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

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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!

June 30, 2014

“The Best War Fought, Is The One That Is Never Fought.”

The above quote is attributed to Sun-Tzu, essentially his “Rule #1”.

There is a phenomenal amount of wisdom in those 10 words, it’s kind of a shame that the “smartest species on earth” appears to lack much, if any wisdom. The taking of a life is never a pleasant thing except to sociopaths or psychopaths. Let’s make sure we understand something here, very knowledgeable people in various disciplines have looked at the problems of war and bloodshed and while innumerable “answers” are to be found, we still have the basic situation that Sun-Tzu tried so hard to avoid, war.

Sun-Tzu was a brilliant Chinese general who could see things through a prism like view as opposed to black/white. The times called for some dramatic measures, Sun-Tzu met them all and apparently never lost a  battle, nor a discussion if the latter were an option. Diplomacy should always take center stage and be the primary resource. Except in the most extreme of cases should we turn to armed conflict, which segues into “Rule #2”, “Know your enemy”.

Before we commit, we need to have intelligence and what mental or physical barriers are in already in place, what the culture is or the capabilities of any supposed enemies. War should never be taken lightly, if necessary we need to have the big picture, we can only get that perspective through knowledge and intelligence. We would have never wound up in the Middle East if we had looked into a situation that had been around for over a thousand years with little change; we went in like bullies, we’re being treated like bullies, should we expect more?

In the relatively recent past, (1940’s), we had little comprehension of Japanese culture, but we knew they relied upon us for raw materials for production. In our blind ignorance we thought the Japanese were a nation comprised of people who lived in wooden and paper house and looked down upon them because their Emperor was a “god”. Little did we realize what sacrifices would be made to protect the “god” image. We were not on tune with Japanese society.

In the more  recent past, (1960’s), we failed to understand that since WWII and the extraction of the Japanese from Indo-China that Ho Chi Mihn was an avid ally of the US and thought our Constitution was a work of wonder. What he asked the Truman administration for was a sovereign nation, free from French domination, Truman ignored this, as did Eisenhower and Johnson. After the French were beaten at Dien Bien Phu, Johnson came up with the “Gulf of Tonkin” incident to keep the Vietnamese a divided nation.

OK, all of this is history, but the point of the matter is that none of these wars needed to be fought, no lives lost, no defoliation for generations , no pain, no hard feelings; and since so many things are tied together, we may have been able to find ways to get along with each other, either locally or worldwide. The wars need never have been fought.

The Great War was begun with 2 shots that killed Archduke Ferdinand and dis wife Sophie, on June 28 1914; yes 100 years ago. From then on we have been in a constant state of turmoil, skirmish after skirmish, war after war. Of course, wars have been around as long as there have been groups of people that had something another wanted. However, The Great War was something new, massive amounts of material and man hours could now be used to kill on a scale never before seen, we had industrialized war; the rivers of blood would now overflow as never before.

Weapons were brought forth that killed at great distances and the civilian populations, wanting nothing to do with war, would now become a greater part of the carnage than ever before. Noncombatant deaths rose dramatically and the ruthlessness of all sides would be shown to the world. After the Great War, the world was divided into many parts, most having nothing to do with another creating post war animosity that lasted for a generation, just enough time to rebuild armies and navies for Round 2, The Second World War. For the record, in 1928, the United States refused to be a signatory, along with Japan  to end all war, almost immediately, that treaty was broken. Not with Pearl Harbor, but with tribal fighting and countries trying to rid themselves of being part of an empire.

The Communist, or “Red scare” had been around for quite some time. Trade Unions, Textile Unions and many other Unions and organized labor were constantly attacked for trumped up charges, basically because they were against war and empire building. Hundreds died as spies, thugs and hired guns, as well as police departments, National Guard units and the regular Army were called out to “force ” people to work for pennies. Most Americans were against going into the The Great War, but corporations and the wealthy saw great profit in outfitting the warring nations. American corporations placed their bets on both sides, making huge amounts of cash and cutting worker pay. The wealthiest Americans were more than happy to lend cash for arms at exorbitant rates, paying for the deaths of people they would never know or care about. Is there a greater evil than to make money from behind a desk while millions spill their blood in senseless charges or be buried in trenches hit by artillery, what were the last thoughts of those who died buried alive, while men in glorious rooms counted their gold? Henry Ford sued the US govt for detroying his plants in Germany, and won! He and others thought Hitler and Mussolini “were on to something” and great sums of money was funneled to Germany to prepare for WWII

