Occupy chants

OCCUPIED DENVER- So we got a little bored with Saturday’s march, the white-bread marchers being kept to three chants, (99%, Democracy & Our Streets). Parade marshals insisted procession not overtake a fat woman in a wheelchair, preventing the march from stretching out and disrupting any more than two blocks at a time, effectively handicapping the march! For respite we got some giggles by greeting some third story well-wishers with this variant: “OUT OF THE WINDOW, INTO THE STREET!” Absent on Saturday were anti-imperialists to mix it up, which prompted me to inventory chants to remember to bring to the next events.

Ain’t no power like the power of the people
’cause the power of the people don’t stop! –Say what?

Si, se puede! (Because “Yes we can!” is now Obama’s)

WE ARE the ninety-nine percent, (and so are)
YOU ARE the ninety-nine percent, (and so are)

Show me what Democracy looks like.
This is what Democracy looks like!

Off of the sidewalk into the street!

Stop watching, start marching!

Whose streets?!
Our streets!

Hey Wall Street, it’s not a pretty picture
The poor get poorer and the rich get richer

The POLICE ARE the army of the rich.

More anti-police:

From Denver to Greece, Fuck the Police!

Oink oink bang bang, everyday the same old thang.

One bullet, one pig. One bullet one pig.

Furkan Dogan was no Leon Klinghoffer, (nor Abu Abbas, ergo no press for him)

Interesting that when Palestinians hijack a passenger ship, and kill one person, it’s quite a different story than when the Israelis pirate a ship and kill nine, even when one is an American. We remember the Achille Lauro, and the wheelchair-bound Leon Klinghoffer executed when the hijackers’ demands were being ignored. 19-year-old Furkan Dogan was executed without the Israeli Commandos making clear why they had any authority to attack the Mavi Marmara in international waters. Not one complaint from the US press or government. The difference is of course that Dogan was not Jewish, but Muslim. Israel’s own brand of antisemitic racism, obviously America’s too.

I wonder if Midnight on the Mavi Marmara will be immortalized like the Voyage of Terror: the Achille Lauro Affair? We all know that story. Evil Arabs seize innocent passengers, negotiate release of passengers for escape flight, American renege on safe passage, intercept plane and capture the terrorists, all except for the ringleader whose name become household for nefarious evildoer. Americans still knew the Iagoian Abu Abbas when he was captured in the invasion of Iraq and died in US captivity. What had been the point of hijacking the Achille Lauro? Prisoner release? Something about Palestine and Israel? That part is certainly fuzzy.

Apparently giving voice to the motives of terrorist acts is to play into their hands, ergo, they’re simply despicable “terrorists,” no one else’s freedom fighters.

“Warrior” drops peacekeeping pretense

Wounded Warrior OlympicsCOLO. SPRINGS- Just down the street, all week, the Olympic Training Center hosts the Warrior Games,
a Special Olympics for wounded vets. And there it is.
Not injured peace- keepers, not disabled freedom-bringers, not usurpers of foreign lives and liberty taken down a notch, but Wounded fucking Warriors. I suppose it had a ring to it that trumped showing moral decorum. We’re soliciting slogans for a cross-the-street banner.

Is that to mean undue disrespect? Just what part of 1.4 million deaths seems out of proportion to you?

If “warrior” is just a word, so is killer. Why not wounded paid-killers? Or wounded not-sorry death dealers?

Again, if disabled veterans need something to keep themselves busy and out of the halls of the VA, they can give back to Iraq or Afghanistan and stop feeding the Department of Defense propaganda machine. A four star general joined the Colorado governor to give props to their uniformed mercenaries. All volunteer, remember. Do they recognize the harm they did? Do they feel like they were duped into the deeds? They’ve got a lot more soul searching to do if they think salvation will come of rolling up and down a basketball court in a wheelchair. Community Service. Figure it out.

Support the troops? Of Course — Bring them home!

Proud of our boys? You’ve got to be kidding.

The face of the health insurance lobby

Nurse Ratchet torments Jack Nicholson and Brad DourifNurse Ratched, to my imagination, was the most despised movie villainess of all time. She didn’t murder anyone, but by the sheer frigidity of her indifference, Nurse Ratched caused debilitating anxiety and heart-break. She’s my nominee for the face of the US health insurance lobby.

