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Memorial Day Theater/Fiasco

Subject:

EJF newsletter – Memorial Day May 31, 2010, a reality checkDate:

June 3, 2010 2:00:49 PM MDTTo:

“Op-Avalanche ” <op-avalanche@googlegroups.com>, “EPC TEA Party ” <epc-tea@EPCTeaParty.com>Once again this Memorial Day Dr. Charles Corry, a former Marine, reminds us that behind all the pomp,

circumstance and solemn ceremony of the Day’s ceremonies lies an ongoing dirty little national secret in the

treatment of so many returning veterans of our Wars and conflicts. Dr. Corry was also a priniciple actor with a

number of other active duty and retired officers, enlisted and veterans in initiating and organizing the Veterans

Trauma Court in the 4th Judicial District of Colorado. Now the courts, bureaucracy and the ideologues have sent

that awry.

Unless and until all veterans and the public factor into their thinking, the comprehensive problems of our

involvement in such wars and conflicts, the effects and treatment our returning veterans receive, we are likely to

repeat this cycle over and over again. We continue to get out and wave our little flags and everything looks aces

and beer on the surface. Meanwhile, we continue to ignore the mounting problems in the neighborhoods,

homeless shelters, alleys and backstreets out-of-sight of the parade route and memorial wreath-laying

ceremonies. Ceremonies for the dead are only for the living, while we largely seem to walk straight past the

broken lives right among us. As a veteran, I see it as a national disgrace.

I hear the constant refrain, “Support the Troops!” Really?…..and just how is that being done? Dr. Corry explains

below. JW

Introduction

Memorial Day

2010). Formerly known as

the military service

service of their country.

Problems with the treatment of veterans after our many wars extend back to the Revolution and the

Continental Army. But time has closed the books on those who served to set our country free. For this

Memorial Day let us look at more current disgraces.

Nearly endless wars in the past half century have created millions of veterans, hundreds of thousands

of whom are disabled, often homeless, frequently in trouble with the justice system, too often

incarcerated, and lacking adequate or competent medical care.

A recent attempt to provide veteran courts for these veterans is following the usual path of

incompetent management and is proving more dangerous to veterans than the previous system of

justice.

How did we get here?

is a United States federal holiday observed on the last Monday of May (May 31 inDecoration Day, it commemorates U.S. men and women who died while in. But that memorial is just the tip of the iceberg for those who die after entering theVietnam

Since World War II the United States seems to seek out conflicts and thinks nothing of bombing and

invading sovereign nations without bothering with the nicety of a declaration of war. The Christian, and

before that the Roman concept is that only

stand up to those criteria.

troops when the primal laws of justice and morality are violated.

wars that are just should be fought. None of our recent warsColeman references the concept of themis in the effect such wars have on our3.4 million men served in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam conflict

are still alive today though the average age of these veterans is now only in their 60’s. Only 58,260 men

are known to have died in battle, were MIA, or from wounds as tabulated on

Vietnam veterans have died of disease or accidents in the nearly 40 years since that war. But with a

current average life expectancy for men of about 75 years why have more than a million other veterans

died prematurely?

. Of those only about 700,000The Wall. Perhaps a millionAnd why isn’t their sacrifice recognized equally on this Memorial Day?We only have estimates but it is certain that many more men than were killed in battle committed

suicide after returning home from Vietnam. Another 500,000 Vietnam veterans are estimated to have

attempted suicide since returning home. Of course suicides are not memorialized even though it is clear

the stress of combat drove them to it. For a review of the causes I suggest Penny Coleman’s brilliant

book

For the incidence of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) we have the

Readjustment Study

veterans, were projected to have a lifetime prevalence of PTSD following the war. Another 23% were

found to have “Partial PTSD,” i.e.,

Flashback: Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Suicide, and the Lessons of War.National Vietnam Veterans. That broad and rigorous study found that 31%, or nearly 1 million Vietnam Theatersymptoms and related functional impairment associated with PTSD.Since being wounded in action is a predictor of PTSD we might assume that the 300,000 odd

wounded are mostly among these statistics, and have higher mortality and suicide rates than other

veterans. But being killed or wounded in combat wasn’t the only hazard our troops faced.

Many veterans claim the Veterans Administration (VA) waits until most of the sufferers from a war

are dead before recognizing the problem. Vietnam veterans

far as the multitudinous problems with the widely used herbicide Agent Orange. The VA fought vigorously

to avoid paying any claims for the numerous cancers and other associated diseases, as well as the many

birth defects that occurred in children of exposed veterans. It wasn’t until Congress forced their hand with

the

add the

Then there is the other side of the story. According to Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 4.8

million Vietnamese people were exposed to Agent Orange, resulting in 400,000 deaths and disabilities,

and 500,000 children born with birth defects. And according to conservative estimates, about 4 million

Vietnamese on all sides were killed, wounded, or missing during the 1965-1975 time period. But what

the hell, they are just “gooks” so why should we care about them? And if we do start remembering them

we might have to ask why, for reasons no one can now explain, we bombed them with everything short

of nuclear weapons, sprayed them, and sent in 3 million of our best and brightest young men to fight and

die against them until our own troops revolted.

skepticism certainly seems to be justified asAgent Orange Act of 1991 that their claims were finally recognized. And even then Congress had toAgent Orange Equity Act in 2009.More wars

The Persian Gulf War, or Gulf War I was of short duration and American troops suffered relatively

few combat casualties. So we don’t hear much about PTSD cases from that conflict. But after the troops

came home they began to be afflicted with a variety of physical illnesses that came to be categorized

under the term Gulf War Syndrome. Of the 580,400 troops who served in the Persian Gulf during this

conflict more than 11,000 have since died of various afflictions associated with the Gulf War Syndrome.