Unions were at the forefront of the Peace movement trying to keep us out of the Great War. Americans were sick of war, the Civil War took 600,000 American lives, entire family lines were wiped out, and when Booth shot Lincoln, he doomed the South to 12 years of extreme misery. As  the aftermath of every calamity of such scale, people despise war and killing; we still had more during the Indian Wars. The end of the Great War though brought about a chance to end all war, but the money rolled in. American banksters and corporations bankrolled Hitler as well as the British, leaving France pretty much on it’s own, just to fill the coffers of those who have built their lives on greed and avarice. Have any of these men ever worn a uniform, faced the fire of a fellow human being hell bent on killing them?

Understanding is the key to wisdom. Realizing that some people wish to live in their own spheres is essential to understanding and realizing that “our” way may not be the “best ” way, empire building always fails, no empire has ever lasted, none ever will, they are built on sand and doomed from the first stone that is laid.

We can change all of this though, we can bring about a peaceful, just world where people get along. It takes planning, discipline and a capability to maintain a keen eye on the goal. It sounds pretty easy, but the forces against us have the power to divide us, make us question why we would want to change. In the past, the powers of the time used spies, thugs, scabs, law enforcement, agents provocateur and even the military in certain situations. I have a particular dislike that the same army I was in would fire upon American citizens, it is one of the most reprehensible things our military could do. This has happened before, on several occasions where coal miners were striking and National Guard units were called and machine gunned the  workers. Then there is the infamous “MacArthur Moment” when Herbert Hoover called out the military to clear out the “Hoovervilles” that popped up during the Bonus Marchers in DC. MacArthur was told not to cross the Anacosta River, but he did, with infantry,cavalry and tanks. It takes discipline to face forces such as these, and maintain the group as a whole, but it can be done. Kent State. Let’s not forget a single Chinese man standing in front of tanks at Tianamen Square, we need that kind of strength of character.

What we lack in firepower, (for the record I am against violent revolution), we make up in integrity. The knowledge that we are right in our views is an overlooked aspect that brings great strength during desperate times. It is that integrity that the powers cannot fight directly, they have to undermine it and it our duty as citizens too maintain that integrity. One way to maintain our integrity is to use our Rights within the Constitution, in particular the First Amendment that guarantees our Right to peaceably assemble for  redress our governmental  grievances and through our collective voices we can do this. History has shown us that time is on our side so we must persevere regardless of threats or intimidation.

We need fight no one, we are looking for the “best” way of ensuring we are heard and changes made that benefit everyone, so this should be a “war” based on ideology, truth to power and exposing those who have failed us in the past and in the present. Agitate, motivate, anticipate.

When I put up my right hand to swear allegiance, a portion was to “defend the Constitution against all enemies, both foreign and domestic.” That oath is still apart of my life, it doesn’t expire, I have come to realize that domestic enemies under many different guises are a far greater threat than foreign enemies. I’ll stand my ground, and hope you will as well.

Peace,

Bob

June 2, 2014

The Tragedy of the Shinseki Resignation

I cannot convey how depressed I am that Secretary Shinseki has resigned. He was not only a phenomenal general, who honestly cared for his troops, he was also a man that kept veterans close to his heart. This low spoken man moved the VA from a dinosaur into a dynamo. While I worked at the VA, Secretary Shinseki was placed in almost impossible situations. Thousands of veterans were returning from the Middle East with horrible wounds,legs and arms traumatically amputated; PTSD, Traumatic Brain Injuries, Military Sexual Trauma and a host of other problems, not the least, burying the dead.

Shinseki went to work immediately during the scandal that evolved. He fired the people responsible, ensured that a system would be in place to take care of our vets, was moving toward answers to problems that needed to be addressed. Who can take his place? Where can we find a man or woman as capable as Shinseki?.

When Shinseki took over the VA, it was the same as when Max Cleland took the post so many years ago. Few people realize that Cleland, called a “coward” by the Right Wing, had received a Silver Star for saving men in a firefight during Tet, treating them and having them evacuated, about a month before his tragic accident with the grenade. Now, these same sharks call for Shinseki’s head, and that includes spineless Democrats as well.

