WHY IS #DC HATED BY THE AMERICAN PEOPLE? GREED OVER RIGHTS #noDAPL

This was the final outrage. I have no way of verifying whether President-Elect Trump owns a multimillion dollar stake in the so-called Dakota Access Pipeline, nevertheless, it seems safe enough to assume President Obama does not? It’s this anecdote that has sparked a need to join the peaceful protests in opposition to the project, at least how it is proposed currently.

If Obama doesn’t have cash on the line and he is still firmly on the side of the Energy Corporations over Native Americans, imagine the crackdown coming under President Trump? This could get ugly, really ugly. Obama could suspend the entire process for the meantime, allowing the air to clear, the temperatures lessened, but for now he’s proposed criminalizing the protester’s temporary campsite on Army Corps -American Peoples Land- land. If “not vacated by December 5th, those remaining will be in violation of Federal law and subject to arrest and prosecution,” a statement from the Army Corps of Engineers reads. The Corp works for President Obama, the POTUS.

I’ve just read there is a group of Veteran’s traveling to Standing Rock. As of now I am not associated with this group, but, I would be proud to stand with my fellow Vets on this. Native American’s have been subjected to these sorts of tactics for hundreds of years with little notice from the mainstream press, often villianized, and typically only taken notice of when their cause can be marginalized by the general population. Even though I’m aware of the fact that our government, in large part, doesn’t give two shits about Veteran’s or worse, Native American’s, this sort of public demonstration might put the truth out on front street? Will Obama do something then? I would be pleasantly surprised, but hold little faith in action from DC that undermines corporate power.

As Vets we’ve served honorably in faraway places like Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam, Korea, Kosovo, Honduras, Columbia, Haiti and other countries on a belief. That these lands might someday offer legal protections for the rights of citizens, to protest peacefully being one of those rights. I’ve been shot at, targeted by all sorts of lethal weapons during deployments with our Ranger Batt. It’s not the police or the Army Corp that frightens me tonight. What scares me most is discovering further proof that my childhood beliefs in America as exceptional were unfounded. That my patriotism was underwritten by propaganda. That so many good men -and women- shed blood, sometimes their lives for an America lost forever to the current culture of ravenous, unchecked greed. This is a truth that scares the hell out of me…and it should you too.

The POTUS has spoken through the Army Corps that our *his* Government supports the Energy Industry and local police ahead of peaceful protester’s. Essentially, this is the modern Democrat Party flexing its neoliberal muscles, a macro-aggression all the way from Washington DC to the “flyover” people. 

I am white. I am a coward. I’ve fought the war’s of the government. I thought I was fighting for liberty, freedom and our inalienable rights, but it was mostly all a deadly ruse. It’s time to put down my pain and pick up what’s left for this righteous cause. I’m no fanatic, no hero. I’m not insane or “off my meads.” I’m but an ordinary American who once believed 100% in America, but then I grew up and realized the truth: that we are capable of great things, however, without struggle and effort, the moments in history that America did shine, did represent that *idea* of us, will be just that and only that…history.

I’m selling, pawning or giving away anything I don’t need in the morning. A little TLC for my truck to make the 3400 mile drive and with good luck I’ll be on the road by Saturday..Sunday at the latest. Hopefully I can locate my passport, otherwise I cannot drive through Canada. Yet another law meant to limit the free travels of American citizens. Never thought about it until just now, but the only way to drive out of Alaska is through Canada. Otherwise, I love Canada and Canadian’s! 

For now …

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Giving Thanks & Missing the Grey Shores

You were the star of my dream just now. We were in Maine again. The holiday at the shores of the grey ocean, behind the granite wall of great boulders that appear to have been placed by Zeus himself; placed one by one to shield his people from the crashing thunder of the hunter’s moon. You tasted of salt and aloe that morning, the yellow sun falling up at our backs, waging its glorious war with the last evenings mist, turned to mornings fog; Like the runaway mist, your hand in mine would burn the demons from my aether.

We were there again if only for the briefest of space. Dancing like fools subject to sin.

I remember what you said, as the sweet drift of the grill lifted my senses to give permanent thanks: “we deserve this lobster, right? Just not on such a perfect evening alone.” I disagree, and your green eyes flash; picture a shutter capturing an entire story of unrequited love.

If I ever believed anything at all, it was that I’d never lose the memory of those eyes. Now I seem to have nothing left to believe in, my darling, my paramour.

Dreams are uncovered through the absence of a sense of smell. The moment I realize, it seems, is the moment I shed a single tear. In this way dreams are like films, home movies that star a litany of ghosts. They only relieve my sorrow for that moment before I awake. Then begins this conscience nightmare projecting a future that’s upside down and abridged of bliss.

