Category Archives: Social Commentary

Judging U.S. War Crimes – a reblog

Judging U.S. War Crimes

Chelsea Manning, who bravely exposed atrocities committed by the U.S. military, is again imprisoned in a U.S. jail. On International Women’s Day, March 8, 2019, she was incarcerated in the Alexandria, VA federal detention center for refusing to testify in front of a secretive Grand Jury. Her imprisonment can extend through the term of the Grand Jury, possibly 18 months, and the U.S. courts could allow formation of future Grand Juries, potentially jailing her again.

Chelsea Manning has already paid an extraordinarily high price for educating the U.S. public about atrocities committed in the wars of choice the U.S. waged in Iraq and Afghanistan. Chelsea Manning was a U.S. Army soldier and former U.S. intelligence analyst. She already testified, in court, how she downloaded and disseminated government documents revealing classified information she believed represented possible war crimes. In 2013, she was convicted by court martial and sentenced to 35 years in prison for leaking government documents to Wikileaks. On January 17, 2017, President Obama commuted her sentence. In May of 2017, she was released from military prison having served seven years.

“Where you stand determines what you see.” Chelsea Manning, by virtue of her past work as an analyst with the U.S. military, carefully studied footage of what could only be described as atrocities against human beings. She saw civilians killed, on her screen, and conscience didn’t allow her to ignore what she witnessed, to more or less change the channel. One scene of carnage occurred on July 12, 2007, in Iraq. Chelsea Manning made available to the world the black and white grainy footage and audio content which depicted a U.S. helicopter gunship indiscriminately firing on Iraqi civilians. Twelve people were killed, including two Reuters journalists.

What follows is part of the dialogue from the classified US military video footage from July 12th:

US SOLDIER 1: Alright, firing.

US SOLDIER 4: Let me know when you’ve got them.

US SOLDIER 2: Let’s shoot. Light ’em all up.

US SOLDIER 1: Come on, fire!

US SOLDIER 2: Keep shootin’. Keep shootin’. Keep shootin’. Keep shootin’.

US SOLDIER 2: Alright, we just engaged all eight individuals.

Amy Goodman described the next portion of the video:

AMY GOODMAN: Minutes later, the video shows US forces watching as a van pulls up to evacuate the wounded. They again open fire, killing several more people, wounding two children inside the van.

US SOLDIER 2: Bushmaster, Crazy Horse. We have individuals going to the scene, looks like possibly picking up bodies and weapons.

US SOLDIER 1: Let me engage. Can I shoot?

US SOLDIER 2: Roger. Break. Crazy Horse one-eight, request permission to engage.

US SOLDIER 3: Picking up the wounded?

US SOLDIER 1: Yeah, we’re trying to get permission to engage. Come on, let us shoot!

US SOLDIER 2: Bushmaster, Crazy Horse one-eight.

US SOLDIER 1: They’re taking him.

US SOLDIER 2: Bushmaster, Crazy Horse one-eight.

US SOLDIER 4: This is Bushmaster seven, go ahead.

US SOLDIER 2: Roger. We have a black SUV —- or Bongo truck picking up the bodies. Request permission to engage.

US SOLDIER 4: Bushmaster seven, roger. This is Bushmaster seven, roger. Engage.

US SOLDIER 2: One-eight, engage. Clear.

US SOLDIER 1: Come on!

US SOLDIER 2: Clear. Clear.

US SOLDIER 1: We’re engaging.

US SOLDIER 3: I got ’em.

US SOLDIER 2: Should have a van in the middle of the road with about twelve to fifteen bodies.

US SOLDIER 1: Oh yeah, look at that. Right through the windshield! Ha!

Democracy Now, in the same segment, asked former U.S. whistleblower Dan Ellsberg for comments about releasing the video. “What were the criteria,” Ellsberg asked, “that led to denying this to the public? And how do they stand up when we actually see the results? Is anybody going to be held accountable for wrongly withholding evidence of war crimes in this case…?”

