Roswell ‘Chicken Man’ blows up house, himself to avoid eviction

northfulton.com

Roswell ‘Chicken Man’ blows up house, himself to avoid eviction | News

Jonathan Copsey

ROSWELL, Ga. – Rather than be evicted, Roswell’s “Chicken Man” Andrew Wordes took extreme measures March 26 when he blew up his own house with himself inside.

Witnesses said at about 12:45 p.m., Fulton County Marshals came to the Alpine Drive home to evict Wordes. Wordes allegedly told everyone to get back before an explosion rocked the home.

Witness Lee Hollingsworth said at about 1 p.m., he heard an explosion within the home that blew the roof “a foot into the air and all the windows blew out.”

“It was very scary,” said another witness, Maggie Bean. “Andrew asked if everyone was away from the house and then said something to the effect of ‘it ain’t going to be pretty.’”

Bean said she saw a large puff of smoke come from the garage before flames erupted, engulfing the front of the home.

Fire crews arrived at the home within five minutes of the initial 911 call, which was made by one of the marshals, said Roswell Fire Chief Ricky Spencer, however firefighters did not try and enter the home.

“We did not attempt to go into the house immediately, because the fire was underway,” Spencer said. “About 75 percent of the house was in flames.”

In total, Spencer said it took 21 firefighters with four engines 30 minutes to extinguish the flames.

Police Chief Dwayne Orrick said the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms sent agents to the scene to search for possible explosives; however he said none were found. Reports of a second device were unfounded, Spencer said.

Roswell Police Spokesman Lt. James McGee said fire crews extinguished the fire by about 2 p.m. and had found a body. They are not willing to identify it yet. The body was taken to the Fulton County Coroner.

Wordes, an outspoken gun and property rights advocate, first gained notoriety in 2009 fighting city ordinances that would not allow him to continue raising chickens, turkeys and other fowl on his property. Represented by former Gov. Roy Barnes, Wordes – since dubbed the “Chicken Man” – won the right to keep his more than 100 birds.

A subsequent city ordinance to limit Wordes’ fowl was thrown out by Roswell Judge Maurice Hilliard when the judge ruled he was grandfathered in. But then Wordes began to run into troubles on other fronts. He was stopped by police coming home from a Roswell City Council meeting in December 2009 for a traffic violation and driving on a suspended license.

In 2010, he was cited for a nuisance by city code enforcement for having seven or eight inoperable automobiles on his property, apparently with the intent to repair them and sell them. Then, Wordes violated sediment and erosion ordinances when he did some grading on the property that city authorities said damaged a nearby stream.

Wordes pleaded guilty, had the cars removed and the property repaired. As part of a plea agreement, Wordes agreed to a one-year probation. He was fined $2,000, but was allowed to do 180 hours of community service instead.

Wordes had long maintained he was the subject of a vendetta by the city. When his violations caused liens to be placed against his property, the city notified the holder of his mortgage. That mortgage was sold and the new holder filed for foreclosure of the property.

In July, Wordes found most of his birds had been poisoned. At least 60 animals died from the mystery ailment.

At court Aug. 10, 2011, Hilliard found Wordes in violation of his probation agreement and sentenced Wordes to three months in jail. When he was released, he found his home vandalized and burgled, and accused the city of not protecting it better. Missing were several weapons.

The trail of legal problems culminated Monday when Wordes was to be forcibly evicted from his home.

“I feel sorry for the guy,” Bean said. “It’s just a sad situation.”

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The System is a Rape System

 

Before Harvey Weinstein was exposed and the #MeToo revolution took off, I published “UN Secretary-General Guterres’ Biggest Challenge: A Culture Of Impunity” in Forbes. It took me nearly a year to find a publisher. Humanitarians are selfless idealists editors look to for “feel-good” stories of inspiration and hope. Few seemed interested in abuse humanitarians commit against their own colleagues and populations of concern.

In the Forbes essay I asked, “How can the UN end suffering of vulnerable populations when female employees navigate hostile environments just by showing up for work, let alone when they attempt to raise issues of sexual abuse and exploitation by UN staff?” I discussed Sarah Murison’s report, “Gender Parity in Senior Management at UNICEF,” detailing a “hostile” workplace female staff endure.

Patriarchal abuse of power pervades the humanitarian community — far beyond UNICEF and the UN system. The humanitarian sector, as a whole, has cultivated a culture of misogyny against its female employees and beneficiary populations for decades. Devex, an organization “working to make the $200 billion aid and development industry do more good for more people,” is now calling for a “deeper focus” on sexual abuse within the humanitarian community and has invited people to speak openly.

A fine but naïve offer that may do more harm than good.

Dahlia Lithwick, a legal reporter, recently published an essay about federal judge Alex Kosinski who abused for decades while everyone kept quiet. Lithwick says there is a system in place called character assassination that “keeps brilliant women from accessing power and dismisses others as hysterics — the “nutty and slutty.” This dynamic is also in present in the humanitarian sector, suppressing women and protecting abusers.

Structural inequalities within humanitarian agencies that allow and encourage men (largely white men with Western passports) to accumulate unfettered power are the same organizational arrangements used by too many men to abuse, harass, rape and bully female staff and beneficiary populations. Will women who speak-out be blacklisted — doomed to unemployment, poverty and isolation — by the same white, Western men who have perpetrated these abuses and carefully nurtured their privileges and positions of power?

Lost Humanitarian Women

Journalist Juliet Huddy recently used the hashtag #GiveUsOurCareersBackNOW on Twitter discussing the absence of women in journalism and film whose careers were destroyed by predatory men. Huddy said, “Scores of talented, smart, hardworking & successful women have been victims of men like O’Reilly, Rose & Lauer. Let these journalists finish what they started. WE were not the problem. Predators and those who protected them were.”

There is not yet a public discussion about restoring careers to humanitarian women forced out by predators. So many women and their innovative ideas on ending poverty, stopping conflict, protecting children and enhancing economics have been disappeared. Where are the lost humanitarian women and their squandered talent?

I am one of these women. I would like full employment reinstated along with lost salary, retirement and compensation for damages. Many humanitarian women want the same. As journalist Tamara Holder recently said during a CNN interview, holding back tears, “There’s so many women who are hurting. We just want to work.” Humanitarian women; however, have little chance of obtaining lost employment, wages or justice without legal assistance. Organizations will never offer careers back or compensation unless they are legally forced to do so.

If Devex wants a “deeper” discussion, the first step is to advocate for the jobs taken from humanitarian women by predatory men. Humanitarian women need a Legal Assistance Program, similar to the #TimesUp Legal Defense Fund now offered for women in America. Humanitarian women need similar legal support with a pool of lawyers from powerful law firms ready to work pro bono or contingency with a group of humanitarian women — so we may work again. Will Devex provide this kind of game-changing advocacy for lost humanitarian women?

Institutional Betrayal

This past summer I had lunch with some talented young women working for the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC). NRC had terminated its gender-based violence (GBV) programs and these dedicated women were about to be unemployed. Long hours engaged in challenging work had suddenly been rendered meaningless. The women and children they were serving left in the lurch. There was a great deal of anger, pain and grief expressed. I listened for a long time. Then I said institutional betrayal is traumatic and I was sorry. The women responded, “there is a name for this?” Yes. There is a name, theory and academic research.

Institutional betrayal is a key ingredient in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that so many humanitarian women suffer. I do not know a woman in the humanitarian community who has not been betrayed by the organization she works for. There are varying degrees of suffering and different circumstances. The results are the same. Idealistic women dedicating their lives to working in emergencies, disasters and developing countries tackling the toughest social problems are told, sooner or later in so many words, they do not matter. The mission statement does not apply to the female staff.

Mao Zedong, China’s infamous leader, once encouraged criticism of the government and asked intellectuals and writers to share innovative ideas about how to improve society. This policy, Let a Hundred Flowers Bloom, was taken from a poem, “let a hundred schools of thought contend.” The campaign was promoted as a way to “allow truth to emerge from a sea of falsehoods.” It was a ruse. Those who came forward, in the earnest belief that their ideas on how to improve their communities mattered, were targeted and destroyed.

Humanitarian women’s truth is the abuse we have suffered by our own organizations and male colleagues — many of whom currently hold key decision-making positions across the humanitarian sector. The sea of falsehoods is the character assassination designed to keep “brilliant women from accessing power.” Devex wants a “deeper” public discussion. Will our truth now, finally, emerge or will we be further punished, as so many of us already have been, for speaking it?

Muckrakers and Silence Breakers

Reporters covering war-zones, disasters and the developing world also contribute to protecting humanitarian predators, ignoring reports of abuse fearing their access may be revoked and they will be blackballed. Journalists flirt, drink and have sexual contact with humanitarians. Egos are stroked to obtain information as “part of the job.” Female journalists often bargain with the patriarchy of the humanitarian world to advance their own careers.

Dahlia Lithwick, the legal correspondent who wrote about Judge Kosinski, took responsibility for the role she played in protecting a flagrant abuser. She says, “here is the part that does implicate me: When a prominent journalist with a national platform chooses — year after year — not to report on an open secret, or agrees to slouch through yet another dinner or panel or cocktail party, how can it only be about the victims and the harassers?”

How often the same could be asked of journalists covering the humanitarian sector.

Organizational structures of media outlets are also dominated by men; many of whom are also abusive. Female journalists swim in the same patriarchal-sea humanitarian workers struggle to survive in. Double-whammy. Female journalists who might like to report on humanitarian abuse are often blocked, implicitly or explicitly, by their own male, sexist superiors who may be carousing with the male country directors of humanitarian organizations.

Boys will be boys and girls who speak-out will be squashed.

We all must take responsibility for the culture of abuse we participate in, are harmed by and benefit from. Humanitarians are dependent on our journalist colleagues to help us tell our stories. If journalists reported on, in a sustained manner, the hypocrisy of the humanitarian world in failing to apply external mission statements internally, so much mistreatment and suffering would be exposed. Many lost humanitarian women would be given a voice; some might even obtain restitution and redemption. Absent media interest, however, we have been effectively muzzled.

Reparations & Policy Change

“It’s time to hold our own industry accountable,” Devex says. Certainly. But who will be making decisions about addressing the structural inequalities built into the enabling environment of patriarchal abuse? It will be those in leadership positions, mostly white, Western men, who have created and enforce the gender and racial discrimination that provides them with significant, culminative advantages in pay, power, and position they enjoy and do not want to relinquish. The same constructs that give license and impunity to sexually abuse whomever they want, whenever they want.

Has Devex accounted for this reality when asking for a “deeper” discussion? Undoubtedly, it is long past time to hold “our own” accountable. But how? What concrete policies will be implemented? Will organizations provide:

· Reparations to female employees harmed and discriminated against going back a decade?

· A five-year moratorium on hiring and promoting men at middle and senior levels so women may advance according to merit?

· Public and equalized salaries so women and men are paid on par?

· Mechanisms, like NetClean software, so those engaged in child pornography, child sex trafficking and revenge pornography on work computers are held accountable?

· Public reports detailing discrimination and abuse, including disclosure of all past settlements, and timely measures to address these?

Devex’s mission is to “do more good for more people.” It is a lofty objective all humanitarian agencies claim. Yet, somewhere in the manual of every organization there must be a disclaimer “except for the women who work here.” So, I ask again, how can the humanitarian sector alleviate suffering in the world when female employees navigate hostile environments just by showing up for work, let alone when we raise issues of sexual abuse and exploitation by our colleagues — most often white men in positions of significant authority?

It took months to find a publisher for my essay about the UN culture of abuse. I persisted because I am angry and tired of the abuse and the cover-up. Because so much has been taken from me and so many women. I have been speaking about abuse permeating the humanitarian community for a long time now. To no end. There has been no reward for attempting to promote a “deeper” discussion. Quite the opposite. Actions taken against me for telling truth-to-power have been cruel and damaging.

Will the #AidToo movement really change that and how will Devex ensure a “deeper” discussion is not a Hundred Flowers Bloom moment?

 

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WAPTEK YouTube Channel Blocked 2018-02-24

WAPTEKYouTube Channel Statistics

Blocked 2018-02-24

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Last 30 days
Jan, 18
Dec, 17
Nov, 17
Oct, 17
Sep, 17
Aug, 17
Jul, 17
Jun, 17
May, 17

YouTube channel statistics for WAPTEK


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331.4K

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+12.77%
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Watchtime, H
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904
Network
N/A
Category
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$471
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1.7M
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History Data

Created with Highcharts 6.0.7Monthly ViewsTotal subsMonthly ViewsTotal subsSep ’16Nov ’16Jan ’17Mar ’17May ’17Jul ’17Sep ’17Nov ’17Jan ‘180160.0K320.0K02.4K4.8K

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543210-1-2-3-4-5-5512:0000:00Feb 2112:0000:00Feb 2212:0000:00Feb 2312:0000:00Feb 2412:00

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Scan sf info

hostname:scansf.com – Shodan Search


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tHE Right Wing has falsely aacused activists ov being paid

alternet.org

The Right Wing Has Falsely Accused Activists of Being ‘Paid Protesters’ for 50 Years

By Liz Posner / AlterNet

Parkland shooting survivors Emma Gonzalez and David Hogg
Photo Credit: CBS News / Screenshot

Right-wing conspiracy theorists are raging against a bunch of teenagers. Even Donald Trump Jr. liked one such tweet on Twitter, and a since-fired aide of Florida State Rep. Shawn Harrison has claimed that the student activists decrying lax gun regulations that allowed a massacre to take place at their high school are actually “actors that travel to various crisis when they happen.” The impact of these outrageous accusations can’t be dismissed; one video claiming 17-year-old David Hogg is a paid actor was the number-one top trending link on YouTube Wednesday and was viewed hundreds of thousands of times before YouTube removed it. As right-winger conspiracy theorists continue to spread their lies, it’s worth noting that the right has used this tactic repeatedly at other divisive moments in history.

As historian Kevin Kruse pointed out on Twitter, in 1967 the NAACP actually had to respond to outrageous accusations that the Little Rock Nine were paid protesters funded by the civil rights advocacy group.

In a response, historian Heather Richardson said the trend goes back much further. “Actually, this trope goes all the way back to Reconstruction,” she wrote on Twitter. “African Americans demanding equal accommodations under the 1875 Civil Rights Act were… you guessed it… paid by agitators trying to cause trouble for law-abiding folks.”

In recent history, some on the right have resorted to this accusation time and time again. This line of attack popped up in 2005 after Cindy Sheehan made headlines for vocally protesting the Iraq war, in which her son, a soldier, had been killed. Conservatives dismissed Sheehan, called her a liar and planted the seed that she was being paid for her activism. The conservative weekly newspaper Human Events called Sheehan a “professional griever” who was “in perpetual mourning for her fallen son.”

We last saw the refrain of “paid protesters” during 2017’s healthcare town hall blowups. Breitbart News regularly published articles accusing George Soros of funding the protesters who challenged GOP lawmakers on their efforts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act. Family Research Council CEO Tony Perkins claimed, without evidence, that Soros was “shipping” protesters in from out of state.

It’s a line that fits nicely into the right-wing narrative framing progressive players as “outside agitators” to delegitimize their concerns, and has become a regular conservative talking point in the Trump era. Wayne LaPierre, vice president of the NRA, claimed last year that protesters demonstrating around the time of Trump’s inauguration were paid $1,500 per day. Now we can barely go a week without some new nutty theory about a Soros-funded protest. All have been debunked, and spokespeople for Soros’ Open Society Foundations continue to explain that the organization freely and legally invests in progressive activism, but does not pay individuals on the ground for the express purpose of protesting.

The notion that progressives are being paid to protest has inspired many good jokes on the left. But these accusations must be taken seriously and understood in a political-historical context. Conspiracy theorist and provocateur Alex Jones rose to national fame thanks to his outrageous falsehood that the Sandy Hook massacre was a hoax. Since then, he has taken full advantage of his amplified platform to spread more hateful lies. Now other would-be Joneses are trying to mimic his time-tested strategy, and in a climate of widespread antagonism toward credible news agencies that is frequently stoked by Donald Trump, they will undoubtedly garner some believers.

Liz Posner is a managing editor at AlterNet. Her work has appeared on Forbes.com, Bust, Bustle, Refinery29, and elsewhere. Follow her on Twitter at @elizpos.

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Since Predator Came A Survey of Native North America since 1492

THE ARTICLE AFTER FOOT NOTES…I do not know how to format. They changed WordPress.

