Friday Morning Front

Is there anything more depressing than a rainy grey morning alone? Why is it then that this drab time alone, makes me feel safer, at peace even, in the humid monochrome? I almost feel like reaching out, breaking an extended silence, a phone to a friend. Almost, yet, I wont.

If I were the broken character in some morose film about the human paradox, I’d be the first one in the theater to think; just pick up the phone and make the call. Thus the paradoxical nature of our tragic behavior: even with the medicine within reach, my self-destructive stubborn shame overcomes all preventive antidote. And so it goes, the invisible scars upon my arms, each one marking another day I’ll suffer alone and drift further apart.

How far has this water traveled to rain down, melting my faith, soaking my skin? If I could wish for a power, I’d take some common sense. If I could crawl into their minds to see what they think, what would I see? Be rational, they say, stop blaming yourself, have faith.

 

Introspection: #Veteran

I’ve been thinking about atonement and absolution, alone, in the darkest hours of my night. How can you be forgiven if you are unable, or unwilling, as it were, to absolve yourself of those cloudy shadings of corrupted immorality? Does writing about this guilt and shame, shared with few, yet available to many, chip away at the past? In public I hide the flames destroying my future, therefor, I am nothing but a forgery, a future skeleton of a once polished soul. I care. I think I care, at least?

A great friend and passing lover of mine had a favorite idiom she quoted to me from time to time: “the people you see on the way up, are the same people you’ll see on the way down.” Of course it’s not entirely meant to be literal, however, I have experienced just that very thing a few times; on the way down, that is.

Beyond my minuscule self and as a matter of the macro world, this piece of advice could apply to our Nation’s foreign policy, not as it is propagandized, but rather, how it is carried out in fact. The way our government as policy has walked over the 3rd World post-WWII -of course there is prior examples, e.g, Spanish American War- will eventually reap what we’ve sown. No better example is that of our deference to Israel and its relationship to the Palestinian people and their legitimate fight for living space. More specifically, our support of Christian Nation’s and autocratic regimes on our way up, will undoubtedly cause great harm, as our dominance eventually wanes. 

I feel it in my bones. I understand that my opinions are of no tangible consequence. It simply feels important for me to be on record in regards to the many mistakes, stretching from the macro state to the micro self. I’m ashamed for the role I played in prosecuting these unjust policy goals. I try to get into the minds of Veteran’s from the distant past, hoping to understand some of their struggles. It seems Smedley Butler, a career Marine of the early 20th Century and 2 time Medal of Honor recipient, expressed a similar disillusionment with US foreign policy post military when he said, I will paraphrase: “that Al Capone had nothing on me. Our job was to protect the corporate interests of politically connected businesses operating throughout the 3rd world. We promoted Democracy at end of a gun, making sure those elected were amicable to the monied interest of Wall Street banker’s.” For that torrent of honesty, the one time hero was systematically destroyed through the use of propaganda, missing his deserved appointment as Marine Commandant, eventually silenced and marginalized by a public unwilling to hear the truth. I’m far from Mr. Butler in all meaningful accomplishment, yet I feel a kindred spirit and understand his truth.

I have so much love for my fellow brother’s and sister’s suffering in silent with the battlefields of mortality and immorality burning within. We should all strive for a better world and the ability to forgive. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#WWJD

On Christmas Eve, age 11, my mom stopped me in the stairwell and said, “you know Santa isn’t real, right?” There’s so much insight to be analyzed within that proclamation, no doubt, especially since I stopped believing in Chris Kringle somewhere closer to age 5, alas, I mention it for other reasons more specific to faith and spirituality. My answer was a quick “yea yea,” the sort of answer a kid might give to questions of sex, or girlfriends and the like, when broached by otherwise well meaning parents. The question I never got around to asking her though seemed logical, possibly rude, was: “you know Jesus, the son of God at least, isn’t real either?” In my 10 year old mind, the idea of Jesus walking on water, Noah building an Archy-Archy, or Moses coming down with the Ten Commandments, were all as equally ridiculous. So yea, it’s obvious I don’t believe in religion. That doesn’t mean I can’t imagine a God, or “higher power,” if you’d like, out there in a different dimension, or in some way we haven’t yet discovered or understand. It would be simple minded to simply write the unknown off just because I {we} are as of yet ignorant. I find it highly unlikely that a possible greater power or entity gives two shits about us though.