Chelsea Manning’s disclosures also led to public awareness of the Granai massacrein Afghanistan. On May 4, 2009, Taliban forces attacked U.S. and Afghan forces in Afghanistan’s Farah province. The U.S. military called for U.S. airstrikes on buildings in the village of Granai. A U.S. Air Force B-1 bomber was used to drop 2,000 lb. and 500 lb. bombs, killing an estimated 86 to 147 women and children. The U.S. Air Force has videotape of the Granai massacre. Ellsberg called for President Obama to post the videotape rather than wait to see if Wikileaks would release it. To this day, the video hasn’t been released. Apparently, a disgruntled Wikileaks employee destroyed the footage.

Were it not for Chelsea Manning’s courageous disclosures, certain U.S. military atrocities might have been kept secret. Her revelations were also key to exposing U.S. approval of the 2009 coup against the elected government in Honduras and U.S. dealings with dictators and oligarchs across the Middle East, which helped spark the Arab Spring rebellions.

Prior to her arrest in 2010, Chelsea Manning wrote: “I want people to see the truth, regardless of who they are. Because without information, you cannot make informed decisions as a public.”

Chelsea Manning’s principled and courageous actions provide guidance for us to control our fears. We must seek an end to war crimes in Afghanistan, Iraq and other areas where the U.S. terrifies and kills civilians.

More articles by:

KATHY KELLY co-coordinates Voices for Creative Nonviolence and has worked closely with the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers. She is the author of Other Lands Have Dreams published by CounterPunch / AK Press. She can be reached at: Kathy@vcnv.org 

March 11, 2019
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A Short Walk in a Denied Reality

[thoughts from ~burning woman~ ]

Billions of mind slaves are daily driven to do “stuff” no normal person would even think of thinking about or doing. These slaves are whipped along their self-destruct path by a tiny bunch of psychopaths who have arbitrarily placed themselves in charge of the planet and declared that all of it belongs to them. It’s always been that way but it seems to us the more obvious today. Yet this untenable situation is not just tolerated, but the majority actually approves and quite often cheers on their predators.

Being, in my own estimation at least, reasonably intelligent, such a fact forces me to ask, “Why?” Why do people put up with this deadly charade? Why do they allow the psychos to eat them alive while destroying the only world they, and their children, have to survive on? Why can’t they collectively say, “Enough!” without having to wait until they’re all starving to death, or dying of various preventable plagues to plunge into pointless bloody revolutions?

Every question is based on an answer, not the other way around. So taught the Teachers. When I ask “Why?” I don’t expect to hear an answer, I expect to find one depending on how I ask the question. It’s like pointing a rifle at a target. The rifle isn’t going to find and lock on the target, I have to do that first. The target is the answer I’m shooting for.

Why are people so dummied-down and collectively stupid as to accept being their own worse enemies? I asked and replied to myself, over the years, “Think!” The answer was rather obvious: propaganda. Official lies is another name for it.

Which begs another “Why.” Why does propaganda work? That was a bit more complex. Well, people are predisposed to accept the propaganda and to reject any other idea that doesn’t fit into the official lie. That’s the basis for the success of brain dead organized religion, the deception of government (in any guise) and the banditry of banking.

Which brings up the next “Why?” Why are people predisposed to lean favorably to official lies and reject common sense? The answer to this third and last “Why?” is where people go running for the hills, their collective ears solidly plugged with any substance found so they won’t have to hear.

The answer is as simple as it is unacceptable to the rank and file: programming. How to put this simply?

Basic foundational question: What is an Earthian, that *ISSA creature that insists on calling itself “human” when it can’t even demonstrate a humane life; that creature that revels in gratuitous violence? It is not a natural creature and it’s lifestyle proves it beyond any shadow of doubt. It is totally dependent upon its life-sucking systems to remain alive – and that is no contradiction: being alive does not necessarily mean being alive.

Take away all of the “benefits” or “advantages” of civilization this very day then come back in a year to count the ones still alive and functioning as normal, natural creatures.

The Earthian creature is a cloned and programmed entity, designed as a slave to serve masters. It can’t help itself. If it breaks free of one master it will seek another and begin serving again. It cannot imagine itself as a free and autonomous creature. In fact it resents the thought of real freedom because that entails taking full responsibility for all aspects of its own life without relying upon social support systems.  Wild animals can do this because they have more free intelligence than Earthians hence why Earthians are programmed to kill off the wilderness: nature is always a threat to Cyborgs.

