Trump and the Heist

Trump and the Heist

dated 12.22.2017
reprinted from a blog post on my Facebook account and Hubpages

The Greatest Robbery in History is taking place at this very Moment

I don’t know what to think. The greatest robbery in the world history is taking place and nobody is going to stop it!
Last week the crooks a.k.a. ‘The Republican Congress’ unveiled their ‘TAX REFORM and Job Package’ for 2018 and beyond. Not surprisingly, it is not a new proposal. Ronald Reagan did much the same back in his term from 1981 to 1989. George W Bush did it on a smaller scale in his term 2001-2009.

The Middle Class marching down the Road to Economic Oblivion

Not surprisingly, the Middle Class of America has not recovered since those days of Ronald Reagan. The Middle-Class income in 1945 was around $45,000 per year. Last week the Republicans defined the Middle-Class income as being $450,000 to $750,000 per year. Obviously, they have no conception of what is going on in real life. They used this definition for the purpose defining the merely rich from the filthy rich I’m sure. But the point is still made: The Middle Class of America has almost disappeared due primarily to these exorbitant gifts to the already rich. Ronald Reagan may not have invented: take from the poor and give to the rich’ but his party has sharpened its pencils at his pencil sharpener and are excelling at being exceedingly greedy and mean-spirited. Teachers will no longer be able to deduct $250 for the expenses they incur for supplies they purchase for their classrooms. It is really a shame though that 80% deduction for purchasing college athletic tickets is now laying in the trash heap.
An example of mean-spirited. Lower-middle-income couples ($24,000 income bracket) used to be able to claim personal exemptions for non-child dependents. Now the same couple in the same situation will have to get by with the replacement, a $500 flat rate deduction. Or in the case of a baby in the womb. The parents can start taking deductions for a college education. But who, at the $24,000 income level will be able to take advantage of that deduction? Those in the ‘middle-class bracket’ of $450,000 I assume.

Flim-Flam is still Swindle

In addition to all the flim-flam, the Republicans are not allowing this proposal to be vetted. Usually, the Tax Foundation or some office lays out the whole tax code with accompanying tables for all to see. This year the House plan is to be done by Thanksgiving. That is in three weeks. Did anyone say “Duck”?!
There seems to be no depth to which these cowards will not sink. They rape the country and rake it over the coals because a Black Man was president of the United States for eight years.
They are so twitching to grab every morsel possible out of our coffers because the White House, The Senate, and the House of Representatives all being Republican that they cannot call it quits. Their plan is to cut hundreds of billions out of the Medicaid and Medicare budgets to fund a tax relief package for the coal industry. Coal Industry? Yes indeed. Maybe the resurgence in the use of coal is imminent or was that China? No, China is developing green energy. I wonder then, who is going to be the beneficiary of the $10 billion earmarked for the coal industry?

The Mushroom Effect

I assumed some of these people have families. No, I guess not. The House voted to replace the Affordable Care Act without blinking an eye. Some representatives were even hard pressed to understand why they received such unruly welcomes from their constituents when they went home for recess.
I have not studied the ins and outs of this abomination because I suspect there may be some changes. Hopefully, their constituents will scream loud enough that most of the changes won’t be approved.
It is not just the tax code that is taking a beating these days. Our school systems are being hammered at breakneck speed by the behavior of the students.
The actions, displayed by Trump and the other never-do-wells regarding throwing temper tantrums, abusive speech and abusive actions are being played out in our children, in our schools, in our neighborhoods.

Reform by any other name is still Theft

My point is that all through the swiss cheese of this ‘reform’ package the Republicans led by House Speaker Paul Ryan take away and then give back sort of. The end result is not to simplify that tax code, although that is what they keep saying over and over again. It’s purpose is to make sure the wealthy donors of the Republican causes get another windfall income boost. They then can continue their lavish donations to the Republican candidates which in reality is the gift from the American taxpayer. Think about that for a minute. The American taxpayer is, in effect, giving the Republican donors the money to keep electing Republicans! Huh? An example of the way the larder is stocked, Donald J Trump and all his nepotism appointees stand to increase their income by several billion dollars.
The NFL will lose some bucks and on top of the current downturn in viewership maybe able to apply for a hardship tax break in the next year or so. (Just kidding, I have to take a smile swipe at this stuff once in awhile. The nature of it is so sickening. If only these atrocities were just on paper.)

How can so Few do this to so Many

How do these people justify their existence? Do they boast about their ‘hard work’ to their friends? Who would be a friend? Oh, that’s right! I have read that we are not to presuppose anything. But can’t I just ask? Who would have these people for friends? Or even drinking buddies? I would hate to go deer hunting with them for fear that I would get a round in the back that was meant for one of them!