When Nurse Ratched –yes, it’s not spelled Ratchet– callously provoked the suicide of Brad Dourif’s vulnerable character in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, I would defy any viewer to deny they wanted to see the evil nurse dismembered. Couldn’t we rekindle a little of that seething anger for those who are obstructing health care reform?

How is their dispassionate defense of our nation’s feudal profit-based medical system any less homocidal than Jeffrey Dahmer? The health insurance business is doing the deed, but their DC lobbyists, like Richard Umbdenstock (AHA), Karen Ignagni (AHIP), Nancy Nielsen (AMA), Billy Tauzin (PhRMA), and David Nexon (AMTA) are keeping would-be rescuers at bay. They’re riding shotgun on genocidal manhunts.

Health coverage triage isn’t some genteel game of music chairs in the waiting room. These are wheelchairs, and the losers who fall are swept out the door and in the gutter. And the for-profit health industry is removing thousands of chairs at a time.

What is this polite respect opponents are showing one another over the immoral behavior of health insurers? Signa and Humana are killers plain and simple. They deny coverage, delay approvals, withhold disbursements, and throw up bureaucratic barriers until their patients are too enfeebled to fight, or too dead to sue.

While the public is made to debate whether our nation can afford to offer health care to its citizens, and feeling like cheapskates for wanting to deprive the insurance industry of its cleverly earned, admirable profits.

Falling onto the sky….

Hairy Christmas and a Hippie New Year.




People popping off fireworks and the occasional firearm, making the poor stupid little dog next door bark insanely.

Ok, headphones on, music, relaxing ahhhh…

Anyhow, these are some of the jewelry pictures.

So, how they evolved, when I was recycling some computer parts, I had the magneto from a floppy drive and was trying to visualize how best to take it apart, strip the copper wire from it efficiently.

One of my nieces and her friend were there, the little girl said “Oh, that would make a really pretty necklace.”

And she was right.

So I started making them like that, there’s about a hundred dfferent kinds of these magnetoes in various disk drives. Plenty of creative room using circle patterns.

Me likey muchly.

And then, I moved up here.

People told me about the Medicine Wheel, which I had never seen.

So I looked it up.

There’s one up near Sturgis which has been a prayer site for centuries, best guess is just before the Spanish came up from Mexico, and the Anasazi had just faded into the desert pueblos.

The tradition is, when you go there, you’re in the center of the Heart of the Earth.

Meaning the Black Hills.

The Sioux and the other northern nations say that it’s alive, this heart.

And, when you look down on the Black Hills, from high enough up, and can see the whole thing, it DOES look a whole lot like a human heart.

Some of the prophets, like Black Elk, say and said that this land could be killed. Maybe they’re right.

The name Bad Lands only means that it’s not any good for farming, you can’t grow much there, it’s “bad land”.

The blood-soaking and general rape of this Heart of the World didn’t really start until the early 1800s.

First it was over the Fur Trade.

Indians took what furs they needed to survive, leave the rest.

The French and especially the English had a huge market for it back in Europe, so Money reared it’s ugly head.

Then gold was discovered there.

Standing Bear Butte, where the Great Medicine Wheel is, was suddenly the center of a raging war.

For centuries, 500 years at least, people had gone there to experience the strongest of Medicine.

Medicine is a catch all translation of a huge number of Indian words, spirit and magic and life and it’s all woven together, no part is separate from the rest, it’s the Great Circle.

One of the translated words is manitou.

Another is the garden of the Gods.

See, most of this I only learned once I came here.

The kokapelli, for instance, it’s a bizarre coincidence like the medicine wheels I put together….

But when I was crippled up, recovering from the first surgeries like 16 years ago, sitting in a wheelchair, at my sister’s apartment, feeling sorry for myself… and one of my nieces had gotten a bag of toys from her school… and one of the toys was a Recorder. Ein Zauber-Flut. La Flauta Inglesa.(the English Flute) La Flauta Dulce – sweet flute.

The kids were running around blowing it like a whistle, really annoying in a cute way, but I had a sudden idea, I said “Gimme that, I’ll learn how to play it right” and the next day I checked out a book from the library on How To Play The Recorder and started in.

Flash forward, and I come up here, to Manitou, and started learning the Indian ways.

