Thursday, September 06, 2012

Killing bin Laden matters to me, personally.

When people say that killing bin Laden doesn’t matter I think there is something that those who haven’t served in these wars should understand and I’m going to try and convey that to you in this lil’ story.

In 2003 I was just going to serve my time in the Army Reserves take my college money and get out.

There was no reason for me to go active duty. I had aspirations for a career in TV and radio broadcasting. In January 2003 I signed a contract with ROTC to commission as an officer and go active duty when I graduated from college. This is a decision that took me on quite a journey.

Since 2004 I have lived on 3 continents in 3 countries and 4 states. At one point we moved twice in 6 months once from country to country then to another state.

In 2006, I deployed for my first time to Iraq. Starting my deployment in a comparatively restive northern Iraq and ending it 13 months later in the wild west of Anbar province, Ramadi after a wild and scary adventure. My wife deployed as well. It was a scary year as we waited for the other to be hit by a mortar, or killed by an IED. Imagine waiting for or just accepting as fact that the person you love most in the world is going to get killed. Imagine accepting the fact that you are already dead in order to do your job with some sort of bravery or courage. We suffered that for 13 months then returned home.

Nearly twelve months to the day after coming home we deployed again. This time to Kuwait for 15 months. Again separating ourselves from our son and separating our son from both of his parents. Believe this is not the easiest thing to do. Me in Kuwait and my wife going to Baghdad a few months into the tour…again the psychopathy applied as I just assumed she would be killed, just to take the sting away at that moment when I was taken aside and told, “Your wife was killed…”

So, late one evening, I saw President Obama was going to be announcing something special to the American people. When Obama said those words, “the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden,” I was relieved and saddened. All that rushed through me is that everything I had worked for, every moment I had spent scared and worried. Every moment I had spent homesick and pretending to be brave. It was worth it because I did my part, however insignificant and however small to make that happen. The people that I knew, that I’ve lost to the toils of war and the hidden and foreign struggles of returning home they were sacrificed on the alter of justice. The sanity and time that I will never get back. The personal friction created by the stress of the deployments and managing careers. All of this collapsed on those words… “that killed Osama bin Laden.” The man behind an event that had shaped my generation and called it to arms was dead. The war was over. Wasn’t it?

You don’t realize, that when I signed up I was afraid I was going to miss this war due to the statements of the leaders at the time. I deployed twice in support of a venture that had nothing to do with getting the guy that killed my fellow Americans on American soil. I thought my service was futile. I thought my deployments were for naught and they were, mostly as it pertains to getting bin Laden. But I still endured that pain…I spilled sweat in sand on a foreign land because that’s where I was told to go.

But when I heard those words…killed Osama bin Laden…all that rage, anger and hope for vengeance that had driven me to a life of military service, and created so much pain and sidetracked so much of my life, it didn’t go away. It collapsed into exhaustive sadness, especially knowing the jobs was done but the wars weren’t over. But if the worst I’ve had to endure is exhaustion, physical and mental pain and anguish for almost a decade, some of that emotional trauma and pain I will endure for the rest of my life, I guess, it’s a comparatively small price to pay for my country; for justice. For vengeance.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, if you didn’t serve in the military you don’t get why getting OBL is a big deal because all you were told to do after 9-11 was shop, I was called to go get shot at. If the largest sacrifice you made was losing the yellow ribbon magnet off the back of your SUV you probably won’t get it.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

The faithful can just fuck off. America needs to be saved from them.

You believe in God? Great. Well, you can just fuck off today because I’m not buying what you’re selling.

First, there’s this story out of the illustrious Bible belt of the U.S. In Missouri, a student can now opt out of any teaching that violates their religious beliefs. Excellent. We wouldn’t want the future generation of closed-minded bigots to have any exposure to anything outside of their magic bubble of Christian sharia teachings. We wouldn’t want them to have a thought that didn’t come directly out of their parents’ mouths. We wouldn’t want to break the spell of occultic brainwashing through fear their parents have over them. We wouldn’t want that.

Here’s the part that really pisses me off, we, as a country are in a recession. We have a workforce that is not educated for the jobs of the future. If we want people to have jobs in the future they are going to have to be educated in science, technology, engineering and math. Yes, all of those scary things that violate the foundations of religious orthodoxy because if you study them you find out that if there was a grand designer, its designs are inherently flawed, which means the designer is flawed, which means it’s not omniscient which means it’s not god. Then what happens? You lose control over them. That’s the purpose of religion and religious parents raising their kids in religion. Control.

