America: How It Works

illustration: Elena Caldera

“What a country calls its vital economic interests are not the things which enable its citizens to live, but the things which enable it to make war.”
– Simone Weil

“Look back over the past, with its changing empires that rose and fell, and you can foresee the future, too.”
Marcus Aurelius

The business of America is business
And its number one business is war.
It uses Hollywood to peddle its values;
To turns the world into its whore.

Very few of its citizens have the guts to say ‘boo’
Otherwise they’d be refusing to pay taxes
So, like their own media, they back war after war
And they’re turning the world into ashes.

The most dangerous country in world history
Is the United States of America,
For it endorses murder to further the basest of ends
And believes its creation by God was a miracle.

But the only miracle is its guilt-free take on the holocausts
Upon which America’s foundation has been laid:
The slaughter of twenty five million indigenous people
Swiftly followed by the North Atlantic slave trade.

America’s made no reparations for either though, over three centuries,
The second caused the deaths of a hundred million;
Then, thanks to the third holocaust in South East Asia and those more recent,
Its Empire’s body count may one day reach a billion. [1]

All thanks to America’s wars which, in the words of Alexander Berkman,
Have meant  “blind obedience, unthinking stupidity,
Brutal callousness, wanton destruction,
And irresponsible murder.”


A thousand American bases worldwide are designed
To take hold of the world’s resources;
Disguised as Pax Americana every kind of armed robbery
Is carried out by American Special Forces.


A moral retard, America also wages war on its own people
Keeping two million of its poorest in jail,
And due to its childish gun fetish it shoots thirty dead a day –
This failed, rogue state that’s beyond the pale.


An international Gallup poll taken in 2013 asked, “Which country
Do you think is the greatest threat to peace in the world today?”
The United States proved to be champion by a substantial margin.
It was top dog, but a mad dog with whom few wish to play. [2]


A plutocratic kleptocracy whose Capitol building
Is full of undemocratic multi-millionaires –
Keen for their supposed enemies to be spied on and killed
Its Congressmen gloat over sheaves of arms shares.


Congress props up the military industrial complex
And it regularly lunches with its lobbyists
Who promote arms and fossil fuels to poison the world,
‘If blood money buys our oil – why resist?’


The homeless may be despised, yet it was the despicable Wall Street
Whose sub-prime mortgages cheated them of the American Dream,
And America’s 1400 daily newspapers support America’s every war
For war’s how America’s fat cats can best lick up the cream.


But in this plutocracy the wealthy are always above the law:
Take a rich Texan teenager, Ethan Couch,
He killed four pedestrians while drunk driving but his lawyer
Pleaded ‘Affluenza’ in Ethan Couch’s defence. [3]

“A disease,” he explained, “that makes you think that you’re so wealthy
There’ll be no consequences to whatever you do.”
Couch was acquitted and, likewise, America’s large Corporations
Can behave with utter oblivion too.


One in four American Presidents trafficked and enslaved  for profit
And likewise corporate America,
With its puppet Presidents, enslaves a Third World workforce
In a system fuelled by Wall Street’s money mania.


The White House itself was built with slave labour –
Exploitation is in the very fabric of the system,
Slavery is perpetuated in all but name in America
Given its psychopathic disparities of income.


A Wal-mart employee, Jimmy Damour, was killed in a frenzied stampede
At a Wal-mart sale when its Long Island store opened.
And though Wal-mart makes trillions selling slave labour goods
It won’t pay for the life its business methods ended. [4]

The wealth gap in America is now pre-revolutionary:
Whereas those at the bottom are forced to flat-line,
The one per cent’s wealth spike shoots right off the chart
As the rich simper complacently, “It’s all mine!” 

Every day America’s schoolchildren swear their allegiance
To an ubiquitous flag and a feeble constitution,
Arousing a sick patriotism that belittles the love of others
And paves the way for American exceptionalism.


“There’s class warfare all right,” says the mega-billionaire
Warren E Buffet, “but it’s my class, the rich class
That’s making war, and we’re winning.”  – A moral bankrupt
Whose dollar bills read, “In Greed We Trust” [5]

In the same vein the billionaire venture capitalist, Tom Perkins,
Says ‘the rich ought to have more votes than some poor bum,
So if I give the government a million dollars in taxes that makes me
More important than a homeless person who’s given them none.’ [6]


Presidents are elected with some bright slogans for the credulous
Only to fall back on the state’s stalest routines:
The current President kowtows to Wall Street and to the military 
Whose wars let him kill children with drones.


