It’s All So Very Confusing

August 16, 2014

I don’t really know what is currently happening in Ferguson, Missouri, although it is only about 200 miles from where I live. News accounts vary, but here is what I think I know.

After days of protests over the shooting of an unarmed black eighteen-year-old, Michael Brown, by an unnamed police officer who had stopped him for walking in the street instead of on the sidewalk, met with several nights of militarized police response – including teargas and wooden bullets – calm had finally been restored by Governor Nixon finally appointing the Captain of the State Troopers for that region to handle the protests and taking away responsibility from the St. Louis County police.

Ferguson is predominantly black (two thirds of its 22,000 residents) while the police department is predominantly white (55 of the 58?) including the police chief. The captain of the State Troopers is black and grew up in Ferguson. How much that has to do with the shooting and the change in tenor of those protests, I don’t know.

Thursday’s protests were apparently peaceful, following the appointment of the Captain, who initiated damage control which included sending the County police and their military equipment away, talking to and listening to protesters and even walking with them during at least part of the marches. That was where things appeared to stand when I went to bed, Thursday night.

Sometime yesterday, (Friday) the Ferguson Police Chief held a news conference to announce the name of the police officer who had shot Michael Brown. In doing so, he praised the officer as a “gentleman” and a kind, gentle person with no complaints on his record. Then, he presented a police report of a convenience store “strong arm” robbery, occurring about ten minutes before and three blocks away from where Michael Brown had been shot, and convenience store video that showed a large, black man grabbing the cigars and shoving the convenience store employee who tried to stop him as he went out the door. The man was identified as Michael Brown, in the police report and the Police Chief said he was the suspect in the robbery.

In response to reporters’ question, he also said that the officer who shot Michael Brown did not know this at the time; he had stopped him and his friend only because they were walking in the street and “blocking traffic” and that the shooting was not related to the robbery.

When asked why he released the police report and video at the same time he released the officer’s name – even though the report and video were taken the day of the robbery and Michael Brown’s death almost a week before – he said he’d had so many FOIA request’s and reporters wanted the information.

The family of Michael Brown and the protesters were understandably angry, feeling that, although the robbery case had nothing to do with the shooting death of Michael Brown, he was deliberately being smeared as a robbery suspect while the officer who shot and killed him had been portrayed as the epitome of “Officer Friendly”. In spite of that anger, the protests throughout the day were peaceful though “boisterous”. And that’s where things stood when I went to bed last night.

By this morning, when I went online, the news reports and blogs were all over the place. Depending on whose version I read, the angry but peaceful protesters had all turned into violent looters and rioters while the State Troopers sent packing the SLC police who had turned out, in full riot gear, to contain them and allowed the looters full rein. Or, the protests continued, largely peaceful though some looting did occur and when the SLC were sent away, protesters blockaded the stores – standing with their hands raised in the “don’t shoot” pose – to block looters from getting into the stores.

I don’t know what the truth is. In videos and picture I saw both.

What I do sense, as I write this, is a shift from important questions we were beginning to ask and discuss about the increasing number of shooting, beating, tazing deaths by police of unarmed citizens – especially minorities, the homeless, the poor and the mentally ill; whether this increase was an inevitable outcome of increasing militarization of police forces across the country by the Justice department, the DOD and the DHS;  other important questions about how and why it happened and what we and our legislators could do to stop it.
 
As I read, the question seemed to have changed to whether Michael Brown was just another black thug who deserved to die even though he wasn’t shot while committing a crime and was never arrested, tried or convicted for the robbery of which he was suspected.

In other words, we and our reasonable questions had suddenly been successfully redirected and the deep discomfort we felt over what happened had been pacified once again for too many Americans by what had been presented at that press conference.

As have our concerns about what’s going on abroad between Israel and Gaza, in Syria and Iraq, between the US, EU, Ukraine and Russia and a dozen other areas where we have sown chaos abroad recently – either directly or by proxy.

