Saturday, May 26, 2012

A poem for Memorial Day...A poem for Peace…DEAR AMERICA

Veterans give the peace sign before symbolically throwing their medals away. They were fenced out of proximity to the NATO summit going on nearby, so they threw the medals in that general direction. Photo credit: Daily Mail, UK via Veterans Today website.
Few things are more moving than the heartfelt regrets of military veterans who are facing up to their role in the violent oppression of other people in the name of patriotism. By most accounts, the returning of medals by IVAW and other vets during the recent no NATO protests in Chicago was powerful. (Good coverage here on Democracy Now! in addition to Reuters and other mainstream press.)

This poem was written by Peggy Akers, co-president of Maine's William Ladd Chapter of Veterans for Peace. She gave me permission to share it here after her reading at the Pax Christi annual assembly at USM on May 5:

A poem for Memorial Day… A poem for Peace….


Remember me?

I was the girl next door.

Remember when I was 13, America, and rode on top of the fire engine in the Memorial Day parade? I'd won an essay contest on what it meant to be a proud American.

And it was always me, America, the cheerleader, the Girl Scout, who marched in front of the high school band . . . carrying our flag . . . the tallest . . . the proudest . . .
And remember, America, you gave me the Daughters of the American Revolution Good Citizen Award for patriotism, and I was only sixteen.

And then you sent me to war, America, along with thousands of other men and women who loved you.

It’s Memorial Day, America. Do you hear the flags snapping in the wind? There's a big sale at Macy's, and there's a big parade in Washington for the veterans.

But it's not the American flag or the sound of drums I hear - I hear a helicopter coming in - I smell the burning of human flesh. It's Thomas, America, the young Black kid from Atlanta, my patient, burned by an exploding gas tank. I remember how his courage kept him alive that day, America, and I clung to his only finger and whispered over and over again how proud you were of him, America - and he died.

And Pham….. He was only eight, America, and you sprayed him with napalm and his skin fell off in my hands and he screamed as I tried to comfort him.

And America, what did you do with Robbie, the young kid I sat next to on the plane to Viet Nam? His friends told me a piece of shrapnel ripped through his young heart - he was only seventeen - it was his first time away from home. What did you tell his mother and father, America?

Hold us America . . .

Hold all your children America. Allen will never hold any- one again. He left both his arms and legs back there. He left them for you, America.
America, you never told me that I'd have to put so many of your sons, the boys next door, in body bags. You never told me . . .
AAuthor Peggy Akers is  a dedicated peaceworker and an active organizer with both Veterans for Peace and Occupy Maine.

Veteran Vince Emanuele returned his war decorations to NATO and explained how he sees the connection between veterans and the Occupy movement:
I served with the United States Marine Corps. First and foremost, this is for the people of Iraq and Afghanistan. Second of all, this is for our real forefathers. I’m talking about the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. I’m talking about the Black Panthers. I’m talking about the civil rights movement. I’m talking about unions. I’m talking about our socialist brothers and sisters, our communist brothers and sisters, our anarchist brothers and sisters, and our ecology brothers and sisters. That’s who our real forefathers are. And lastly—and lastly and most importantly, our enemies are not 7,000 miles from home. They sit in boardrooms. They are CEOs. They are bankers. They are hedge fund managers. They do not live 7,000 miles from home. Our enemies are right here, and we look at them every day. They are not the men and women who are standing on this police line. They are the millionaires and billionaires who control this planet, and we’ve had enough of it. So they can take their medals back.

Afghan victim of drone attack (Source: No to War)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Blair Heckled At Graduation Story Goes Viral Globally

Source: photo by David Leaming "Choose A Cause" Waterville Morning Sentinel 5/21/12

Tony Blair, the British PM who lied his country and NATO into attacking Iraq in 2003, was in Maine May 20, 2012. A group of us confronted him at Colby College's graduation.
Source: "Tony Blair At Colby College: 'Are We An Empire That's Fading'" Hunter Stuart Huffington Post
Links to the news coverage:
UK/Ireland “But, while he has long been dogged by demonstrations in Britain carrying out stunts like trying to arrest him, it is the first time his appearances in the U.S. have been hijacked by protesters.” [My note: Actually, Blair was protested at Stanford University on May 18.]

other international


New Zealand



Tony Blair Topics Page -
Heckled: Four protestors shouted at former Prime Minister Tony Blair as he delivered the graduation speech at Colby College in Maine Other protestors stood by ...


best tv coverage

Maine Public radio uses the pejorative term marred:

Several people took exception to our disturbance of commencement ceremonies at Colby, including the brother of one of the graduates. Here was my reply to his thoughtful and civil response to my blog post about the action:

Thank you for your critique of the disruption I helped cause at Colby College when Tony Blair spoke at your brother's graduation. I gave considerable thought to whether I was comfortable with intruding rudeness into a well-earned celebration for the graduates and their families and friends. I was not entirely comfortable doing it, but I do not regret the decision I made.