  1. For a good survey of the data indicating native occupancy in North America for 50 millennia or more, see Jeffrey Goodman, American Genesis: The American Indian and the Origins of Modern Man (New York: Summit Books, 1981). On population size, see Henry F. Dobyns, Their Numbers Become Thinned: Native American Population Dynamics in Eastern North America (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1983). On Cahokia, see Melin T. Fowler, “A Pre-Columbian Urban Center on the Mississippi,” Scientific American, No. 233 (1975), pp. 92-101. On architecture and engineering, see Peter Nabokov and Robert Easton, Native American Architecture (London/New York: Oxford University Press, 1988). On medicine and pharmacology, see Virgil Vogel, American Indian Medicine (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1975). On governance and diplomacy, see, for example, William Brandon, Old Worlds for New: Reports from the New World and Their Effect on :he Development of Social Thought in Europe, 1500-1800 (Athens: Ohio University Press, 1986).
  2. According to even a hostile source like R. Douglas Hurt, in his Indian Agriculture in America: Prehistory to the Present (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1987), about two-thirds of the dietary requirements of Native North America were met by “horticultural” rather than “hunting and gathering” means. As to the variety of vegetal foodstuffs developed by pre-contact indigenous people in this hemisphere and then adopted elsewhere, see Jack Weatherford, Indian Givers: How the Indians of the Americas Transformed the World (New York: Crown Publishers, 1988).
  3. A good, if somewhat over-stated, examination of Native North American sexuality and gender relations may be found in Paula Gunn Allen, The Sacred Hoop: Recovering the Feminine in American Indian Traditions (Boston: Beacon Press, 1986).
  4.  See Tom Holm, “Patriots and Pawns: State Use of American Indians in the Military and the Process of Nativization in the United States,” in The State of Native America: Coloni­zation, Genocide and Resistance, M. Annette Jaimes, ed. (Boston: South End Press, 1992).
  5.  See Kirkpatrick Sale, The Conquest of Paradise: Christopher Columbus and the Colum­bian Legacy (New York: Alfred A. Knopf Publishers, 1990).
  6.  Ibid., citing Woodrow W. Borah and Sherburn F. Cook.
  7.  Henry F. Dobyns, op. cit., pp. 15-23.
  8.  See Douglas Edward Leach, Flintlocks and Tomahawks: New England in King Philip’s War (New York: W. W. Norton, 1958).
  9.  E. Wagner Stearn and Allen E. Stearn, The Effects of Smallpox on the Destiny of the Amerindian (Boston: Bruce Humphries, 1945), pp. 44-45; P. M. Ashburn, The Ranks of Death (New York: Coward, 1947).
  10. The dispensing of smallpox-infected blankets at Fort Clark is covered in Russell Thornton, American Indian Holocaust and Survival: A Population History Since 1492 (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1987), pp. 94-96.
  11. The estimate of Pequot casualties derives from an extremely conservative source. See Robert M. Utley and Wilcomb E. Washburn, Indian Wars (Boston: Houghton-Mifflin, 1977), p. 42.
  12. An excellent analysis of these dynamics can be found in Francis Jennings, The Invasion of America: Indians, Colonialism, and the Cant of Conquest (New York: W. W. Norton, 1976).
  13. 1 Stat. 50; for background, see Thomas Perkins Abernathy, Western Lands and the American Revolution (New York: Russell and Russell, 1959).
  14. On Tecumseh, see John Sugden, Tecumseh’s Last Stand (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1985). On the Redsticks, see Joel W. Martin, Sacred Revolt: The Muskogees’ Struggle for a New World (Boston: Beacon Press, 1991).
  15. The policy was implemented under provision of the Indian Removal Act (Ch. 148, 4 Stat. 411), passed on May 28, 1830. For details, see Grant Foreman, Indian Removal: The Immigration of the Five Civilized Tribes (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1953).
  16. See Russell Thornton, “Cherokee Population Losses during the Trail of Tears: A New Perspective and a New Estimate,” Ethnohistory, No. 31 (1984), pp. 289-300.
  17. The lebensraum concept is laid out in Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf (Verlag FRZ, Eher Nachf, G.M.B.H., 1925). See also Robert Cecil, The Myth of the Master Race: Alfred Rosenberg and Nazi Ideology (New York: Dodd, Mead & Co., 1972).
  18. The sequences of cases consists of Johnson v. Mcintosh (21 U.S. 98 [Wheat.] 543 [1823]); Cherokee Nation v. Georgia (30 U.S. [5 Pet.] 1 [1831]); and Worcester v. Georgia (31 U.S. [6 Pet.] 551 [1832]).
  19. Lonewolfv. Hitchcock (187 U.S. 553 [1903]). A prelude to articulation of this juridical absurdity may be found in U.S. v. Kagama (118 U.S. 375 [1886]).
  20. For a brilliant elaboration of this theme, see Reginald Horsman, Race and Manifest Destiny: The Origins of Racial Anglo-Saxonism (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1981).
  21. See, for example, David Svaldi, Sand Creek and the Rhetoric of Extermination: A Case-Study in Indian-White Relations (Washington, DC: University Press of America, 1989).
  22. On Bear River, see Brigham D. Madsen, The Shoshone Frontier and the Bear River Massacre (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1985). On Sand Creek and the Washita, see Stan Hoig, The Sand Creek Massacre (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1961), and The Battle of the Washita: The Sheridan-Custer Indian Campaign of 1867-69 (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1976). On Blue River, see Mari Sandoz, Crazy Horse: The Strange Man of the Oglalas (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1961), pp. 63-85; on Sappa Creek and Camp Robinson, see her Cheyenne Autumn (New York: Avon Books, 1964). For an excellent overview of the sort of warfare waged against the indigenous people of the plains region, see Ralph Andrist, The Long Death: The Last Days of the Plains Indians (New York: Collier Books, 1964).
  23. U.S. Bureau of the Census, Report on Indians Taxed and Indians Not Taxed in the United States (except Alaska) at the Eleventh U.S. Census: 1890 (Washington, DC: U.S. Govern­ment Printing Office, 1894), pp. 637-38.
  24. James M. Mooney, “Population,” in Handbook of the Indians North of Mexico, Frederick W. Dodge, ed. (Washington, DC: Vol. 2, Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin No. 30, Smithsonian Institution, 1910), pp. 286-87.
  25. W. W. Newcome, Jr., The Indians of Texas (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1961), p. 334.
  26. On “eradication” of the North American Bison, see Francis Haines, The Buffalo (New York: Thomas Y. Crowell, 1970).
  27. U.S. Bureau of the Census, Abstract of the Eleventh Census: 1890 (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1896).
  28. Ch. 119, 24 Stat 388, now codified as amended at 25 U.S.C. 331 et seq. The General Allotment Act is also known as the “Dawes Act” or “Dawes Severalty Act” after its sponsor, Massachusetts Senator Henry M. Dawes.
  29. On this aspect, see Ward Churchill, “Nobody’s Pet Poodle: Jimmie Durham, an Artist for Native America,” in Ward Churchill, Indians Are Us? Genocide and Colonization in Native North America (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 1994).
  30. As of 1924, all Native Americans who had not been made U.S. citizens through the allotment process were unilaterally declared to be such—en mass, and whether they wanted to be or not—through provision of the Indian Citizenship Act (Ch. 233, 43 Stat 25).
  31. See Janet A. McDonnell, The Dispossession of the American Indian, 1887-1934 Bloomington/Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1991).
  32. On these linkages, see George M. Fredrickson, White Supremacy: A Comparative Study in American and South African History (London/New York: Oxford University Press, 1981).
  33. The “Act” is actually House Concurrent Resolution 108, pronounced on August 1, 1953, which articulated a federal policy of unilaterally dissolving specific native nations. What followed was the “termination”—suspension of federal services to and recognition of the existence of—the Menominee on June 17, 1954 (Ch. 303, 68 Stat. 250); the Klamath on August 13, 1954 (Ch. 732, 68 Stat. 718, codified as 25 U.S.C. 564 et seq.); the “Tribes of Western Oregon” on August 13, 1954 (Ch. 733, 68 Stat. 724, codified at 25 U.S.C. 691 et seq.); and so on. In all, 109 native nations, or elements of native nations, were terminated by congressional action during the late 1950s. A handful were “restored” to federal recognition during the 1970s.
  34. The “Relocation Act” (P.L. 959) was passed in 1956 to provide funding to establish “job training centers” for American Indians in various urban centers, and to finance the relocation of individual Indians and Indian families to these locales. It was coupled with a denial of funds for similar programs and economic development on the reservations themselves. Those who availed themselves of the “opportunity” for jobs, etc., represented by the federal relocation programs were usually required to sign agreements that they would not return to their respective reservations to live. For further information, see Donald L. Fixico, Termi­nation and Relocation: Federal Indian Policy, 1945-1960 (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1986).

35.U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1990 Census of the Population, Preliminary Report (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1991).

  1. See Tillie Blackbear Walker, “American Indian Children: Foster Care and Adoptions,” in Conference on Educational and Occupational Needs of American Indian Women, October 1976, the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Educational Research and Development, National Institute of Education, (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1980), pp. 185-210.
  2. For a comprehensive overview of this process, see Jorge Noriega, “American Indian Education in the U.S.: Indoctrination for Subordination to Colonialism,” in The State of Native America, op. cit.
  3. For the complete text of the 1948 Genocide Convention, see Ian Brownlie, ed., Basic Documents on Human Rights (London/New York: Oxford University Press, 1971).
  4. See Brent Dillingham, “Indian Women and IHS Sterilization Practices,” American Indian Journal, Vol. 3, No. 1 (Jan. 1977), pp. 27-28. See also Janet Larson, “And Then There Were None: IHS Sterilization Practice,” Christian Century, No. 94 (26 Jan. 1976). See also Bill Wagner, “Lo, the Poor and Sterilized Indian,” America, No. 136 (29 Jan. 1977).
  5. On resource distribution, see generally, Michael Garrity, “The U.S. Colonial Empire Is as Close as the Nearest Reservation,” in Trilateralism: The Trilateral Commission and Elite Planning for World Government, Holly Sklar, ed. (Boston: South End Press, 1980), pp. 238-68. See also Joseph Jorgenson, ed., Native Americans and Energy Development II (Cambridge: Anthropology Resource Center/Seventh Generation Fund, 1984).
  6. The prototype for this policy emerged with the BIA’s formation of the “Navajo Grand Council” to approve drilling leases at the behest of Standard Oil in 1923. See Laurence C. Kelly, The Navajo Indians and Federal Indian Policy, 1900-1935 (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1968).
  7. See Marianna Guerrero, “American Indian Water Rights: The Blood of Life in Native North America,” in The State of Native America, op. cit. See also Daniel McCool, Command of the Waters: Iron Triangles, Federal Water Development, and Indian Wafer (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1987).
  8. The IRA (Ch. 576, 48 Stat. 948, now codified at 25 U.S.C. 461-279) is also known as the “Wheeler-Howard Act” after its Senate and House sponsors.
  9. Quoted in Rebecca Robbins, “Self-Determination and Subordination: The Past, Present and Future of American Indian Governance,” in The State of Native America, op. cit. On propaganda functions, see Ward Churchill, ‘”Renegades, Terrorists and Revolutionaries’: The U.S. Government’s Propaganda War Against the American Indian Movement,” Propa­ganda Review, No. 4 (Spring 1989).
  10. The Indian Civil Rights Act, PL. 90-284 (82 Stat. 11, codified in part at 25 U.S.C. 1301 et seq.) locked indigenous governments—as a “third level” of the federal government—into U.S. constitutional requirements. The “self-determination” aspect of the 1975 Act (P.L. 93-638; 88 Stat. 2203, codified at 25 U.S.C. 450a and elsewhere in titles 25, 42, and 50, U.S.C.A.)—dubbed the “Self-Administration Act” by Russell Means—provides for a greater degree of Indian employment within the various federal programs used to subordinate native people.
  11. On the supposed dispute between the Hopis and Navajos, and the federal-corporate role in fostering it, see Jerry Kammer, The Second Long Walk: The Navajo-Hopi Land Dispute (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1980). See also Anita Parlow, Cry, Sacred Big Mountain, USA (Washington, DC: Christie Institute, 1988).
  12. On the Western Shoshone, see Glenn T. Morris, “The Battle for Newe Segobia: The Western Shoshone Land Rights Struggle,” in Critical Issues in Native North America, Vol. M. Ward Churchill, ed. (Copenhagen: IWGIA Document 68,1991), pp. 86-98. On the Black Hills see the special issue of Wicazo Sa Review, Vol. IV, No. 1 (Spring 1988). On Alaska, see M. C. Berry, The Alaska Pipeline: The Politics of Oil and Native Land Claims (Bloomington/Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1975).
  13.  The best overview—including the uranium connection—may be found in Peter Matthissen In the Spirit of Crazy Horse (New York: Viking Press [2d ed.], 1991). See also Rex Weyler, Blood of the Land: The U.S. Government and Corporate War Against the American Indian Movement (Philadelphia: New Society [2d ed.], 1992).
  14. The term “reign of terror” accrues from an official finding by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (Report of an Investigation: Oglala Sioux Tribe, General Election, 1974, Rocky Mountain Regional Office, Denver, 1974). For statistical comparison to Third World contexts, see Bruce Johansen and Roberto Maestas, Wasi ‘chu: The Continuing Indian Wars (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1978).
  15. For detailed analysis, see Ward Churchill and Jim Vander Wall, Agents of Repression: The FBI’s Secret Wars Against the Black Panther Party and the American Indian Movement Boston: South End Press, 1988). Official use of the term “insurgents”—as opposed to “extremists,” or even “terrorists”—vis-a-vis AIM is documented via FBI memoranda in Vied Churchill and Jim Vander Wall, The COINTELPRO Papers: Documents from the FBI’s Secret Wars Against Dissent in the United States (Boston: South End Press, 1990). On the RESMURS (Reservation Murders) trials, see Jim Messerschmidt, The Trial of Leonard Peltier (Boston: South End Press, 1983). For a brief overview, see “The Bloody wake of Alcatraz” in this book.
  16. This is based on the approximately 50 million acres still designated as reservation land. 1 should be noted that the United States never acquired even a pretense of legal title via treaties and other “instruments of cession” to fully one-third of the area (about 750 million acres) encompassed by the 48 contiguous states. The larger acreage should be balanced against the fact that, while federal census data recognizes only about one and a half million Indians residing within the U.S., the actual number may well be ten times that; see Jack D. Forbes, “Undercounting Native Americans: The 1980 Census and the Manipulation of Racial Identity in the United States,” Wicazo Sa Review, Vol. VI, No. 1 (Spring 1990).
  17. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Chart Series Book (Washington, DC: Public Health Service, 1988 [HE20.9409.988]).
  18. See Rosemary Wood, “Health Problems Facing American Indian Women,” in U.S. Department of Education, Conference on Educational and Occupational Needs of American Indian Women, op. cit. See also Charon Asetoyer, “Fetal Alcohol Syndrome—’Chemical Genocide’,” in Indigenous Women on the Move (Copenhagen: IWGIA Document 66, 1990), pp. 87-92.
  19. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Chart Series Book, op. cit.

 

 

Since Predator Came

A Survey of Native North America since 1492

[An earlier version of this essay by Ward Churchill first appeared in the Covert Action Information Bulletin, Ho. 40 (Spring 1992).]

History, history! We fools, what do we know or care? History begins for us with murder and enslavement, not with discovery. No, we are not Indians, but we are men of their world. The blood means nothing; the spirit, the ghost of the land moves in the blood, moves the blood. It is we who ran to the shore naked, we who cried “Heavenly Man!” These are the inhabitants of our souls, our murdered souls that lie … agh. – William Carlos Williams

Before October 12, 1492, the day Christopher Columbus first washed up on a Caribbean beach, North America had been long endowed with an abundant and exceedingly complex cluster of civilizations. Having continuously occu­lted the continent for at least 50,000 years, the native inhabitants evidenced a total population of perhaps 15 million, cities as large as the 40,000-resident urban center at Cahokia (in present-day Illinois), highly advanced conceptions if architecture and engineering, spiritual traditions embodying equivalents to modern eco-science, refined knowledge of pharmacology and holistic medicine. and highly sophisticated systems of governance, trade and diplomacy.1 The traditional economies of the continent were primarily agricultural, based n environmentally sound farming procedures which originated well over half tie vegetal foodstuffs now consumed by peoples the world over.2 By and large, the indigenous societies demonstrating such attainments were organized along extremely egalitarian lines, with real property held collectively, and matrifocality a normative standard.3 War, at least in the Euro-derived sense the term has today, was virtually unknown.4

The “Columbian Encounter,” of course, unleashed a predatory, five-century-long cycle of European conquest, genocide, and colonization in the “New World,” a process which changed the face of Native America beyond all recognition. Indeed, over the first decade of Spanish presence in the Caribbean, the period in which Columbus himself served as governor, the mold was set for all that would follow. By 1496, the policies of slavery (encomiendo) and wanton slaughter implemented by the “Great Discoverer” had, in combination with the introduction of Old World pathogens to which they had no immunity, reduced the native Taino (Arawak) population of just one island, Espanola (presently the Domini­can Republic and Haiti), from as many as 8 million to less than 3 million. Six years later, the Tainos had been diminished to fewer than 100,000, and, in 1542, only 200 could be found by Spanish census-takers.5  Thereafter the “Indians” of Espanola were declared extinct, along with the remainder of the indigenous peoples of the Caribbean Basin, an overall body which had numbered upwards of 14 million only a generation before.

