Black History: The Later Klans

© copyright 2008 Storm Bear.  Town Called Dobson


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From Wikipedia:

The name “Ku Klux Klan” began to be used by several independent groups. Beginning in the 1950s, individual Klan groups began to resist the Civil Rights Movement by bombing houses in transitional neighborhoods and the houses of activists, as well as by physical violence, intimidation and assassination. In Birmingham, Alabama, during the tenure of Bull Connor, Klan groups were closely allied with police and operated with impunity. There were so many bombings of homes by Klan groups that the city’s nickname was “Bombingham”. In states such as Alabama and Mississippi, Klan members had alliances with governors’ administrations.

Many murders went unreported and unprosecuted. Continuing disfranchisement of blacks meant that most could not serve on juries, which were all white. According to a report from the Southern Regional Council in Atlanta, the homes of forty black Southern families were bombed during 1951 and 1952. Some were social activists whose work exposed them to danger, but most were either people who refused to bow to racist convention or were innocent bystanders, unsuspecting victims of random terrorism.”

Among the more notorious murders by Klan members:

  • The 1951 Christmas Eve bombing of the home of NAACP activists Harry and Harriette Moore in Mims, Florida, resulting in both their deaths.
  • The 1957 murder of Willie Edwards, Jr. Klansmen forced Edwards to jump to his death from a bridge into the Alabama River.
  • The 1963 assassination of NAACP organizer Medgar Evers in Mississippi. In 1994, former Ku Klux Klansman Byron De La Beckwith was convicted.
  • The 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, which killed four black girls. The perpetrators were Klan members Robert Chambliss, convicted in 1977, Thomas Blanton and Bobby Frank Cherry, convicted in 2001 and 2002. The fourth suspect, Herman Cash, died before he was indicted.
  • The 1964 murders of three civil rights workers Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner in Mississippi. In June 2005, Klan member Edgar Ray Killen was convicted of manslaughter.
  • The 1964 murder of two black teenagers, Henry Hezekiah Dee and Charles Eddie Moore in Mississippi. In August 2007, based on the confession of Klansman Charles Marcus Edwards, James Ford Seale, a reputed Ku Klux Klansman, was convicted. Seale was sentenced to serve three life sentences. Seale was a former Mississippi policeman and sheriff’s deputy.

The 1965 Alabama murder of Viola Liuzzo. She was a Southern-raised Detroit mother of five in the state to attend a civil rights march. At the time of her murder Liuzzo was transporting Civil Rights Marchers.

The 1966 firebombing death of NAACP leader Vernon Dahmer Sr., 58, in Mississippi. In 1998 former Ku Klux Klan wizard Sam Bowers was convicted of his murder and sentenced to life. Two other Klan members were indicted with Bowers, but one died before trial, and the other’s indictment was dismissed.

There was also resistance to Klan violence. In a 1958 North Carolina incident, the Klan burned crosses at the homes of two Lumbee Native Americans who had associated with white people and threatened to return with more men. When they held a nighttime rally nearby, they found themselves surrounded by hundreds of armed Lumbees. Gunfire was exchanged, and the Klan was routed at what became known as the Battle of Hayes Pond.

When Freedom Riders arrived in Birmingham, Alabama, the police commissioner Bull Connor gave Klan members fifteen minutes to attack the riders before sending in the police. When local and state authorities failed to protect them, the federal government established more effective intervention. While the FBI had paid informants in the Klan, for instance in Birmingham, Alabama in the early 1960s, their relations with local law enforcement and the Klan were often ambiguous. The head of the FBI J. Edgar Hoover, appeared more concerned about Communist links to civil rights activists than about controlling Klan excesses. In 1964, the FBI’s COINTELPRO program began attempts to infiltrate and disrupt civil rights groups.

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U.S. war machine the real enemy, not Iraqis

© copyright 2008 Michael Prysner.  Party for Socialism and Liberation

Originally Published Wednesday, October 24, 2007

An Iraq veteran’s perspective

When I volunteered as a soldier to be a part of the initial invasion of Iraq, it was under the assumption that our intentions were just.  U.S. troops-most of us from working-class backgrounds-were fed countless stories of the supposed brutality of Saddam Hussein, and the plight of the Iraqi people.

I truly began to understand the nature of the “liberation” that the U.S. military was bringing to Iraq after one particular mission-one that I struggle with everyday, and one that I share with a great deal of shame and regret.

I still have not discovered the reasons for being sent on this mission.  There was a block of about 10 homes in an Iraqi city, all with families living in them.  Our orders were to force them to leave.  We drove our unarmored Humvees as occupiers through a newly “liberated” Iraqi neighborhood.  We found the block of houses, set up security and began knocking on each door.

Each family, “free” from Saddam’s “dictatorship” was greeted by rifles in their faces and eviction notices.  As they argued with us, confused and panicked, all we could tell them was that they had two days to leave.  We did not tell them where to go, why they had to leave or offer any compensation.  All we provided was an “official” letter ordering them out of their homes.

When we returned two days later, none of the families had gone.  The instructions from the military brass were clear: empty the houses no matter what.  We were given no reasons or explanations.  Only orders.

The orders did not tell us what to do with the Iraqi children in the homes, or the old man who could not walk.  We barged in the houses, rifles first, and began removing people.

A young Iraqi girl who spoke English tried to reason with us.  She tried to understand why this was happening and what they were supposed to do.  All we did was tell her we were sorry, as we dragged her family crying onto the street.  That day was spent being spit on, being told we were “worse than Saddam,” and being forced to turn our heads as crying families begged us to let them stay.  The men who refused to leave were zip-tied and brought to jail.  The women and children were told only what prison their family members were being taken to; we left them standing in the street as we drove back to base.  This was the “liberation” that the U.S. military occupation brought to Iraq.

International solidarity

Not a day has gone by that I haven’t been haunted by the desperate faces of those newly homeless families.  The oppression of the colonial occupation of Iraq is something that weighs heavily on my mind.

Everyday, the U.S. government throws families onto the street.  In Iraq, it is with threats and violence.