It's interesting that your criticism centers on concluding that I wanted to draw attention to myself, personally. For more on how much I have had to overcome my upbringing in order to do the political advocacy work that I now do, you could read my short statement about that on the Smithsonian Institution's website:

It was very tempting to stay at the lake with my family and not make the effort. In the end, seven of us did, and it resulted in press coverage far beyond my wildest dreams. Getting the message that we must hold those who wage wars of aggression accountable out all over Europe, Iran, New Zealand, Australia, Ghana, and to scores of U.S. media outlets was the goal. It wasn't about me at all.

What I particularly liked was that there was mention made of war crimes, globalization, the Bring Our War $$ Home campaign, the Occupy movement, and environmental and economic concerns in one or more of the articles. These issues are all connected, and we ignore them at our peril.

Sometimes it isn't nice to protest, or to hear protests; probably institutions should give more careful thought to what kind of public figures they chose to showcase, their moral character and their track record presumably standing as a role model to the young being educated at college.

A woman I respect very much contacted me after Sunday's disruption and said, “Thanks for being the voice for the voiceless.” R.I.P. the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who died because of Blair's lies.

Lisa Savage

Monday, May 21, 2012

People in Chicago Chanting "More war? Hell no! F*** you, NATO!"

Source: Chicago Tribune

Yesterday Janet Weil of CODEPINK reported on what she had seen on the livestream from Chicago where thousands are gathered to protest a summit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. NATO projects violence on Afghanistan and so many other places that aren't even remotely near the north Atlantic region.

Janet was gratified to see more people, and younger people, turning out to protest ongoing NATO wars of aggression. She said at times in the past it felt like all of six people in the US were actually paying attention to the decade+ long war in Afghanistan.

When the Occupy movement broke out last September, it was economic injustice that drove the 99% into the streets with their creative messaging. We anti-war protesters had crowd envy. We joined in eagerly and chanted: "How do we fix the deficit? End the wars, and tax the rich."

Now comes Chicago in May, 2012. Originally both NATO and the G-8 confab of super wealthy nations were to converge in Chicago ("To practice using their militarized policing methods," says my husband) but the G-8 decided to head to secluded Camp David in Maryland instead.

One of the big marches yesterday was to the venue where the president's wife was hosting other NATO leaders' spouses at a posh meal. Hey 1%, do you hear us calling you out?

It would take a long time to describe everything that people are protesting against when they turn out against NATO. Here's just one example from Financial Times:

 Nato seeks orderly Afghanistan exit
Barack Obama warned of “hard days ahead” in Afghanistan on Sunday as Nato leaders meeting in Chicago tried to plot a path out of the country that does not open the way to civil war.

After meeting Hamid Karzai, his Afghan counterpart, the US president talked about a new situation after 2014 when “the war as we understand it is over” but where the US and Nato would remain partners of Afghanistan.
Photo source: JT Scott on Facebook.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Why I Heckled Tony Blair, War Criminal, at Colby College Graduation

If you woke on a beautiful spring Sunday in May on a pond in Maine, what would you do? A canoe ride on water as smooth as glass, and breakfast on the deck, perhaps -- followed by disrupting international war criminal Tony Blair at Colby College graduation in Waterville!
Photo: Steve Demtriou
Who knew our protest would lead news coverage of the ceremony? (Washington Post, WGME, Houston Chronicle, and Daily Mail, to name a few.)
Source: War Crimes International, Tony Bliar
With the BLAIR IS A WAR CRIMINAL sign I scrawled hastily in pink lipstick, we approached the back row of the outdoor ceremony where the former British PM, who lied about WMDs in Iraq and has the blood on his hands of thousands of innocent civilians, was to speak.

Before we even made it off the street we were approached by a man from Vermont who said, "Thank you for being here. I was disgusted that Colby would invite such a slimy speaker for graduation this year." (More of the disgusted were heard from in Op-Ed News and the local newspapers.)

