Veterans for Peace Radio Hour

August 30, 2014

Labor Day

Filed under: General Discussion — bobfunke @ 2:26

 

Labor Day, so much I could say about this day in which we honor the workers of this nation, (notice there is “Management Day”).

From the coal mines, the sweatshops of Northern Massachusetts, the steel workers, the Longshoremen, the Teamsters and a thousand other places, workers struck, fought and died to gain a little dignity, a little safety, a little time off from the drudgery of near constant work. In Colorado, the NG was called in, fully armed to put down a coal miner’s strike. Many died that day, but the strikers held on, a nation was secretly inspired, (outright support for Unionization was generally met with mass firings, police attacks, Pinkerton’s and other hired goons smashed into peaceful meetings and peaceful supporters.

Great literature about men and women of the time was written, The Grapes of Wrath came not so much from the drought as it did from the labor troubles during the 1930’s. Passionate people driven to the brink of extinction while the wealthy sucked every penny they could from an already broken economy.

Some of the things Labor gave us:

An 8 hour work day

A 40 hour workweek

Overtime

Vacation time

Sick leave

Maternity leave

Child Labor Laws

 

 

A process to air our grievances against a company or its officers

Contracts that could be updated so as times changed, workers could gain as well

Safety regulations

Holiday pay/days off

I could add to this list, but we’ve allowed many of these things to slip away as well. Who would have thought that Nixon would have given the country the EPA? Today’s Republican party is trying desperately to strip it away, as well as OSHA and a host of other programs designed to keep workers and the nation safe, there is something very wrong with this picture.

Enjoy your Labor Day Weekend, you’ve earned it, but I’m willing to bet that on Friday, the first one’s out of the door were management.

 

Bob

August 24, 2014

James Foley Was Murdered By Cowards

Filed under: General Discussion — bobfunke @ 2:26

I do not use the word “cowards” lightly, but if one is going to stand over someone who has been incapacitated by handcuffs/wrist restraints while wearing what is essentially a mask to endure he is not recognized for what he is about to do, that man, and others like him, are cowards.

This is not a one time issue, it seems as though many who claim to be acting in “the name of god” don’t have the intestinal fortitude to show their faces; perhaps god will come back to them in a hellfire missile or some 300 rounds from a mini-gun.

My point is, I had to face my “enemies”, often looking into their eyes, these men were brave men, believing in what they were fighting for. Yes, a lot of VC wore black, but I can’t recall one of them wearing a ski mask. War is always an ugly business. From it’s inception to today, the idea is to kill and cripple others, destroying an enemies capacity and will to fight. Foley’s murder was an act of terror, and with all acts of terror, once the initial reaction wears off, we dig in our heels and go after the fools that do do such things.

Make no mistake about this, ISIS/ISIL/Assholes, what ever they are, people will rise up and destroy them. The people they terrorize will find the fortitude to take them on, and I will not shed a tear, not even a sniffle will come from me. When evil raises it’s head, regardless of where that evil is, it must be taken to task. Americans have done horrific things, the British, French and just about every group on earth has done horrific things; Pol Pot, Hitler, Stalin the list goes on…but each of them had a face, not some sappy rag over their head to disguise them.

Let’s find this guy, bring him to justice, let him rot in a steel cell, fed gruel once a day and spend many a year thinking about how cowardly his act was. The one thing we don’t want to do, if possible, is kill this coward, make him live in the shame he brought upon himself and his “ISIS” brethren. A hero dies but once, a coward dies a thousand times a day.

Bob

August 23, 2014

Sacco and Vanzetti 8-23-1927

 

 

 

This story has been told many times and is perfect conveyance for the dissolution of capital punishment.

Here is a link to the actual trial of the time, copyrighted by Felix Franfurter, from The Atlantic at the time, (it takes some time to read)

http://www.theatlantic.com/past/unbound/flashbks/oj/frankff.htm

What seems to be missing from most of the story is that hundreds of thousands of people across the nation felt that Sacco and Vanzetti were being framed for a crime they did not commit. In fact, the more “evidence” for the prosecution that came out, the larger the crowds became for the acquittal of the two men. In fact it became an international  causes célèbres, where just about everyone believes the accused are innocent, but the powers that be have so much invested, they refuse to back down. We see this today when minorities and poor whites are caught up in a system that is rigged against them, (just think of the drug charges brought against some, depending on county, state or jurisdiction, a person can get life for a joint, while others are tossed out of court for lack of merit.

