Veterans for Peace Radio Hour

August 26, 2014

Conflict (Warning graphic pics)

    

 

The recent murder of James Foley has me in a deep conflict, deeper and darker than I care to go, but I can’t keep myself from thinking of much other than revenge for this murder, but against an entire group ISIS/ISIL appears to be the epitome of evil. They murder without mercy, sell women and children off as slaves, they claim a religious basis for this, but I’ll be damned if I can find one from the Muslims and Qur’an Scholars I’ve spoken with who even come close to agreeing with that.

I fully admit that I am as far from religion as a person can get, but I most certainly have a spiritual side that drives me, almost always for the good of the people around me. What would I do, if I could do anything, to alleviate the suffering ISIS/ISIL has brought upon so many? Could I make a passionate argument that what they were doing was in direct conflict with what is the basis of all of the great religions? Could I get them to stop their slaughter long enough to see that they are in direct conflict with their own religion? I am pretty sure I would suffer greatly for my points of view.

It is the impunity with which they have gathered this storm together that bothers me more than anything. In all of the Middle East, not one nation is condemning these people from what they are doing. This is a huge WTF moment! This small band of thieves and liars became a force because honest people within their region did not call them out on their insanity in the beginning.  They get recruits by paying them, something the nations in the region seem incapable of doing for their own citizens.  Flash point after flash point rises from the dust of the desert, some, which were huge news just a week ago, have been relegated to secondary or tertiary status because this rogue element makes for “good copy”.

Is it right for me to wish to bring the same amount of fear they bring to others to them, or perhaps an extra dose of  fear. It is easy to sit here in Boston and safely write about these things, but they bring up the rumblings of my past, the desire to exact vengeance which I have struggled with for 40+ years. To kill a man is a dreadful thing, even when that man acts like a rabid animal. I sincerely doubt this group of black garbed, masked cowards would sit around a campfire singing Cumbayah. There is so much of evil in these people I find it difficult to comprehend; even in my worst days on the battlefield would I act like these people? How can I, as a Veteran For Peace, deal with monstrous acts on a scale that is growing daily?

I can find no empathy for these people, but I have plenty of empathy and sympathy for those who are being summarily abused by these thugs. I try to find some small shred of goodness in everyone, but I cannot find a sliver of goodness in ISIS/ISIL, it is evil personified in an area that is already a keg of dynamite ready to explode. Sleep comes with great difficulty, for while it is night here, it is day there, and the evil moves forward with each dawn. How can I sleep when I know women and children are being sold into slavery, men of all ages are slaughtered in ditches? It is a damned if you do, damned if don’t moment. Christ, I’m damned!

I can think of one way where we could help, starting with Gaza, open up the area for humanitarian aid. Once the people in the region see that we can be as good as our word, we can utilize humanitarian aid to open more areas that need as much, if not more than Gaza. Bring in other nations, not just European nations, but Middle Eastern nations, African and South American nations, Asian nations all coming to the aid of a beleaguered speck of land. We can act globally to end this nightmare and the positives will build upon the positives, nations will realize they can work together for the betterment of mankind.  Food, water, shelter, medicine the four basic elements everyone needs can be brought in. In the longer run, we can build desalinization plants for irrigation and a level of production where people can subsist on their own. We’d need a powerful UN force to guard the lines of communication and distribution, that is possible, even if it is might seem a little rough and tumble from time to time. Each time ISIS/ISIL makes a move, we counter it internationally, giving them the option of cessation of hostilities or face capture and imprisonment for life for crimes against humanity. We could bring families back together, finding out who had “bought” the slaves ISIS/ISIL “sold”, (owning or selling human beings is an international crime).

This is a huge effort and is fraught with possibilities of things going terribly wrong, but could they be worse than what is happening now wherever ISIS/ISIL has left its imprint?

On the other hand, we could just target them and be done with it, but is that justice or retribution? This is where I’m conflicted, I want justice, but retribution sounds so tempting.

Perhaps I’m not damned after all.

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 1, 2014

The Crazy Has Hit New Lows, (Or Highs As Per Your Point Of View)

 

 

The makers and sellers of arms are at it again, just as before 1917 and 1941, manufacturers of weapons are well on their way ensuring people will die through their malfeasance. US based companies sell arms to just about anyone at exorbitant prices, and not one of those corporate officers will have anything to lose in the bargain. Most assuredly, they, their sons and daughters, and those who consider themselves “nobler than thou” will never spill a drop of blood while they enrich themselves at a horrible human cost.

