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I'm a 72-year-old American who served in Vietnam as a naive 19-year-old. From that moment on, I've been studying and re-thinking what US counter-insurgency war means. I live outside of Philadelphia, where I'm a writer, photographer and political activist. I have been a member of Veterans For Peace for 40 years. I think America and Americans are living through a complex cultural and economic reckoning we do not fully understand. I'm convinced we, as Americans, need to re-evaluate who we are and, in the process, ratchet down the imperial world policeman role we too often take for granted. A nation of our size must stay engaged diplomatically in the world and protect ourselves from attack; but for our own good and the good of the world, we need to better look after our own nation's problems.
I like good writing, good film, good music and good times. I drink alcohol and, yes, smoke a doobie now and then. I say this publicly because I think the Drug War is an abject and hypocritical failure. Much worse and more corrupting than Prohibition ever was; the gangs that have been spawned are far worse and more dangerous than Al Capone.
I taught writing in a Philly prison for 12 years and met too many poor, African American young men stuck in there for some stupid drug crime. I'm a committed pragmatist who actually subscribes to the old right-wing formula: My Country Right Or Wrong. When our government is wrong, which it is a lot of the time, I'm happy to say that. I plan to stick around.
SHARE Sunday, August 23, 2020 Veteran Slimed By Rhinos In Portland: Non-Violent Meets Non-Lethal
Vietnam veteran Mike Hastie is 75-years-old and a gentle, dedicated natural poet and photographer who had spent six days photographing the melee in Portland when he ran into a phalanx of armor-plated, de-humanized federal operatives who didn't like what he was saying so one of them sprayed him in the face with painful pepper slime. The episode brings to mind Eugene Ionesco's play Rhinoceros about the rise of fascism.
SHARE Saturday, July 11, 2020 Did Tammy Duckworth Fight For Our Right to Protest?
Senator Tammy Duckworth is running to be chosen Joe Biden's VP. In an op-ed in the Times she used the argument that she fought in Iraq to protect our rights to speak out here at home. During this moment of national dialogue, that argument should be forever trashed. First, it's not true, and second, and it encourages future quagmires. The nation needs to move beyond its imperial phase.
SHARE Tuesday, June 23, 2020 Navy Leadership Runs Aground
Captain Brett Crozier, skipper of the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt, was fired for caring about his crew's welfare more than he cared about being promoted to admiral. The Navy was going to reinstate him, then, decided not to. It was shameful decision. The story is reminiscent of the movie Mister Roberts.
SHARE Wednesday, April 1, 2020 OPERATION WAR PRESIDENT: Hybrid War As a Domestic Political Tool
Hybrid Warfare is here. Mix that with a runaway virus and a president vulnerable to losing his re-election campaign who has declared himself a wartime president -- and you're asking for trouble. The possibilities are the sort that can make you unsure whether to laugh or cry.
SHARE Sunday, March 22, 2020 Memes and Viruses
US citizens are being assaulted by the COVID19 virus, something that is disrupting our lives. But we're also assaulted on our iphones and internet social media venues by memes that disrupt and whipsaw our lives around. Sometimes it's hard to know what's real and what's not. Is the COVID19 shut-down actually opening a path to socialism? Lots of questions.
SHARE Saturday, February 29, 2020 America, What's it Gonna Be: Democratic Socialist or Democratic Fascist?
The trashing of Bernie Sanders for being a "socialist" is getting tiresome. There are lots of -isms in America; the point is to get the balance right. And right now it's way off. If Sanders is a democratic socialist, Trump is certainly a democratic fascist. Instead of Stalin and Castro as socialists, how about Jesus Christ? Can we stop the hysteria and get real? America needs an injection of bottom-up government.
(2 comments) SHARE Tuesday, February 4, 2020 Freud Goes to the Super Bowl
The 2020 Super Bowl was maybe the most obnoxious display of American corporatism and imperialism I've ever witnessed. I happened to be reading Sigmund Freud's 1930 classic Civilization and its Discontents on game day. Flags, glorified male aggression and J-Lo pole dancing at halftime. Freud would have been amazed. Fortunately the game was a good one, so I held my lunch long enough to write this piece.