There is no colonial occupation in the United States, but workers also are losing their homes and apartments to make way for the rich.  Workers here are faced with racism, bigotry and poverty-all aimed at them by the system and a massive media-based propaganda machine.

Families in Iraq are not our enemies.  The hungry and impoverished workers in Iraq are the same as workers who struggle to survive in the United States..  And it is working-class people in this country who are deliberately targeted by military recruiters.  The politicians in Washington send oppressed people overseas to kill, humiliate and oppress others.

This does not serve our interests; it only serves the interests of the war profiteers.

Real liberation will come when we-soldiers, workers, immigrants, students and families-no longer let the ruling class divide and create barriers between the exploited in the United States and the exploited abroad.  Soldiers should refuse to fight and, instead, bring the struggle home.  Real liberation will come when we struggle together against our common enemy, instead of being used against each other to profit the rich.

Digging a Record Deficit




To view the original art, please travel to Digging a Record Deficit’

copyright © 2008.  Andrew Wahl.  Off The Wahl Perspective.

Earlier this week, The White House announced it’s expecting the 2009 budget deficit to hit a record $482 billion. Worse still, this total doesn’t factor in an additional $80 billion in expected war costs (despite a mandate from Congress that they be included). All told, then, the deficit will top a half trillion dollars. That’s TRILLION. In one year. Thanks largely to a president from the party that touts fiscal restraint, and who inherited a budget SURPLUS. Consider it a parting gift from “The Digger” [Archive No. 0829] (see toon above).

Before signing off, Several Bits of Off the Wahl Perspective News . . .

– One of my editorial cartoons has been selected by toonpool.com for its ongoing “Underground Exhibition” in Europe. On Aug. 3, “Checking the Gauge” [Archive No. 0617] will be broadcast 40 times a day on 4,000 video screens in Berlin’s subways, and should be seen by approximately 1.5 million passengers.

– Three of my toons can be found in new books chronicling the recent primaries. “Marathon Coverage” [Archive No. 0801] is included in “The Race for the 2008 Democratic Nomination,” while “Mitt on Change” [Archive No. 0802] and “Fresh Face of the GOP” [Archive No. 0804] made the cut for “The Race for the 2008 Republican Nomination.” I won’t be selling copies in the OtWP Store, but, if you’re interested, you can use the links below and I’ll get a kickback from Amazon.

Buy “The Race for the 2008 Democratic Nomination”:

  • “The Race for the 2008 Democratic Nomination”
  • Buy “The Race for the 2008 Republican Nomination”:

  • “The Race for the 2008 Republican Nomination”
  • – Finally, the time has come for a summer break. I plan to take the next three weeks off for family travel, backburner cartoon projects and just to generally recharge my battery. Expect my next toon Aug. 27, just in time to comment on the Democratic convention.

    Till then,

    Andrew

    toon@offthewahl.com

    The Black Soldier



    The Black Soldier (clip)

    copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert

    Three score ago, after a long history of service, superior, and yet segregated, Black soldiers were recognized as equal, or at least consideration for the possibility was put forth.  In truth, then and perhaps now, manpower needs took precedence over racial prejudice in name only.  The story begins on July 26, 1948, or perchance, years earlier.  Historians speak of President Harry S. Truman’s doctrine, Executive Order 9981.  The directive states, “It is hereby declared to be the policy of the President that there shall be equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed services without regard to race, color, religion, or national origin.”  While the words are wondrous, the tale of what was and is, does not begin or end with this decree.

    Segregation in the Armed Forces was perhaps a source of embarrassment to many Americans and the President of the “United” States.  Before 1940, and America’s entrance into World War II, African American soldiers served with honor and little acknowledgement.  Troops whose complexion was dark were forbidden from flying for the U.S. military forces.  Frustrated with the reality that, years after being freed from slavery, African-Americans, had little opportunity to “soar,”  “Civil Rights organizations and the Black press exerted pressure.” The strength of community outreach and a media delivered message helped to bring about long overdue change.  Ultimately, in 1941, an all African-American squadron based in Tuskegee, Alabama, was formed.  They became known as the Tuskegee Airmen.  After the Second World War, the honorable actions of the Tuskegee Airmen were recognized more than once amongst average Americans.  Indeed, these prized professionals were revered.

    Perchance, Harry Truman heard the words of praise for the Black military pilots and realized he could no longer ignore the issue of segregation amongst servicemen; nor would he wish to.  For, possibly, to this President, it had become obvious; when a man is allowed to be truly powerful, as the Airmen were, they serve in more than name only.  The President proposed as he placed his signature on the proclamation,

    “Whereas it is essential that there be maintained in the armed services of the United States the highest standards of democracy, with equality of treatment and opportunity for all those who serve in our country’s defense.. . .

    It is hereby declared to be the policy of the President that there shall be equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed services without regard to race, color, religion or national origin.”

    Had Harry Truman not been aware of the esteemed Airmen, he may have known of the presence of dark skinned soldiers in American history, Buffalo Soldiers. These troops may have influenced his thoughts.  The all-Black brigades became better known after the second war meant to end all wars.  From 1941 through 1945, in World War II, Black military men served proudly and prominently, under the direction of Commander-In-Chief Truman.

    Some 500,000 Blacks were stationed overseas, amounting to 4% of the 11 million Americans who served on foreign shores. About 10% of blacks were in combat units. The all-black 92nd Infantry was in Italy, and had 616 killed in action and 2,187 wounded. The 93rd Division was stationed in the South Pacific, losing 17 KIA and 121 WIA. There was also the black 366th Infantry (Separates).?

    During the Battle of the Bulge, 2,500 blacks were formed into all black Infantry platoons and attached to larger units. The famed 761st Tank Battalion spent 183 continuous days in combat in the European Theater, earning a Presidential Unit Citation. The 333rd Field Artillery bravely supported ground operations in France.?

    Three all-black air units flew overseas: 332nd Fighter Group, 477th Bombardment Group and the 99th Fighter Squadron. Sixty-six Black pilots were killed in action. A total of 140,000 blacks served in the Army Air Forces. Nearly 150,000 Blacks served in the Navy. Of the 12,000 Black Marines, 9 were killed in action.