The New Normal

Maybe this acrimony is the new normal. Maybe when I cross a person on my Facebook Friends list, I am modeling the new normal. Instead of facing the person and asking what in the heck is wrong, I just surreptitiously hit the ‘delete’ key. This must be the future. The brick and mortar businesses I grew up with, the JC Penneys, the Sears, the Kmarts are about gone. Jeff Bezos of Amazon fame cashed in $1.1 billion of Amazon shares the other day. It was in the paper, er, the smartphone news.
I think my Dad was right. At 91 (and even earlier) he didn’t see a need to learn how to use a computer, or a smartphone or even a cell phone. He probably was right. I probably won’t have a need for one either shortly. If you are not home to hear the phone ring, does it ring? It does if you are carrying it in your pocket!

Consequences

I believe that we are on the cusp of something. My hair on the back of my neck stands up like a Rhodesian Ridgeback on alert when I get bad vibes. But the vibes are not bad, they are horrific! What is happening to our country? I do not see a way to the future without taking a cleaver to the present and hosing away the other half with the fish guts. I am teetering toward the precipice with my nerves jangling. Not for me. I will be gone soon. But my children and grandchildren. We were taught to leave the world in a better way than we found it. I don’t think that is possible anymore. The learning curve to return to its former place is too steep. The changes just too intractable. I feel sad, no, empty. I feel like I ran in place for over forty years and accomplished nothing. Nothing of value to leave my children. Certainly, the world is not a better place.
Gold Coin and hancuffs. Hopefully the end result for the Republicans Google Images CCL
Hopefully the resting place of the coin stolen from the American taxpayer
“Life is to be lived, not controlled; and humanity is won by continuing to play in the face of certain defeat.”
 
Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man
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Today is the Beginning of the End

trump with a dumbface grin like he doesn't know which end is up
So many excellent examples to choose? to choose?
Caricature of Trump giving a speech Google Images
Which is Your Favorite?

