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Tharp case still makes me cry

I initially blogged about this case as it unfolded, then re-titled the blog and condensed my comments. As far as I know, nothing has ever ...

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Why I don't vote

To begin with, voting simply isn't worth the effort for a country cowardly enough to tolerate the gang-style savagery dished out to Marine recruit Jason Tharp, the teenager who wanted out of the military, then drowned during "training." Forced to tread water, Jason was surrounded by Marine swim instructors as he went under possibly six times, screamed repeatedly to be let out of the pool, finally succumbed to exhaustion and coughed, gagged, or vomitted before bobbing to the surface unresponsive.

Only one mainstream media outlet revealed these bloodcurdling facts. Democracy depends on an informed electorate, and an informed electorate depends on a free press. The Tharp case epitomizes the fact that America has neither.

When it comes to the top office in the land, the Electoral College makes a mockery of majority rule. In a real democracy, the winner is the candidate who gets the most votes. One man, one vote. And if it's not the Electoral College, it's multi-billion dollar corporations deciding who gets elected and what kind of legislation gets passed. Corporations are not people. America's two-party system is a sham.

So go get 'em, boys and girls. Cast those ballots, support those imperialistic wars, and by all means, flap those flags. As for me, I'll make a deal. I'll vote for the first candidate who screams bloody murder about the Tharp case. Fair enough?

McCain v. Obama. And the Empress' new clothes.

One thing's for sure. McCain's got the best dressed running mate, hands down. I'll bet Biden's wardrobe doesn't cost half as much as Sarah's. But the real embarassment turns out to be John Edwards. Talk about cheap. Edwards was skimping by on those $400 haircuts...

Pardon the pun, but when it comes to warmongering, McCain doesn't beat around the Bush. And if McCain gets the nod, it might be kinda fun to see folks get exactly what they asked for.

Change you can believe in? I wish Obama was a non-smoker, at least. Yessir, he sure doesn't have any of that "baggage" from back when my generation put an end to one of America's filthy wars. Obama - like McCain - is shootin' for a bigger war in Afghanistan while he makes any withdrawal from Iraq contingent on conditions on the ground. Barack even threw a tantrum when MoveOn.org dared to run the Betray Us ad questioning the integrity of America's scandal-soaked military.

Too bad our last chance for world peace, racial harmony, etc. can't even get along with his minister. If only he would direct some of that hostility toward impeaching Bush and Cheney for war crimes. With Obama and his corporate lapdog Democrat party kissin' up to the Republicans and budgeting billions for America's latest wars, a small pocketful of coins left over after taxes will be the "change you can believe in" regardless of who gets elected.

Thank goodness I no longer bother to vote. This election has been better than an afternoon soap opera, and I can set back and enjoy the show.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Bailout Blues

Let's face it. Neither Obama nor McCain have enough courage to address the cause of America's current financial woes. The chickens of "livin' beyond one's means" have come home to roost, and the response from both parties has been a rush to spend even more. 'Course, it would be politically risky to assert that Americans - borrowers, lenders, and even Joe the Plumbers - need to exercise a little good old-fashioned self-discipline and common sense.

Sadly - as the parties of Obama and McCain budget trillions for America's latest imperialistic wars - our economy is built on suckerdom. Keepin' up with the Joneses keeps the credit flowin' and everyone's fat and happy. Throw in a few fancy Wall Street shenanigans, get the rest of the world involved, and when the entire house of cards comes crashin' down, bail out the culprits with taxpayer dollars from folks who lived responsibly. Folks who didn't buy the lie. Folks who made profits before they made "payroll."

For a number of reasons, I no longer vote. But it should be obvious by now that "Change You Can Believe In" won't start with Obama or McCain. They're afraid to say so, but what we need is less lendin' and spendin' - more savin' and behavin'.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Obomba (sic) sure ain't no Gene McCarthy

I saw a bumper sticker the other day that depicted the "O" in Obama as a peace sign. Did a double-take on that one.

Given Barack's promise to send more troops to Afghanistan, let me suggest turning the "O" into a depiction of a bomb. Or just change the name to Obomba. Whatever. I guess some folks think because Obomba has offered to withdraw troops from Iraq contingent on conditions on the ground, that makes him some sort of a peace candidate. Maybe they weren't around when we had real peace candidates like Gene McCarthy and George McGovern. At least my generation knew the difference between a peace candidate and a warmonger. Oh for the 60's again.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Vote... for the warmonger of your choice

Amidst rumblings of war with Iran - and even an invasion of Pakistan (just to get Bin Laden, of course) - oBOMBa and McSame have both pledged their allegiance to a troop buildup in Afghanistan. Gotta change the focus of the "War on Terror" now that Iraq has become so unpopular.

Isn't it amazing how the two "opposition" parties can always agree on more war? How the Democrats - ushered in on anti-war sentiment - always wind up joining the Republicans for war funding? Talk about a two-party "system." It lapdogs for the military-industrial complex, promotes U.S. imperialism, and refuses to impeach Bush and Cheney for war crimes. Still wanna vote? I don't. And won't. But if you still do, save youself some time and just flip a coin. And use a dime to remind yourself that it won't make a dime's worth of difference which candidate or which party gets elected.

You can say the War on Terror is all about oil. Real oil for corrupt corporate interests, and snake oil for the rest of us. Hup, two, three, four, and The Great American War Machine is on the move....