As we stood holding our signs and quietly listening to graduates give a prayer and then a speech, we were approached by Colby College security guards who told us to keep quiet or else we'd be asked to leave.
Photo: Steve Demtriou
When the introduction for Blair began I waited for a pause and then called out "Tony Blair is a war criminal! He should be arrested. He lied us into war in Iraq. He's a war criminal!"

Just then I was grabbed by my arm and turned to find myself staring into the badge of Waterville's Chief of Police Joe Massey, who told me I had to leave. I told him he really shouldn't have his hands on me, and wriggled free. A couple of Colby security guards and a few more uniformed police scurried up and the guards said they had warned us that we had to be quiet to stay. We were now told if we didn't leave we'd be arrested, so my husband and I decided to go back to our car.

Ridgely Fuller stayed behind to call out "War Criminal!" once again as Blair approached the podium. She, too, was asked to leave. She carried a Draw-a-thon image by artist Brian Reeves:

Because both of us had CODEPINK on our sign and banner, the Associated Press report picked up this nugget, ostensibly a quote from Waterville police (which I very much doubt):
Protesters carried signs saying "Code Pink," a grassroots peace and social justice movement working to end U.S.-funded wars and to challenge global militarism, police said.
Lawrence Reichard stayed behind to call out "warmonger" and more, and when he refused to leave, was arrested. We know Lawrence from Occupy Bangor, and I've seldom seen a happier mug shot than the one of him released by the Waterville Police Department and carried by news outlets in the US and the UK:
Source: "Tony Blair heckled during graduation address at Maine college" The Guardian
As we walked back to our car our escort had dwindled to two Colby security guards. I asked one of them if he supported what had been done in Iraq, killing thousands or maybe even a million women, children, and other civilians.

He said he didn't have any opinion about that. "I'm just doing my job," he told me.

I said that was the defense used by German soldiers during the trials of Nazis after the war, that they were just doing their job. I asked him if he ever studied history and he said no, so I suggested he might want to look up the Nuremberg trials sometime.

As he gave us our final warning that we'd be arrested if we tried to come back,  it was just as Ridgely caught up to us. I told him, "We are civil disobedients. We've been arrested before, like at the White House."

His eyes lit up. "Really? You mean the one just the other day?"

Another thing that made me think he was kind of sympathetic to our side was when I had asked my husband, "Why do you think Colby chose such a creepy speaker for their commencement?" the young security guard commented, "Yeah, Bates [another Maine college] got Robert DeNiro."
Photo: Steve Demtriou
As we left the campus I saw an acquaintance who works at Colby, in a pretty dress, standing obediently off to one side.

I feel that the passivity and complicity of US citizens in the dirty dealings of NATO and its member nations, blindly paying federal taxes every year to fund the slaughter of innocents, afraid to protest, afraid to rock the boat for fear of job loss or being seen as impolite, is actually the biggest threat to global security.

And that's why, as my compatriots were protesting the disgusting spectacle of the NATO summit in Chicago this weekend, I disrupted Colby College's graduation ceremony.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

War Dollars Flow in Wash DC -- While Maine's Poor Get a Whole Lot Poorer

I work with low income youth in the most low income county in Maine. Our guidance director asked a young man how she could help him be more successful in school a couple of years back. He requested a space heater, because he was living in an unheated garage while attending high school and trying to write a novel. That year she had a college professor ask what percentage of students at our school she considered to be "at-risk" and she replied "All of them."

Even those we would consider middle class are one layoff or illness away from financial collapse. There are a few small business owners that constitute the affluent, and almost no professional class at all. Such people move away from our area, and nearly all the manufacturing jobs left for offshore tax havens years ago.

So it was with bitter irony that, on the day the U.S. House of "Representatives" considered spending $642 BILLION on "defense" next year, and a "GOP budget package [that] would cut $36 billion from the food stamp program by reducing benefits and tightening eligibility, $23.5 billion from Medicaid and children's health care, $4.2 billion from hospitals that serve the poor and uninsured, and $2.8 billion from a program that helps homeowners facing foreclosures," Maine's governor rushed to sign into law a budget with these provisions:
 o     Eliminates MaineCare coverage for another 14,500 low-income working parents (those with income between 100-133% FPL). As part of a compromise earlier this session, the legislature already voted to eliminate coverage for 14,000 working parents between 133-200% FPL.  This would double the amount of parents who will have coverage stripped from them and targets parents who are struggling with even fewer resources. 
Cuts to many programs supported by the Fund for a Healthy Maine, including:
o   Cuts $2M of funding for Head Start, which means that 216 very young children will no longer have access to Head Start and the vital supports it provides to these children and their families. Head Start is an investment in these children's future, as it provides early care and education, as well as health, nutrition, mental health, social and family supports;
o  Cuts nearly $2M of funding for the Child Care Subsidy Program.  This will lead to a deep cut in the availability of child care vouchers for families with incomes below 250% FPL and will negatively impact 1,400 children. The child care subsidy program helps parents with low income to afford the child care they need in order to work;
o  Eliminates funding ($2.6 M) for the Maine Families Home Visiting Program, which will eliminate vital services for Maine's most vulnerable infants and children.  Approximately 750 families will lose services focused on family substance abuse, domestic violence, prevention of abusive head trauma, and the health and safety of children;
 o  Eliminates funding ($401,430) for Family Planning; and
o  Eliminates $300,000 for dental services for people with low incomes and no other source of dental help.
o  The complete elimination of MaineCare coverage for 7,000 young adults (19 and 20 year olds) who are under 150% of the poverty level.
This last item means that if my school's former student develops pneumonia from living in an unheated garage, his health care will be obtained at the emergency room.