Today is the Beginning of the End

 
We took a loss today.
The people of the United States of America.
A big loss.
The Republicans are swooning in delight, chortling in vengeance accomplished.
Don’t get me wrong. Somehow they pulled out a big win and then topped it off by
Trump claiming the Affordable Care Act is repealed.
I caution that they are not done.
I would expect that on Monday, December  4th they will begin planning on repealing
Medicare and Medicaid. Shortly thereafter planning how to dismantle Social
Security.
Why?
Because it is what Republicans do.
Just as Steve Bannon and Donald Trump proclaimed that they would destroy the
administration of this country, the Republicans, are following in those footsteps.
For years the Republicans have been targeting the ‘Entitlement Programs’ for repeal.
When they passed the Tax Reform and Jobs Act they proclaimed that they would be able to balance the budget just in the growth of the GDP and thereby increased tax
revenue.
The dirty lie as they pronounced was that the plan, all along, had been to balance the
budget by going after the entitlement programs.
In their giddy, backslapping mode I believe that they have gone a inch too far.
They did not listen when even their own constituents clamored to not repeal the
ACA.
That is a signal to me that those same constituents will not want to lose their
Medicare and Social Security.
I believe that the majority of the Republican base will also have the heart to continue
with the Medicaid and CHIPs program and DACA. Although those are a little riskier
to bet on.
Why is that?
I have been uncomfortable for months trying to decipher Trumps supporters and run of the mill Republicans.
I hope that they are two different classes of people but more and more I am beginning to doubt it.
My reasoning in a minute.
The ‘base’ supporters will love Trump no matter what he does. I think I have figured out why.
It has always been a huge puzzle to me as to how they can look at the same numbers (budgets, costs, projections, etc) and I do and come up with completely, and sometimes off-the-wall answers.
I have determined that on the evidence only and no scientific lobotomies having been performed that they have a screw loose.
That’s right!
In the deep recesses of their brain, they are missing a very important piece of machinery that they need to reach a logical answer to logical questions.
Their abject answers to questions do not make sense, even if I allow for ‘the fake news’ that they so dearly love.
Responsible businessmen will respond to a ‘huh’? what?’ with a mealy mouth answer like, ‘that’s right’ that is what he is going to do’.
All available evidence to the contrary such as ‘I won’t take away your healthcare’, ‘I won’t take away your Social Security’, ‘I will get your jobs back’.
Even one of these lies would be enough to give a normal person pause before they swallowed another lie.
But they keep swallowing them.
A few are realizing that they made a mistake to believe him and vote for him.
But by and large, unless they are actually starving like the coal miners in the Appalachians, they don’t see the real situation.
How else would you explain it?
It can’t be that the numbers lie.
Well, the ones that Trump uses do but he only uses numbers that he dreams up.
The number crunchers that have the real jobs do fudge much I don’t believe.
Well, that is enough of belittling the supporters of Trump. I have a little present for the Republicans in a later post.
I was always, and I mean always under the impression that Republicans were cost conscious and frugal when it came to spending government money.
Well, I propose that they are just as spendthrift as the Democrats except that Democrats, by and large, don’t pocket the money themselves.
What the $1.5 trillion gift to the Republican donors is, in reality, the down payment for continuing to fund the Republican candidates for the next decade.
The American Taxpayer, is the one that will be funding the campaigns of the Republicans, whether they are Democrat or not, for the next DECADE!
Let that sink in.
Chew that around. I really haven’t heard any Democrats spouting that as a campaign slogan yet.
But I do believe that the Democrats are so messed up that this gift given to them by the Republicans will be wasted.
That is correct.
I believe that the Republicans, who have just let Trump, and McConnell, and Ryan destroy the Grand Old Party.
Lincoln is spinning in his grave.
More on that coming up also.
Actually, the last two Democratic presidents have brought the economy that Reagan and George W Bush shredded with their giveaways to the rich, back from the precipice.
Ah, shut up!
Look at the real numbers.
Unless you are willing to engage in a REAL conversation, with REAL numbers I am not going to waste my time with you.
I have made that my new policy.
If a Republican, I know that no supporter is going to promise to use REAL numbers so I won’t even think of wasting my time with them, wants to pull out the empirical numbers and compare apples to apples I will engage in a discussion because I agree that I have been wrong on occasion.
That brings up another point that is really sticking in my craw.
This is the gift-giving season, isn’t it? I am giving you as gifts, all the things I don’t want to put up with anymore!
I have had people ask me “What is it to you?”
What do you mean ‘What is it to me? ‘
“Yeah what has Trump done anything to you” or a Republican done anything to you personally?’
Do you know the question that they really want an answer to?
‘If he hasn’t done anything to you personally what are you so upset about’.
Well, I am going to tell you a secret!
They are not going to be on my Christmas card list anymore.
That question implies, no it doesn’t imply, it comes out and slaps you in the face! Do not worry about something that does not affect you.
Well, I was brought up and I hope I brought my sons up with a conscience that says what you do to one of these you do to all my children.
Understand? We are our brother’s keepers.
Why?
Well if you don’t believe in THE GOLDEN RULE (not the golden rule that says whoever has the gold rules) but THE GOLDEN RULE – I am responsible for what happens to my brother.
At the very least, at the very least, if the government can get away with abusing a person, the next one they abuse may very well be you.
Understand now?
We are at the juncture of the second week in January 2018.
If Congresspeople did’t get beat up by their constituents, and I don’t think they did, at least not hard enough, their first order of business will be ..
No, hold on. It won’t be to pass DACA.
Trump originally said that Congress had until March 1 to pass the legislation on the subject.
Yesterday, I think it was, I heard him say no, I have to have my wall before I will approve DACA.
Hell, Congress just gave him about $20 billion more for defense than he asked!
So as much as Senator Susan Collins believed that if she voted for the Tax Reform and Jobs Act they would make sure to pass DACA before year end.
Well?
Well?
Don’t believe those two, three liars liars.
Bob Corker may have been bought also since he protested loudly against the huge deficit but then tucked his tail between his legs and shut up.
The only one that I saw that stuck to his integrity was Jeff Flake.
There is a man Arizona should vote to be the next governor.
I will never know how Senator McCain would have voted because he had to have chemo treatment for his brain cancer and then went home.
It really is too bad that Senators and Representatives don’t have to declare all the black money they throw around.
My BELIEF is those people fall further and further each year.
Expect as soon after the first of January as they possibly can to vote to cut Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security by as much as the $1.5 trillion as they spent on the gift.
If I were to have to make a prediction I think that they will try to decrease the entitlements even more so that have some ‘walking around money’.
Remember, most Republicans have a ‘lock’ on reelection in 2018 due to extreme gerrymandering that they accomplished prior to 2016.
Another devil on the horizon for re-election is that Steve Bannon has been raising the specter of ultra-conservatives running against the ‘weak’ conservatives that have been giving Trump a hard time.
I was going to leave the rest of my thoughts for another day, but in doing some research for a different piece I ran into some really scary stuff.
Stuff like what caused the economic crashes in 1929, 2000 and 2007?
That’s right  it has only been 10 years since GREED robbed the markets, the economy and the souls of the people.
My first question, in response to the vote on the Tax Reform, is anyone going to watch the stock market for the next weeks to see if anything fishy does turn up?
So on with my own down and dirty research for this evening.
Did you know that there are 400 people and then there are the rest of us?
400 people own as much wealth as the nation’s entire African-American population PLUS more than 1/3 of the Latino population – COMBINED!
Just two of these people are African-Americans Oprah Winfrey and Robert Smith.
The wealthiest 186 members of the Forbes 400 own as much wealth as the entire Latino population.
Just five members of the Forbes 400 are Latino.
The combined worth of the Forbes 400 is $2.34 trillion and is more than the bottom 61% of the country combined! – 194 million people.
400 have greater wealth than 194 MILLION – did you know that?
The median American family has a net worth of $81,000.
The Forbes 400 own more wealth than 36 million of these ‘typical’ American families.
TWENTY PEOPLE now own as much WEALTH as HALF OF ALL AMERICANS. 20! TWENTY!
And this is before the $1.5 TRILLION windfall!
BY THE WAY, did you know that Trump has just made hundreds of millions of dollars due to the tax gift?
The 100 richest households own more assets than the ENTIRE African-American population.
The author of the study, Chuck Collins, director of the IPS (Institutes for Policy Studies) Program on Inequality and the Common Good states that the study likely UNDERESTIMATES the scope of the problem.
“So much wealth of the uber-rich is hidden, in tax havens offshore or loophole trusts (where money is shuffled around among family members and then just disappears from taxation”.
So there is a huge amount of escaped wealth that isn’t even factored into these statistics.”
THERE ARE THREE – 3 – PEOPLE IN THE US that own as much wealth as the bottom half of the nation’s population. 
Warren Buffett, Jeff Bezos and the runt of the bunch Bill Gates.
They own as much wealth as 160 MILLION OF the rest of us.
Pardon me for getting a little cranky reading this.
Oh?
You want more?
Sure thing!
“We can either have a democracy in this country or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have it both ways.”
 