“Turns out I’m really good at killing people” the President has boasted
“Didn’t know that was going to be a strong suit of mine.”
And nor did the deluded ‘progressives’ who’d voted for him
Without realising that war had always been his line. [7]


He’d said, after all, in the run-up to his election as President
That he’d quite happily attack Pakistan or Iran
“If the intelligence was right” was how he’d put it, but you could already tell
That he had a soft spot for “the military option.”

And now he’s become Lord of the Drones, the Drone Ranger;
The hyper-totalitarian ghoul;
The warmongering globalist puppet and friend to banksters;
The One Per Cent’s willing tool.

The killer robots’ number one geek.
In defending his boss’s boast
his spokesman chose deflective evasion
Merely saying  that “the President hates leaks.” [8]


But as with every other American President he has no objection
To leaking other people’s blood like a fire-hydrant.
Described as “Bush on steroids” with his bombs and his ‘kill-lists’,
On what the President achieves with mass murder he’s silent.

Three unnamed victims of the December 17 2009 strike (photos courtesy of Al Jazeera)

From the moment he stepped into office he started killing
Beginning with the massacre at al-Majala:
He ordered Cruise missiles to be fired on a Bedouin village
There was no sign of al-Quaeda, just of Obama.

Moqbil Moqbil Abu-Lukaish, relative of 28 of the 41 villagers killed in al-Majalah.

Before departure for Yemen the missiles were filled with cluster bombs,
Illegal in 109 countries but to a President that was fine,
And they killed fourteen women and twenty-one children
On December 17th 2009.

The Presidency isn’t a political office at all – instead it’s an alibi
For plutocratic serial killers; here’s Reagan’s idea of justice:
“We should declare war on North Vietnam. We could pave the whole country
And put parking strips on it, and still be home by Christmas.”
America’s Neroes fiddle in a dystopia filled with their military  toys
While they burn down foreign cities with self-righteous piety.
They congratulate themselves repeatedly upon America’s ‘freedom’
Yet their police state now penetrates every aspect of society.


America spends 52 billion a year on intelligence gathering,
Eavesdropping till it’s top-heavy with meta-data,
Yet this vast process never leads to greater self-awareness:
America pays to remain ignorant of America –


Where pacifist activists who threaten the war machine
Have bugs installed in their homes;
Where it’s illegal to serve food in the street to the homeless
On behalf of ‘Food Not Bombs’

The National Security Agency is a vast concrete slab
Four times the size of Congress
Where digital imperialists tap into fibre optics
To enable worldwide surveillance.


Thanks to programmes devoted to eavesdropping
That make Orwell’s nightmares optimistic
Backdoor access to every kind of human interaction
Can be tailored by sneaky electronics –

By programmes with sinister names such as Prism,
And Cybertrans, XkeyScore and Doublearrow –
Encryption algorhythms are sabotaged and destabilised
So that every communication will leave a shadow.


For if people are kept anxious and brainwashed about the importance
Of eliminating terror by cracking secret codes,
Then the Boys’ Own fear-mongerers get bigger and bigger budgets
To keep their busy-bodying show on the road.

Whilst the militarised economy of America,
Enriched by its arms dealing and its porn,
Does anything it possibly can to neutralise outrage
It even keeps its population legally stoned,

Hollywood celebrities dazzle it with diamonds –
The icing-sugar that does the Beast’s PR –
All serving to glamourize the Imperial machinery
And to turn the system itself into a star.


Hollywood’s war films can only be made with Pentagon approval
Since it’s the Pentagon that’ll be laying on all the gear
And if its supplying the firepower it wants the Empire’s antics
To appear heroic and to be morally in the clear.

It’s a system with blind eyes turned towards police violence;
A system whose prisons are privatized for profit,
So it’s in a money-grubbing judiciary’s interests to imprison,
Thus keeping their law and order racket in credit.



But there’s one law for police and one for civilians:
A homeless schizophrenic on the highway,
Kelly Thomas, is beaten to death with police nightsticks
Without his assailants being detained for a day. [9]

In Los Angeles eight Police Officers fire 103 times
At two unarmed women, Emma Hernandez, and her daughter, Margie Carranza,
They were delivering newspapers in the early morning
But no police are fired or even suspended. [10]


The North Carolina parents of Keith Vidal aged 18
Call 911 saying their son looks threatening.
A policeman impatiently says, “I haven’t got time for this”
And quickly shoots him rather than tazering.

