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 22, 2014

Soldiers Are Always Lonely, Even In the Company Of Other Soldiers

Behind the facade of the “winner” in a war, (just by surviving you’ve “won”), there are millions of lonely men and women who have seen enough to last 10 lifetimes. We are rapidly losing our WWII and Korean vets, the last American Great War vet Frank Buckles died Feb 27, 2011 at the age of 110. Here was a man that saw the end of WWI, the beginning of every war since.

 

I often wonder who will be the last veteran of WWII will be, and will his/her memories be preserved. Korea, Vietnam, the Middle Eastern fiascoes, we need to point out to the young people of today that war is a horrible thing, the closest a person can get to hell here on earth.

Veterans, regardless of branch of service can speak to other veterans with a knowledge that some things they’ve witness have no words to accurately describe what they saw and did, no dictionary no thesaurus possesses the words necessary for an accurate description of the horrors of war. What is spoon fed to the civilian population is old John Wayne movies where every American is a hero and all perceived enemies are cowards or fools, (or worse yet and old Signal Corps film with Ronald Reagan declaring, ‘don’t let your dick look like this!’ while showing a syphilitic penis). The enemies at the time were just as wily as we were, often more so, and they were as brave, if not braver than many Americans.

We are taught to suppress our emotions and I think that is a terrible disservice to the nation as a whole. Most assuredly, those who are awarded the higher decorations, the Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Cross, the Navy Cross, help to create the hero “myth”. This is not to denigrate what they did, but I know that many men and women rest in military cemeteries who did things that were far and away above the call of duty and they received a stone or bronze plaque without the slightest idea of what they did or how they died.

Those of us who survived, recall the names and faces of the forever young, we know what they did, the sacrifices they made so that others may live. Every night, I recall certain things, one is the first man I shot, the first shot I took at a human being and hit him in the forehead, he was dead before he hit the ground. Another poignant point in my life is when a junior medic stuck his pinky in my carotid artery and spoke to me all the way through that Dustoff flight, “You ain’t gonna die on my watch Sarge!” His voice seemed strangely distant, but his face was just about touching mine. I didn’t die because a young black PFC wasn’t going to let me die. How many more like me are out there? Saved by a fellow soldier, often at the cost of life or limb, simply because we had a duty and dedication to one another?

The words may not be there, but there is a gut feeling for all who have served, we know. That knowledge should not be wasted, we need to have service members speaking out against war, shutting down the chickenhawks wherever they raise their ugly heads and squeal about the “necessity” of war.

Personally, the only “necessities” I needed in the Army was coffee and cigarettes.

Peace,

Bob

August 15, 2014

Update: Ferguson MO/Mr. Brown

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

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

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

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

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

Peace,

Bob

July 30, 2014

The Joys of Moving…

 

 

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

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

Among these are:

Peace

Justice

Equality for all

Health Care

Actions that develop communities

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

Honest news locally, nationally and internationally

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

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

www.encuentro5.org/

http://www.facebook.com/encuentro5

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

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

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

Peace,

Bob

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 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 26, 2014

“Thank you for your service.”

citadel, u.s. forces, tet offensive, the vietnam war, hue

 

wounded marine, the vietnam war, battle of hue, tet offensive

 

I have about 20 “stock” answers for this, and another 30 depending on the circumstance. It is something we veterans hear quite often, as well as “welcome home” and other variants of people who have never served, but want to show some respect for those of us who did. I used to find this quite awkward, considering my first tour was to kill as many VC/NVA as possible; it is difficult to think of saying “thank you” or “you’re welcome” to people who have no concept except for the Hollywood crap that pours out from time to time and the books that glorify the killing of others. I’ve come to understand that people honestly wish to thank those who took some time out of their lives to defend the country and the Constitution, (against all enemies, both foreign and domestic, that italic is not an error). My second tour was as a Combat Medic, saving lives, something I am proud of.

We veterans are in a unique position, many of us served behind the lines, (REMF’s), in fact, it takes about 20 soldiers in the rear to support a single soldier on the line. Many served during times of relative peace, others have been in the very pit of hell, hand to hand combat. All who have worn a uniform of the services have different points of view, there are times of great pride, there are times of great sorrow, the fog of war narrows the vision of the larger picture and even though there are generally numbers of soldiers with you on a mission, you can still feel alone. To get a feeling of this, go to Downtown Crossing and stand there for a few minutes, so many people, and yet you are alone in your thoughts, it is an eerie feeling, you want human contact, but can’t have it because of social norms. But the fog of war often breaks, you know that the individual near you is trying to save not only his/her life, but yours as well, just as you are trying to save theirs. I’ve see men do things that were unbelievable, just to make sure a fellow soldier was covered or taken care of. We were all “green”, because of our uniforms. We fought together, we kept watch over each other and every man I served with did heroic things that many never received a single accolade; we knew we could trust each other, not much else mattered than that.