A very distinguished lawyer once said that. Justice Brandeis, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. 
A side note on Justice Brandeis.
He was a fighter for the common man. The ‘Right to Privacy’ and ‘Freedom of Speech’ have been left to us for our safekeeping by this man.
When President Woodrow Wilson nominated him to the Supreme Court, a member of the court bitterly contested the nomination.
“Brandeis was a militant crusader for social justice whoever his opponent may be. He was dangerous not only because of his brilliance, his arithmetic, his courage. He was dangerous because “he was incorruptible… [and] the fears of the Establishment were greater because Brandeis was the first Jew to be named to the Court.”
Justice William O Douglas wrote those words of evaluation.
When the global meltdown of 2008 bailed out the rich Wall Street financial people the ‘unwashed’ were left to fend for themselves.
Do you remember those days?
Occupy Wall Street shown light on the still unresolved predicament of the normal person in 2011.
In 2016 a tempestuous person made a huge tempest about the still remaining inequality.
Any guesses?
TRUMP!
I will leave that judgment to your personal evaluation.
My opinion, this may be the biggest lie that he has told that may finally tip his supporters against him.
Maybe they never will connect the dots but one would think that if 8 years without any increase in their personal position they will realize how badly he led them astray.
Thanks for your time
Craig
12/30/17
Graphic of Trump, McConnell and Ryan Google Images

 

 

‘BLOOD MONEY’ “keep the tiny humans alive”

Why the image of festive holiday lights when we are talking about BLOOD MONEY and BLOOD DIAMONDS?

First, to brag about Duluth MN and Lake Superior

Second, a special sneak preview of “THE VIETNAM WAR” The epics PBS Documentary Film by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick premiered on Sunday, September 10th at the Duluth Depot prior to its Nationwide Debut on September 17, 2017.

Dated: December 15, 2017

Subtitle: Keep the Tiny Humans Alive

theme for today we allowing the one percent to keep their Blood Money via Google Images
The theme for Today! Why are we paying BLOOD MONEY instead of Saving Them!

First, I apologize slightly for featuring a view of this year’s Bentleyville, Duluth MN 55810. How often have we seen a full moon as a backdrop? Fabulous! I don’t know who took this shot but it was posted on Facebook by Duke Skorich.

Second, the graphic for this post is shown above. The poignant statement is “KEEP THE TINY HUMANS ALIVE”. I first saw a graphic today on my desktop. I use a slideshow of Unsplash! images as wallpaper to have something of interest around my desk instead of just all of the clutter (No I won’t show a pix of my desk!). This is not the exact image that I saw, but I will keep looking for it since it so much more poignant than this graphic.