An 80-year-old retired engineer is machine-gunned.
He’s unarmed and fast asleep in his bed.
Eugene Mallory was no threat to the Los Angeles police
Yet a Deputy Sheriff shoots him stone dead. [11]

So embedded and institutionalized is America’s gun culture
That George Zimmerman signs autographs at gun fairs.
He shot dead an unarmed black teenager, Trayvon Martin,
And, morbidly, he’s allowed to turn himself into a star.

According to the ‘Malcolm X Grassroots Movement’
Chronicling America’s repressive powers,
A person of colour is killed by a security officer
Every twenty-eight hours.

 Mussolini described fascism as “corporate power
Plus violence” and a militarised America
Neatly fits into the fascist dictator’s description,
Heightened by its flag-waving hysteria.

Just like the Nazis, whom Hollywood milks
As their eternal enemy number one,
America refuses to accept International Law –
Denying it’s answerable for its crimes.

Obama is accused of ‘Crimes Against Humanity’ at the International Criminal Court, November 10, 2013

It spurns the International Criminal Court
By its refusal to become a signatory,
For it knows it’d be liable for its serial crimes
And who’d be associated with atrocity?

In its torture chambers in Bagram and Guantanamo
And in its worldwide ‘rendition’ sites,
The ‘unAmerican’ is hooded, starved and beaten to death
Following sleep deprivation every night.


After 9/11 the President approved waterboarding
And prisoners being slammed into walls.
Electric shocks to the genitals yield no useful information
But the CIA’s dark side ignores all laws.

America spends half of every single tax dollar “on defense”
Though what’s meant by “defense” is really “aggression”.
Yet in three centuries it’s had nothing to defend itself against –
The main threat to it being its own lack of reason.

The United States has attacked some forty-four countries
Since August 1945
And promising “regime change”, “democracy” and “American values”
 It leaves its beneficiaries more dead than alive. [12]


In 2007 an internal Pentagon memo brazenly described
How it was “going to take out seven countries in five years
Starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan
And, finishing off with Iran.”   Its malevolence hidden in plain sight. [13]


Each White House contains a cabal of grinning King Herods
Who serially murder the Innocent
On behalf of a swaggering debtor nation armed to the teeth
Which regards criticism of America as wickedness.


The National Security Agency has a special category
For those who take America to task:
Those abroad are called “malicious foreign actors”
Just for seeing its foreign policy is unmasked.


In Korea, according to the bragging of General Curtis Lemay,
America destroyed every building taller than one story.
It killed a third of the population, turning three million people
Into bit-part players for a thuggish state’s glory.

In Vietnam America was killing 6,000 people a week
And yet America is so proud of its record
That it commemorates the fiftieth anniversary of its crimes –
It’s celebrated its odious Asian genocide.


It’s killed four million; it’s drenched the country in Agent Orange
For which it’s paid nothing in compensation
But it’s caused hereditary birth defects that have now affected
South East Asia for four generations.


While spilling 13 million gallons of chemicals over five million acres
Of Vietnam’s forests and agricultural lands
The U.S. Air Force said that the defoliants they were spraying
Were “perfectly safe…they just kill plants.”

America’s been warring against the rest of the world
In One, Two, Three and Four world wars;
World War Three was the Cold War and now it makes money
For its One Percent through World War Four.

America is putting whole countries on its Kill Lists
Moving zombie-like from victim to victim.
‘Here’s Venezuela, there’s Ukraine – we’re a superpower.
Whenever we want we can foment conflict.’


A Major Ralph Peters declares, “The de facto role of the US armed  forces will be
To keep the world safe for our economy and open to our cultural assault.” –
The American Major supports the world’s biggest outlaw
To whom nothing’s ever America’s fault.

“My own concern”, Noam Chomsky has said “is primarily the terror and violence
Carried out by my own state,
Because it happens to be the larger component of international violence.”
…And what else can that do but attract hate?


If America could be characterized as a single person
People might be tempted to call for its execution;
To bay for this pariah’s blood outside the prison gates
And to cheer at the problem’s final solution.


Its car economy pioneered interference with the world’s climate
Whose continuing change shows intelligence to be lacking
For America goes on destroying itself and others through its oil wars
And now it asphyxiates itself through its fracking.


South Texas has seven thousand fracking wells –
It’s as if the whole state is self-harming:
The water’s undrinkable, the air’s unbreathable,
And its gas pollution contaminates farming.


Through drilling, warmongering and now fracking
America is lighting the fuses
 Of the biggest carbon bombs on the planet; this ecocidal rapist
Whose every attempt at a remedy is useless.

