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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 20, 2011

Military rapes prompt censorship

Women serving in the U.S. military are now more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed in combat.

Censorship is alive and well at Facebook. I first encountered their devotion to free speech when I criticized Toyota, and starting with a recent post targeting obscene living conditions in the military, Facebook's censorship has ratcheted up considerably.

Facebook doesn't necessarily block postings outright, so you need to be informed and vigilant to determine if you're in the crosshairs. Just because a post appears on Profile and Home pages doesn't mean the post appears publicly in real-time. To see what I'm talking about, after you've posted something (assuming you've set your submissions to appear publicly), search a keyword, click Public Posts, and see if your post appears. Unless Facebook is censoring, your post should be there by the time you navigate or else appear within seconds. The bigger picture is that these postings can also be searched in other venues, such as Openbook and Bing. If you're being censored from Facebook's real-time Public Posts, you're really being censored.

Facebook's latest round of censorship started with my 9/21/2011 post, "Soulja Boy's Army style language." Addressing the verbal garbage young people are exposed to in the military and pondering its relevance to instances of rape must have set off a five star alarm. Blam. The post was blocked from real-time Public Posts, and subsequent posts, regardless of the topic, have also been blocked.

The Soulja Boy post was more explosive than I realized.  A Google search revealed that it was embarrassingly relevant to the military's continuing epidemic of rape cases, involving both male and female victims. The situation was headlined in one article as the Army's "dirty secret."    

So hey, Uncle Sam: I understand. The government's gotta be careful 'bout the truth gettin' out. Might make it difficult findin' fodder to fuel those imperialistic wars. After all, keepin' stuff quiet is how the land of the free managed to murder 58,000 of its own in the jungles of Vietnam.

Update 10/20/2011 - Facebook has blocked this post from appearing in real-time Public Posts.

Update 3/6/2017 - The latest military sex scandal involves nude, pornographic photos of Marines and veterans.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Occupy Wall Street wins round one

In the midst of millions unemployed, unpopular wars, and plunging house prices, America's power structure - 'bout 1% of the population - is on edge. Nowhere has this been better evidenced than by the systematic oppression directed against folks from all walks of life who came together in New York City on 9/17/2011, declaring a dug-in-for-the-long-haul protest under the banner "Occupy Wall Street." A mainstream media blackout was thrown at 'em from the get go, and peaceful protesters were arrested, pepper sprayed, and thrown to the ground. But in this age of the Internet, social media exploded. News of the blackout, videos documenting the size of the protest, and shots of police misconduct spread like wildfire. One video even documented a cop attacking a protester for simply carrying a camera. Beaten at it own game, mainstream media limped in, conspicuously late to cover the event.

Fast forward a few weeks, and Occupy Wall Street has now elbowed its way into the international spotlight. With 99% of the planet facing ruin - financial and otherwise - at the hands of governments beholden to wealthy power brokers, the "occupy" theme is ushering in protests from New York to London. The hottest hashtags on Twitter are #OccupyWallStreet and #ows.   

So round one - a battle for recognition - goes to the occupiers. The government's heavyhandedness backfired, further inflaming passions against bailed out banksters, imperialistic wars, and the corporate sponsored politicians of America's two headed one party electoral system. This past weekend there were sizeable protests in U.S. cities coast to coast, with New York drawing the biggest crowd yet.

Not bad for a freewheelin', off the cuff effort.

I'm especially pleased that so many of the occupiers have caught on to the fact that Demagogues and Repukes are equally beholden to "Wall Street," and anti-voting sentiment is makin' headlines. I quit voting years ago. Wouldn't it be great if this corrupt, warmongerin' government and its corporate cronies gave an election and nobody came?

Update 10/10/2011 - Facebook has blocked this post from appearing in real-time Public Posts.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Soulja Boy's Army-style language

I enlisted during the Vietnam Era. To say the military environment has gotten worse over the years is quite an understatement. Enter a rape epidemic featuring both heterosexual and homosexual assault, generals facing charges of adultery and forcible sodomy, and the list goes on and on. Wow.

Soulja Boy sure got the military up in arms when he utterd "f" the Army, and then dared advise troops to "be your own man." Somewhat curious though, was the absence of any indignation over Soulja Boy's trademark four-letter filth. In fact, as the military rushed to ban Soulja Boy recordings, the language thing seemed to be virtually off limits. And I think I know why.

