When soldiers make it home @ WTF 6/21

 

When a Soldier Makes It Home

I recently saw Arlo Guthrie perform at the Fairfield (CT) Theatre Company’s “The Warehouse” venue and he was… in a word… “Great!” One of the songs he sang was “When a Soldier Makes It Home.”

As he is wont to do between the songs he performs, he tells stories. Most of his stories are tinged with his Arlo style of telling a story… a folksy rambling kind of style that starts off from one point; goes through a metamorphosis… often times with twists and turns and side stories… until he comes to the real point he had every intention of making from the get go. Check out his epic 19 minute+ “Alice’s Restaurant” and you will get a good idea how he talks between songs. Any way… when he introduced this song it was kinda, sorta bereft of any humor and instead was filled with a certain subdued heartfelt emotion regarding a very human matter… the people who fight the world’s various wars. Not the governments… or the bastards who profit from war… but the people who live and die while being in the middle of hell.

Arlo Guthrie

Now… there is one thing about Arlo, and that is he can easily be lumped into the category of musicians/singer who are labeled protest signers. Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie (his dad), Joan Baez, Richie Havens or Dylan… no, not Thomas, but Bob Dylan. These folks usually sign songs against war and fucking up the environment and are usually not real sympathetic to the government and/or big business. Arlo is deservedly one of these types of performers. Taint the only type of music he does but it is a significant part of his repertoire. In fact, if you asked most people about Arlo and the general topic of his songs many would say very simply he is against war. While others… mostly those on the conservative side of society… would say he is some kinda of commie-hippie-traitor to America. He got no damn respect at all.

Only… when he introduces this song he said… and I’m paraphrasing here… he said that back around the 70’s and 80’s, two countries were both embedded deeply within separate wars. The Soviets on one side of the world in Afghanistan (December 1979 to February 1989) and America on the other side of the world in Vietnam (March 1965 to August 1973), and in each war each country was quickly finding they had no chance to ever win and that getting out weren’t gonna be as easy as they had hoped it would be.

Americans know what happened in Vietnam… we eventually had to scram with our tails between our legs. But, most Americans know little about the Soviet… now Russia…  involvement in Afghanistan, but they… the Soviets… also wound up skedaddling out with much loss of life and materials/money left behind and/or wasted.

He also spoke about how he had friends who were in Vietnam and how… after they came back home… they would have these long heart-felt talks. Eventually… in 1990… he came out with this song… about soldiers from both countries who make it home… or sometimes don’t. And, while some may call it an antiwar song… and maybe, in a sense, it is… in another very real sense, it is a song about the people who go to fight the wars for their countries and how they come back to not a whole hell of a lot.

Just before he began to sing the song, he said, it was dedicated to the memory of the men who fought in both wars … to those that made it home and to those that didn’t.

Halfway around the world tonight
In a strange and foreign land
A soldier packs his memories
As he leaves Afghanistan

And back home, they don’t know too much
There’s just no way to tell
I guess you had to be there
For to know that war was hell

Coming home… Soviets from Afghanistan

And there won’t be any victory parades
For those that’s coming back
They’ll fly them in at midnight
And unload the body sacks

And the living will be walking down
A long and lonely road
Because nobody seems to care these days
When a soldier makes it home

They’ll say it wasn’t easy
Just another job, well done
As the government in Kabul falls
To the sounds of rebel guns

And the faces of the comrades
Being blown out of the sky
Leaves you bitter with the feeling
That they didn’t have to die

And there won’t be any victory parades
For those that’s coming back
They’ll fly them in at midnight
And unload the body sacks

And the living will be walking down
A long and lonely road
Because nobody seems to care these days
When a soldier makes it home

Coming home… America from Vietnam

Halfway around the world tonight
In a strange and foreign land
A soldier unpacks memories
That he saved from Vietnam

Back home they didn’t know too much
There was just no way to tell
I guess you had to be there
For to know that war was hell

And there wasn’t any big parades
For those that made it back
They flew them in at midnight
And unloaded all the sacks

And the living were left walking down
A long and lonely road
Because nobody seemed to care back then
When a soldier made it home