These troops simply had the bad luck to have been given a nerve gas antidote, exposed to

pesticides, chemical weapons, and depleted uranium, all of which were generally imposed on them by

“friendly” forces and their ammunition. But since we don’t hear about these dead troops as part of the

cost of that war, we don’t honor them in speeches or other oratory. Only their loved ones still grieve for

them and this butcher’s bill is largely the result of “friendly” actions.

By the end of the 20th Century the United States seems to have become enamored of or addicted to

invading and bombing distant countries on any pretext, mostly lies or, more politely, “faulty intelligence.”

After Gulf War I came Somalia in 1992-1993, and we lost that one. Invaded Haiti in 1994, not for the

first or likely the last time. Then in 1995-1996 we intervened in Bosnia and Herzegovina, call that a draw.

In 1998 we launched some cruise missiles into Afghanistan and others at a pharmaceutical factory in

Sudan. All the while we maintained a no-fly zone over Iraq and would occasionally bomb them. And by

2004 we were routinely bombing Pakistan, a nominal ally and nuclear power, with unmanned drones

under the direction of the CIA, whose blunders quite obviously gets the United States into most of these

wars.

For reasons incomprehensible to the government of the United States, all that bombing seems to

have made some people in the Middle East mad. On September 11, 2001, several suicide attacks, mainly

by Saudi Arabians, were launched against the Twin Towers at the World Trade Center (WTC) in New York

and the Pentagon. One of the four attacks failed but 2,995 people were killed. For reasons not yet

explained only two buildings at the WTC were hit by aircraft but three buildings collapsed.

Operation Enduring Freedom

The identities and nationalities of the nineteen hijackers was established by September 27, 2001.

Fifteen of the hijackers were from Saudi Arabia, two from the United Arab Emirates, one from Egypt, and

one from Lebanon.

Having been attacked by terrorists primarily from Saudi Arabia the United States invaded the far

away country of Afghanistan, supposedly where the terrorists trained. Questions about US intelligence on

that remain.

Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) was launched in October 2001 and the Taliban regime was

quickly ousted before the first U.S. soldier was killed. Rather than calling OEF a success and pulling out

with a warning not to harbor terrorists again, our less-than-brilliant leaders decided to occupy the

country, an historically-impossible task.

But the stubborn Afghan people simply refused to recognize the virtues of American occupation and

continue to resist. It is of historical interest to note that landlocked

empires

The U.S. war against the Afghan people is now nearly nine years old and combat deaths now exceed

1,000 and U.S. wounded exceed 5,700. Since Marines and Army troops, particularly Special Forces, have,

and will endure multiple tours of combat in Afghanistan it is reasonable to predict PTSD rates as high as,

or higher than in Vietnam although we have learned some lessons on how to minimize this disorder.

There is certainly no shortage of drugs in Afghanistan and it is virtually certain that troops and

support personnel will use them for stress relief, just as they did in Vietnam. While I have heard no

reports of

aware that the justification, or themis of the war doesn’t exist. Whether “ghosting” (inventing an excuse

to be sent to the rear) or “sandbagging” (calling in false coordinates while taking a nap in a safer place)

have been reinvented in Afghanistan is unknown but almost certainly variants exist.

The press has not yet documented any open refusals to advance against the enemy but one can be

sure commanders are taking utmost caution as the number of collateral, i.e., civilian casualties, is

extraordinary. It is much easier and safer to call in an air strike or a drone than to get your people to

advance against enemies hidden in mountainous terrain. And while desertions are no where near Vietnam

levels, the military makes little effort to capture or punish those who do desert.

What soldier wants to be the last one to die in a lost war?

So when we do give up and leave Afghanistan with our tails between our legs it is reasonable to

predict tens of thousands of physical and psychiatric casualties from OEF who will need lifetime disability

care, although their lives are likely to be considerably shortened by suicide and other diseases resulting

from the war.

Afghanistan is the graveyard of. And there are no well-defined objectives or reasons for our continued occupation.“fragging” in Afghanistan, as the war drags on such incidents are likely as troops are wellOn this Memorial Day let us also remember these needless casualties and lives thrown away.

It is of interest to note that none of the suicide attackers on 9/11 were from either Afghanistan or

Iraq. And it isn’t likely Saudi Arabia will help pay for our veterans care with reparations for the

participation of their citizens in 9/11.

Operation Iraqi Freedom

One war in a logistically-difficult and distant location wasn’t enough so on March 20, 2003, the

United States launched an invasion of Iraq known as Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) with 250,000 troops.