Here’s a simple illustration: We sell arms to Qatar, which in turn gives or sells them to Hamas, same basic thing with the Saudi’s. We sell arms and ammunition to Israel directly, thereby enhancing the threat all the way around, setting the stage for more death and dismemberment, more  non-combatants killed and more orphans are created. This is just a tiny observation of the entire network of arms dealing that brings with it assured death for hundreds of thousands if not millions of human beings now and in the future. This is not a cheap thrill movie out of Hollywood where everybody has a “great time” blowing up the “bad” guys with precision, it is real and incredibly deadly. It is also remarkable for it’s stupidity from all sides.

Hamas tosses essentially a garbage can they call a missile into Israel, Israel tosses several highly accurate missiles, bombs and artillery back to Gaza, where the people have no place to hide, no where to run, the targets are easy for Israel, and the “collateral damage” is considered part of a very odd equation based on retaliation for the “first strike”; has anyone, from either side actually sat down and thought this though?

The only people who are gaining anything are the industrialists, the more war, the better business is, accountants are in their glory while taxpayers and shareholders lose. How does one think the huge “bonuses” officers at companies that supply the machinery of death? That money is directly siphoned off from taxpayers and shareholders in various companies, when that money could easily be used to prevent  war. In our incredible ignorance, we permit the greediest bastards on the earth use us as playthings, mere pawns in their game of death. I find it incredible that few, if any, of us for Peace can be heard above the chanting for war and the din of that war the purveyors so badly need to prevent a bruised ego.

Some may say this is about religion, rest assured, it isn’t. Many times in the past people of different cultures worked side by side to create wondrous accomplishments that were proud reminders of how easy it is to get along when tasks are common and evenly distributed. Often, when a society was threatened, people of very different cultures came together to fend off the threat, today, cultural differences are used as weapons in the battles against morality and justice. When I hear anyone speak of religion I honestly get sickened. Every religion teaches the capacity of love, compassion, empathy and a host of other good things, like forgiveness, justice and helping one’s fellow human beings through tough times. But all I ever see is the dark side, the side that lies and betrays the goodness being taught, demanding the ultimate sacrifice for profit and gain, condemning others for their beliefs and shouting out hate filled diatribes when they should be feeding the hungry and clothing the naked. The “moral” justification for organized murder, what we call war, come from heartless minds of those who thrive on hate and controversy; I think it’s about time the whole world stood up and shouted out, “ENOUGH!” 

So here we are in the world of “Whack-a-Mole”, something pops up, just beat it back into the hole with all the force you need. Pretty pathetic way to live life, perpetually scared, standing around waiting for the next mole to pop up so we can whack it with a hammer. Worse still, we “justify” our deeds with our inaction against those who put the cash and power gained as they create more havoc for an already absurdly violent world.

The cycle of death and destruction must be broken and only people can do that by coming together in the common causes of Peace, Justice and Equality. I’ve had it up to my eyes with war mongering psychopaths. I’m done standing in the shit that sociopathic industrialists and money lenders leave behind. We need a social revolution, peaceful and inspired to break the cycle. Not selling arms to anyone would be a start, although that void would be filled by some other nation with a chip on it’s shoulder. We, as a species, need to come together and put an end to all of this. The road is rough, but visionaries of the past have cut the initial route, what we need to do is smooth it out and ensure it’s upkeep. Most assuredly, I don’t have all of the answers, but I believe when we come together we can find most of them. I would be gratified to leave a peaceful world to my son, stepdaughters and grandkids, it’s not impossible but we’re going to have to learn to live together before we extinguish life on the planet.

Peace to all,

Bob

PS: Don’t forget to perform a random act of kindness today!

July 24, 2014

Irena Sendler (1910-2008)

Irena Sendlerowapawiak

 

Irena rescued 2,500 Jewish children from the Warsaw Ghetto and placed them with Christian families.

By 1942, when the deadly intentions of the Nazis had become clear, Sendler joined a Polish underground organization, Zegota. She recruited 10 close friends — a group that would eventually grow to 25, all but one of them women — and began rescuing Jewish children. She and her friends smuggled the children out in boxes, suitcases, sacks and coffins, sedating babies to quiet their cries. Some were spirited away through a network of basements and secret passages. Operations were timed to the second.