The night is coming quickly
And the stars are on their way
As I stare into the evening
Looking for the words to say

Caskets, deceased soldiers and a lament from a war long ago…

That I saw the lonely soldier
Just a boy that’s far from home
And I saw that I was just like him
While upon this earth I roam

And there may not be any big parades
If I ever make it back
As I come home under cover
Through a world that can’t keep track

Of the heroes who have fallen
Let alone the ones who won’t
Which is why nobody seems to care
When a soldier makes it home

(Song written by Arlo Guthrie, © BMG Rights Management US, LLC)

It ain’t over yet…

In January Trumpty Dumpty issued an executive order that instructed the Army Corps of Engineers to conduct an expedited review for an easement that would ultimately authorize completion of the final section of the disputed Dakota Access Pipeline through 7.37 acres of federal property including a section running underneath Lake Oahe.

On February 8th, the US Army Corps of Engineers granted the easement in North Dakota for the pipeline, which gave authorization to Energy Transfer Partners to move the pipeline forward to completion despite the protests of Native Americans and environmentalists.

A spokesperson for Energy Transfer Partners said, “With this action, Dakota Access now has received all federal authorizations necessary to proceed expeditiously to complete construction of the pipeline.”

The spokesperson added… the work would start “immediately.”

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe vowed they would, along with various groups concerned with Native American rights as well as the environment, continue to legally challenge the easement proclamation.

Damn Feds… win again… and the so-called “noble red man” gets the shaft one more time. Right?

Jest hold on thar, Baba Looey!

On Wednesday (6/14), a federal judge said the Army Corps of Engineers permit for the easement through federal land that was authorized by Trumpty to be expeditiously moved along… actually was illegal… as in it violated existing law.

U.S. District Judge James Boasberg ruled that the Army Corps of Engineers “did not adequately consider the impacts of an oil spill on fishing rights, hunting rights, or environmental justice, or the degree to which the pipeline’s effects are likely to be highly controversial.”

The judge also ordered further hearings of the pipeline’s operation… which has already begun pumping oil. Boasberg said, “Whether Dakota Access must cease pipeline operations presents a separate question of the appropriate remedy, which will be the subject of further briefing.”

When Trumpty authorized the Army Corps to fast track the easement permit, he said, “Nobody thought any politician would have the guts to approve that final leg. I just closed my eyes, and I said, ‘Do it,’”

Unfortunately, that is how it seems Trumpty Dumpty has been running the country… by closing his eyes, and saying “Do it.” The great dealmaker… whose had multiple companies and private projects go belly up.

In the private sector, a poor businessman gets to declare bankruptcy and walk away his money intact due to protection from bankruptcy laws.  In the public sector, it ain’t so easy as the Trumpster is finding out… first, with first his multiple failed immigration ban edicts, and now with this decision by Judge Boasberg.

“Just do it” works for Nike but not so much for issuing presidential orders without consideration of what is legal and what is just.

A lawyer for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe said, “That is a perfect metaphor for this President and this project: They have closed their eyes to the impact of oil spills on some of the poorest people in the nation. It wasn’t right, and now we know it wasn’t lawful.”

Good cop/Bad cop…

On Monday (6/19) Nekima Levy-Pounds, a former president of the Minneapolis NAACP and who is now running for mayor of Minneapolis was on “Democracy Now!” speaking about the decision by a jury of seven men and five women, 10 of whom were white and whom were Black that acquitted police officer Jeronimo Yanez (now a former cop) Philando Castile and the demonstrations that followed in protest of that acquittal.

Levy-Pounds made many important and thought provoking points during her time on the show but two of her more poignant ones were when she said…

“I’m not sure who in their right minds would choose two young African Americans to serve on the jury… one being an Ethiopian immigrant… as opposed to older African Americans, a larger composition of people of color across the board who are concerned about the phenomenon of officer-involved shooting cases, the use of excessive force in the state of Minnesota and the fact that there is a repeated pattern of failing to hold police officers accountable when they abuse the rights of citizens of the state of Minnesota.”