Now they have it, and the reprehensible individuals in congress will find some slug to pick up where Shinseki did such a fine job. Be it known, the Republicans have shaved cash from the VA for years, “send ’em to war, forget ’em when they come home.” Boehner and his band of thugs need a reality check, toss the slew of them out, everyone who  voted to slash VA funds should be tossed into the street.

General Shinseki, this veteran respects you and stands by you; I salute you sir for you dedication to all veterans and service members. Few have achieved what you have.

Bob Funke

Veterans For Peace

Executive Board Member

Chapter 9, Smedley Butler Bde

Boston MA

 

May 8, 2014

The Depths of Human Depravity

 

Just when I think that there can be nothing worse than the Holocaust or the Killing Fields in Cambodia, something new pops up and I wonder just how low some people can go to reach a new level of depravity, it appears that Abubakar Shekau of Boko Haram has hit a new low in being the leader of the group that has kidnapped some 300 girls and is prepared to sell them into slavery, (some have been reported as being sold for $12).

Shekau and his band of thugs, apparently using Islam as it’s justification, is nothing more than a slave trader, something virtually everyone should find despicable. Using a religion to offer up human beings to be brides, workers or anything else is abhorrent. I can’t even call this monster a human being, nor the thugs that pass themselves off as Muslims. Don’t get me wrong, virtually every society has done this at one time or another, usually under the guise of some religion; but here we are in the 21st Century and slime like this still exist.

If there was ever a use for surveillance drones, this is it. I do not want armed drones seeking out these people, particularly when innocents could be killed or maimed, but heat signatures and other technology could find the area where these people are and are being held, or what direction they are moving. Then, Nigeria can send in forces to bag Shekau and his “followers”, bag them and bring them before either a Nigerian or the World Court for crimes against humanity. Lock him up in a single, windowless cell for the rest of this life and his only human contact would be when he is fed. I do not want this man killed, that would make him a “martyr” to some, when locked away, he becomes a non-entity, a cast-off.

I can only hope that all of these girls are returned home, the Nigerian government appears powerless in this instance, they need to prepare better and react quickly when such things might happen. Nigeria can afford to upgrade it’s forces, especially for circumstances such as this.

Bottom line, we are all human beings deserving respect, dignity, education and protection from those who would do others harm, regardless of gender, place of origin, geographic place in the world, religion or many other things that “divide” us. When we come together against evil, truth, wisdom and goodness are the results.

These children of world deserve our attention as a worldwide community, not in military action, but as police action and taken through the courts. Safety and Peace for all should be the main goal. Let us end the depravity of the human species.

Bob Funke

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

February 26, 2014

Hagel’s plan to shrink military criticized (The Globe, AP)

  • The Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II is an American twin-engine, straight-wing jet aircraft developed by Fairchild-Republic in the early 1970s. Wikipedia
  • Range: 800 miles (1,287 km)
  • Weight: 24,960 lbs (11,320 kg)
  • Unit cost: 11,800,000–11,800,000 USD (1994)

In a piece by Robert Burns of the AP on page A9 , 2-25-2014; Chuck Hagel lays out a plan to bring the military  down to a size that was just before WWII, (or close to it).

Let’s face facts, times, weaponry, politics, wealth and a hundred other things have changed over the past decade plus, hell, even in the past few years it seems as if things are almost completely out of control. There is a ray of sunshine here piercing through the fog. We are the worlds premier power on the globe, not the only one, but now, we’re at the top of the heap militarily, that gives us a chance to seek alternatives to war, (it also increases the possibility of a catastrophic event, but that is a can of worms for another day).

Some of the “highlights” are quite simple, a reduction in manpower, a somewhat obvious choice if we are not planning on creating a cataclysm somewhere in the world. A trade-off in choppers is well overdo as well; what does the National Guard need Apache Attack helicopters for? The obvious trade would be for the Regular Army to have the AH-1’s and we receive Blackhawks which could easily fill the void to answer to state/national needs. When people need food or water immediately, you’re not going to get those items there on an Apache, but Blackhawks are perfect. Rescuing people from a Blackhawk beats shooting them to pieces with a mini-gun on an Apache.

On the Naval side of this, 11 aircraft carriers seem a bit much, but some of these are always in port being worked on, so all 11 are not on constant deployment. The firepower these behemoths can unleash is unbelievable, it should also be known they are huge targets as well, and the loss of even one would kill thousands of sailors in one fell swoop, no one wants that, even an attacker, if they could get through the defenses, would face massive retaliation, which of course benefits no one, particularly those on the receiving end of said retaliation.

