Taken for granted far too often are the men and women serving all of us in the military, whether in a foreign land or at home. No matter one's particular viewpoint on any national or international activity, these brave people are at the ready to serve the United States of America. I was a little kid who played on the grounds of a veterans hospital facility, and learned early-on about the thankless job that they do. Let us not forget them. Let us remember them 365 and 24/7. And similarly, let us not forget our vets.
As we reflect on the place in the world that the United States holds, let us remember to be good neighbors. Too often we forget that we are by far the main consumer of illegal drugs in the world. Without our insatiable desire to consume illegal drugs, many of today's international problems would go away. And just as we as Americans are so quick to judge others, let us look in the mirror. And just as we are so quick to see punishment as the only solution to our problems, let us see clearly that punishment of drug users is not working. Therapy and rehab work far, far better than prisons. I served as president of the board of directors of a drug-alcohol addiction program for offenders coming out of prison. I know first-hand the failure of prison, and the positive results of counseling and rehab.
I was born and raised in Milwaukee. Since then I have lived in Illinois, Michigan, Kansas, Missouri, and Virginia [Washtington, DC]. I've traveled extensively throughout Europe and North America, met heads of state, celebrities, sports figures, governors, mayors, authors, TV stars, Hall of Famers, ad infinitum. I've hosted two radio talk-interview programs. I've given speeches to as many as 10,000 people. However one thing never left me: the knowledge that my hometown of Milwaukee was a big city, but not truly "major league." It was not New York or Berlin or London or Paris or even Chicago.
When I moved to Kansas City I encountered some of the same inferiority complex. One of the first people I met walking around the Country Club Plaza in K.C. was a woman who recognized my "foreign" accent. She asked me if I were from Chicago. I told her I was from Milwaukee. Her mid-major metro inferiority immediately showed itself: "What do you think of Kansas City; kinda a cow town, huh?".
More erroneous assumptions are going to be made of this suggestion in this blog than any I have written. This is a prime example of what we "know" to be true not being true at all. OK, let's get to the topic...
I have just finished watching the DVD recording titled "9/11: Press for Truth." It has again raised questions that have bothered me since the tragedy of 9/11 occured. Like you, I have been programmed to think that I know the facts about 9/11. Like a robot, I think questions about it now are simply the acts of kooks who see conspiracies everywhere. But this IS different. These are legitimate and serious questions. People closest to the investigation of 9/11 smell a rat at the hightest levels of government.
Allow me to state right off that these comments of mine here are opinions. As such they may not be exactly factual and historically accountable. But I am open about this, unlike too much media today. But a blog is a blog is a blog. I try my best.
[UNHINGED: The Trouble with Psychiatry by Dr. Daniel Carlat] A recently published book by a highly-respected psychiatrist clearly documents how the pharmaceutical industry not only "buys" psychiatrists, it writes books for them in which they only add the name of the doctor. It is a scam, pure and simple. The fact that so many drugs have been found to have serious or life-threatening side-effects, should not come as a shock. The entire field of medicine and accompanying corporations comprise a heavily-fraudulent business. We are duped in the U.S. constantly by physicians, drug corporations, hospitals, HMOs, PPOs, etc. Medicine in America is no longer "practiced," it is far too often a part of a scam. And you and I suffer because of it.
The folly of partisan political perspective is truly amazing in light of devious and shady happenings on both the left and the right. This has been taking place since the founding of the United States. In the midst of the current polarization of political differences, the variety of vehicles to express opinions has allowed extreme elements to broadcast their viewpoints in a more virulent manner.
Compromise and a mature approach to cooperation have suffered. Each political group feeds off this polarization, thus more and more they feel pure and sacred. Seeing other possibilities, other opinions, other ideas have become impossible. The U.S. has suffered because of it.
Back in the Ronald Reagan era, I began to use the term "war capitalism" in speeches and writings. It became obvious to me that the Reagan administration, led around by the nose by corporations that made ungodly sums of money when they could manipulate the U.S. into a war. The democratically-elected government of Nicaragua was not a threat to anyone, but the Reagan administration found reason to finance an illegal war against that elected government. It began to support the Contras clandestinely. When Congres began to smell a rat, Reagan went underground and made secret deals for weaponry with the nation of Iran. It all was pushed by certain corporations that I called "war corporations."
This has continued since then. Both political parties have had candidates and office-holders who did the bidding for these war corporations. No longer was the government of the United States and its military under the control of the American people, but fell under the control of private corporatons that not only bought votes, not only paid the White House and Congress to start wars [e.g. Greneda, Panama, etc.], but profits were made in astronomical amounts from these wars that were previously unknown. Our nation was being run by corporations that made immense profits from managing to get the U.S. into wars. Democracy be damned.
It is easy to sit on the sidelines and be a hero from the bench. Experiencing the guts of war and having an objective mind to evaluate what you've experienced is quite another. I'm not refering to men like George W. Bush, who used his father's pull in Congress and the Pentagon, to avoid going to Vietnam ...he protected Texas from the Vietcong air force. Or Dick Cheney who several times found some contrived reason to be exempt from the draft. Those two men PLAYED soldier, and paraded around like a great hero, and got mavelous contracts to foster wars that made huge profits for their buddy corporations. I'm not talking about George W. Bush and Karl Rove debasing the actual facts about John Kerry's heroism in Vietnam. No, I AM refering to men with real battle courage, men who fought in actual wars, knew what war meant and what real war means. I'm talking about men who truly can wear the mantle of HERO. What do they have to say?
"War, like any other racket, pays high dividends to the very few . . . The cost of operations is always transferred to the people who do not profit." -General Smedley Butler, twice awarded the Medal of Honor
Hats off to conservative talker Glenn Beck for not having a knee-jerk response to the early, partial release of the speech given by Ms. Sherrod of the Agriculture Dept. She was fired in a stupid and hasty reaction by the Dept. and the Obama administration. Mr. Beck's reaction when the highly "edited" speech was released by a right-wing blogger: "Whoa, let's hold on before judging this woman." Oh, how that sort of maturity, patience and intelligence are needed among today's political commentators. Ms. Sherrod showed how her earlier feelings on racial questions had to be overcome in order for her to deal in a balanced way when matters of race entered her workplace and her job. Kudos to Ms. Sherrod AND Mr. Beck.
The new Republican Governor of New Jersey indicates some lauditory actions for dealing with the overwhelming deficit facing his state. While I might disagree with some of his actions, he has jumped into the task at hand and actually made some DECISIONS that were not only politically motivated.
If you own a small business and have invested your life savings in it, if it fails you are stuck to deal with the bills and costs of ending it. If you are the chief executive officer of a large corporation and it goes down the tubes, either the government steps in to help or you are given a multi-million-dollar golden parachute. And yet there are conservatives and right-wingers who tell you that they want to help small businesses by giving tax breaks to the richest 5% of Americans so miraculously this will help them.
Conversely, if you are an executive with a big corporation and your employees ask for improvement in working conditions, you may pull out and move to a more friendly state or foreign country. If you own a small business and are faced with shrinking sales you have the option of closing shop or cutting back staff and service to customers...perhaps bankruptcy.