Because this is an emergency, make no mistake about that.

If you're in Maine, join us at the next Bring Our War $$ Home organizing meeting Saturday, June 9 at noon in Augusta. Help confused citizens connect the dots between out of control military spending, and the shredding of programs that support our most vulnerable young people.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Challenges of Peacemaking in Violent Times

What follows are my remarks to the Pax Christi Annual Assembly at USM in Portland, Maine on Saturday, May 5, 2012.

Lisa Savage, CODEPINK Maine Local Coordinator

Welcome, everyone, and thank you for being here. Special thanks to the organizers for bringing us together to reflect on our proper roles in this troubled world. I appreciate being invited to share my thoughts about the challenges of peacemaking in our day.

I was born the year that Pres. Eisenhower gave his famous warning about the impending power of the military-industrial complex. For the last 20 years I've been a public school teacher, but before that I worked as a journalist, and for a few years in marketing and advertising. These experiences have informed the way that I understand the peacemaking job before us, because I approach it from a communications perspective. I'll return to this theme, but for the moment I would like to briefly discuss the conditions we find ourselves in midway through the year 2012.

The critical mass of federal spending is and has been dedicated to military purposes, as was predicted by Eisenhower. No matter how you slice up the federal pie, and allocate spending to various categories, it is an enormous slice. It is symptomatic of the fact that all three branches of government in Washington DC have been effectively “captured” by moneyed interests. Congress fails to represent the will of the people; as just one example, 69% of those polled by the NYT said they no longer thought the U.S. was doing the right thing in Afghanistan. 
The Executive branch showed very little change in its foreign policy following the 2003 electiion; if anything, it has become even more warlike, especially in the use of drones and extrajudicial killing. The Supreme Court has also indicated that it stands with the corporations, by ruling in Citizens United that they are people and thus entitled to first amendment protections. Meanwhile, a citizen detained for anything at all – including a dog off the leash, or an unpaid parking ticket – can be strip searched according to the highest court in the land.

State governments are in the process of being captured systematically in a similar fashion. In our own state big money brought in a third party candidate to split the vote and elect our Tea Party governor. This has brought us laws authorizing the capture of public school funds into taxpayer supported charter schools, and a public-private partnership where taxpayers pony up $300,000 for a feasability study of an east-west corridor to truck LP gas from one site in Canada to another to use for fracking, a private toll road whose profits will go to the Cianbro Corp. (Great reporting here by Lance Tapley in the Portland Phoenix.)

How did this happen? Well, for starters, we're the only democracy in the world whose citizen rely solely on commercial media outlets for news. In other words, we have no public information services such as exist in other countries. We do have a vibrant independent media and some vigorous citizen journalists at work, but they are battling uphill for attention in the glut of sensationalized entertainment that passes for news in our day. Just this week I ran across this article in Yes! Magazine, one of the positive forces in the new media landscape. It reports that the IRS is holding up approval of tax exempt status for non profit media outlets – for months, sometimes for years. Meanwhile, the US military has a recruiting budget of $12 billion a year.

So – depressing no? But there may be some game changers on the horizon, and we may be looking at opportunities that did not exist before.
One of the big changes is killing by remote control. This is qualitatively different from the aerial bombing that has characterized U.S. foreign policy in my lifetime, because there is no pilot in the sky, just a guy with a joystick and a video monitor far, far away. I believe this change will have a profound effect on the warrior ethos, and on how our military is perceived by the citizens who pay for it. It certainly has already had a profound change on how the US is perceived by others. It is also astronomically expensive, and has enormous implications for surveillance, including domestic spying.
Tireless peace worker, the late Tom Sturtevant, at the protest he organized calling attention to the environmental degradation caused by the recruiting tool of the Blue Angels Air Show, at Brunswick Naval Air Station last summer.