    President Truman may have understood all that African-American soldiers had done to help achieve an American victory.  Yet, he also understood, that no matter what the Black troops did in the service to their country, they would always be seen as unequal, that is unless action was taken to correct the fate of soldiers whose skin was a purplish-brown hue.

    This was made more apparent when, on February 13, 1946, two years before President Truman signed Executive Order 9981 into law.  On Valentine’s Day eve, love was lost for an African-American World War II veteran, Isaac Woodard.  The honorably discharged Sergeant, a decorated soldier, was attacked and blinded by policemen in Aiken, South Carolina.  President Truman took notice.  Actually, he had too.  Although, initially the periodicals did not cover the story, word did spread.  Soon the major news outlets printed reports and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) publicized the occurrence.  Manpower, precedence, and prejudice again are considerations in the life of a Black soldier.

    (N)ews soon also emerged in popular culture. Via his radio show, broadcaster and movie celebrity Orson Welles soon began to crusade for the punishment of Shull (the officer who intentionally blinded Mister Woodard) and his accomplices.  Welles, a follower of the civil rights movement, found the reaction of the South Carolina government to be intolerable and shameful.

    The news would also have an impact on music as well. A month after the beating, calypso artist Lord Invader recorded an anti-racism song for his album Calypso at Midnight entitled “God Made Us All,” with the last line in the song directly referencing the incident.

    Perhaps, President Harry Truman was not moved by music or media personalities.  Possibly, more prominent in his mind were the internal communications that circulated through the White House.  Two years to the day, before Executive Order 9981 was signed a memorandum “Re:  Stoppage of Negro Enlistments” marched through the halls at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.  The document, from the desk of  Philleo Nash, Special Assistant to the President, was addressed to David K. Niles, Administrative Assistant to Harry Truman. The communication referenced “undesirable and uneconomical” Black soldiers.

    As the discussion of what to do with Black troops raged on within the walls of the White House, a Caucasian crowd pulled two African-American veterans and their wives from their automobile near Monroe, Georgia.  The Black citizens were shot to death; their bodies riddled with bullets.  Upon investigation, it was discovered sixty (sixty) rounds were fired into the purplish brown flesh of these four innocent persons.  Their only crime was the color of their skin.  Whites in the community found the darker hue objectionable.  Again, it mattered not that the men were soldiers, honorably discharged after years of service to the country that denied them equal rights, the “United” States of America.  On this occasion, the need or want of a few white men took precedence over racial justice.  This may have disturbed the man in the Oval Office, Harry Truman.  The Commander took action.

    Within days of the horrific occurrence, on July 30, 1946, Attorney General Tom Clark announced that the President had instructed the Justice Department to “proceed with all its resources to investigate [the Monroe, Georgia atrocity] and other crimes of oppression so as to ascertain if any Federal statute can be applied.”

    Months later, in a letter to the National Urban League, President Truman resolved; the government has “an obligation to see that the civil rights of every citizen are fully and equally protected.”  Yet, it became increasingly apparent the Administration had done nothing to ensure the rights of African-Americans, in, or out of the Armed Forces.

    As months turn into years, and racism remained rampant on the streets and in the barracks, Presidential Advisor Clark Clifford urged President Truman to consider the importance of the African-American vote and Civil Rights issues in the 1948 Presidential campaign.  Perhaps, that was the catalyst.  Expedience advanced equality.  Thus, Executive Order 9981 was signed into law.  End of story, all is well, and sixty years later Americans celebrate the anniversary of equal Rights for Black soldiers, or so it would seem.

    Yet, on the same day the order was executed, Army staff officers spoke anonymously to the press.  Each official explained the Executive Order 9981 did not specifically forbid segregation in the Army.  Then Army Chief of Staff General Omar N. Bradley stated desegregation would come to the Army “only when it becomes a fact in the rest of American society.”  

    While Americans may wish to believe that the ugly face of bigotry is gone for good, indeed, even in the twenty-first century, intolerance surfaces in subtle ways.  Once again, manpower needs took precedence over racial prejudice in name only.  Filmmaker Clint Eastwood had a need for a cast of characters.  He hoped to document the mêlée at Iwo Jima, 1945.  Yet, he did not tell the story a Black soldier who served in the battle might have.

    On February 19 1945, Thomas McPhatter found himself on a landing craft heading toward the beach on Iwo Jima.

    “There were bodies bobbing up all around, all these dead men,” said the former US marine, now 83 and living in San Diego. “Then we were crawling on our bellies and moving up the beach. I jumped in a foxhole and there was a young white marine holding his family pictures. He had been hit by shrapnel, he was bleeding from the ears, nose and mouth. It frightened me. The only thing I could do was lie there and repeat the Lord’s prayer, over and over and over.”

    Sadly, Sgt McPhatter’s experience is not mirrored in Flags of Our Fathers, Clint Eastwood’s big-budget, Oscar-tipped film of the battle for the Japanese island that opened on Friday in the US. While the film’s battle, scenes show scores of young soldiers in combat, none of them are African-American. Yet almost 900 African-American troops took part in the battle of Iwo Jima, including Sgt McPhatter.

    Apologies are offered.  Yet, not to Sergeant Thomas McPhatter, or by the director, Clint Eastwood.   The filmmaker said he did not include Blacks in the script “because there were no Afro-American soldiers involved.”  Notwithstanding, the facts, many servicemen of color fought for this country long before they were acknowledged or recognized by the State, society, or a screenwriter such as Clint Eastwood.  Mostly, the military men of color fought on two fronts.  First, Black servicemen battled with foreign foes.  Then they clashed with those at home who only saw their skin color.  Neighbors acted as local combatants, not allied forces.  Civilians, protected by active duty Black soldiers, accused those whose complexions were charcoal of crimes they had not committed.  The evidence offered was but a reflection of reality;  racial prejudice is preeminent.   Please consider a tale too true.

    Army apologizes to soldiers convicted after 1944 Fort Lawton riot

    By Keith Ervin

    Seattle Times

    For decades, Willie Prevost kept his secret.

