Antiwar Memorial Day 2015

Three of my brothers & several uncles & cousins are war veterans. They were all working class kids not eligible for draft exemptions dispensed to the well-heeled. They all paid a hefty price emotionally & some physically; only one became antiwar.

My brothers were naive rookies who went to war with heads stuffed full of patriotism & the romance & machismo of war portrayed in John Wayne movies. They came back with heavy hearts & great confusion from killing–& in some undefinable way, corrupted. The brothel, attached like a barnacle to the military, will do that.

It’ll be a cold day in hell before I ever condemn my brothers for participating in war but I’ll be damned if I’ll ever glorify military service as “fighting for our freedoms.”

Memorial Day is not a time to celebrate the slaughter of other peoples or to vilify (or glorify) veterans but to commit to building opposition to US wars. That is the least young men & women deserve from us.

There’s an allegory here

Lion up a tree (Charles Comyn:Barcroft Media) May 25 2015

Did you ever feel like this? There’s an allegory here & if that lion gets out of there alive he can tell us his side of the story. This photo of a lion escaping an angry herd of buffalo is taken in Maasai Mara, Kenya. Buffaloes are the primary prey of lions, tigers, & crocodiles. So it looks a lot like the allegory is all about the power of unity & numbers against the guy with the bigger jaws. At least some prefer to read it that way.

(Photo by Charles Comyn/Barcroft Media)

It’s always something with the oil companies

Refugio State Park (Justin Sullivan:Getty Images) May 25 2015

This is a bird covered in oil from the 100,000 gallons spilled by an abandoned pipeline into the Pacific Ocean off Goleta, California (near Santa Barbara). There’s always a different reason for oil spills: ruptured pipelines, sabotage or piracy on the line (by criminal gangs, & even the drug cartels in Mexico), typhoons & hurricanes, war & bombing, drunken captains, lack of maintenance. It’s always something with those oil companies, isn’t it!?

These oil spills have happened all over the world, on every continent, in every ocean. Plunder usually disastrously affects just the plundered countries but the oil companies have changed all that. They saw no reason to leave the plundering countries out of their catastrophes–not just with oil spills but with fracking contamination. And that would be the hallmark of neoliberalism, the barbaric phase of capitalism: “chickens coming home to roost”.

There is an urgency to removing stewardship of our glorious mother Earth from the neoliberal oligarchs & their minions so blinded by greed that they carry us & all of animal & vegetative life headlong to extinction. It’s a mighty historic challenge but the future of humanity depends upon it. We need a world where life is not sacrificed to greed.

(Photo of Refugio State Park beach by Justiin Sullivan/Getty Images)

CBS drama series Madam Secretary a fairy tale-farce depiction of US power players

The CBS drama Madam Secretary does such a good job of cleaning up how the US Secretary of State conducts business with foreign governments. A down-to-earth woman played by Téa Leoni wrestles with her conscience in negotiating treaties while spatting with her kids & necking with her high-principled professor husband.

Are they modeling the character on Secretary of State Madeline Albright who said the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi kids were “worth it” to achieve US policy goals? Or are we talking Hillary Clinton who collaborated with Bill Clinton to turn Haiti into a sweatshop haven for US businesses & a personal ATM machine for themselves? Who turned a blind eye to the ethnic cleansing of Rohingya in Myanmar to advance US investments in the country? Who brokered arms to the Egyptian military to use against the Egyptian uprising & advocated US military intervention in Libya? Who supported Israeli carpet bombing in Gaza last summer claiming Hamas “provoked” Israel?

It likely doesn’t make a difference that Leoni comes from a family connected to the highest levels of US power–corporate & political. But it might suggest why she’s willing to participate in this fairytale-farce.