In North America, a similar dynamic was set in motion by the 1513 expedition of Ponce de Leon into Florida. The resulting smallpox pandemic spanned the continent, and before it had run its course in 1524, it had destroyed about three-quarters of all indigenous people north of the Rio Grande. This was only the beginning. Between 1520 and 1890, no fewer than 41 smallpox epidemics and pandemics were induced among North American Indians. To this must be added dozens of lethal outbreaks of measles, whooping cough, tuberculosis, bubonic plague, typhus, cholera, typhoid, diphtheria, scarlet fever, pleurisy, mumps, venereal disease, and the common cold.7 The corresponding attrition of native population by disease has usually been treated as a tragic but wholly inadvertent and unintended by-product of contact between Indians and Europeans. Such was certainly not the case in all instances, however, as is attested by the fact that the so-called King Philip’s War of 1675-76, fought between the Wampanoag and Narragansett nations and English colonists, resulted largely from the Indians’ belief that the latter had deliberately incul­cated smallpox among them.8

That such perceptions of British tactics and intentions were hardly far-fetched is amply borne out by written orders issuing from Lord Jeffrey Amherst in 1763, instructing a subordinate named Bouquet to infect the members of Pontiac’s Algonquin confederacy “by means of [smallpox con­taminated] blankets as well as … every other means to extirpate this execrable race.” A few days later, it was reported to Amherst that “[W]e gave them two blankets and a handkerchief out of the smallpox hospital. I hope it will have the desired effect.” It did. At a minimum, 100,000 Indians died in the epidemic brought on by Amherst’s resort to biological warfare.9 In a similar instance, occurring in 1836, the U.S. Army knowingly distributed smallpox-laden blankets among the Missouri River Mandans; the resulting pandemic claimed as many as a quarter-million native lives.10

Beginning in the early seventeenth century, with the establishment of England’s Plymouth and Virginia colonies, and the Dutch toehold at New Amsterdam, the eradication of North America’s indigenous population assumed much cruder forms. A classic example occurred on the night of May 26, 1637, when the British surrounded the Pequot town of Mystic (Pennsylvania), *s it ablaze, and then slaughtered some 800 fleeing men, women, and children, lacking them to pieces with axes and swords.’1 Such “incidents” occurred with ever greater frequency throughout most of the eighteenth century, a period which found Britain and France engaged in the “French and Indian Wars,” a protracted series of struggles in North America to determine which country would wield ultimate hegemony over the continent. While the outcome of these contests eventually proved all but irrelevant to the European colonial powers, even the subsequent revolt and decolonization of the initial 13 U.S. states, the nature of the fighting created a context in which indigenous nations were increasingly compelled to battle one another to the death. The reduction of the indigenous population was thereby accelerated dramatically.12

Enter the United States

For its part, the fledgling United States embarked almost immediately upon a course of territorial acquisition far more ambitious than any exhibited by its Euro-colonial precursors. Although it renounced rights of conquest and pledged to conduct its affairs with Indians in “utmost good faith” via the 1789 Northwest Ordinance, the United States comported itself otherwise from the rutset.13 From 1810 to 1814, a succession of extremely brutal military cam­paigns were conducted against the followers of the Shawnee leader, Tecumseh in the Ohio River Valley, and against the Creek Confederacy farther south.14 With native military capacity east of the Mississippi thus eliminated, the government launched, during the 1820s and 1830s, a policy of forced relocation of entire indigenous nations to points west of that river, “clearing” the eastern United States more or less en toto for repopulation by white “settlers.”15 Attrition among the affected populations was quite severe; more than half of all Cherokees, for example, died along the 1,500-mile “Trail of Tears,” over which they were marched at bayonet-point. This federal “removal policy” was to find echoes, of course, in the articulation of “lebensraumpolitik” by Adolf Hitler a century later.17

To cast a veneer of legality over his government’s conduct, Chief Justice John Marshall penned a series of high court opinions during the 1820s and 1830s, based in large part upon the medieval Doctrine of Discovery. He remained on firm juridical ground long enough to contend that the doctrine imparted a right to the United States to acquire Indian territory by treaty, a matter which led to ratification of at least 371 such nation-to-nation agreements over the next four decades. In a bizarre departure from established principles of international law, however, Marshall also argued that the United States possessed an inherently “higher” sovereignty than the nations with which it was treating: Indians held no right not to sell their land to the United States, in his view, at whatever price the United States cared to offer. Within this formulation, any resistance by “the savages” to the taking of their territories could thus be cast as an “act of war” theoretically “justifying” a U.S. “response” predicated in armed force.18 By 1903 the “Marshall Doctrine” had evolved—and the indigenous ability to offer physical resistance had been sufficiently crushed—to the point that the Supreme Court was confident in asserting an “intrinsic” federal “plenary” (full) power over all Indians within its borders, releasing the United States from any treaty obligations it found inconvenient while leaving the land title it purported to have gained through the various treaty instruments intact. In conjunction with this novel notion of international jurisprudence, the high court simultaneously expressed the view that the government enjoyed “natural” and permanent “trust” prerogatives over all residual native property.19

Meanwhile, having consolidated its grip on the eastern portion of its claimed territoriality during the 1840s—and having militarily seized “rights” to the northern half of Mexico as well—the United States proclaimed itself to be imbued with a “Manifest Destiny” to expand westward to the Pacific.20 There being essentially no land available within this conception for Indian use and occupancy, a rhetoric of outright extermination was quickly adopted both by federal policy makers and by a sizable segment of the public at large.21 These sentiments led unerringly to a lengthy chain of large-scale massacres of Indians in the Great Plains and Basin regions by U.S. troops. Among the worst were the slaughters perpetrated at the Blue River (Nebraska, 1854), Bear River (Idaho, 1863), Sand Creek (Colorado, 1864), Washita River (Oklahoma, 1868), Sappa Creek (Kansas, 1875), Camp Robinson (Nebraska, 1878), and Wounded Knee (South Dakota, 1890).22 In 1894, the U.S. Census Bureau observed that the United States had waged “more than 40” separate wars against native people in barely a century, inflicting some number of fatalities “very much greater” than its minimum estimate of 30,000 in the process.23

The indigenous death toll generated by “private actions” during U.S. continental expansion was also, the Census Bureau admitted, “quite substan­tial.” In all probability, it was far higher than that stemming from formal military involvement, given that the native population of the State of California alone was reduced from approximately 300,000 in 1800 to less than 20,000 in 1890, “chiefly [because of] the cruelties and wholesale massacres perpetrated by … miners and the early settlers.”24 In Texas, to take another prominent example, a bounty was paid for the scalp of any Indian brought to a government office, no questions asked: “The facts of history are plain. Most Texas Indians [once the most diverse population in North America] were exterminated or brought to the brink of extinction by [Euro-American civilians] who often had m: more regard for the life of an Indian than they had for that of a dog, sometimes less.”25 The story in other sectors of the western United States, while sometimes less spectacular, reveals very much the same pattern. As the indigenous population was liquidated – along with the buffalo and other animal species consciously exterminated in order to deny Indians a “commissary” once their agricultural economies had been obliterated by the invaders – white settlers replaced them on the vast bulk of their land.26

By 1890, fewer than 250,000 Indians remained alive within the United States, a degree of decimation extending into the upper 90th percentile.27 The survivors were lodged on a patchwork of “reservations” even then being dismantled through application of what was called the “General Allotment Act. Under provision of this statute, effected in 1887, a formal eugenics code was utilized to define who was (and who was not) “Indian” by U.S. “standards.”29 Those who could, and were willing to, prove to federal satisfaction that fey were “of one-half or more degree of Indian blood,” and to accept U.S. citizenship into the bargain, received a deed to an individual land parcel, typically of 160 acres or less.30 Once each person with sufficient “blood quantum” had received his or her allotment of land, the remaining reservation land was declared “surplus” and opened up to non-Indian homesteading, corporate acquisition, or conversion into national parks and forests. Through this mechanism, the best 100 million acres of the reserved native land base was supped away by 1930, the Indians ever more concentrated within the 50 million arid or semi-arid acres – about 2.5 percent of their original holdings – left to them.31 The model was later borrowed by the apartheid government of South Africa in developing its “racial homeland” system of territorial apportionment.

The Contemporary Era

Culmination of this trajectory in U.S. colonial administration of Indian Country occurred during the mid-1950s, with the enactment of a series of “termination” statutes by which the federal government unilaterally dissolved more than 100 indigenous nations and their reservation areas.33 Concomitantly, legislation was effected to “encourage” the relocation of large numbers of Indians from the remaining reservations to selected urban centers, a strategy designed to preclude reemergence of social cohesion within most land-based native communities.34 Although it was suspended in the late 1970s, the federal relocation program had by 1990 fostered a native diaspora which found more than half of all indigenous people in the United States, a total of about 880,000 persons, scattered in the ghettoes of cities.35

The government’s termination and relocation policies coupled quite well with other techniques employed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) to undermine the socio-cultural integrity of native existence. Salient in this regard is a generations-long program of “blind adoptions” in which Indian babies are placed for adoption with non-Indian families, their birth records permanently sealed so they can never know their true heritage.36 Similarly, beginning in the 1870s and continuing into the present moment, the BIA administered a system of boarding schools to which indigenous children were sent, often for a decade or more, without being allowed to return home, speak their native languages, practice their religions, or otherwise manifest their identity as Indians.37 En­compassed under the benign-sounding rubric of “assimilation,” both of these youth-oriented undertakings were and are blatant violations of the provision of the 1948 Convention on Punishment and Prevention of the Crime of Genocide, which makes it a crime against humanity for a government to engage in the systematic forced transfer of the children of a targeted racial or ethnic group to another group.38 Contemporary violation of another provision of the Genocide Convention may be found in a program of involuntary sterilization imposed by the BIA’s “Indian Health Service” upon approximately 40 percent of the female population of childbearing age during the 1970s.39

Ironically, the final and complete dissolution of Native North America seems to have been averted mainly by the fact that the barren areas left to native habitation after allotment turned out to be inordinately rich in mineral resources. Current estimates suggest that about two-thirds of all U.S. domestic uranium deposits, a quarter of the readily accessible low sulphur coal, a fifth of the oil and natural gas, and substantial deposits of copper and other ores lie within reservation boundaries.40Government planners discovered by 1920 that certain advantages could be maintained in terms of their ability to control the pace and nature of resource extraction, royalty rates, and the like, through exercise of federal “trust responsibilities” over indigenous assets.41 The same principle was seen to pertain to manipulations of water policy throughout the arid West.42 Such options being unavailable to them should Indian Country as a whole be converted into private property under state and local jurisdiction, it was found to be in the U.S. interest to maintain the majority of reservations as discrete internal colonies.

To this end, the Indian Reorganization Act (IRA) was passed in 1934 to create a federally designed regulatory or “governing” body on most reservations.43 Although the IRA boards were and are composed exclusively of native people, their authority stems from—and thus their primary allegiance adheres to—the United States rather than their ostensible indigenous constituents; their major function during the half-century of their existence has been to sow confusion, providing an illusion of Indian consent to the systematic Euro-American expropriation of native resources, and to vociferously denounce any Indian audacious enough to object to the theft. They serve, in effect, as American Indian Movement (AIM) leader Russell Means once put it, as “Vichy Indians.”44 For this reason, their position in Indian Country has been steadily reinforced over the years by passage of additional federal statutes, among them the Indian Civil Rights Act of 1968 and the Indian “Self-Determination” and Educational Assistance Act of 1975.45

The results have embodied themselves in situations like the “Hopi-Navajo Land Dispute” in northeastern Arizona, a scenario in which the United States has been able to utilize the carefully tailored pronouncements of two of us puppet governments to create the impression of an inter-Indian conflict requiring federal intervention/resolution as a means of “avoiding bloodshed.” Behind this humanitarian facade resides a U.S. governmental/corporate desire to bring about the compulsory relocation of more than 10,000 traditional Navajos from the contested area, a matter which will serve to clear the way for  the real objective: the strip mining of more than 20 billion tons of high-quality coal.46 Comparable circumstances have prevailed with regard to the conversion of the Western Shoshone homeland (Newe Segobia) in Nevada into a U.S. nuclear weapons testing area, removal of more than 90 percent of the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty Territory from Lakota control, upcoming implementation of the “Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act,” and other examples.47

Coherent efforts by native people to oppose such manipulations—AIM’s resistance during the mid-70s to IRA government collaboration in a plan to transfer title over one-eighth of the Pine Ridge Reservation to the National Forest Service, for example—have been put down by the use of outright counterinsurgency warfare techniques (such as death squads) similar in many respects to the methods employed by U.S. agencies in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.48 During the Pine Ridge “reign of terror” alone, the body count came to about 70 fatalities and nearly 350 serious physical assaults on AIM members and supporters over a bare three-year period.49 This was correlated with an outright military-style occupation of the reservation by federal forces, a com­prehensive government propaganda campaign directed against the “insurgents,” and an extensive series of show trials such as those of the so-called Wounded Knee Leadership during 1974-75, and of the “RESMURS Defendants” (including AIM security leader Leonard Peltier) in 1976-77.50

For grassroots Indian people, the broader human costs of ongoing U.S. domination are abundantly clear. The 1.6 million American Indians within the United States remain, nominally at least, the largest per capita land owners in North America.51 Given the extent of the resources within their land base, Indians should by logical extension comprise the wealthiest “ethnic group” in North American society. Instead, according to the federal government’s own statistics, they are the poorest, demonstrating far and away the lowest annual and lifetime incomes, the highest rate of unemployment, lowest rate of pay when employed, and lowest level of educational attainment of any North American population aggregate. Correspondingly, they suffer, by decisive margins, the greatest incidence of malnutrition and diabetes, death by exposure, tuberculosis, infant mortality, plague, and similar maladies.52 These conditions, in combination with the general disempowerment which spawns them, breed an unremitting sense of rage, frustration, and despair which is reflected in the spiraling rates of domestic and other forms of intra-group violence, alcoholism and resulting death by accident or fetal alcohol syndrome.53 Consequently, the average life expectancy of a reservation-based Native American male in 1980 was a mere 44.6 years, that of his female counterpart less than three years longer.54 Such a statistical portrait is obviously more indicative of a Third World environment than that expected of people living within one of the world’s most advanced industrial states.

Moving Forward

Plainly, all official polemics to the contrary notwithstanding, the agony induced by 500 years of European/Euro-American predation in North America has done anything but diminish at this juncture. For the indigenous people of the continent it has become obvious there are no real alternatives except either to renew their commitment to struggle for survival or to finally pass into the realm of extinction which has been relentlessly projected for them since the predator’s arrival on their shores. For everyone else, the situation is rapidly becoming—or in some cases has already become—much the same. The time has arrived when a choice must be made: Non-Indians, in both the New World and the Old, must decide whether they wish to be a willing part of the final gnawing on the bones of their native victims, or whether they are at last prepared to join hands with Native North America, ending the wanton consumption of indigenous lands and lives which has marked the nature of our relationship to date.

The sort of alliance at issue no longer represents, as it did in the past, an exercise in altruism for non-Indians. Anti-imperialism and opposition to racism, colonialism, and genocide, while worthy enough stances in and of themselves, are no longer the fundamental issues at hand. Ultimately, the same system of predatory goals and values which has so busily and mercilessly consumed the people of the land these past five centuries has increasingly set about consuming the land itself. Not only indigenous peoples, but the lands to which they are irrevocably linked, are now dying. When the land itself dies, it is a certainty that no humans can survive. The struggle which confronts us—all of us—is thus a struggle to save our collective habitat, to maintain it as a “survivable” environment, not only for ourselves, but for the generations to come. Self-evidently, this cannot be approached either from the posture of the predator, or any other position which allows the predator to continue with business as usual. At long last, we have arrived at the point where there is a tangible, even overriding, confluence of interest between natives and non-natives.

The crux of the matter rests, not merely in resistance to the predatory mature of the present Eurocentric status quo, but in conceiving viable socio-cultural alternatives. Here, the bodies of indigenous knowledge evidenced in the context of Native America at the point of the European invasion—large-scale societies which had perfected ways of organizing themselves into psychologically fulfilling wholes, experiencing very high standards of material life, and still maintaining environmental harmony—shine like a beacon in the night. The information required to recreate this reality is still in place in many indigenous cultures. The liberation of significant sectors of Native America stands to allow this knowledge to once again be actualized in the “real world,” not to recreate indigenous societies as they once were, but to recreate them­selves as they can be in the future. Therein lies the model—the laboratory, if you will—from which a genuinely liberatory and sustainable alternative can be cast for all humanity. In a very real sense, then, the fate of Native America signifies the fate of the planet. It follows that it is incumbent upon every conscious human—red, white, black, brown, or yellow, old or young, male or female—to do whatever is within their power to ensure the next half-millen­nium heralds an antithesis to the last.