The New York Times printed the story immediately following the executions:

http://www.nytimes.com/learning/general/onthisday/big/0823.html

For further reading of this situation that brought the two men to their men to their deaths, there is plenty to look around for, I chose the two articled linked because they give an accurate account during the time frame at what people were actually hearing. A loose end appears though, even before Sacco and Vanzetti were executed another man admitted to the robbery/killing, from wikipedia:

Madeiros confession[edit]

In November 1925, Celestino Madeiros, an ex-convict awaiting trial for murder, confessed to committing the Braintree crimes. He absolved Sacco and Vanzetti of participation.[86]In May, once the SJC had denied their appeal and Madeiros was convicted, the defense investigated the details of Madeiros’ story. Police interviews led them to the Morelli gang based in Providence, Rhode Island. They developed an alternative theory of the crime based on the gang’s history of shoe-factory robberies, connections to a car like that used in Braintree, and other details. Gang leader Joe Morelli bore a striking resemblance to Sacco.[87][88][89]

The defense filed a motion for a new trial based on the Madeiros confession on May 26, 1926.[81] In support of their motion they included 64 affidavits. The prosecution countered with 26 affidavits.[90] When Thayer heard arguments from September 13 to 17, 1926,[81] the defense, along with their Madeiros-Morelli theory of the crime, charged that the U.S. Justice Department was aiding the prosecution by withholding information obtained in its own investigation of the case. Attorney William Thompson made an explicitly political attack: “A government which has come to value its own secrets more than it does the lives of its citizens has become a tyranny, whether you call it a republic, a monarchy, or anything else!”[91] Judge Thayer denied this motion for a new trial on October 23, 1926. After arguing against the credibility of Madeiros, he addressed the defense claims against the federal government, saying the defense was suffering from “a new type of disease,…a belief in the existence of something which in fact and truth has no such existence.”[81][92]

Three days later, the Boston Herald responded to Thayer’s decision by reversing its longstanding position and calling for a new trial. Its editorial, “We Submit”, earned its author aPulitzer Prize.[93][94] No other newspapers followed suit.[95]

 

Today, 87 years to the day when two innocent men were sent to the electric chair, some states still feel that capital punishment is the answer. Since 1973, 244 death row inmates have been exonerated or had their charges reduced. How would you feel if you were innocent and were walking that last mile?

Peace,

Bob

 

August 21, 2014

VOTE!

   

 

I think I have heard every excuse there is for not voting, so please spare me the, “my vote doesn’t count”, “I hate to wait in line”, “I have to work late” and a whole host of other pieces of dialog that keeps people from the polls. Most democracies and virtually all dictatorships and theocracies have a far better turn out than we do at the polls, I am often embarrassed that we call ourselves a democratic-republic; 43-48% turnout is pathetic and amounts to a plurality as opposed to a clear-cut winner.

There is no good reason for not casting a ballot, you can show up in person, as I do, you can request an absentee ballot, as I have, it takes so little time from one’s precious day, and yet there are so many things at stake, I would crawl over crushed glass on cobblestones if I had to to cast my ballot. This is not all about who will be in the House or Senate, it goes far beyond that, there are initiatives on the ballot that can, and often will, have far-reaching consequences on the way we live, taxation, cleaner air and water, the list goes on and you can make a difference.

One rule I live by in voting, is that I will not ask anyone to vote as I do, I find that disingenuous at best. That is not to say I won’t explain why I am voting the way I am, but your vote is your vote, I will nothing to discredit it, nor will I take you to task for it. One’s vote is personal and should be left to that individual without any fear of reprisal. I will defend a person’s right to keep their vote secret, just as I will defend a person’s right to speak, even if I disagree with their message, (in the latter though, I expect the individuals speaking to allow me the same right, especially if I disagree.)

There are often local votes that affect specific communities, I urge you to vote in these as well if you are a part of that community. Things often hinge on a few votes as in School Boards and Townships where a little power can go a long way. Some School Boards have “outlawed” evolution and are endeavoring to do away with science all together, I know of two Townships that the vote rested on two ballots, one would have broken even, the second would have kept someone off the Board. 13 & 17% of eligible voters voted in those elections.

Andrew Johnson was acquitted after being impeached during Reconstruction by a single vote. When asked, the Senator who cast the final nay vote was asked why he did so, he answered that he was not going to be the Senator that would plunge the nation into another Civil War. Granted, Andrew Johnson consistently winds up in the lowest five of presidents, but the wisdom of a single vote might well have saved the nation further bloodshed and horror.

