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 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 14, 2014

Ferguson MO/Mr. Michael Brown

The universal sign of surrender, no threat The Right of the people to assemble peacefully What peaceful assembly brings about     At least 8  heavily armed police aimed at a single unarmed individual Louis Head, Brown’s stepfather, holds a sign saying “Ferguson police just executed my unarmed son.”

Photos courtesy of buzzfeed News:  BuzzFeed Staff

Looking into the Ferguson situation, I see police overkill in so many instances. The first being the killing of an 18 year old man, Michael Brown; apparently shot in the head once and eight shots to his his body, all by a single police officer. As we learn more of the story behind this, it will not cleanse the wounds this neighborhood is scarred with, now and forever. I am a white male, Michael was a black male; I live near Boston, Michael lived near St. Louis, I am alive, Michael is dead, and for what? Putting one’s hands up is a universal sign of surrender, showing all around that you intend them no harm, you are unarmed and willing to allow a search of your person. It does not give carte blanche  for police to shoot you down, it is an act of submission, just as if a soldier carries a white flag, upraised arms are a signal of truce.

With all of the arms a police officer carries, a pistol, access to a shot gun, pepper spray, taser, handcuffs and zip ties, why did this officer go immediately for his firearm? More intriguing, precisely when was Michael shot in the head and eight shots fired into his body? This is classic “overkill” at it’s worst. When I was in the army, I would tell my guards under certain circumstances they had the order to use deadly force, if necessary. Rarely was  there any necessity to even come close to deadly force. I reminded them that a well placed shot to the femur or butt would place the intruder in a position where they could not escape, leaving myself and others to find out why they were there in the first place; kill an intruder and the intel goes with them. By almost all accounts, Michael Brown was no threat to the officer that shot him. Some, of course, is speculation, but that does not take away the blatant fact this man was shot 9 times, once to the head and 8 to his body.

Why was he shot at all, much less 9 times, then left to bleed out in the middle of the street? I do not blame the people of Ferguson for being outraged, except for a few cases by some miscreants doing some looting the good people of Ferguson are doing what they are doing under Constitutionally protected actions. They are gathering peacefully seeking redress and an explanation of what happened. So why the show of military hardware, to include machine guns atop armored vehicles? Having been in the military for a number of years, I know what they have and am quite knowledgeable in what devastating damage they can do when one is either familiar with said arms, or the very severe damage they can do when one isn’t familiar with what they can do.

Granted, some things have changed since I was in uniform, but the basics remain the same, killing people that cause a threat. Just where is the threat in Ferguson? With the exception of some looters, (whom the police should have been taking into custody), who appear to have gotten away with their illegal activities when those who joined hand in hand, arm in arm to honor Mr. Brown, were being targeted with military grade weapons systems. This is ludicrous at best, criminal at worst. Under what circumstances are military grade munitions “authorized” to be used on an unarmed civilian population?

There are several tragedies involved here, the death and manner of death of Mr. Brown; the looting that went on; the potential use of military grade weapons systems on civilians. The overkill of police in riot gear when they should be reaching out to a grieving community. The officer who shot Mr. Brown must be held accountable, even if there was a threat, why did it take 9 bullets to take him down, one to the head? This officer should be removed from the force and if charges can be brought against him, then let it be so. If there are no charges that can be filed, so be it; but Justice must be served, using the color of authority is not justifiable for what was done. The “blue line” must come down and criminals within any police force must be dealt with severely if found guilty of criminality themselves. There are plenty of good officers out there, a few can change the equation as to where we trust no one with a badge.

I wish the family of  Michael Brown a swift recovery from their loss. I know they will hold him in their fondest memories. I hope the city of Ferguson can get past this without the trauma that often afflicts communities during times such as these. From what I have seen so far, the good people of Ferguson have held their own, doing what is right, demanding justice in the face of adversity, (with a few exceptions who should be ashamed of themselves for using the demise of Mr. Brown for their own selfish gain by looting stores). Let not fear rule your lives, let truth and love be your guiding principles. The truth of what happened to Mr. Brown, and the love you have shown for the community, indeed, the nation’s loss.