Conservatives say they want to make America great. Well, here's one way to not do it...becoming the Christian versions of an Iran/Somalia hybrid. A religious authoritarian libertarian Randian death land. A land where people are more educated in dogma than science.

You want to opt out of science and math and chemistry and biology and physics and astronomy because they loosen you’re faith in magic floating sky wizard, that’s fine with me. Please don’t forget to put the oil back in my car and please don’t smash my bread when you’re bagging my groceries.

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Want to stop mass shootings? Press control, not gun control

While we're limiting Constitutional amendments, I call for press control. Experts have told the media time after time to tone down their coverage of these shooters because they are sensationalizing their actions for other would-be shooters. They refuse to follow that course.

I know, I know if it bleeds it leads. That’s for a reason. That is news.

There's a way to make it the lead story without sensationalizing the shooter or their actions. Simple coverage at the top, what is the NEWS concerning this story. Then move to the next story. Honestly, all the coverage of these guys just leads to bad journalism, ie. Holmes was a member of the Tea Party, which turned out to be false. But in the rush to make the story more interesting they got it wrong.

How about better press control? Such as preventing press/journalist/media from knowing a shooter's name or allowing them access to a photo. How about a fine for any new organization that uses the news of a shooting in any sensational manner? A penalty for using the shooter's name more than a certain number of times in a 24 hour period. It has been shown empirically that the amount of attention given to the shooter gives rise to more shooters. The media's culture of sensationalism is just as culpable as the gun in creating more shooters like this guy.

The only thing that gives the press the "right" to do their job is that same pesky document that gives people the right to own weapons. So, if we're going to amend the document in the name of keeping people safe we should also amend or limit the rights of the press. They are just as culpable for mass shootings as guns, gun manufacturers and gun owners with their sensationalism, propagation of mass paranoia and playing fast and loose with information and facts.

Chip Berlet, an expert on right wing fanaticism and militarism, wrote an excellent article where he sort of dips into media culpability in mass shootings.

“According to Dr. Marvin Swartz, while “we don’t know whether there was a specific relationship between the political climate that [Loughner] was exposed to and his thinking, it’s a reasonable line of inquiry to explore.” Swartz explains that “One’s cultural context does [have an effect on] people’s thinking and particularly their delusions. It gives some content and shape to their delusions.” Swartz, a professor of psychiatry at Duke University, says it is legitimate to study “the cultural influences on people’s delusions or persecutory thinking,” and consider “different aspects of culture” and the how they affect people’s behavior—even the actions of terrorists.”
“The link between mass media vilification of a scapegoated group and incidents of aggression and violence against that group is well-established. Not everyone gripped by the media massage reacts by assaulting or killing the scapegoat, however, and a few people actively resist the campaign. Some terrorists write a script in which they see themselves as a Superhero out to avenge a wrong—real or illusory. Men in the United States seem oddly attracted to this role which intersects with guns and violence.”

Limiting the press, not being facetious now, would be a horrible idea. Although, given the state of today’s media, obsessed with sensationalism, obsessed with being first not right, obsessed with ratings not facts, I don’t know what harm it would do since they aren’t fulfilling their obligation as the fourth estate. Anyways, let’s operate off the premise that we don’t want to limit their rights (much like they’re cheering to limit the 2nd Amendment which is right after theirs). What do we do? Well, journalistic and news institutions have propriety policies. They are allowed, legally, to show you the most horrific terrifying shit, dead bodies, naked people, sex acts, so long as it falls in the guise of news. The reason they don’t show you this stuff is because they have a propriety policy, where they have come together as a board in their organization and said that it doesn’t add any good information to show a dead body so we’re not going to show that at 10 p.m. As a matter of fact they don’t do it because it could turn people off from their station. So, they have their own limiting laws and practices already. Another limitation they put on themselves, they usually won’t put out information unless they have a certain number of identifiable, independent sources confirming that information. They already limit themselves, why not with coverage of mass shooters in the name of public safety.

Then why not ask these institutions to limit themselves when it comes to coverage of a mass shooting? Give the news and the facts then move along. Why should they do this? Because as you can read in the Chip Berlet article they are adding to the “superhero complex” that these mass shooters need in order to commit their crime. So, if we’re going to make all this limitations of freedom, especially concerning gun rights which are just as protected in the Constitution as speech, in the name of safety, should we start front the top and work our way down. If there’s nobody rooting these people on in the national media that just might stop some of these guys from acting out their macabre fantasy.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Sages are dragons and unicorns

I realized something the other day when I was reading about rBGH (recombinant Bovine Growth Horomone), the horomone they give milk cows to make them produce 10% more milk but causes infections and cancer in cows...and humans. Well, anyways that's not the point. The point I have is that we trusted the grown ups, our parents and grandparents to protect us when we were young, to teach us about the world. We relied on them and trusted that they would solve the problems of the present to ensure our future. It turns out they were just looking the other way for most of our childhood, or getting involved and making things worse. Turns out milk and dairy, not good for you at all and it makes sense if you think about it. Why in the fuck are we drinking the food for a baby cow? It's simple things like that which should tip us off that not everything we were told and learned is right.