Make no mistake: The Army was the absolute filthiest environment I ever had the misfortune to be in the midst of. Granted, I was no doubt a bit naive when I enlisted, but in all fairness, I was also a teenager. Like Marine recruit Jason Tharp.

That ol' Army recruiter really had me suckered. Slick literature, warm handshakes, and cordial, seemingly earnest conversations sorta like you might expect from a Sunday school teacher. Never ever not once did he utter so much as even the mildest slang.

Right. And talk about a rude awakening. When I started basic training at Ft. Jackson, South Carolina, four-letter filth spouted by those in charge was constant ad nauseum. And the "f" word reigned supreme. From sergeants to officers, there seemed to be a deliberate attempt to keep young minds in the gutter. On one occasion, a major was directing a march, and our group was to repeat after him an obscene scenario as we marched in cadence to the words. It depicted an encounter with a girl named Mary, concluding with "and there I f'd her on the ground."

Over the years, and especially considering the Army's pornographic torture of prisoners at Abu Graib, I've come to wonder if the constant barrage of verbal garbage has an even more sinister intent than one might think. Is it aimed, perhaps, at densensitizing "the troops" to such things as contrived sexual degradation? The programming, perhaps, of a subconscious willingness to rape, literally and figuratively, those hapless inhabitants of distant lands? I've had similar thoughts regarding the gang style savagery dished out - in front of other trainees - to Marine recruit Jason Tharp.

Soulja Boy's filthy, Army style language is most certainly repulsive. Nonetheless, he apparently suffered a few rational thoughts regarding the hired guns that carry out America's imperialistic, undeclared wars, dared to exercise a bit of free speech, and got waylaid by a country that can stand most anything except the truth.

Update 6/13/2017 - Here's a link to today's excellent article, "So, Your Daughter Joined the Military," by Laurence M. Vance

Update 10/6/2011 - Facebook blocked this post from appearing in real-time Public Posts, and immediately started blocking all of my subsequent posts from appearing in that venue, regardless of the topic. This latest bout of censorship remains in effect.

Updates 5/22/2013 -
The commanding general of Ft. Jackson, South Carolina, Bryan Roberts, has been suspended in connection with charges of adultery and involvement in a physical altercation: http://www.wistv.com/story/22378270/fort-jackson-commander-facing-adultery-charges 

As mentioned above, this post met with censorship. That prompted me to publish another post, "Military rapes prompt censorship"

Update 5/5/2015 - Had to laugh regarding recent news that Christians are finally viewing the military as a "hostile work environment." Somehow, ever since reading the Sermon on the Mount, I've been unable to visualize Jesus decked out in a military uniform, intent on butchering His enemies. One of my all-time favorite literary works is Mark Twain's "The War Prayer." War is as un-Christian as anything gets.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Where was the outrage over Jason Tharp?

Oops. Just when the land of liberty and justice for all had its heart set on another sadistic spectacle of the death penalty, a jury ruins everything by declaring Casey Anthony not guilty.

Enter street protests, threats, a $100,000 lawsuit filed against the exonerated for lying, blabberings on social media websites, heated debates on talk shows, articles by the zillion, petitions for yet another law, and politicians introducing bills. Behavior ushered in by the televised theatrics of Nancy Grace and a mainstream media that followed her lead as soon as they saw her ratings skyrocket. ABC even jumped in with a $200,000 payment to Casey's parents for licensing rights.


So where was the high profile media attention and public outcry over the whitewashed case of Marine recruit Jason Tharp? He was the teenager - known to be a poor swimmer and ill with a respiratory infection - who wanted out of the Marines and then drowned. Ordered to get in the water or be thrown in, Jason was surrounded by Marine swim instructors as he went under up to 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. At one point, a swim instructor shoved Jason's head deeper into the water. And talk about lying. The Marines initially claimed that Jason entered the water "voluntarily."

Where was mainstream media's blaring of these bloodcurdling facts? Where were the play-by-play howls from someone like Nancy Grace? And where, oh where, was the torn-to-tears, infuriated, obsessed-with-justice American public? I'm not sure which was more abhorrent: the way Jason died, or the cowardly silence after the investigative report was released.

I'm far from convinced that the jury got it right regarding Casey Anthony and the death of Caylee. Folks have been convicted on less evidence, and the whimsical nature of juries is one of many reasons I oppose the death penalty. But I won't be joining the national outrage. Considering a country willing to turn a deaf ear to the screams of Marine recruit Jason Tharp, there's way too much wrong with the picture.