Being unnatural, it cannot comprehend nature so must rely on its masters for its survival and knowledge. This is where it get truly touchy. The creature is “endowed” with a wonderful thing it calls a soul. Even among atheists the concept of “soul” keeps its validity. It is variously thought of, or spoken of, as some natural aspect of the creature or a gift of the gods, or God; the repository of consciousness or mind.

All of which is of course total BS – in capital letters.

The real story?  The soul was designed as a controlling implant. It is used to motivate and to generate and maintain an endless array of repetitive and cycling belief systems within the implanted ISSA creature. It is programmed to keep the creature believing in “something” (basically anything at all) that is always superior to itself, something that holds the carrot and the stick. The foremost of soul laws are: obey and never question. The ever-present hope is that through obedience one receives the carrot and not the stick. When the creature sees others getting the stick it doesn’t hear their cries; it hears the propaganda that says, “Hey, they deserve what they’re getting, they are disobedient.” The nature of that “disobedience” is not questioned. Or they hear the other line: “They are the enemy and must be subdued or they will come “here” and take what you have.” If it wasn’t pure programming control, how many would fall for those inanely simplistic explanations that condone theft, mass murder and genocide?

Some say, I don’t believe in the soul like that’s supposed to be an answer. Not believing makes it go away? Closing your eyes to danger makes the danger go away? Billions of Earthians are crowding the world with their heads solidly stuck in the sands of denial hoping that denial will make the bad go away. Billions have their minds hacked on a daily basis, filled with dis-mis-information, salivating when the soul message dings and passing social media lies with likes and hits and clicks blissfully unaware they are frantically contributing to their own demise.

Isn’t it time to wake up to reality? Isn’t it time to realize if something has never worked it isn’t about to miraculously start working just because we are approaching dire straits? Protests, wars, revolutions, changing of the political guard: none of that is going to resolve our current dilemma because it never has.

Time for something truly new, like new thinking; like a new idea?

*ISSA being: an intelligent, sentient, self aware person.

Civilization’s Collapse

[thoughts from   ~burning woman~   ]

It seems so long ago now, but before I retired, it was part of my job to go to a troublesome account and make the call whether a piece of equipment should be written off and replaced with a new one. I suppose it’s a responsibility that as the then most senior person in the department I was expected to take on. Further, they knew well enough that I had been old-school European trained; that I didn’t have the throw-away mentality so prevalent in Canada and America. When I said a piece of equipment was a write-off, there was no point sending more techs to try to make it work. It was replaced.

The point of this long preamble is that I developed a kind of second-sight about what can be salvaged and what should be written off. Does this apply to other than machines, buildings or human bodies? Can an individual assess the level of entropy in a much larger and more complex system, for example, an empire or an entire civilization? As a matter of fact, that is a deduction that isn’t difficult to arrive at. Let me explain.

While I was thus involved in the technological world of a global multi-national corporation I was also very much involved in social and environmental issues. To me the two went hand in hand. The corporation taught me to see what was wrong with the technological world we were developing and it also taught me that past a certain point in the life of any system, be it a dispenser or a civilization, entropy reached a level that made it pointless to continue fixing.

Now to bring up an unpopular subject: the downfall of man’s civilization and the fact that we are now totally engaged into and sliding down its dark side. Should it come as a surprise that such events do not happen only to others far behind us in history? We are facing, not a change but an implosion of gargantuan magnitude and while a few millions seem concerned it remains that the billions are not.

I know this. It’s not something I wanted to happen, I worked hard enough to prevent it, but it is precisely because of the recent work I put into preventing this global collapse that I can feel what is coming. I know because of the obdurate stance people in general have taken against change; particularly against changing personal lifestyles. People don’t want less, they want more of what is destroying the physical and social environment. They want it because it is convenient and comfortable, post-WWII “virtues” that have become a matter of faith, faith in success, in winning, in having, keeping and adding to. That is the formula for corruption and consequently entropy.

We’re certainly not short of voices raised in protest, anger and sometimes even in hope yet none of them have any traction in the current social morass because none are willing to, or even know how to, address the real problem: Earthian nature. It is that nature that will determine whether this civilization continues or implodes.