End Notes

1. For a good survey of the data indicating native occupancy in North America for 50 millennia or more, see Jeffrey Goodman, American Genesis: The American Indian and the Origins of Modern Man (New York: Summit Books, 1981). On population size, see Henry F. Dobyns, Their Numbers Become Thinned: Native American Population Dynamics in Eastern North America (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1983). On Cahokia, see Melin T. Fowler, “A Pre-Columbian Urban Center on the Mississippi,” Scientific American, No. 233 (1975), pp. 92-101. On architecture and engineering, see Peter Nabokov and Robert Easton, Native American Architecture (London/New York: Oxford University Press, 1988). On medicine and pharmacology, see Virgil Vogel, American Indian Medicine (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1975). On governance and diplomacy, see, for example, William Brandon, Old Worlds for New: Reports from the New World and Their Effect on :he Development of Social Thought in Europe, 1500-1800 (Athens: Ohio University Press, 1986).

2. According to even a hostile source like R. Douglas Hurt, in his Indian Agriculture in America: Prehistory to the Present (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1987), about two-thirds of the dietary requirements of Native North America were met by “horticultural” rather than “hunting and gathering” means. As to the variety of vegetal foodstuffs developed by pre-contact indigenous people in this hemisphere and then adopted elsewhere, see Jack Weatherford, Indian Givers: How the Indians of the Americas Transformed the World (New York: Crown Publishers, 1988).

3. A good, if somewhat over-stated, examination of Native North American sexuality and gender relations may be found in Paula Gunn Allen, The Sacred Hoop: Recovering the Feminine in American Indian Traditions (Boston: Beacon Press, 1986).

4.  See Tom Holm, “Patriots and Pawns: State Use of American Indians in the Military and the Process of Nativization in the United States,” in The State of Native America: Coloni­zation, Genocide and Resistance, M. Annette Jaimes, ed. (Boston: South End Press, 1992).

5.  See Kirkpatrick Sale, The Conquest of Paradise: Christopher Columbus and the Colum­bian Legacy (New York: Alfred A. Knopf Publishers, 1990).

6.  Ibid., citing Woodrow W. Borah and Sherburn F. Cook.

7.  Henry F. Dobyns, op. cit., pp. 15-23.

8.  See Douglas Edward Leach, Flintlocks and Tomahawks: New England in King Philip’s War (New York: W. W. Norton, 1958).

9.  E. Wagner Stearn and Allen E. Stearn, The Effects of Smallpox on the Destiny of the Amerindian (Boston: Bruce Humphries, 1945), pp. 44-45; P. M. Ashburn, The Ranks of Death (New York: Coward, 1947).

10. The dispensing of smallpox-infected blankets at Fort Clark is covered in Russell Thornton, American Indian Holocaust and Survival: A Population History Since 1492 (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1987), pp. 94-96.

11. The estimate of Pequot casualties derives from an extremely conservative source. See Robert M. Utley and Wilcomb E. Washburn, Indian Wars (Boston: Houghton-Mifflin, 1977), p. 42.

12. An excellent analysis of these dynamics can be found in Francis Jennings, The Invasion of America: Indians, Colonialism, and the Cant of Conquest (New York: W. W. Norton, 1976).

13. 1 Stat. 50; for background, see Thomas Perkins Abernathy, Western Lands and the American Revolution (New York: Russell and Russell, 1959).

14. On Tecumseh, see John Sugden, Tecumseh’s Last Stand (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1985). On the Redsticks, see Joel W. Martin, Sacred Revolt: The Muskogees’ Struggle for a New World (Boston: Beacon Press, 1991).

15. The policy was implemented under provision of the Indian Removal Act (Ch. 148, 4 Stat. 411), passed on May 28, 1830. For details, see Grant Foreman, Indian Removal: The Immigration of the Five Civilized Tribes (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1953).

16. See Russell Thornton, “Cherokee Population Losses during the Trail of Tears: A New Perspective and a New Estimate,” Ethnohistory, No. 31 (1984), pp. 289-300.

17. The lebensraum concept is laid out in Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf (Verlag FRZ, Eher Nachf, G.M.B.H., 1925). See also Robert Cecil, The Myth of the Master Race: Alfred Rosenberg and Nazi Ideology (New York: Dodd, Mead & Co., 1972).

18. The sequences of cases consists of Johnson v. Mcintosh (21 U.S. 98 [Wheat.] 543 [1823]); Cherokee Nation v. Georgia (30 U.S. [5 Pet.] 1 [1831]); and Worcester v. Georgia (31 U.S. [6 Pet.] 551 [1832]).

19. Lonewolfv. Hitchcock (187 U.S. 553 [1903]). A prelude to articulation of this juridical absurdity may be found in U.S. v. Kagama (118 U.S. 375 [1886]).

20. For a brilliant elaboration of this theme, see Reginald Horsman, Race and Manifest Destiny: The Origins of Racial Anglo-Saxonism (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1981).

21. See, for example, David Svaldi, Sand Creek and the Rhetoric of Extermination: A Case-Study in Indian-White Relations (Washington, DC: University Press of America, 1989).

22. On Bear River, see Brigham D. Madsen, The Shoshone Frontier and the Bear River Massacre (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1985). On Sand Creek and the Washita, see Stan Hoig, The Sand Creek Massacre (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1961), and The Battle of the Washita: The Sheridan-Custer Indian Campaign of 1867-69 (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1976). On Blue River, see Mari Sandoz, Crazy Horse: The Strange Man of the Oglalas (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1961), pp. 63-85; on Sappa Creek and Camp Robinson, see her Cheyenne Autumn (New York: Avon Books, 1964). For an excellent overview of the sort of warfare waged against the indigenous people of the plains region, see Ralph Andrist, The Long Death: The Last Days of the Plains Indians (New York: Collier Books, 1964).

23. U.S. Bureau of the Census, Report on Indians Taxed and Indians Not Taxed in the United States (except Alaska) at the Eleventh U.S. Census: 1890 (Washington, DC: U.S. Govern­ment Printing Office, 1894), pp. 637-38.

24. James M. Mooney, “Population,” in Handbook of the Indians North of Mexico, Frederick W. Dodge, ed. (Washington, DC: Vol. 2, Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin No. 30, Smithsonian Institution, 1910), pp. 286-87.

25. W. W. Newcome, Jr., The Indians of Texas (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1961), p. 334.

26. On “eradication” of the North American Bison, see Francis Haines, The Buffalo (New York: Thomas Y. Crowell, 1970).

27. U.S. Bureau of the Census, Abstract of the Eleventh Census: 1890 (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1896).

28. Ch. 119, 24 Stat 388, now codified as amended at 25 U.S.C. 331 et seq. The General Allotment Act is also known as the “Dawes Act” or “Dawes Severalty Act” after its sponsor, Massachusetts Senator Henry M. Dawes.

29. On this aspect, see Ward Churchill, “Nobody’s Pet Poodle: Jimmie Durham, an Artist for Native America,” in Ward Churchill, Indians Are Us? Genocide and Colonization in Native North America (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 1994).

30. As of 1924, all Native Americans who had not been made U.S. citizens through the allotment process were unilaterally declared to be such—en mass, and whether they wanted to be or not—through provision of the Indian Citizenship Act (Ch. 233, 43 Stat 25).

31. See Janet A. McDonnell, The Dispossession of the American Indian, 1887-1934 Bloomington/Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1991).

32. On these linkages, see George M. Fredrickson, White Supremacy: A Comparative Study in American and South African History (London/New York: Oxford University Press, 1981).

33. The “Act” is actually House Concurrent Resolution 108, pronounced on August 1, 1953, which articulated a federal policy of unilaterally dissolving specific native nations. What followed was the “termination”—suspension of federal services to and recognition of the existence of—the Menominee on June 17, 1954 (Ch. 303, 68 Stat. 250); the Klamath on August 13, 1954 (Ch. 732, 68 Stat. 718, codified as 25 U.S.C. 564 et seq.); the “Tribes of Western Oregon” on August 13, 1954 (Ch. 733, 68 Stat. 724, codified at 25 U.S.C. 691 et seq.); and so on. In all, 109 native nations, or elements of native nations, were terminated by congressional action during the late 1950s. A handful were “restored” to federal recognition during the 1970s.

34. The “Relocation Act” (P.L. 959) was passed in 1956 to provide funding to establish “job training centers” for American Indians in various urban centers, and to finance the relocation of individual Indians and Indian families to these locales. It was coupled with a denial of funds for similar programs and economic development on the reservations themselves. Those who availed themselves of the “opportunity” for jobs, etc., represented by the federal relocation programs were usually required to sign agreements that they would not return to their respective reservations to live. For further information, see Donald L. Fixico, Termi­nation and Relocation: Federal Indian Policy, 1945-1960 (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1986).

35.U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1990 Census of the Population, Preliminary Report (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1991).

36. See Tillie Blackbear Walker, “American Indian Children: Foster Care and Adoptions,” in Conference on Educational and Occupational Needs of American Indian Women, October 1976, the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Educational Research and Development, National Institute of Education, (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1980), pp. 185-210.

37. For a comprehensive overview of this process, see Jorge Noriega, “American Indian Education in the U.S.: Indoctrination for Subordination to Colonialism,” in The State of Native America, op. cit.

38. For the complete text of the 1948 Genocide Convention, see Ian Brownlie, ed., Basic Documents on Human Rights (London/New York: Oxford University Press, 1971).

39. See Brent Dillingham, “Indian Women and IHS Sterilization Practices,” American Indian Journal, Vol. 3, No. 1 (Jan. 1977), pp. 27-28. See also Janet Larson, “And Then There Were None: IHS Sterilization Practice,” Christian Century, No. 94 (26 Jan. 1976). See also Bill Wagner, “Lo, the Poor and Sterilized Indian,” America, No. 136 (29 Jan. 1977).

40. On resource distribution, see generally, Michael Garrity, “The U.S. Colonial Empire Is as Close as the Nearest Reservation,” in Trilateralism: The Trilateral Commission and Elite Planning for World Government, Holly Sklar, ed. (Boston: South End Press, 1980), pp. 238-68. See also Joseph Jorgenson, ed., Native Americans and Energy Development II (Cambridge: Anthropology Resource Center/Seventh Generation Fund, 1984).

41. The prototype for this policy emerged with the BIA’s formation of the “Navajo Grand Council” to approve drilling leases at the behest of Standard Oil in 1923. See Laurence C. Kelly, The Navajo Indians and Federal Indian Policy, 1900-1935 (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1968).

42. See Marianna Guerrero, “American Indian Water Rights: The Blood of Life in Native North America,” in The State of Native America, op. cit. See also Daniel McCool, Command of the Waters: Iron Triangles, Federal Water Development, and Indian Wafer (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1987).

43. The IRA (Ch. 576, 48 Stat. 948, now codified at 25 U.S.C. 461-279) is also known as the “Wheeler-Howard Act” after its Senate and House sponsors.

44. Quoted in Rebecca Robbins, “Self-Determination and Subordination: The Past, Present and Future of American Indian Governance,” in The State of Native America, op. cit. On propaganda functions, see Ward Churchill, ‘”Renegades, Terrorists and Revolutionaries’: The U.S. Government’s Propaganda War Against the American Indian Movement,” Propa­ganda Review, No. 4 (Spring 1989).

45. The Indian Civil Rights Act, PL. 90-284 (82 Stat. 11, codified in part at 25 U.S.C. 1301 et seq.) locked indigenous governments—as a “third level” of the federal government—into U.S. constitutional requirements. The “self-determination” aspect of the 1975 Act (P.L. 93-638; 88 Stat. 2203, codified at 25 U.S.C. 450a and elsewhere in titles 25, 42, and 50, U.S.C.A.)—dubbed the “Self-Administration Act” by Russell Means—provides for a greater degree of Indian employment within the various federal programs used to subordinate native people.

46. On the supposed dispute between the Hopis and Navajos, and the federal-corporate role in fostering it, see Jerry Kammer, The Second Long Walk: The Navajo-Hopi Land Dispute (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1980). See also Anita Parlow, Cry, Sacred Big Mountain, USA (Washington, DC: Christie Institute, 1988).

47. On the Western Shoshone, see Glenn T. Morris, “The Battle for Newe Segobia: The Western Shoshone Land Rights Struggle,” in Critical Issues in Native North America, Vol. M. Ward Churchill, ed. (Copenhagen: IWGIA Document 68,1991), pp. 86-98. On the Black Hills see the special issue of Wicazo Sa Review, Vol. IV, No. 1 (Spring 1988). On Alaska, see M. C. Berry, The Alaska Pipeline: The Politics of Oil and Native Land Claims (Bloomington/Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1975).

48.  The best overview—including the uranium connection—may be found in Peter Matthissen In the Spirit of Crazy Horse (New York: Viking Press [2d ed.], 1991). See also Rex Weyler, Blood of the Land: The U.S. Government and Corporate War Against the American Indian Movement (Philadelphia: New Society [2d ed.], 1992).

49. The term “reign of terror” accrues from an official finding by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (Report of an Investigation: Oglala Sioux Tribe, General Election, 1974, Rocky Mountain Regional Office, Denver, 1974). For statistical comparison to Third World contexts, see Bruce Johansen and Roberto Maestas, Wasi ‘chu: The Continuing Indian Wars (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1978).

50. For detailed analysis, see Ward Churchill and Jim Vander Wall, Agents of Repression: The FBI’s Secret Wars Against the Black Panther Party and the American Indian Movement Boston: South End Press, 1988). Official use of the term “insurgents”—as opposed to “extremists,” or even “terrorists”—vis-a-vis AIM is documented via FBI memoranda in Vied Churchill and Jim Vander Wall, The COINTELPRO Papers: Documents from the FBI’s Secret Wars Against Dissent in the United States (Boston: South End Press, 1990). On the RESMURS (Reservation Murders) trials, see Jim Messerschmidt, The Trial of Leonard Peltier (Boston: South End Press, 1983). For a brief overview, see “The Bloody wake of Alcatraz” in this book.

51. This is based on the approximately 50 million acres still designated as reservation land. 1 should be noted that the United States never acquired even a pretense of legal title via treaties and other “instruments of cession” to fully one-third of the area (about 750 million acres) encompassed by the 48 contiguous states. The larger acreage should be balanced against the fact that, while federal census data recognizes only about one and a half million Indians residing within the U.S., the actual number may well be ten times that; see Jack D. Forbes, “Undercounting Native Americans: The 1980 Census and the Manipulation of Racial Identity in the United States,” Wicazo Sa Review, Vol. VI, No. 1 (Spring 1990).

52. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Chart Series Book (Washington, DC: Public Health Service, 1988 [HE20.9409.988]).

53. See Rosemary Wood, “Health Problems Facing American Indian Women,” in U.S. Department of Education, Conference on Educational and Occupational Needs of American Indian Women, op. cit. See also Charon Asetoyer, “Fetal Alcohol Syndrome—’Chemical Genocide’,” in Indigenous Women on the Move (Copenhagen: IWGIA Document 66, 1990), pp. 87-92.

54. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Chart Series Book, op. cit.

                                                       

 

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Indians contuning occupy this land

Before October 12, 1492, the day Christopher Columbus first washed up on a Caribbean beach, North America had been long endowed with an abundant and exceedingly complex cluster of civilizations.

Written orders issuing from Lord Jeffrey Amherst in 1763, instructing a subordinate named Bouquet to infect the members of Pontiac’s Algonquin confederacy “by means of [smallpox con­taminated] blankets as well as … every other means to extirpate this execrable race.” A few days later, it was reported to Amherst that “[W]e gave them two blankets and a handkerchief out of the smallpox hospital. I hope it will have the desired effect.” It did. At a minimum, 100,000 Indians died in the epidemic brought on by Amherst’s resort to biological warfare. In a similar instance, occurring in 1836, the U.S. Army knowingly distributed smallpox-laden blankets among the Missouri River Mandans; the resulting pandemic claimed as many as a quarter-million native lives.

According to the poster, Christianity was founded for no other purpose than to destroy the earth and deny liberals their right to live off the hard work of others. They created a false god who tells them ‘dominate the earth mother, dominate your women, wage war on non Christians, and exterminate them.

The Papal Bull “Inter Caetera,” issued by Pope Alexander VI on May 4, 1493, played a central role in the Spanish conquest of the New World.

The Bull stated that any land not inhabited by Christians was available to be “discovered,” claimed, and exploited by Christian rulers and declared that “the Catholic faith and the Christian religion be exalted and be everywhere increased and spread, that the health of souls be cared for and that barbarous nations be overthrown and brought to the faith itself.” This “Doctrine of Discovery” became the basis of all European claims in the Americas as well as the foundation for the United States’ western expansion. In the US Supreme Court in the 1823 case Johnson v. McIntosh, Chief Justice John Marshall’s opinion in the unanimous decision held “that the principle of discovery gave European nations an absolute right to New World lands.” In essence, American Indians had only a right of occupancy, which could be abolished.

The Bull Inter Caetera made headlines again throughout the 1990s and in 2000, when many Catholics petitioned Pope John Paul II to formally revoke it and recognize the human rights of indigenous “non-Christian peoples.”