A-10 “Warthogs” would be phased out. These are jet propelled tank killers, they do an excellent job at what they were designed for, but their lack of speed makes them vulnerable, so they need air cover, which was to be the F-35, a machine that has so many flaws, as they are built, they are moved to a “parking” area in AZ. The simple truth is, they can’t fly, not exactly what one is looking for in a state of the art aircraft. Each pilot has to have a helmet specifically designed for the individual head of the pilot, the initial cost was some $250,000 apiece, it’s now up to a cool half a million dollars, just for a helmet. So you’ve got this really cool helmet, but it’s not an “off the shelf deal”, it fits a single pilot, in a single aircraft that is prone to the wings shaking so badly, they just about fall off, (which makes the plane a ‘dumb bomb’ as it goes down. The problem is so bad, pilots are refusing to fly prototypes that supposedly fixed the initial problems. Last week, the VTOL, (Vertical Take Off and Landing), versions, crashed. From what I hear, the pilots survived.

The U-2, which was replaced by the SR-71, (now retired), is coming off-line. I’m not sure if anything is going to replace it, or whether the USAF will rely strictly on satellites or some other form of clandestine, (think drones), method of ground to HQ communication.

The sliver of daylight in all of this, is that while ground troop reduction, sailor reduction, airman reduction, etc, shows me that the US is planning on cutting back on military hardware, this is a good thing, even if there is something “hidden” we are not yet aware of. The point is, less personnel, less of a chance to go traipsing off starting wars. For decades, the military has believed that air/sea power were the keys to “victory”; anyone who has had their boots on the ground will tell you, “it ain’t over until the Infantry is there”. Less Infantry, less of a chance to attack other countries. We need to defend ourselves, but the empire building days must come to close. The corporate masters can hire their own mercenaries, (at a premium price), and quit having our young men and women shoved into harms way to protect corporate interests. The oil companies can use the subsidies Uncle Sam gives them to raise their own protective forces. In the mean time, we can send our children off to colleges and they can spend their time figuring a way to get off of fossil fuels once and for all.

I wish you all Peace,

Bob

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

January 6, 2014

How Much More Can We Spend On The Military?

Think about this for just  a second, we are the most protected nation on earth, the most powerful militarily that the world has ever known, yet we have no enemies that are capable of attacking us, either conventionally or nuclear. No one has the capability to conquer us in the conventional sense, where we are vulnerable  is in the financial sector, essentially because we spend far too much on “defense”, (which is actually “offense” since we are the provocateurs in most conflicts around the world).

The US has, through direct and indirect military intervention, created a worldwide net of enemies. Our clandestine branches of the government has done more to destroy relationships between nations that could ever do us any harm, beginning a spiral that comes back to haunt us. Our forays into Iraq and Afghanistan are outstanding examples of just how we can create hell on earth for not just those we attack, but for ourselves as well. There was no need to attack either of these countries, much less Libya or any place else. The course we have set has created great animosity toward this nation, boots on the ground are bad enough, but drone attacks are completely unnecessary and the “collateral damage”, (read death and maiming civilians and non-combatants), is inexcusable.

The base line is, there is a lot of money to be made in creating and deploying, then using, the arms we build. When a bomb is dropped, it’s a single use object that does damage. It must be replaced by another; the more we use, the more must replaced with an attendant rise in price and bombs to offset ordinance used. Ultimately, the American taxpayer must pay for all of this, at a premium no less because we are borrowing immense amounts of cash from China and elsewhere. The idiocy of this is so blatant, while the people who are making millions/billions off of the arms merchants and builders, we go further into debt while the “upper crust” sheds crocodile tears and complains about their rate of taxation. While none of these people ever wore a uniform, much less faced any danger, they insist that others go on being killed and maimed while their profit margins sky-rocket. It’s all about money, bloodstained money raked in over the bodies of our troops, innocent victims such as civilians and non-combatants.

A “War on Terror” is an absurdity in the first place, it is a war that can not be won and it is immoral for the simple fact that none of the people who are being slaughtered had anything to do with the attack on 9-11. The entire scenario is little more than a smokescreen to gain the mineral wealth of the countries we’ve invaded…without a declaration of war.