(1 comments) SHARE Sunday, January 26, 2020 Iran Is NOT Responsible For US War Dead In Iraq
The charge that Iranian General Gasem Soleimani and his Quds Force is responsible for US dead in the Iraq War needs to be recognized for what it is: malicious propaganda produced to justify a crude murder by lethal drone. The real culprit in Iraq, of course, was/is George W. Bush and his administration.
SHARE Saturday, January 4, 2020 Donald Trump's War is a Tragedy Foretold
It makes sense to see Trump's Iran War as Act Three in a three-act tragedy with Act One, the Gulf War and Act Two, the Iraq War. The curtain is going up now on Act Three, and the players are walking on stage. The suspense is maddening. And Donald Trump loves it! But if history is any guide, this play isn't going to end well.
SHARE Sunday, December 29, 2019 Corrupting Jesus to Trump the Constitution
This Christmas season was a doozy in the absurdity department. Fundamentalists who admire Christ pulled all the stops to defend bad-Christian strongman Donald Trump as the protector of their religion, reminiscent of Torquemado and the Inquisition. Then we read about Washington stare Rep. Matt Shea -- and the plot thickened. Are we in for bad weather?
SHARE Monday, December 16, 2019 Clint Eastwood Trips On a Quid Pro Quo
Clint Eastwood's new movie Richard Jewell is a good, entertaining movie, but it puts off a propaganda smell. Why was this movie funded and made at this time? There's a number of references to the Trump narrative where he's a poor victim of the deep state FBI. Meanwhile, the film has bombed.
SHARE Saturday, December 7, 2019 Killers, Gumbas and Politics Circa 2020
Donald Trump's narcissistic, authoritarian instincts and his admiration of gangster-capitalist Vladimir Putin raises the issue of killing. America has a long history of reverting to violence when things get sticky. It's a post-Consitutional area that should not be ignored.
(1 comments) SHARE Wednesday, July 10, 2019 The Central America US Border Blues
With all the current cruelty now being employed by the US government against poor people from Central America along our borde4r with Mexico, there is a crying need to include in the national discussion US involvement in places like El Salvador and Honduras. This essay and photos by the author is a small effort to do that.
SHARE Saturday, June 29, 2019 Biden Needs to Address Why He Threw Black Males Under the Bus
Joe Biden needs to candidly explain why he worked with Strom Thurmond on crime bills that affected so many inner-city black males in order to get Democrats back in the game after the Reagan debacle made them powerless. He needs to be honest and not calculating and air that laundry out, no matter how dirty it is.
(1 comments) SHARE Thursday, May 23, 2019 Congress Is Being Punked; It Needs To Find Its Backbone
Congress is being "punked" daily by a would-be authoritarian president. Speaker Pelosi's caution to impeach is understandable, but no longer defendable, if the body's integrity matters. It's time to take the risk to impeach. If it's done with commitment, passion and, yes, even some ruthlessness, the House will come off as a stand-up institution and not a punk.
(1 comments) SHARE Sunday, January 13, 2019 Joe Biden, Crime Fighter From Hell
Joe Biden is a personable politician, but he's also highly culpable as a passionate advocate of crime and prison bills that contributed to the mass incarceration of African Americans. And he did it in bed with a notorious racist senator. Unlike Bill Clinton, Biden has not atoned in any way for this. Plus, there's other reasons why good ol' Joe would be a terrible candidate for president in 2020.
(2 comments) SHARE Monday, July 16, 2018 The Politics of Cruelty
The Trump actions separating families on the border are a perfect example of the politics policies on torture and the research on that topic. Corruption is becoming more and more normalized in today's world. Cruelty is the application of power without mercy.
(3 comments) SHARE Saturday, May 12, 2018 Welcome to the Apocalypse
These are weird times. On one hand, there's accusations of male abuse; then, we have to deal with someone like Gina Haspel and the US legacy of torture. John Bolton, Bibi Netanyahu and King Salmon are drum-beating for an invasion of Iran that feels like deja-vu. What's a poor antiwar activist to do?
(3 comments) SHARE Wednesday, March 28, 2018 Citizens Show Up to Tell a Do-Nothing Government Enough Is Enough
With the ongoing corruption of the National Rifle Association virtually owning the United States Congress and now with the ascendancy of war hawk John Bolton to the diplomatic post of Secretary of State, things are getting pretty damn serious. So the really big question is: How will this youth movement affect the mid-term elections coming in November?