We live in a declining Empire who’s political and military elite are widely aware of the threats that declining oil, economic instability and climate change represent to its hegemony. They have been increasingly militarizing our police forces since the seventies – since the peaking of our own conventional oil supply – and sowing chaos around the world by proxy or direct military intervention. After all, a declining empire must maintain disorder abroad and control at home at all cost. And it must at all cost control and redirect the questions those behaviors raise.

I know it’s all very confusing and I’m really not sure that asking the questions will change the Empire’s increasingly militant control, except temporarily. The Empire is dying; the Empire will do what it must – here and abroad- to survive and maintain that hegemony as long as possible. What asking those questions and understanding the answers might do, is keep us from tearing each other apart and help bring us together to salvage from that confusion and chaos what we can of the nation buried beneath the Empire as it continues its self-destructive decline. That’s why maintaining that confusion is so important to them and why it’s so important for us to ask those uncomfortable questions as we fight our way through it.

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Early Morning Thoughts

August 9, 2014  U.S. Geological Survey - Public domain image

This morning, I did something I rarely do on blog post day. After reading some of the morning news, I went out into the garden. While it was still in shade from the walnut tree, while the grass and straw were still wet from the showers we had this week, while it was still cool and damp and “newer” than the garden I’d walked in yesterday morning, I made the conscious decision not to break down and cry over the increasing insanity of the wider world in which the garden and I both exist.

Then, I picked the handful of ripe cherry tomatoes and checked the status of the larger Arkansas Travelers and Rutgers. Despite the similarity to that watched pot that never boils, they are slowly ripening. And I found two, perhaps three, tiny new squash budding out from previously unnoticed squash blossoms. I noted that the potato plants are beginning, one stem at a time, to wilt and turn brown, that the pepper plant and the okra plant have not yet given up on themselves and wondered how long I would have to get the little barrier (the parts of which I now have ready to staple together) put up around the broccoli and cabbage I just planted.

As the sun rose above the walnut tree and the shade crept back toward its roots, I decided I’d better go back to my desk and get busy pulling together the disparate parts of today’s post and checking out the rest of the news.

That news, of course, is pretty uniformly bad news – at least for most of us mere mortals here and around the world, though I’m sure the elite think they have everything under control.

Russia still refuses to bow the knee to its Imperial betters and their vassal states in the EU (would you prefer the term, “client” states?) despite being battered with both increased propaganda and sanctions over the MAL 17 incident – for which we have supplied not one shred of real evidence that the Russians had anything to do with it. Now, Russia is apparently ready to begin some sanctions of its own. I assume their Imperial betters and said vassal states will not take this well and the race to bigger and better measures will begin.

Israel and Hamas have declined to take advantage of extending the cease fire and trying to work something out that would actually benefit both sides and have returned to their lopsided war. Although Israel may fool itself that it is otherwise, it is, in fact, one of the vassal states of this declining Empire, too. Not a promising long-term position to be in, I fear.

The Ebola outbreak has spread to another African country and, if news reports are correct, to Saudi Arabia, now reporting one case of its own. And the Empire, in its infinite wisdom (or perhaps, its infinite hubris) has brought two of its American victims, working among the Ebola patients in Africa, home to its humanitarian bosom. The CDC assures us they can handle it. No problem. Of course, this is the same CDC that left vials of small pox forgotten in a closet for fifty years. And there are those “humanitarian” cases – the military and the big pharmaceutical companies – who could both make a killing (literally, in the case of the military) off of weaponized Ebola or vaccines from blood samples undoubtedly drawn from the two cases before they received the experimental serum treatments.

And along with the 800 military “advisors” we’ve sent to gather intel and protect our embassies in Iraq, we are back to running bombing raids there  – for humanitarian purposes only. Absolutely no combat troops, EVER, we’re assured, (while the neo-cons in Congress clamor for more “robust” action). Haven’t we seen this movie before?

