Valdas Anelauskas

ISBN: 0-932863-29-9 · 584 pages  1999
2nd printing 2003
Price: $20.99

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    "This is an extraordinary book, especially startling not because it is
    a diligently researched and scathing critique of contemporary
    America, but because it is written by a Soviet dissident who arrived
    here with great expectations and discovered a sobering reality.
    The scope of the book is breathtaking, a sweeping survey,
    factually precise and philosophically provocative, which deserves
    to be compared to de Tocqueville's 19th century classic. I hope it
    will be widely read."

    Howard Zinn
    Professor Emeritus, Boston University
    author of A People's History of the United States

    "Anelauskas' examination of many dimensions of current and past
    realities of the United States is a veritable tour de force. He
    avoided the usual approach to deal with these dimensions as
    separate fragments, each with supposedly separate solutions, but
    traced them to their underlying common roots in the dynamics of
    the capitalist institutions and ideology of this society and its
    culture. Teachers and students of social sciences, history, and
    philosophy will find in this book a rich source for understanding
    the forces which shape the quality of our lives and human
    relations, at home and abroad."

    David G. Gil
    Professor of Social Policy
    Director, Center for Social Change
    Heller Graduate School,
    Brandeis University

    "Valdas Anelauskas' Discovering America As It Is illuminates the
    dark corners of U.S. history and current events, and draws all the
    right conclusions. If just one-in-ten lifelong Americans had ever
    bothered themselves to learn as much about their country as has
    this recent Lithuanian immigrant, the horrors he writes about
    would never have existed. This is must reading for the entire

    Ward Churchill
    activist and author of
    A Little Matter of Genocide:
    Holocaust and Denial in the Americas, 1492 to the Present

    "Books such as this need to be read and discussed in American
    studies courses around the world to challenge us to think deeply
    about what America means to the disaffected and why everyone
    does not feel the same."Bernard Mergen, George Washington
    University in
    American Studies International.


    DISCOVERING AMERICA AS IT IS, is a monumental study of the devastating effect
    American-style capitalism was already having on the American people during the so-
    called "boom" years of the Clinton era -- even before the systemic ravages that have
    resulted from the policies of George W. Bush.   It raises serious questions not only
    concerning America’s role as a leading model for development, but even as to its
    future capacity to compete due to the deterioration of its human capital resulting from
    anti-social domestic policies.

    Anelauskas, a Lithuanian patriot and former anti-Soviet dissident, paints an
    extraordinary portrait of the America he discovered — the America as it exists for
    most Americans. While it has been argued that capitalism in Russia failed because
    the Russians "didn't know how to do it," in the United States, the veritable beacon of
    world capitalism, capitalism does not appear to be working for most people, either.
    America’s two-decades-long love affair with its free market gurus under Democrats
    and Republicans alike, gutted the body politic, leaving the American Dream of
    prosperity for the ordinary man little more than a charade the U.S. corporate, media
    and government elite successfully fronts to a credulous world.

    Twelve highly-documented chapters — on poverty, crime, health, education,
    homelessness, the deterioration of the family, income inequities and the
    replacement of welfare by workfare — detail the public disarray which results from an
    unfettered system of great wealth where the rich determine the social priorities.

    In thousands of citations, Anelauskas documents the precipitous plunge in living
    standards of American citizens, measured not only against the standards enjoyed by
    citizens in other capitalist countries in the industrialized world, but against their own
    past levels. Among the many searing results: in all categories that measure
    economic equity, citizens of all other industrialized countries generally fare better
    than do Americans.  

    This blistering reality is culled from innumerable researches by international
    organizations, domestic and international NGOs, independent U.S. think tanks,
    journalists, scholars, and even from American government sources, documented in
    over 80 pages of endnotes. While most critiques focus on one social sector or
    another, this multidimensional study brings them all together, and the impact is
    staggering. What this book enables us to grasp — intellectually and emotionally — is
    the predatory and wasteful operation of unbridled capitalism in its systemic
    dimensions, and the needless, preventable injury it wreaks upon millions.  The
    linkages between government, wealth, poverty and policy, the conflicts between elite
    interest and collective well-being, clarify as we read.

    Here are just a few of many mind-catching findings scattered liberally throughout the
    book: An American child has one chance in 432 of becoming a doctor -- but one
    chance in five of growing up illiterate. One in four Americans working full time does
    not earn enough to stay above the official poverty line. "Food insecure households"
    add up to over 34 million people. The notion that stock ownership is widespread in
    America is absolutely false -- the bottom 90 percent of Americans own 15.6 percent
    of stocks (including through mutual funds), while the bottom eighty percent only own
    three percent!

    Anelauskas’ ominous thirteenth chapter, "The New World Order Takes Shape,"
    elaborates the socio-military resources and paradigms which serve to entrench and
    extend American hegemony, as it seeks to deflect global efforts to institute the rule of
    international law, and to turn the world back to the rule of force. From the
    expropriation of Indian lands, and the exploitation of African labor, to a taste for
    empire which spread to the continental rim, then jumped across many waters in a
    hundred-year history of invasions all around the globe, culminating at last in the
    hegemonic military-economic grip on the world by what many in the Third World view
    as a Rogue Superpower -- from domestic colonialism to imperial America -- this is
    America as it is.