Finding out that the Flute Player, Kokapelli, is kind of the local hero. And what the medicine wheel means.

A lot of medicine is what you feel, that’s how you “know” and “learn”it.

English doesn’t do it justice.

Meditation comes close. Intuition, which means you learn from within.

A line from one of the hymns based on Ode am die Freude, “Spirit, in our spirit speaking, makes us sons of God, indeed.”

I can get really mystical and misty eyed describing it.

A lot of the stuff you experience up here, how do you put it to where people would believe it? That you could be walking a path and have somebody, a stranger, join you, talking to you and walking along with you, a cloud-shadow passes over and you’re standing alone, no tracks beside yours…

A dream from long ago, perhaps.

In the Indian conscious state, and this varies from person to person how you experience it, live it… but the Dreamtime is just as real as something you can touch.

I saw a picture of the Great Medicine Wheel, taken from the air, and that’s the only way you can see the whole thing.

For centuries when somebody goes there to pray-make medicine-commune-learning spirit…

he puts a stone at the end of each spoke of the wheel.

The wheel is now about a mile across.

It takes hours to walk around the edge of it.

And, it looks just like the medicine wheels shown in the pictures, the ones a little child told me “that would make a pretty necklace”

It’s not something you grab intellectually, you just feel and see and hear and ARE the medicine.

The other side of these, they’re recycled. Something that would, if left in a landfill somewhere, the first thing they would do is run a bulldozer over it, breaking it up just enough to let the toxic parts ooze out…

To kill the mountains, and kill the waters.

We would follow, everything we know as Human would set its feet upon the rainbow, One way of putting it is “falling onto the sky”.

Following the sun every evening into the Dreamtime of the west, only, without the life of Earth or man, the Dreamtime, too, would die away.

One of Black Elk’s sayings is we would live long enough to know what we had done… and pass away in great sadness.

Verifying the Sarah Palin Chronicles

Palin family unwed mothersSarah Palin is probably like most people, she’d rather her medical records remain confidential. Most of us resist even the indignity of taking a drug test to qualify for a job. But executive level positions require the insurance of a bill of health, clean or not. Unfortunately for Sarah, the employers making the hiring decision for the Executive Branch are We the People.

I do hope there’s an Executive Privilege to invoke which can protect the details of some categories. If FDR could keep his wheelchair a secret, I don’t mind not knowing about mental health lapses, STDs, or conditions Palin had to invent to score antibiotics for a spouse’s infection. Sarah may not seem bright, or educated, but TV viewers can all attest she doesn’t lack sanity or stamina. I doubt a psychiatrist would consider her behavior to be in any way aberrant for a public figure.

What probably really chafes Sarah is that fewer of her viewers seem concerned for her health, than are eager to check out her strange pregnancy story. Ordinarily, I’d think reproductive health histories should be the last to merit scrutiny, but what if the details in question concern a politician who wants to make it her business to regulate the reproductive rights of others?

Should a daughter’s right to privacy supersede a policy maker’s family-values facade? If a politician wants to laud high fructose corn syrup as part of a child’s healthy diet, I’d like them to acknowledge if their children are obese. Don’t preach the practicality of abstinence if your children are reproducing out of bounds. Maybe your clan can afford unwanted pregnancies, at least admit it.

I don’t have a problem with Jamie Lynn Spears’ second teen pregnancy, she has the financial resources to have oodles of babies. Of what quality, I can’t judge. But I’m not much in favor of Disney holding her up as an example for teenagers who aren’t buffered from minimum wage jobs and no daycare.

More mothers than we could probably guess have raised a grandchild as their own, to save face for a daughter’s premarital accident. Nothing untoward about secret keeping, it’s just tragic that women are forced to hide. Perhaps we should wish that society be more accepting. Would Sarah Palin’s fundamentalism be taking us in that direction?

Baby TrigSarah Palin’s reproductive dogma would be hypocritical if it turns out that her fifth baby Trig was in reality her daughter Bristol’s. Why do we presume to judge unless we know for sure? Why does Palin refuse to release her health records? She’s told the media she will, but November 4th approaches…

It’s reported the Trig pregnancy went undetected by Sarah’s staff, while by coincidence, over the same period 16-year-old Bristol was kept out of school on account of “mono.” Sarah was on a business trip in Texas when she says her water broke. She boarded the plane to Alaska, still without anyone knowing about her condition, and gave birth later that evening. Who really cares if it happened that way or not, except that Palin is an outspoken puritan.