And here I'm mostly talking about the stalwarts, the conservatives, the authoritarians that are afraid of change. When I look at issues like rBGH, BPA toxicity, global climate change, a decade plus long war and crashing stock markets. These are all problems, they knew would be problems but their generation covered them up, brushed them under the rug and looked the other way in the name of profit and upward mobility for themselves. In some cases they started them expecting us to finish them and clean up their mess.

It is time for this to end. I think the new generation, the next generation, the Millenials, Gen Y and forward have a different calling. We have a calling to cirlce the wagons, to unite and collectivize in the name of solving these problems for sake of ensuring our future and the future of our children. The grown ups, the false sages, we have trusted too long have failed us. It is time for them to get out of the way of the solutions and stop causing problems. Part of the problem is that we are taught to trust our elders wholeheartedly and without question. Give your grandma an iPhone and try no to laugh the first time she turns it on...if she can get it on. The bottom line is they don't know any more or any better than we do, and if they do they've done a horrible job at applying that knowledge or they have been hiding it.

Look at the relics of their generation we now have to contend with. Our air and water is poinsoned. Our "food" is poison. Global climate change is destroying ecosystems. Our economic system has essentially taken our country's wealth from the middle class and given it all to the top 1% rendering capitalism and democracy virtually useless, only giving us the illusion of choice. Really, what is the difference in voting for a Republican versus a Democratic. It's a lesser of two evils scenario.

Our generation has an opportunity to be smarter. Our generation has an opportunity to take power now. Our generation has the ability, with that power wrested from the control of the insane, to address problems head on instead of turning a blind eye to make an extra buck or get that next promotion. This is not just in the US. Look at the uprisings of the middle east where the people our age and younger have finally grown tired of the old men telling them that everything is fine because it is as it has always been, when they can look around and see that what has always been is not what they want for themselves or their neighbors.

Deference for the sake of age is a tradition, a legacy, that we can no longer afford. They had their chance and they, for the most part, have failed to solve anything and have only created more problems.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Rant with a side of rant

From "Politics with Jared and Dave" on the Facebook: "The following was posted on a conservative's page. The page admin posts here from time to time under a couple different names, so she (yes, she) will no doubt see your responses. Here it is:I am curious to know why so many liberals are so jacked up on the so-called "war on woman" just because they might lose their right to abort an innocent baby, when the laws are actually help them open up their minds to how developed this unborn human is. Also complaining about their precious BC and insisting on someone else pay for their choice to use it? These complaints go on while we have the NDAA signed and other freedoms taken away. Our Gas prices going higher than they ever have been etc. So womans right to kill and take BC is the most important issue to them?"

****Takes in deep breath*****

Gas prices are high and will continue to go higher with inflation and a OPEC cartel-induced shortage of supply. This combined with members of your Randian-Objectivist Corporatist Death Cult on Wall Street hav...e using free license gained through deregulation to mess with the market using commodity short sells to jack the price up based on subjective assumptions about world socio-political climate. Not to mention we have reached peak oil and the oil we can get to now is so hard to get to that they have to raise the cost of the product because the cost of production has increased. So, gas prices, not much we can do about that.

Second, the NDAA doesn't directly effect peoples everyday lives but having babies they can't afford to care for will effect them, you and me directly and indirectly, personally and as a society. So, we have this great preventive medication that PREVENTS people from 1) having kids they can't afford so they have to go on welfare and 2) PREVENTS fucking abortions you jackanape. And you aren't paying for anybody's contraception, even the little bit of federal tax that does go to birth control. So, what? Taxes go to pay for shit that people don't want to pay for everyday. I don't like my tax dollars to go to religious institutions but yay varily they find a way to get that money by running deficient day cares and prostelyzation centers disguised as soup kitchens. And how has the NDAA limited your freedom's practically?