I do wish I could trust the Imperial government, its military, it “free market” corporations, its military-industrial complex, its concern for all its “client” states. But. I. Do. Not.

In my 70+ years, I’ve heard it all before – the propaganda, the obfuscations, the lies. The realities underlying them do not end well. Our economy is like the sputtering old car engine that will surely turn over and take off with the next turn of the ignition key. Our muscle-bound military hasn’t had a clear-cut win in nearly seven decades. Big oil is in debt up to its eyeballs; big corporations, dependent on buy-outs and buy-ups, are fleeing the declining Empire like rats fleeing a sinking ship. Our infrastructure is in disrepair and many of our cities are simply treading water until they drown in their own debt.

We have stripped the earth of its resources, polluted our air and water, altered our weather patterns and the overall climate of the globe in our lust for global hegemony – political, financial and military.

As maintaining it becomes ever more expensive, the declining Empire is in retreat. The world knows it; our vassal states know it (even if they dare not admit it.) We would know it, too, if we listened past the obfuscations and asked the difficult questions that are outside our comfort zones.

I spend a lot of time working in the garden, finding ways to cut back on energy, learning new ways to make do. Whether any of this will help me survive the coming realities, I don’t know. All I do know is that, in those early morning hours, before the sun fully rises and the shade retreats, it beats the heck out of breaking down and crying.

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The Garden, so Far

August 2, 2014  Photo: Always nice to visit and especially nice to see your garden doing so well <3

We’ve had a run of lovely weather this summer, with hot, sunny days in the nineties followed by several cooler, cloudier days in the eighties.

Not enough rain, but I get out and run the sprinkler for an hour, two or three days a week to compensate.

The gist of all this, for those transplants that survived the hungry rabbit debacle in the backyard garden this spring: six tomato plants, two of them cherry tomatoes, which are producing quite well (though only the cherries are ripening fast enough to eat, right now); one winter squash plant that is running riot up and down the old ladders my friends gave me earlier this year and my potato plants which have blossomed, though I haven’t checked for potatoes, yet. There are two nice sized squash growing on the vine and, since it is still blooming and we have another two and a half months or so before the first hard frost, I hope to see a few more.

I have an okra plant, a transplant I found late in the season that had apparently gotten shoved behind some empty containers. I went ahead and transplanted it, hoping it would take off and produce before first frost. So far, it’s growing well, but is not big enough to produce any okra, yet. The one pepper plant that grew back is still small enough that it is being nibbled on mercilessly by the rabbit and I doubt it will survive long enough to produce.

The corn, which didn’t germinate, was from old seed. I’ll have to reorder this winter. And the early crops – except for some lettuce and spinach – along with the cucumber, summer squash and melons, went down the maw of Ming, the Merciless, even after I replanted most of it.

The little side garden, planted for friends and neighbors who visit the store next door, consists only of three tomato plants – the only starts I had left over from the back garden – but they seem to be producing as prodigiously as those in the backyard, so I’m hoping, as they begin to ripen, friends and neighbors will help themselves and will, (yes, I’ll encourage them to do so with a small sign) save the seeds for their own tomato patch next year.

Tomorrow and Monday, I’ll weed-whack the grass, growing in the garden and add it to the straw in the section where the corn and melons should have been. I found a roll of garden fencing with a much finer mesh that the wire fence that surrounds the larger garden. I should be able to fence in that section with a little fence that’s high enough to protect from the rabbit a planting of cabbage and broccoli for this fall, along with some lettuce and spinach, and still be low enough for me to reach over and tend them as necessary. Here’s hoping.

It’s also time to clean the earth boxes and other containers for whatever I decide to plant this winter in the house. As things ripen and are eaten from the garden, it will be time to start saving seeds for next year. And when everything from the backyard garden is picked, eaten or stored, it will be time to add some compost and a fresh layer of straw to protect the garden this winter and prepare it for next spring.