Who cares if Senator Larry Craig solicits illicit sex in public bathroom stalls? Except he’s a leading demagogue against gay equal rights.

And their denials would make them liars. Since when do we tolerate duplicity from public officials?

There’s a chance Sarah Palin has complicated her story with the public announcement of daughter Bristol’s unplanned pregnancy and intention to wed her unwitting teenage partner. It would appear this revelation was made primarily to deflect suspicions about which of them gave birth to the April baby. Sarah’s argument is that Bristol couldn’t be five months pregnant now if Bristol had been Trig’s real mother. Except the public will have little way to know how far along Bristol really is or was, if at all. Until well after the election.

All those facts will be very easy to contain after the election.

The American public needn’t know Bristol Palin’s private life. But we have every obligation to discover if Sarah Palin is the straight shooter she pretends.

Is Bush problem drinking still a secret?

We learned only after Roosevelt’s presidency that he had to be propped-up for photo-ops because FDR was otherwise confined to a wheelchair. The American public learned only after Ronald Reagan retired that he suffered from Alzhemers for most of his second term. Once our decider idiot’s joyride is over, is there something it will then be safe then to tell us that Vladimir Putin already knows about George Bush Jr?
This way Mr Bush

We know he’s incurious, uneducated and inappropriate. We know he was an alcoholic and cocaine addict into his 40s, until he found religion before the campaign trail. Is it possible some of his down-home stupidity could be drink-fueled?

Bush at the swimming eventIn the alter-universe of the blogosphere, it’s being surmised that George W. was blotto at the Beijing Olympics. Here’s one of the pics floating that thesis.

A soldier gets home, walks into a bar…

There’s a soldier’s witticism being attributed to General Tommy Franks, which goes like this: “When you men get home and face an anti-war protester, look him in the eyes and shake his hand. Then, wink at his girlfriend because she knows she’s dating a pussy.” Is it an old Vietnam era joke? It would surprise me if vets still laugh at it. This has the smell of gung-ho recruiting, pre-Iraq. Let’s see what ol’ Tommy left out:

When you men get home
-IF you get home. If it’s even YOU who gets home. Or if you even go HOME. Many vets linger at the bases, or become itinerants, too ashamed to return to their hometowns and face their families.

…and face an anti-war protester
-Unlikely. I’ve yet to be faced with a soldier who’s come back ready to stand tall for what he did.

…look him in the eyes
-if you can, if that faculty is unimpared, or if you can reach eye-level from your wheelchair.

…and shake his hand
-Requires hand. Will your anti-war compatriot touch your hand, bloody as it is with war crime, porn jism, and dumb-bastard cooties?

…Then, wink at his girlfriend
-Can she see you wink from behind your dark wraparound sunglasses which you wear because you think they obscure your guilty mug? You’re Joe Camel now, a cartoon sense of self, disconnected you hope, from the deeds you’ve perpetrated and the inhumanity you’ve witnessed.

…because she knows she’s dating a pussy
-She’s dating a pussy who isn’t contaminated with DU, Anthrax, PTSD; who won’t wake up in the night and kill her; who won’t give her a deformed baby; who won’t spread an STD contracted from your buddies with whom you gang-raped a fellow soldier; who won’t spend the next ten years in and out of veterans facilities. If you don’t kill yourself sooner or ride your motorcycle crotch-rocket into a truck.

When Good Ol’ Tommy Franks was wisecracking, he was asking you to visualize your pre-war self facing your fellow citizen, not your post-trauma broken self. And Franks knew full well which would be making it home. Don’t think that war guilt is unintentional. It’s great for the Department of Defense bottom line. Re-enlistments are more likely, and the mentally-disabled hinder their own recovery. As soon as you are of no good to the Army, soon enough your ailments will assure they won’t have to pay your pension for very long.

The Stiles Unit of Beaumont

The Stiles Unit of Beaumont… I actually worked there once… That’s where I saw torture being done on prisoners INSIDE THE US first hand.