You’re never coming back. I know that is the absolute truth. Even if you wanted to, the ship of destiny has sailed and I could never catch up. I wish that wishes could come true. I wish and I wish and I wish, three times or maybe seven, but it only reveals me as the ignorant fool. But I wish again. I sometimes wonder if the opposite was true…would you wish too?

Is it already the holiday in your new space? Are you thinking of me, those crashing shores, the smells, and that salty food? If you are, my dear, then I am too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Torturers R’ Us: Moral Hazard Pardoned

In response to the devastating Senate Report on Torture, President Obama stated, I’m paraphrasing, “litigating the past will do us no good. We must look to the future.” At first glance this approach may sound reasonable enough, however, this course, a guiding principle of Obama’s administration, is fraught with thinking errors and inconsistent with our supposed legal ethos. Imagine prisoners serving time in prison grappling with such impotent language? “The government certainly litigated my past. I wasn’t convicted of future crimes, but rather, those committed in the so-called past.” Two other issues are evident in this injurious way of thinking: By not prosecuting the crimes, the American people assume the practices were necessary. By not prosecuting the crimes, moral hazard is vacated, assuring a repeat of the same crimes by future administrations.

Along comes President Elect Donald Trump. A man who stated, and I quote, “we’re gonna bring back waterboarding and a whole lot worse.” He actually campaigned on a promise to break the law, going so far as to suggest he’d place former CIA agent Jose Rodriguez in charge of the agency. The same Rodriguez who birthed the practices then burned the video cassettes containing contemporaneous visual evidence of the monstrosities. If you want to blame someone for the future practices of a Trump Administration look no further than Barrack Obama.

I’m not writing this in a political sense. This is important to me because I was on the front lines of this fight while serving in the army during the Bush years. I can barely live with the fact that I bear my own responsibility for prosecuting these policies, unwittingly or not. The men I served with did not torture or abuse those we detained. I did not know the extent to which our policies supported these brutalities. I’m also not sure what I would have, or could have done had I known? Our unit was commanded by officers who stressed the rules of war and the mission to protect and support civilians caught up in between those we sought and our mission to protect the man on either side of you in battle. Brutality was not completely absent, nevertheless, it was acknowledged and addressed in its aftermath.

The things I’ve learned since leaving the Army from excellent journalism and reports like the Senate’s report on torture are as astonishing as they are abhorrent. The treatment many of these detainees were subjected to can only be described as felonious and un-American. That these practices were not only encouraged, but US government official policy, seems the definition of criminal. Just because your lawyer says a law is no longer justified, doesn’t make it legal. Just because you believe the Geneva Conventions are “quaint,” doesn’t mean you can table the agreed upon rules of war. Remember, Nixon once said, “if the President does it, it’s not illegal.” That’s the language of an autocrat. That’s not the Constitutional principles we ascribe to as American’s. The fate of Richard Nixon and most of his henchmen bears this truth out.

What does any of this mean for the ordinary veteran, or for that matter, the ordinary American? It’s impossible to say or even predict. In a binary world, the choice between Trump or Clinton feels a bit pathetic. Our country faces a moral crises overtly under Trump just as it would have quietly under Clinton.

My own struggle with the wars we continue to fight goes on regardless.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CATASTROPHIZING @realDonaldTrump: Hissy-Fit/Armageddon Edition

President Donald Trump.?! WTF? It’s the age-old question: Times make the man or, man makes the times? Is Trump simply at right place, right time, or, more troubling still: Is it Trump and his like that will transform the time? My best thinking results in a simpler answer to his win. The bottom rung of this theory is Clinton the candidate. I will try to explain.

Like some Hitchcock film, Obama and Trump lunch as equals…

My first thought after listening to one pundit after another sob with abject fear of the Trump Presidency is: “Are these folks a little bitter and a lot paranoid? Are they “catastrophizing,” as we used to say in group? It’s the end of the Republic, the world even, according to most news folks, liberal pundits and ancient elitist’s. Maybe? And maybe we should take a deep breath, put down the pumpkin spice lattes, and consider our history?

We survived the British Empire’s anger after declaring our independence. We survived the Civil War. We survived the Great War, WWII, Korean War, Vietnam and Richard Nixon. We survived the Cold War, a steady tension over 40 years, with thousands of thermonuclear weapons addressed USA, able to be fired in minutes, wiping out the entire modern world, if not human beings themselves? We survived 9/11 and the Bush Administrations lawlessness. And we survived several epic financial crisis including the Great Depression and the 2008 Great Recession. So???? Pump your brakes already.