As I’ve said before, I’m not a master gardener, but I am persistent. My garden isn’t large and, as with most gardeners, it’s subject to all the whims of nature and its various critters and crawlers, but it gives me a good deal of pleasure and endless new lessons as well as food for body and mind. I hope I can convey that pleasure on the blog and encourage those who – like me – are still novices, to be equally persistent.  And that’s the state of my garden, so far.

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Israel and Gaza

July 26, 2014  http://i1.ytimg.com/vi/h9Q_8ZrYku4/hqdefault.jpg

Since I am sometimes an opinionated old lady and this is my blog, right off the bat I will tell you that, in my opinion, what is being done in Gaza (and has been done, periodically and fairly methodically) by the Israeli government is not self-defense, but the slow murder of the Palestinian people. We are told that they are targeting Hamas and other military targets with precision bombing – pinpoint precision is the term, I believe, that has been bandied about – and not targeting civilians. We are also told that, of the 900+ Palestinian dead (as of this morning), over eighty percent are civilians – mostly, women and children. So, in my opinion, either their targeting is neither pinpoint nor precise, or they are deliberately targeting civilian populations.

As I said, this is my opinion. You, dear reader, are free to disagree. You are even free to post your opinion in the comments section – respectfully. If you do otherwise, or if you appear to just want to start an argument, I will remove both your post and the ensuing argument.

Having said that, I would like to continue this post with some information for your consideration that is not just my opinion, but historical facts – some of which, as a person approaching seventy-four, I remember from events taking place during my own life. I have spent a lot of time this last two weeks reviewing that history from various sources, following references, etc. to determine the accuracy of both what I remember from my childhood and the history I was taught or read for myself through the years.

*****

Being Jewish and Following Judaism

A Jew can be a physical Jew (born to a Jewish mother – Orthodox – or father if the child opts for Jewish identification – Reform) or a religious Jew (follows or converts to Judaism if not born a Jew). If you have/had only a vague understanding of “Jewishness” as I did, it’s well worth doing some reading at this site. A more detailed explanation (as well as a good deal of information about their history, etc.) can be found here http://www.jewfaq.org/whoisjew.htm or here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judaism

Zionism

Zionism is a secular political movement founded in the latter part of the 1800s to advocate for a Jewish homeland in what was then Palestine. Although there is a religion branch of Zionism, Judaism and Zionism are not synonymous. One is a political movement based on the desire for a homeland for the Jews one is a set of religious beliefs that guide the Jewish faith. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zionism It’s important to make that distinction, because most Palestinian resistance to “Israel” was, at least initially, to the Zionist politicians and settlers that, especially after the division of Palestine into the areas that were intended to become the two states of Palestine and Israel, they felt were determined to crowd them out of ever more of that territory that had been designated for them. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balfour_Declaration_of_1917http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Palestine

History of Palestine and Israel

Much of what I was taught as a child about Israel and Palestine, indeed much of what I learned while growing up, was based on the Biblical accounts. But there are other historical accounts based on both the Jewish Talmud and other non-religious Jewish accounts as well as both biblical and secular archaeological evidence.

A good deal of what I read on my own, over the years, challenged some of those religious accounts. And, in looking through information on the internet – to refresh what I’ve read, or remembered from events that occurred during my lifetime – a good deal of it is frankly biased to one or the other of the two populations. So I’ll give you pertinent references in Wikipedia (which I found to be fairly unbiased) and you can read what you want of the histories presented there and follow what citations you find to your interest. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Palestine http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_ancient_Israel_and_Judah

But, Linda, the Palestinians Are Terrorists

It’s often been said, that one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter. Most “terrorist” groups don’t think of themselves as terrorists, though they certainly use terror and violence as a means to an end. It is usually the nations or Empires they are reacting against (and their allies) who designate them as such. And you may be surprised to learn that this is as true for the Jewish groups of “freedom fighters” leading up to the recognition of Israel as a state in 1948 as it has been for the various Palestinian groups – including Hamas – that have led to the current crisis in Gaza. I remember when the various groups in the Jewish Resistance Movement – especially Irgan and Lehi, but also Palmah and Haganah – were considered terrorists and declared so, by the UN, Britain and the US. This was especially true after the bombing of the British Headquarters in the King David Hotel – which I also vividly remember from news paper accounts in 1946. (Yes, I was a very precocious and voracious reader from the age of four and a half years.) Yet, it forced Britain to withdraw from the Palestine Mandate and two years later, Israel was declared a state – which I also vividly remember.

