Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 17 Share on Twitter 6 Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
OpEdNews Op Eds    H1'ed 7/4/19

What's to celebrate?: US is a Classic Empire and Is Becoming a Repressive Police State at Home

Author 63
Message Dave Lindorff
Become a Fan
  (88 fans)
- Advertisement -


July 4 fireworks or US war on Iraq?
(Image by YouTube, Channel: pollux troy)
  Details   DMCA


By Dave Lindorff

- Advertisement -

As I set out to fly home from the UK on Monday following a short film project in Cambridge, I found my boarding pass, which I had been blocked from obtaining online the night before, carrying a bold-faced SSSS stamp in the lower right corner. Asking about it I was told by the British employee at the United check-in counter, "That is because you are on a US Department of Homeland Security list, sir."

Later, after my son and I got the boarding gate, my name was called and I was ushered through a door in the wall behind the gate desk where two British security agents pawed through my bag and ran a cloth over computer, phone and all the zippers on my suitcase and computer bag looking for traces of explosives. After that I was politely told that I and my son (whose luggage was left uninspected) could board the plane. When I asked why I, a journalist with no criminal record, was being treated like a suspected terrorist, they laughed and said I would have to inquire of the DHS.

It's not the first time this has happened to me. The same thing happened when my wife and I flew to Vienna in March where she was playing a concert on Vienna State Radio. That time at a checkpoint between Heathrow's Terminal 5 and Terminal 2, my boarding pass was rejected, and when I got it reprinted a red stamp saying "ICE Security" was added. As on Monday, I was subjected to a special search in a separate location near the gate by an apologetic British security officer.

- Advertisement -

Today is July 4, and many American citizens will be bringing blankets and lawn chairs to local fireworks displays to celebrate American independence. Of course, those fireworks really hark back to the "rockets' red glare" referred to in Francis Scott Key's racist national anthem, which was largely a condemnation of the freed black slaves that the British employed in their effort to conquer Baltimore harbor during the War of 1812.

What, really, have we got to celebrate?

The US today is a global empire. Our country's military, ballooning to some 2.1 million at a time that there is really no significant war underway. US military spending represents 34% of all global military spending, and the US military budget, depending on how one counts it, is larger than the next largest eight countries' military budgets combined. To show how ridiculously huge the US military is, consider that at $220 billion for fiscal year 2020, the US budget for Veterans Affairs alone (that's the agency that provides assistance of all kinds, including medical, to those who served in the military, not counting career soldiers who receive a pension that is counted separately) this one military budget line is larger than the entire military budget of China, and is more than three times as large as the entire Russian military budget!

And remember - US empire and militarism is and has always been supported by both political parties.

Here at home, our police are increasingly militarized to the point that most people now view the police as a potential threat, cowering politely in any interaction with cops, and fearing to assert their rights when they disagree with a stop for fear they will be cuffed, brutalized and arrested for speaking up. Our militarized, power-tripping law-enforcement officers insist on "respect," are quick to make up reasons to take us down and take us in (like "resisting arrest" or "causing a disturbance") if we don't show it, and are quick to fire a taser or a gun if they "feel threatened," knowing that prosecutors and the courts will almost always give them the benefit of the doubt even if video evidence shows them to have been in the wrong.

I'm 70, and the decline in freedom in this country has been a long but quite visible process back at least to when I was a young adult resisting the draft and the Vietnam War. Being on a "watch list" is nothing new for me. I learned from the FBI file I obtained back in the late '70s when the Freedom of Information Act was still actually working as originally intended, that I was on a list back during the war years and in fact was scheduled to be arrested by the US Attorney in Hartford, CT for draft resistance until the order, all unknown to me, was rescinded at the last minute. The FBI visited a colleague of my father's at the UConn Engineering School in 1971 looking into an effort I and my wife made at the Chinese Embassy in Ottawa, Canada to obtain permission to visit China.