I have said this many times: I would not vote for Trump, but I wouldn’t vote for Clinton either. An overwhelming number of voters had a similar outlook, with just enough of them saying “fuck it,” why not? The crazy part for Dem’s is that the numbers exposed this truth early on.

To say Trump voters, in general, are stupid or uninformed is exactly the analysis that resulted in the Clinton machine loss. It’s the bubble and the echo chamber that rings with terms like “white/uneducated” “working class whites” & “altright,” talking points for 5 minute news segments that drip with condescension and hubris. Polls are worthless anywhere outside of a campaign’s strategy session. They are worse than news, they are simplistic, targeted, and biased.

Here’s something you may have heard? If a site like 538.com -the Mauri Povich of political news- or others say candidate x has a 90% chance of prevailing, we still know nothing useful. Zero! In elections, two things, you win or you lose. Percentages are for blackjack and slugging averages. The fact that all the topical programs rely almost exclusively on polling to present the news, leads me to believe, it’s not the voters for either candidate who are stupid, it’s the news industry and its mouthpieces.

I have more about Trump, but this has exhausted me. He is worrisome on many levels. That’s for later.

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHANGE THEY CAN BELIEVE IN: #GOP #ELECTION2016 @realDonaldTrump

The world is awash with election analysis, mostly bullshit. As a true believer and political sadist I downloaded a few podcasts last night to get a better understanding of the anger and sorrow sweeping through the Democratic Party. The only reason I’m wading into the pedantic underbelly of this issue is the truly apocalyptic visions most of these hosts, and guests, were predicting come late January, 2017. Wow! Donald Trump brings a worrying set of character flaws to the job, but damn, the suicide hotline?

If liberals can learn anything from this election, it’s gotta be that the Democratic Party must be blown up and reborn, finding new faces to lead ahead. The programs I listened to today, minus The Young Turks with Cenk Uygur, offer little hope for change. These pundits and operatives cannot seem to wrap their minds around a simple concept? So if anyone in that bubble is listening I will type slow so you can keep up:

The #1 reason HRC and the Dem’s lost the election is HRC and the Democratic Party. Not Russia. Not Julian Assange. Not Gary Johnson or Jill Stein. Not the Electoral College. Not Obama. Not white people. Not women. Not Trump’s free media blitz. Not even Trump! She lost because ordinary voters dislike and mistrust her. Many also dislike Donald Trump, but there is possible chance he could upend the status quo. With Hillary there is no chance of change: she is the status quo. 

Are the several points of blame completely irrelevant? Of course not, however, every one of those hurdles were low enough to clear had Mrs. Clinton, or another Democratic candidate, reached out to the electorate with authenticity and a coherent message beyond: Vote for me; I’ll work to keep it business as usual. Even Hillary could have squeaked out a victory with an open, authentic candidacy. Bet. What the party wouldn’t accept from the jump, was those things, being authentic and unguarded, are not within her capability in the context of addressing the public writ large. She is who she is: “a public and private” face that’s beyond modification after 40 years under the hot lights.

Liberals do like Obama, warts and all. He offered a message of change that I initially believed in too. I still remember that 2008 campaign well. The enthusiasm was electric just about anywhere you went that year. I wrote a few weeks ago how this entire campaign I never saw a single HRC bumper sticker, hat or t-shirt. Anecdotal, I know, but the contrast is stunning.

Bernie Sanders may have lost too? It’s a counterfactual that’s unanswerable. He did generate tremendous vigor in the electorate similar to Obama, all minus meaningful media coverage, unlike the Obama campaign. Who knows how many he could have reached with the establishment behind him, however reluctantly? I say, despite being a fellow Jew and democratic socialist, he would have won states like Michigan and Pennsylvania. The numbers suggested as much back in May-June. And that’s without mainstream media airtime. He had a message. I would have voted for him. I knew others who would have. Clinton though; nobody ever told me in person they were voting for her…so?

I suppose after sharing all this amateur gibberish, a short piece on Trump is only fair and balanced? That could cost a whole lot of energy? What about Biden? You think he is kicking himself? Whatever!

Clinton was deeply flawed in a time of populism and fear driving the vote. I wish her well. I do believe she IS a good person under the masks of public opinion. She’s damn tough, that’s undeniable. Making it this long in what is still a man’s world takes true grit.