It is nothing short of amazing to listen to and read the moronic blathering of idiots who contribute nothing to the human condition but believe they set the standard for intelligence, decency, fair play, honesty etc.

They celebrate tragedy’s like school shooting, even when perpetrated by one of their own.

Democrats worship satan and his minions like soros, hillary, obama, shumer, pelosi etc. They willingly ignore common sense, truth and reality in order to do the bidding of their lord and master satan.

Having continuously occu­lted the continent for at least 150,000 years, the native inhabitants evidenced a total population of perhaps 15 million, cities as large as the 40,000-resident urban center at Cahokia (in present-day Illinois), highly advanced conceptions if architecture and engineering, spiritual traditions embodying equivalents to modern eco-science, refined knowledge of pharmacology and holistic medicine, and highly sophisticated systems of governance, trade and diplomacy.1

The traditional economies of the continent were primarily agricultural, based n environmentally sound farming procedures which originated well over half tie vegetal foodstuffs now consumed by peoples the world over.2 By and large, the indigenous societies demonstrating such attainments were organized along extremely egalitarian lines, with real property held collectively, and matrifocality a normative standard.3 War, at least in the Euro-derived sense the term has today, was virtually unknown.4

The “Columbian Encounter,” of course, unleashed a predatory, five-century-long cycle of European conquest, genocide, and colonization in the “New World,” a process which changed the face of Native America beyond all recognition. Indeed, over the first decade of Spanish presence in the Caribbean, the period in which Columbus himself served as governor, the mold was set for all that would follow.

By 1496, the policies of slavery (encomiendo) and wanton slaughter implemented by the “Great Discoverer” had, in combination with the introduction of Old World pathogens to which they had no immunity, reduced the native Taino (Arawak) population of just one island, Espanola (presently the Domini­can Republic and Haiti), from as many as 8 million to less than 3 million. Six years later, the Tainos had been diminished to fewer than 100,000, and, in 1542, only 200 could be found by Spanish census-takers.5 Thereafter the “Indians” of Espanola were declared extinct, along with the remainder of the indigenous peoples of the Caribbean Basin, an overall body which had numbered upwards of 14 million only a generation before.

In North America, a similar dynamic was set in motion by the 1513 expedition of Ponce de Leon into Florida. The resulting smallpox pandemic spanned the continent, and before it had run its course in 1524, it had destroyed about three-quarters of all indigenous people north of the Rio Grande. This was only the beginning.

Between 1520 and 1890, no fewer than 41 smallpox epidemics and pandemics were induced among North American Indians. To this must be added dozens of lethal outbreaks of measles, whooping cough, tuberculosis, bubonic plague, typhus, cholera, typhoid, diphtheria, scarlet fever, pleurisy, mumps, venereal disease, and the common cold.7 The corresponding attrition of native population by disease has usually been treated as a tragic but wholly inadvertent and unintended by-product of contact between Indians and Europeans.

Such was certainly not the case in all instances, however, as is attested by the fact that the so-called King Philip’s War of 1675-76, fought between the Wampanoag and Narragansett nations and English colonists, resulted largely from the Indians’ belief that the latter had deliberately incul­cated smallpox among them.8

That such perceptions of British tactics and intentions were hardly far-fetched is amply borne out by written orders issuing from Lord Jeffrey Amherst in 1763, instructing a subordinate named Bouquet to infect the members of Pontiac’s Algonquin confederacy “by means of [smallpox con­taminated] blankets as well as … every other means to extirpate this execrable race.” A few days later, it was reported to Amherst that “[W]e gave them two blankets and a handkerchief out of the smallpox hospital. I hope it will have the desired effect.” It did. At a minimum, 100,000 Indians died in the epidemic brought on by Amherst’s resort to biological warfare.9 In a similar instance, occurring in 1836, the U.S. Army knowingly distributed smallpox-laden blankets among the Missouri River Mandans; the resulting pandemic claimed as many as a quarter-million native lives.10

Beginning in the early seventeenth century, with the establishment of England’s Plymouth and Virginia colonies, and the Dutch toehold at New Amsterdam, the eradication of North America’s indigenous population assumed much cruder forms. A classic example occurred on the night of May 26, 1637, when the British surrounded the Pequot town of Mystic (Pennsylvania), *s it ablaze, and then slaughtered some 800 fleeing men, women, and children, lacking them to pieces with axes and swords.’1 Such “incidents” occurred with ever greater frequency throughout most of the eighteenth century, a period which found Britain and France engaged in the “French and Indian Wars,” a protracted series of struggles in North America to determine which country would wield ultimate hegemony over the continent. While the outcome of these contests eventually proved all but irrelevant to the European colonial powers, even the subsequent revolt and decolonization of the initial 13 U.S. states, the nature of the fighting created a context in which indigenous nations were increasingly compelled to battle one another to the death. The reduction of the indigenous population was thereby accelerated dramatically.12

Enter the United States

For its part, the fledgling United States embarked almost immediately upon a course of territorial acquisition far more ambitious than any exhibited by its Euro-colonial precursors. Although it renounced rights of conquest and pledged to conduct its affairs with Indians in “utmost good faith” via the 1789 Northwest Ordinance, the United States comported itself otherwise from the rutset.13 From 1810 to 1814, a succession of extremely brutal military cam­paigns were conducted against the followers of the Shawnee leader, Tecumseh in the Ohio River Valley, and against the Creek Confederacy farther south.14 With native military capacity east of the Mississippi thus eliminated, the government launched, during the 1820s and 1830s, a policy of forced relocation of entire indigenous nations to points west of that river, “clearing” the eastern United States more or less en toto for repopulation by white “settlers.”15 Attrition among the affected populations was quite severe; more than half of all Cherokees, for example, died along the 1,500-mile “Trail of Tears,” over which they were marched at bayonet-point. This federal “removal policy” was to find echoes, of course, in the articulation of “lebensraumpolitik” by Adolf Hitler a century later.17

To cast a veneer of legality over his government’s conduct, Chief Justice John Marshall penned a series of high court opinions during the 1820s and 1830s, based in large part upon the medieval Doctrine of Discovery. He remained on firm juridical ground long enough to contend that the doctrine imparted a right to the United States to acquire Indian territory by treaty, a matter which led to ratification of at least 371 such nation-to-nation agreements over the next four decades. In a bizarre departure from established principles of international law, however, Marshall also argued that the United States possessed an inherently “higher” sovereignty than the nations with which it was treating: Indians held no right not to sell their land to the United States, in his view, at whatever price the United States cared to offer. Within this formulation, any resistance by “the savages” to the taking of their territories could thus be cast as an “act of war” theoretically “justifying” a U.S. “response” predicated in armed force.18 By 1903 the “Marshall Doctrine” had evolved–and the indigenous ability to offer physical resistance had been sufficiently crushed–to the point that the Supreme Court was confident in asserting an “intrinsic” federal “plenary” (full) power over all Indians within its borders, releasing the United States from any treaty obligations it found inconvenient while leaving the land title it purported to have gained through the various treaty instruments intact. In conjunction with this novel notion of international jurisprudence, the high court simultaneously expressed the view that the government enjoyed “natural” and permanent “trust” prerogatives over all residual native property.19

Meanwhile, having consolidated its grip on the eastern portion of its claimed territoriality during the 1840s–and having militarily seized “rights” to the northern half of Mexico as well–the United States proclaimed itself to be imbued with a “Manifest Destiny” to expand westward to the Pacific.20 There being essentially no land available within this conception for Indian use and occupancy, a rhetoric of outright extermination was quickly adopted both by federal policy makers and by a sizable segment of the public at large.21 These sentiments led unerringly to a lengthy chain of large-scale massacres of Indians in the Great Plains and Basin regions by U.S. troops. Among the worst were the slaughters perpetrated at the Blue River (Nebraska, 1854), Bear River (Idaho, 1863), Sand Creek (Colorado, 1864), Washita River (Oklahoma, 1868), Sappa Creek (Kansas, 1875), Camp Robinson (Nebraska, 1878), and Wounded Knee (South Dakota, 1890).22 In 1894, the U.S. Census Bureau observed that the United States had waged “more than 40” separate wars against native people in barely a century, inflicting some number of fatalities “very much greater” than its minimum estimate of 30,000 in the process.23

The indigenous death toll generated by “private actions” during U.S. continental expansion was also, the Census Bureau admitted, “quite substan­tial.” In all probability, it was far higher than that stemming from formal military involvement, given that the native population of the State of California alone was reduced from approximately 300,000 in 1800 to less than 20,000 in 1890, “chiefly [because of] the cruelties and wholesale massacres perpetrated by … miners and the early settlers.”24 In Texas, to take another prominent example, a bounty was paid for the scalp of any Indian brought to a government office, no questions asked: “The facts of history are plain. Most Texas Indians [once the most diverse population in North America] were exterminated or brought to the brink of extinction by [Euro-American civilians] who often had m: more regard for the life of an Indian than they had for that of a dog, sometimes less.”25 The story in other sectors of the western United States, while sometimes less spectacular, reveals very much the same pattern. As the indigenous population was liquidated – along with the buffalo and other animal species consciously exterminated in order to deny Indians a “commissary” once their agricultural economies had been obliterated by the invaders – white settlers replaced them on the vast bulk of their land.26

By 1890, fewer than 250,000 Indians remained alive within the United States, a degree of decimation extending into the upper 90th percentile.27 The survivors were lodged on a patchwork of “reservations” even then being dismantled through application of what was called the “General Allotment Act. Under provision of this statute, effected in 1887, a formal eugenics code was utilized to define who was (and who was not) “Indian” by U.S. “standards.”29 Those who could, and were willing to, prove to federal satisfaction that fey were “of one-half or more degree of Indian blood,” and to accept U.S. citizenship into the bargain, received a deed to an individual land parcel, typically of 160 acres or less.30 Once each person with sufficient “blood quantum” had received his or her allotment of land, the remaining reservation land was declared “surplus” and opened up to non-Indian homesteading, corporate acquisition, or conversion into national parks and forests. Through this mechanism, the best 100 million acres of the reserved native land base was supped away by 1930, the Indians ever more concentrated within the 50 million arid or semi-arid acres – about 2.5 percent of their original holdings – left to them.31 The model was later borrowed by the apartheid government of South Africa in developing its “racial homeland” system of territorial apportionment.

The Contemporary Era

Culmination of this trajectory in U.S. colonial administration of Indian Country occurred during the mid-1950s, with the enactment of a series of “termination” statutes by which the federal government unilaterally dissolved more than 100 indigenous nations and their reservation areas.33 Concomitantly, legislation was effected to “encourage” the relocation of large numbers of Indians from the remaining reservations to selected urban centers, a strategy designed to preclude reemergence of social cohesion within most land-based native communities.34 Although it was suspended in the late 1970s, the federal relocation program had by 1990 fostered a native diaspora which found more than half of all indigenous people in the United States, a total of about 880,000 persons, scattered in the ghettoes of cities.35

The government’s termination and relocation policies coupled quite well with other techniques employed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) to undermine the socio-cultural integrity of native existence. Salient in this regard is a generations-long program of “blind adoptions” in which Indian babies are placed for adoption with non-Indian families, their birth records permanently sealed so they can never know their true heritage.36 Similarly, beginning in the 1870s and continuing into the present moment, the BIA administered a system of boarding schools to which indigenous children were sent, often for a decade or more, without being allowed to return home, speak their native languages, practice their religions, or otherwise manifest their identity as Indians.37 En­compassed under the benign-sounding rubric of “assimilation,” both of these youth-oriented undertakings were and are blatant violations of the provision of the 1948 Convention on Punishment and Prevention of the Crime of Genocide, which makes it a crime against humanity for a government to engage in the systematic forced transfer of the children of a targeted racial or ethnic group to another group.38 Contemporary violation of another provision of the Genocide Convention may be found in a program of involuntary sterilization imposed by the BIA’s “Indian Health Service” upon approximately 40 percent of the female population of childbearing age during the 1970s.39

Ironically, the final and complete dissolution of Native North America seems to have been averted mainly by the fact that the barren areas left to native habitation after allotment turned out to be inordinately rich in mineral resources. Current estimates suggest that about two-thirds of all U.S. domestic uranium deposits, a quarter of the readily accessible low sulphur coal, a fifth of the oil and natural gas, and substantial deposits of copper and other ores lie within reservation boundaries.40Government planners discovered by 1920 that certain advantages could be maintained in terms of their ability to control the pace and nature of resource extraction, royalty rates, and the like, through exercise of federal “trust responsibilities” over indigenous assets.41 The same principle was seen to pertain to manipulations of water policy throughout the arid West.42 Such options being unavailable to them should Indian Country as a whole be converted into private property under state and local jurisdiction, it was found to be in the U.S. interest to maintain the majority of reservations as discrete internal colonies.

To this end, the Indian Reorganization Act (IRA) was passed in 1934 to create a federally designed regulatory or “governing” body on most reservations.43 Although the IRA boards were and are composed exclusively of native people, their authority stems from–and thus their primary allegiance adheres to–the United States rather than their ostensible indigenous constituents; their major function during the half-century of their existence has been to sow confusion, providing an illusion of Indian consent to the systematic Euro-American expropriation of native resources, and to vociferously denounce any Indian audacious enough to object to the theft. They serve, in effect, as American Indian Movement (AIM) leader Russell Means once put it, as “Vichy Indians.”44 For this reason, their position in Indian Country has been steadily reinforced over the years by passage of additional federal statutes, among them the Indian Civil Rights Act of 1968 and the Indian “Self-Determination” and Educational Assistance Act of 1975.45

The results have embodied themselves in situations like the “Hopi-Navajo Land Dispute” in northeastern Arizona, a scenario in which the United States has been able to utilize the carefully tailored pronouncements of two of us puppet governments to create the impression of an inter-Indian conflict requiring federal intervention/resolution as a means of “avoiding bloodshed.” Behind this humanitarian facade resides a U.S. governmental/corporate desire to bring about the compulsory relocation of more than 10,000 traditional Navajos from the contested area, a matter which will serve to clear the way for the real objective: the strip mining of more than 20 billion tons of high-quality coal.46 Comparable circumstances have prevailed with regard to the conversion of the Western Shoshone homeland (Newe Segobia) in Nevada into a U.S. nuclear weapons testing area, removal of more than 90 percent of the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty Territory from Lakota control, upcoming implementation of the “Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act,” and other examples.47

Coherent efforts by native people to oppose such manipulations–AIM’s resistance during the mid-70s to IRA government collaboration in a plan to transfer title over one-eighth of the Pine Ridge Reservation to the National Forest Service, for example–have been put down by the use of outright counterinsurgency warfare techniques (such as death squads) similar in many respects to the methods employed by U.S. agencies in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.48 During the Pine Ridge “reign of terror” alone, the body count came to about 70 fatalities and nearly 350 serious physical assaults on AIM members and supporters over a bare three-year period.49 This was correlated with an outright military-style occupation of the reservation by federal forces, a com­prehensive government propaganda campaign directed against the “insurgents,” and an extensive series of show trials such as those of the so-called Wounded Knee Leadership during 1974-75, and of the “RESMURS Defendants” (including AIM security leader Leonard Peltier) in 1976-77.50

For grassroots Indian people, the broader human costs of ongoing U.S. domination are abundantly clear. The 1.6 million American Indians within the United States remain, nominally at least, the largest per capita land owners in North America.51 Given the extent of the resources within their land base, Indians should by logical extension comprise the wealthiest “ethnic group” in North American society. Instead, according to the federal government’s own statistics, they are the poorest, demonstrating far and away the lowest annual and lifetime incomes, the highest rate of unemployment, lowest rate of pay when employed, and lowest level of educational attainment of any North American population aggregate. Correspondingly, they suffer, by decisive margins, the greatest incidence of malnutrition and diabetes, death by exposure, tuberculosis, infant mortality, plague, and similar maladies.52 These conditions, in combination with the general disempowerment which spawns them, breed an unremitting sense of rage, frustration, and despair which is reflected in the spiraling rates of domestic and other forms of intra-group violence, alcoholism and resulting death by accident or fetal alcohol syndrome.53 Consequently, the average life expectancy of a reservation-based Native American male in 1980 was a mere 44.6 years, that of his female counterpart less than three years longer.54 Such a statistical portrait is obviously more indicative of a Third World environment than that expected of people living within one of the world’s most advanced industrial states.

Moving Forward

Plainly, all official polemics to the contrary notwithstanding, the agony induced by 500 years of European/Euro-American predation in North America has done anything but diminish at this juncture. For the indigenous people of the continent it has become obvious there are no real alternatives except either to renew their commitment to struggle for survival or to finally pass into the realm of extinction which has been relentlessly projected for them since the predator’s arrival on their shores. For everyone else, the situation is rapidly becoming–or in some cases has already become–much the same. The time has arrived when a choice must be made: Non-Indians, in both the New World and the Old, must decide whether they wish to be a willing part of the final gnawing on the bones of their native victims, or whether they are at last prepared to join hands with Native North America, ending the wanton consumption of indigenous lands and lives which has marked the nature of our relationship to date.

