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Discovering America As It Is

Discovering America As It Is

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America's Extreme Capitalism Wreaked Havoc on the American People -- Even Before the Bubble Burst DISCOVERING AMERICA AS IT IS, is a monumental study of the devastating effect American-style capitalism has been having on the American people -- even before the onslaught of recession. It raises serious questions not only concerning America’s role as a leading model for development, but even as to its future capacity to compete due to the deterioration of its human capital resulting from anti-social domestic policies. During the era of the Soviet Union, many human rights dissidents turned to the United States to champion their cause. Many even emigrated to the USA. Few, however, have expressed the disappointment that awaited them there, and fewer still have publicly exposed their view of human rights as practiced in the U.S.. That fact, in itself, would make Discovering America As It Is an important book, written by a journalist who was expelled from the USSR for human rights activities on behalf of his native Lithuania, and who, upon arriving in America, shared a political platform with such leaders of the American Republican Party as Newt Gingrich and Phil Gramm. "America remains the destination of choice for those who wish to emigrate from their own countries. It is still like a mysterious enchantress to many," Anelauskas writes. "I write this book for them. I have now spent ten years observing American society. Not only observing, but studying, analyzing and comparing it to other societies. When I lived in the Soviet Union, I thought that the Soviet communist system was the worst possible social order. The more I scrutinize American reality, the more I realize that they are like two ends of the same stick..." Ten years’ observation of American reality has led Anelauskas to conclude that the U.S. extreme capitalist system poses an even greater threat than Soviet mock-communism to the well-being of the world. He paints an extraordinary portrait of the America he discovered — the America as it exists for most Americans. While it has been argued that capitalism in Russia failed because the Russians "didn't know how to do it," in the United States, the veritable beacon of world capitalism, capitalism does not appear to be working for most people, either -- even before the bubble burst. America’s two-decades-long love affair with its free market gurus has gutted the body politic, leaving the American Dream of prosperity for the ordinary man little more than a charade the U.S. corporate, media and government elite successfully fronts to a credulous world. Twelve highly-documented chapters — on poverty, crime, health, education, homelessness, the deterioration of the family, income inequities and the replacement of welfare by workfare — detail the public disarray which results from an unfettered system of great wealth where the rich determine the social priorities. Even more telling than the comparison of American capitalism with communism, an issue which may –– or may not –– be moot, Anelauskas’ book ceaselessly poses this question: Does capitalism have to weigh upon its people so mercilessly — or is the American version more extreme, more pitiless than that of other industrialized nations? In thousands of citations, Anelauskas documents the precipitous plunge in living standards of American citizens, measured not only against the standards enjoyed by citizens in other capitalist countries in the industrialized world, but against their own past levels. Among the many searing results: in all categories that measure economic equity, citizens of all other industrialized countries generally fare better than do Americans. This blistering reality is culled from innumerable researches by international organizations, domestic and international NGOs, independent U.S. think tanks, journalists, scholars, and even from American government sources, documented in over 80 pages of endnotes. While most critiques focus on one social sector or another, this multidimensional study brings them all together, and the impact is staggering. What this book enables us to grasp — intellectually and emotionally — is the predatory and wasteful operation of unbridled capitalism in its systemic dimensions, and the needless, preventable injury it wreaks upon millions. The linkages between government, wealth, poverty and policy, the conflicts between elite interest and collective well-being, clarify as we read. Here are just a few of many mind-catching findings scattered liberally throughout the book: An American child has one chance in 432 of becoming a doctor -- but one chance in five of growing up illiterate. One in four Americans working full time does not earn enough to stay above the official poverty line. "Food insecure households" add up to over 34 million people. The notion that stock ownership is widespread in America is absolutely false -- the bottom 90 percent of Americans own 15.6 percent of stocks (including through mutual funds), while the bottom eighty percent only own three percent! Anelauskas’ ominous thirteenth chapter, "The New World Order Takes Shape," elaborates the socio-military resources and paradigms which serve to entrench and extend American hegemony, as it seeksto deflect global efforts to institute the rule of international law, and to turn the world back to the rule of force. From the expropriation of Indian lands, and the exploitation of African labor, to a taste for empire which spread to the continental rim, then jumped across many waters in a hundred-year history of invasions all around the globe, culminating at last in the hegemonic military-economic grip on the world by what many in the Third World view as a Rogue Superpower -- from domestic colonialismto imperial America -- this is America as it is. MARKETING: (John, these people are all very well-known -- from back of book endorsements) “This is an extraordinary book, especially startling not because it is a diligently researched and scathing critique of contemporary America, but because it is written by a Soviet dissident who arrived here with great expectations and discovered a sobering reality. The scope of the book is breathtaking, a sweeping survey, factually precise and philosophically provocative, which deserves to be compared to de Tocqueville’s 19th century classic. I hope it will be widely read.” Howard Zinn Professor Emeritus, Boston University author of A People’s History of the United States “Anelauskas’ examination of many dimensions of current and past realities of the United States is a veritable tour de force. He avoided the usual approach of dealing with these dimensions as separate fragments, each with supposedly separate solutions, tracing them instead to their underlying common roots in the dynamics of the capitalist institutions and ideology of this society and its culture. Teachers and students of social sciences, history and philosophy will find in this book a rich source for understanding the forces which shape the quality of our lives and human relations, at home and abroad.” David Gil, Director Center for Social Change, Brandeis University “Valdes Anelauskas’ Discovering America As it Is illuminates the dark corners of US history and current events, and draws all the right conclusions. If just one-in-ten lifelong Americans had ever bothered themselves to learn as much about their country as has this recent Lithuanian immigrant, the horrors he writes about would never have existed. This is must reading for the entire population.” Ward Churchill author of A Little Matter of Genocide: Holocaust and Denial in the Americas 1492 to the Present