~ ~ ~

Also: Helen Keller in Her Own Words

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U.S. Constitution Survey De-Teabagged

July 7th, 2013

A week or two ago I got in the mail from a Hillsdale College its survey on the U.S. Constitution, and found it to have a misleading, teabag bent. So, I edited it for relevance and clarity. (Hillsdale's text is in gray; My text is in yellow. Changed text is in italics.)

ISSUE SUMMARY:

Hillsdale College teaches that the Constitution of the United States (written in 1787) is the reason America grew so quickly to become the freest, most prosperous nation in history.

Hungeski says that the Constitution of the United States (last amended in 1992) is the framework for a strong, pragmatic central government that helped We the People make a prosperous nation with much freedom to lead a fulfilling life[*].

QUESTION #1: What is your level of AGREEMENT or DISAGREEMENT with this proposition?

  • Strongly Agree
  • Agree
  • Disagree
  • Strongly Disagree
  • Not Sure

ISSUE SUMMARY:

Some politicians and intellectuals today argue that the U.S. Constitution is outdated, and should therefore be treated more as a set of guidelines, but should not be strictly followed. Liberal Supreme Court Justices (including, Sotomayor, Kagan, Ginsburg and Breyer) see the Constitution this way, more as a set of guidelines that need not be followed strictly. The more conservative Justices on the Supreme Court (including, Scalia, Thomas and Alito) see the Constitution as the supreme law of the land that must be followed strictly

Some politicians and ideologues today argue that the U.S. Constitution is rigid, and should therefore be treated more as a set of strict rules for the 18th century, but should not be truly followed for life today. Right-wing Supreme Court Justices (including, Scalia, Thomas and Alito) see the Constitution this way, more as a set of strict rules for the 18th century that need not be followed truly for life today. The more centrist Justices on the Supreme Court (including, Sotomayor, Kagan, Ginsburg and Breyer) see the Constitution as the supreme law of the land that must be followed truly for life today

QUESTION #2:

Where do you stand in this debate on how closely the U.S. government should follow the Constitution?

  • I agree with the conservative Justices on the Supreme Court. The U.S. Constitution is the supreme law of the land. Government should follow the Constitution strictly, as law.
  • I agree more with the liberals on the Supreme Court. The U.S. Constitution is an outdated document. We should treat it as a set of guidelines, not strictly as law.
  • I oppose the Constitution. I don't think government should look to the Constitution at all for guidance.
  • Not Sure
  • Other

Where do you stand in this debate on how truly the U.S. government should follow the Constitution?

  • I agree with the centrist Justices on the Supreme Court. The U.S. Constitution is the supreme law of the land. Government should follow the Constitution truly, as law for today.
  • I agree more with the right-wingers on the Supreme Court. The U.S. Constitution is a rigid document. We should treat it as a set of strict rules for olden times, not truly as law for life today.
  • I oppose the Constitution. I think we should bring back the Articles of Confederation.
  • Not Sure
  • Other

ISSUE SUMMARY: The Tenth Amendment of the Constitution states as follows: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people"

In other words, the Federal government was set up to do very specific duties that only a national government can do such as: provide for a national defense, regulate interstate commerce, set up a federal system of justice, establish a currency and ensure domestic tranquility. Almost all other responsibilities of government are supposed to be handled by state and local governments, or by families and individuals. Hillsdale contends that if Congress actually followed the Constitution, including the Tenth Amendment, our federal government would be about one-third the size it is now.

In other words, the Federal government was set up with powers to do very important duties that are national matters such as: provide for a national defense, regulate interstate commerce, set up a federal system of courts, establish a currency, ensure domestic tranquility, establish justice, and promote the general welfare. Almost all other powers of government are over local matters to be handled by state and local governments, or by families and individuals. Corporations are given no powers. Hungeski imagines that if Congress and the Supreme Court actually followed the Constitution, including all of the amendments, Wall Street would be about one-third the size it is now.

QUESTION #3: What is your level of AGREEMENT or DISAGREEMENT with this proposition?

  • Strongly Agree
  • Agree
  • Disagree
  • Strongly Disagree
  • Not Sure

QUESTION #4:

How closely do you think our Federal government is following the Constitution today?

  • Not At All
  • Very Little
  • Some
  • Closely
  • Very Closely
  • Not Sure
  • Other

How truly do you think our Federal government is following the Constitution today?