None of the reasons given for that invasion have stood up but we are still occupying that country

seven years later even after ousting and killing its ruler. And 4,400 Americans have had their lives taken

by this invasion, more than 30,000 have been wounded, and more than 1.5 million men and women

have served in OIF where there is no rear area as guerilla warfare has increased.

It is already clear that the multiple combat tours American troops are enduring is having severe

psychological effects on both men and women. However, since Vietnam we have learned a great deal

about PTSD and how to minimize its effects. Troops are now trained in what to expect, pulled back out of

combat and given time to shower and rest at reasonable intervals when possible, unit cohesion is

maintained, and extensive debriefing is provided. Psychoactive drugs are also extensively used, and

sometimes overused, to help relieve combat stress.

But every human has a breaking point beyond which additional stress cannot be endured and that

point may be reached in a single incident or a cumulative result of repeated stressors such as combat.

Also, with modern medicine and protective gear troops are routinely surviving explosions and wounds

that would certainly have been fatal in previous wars. I’ve met soldiers who’ve been blown up 10 to 12

times and are outwardly normal. But their brains have been damaged by the trauma and that may lead

to what is called traumatic brain injury (TBI). TBI and PTSD very frequently cooccur.

The net result is that PTSD in OIF/OEF troops is at roughly the same levels as in Vietnam despite all

the advances and preventive measures. Estimates are that 400,000 to 500,000 will suffer chronic,

lifetime effects of this disorder. And it is already clear that suicide rates among these veterans will be

very high and those that don’t suicide are likely to live shortened lives.

As we’ve come to expect, many casualties are the result of “friendly” actions. In OEF/OIF troops the

anti-malaria drug Lariam has had numerous

medications that included Paxil, Seroquel, and Klonopin have proven deadly in well over 100 cases.

Anthrax vaccinations were also the source of considerable controversy and the Pentagon documented

some 20,000 cases where troops were hospitalized following anthrax vaccinations although direct cause

and effect often could not be established.

disastrous side effects. Also combinations of prescribedBut we don’t honor these millions of veterans on this Memorial Day because they haven’t died while

in the military. They only die because they served their country.

Doing a Danny Deever on our disabled veterans

Ah, but our society hasn’t been content to throwing away the lives of best and brightest in police

actions. Naw, if they come back crippled and broken we now insist they be treated as criminals and

jailed.

Since Vietnam legislators have been busily passing new laws based on ideology and using extremes

as examples as though they were the norm. Draconian laws regarding domestic violence (DV) and abuse

were enacted in which every lover’s quarrel is presumed to be abuse and every disagreement the man’s

fault and his arrest is mandatory. In addition veterans are now labeled as “trained killers” while in court.

In the same vein, and with the same results, new laws have been added regarding child abuse and

sexual assault.

The military also started cracking down on drinking, and President Nixon, unable to win in Vietnam,

began a War on Drugs. He lost that one as well but thousands upon thousands of veterans suffered and

suicided under the draconian provisions.

Former Marine Gordon Duff describes it as

Promoting Veteran Suicides:“It all began as a Bush era program, promoted by Dr. Sally Satel, the famed

denialist

veterans lost all benefits, GI Bill, medical care and more through Army discharge scam, part

of a neo-con

PTSDputting thousands of soldiers at risk and pushing hundreds to suicide. Thousands of“cost saving program”How did it work? Simple. A very large percentage of combat vets with PTSD are problem

drinkers, self medicating in the only way they can and, in the process, getting worse and

worse. Redeployments of soldiers needing treatment only adds to the problem. When vets

with severe PTSD demonstrate severe symptoms, including alcohol abuse, they are put in

short and unproven

game, one invented to trap soldiers and cut costs.

Step 2 in the game, the Army

is absurd. Real treatment for PTSD is denied. When the soldier drinks, and they always do,

the soldier is arrested, jailed and charged, now get this, with disobeying a direct order, Article

34 and disrespect to an officer or noncom.

Sometimes even more charges are piled on. In the end, the deal is the same. Leave the

army with nothing but years of honorable service now labeled as

conduct”

serve.

The Army learned the game from the VA. The VA denied PTSD diagnoses to Vietnam

veterans who drank or used alcohol, claiming they couldn’t be diagnosed. Problem is, almost

all PTSD vets use alcohol or drugs as self medication. End result, tens of thousands of

Vietnam vets were denied diagnosis, treatment and compensation for decades with thousand

dying as a result.”

Overall prison populations in the United States exploded until we now make Stalin’s gulags look like

amateurs and Communist China a piker. And veterans with PTSD, TBI, or other mental issues from their

wartime service were prime targets.

“quit” programs with an extremely high failure rate. This is all part of a“orders” the soldier not to drink, knowing the order itself“dishonorable” or “badand face civilian life crushed and abandoned by the country you risked your life toVeteran courts – another government boondoggle to screw veterans

The

sample of Vietnam veterans. This study found that 11% of all surveyed had been convicted of a felony,

while 34% had been arrested for a misdemeanor offense. Though it was not released publicly until 2000,

the Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics (DOJ-BJS) report,

that in 1985, 21% of all men in prison were veterans – a total of 154,600 – while only 12% of the general

population are veterans.