Third, again I apologize. I looked at each of my blogs and I could not find one this hypotheses fit into. Certainly not the one ‘liarliar.fieldnotesfromanoldman.com’. I reserve that one for heated jabs at the administration that is in power on this date.

So we begin.

Frustration

Yesterday on Facebook a buddy asked a very vexing question:

“Rather than enact rational gun control legislation we are willing to accept the necessity for ‘Active Shooter” drills in our elementary, middle and high schools. If you don’t think we are in a free-fall as a democracy, this might (should) convince your mind.”

I continued to read some of the responses to his post. Then WHAM it hit me! I know why sensible gun legislation never gets enacted or even proposed in congress in any real way. I believe that my hypothesis is applicable to this and many other actions that the general public wants to happen but are rebuffed at the foot of the steps leading to congress.  I posted my twenty points. I just now realized that I did not receive one comment on them. I guess people just ignore my posts because they usually attack a person so people are real fans of his and ignore me or they are numb to my crazy essays and just flip right past them.

Hypothesis

I postulate:

When we react as we normally do on Facebook: First, after the original post, several more people speak out on the egregiousness of Congress for not even attempting to solving this seemingly intractable but yet, on the other hand, seemingly easy problem to solve. Second: we repeat the above.

WE ARE MISSING THE POINT-JUST AS I HAVE ALWAYS DONE!

This was my AHA! moment. Crystal Clear problem, Crystal Clear solution.

When we respond this way we are doing exactly what and in the exact manner the 1% wants us to – we are cowering sheep! By cowering before them we agree that we, as a people, have no power to change what they have deemed as right and proper and just.

Assignment of Guilt

I have assigned the guilt for these bloody actions to the 1%. They are the ones that control the wealth of the United States (and a very large portion of the world’s wealth also). They are the ones that invest in the businesses of gun manufacturers, bullet manufacturers and other businesses that benefit from these bloody actions, such a hospitals, insurance companies and so on.

Framework of the Argument

BLOOD MONEY AND BLOOD DIAMONDS

1.) We agree that we give up our rights in exchange for what is right – FOR THEM. We accept that we are fearful and accept their “BLOOD MONEY” to keep still.

2.) We accept that they have a right to their BLOOD MONEY.

FOLKS LET’S CALL THIS WHAT IT IS (Is this money any different than the “BLOOD DIAMONDS IN AFRICA”?). After all, is this not what our children are to us “BLOOD DIAMONDS”?

3. By acquiescing to them and their surrogates (our congresspeople) they run the United States and we give up our right to call them out.

4. Therefore, as long as THEY AND THEIR SURROGATES KEEP STILL, as long as they continue to MAKE EXCUSES and then, AS ALWAYS PUT THIS TOPIC ON THE BACK BURNER,  they are safe from us. With our conscience now clear we blithely go about our normal business.

5.) Yes, we go on grumbling and mumbling and incoherently cry for our ‘BLOOD DIAMONDS’ as they die before our eyes. We have done our duty. We have called desperately to our congresspeople. We can now move on.

6.) Do we want this constant drumbeat of crying parents and crying spouses to continue? Crying incessantly, crying over spilled blood only to repeat this same drama again in two or three months?

7.) If we really wanted we could change this situation. I didn’t hear you!! If we really wanted we could change this situation right?

8.) If we set our national psyche we could solve this problem. HOW?

9.) We know that by doing the same thing again and again, protesting to our congresspeople, that we will receive the same response again and again.

10.) HAS THAT WORKED? NO! Why not? Because we are not causing discomfort to the top dogs! THEY CONTROL THE CONGRESS – REMEMBER THAT! Our congresspeople, as officious as they are, are not as powerful as they want us to believe!  These people are not the top dogs!   The 1% ARE THE TOP DOGS! BUT THEY DO NOT DO A DAMN THING!  NOW!! Now, do you understand?

11.) In order to make a change, real change we have to do what we have done before-BRING DISCOMFORT TO THE 1% THAT RULE THIS COUNTRY! HOW DO WE DO THAT? WE HAVE TO GO TO WHERE THE MONEY IS!!! I get posts from a gentleman, I have never met him or talked to him in any way except on Facebook. But HE KNOWS! He has never been wrong. His MANTRA? FOLLOW THE MONEY. FOLLOW THE MONEY!!

Think back. Think back to the 1970s. What do you remember?? Say it out loud! VIETNAM!! I didn’t hear YOU!  Say it louder V I E T N A M!! That war was another huge hemorrhaging of innocent blood.