In 2012 in Cushing, Oklahoma the President declares
That “Under my administration,
America produces more oil today than for the last eight years.”
His bragging receives cheers instead of protestation.


In Congress the standard of debate is never much higher
Than Congressman Joe Barton with his loony apology
For being opposed to taking steps to combat climate change
By employing any alternative technology.


Sitting on the House Energy Committee the Texas Congressman claimed,
“Wind is a finite resource and using wind-power would slow the wind down
And this would reduce the wind’s cooling power and cause
The temperature to go up adding to climate change.” [14]

Ricky Ray Rector’s last meal of steak, fried chicken, cherry Kool-Aid and pecan pie

If you’re white and mentally defective, then you get into Congress;
If you’re black, and on Death Row and mentally challenged
Like Ricky Ray Rector, who said he’d be keeping his dessert for later
When eating his last meal, then… then you have to be executed. 


The military industrial complex causes global warming
While mad petrol heads melt the permafrost
Rumoured to reactivate long hidden Neanderthal viruses
Meaning humanity could be wiped out and lost.


Yet sometimes the quiet voice of common sense still surfaces
Such as,  “We can’t feed the poor but we can fund a war.”
Or, “If we learn to share there will be enough for everyone.”
And, thanks to history, such voices can become a roar.


People know that no one ever rids themselves of oppression
By appealing to the morality of their oppressors,
But when a society’s dominated by warmongering billionaires
And it’s drowning in debt, then the show’s over.


The heartening cry of the Occupy Movement has been
That ‘Another World Is Possible’
And, thankfully, throughout history empires have to end
When their love of worldly power becomes laughable.


Heathcote Williams

Video and Narration by Alan Cox

Part One

Part Two



[1] James A. Lucas, ‘Deaths In Other Nations Since
WW II Due To Us Interventions’ 24 April,2007 and

[2] As the year 2013 drew to an end, the BBC reported on the results of the WIN/Gallup International poll on the question: “Which country do you think is the greatest threat to peace in the world today?”The United States was the champion by a substantial margin, winning three times the votes of second-place Pakistan…” from Chomsky: ‘America The Biggest Threat To World Peace’ 2014

[3] Denver Nicks, No Jail for ‘Affluenza’ Teen in Drunk-Driving Fatality Crash, Time magazine, Feb.5, 2014

[4] Robert D. McFadden and Angela Macropoulos, ‘Wal-Mart Employee Trampled to Death’, New York Times, November 28, 2008

[5] quoted by Ben Stein, ‘In Class Warfare, Guess Which Class Is Winning’ New York Times, Nov.26, 2006

[6] ‘Rich should get more votes’, says billionaire Tom Perkins, London: Daily Telegraph, 15 Feb 2014

[7] Mollie Reilly, Obama Told Aides He’s ‘Really Good At Killing People,’ New Book ‘Double Down’ Claims, The Huffington Post,  11/03/2013

[8] The President’s specific words: I’m “really good at killing people,” are quoted in Mark Halperin’s and John Heilemann’s study of the 2012 election,  “Double Down: Game Change 2012,” and are cited in the Washington Times, Nov. 4, 2013

[9] Adolfo Flores and Paloma Esquivel ‘Police not guilty in Kelly Thomas death; DA won’t try 3rd officer,’ Los Angeles Times, January 13, 2014|

[10] Conor Friedersdorf  ‘Once Again, Police Who Shot at Innocents Will Get Their Guns Back’, The Atlantic, Feb 7 2014

[11] Radley Balko, ‘Eugene Mallory: Another drug war casualty’, Washington Post, February 13, 2014

[12] Professor Eric Waddell,  The United States’ Global Military Crusade (1945- ), Global Research, February 2007

[13] United States Secretary of Defense memo to Wesley Clark: “Were going to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq” full story: Friday, March 2nd, 2007.

[14] That’s what wind is. Wouldn’t it be ironic if in the interest of global warming we mandated massive switches to energy, which is a finite resource, which slows the winds down, which causes the temperature to go up?







By Heathcote Williams

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One Response to America: How It Works

    1. Hi,

      That was brilliant and, if you will forgive the rather macabre pun, right on the money. I also found The Red Dagger riveting. An invaluable history lesson of which every Britain should be aware illustrated both economically and powerfully by a resonant montage and excellent narration. Thank you for your hard work it is greatly appreciated.

      Please keep up the good work.

      All the best.

      Ethan Harrison

      Comment by Ethan Harrison on 14 March, 2014 at 11:20 am

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