Anyway, I said all that to say this: In general, I find many Christians to be cut from the most hypocritical of cloths. Being Christian, or Jewish, or Catholic, practicing those faiths should reveal a people heavy on empathy and forgiveness and light on violence and greed, right? Why is it then that so many of these heavily professed believers so antithetical in actual behavior to the good works and beliefs of the Jesus in their Bible? Quick to go to war, put folks to death, hoard wealth in massive quantities, favor stiff prison sentences, anti gay, anti just about anything that smells, looks, walks or talks different than their immediate clan?

Don’t get me wrong. There are plenty that walk the walk, so to speak. Yet, without question, the overwhelming majority either confuse ideology with action, or, practice their faith in complete hypocrisy. Normally I wouldn’t give the phenomenon much thought, considering it a waste of time and oxygen. The experiences I recently faced cause me, force me, to reckon with these peoples sanctimonious bullshit.

When I lost my place to fire, I stumbled upon a program through the VA offering temporary housing and some minor case management. Long story very short: The program was highly religious, to the point that I was suspicious for not being willing to play along, pretending to be open minded…to that at least. It was clear after only a few months that the facility and the staff had many secrets. There was, and is, some shady shit going on that continues, affecting men and women that in many cases have nowhere else to turn. Because of this pickle, the program ultimately has control over them, leading to sick situations where folks are too afraid to speak out. I got the fuck out of there as quickly as possible. And if you think I am exaggerating, think again. Just as an example, the Vet case manager is literally not trusted by a single client! Not one. Years ago I worked in a similar job. During my 3 years I can think of only 3 or 4 clients who would feel negatively. You cannot please everyone, no. But to have people so dirty, so corrupt, in positions of authority is just reprehensible. How many people, let alone Veteran’s, have been worse off because of the place?

My point being; these people are so proud of their faiths. Praying circles every morning, guest pastor’s, the works, and in my entire life I’ve never known a more corrupt, to the bone corrupt, organization or program. Period. Christianity is but a convenient shield to hide the truth behind. And many know it, but wont say it. Their image is pure, an obvious sign of trouble for anyone with experienced in such matters.

Okay, I feel a little better getting that off my chest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Nothing Between

Are there wounds that cut just a little too deep, therefore irreparable? Where can I find the line separating the acute from the chronic, and how did trauma such as this become the ultimate American cliche? On one side you confront the fear with isolation, on the other it’s anger masquerading as courage. On your own you realize that line was but an illusion, like an ocean’s coast meeting the high tide. Alive. Dead. Light. Black. What’s the point of all this pain if the only one that heals is me? There’s no difference between fear of death and fear of life. At least that’s what I tell myself at the waking hour, confusing my brain just enough to proceed towards the light with my heart.

I never blame anyone else out loud. Those feelings I keep sewn deep within. Whenever they begin to roil I shake, shed a tear and hold back the rest. If I find myself touching that place in conversation, I cram it back in, all of it, heavy feet and a cheery song. The paradox is sealed, the matter no longer matters, and off I go with these broken clocks and miniature parts of a life I never wanted, yet, somehow bought. Nobody gets me, right? They don’t get me, not because I’m unique, rather, because somewhere back there, I broke apart, separated, now here incomplete. Picture a completed jigsaw puzzle with additional pieces left in the box. It’s all there, it looks complete.

Maybe the future holds a surprise I still cannot see? Maybe someday it’ll all be okay? I don’t pray, but we can hope, right? There’s something left to offer if I find another chance. At least that’s all I can tell myself in between these days of numbness, of anguish, recalling misery and dancing in the dusk, along that space between the elements, in a dream more like a movie I’m watching in my sleep.

It was so long ago. The smell of it all drifts closer.

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s Not Kid Yourself

The self-righteous indignation spewing from the lips of Democratic Party loyalists over the Donald’s comments regarding the Khan family makes me laugh. Of course Trump is a disgrace to the country, to Vets and their families, but let’s not confuse political showmanship with actual empathy. You do not need to travel far back in time -2005-06 in fact- to dredge up a similarly offensive position espoused by the so-called liberals. I’ll get to that public shaming in a second. First let’s consider the chanting battles at this years convention in Philadelphia. While some in the crowd chanted “no more war” during some speakers time on stage, -a pretty standard liberal position going back 100 years at least- an even larger, louder group of democrats drowned the chant out with “USA, USA, USA!” Not exactly the sort of chant that brings the idea of peace to the world, a position most effective in preventing even more combat veteran’s joining the community henceforth.