Never intending to be a “hero”, she did what she believed as the correct thing to do, very little recognition, although before her death from pneumonia, the Polish Government nominated her for the Peace Prize

Read more at: http://www.holocaustforgotten.com/sendler.htm

 

July 23, 2014

Palestine/Israel Report from Copley Square 7-22-14

Filed under: General Discussion — Tags: , , — bobfunke @ 2:26

So I went down to the library about an hour before the event to take in the sights and observe who was showing up for what. At first there were a dew people showing up with signs, mostly against Israel attacking Gaza. There were Palestinian supporters that showed up first and the crowd steadily grew. Near Boylston, the Israeli supporters began to show up.

Chants and megaphones fired up and before one could say “oh no”, the arguments began with lots of shouting, which continued to get considerably louder as the multiple megaphones, a drum and chants, the Palestinian supporters started the chants, there were approximately 3:1 in comparison with the Israeli supporters.  A chart held up  had a “death rate” for the week, 346 Palestinians as opposed to 2 Israeli’s. The rockets that Hamas has tossed over the border have been completely ineffective, except for the one that landed near Tel Aviv, stopping traffic at Ben Gurion Airport. To me, that was most likely a fluke since thee rest of the missiles landed harmlessly in fields.

The pro-Israeli group got more vociferous and the chatter going back and forth was the usual stuff; there was a cacophony of charges/counter-charges, the same thing we’ve seen so many times before, just a little more vociferous. The BPD set up a bicycle barrier between the two groups which worked rather well, nice to know the BPD can learn non-violent tactics.

The two groups moved on separate streets toward the State House. I took the Green Line back to Park, as my marching/walking days are over.

My initial impression was that there is a great deal of animosity between the groups, which I find unfortunate, particularly by protesting here in the US they do not face the same as do Palestinians and Israeli’s. My thought is to break down all barriers, the fall back of Israel forces at least 4 kilometers; the blockade  must be taken down and humanitarian supplies be issued immediately in Gaza and elsewhere. Hamas needs to dismantle it’s missiles and not fire anything into Israel.

Judging by today’s shout-fest I think we have a way to go; but I can say, I witnessed no violence as the sides squared off.

June 27, 2014

The Only Weapon “They” Have Is Fear

      

 

I put they in quotation marks because we are facing several elements that can bring harm to us and others. “They” consist of oligarchies, pseudo-democracies, fantastically wealthy corporations and banks that rule the financial world without a care while people starve. “They” also consist of arms makers and marketeers that, without any conscience at all toss the articles of death and destruction into the hands of people and groups that use those weapons against innocent people that fall into the category, “they don’t think like we do.”

These acts, which can easily be overcome with some thoughtful planning and a strategy based on how the various groups act, produce fear, which in turn is a weapon used against the rest of the world. Fear is the most potent weapon out there, and while it can’t be “sold”, it can most assuredly be “bought”. Fear has brought us great damage concerning our Bill of Rights, the very basis of our Freedom. Police Departments take “facial recognition” pictures at will, when 99.99% of the people on file would never do any harm to anyone, we have come to accept this as the “norm”. High tech cameras have cropped up all over the country, particularly in urban areas under the notion of  “crime prevention”, what crimes have they prevented? By the time the police show up, if they show up at all, the act has already been committed and the individual(s) have long left the area. After the cameras started going up, we were showered with a whole plethora of acronyms, start with NSA and work your way down, that have little if anything to do with protecting American or other lives and everything to do with creating a state of near constant fear from “enemies” that can do us little, if any harm.

If we are attacked, (except by overt military force), we should approach it as a crime as we did with the first World Trade Center bombing during the Clinton administration and the Oklahoma City  bombing. Good police work and a lot of luck played out it’s hand we dealt with situations in a sane way. Bottom line, if we use resources specifically designed to solve crimes, we actually solve crimes. Invading countries that had nothing to do with horrid acts of terror does nothing but create a situation where the locals dig in their heels and either fight it out or wait it out. We saw this during WWII; the “Blitz” of London created a population that was steeled in their desire to win at all costs. The “Blitz was terrorism, just as was the bombing of Berlin, Tokyo, Dresden and thousands of other targets during of that time. Millions died needlessly, many more were crippled for life both physically and mentally during the raids designed to instill fear in populations, while arms makers made record profits. These profiteers never had to go into battle, never had to be on guard duty during a moonless night trying desperately to remember passwords and responses, while in the freezing forests during 1944. They slept well as the cash built up in their accounts, never having to sacrifice a thing, while young men died, alone in fields far from home.