So please, vote , realize that your vote does have an impact and realize as well, if things don’t go your way in the election, your vote has ensured your right to complain. Earn that right with your vote, few things irk me more than people who piss and squeal about “how things ought to be”, and when I ask them if they voted they say no. I refuse to listen to them after that, it’s that simple.

Look at the issues, the candidates, what they have done in the past, and if they’ve kept their word, (highly unlikely).

Two Links follow, one on important dates, the other on candidates ballot initiatives:

https://www.sec.state.ma.us/ele/elepdf/2014-primary-and-election-calendar.pdf

http://www.sec.state.ma.us/ele/

 

See you at the polls!

Bob

August 18, 2014

Ferguson MO: Part 3

Filed under: General Discussion — bobfunke @ 2:26

I find it exceptionally disturbing that the situation in Ferguson has deteriorated to where the NG had to be called in. The situation is sad and difficult enough with the death of a young man and many questions left unanswered, however, this community has shown itself to be resilient and from what I can gather, the people causing trouble are from outside of the area, using the tragedy for their own nefarious purposes.

Is this how we are going to remember Mr. Brown? His death was tragic enough, but to add mayhem to the situation is beyond all reasonable thought processes. We know who shot him, there may be charges brought up on the police officer after an investigation, (I can figure it would be manslaughter at best, but that carries with it a stiff sentence). The point is, you don’t make a terrible situation worse by adding more problems to an already volatile situation.

I am a white male, not that that means anything, above all I am a human being, and as a human being, seeing another human being treated as Mr. Brown was disturbs me greatly. But no good can come of more violence, particularly if that violence comes from other areas and is the incident of Mr. Brown’s death is tarnished by those who seek to gain from this incident.

My hope is that Justice will prevail and we will all learn a lesson from this so that no more “Mr. Brown’s” will find themselves bleeding to death in the street. Restraint by all is of paramount importance if we are ever going to put an end to senseless killing. Let the law take it’s course. By all means, each of us has our thoughts on what happened and why, but the truth will win out, we owe this to Mr. Brown and those who have been in the line of fire before him.

Peace,

Bob

 

August 15, 2014

Update: Ferguson MO/Mr. Brown

Fortunately, last night the county officers pulled back and the State Patrol took over by order of Governor Nixon, and during the night, there were no arrests or unseemly behaviors on the part of everyone involved. On the news this morning, I saw something I was hoping to see, white individuals getting involved in the call for justice. These are the times when all citizens need to be involved, when the county rolled out armored vehicles and snipers, things were out of control. The Captain speaking for the State Patrol is articulate and well informed, he’s not going to just blurb out some answers that people want to hear, he seems to be explaining the facts as we now know them. More will be coming after more is known.

One of the more unfortunate aspects of  the aftermath is that some looting took place, that appears to be one of the things that happens when some people can’t control themselves and use anything as an excuse to do damage. The vast majority of citizens held themselves in check and they deserve all of the respect we can give them.

It will be some time before we find out all of the facts in this case, however, the number of shots fired alone, particularly after the man is down, show me that the officer at the scene should be fired and brought up on criminal charges. Accounts vary, but several witnesses have come forward and spoken of what they saw. By all accounts, these witnesses are credible and their stories of the event match.

What we need to do now, is de-militarize PD’s. The “fire sale” events by the DOD have to stop. There is no need for a tank in Phoenix, (especially under that nutcase Arpaio), nor is there a need for an M-60A3 in Omaha or any other city in the US. A police department needs to be armed, but do they need to have military grade hardware? I’ve worked with a lot of military weapons, comes with the territory when you spend 13 years in the US Army, (even Medics like me want to try out things that go “bang”, but we used them on firing ranges, not real life scenarios, that would breach the Law of Land Warfare and UCMJ).

May the good people of Ferguson find solace and peace after a tragedy and may the rest of us learn that each life is precious.

Peace,

Bob

August 14, 2014

Ferguson MO/Mr. Michael Brown

The universal sign of surrender, no threat The Right of the people to assemble peacefully What peaceful assembly brings about     At least 8  heavily armed police aimed at a single unarmed individual Louis Head, Brown’s stepfather, holds a sign saying “Ferguson police just executed my unarmed son.”