    Like most of his World War II Army buddies, he never told his family about his conviction for rioting during a night of violence that left a number of men injured and one dead at Seattle’s Fort Lawton in 1944.

    But on Saturday, his family was there as the U.S. Army apologized in a ceremony to clear the names of Prevost and 27 other African-American soldiers who were convicted in a now-discredited court-martial.

    Sixty-three years after they were sentenced to hard labor, and nearly all dishonorably discharged, “The Fort Lawton 28” were given military honors, with an Army band and color guard, gospel choir and speeches by U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott, Mayor Greg Nickels, King County Executive Ron Sims and Assistant Secretary of the Army Ronald James.

    Only two of the veterans lived to see the day. . .

    In total, the families of five veterans were present.

    Saturday’s ceremony took place on a Fort Lawton parade ground – now part of Seattle’s Discovery Park – 60 years to the day after President Harry Truman desegregated the armed forces.

    Again, actions taken six decades earlier prove profound.  The past permeates the present.  As Americans celebrate six decades, since the end of segregation in the Armed Forces, we must accept that in actuality, prejudice still permeates and is prominent.  While it might be argued; there has been some progress. Decades later, apologies are offered to a few, or two.  There is still much to be done to right persistent wrongs.  Perhaps we may wish to ponder the present,

    Blacks still rare in top U.S. military ranks

    While blacks make up about 17% of the total force, they are just 9% of all officers, according to data obtained and analyzed by The Associated Press.

    The rarity of blacks in the top ranks is apparent in one startling statistic: Only one of the 38 four-star generals or admirals serving as of May was black. And just 10 black men have ever gained four-star rank – five in the Army, four in the Air Force and one in the Navy, according to the Pentagon.

    All is not well on the Western front.  America and Americans do not honor the contributions of all hues.  Accolades of “equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed services without regard to race, color, religion, or national origin.” aside, pinkish persons have yet to embrace the notion; we are one, the human race.

    References Racial Discrimination and Executive Order 9981 . . .

    Al Gore; We Can Solve The Climate Crisis



    Remix: Al Gore’s Challenge to Repower America

    copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert

    Former Vice President Albert Gore challenges Congress, corporations, citizens in this country, and people planet wide to consider crucial connections, and what might be done to correct what appears to be an eminent disaster.  Globally,  civilization depends on us, and our commitment to change.  Currently, the situation is critical.  Catastrophes exist around every corner.  The economy is shaky.  Employment opportunities are limited.  Weather is weird.  Most experts believe the “energy tsunami” seems to have effected the environment.  Forecasts for the future are not good.  We can no longer count the years until our demise.  The days are numbered.  Too many species are now extinct; more are threatened.  All people on this planet must acknowledge we are in peril.  There is a climate crisis.

    Those who wish to believe humans have no effect on the environment need only turn on the television or tune in the radio.  Everyday there are reports that document extraordinary and dire weather conditions.  If this information does not convince cynics, perhaps a more personal tour will.  Travel to your local major metropolis, or better yet, journey to the Far East.  The conditions in China might make an impression.  With little care for contaminates, or regulations to reduce pollutants, poisons visibly linger in the air and scorch the lungs of those who live in this industrialized continent.  Sewage improperly disposed of has caused rivers to rot.  Noxious waste has destroyed waterways at home and abroad.  The land is also filled with toxin.

    The air is no longer clean.  The seas are soiled.  The land is filled with impurities.  Soon there will be nowhere to hide from what humans wrought.  Thus, the challenge, as presented by Nobel Peace Prize awardee.  Please do more than peruse.  Take the initiative and repower the property Mother Nature bequeathed.

    Ladies and gentlemen:

    There are times in the history of our nation when our very way of life depends upon dispelling illusions and awakening to the challenge of a present danger.  In such moments, we are called upon to move quickly and boldly to shake off complacency, throw aside old habits and rise, clear-eyed and alert, to the necessity of big changes.  Those who, for whatever reason, refuse to do their part must either be persuaded to join the effort or asked to step aside. This is such a moment. The survival of the United States of America as we know it is at risk. And even more – if more should be required – the future of human civilization is at stake.

    I don’t remember a time in our country when so many things seemed to be going so wrong simultaneously. Our economy is in terrible shape and getting worse, gasoline prices are increasing dramatically, and so are electricity rates. Jobs are being outsourced. Home mortgages are in trouble. Banks, automobile companies and other institutions we depend upon are under growing pressure. Distinguished senior business leaders are telling us that this is just the beginning unless we find the courage to make some major changes quickly.

    The climate crisis, in particular, is getting a lot worse – much more quickly than predicted. Scientists with access to data from Navy submarines traversing underneath the North polar ice cap have warned that there is now a 75 percent chance that within five years the entire ice cap will completely disappear during the summer months. This will further increase the melting pressure on Greenland. According to experts, the Jakobshavn glacier, one of Greenland’s largest, is moving at a faster rate than ever before, losing 20 million tons of ice every day, equivalent to the amount of water used every year by the residents of New York City.

    Two major studies from military intelligence experts have warned our leaders about the dangerous national security implications of the climate crisis, including the possibility of hundreds of millions of climate refugees destabilizing nations around the world.

    Just two days ago, 27 senior statesmen and retired military leaders warned of the national security threat from an “energy tsunami” that would be triggered by a loss of our access to foreign oil. Meanwhile, the war in Iraq continues, and now the war in Afghanistan appears to be getting worse.

    And by the way, our weather sure is getting strange, isn’t it? There seem to be more tornadoes than in living memory, longer droughts, bigger downpours and record floods. Unprecedented fires are burning in California and elsewhere in the American West. Higher temperatures lead to drier vegetation that makes kindling for mega-fires of the kind that have been raging in Canada, Greece, Russia, China, South America, Australia and Africa. Scientists in the Department of Geophysics and Planetary Science at Tel Aviv University tell us that for every one degree increase in temperature, lightning strikes will go up another 10 percent. And it is lightning, after all, that is principally responsible for igniting the conflagration in California today.