  • Not At All
  • Very Little
  • Some
  • Truly
  • Very Truly
  • Not Sure
  • Other

ISSUE SUMMARY:

The Obama Administration is now building 159 new government agencies to administer ObamaCare and is hiring 16,000 new IRS agents to enforce ObamaCare. When radio host Paul Smith asked liberal Congressman John Dingell (D-MI) why it will take the government until 2014 to fully set up the ObamaCare system, Dingell said this: "It takes a long time to do the necessary administrative steps that have to be taken to put the legislation together to control the people." Source: News Talk WJR Radio with Paul W. Smith 3/23/2010

The 14th Amendment plainly says: "No State shall make or enforce any law which shall … deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." But Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said that women have no equal rights under the Constitution: “Certainly the Constitution does not require discrimination on the basis of sex. The only issue is whether it prohibits it. It doesn’t. Nobody ever thought that that’s what it meant. Nobody ever voted for that.” Source: ‘The Originalist’ – California Lawyer, January 2011

QUESTION #5:

 Do you think our government should be more concerned with "controlling" the people (as Congressman John Dingell believes)? Or do you think the primary responsibility of government is to "secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity", as the preamble to the Constitution says?

  • I agree with Congressman Dingell. The primary purpose of our federal government should be to "control the people."
  • I agree with the preamble to the U.S. Constitution and America's Founders -- that the primary responsibility of the federal government is to "secure the blessings of liberty."
  • Not Sure
  • Other

Do you think that women should not have equal rights under the Constitution (as Justice Scalia believes)? Or do you think "any person" has a right to "equal protection of the laws", as the 14th Amendment to the Constitution says?

  • I agree with Justice Scalia. Women have no equal rights under the Constitution.
  • I agree with the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and well-settled law -- that equal rights apply to "any person."
  • Not Sure
  • Other

ISSUE SUMMARY:

Hillsdale contends that the fastest way to solve America's economic problems and restore America's position as the world's #1 economic power is for our federal government (including Congress and the President) to start following the Constitution again.

Hungeski says that the fastest way to solve America's economic problems and restore America's middle class is for our federal government (including Congress, the President and the Supreme Court) to start following the Constitution again, and ban corporate personhood and corporate meddling in politics.

QUESTION #6: What is your level of AGREEMENT or DISAGREEMENT with this proposition?

  • Strongly Agree
  • Agree
  • Disagree
  • Strongly Disagree
  • Not Sure

ISSUE SUMMARY:

Hillsdale contends that America is in such dire straits because voters don't know enough about the Constitution and the case for liberty to insist on electing leaders in our government who also know and appreciate the magnificence of our Constitution and heritage of liberty. So Hillsdale has launched online courses on the Constitution that all Americans can take from the comfort of their home. So far, more than 325,000 Americans have signed up for these courses. Hillsdale is aiming to have 1,000,000 Americans taking this course in the next few weeks, and many millions more Americans taking this course in the months ahead. Rush Limbaugh calls Hillsdale's online "Constitution 101" course "unprecedented."

Hungeski says that America is in such dire straits because voters don't know enough about the Constitution and the case for the freedom to lead a fulfilling life to insist on electing leaders in our government who also know and appreciate the Constitution and heritage of the freedom to lead a fulfilling life. So Hungeski is providing this LINK to the Constitution so that all Americans can read it from the comfort of their home. So far, an unknown number of Americans have read the Constitution. Hungeski is aiming to have 1,000,000 Americans read the Constitution in the next few weeks, and many millions more Americans reading it in the months ahead. The ACLU says, "The Constitution is for the 100%!"

QUESTION #7:

How supportive are you of Hillsdale's "Constitution 101" online course to educate millions of Americans on "the blessings of liberty" and on the case for making America great again by restoring the Constitution as the supreme law of our land?

How supportive are you of Hungeski's "Read the Constitution" LINK to educate millions of Americans on "the blessings of liberty" and on the case for rebuilding the middle class by using the Constitution for We the People?

  • Very Supportive
  • Somewhat Supportive
  • Not Supportive
  • Not Sure

QUESTION #8:

Will you make your best freedom-saving donation right now to help Hillsdale buy $1 million in advertising so that every American can know about the online Constitution course that's now open FREE to all Americans . . . so we can increase enrollment from 325,000 citizens now taking this course to more than 1,000,000 citizens (or more) taking online Constitution courses in the next few weeks?

Will you make your best freedom-saving link share right now to help Hungeski spread the word so that every American can know about the "Read the Constitution" LINK that's now open FREE to all Americans . . . so we can increase the number of citizens that have read the Constitution by more than 1,000,000 citizens (or more) reading the Constitution in the next few weeks?