    Valdas Anelauskas was born into a wealthy landowning family in
    Lithuania. His father fought in the Lithuanian resistance and spent 10
    years -- longer than Soltsenitsyn --- in the Russian Gulag.. As a
    Lithuanian nationalist, Valdas Anelauskas was involved in the
    resistance movement for Lithuanian independence almost from birth.
    He was first arrested by the KGB at the age of 14, and later joined the
    broader dissident movement for human rights as an independent
    journalist in the anti-Soviet samizdat. He wrote for Radio Liberty/Radio
    Free Europe; some of his articles were also used by the London
    Times, Associated Press and others. In 1988, on the anniversary of the
    Universal Declaration of Human Rights, he renounced his Soviet
    citizenship and was ejected from the Soviet Union soon after. Upon his
    arrival in the U.S. as a high profile political dissident, Anelauskas
    initially cooperated with several right wing organizations seeking the
    collapse of the Soviet Union, among them the notorious Anti-Bolshevik
    Bloc of Nations, the World Anti-Communist League, and others. He
    addressed the 17th annual Conservative Political Action Conference as
    a featured speaker, alongside Newt Gingrich, Jesse Helms, Eliot
    Abrams, Robert Bork and other leading conservative spokespersons.
    When he discovered the elitist nature and goals of American
    conservative organizations, his association with them terminated.
    Recalling his earlier activities with shame and chagrin, Anelauskas
    now regards himself as the naive victim of American propaganda, and
    of officials of its various agencies. and institutions, who sought to
    achieve, not human rights, but power, by the Soviet demise. As in his
    days as an anti-Soviet dissident, Valdas Anelauskas remains, to this
    day, a fearless seeker of truth and a staunch defender of all human
    rights -- not simply the civil and political rights which he sought for his
    native Lithuania, but the full gamut of international human rights,
    including socio-economic and cultural rights as well. He speaks and
    writes in four languages. He lives in Eugene, Oregon, and travels
    frequently in Europe.

    Foreword by Y. N. Kly

    Introduction: My Journey to the Land of Misery and Plutocracy

    Chapter 1: The Best System the Moneyed Can Buy

    Economic Inequalities Hamstring Political Liberty
    America’s Wealth Gap Leads Industrialized World
    Rising Economic Tides Lift the Yachts, Not the Rowboats
    How Government Promotes Economic Inequality
    Balanced Budget: Unbalanced Beneficiaries
             The Capital Gains Tax
             Inheritance Taxes
    The Stock Market: The Turf of the Wealthy
    Capitalism at its Most Extreme
    Defending the Indefensible

    Chapter 2 The Tears of the Poor

    Drawing the Poverty Line
    The Threat of Poverty Has Spread Throughout America
    Comparing Poverty in America to Poverty Elsewhere
    The Poverty Trap
    The Cost of Basic Needs Escalates
    Like the Hamster in the Wheel...
    Entering an Era of Declining Hope
    The Myth of the Middle Class
    Lifetime Debts Replace Lifetime Savings
    Living on Borrowed Time
    Record Bankruptcies
    What Social Security Net?
    Living in Fear of Illness
    The Medical-Industrial Complex
    Agribusiness and Rural Despair

    Chapter 3: Lives That End At Birth

    Child Poverty Is Not an Act of God
    No Investment in Next Generation
    Preschoolers: America’s Poorest Population
    The Geography of Child Poverty
    When You Work Your Heart Out, and Your Children Stay Poor...
    Young Families in Economic Free Fall
    Hunger Haunts Children All Their Lives
    International Law and the Inalienable Right to Food
    Infant Mortality: A Social Problem With Health Consequences
    What About the Prenatal Care Rights of the Unborn?
    Bitter Fruit of the Poverty Tree
    “Medically Homeless” Children
    Usual Scapegoats Don’t Account For Bad Statistics

    Chapter 4: The Destruction of Family Values

    Promoting Family Values While Destroying Families
    Overburdened Women
    Who’s Bringing Up America’s Kids?
    Hooked on Television
    Hooked on Drugs
    Children Who Want to Die
    The Rise of the Fatherless Family
             Soaring Divorce Rates
               Children Born to Unmarried Mothers
    Gender-Based Poverty
    Teenage Pregnancy
    Abuse and Death at the Hands of Caregivers
    A Society Stacked Against Parenthood
    The Wonder of Childbirth: Just Another Disability?
    Capitalist Countries Are Not All the Same
    The Treatment of Children: A Measure of Moral Standing