- Advertisement -

Is the US a police state? Yes, certainly it is for some people. It is certainly a police state for immigrants, legal and undocumented alike, for black people wherever they reside, for hispanics and Native Americans, and for those like myself who oppose the political policies and foreign policy of this country. And I guess that answers the question. One doesn't define a police state as a place that represses everyone, since by definition those who keep their heads down, support the political status quo and those in power, are doing what the state wants them to do. There is no need to show the iron fist or the jackboot to them. A police state is a place that applies force and the tools of repression to those who challenge it. So even before we consider the concentration camps for immigrants along the border, the outrageous separation and imprisonment of babies, toddlers and children by Border Patrol thugs, and our latest president's desire for military parades to honor himself on this day, the real answer is: Yes! the US must be considered, today, to be a police state.

So what's to celebrate?

I read that a recent Gallup Organization poll shows a significant drop in the percentage of US Americans who are "extremely proud" of their country. True, 45% still say they are "proud" of America, but normally that is how many say they are "extremely proud" to be Americans. That's a significant fall-off. Even among normally super-patriotic Republicans the percentage of those saying they are "extremely proud" this July 4 of this country was down to 76%, a 10% drop from 2003, and close to the 68% low point reached at one point during the Obama administration.

The main cause of the loss of patriotic ardor appears to be dismay or disgust with the US political system. According to the poll, only 32% of Americans say they are "proud" (forget "extremely proud"!) of America's vaunted political system. In a close second for popular disgust, only 37% said they are "proud" of the US health care system.

So I guess I'm in pretty good company. I won't be oohing and aaahing at the local fireworks display this year. It's basically a glorification of US war-making anyhow, and there's nothing at all to be proud of in that regard, particularly with the US in the midst of a $1.5-trillion upgrade of its nuclear arsenal, threatening war with Iran, pulling out of a Reagan-era treaty banning intermediate-range nuclear missiles, and embarking in a new arms race both in space and in virtually unstoppable hypersonic cruise missiles.

In my view, my country has become the world's leading "rogue" nation, dismissive of all international laws and codes of conduct, actively attacking many countries on its own authority, without the support of UN Security Council resolutions, exonerating war crimes committed by its soldiers, and committed to the first use of nuclear weapons, both as a first strike against major power rivals like Russia and China, and against non-nuclear nations like Iran, and equally dismissive of all efforts, large and small, to respond to the crisis of catastrophic global heating. At home, the US legal system has become a supine supporter of virtually unlimited executive power, of unchecked police power, and of repressive actions against the supposedly constitutionally protected free press.

It's tempting to hope that the decline noted by Gallup in the percent of Americans expressing "extreme pride" and even of "pride" in the US might mean people are getting fed up with the militarism and endless wars and the thoroughly corrupt political system, but support for the US among the country's citizens still remains shamefully high in the face of all these negatives.

Anyhow, count me among those who won't be celebrating today's July 4 national holiday.

DAVE LINDORFF, 2019 winner of the Park Center's "Izzy" award for Outstanding Independent Journalism, is a member of ThisCantBeHappening!, the uncompromised, collectively run, seven-time Project Censored Award-winning online alternative news site. His work, and that of colleagues JOHN GRANT, JESS GUH, GARY LINDORFF, ALFREDO LOPEZ, LINN WASHINGTON, JR. and the late CHARLES M. YOUNG, can be found at www.thiscantbehappening.net


(Article changed on July 4, 2019 at 19:25)

(Article changed on July 4, 2019 at 23:30)

 

- Advertisement -

Must Read 9   Well Said 8   Supported 6  
Rate It | View Ratings

Dave Lindorff Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Dave Lindorff is a founding member of the collectively-owned, journalist-run online newspaper www.thiscantbehappening.net. He is a columnist for Counterpunch, is author of several recent books ("This Can't Be Happening! Resisting the (more...)
 
Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines
Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

STAY IN THE KNOW
If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEdNews Newsletter
Name
Email
   (Opens new browser window)
 

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Israel's Gaza Atrocities Recall America's Atrocities in Vietnam

Supreme Court Junket King Scalia Dies While Vacationing with Wealthy Patrons at Private West Texas Getaway

Looming climate catastrophe?: A Rapidly Warming Arctic Could Loose a Methane Climate Bomb Causing Extinction in 9 Years

Something's happening here: Clinton's Crumbling, Bernie's Surging and a 'Political Revolution' May Be in the Offing

The Case for Impeachment of President Barack Obama

Barack Obama: Manchurian Candidate Version 2.0

Comments Image Post Article Comment and Rate This Article

These discussions are not moderated. We rely on users to police themselves, and flag inappropriate comments and behavior. In accordance with our Guidelines and Policies, we reserve the right to remove any post at any time for any reason, and will restrict access of registered users who repeatedly violate our terms.

  • OpEdNews welcomes lively, CIVIL discourse. Personal attacks and/or hate speech are not tolerated and may result in banning.
  • Comments should relate to the content above. Irrelevant, off-topic comments are a distraction, and will be removed.
  • By submitting this comment, you agree to all OpEdNews rules, guidelines and policies.
          

Comment Here:   



You can enter 2000 characters. To remove limit, please click here.
Please login or register. Afterwards, your comment will be published.
 
Username
Password

Forgot your password? Click here and we will send an email to the address you used when you registered.
First Name
Last Name

I am at least 16 years of age
(make sure username & password are filled in. Note that username must be an email address.)

9 people are discussing this page, with 12 comments  Post Comment


PCM

Become a Fan
Author 55357

(Member since Nov 1, 2010), 11 fans, 3 quicklinks, 1314 comments
Not paid member and Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in


Add this Page to Facebook! Submit to Twitter Share on LinkedIn Submit to Reddit


  New Content

The Onion recently did another installment of "American Voices," where they had the three usual suspects (always with different names and occupations) commenting on the Supreme Court's recent decision to bar adding a citizenship question to the census questionnaire. The answer that resonated with me most was:


(Image by Unknown Owner) Details DMCA

"Thank god, I'd be way too mortified to admit I'm a citizen of the United States right now."

And to be honest, I think I'd just go ahead and strike those last two words. The more I learn about our country's true history, the more mortified I get.

Submitted on Thursday, Jul 4, 2019 at 8:06:06 PM

Author 0
Add New Comment
Share Comment
Reply To This   Recommend  (9+)
Help
 
Indent

Dave Lindorff

Become a Fan
Author 63

(Member since Nov 18, 2005), 88 fans, 1192 articles, 117 quicklinks, 1051 comments, 1 diaries
Not paid member and Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in


Add this Page to Facebook! Submit to Twitter Share on LinkedIn Submit to Reddit


Reply to PCM:   New Content

Interesting idea: We US citizens, if a citizenship is included in the Census form, should ALL say we are not citizens. The ICE folks will go nuts trying to track everyone down and check their documents. Also, since the forms are supposed to be anonymous, there's no way that anyone could be prosecuted without ICE police admitting that the forms are actually not anonymous.


Simple solution to a presidential abuse of power.


And to tell the truth, I'm embarrassed to admit I'm an American myself and have been for some time.


Dave Lindorff

founding editor of ThisCantBeHappening.net


Submitted on Thursday, Jul 4, 2019 at 8:33:03 PM

Author 0
Add New Comment
Share Comment
Reply To This   Recommend  (10+)
Help
 
IndentIndent

nelswight

Become a Fan
Author 2581

(Member since Sep 3, 2006), 305 comments
Not paid member and Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in


Add this Page to Facebook! Submit to Twitter Share on LinkedIn Submit to Reddit


Reply to Dave Lindorff:   New Content

Beautifully expressed, Dave.

Submitted on Friday, Jul 5, 2019 at 12:14:26 AM

Author 0
Add New Comment
Share Comment
Reply To This   Recommend  (6+)
Help
 

Jill Herendeen

Become a Fan
Author 18898

(Member since Jul 18, 2008), 22 fans, 1 articles, 2963 comments, 1 diaries
Not paid member and Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in


Add this Page to Facebook! Submit to Twitter Share on LinkedIn Submit to Reddit


  New Content

WHY do we even tolerate having a Dept. of Homeland Security? It was founded on the LIE that foreigners attacked us on 9/11!