  • Yes
  • No

~~~

U.S. Constitution

Amendments 1-10 to the U.S. Constitution

Amendments 11-27 to the U.S. Constitution

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Progressivism: The Practical Center

July 4th, 2013


National Progressive Convention, Chicago, 1912
(Analysis.) When we think of the full political spectrum, from pure socialism on the left to unbridled capitalism on the right, we find progressivism at the center – not the left, as is commonly thought. Under socialism, the people own the means of production, and get the benefits of that production. The people's government plans and manages the production, but, with that power, may become overbearing and self-serving. Under capitalism, corporations own the means of production, and compete to create better products at less cost. The corporate management maximizes profit for the owners, and may form monopolies or mega-corporations that make people pay dearly for products, even basic needs. With progressivism, like capitalism, corporations own most of the means of production, but, like socialism, the people get much of the benefits of that production. Progressivism always aims for the common good, but, unlike socialism or capitalism, its policies are not ideological, but practical. Progressives choose policies based on what has been shown to work, and on scientific study.

In U.S. history, progressive policies took hold when capitalism brought much pain to, and became threatened by, the people. Near its end, the Gilded Age heaped depression on top of dangerous working conditions and skimpy pay. The occurrence of strikes rose from 1000 per year in the 1890's to 4000 in 1904. By 1911, a "rising tide of socialism" saw hundreds of socialists elected to public office. President Theodore Roosevelt was among the leaders that saw the situation as did the progressive Milwaukee Journal: "[Conservatives] fight socialism blindly ... while the Progressives fight it intelligently and seek to remedy the abuses and conditions upon which it thrives." So the "Progressive Era" began and brought us such gains as workplace safety standards, food and drug purity standards, the national park system, control of corporate monopoly growth, guards against plutocracy and aristocracy via progressive taxation, and, in some states, a total ban on corporations in politics.

During the Great Depression of the 1930's, with one-fourth of the work force idled and many thrown out of home, tenants and the jobless organized, self-help movements formed, and general strikes stopped business-as-usual in several cities. Wage cuts prompted sit-down strikes against the rubber manufacturers in Akron, and after the long sit-down strike against GM in Flint was won, a wave of such strikes swept the nation. From this state of affairs came President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal, which brought us such gains as the Social Security system, unemployment insurance, minimum wage, the 40-hour work week, child labor limits, protection of the worker's right to unionize, a firewall between Wall Street speculators and regular banking, bank deposit insurance, and Wall Street watchdogs. Also, there came a sharp rise in unionization and the golden age of the American middle class.

That golden age ended around 1980 with the onset of the "Reagan Revolution," which brought a sharp fall in union membership, and a trend of weakening and reversing progressive gains. Corporations grew bigger and, by a growing system of legal bribery, got more power in government. Lawmakers flattened progressive income and estate tax, and tore down the wall between speculators and regular banking. President Reagan also helped form a big right-wing propaganda system that bent the D.C. "conventional wisdom." In 2008, these trends climaxed in the Bush Crash and the Great Recession, which, once again, threw many persons out of work and home. And while established progressive safety net programs, such as unemployment insurance and food stamps, cushioned the fall, street rebellion against the capitalist system still arose -- this time in the form of the Occupy Wall Street movement. And while a law to rein-in Wall Street passed, banks are jamming up its implementation, and risky derivatives trading and too-big-to-fail banks still go on.

Today, as we still sit in the throes of the Great Recession with a battered and shrunken middle class, faced with climate change, and renewed Wall Street corruption and corporate power, progressives still fight for policies such as Medicare for all, a carbon tax, a stock transaction tax, ending corporate tax breaks for oil drilling and moving jobs and profits overseas, infrastructure funding, and breaking up too-big-to-fail banks. Today, as much as ever, we need to aim for the common good with proven, practical governance – that is, we need the progressive way.

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The Majority Rule Pledge

May 12th, 2013


E PLURIBUS UNUM
atop the U.S. Capitol

"No minority has a right to block a majority from conducting the legal business of the organization. No majority has a right to prevent a minority from peacefully attempting to become a majority." Robert M. Pirsig, American philosopher and author of "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance," put that terse summary of Robert's Rules of Order in his later book, "Lila." To Pirsig, those two sentences set a framework for a democracy where "Dynamic Quality" can flourish, and society can evolve. But unluckily, in the world's first modern democracy one party has battered and cracked that framework. In both houses of the U.S. Congress a reckless minority of Republicans routinely blocks a majority from conducting the business of the nation.

In the Senate the Republican minority blocks the nation's business with the silent filibuster rule. Originally, the filibuster was a seldom-used tactic for a Senator to demonstrate one's displeasure with an issue by holding the floor for as long as one's wind held out. But the silent filibuster has practically become a 60% vote requirement. Since 2007, the minority Republicans have filibustered way more than any group before. They have filibustered legislation, such as that to close loopholes to keep the crazy and criminal from buying guns. And they have filibustered confirmations, such as that for director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, trying to block its work, and for judgeships, creating a "judicial emergency" in 33 districts and circuits.

In the House a minority formed of the Republican Teabag Caucus and its followers blocks action on any bill it opposes with the "majority of the majority" rule. Also known as the "Hastert Rule," after the Republican speaker of the House that made it official party policy, it states that no bill comes to the floor, unless the speaker knows that a majority of Republicans, now a 233-201 majority in the House, favors it. Under the majority of the majority rule, any bill favored by a majority formed of most Democrats and less-than-half of Republicans would not come to the floor. Take for example H.R. 199, which closes a corporate tax loophole on a deduction for executive compensation of more than a half million a year. Such a sensible budget bill just might get 17 Republicans to join 201 Democrats for a majority to pass it. Or take H.R. 163, which protects the Sleeping Bear Dunes area of the Lake Michigan shore as a national wilderness area. That bill is sponsored by twelve Michigan congressmen of both major parties, and would very likely pass before the whole House. But it might be tough to get a majority of House Republicans, who in the last Congress passed a bill that would have gutted the Wilderness Act.

Now, this battered and cracked Congress can be fixed by electing more sane and sensible persons to it. In the Senate, a simple majority can change the rules, and dump the silent filibuster. Voters could enable that in the primary election by ousting any senator that won't support majority rule. And in the House, the majority party leaders could simply reject the majority of the majority rule. Voters could enable that in the general election by voting in the Democrats, who have never adopted such a rule. To help voters, a candidate in favor of fixing Congress would do well to sign a pledge for democracy and majority rule:

U.S. House of Representatives candidates
Majority Rule Pledge
I, _______________________, pledge to the citizens of the ________ district of the state of _____________, and to the American people, that I will oppose the "majority of the majority" rule, and any other such rules that would block a majority from conducting the legal business of the United States House of Representatives.

U.S. Senate candidates
Majority Rule Pledge
I, _______________________, pledge to the citizens of the state of _____________, and to the American people, that I will oppose the silent filibuster, and any other such rules that would block a majority from conducting the legal business of the United States Senate.