Have we already forgotten the Cindy Sheehan story? For the brave, yet simple act of protest in the wake of her son losing his life serving in Iraq, she was roundly flogged by heavy hitters in both parties. So this idea that George Bush treated her with respect, while letting the hounds loose behind the scenes, is utter and complete bullshit. For her troubles, standing vigil outside of the Bush compound in Texas, she was dismissed in politics, as well as in the media, as a nut-job, narcissistic wife and follower of Bin Laden. Sure, some Democrat’s used her for political purposes, -i.e., to get elected- yet she was never treated with empathy. Sounds familiar?

Just a thought on a hot Sunday night.

 

 

 

 

LIP servicE

The web will find you, anywhere. The modern machine broke free today. My peaceful corner of the planet, no more than a few hundred stones throw’s south of the Arctic Circle, became, if only temporarily, the newest information landfill in the Galaxy, thanks to my closest neighbor half-a-mile away. The industrious gentlemen, a Korean and Vietnam War’s Vet and occasional Poker player, combined renewable and fuel generated energy to power, among other things, a DISH Network system with internet and WiFi Router -no password- for the communities pleasure. The community being him, his wife, two dogs and one neighbor, me. I cannot say that I’m happy for the hook-up, nevertheless, his ingenuity -necessary, he claims, to lure his wife away from the city for a few weeks- and effort makes me smile.

The obvious downside to this temporary connection with the sick world below is the fact I learned of Donald Trump’s newest -as of 11am Wednesday- mouth fart. WTF, really?Is it hyperbole to posit anyone else making that statement in public would bring a heavy hand from the law? Maybe not arrested, but certainly put under watch? There’s no question he meant 2nd Amendment folks might be able to get what they want through the use of gun violence, that’s almost certain. Now, we can parse whether he meant Clinton directly, or Justices, or a coup de’tat for fucks sake. The comment was beyond the pale, even for The Donald. And like my last post made clear, the media must stop with the mealy mouth coverage. But they wont. In fact, the most ridiculous parsing came from the supposed Liberal MSNBC. It leaves me to wonder: might they be trying to help Donald to keep him afloat long enough to get HRC elected? Doubt it. Not that smart…or, rather, not as smart as those operating the levers of power over at FOX news!

The sun just broke through the grey of last nights storm. Spending precious time attempting to unravel the tangled mess that is modern politics feels perverse, if not my own wicked corruption? Would it sound crazy admitting my interest in such ethereal, distant helms, actually blunts my otherwise, painful, aching loneliness? I know my opinion is of zero consequence beyond the games stretching out within my own mind. The spaces between these crowded arenas are so dark, there have been times I could have laid down in the opaqueness, and check out of the next game. It’s a journey of feet, on the razors edge between grey and black. I never would have believed the anguish this despair controls in here? I was a happy child, a young man of contentment. Now, after the blasts and regret, that other life is lost.

 

 

 

 

 

 

GOLD STAR’S & PURPLE HEART

Wow! War, Veteran’s, and sacrifice finally reached the national political zeitgeist…for basically, all the wrong reasons. I take that back. What I mean to say is that it’s great that the upper political class and media gave the subject airtime, however, the scope of the debate became narrow and somewhat pointless.

How about we discuss the fact that prior to the Khan’s extraordinarily brave and selfless speech, that barely 7% of the U.S. population over the age of 16, could accurately describe the meaning of a “Gold Star Family?” Or might we have more than a ‘gotcha’ type of public debate as to the merits, cost, and/or crime that was the 2003 Iraq War? I actually came across a few who said in one way or another that, if a certain he or she, or several he’s and she’s opposed the war, the Khan’s son might be alive and well today? This assertion was scoffed at with contempt of course. They’d say, “the intelligence was wrong,” or “the country was in shock because, you know, 9/11. Did I say 9/11 yet?” Or why not use the moment to discuss the problems with the VA, Vet suicides, ongoing, ever expanding war without end, on and on and on?

Not to put to fine a point on it, but even if Saddam Hussein still had some chemical weapons laying around; did that present an imminent threat to the United States, a country Iraq had never attacked beyond the outskirts of its own border? This intelligence failure reasoning is the most brilliant, yet stinky red herring in American foreign policy history. The thing that bothers me the most, even today, is that the only people to suffer, to pay the price for an illegal war and occupation of a sovereign state, is the civilian population of Iraq and the low level soldiers who followed orders, implicitly trusting a government and society that they/we wouldn’t be asked to sacrifice so much on a deliberate set of lies.