Besides the fact that it allows woment to not be boodmares BC is also important because it is about a personal freedom and a personal choice besides the fiscal and social ramifications. And more of a threat to personal freedom than the NDAA, don't you think? You're worried about the government using NDAA to know what bestiality, bondage and rent-boy sites your husband searches while you're protesting Planned Parenthood clinics but have no problem with the government stepping directly between a patient, their doctor and their personal choice of what medication to take. And then if they do get pregnant because you didn't want them to take a pill once a day because your book of magic fucking cock sucking fairy tales says they shouldn't you want to step between them, their doctor and a personal and emotionally painful choice to have an abortion. So, fuck off with your bullshit about the NDAA and limiting freedom blah, blah, blah. You only care because it's not limiting people's freedoms based on your book of Aesop's fables.

*****And breathe*****

Monday, March 12, 2012

Snitches get stitches

“Can't blame the dude for having a breakdown, it's been a rough few weeks over there. Can't say I don't condone the method either if w'ere going to stay there. But let this be a lesson on the toll we could exert if we wanted. One dude can walk off the base and kill 16, we could kill every motherfucker in that country if we had the inclination.”

There has been some outcry about my commentary concerning the soldier who ran off base and killed 16 civilians in Afghanistan. Well, first don’t say you’re for free speech and then complain to someone in the Army because you don’t like what I said. Second, this is my personal page which implies my personal opinions based on my experience not the my official Army page. If you want the official Army opinion go to their official page. My page represents my personal views not the views of the DOD, the Army or my unit.

Third let’s dissect the comment above for those that need more explaining.

“Can't blame the dude for having a breakdown, it's been a rough few weeks over there.”
It has been a rough few weeks over there. I have been in the middle of a country and war with increasing hostility. To put it into context the time I was in Iraq we were averaging 100 troop deaths per month. So, I know the mental and emotional toll that being in the middle of that situation can create. Oh yeah, and I’ve done that for 30 months and I am about to add 12 more. So, I don’t need some weekend warrior lecturing me on how I should be more restrained.

“Can't say I don't condone the method either if w'ere going to stay there. But let this be a lesson on the toll we could exert if we wanted. One dude can walk off the base and kill 16, we could kill every motherfucker in that country if we had the inclination.”
I said that to make a point. Either we are there to win or we are not. The only way to win with these people, who are one step above cave-dwellers, is to kill them all and if we don’t have the guts or the sociopathy (which, I hope we don’t) as a country to do that then we need to leave. Immediately. So, essentially I was making the point that this war is over and we need to wrap it up because we are not there to win by military means. The second part was meant to demonstrate the lethality of a single American soldier. That statement is two points, we are a lethal force if you don’t want us to kill people then don’t send us to foreign countries in a war, and to demonstrate even with that amount of lethality in a single soldier we have been fairly restrained and disciplined in the engagement of these two alleged wars.

And whether you like to believe it or not this guy will be a hero to some soldiers because he did what they all think about and talk about doing, “just going out and killing everyone.” Shit, he did what I have fantasized about doing during the darkest times of war but I was able to obviously realize that was wrong. Because when you lose a buddy, a friend, all you can think about is vengeance because war isn’t about justice it’s about winning at all costs because winning means you come back alive. After all it’s what we do, it’s what we’re trained to do and if you have a problem with that then you should look into something other than the Army or Marine Corps. And if you want to deny the reality of what we actually are trained to do then you need to get a good dose of reality. Are we trained to run off base alone and just start randomly killing people? Of course not. But if you think we’re petting puppies and crocheting then you need to have your head examined, not me. I’ve been examined and certified. So, what’s your excuse for denying reality? And if you don’t appreciate my honesty then unfriend me, don’t talk to me, if you have a problem with something I said please let me know not my NCOIC via my official FB page.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Africa? I don't give a fuck! *WARNING EXPLICIT RANT AHEAD* Now with 26% more Hippie bashing…

I'm going to take an unpopular stance here, I don't give a fuck how many people some religious nut job has killed in Africa. It all comes down to natural selection. If they want to naturally select themselves out of the world that's on them. Fuck 'em. Not my problem. I'm not heartless I'm practical. If the Ugandans, Congoans and others can't team up to stop this Kony guy, that's on them. Not me, not America.

And here’s the other thing, you pacifist bleeding-heart hippies. “Liking” a Facebook status isn't going to stop a blood thirsty mad man. Blood begets blood, my friends. Much more killing will have to be done to stop this guy. Are you willing to get bloody? Are you willing to get dirty? Because that is what it’s going to take. Good I’ll see you on the battlefield. If you think sending pretty notes with rainbow pictures and unicorn stickers is going to stop this guy you are delirious and you need to check yourself into an institution.