Remember the movie ‘Gone with the Wind’? Rhett Butler made everything absolutely crystal clear with this line:

“I told you once before that there were two times for making big money, one in the building up of a country and the other in its destruction. Slow money on the upbuilding, fast money in the crackup. Remember my words. Perhaps they may be of use to you someday. “(Rhett Butler)”-Margaret Mitchell, Gone with the Wind.

He even told us to remember his words. That “they may be of use to us someday”!

12.) THERE IS MONEY TO BE MADE IN WAR! BIG MONEY!!

13.) We face the same situation now as we did back then. Blood was being spilled and for a time no one except a few protesters really seemed to care. No one seemed to pay attention. How long? When?

Who did we protest against? Our congresspeople – who didn’t make changes, Why – because they had no power. Against our institutions – remember KENT STATE?

KENT STATE SHOOTINGS MAY 4, 1970 WIKIPEDIA 2
KENT STATE SHOOTINGS, May 4, 1970

14.) A protest by a small group of students protesting Nixon’s advance into Cambodia was met by 29 Guardsmen. 67 bullets were fired, 4 people were killed, 9 injured (one permanently paralyzed). Some of these people were not even involved in the protest they had merely been walking nearby or watching the protest from a distance.

9.) WE CAN CALL THEM OUT! WE HAVE DONE IT BEFORE! WE CAUSED THEM TO CONSIDER THE BLOODSHED! WE CALLED THEM TO STOP AND WE CAN DO IT AGAIN!

march on the pentagon by Bernie Boston for Washington Star
March on the Pentagon October 21st, 1967 by Bernie Boston for Washington Star

The young man putting flowers in the barrels of loaded guns! Crazy move! Lots of Courage! The scene below was also taken at The Kent State Massacre.

Pictures tell 1,000 words and so also can music. The image played over and over for the next years. Marc Riboud took this picture with Jan Rose Kasmir. FLOWER POWER HAS EMERGED!

girl with the flower flower power has emerged Google Images Marc Riboud
FLOWER POWER has emerged!

The March on the Pentagon on October 21, 1967, engaged 2,500 soldiers against 100,000 protesters!

15.) So what the hell, why a Song? A picture? We were protesting against our congresspeople? How did that work out? They didn’t have the power to do anything! ONLY THE 1% CAN!

16.) What happened that day was the turning point in the war some say. The 1% saw that they would not have a Nation if they didn’t retreat. Slowly, oh so slowly. But this day made them fill the discomfort of what they were doing. Doing? Making money on both sides of the war!

17.) Songs didn’t stop the war. The protests didn’t stop the war, even as they got more violent. Songs were a rallying battle cry. They created a bond among the protesters. The protesters were from so many different backgrounds and needed something to bind them. It ‘energizes the base’ as an outlandish political figure calls it in these days.

18.) Even today the songs stir something in my being: Bob Dylan “Blowin the the Wind” 1962 (now it is listed as number fourteen song in the list of the top 500 songs of all time); Phil Ochs “What are you fightin for”; Barry McGuire  “Eve of Destruction” recorded in one take (many radio stations refused to play it “you’re old enough to kill, but not for votin”; Tom Paxton “Lyndon told the Nation”; Pete Seeger,  Arlo Guthrie, Joan Baez, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Country Joe & the Fish “Feel Like I’m Fixin’ to Die’ was a signature moment at Woodstock.

Bob Seeger, Creedence Clearwater Revival (John Fogarty wrote this song in response to the wedding of David Eisenhower and Julie Nixon) ‘Fortunate Son’. The depiction of those born with a silver spoon in their mouth and those without.

John Lennon. He recorded a song while he and Yoko Ono were holding a “bed-in” in Montreal. Five months later half a million people were singing ‘Give Peace A Chance” at a protest rally.

Jimmy Cliff “Vietnam” heralded by Bob Dylan as the greatest protest song ever.

Marvin Gaye, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young “Ohio”, Edwin Starr ‘War’, George Harrison, Steppenwolf, The Doors.

Songs gave the protesters (and the rest of us) the words to hurl at the organizers of the war, the 1%. It helped us all be melded in mind and spirit so that at last we were One Voice.

The 1% were still invincible. Since they were both the architects of the war and the beneficiaries of the wealth of the war they were able to ignore the will of the people for a very long time. That is a testament to their power.

19.) So how to reach these builders of riches at the expense of people? Reach out and touch them! Show them something to discomfit them and they will start to respond.

Reach out to them where they will feel it! A facebook buddy has had the correct answer from the outset: FOLLOW THE MONEY!  FOLLOW THE MONEY!!!

20.) PROTESTERS – Where do you DISCOMFIT the 1%? Where do you hit them where the source of the BLOOD MONEY will feel discomfort?