Another inescapable game changer is the environmental chaos that we've been warned about for decades. The chickens of greenhouse gas emissions, of offshore oil drilling, of fracking and last but certainly not least of nuclear weapons and energy sourcing are coming home to roost quite rapidly now. The Fukushima disaster in Japan continues to unfold and will likely affect the whole world in due time.

How much does the public know about any of these things? Precious little, unless they do quite a lot of their own information gathering, and are paying attention.

Depressingly, the majority of those polled about US military use of drones think its a good idea. If you've been watching the propaganda stream around the anniversary of Osama bin Laden's assassination, it's easy to understand how ill-informed your fellow citizens could be on this topic. Manufactured consent is not a new problem – George Orwell wrote about it brilliantly nearly a century ago, as has many others.

That is why I see communication as job #1.

And with that in mind I'd like to discuss and offer some examples of what I see as the basics of effective communication.

Both CODEPINK (the name) and the Bring Our War $$ Home campaign are essentially communication strategies. After 9/11 as the so-called “War on Terror” kicked into high gear we got Homeland Security and a bunch of color coded alert levels: Red, Orange, Yellow and so on. Women peacemakers asked themselves as they circled the White House: What could we call ourselves that would refer to and at the same time defuse the fear mongering of the alerts? Thus Code Pink was born.

Bring Our War $$ Home speaks directly to the most fundamental principle of communication : Know They Audience. In education we call this “the teachable moment” as in, what are these listeners ready to hear? What have their background knowledge and experiences prepared them to understand?
Bring Our War $$ Home rally in Hall of Flags, State House, Augusta, Maine 2011.
As the U.S. economy tanked and the banks were bailed out – while health care bankrupted millions and foreclosures and student debt soared – budgets for basic human needs were slashed in our communities. Most all of us in the coalition of a couple dozen peace groups had vigiled and protested and met for years, often feeling that we were mostly “preaching to the choir.” We wanted to reach out to our neighbors and co-workers, not with a message about how war is morally wrong – which I know it is – but with a direct appeal to their own circumstances.

People can be easily fooled about largely invisible wars happening on the other side of the planet, less so about their household finances. The debt party that masked our insolvency is just about over now,and that is one of the reasons that the Occupy movement broke out when it did. The 99% had finally run out of cheap credit.

Prior to that our campaign saw the opportunity to connect with the concerns of people that cannot afford to take their child to the dentist, or who get laid off and never are able to find a comparable job. Such people are consistently amazed by the outlandish scale of guns vs. butter. A minute of the war in Afghanistan would, for instance, pay for a full four year degree with all the trimmings from USM. $230,000+. One drone could plug the gap in your local school budget and re-hire the teachers and other staff who were laid off. Or buy health care for thousands. And so on.

So how did we get the message out there? We used every medium we could think of. Some were of the type associated with CODEPINK as a national organization: connect with events or persons who do get covered in mainstream, corporate owned media, and be eye catching – sometimes you can even make it look fun. Getting the US Conference of Mayors to pass their first antiwar resolution since Vietnam was an example – all major press outlets were on hand to cover the annual urban policy conference, and the controversy created by a floor debate on the resolution – which passed handily – led every story. This momentum had been started right here in Portland when its city council became the first to pass a war dollars home resolution. Such reslutions were debated, and reported on, in many twons where they did not pass. But our goal was always to create a space for the conversation.

Alternatively, create local news. When Bruce or my husband Mark Roman and others carried the BOW$H banner in a peace walk led by Buddhist monks and nuns, the newspapers in every town where they stopped to hold an event gave the campaign some coverage.
"Military, defense issues top list of people's concerns" by Dieter Bradbury | Portland Press Herald | March 11, 2010
I've been told by some that my cotton candy pink wig “trivializes our message” but it, too, is a communication strategy. When I first wore it to speak at a town hall meeting here at USM, I was in good company with many informed and articulate speakers. But guess whose picture they put on the front page of the Portland Press Herald?

Collaboration with the Union of Maine Visual Artists on a series of Draw-a-thons and Print-a-thons not only produced images of what our war dollars could better be spent on, but were a platform for the public to interact with artists who helped them envision such a change. The posters, t-shirts and other image carriers have spread far beyond Maine with the bring our war $$ home message, a slogan by the way which was deliberately crafted from simple short words that even a youngster can read.

