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

 

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

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

April 11, 2014

Corruption To The Core

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

April 5, 2014

Tribute to Martin Luther King Jr.

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you,

Peace,

Bob

March 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

March 17, 2014

Thanking All Who Participated in the 4th Annual Peace Parade

For those of you who watch, (and care about) the VFP Chapter 9, Smedley Butler Bde’s alternative “People’s Peace Parade, where we do not exclude any  group that espouses Peace, Equality is willing to stand up to bigotry, hate and the war like status of others, (most of which did not serve, and those that did had rear echelon positions far from the fighting), I offer a very a hearty Thank You!

We have been doing this for 4 years now, the LGBT community has been doing this for a little longer. We took the LGBT community into our ranks, as well as the religious community, numerous bands, labor, environmental & social justice, anti-drone, various Peace groups and many others as we’ve pushed the ball closer to an all inclusive parade, where everyone who wished to be seen or have a message can be involved.

The Allied War Veterans pulled a trick this year, (seems as though they cannot win in a face to face ideological debate.) They have a USSC decision in their favor, but this year , even though the street sweepers were to be behind the People’s Peace Parade, they got to have two street sweepers as members of their contingent. This was a blatant ploy to send the message the parade(s) were over, since we must follow by a court ordered mile. It was a cheap shot.

There were other cheap shots as well, essentially calling other Peace groups “nazi’s”, this by their “most esteemed lawyer”. One would think that an attorney would never stoop so low, but there it was in South Boston online, much to my shock and chagrin. Pointing out any Peace group as “nazi’s” is beyond the pale and borders on slander. If he had mentioned a specific group, such as VFP, it would have been slander, suffice it to say this lawyer is an idiot, (not slander because it’s true!) Wacko Hurley is also a bit of a fool, I am aware that he is a veteran, but not his status as to where he served or in what capacity, perhaps  he is nothing more than an armchair admiral or general, never making it past E-3, but “knows it all”, there are so many like that, it’s really rather sad. In VFP we have combat and support veterans, I make no distinction between the separation of combat troops and support troops, we who held the line could never have done so without the support to the rear. I am not sure, but it appears that the Allied War Veterans council has about 4 active members whereas we have about 75 active and 70 inactive at this point, counting veterans, we beat them hands down. We also have a substantial Associate membership, people who are with us because we sync with their views on Peace and disarmament.

We had a fine parade, even if the chill sent a few home early. We will be there next year as well, and for as long as it takes to break down the walls of bigotry and hate.

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

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