    Like a lot of people, it seems to me that all these problems are bigger than any of the solutions that have thus far been proposed for them, and that’s been worrying me.

    I’m convinced that one reason we’ve seemed paralyzed in the face of these crises is our tendency to offer old solutions to each crisis separately – without taking the others into account. And these outdated proposals have not only been ineffective – they almost always make the other crises even worse.

    Yet when we look at all three of these seemingly intractable challenges at the same time, we can see the common thread running through them, deeply ironic in its simplicity: our dangerous over-reliance on carbon-based fuels is at the core of all three of these challenges – the economic, environmental and national security crises.

    We’re borrowing money from China to buy oil from the Persian Gulf to burn it in ways that destroy the planet. Every bit of that’s got to change.

    But if we grab hold of that common thread and pull it hard, all of these complex problems begin to unravel and we will find that we’re holding the answer to all of them right in our hand.

    The answer is to end our reliance on carbon-based fuels.

    In my search for genuinely effective answers to the climate crisis, I have held a series of “solutions summits” with engineers, scientists, and CEOs. In those discussions, one thing has become abundantly clear: when you connect the dots, it turns out that the real solutions to the climate crisis are the very same measures needed to renew our economy and escape the trap of ever-rising energy prices. Moreover, they are also the very same solutions we need to guarantee our national security without having to go to war in the Persian Gulf.

    What if we could use fuels that are not expensive, don’t cause pollution and are abundantly available right here at home?

    We have such fuels. Scientists have confirmed that enough solar energy falls on the surface of the earth every 40 minutes to meet 100 percent of the entire world’s energy needs for a full year. Tapping just a small portion of this solar energy could provide all of the electricity America uses.

    And enough wind power blows through the Midwest corridor every day to also meet 100 percent of US electricity demand. Geothermal energy, similarly, is capable of providing enormous supplies of electricity for America.

    The quickest, cheapest and best way to start using all this renewable energy is in the production of electricity. In fact, we can start right now using solar power, wind power and geothermal power to make electricity for our homes and businesses.

    But to make this exciting potential a reality, and truly solve our nation’s problems, we need a new start.

    That’s why I’m proposing today a strategic initiative designed to free us from the crises that are holding us down and to regain control of our own destiny. It’s not the only thing we need to do. But this strategic challenge is the lynchpin of a bold new strategy needed to re-power America.

    Today I challenge our nation to commit to producing 100 percent of our electricity from renewable energy and truly clean carbon-free sources within 10 years.

    This goal is achievable, affordable and transformative. It represents a challenge to all Americans – in every walk of life: to our political leaders, entrepreneurs, innovators, engineers, and to every citizen.

    A few years ago, it would not have been possible to issue such a challenge. But here’s what’s changed: the sharp cost reductions now beginning to take place in solar, wind, and geothermal power – coupled with the recent dramatic price increases for oil and coal – have radically changed the economics of energy.

    When I first went to Congress 32 years ago, I listened to experts testify that if oil ever got to $35 a barrel, then renewable sources of energy would become competitive. Well, today, the price of oil is over $135 per barrel. And sure enough, billions of dollars of new investment are flowing into the development of concentrated solar thermal, photovoltaics, windmills, geothermal plants, and a variety of ingenious new ways to improve our efficiency and conserve presently wasted energy.

    And as the demand for renewable energy grows, the costs will continue to fall. Let me give you one revealing example: the price of the specialized silicon used to make solar cells was recently as high as $300 per kilogram. But the newest contracts have prices as low as $50 a kilogram.

    You know, the same thing happened with computer chips – also made out of silicon. The price paid for the same performance came down by 50 percent every 18 months – year after year, and that’s what’s happened for 40 years in a row.

    To those who argue that we do not yet have the technology to accomplish these results with renewable energy: I ask them to come with me to meet the entrepreneurs who will drive this revolution. I’ve seen what they are doing and I have no doubt that we can meet this challenge.

    To those who say the costs are still too high: I ask them to consider whether the costs of oil and coal will ever stop increasing if we keep relying on quickly depleting energy sources to feed a rapidly growing demand all around the world. When demand for oil and coal increases, their price goes up. When demand for solar cells increases, the price often comes down.

    When we send money to foreign countries to buy nearly 70 percent of the oil we use every day, they build new skyscrapers and we lose jobs. When we spend that money building solar arrays and windmills, we build competitive industries and gain jobs here at home.

    Of course, there are those who will tell us this can’t be done. Some of the voices we hear are the defenders of the status quo – the ones with a vested interest in perpetuating the current system, no matter how high a price the rest of us will have to pay. But even those who reap the profits of the carbon age have to recognize the inevitability of its demise. As one OPEC oil minister observed, “The Stone Age didn’t end because of a shortage of stones.”

    To those who say 10 years is not enough time, I respectfully ask them to consider what the world’s scientists are telling us about the risks we face if we don’t act in 10 years. The leading experts predict that we have less than 10 years to make dramatic changes in our global warming pollution lest we lose our ability to ever recover from this environmental crisis. When the use of oil and coal goes up, pollution goes up. When the use of solar, wind and geothermal increases, pollution comes down.

    To those who say the challenge is not politically viable: I suggest they go before the American people and try to defend the status quo. Then bear witness to the people’s appetite for change.

    I for one do not believe our country can withstand 10 more years of the status quo. Our families cannot stand 10 more years of gas price increases. Our workers cannot stand 10 more years of job losses and outsourcing of factories. Our economy cannot stand 10 more years of sending $2 billion every 24 hours to foreign countries for oil. And our soldiers and their families cannot take another 10 years of repeated troop deployments to dangerous regions that just happen to have large oil supplies.

    What could we do instead for the next 10 years? What should we do during the next 10 years? Some of our greatest accomplishments as a nation have resulted from commitments to reach a goal that fell well beyond the next election: the Marshall Plan, Social Security, the interstate highway system. But a political promise to do something 40 years from now is universally ignored because everyone knows that it’s meaningless. Ten years is about the maximum time that we as a nation can hold a steady aim and hit our target.