Well… obviously it is that very nature that has brought civilization to this sad place and just as obviously that same nature is hardened against changing itself so, what could a thinking person conclude? The driving force of any civilization of intelligent, sentient and self aware beings is the nature of such beings, not the systems they invented to serve them. Would-be change agents look at the systems, proposing change to the systems, but Earthians have become Cyborgs, their way of life, their very bodies entirely dependent on the systems they created for their profit, comfort and convenience. If the systems were terminated prior to new ones properly developed, tested and put on stream most of mankind would perish. That is a foregone conclusion.

So, not only will mankind not change its mind; its ways, but it no longer can. It is physically and mentally welded into its collapsing social construct. Therefore my conclusion is simple: man’s civilization is a write off. You could write these words upon any major public place anywhere on the planet, date them, and time will prove them unassailable. It’s not a condemnation, it’s a simple but accurate assessment of a too-obvious condition.

Here is that famous sonnet “Ozymandias” by Percy Shelley, written in January 1818, over 200 years ago.  It has a new meaning today:
“I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed:
And on the pedestal these words appear:
‘My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!’
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”

EVERYTHING IS ON ITS WAY TO SOMEWHERE

[thoughts from ~burning woman~ by Sha’Tara]

“Everything is on its way to somewhere” (Movie ‘Phenomenon’)
“Things change and they don’t change back” (Nemesis Games, James Corey)

On the other hand and interestingly, when it comes to the people of Earth, there are never new starts – every start packs something of the old within itself and it all turns to shit again. The older one gets, the closer one comes to that “place” of final change, the more the above reminders become true and undeniably accurate.

None of us knows much about ‘Life’ in general. We call one physical passage on this world a ‘life’ from which we gain a few experiences which serve no purpose whatsoever because it’s followed by either permanent lights out or the unknowable endlessly speculated and pontificated upon eternal.

When we’re dying, do we know for a fact who we are? Are we something that’s finally run out of fuel to simply fall by the wayside or something propelling itself into the unknown star fields as a star ship pushed by  its “warp” drive?

At death’s door, what ‘thing’ part of us is on its way to somewhere? Who or what determines if there is a somewhere to go to, and if so, how is that somewhere chosen? Or is it arbitrary? Is it a direction or a place, like a huge bubbling recycling vat from which pieces are taken as building blocks for new words, new universes, new extensions and additions to existing constructs and new experiments?

A shift in thought:

Decades ago I grew tired of being told how to live my life, whether the instructions came from God, bosses, political or religious leaders, corporations, bankers or a sex partner. I got tired of being told what I should or should not believe; how I should worship; what I should or should not eat or drink or buy or wear; what sort of people I should associate with or not and what constituted my family; my “home” and my “people.” “Enough!” I heard myself scream in my mind one say and everything turned on its head.

While so many of these controlling people around me were busy building and rebuilding walls to try to make themselves feel safer and happier I found myself tearing mine down. I was pretty sure that freedom was unattainable on earth but at least I wanted openness. I wanted to be able to see the horizon in my mind. I didn’t want to be staring at blood-stained walls of arrogance, bigotry, racism and misogyny.  I was through trying to fit in.

How can you be going anywhere when surrounded by walls of exceptionalism; of exclusive belief; of oppression and extortion; of self-protection? Walls made of greed, fear, hate and paranoia? The caterpillar doesn’t go into a cocoon for self-preservation but in the hope of breaking forth as a butterfly. Do man-made walls ever turn anyone into a butterfly?

Across the international border a few miles from this town is a nation that is closing in on itself, helplessly it seems as, if it was entering into a cocoon. But this is not a life-changing cocoon, it’s a strangling prison. It wants a wall on its southern border because it fears its neighbours but if that wall is built, it won’t stop there. The wall will continue to grow, partly in a physical way but mostly in the imprisoned hearts. Unseen and untouched the neighbours behind the wall will grow horns and forked tails, morphing into demons and monsters. The wall won’t be enough to guarantee safety. In all likelihood the monsters and their children will have to be nuked. But that will only amplify the threat.

That’s where we come face to face with all our new starts and realize how true it is that there have never been any such on this world, or at least for as long as this patriarchal civilization has existed. Walled in, repetitive, entropic, too weak, too ignorant, too closed-minded to make that jump into the new.