Peace.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Do I Miss About the Time Before Fear? #IAVA #Iraq

This isn’t going to be an essay on the possible horrors, or successes of the coming Trump administration. Speculating on such matters is pointless and worn out. My writing here is focused on love and war, or war and love, as it were. These pages are like my practice court, shooting free throws. A safe place to improve my sophomoric writing skills, develop my critical thought, and disseminate onto paper, my inner conflicts and personal demons. More about feelings than thoughts, emotion rather than analysis.

This is how I feel tonight…

The generation that survived World War II grows smaller each year. It seems fair to say that these American’s were the last to experience and suffer through an era that truly represented an existential crisis for the US, that could have radically altered our freedom and liberty. When FDR spoke of fear -“the only thing we have to fear, is fear itself-” at the height of the Great Depression, his message was true…and almost antithetical to the messages we hear today from many of our political leaders and elite. Their message is closer to: “we should be afraid.” Of what exactly? Terrorism? China? Putin? Trump? Socialism? All of the above? If my Grandparents were alive today, they would scoff at such things.

We should be aware of those spreading fear, not to shut them up, but not to follow them either. And understand their motivations.

After 9/11 I enlisted in the Army to be a grunt, to do my small part for a country that I believed in. It wasn’t out of fear that I offered myself up, to the contrary, it was a sense of duty that one should feel living such a privileged life on the shoulders of the selfless that stood before. Did I believe Osama bin Laden was an existential threat to America? No. Did I believe we had a collective duty to apply justice and do our best to prevent further damage? Yes, of course.

Sadly, for the country and the world, our leaders and government quickly lost sight of our ideals and their own duty, eventually and slowly, modifying our ethos, our “American myth of exceptionalism,” for reasons such as greed, pride and fear. The shift was profound and pervasive to degrees increasing today.

As we surged into south into Iraq in 2003, there was excitement, trepidation, fear and uncertainty among the professional soldiers within my small unit. There are always a few of the “hoorah, freedom and America is the best-est” soldiers who believed the United States could do no wrong, but more so, we privately questioned our mission and morality. We weren’t ruthless killers or immovably immoral and robotic. It was fucked up from the start, and all the way through to Mosul, our final stop before shipping back stateside 11 months later.

Unlike Afghanistan at the time, where we had relatively clear rules of engagement and substantive missions, in Iraq the mission shifted from day-to-day, with new directives from time to time that seemed intentionally sadistic. Like the folks running the war actually wanted chaos and strife to erupt? To this day you cannot tell me there wasn’t some of this intentional rub taking place for whatever reason. Period.

There is no bottom to my sorrow when it comes to my feelings about Iraq and that war I participated in. Even though I knew it wasn’t right, almost from the beginning, I was too cowardly to make a stand and refuse my orders. Of the 30 or so soldiers I worked with daily and trusted, there is at least 8 others who today feel the same. Sadly, 2 others took their own lives following their military service. Undoubtedly, they were haunted by the same ghosts I meet each day.

It just hits me like a lightening bolt, bringing this shit to the surface. I’m not ready. It feels still, smells somehow? The stench of a battlefield, the human smells mixed with the earth and fuel and steel and gunpowder, is a sense that permeates the memory and stains my devilish hands. There is no washing it away, this mark of evil, like the devils piss.

Is Trump our best hope to rescind these wars of fear and misplaced, misunderstood anger? Not likely, in fact, his nature portends escalation and compounded misery, holding no empathy close, a position somehow greater in disdain than Obama and Bush. Bomb the hell out of them. “I’ll bring back waterboarding, and a whole lot worse.”

Chart a return to that course Mister President Elect and our people, our culture, our society and any mythical exceptionalism left is lost for good…if not already gone. There is the blurry vision of our dispassionate citizenry still believing in our character, but it is largely delusional? I will reserve final judgement for now, lest I be the hypocrite for today.

I’m afraid of the devil. Is there a hell? Something tells me in the end we simply return to the dirt, but I cannot be sure. I’ve punished myself for the sins of war. There has to be a greater atonement?

My eyes are brimming with so many tears. Not for that idealized vision of America I was taught, even believed, as a young man, but for all the souls sacrificed so senselessly. Was it ever really true? At least the question was rhetorical once, unlike our possible future and the answers to come.

A rapid descent into the flames of human nature. Who will stand up to the monster if not us; we’ve met him, he looks just like a reflection.

Does any of this matter? I’ll still wake up alone tomorrow, wishing I could forget you until the moment passes and I open my eyes.

I’m crying from my eyes, but the body is dead.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Silhouette’s & Perfect Views

There’s this picture I have posted in the near reaches of my mind.