Submitted on Thursday, Jul 4, 2019 at 10:38:59 PM

Author 0
Add New Comment
Share Comment
Reply To This   Recommend  (15+)
Help
 
Indent

Dave Lindorff

Become a Fan
Author 63

(Member since Nov 18, 2005), 88 fans, 1192 articles, 117 quicklinks, 1051 comments, 1 diaries
Not paid member and Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in


Add this Page to Facebook! Submit to Twitter Share on LinkedIn Submit to Reddit


Reply to Jill Herendeen:   New Content

We shouldn't tolerate it


And we shouldn't celebrate July 4 as a holiday about "freedom." It is really about the establishment of a government by and for white, male property owners, about escaping taxation, about being allowed to buy, sell, own, import and abuse slaves, about the freedom to steal land from those who have inhabited it for millennia, and about glorifying war against less powerful nations and peoples.


My wife and I ignored the whole thing and used the day to clean and repair our pre-revolutionary house.


Dave Lindorff

founding editor of ThisCantBeHappening.net


Submitted on Friday, Jul 5, 2019 at 3:05:50 PM

Author 0
Add New Comment
Share Comment
Reply To This   Recommend  (6+)
Help
 
IndentIndent

Carol Jackson

Become a Fan
Author 61962

(Member since Mar 25, 2011), 2 fans, 719 comments
Not paid member and Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in


Add this Page to Facebook! Submit to Twitter Share on LinkedIn Submit to Reddit


Reply to Dave Lindorff:   New Content

Dear Dave: ThisCantBeHappening.net

The death of JFK, then Vietnam.. signaled a radical change in the USA. It happened so fast that we all got swept up in it without realizing what happened. Now we're a couple generations into it and until we understand what happened to us it will, and is, only going to get worse. Thanks for the article.

Submitted on Friday, Jul 5, 2019 at 3:29:42 PM

Author 0
Add New Comment
Share Comment
Reply To This   Recommend  (5+)
Help
 
IndentIndentIndent

Janet Supriano

Become a Fan
Author 90270

(Member since Oct 7, 2013), 12 fans, 1811 comments
Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in


Add this Page to Facebook! Submit to Twitter Share on LinkedIn Submit to Reddit


Reply to Carol Jackson:   New Content

I agree with you, Carol. I see 2 major turning points. IMO 'our country died with JFK and went bat-sh*t crazy on Sept. 11'.

The powers-that-be have, no doubt been psycho-crazy long, long before 2001; their shrewd, complex intentions to destroy are plotted over generations.

How long has it been since the governments of the globe have moved even one step closer to bringing about what ordinary people need and truly want? I'm gonna have to leave the tasks of repair to the younger ones, but it all makes me very sad. Seems like it should have turned out so much better.

I'm glad to see you back and hope you are doing well. Good wishes!

Submitted on Friday, Jul 5, 2019 at 4:58:12 PM

Author 0
Add New Comment
Share Comment
Reply To This   Recommend  (5+)
Help
 
Indent

Lance Ciepiela

Become a Fan
Author 14196
Follow Me on Twitter
(Member since Apr 4, 2008), 52 fans, 58 articles, 98 quicklinks, 4276 comments, 213 diaries
Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in


Add this Page to Facebook! Submit to Twitter Share on LinkedIn Submit to Reddit


Reply to Jill Herendeen:   New Content

#After911 our federal government's security apparatus became focused "inward" on the American people - anyone/everyone could be a potential terrorist(s), "take your shoes off" at our airports, get your baggage "thoroughly searched" and your body "thoroughly scanned" for "hidden explosives" - the makings of "a police state", for sure, except of course, 9/11 had been "pre-planted explosives used at the WTC" but who was responsible for the three demolitions has not yet been determined or investigated by our law enforcement officials or our duly elected or appointed representatives. #IraqWar"Fraudulent Justification" - Article II W Bush Articles of Impeachment.