I took an oath on 17Jan69 to protect and defend the Constitution from enemies both foreign and domestic. I don’t know who look at this the same way I do, but once I took that oath it was for a lifetime, oaths don’t “expire”, it is something you make that lasts through one’s life. As a member for Veterans For Peace, I am more worried about domestic enemies than I am about foreign one’s we’ve gone out of our way to create. Domestic enemies are crawling out of the woodwork, generally calling themselves “patriots”; most have never served this nation in a military capacity and I find it reprehensible that citizens would go into a situation, armed and in direct violation of federal law to espouse their ideology, which is a very sick twisting of the Bill of Rights.

From now on, when someone thanks me for my service, I will answer, “you’re welcome, but I’m still defending the Constitution, until it is safe, my job is not done”

Peace,

Bob

April 22, 2014

Points to Ponder on Military Extravagance

 

I find it difficult for people to simply accept what they hear on TV, the radio or read in conventional newspapers. The idea that we must spend more on defense is insane to say the least. No other nation can attack us conventionally, there are some issues with terrorist attacks, but the idea that we can be invaded in the traditional sense is nothing less than insane. We could easily cut 1/3 of our military budget and remain safe from attacks. If we actually did things properly, we would not have to worry about outside terrorist attacks either, in fact, our biggest problem with terrorism is hate groups already well established in the US comprised of disgruntled citizens.

I recall Reagan ordering USS Missouri recommissioned at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars. Since Big MO ran on oil, it cost an incredible amount to just have her churn up the sea, not to mention the man power required, training, upgrades and a host of other things…just so Reagan could take a page from nearly a century earlier from Teddy Roosevelt’s book, when battleships were the kings of the sea. They lost that status with the advent of aircraft carriers and missiles that could be fired from 50+ miles away sending them to the bottom.

Please don’t get me wrong, I believe we need to defend our nation, but to my point of view, this is a bit overkill. We have F-35’s at some $65M a pop that can’t even fly, we have F-22’s where pilots pass out from anoxia, some have refused to fly the F-22 because nothing short of a crash dummy can survive the flight. We are contracting ships that start taking on water the moment they are launched because of cheap foreign steel and poor welding. Ground troops have to carry so many items they can barely move in close quarters where a good portion of the fighting goes on. I carried two canteens of water, a couple of belts of M-60 ammo, an M-16 or M-14 depending on the mission and a tee-shirt and a pair of Army issued jungle cammies/greens. I sat on my flak jacket because I did not wish to lose my heritage to the rounds that came trough the floor of the slick I was in; (it was amazing the punishment those birds could take). Just as today, we looked for things to make out lives just a little easier…and longer lasting.

We searched for things “out of place”, what had moved? Was there new earth to be seen where a hole had been dug? Was a tree bent a certain way? We use all of our senses, were insects chirping or silent? Were birds moving through the trees and chirping, or suddenly a flock take off from their perches? Did monkeys seem inordinately noisy, you got to use everything, a breeze would send the scent of fresh shit your way, you can tell the difference between human and animal shit, after all, it’s what you eat. LRRP’s would spend a week or more eating local food, never touching anything from the US, you had to stink like the area you were in. You could smell Ivory soap at 300+ meters.

We wasted an incredible amount of ammo, the “Mad Minute” alone used a battalions worth of ammo during that small amount of time, and it did no good, after being caught once at sundown, the VC/NVA  just hunkered down behind a berm, rocks or anything else until it was over. No one was scratched, but it made us feel good, somewhat safer. But we still had to double the sentries and send out more listening posts. Outside the wire, it was a different world, and woe be to the man who forgot the sign/countersign.

Napalm, White Phosporus, ( Willie Pete), Agent Orange, numerous and sundry chemical exposures of unknown forms creating diseases of unknown etiology, (some still unknown), that manifest themselves in various cancers, glandular disorders and a host of other problems that are some 40-50 years later making themselves known. In our current debacles, we have “depleted uranium”, designed to punch through armor; since the Afghans have little to no armor, it is used on people and their homes. The residual effect is a radioactive nightmare that kills silently and deforms children while still in the womb, leaving faceless, legless, armless replicas of what should be a healthy baby. Nightmarish photos exist of disastrously deformed babies, paid for by our tax dollars.

But we have these things now, so we use them. What nightmare situations are in our near and if we survive, distant future?

War is expensive, you use a bullet, rocket, artillery round but once, then you have to get more, the cycle continues, built on the false hope that war can “cure” war. What “cures” war is Equality, Justice and a motivation to lay down the arms we use to kill and maim others. It takes us to another level of communication, where intellect is king, not who has the heavier tank, or bigger nuclear device. If we are all to be free from war and skirmishes we need to understand the needs of people and act to make those needs accessible. Food, clothing and a place to live top the list. Taking care of these three things would move us closer to Peace, We can then fine tune the outcome, help with irrigation, seeds for edible plants, factories to make clothes and other items, concrete to build homes sturdy enough to withstand desert storms. No more exploitation of the locals, no more empire building, no more theft of resources, no more killing.

Peace,

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

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

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