It’s a silhouette of your face and body set before a hundred mile view.

The distant mountains and full harvest moon.

It’s so sharp in the low-light, cool, arctic air, and so unmistakably you.

The lasting, personally striking images are captured from beyond your conscience view.

As you studied the warm sky that stretched out so far, across a sea.

Do you remember what you said that night?

That you would finish setting the tent so I could go check out the glorious view.

What I didn’t say, but thought; was it’s far more striking silhouetted by you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#MICHIGAN? A Fitting Finale For Democracy

What if Michigan was the State that ends up swinging the election to Donald Trump? Is there a more manifestly iconic city in the United States than Detroit to exemplify the destructive forces of globalization and neoliberalism upon this economy? The heartbeat of the rust belt, once the 5th largest city in America, now the 5th biggest in the State of Michigan. A city that resembled the Middle East at times post-2008, as fires raged unchecked in once prosperous neighborhoods, along Oak lined streets with names like Cambridge, Eton and Dartmouth. A city that declared bankruptcy and was forced to auction off precious works of art and culture once displayed with pride in its modern, glamorous museum. A world-class theatre and opera, basically gone. Several of the largest manufacturing factories ever built, now poked and in ruin, labyrinths of crime, narcotics and temporary homes for the distant relatives of a once proud citizenry. A destination for black families escaping the Jim Crow south, -the great migration, or, the great chase, as it were- offering well-paying union jobs that helped build slivers of wealth within a once indigent community of dedicated, hard working, families simply looking for a chance to shine.

And now, tonight, election 2016 may sow the seeds of a temporary revenge? An angry, proud, -white- forgotten people of privilege just may have pulled the pin on a political grenade of epic power, rolling it across the floor of this country, towards a Washington elite far too dismissive of this multi-generational perverse, reverse sort of gentrification.

But who knows, maybe she will win and everything will stay cool?

Maybe Love IS a Battlefield

Who did that song from the 1980’s, Love Is a Battlefield? Something my ever cool sister would have been listening to I’m sure. Duran Duran, Bon Jovi, Tori Amos maybe? The hook crossed my mind this morning as I waited in line to vote. All this time and effort I’ve put in trying to put the experiences and disappointment of war on paper in a way that makes sense and the most salient truth’s been all but completely avoided: That my period in the Army has utterly destroyed my desire to be loved. How can a man go on with life in any meaningful way without that most basic human desire?

If the war had somehow changed me into a sociopath, the question might be moot? But as much as I’d like to erase my desire, -I have tried to do as much- the fact is, life is vacant absent the wanting of a beautiful woman who could have anyone else. Maybe if I hadn’t known of such wanting, hadn’t tasted the fruit, I could continue peddling onward in ignorant bliss? That kind of passion is like a narcotic. Once you’re dependent on its product, the chase is compulsive and autonomic. Picture an oak leaf, brittle and superannuated, with nothing to lose.

If love is a battlefield, then war is a drug. Killing is ecstasy and true love a crime. There is only two things that matter in a world so filled with the stench and the aroma of dying and desire. That you kill the man who is plotting to kill you. And a lover that’s been desperately waiting with a singular passion for the warrior you are and the lover she desires. It’s a paradox, a lie that is also true. In order to kill another man in battle, the sane man must give up his humanity, and therefore, his passion and empathy are lost, ever fading from view.

All this may seem or sound more complicated than it really is? There is the spiritual, the ethereal nature of things and then there is the practical. How can you share life with another when the act of sleeping itself is fraught with danger? The terrifying dreams that play out in the dark, when I finally do step across into the darkness often grip so tightly that my physical self responds violently. More than once I’ve destroyed a clock, or a phone, whatever’s within reach. To wake-up with a severe pain in my knee from the thrashing that can occur while asleep is unpleasant sure, but how would that affect an innocent partner? The sudden burst of rage that rises up from the depths over a matter previously unnoticed, like someone too close in line, or the screeching of a chair moving over a tiled floor? I’ve avoided action till now, but will that last?

Most importantly, how could I ever love another if I only am able to hate myself? Still today I avoid and shut out those in my life who truly care for me without expectation or need of remittance. Where do you even begin in such a turbulent atmosphere?

Truth is, I miss you. I do. I say I’m trying, yet the truth is I don’t even know where to start? If I had it to do all over again would my destination find me any different? It’s in the code. I’m on my own. No use in wishing for an angel to fall and cast my soul back upon that previous shore. The die is cast. The future is already written and these words are part of the stone. No need to reminisce and dream of what could have been. If we were meant to be together, we would have been.