Anyone at all familiar with PTSD sufferers, and the manifestations of this disorder, is aware that their

behavior is almost certain to lead to trouble with law enforcement. Dr. Tudor

prison correction officers expressed PTSD symptoms. Provoking fights, driving too fast or erratically,

irrational rages, excessive drinking or drug use, and hypervigilance (can sure look a lot like power and

control issues to a DV ideologue) are all common expressions of PTSD victims. And these are but a few of

the problems.

On Memorial Day 2007 we presented

illustrate that side of this problem. Or, without understanding the problems, law enforcement

together a SWAT team and kills the veteran.

National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Study (NVVRS), surveyed a large and representativeVeterans in Prison or Jail notedrecently tabulated howa cop’s eye view of domestic violence and the military toputsHardly an ideal outcome!In January 2008 a Buffalo, New York judge, Robert Russell, introduced a specialized court to deal

with the many veterans who repeatedly came through his courtroom and were sinking ever deeper into

the justice system. Veteran court initiatives were born from a broad national recognition that we

inappropriately responded to large numbers of veterans during the Vietnam era in a punitive or reactive

manner (the criminal justice system) when a set of supportive and preventative responses (a public

health approach) would have proven far more effective. By now focusing on the public health approach,

the hope and expectation is that we will not generate large numbers of veterans who tumble through

multiple systems for decades, facing not only incarceration but homelessness, poverty, social isolation,

and suicide.

A noble concept that was quickly picked up and utterly corrupted, as usual, by government agencies

who are using it primarily as a method for bureaucrats to feed other bureaucrats.

I am embarrassed now to relate that the Equal Justice Foundation was involved from early July 2008

with attempting to set up a

Here is what went wrong: The federal Dept. of Health and Human Services (DHHS) GAINS Center

recognized the potential, possibly even the need for veterans courts early and quickly organized a

trauma/veteran court in Colorado Springs, the first in the state.conference in May 2008

Dept. of Human Services (CO DHS) to develop a diversion program for veterans in Denver to keep them

out of jail. Unfortunately, in Colorado Springs the many military bases and separate police departments

mandated that the earliest intercept point was the county jail, as it is common to all the agencies. A

group from Colorado Springs then met with CO DHS and DHHS SAMSHA representatives in November

2008 and convinced them the work needed to be done in Colorado Springs. We even had the support of a

district judge who is a retired Army major general. So far, so good.

Those of you who have worked with their state’s department of human services, or equivalent, are

aware that their child protective services (CPS) have evolved into legal kidnapping agencies and are

running adoption rings. To do this they grab children from their parents and place them into foster homes

or otherwise place the kids under DHS/CPS protection.

children have died since 2003 under DHS/CPS protection than Coloradoans have been killed in

combat in Iraq.

on in

Waffen SS.

But DHHS primarily provides money to state DHS agencies, bureaucrats feeding bureaucrats, and so

the same with veteran court funding. Naturally the money was used to fund more bureaucracy. And even

though there was a judge ready and willing to hear cases it took over a year to get even the first cases

heard and the program didn’t get officially announced until February 2010.

Guy Gambill, the de facto national coordinator veteran courts,

and foremost, it is essential to establish whether a man or woman are veterans as early as possible when

they become involved with the justice system. Ideally that would occur with the frontline investigating

officers. But at the latest it needs to be determined when they are booked into jail and before they bond

out. That hasn’t proven possible, again due to bureaucracy.

Then even larger problems loom. Even the arrest will often negatively impact the veterans career

and may well cause them to lose their jobs, and make it difficult in the future for them to find

employment.

Those problems are magnified if the veteran is convicted or stupidly takes a plea bargain. For

example, under current Colorado and federal laws a veteran convicted of domestic violence (DV),

plea bargain is a conviction

They will be barred from holding a job, denied a security clearance, unable to rent an apartment,

forbidden from obtaining school loans, unable to hold any professional licenses, unable to get or hold a

teachers certificate, cannot obtain credit or a financial bond, unable to become police officers or

firefighters, cannot hold a commercial drivers license, unable to obtain medical insurance, cannot work

with hazardous materials or explosives, will often have their children taken from them and cannot get

custody in a divorce, subjected to federal felony charges if they are even around a weapon or

custody in a divorce, subjected to federal felony charges if they are even around a weapon or

ammunition, and discharged from the service under less than honorable conditions and often lose all

benefits, retirement, bonuses, and medical care.

So a veteran with a DV or similar conviction is essentially a dead man walking.

But what do the feminist ideologues insist on for veteran courts?

dealt with in a veteran court!

spend enormous sums of money training them to kill and inflict deadly violence, then when they come

back home if they have a family fight we, in effect, drive them to suicide or into jail. These men and

women are not pussycats who can be brought home, declawed, and turned loose on society without

further adjustment.

