Veterans for Peace Radio Hour

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

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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

March 2, 2014

Eva Bartlett at the Community Church Boston on Palestine/Gaza Crimes

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On Friday evening, we received a rare treat in having Eva Bartlett from Human Rights and Justice for Palestine giving us a part of her speaking tour. She accompanies Gazan farmers and fishers under threat of harassment and threat of live fire from Israeli forces. During her presentation, she showed slides and films of how Gazans are treated on their own side of the border, being terrorized by Israeli forces through close shots, and in several cases there were wounds and killings. When people are out harvesting onions and parsley, and then hunted down as if they are “vermin”, (my term), it is nothing less that murder.

Gaza has been given very little wiggle room in how they can react to such atrocities. Their fishing area is a mere 3 miles off shore, when they need to get at least 12 miles off shore to find fish that is of edible size. Breeding habitats have been over-fished to the point where there are quite literally no fish left to catch. Israelis have bulldozed buildings, smashed crops into the ground, pulverized seedlings and treated the Gazans as if they had ho reason to exist.

I have taken middle ground on some of the issues that happen in the Middle East, as I find both sides guilty of terrible behavior, but after seeing this documentary, I have to wonder why one of the most abused people on the earth over periods of time, (Jews), suddenly find that they can abuse others at will. There is no difference in my mind of shooting someone in Auschwitz, or shooting someone picking a parsley crop; both are acts of murder. The Gazans post no true threat to Israel, all they want is to live peaceful lives as they have for a very long period of time. The encroachment of Israel into the Gaza Strip has created a situation that is untenable at best.  To be quite blatant about it, this has the wretched stench of genocide upon the who sordid affair. If any group of people should show mercy in situations like this, the history of the Jews bears witness to the horrors of genocide.

Ms Bartlett has had her boots on the ground, often facing fire during her research and documentation of what is happening in Gaza. I can attest to her bravery and humanitarian aspects during her work as an activist with the International Solidarity Movement.

Here are a few links you can go to find out more about her and the ISM work:

http://ingaza.wordpress.com/

evabarlett@hotmail.com

I cannot describe the horror, I had to hang my head at times, I have seen this before in a different era in another part of the world. Killing, war, maiming, destruction. It must stop.

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

March 25, 2013

Hundreds of Milions Dead, and for what?

VFP Logo

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I hope I live long enough to see that day.

Peace

March 15, 2013

Mayor Menino takes a slap at Equality

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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