Veterans for Peace Radio Hour

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

 

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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!

February 23, 2014

TPP: There Is Quite A Bit of Jostling Going On In Asia And It’s Not Good

TPP: Trans Pacific Pact

About 25-30 years ago I started to wonder what was just so important about the South China Sea. We had ended the war against Vietnam but there was still that clattering of swords in the area. Pol Pot was killing millions on top of the millions we had killed in the area this wasn’t about access to rubber trees or rice, there was something(s) far more valuable than mere obvious commodities; why would we destroy an entire region? We didn’t necessarily hate the Vietnamese, even if they were “Communists” in North Vietnam; (something spun from a tiny links of gossamer to frighten us that the world would fall apart if the NVA “won” the war.) Once again, we’d been duped.

While Johnson used the old saw, “we were attacked on the high seas” and gave us the Tonkin Gulf Resolution to add troops on the ground, we were gearing up for exploration of the South China Sea to find out what wealth laid beneath the waves. At the time, I was thinking oil and manganese, just a hunch, but now it seems that I was mostly on target. There is oil in the South China Sea and manganese nodules litter the sea floor. No one has yet to say what is beneath the sea floor, millions of years of mud and all forms of critters cover the floor, but with today’s technology, compared to what we had in the 60’s and 70’s makes mapping out possibilities far more easily. One of the reasons we are so active in the area, is because there are great riches to be had; whomever controls the region will become vastly wealthier than anything we know of now.

This is not a free-for-all, nations are lining up to extrude what ever they can; judging by past performances, the Pacific is in for one hell of a shock. No company holds itself responsible for the damage it does unless public pressure is applied on a near constant basis. The Gulf of Mexico is in tatters, Fukishima is creating  a radioactive ring around the pacific, (do you want eat tuna that has matured in a swirling mass of radioactive water?) Then “corporations” have the people…that’s all of us, pay for the clean-up. How can we “clean up” radioactive water that will eventually go around the world as the water conveyor belt moves it’s way around the world?

Deep water drilling in a volatile area such as the South China Sea, will be a disaster. Time after time, oil companies have proven themselves inept at containing spills, leaks, ships running aground. Mining companies have many more deaths and maiming than are reported, leaving workers with little recourse. You lose your arm or leg on a rig and you are worthless to the company. You now have very little income potential, and even that slight amount you are paid is being attacked by billionaires who could care less about you. As long as high paid CEO’s get the money they “earned”, you are little more than a cog in the wheel, easily replaced. It’s called, “The cost of doing business”. You get perhaps $25,000 for that leg, the head guy gets another $5 million bonus. The CEO’s don’t even know the names of those who died or got maimed. It helps to keep a “clear conscience”.

It was the same thing in the Army. Joe Duffy gets killed in an ambush, no Colonel or general knew Joe, but you did, so you seeked him out, made sure someone mourned over the loss, it was always NCO’s and Privates that did this, the “big guys” didn’t have the time, they planning the next bit of carnage soon to come. But if, perchance some Colonel got hit and killed, a brigade would show up as a sign of “honor” to a great man.

So here we have it, the USSC states that “corporations are people”, if that is the case, when they screw up, let’s treat them precisely the way they would treat us…sue the hell out of them, with the money going to the people directly and indirectly affected by them. No $99,000 “fine” going to the government, but a full blown lawsuit that brings them down. We did it to the Klan, we can do it to the monsters that take advantage of us every day. I want to see some CEO living in a box down by docks, not a penny to his name, reviled throughout history, share holders lined up to take a swat at him with rotten vegetables.

Well, there is my buck and a half, let’s get to work!

You can’t be an activist without being active.

Peace,

Bob

February 4, 2014

The Element of Fear

Throughout history, fear has been used as a tactic with great effect. This should be a given by now, most of us realize that we are constantly being lied to, to raise the level of fear thereby raising the level at which we must “combat” said fear.

Here is a reality, no nation, or coalition of nations can defeat this nation, we are so ridiculously armed we offer little more than raising hell around the world, getting into scraps and wars where we have no business. The Department of Defense has become the Department of Offense. Empire building has rarely been easier, and the American Empire, like all those who came before, is doomed to crumble into sand.