So, again, I will just refer you to a couple of Wikipedia articles and an archival letter from Albert Einstien and other Jewish scientists to the New York Times and let you follow where you may. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zionist_political_violence http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palestinian_political_violence https://archive.org/details/AlbertEinsteinLetterToTheNewYorkTimes.December41948

*****

As someone who was raised a Christian, I was taught about the plight of the Jews and well remember the great rejoicing among my and other Christian families when the State of Israel was born. I remember the sick horror I felt as a child, seeing the pictures from and reading the articles about the concentration camps of the Nazi Holocaust. Even when I became an Atheist, I never questioned the veracity or the horror of those events. I do not question them now.

I do, however, question as propaganda much of what the US and the government of Israel put out about what is going on in Gaza these days and what has gone on in the contemporary Palestinian territories for quite some time, now. And it horrifies me, in the same way the Holocaust did, to see the Israeli government (and some individual Israeli Jews) carry out a similar, if smaller, extermination of Palestinian civilians or rejoice over it. I cannot accept that “Never Again” is justification for such behavior from the recognized government of a people I was taught to respect and rejoice with over the founding of their homeland, after their own long and terrible history.

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Malasian Air Flight 17

July 19, 2014   

The terrible crash of Malaysian Air Flight 17, last Thursday, has been made worse by the increasingly obscene behavior of some in our own government and press – from the President’s almost non-stop comments that this lies squarely at the feet of Russia for Putin’s meddling in Eastern Ukraine, (damn, has he looked in the mirror lately?) to the opinion piece by David Remmick in the New Yorker, yesterday in which, after two paragraphs of suppositions and innuendoes, he says :http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/comment/2014/07/putin-and-the-crash-of-malaysian-airlines-flight-17.html
“But let’s stop here and register the proper cautions and caveats: There has been no investigation, no conclusive proof. (And there won’t necessarily be a proper and convincing investigation, either, considering the deliberately chaotic and militarized state of eastern Ukraine these days, and Russia’s clear interests.) We shouldn’t pretend to know for certain what we don’t.”

Then, he goes on for the next dozen or so paragraphs to pretend just that.

It’s a hard thing for this old Liberal to confess, that the most non-inflammatory thing I read on the internet Thursday was an AP article on foxnews.com http://www.foxnews.com/world/2014/07/17/airliners-that-have-been-shot-down/# which consisted of a simple statement about how, as unthinkable as the shooting down of a commercial airliner was, it had happened before and a list of eight examples, (all of which I remember from the last forty years).

Of course, our meddling in Ukraine over the last eight or so years – including the recent meddling in the coup that started this war- serves our own interests just as much as it does Putin’s, so it would behoove us to ask, in the midst of this propaganda blitz of Putin-blaming, whether the tragic downing of this plane doesn’t also serve our own interests as much or more than his.

After all, as Paul Craig Roberts points out near the end of one of his pieces, “Among the reports or rumors there is one that says Putin’s presidential plane flew a similar route to that of the Malaysian airliner within 37 minutes of one another. This report has led to speculation that Washington decided to rid itself of Putin and mistook the Malaysian airliner for Putin’s jet. RT reports that the two airplanes are similar in appearance.” http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2014/07/17/sanctions-airliners-paul-craig-roberts/

With President Putin having just met with the other BRICS members to set up their own development bank and currency reserve, in challenge to the US dominated World Bank and International Monetary Fund, wouldn’t the declining Empire take seriously this threat to its hegemonic grip on world trade?  We certainly did in Libya.  And it was at least one of the reasons we took out Saddam Hussein.