Airport security woman boots off A clip from an infomercial of a woman going through airort security. SHe gets searched and is forced to take her boots off. She wears black socks. I do not own ...
(Image by YouTube, Channel: ninetwo bee)
Details DMCA

#911Treason - II. Overwhelming evidence exists that the collapses of the Twin Towers and Building 7 were instances of controlled demolition. But al-Qaeda operatives could not have obtained the needed access to the buildings to plant the explosives and would not have ensured that the buildings come straight down. The controlled demolition, therefore, had to be the work of insiders. MEMO to Congress.

Submitted on Friday, Jul 5, 2019 at 3:14:41 PM

Author 0
Add New Comment
Share Comment
Reply To This   Recommend  (3+)
Help
 
Indent

Janet Supriano

Become a Fan
Author 90270

(Member since Oct 7, 2013), 12 fans, 1811 comments
Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in


Add this Page to Facebook! Submit to Twitter Share on LinkedIn Submit to Reddit


Reply to Jill Herendeen:   New Content

How in the world do we get rid of it? I think it's a sham to lock us in and lock us up and accept being seen (at every corner light) as potential criminals.

Frankly, I find it all exhausting.

Submitted on Friday, Jul 5, 2019 at 5:05:00 PM

Author 0
Add New Comment
Share Comment
Reply To This   Recommend  (4+)
Help
 

Gary Lindorff

Become a Fan
Author 86636

(Member since Mar 21, 2013), 6 fans, 184 articles, 124 comments
Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in


Add this Page to Facebook! Submit to Twitter Share on LinkedIn Submit to Reddit


  New Content

I agree with everything you say. Thanks for the snapshot of the Dorian Gray portrait of the United States. I also found nothing to celebrate. I just felt profoundly sad. Well, we've got another year to try to do something, as citizens of Empire, that we can be proud of next time the 4th rolls around.

Submitted on Friday, Jul 5, 2019 at 3:44:44 PM

Author 0
Add New Comment
Share Comment
Reply To This   Recommend  (4+)
Help
 

b. sadie bailey

Become a Fan
Author 56818

(Member since Dec 5, 2010), 14 fans, 5 articles, 24 quicklinks, 1107 comments, 4 diaries
Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in


Add this Page to Facebook! Submit to Twitter Share on LinkedIn Submit to Reddit


  New Content

thank you for voicing what so many people are feeling; another non-celebrant here. i've been ashamed to be a citizen of this U.S. empire of genocide for much of my life.

the disgusting show of military power, the red white and blue and shiny happy patriots proudly waving their flags. Mostly I feel nauseated.

bombers have been flying overhead for days and people are "proud" of the fact we kill innocent civilians everyday - it's psychotic. i am disgusted, horrified, and aggrieved, and afraid for all life on this planet. I've been on the TSA list for years, as is anyone who speaks truth.

About all that's left is to be as kind as possible to as many sentient beings on this lovely planet as possible - especially animals, plants, and kids. Guy McPherson is right to say "only love remains" because no matter what we do I don't think we can stop the course of events.

Submitted on Saturday, Jul 6, 2019 at 4:43:41 AM

Author 0
Add New Comment
Share Comment
Reply To This   Recommend  (0+)
Help
 
Indent

Dave Lindorff

Become a Fan
Author 63

(Member since Nov 18, 2005), 88 fans, 1192 articles, 117 quicklinks, 1051 comments, 1 diaries
Not paid member and Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in


Add this Page to Facebook! Submit to Twitter Share on LinkedIn Submit to Reddit


Reply to b. sadie bailey:   New Content

I'm talking with the Center for Constitutional Rights about their taking on a class action lawsuit over the airline travel harassment list maintained by DHS. They said it would need to be a class action, not just a single case. If you have evidence (SSSS or other marks on your boarding pass indicating that you need to be given "the treatment," could you send me your email, so I can add you to the list for such a lawsuit? My email is below.


Dave Lindorff

tbhmail@gmail.com

Submitted on Saturday, Jul 6, 2019 at 11:48:53 AM

Author 0
Add New Comment
Share Comment
Reply To This   Recommend  (0+)
Help
 

 
Want to post your own comment on this Article? Post Comment