What somewhere would you want to be heading for, people of Earth? What sort of change that doesn’t change back would you like to see happening?

How would you propose entering into a new start that packed nothing at all of the old so you would not condemn yourselves to repeating it?  Could you even imagine such an event?

Of Rules and Rulers

[Thoughts from   ~burning woman~  by Sha’Tara]

“Beam me up Scotty, there’s no intelligent life down here.”  (Attributed to captain Jim Kirk of Star Trek – a line presumably invented as a joke, never actually used in the series.)

There is a kind of madness that began by a seeping in, then turned into a flood pouring out of the entire echelon of non-productive bureaucratic hierarchical groupings in every mega-institution on planet Earth, be it church, government, military, banking or corporate.

These non-productive types of exponential inferior intelligence (the truth of this easily determined by their performance) keep themselves as controllers and in power, not by coming up with useful ideas but by browbeating the generally smarter but brain-lazy makers and doers.  The controllers know they are too stupid to rise above what they are and too lazy, incompetent and incapable to perform any sort of useful labour so they must control the work force (or the followers of some religion or the patriots or the investors or the fans) to keep them from discovering they are more intelligent and certainly more useful than their superiors.  If you cannot rise above the level of your own incompetence you must keep everybody else below yours — by whatever means.

Here’s a classic way they have always used to control others.  They invent rules and by using these rules they can implement endless changes to systems, not to improve the systems, anybody can see that is not happening, but to force everybody else to remain on a level below theirs.  There has probably never been a time when this was more obvious that the present moment.

Let me describe how the bureaucrats go about creating new rules.  Since they are incapable of coming up with anything new, their “new” will always be based on something old, re-packaged and re-marketed to seem original.  Another “trade” deal; a different kind of Monopoly money; a change in interest rates; how about a carbon tax? A green fee?

At the corporation where I worked I called their creations “the thirteen and a half inch ruler.”  Like everybody else they were operating under the standard twelve inch ruler.  But why be the same as everybody else when you can be longer?  So they put their mini brains together and came up with a real winner: a thirteen and a half inch ruler.  A ruler a whole inch and a half longer than anyone else’s.  Fantastic.  Now each time their employees go out to measure, they are automatically ahead of the competition by 1-1/2 inches.

Of course we (that would be those of us who do the actual measuring) immediately encountered a problem with the new rule:  Was it now a thirteen and a half inch ruler, so marked?  Or was it a twelve inch ruler with the inches stretched out one and one half inch over the length of the new ruler? 

We asked for clarifications.  As to be expected they had no answer except for the usual: we’ll get back to you on that, carry on.  The “carry on” part was not debatable.

The above should be hilarious.  But when one realizes how true that is, it sobers one very quickly.  Think: the thirteen and a half inch ruler brains are the rulers of this planet.  They are the mushroom cloud; we’re at ground zero.  That is why all of us numb-nuts believe ourselves indebted to the thirteen and a half inch ruler brains to the tune of $184,000,000,000,000 or broken down, $86,000 for every man, woman and child on this world.

At this point though I’d have to say that the 13-1/2″ ruler brains are actually the smart ones. A tiny minority of ignorant pea-brains holds an entire world in hock to themselves just by claiming their right to an incestuously exponential lion’s share of everything.  For this inanely and insanely illegitimate claim the rest of the regular (12″) ruler brains are willing to kill other people’s children, or watch their own starve to death while debating which 13-1/2″ ruler brain should be their next leader.  

“Beam me up Scotty, you dropped me on the wrong planet!”

 

The Prophet Spoke Again

[thoughts from ~burning woman~ by Sha’Tara]

The Prophet spoke once more in the latter days, long after any had been and these be the things she said into the minds of those that would listen.

I am not bringing any good tidings, she said to them, therefore it is entirely up to you whether you listen, or fail to listen, for the message will be given even if only the stones of this world, the pavement of its streets or the girders of its highrises hear it.