With our own CIA “advising” the Kiev government (which also has the Russian made missile batteries rumored to have brought the plane down) in its war with Eastern Ukraine, might it not be in the Empire’s “national interests” to try and take out Putin by such a false flag operation and accidentally bring down the wrong plane?

I feel certain that the Russian media are just as busy pointing this out to their people as ours and our European allies are busy pointing out the contrary view to the world.

So we can see how easy it is to play this vile game of accusation and innuendos over the bodies of the victims of that terrible crash, even before the crash scene stops smoldering. It certainly wouldn’t be the first time one of our Presidents used such a tragedy for propaganda gain. (President Reagan did just that, with the shooting down of the Korean airliner by a Russian fighter jet in 1983 – even though we knew it was accidental, from our own intelligence gathered at the time.)

Aside from the unbelievable cruelty of such games in regard to the families and friends of the crash victims, there are broader consequences. There is a real war going on in the Ukraine, instigated as much by us as by Russia. And whatever happened in the crash of MAL Flight 17, real people who had nothing to do with that war died as a result.

The declining Empire, in it mad frenzy to retain world hegemony, has – despite promises to the contrary – pushed NATO and its missiles right up to the borders of Russia in country after country. It and its NATO allies have destroyed one country after another in North Africa and the Middle East.

We are in overreach economically, militarily and financially. At some point, all this hubris will catch up with us. We will make another costly mistake, as we have in Syria, Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan and, perhaps, Ukraine/Russia. We can only throw so many oil and resource rich countries into chaos before the cost to us and our allies is too great.  When it is, let us hope the scramble to be on top of the heap over what’s left doesn’t result in WW III.

And let us hope the propaganda war we’ve instigated over MAL 17 isn’t a new step down that very road.

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The Unpeopled

July 12, 2014   http://i1.ytimg.com/vi/h9Q_8ZrYku4/hqdefault.jpg

The world rushes into madness again as the crumbling Empire which designates itself indispensable becomes, in fact if not in its fictions, dispensable and the exceptional people who rule the Empire and its vassal states around the world become, in their vanity and greed, unexceptional.

And the rest of us? We who are not exceptional people? Depending on where we are on the Empire’s enemies list – whether Palestinian, East Ukranian, Syrian, Libyan, Russian, Chinese or just children fleeing across our borders to escape the violence in their home countries – we are discounted, denigrated and dehumanized. Even our allies are not immune. (Remember how French fries suddenly became Freedom fries when the Empire felt France was not subservient enough in our foray into Iraq?)

As John Pilgar pointed out his Counterpunch article, today, http://www.counterpunch.org/ we are, everywhere, propagandized into “unpeople” by our leaders and a compliant media.

“We?” you might say. “Not us. We’re Americans. We’re too exceptional.”

Are you sure? Read through some of the twenty or so pages of articles at Police State, USA http://www.policestateusa.com or similar sites on the internet. Or just read your daily newspaper without the jaundiced eye.

Right now, it’s the poor or homeless, the mentally ill, the handicapped, the elderly poor, minority poor, petty criminal or juvenile offender who – even though crime rates overall are down – are everywhere unpeopled in the Empire as police become more militarized and everyone who has never really been one of “us” becomes a suspect.

And have you noticed how as the Empire declines, it becomes more paranoid here at home? Everyone becomes a potential enemy, everyone becomes a possible terrorist to be spied on in our communications, or groped or detained or put on lists as we go from place to place to carry out our business.

We are even encouraged to see each other as enemies – Democrats when Republicans are in power; Republicans when Democrats control the government; Muslim- Jewish- Christian- Atheist-American, teacher, student, pastor, penitent, gay, straight, black, white, brown – anyone who might not resemble “us” in some manner, great or small.