We will continue making the same errors, from ideological wars to illegal torture, not because we are inherently evil as a society, but because those who prosecute and approve these policies are not held to account, implicitly causing much of the country to agree with the process, no matter the eventual complete and utter failure. So yeah, I find men like Donald Trump wretched and small. A person so vacant of honor that he’d go around claiming he was against the Iraq War when in fact he’s on record supporting it. To campaign on a Navy warship, spewing bluster and grit, yet avoiding the Vietnam War four times due to school, then, avoiding service by having some shady doctor write a letter claiming the 22 year old had bone spurs, thereby precluding him from service. As POTUS, I have no doubt he’d have no qualms sending others into battle out of vanity. Hillary Clinton is little better, and is one of those who never paid the price for her poor judgement that ultimately cost the lives of many thousand soldiers and more than a million civilians. So fuck her too!

But these are not subject to discussion in the mainstream. It’s the gatekeeper’s of the forum who were also complicit in our wars of aggression. Even the chicken-hawk’s and carpetbagger’s throughout the media aren’t immune to that level of hypocrisy. And so we march on in lock step chanting hey-hey, ho-ho, exceptionalism is the way to go. Some day far down the road, history will be written by someone other than ourselves, only then will our hyperbolic pride be revealed in earnest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clinton & Legalese Double Speak

There’s little more to say about The Donald. It’s clear: As a confidence man, or con man if you’d rather; the man is top shelf. As a world leader with the breadth and might of our mammoth military and massive economy; the man would be an apothalyptic -a word I just made up for the occasion- disaster. So what about Hillary Clinton? Maybe no one will ever read my opinions on the matter, nevertheless, I tend to best find my feelings upon jotting them down. And so…

I’ll start with a quote from today, a quote so indicative of her political doublespeak so many find repulsive; or at least I do. When asked AGAIN about the private server bullshit she spews this legalese:

The FBI director said my answers were truthful, and what I’ve said is consistent with what I have told the American people”

What the focker does this even mean? And to imagine her in some room with her advisors and lawyers coming up with this after all that’s taken place, I just cannot get my head wrapped around the logic involved? Isn’t there anyone with clout on her staff that can straighten this out? Just tell the voters the obvious: After 30 years in the public eye, my poor decision to hide my personal business was a reactionary move that I’ll do my best to not repeat. If classified material was compromised in any way, it was wrong. I’ve learned from this and hope it will make me a better, more informed leader. The end!

But hell no! It’s this dribble dribble that falls out of her mouth among the constant pauses of, um, uh, um, uh, uh, that only solidifies voters assessment of her honesty, or dishonesty, as it were. You have to wonder how she interprets the public’s perception of her in general? Is she unable to distinguish independent voters from the 24/7 media and how substantively they are different? Or maybe I am way off base here and her unsuitability and dishonesty stems from other cues? Sure, conservative voters latched to the GOP come hell or high water will likely never find her agreeable, no matter her polish. The bloc I speak of is made up of Sander’s ardent supporters, centrist older white voters and those who typically do not vote. These are the subsets that in many ways elected Obama in 2012, Clinton in 1992 and Carter in 1976, and are the voters Hillary would need to win up against most establishment Republicans. Against Trump however, she will likely skate by either way. But look out for 2020….unless the GOP is foolish enough to go with Ted Cruz, another fringe lunatic.

I’ve come to really like the WNYC podcast, On The Media. Of course the show this week started with a Trump themed piece: Has he finally gone too far, this time, this time, this time, the shameful ticky-tac with the Khan family the latest. The host interviewed a reporter from The Daily Caller, a conservative site that’s posted articles recently calling into question the patriotism of the Khan family. Listen to it if you get the chance and you care about Veteran’s issues. The lengths to which some in the right-wing media will go to defend Trump is quite despicable, however, it reveals the politicization of Vets and the Military by some in both wings of the media. The lip-service is usually just that. Vets are little more than a ladder to power and ideological purity, and little else. It sickens me. Thanks to Bob Garfield at On The Media for the great unveiling! Listen here.

Too many days for me away from the cabin this week. Dealing with the VA where I am at is a chore. I suppose it is anywhere? It’s good to talk with Vets waiting at the offices. It’s the one place I cannot hide the fact that I am one of them, yet it’s the one place that I wouldn’t want to. It occurs to me that our soldiers, especially the ones who served post-9/11, have been to psychologically damaged due to the abuse of our patriotism among other aspects of America 2016, many of my fellow Vets are willing to support Trump in the face of his careless psychopathy. Another words: the establishment -lead by the likes of Clinton, W. Bush and Obama- has caused such harm that anyone challenging their control of government, is thereby necessary? I could argue the public writ large, especially the middle class who’ve been so disrespected, lied to, sent to war, and ever falling behind the elite, see Mr. Trump as a kind of fire breathing monster, capable of crushing the DC oligarchy?

