Category Archives: Empire

Incomparable Power and Wealth (415/455)

This is a good example of the sort of imperial self-mythologizing that characterizes late-stage American Exceptionalism. These remarks come from newly-minted member of the hashtag resistance John McCain on the occasion of his receipt of the Liberty Medal.

“We are blessed, and we have been a blessing to humanity in turn. The international order we helped build from the ashes of world war, and that we defend to this day, has liberated more people from tyranny and poverty than ever before in history. This wondrous land has shared its treasures and ideals and shed the blood of its finest patriots to help make another, better world. And as we did so, we made our own civilization more just, freer, more accomplished and prosperous than the America that existed when I watched my father go off to war on December 7, 1941.

“To fear the world we have organized and led for three-quarters of a century, to abandon the ideals we have advanced around the globe, to refuse the obligations of international leadership and our duty to remain ‘the last best hope of earth’ for the sake of some half-baked, spurious nationalism cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems is as unpatriotic as an attachment to any other tired dogma of the past that Americans consigned to the ash heap of history.

“We live in a land made of ideals, not blood and soil. We are the custodians of those ideals at home, and their champion abroad. We have done great good in the world. That leadership has had its costs, but we have become incomparably powerful and wealthy as we did. We have a moral obligation to continue in our just cause, and we would bring more than shame on ourselves if we don’t. We will not thrive in a world where our leadership and ideals are absent. We wouldn’t deserve to.

de Las Casas (220/455)


As we have said, the island of Hispaniola was the first to witness the arrival of Europeans and the first to suffer the wholesale slaughter of its people and the devastation and depopulation of the land. It all began with the Europeans taking native women and children both as servants and to satisfy their own base appetites; then, not content with what the local people offered them of their own free will (and all offered as much as they could spare), they started taking for themselves the food the natives contrived to produce by the sweat of their brows, which was in all honesty little enough. Since what a European will consume in a single day normally supports three native households of ten persons each for a whole month, and since the newcomers began to subject the locals to other vexations, assaults, and iniquities, the people began to realize that these men could not, in truth, have descended from the heavens. Some of them started to conceal what food they had, others decided to send their women and children into hiding, and yet others took to the hills to get away from the brutal and ruthless cruelty that was being inflicted on them. The Christians punched them, boxed their ears and flogged them in order to track down the local leaders, and the whole shameful process came to a head when one of the European commanders raped the wife of the paramount chief of the entire island.14 It was then that the locals began to think up ways of driving the Europeans out of their lands and to take up arms against them. Their weapons, however, were flimsy and ineffective both in attack and in defence (and, indeed, war in the Americas is no more deadly than our jousting, or than many European children’s games) and, with their horses and swords and lances, the Spaniards easily fended them off, killing them and committing all kind of atrocities against them.

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And We Merely Follow (415/455)

COLQUHOUN: Manifest... Destiny.
Westward Expansion.
You know, come April...
it'll all start again.
Thousands of gold-hungry
will travel
over those mountains...
on their way to new lives...
passing right... through...
We won't kill...
No... selectively.
Good God...
we don't want
to break up families.

BOYD: People are not stupid, Ives.


BOYD: You'll get caught.

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Disaster (415/455)

From Melissa Camacho, BECA faculty at SFSU:
As some of you may know, Puerto Rico is now facing a humanitarian crisis. Whatever you may see from the limited media coverage, it simply does not capture the magnitude of the situation. Currently FEMA is on the ground, but due to transportation limitations, and dealing with US government restrictions on what can enter PR without being taxed (thanks to The Jones Act), help is not reaching people fast enough. The U.S. is not granting permission for other countries to assist the island. Meanwhile, there are also still rescue efforts under way in parts of the island that up until now have been unreachable. 

If you you are willing, I am asking that you please help in two ways:

1. Please do what you can to keep the story in the media. We are struggling to compete with Trump’s NFL/North Korea/WHATEVER nonsense as well as everything else going on in the world. Social media has been instrumental, but any and all outlets that continue to cover the story, including local outlets, will help.
2. Donate. At this point it is impossible to send items. We can’t ship things en masse without having to deal with the US government, and the USPS cannot resume service at this time. It is easier to send money and have local distribution outlets handle it. Right now the two BEST places to donate (because the overhead is extremely low) are UnitedForPuertoRico (funded by First Lady Beatriz Rosselló) and the official donation site for the island. The second is Los Ambulantes, which works with all NGOs, and helps organize volunteer efforts, including animal rescue and care. Another viable option is YouCaring​ (funded by Ricky Martin), if you want to go the pop culture route. [Please note that if the links don’t work you can cut and paste them from below.]

Finally, from the bottom of my heart THANK YOU to those who continue to inquire about my family. We have intermittent communication with them, and we have been trying to fly family out (especially the 4 and 7 year old) and/or to get food/water/gas/necessities to them, but again, it is next to impossible. Myself and my family outside of PR continues to be proactive and are trying not to get desperate.

Your assistance with this is truly appreciated. Melissa

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