    When President John F. Kennedy challenged our nation to land a man on the moon and bring him back safely in 10 years, many people doubted we could accomplish that goal. But 8 years and 2 months later, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the surface of the moon.

    To be sure, reaching the goal of 100 percent renewable and truly clean electricity within 10 years will require us to overcome many obstacles. At present, for example, we do not have a unified national grid that is sufficiently advanced to link the areas where the sun shines and the wind blows to the cities in the East and the West that need the electricity. Our national electric grid is critical infrastructure, as vital to the health and security of our economy as our highways and telecommunication networks. Today, our grids are antiquated, fragile, and vulnerable to cascading failure. Power outages and defects in the current grid system cost US businesses more than $120 billion dollars a year. It has to be upgraded anyway.

    We could further increase the value and efficiency of a Unified National Grid by helping our struggling auto giants switch to the manufacture of plug-in electric cars. An electric vehicle fleet would sharply reduce the cost of driving a car, reduce pollution, and increase the flexibility of our electricity grid.

    At the same time, of course, we need to greatly improve our commitment to efficiency and conservation. That’s the best investment we can make.

    America’s transition to renewable energy sources must also include adequate provisions to assist those Americans who would unfairly face hardship. For example, we must recognize those who have toiled in dangerous conditions to bring us our present energy supply. We should guarantee good jobs in the fresh air and sunshine for any coal miner displaced by impacts on the coal industry. Every single one of them.

    Of course, we could and should speed up this transition by insisting that the price of carbon-based energy include the costs of the environmental damage it causes. I have long supported a sharp reduction in payroll taxes with the difference made up in CO2 taxes. We should tax what we burn, not what we earn. This is the single most important policy change we can make.

    In order to foster international cooperation, it is also essential that the United States rejoin the global community and lead efforts to secure an international treaty at Copenhagen in December of next year that includes a cap on CO2 emissions and a global partnership that recognizes the necessity of addressing the threats of extreme poverty and disease as part of the world’s agenda for solving the climate crisis.

    Of course the greatest obstacle to meeting the challenge of 100 percent renewable electricity in 10 years may be the deep dysfunction of our politics and our self-governing system as it exists today. In recent years, our politics has tended toward incremental proposals made up of small policies designed to avoid offending special interests, alternating with occasional baby steps in the right direction. Our democracy has become sclerotic at a time when these crises require boldness.

    It is only a truly dysfunctional system that would buy into the perverse logic that the short-term answer to high gasoline prices is drilling for more oil ten years from now.

    Am I the only one who finds it strange that our government so often adopts a so-called solution that has absolutely nothing to do with the problem it is supposed to address? When people rightly complain about higher gasoline prices, we propose to give more money to the oil companies and pretend that they’re going to bring gasoline prices down. It will do nothing of the sort, and everyone knows it. If we keep going back to the same policies that have never ever worked in the past and have served only to produce the highest gasoline prices in history alongside the greatest oil company profits in history, nobody should be surprised if we get the same result over and over again. But the Congress may be poised to move in that direction anyway because some of them are being stampeded by lobbyists for special interests that know how to make the system work for them instead of the American people.

    If you want to know the truth about gasoline prices, here it is: the exploding demand for oil, especially in places like China, is overwhelming the rate of new discoveries by so much that oil prices are almost certain to continue upward over time no matter what the oil companies promise. And politicians cannot bring gasoline prices down in the short term.

    However, there actually is one extremely effective way to bring the costs of driving a car way down within a few short years. The way to bring gas prices down is to end our dependence on oil and use the renewable sources that can give us the equivalent of $1 per gallon gasoline.

    Many Americans have begun to wonder whether or not we’ve simply lost our appetite for bold policy solutions. And folks who claim to know how our system works these days have told us we might as well forget about our political system doing anything bold, especially if it is contrary to the wishes of special interests. And I’ve got to admit, that sure seems to be the way things have been going. But I’ve begun to hear different voices in this country from people who are not only tired of baby steps and special interest politics, but are hungry for a new, different and bold approach.

    We are on the eve of a presidential election. We are in the midst of an international climate treaty process that will conclude its work before the end of the first year of the new president’s term. It is a great error to say that the United States must wait for others to join us in this matter. In fact, we must move first, because that is the key to getting others to follow; and because moving first is in our own national interest.

    So I ask you to join with me to call on every candidate, at every level, to accept this challenge – for America to be running on 100 percent zero-carbon electricity in 10 years. It’s time for us to move beyond empty rhetoric. We need to act now.

    This is a generational moment. A moment when we decide our own path and our collective fate. I’m asking you – each of you – to join me and build this future. Please join the WE campaign at wecansolveit.org.

    We need you. And we need you now. We’re committed to changing not just light bulbs, but laws. And laws will only change with leadership.

    On July 16, 1969, the United States of America was finally ready to meet President Kennedy’s challenge of landing Americans on the moon. I will never forget standing beside my father a few miles from the launch site, waiting for the giant Saturn 5 rocket to lift Apollo 11 into the sky. I was a young man, 21 years old, who had graduated from college a month before and was enlisting in the United States Army three weeks later.

    I will never forget the inspiration of those minutes. The power and the vibration of the giant rocket’s engines shook my entire body. As I watched the rocket rise, slowly at first and then with great speed, the sound was deafening. We craned our necks to follow its path until we were looking straight up into the air. And then four days later, I watched along with hundreds of millions of others around the world as Neil Armstrong took one small step to the surface of the moon and changed the history of the human race.

    We must now lift our nation to reach another goal that will change history. Our entire civilization depends upon us now embarking on a new journey of exploration and discovery. Our success depends on our willingness as a people to undertake this journey and to complete it within 10 years. Once again, we have an opportunity to take a giant leap for humankind.

    Let us heed the call.  The crisis beckons us.  The time for change is now!  We can no longer wait.  The damage we have done must be repaired, and only humans can stop themselves from doing greater harm.  Please, cause no more destruction.  Consider daily deeds.  May we ponder the energy used and embrace the environment,  Mother Earth depends on us.

