Friday, April 9, 2021

The Cult Of Celebrity Is Not Our Friend

Which version of Philip will you remember?

I've long been fascinated by the role that celebrity worship (yes, I think that's an accurate term) plays in the narrative management that keeps a greedy 1% in power hogging our common resources.

The death of Prince Philip at age 99 is a good occasion to reflect on this psychological weapon of the rich against the working classes. 

An aristocratic parasite whose brother-in-laws were literal Nazis, nasty and mean by reputation, Philip will ironically be mostly remembered on this side of the pond as portrayed by an actor in the Netflix series "The Crown." You know: younger, handsomer, and a boon companion of the plucky queen. Loving father (hard to type that with a straight face), etc. 

This sort of thing -- the inexplicable fascination ordinary humans have for individual members of the elites that are crushing the life out of them -- has been going on since at least Shakespeare's time. Recall if you will the opening scene of Julius Caesar where two patricians admonish the rabble for being out in the streets in their best i.e. not work clothes. Eager to see the triumphant Caesar parade by, Shakespeare's plebians are indifferent to advice that Caesar recently killed rival general Pompey.


...


So a Renaissance playwright projected his own generation's fascination with the cult of personality onto Roman citizens on the verge of imperial decay.

Propaganda has become much more sophisticated in our day. While ancient Assyrian warrior princes commissioned their own accolades (cuneiform message for the literate extols the fertilizing powers of King Ashurnasirpal)


the royal family in Windsor Castle has the BBC and Netflix to do this for them.

The imperial presidency in the U.S., upstart branch of the brutal colonial projects launched from England's shores centuries ago, has its own faux populist stories told by experts. 



Thus we see a lot of attention paid to the pets brought to the White House by various CEOs of USA, Inc.

The propaganda effort starts early. Note the link in my last paragraph to National Geographic for Kids. 



If you doubt it, check out corporate publications like Time for Kids.

I had a taste of the cult of celebrity when I ran against Susan Collins for her seat in the U.S. Senate last year. Based on my experiences, I'd say a lot of projection is involved. People are eager to support a personification of their values in part because (they think) it relieves them of the responsibility for fixing the mess of late stage capitalism that we find ourselves in. Months later, I am still receiving effusive notes of thanks for my attempt to crack the corporate duopoly's stranglehold on Congress.

You're welcome, but the real point is: 

what are you going to do about climate crisis, galloping poverty and homelessness, and Cold War belligerence marching us toward WWIII?

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Calling Out Civilian Deaths By Drone Under Yet Another Democratic Party Warmonger


Screenshot from video of protest blocking the road at Creech AFB on April 5. 
Group chanting, "Arrest Col. Jones, the war criminal, not Daniel Hale, the whistleblower!"  
Posted by Toby Blomé at https://shutdowncreech.blogspot.com

Today I am reposting a press release from the dedicated drone resistance that converges annually at Creech Air Base in Nevada. 

These people of conscience work tirelessly to shine a light into the dark crime of U.S. relentless bombing of civilians with each successive administration in Washington DC, whether Democrat or Republican. 

Many of them will risk arrest to bring attention to these atrocities.


April 2, 2021
Contact: Toby Blomé, 510.501.5412 Maggie Huntington.602.459.5257
For more details: https://shutdowncreech.blogspot.com


ANTI-DRONE PROTESTORS FROM AROUND U.S. CONVERGE THIS WEEK TO CONDEMN KILLING BY CREECH AFB DRONES


LAS VEGAS/CREECH AFB, NV – Anti-war/anti-drone demonstrators from the East and West coasts announced they are converging here April 4-10 to hold daily protests – which may lead to arrests – at the U.S. Drone Base at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada.

Many military veterans, now members of Veterans for Peace, will be joining. The event is co-sponsored by CODEPINK and Veterans for Peace.

At Creech, U.S. Air Force personnel, coordinating with C.I.A. officials, are, regularly and secretly, killing people remotely using unmanned armed drone planes, primarily the MQ-9 Reaper drones. 

Thousands of civilians have been killed and injured, in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, and elsewhere, since 2001, according to the activists.

In the aftermath of the recent and tragic U.S. massacres by lone gunmen in Georgia and Boulder, activists will hold daily two hour vigils between 6:30-8:30 a.m. and 3:30-5:30 p.m., during commute hours to underline the connection between mass violence at home and the "normalized" mass violence of the U.S. covert drone program and U.S. military.

Over the last 20 years, U.S. armed drones have been used to commit horrible atrocities that have included strikes on wedding parties, funerals, schools, mosques, homes, farm laborers, and in January, 2020, included direct hits on high level foreign military and government officials from Iran and Iraq.

"A man walks past a graffiti, denouncing strikes by U.S. drones in Yemen, painted on a wall in Sanaa November 13, 2014"KHALED ABDULLAH/REUTERS


These drone massacres have, at times, resulted in the deaths of dozens of civilians with a single drone attack. Not a single U.S. official has ever been held accountable for these ongoing atrocities, 

yet, an important drone whistleblower, Daniel Hale, who leaked truths about these atrocities faces potentially harsh sentencing later this July.

The daily vigils will include different themes each time, but two notable ones include:

Mon, April 5, 3:30-4:30 p.m. "WE STAND WITH Drone Whistleblower DANIEL HALE." On Wednesday, March 31, Daniel Hale pled guilty to being the informant who anonymously leaked classified military documents to an online media publisher, The Intercept, that revealed secret military statistics documenting civilian casualties under the covert U.S. targeted drone assassination program. (See The Drone Papers, 2015).

As a U.S. citizen and USAF analyst, Daniel acted out of conscience to reveal the truth about these serious war crimes that he felt the public had a right to know. Protesters will stand in support of Daniel's courageous act and demand that the real criminals be prosecuted, including the commanders of killer drone bases like Creech AFB, not the whistleblowers, who reveal the atrocities. Some of the messages will include: "Free Daniel Hale, Exposing war crimes is not a crime" "Prosecute the War Criminals not the Truth-tellers"

Tues, April 6, 6:30 - 8:30 a.m. THE DRONE MASSACRE MEMORIAL: Activists, will display a long series of banners, stretched along the highway, each highlighting details of past U.S. drone massacres, including statistics on civilian deaths.

"It is our hope," said Toby Blomé, one of the organizers, "that the military personnel that drive into the base everyday will reflect deeply about their role in this criminal activity that causes innumerable deaths and untold suffering around the globe, and that just maybe some of them will make the difficult but ethical choice to not participate.

"Militarized drones are expanding at an unbelievable rate, replacing conventional warfare, without any meaningful public debate. It is therefore the obligation of the military personnel to embrace their own individual responsibilities."

-END-

A pre-pandemic crowd of protestors at Creech in April, 2016.