The sort of alliance at issue no longer represents, as it did in the past, an exercise in altruism for non-Indians. Anti-imperialism and opposition to racism, colonialism, and genocide, while worthy enough stances in and of themselves, are no longer the fundamental issues at hand. Ultimately, the same system of predatory goals and values which has so busily and mercilessly consumed the people of the land these past five centuries has increasingly set about consuming the land itself. Not only indigenous peoples, but the lands to which they are irrevocably linked, are now dying. When the land itself dies, it is a certainty that no humans can survive. The struggle which confronts us–all of us–is thus a struggle to save our collective habitat, to maintain it as a “survivable” environment, not only for ourselves, but for the generations to come. Self-evidently, this cannot be approached either from the posture of the predator, or any other position which allows the predator to continue with business as usual. At long last, we have arrived at the point where there is a tangible, even overriding, confluence of interest between natives and non-natives.

The crux of the matter rests, not merely in resistance to the predatory mature of the present Eurocentric status quo, but in conceiving viable socio-cultural alternatives. Here, the bodies of indigenous knowledge evidenced in the context of Native America at the point of the European invasion–large-scale societies which had perfected ways of organizing themselves into psychologically fulfilling wholes, experiencing very high standards of material life, and still maintaining environmental harmony–shine like a beacon in the night. The information required to recreate this reality is still in place in many indigenous cultures. The liberation of significant sectors of Native America stands to allow this knowledge to once again be actualized in the “real world,” not to recreate indigenous societies as they once were, but to recreate them­selves as they can be in the future. Therein lies the model–the laboratory, if you will–from which a genuinely liberatory and sustainable alternative can be cast for all humanity. In a very real sense, then, the fate of Native America signifies the fate of the planet. It follows that it is incumbent upon every conscious human–red, white, black, brown, or yellow, old or young, male or female–to do whatever is within their power to ensure the next half-millen­nium heralds an antithesis to the last.

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Obama’s Speech on Reducing the Budget (Text)

nytimes.com

nytimes.com

Obama’s Speech on Reducing the Budget (Text)


Following is a text of President Obama’s debt-reduction speech, delivered on Wednesday at George Washington University, as released by the White House:

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. (Applause.) Please have a seat. Please have a seat, everyone.

It is wonderful to be back at GW. I want you to know that one of the reasons that I worked so hard with Democrats and Republicans to keep the government open was so that I could show up here today. I wanted to make sure that all of you had one more excuse to skip class. (Laughter.) You’re welcome. (Laughter.)

I want to give a special thanks to Steven Knapp, the president of GW. I just saw him — where is he? There he is right there. (Applause.)

We’ve got a lot of distinguished guests here — a couple of people I want to acknowledge. First of all, my outstanding Vice President, Joe Biden, is here. (Applause.) Our Secretary of the Treasury, Tim Geithner, is in the house. (Applause.) Jack Lew, the Director of the Office of Mangement and Budget. (Applause.) Gene Sperling, Chair of the National Economic Council, is here. (Applause.) Members of our bipartisan Fiscal Commission are here, including the two outstanding chairs — Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson — are here. (Applause.)

And we have a number of members of Congress here today. I’m grateful for all of you taking the time to attend.

What we’ve been debating here in Washington over the last few weeks will affect the lives of the students here and families all across America in potentially profound ways. This debate over budgets and deficits is about more than just numbers on a page; it’s about more than just cutting and spending. It’s about the kind of future that we want. It’s about the kind of country that we believe in. And that’s what I want to spend some time talking about today.

From our first days as a nation, we have put our faith in free markets and free enterprise as the engine of America’s wealth and prosperity. More than citizens of any other country, we are rugged individualists, a self-reliant people with a healthy skepticism of too much government.

But there’s always been another thread running through our history -– a belief that we’re all connected, and that there are some things we can only do together, as a nation. We believe, in the words of our first Republican President, Abraham Lincoln, that through government, we should do together what we cannot do as well for ourselves.

And so we’ve built a strong military to keep us secure, and public schools and universities to educate our citizens. We’ve laid down railroads and highways to facilitate travel and commerce. We’ve supported the work of scientists and researchers whose discoveries have saved lives, unleashed repeated technological revolutions, and led to countless new jobs and entire new industries. Each of us has benefitted from these investments, and we’re a more prosperous country as a result.

Part of this American belief that we’re all connected also expresses itself in a conviction that each one of us deserves some basic measure of security and dignity. We recognize that no matter how responsibly we live our lives, hard times or bad luck, a crippling illness or a layoff may strike any one of us. “There but for the grace of God go I,” we say to ourselves. And so we contribute to programs like Medicare and Social Security, which guarantee us health care and a measure of basic income after a lifetime of hard work; unemployment insurance, which protects us against unexpected job loss; and Medicaid, which provides care for millions of seniors in nursing homes, poor children, those with disabilities. We’re a better country because of these commitments. I’ll go further. We would not be a great country without those commitments.

Now, for much of the last century, our nation found a way to afford these investments and priorities with the taxes paid by its citizens. As a country that values fairness, wealthier individuals have traditionally borne a greater share of this burden than the middle class or those less fortunate. Everybody pays, but the wealthier have borne a little more. This is not because we begrudge those who’ve done well -– we rightly celebrate their success. Instead, it’s a basic reflection of our belief that those who’ve benefited most from our way of life can afford to give back a little bit more. Moreover, this belief hasn’t hindered the success of those at the top of the income scale. They continue to do better and better with each passing year.

Now, at certain times -– particularly during war or recession -– our nation has had to borrow money to pay for some of our priorities. And as most families understand, a little credit card debt isn’t going to hurt if it’s temporary.

But as far back as the 1980s, America started amassing debt at more alarming levels, and our leaders began to realize that a larger challenge was on the horizon. They knew that eventually, the Baby Boom generation would retire, which meant a much bigger portion of our citizens would be relying on programs like Medicare, Social Security, and possibly Medicaid. Like parents with young children who know they have to start saving for the college years, America had to start borrowing less and saving more to prepare for the retirement of an entire generation.

To meet this challenge, our leaders came together three times during the 1990s to reduce our nation’s deficit — three times. They forged historic agreements that required tough decisions made by the first President Bush, then made by President Clinton, by Democratic Congresses and by a Republican Congress. All three agreements asked for shared responsibility and shared sacrifice. But they largely protected the middle class; they largely protected our commitment to seniors; they protected our key investments in our future.

As a result of these bipartisan efforts, America’s finances were in great shape by the year 2000. We went from deficit to surplus. America was actually on track to becoming completely debt free, and we were prepared for the retirement of the Baby Boomers.

But after Democrats and Republicans committed to fiscal discipline during the 1990s, we lost our way in the decade that followed. We increased spending dramatically for two wars and an expensive prescription drug program -– but we didn’t pay for any of this new spending. Instead, we made the problem worse with trillions of dollars in unpaid-for tax cuts -– tax cuts that went to every millionaire and billionaire in the country; tax cuts that will force us to borrow an average of $500 billion every year over the next decade.

To give you an idea of how much damage this caused to our nation’s checkbook, consider this: In the last decade, if we had simply found a way to pay for the tax cuts and the prescription drug benefit, our deficit would currently be at low historical levels in the coming years.

But that’s not what happened. And so, by the time I took office, we once again found ourselves deeply in debt and unprepared for a Baby Boom retirement that is now starting to take place. When I took office, our projected deficit, annually, was more than $1 trillion. On top of that, we faced a terrible financial crisis and a recession that, like most recessions, led us to temporarily borrow even more.

In this case, we took a series of emergency steps that saved millions of jobs, kept credit flowing, and provided working families extra money in their pocket. It was absolutely the right thing to do, but these steps were expensive, and added to our deficits in the short term.

So that’s how our fiscal challenge was created. That’s how we got here. And now that our economic recovery is gaining strength, Democrats and Republicans must come together and restore the fiscal responsibility that served us so well in the 1990s. We have to live within our means. We have to reduce our deficit, and we have to get back on a path that will allow us to pay down our debt. And we have to do it in a way that protects the recovery, protects the investments we need to grow, create jobs, and helps us win the future.

Now, before I get into how we can achieve this goal, some of you, particularly the younger people here — you don’t qualify, Joe. (Laughter.) Some of you might be wondering, “Why is this so important? Why does this matter to me?”

Well, here’s why. Even after our economy recovers, our government will still be on track to spend more money than it takes in throughout this decade and beyond. That means we’ll have to keep borrowing more from countries like China. That means more of your tax dollars each year will go towards paying off the interest on all the loans that we keep taking out. By the end of this decade, the interest that we owe on our debt could rise to nearly $1 trillion. Think about that. That’s the interest — just the interest payments.

Then, as the Baby Boomers start to retire in greater numbers and health care costs continue to rise, the situation will get even worse. By 2025, the amount of taxes we currently pay will only be enough to finance our health care programs — Medicare and Medicaid — Social Security, and the interest we owe on our debt. That’s it. Every other national priority -– education, transportation, even our national security -– will have to be paid for with borrowed money.

Now, ultimately, all this rising debt will cost us jobs and damage our economy. It will prevent us from making the investments we need to win the future. We won’t be able to afford good schools, new research, or the repair of roads -– all the things that create new jobs and businesses here in America. Businesses will be less likely to invest and open shop in a country that seems unwilling or unable to balance its books. And if our creditors start worrying that we may be unable to pay back our debts, that could drive up interest rates for everybody who borrows money -– making it harder for businesses to expand and hire, or families to take out a mortgage.

Here’s the good news: That doesn’t have to be our future. That doesn’t have to be the country that we leave our children. We can solve this problem. We came together as Democrats and Republicans to meet this challenge before; we can do it again.

But that starts by being honest about what’s causing our deficit. You see, most Americans tend to dislike government spending in the abstract, but like the stuff that it buys. Most of us, regardless of party affiliation, believe that we should have a strong military and a strong defense. Most Americans believe we should invest in education and medical research. Most Americans think we should protect commitments like Social Security and Medicare. And without even looking at a poll, my finely honed political instincts tell me that almost nobody believes they should be paying higher taxes. (Laughter.)

So because all this spending is popular with both Republicans and Democrats alike, and because nobody wants to pay higher taxes, politicians are often eager to feed the impression that solving the problem is just a matter of eliminating waste and abuse. You’ll hear that phrase a lot. “We just need to eliminate waste and abuse.” The implication is that tackling the deficit issue won’t require tough choices. Or politicians suggest that we can somehow close our entire deficit by eliminating things like foreign aid, even though foreign aid makes up about 1 percent of our entire federal budget.

So here’s the truth. Around two-thirds of our budget — two-thirds — is spent on Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and national security. Two-thirds. Programs like unemployment

insurance, student loans, veterans’ benefits, and tax credits for working families take up another 20 percent. What’s left, after interest on the debt, is just 12 percent for everything else. That’s 12 percent for all of our national priorities — education, clean energy, medical research, transportation, our national parks, food safety, keeping our air and water clean — you name it — all of that accounts for 12 percent of our budget.

Now, up till now, the debate here in Washington, the cuts proposed by a lot of folks in Washington, have focused exclusively on that 12 percent. But cuts to that 12 percent alone won’t solve the problem. So any serious plan to tackle our deficit will require us to put everything on the table, and take on excess spending wherever it exists in the budget.

A serious plan doesn’t require us to balance our budget overnight –- in fact, economists think that with the economy just starting to grow again, we need a phased-in approach –- but it does require tough decisions and support from our leaders in both parties now. Above all, it will require us to choose a vision of the America we want to see five years, 10 years, 20 years down the road.

Now, to their credit, one vision has been presented and championed by Republicans in the House of Representatives and embraced by several of their party’s presidential candidates. It’s a plan that aims to reduce our deficit by $4 trillion over the next 10 years, and one that addresses the challenge of Medicare and Medicaid in the years after that.

These are both worthy goals. They’re worthy goals for us to achieve. But the way this plan achieves those goals would lead to a fundamentally different America than the one we’ve known certainly in my lifetime. In fact, I think it would be fundamentally different than what we’ve known throughout our history.

A 70 percent cut in clean energy. A 25 percent cut in education. A 30 percent cut in transportation. Cuts in college Pell Grants that will grow to more than $1,000 per year. That’s the proposal. These aren’t the kind of cuts you make when you’re trying to get rid of some waste or find extra savings in the budget. These aren’t the kinds of cuts that the Fiscal Commission proposed. These are the kinds of cuts that tell us we can’t afford the America that I believe in and I think you believe in.

I believe it paints a vision of our future that is deeply pessimistic. It’s a vision that says if our roads crumble and our bridges collapse, we can’t afford to fix them. If there are bright young Americans who have the drive and the will but not the money to go to college, we can’t afford to send them.

Go to China and you’ll see businesses opening research labs and solar facilities. South Korean children are outpacing our kids in math and science. They’re scrambling to figure out how they put more money into education. Brazil is investing billions in new infrastructure and can run half their cars not on high-priced gasoline, but on biofuels. And yet, we are presented with a vision that says the American people, the United States of America -– the greatest nation on Earth -– can’t afford any of this.

It’s a vision that says America can’t afford to keep the promise we’ve made to care for our seniors. It says that 10 years from now, if you’re a 65-year-old who’s eligible for Medicare, you should have to pay nearly $6,400 more than you would today. It says instead of guaranteed health care, you will get a voucher. And if that voucher isn’t worth enough to buy the insurance that’s available in the open marketplace, well, tough luck -– you’re on your own. Put simply, it ends Medicare as we know it.

It’s a vision that says up to 50 million Americans have to lose their health insurance in order for us to reduce the deficit. Who are these 50 million Americans? Many are somebody’s grandparents — may be one of yours — who wouldn’t be able to afford nursing home care without Medicaid. Many are poor children. Some are middle-class families who have children with autism or Down’s syndrome. Some of these kids with disabilities are — the disabilities are so severe that they require 24-hour care. These are the Americans we’d be telling to fend for themselves.

And worst of all, this is a vision that says even though Americans can’t afford to invest in education at current levels, or clean energy, even though we can’t afford to maintain our commitment on Medicare and Medicaid, we can somehow afford more than $1 trillion in new tax breaks for the wealthy. Think about that.

In the last decade, the average income of the bottom 90 percent of all working Americans actually declined. Meanwhile, the top 1 percent saw their income rise by an average of more than a quarter of a million dollars each. That’s who needs to pay less taxes?

They want to give people like me a $200,000 tax cut that’s paid for by asking 33 seniors each to pay $6,000 more in health costs. That’s not right. And it’s not going to happen as long as I’m President. (Applause.)

This vision is less about reducing the deficit than it is about changing the basic social compact in America. Ronald Reagan’s own budget director said, there’s nothing “serious” or “courageous” about this plan. There’s nothing serious about a plan that claims to reduce the deficit by spending a trillion dollars on tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires. And I don’t think there’s anything courageous about asking for sacrifice from those who can least afford it and don’t have any clout on Capitol Hill. That’s not a vision of the America I know.

The America I know is generous and compassionate. It’s a land of opportunity and optimism. Yes, we take responsibility for ourselves, but we also take responsibility for each other; for the country we want and the future that we share. We’re a nation that built a railroad across a continent and brought light to communities shrouded in darkness. We sent a generation to college on the GI Bill and we saved millions of seniors from poverty with Social Security and Medicare. We have led the world in scientific research and technological breakthroughs that have transformed millions of lives. That’s who we are. This is the America that I know. We don’t have to choose between a future of spiraling debt and one where we forfeit our investment in our people and our country.

To meet our fiscal challenge, we will need to make reforms. We will all need to make sacrifices. But we do not have to sacrifice the America we believe in. And as long as I’m President, we won’t.

So today, I’m proposing a more balanced approach to achieve $4 trillion in deficit reduction over 12 years. It’s an approach that borrows from the recommendations of the bipartisan Fiscal Commission that I appointed last year, and it builds on the roughly $1 trillion in deficit reduction I already proposed in my 2012 budget. It’s an approach that puts every kind of spending on the table — but one that protects the middle class, our promise to seniors, and our investments in the future.

The first step in our approach is to keep annual domestic spending low by building on the savings that both parties agreed to last week. That step alone will save us about $750 billion over 12 years. We will make the tough cuts necessary to achieve these savings, including in programs that I care deeply about, but I will not sacrifice the core investments that we need to grow and create jobs. We will invest in medical research. We will invest in clean energy technology. We will invest in new roads and airports and broadband access. We will invest in education. We will invest in job training. We will do what we need to do to compete, and we will win the future.

The second step in our approach is to find additional savings in our defense budget. Now, as Commander-in-Chief, I have no greater responsibility than protecting our national security, and I will never accept cuts that compromise our ability to defend our homeland or America’s interests around the world. But as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Admiral Mullen, has said, the greatest long-term threat to America’s national security is America’s debt. So just as we must find more savings in domestic programs, we must do the same in defense. And we can do that while still keeping ourselves safe.