    Al Gore, I, and all of nature thank you for all you do in the present to restore a healthy planet.  Let us not hesitate.  May we each do a bit more to ensure our Earth will be better.  Together we can repower and empower every entity if we work as one.  We Can Solve It, the climate crisis!  

    Black History: The Tuskegee Airmen

    © copyright 2008 Storm Bear.  Town Called Dobson


    To view the original, travel to a Town Called Dobson.  Black History: The Tuskegee Airmen

    From Wikipedia:

    Prior to the Tuskegee Airmen, no U.S. military pilots had been black. A series of legislative moves by the United States Congress in 1941 forced the Army Air Corps to form an all-black combat unit, despite the War Department’s reluctance. In an effort to eliminate the unit before it could begin, the War Department set up a system to accept only those with a level of flight experience or higher education that they expected would be hard to fill. This policy backfired when the Air Corps received an abundance of applications from men who qualified even under these restrictive specifications, many of whom had already participated in the Civilian Pilot Training Program, which the Tuskegee Institute had participated in since 1939.

    The U.S. Army Air Corps had established the Psychological Research Unit 1 at Maxwell Army Air Field, Alabama, and other units around the country for aviation cadet training, which included the identification, selection, education, and training of pilots, navigators and bombardiers. Psychologists employed in these research studies and training programs used some of the first standardized tests to quantify IQ, dexterity, and leadership qualities in order to select and train the right personnel for the right role (bombardier, pilot, navigator). The Air Corps determined that the same existing programs would be used for all units, including all-black units. At Tuskegee, this effort would continue with the selection and training of the Tuskegee Airmen.

    On 19 March 1941, the 99th Pursuit Squadron (Pursuit being the pre-World War II descriptive for “Fighter”) was activated at Chanute Field in Rantoul, Illinois. Over 250 enlisted men were trained at Chanute in aircraft ground support trades. This small number of enlisted men was to become the core of other black squadrons forming at Tuskegee and Maxwell Fields in Alabama.

    In June 1941, the Tuskegee program officially began with formation of the 99th Fighter Squadron at the Tuskegee Institute, a highly regarded university founded by Booker T. Washington, through the work of Lewis Adams and George W. Campbell (Tuskegee, Alabama) in Tuskegee, Alabama. The unit consisted of an entire service arm, including ground crew. After basic training at Moton Field, they were moved to the nearby Tuskegee Army Air Field about 16 km (10 miles) to the west for conversion training onto operational types. The Airmen were placed under the command of Capt. Benjamin O. Davis, Jr., one of the few African American West Point graduates. His father Benjamin O. Davis, Sr. was the first black general in the U.S. Army.

    During its training, the 99th Fighter Squadron was commanded by white and Puerto Rican officers, beginning with Maj. James Ellison. By 1942, however, it was Col. Frederick Kimble who oversaw operations at the Tuskegee airfield. Kimble maintained segregation on the field in deference to local customs – a policy the airmen resented. Later that year, the Air Corps replaced Kimble with the director of Instruction at Tuskegee Army Airfield, Maj. Noel F. Parrish. Parrish, counter to the prevalent racism of the day, was fair and open-minded, and petitioned Washington to allow the Tuskegee Airmen to serve in combat.

    The 99th was ready for combat duty during some of the Allies’ earliest actions in the North African campaign, and was transported to Casablanca, Morocco, on the USS Mariposa. From there, they travelled by train to Oujda near Fes, and made their way to Tunis to operate against the Luftwaffe. The flyers and ground crew were largely isolated by racial segregation practices of their initial command, the 33rd Fighter Group and its commander Col. William W. Momyer, and left with little guidance from battle-experienced pilots beyond a week spent with Col. Phillip Cochran. The 99th’s first combat mission was to attack the small but strategic volcanic island of Pantelleria in the Mediterranean Sea between Sicily and Tunisia, in preparation for the Allied invasion of Sicily in July 1943. The 99th moved to Sicily where it received a Distinguished Unit Citation for its performance in combat.

    However, Col. Momyer told media sources in the U.S. that the 99th was a failure and its pilots cowardly, incompentent or worse, resulting in a critical article in Time magazine. In response, a hearing was convened before the House Armed Services Committee to determine whether the Tuskegee Airmen “experiment” should be allowed to continue. Momyer accused the Airmen of being incompetent–based on the fact that they had seen little air-to-air combat during their time in theatre. To bolster the recommendation to scrap the project, a member of the committee commissioned and then submitted into evidence a “scientific” report by the University of Texas which purported to prove that Negroes were of low intelligence and incapable of handling complex situations (such as air combat). Col. Davis forcefully refuted the committee members’ claims, but only the intervention of Col. Emmitt “Rosie” O’Donnell prevented a recommendation for disbandment of the squadron from being sent to president Franklin D. Roosevelt. General Hap Arnold decided an evaluation of all Mediterranean Theatre P-40 units would be undertaken to determine the true merits of the 99th. The results showed the 99th FS to be as good or better than the other American units operating the fighter.

    Shortly after the hearing, three new squadrons fresh out of training at Tuskegee embarked for Africa. After several months operating separately, all four squadrons were combined to form the all-black 332nd Fighter Group.

    The Tuskegee Airmen were initially equipped with P-40 Warhawks, briefly with P-39 Airacobras (March 1944), later with P-47 Thunderbolts (June-July 1944), and finally with the airplane that they would become most identified with, the P-51 Mustang (July 1944).

    On 27 January and 28 January 1944, Luftwaffe Fw 190 fighter-bombers raided Anzio, where the Allies had conducted amphibious landings on January 22. Attached to the 79th Fighter Group, eleven of the 99th Fighter Squadron’s pilots shot down enemy fighters, including Capt. Charles B. Hall, who claimed two shot down, bringing his aerial victory total to three. The eight fighter squadrons defending Anzio together claimed 32 German aircraft shot down whilst the 99th claimed the highest score among them with 13.

    The squadron won its second Distinguished Unit Citation on 12 May-14 May 1944, while attached to the 324th Fighter Group, attacking German positions on Monastery Hill (Monte Cassino), attacking infantry massing on the hill for a counterattack, and bombing a nearby strong point to force the surrender of the German garrison to Moroccan Goumiers.