In Colorado Springs we’ve tried the catch, convict, release approach for years now. Commonly the

veterans then commit even more violent crimes. In their November 6, 2009, issue Rolling Stone magazine

. By October 2008 DHHS SAMSHA had given a $2 million grant to the ColoradoIt is worth emphasizing that more ColoradoIn Colorado the DHS supports slavery as well as the Equal Justice Foundation reporteda twelve part series beginning in 2006. In summary, this agency is the Colorado equivalent of therecently reviewed the problems. First,and a, will face the following penalties:Only nonviolent crimes can beLets see, we enlist aggressive men and women to fight our wars, wedocumented at least 11 murders

court system. How many of the thousands of veterans caught, convicted, and released in Colorado

Springs have moved on to commit crimes of violence elsewhere is unknown but, predictably, it is a large

number.

Knowing that a conviction for domestic violence, child abuse, sexual assault or abuse, or any felony

is the equivalent of a death sentence for a disabled veteran, what do the DHHS/DHS dimwits do? They

model the veteran courts on drug courts and a guilty plea is required before any treatment or diversion

can begin.

committed here by Iraqi veterans who had previously been through ourThat is stupidity of a high order!Only if veteran courts can determine and verify the status and known or potential medical conditions

quickly after an arrest or encounter with law enforcement, ensure that treatment is undertaken on the

first arrest and a conviction is foregone pending the outcome of treatment for the veteran’s conditions,

and charges dismissed if treatment is successful, can veteran courts possibly work with any effectiveness.

Of course this is the antithesis of what is being done with veteran courts across the country at a

cost of just another billion dollars or so while ignoring the cost in veteran’s lives.

Experience has shown that if a veteran demands a jury trial, and manages to get a

criminal defense attorney

the DA will dismiss the case before trial.

court boondoggles in most cases.

competent, the odds are vanishingly small that they will be convicted. In most such casesA veteran is thus well advised to avoid the current veteranConclusion

By trying to help it appears we have simply increased distrust in the government.

Let us reverse course and use this Memorial Day to support and respect all veterans and use our

government to help them with all the wisdom and care this great country can muster.

Let us expand Memorial Day to respect and remember all veterans who have died after serving their

country. Only a comparative few die while in military service and it is obvious that military service has a

fatal outcome for many more, who also deserve our remembrance and gratitude.

And we can best support our troops if we stop killing them in undeclared and unwinnable wars!

Charles E. Corry, Ph.D., F.G.S.A.

About the author

Dr. Corry holds a Ph.D. in geophysics from Texas A&M and is a Senior Fellow of the Geological Society

of America. He is a widely published and internationally-known earth scientist whose biography has

appeared in Who’s Who in the World, Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in Science and Engineering,

among others, for over the past decade.

After service with 1 st Marines he became involved with the early space program in 1960, doing

preflight testing and failure analysis on Atlas and Centaur missiles, including all the Project Mercury birds.

In 1965 he switched to oceanography and did research at both Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San

Diego and Woods Hole Oceanographic on Cape Cod. He has also taught geophysics at university and

worked as a research manager for a Fortune 500 company.

Dr. Corry has

island

He also has far more experience with the Veteran Administration than he ever wanted while helping

his son, a disabled Marine veteran.

___________________________________

climbed high mountains, been shipwrecked and marooned on an unexplored desert, ridden horseback through Utah, Arizona, and Colorado, among other adventures during his career.DISCLAIMER

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Personal home page:

http://www.ejfi.org/Join.htm orhttp://www.ejfi.org/Application.htm. Contributions are taxhttp://www.ejfi.org/join2.htm or by sending a check to thehttp://www.ejfi.org/http://corry.wsCurriculum vitae:

http://www.marquiswhoswho.net/charleselmocorry/Default.aspxThe good men may do separately is small compared with what they may do collectively.

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PBS MEMORIAL DAY SHOW: an Epilogue to Viet-Nam.

 

PBS Memorial Show: Viet-Nam epilogue.

 

As I watched the PBS special Memorial Day show I was touched and for a period I was reconnecting to the patriotism of my youth. WW I, WW II, Korea, and Irag & Afghanistan. I was surprised that they had skipped Viet-Nam but thought they were saving the tribute until last. Then the Joint Chiefs of Staff came on stage and Admiral Mullen spoke the closing words of how America would always stand by and support their Veterans. Then the show was over !! I was stunned and confused and I thought “What just Happened?”

I struggled all night to understand the rationale and logic behind the obvious decision to omit any mention of those who had served and the 58,000 who had died fighting a war of such difficulty.

After forty years of putting the memories of the times behind me I was confronted with the memories of the times and of the war. I felt devastated and betrayed, I fought the many battles of mind and circumstances of the war, over and over. PBS & military dignitaries, was this some social experiment? Were the powers of PBS such anti-war advocates that they dared to discredit the Viet Vets? Was this another instance of being denied by the people and government I had served? The questions continued on through the night and this morning there was still no way to reconcile the disrespect I felt.

It had taken me ten years of struggle to overcome the stigma and guilt of being in a war that was so disapproved of and ultimately lost. I thought I had regained a semblance of sanity back. Last night, the insanity returned. I have had an application for Veteran health care for over six months and have not received one reply or confirmation. I have been forced into unemployment going on two years and now one more piece of the puzzle that confirms I am not an accepted member of American psyche or worth.