Nekima Levy-Pounds, center at microphone

And, then after a clip of her during a demonstration protesting the non-conviction of Yanez when she encountered several police officers on bicycles and she is heard saying to these cops “What we’re saying is, if you call yourself a good cop, but you see one of your colleagues beating somebody or disrespecting them or treating them like they’re less than human, then report them. That’s what a good cop does. So, we’re asking you all to step up, exhibit leadership, and work to build trust within the community. And if the government isn’t going to hold you all account, hold yourselves accountable. Thank you.”

When asked by “Democracy Now!” what was going on here, she answered…  “What we are saying is ‘Listen, if you’re a good officer, then don’t falsify reports. Don’t go along with police brutality and abuse and think that it’s enough, just because you may not have participated. A good cop is actually going to report the conduct of bad cops and push to hold them accountable, so that they can build trust within the community.’ I believe that that’s part of the message that needs to be spread throughout the United States. What exactly is a good cop? And what standard of care are we holding them to when they’re on the force and they’re witnessing these acts by officers who are engaging in wayward conduct? I believe that they have a heightened duty to respond in those situations and not to be complicit in that type of abusive behavior.” (WTF’s italics and emphasis)

Ex-fucking-zactly!

I have said many times in this very column those very words… or… very similar words.

The point is… how can there be any good cops if they turn away and remain silent when bad cops are doing their bad shit? The entire idea of a honorable blue brother/sister-hood goes out the window when any so-called peace office commits a crime… especially a violent and felonious crime where the cop violates the civil… hell, the human rights… of a citizen to the extreme… with the taking of a citizen’s life and no other cop says a damn thing.

When the criminal act is being committed by a bad cop … a “good” cop would immediately intervene.  Once it… the criminal action… had occurred any “good” cop who witnessed or had knowledge of the crime would immediately report it, and if need be, bear witness against the bad cop.

If, this is not done, then in my mind the “good” cop is just as guilty of a crime as the bad cop. Starting with accessory after the fact to murder.

AARP says elephant healthcare is… elephant shit!

AARP published an editorial in their most recent publication that railed against the elephants and the horrible healthcare plan that they are trying to ram down the American people’s throats. They asked at the end of their editorial: “Please share this story on Facebook so that the seniors in your life are aware and can fight this.”

I did that and now I will do it again in this column… word for word…

The Republican Party, and specifically Paul Ryan have no respect for seniors who helped this great country. Ryan and his group of villains want to make healthcare less affordable for seniors, and if it is unaffordable, too bad.

The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) opposes Republican moves to make healthcare costlier with less coverageRepublican efforts to gut Medicare basically tells seniors to stay well or die.

The AARP represents millions of seniors in the United States. Its president, Eric J. Schneidewind, in a Time magazine article, made it clear to seniors the problems that they face from the Republican Party.

Medicare currently covers hospital costs and 80% of the total cost of doctor visits. It is a viable, affordable plan for seniors.

Under Ryan’s plan, seniors would receive vouchers to purchase health insurance from the private sector. According to Schneidewind, this would be a substantial downgrade of the “benefits people have earned throughout their working lives.”

Seniors earned these benefits by paying for them. For years, workers had Medicare money deducted from hard-earned paychecks to assure health care during their retirement years.

And where did this money go? Why does Medicare need to be changed if millions of Americans paid into the system for decades?

These are questions that go unanswered. It makes one wonder if Republicans used Medicare funds, as they did Social Security funds, to fight wars or offset tax cuts for the wealthy.

Republicans like to falsely claim that Medicare is going broke.  Both the Congressional Budget Office and the Medicare Trustees Report say that Medicare is fully funded through 2029 and 79% funded until 2040. It is ludicrous to dismantle the system now instead of experimenting with other ways to save the system.

Other evil Republican plans would have seniors paying more out-of-pocket expenses for care or paying drastically higher costs. In many cases, seniors would need to decide on medical care or life’s basic needs, like food and shelter.

The real truth is that Republicans hate successful governmental agencies. They want to privatize everything so that the wealthy individuals who paid for their elections and votes can become wealthier by snatching up the remnants of the governmental programs.