After WWII, we went through the “McCarthy Era”, where “Communists and Socialists” were behind every tree and rock just waiting to take over the country. McCarthy did his best to instill fear in every American that didn’t realize he was flat out crazy, and there were a lot of people who most assuredly did not comprehend either Communism or Socialism, in fact, most people don’t comprehend Capitalism, which is extremely damaging to workers but great for the ultra-wealthy. It was all about fear, holding up blank papers declaring, “I have here a list of known Communists,” (the # always changed), and the fear would be reignited. Innocent people became targets of FBI investigations because of nothing more than McCarthy’s tactics of instilling fear into the population. McCarthy was delusional, perhaps because of the amount of alcohol he consumed, (quite a bit by all accounts), or the psychological profile of a man about to lose his seat in the Senate drove him to drastic measures ruining thousands of lives. Then came the dramatic climax to McCarthy by a man small in stature but cast a huge shadow. McCarthy was attacking a lawyer named Fisher who had been in the National Lawyers Guild, when Joseph Welch made the following statement in the heat of the moment, ““Senator, may we not drop this? We know he belonged to the Lawyer’s Guild… Let us not assassinate this lad further, Senator; you’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?” Across the nation Welch became a hero, and fear lost it’s stranglehold across the nation.

Reagan and Little Boots bush put the pallor of fear once again across the nation. It is unfounded, Reagan ran out on Beirut after the bombing of the Marine Barracks, Little Boots began two incredibly stupid wars against people who had done nothing against us. Iraqi’s and Afghans had nothing to do with 9-11; there were no WMD’s, bin-Laden was forgotten about until Obama ordered him to be taken down. We just bagged, and are bringing to the US for trial a high ranking “terrorist”; the courts will decide his fate.

We have instilled fear upon the nations of the Middle East, it is quite simply time to set up the logistics to extricate ourselves, leaving nothing behind that can be used by hostiles, (many of which we created). Let us remove the fear we have placed not only upon ourselves, but others as well. We can start by helping these and other nations build desalinization plants and offer them grain to grow crops to feed their people through irrigation from the desalinization plants. It’s easy and cheap, and with a little luck and some serious diplomacy, perhaps we can learn to get  along without the killing and maiming, the dehumanization of war.

I wish you all healthy and prosperous fear free lives.

Bob

April 11, 2014

Corruption To The Core

I suppose I should not be surprised by anything any more, but there seems to be no limit on the “oh-shit-ometer”, with a Federal Judge stating in a ruling that killing American citizens by drone is Constitutionally protected behavior. We have stepped into some very ugly territory, and we’re not looking to history for a viable answer.

Using history, recent history, we should be quite capable of realizing that bombing people, attacking nations and domination of sovereign states never works out well, and a lot of people die and are maimed for life for nothing more than making others more wealthy than they already are. Our forays into this world of war have been disastrous, The Great War, (WWI), did nothing but produce the elements that would bring on WWII. Sanctions against Japan threatened that country’s existence, when the military, the source of power in Japan at the time, decided they were doomed if the US retained the sanctions for raw materials, there appeared to be no option other than open warfare to get what they needed. Pearl Harbor sent us into an all compassing war at virtually ever angle that could be imagined. The only source of salvation  we had was that we had enough distance between us and Europe and Asia to keep us from being directly attacked on the mainland.

The Cold War gave us Korea, Vietnam, forays into Europe, Africa and South America, and, as an extension the current fiascoes in the Middle East. All of which could easily have been dealt with diplomatically as opposed to force of arms. The only thing that comes from all of this, is more death and destruction, more maiming and expenditures on the military that are ludicrous. All of this is happening because we have a media that is spoon-feeding us trash, calling it “news”, and an ill informed population cannot make intelligent choices about their futures. We have exceptional schools that are defunded and left to make it on their own, our investment is our children, and we need to protect that investment with education and a broad knowledge base, we are failing our prodigy.