Photos courtesy of buzzfeed News:  BuzzFeed Staff

Looking into the Ferguson situation, I see police overkill in so many instances. The first being the killing of an 18 year old man, Michael Brown; apparently shot in the head once and eight shots to his his body, all by a single police officer. As we learn more of the story behind this, it will not cleanse the wounds this neighborhood is scarred with, now and forever. I am a white male, Michael was a black male; I live near Boston, Michael lived near St. Louis, I am alive, Michael is dead, and for what? Putting one’s hands up is a universal sign of surrender, showing all around that you intend them no harm, you are unarmed and willing to allow a search of your person. It does not give carte blanche  for police to shoot you down, it is an act of submission, just as if a soldier carries a white flag, upraised arms are a signal of truce.

With all of the arms a police officer carries, a pistol, access to a shot gun, pepper spray, taser, handcuffs and zip ties, why did this officer go immediately for his firearm? More intriguing, precisely when was Michael shot in the head and eight shots fired into his body? This is classic “overkill” at it’s worst. When I was in the army, I would tell my guards under certain circumstances they had the order to use deadly force, if necessary. Rarely was  there any necessity to even come close to deadly force. I reminded them that a well placed shot to the femur or butt would place the intruder in a position where they could not escape, leaving myself and others to find out why they were there in the first place; kill an intruder and the intel goes with them. By almost all accounts, Michael Brown was no threat to the officer that shot him. Some, of course, is speculation, but that does not take away the blatant fact this man was shot 9 times, once to the head and 8 to his body.

Why was he shot at all, much less 9 times, then left to bleed out in the middle of the street? I do not blame the people of Ferguson for being outraged, except for a few cases by some miscreants doing some looting the good people of Ferguson are doing what they are doing under Constitutionally protected actions. They are gathering peacefully seeking redress and an explanation of what happened. So why the show of military hardware, to include machine guns atop armored vehicles? Having been in the military for a number of years, I know what they have and am quite knowledgeable in what devastating damage they can do when one is either familiar with said arms, or the very severe damage they can do when one isn’t familiar with what they can do.

Granted, some things have changed since I was in uniform, but the basics remain the same, killing people that cause a threat. Just where is the threat in Ferguson? With the exception of some looters, (whom the police should have been taking into custody), who appear to have gotten away with their illegal activities when those who joined hand in hand, arm in arm to honor Mr. Brown, were being targeted with military grade weapons systems. This is ludicrous at best, criminal at worst. Under what circumstances are military grade munitions “authorized” to be used on an unarmed civilian population?

There are several tragedies involved here, the death and manner of death of Mr. Brown; the looting that went on; the potential use of military grade weapons systems on civilians. The overkill of police in riot gear when they should be reaching out to a grieving community. The officer who shot Mr. Brown must be held accountable, even if there was a threat, why did it take 9 bullets to take him down, one to the head? This officer should be removed from the force and if charges can be brought against him, then let it be so. If there are no charges that can be filed, so be it; but Justice must be served, using the color of authority is not justifiable for what was done. The “blue line” must come down and criminals within any police force must be dealt with severely if found guilty of criminality themselves. There are plenty of good officers out there, a few can change the equation as to where we trust no one with a badge.

I wish the family of  Michael Brown a swift recovery from their loss. I know they will hold him in their fondest memories. I hope the city of Ferguson can get past this without the trauma that often afflicts communities during times such as these. From what I have seen so far, the good people of Ferguson have held their own, doing what is right, demanding justice in the face of adversity, (with a few exceptions who should be ashamed of themselves for using the demise of Mr. Brown for their own selfish gain by looting stores). Let not fear rule your lives, let truth and love be your guiding principles. The truth of what happened to Mr. Brown, and the love you have shown for the community, indeed, the nation’s loss.

July 30, 2014

The Joys of Moving…

 

 

If there is some form of “joy” in moving, it is when everything is finally set and in place, something that has not yet happened with obr.fm our hosting radio station. Gremlins pop up and there always several glitches, but eventually, we get to be where we need to be.

encuentro5, (e5) is our host and where VFP Radio is part of a collective that serves the communities around us in various social scenarios so that we can help to ensure our communities are safer, better educated, cleaner and more cognitive of the services available to people from all walks of life. We don’t have all of the answers, but we have a lot of them and access where to get answers from. On the other side of the coin, we are always looking for groups that support the ideals we support.

Among these are:

Peace

Justice

Equality for all

Health Care

Actions that develop communities

Referrals for veterans to Home Base, (a post 9-11 veterans health program begun by the Boston Red Sox and Mass Gen Hosp)

Honest news locally, nationally and internationally

All things considered, we are a collective that truly cares about our communities and look forward to addressing the problems that affect so many.