    Chapter 5: The Sorry State of Education

    Learning Disadvantage Begins Before Birth
    Learning... to Live with Head Lice
    The Dumbing of America
    International Competitivity Flops
    Bad Living Conditions, Bad Grades
    Amazing Ignorance
    Immigrant Kids' Grades Sink As They Assimilate
    Underachieving, and Proud of It
    Schooling as Indoctrination
    The Boob Tube as Teacher?
    Graduating Illiterate
    Fast Food for the Mind
    Functional Illiteracy: Half the Adult Population “Pre-Modern”
    Tuning Out, Dropping Out
    Ignorant America Lags Industrialized World
    Flawed Education Plagued by Deceit and Denial
    The Flight to Home Schooling
    Teacher Incompetence: The Blind Leading the Blind
    The Advantages of “Learning Disability”
    Students Who Don’t Study
    The Education Staircase Out of Poverty: Still Climbable?
    The Repercussions of Educational Failure

    Chapter 6: Third World Housing in First World America

    Homelessness Soars Across America
    America’s Street Families Creating Homelessness
    Teetering On the Edge of Homelessness
    Rental Costs Out of Reach to Millions
    A New Nightmare in Suburban America
    Nobody Wants to House the Poor
    “Lucky Not to be Homeless”
    “Fair Market Rent" Drives Workers to Shelters
    Shelter That Kills
    What Market-Oriented Housing Means
    Future Calamity in the Making

    Chapter 7: Desperate People Do Desperate Things

    A Nation Terrorized by Crime
    Washington: The Capitol of Crime
    A Ticking Crime Bomb
    A Nation Armed to the Teeth
    Crime Just Another Way of Making It
    The Slaughter of the Innocents
    Kids Killing Kids
    Growing Up Brutalized
    Schooling in a Climate of Fear
    In Elementary School — And Armed
    Gang Violence: The Reverse Side of Powerlessness
    The Coming Tidal Wave of Juvenile Crime
    Youth Violence Random, Remorseless and — ‘Inexplicable’
    Programmed Insensitivity
    A Dysfunctional Criminal Justice System
    The Insanity of the War on Drugs
    Freed to Kill
    Criminality at the Heart of the Social System
    No Place Safe

    Chapter 8: Socialism for the Rich

    Beefing Up Welfare to Corporations
    Corporate Tax Freeloaders
    Executive Excess
    The CEO as The Terminator
    Executive Pay: The Sky’s No Limit
    Why Control Executive Pay When You Can Subsidize It?
    Free Enterprise for the Poor
    Standing Tough Against European Labor Extravagance
    A Steady Attack on the Cost of Labor
             Uncompensated Overtime
             Benefits Packed to Death
             Downsizing Health Insurance
             Nothing at the End of the Line
    American Unions: “Collective Begging”
    The American Way for Everybody

    Chapter 9: The Sinking of American Labor

    Unemployment: Fudging the Figures
    Ruthless Corporate Downsizing
    Now Skilled Workers Bear the Brunt of Unemployment
    Job Creation or Job Deflation?
    Two, Three, Many Jobs
    The End of Leisure
    Living to Consume
    Technology and the Theft of Tomorrowland
    Entering An Era of Mass Anxiety

    Chapter 10: Ending Welfare, Keeping Poverty

    Welfare as Americans Knew It
    The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act
             Assistance for Families with Dependent Children
             Dumping Aid to Disabled Children
             Attacking Benefits to Legal Immigrants
             Food Stamp Reduction: Biting Back the Crumbs
    Projecting the Consequences
    Welfare Outlives Its Usefulness to American Capitalism
    Conscience, Hypocrisy and the Clinton Administration

    Chapter 11: Workfare: Arbeit Macht Frei

    What Welfare Is in a Civilized Society
    Slavery Makes a Comeback in America
    Selling Workfare to the American Public
    How Workfare “Works” in New York
    Forcing Labor Outside Basic Employment Standards
    Government Subsidies Spur Conversion to Workfare
    Striking It Rich in the Welfare-Biz
    Out of Sight, Out of Mind
    Using Sanctions to Purge the Welfare Rolls
    Closing the Basement Door
    A Symbol of the Workfare Tragedy
    Workfare Management: Nazi Echoes

    Chapter 12: Oppressed Minds

    The Media: Successfully Fulfilling Its Prime Directive
    Demonizing the Poor / Eulogizing the Rich
    Leading the Industrialized World in Mean-Heartedness
    Social Darwinism: Cruelty in the Name of Natural Law
    Where is the Resistance?
    The Illusion of Democracy
    Elections Provide No Grip on Policy
    Two Heads of the Same Beast
    Money and the Electoral System
    Voters Abandon “Democratic Rights”
    Maintaining the Status Quo
    The Repression of Domestic Dissent

    Chapter 13: The New World Order Takes Shape

    Building Blocks: Conquered Domestic Nations
             American Indians
             Enslaved Africans
    A Taste for Empire
             Invasion, Occupation and Colonization
             Carrying the Big Stick
    The War is Over: Long Live the War
             Nuclear Weapons Forever
             Developing Alternatives to the Big Blast
             Bolstering the CIA
             Arms Sales: Maintaining the Status Quo at a Profit
    What’s Good For America is Good For the World
    America to World: Look at Iraq
             We’re Talking About Oil. Got It?
             The War of Economic Strangulation
             The Silent Holocaust
    Because We Are America
    Rogue Superpower
    America to Yugoslavia: Whatever It Takes
    Restoring the Rule of Force
    The Real ‘Future Shock