We are told to be afraid. Afraid of what? Two kids place homemade bombs at the Boston Marathon, the reaction was predictable; increased police presence and a MA National Guard Humvee at Park St, all show and no substance. 20 blocks were cordoned off as the police of varying Dept’s searched for the wounded, but surviving, “terrorist”. He was hiding in a boat on block 21, just a bit out of the search zone. Not just that, but the owner of the boat, coolly and calmly called the police to investigate after he had noticed that a tie down had been undone and when he checked under the tarp, there was the suspect.

What happened next makes me wonder just what page the varying PD’s and NG were on. We have a living suspect, from whom  we may be able to glean information from, (his brother was killed earlier, no chance for questioning there). Fear, breaking out as bravado as the boat was surrounded and someone gave the order to fire, and a hail of bullets and “flash/bag” pyrotechnics broke the silence of the night. The officers in charge literally tried to force the assassination of the “2nd bomber”; the question is “why?”

Was it to quell the fears they had brought forth to the public, or was it ensure any one else with similar ideas might be frightened enough to avoid doing something similar in the future? The truth of the matter is that none of us are completely safe at any given time. We prefer the illusion of safety, but every day I see people step out int traffic, cars not using signals or driving at night w/o their headlights on, (talk about scary!) I see parents pushing children in strollers, not watching around them at various hazards that could harm their children. Life is filled with challenges, some we can see, others come in the form of maniacs willing to kill, seemingly at will, at the drop of a hat. One problem with the Marathon bombing, is that it was preventable if the police had followed up on any of several leads; some from Russian authorities.

I decided long ago, I will not allow fear to guide my actions. When caught in an ambush, the correct response is to run right into it, get behind the ambushers and take them out or take prisoners. If you do what is “natural” and move away from the fire, you will be caught in a secondary trap, (we used Claymores, about 10 feet off the trail/road facing away from us. Hit the clicker and all hell breaks loose as 200 steel balls are propelled through the air by C-4 shredding virtually everything in their way, multiply this by a factor of 10 and one can see that the reaction to fear can be devastating.)

So what can we do to alleviate the “fear messages” that we are bombarded with every day?

For starters, we can look from where they come from. If it’s the government, or governmental entity, say the CIA, FBI, NSA, et al, for the most part, we can figure it’s a bogus report, they live by spreading rumors and lies to keep the dollars flowing into their coffers. State and local PD’s can fall into this trap as well. One thing we can remember, during the Clinton Administration, the WTC was attacked by a truck loaded with explosives. What broke the case? Good old fashioned police work and some luck. In fact, the same thing happened with the Oklahoma City bombing. Every one of us felt remorse as the acts were perpetrated, but we did not run in fear, we assisted where we could, an American tradition long held that we aid those that need it when they need it. We did not panic, we acted in the best interest of those whose lives were devastated.

We need to use good old fashioned police work to catch perpetrators, for all of the “intel” gathered, there is a pretty poor record of preventing disasters from happening. It was luck in Times Square that caught the car bomber, not “gee whiz” technology. It was police work and luck that caught the Unibomber, his brother turned him in, setting up the arrest. If one of my brothers was killing people, I’d turn him in myself, fortunately, I don’t have to face that choice, but to save lives, there would be no second thought to turn in a perpetrator.

Today, it seems as though everyone is a suspect of something, which is pretty ridiculous on the face of it. We don’t prosecute “thought crimes”, (thank god, or we’d all be behind bars eating gruel from the same bucket we’d be crapping in). My suggestion is, live your life to its fullest, don’t be led by biased individuals or groups, to include agencies of the government or PD’s. Understand that every day we take risks, but 99.9% of the time, those risks don’t turn into disasters. Don’t let fear run your life; if there is a “bomb scare” in New Mexico, why should people in Philadelphia worry about being blown to smithereens? Let the properly trained people in NM take care of the problem, most likely the problem will pass, either with nothing being found, or a highly trained bomb squad taking control and dismantling the thing.