The space we have acquired is on the first floor, 9A Hamilton Place, (directly across from the Park Street Church, the Orpheum Theater closes off  the block), half way down and we’re on the right. We have excellent space for meetings, speaking engagements, we’ll be showing films and have Q&A times. We can schedule people and groups in and you can find out more at:

www.encuentro5.org/

http://www.facebook.com/encuentro5

Come down and visit us, work with us and bring new ideas with you!

Veterans For Peace Radio is broadcast live, Monday evenings from 6-8 pm, except the second Monday of the month, where a pre-recorded show to cover for our VFP meetings. Everyone out there is welcome to come in and be on the show, and I have no problem with scheduling something, or going live from  anywhere there is an event. Everyone with a voice is welcome, I have but one rule, we do not advocate violence toward any person or entity; everything else is fair game.

If you want to be a guest just send me an e-mail with VFP Radio in the subject line at: rfunke12@msn.com

Peace,

Bob

July 28, 2014

VFP Radio Makes a Move! obr.fm 6-8 pm Monday, Eastern

 

We will be moving to 9A Hamilton Place, Boston, down by the (Orpheum Theater), 1 door down from where we were. We are acting under the MassGlobalAction coalition with various groups dedicated to Peace, Social Justice and a host of Progressive groups. The Area we have as a studio is in the back left corner and is an excellent spot for a radio station. The new home base has two major rooms, the first being an anteroom we can use for refreshments and a general meeting room. The second room is considerably larger and can be used for almost anything, comfortably fitting 40-50 people for events such as film showings, discussions, poetry readings and the like. It has a refrigerator and a kitchen, complete with a dishwasher. The short range plan is to broadcast from the new e5 tomorrow, (not like last week with Gremlins attacking), Joe and I will be on the air from 6-8 Eastern discussing military, political, social and other events as they arise. The mid-range plan is to add shows from various sources and back off the music a bit to open up a line of communication where people can get reliable, researched news and material. The long range plan is to move forward globally, (we already have some international listeners). I am working on putting certain documentary films together, I have some committed already, I just need dates and times to fill in.It is my idea that having snacks/drinks during these types of things is always a plus, so, as the planning comes up, please let me know your preferences. I will be sending out messages for events to many groups in the hope we come closer together and make new as well as renew friendships and solidarity. I will try to cover as many subjects dealing with our, and other societies as possible. I will need speakers, video help, and above all people that can enjoy the experience of learning something new. obr.fm has several venues and I urge you to click in from time to time, visit our Green Room and blogs, download mp3’s and listen to old shows that have a great deal of wisdom from many of my former, (and future) guests. I encourage everyone/anyone who wants to be on the VFP Radio Hour to email me at: rfunke12@msn.com I only ask you put “VFP Radio Request” in the Subject Line so I don’t overlook your email. Two more things, the rules: There is only one, we do not advocate violence against any individual or entity. #2 is a bit more touchy; events will be free, but there will be a donation bucket for those who feel so inclined. I am not the kind of person who asks for money, I always thought that was a personal matter, however, food, snacks, drinks etc do cost a little and there may be cost involved with some speakers. I will post any “suggested donation” as necessary, but I can’t, or won’t hold anyone to any amount, everyone is welcome and no one will be turned away from “donation” event. It does take a little cash to run obr.fm, there will be a donation access set up in the near future, but there is no obligation. We want to educate, plant the seeds of Peace and enjoy each others company. With some luck, I’ll have a call in # by next Monday do we can interact more intimately. Peace and prosperity…and please listen tomorrow, let’s grow! Bob

July 24, 2014

Went to the Silent Protest at Park St. 7-23-2014 5:30-7:00

Filed under: General Discussion — bobfunke @ 2:26

Approximately 100 people showed up of every group one can think of. Very little media, Channel 5 showed up for a bit, took some basic filming then took off. We started out as a semi-circle but quickly became a complete circle, right in the middle of hundreds walking by to get home, quite a few showed slowed down to read the messages. There was only one incident of a heckler I could see and he took off after giving me a garbled tirade of being attacked by some phantom army from the Middle East, and I said calmly, “no one needs to die”. He looked stumped as he left.

The people that showed up today were from all walks of life, the are the bright lights of freedom and Peace, the ones we rarely see doing acts of kindness and grace, because they do not look for accolades, they seek results. Beautiful people.

I would like to thank Boston Workman’s Circle at: info@circleboston.org for their marvelous skills at putting this all together.

Peace and prosperity to all,

 

Bob

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