~~~


54 yeas to 46 nays - CNN calls that 'voted down.' I call it FILIBUSTERED!

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Book Review: “America’s Stolen Narrative” by Robert Parry

March 21st, 2013

"Nixon Camp Sabotages Viet Peace Talks" -- Had the story under that headline been published in real time, Richard Nixon might have lost the 1968 election, and the Vietnam War would likely have ended years earlier. Now, with Robert Parry's latest book, "America's Stolen Narrative," a full telling of that story has been published, and a sketchy part of America's history can be filled. The book gives up-to-date, factual, solidly-sourced stories of several important recent (and a few of the earliest) events of American history. And it points out the false narratives, as it sweeps them away. Here are some of the highlights:
  • Nixon's Vietnam Peace Sabotage: "Huh, no. My God, I would never do anything to encourage ... Saigon not to come to the table," said Nixon to President Lyndon Johnson. Late in the 1968 presidential election season, Johnson was close to getting both North and South Vietnam to meet for peace talks in Paris. Such progress towards peace could have given a boost to Vice President Hubert Humphrey over Nixon in the presidential race. But someone from the Nixon camp felt sure it had the peace talks blocked, and sent that inside dope to some Wall Street banker buddies. Johnson caught wind of that, and ordered wiretaps. Soon, he got proof that the Nixon camp was urging South Vietnam to stay away from the peace talks, and offering a "better deal" should Nixon become president. When Johnson sent word that he might go public with the proof, "Tricky Dicky" Nixon phoned to try to fool Johnson with the lie quoted above. The Christian Science Monitor had also caught wind of Nixon's sabotage, and, before running the story, sought confirmation from the administration. But Johnson decided, "for the good of the country," not to go public. And, as it happened, the government of South Vietnam did stay away from the peace talks, Nixon won a close election, and the killing went on for four more years. And so began a recurring pattern where high Republican officials would do dirty deeds, some treasonous, some criminal, and high Democratic officials would cover them up.
  • The Road to Watergate: "Godammit, get in and get those files. Blow the safe and get it," said Nixon to his staff members, H.R. Haldeman and Henry Kissinger. In June 1971, Nixon gave that command to break-in to the Brookings Institution, most likely to get the file with Johnson's proof of Nixon's treasonous peace talk sabotage – a file that could scuttle his re-election. And so we see, a year before their Watergate break-ins, the beginnings of Nixon's band of criminals known as the "Plumbers." But, before he left office, Johnson gave the file to his adviser Walt Rostow, and so kept it away from Nixon. In 1973, after Johnson's death, and as Nixon's presidency began to crumble from the Watergate scandal, Rostow sent the file, which he labeled "the X envelope," to the LBJ Library. He thought the contents to be such a blot on the U.S.A., that he wrote an instruction to keep it sealed for 50 years, at which time the library's director could open it, and decide to seal it for another 50 years. But in 1994, "just" 21 years later, Rostow and the library's director decided to open the file, and today it is largely declassified.