“Cadarell Freeman was to leave prison in September 2000. He had walked into prison, but now he was deathly sick. He had lost 60 pounds. The inmate’s legs were so weak that he slumped in a wheelchair at the Stiles Unit near Beaumont as he waited for the bus that would ferry him to Huntsville and his freedom.

The vehicle came. From his chair, Freeman eyed the steps into the bus. The driver told Freeman that if he wanted out, he could crawl. A nurse eventually helped the dispirited inmate onto the bus. The next day, a guard pushed him through the front door of the prison in Huntsville, where Freeman’s mother was waiting. Luckily, his mother brought a wheelchair. The state kept the one Freeman had been issued by the prison’s medical system.”

Prison officials boast that the clinics in each of the state’s 105 prisons are inspected and licensed by national prison health-care agencies. But even prison system doctors question whether these inspections adequately measure the quality of medical care. After all, in 1996, when two-thirds of the men who died at the Stiles Unit had “improper” care, according to the state audit, the prison clinic earned passing grades from a national accrediting organization. Moreover, even these accreditation reports are kept secret under state law.

NOTE— The Stiles Unit is a concentration camp run buy The State of Texas. Here is what the medical care was like. Actually, it was much, much, much worse than this. Did I emphasize MUCH?

Becoming guinea pigs to avoid poor prison care
Ill inmates urge each other to join experiments

How bad is Stiles, a US torture center run by The State Of Texas?

‘Deadly inadequacies’ plague inmate wards
Gaps in evaluating care let some mistakes go unnoticed

An effort by inmates to tell the truth about the Stiles Unit… (BTW, I remember this sorry ass nurse named Connie)
Gaps in evaluating care let some mistakes go unnoticed

None of this is even a slight beginning to letting you know what this torture camp was really like. We need to stop torture in the US. Instead, our government is spreading this abuse around everywhere. It should be on your conscience as a human being to oppose this terrorism inside the US, and instead, I see little anger about it at all.

Tonight I sat through a meeting of the planning board and executive board of the Colorado Springs Justice and Peace Commission and wasted my time. Where is their anger and where is their energy? I saw nothing.

These are not the people that can stop any sort of injustice in the world, Eric. They are a waste of time and I am ashamed to be associated with them.

I think that we need a new group, and one that has some semblance of democratic functioning within it. It is as simple as that. They think that they are running a small business instead of a poltiical oppositional group, so this is not a group of people that provide any real leadership. They have no experience and will not fight strongly for much of anything.

What does this have to do with the Stiles Unit in Beaumont, Texas? Everything, as far as I am concerned.

Policing by America’s Reich

Last week it was news about a woman named Hope in New York, whose cousin had called the police because another cousin had sexually molested her. When the police came they ended up arresting the victim, taking her to jail, then assaulted her again with 7-8 heavy and thuggish cops jumping on her, stripping the clothes off her, and leaving her naked in a jail cell!
Just yesterday, millions of Americans saw police dump a paralyzed man out of his wheelchair onto the floor of the police station, like he was just so much trash. Where do these attitudes and policing methods come from? How did the cops get to think that this sort of stuff is normal in the US?

These attitudes come out of the airports, out of Guantanamo, out of the Colorado Springs city council, where similar policing attitudes and methods were glossed over when used against elderly St Pat’s Day paraders in the city last year.

I remember Elizabeth being hauled across the pavement just an hour or so after having given her a ride to be there. She could not walk to the area where we were to start the parade and I had had to ask a cop to let my car though the barricade just for her to get to the Bookmobile. Later, after being assaulted by the cops, she had to face the city bringing criminal charges against her in the aftermath… for supposedly being part of a plot to block the parade from going on!

These police attitudes come as the American Reich has begun an electrical arms race across the country, with Taser International being the Lockheed of police weaponry. Our city and county governments think nothing about now spreading these devices into the schools!

These attitudes come from Iraq and Afghanistan, where our bombers drop ordinance down onto children below, just as if they were so much trash. This is policing today, in the American Reich. This is a new system in place, that uses torture on POWs even as our own local city flies flags about American POWs once held in Vietnam from the flag masts of the downtown post office right here in The Springs.

The American Reich doesn’t see the incongruence in their idiotic national pride about being the supposed repository of all democracy as they police as they are now doing. They have become more thuggish in simple increments, and now do not see the distance downhill they have actually traveled.