Look a little closer, because even people we once thought were members of “us” have now been declared traitors and unpeopled –Manning, Snowden, Swartz among an increasing number who have sacrificed to bring us the unvarnished truth. Now, even a few main stream reporters like Risen have made the list of unpeople. We are all slowly being unpeopled to each other by an Empire terrified of its own citizens.

This is what almost always happens when empires fall. Those countries who threaten the Empire in some way, who decline to bend to its will in some manner, are declared enemies and unpeopled first.

Next, those who have allied with the empire, but disagree with or resist some policy that is untenable or damaging to them are unpeopled – perhaps temporarily, but more permanently the longer they are seen to threaten the “national interests” of empire as the decline accelerates.

Finally, the empire begins to devour itself from within – the poor and vulnerable are first, then the middle class and petty bureaucrats, followed by the wealthy, the political class, the military and the ruling class until at last the sheer weight of unpeople within and without bring it and its civilization to a bloody end.

Each day that we believe the propaganda, each day we choose to fear, each day we unpeople another group of our fellow human beings, we bring that fate closer.

We become the unpeople and that which we feared will have come upon us.

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The Faces of War

July 5, 2014

Yesterday was Independence Day here in the United States – the day we celebrate our Declaration of Independence from England, 238 years ago. I didn’t celebrate it; I haven’t celebrated it for years; I can’t imagine that I will ever celebrate it again in my lifetime.

The nation born from that declaration and the subsequent war of independence died long ago in the hubris of bloody empire and (whatever else we may tell ourselves) its corporate resource wars.

Whether they are fought by direct military intervention, such as Afghanistan and Iraq, or by proxy, such as in Libya, Syria and, currently, Ukraine, the outcome is always the same – shattered lives, shattered countries and a mad rush by our corporations and the elite of Empire to grab the resources and protect the profits.  

I used to believe that we, the people could change all that; I no longer do. The Empire is dying and, in its death throes, is becoming as dangerous to us as it has been to the rest of the world. It doesn’t matter whether we are Democrats or Republicans, Tea Party, Libertarian, Green or Independent. We are increasingly spied upon, ignored by our “representatives”, and every movement toward an alternative put down as soon as it is perceived as a threat to Empire. Our domestic police have been, everywhere, militarized by our own government and neighbor turned against neighbor to keep us fractured and fearful.

For the most part, we are sheltered from the consequences of those wars, (unless you are among the unlucky who have died, been wounded or lost loved ones among our own casualties in the Empire’s wars.) Our own dead and wounded are touted as heroes, fighting to protect our freedom and democracy, while the others are denigrated as enemies who hate us for our freedoms, their dead civilians dismissed as mere collateral damage. We are urged to fulfill our patriotic duty, not by sacrifice but by buying an endless supply of trinkets – made, of course, by the spoils of those wars – even if we have to go in debt up to our eyeballs and shop until we drop. We are rarely allowed to see the real face of war; that would be too discomforting.

But I want to discomfort you. That’s why I’ve scattered their pictures throughout this blog post, so you’ll have a harder time ignoring them. It doesn’t matter which war they’re from, whether it’s our soldiers or their civilians, the faces are all the same. The dead are all the same. The horror, the pain, the anger, the war weariness, It’s All The Same.

The Empire is fighting a proxy war in Ukraine; we have begun to re-engage in Iraq (where no one I know thinks that we will stop with “advisors” or embassy protection because their oil is too important to the Empire). At some point in these grabs for diminishing resources, theEmpire will over reach.                  

Whether we attack the wrong country, the rest of the world gets tired of suffering the effects of our resource grabs and WW III begins, the imperial government has to maintain control at home, or a crazed “patriot” militia makes their own power grab and starts another civil war here. As the Empire declines, the blow-back will come home.

Look carefully at these faces because, sooner or later, the faces of war will be our faces.

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