Sunday, July 22, 2018

Racism Is What Makes U.S. Wars, Pollution Invisible To Those Who Fund Them

Houdieda, Yemen September 9, 2016. © Abduljabbar Zeyad / Reuters
Racism is what makes U.S. wars around the planet largely invisible to those who fund them. We've payed to starve and bomb the people of Yemen for years now courtesy of U.S. good buddy Saudi Arabia, but who among us could find Yemen on a map?

Racism is what makes many in the U.S. label anyone with the hint of Middle Eastern origin or culture a "terrorist" when it's obvious that our government and its military (and militarized police) are the worst terrorists ever.

It's what covers for NATO when it upsets regimes that are providing for people in ways that a few years later sound like the best of times: clean water, no power outages, and health care systems intact (think Iraq here).

A scene from Gaza last week shows how Israel uses U.S. taxpayer support in the form of millions annually in military aid.

Racism is what makes most U.S. taxpayers turn a blind eye to Israel's genocidal policies in Gaza and the West Bank. Last week Israel passed an apartheid law establishing itself as a Jewish state with its capital in Jerusalem, and it issues maps wiping Palestine off the Earth -- but most here in the U.S. side with white Zionists over Arab Muslim or even Christian Palestinians.

Racism is also what makes the most dire effects of pollution and climate change invisible to those who cause them. 

Malecon, Cuba beach cleanup

The people who live in the Dominican Republic and Bua are brown and black and speak Spanish, so who cares if "their" ocean is covered with trash, right? I would say put the indigenous grandmothers back in charge but sadly Taino/Arawak people were wiped out by genocide after Columbus landed here first.

Will racism lead most polluters to continue ignoring this problem because (for now) it presents in places where the population is mostly not white?

Map from Parley for the Oceans

Most people in the U.S. cannot see racism because they are white, and they don't believe they suffer from it.

Liberals will react with horror when the annual Unite the Right rally occurs next month in Washington DC, the very heart of white supremacist government. Last year's rally in Charlottesville, Virginia (which is nearby) resulted in violence against people of color and a white counter demonstrator being killed when a white nationalist drove his car into the crowd. Afterwards, the demagogue with bad hair said from the White House that there were some "fine people" in Unite the Right.

Racism is what keeps most white people silent, and allows a vocal minority to claim their hate speech represents majority opinion.

Sadly, that's not far from true. Brown, black and Native children have been torn from their families for years, and they have inter-generational trauma to show for it. Brown, black and indigenous families continue to suffer under the militarized terror regimes our taxes support.

A lot of jokes have been made about the so-called Second Civil War coming. This video of police officers brutalizing brown children in El Paso, Texas brought that phrase to mind for me. 

I think this is what the Second Civil War will look like: heavily armed state agents battling young people who scare them by not acting scared enough.

Unfortunately, most people in the U.S. will side with the highly militarized police when the time comes. So did the Germans. And look where that got them.

Friday, July 13, 2018

U.S. Military Empire Declines As Bellicose Rhetoric Escalates

A very interesting war memorial in Brisbane, Australia combines the names and dates of wars with words expressing a range of responses. This pairing resonated with me 16 years into the NATO war in Afghanistan.

It's been strange to be abroad this summer as the reputation of my home country is tanking around the globe. The jailing of children as young as infants for the crime of seeking asylum seems to be about as low as we can go -- until we begin detaining them on military bases in Texas, a sadistic plan that appears to be in the works. 

Australians already had a pretty low opinion of us when I visited family there two years ago, but it has grown dramatically worse. I was told -- politely -- of their refusal to travel to a nation they consider a violent police state. "Your activism, are you getting anywhere with that?" I was sincerely asked. Good question.

Back stateside I find my dearest friends agonizing over the child detentions with the same intensity that I have agonized over the bombing of children terrorized day and night by weaponized drones far from the eyes and ears of most in the USA.

Add to this the bloviating demands and veiled threats of the demagogue with bad hair, now on a tour of Europe, represented by a baby blimp. NATO nations are told via twitter that "we" have been paying for "their" "defense" (or "defence" if you prefer) long enough, and they had better pony up 2% of the GDP or else. This to nations infested with U.S. military bases that, in many cases, pay no rent.

This from a nation wasting its treasure on Pentagon contracts as fast as it can borrow to do so.

If two-thirds of the pie doesn't seem like enough, consider that VA benefits and the nuclear weapons development budget hidden -- without a trace of irony -- under Energy & Environment line would bring the military's share to something approaching three-quarters. Also, debt service isn't included in this pie chart of discretionary spending.

How anyone could believe that such insanity is sustainable is anybody's guess.

Of course NATO is just one part of the U.S. military addiction. In Argentina, 60+ groups have come together to resist the building of a "humanitarian base" so named to avoid the need for approval by their legislature. As reported by TeleSUR:

The base, under the name “Emergency Operating Committee” was announced by government officials as a new office for “Civil Defense.” Construction is financed by the U.S. Southern Command and it will function near the city, “next to all the oil resources,” councilman Francisco Baggio said.  

The U.S. Southern Command of course refers to the arm of the Pentagon tasked with managing U.S. military presence in Latin America. And, as always, there is a bigger -- and more sinister -- picture.

 (U.S. Army is Back in South America video available here if it does not load for you.)

Incidentally, this video from YouTube is the first that I have seen with a helpful annotation from Wikipedia added to help you sort out fake news from real information:

If this is the caliber of the promised annotations ("Latin government" means what exactly?) I'm guessing they will not be terribly effective. Except probably with their target audience of the woefully ignorant.

Escalating threats coupled with declining influence reveals a militarized state of mind where being feared is preferable to being admired. This is not likely to end well. Globally, climate change gallops along, with hot fog in Palm Springs and unseasonable rains in tropical Queensland's dry season, an existential problem in large part caused by militarization.

My fondest hope at this point in history is that a general women's strike will develop from the packing of the U.S. Supreme Court with anti-abortion sentiment. The military-industrial (-education-media) complex could not function for a single day without the labor of women. 

Most women in the U.S. don't know or care about the brown and black victims of NATO aggression, but they will turn out in the millions if their access to safe abortion or contraception is threatened.

Hey, sometimes all it takes is a spark to bring down an empire.  The Sepoy rebellion against British colonial rule in India was touched off because of alleged beef fat on rifle cartridges intended to touch the mouths of imperial soldiers who were observant of Hindu dietary taboos.

Let's get this show on the road.