SHAME ON YOU ALL !! Do you have any idea of the psychological pain you have inflicted once again?

Let me put this into context. I was an Ohio farm boy that was raised with Lassie, Hopalong Cassidy, Howdy Doddy & Buffalo Bob, and a sense of moral and ethical ideals. Love of Country and Love of God was the foundation of my upbringing.

At 17 I joined the Marine Corp to serve my country. This was 1965. During the time I served, there were assassinations of political leaders, riots, flag burning, draft dodging, anti Viet-Nam demonstrations, Jane Fonda, and more. When I came home in 1969 after two tours, I was portrayed as a drug crazed “baby killer”, criminal, and overall a bad person for my service. I had to remove any mention of Viet-Nam from my resume in order to get a job and I dared not mention to anyone I had been in the service let alone in Viet-Nam. After much internal work I was able to “let it go”. That was until last night. It all came rushing back and I am heartsick.

 

I consider myself to be somewhat readjusted and have been a contributing member of society my whole professional life. Now, I don’t know. What concerns me is the pain and memories of those who have had a lifelong struggle with the War.  How badly have you re-wounded them can only be guessed but rest assured you have done your damage.

This letter is to let those who served in Viet-Nam know that there are those of us who will never forget and will always honor and respect the sacrifice and the service you gave.

Many of us left our youth in the rice paddies and Jungles of Viet-Nam. Many more have left their lives. To these Heroes, I salute you and will always call you brother.

 

Bruce Hanawalt

Sgt. USMC 1965-1969

Semper Fi

CALL ME CRAZY, BUT I THINK WE BEEN MUGGED

I mentioned in my last blog that there was a suspicion of elitism and probably some wrong doing. I was sent this article in responce to my suggestions. I felt others should also read this.

The Global Crisis of Legitimacy

May 4, 2010

 

Obama's Foreign Policy: The End of the Beginning 

 

By George Friedman 

Financial panics are an integral part of capitalism. So are economic recessions. The system generates them and it becomes stronger because of them. Like forest fires, they are painful when they occur, yet without them, the forest could not survive. They impose discipline, punishing the reckless, rewarding the cautious. They do so imperfectly, of course, as at times the reckless are rewarded and the cautious penalized. Political crises — as opposed to normal financial panics — emerge when the reckless appear to be the beneficiaries of the crisis they have caused, while the rest of society bears the burdens of their recklessness. At that point, the crisis ceases to be financial or economic. It becomes political.

The financial and economic systems are subsystems of the broader political system. More precisely, think of nations as consisting of three basic systems: political, economic and military. Each of these systems has elites that manage it. The three systems are constantly interacting — and in a healthy polity, balancing each other, compensating for failures in one as well as taking advantage of success. Every nation has a different configuration within and between these systems. The relative weight of each system differs, as does the importance of its elites. But each nation contains these systems, and no system exists without the other two.

Limited Liability Investing

Consider the capitalist economic system. The concept of the corporation provides its modern foundation. The corporation is built around the idea of limited liability for investors, the notion that if you buy part or all of a company, you yourself are not liable for its debts or the harm that it might do; your risk is limited to your investment. In other words, you may own all or part of a company, but you are not responsible for what it does beyond your investment. Whereas supply and demand exist in all times and places, the notion of limited liability investing is unique to modern capitalism and reshapes the dynamic of supply and demand.

It is also a political invention and not an economic one. The decision to create corporations that limit liability flows from political decisions implemented through the legal subsystem of politics. The corporation dominates even in China; though the rules of liability and the definition of control vary, the principle that the state and politics define the structure of corporate risk remains constant.

In a more natural organization of the marketplace, the owners are entirely responsible for the debts and liabilities of the entity they own. That, of course, would create excessive risk, suppressing economic activity. So the political system over time has reallocated risk away from the owners of companies to the companies’ creditors and customers by allowing corporations to become bankrupt without pulling in the owners.

The precise distribution of risk within an economic system is a political matter expressed through the law; it differs from nation to nation and over time. But contrary to the idea that there is a tension between the political and economic systems, the modern economic system is unthinkable except for the eccentric but indispensible political-legal contrivance of the limited liability corporation. In the precise and complex allocation of risk and immunity, we find the origins of the modern market. Among other reasons, this is why classical economists never spoke of “economics” but always of “political economy.”

The state both invents the principle of the corporation and defines the conditions in which the corporation is able to arise. The state defines the structure of risk and liabilities and assures that the laws are enforced. Emerging out of this complexity — and justifying it — is a moral regime. Protection from liability comes with a burden: Poor decisions will be penalized by losses, while wise decisions are rewarded by greater wealth. Because of this, society as a whole will benefit. The entire scheme is designed to increase, in Adam Smith’s words, “The Wealth of Nations” by limiting liability, increasing the willingness to take risk and imposing penalties for poor judgment and rewards for wise judgment. But the measure of the system is not whether individuals benefit, but whether in benefiting they enhance the wealth of the nation.