PROTEST THE BLOOD MONEY’S DEEP POCKETS AND ENABLERS: Banks where they invest; Insurance Companie where the invest; Newspaper Syndicates; Television Networks; Stocks where they make their money. There is major activity RIGHT NOW in Syndicates and Networks. ACT NOW!

REMEMBER OUR CHILDREN ARE THE ‘BLOOD DIAMONDS’ of this battle. To make the 1% ‘interested’ shall we say, in stopping the killing requires that you make them discomfited.

Stop the “BLOOD MONEY”!  Those that are being slaughtered: children or as at KENT STATE,  anyone walking around outdoors. They are all potential victims.

They could all become “BLOOD DIAMONDS”.

FOOTNOTE

January 20, 1965, Lyndon B. Johnson takes the oath of office and became President of the  United States of America. He declares, “We can never again stand aside, prideful in isolation. Terrific dangers and troubles that we once called ‘foreign’ now constantly live among us…”

Anti-war marches and other protests, such as the ones organized by Students for Democratic Society (SDS), attracted a widening base of support over the next three years. The SDS peaked in early 1968 after the successful Tet Offensive by North Vietnamese troops. The offensive proved that war’s end was nowhere in sight. The people of the United States now understood that our leaders were lying. There was no end in sight for that misbegotten war.

Opposition to the United States involvement in the Vietnam War began with demonstrations in 1964 as the escalating role of the US military in Vietnam and grew into a broad social movement in the ensuing years.

In 1964 there were 23,300 American advisors in Vietnam. By 1968 there were 563,100 troops. By 1973 there were 50.

Troops on college campuses? Fear struck at the hearts of many.
Soldiers on College Campus! Free Speech? Freedom of Expression? Those were hard to earn in the Vietnam Era. Some people had the courage to change the status quo.

PBS hosted the preview of the PBS Documentary “The Vietnam War” by Ken Burn and Lynn Novick. It debuted on WDSE-WIRT TV on September 10th, 2017. It debuted nationwide on PBS stations on September 17th. This has grown into a statewide Minnesota Television Association and community organizations organized to tell the story of veterans and other impacted by the Vietnam War.

bentleyville 2017 Duluth MN Lake Superior
Bentleyville 2017, Duluth MN Lake Superior

 

A Tribute to Senator John McCain – Prologue

A Tribute to Senator John McCain – Prologue

Dated  November 16, 2017

I was looking at Vietnam in my rear-view mirror. I had done my duty as painful as it was at the time. I had served my country. My bride and I had served at Fort McClellan Alabama from 1971 to 1973. In military speak, it was 1 year, 8 months and 24 days (which included basic training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri). I must recount one short story from that experience.

The “Misery”

I had enjoyed camping, on occasion, as a young man. When the order of the day was called it was time to embark on bivouac. I was not unduly stressed. I had matured in the last few weeks and at 21 years old, I was mature. I was not an eighteen or nineteen year- old like most of the other guys. Hmmm

We loaded everything onto our backs except the food that we would need for who knows how long. We were never told anything in boot camp. I imagine it was so that these green behind the ears inductees would not dream up some preconceived incorrect expectations. Of course, my thought was that the Army just thought we were too dumb.

The march began out to the bivouac area somewhere on the enormous Fort Leonard Wood MS base. It was the home of the Combat Engineers (the guys with the big trucks and things that went KABOOM!). It was hot! It was muggy! This was Missouri. Not the Minnesota I had left such a short time ago. In March or April, whatever month it was, Northern Minnesota had a history of being still blanketed with snow. If it was April there wouldn’t be too much left from the blizzards that paid a regular visit in March. Of course, there would still be snowbanks left by the snowplows and they would still be too high to step over.

The significant part of this little tale is not that we sweated all day, ate Army rations (K rations, not the fancy MRE’s of today. Those cookies and tiny sausage weiners stuck to the ribs pretty well.)

The misery began as we put up the tent for the night. The Army in its wisdom gave every man one-half of a tent. They were called shelter halves. A pretty good name for a really heavy cotton tarp. I don’t think any camping gear is made that heavy anymore. But this was forty some years ago! Well, it got dark (not completely dark) but not too much good light was left as we started to pitch our tents. I was teamed up (we didn’t call it ‘teams’ back then) with another young man from the same town. I didn’t know him before getting on the plane to my new future. It as an adventurous trip to basic (another tale for another day). He was shorter than I, wore glasses and he got one heck of a urinary tract infection in basic!  Understand that sidling up to the urinal trough (not private, white porcelain ones) and urinating red was not a badge of honor in basic!