We live in a scary place and in scary times, but unlike in New York with Hope and here in The Springs with Elizabeth, at least in Florida these cops who dumped the paralyzed man on the floor from his wheelchair are now facing some troubles of their own. Yet, there are many more places where those in charge are totally complicit in the Reich style policing. Foremost among these hot spots of official complicity, is the Congress of the US.

Strong as steel and aircraft aluminum

Be all you can be in the Army
Like Wonderbread before they were compelled to retract the false advertising claim, the Army builds healthy bodies 24 different ways. There are actually more permutations of disability defined by which limbs have been lost or paralyzed. If you think “healthy” is an affront to those vets struggling with therapy and their own will to live, imagine what they feel about the recruitment slogans Army Strong, or Be All You Can Be.
Army of One probably describes it.

Dead, in concert, the King!

Strange title, grabs you. I get to that later on. What prompted me on this was a couple of days ago there was a statement from Steve Irwins widow, about the Death Tape being destroyed. There has been a lot of tabloid trash about an investigation and even an autopsy ordered, that last was bullpoopoo because he had already been cremated.

Meanwhile back at the ranch, they are playing his shows every day on Animal Planet, have a Croc-a-thon at least once a week, play the tape of his memorial service, Croc Hunter Diary, you name it. He was a valuable property for his production company. They have to recoup their money right?

Elvis Presley MunsterWhich brings up the title.

Many years ago, before Larry Flynt was shot, or taken to court in his wheelchair, how long ago was that? But it WAS right after Elvis died.

Don’t anybody get dumb and ask “Elvis who?” and one of his magazines, Hustler, published yet another of his truly sick cartoons, had Elvis’ corpse hanging on wires, rotting flesh and his guitar wired to his hands, a sign saying “Dead, in concert, the King! See him twitch to his favorite songs!” and Colonel Tom Parker talking to somebody saying “This just goes to show that NO son-of-a-bitch ever gets out of a contract with the Colonel!”

A Veterans Day wheelchair parade

Colorado Springs Veterans Day ParadeThis year’s Colorado Springs Veteran’s Day Parade falls on Veteran’s Day. The theme is “a nation at war, a community of support.” Doesn’t sound much to do with honoring veterans. Are we holding an active-duty support-the-war parade on honor-the-Veteran’s Day?
There will be 92 entries and five helium balloons. There are no entry fees because the city business community is so supportive of our soldiers over there, fighting to make the war safe for the contractors. Lots of military profiteers in Colorado Springs.

Organizers say that fully half of the participants in the parade will be veterans or active duty soldiers. Fully half? What are the other half? By my calculations, that means that there will be more non-soldiers and non-ex-soldiers than veterans. In the Veteran’s Day Parade.

I have an idea about how to involve lots more veterans. The unseen, underappreciated veterans. The veterans not usually invited to join any reindeer games. This year let’s invite the disabled veterans. And since the focus is this nation at war, this war, let’s honor the freshly disabled. This year let’s have a Veteran’s Day wheelchair parade.

I pictured it last year, maybe a handful of malcontents, youthful Iraq War Veterans wearing disaffected-youth garb accessorized with the odd army cloth article, walking with their canes or without, challenging parade watchers to look at them. I imagined it too complex an antiwar statement for most.

This year there could be over 3,000 wounded Iraq War vets from Colorado Springs alone. There would be many more if you count the spiritually and mentally disabled, the post traumatic sufferers, and the yet to be, the terminally unabled. Forming a sea of true veterans, of youth sacrificed to war, in a mass to large to look in the eye.

Support your local war memorial

I’m working on an address to our city council. I only have three minutes:

MemorialMr. Mayor, distinguished members of the City Council: as a member of the Pikes Peak Justice and Peace Commission, I’ve come once again on their behalf to ask the City Council for your support of the traveling Iraq War Memorial, known as Eyes Wide Open, which is coming to Colorado Springs on October 12 and 13.
Two weeks ago, at the previous opportunity to address the council, the Justice and Peace Commission asked for the use of Memorial Park as a fitting site for a memorial. We also asked the City of Colorado Springs to adopt a resolution similar to that of the City of Baltimore, proclaiming the two day visit as “Days of Reflection on the Human Cost of War.” To this day we’ve received no formal response from the council. I’m here today to repeat our requests.