You will have noticed that your world has changed once again, and in that change it has turned against you. You speak amongst yourselves of climate change; you debate whether it is the works of your own hands, of the world itself or perhaps a combination of both. You do not know and while you are confused, refusing to face the music you yourselves ordered to be written upon skies, seas and lands, you cannot dance. You but plod, and you weary yourselves with petty thoughts of greedy corporate executives and bankers, corrupt politicians and the endless charade of religion. Thinking yourselves wise, you have indeed made yourselves fools; the duck thinking to survive the winter in a child’s wading pool.

You seek answers where there are none! You deliberately ignore your history to fall ever and anon in the same trap your ancestors fell in and died in. You continue to believe that if you replace this puppet with that one; this god with another; this system with a more “environment friendly” one, you can carry on with just such light brush strokes on the old canvas; that you can carry on with no self-sacrifice, no purifying of heart, no transforming of mind, therefore no essential change.

But know this, if you cannot see it for yourselves: your canvas is rotten, even to the frame that holds it together.

That is the sum total of my tidings, to do with as you see fit. I did not come here to make the change for you, I came but to give warning. If you care about each other and particularly if you care about your own children, you will listen. If you do not, I may as well once again take the name of Cassandra and die in the fall of your great and impregnable city.

Is there any hope? I don’t “do” hope, but I am addressing people who believe in such things. So, look about you, anywhere, and see if there is anything truly new rising from your world; from within your many systems: anything you would bet your life and the life of your children upon? Anything that cannot be bought and sold in the global marketplace or corrupted beyond recognition in your high places of government, banking and worship?

Every prophet is mad, I as much as any other who has ever dared incarnate on this world and in my madness I dare imagine that some of you will ponder this and cry out, ‘Yes, we can see how it is coming apart,’ and add, ‘what should we then do?’

As I said, I am not here to give you answers, that was not part of my job description.

Let me remind you that everyone like myself who has come before and given you strict guidance and rules of conduct has been an abject failure because the teaching was imposed, it did not arise from within yourselves, thus it was powerless to change you. Go ahead, read your prophets, the full time, the part time, the ones you defamed, tortured and killed. You could do worse than re-reading “The Prophet” by Khalil Gibran. Read other way showers and rule givers and go as far as pondering the voices of those who called themselves saviours and see what you find these many years later.

I will give you hints though, even if it violates my strict self-imposed mandate. Simple hints. First, your civilization as you experience it and as you’ve known it throughout your very short history, is finished. Its days have been measures and found wanting.

Its very nature is inimical to the concept we call life. It has exceeded its limits to growth. It feeds entirely on bloodshed and destruction and many there are who profit from this and many more who rejoice in the results. That is its greatest sin from which it can neither be healed, or ever rise again.

Second hint: if you would do something that has a chance of bearing fruit, though it likely will be but for yourself as an individual, choose the path of the compassionate being. “How” is entirely up to you.

Quote: “A dominant myth is inclusive, in the sense that people feel lost without it. They can’t attribute any sort of human activity to anything else but the myth. They can’t see their way past it. They feel stymied without it.” (Jon Rappoport) and my added comment: “And what is civilization but a dominant myth?”

 

I Had to Write This…

I had to write this…
[thoughts from   ~burning woman~  ]

Just finished watching, for the umpteenth time, the movie, “The Statement” (2003) with Tilda Swinton and Michael Caine.  Basically another story of hunting down Nazi murderers of innocent and helpless Jews in WWII, this time in France under the fascist, heavily pro-Nazi Vichy regime led my Marshal Petain. 

The point here is that these mass murders happened 80 or less years ago – one Earthian life time and here we are, poised to do it all over again.  Isn’t that just fantastic how quickly we forget our ignorance, stupidity and murderous mob tendencies just to start again? 

Granted, we haven’t yet quite decided which race or class of people are going to suffer our wrath, but we’re ready to “do it”.  Most likely the educated and well-informed voting mob will pick on people of some sort of colour to slaughter. Refugees, they’re pretty safe, not too dangerous.  The Muslims, well, that’s a different matter, they tend to fight back. We’ll definitely need the police, the Security state, maybe the army on our side for this. It’s but a matter of putting the right people in government to pass the laws to legitimize the slaughter and that’s never been a problem.  The problem is motivating those still sitting on the fence.  They may have to be our target this time.  Great, those stupid liberals won’t expect to be a mob’s target: sitting ducks.  