Over the last two years, Secretary Bob Gates has courageously taken on wasteful spending, saving $400 billion in current and future spending. I believe we can do that again. We need to not only eliminate waste and improve efficiency and effectiveness, but we’re going to have to conduct a fundamental review of America’s missions, capabilities, and our role in a changing world. I intend to work with Secretary Gates and the Joint Chiefs on this review, and I will make specific decisions about spending after it’s complete.

The third step in our approach is to further reduce health care spending in our budget. Now, here, the difference with the House Republican plan could not be clearer. Their plan essentially lowers the government’s health care bills by asking seniors and poor families to pay them instead. Our approach lowers the government’s health care bills by reducing the cost of health care itself.

Already, the reforms we passed in the health care law will reduce our deficit by $1 trillion. My approach would build on these reforms. We will reduce wasteful subsidies and erroneous payments. We will cut spending on prescription drugs by using Medicare’s purchasing power to drive greater efficiency and speed generic brands of medicine onto the market. We will work with governors of both parties to demand more efficiency and accountability from Medicaid.

We will change the way we pay for health care -– not by the procedure or the number of days spent in a hospital, but with new incentives for doctors and hospitals to prevent injuries and improve results. And we will slow the growth of Medicare costs by strengthening an independent commission of doctors, nurses, medical experts and consumers who will look at all the evidence and recommend the best ways to reduce unnecessary spending while protecting access to the services that seniors need.

Now, we believe the reforms we’ve proposed to strengthen Medicare and Medicaid will enable us to keep these commitments to our citizens while saving us $500 billion by 2023, and an additional $1 trillion in the decade after that. But if we’re wrong, and Medicare costs rise faster than we expect, then this approach will give the independent commission the authority to make additional savings by further improving Medicare.

But let me be absolutely clear: I will preserve these health care programs as a promise we make to each other in this society. I will not allow Medicare to become a voucher program that leaves seniors at the mercy of the insurance industry, with a shrinking benefit to pay for rising costs. I will not tell families with children who have disabilities that they have to fend for themselves. We will reform these programs, but we will not abandon the fundamental commitment this country has kept for generations.

That includes, by the way, our commitment to Social Security. While Social Security is not the cause of our deficit, it faces real long-term challenges in a country that’s growing older. As I said in the State of the Union, both parties should work together now to strengthen Social Security for future generations. But we have to do it without putting at risk current retirees, or the most vulnerable, or people with disabilities; without slashing benefits for future generations; and without subjecting Americans’ guaranteed retirement income to the whims of the stock market. And it can be done.

The fourth step in our approach is to reduce spending in the tax code, so-called tax expenditures. In December, I agreed to extend the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans because it was the only way I could prevent a tax hike on middle-class Americans. But we cannot afford $1 trillion worth of tax cuts for every millionaire and billionaire in our society. We can’t afford it. And I refuse to renew them again.

Beyond that, the tax code is also loaded up with spending on things like itemized deductions. And while I agree with the goals of many of these deductions, from homeownership to charitable giving, we can’t ignore the fact that they provide millionaires an average tax break of $75,000 but do nothing for the typical middle-class family that doesn’t itemize. So my budget calls for limiting itemized deductions for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans — a reform that would reduce the deficit by $320 billion over 10 years.

But to reduce the deficit, I believe we should go further. And that’s why I’m calling on Congress to reform our individual tax code so that it is fair and simple — so that the amount of taxes you pay isn’t determined by what kind of accountant you can afford.

I believe reform should protect the middle class, promote economic growth, and build on the fiscal commission’s model of reducing tax expenditures so that there’s enough savings to both lower rates and lower the deficit. And as I called for in the State of the Union, we should reform our corporate tax code as well, to make our businesses and our economy more competitive.

So this is my approach to reduce the deficit by $4 trillion over the next 12 years. It’s an approach that achieves about $2 trillion in spending cuts across the budget. It will lower our interest payments on the debt by $1 trillion. It calls for tax reform to cut about $1 trillion in tax expenditures — spending in the tax code. And it achieves these goals while protecting the middle class, protecting our commitment to seniors, and protecting our investments in the future.

Now, in the coming years, if the recovery speeds up and our economy grows faster than our current projections, we can make even greater progress than I’ve pledged here. But just to hold Washington — and to hold me — accountable and make sure that the debt burden continues to decline, my plan includes a debt failsafe. If, by 2014, our debt is not projected to fall as a share of the economy -– if we haven’t hit our targets, if Congress has failed to act -– then my plan will require us to come together and make up the additional savings with more spending cuts and more spending reductions in the tax code. That should be an incentive for us to act boldly now, instead of kicking our problems further down the road.

So this is our vision for America -– this is my vision for America — a vision where we live within our means while still investing in our future; where everyone makes sacrifices but no one bears all the burden; where we provide a basic measure of security for our citizens and we provide rising opportunity for our children.

There will be those who vigorously disagree with my approach. I can guarantee that as well. (Laughter.) Some will argue we should not even consider ever — ever — raising taxes, even if only on the wealthiest Americans. It’s just an article of faith to them. I say that at a time when the tax burden on the wealthy is at its lowest level in half a century, the most fortunate among us can afford to pay a little more. I don’t need another tax cut. Warren Buffett doesn’t need another tax cut. Not if we have to pay for it by making seniors pay more for Medicare. Or by cutting kids from Head Start. Or by taking away college scholarships that I wouldn’t be here without and that some of you would not be here without.

And here’s the thing: I believe that most wealthy Americans would agree with me. They want to give back to their country, a country that’s done so much for them. It’s just Washington hasn’t asked them to.

Others will say that we shouldn’t even talk about cutting spending until the economy is fully recovered. These are mostly folks in my party. I’m sympathetic to this view — which is one of the reasons I supported the payroll tax cuts we passed in December. It’s also why we have to use a scalpel and not a machete to reduce the deficit, so that we can keep making the investments that create jobs. But doing nothing on the deficit is just not an option. Our debt has grown so large that we could do real damage to the economy if we don’t begin a process now to get our fiscal house in order.

Finally, there are those who believe we shouldn’t make any reforms to Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security, out of fear that any talk of change to these programs will immediately usher in the sort of steps that the House Republicans have proposed. And I understand those fears. But I guarantee that if we don’t make any changes at all, we won’t be able to keep our commitment to a retiring generation that will live longer and will face higher health care costs than those who came before.

Indeed, to those in my own party, I say that if we truly believe in a progressive vision of our society, we have an obligation to prove that we can afford our commitments. If we believe the government can make a difference in people’s lives, we have the obligation to prove that it works -– by making government smarter, and leaner and more effective.

Of course, there are those who simply say there’s no way we can come together at all and agree on a solution to this challenge. They’ll say the politics of this city are just too broken; the choices are just too hard; the parties are just too far apart. And after a few years on this job, I have some sympathy for this view. (Laughter.)

But I also know that we’ve come together before and met big challenges. Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neill came together to save Social Security for future generations. The first President Bush and a Democratic Congress came together to reduce the deficit. President Clinton and a Republican Congress battled each other ferociously, disagreed on just about everything, but they still found a way to balance the budget. And in the last few months, both parties have come together to pass historic tax relief and spending cuts.

And I know there are Republicans and Democrats in Congress who want to see a balanced approach to deficit reduction. And even those Republicans I disagree with most strongly I believe are sincere about wanting to do right by their country. We may disagree on our visions, but I truly believe they want to do the right thing.

So I believe we can, and must, come together again. This morning, I met with Democratic and Republican leaders in Congress to discuss the approach that I laid out today. And in early May, the Vice President will begin regular meetings with leaders in both parties with the aim of reaching a final agreement on a plan to reduce the deficit and get it done by the end of June.

I don’t expect the details in any final agreement to look exactly like the approach I laid out today. This a democracy; that’s not how things work. I’m eager to hear other ideas from all ends of the political spectrum. And though I’m sure the criticism of what I’ve said here today will be fierce in some quarters, and my critique of the House Republican approach has been strong, Americans deserve and will demand that we all make an effort to bridge our differences and find common ground.

This larger debate that we’re having — this larger debate about the size and the role of government — it has been with us since our founding days. And during moments of great challenge and change, like the one that we’re living through now, the debate gets sharper and it gets more vigorous. That’s not a bad thing. In fact, it’s a good thing. As a country that prizes both our individual freedom and our obligations to one another, this is one of the most important debates that we can have.

But no matter what we argue, no matter where we stand, we’ve always held certain beliefs as Americans. We believe that in order to preserve our own freedoms and pursue our own happiness, we can’t just think about ourselves. We have to think about the country that made these liberties possible. We have to think about our fellow citizens with whom we share a community. And we have to think about what’s required to preserve the American Dream for future generations.

This sense of responsibility — to each other and to our country — this isn’t a partisan feeling. It isn’t a Democratic or a Republican idea. It’s patriotism.

The other day I received a letter from a man in Florida. He started off by telling me he didn’t vote for me and he hasn’t always agreed with me. But even though he’s worried about our economy and the state of our politics — here’s what he said — he said, “I still believe. I believe in that great country that my grandfather told me about. I believe that somewhere lost in this quagmire of petty bickering on every news station, the ‘American Dream’ is still alive…We need to use our dollars here rebuilding, refurbishing and restoring all that our ancestors struggled to create and maintain… We as a people must do this together, no matter the color of the state one comes from or the side of the aisle one might sit on.”

“I still believe.” I still believe as well. And I know that if we can come together and uphold our responsibilities to one another and to this larger enterprise that is America, we will keep the dream of our founding alive — in our time; and we will pass it on to our children. We will pass on to our children a country that we believe in.

Thank you. God bless you, and may God bless the United States of America. (Applause.)


Following is a text of President Obama’s debt-reduction speech, delivered on Wednesday at George Washington University, as released by the White House:

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. (Applause.) Please have a seat. Please have a seat, everyone.

It is wonderful to be back at GW. I want you to know that one of the reasons that I worked so hard with Democrats and Republicans to keep the government open was so that I could show up here today. I wanted to make sure that all of you had one more excuse to skip class. (Laughter.) You’re welcome. (Laughter.)

I want to give a special thanks to Steven Knapp, the president of GW. I just saw him — where is he? There he is right there. (Applause.)

We’ve got a lot of distinguished guests here — a couple of people I want to acknowledge. First of all, my outstanding Vice President, Joe Biden, is here. (Applause.) Our Secretary of the Treasury, Tim Geithner, is in the house. (Applause.) Jack Lew, the Director of the Office of Mangement and Budget. (Applause.) Gene Sperling, Chair of the National Economic Council, is here. (Applause.) Members of our bipartisan Fiscal Commission are here, including the two outstanding chairs — Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson — are here. (Applause.)

And we have a number of members of Congress here today. I’m grateful for all of you taking the time to attend.

What we’ve been debating here in Washington over the last few weeks will affect the lives of the students here and families all across America in potentially profound ways. This debate over budgets and deficits is about more than just numbers on a page; it’s about more than just cutting and spending. It’s about the kind of future that we want. It’s about the kind of country that we believe in. And that’s what I want to spend some time talking about today.

From our first days as a nation, we have put our faith in free markets and free enterprise as the engine of America’s wealth and prosperity. More than citizens of any other country, we are rugged individualists, a self-reliant people with a healthy skepticism of too much government.

But there’s always been another thread running through our history -– a belief that we’re all connected, and that there are some things we can only do together, as a nation. We believe, in the words of our first Republican President, Abraham Lincoln, that through government, we should do together what we cannot do as well for ourselves.

And so we’ve built a strong military to keep us secure, and public schools and universities to educate our citizens. We’ve laid down railroads and highways to facilitate travel and commerce. We’ve supported the work of scientists and researchers whose discoveries have saved lives, unleashed repeated technological revolutions, and led to countless new jobs and entire new industries. Each of us has benefitted from these investments, and we’re a more prosperous country as a result.

Part of this American belief that we’re all connected also expresses itself in a conviction that each one of us deserves some basic measure of security and dignity. We recognize that no matter how responsibly we live our lives, hard times or bad luck, a crippling illness or a layoff may strike any one of us. “There but for the grace of God go I,” we say to ourselves. And so we contribute to programs like Medicare and Social Security, which guarantee us health care and a measure of basic income after a lifetime of hard work; unemployment insurance, which protects us against unexpected job loss; and Medicaid, which provides care for millions of seniors in nursing homes, poor children, those with disabilities. We’re a better country because of these commitments. I’ll go further. We would not be a great country without those commitments.

Now, for much of the last century, our nation found a way to afford these investments and priorities with the taxes paid by its citizens. As a country that values fairness, wealthier individuals have traditionally borne a greater share of this burden than the middle class or those less fortunate. Everybody pays, but the wealthier have borne a little more. This is not because we begrudge those who’ve done well -– we rightly celebrate their success. Instead, it’s a basic reflection of our belief that those who’ve benefited most from our way of life can afford to give back a little bit more. Moreover, this belief hasn’t hindered the success of those at the top of the income scale. They continue to do better and better with each passing year.

Now, at certain times -– particularly during war or recession -– our nation has had to borrow money to pay for some of our priorities. And as most families understand, a little credit card debt isn’t going to hurt if it’s temporary.

But as far back as the 1980s, America started amassing debt at more alarming levels, and our leaders began to realize that a larger challenge was on the horizon. They knew that eventually, the Baby Boom generation would retire, which meant a much bigger portion of our citizens would be relying on programs like Medicare, Social Security, and possibly Medicaid. Like parents with young children who know they have to start saving for the college years, America had to start borrowing less and saving more to prepare for the retirement of an entire generation.

To meet this challenge, our leaders came together three times during the 1990s to reduce our nation’s deficit — three times. They forged historic agreements that required tough decisions made by the first President Bush, then made by President Clinton, by Democratic Congresses and by a Republican Congress. All three agreements asked for shared responsibility and shared sacrifice. But they largely protected the middle class; they largely protected our commitment to seniors; they protected our key investments in our future.

As a result of these bipartisan efforts, America’s finances were in great shape by the year 2000. We went from deficit to surplus. America was actually on track to becoming completely debt free, and we were prepared for the retirement of the Baby Boomers.

But after Democrats and Republicans committed to fiscal discipline during the 1990s, we lost our way in the decade that followed. We increased spending dramatically for two wars and an expensive prescription drug program -– but we didn’t pay for any of this new spending. Instead, we made the problem worse with trillions of dollars in unpaid-for tax cuts -– tax cuts that went to every millionaire and billionaire in the country; tax cuts that will force us to borrow an average of $500 billion every year over the next decade.

To give you an idea of how much damage this caused to our nation’s checkbook, consider this: In the last decade, if we had simply found a way to pay for the tax cuts and the prescription drug benefit, our deficit would currently be at low historical levels in the coming years.

But that’s not what happened. And so, by the time I took office, we once again found ourselves deeply in debt and unprepared for a Baby Boom retirement that is now starting to take place. When I took office, our projected deficit, annually, was more than $1 trillion. On top of that, we faced a terrible financial crisis and a recession that, like most recessions, led us to temporarily borrow even more.

In this case, we took a series of emergency steps that saved millions of jobs, kept credit flowing, and provided working families extra money in their pocket. It was absolutely the right thing to do, but these steps were expensive, and added to our deficits in the short term.

So that’s how our fiscal challenge was created. That’s how we got here. And now that our economic recovery is gaining strength, Democrats and Republicans must come together and restore the fiscal responsibility that served us so well in the 1990s. We have to live within our means. We have to reduce our deficit, and we have to get back on a path that will allow us to pay down our debt. And we have to do it in a way that protects the recovery, protects the investments we need to grow, create jobs, and helps us win the future.

Now, before I get into how we can achieve this goal, some of you, particularly the younger people here — you don’t qualify, Joe. (Laughter.) Some of you might be wondering, “Why is this so important? Why does this matter to me?”

Well, here’s why. Even after our economy recovers, our government will still be on track to spend more money than it takes in throughout this decade and beyond. That means we’ll have to keep borrowing more from countries like China. That means more of your tax dollars each year will go towards paying off the interest on all the loans that we keep taking out. By the end of this decade, the interest that we owe on our debt could rise to nearly $1 trillion. Think about that. That’s the interest — just the interest payments.

Then, as the Baby Boomers start to retire in greater numbers and health care costs continue to rise, the situation will get even worse. By 2025, the amount of taxes we currently pay will only be enough to finance our health care programs — Medicare and Medicaid — Social Security, and the interest we owe on our debt. That’s it. Every other national priority -– education, transportation, even our national security -– will have to be paid for with borrowed money.

Now, ultimately, all this rising debt will cost us jobs and damage our economy. It will prevent us from making the investments we need to win the future. We won’t be able to afford good schools, new research, or the repair of roads -– all the things that create new jobs and businesses here in America. Businesses will be less likely to invest and open shop in a country that seems unwilling or unable to balance its books. And if our creditors start worrying that we may be unable to pay back our debts, that could drive up interest rates for everybody who borrows money -– making it harder for businesses to expand and hire, or families to take out a mortgage.