So yeah, that might have been the closest I’ve come to the ramblings of a madman? I do have other interests beyond politics, as unlikely as it may seem?

What about the Rio Olympics? Has anyone else noticed -the Sochi winter games were similar- the press coverage leading up to the actual events? How many stories have we heard relating to athletes, their story, their sport, personal pieces meant to give us individuals to root for? Yes, there was the millionaire golfer who publicly refused to attend due to Zika, but otherwise? I read a nice piece on a female boxing phenom from Flint Michigan. What we have been fed is Zika, open sewers, political corruption, zika and zika. I tend to agree that the IOC, like FIFA, has lost sight of the games as competition, to the games as revenue. And of course, terrorism. We don’t hear that it is winter in Rio, a time of relatively few Mosquitoes. I hope the games go off peacefully? But why not? Brazil seems like a strange place for ISIS or Al Qaeda to target?

Gotta run.

 

 

 

 

 

Vet Love

Rainy days like today make me sad. Sunny days, that direct heat blasting through the cars window, irritates me more often than not. So basically what I’m saying is: I’m a miserable motha-fucka. It’s this never ending raw nerve that walls me off from family and friends, hoping to solve a spiritual problem with geography, I feel myself disintegrating. The best I can do is cram my eyes and ears full of meaningless candy and picture, so as not to disrupt this perfect imbalancing act. In simple metaphor it’s this: many years ago I started packing shit into a garbage bag that I carry everywhere I go. You might ask; what’s wrong and what’s that smell? Oh, that’s just my bag of shit I refuse -refuse, is it?- I refuse to let go of or put down. The bag just keeps getting heavier and smellier and stickier and closer. It’s my bag of shit though.

What’s that law of physics? An unstoppable force meets an unmovable object: what happens? A time will come soon where I either leave the bag behind somehow or finally drown in the stench and foulness of it all. Reality is both true and false at once. A paradox I suppose? Will I look back one day at this stretch of pain and wonder how I could have let life squeeze me so hard when escape was so evident? Or will I reach an apex, a destination, and ask myself why I held on so tight for so long?

Some wounds cut just a little too deep.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trump, Clinton, Libya & Addiction

This opinion may no longer be unique? Nevertheless, after reading the Washington Post, Donald Trump interview transcript today, –I will try later to link here if I can figure out how– it occurs to me that the man is, in fact, seriously psychologically damaged. I’ll refrain from elaborating in detail. The transcript speaks for itself. I have little doubt he will crumble prior to November. The pressures are tremendous and even the most disciplined politicians find the process so taxing they avoid beginning the race altogether. What seems most fascinating to me is how he will manage the destruction, or how the GOP as a party will play the circus?

As a former drug counselor and recovering addict, my first reaction to his instability is to assume he is on drugs, particularly some type of amphetamine / sedative combination. I write this off almost unconsciously, yet maybe we/I shouldn’t? The abuse or dependence on substances typically evolves from a co-occurring disorder related to a mental health condition. Self medicating is the loose terminology. I might be off base, perhaps, or as Trump might say: ‘many people have written this, I’m not saying but, you know?” His ever increasing seemingly uncontrollable behavior and his increasing need to be affirmed by polls and ratings, might suggest an addict slowly losing control? His behavior is consistent in process, but increasing in lack of control.

Wednesday August 3rd, 2016

After an appointment with the VA this afternoon, I have to consider the fact that many folks in this country support The Donald, come hell or high water. Just today I had brief conversations with strangers who all supported Trump. My question in all cases was, why and how? Little was learned despite my openness. I just cannot imagine a future with this man anywhere near the Oval Office. Call it hypothetical cognitive dissonance if you’d like?

Another tidbit I came across was an interview Hillary Clinton did in the immediate aftermath of Qaddafi’s execution by NATO supported rebels in Libya. It was cringe worthy and revealing unlike most of the sanitized views of Clinton. Her maniacal laugh and obvious joy with the killing of a head of state, had it been a leader of another country, would’ve been rightly condemned. She obviously learned NOTHING from the lessons of Iraq. Anyone with a brain and accurate information could have easily predicted the future of Libya, yet she seemed blind? Either she truly is ignorant, or more likely, a Libya lawless with nonstop civil war is the policy of our government? Either way, how can we support her for POTUS? A question I will continue asking myself as the campaigns come to a close.

It makes me glad that some actually read some of my rambling thoughts. Thank you, and I appreciate any feedback, positive or negative.