Saturday, May 28, 2011

"Emergency" rolls on

In recent news...the Patriot Act was renewed yet again, signed by alleged constitutional scholar, President Obama, while on imperial rounds in Europe.

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Simultaneously, an amendment removing the checks and balances in our Constitution over the Commander in Chief exercising the power to make war passed in the House, tacked on to the gargantuan FY12 Defense Authorization bill that included a tidy $118 billion for occupation expenses in Iraq and Afghanistan. (Good article by Medea on Common Dreams here.) While layoffs of public workers rolled on, schools and businesses shut down, and foreclosures showed no signs of abating.

Locally in Maine we hear that the Navy cannot wait to get their hands on the latest nuclear capable warship due to roll out of General Dynamics-owned Bath Iron Works, and to launch it will have to dredge the river in August instead of winter, which is bad for the critters.

The Navy appears to be in a hurry to move that ship into position surrounding the holder of a ton of U.S. government debt, China. Right at this moment preparations are underway to entomb a coral reef on Jeju Island off South Korea's western coast, to build a big U.S. Navy base, while hunger strikers are going on two months of fasting resisting the rape of their coast.
Local resistance to Jeju Island naval base construction
General Dynamics is in turn owned by the Crown family of Chicago, who helped bankroll the senator from Illinois' election as president, in much the same way AIPAC bankrolls the re-election campaigns of the congresswomen and men who gave right wing extremist Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel twenty-nine standing ovations while he denied the occupation of Palestine.

Tripoli in Libya received its worst pounding with NATO air strikes yet, after weeks of all kinds of bombing which I think even the mainstream media has stopped characterizing as humanitarian.

Tuition at state universities where many working class kids have been able to afford a college degree is skyrocketing, as graduates staggering under six figures of debt enter a flat job market -- one, in fact, said to discriminate against those who are unemployed. And there is no federal jobs program. Oh, wait, there is the one that spends $2 billion+ a year to make you feel how empowering working for them will be. You'll finally get the respect that a low-income youth does not have any way of earning, short of making a lot of money, or being gifted at entertainment.
While the rate of joblessness and homelessness and suicide and divorce among veterans of the endless war on terror continues to climb. While the public schools are dismantled and turned into what they've been trying to become for years, free public babysitting. While idealistic teachers are being deliberately discouraged and driven out, to make room for "troops to teachers." A former Army officer with little prior experience in education was made superintendent in Providence, Rhode Island -- and he sent every teacher in the district a layoff notice.

The dictators of the Arab spring are firing on demonstrators (Syria, Yemen), disappearing and torturing demonstrators (Bahrain), and building up private armies of foreign mercenaries under the management of the former Blackwater, now Xe's CEO, Erik Prince (United Arab Emirates). And the U.S. is silent, or mouths a few empty phrases.

But the U.S. cheers when Israelis take over land in Palestine by force of violence, disrupting ancient agriculture, stealing the water, with settlements employing private militias of their own. It used to be said that Israel had no partner for peace in the Middle East, despite U.S. client states like Egypt and Jordan cooperating with Israel – both in denying Palestinians the right of return, and in enforcing the siege of Gaza. It is the Palestinians who, in truth, have no partner for peace, as an increasingly belligerent Israel continues to be enabled by its best buddy, the bully U.S.A.

And middle income U.S. citizens are subject to taxation without representation, in order to fund the wild joyride of empire to its bitter, inevitable end.

More than 2,600 political activists have been arrested since Obama took office, there have been FBI raids of organizers homes where their doors were kicked down and their computers and other belongings were confiscated. Ongoing assaults on poor people, and mass incarceration, are the order of the day. Deportations have increased under this Administration as well. And Bradley Manning, whistleblower, just completed an entire year in mostly solitary detention without standing trial.

The struggle for information is what I can participate in right now. I'm honored to think that Bradley and I might be compatriots in that way. And when the people have finally had enough, and they take to the streets and squares of their cities and towns, here will be their cry: “Tax the rich! And bring our war dollars home.”

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