Greed and subservience to financial masters have no limits as far as Republicans go.

Both seniors and current workers contribute to Medicare through payroll deductions. It is both fair and good business that everyone gets what he or she paid into for decades. There are also many efforts, led by Bernie Sanders and Democrats, to save the current system.

Republican efforts to dismantle Medicare so that their handlers can become wealthier must stop. Seniors deserve the treatment for which they paid during their golden years.

For Ryan and his cast of villains to make seniors choose between healthcare and eating is evil and heartless. We must not let this happen.

AG wants to return to Draconian pot laws…

The research that cannabis is a bona fide pain reliever is so well established that even the FDA has approved pharmaceutical CBD and THC for the treatment of chronic pain associated with AIDS and chemotherapy.

And… In states with legal medical marijuana, doctors recommend marijuana… instead of opioids… for just about every type of pain imaginable… arthritis, Crohn’s, disease pancreatitis, migraine, heartburn, psoriasis, epilepsy, Parkinson’s, and veritably onward and upward forever and a day.

AG Jeff Sessions gives opening remarks during DEA Heroin-
& Opioid Response Summit

Yet our fucking ass of an Attorney General… Jeff Sessions… wants to crack down on marijuana usage. On March 9th,  Asshole General Sessions doubled down on the Justice Department committing to enforcing federal laws on marijuana when he said, “Marijuana is against federal law, and that applies in states where they may have repealed their own anti-marijuana laws.  And I’m not in favor of legalization of marijuana. I think it’s a more dangerous drug than a lot of people realize.”

The Asshole General has since gone to Congress to ask for their support in going after state-level purveyors and users of medicinal cannabis.

Congress for now is saying no way AG… at least not this year… as the federal budget is signed, sealed and delivered already. There is no money available.

Let me be real fucking clear on this… What the fuck is this idiot’s problem?

This is his logic…

“I reject the idea that America will be a better place if marijuana is sold in every corner store… I am astonished to hear people suggest that we can solve our heroin crisis by legalizing marijuana … so people can trade one life-wrecking dependency for another that’s only slightly less awful.”

He adds that America “needs to say clearly once again that using drugs will destroy your life.”

Let’s introduce some common sense now…

All the stuff I said earlier…  about how pot is a safe and sensible alternative to opioids? It’s all verifiable. It’s a damn fact.

As far as being a dangerous addictive drug that is equal to heroin? Please…

In 2016 13,000 Americans died of heroin overdoses while a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration fact sheet reports no deaths from the use of marijuana.

In fact… in my time on this earth… 68-plus years and counting…  I have never, ever heard of one incident where someone has ever ODed on pot to the point where they died. Gotten sick and maybe puked? Yes. Probably because they, unlike Wee Willie Clinton, inhaled way too much.

Once more… never have I ever heard of one single person ODing and dying on unadulterated marijuana.

Jeff Sessions is a fucking looney tunes fool and tool.

Sayyyy… I… nah… it couldn’t be.  But. This wouldn’t have anything to do with Big Pharm and synthetic marijuana? Would it? Nawwww……

Another thousand words…

 

 

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2 Comments

  1. (1) I have mixed feelings about AARP’s stand on anything. A decade or so ago, they sold out half their membership to negotiate with the Bush administration for the other half. I (eventually) resigned from the organization and have never trusted the AARP since.

    (2) I had a friend who voluntarily enlisted and went to Vietnam. He was a very savvy person and served in the Signal Corps. When he returned, he would tell me about his war experiences. (Yes, he knew I opposed the war — all wars for that matter — but he also knew that I respected people acting on their beliefs even if they were different than mine.)

    At one point he told me that he could share a lot of his feelings about what he went through with me when he could not do so with some of his fellow Nam veterans. I was touched by this.

  2. AARP is a very conservative organization. However, if they are going to fight for health care … specifically medicare and medicaid then I will ally myself with them in the fight. When I was part of the left’s fight for peace and justice back in the seventies we sometimes allied ourselves with some very middle of the road and conservative groups if it meant assistance in achieving a goal.

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