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

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 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

 

April 11, 2014

Corruption To The Core

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

April 5, 2014

Tribute to Martin Luther King Jr.

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you,

Peace,

Bob

March 31, 2014

The Cost of War is Often Unseen

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

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

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

John F Kennedy, assassinated 22 November 1963, Dallas TX

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

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

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

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

Bob

March 29, 2014

Fighting In The Trenches

 

Many of us are in the forefront of battles, either past, present or future. We have met the “enemy” and have persevered; those that work for the few of the richest individuals on earth are no match for us, for we have the power of people united against them. The objective should always be Peaceful resolution, however, when the elite get frightened, they call out the troops, usually police, but can include Nation Guard troops to intimidate us.

We are not intimated easily. We have been down this road before, and many of us have seen far greater horrors than can be brought about by PD’s and NG units. Having been in combat, I know that the powers that be cannot inflict upon me what others have attempted. I have withstood the worst days of my life and have survived to maintain the integrity I, and so many before me have developed.

Non-combatants who belong to various Peace groups, have felt the presence of PD’s as well, some have been severely injured, a few have been killed in their endeavor to maintain  peaceful world, the powers that be prefer chaos, it benefits them both financially and strategically. But as we change our tactics, we eat away at the base of the powers, slowly bringing them down until they topple over. It has always been this way in revolution.

Revolution need not be bloody or painful, it is a change in the power structure, and that can be as smooth as silk or like being dragged over razor wire, the choice is ours, and I vote for the silk analogy. I can see no reason to harm people when we change. It is merely a case of stripping the ultra wealthy of their power by limiting their assets. There are many ways to do this, the Koch brothers are spending hundreds of millions in fruitless attacks on their perceived “enemies”, personally, I find the spending of this cash to be akin to tossing cash into a furnace and burning it up, they get a tiny return for all they have spent, they have lost races costing 10’s of millions of dollars. There is a great difference between George Soros and the Koch brothers, Soros actually built his fortune from scratch; the Koch’s inherited their fortunes, which makes a serious divide in how cash is made and how it is spent. The Koch’s might be living in refrigerator boxes relatively soon as they squander their fortunes, a possibility not out of the realm of reality.

 

The powers that be use fear as a strategy, they want you to believe that some “enemy” is behind every tree, rock or mailbox, and only they can protect you. This is one of the reasons many PD’s have become par-military organizations. Using laws that are dubious at best, breaking down the Bill of Rights and attacking “undesirables” are at the heart of the “New World Order”, which is actually the Old World Order where a few have the money and land while everyone else works for a pittance. When the police are at the behest of a small group of ultra-wealthy individuals who control local officials, we are in great danger. Police officers, dressed to look like “Robo-cop” attack individuals with batons, and armed with guns, tazers and a host of other weapons storm a peaceful protest where laptops and signs are the only “weapons” the protesters have, there is a bit of overkill to say the least. What would have the police done if 10,000 people were in the Common protesting police violence? Could they have handled the situation differently?

Negotiations are in order, however, if we “won”, what would they do? The House and Senate would quickly change the law, but what if we did not recognize that new law? Jury Nullification is one way out; another is to have the judge just toss out the charges, or the DA refuse to indict.

I wish no pain upon anyone, but I do want accountability for those who consistently steal and use the money on Wall Street to gamble away the futures of our citizens. I want these people to pay their fair share in taxes, no loopholes, no escape clauses. No more $30,000 desks for insurance companies while children die of leukemia, or starve across the globe. At some point, we have to make a decision, and that point is coming toward us quickly. Exposing the criminals is one thing, dragging them into court is something on a different scale. Shareholders must demand their dividends and not give away $60 million bonuses.

We are the 99%, our numbers alone can create change, but only if we do not fear that 1% that has no moral standing.

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