Here’s the good news: That doesn’t have to be our future. That doesn’t have to be the country that we leave our children. We can solve this problem. We came together as Democrats and Republicans to meet this challenge before; we can do it again.

But that starts by being honest about what’s causing our deficit. You see, most Americans tend to dislike government spending in the abstract, but like the stuff that it buys. Most of us, regardless of party affiliation, believe that we should have a strong military and a strong defense. Most Americans believe we should invest in education and medical research. Most Americans think we should protect commitments like Social Security and Medicare. And without even looking at a poll, my finely honed political instincts tell me that almost nobody believes they should be paying higher taxes. (Laughter.)

So because all this spending is popular with both Republicans and Democrats alike, and because nobody wants to pay higher taxes, politicians are often eager to feed the impression that solving the problem is just a matter of eliminating waste and abuse. You’ll hear that phrase a lot. “We just need to eliminate waste and abuse.” The implication is that tackling the deficit issue won’t require tough choices. Or politicians suggest that we can somehow close our entire deficit by eliminating things like foreign aid, even though foreign aid makes up about 1 percent of our entire federal budget.

So here’s the truth. Around two-thirds of our budget — two-thirds — is spent on Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and national security. Two-thirds. Programs like unemployment

insurance, student loans, veterans’ benefits, and tax credits for working families take up another 20 percent. What’s left, after interest on the debt, is just 12 percent for everything else. That’s 12 percent for all of our national priorities — education, clean energy, medical research, transportation, our national parks, food safety, keeping our air and water clean — you name it — all of that accounts for 12 percent of our budget.

Now, up till now, the debate here in Washington, the cuts proposed by a lot of folks in Washington, have focused exclusively on that 12 percent. But cuts to that 12 percent alone won’t solve the problem. So any serious plan to tackle our deficit will require us to put everything on the table, and take on excess spending wherever it exists in the budget.

A serious plan doesn’t require us to balance our budget overnight –- in fact, economists think that with the economy just starting to grow again, we need a phased-in approach –- but it does require tough decisions and support from our leaders in both parties now. Above all, it will require us to choose a vision of the America we want to see five years, 10 years, 20 years down the road.

Now, to their credit, one vision has been presented and championed by Republicans in the House of Representatives and embraced by several of their party’s presidential candidates. It’s a plan that aims to reduce our deficit by $4 trillion over the next 10 years, and one that addresses the challenge of Medicare and Medicaid in the years after that.

These are both worthy goals. They’re worthy goals for us to achieve. But the way this plan achieves those goals would lead to a fundamentally different America than the one we’ve known certainly in my lifetime. In fact, I think it would be fundamentally different than what we’ve known throughout our history.

A 70 percent cut in clean energy. A 25 percent cut in education. A 30 percent cut in transportation. Cuts in college Pell Grants that will grow to more than $1,000 per year. That’s the proposal. These aren’t the kind of cuts you make when you’re trying to get rid of some waste or find extra savings in the budget. These aren’t the kinds of cuts that the Fiscal Commission proposed. These are the kinds of cuts that tell us we can’t afford the America that I believe in and I think you believe in.

I believe it paints a vision of our future that is deeply pessimistic. It’s a vision that says if our roads crumble and our bridges collapse, we can’t afford to fix them. If there are bright young Americans who have the drive and the will but not the money to go to college, we can’t afford to send them.

Go to China and you’ll see businesses opening research labs and solar facilities. South Korean children are outpacing our kids in math and science. They’re scrambling to figure out how they put more money into education. Brazil is investing billions in new infrastructure and can run half their cars not on high-priced gasoline, but on biofuels. And yet, we are presented with a vision that says the American people, the United States of America -– the greatest nation on Earth -– can’t afford any of this.

It’s a vision that says America can’t afford to keep the promise we’ve made to care for our seniors. It says that 10 years from now, if you’re a 65-year-old who’s eligible for Medicare, you should have to pay nearly $6,400 more than you would today. It says instead of guaranteed health care, you will get a voucher. And if that voucher isn’t worth enough to buy the insurance that’s available in the open marketplace, well, tough luck -– you’re on your own. Put simply, it ends Medicare as we know it.

It’s a vision that says up to 50 million Americans have to lose their health insurance in order for us to reduce the deficit. Who are these 50 million Americans? Many are somebody’s grandparents — may be one of yours — who wouldn’t be able to afford nursing home care without Medicaid. Many are poor children. Some are middle-class families who have children with autism or Down’s syndrome. Some of these kids with disabilities are — the disabilities are so severe that they require 24-hour care. These are the Americans we’d be telling to fend for themselves.

And worst of all, this is a vision that says even though Americans can’t afford to invest in education at current levels, or clean energy, even though we can’t afford to maintain our commitment on Medicare and Medicaid, we can somehow afford more than $1 trillion in new tax breaks for the wealthy. Think about that.

In the last decade, the average income of the bottom 90 percent of all working Americans actually declined. Meanwhile, the top 1 percent saw their income rise by an average of more than a quarter of a million dollars each. That’s who needs to pay less taxes?

They want to give people like me a $200,000 tax cut that’s paid for by asking 33 seniors each to pay $6,000 more in health costs. That’s not right. And it’s not going to happen as long as I’m President. (Applause.)

This vision is less about reducing the deficit than it is about changing the basic social compact in America. Ronald Reagan’s own budget director said, there’s nothing “serious” or “courageous” about this plan. There’s nothing serious about a plan that claims to reduce the deficit by spending a trillion dollars on tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires. And I don’t think there’s anything courageous about asking for sacrifice from those who can least afford it and don’t have any clout on Capitol Hill. That’s not a vision of the America I know.

The America I know is generous and compassionate. It’s a land of opportunity and optimism. Yes, we take responsibility for ourselves, but we also take responsibility for each other; for the country we want and the future that we share. We’re a nation that built a railroad across a continent and brought light to communities shrouded in darkness. We sent a generation to college on the GI Bill and we saved millions of seniors from poverty with Social Security and Medicare. We have led the world in scientific research and technological breakthroughs that have transformed millions of lives. That’s who we are. This is the America that I know. We don’t have to choose between a future of spiraling debt and one where we forfeit our investment in our people and our country.

To meet our fiscal challenge, we will need to make reforms. We will all need to make sacrifices. But we do not have to sacrifice the America we believe in. And as long as I’m President, we won’t.

So today, I’m proposing a more balanced approach to achieve $4 trillion in deficit reduction over 12 years. It’s an approach that borrows from the recommendations of the bipartisan Fiscal Commission that I appointed last year, and it builds on the roughly $1 trillion in deficit reduction I already proposed in my 2012 budget. It’s an approach that puts every kind of spending on the table — but one that protects the middle class, our promise to seniors, and our investments in the future.

The first step in our approach is to keep annual domestic spending low by building on the savings that both parties agreed to last week. That step alone will save us about $750 billion over 12 years. We will make the tough cuts necessary to achieve these savings, including in programs that I care deeply about, but I will not sacrifice the core investments that we need to grow and create jobs. We will invest in medical research. We will invest in clean energy technology. We will invest in new roads and airports and broadband access. We will invest in education. We will invest in job training. We will do what we need to do to compete, and we will win the future.

The second step in our approach is to find additional savings in our defense budget. Now, as Commander-in-Chief, I have no greater responsibility than protecting our national security, and I will never accept cuts that compromise our ability to defend our homeland or America’s interests around the world. But as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Admiral Mullen, has said, the greatest long-term threat to America’s national security is America’s debt. So just as we must find more savings in domestic programs, we must do the same in defense. And we can do that while still keeping ourselves safe.

Over the last two years, Secretary Bob Gates has courageously taken on wasteful spending, saving $400 billion in current and future spending. I believe we can do that again. We need to not only eliminate waste and improve efficiency and effectiveness, but we’re going to have to conduct a fundamental review of America’s missions, capabilities, and our role in a changing world. I intend to work with Secretary Gates and the Joint Chiefs on this review, and I will make specific decisions about spending after it’s complete.

The third step in our approach is to further reduce health care spending in our budget. Now, here, the difference with the House Republican plan could not be clearer. Their plan essentially lowers the government’s health care bills by asking seniors and poor families to pay them instead. Our approach lowers the government’s health care bills by reducing the cost of health care itself.

Already, the reforms we passed in the health care law will reduce our deficit by $1 trillion. My approach would build on these reforms. We will reduce wasteful subsidies and erroneous payments. We will cut spending on prescription drugs by using Medicare’s purchasing power to drive greater efficiency and speed generic brands of medicine onto the market. We will work with governors of both parties to demand more efficiency and accountability from Medicaid.

We will change the way we pay for health care -– not by the procedure or the number of days spent in a hospital, but with new incentives for doctors and hospitals to prevent injuries and improve results. And we will slow the growth of Medicare costs by strengthening an independent commission of doctors, nurses, medical experts and consumers who will look at all the evidence and recommend the best ways to reduce unnecessary spending while protecting access to the services that seniors need.

Now, we believe the reforms we’ve proposed to strengthen Medicare and Medicaid will enable us to keep these commitments to our citizens while saving us $500 billion by 2023, and an additional $1 trillion in the decade after that. But if we’re wrong, and Medicare costs rise faster than we expect, then this approach will give the independent commission the authority to make additional savings by further improving Medicare.

But let me be absolutely clear: I will preserve these health care programs as a promise we make to each other in this society. I will not allow Medicare to become a voucher program that leaves seniors at the mercy of the insurance industry, with a shrinking benefit to pay for rising costs. I will not tell families with children who have disabilities that they have to fend for themselves. We will reform these programs, but we will not abandon the fundamental commitment this country has kept for generations.

That includes, by the way, our commitment to Social Security. While Social Security is not the cause of our deficit, it faces real long-term challenges in a country that’s growing older. As I said in the State of the Union, both parties should work together now to strengthen Social Security for future generations. But we have to do it without putting at risk current retirees, or the most vulnerable, or people with disabilities; without slashing benefits for future generations; and without subjecting Americans’ guaranteed retirement income to the whims of the stock market. And it can be done.

The fourth step in our approach is to reduce spending in the tax code, so-called tax expenditures. In December, I agreed to extend the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans because it was the only way I could prevent a tax hike on middle-class Americans. But we cannot afford $1 trillion worth of tax cuts for every millionaire and billionaire in our society. We can’t afford it. And I refuse to renew them again.

Beyond that, the tax code is also loaded up with spending on things like itemized deductions. And while I agree with the goals of many of these deductions, from homeownership to charitable giving, we can’t ignore the fact that they provide millionaires an average tax break of $75,000 but do nothing for the typical middle-class family that doesn’t itemize. So my budget calls for limiting itemized deductions for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans — a reform that would reduce the deficit by $320 billion over 10 years.

But to reduce the deficit, I believe we should go further. And that’s why I’m calling on Congress to reform our individual tax code so that it is fair and simple — so that the amount of taxes you pay isn’t determined by what kind of accountant you can afford.

I believe reform should protect the middle class, promote economic growth, and build on the fiscal commission’s model of reducing tax expenditures so that there’s enough savings to both lower rates and lower the deficit. And as I called for in the State of the Union, we should reform our corporate tax code as well, to make our businesses and our economy more competitive.

So this is my approach to reduce the deficit by $4 trillion over the next 12 years. It’s an approach that achieves about $2 trillion in spending cuts across the budget. It will lower our interest payments on the debt by $1 trillion. It calls for tax reform to cut about $1 trillion in tax expenditures — spending in the tax code. And it achieves these goals while protecting the middle class, protecting our commitment to seniors, and protecting our investments in the future.

Now, in the coming years, if the recovery speeds up and our economy grows faster than our current projections, we can make even greater progress than I’ve pledged here. But just to hold Washington — and to hold me — accountable and make sure that the debt burden continues to decline, my plan includes a debt failsafe. If, by 2014, our debt is not projected to fall as a share of the economy -– if we haven’t hit our targets, if Congress has failed to act -– then my plan will require us to come together and make up the additional savings with more spending cuts and more spending reductions in the tax code. That should be an incentive for us to act boldly now, instead of kicking our problems further down the road.

So this is our vision for America -– this is my vision for America — a vision where we live within our means while still investing in our future; where everyone makes sacrifices but no one bears all the burden; where we provide a basic measure of security for our citizens and we provide rising opportunity for our children.

There will be those who vigorously disagree with my approach. I can guarantee that as well. (Laughter.) Some will argue we should not even consider ever — ever — raising taxes, even if only on the wealthiest Americans. It’s just an article of faith to them. I say that at a time when the tax burden on the wealthy is at its lowest level in half a century, the most fortunate among us can afford to pay a little more. I don’t need another tax cut. Warren Buffett doesn’t need another tax cut. Not if we have to pay for it by making seniors pay more for Medicare. Or by cutting kids from Head Start. Or by taking away college scholarships that I wouldn’t be here without and that some of you would not be here without.

And here’s the thing: I believe that most wealthy Americans would agree with me. They want to give back to their country, a country that’s done so much for them. It’s just Washington hasn’t asked them to.

Others will say that we shouldn’t even talk about cutting spending until the economy is fully recovered. These are mostly folks in my party. I’m sympathetic to this view — which is one of the reasons I supported the payroll tax cuts we passed in December. It’s also why we have to use a scalpel and not a machete to reduce the deficit, so that we can keep making the investments that create jobs. But doing nothing on the deficit is just not an option. Our debt has grown so large that we could do real damage to the economy if we don’t begin a process now to get our fiscal house in order.

Finally, there are those who believe we shouldn’t make any reforms to Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security, out of fear that any talk of change to these programs will immediately usher in the sort of steps that the House Republicans have proposed. And I understand those fears. But I guarantee that if we don’t make any changes at all, we won’t be able to keep our commitment to a retiring generation that will live longer and will face higher health care costs than those who came before.

Indeed, to those in my own party, I say that if we truly believe in a progressive vision of our society, we have an obligation to prove that we can afford our commitments. If we believe the government can make a difference in people’s lives, we have the obligation to prove that it works -– by making government smarter, and leaner and more effective.

Of course, there are those who simply say there’s no way we can come together at all and agree on a solution to this challenge. They’ll say the politics of this city are just too broken; the choices are just too hard; the parties are just too far apart. And after a few years on this job, I have some sympathy for this view. (Laughter.)

But I also know that we’ve come together before and met big challenges. Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neill came together to save Social Security for future generations. The first President Bush and a Democratic Congress came together to reduce the deficit. President Clinton and a Republican Congress battled each other ferociously, disagreed on just about everything, but they still found a way to balance the budget. And in the last few months, both parties have come together to pass historic tax relief and spending cuts.

And I know there are Republicans and Democrats in Congress who want to see a balanced approach to deficit reduction. And even those Republicans I disagree with most strongly I believe are sincere about wanting to do right by their country. We may disagree on our visions, but I truly believe they want to do the right thing.

So I believe we can, and must, come together again. This morning, I met with Democratic and Republican leaders in Congress to discuss the approach that I laid out today. And in early May, the Vice President will begin regular meetings with leaders in both parties with the aim of reaching a final agreement on a plan to reduce the deficit and get it done by the end of June.

I don’t expect the details in any final agreement to look exactly like the approach I laid out today. This a democracy; that’s not how things work. I’m eager to hear other ideas from all ends of the political spectrum. And though I’m sure the criticism of what I’ve said here today will be fierce in some quarters, and my critique of the House Republican approach has been strong, Americans deserve and will demand that we all make an effort to bridge our differences and find common ground.

This larger debate that we’re having — this larger debate about the size and the role of government — it has been with us since our founding days. And during moments of great challenge and change, like the one that we’re living through now, the debate gets sharper and it gets more vigorous. That’s not a bad thing. In fact, it’s a good thing. As a country that prizes both our individual freedom and our obligations to one another, this is one of the most important debates that we can have.

But no matter what we argue, no matter where we stand, we’ve always held certain beliefs as Americans. We believe that in order to preserve our own freedoms and pursue our own happiness, we can’t just think about ourselves. We have to think about the country that made these liberties possible. We have to think about our fellow citizens with whom we share a community. And we have to think about what’s required to preserve the American Dream for future generations.

This sense of responsibility — to each other and to our country — this isn’t a partisan feeling. It isn’t a Democratic or a Republican idea. It’s patriotism.

The other day I received a letter from a man in Florida. He started off by telling me he didn’t vote for me and he hasn’t always agreed with me. But even though he’s worried about our economy and the state of our politics — here’s what he said — he said, “I still believe. I believe in that great country that my grandfather told me about. I believe that somewhere lost in this quagmire of petty bickering on every news station, the ‘American Dream’ is still alive…We need to use our dollars here rebuilding, refurbishing and restoring all that our ancestors struggled to create and maintain… We as a people must do this together, no matter the color of the state one comes from or the side of the aisle one might sit on.”

“I still believe.” I still believe as well. And I know that if we can come together and uphold our responsibilities to one another and to this larger enterprise that is America, we will keep the dream of our founding alive — in our time; and we will pass it on to our children. We will pass on to our children a country that we believe in.

Thank you. God bless you, and may God bless the United States of America. (Applause.)

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