Facebook Shit

Over half the posts I see are political and most refer to the US – Republicans, Democrats, Green parties, Tea parties, primaries, elections, religions, bathrooms, Trump, Hillary, Obama, Sanders, laws, corruption, colossal stupidity, etc.

After 40 years of study, including personal involvement with the mighty US war machine, it’s my very humble opinion that any significant change in the US, or in the West generally, will come only through immediate, violent revolution.

This does not seem likely.

language

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”

We all know this isn’t true. Words not only hurt – “nigger,” “fag, “cracker,” “bitch” – but they also kill – “terrorist,” “militant,” “drone strike,” “a resolution authorizing military action.”

When is “free speech” not free?

As a sociologist, I participated in studies about conflict resolution. I learned the two most effect methods were “mediation” and “avoidance.”

Mediation is self-explanatory – the introduction of an “objective” third party. But the idea of avoidance allows a powerful insight into “free speech.”

In terms of quality and credibility, I had always regarded Breitbart News on the level of the National Inquirer. In fact, I often thought that’s where we should find it – at the supermarket check-out counter, right next to celebrity trash and aliens in the basement.

I thought it was crap. I disagreed with its content. Therefore, I avoided the damn thing.

But if I should intervene somehow to impede or stop Breitbart from broadcasting its crap, then I’ve set a trap for myself. If Breitbart can be stopped, then so can I.

Instead of preventing certain people from speaking, we ought to teach our kids to listen carefully, question closely and know their history . . . and they too will learn to avoid Breitbart poison.

WE HAVE THE RIGHT TO SAVE YOU!

During my tour in Vietnam I witnessed how the US saved the Vietnamese people from the terrible clutches of communism. The US dropped more explosive tonnage on that country than was used by all sides during both world wars, including millions of tons of chemical weapons – all in the name of “humanitarian intervention.”

Does this sound familiar — smashing a country to pieces in an effort to “save it?”

Now, a generation later, US “policymakers” have learned their lesson – instead of employing large numbers of US troops, they create armies out of thin air.

The fact that a series of US governments continues to wage illegal warfare is an illustration of the utter failure of US educational system.

Have a nice trip!

In the spring of 1967 I was a green Army recruit at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. I had just spent two months learning to be a clerk typist, and our company was awaiting orders for permanent assignment.

I got in trouble off-base – I stole a car – and became embroiled with both civilian and military police authorities. The civil charges were dismissed because the owner of the car didn’t press charges – I didn’t get very far, about 300 feet – but the military law came down differently.

Although I was free from civil authority, the military confined me to barracks – I was not allowed to leave the company area or the base. Meanwhile, my company received orders and everyone shipped off to Germany.

I was bored out of my mind confined to the empty barracks – a giant dormitory with 30 bunk beds and only one occupant, me. I was caught up in the infinite corridors of military bureaucracy. This is when I first discovered reading for pleasure. One month went by, two months. Finally, I won an appointment with the Post Chaplin, a full colonel, a Catholic priest, and I complained about my indefinite status.

The good father held up his hands and said, “Okay, just a second.” He picked up his phone and called “Sgt. Warren.” He told the sergeant about my predicament and asked him to help me. The Catholic colonel hung up and told me to go to personnel and find Sgt. Warren.

I zoomed over to personnel, happy at the prospect of a possible ending to my in-between status. I found Sgt. Warren, and the priest’s friend handed me my orders, still warm from the copy machine.

“Thanks,” I said, and then I read the orders. They told me to report to the 90th replacement company, Bien Hoa, Vietnam.

GOLD

Peninsula Osa is not only the most biologically intense place on Earth, but also has wide-spread deposits of gold, platinum and other minerals – the product of volcanic actions millions of years ago.

During 2 years of dire poverty I survived by panning gold in our stream. I paddled upriver and traded the gold for supplies. It was damn hard work – standing in the cold water, digging down to bedrock, washing pans of material all day for a few grams. Occasionally, I’d find a nugget that allowed for a few luxuries.

There had been many gold mining operations on the Peninsula, but the government – in the interests of environmental protection – stopped issuing large-scale mining concessions. Still, there are many small-time miners working the streams with pans and shovels.

I saw a 16 pound nugget one time. Many years ago a gringo owned a mining operation across the Boca from me, on Isla Violin. One day, the front-end loader kicked out a little rock of gold. The worker jumped off the machine, rolled the rock into the bushes and went back to work. Later that night he snuck out of the dormitory, retrieved the gold rock and paddled away. He sold the nugget and had enough money to buy a lot and build a house and auto-repair business.

While panning and working our own stream, I ran into a vein of platinum. According to an assay done by the Ministerio de Minas, the concentration was .9 grams of platinum for every kg of material! But that’s a different story . . . .

Mental/emotional Illness

I read something about Donald Trump’s statement regarding US veterans with PTSD. He implied they hadn’t been strong enough to handle the grim, manly realities of warfare.

This brought to mind my own severe case of PTSD, and I offer this little story as an answer to both Donald and Hillary. (It’s a very personal story, but as a hermit in the rainforest I enjoy a bit of anonymity.)

I spent 13 months in Vietnam. I wasn’t part of a combat unit, but a few times I had been in the wrong place at the wrong time, especially during Tet Offensive in 1968. I came away from that experience with nightmare images and a bad drug habit.

But the nature of my trauma is based on what happened after Vietnam. I had another year to go in the army, and the army in its great wisdom and glory assigned me to the Honor Guard at Fort Sheridan, Ill.

We wore beautiful uniforms – white ascots at our throats, white cotton gloves and shiny, patent-leather boots. The weapons we carried were also beautiful – old M1s, with all metal parts chrome-plated, and a walnut stock.

It was our job to act as pallbearers and honor guard for the men and women killed in Vietnam. We carried the flag-draped caskets, blew the bugle and fired the 21-gun salute.

The most hated moment of every ceremony, at least for us, was handing over the American flag to the mother, or father, or brother, or sister, or son, or daughter. We held a lottery before each funeral, and the loser was charged with this unpleasant task.

I lost the lottery a few times. I stood next to the casket, a soldier alone, holding the American flag in my hands, surrounded by grieving Loved Ones. I heard and saw their anguish and rage, and I knew some of it was directed at me. And I shared it. I had seen the war, and the utter devastating meaninglessness of it. But I could never say this out loud, much less to mothers and fathers. My grieving was deep and private. In fact, this presentation by the Honor Guard was supposed to lend meaning to the death of their child and friend – even a sense of “heroism.”

I approached the mother, said my little piece about “a grateful and sympathetic nation” and handed over the flag. Most mothers hugged the flag to their chests and screamed.

Those of us on the Honor Guard absorbed these powerful and passionate feelings. I had my heart broken so many times it’ll never get put back together again. Even now, forty-seven years later, tears roll down my cheeks as I pound on this fucking keyboard.

It’s important to remember that each death caused by our military means that 50 or a 100 people go into a state of grief and anger. Think of all the funerals. Most Americans have no idea what their government is doing in their name.