The greatest systemic risk, therefore, is not an economic concept but a political one. Systemic risk emerges when it appears that the political and legal protections given to economic actors, and particularly to members of the economic elite, have been used to subvert the intent of the system. In other words, the crisis occurs when it appears that the economic elite used the law’s allocation of risk to enrich themselves in ways that undermined the wealth of the nation. Put another way, the crisis occurs when it appears that the financial elite used the politico-legal structure to enrich themselves through systematically imprudent behavior while those engaged in prudent behavior were harmed, with the political elite apparently taking no action to protect the victims.

In the modern public corporation, shareholders — the corporation’s owners — rarely control management. A board of directors technically oversees management on behalf of the shareholders. In the crisis of 2008, we saw behavior that devastated shareholder value while appearing to enrich the management — the corporation’s employees. In this case, the protections given to shareholders of corporations were turned against them when they were forced to pay for the imprudence of their employees — the managers, whose interests did not align with those of the shareholders. The managers in many cases profited personally through their compensation system for actions inimical to shareholder interests. We now have a political, not an economic, crisis for two reasons. First, the crisis qualitatively has moved beyond the boundaries of a cyclical event. Second, the crisis is rooted in the political-legal definitions of the distribution of corporate risk and the legally defined relations between management and shareholder. In leaving the shareholder liable for actions by management, but without giving shareholders controls to limit managerial risk taking, the problem lies not with the market but with the political system that invented and presides over the limited liability corporation.

Financial panics that appear natural and harm the financial elite do not necessarily create political crises. Financial panics that appear to be the result of deliberate manipulation of the allocation of risk under the law, and from which the financial elite as a whole appears to have profited even while shareholders and the public were harmed, inevitably create political crises. In the case of 2008 and the events that followed, we have a paradox. The 2008 crisis was not unprecedented, nor was the federal bailout. We saw similar things in the municipal bond crisis of the 1970s, and the Third World Debt Crisis and Savings and Loan Crisis in the 1980s. Nor was the recession that followed anomalous. It came seven years after the previous one, and compared to the 1970s and early 1980s, when unemployment stood at more than 10 percent and inflation and mortgages were at more than 20 percent, the new one was painful but well within the bounds of expected behavior.

The crisis was rooted in the appearance that it was triggered by the behavior not of small town banks or third world countries, but of the global financial elite, who took advantage of the complexities of law to enrich themselves instead of the shareholders and clients to whom it was thought they had prior fiduciary responsibility.

This is a political crisis then, not an economic one. The political elite is responsible for the corporate elite in a unique fashion: The corporation was a political invention, so by definition, its behavior depends on the political system. But in a deeper sense, the crisis is one of both political and corporate elites, and the perception that by omission or commission they acted together — knowingly engineering the outcome. In a sense, it does not matter whether this is what happened. That it is widely believed that this is what happened alone is the origin of the crisis. This generates a political crisis that in turn is translated into an attack on the economic system.

The public, which is cynical about such things, expects elites to work to benefit themselves. But at the same time, there are limits to the behavior the public will tolerate. That limit might be defined, with Adam Smith in mind, as the point when the wealth of the nation itself is endangered, i.e., when the system is generating outcomes that harm the nation. In extreme form, these crises can delegitimize regimes. In the most extreme form — and we are nowhere near this point — the military elite typically steps in to take control of the system.

This is not something that is confined to the United States by any means, although part of this analysis is designed to explain why the Obama administration must go after Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers and others. The symbol of Goldman Sachs profiting from actions that devastate national wealth, or of the management of Lehman wiping out shareholder value while they themselves did well, creates a crisis of confidence in the political and financial systems. With the crisis of legitimacy still not settling down after nearly two years, the reaction of the political system is predictable. It will both anoint symbolic miscreants, and redefine the structure of risk and liability in financial corporations. The goal is not so much to achieve something as to create the impression that it is achieving something, in other words, to demonstrate that the political system is prepared to control the entities it created.

The Crisis in Europe

We see a similar crisis in Europe. The financial institutions in Europe were fully complicit in the global financial crisis. They bought and sold derivatives whose value they knew to be other than stated, the same as Americans. Though the European financial institutions have asserted they were the hapless victims of unscrupulous American firms, the Europeans were as sophisticated as their American counterparts. Their elites knew what they were doing.

Complicating the European position was the creation of the economic union and the euro by the economic and political elite. There has always been a great deal of ambiguity concerning the powers and authority of the European Union, but its intentions were always clear: to harmonize Europe and to create European-wide solutions to economic problems. This goal always created unease in Europe. There were those who were concerned that a united Europe would exist to benefit the elites, rather than the broader public. There were also those who believed it was designed to benefit the Franco-German core of Europe rather than Europe as a whole. Overall, this reflected minority sentiment, but it was a substantial minority.

The financial crisis came at Europe in three phases. The first was part of the American subprime crisis. The second wave was a uniquely European crisis. European banks had taken massive positions in the Eastern European banking systems. For example, the Czech system was almost entirely foreign (Austrian and Italian) owned. These banks began lending to Eastern European homebuyers, with mortgages denominated in euros, Swiss francs or yen rather than in the currencies of the countries involved (none yet included in the eurozone). Doing this allowed banks to reduce interest rates, as the risk of currency fluctuation was pushed over to the borrower. But when the zlotys and forints began to plunge, these monthly mortgage payments began to soar, as did defaults. The European core, led by Germany, refused a European bailout of the borrowers or lenders even though the lenders who created this crisis were based in eurozone countries. Instead, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was called in to use funds that included American and Chinese, as well as European, money to solve the problem. This raised the political question in Eastern Europe as to what it meant to be part of the European Union.