  • October Surprise: The movie "Raiders of the Lost Ark" portrayed a vast underground government archive warehouse, where the powerful Ark of the Covenant was to be stashed for all time. That is how Lawrence Barcella, chief counsel of the House's October Surprise Task Force, imagined the place where he had sent the Russian Report on the plot. The report came from old Soviet intelligence files, and was sent by the Russian parliament, to answer a request from the task force. But Robert Parry got a pass to the archive warehouse and copied the Russian Report, and other documents, from the boxes of task force materials he found there. The documents backed reports of some 24 witnesses to the deal between presidential candidate Ronald Reagan's camp and Iranian leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's faction. The deal went through: the Iranians, who had been holding 52 Americans hostage for nearly a year, delayed their release until Reagan took office, and the Reagan people sent arms to Iran. The Russian Report confirmed that Ronald Reagan's campaign chief William Casey, Reagan's running mate George H.W. Bush, and CIA officer Robert Gates were among those who met with Iranians in 1980. Like the treasonous Nixon, Reagan became president helped by his camp's sabotage of negotiations by the sitting president, Jimmy Carter in this case. Unlike Nixon's Vietnam peace talk sabotage, the October Surprise plot got a Congressional investigation, spurred in part by Robert Parry's reporting for PBS's "Frontline." And though Barcella asked for a three-month extension to study other new evidence flowing in, the committee, led by Lee Hamilton (D – IN), rushed to wrap up the investigation, skipping the Russian Report, making up alibis, and clearing the Republicans due to "no credible evidence."

The book also tells the stories of:

  • how the government of Israel helped the Reagan crew set up the October Surprise plot and the arms pipeline through Israel to Iran, which likely continued into the Iran-Contra scandal.
  • how the Bush I White House foiled the October Surprise and Iran-Contra investigations with a program of media pressure, arm-twisting, subpoena-dodging, and delay, while raising a stink about the cost of the probes.
  • how alibis for high-level Republicans, such as George H. W. Bush and William Casey in October Surprise, and Robert Gates in Iraqgate, dissolved after a little investigation.
  • how two ladder-climbers, Colin Powell and Robert Gates, by doing dirty deeds and cover-ups for their bosses, rose to the highest levels of government, while being toasted by the Washington Establishment.
  • how the American Right tries to revise history with its ideas of constitutionality that are more in line with the Articles of Confederation than with the Constitution, whose authors aimed for a strong, pragmatic central government under sovereignty of "We the People."

A nice feature of the book is that many of its notes have web links to original documents and recordings. For example, here is a link that shows the sign-in sheet that helped dismantle Robert Gates' alibi that he was at a White House meeting with the prime minister of Belize and not at an Iraqgate meeting with an Israeli intelligence agent on April 20, 1989. And here is a link where you can hear the phone call noted above, where Nixon lies to Johnson about sabotaging the Vietnam peace talks.

The book's author, Robert Parry, wrote some of the earliest stories of Iran-Contra and October Surprise. He has followed up on these and other such stories, digging up and keeping up on new evidence along the way. "America's Stolen Narrative" is the latest, and, I think, the greatest, result of that work. It is not a long book -- 221 pages not counting the index and notes – but it is a meaty book. Virtually every word in it advances the stories told. And they are the classic product of investigative reporting – exposés of dirty, anti-democratic deeds by the highest officers of the republic, a type of story crucial to an informed citizenry in a democracy. These stories show that some conspiracies really are true. But, as the author points out, it is only "careful research and open-minded reporting" that can separate what is real from what is "just a curious anomaly or something hard to explain." While these stories were largely missed in real time, they are here now, and should rightfully become well-known American history. You the reader can help that come to pass.

~ ~ ~

To buy "America's Stolen Narrative":

Will you read "America's Stolen Narrative" by Robert Parry?

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~ ~ ~

I have several copies of Robert Parry's prior book, "Neck Deep - The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush" to give away. E-mail me your (U.S.) mailing address, and I will, while they last, send one to you postpaid. (Note: The free books are now gone.)

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