Company picture day. Fort Leonard Wood, MS
Photo Day at Fort Leonard Wood Missouri.

The Night

We were getting our packs off (damn they were heavy but not as heavy as they were going to get). Just then began a Missouri deluge. In Northern Minnesota terms, we didn’t know about deluges but it rained buckets back there. We were miserable. Why? Because in the dark and in the wet and in a hurry we mixed up the front and back of the shelter halves. We had hooked my front end to his back end of the shelter halves. Start over, bozos.  Well into one of the buckets that had come down we managed to toss our sleeping bags. US Army issue mummy bags (down, with an enclosure that would cover your head so that only your nose popped out. A soldier looked like a mummy.) We struggled to rearrange the pup tent and gushed water when we took our boots off. Wet boots, wet pants, wet field jackets and a down sleeping bag. (Did I mention that the sleeping bags were made of goose down?) When we pulled them out of that proverbial bucket that had come down, they weighed not 20 pounds, not 40 pounds but who knows? They were heavy. And wet down? Clammy, wet, cold sleeping bags. We didn’t even try to get into them. Somehow, we just quit wrestling and swearing and fell asleep. All I remember was MISERY!

The Morning

The morning came. We had hot meals – delivered. The mess hall cooked up something and shipped it out to us. (I’m glad they knew where we were!) That meal felt so good! We dunked our trays into each of the three barrels of hot water, soap then rinse, then fluff rinse. We grabbed our last slurp of coffee and had a smoke. In those days smoking was a necessity. It was a good thing. At least if you had one minute to call your own. After the Drill Instructor called ‘Light ’em up if you got ’em and then hollered ‘put ’em out’, was about a minute. ( I know they loved doing that!)  The worst part came next. ‘Police your butts.’ That was not an anatomical connection. No, a company of stupid inductees had not yet learned the value of non-filtered smokes. We had to strip the tobacco from the butts and put them in our pants pocket until we remembered them while the pants were spinning in the washing machine. (If we had watched the DI’s we would have seen that Palls Malls were a very smart idea. Rip the paper open and let the unburned tobacco and the paper just float away in the breeze.)

Washing machine? Oh yeah, I was enjoying that smoke so much I.forgot were I had left off. Yes indeed. This was the modern Army. Half of the building was showers, the other half latrines. The middle half was washers and dryers. Only a few though, can’t spoil the troops you know. (Another point in passing. Do you see that neat picture above with the scrubbed troops all lined up on the stands? Not in my day! Photo day was wearing your muddy boots and fatigue pants, putting on your Class A uniform jacket and cap and procedure into the latrine to get your mug shot.) Classy!? I’ll say.

The fun begins!

Now the fun begins. The formation was called. Everybody groaned under the weight of the now soaking wet packs and shuffled into line. Hmm. The ground was different this morning. Not firm but squishy. We proceeded forth. MUD! Not MUD! But WORSE! Every step was excruciating! The mud stuck to my boots until it was 6″ thick. I then became intimately acquainted with something I seldom ran into. Not MUD! CLAY! The clay I was familiar with lined the banks of the Mississippi River that ran thru town. We only went near the stuff when we had the green mud boots on. RED MISSOURI CLAY! (Are you getting the flavor of why we called it ‘Little Misery?’)

The clay weighed the each boot down by ten pounds. The march, or slog it was rightly called, all the way back to the barracks. Our company was most fortunate, we lived in Quonset huts. The rest of the battalion had the fancy brick buildings. (That too is another tale.) After hours and hours of slogging under the hot Missouri sun, in the horrible Missouri humidity, we finally arrived. Now nap time.

Nap time? Are you nuts? Clean up time! The DI’s (Drill Instructors, this wasn’t the Marines! Not all were sergeants. Some, by force of their nature got busted down a rank a time or two or more) made sure no one got to eat or sleep until our boots were scrapped off, the mud hosed off the rest and then crawl into the bunk. I was so exhausted I don’t remember that night. Was that the night I fell asleep on fire watch? Don’t ever, I mean EVER do that.

I remember waking to the thought of spending the day getting those boots ready for inspection.

 

Mississippi Mud, reminescent of the Missouri Mud we marched thru.
Mississippi Mud song by Paul Whiteman’s Rhythm Boys

 Sitting in a field on the few hours we got off a week, scrapping and digging, and wiping and digging. Then came the polish. Hours of rubbing and rubbing and rubbing to get at least a semblance of shine back on them.

 

Well, I am out of time. I will have to get to the most important part of the tale, The Tribute, next post.

Thanks for stopping by.

Craig

Good Old Missouri Mud. None of that stuff from MIssissippi!
Now, this is good ole’ Missouri Mud!