Actually we did hear one reply from Councilman Bernie Herpin, a resounding no, because he considers any such memorial to be a blatant anti-war statement. I’d like to ask Mr. Herpin: do you have such little faith in the patriotism of the general public, in the wisdom of your constituents, that were they to reflect -on the many lives the war in Iraq has cost us- that you think they would automatically be against the war?

Do you consider it patriotic, and showing support for our troops, Mr. Herpin, to hide the Iraq War casualties from the sight and memory of their friends, neighbors and community? If the war in Iraq, or as you call it, the War on Terror, is indeed worth fighting, why do you want to conceal its cost from the people of Colorado Springs, the people who more than nearly any other community in the country, must bear the cost of this war? The cost being measured, in their lives, the lives of their loved ones, the lives of their friends and coworkers. This is to say nothing of the many more who are injured and maimed.

Are you afraid to let the people of Colorado Springs gaze upon the boots of 2,700 soldiers -only the official count of the US casualties in Iraq- boots that stretch across vast green fields, nearly to the horizon? One hundred and seventy pairs of those boots will correspond to the Fort Carson soldiers who’ve died in Iraq.

The latest count of soldiers wounded in Iraq according to the V.A. hospital system is over 40,000. If the ratio of US soldiers wounded to US soldiers killed in Iraq holds for Colorado Springs, by a terrible coincidence, the 2,700 pairs of boots that Colorado Springs residents will see on October 12 and 13 will also correspond to the number of Colorado Springs residents -Iraq War veterans- who now move about in wheelchairs and on prosthetic limbs.

Is this your way to show support for the troops? To keep their sacrifices unseen from their countrymen and their city? Why are you so quick to send them off, to fight a war on foreign soil, and so quick to hide the cost they’ve paid or will pay? The media networks aren’t even allowed to show their coffins on television! Why are you conspiring to keep a soldier’s most ultimate sacrifice a secret? -because you think the American people would not support your war?

If you are so gung-ho to have someone fight this war on terror, why don’t you do it yourself? You go over there and do it! And reflect, please, whether you want your effort to go seen or unseen. Otherwise please know that you can count on us, that if you pay the ultimate price to defend our freedom, that we intend to make sure the people of this country and this city see it and show their thanks. Good luck and bon voyage.

Please accord the people of Colorado Springs the respect of honoring their sacrifice. I’d like to see the proclamation we ask for in writing as soon as possible, or I’d like to see each of you fill out the Defense Department paperwork to enlist to go to Iraq yourself. Thank you.

Prizefight fixed

Autist-in-chief snickering
We are watching a prizefight. Bush is swaggering and staggering around with his arms in the air having declared himself winner before the bell has rung, as he’s done through every round. This time he’s looking deliriously vulnerable. He’s got the typical bad guy aura of a smug WWWF villain. He could be in a wheelchair and the crowd would cheer to see him clobbered.

We are yelling at the top of our lungs for Bush’s opponent, any opponent, to knock him down! A child could do it! Go up there and push him over with the pinkie finger of your left hand! Now! Get in there you bum! Do it! Impeach! Censure! Ask him a tough question!

But his opponent won’t touch him. Won’t even get in the ring. Won’t even look us in the eye. You bum! Worse, the opponent won’t let anyone else get into the ring either. It’s becoming clear that we are dealing with a ringer who’s being paid not just to lose, but to keep other challengers out of the ring. This bum’s job is to ensure that Bush comes out on top no matter what. This bum is on the same payroll as the rampaging little tantrum.

Let’s not forget that as terrible as the fight has been to watch, everything’s going swimmingly for those who are paying the bills. The Iraq war has paid off handsomely. Katrina relief a windfall. Tax cuts for the rich a wet dream. The promoters could not have imagined such success. Their little dictator is stomping roughshod around the ring and the Democrats are pulling their punches, doing a remarkable job making it look difficult to take a swing at Bush the autist-in-chief. The bums!

Veteran’s Day parade, part 1

Prussian charge
I should say that I had never watched a veteran’s parade, I think. Wasn’t it supposed to be a parade of veterans? This was a parade of mostly active duty soldiers and soldiers-to-be. It was very disturbing.