There are many other mediums that have carried the message: press releases, slideshows, blogs, songs, books, leaflets, parade entries, radio ads, local access tv programs, YouTube videos, tweets, and facebook events.

Could you feel us getting younger in that list?

I'd like to end with just a few notes about what works with a young audience. Young people care deeply about the environment, and about fairness, but moralizing bores them. They are visually literate, they love music and digital forms of entertainment, and chunks of discrete content – so-called “memes” – will spread like wildfire if they are sufficiently entertaining. 

Young people willingly join in work that is serious yet fun, important yet playful.

Well I am a school teacher after all and in my marketing mind I'm always aiming at a young audience. They shall inherit the Earth and it will be up to them to make the difference. 

You never really know how someone's learning has changed them. If you do find out it's often long after the fact. Communication, and education, are acts of faith.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

If Osama bin Laden had not already existed, the 1% would have been forced to invent him

The manipulation of image and public perception is in a period of wretched excess. Our government's extrajudicial killing of a symbolic Al Qaeda mastermind is presented to the U.S. public not only as acceptable, but actually as something to gloat about. A takedown. With gusto. Of a guy who just happens to be a charismatic-looking, very wealthy Saudi. How conveniently cartoonish.

Sending in a team of specialists to storm down doors and make the hit is the old way to do things, and can be risky. The new order calls for using drones for allegedly targeted assassinations, or even general guesses about who might be killed – the so-called signature strikes. Drones have already killed thousands of innocent people, and are often flown and triggered by remote control pilots half the globe away. Apparently this is how we operate now. Our tax dollars at work.

Here's Medea Benjamin of CODEPINK this week protesting a government official calling drone strikes “wise” and being thrown out of the hearing for it. She gets in a powerful speech before being hauled away. "Why are you lying to the American people and not saying how many innocents have been killed?" "I love due process!...I love my country!"
Medea had just concluded participating in a major international drone summit where she reported on her research in a new book Drones, Killing by Remote Control.
While the ghosts of due process stalk the halls of our courtrooms, absent from the story, as if no longer important. And not just for bin Laden. Anyone deemed a terrorist doesn't get due process anymore under NDAA. And anyone can be strip searched in custody, according to the Supreme Court. Our checks and balances, bought and paid for. This is the “democracy” we're supposedly exporting?

The burial at sea – why was that necessary? What we lack in rule of law we aim to make up for in lurid detail? Such staged, reported events serve a communication purpose that glimmers dimly on the horizon, just out of reach.

Here is an official photo the public was shown and told that it shows the president, members of the cabinet, and members of the military holed up in a room watching bin Laden fall.

Who looks scared in this picture? Who looks like they are working while paying scant attention -- maybe because they know what's going to happen? Who looks like they are watching the bin Laden assassination as Roman spectacle?
And what was it about if not partly the opportunity for newsertainment channels to churn out endless anniversary specials about the killing of one larger than life person?

This year just prior the annual event the president made a surprise! visit to Afghanistan to sign a big agreement falsely presented as heralding the forseeable “end” of the war. (Except for a bunch of troops and advisors and subcontractors that are and will be still there protecting U.S. interests.) Also, no insurgents or Taleban were in on the agreement, just the crony-ridden government hunkered down in Kabul. Corporate-military force is applied to make the law makers of countries “accept” a deal on what is not called but assuredly is a huge, expensive permanent presence. The agreement must still pass the formality of being ratified by the senates of both countries, where big money has an enormous influence.

Here's what the image masters thought would appeal to the public listening to a bunch of hooey about success in a war the U.S. has been bled by for a decade. Overcompensation much?
Signing a "long-term strategic partnership" allows contracts to flow and also creates a space for the repetition of meaningless “withdrawal” dates and troop numbers packaged as news reporting. But the truth is that the U.S. is and has been buildingprisons and bases in Afghanistan steadily while drone bombing the life out of the people just going about their lives on the ground below. How many of them hate the U.S. after getting bombed? Aerial bombing of civilians is a proven marketing strategy for endless war.
Where in the globe does the U.S. taxpayer not pay for listening outposts? Fortified embassies with their own subcontractor guards, justified with official lies, coupled with dragging out those exercising their right of free speech to tell the truth. Media hype and certain prescribed stories (bin Laden, whether Iran is building a bomb) that don't let much truth leak through.

I have just one word to say about the diabolical plans of the 1%:
     ======> OCCUPY!!