You see? That’s how it goes.  The circles just get bigger, nothing essential changes.  And why is that? Why doesn’t anything change and why do we put on the rose coloured glasses and insist that somehow, yes, things have gotten better? Was the 20th Century with its two devastating world wars followed by endless wars and the cruelest form of exploitation of resource rich emerging countries really better than the Hundred Years War?  Is that a rhetorical question or what?

What is our problem?  I’ll tell you, and I’ll keep telling you, as long as I have breath: our problem is that as a species, as a collective, as a “civilization” we don’t give a damn. We are not the least empathetic, though we can be so easily conned by our various propaganda machines into believing that we are, indeed, kind and loving “at heart” and that it is only the few; the minority; that is psychopathic and loves war and killing.  It isn’t. It’s a very, very big majority that is in love with violence and that never gets enough of it. If you don’t believe me, check out the internet and video games. Check out how much money derives directly from violence or the promotion of violence.  

Not all violence means bloodshed and death, though we certainly enjoy doing that best. Violence is everything that causes some sort of harm to others; to another – human, animal, plant or planet, for one’s selfish benefit or one’s enjoyment.  We need to get that very clear in our head for it is the same as what religion calls sin: the inflicting of pain and loss upon any “other” for one’s own satisfaction, benefit or pleasure. 

There is but one antidote for this Earthian condition that is destroying this world and possibly much of the biological life on and in it, and that is for all *ISSA beings to choose to become compassionate.  How many times have I said that? Doesn’t matter because it’s like the wind in the leafless cottonwood trees here in winter: sound and either you like it or you don’t like it, but the wind doesn’t change its tune whether you’re comfortable with it or not.

I’ve been following the current protests highlighting climate change and elitist rip-offs called the economy and assessing the chances of such protests actually accomplishing anything at all. My conclusion is predictable: the protesters are going nowhere.

Oh, what a terrible thing to say! Of course they’re going somewhere; they’re making some politicos change their minds… wow! Problem with that is, these mind-changing chameleons are opportunists. They can see the tide flowing in and they are just smart enough to move the blanket, the umbrella and the cooler a bit higher up on the beach. Still same beach, same picnic, same people. They’ll be safe from the rising waters and who cares about those who are already up against the cliff? Their problem.

If there is one thing activism has taught me back then, it’s that to address one “big” problem it is absolutely necessary to address all “big” problems. You cannot address climate change without addressing global poverty. You cannot address poverty without addressing over-population. You cannot promote alternative sources of energy if you are not condemning consumerism outright. You cannot blame right-winged politicians for screwing the planet if you are blinding yourself to the fact that your “left winged” politicians (the ones you would happily put back in charge) are as corrupt and often more so.  You cannot address justice if you are not, first, dedicated to destroying your billionaire elites – and I mean destroy utterly.  You cannot address and hope to make a dent in any of the above if you are not primarily committed to stopping all wars, genocides and where police operate out of control as in the US, stopping all government sanctioned mass murder.  You cannot in all honesty address and oppose any of the above if inside yourself resides one ounce of racism, misogyny, bullying and oh yes, patriotism. How many realize that patriotism is fanaticism that leads to terrorism?  It’s always been that.

Finally (this has to stop somewhere) nothing at all will ever change as long as there remains one Earthian anywhere convinced that s/he is entitled; if particularly blessed in some way or is superior to anyone else.  In other words, until Earthian pride is completely subdued by humility… we are doomed. We were taught; we were given chance after chance; we know right from wrong and as long as we choose wrong we can’t expect that anything will ever come out right. 

“We knew that the Earth was flat, we knew that we were the center of the universe, and we knew that a man-made heavier than air piece of machinery could not take flight. Through all stages of human history, intellectual authorities have pronounced their supremacy by ridiculing or suppressing elements of reality that simply didn’t fit within the framework of accepted knowledge. Are we really any different today? Have we really changed our acceptance towards things that won’t fit the frame? Maybe there are concepts of our reality we have yet to understand, and if we open our eyes, maybe we will see that something significant has been overlooked.”Terje Toftenes (take from the film “The Day Before Disclosure”)

*ISSA: intelligent, sentient, self aware