There was a flatbed trailer, there may have been several of these interspersed, on which stood a current war hero. He straddled the platform, his hands on his hips, striking a valiant pose, his chin held high and to the side. A large placard read: recipient of medal so-and-so.

There were marching bands, real young faces. I hoped that as excited as they were to be in the parade, that they weren’t thinking of joining the military.

I had just met a gentleman looking for legal advice for his daughter who’d recently signed up. She was a promising musician in high school, she played the coronet. A recruiter had told her that the army was in desperate need of musicians. They needed her for their marching band. The recruiter assured her that she wouldn’t have anything to do with the fighting, but that she could serve her country in its hour of need, by offering to do something that she loved. She signed on.

No sooner was she through boot camp that she learned she was being sent to Iraq. She and her fellow musicians were told: leave your instruments at home, you won’t need them.

Among the marching bands was a band called the Rampart Regiment, (actually Rampart High School’s marching band, and state champions). But their uniforms were terribly unfortunate. They were black, a sort of turn of the century look with high hats, and a large black feather. They looked like Prussians, or what we would recreate in our minds if we were trying to visualize those mercenary Hessians! Their outfits hearkened to a day when the uniforms meant to intimidate.

Does anyone remember what distinguished the aggressive from the defensive soldiers in the last world wars? The Allies had the frumpy uniforms because they didn’t mind being seen as sympathetic. The aggressive soldiers are the ones who want to scare the bejezus out of their enemies. This has been true since warfare began.

White hat versus black hat, it’s true for cowboys and hackers. Good guys and bad guys.

What was Rampart thinking to dress their band looking like black draped raiders? They look like Cossacks about to swing down and slice you in the back as you try to flee from them.

What business do we have trying to glorify the terror of war?

I was horrified too by what appeared to be den mothers, preening their little kids in their little uniforms, to salute the passing soldiers. These were not just boy scout uniforms but miniature military outfits. I couldn’t help but think these kids were wishing that someday they too could be featured in the parade.

At that point I noticed there weren’t any wheelchairs in the parade. Top be sure many of the WWII vets may not be so ambulatory nowadays, but their disabilities were concealed by the antique cars from which they waved. Why couldn’t something like that have been arranged for the wounded Iraq war vets?

There weren’t any crutches or wheelchairs or homeless drunkards which comprise the largest contingent of Vietnam vets. Now we’re learning it’s even more true for the Gulf Gar vets. And there were no mentally addled vets with bandaged heads to symbolize their injuries.

And certainly the Veterans For Peace and the Iraq Veterans Against the War were denied permission to participate.

Then there was something most disturbing of all: a guy in army fatigues, youngish, stocky, probably a drill sergeant but uncharacteristically casual, and he was working the crowd. In nonchalant fashion, he was rallying both participants and spectators with a call and response routine.

“God bless America” he would shout. “God bless America” the crowd answered. I was reminded of something Bismark had famously said in the 19th century: “God protects fools, drunkards, and the United States of America.”

There we were, this veteran’s day, a day to honor veterans, ignoring the veterans altogether. An active duty soldier rallying soldiers and the families of soldiers: “God bless America.” “God bless America.”

Over and over. “God bless America.” “God bless America.”

We will need it.

The army builds men

When our forces were amassing on the Iraqi border, a friend of mine lamented that a war in Iraq was going to mean a generation of amputee vets. She ‘d seen the Vietnam years and its casualties. I thought she was exaggerating. “Look at Grenada, I said, at Panama, at Kuwai,” hardly a scratch.

Since it started the casualties have mounted. The wounded don’t make the news, even the number has been concealed. But we live in military town, and the injured are hard to miss everywhere. Some only trunks strapped in hi-tech wheelchairs. You see them at buffet restaurants mostly.

The recent anti-war rally in New York City featured a procession of one thousand coffins. I wish they’d assembled mannekin limbs to represent those lost by our soldiers, then gathered the over ten thousand parts in a large pile in Central Park. Sick, but war is sick.

Recruiting efforts must be stymied by the carnage in Iraq. I received a recruitment brochure in the mail today. What is the army spending to try to lure young men into the fray. Has that budget gone up on account of the carnage? Can we say no to that spending?

“Strength. Confidence. Self-esteem. And that’s just for starters.” I opened the glossy brochure to see if it said anything about costing an arm and a leg.

Vietnam era poster