Then there is the “Homeland Security” issue, where police have gained unimaginable power over the citizens of this nation. Billions have been pumped into law enforcement to upgrade and enhance their capabilities. Much of this is military grade offensive weaponry; someone needs to explain to me and the rest of the country just why law enforcement needs such high-grade devices that can bring down buildings, stun or kill hundreds of people and degrade our Constitution.

We need to stand up and ask the right questions, beginning with, “why” any of this is happening. We need to question  those in authority at every turn if we are to keep, no enhance, our freedom. At one time we were a beacon for all those who searched for a better way of life; we have lost our ability to see long-range the big picture of our actions. There have been many sacrifices to our Liberty, we must put an end to the sham and demand accountability of those who are destroying our nation.

Equality+Justice=Peace

Bob

March 25, 2013

Hundreds of Milions Dead, and for what?

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Over our history, hundreds of millions have died horrible deaths and been maimed beyond repair, and for what?

Riches? Territory? Religion? A host of other items?

Point of fact no one had to die, the wealthy are the only ones who gained here, certainly no of those who gave life and limb, blood and sinew to whatever the “effort” was for. War is nothing more than industrialized murder on a scale we can hardly fathom. It begs the question, “Is war ever justified?”

Throughout time, this question has been asked, and wars have been fought regardless of the consensus of people the world over that war is a terrible thing, the very essence of insanity. Many religious groups have discussed this time and again, Peace activists have come to the conclusion that there are better ways to resolve conflict. Those who have seen the ravages of war know of of it’s horrors question the need for armed conflict. With all of these questions being asked, and often answered that war is not the answer, why do we still have this cloud of war over us?

First and foremost, it’s empire built on greed. Leaders of one entity want what another entity has, the base question is, why pay for it if you can just take it? Of course, this means that someone is going to lose, either the invading nation, or the people that own said resources. During the “Banana Wars”, Dole wanted the fruits of the Caribbean and other places, in order to get at and maintain those resources, they called upon the US government to “protect” them and their interests. Thousands upon thousands died as their way of life changed dramatically, all so that Dole could make obscene profit over the cost of human life. Corporate interests can actual find ways to ensure that military power, our young men and women, will defend private interests.

Today, we are seeing the same thing in the Middle East, we are embroiled in hostilities that should never have been fought in the first place, but bush, cheney and others were more than willing to sacrifice our soldiers, sailors, airmen ans Marines so that corporate profits would soar, damn the rest of the world and especially those people who have a right to their natural resources. We’ve done things like this throughout our history; to Native Americans to the Moro’s in the Philippines and many others. We’ve invented occasions to go to war, USS Maine brought us the Spanish American War, we fought the Mexicans so the would cede a good portion of their country to us, we had the Banana Wars, and a host of others when none of them were necessary, all we had to do was pay the going price for the goods.

The first casualty in war is the truth; USS Maine was thought to have been the target of Cuban “insurgents”, the truth is, there was a smoldering fire that eventually reached the power magazine. “Give me headlines, I’ll give you the war”, there is a lot of truth to that, there need be no facts behind the event, just make it look “good” and here we go. The Tonkin Gulf Resolution is another example of how we were dragged into war on lies and obfuscations; Johnson used a fake attack to escalate our presence in Vietnam. Reagan, while talking Hollywood bullshit about our “national pride” and how we had to have an overwhelming military presence worldwide, ran like a cur with his tail between his legs after the suicide bombing in Beirut at the Marine barracks. He made up for that in Panama and Grenada, two “earth shattering events”, he was as cowardly as Hitler in 1939, (who, by the way, could have been stopped if the Allies came together and put down the German army at the time, it was no where near ready for full scale war at that point).

How can we justify the invasions of Panama, Grenada, Afghanistan, Iraq? None of these nations were a threat to the US. I can not see Afghan airborne dropping into the fields of Nebraska or Oklahoma an wreaking havoc on the citizens of this nation, it’s all about who controls the oil and it’s transportation in the region that makes any difference, it’s corporate greed at the expense of our sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, nieces and nephews. How can this be called justified?

Bottom line, we are on a mission to build an empire. History shows us all empires fall, why waste the time and energy to make others even more wealthy at the expense of our men and women in the military? I’m all for protecting the nation from invasion, but I am against empire building, I am against our youth being sacrificed on the altar of war and am against civilians and noncombatants losing their lives and being displaced in the drive to gain another dollar for big oil. There has to be point  where we will stand up ans shout, NO MORE!”

I hope I live long enough to see that day.

Peace

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