The third wave is represented by crisis in sovereign debt in countries that are part of the eurozone but not in the core of Europe — Greece, of course, but also Portugal and possibly Spain. In the Greek case, the Germans in particular hesitated to intervene until it could draw the IMF — and non-European money and guarantees — into the mix. This obviously raised questions in the periphery about what membership in the eurozone meant, just as it created questions in Eastern Europe about what EU membership meant.

But a much deeper crisis of legitimacy arose. In Germany, elite sentiment accepted that some sort of intervention in Greece was inevitable. Public sentiment overwhelmingly opposed intervention, however. The political elite moved into tension with the financial elite under public pressure. In Greece, a similar crisis emerged between an elite that accepted that foreign discipline would have to be introduced and a public that saw this discipline as a betrayal of its interests and national sovereignty.

Europe thus has a double crisis. As in the United States, there is a crisis between the financial and political systems. This crisis is not as intense as in the United States because of a deeper tradition of integration between the two systems in Europe. But the tension between masses and elites is every bit as intense. The second part of the crisis is the crisis of the European Union and growing sense that the European Union is the problem and not the solution. As in the United States, there is a growing movement to distrust not only national arrangements but also multinational arrangements.

The United States and Europe are far from the only areas of the world facing crises of legitimacy. In China, for example, the growing suppression of all dissent derives from serious questions as to whom the financial expansion of the past 30 years benefits, and who will pay for the downturns. It is also interesting to note that Russia is suffering much less from this crisis, having lived through its own crisis before. The global crisis of legitimacy has many aspects worth considering at some point.

But for now, the important thing is to understand that both Europe and the United States are facing fundamental challenges to the legitimacy of, if not the regime, then at least the manner in which the regime has handled itself. The geopolitical significance of this crisis is obvious. If the Americans and Europeans both enter a period in which managing the internal balance becomes more pressing than managing the global balance, then other powers will have enhanced windows of opportunities to redefine their regional balances.

In the United States, we see a predictable process. With the unease over elites intensifying, the political elite is trying to stabilize the situation by attacking the financial elite. It is doing this to both demonstrate that the political elite is distinct from the financial elite and to impose the consequences on the financial elite that the impersonal system was unable to do. There is precedent for this, and it will likely achieve its desired end: greater control over the financial system by the state and an acceptable moral tale for the public.

The European process is much less clear. The lack of clarity comes from the fact that this is a test for the European Union. This is not simply a crisis within national elites, but within the multinational elite that created the European Union. If this leads to the de-legitimization of the EU, then we are really in uncharted territory.

But the most important point is that almost two years since a normal financial panic, the polity has still not managed to absorb the consequences of that event. The politically contrived corporation, and particularly the financial corporations, stands accused of undermining the wealth of nations. As Adam Smith understood, markets are not natural entities but the result of political decisions, as is the political system that creates the allocation of risk that allows markets to function. When that system appears to fail, the consequences go far beyond the particular financials of that event. They have political consequences and, in due course, geopolitical consequences.

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THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS ?!

The U.S. constitution affords us the right to life, liberty, and the right to pursue happiness. The only happiness I see now is the financial execs. that are receiving multi-million dollar bonues while the middle class is taking it on the chin. Why is  the financial reform  being delayed by the very politicians we have elected to assist us in the pursuit of happiness that the constitution guarantees? Selfish concerns of the elected officials has looked more like aristocracy rather than representatives. Are we being sold out? Our liberty and our pursuit of happiness has been traded for the dollar. We have been mugged! The government has stated “Your money or your life” and have taken both. As a Construction executive, I am going on my second year without a pay-day. (no fault of mine) I feel terribly betrayed. Being a viet vet, it is nothing new.

Ethics, Morality, business together?

There is a confusing situation that is a occuring in the business community and in particular, the banking industry. I have had one of the worst years (financially) ever. It has been reported that I am far from being alone. Yet, the banks and other business are recording billion dollar profits and million dollar bonues. There is something wrong with this picture.  Money seems to be aggregated at the very top of leadership while the bottom is being thrown to the wolves.

The fact that the profits and bonues were the result of taxpayer bailouts makes it even more confusing when the current financial and employment environment is in such a state of dysfunction.

It does not have to be this way!!!!!  It is up to we Americans to make the change, not politicians or corporations.

ENERGY VAMPIRES

Which way is your energy flowing?

Does it go to resentment, regrets, hate, pride, abandonment?

 Do you worry or experience anxiety? Do find there are fears in your life?

Saying yes to these and other thoughts not of love tell you your energy is being stolen from you. Energy vampires cannot create their own energy. They conspire to steal yours. The ego is their ally.

Consider this.

Be like Water. Be like Love. Be Infinite.