Let's work on America first then we can start worrying about people that have been killing each other, literally, since the birth of Homo erectus 2 million years ago. So, change 2 million years of that bullshit then we can start talking about how capturing one fucking fuck-twat, doing what they've done since the dawn of time in that area, is going to change anything on that whole goddamned continent.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Free-Market Capitalism: Threat to Freedom

Which do you love more Republicans? Free speech or the free-market because you have created a world with your policies where the latter controls the former.

So which will you defend, free-speech to keep Rush on the air? Or will you defend the free-market capitalism that is silencing him and could possibly force him off the air? I thought corporations could do no wrong. They are people, my friend, as the front-runner for the Republican Presidential nomination reminded a person at one of his events.

And to be honest this isn’t about free-speech because Rush still has the right to say whatever he wants, and I agree with Rush having the right to call people names whenever he wants. But you don’t have a right to say whatever you want on the public-owned, corporate-leased airwaves. The corporations are concerned with keeping that license.

Many of you may lay-people not realize that even with the PICAN standard abolished by Reagan and annihilated by Clinton in the Telecommunications Act of 1996 it only takes one substantiated complaint at the right time for a corporation to lose its broadcast license. These corporations rely on the lease they have for the public airwaves to run their stations that run the commercials that give them the money. The shows are simply filler, the shows don’t make money, but the commercials do. That is why it is a big deal when a show starts losing advertisers.

So, if it seems there is cognitive dissonance coming out of the conservatives/Republicans/right-wing (really, nothing new there) it’s because they are trying to defend two ideas that are incompatible with each other. They are trying to defend Rush’s right to slander and libel while cursing free-market capitalist ideology that has kept him on the air this many years. You can’t have both for Rush in this case. He is going to be relegated to the status of the Westboro Baptist Church just yelling “slut” at passing cars on your local highway because that’s the way the corporations and free market want it.

Capitalism, the continuous work of concentrating wealth and power, is the true enemy of democracy and free speech. You can’t have free speech in a country where speech can be bought by the highest bidder because if you have to buy it or access to it then it is not free.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Nothing Good Happens After Midnight

I swear to you nothing good ever happens for me to be awake after 12 a.m. I'm either too drunk that I know tomorrow, or today as it will, will be horrible or I'm responding to something or doing something that is going to make my preceding days more painful than a Scotch hangover.

This morning is case and point. Had to drop Alissa off to deploy. Now, you may think you drive up to an airfield somewhere and soldiers immediately line up and board a high-performance military aircraft. First, stop watching "The Unit." Second, the Army has found a way to draw out this overtly and deeply painful event. We awoke at 12:30 a.m. knowing my wife had to be there at 1:10 a.m.

People put on happy faces it's hard to distinguish between bravery, callousness and numbed indifference of a decade of war as most of these soldiers and their families have been called into service of deployment before.

Refreshments are served for the family members willing to brave the early morning call.

After arriving at 110 on the dot...we wait in cars and open buildings while soldiers draw their weapons and final gear.

Now 3 a.m and sitting at the gym that has been opened up way early for this occasion, and still no sign of the soldiers that were left at their company.

False levity tries to be infused among the solemn and earnest somber occasion with upbeat music. The music does nothing to hide the fear and anguish on the faces of family members.

And so now we wait, the tears and facades held back by the hope afforded by the hour hands slow ticking which cant beat slow enough or fast enough.

The faces are tired. I don't know if it's the tired of the 3 a.m. or the weariness wrought after ten years of this. After all this will be Alissa's third deployment and I'm not far behind.

3:15 a.m. Soldiers arrive.

In a portion of military ceremony that is probably now known by the rest of the world. Soldier’s arrive in a gymnasium with their weapons and carry-on equipment for time with their families before they board the plane.

All of the sudden a familiar face arrives. The civilian movement control guy. I saw him on my last deployment in 2009. How many of these has he seen? Does it even have an affect anymore? This is the man who will take the soldiers from the gym, to the bus and into the plane.

4:45 a.m. We are warned that the time is coming to an end and that the soldier’s are going to form up to prepare to get on a bus to head to the air terminal to board a plane. This is the last moment families will have with their soldiers for nine months. Through tearful goodbyes the soldiers leave their families one by one to line up.

5:30 a.m. I arrive at home tired and exhausted and sleep for a few hours in the clothes I was wearing and notice that the empty space in the bed next to me will be empty temporarily but a long temporary.

Last time I saw her she was sitting on the bleachers with her gear where I left her, waiting to form up, as I walked out choking back tears.

It was 5 a.m. and that’s why nothing good happens after midnight, especially on this night.423964_10150548538484565_682144564_8698290_877065470_n-2012-02-8-02-54.jpg