I fully admit that my generation, the “Baby Boomers”, dropped the ball on a host of issues and have remained so fully engrossed in personal gain above all else, that we are in the process of killing the only place we know of  where human life can flourish in the universe. We all seem to come together when disaster hits close to home, never before has disaster been this close for the humans on this planet, essentially because we spend fortunes on destructive behavior and a pittance on constructive behavior. We need to bring all of this to a halt and do what we can to bring people together to work on this problem before we incinerate ourselves. War is not the answer, it is devised to bring in fortunes to those who invest in the destruction of others, could there be a more blatant description for this murder?

What I find very disturbing is the notion that it is “legal” to execute someone w/o a trial, (for the record, I find executions appalling in the first place, but anyone, anywhere being assassinated is particularly nauseating.) How can outright murder be considered “legal” under the Supreme Law of the Land, The Constitution we  have all been taught to look at in awe by it’s wisdom. In the Japanese Constitution, essentially a copy of our own to a degree, there is Article 9, which forbids Japan to go to war; why didn’t we add an “Article 9” in our  Constitution?  Why is it that very few countries have something akin to Article 9?

Going to war, then seeking revenge when things go awry seems to be the current mode of thought, both here and in other places. How many lives would have spared the many agonies of war if we took a few minutes to challenge the idea of picking up a sword every time someone says something “offensive”? I think we well may be the thing we fought against during WWII, central governments that are essentially dictatorships, with the “leader” having complete power over life and death, I don’t want to look in the mirror and have an SS image looking back at me!

It appears to me that we need to do some serious thinking at this juncture. We have literally given up many Rights protected under the Constitution already, our highest court has decided against citizens many times in the past, but never before has there been such an onslaught radical decisions as we have seen in the past twenty years, particularly since 2001. It has been easy to wonder what, if anything, these nine individuals are thinking when they make decisions that have a negative effect upon the people. In some cases, such as the question of  “corporate personhood”, goes back to the the 19th Century, we could change this by Amending the Constitution, but the rub is, congress will do nothing if it interferes with the cash flow they get from corporate entities.

How many more must die in order for us to realize that killing people is atrocious when at war, but actually assassinating targeted people is a war crime, as we tried to show the world during the Nuremberg Trials? I think we can recover from this, but it will take a lot of work, the framework is place, we need to expend energy in positive ways that benefit all, not the elite. We can, and will eventually rise to this challenge, we’ve done it before, many of us are working on it now. We must all come together in our desire to have Equality and Justice, for then, we will have Peace. To be an activist means you have to be active, and effectually work for the good of the citizens of this nation and all nations.

April 5, 2014

Tribute to Martin Luther King Jr.

 

 

This evening, about 35 people showed up on a blustery,chilly Dewey Plaza to remember Martin Luther King’s 46 anniversary of his untimely demise. King was shot while standing on a balcony at a Memphis TN hotel. We remembered a powerful speaker and man of Peace. A man who could see past color or national origin and find the good in people.

In contrast to the day he was shot, in Boston, it was cold, windy and a little rain fell. VFP and other groups were represented, several songs were sung, reminding us of the universality of music and it’s transcendence into the hearts and minds of people. VFP flags fluttered in the wind, people were bundled up against the chill, we stood across from South Station with our backs to the Red Line entryway. At least the wind was cut by 2/3’s.

Many years ago, I saw Dr King live in front of the Lincoln Memorial, (quite fitting), discussing truth to power. He had many great things to say that day, and being a NY’er, I had plenty of friends from all over the spectrum of humanity. Dr King had taken his theme and changed it a bit, he no longer was using a racially divided nation along a black/white divide, but had made his issue one of human rights, once that change was made, momentum picked up for the cause of Equality. Who can argue against Human Rights, except a tyrant?

He also questioned our involvement in Vietnam and other places where we building an empire, sadly, this is when he quite literally signed his own death warrant. His aides had asked him to steer clear of these issues, but the moral fabric of the man could not let it go, so many things were intertwined with that age. People were still calling others “communists”, “socialists”, “anarchists” and a host of other things that were specifically engaged upon to denigrate people who did not “fit in”.

Let me go back for a moment to the “I Have A Dream” speech in front of the Lincoln Memorial. I heard some words that were burned into my conscience that day, and they hold true today; “…a day when men will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”  The power of that single line is so immense that most people cannot, or will no fathom it.