If you are attacked by a lone gunman, (something that appears to be happening with increased frequency), prepare by having several options of escape or levels of protection. Don’t do anything stupid, but if you are behind a lone gunman, you can take him out. No one is going to convict you for assault if you plant a hammer in his head. Be careful, but don’t be fearful.

I wish you all days of Peace, prosperity and safety.

Bob

March 15, 2013

Mayor Menino takes a slap at Equality

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

On Wednesday 3-13, VFP took a suit to the City of Boston regarding the street sweepers behind the “official” St Pat’s parade,  thereby creating the allusion the days events were essentially over. Since the VFP St Patrick’s Parade for Peace follows by a court ordered 1 mile, and is expected to be near 4000+ participants this year, the events of the day are far from over.

The Mayor sided with the AWVC, and the street sweepers will follow the initial parade, creating large clouds of dust and debris as they circle the area in a rather interesting pattern, much like figure 8’s as opposed to the normal way street sweepers conduct themselves. There is also the question of sand, salt and small projectiles being strewn into the crowd, if the crowd remains during this self created mini-storm. The chances of someone being hurt are very real, considering there are many children who will be exposed to dust and other contaminants as they await the VFP Peace Parade.

Until the previous Friday, there was an agreement with the city that the sweepers would follow the VFP parade, they  reneged on that agreement at the last minute, which is what prompted the law suit. At Monday’s monthly  VFP meeting, members agreed unanimously to take this to court. Judge Collins ruled that at the time, (1995), there was but one parade, there was no issue with the sweepers. However, he left it up to the city to decide what to do. Mayor Menino, bowing to the AWVC made his decision, the issue is far from settled yet.

One of the last overtly bigoted groups of individuals have not heard the last from VFP or other groups in the Peace Parade. It seems that those whose forefathers were the victims of bigotry have yet to learn what they should have learned long ago, hatred breeds discontent. One of the “big” things discussed in South Boston is how there were signs, “Irish need not apply”, barring individuals of Irish descent from employment except for the most menial of tasks. Today, the heirs of those who faced bigotry have become the bigots, hypocrites and reprehensible in how they treat others. Their main contentions are that the word “Peace” should not be used with the word veteran and that the GLBT community simply, “not apply”. So many years ago, when the Irish were looked “down upon”, it is somehow appropriate to bring back and maintain such fear and loathing to other groups?

This reeks of hypocrisy to the point where the sulfur of hell is breath of fresh air. To denigrate portions of any population is odious enough, but to be so overtly demeaning to the GLBT community is particularly pathetic. I am not gay, but I will stand with my brothers and sisters if for no other reason than they are just as human as any of the rest of us, deserving of respect and dignity as any one else. Years ago, I would have stood by the Irish to end the bigotry agaisnt them, just as I stand by every other group who has had to face the hatred born of ignorance. Today, I stand against the Allied War Veterans Council because of their bigoted attitude, their self-serving, ego driven attitude that for some reason, the GLBT community is less deserving of respect and dignity than any other person or group of people. The AWVC may have the law on their side, but they lack any sense of moral decency. They are a decaying entity that, fortunately, is crumbling under the pressure of  a more enlightened generation, something the Irish of  old Southie would have understood as they drew themselves up and away from the hatred.

I call the AWVC what they are, cowards, bigots, hypocrites and a scam of an organization that uses it’s political clout to deny fellow human beings their inherent Right to be Equal. This skirmish may have been won by the bigots, but this battle is far from over. We will continue to ensure that those of who swore to protect the Constitution will win, we are veterans, we’ve faced more fearsome enemies than the miscreants  called the “Allied War Veterans Council”.

 

 

March 7, 2013

War is agony, it is the very definition of insanity

Filed under: The Human Cost of War — Tags: , , , — bobfunke @ 2:26

The following comes to you from Afghan Info War’s Photo Gallery: http://www.facebook.com/AfghanInfoWar/photos_stream

There are nightmarish scenarios vs the pearls:

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