Friday, July 4, 2008

Toyota stays quiet about design defects

Toyota's MR2 Spyders have an alarming number of engine and exhaust failures requiring replacement. Spyderchat.com (USA) features a multitude of postings from MR2 owners. My post is number 128. There's also a detailed documentation of pre-cat removal. For an in-depth technical discussion of these engine failures, visit the British MR2 Roadster Owners Club's official information thread. British Spyder owners have started a number of forums addressing this problem. CarSurvey.com features an especially interesting personal account.

Talk about financial schemes and rip-offs. This one puts Wall Street to shame. Its another one of those deals where an automobile manufacturer stays quiet about a known defect, buys time and then claims they aren't liable because the warranty has expired. No regard whatsoever for folks who suddenly find themselves with ruined engines and exhaust systems costing about $8,000 to replace. Adding insult to injury, owners can't be assured the problem has been corrected when their engines are rebuilt. Numerous engine failures have occured within low mileages, prompting some owners to sell their cars rather than chance another failure. Of course, this puts the next buyer at risk while Toyota basks in the sunshine of getting paid enormous sums of money to correct their own error. And insofar as a class action lawsuit is concerned, forget it. Not many Spyders were produced, and with a relatively small number of owners, lawyers aren't interested. Furthermore, industry lobbyists have made it extremely expensive to file class actions. So I guess Toyota has played it pretty smart. In a crooked sort of way...

I now have a separate blog, "Beware of Toyota: Their next victim may be YOU..." at http://www.uc2.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Like Tharp, Tillman case is troubling

The State newspaper refused to publish the comments I submitted regarding the death of Pat Tillman.

First it was Jason Tharp, the teenager who wanted out of the military and then drowned during "training." Forced to tread water, Jason was surrounded by Marine swim instructors as he went under possibly six times, screamed repeatedly to be let out of the pool, finally succumbed to exhaustion and coughed, gagged, or vomitted before bobbing to the surface unresponsive. Facts came to light only because NBC affiliate WIS-TV happened to catch an instructor assaulting Jason 24 hours before the drowning occured.

Next it was former NFL superstar Pat Tillman. He spoke out against the Iraq war and then got killed by "friendly fire." Mainstream media has a tendency not to mention Pat's opposition to the war. Instead, they simply refer to Pat's "notoriety." Come to think of it, I guess you could say notoriety is something Pat Tillman had in common with Jason Tharp.

Witnessed to have yelled out his identity, evidence suggests that Tillman was shot at close range according to investigators who claim their findings were ignored. They say he was shot from about ten yards instead of 90 as claimed by the Army. The military has given outrageously false accounts of how Tillman died, including at least one falsified document.

Appearing last Sunday on 60 Minutes, Tillman's mother emphasized that the public had been victimized by false information. At least the Tillmans - with resources sharply contrasting those of the Tharps - are managing to get the facts in front of the public, complete with a congressional inquiry.

Notoriety is beginning to look like a health issue...

If anything ever warranted a congressional inquiry, it was the case of Marine recruit Jason Tharp. Only one media outlet revealed the horrifying details of how Jason died:

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Toys for Tots? How about "Guns for Gangs"?

News has it (don't miss the video) that Marines from Parris Island have been coming to South Carolina's capitol city offering assistance to local gang members. You know. Teach 'em tactical manuevers. That sort of thing. In fact, the relationship between the military and gangs has gotten so cozy that military police are warning cities all across America to be on the lookout. Not to be an alarmist, but I think this says something about our society.

Come Christmastime, maybe the Marines should start a new program to go along with Toys for Tots. They could call it "Guns for Gangs." Might not have quite as good a recruiting angle as Toys for Tots, but it would be a bit more honest. Tots, incidentally, didn't do too well at the hands of Marines in Iraq, most notably, perhaps, as the gang massacred innocent men, women, and children at Haditha.

Writing as a four-year Army veteran, Vietnam Era, I'm reminded of the kinda folks you can get thrown in with when you sign up for the military. Like the night - 'round 2 a.m. actually - when someone came in drunk, drugged, both, or whatever, picked a fight, and slashed a guy's face - in the dark - multiple times with one of those little razor-sharp knives ('bout the size of fingernail clippers) that fit on key chains.

Ah, the marvels of Uncle Sam's communal living arrangements. Its another one of those things recruiters somehow forget to mention. I could recount more "war stories," but if you haven't gotten the picture by now, it probably wouldn't do any good.

This thing about gangs in the military also reminds me of the gang-style savagery dished out to Marine recruit Jason Tharp, the teenager who wanted out of the military and then drowned during "training." Forced to tread water, Jason was surrounded by Marine swim instructors as he went under possibly six times, screamed repeatedly to be let out of the pool, finally succumbed to exhaustion and coughed, gagged, or vomitted before bobbing to the surface unresponsive.

Come to think of it, havin' military recruiters on school grounds may not be such a good idea after all.

Only one media outlet dared to publish the horrifying details of Jason's death:

Update 12/14/2014 - A smattering of more recent articles - such as this one - suggest that military personnel supplying guns to gangs is continuing. As word spreads about the kind of environment folks are exposed to in the military, no wonder there's a renewed interest in reviving the draft. It takes lots of fresh cannon fodder to fight ol' Sammy's never-ending, imperialistic, undeclared wars.

Update 5/4/2015 - Military personnel assisting gangs is continuing, evidenced by last month's story about Army reservists plotting to sell guns, ammo, and body armor to Mexican drug cartels. Nuthin' like the desire to lend a helping hand...