Character, Integrity, Honesty, Justice, Equality, these are not merely words, they are a way of life, giving us power over the individuals who would control us at any cost. We have this power, we must use it to expose the hypocrisy and lack of morality the “leaders” profess to have. The power of one man or woman speaking out against the darkness is enough to bring light into world. Speak truth to power, and power withers away.

We stood today in honor of a man who gave the last measure of his devotion on a terrace in Memphis. Let us carry that dream on from this day forward, never forgetting that while we may lose a few things along the way, they can never take from us our dignity or integrity, our character.

Thank you,

Peace,

Bob

March 31, 2014

The Cost of War is Often Unseen

Marin Luther King Jr, assassinated 4 Aprill 1968, Memphis TN

Malcom X, (born Malcom Little), assassinated on stage NYC 21 Feb 1965

Robert F Kennedy, assassinated 6 June 1968 Los Angeles, CA

John F Kennedy, assassinated 22 November 1963, Dallas TX

There is a connection between these 4 men, (and many others), they were all discussing getting out of Vietnam at the time of their demise. Malcom X , after his visit to Mecca, changed his tone dramatically and preached Peace as opposed to the violent reactions he had sought previously. This got him in trouble with Elijah Mohamed, and the assassination took place on stage, the perpetrators were never caught.

All of these men were eloquent and forcefully, using words to press home their ideology, denouncing violence, yet all died violently, their words could not be countered, so their lives were taken instead to silence them. There is often a terrible price to be paid for Peace.

On Friday, at Dewey Park, we will meet to honor Dr King. It is bittersweet, a man in his prime, reaching out for a goal and shot with a single bullet that took his life so long ago. But his, and the other’s dreams live on. It is up to us to pick up the torch and continue the journey. These men were casualties of an unpopular war, by proxy, only because they spoke out against war and proclaimed Peaceful change as the only way we can expect change for the better.

Using the words of another assassinated individual, John Lennon, 8 December 1980, NYC: “All we saying, is give Peace a chance.” May your journey through life be enlightened by those who came before us.

Bob

March 26, 2014

Thoughts, Jobs Not Jails

 

 

We have a long and sordid history on how we treat criminals in this society of ours, particularly toward non-violent convicts.

I propose the Jobs Not Jails as a baseline for the rehabilitation of non-violent offenders. There are literally hundreds of high and semi-skilled jobs that could be taught to these individuals. Jobs that pay good money for good work. If, for example, an incarcerated individual was taught concrete finishing while in prison, they would have access to a darn good paying job after a couple of years of apprenticeship. The same can be said for tool and die makers, furniture builders, cabinet makers and a host of other jobs from truck drivers to heavy equipment operators.

Once trained, we can open doors for these people and help them find gainful employment. We do this for service members, why not for ex-prisoners?

The recidivism would drop to a fraction of what it is now, while people would be rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure taking pride in their work and their communities. We need to pay these people as they learn, and not 15 cents an hour “prison pay”, that equates to essentially slavery; we need to pay these people a wage where a good portion is set aside for they’re release so they have a chance to find housing and purchase clothing and tools for the jobs they were trained for. There are hundreds of jobs that can be performed by these men and women. Cutting apart old WWII ships to recycle the steel would put many to work, and this high grade steel would need welders to properly put it together into new and efficient buildings and other things. The list is endless, as long as our imaginations are working, we can find ways to ensure that people who have non-violent incarcerations get back to work.

For the record, we can use apprenticeships for those who have never committed a crime, all we have to do is teach people skills that are appropriate for what we need to utilize to put the nation back on firm footing. Paying for this is relatively easy, cuts to the military budget are a good start, let us turn our swords into plowshares and our spears into pruning hooks, our aircraft carriers into floating super cities that can deliver not bombs, but food and medical supplies around the world. Let our fighters not drop bombs, but rather, let them sow seeds that will nourish people in relative short order; why drop cluster bombs when you can drop apple seeds?

Use your imagination, see the world as a new and wondrous place, where war is no more and children need not go to bed hungry at night. We can do this, but only if we learn to accept people as people, deserving the same respect and dignity all of us are born into.

Peace,

Bob

Older Posts »

Blog at WordPress.com.