    By this point, more graduates were ready for combat, and the all-black 332nd Fighter Group had been sent overseas with three fighter squadrons: the 100th, 301st and 302nd. Under the command of Col. Benjamin O. Davis, the squadrons were moved to mainland Italy, where the 99th FS, assigned to the group on 1 May, joining them on 6 June. The Airmen of the 332nd Fighter Group escorted bombing raids into Czechoslovakia, Austria, Hungary, Poland and Germany. Flying escort for heavy bombers, the 332nd racked up an impressive combat record. Reportedly, the Luftwaffe awarded the Airmen the nickname, “Schwarze Vogelmenschen,” or “Black Birdmen.” The Allies called the Airmen “Redtails” or “Redtail Angels,” because of the distinctive crimson paint on the vertical stabilizers of the unit’s aircraft. Although bomber groups would request Redtail escort when possible, few bomber crew members knew at the time that the Redtails were black.

    A B-25 bomb group, the 477th Bombardment Group (Medium), was forming in the U.S. but completed its training too late to see action. The 99th Fighter Squadron after its return to the United States became part of the 477th, redesignated the 477th Composite Group.

    By the end of the war, the Tuskegee Airmen were credited with 109 Luftwaffe aircraft shot down, the German-operated Italian destroyer TA-23 sunk by machine-gun fire, and destruction of numerous fuel dumps, trucks and trains. The squadrons of the 332nd FG flew more than 15,000 sorties on 1,500 missions. The unit received recognition through official channels and was awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation for a mission flown March 24, 1945, escorting B-17s to bomb the Daimler-Benz tank factory at Berlin, Germany, an action in which its pilots were credited with destroying three Me-262 jets, all belonging to the Luftwaffe’s all-jet Jagdgeschwader 7, in aerial combat that day, despite the American unit initially claiming 11 Me 262s on that particular mission. However on examing German records, JG 7 records just four Me 262s were lost and all of the pilots survived. In return the 463rd Bomb Group, one of the many B-17 groups the 322nd were escorting, lost two bombers. The 322nd themselves lost three P-51s during the mission. The bombers also made substantial claims, making it impossible to tell which units were responsible for those individual four kills. The 99th Fighter Squadron in addition received two DUCs, the second after its assignment to the 332nd FG. The Tuskegee Airmen were awarded several Silver Stars, 150 Distinguished Flying Crosses, 8 Purple Hearts, 14 Bronze Stars and 744 Air Medals. In all, 992 pilots were trained in Tuskegee from 1940 to 1946; about 445 deployed overseas, and 150 Airmen lost their lives in accidents or combat.

    While it had long been said that the Redtails were the only fighter group who never lost a bomber to enemy fighters, suggestions to the contrary, combined with Air Force records and eyewitness accounts indicating that at least 25 bombers were lost to enemy fire, resulted in the Air Force conducting a reassessment of the history of this famed unit in late 2006. The claim that no bomber escorted by the Tuskegee Airmen had ever been lost to enemy fire first appeared on 24 March 1945, in the Chicago Defender, under the headline “332nd Flies Its 200th Mission Without Loss.” According to the 28 March 2007 Air Force report, however, some bombers under 332nd Fighter Group escort protection were shot down on the very day the Chicago Defender article was published. The subsequent report, based on after-mission reports filed by both the bomber units and Tuskegee fighter groups as well as missing air crew records and witness testimony, was released in March 2007 and documented 25 bombers shot down by enemy fighter aircraft while being escorted by the Tuskegee Airmen.

    The controversy continued to attract news media attention in 2008. A St. Petersburg Times article quoted a historian at the Air Force Historical Research Agency as confirming the loss of up to 25 bombers. Disputing this, a professor at the National Defense University in Washington said he researched more than 200 Tuskegee Airmen mission reports and found no bombers were lost to enemy fighters. Bill Holloman, a Tuskegee airman who taught black studies at the University of Washington and now chairs the Airmen’s history committee, was reported by the Times as saying his review of records did confirm lost bombers, but “the Tuskegee story is about pilots who rose above adversity and discrimination and opened a door once closed to black America – not about whether their record is perfect”. One mission report states that on 26 July 1944: “1 B-24 seen spiraling out of formation in T/A (target area) after attack by E/A (enemy aircraft). No chutes seen to open.” A second report, dated 31 August 1944, praises group commander Gen. Benjamin O. Davis Jr. by saying he “so skillfully disposed his squadrons that in spite of the large number of enemy fighters, the bomber formation suffered only a few losses.”

    Far from failing as originally expected, a combination of pre-war experience and the personal drive of those accepted for training had resulted in some of the best pilots in the U.S. Army Air Corps. Nevertheless, the Tuskegee Airmen continued to have to fight racism. Their combat record did much to quiet those directly involved with the group (notably bomber crews who often requested them for escort), but other units were less than interested and continued to harass the Airmen.

    All of these events appear to have simply stiffened the Airmen’s resolve to fight for their own rights in the US. After the war, the Tuskegee Airmen once again found themselves isolated. In 1949, the 332nd entered the annual All Air Force Gunnery Meet in Las Vegas, Nevada and won. After segregation in the military was ended in 1948 by President Harry S. Truman with Executive Order 9981, the Tuskegee Airmen now found themselves in high demand throughout the newly formed United States Air Force. Some taught in civilian flight schools, such as the black-owned Columbia Air Center in Maryland.

    Many of the surviving members of the Tuskegee Airmen annually participate in the Tuskegee Airmen Convention, which is hosted by Tuskegee Airmen, Inc.

    In 2005, four Tuskegee Airmen (Lt. Col. Lee Archer, Lt. Col. Robert Ashby, MSgt. James Sheppard, and TechSgt. George Watson) flew to Balad, Iraq, to speak to active duty airmen serving in the current incarnation of the 332nd, reactivated as first the 332nd Air Expeditionary Group in 1998 and made part of the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing. “This group represents the linkage between the ‘greatest generation’ of airmen and the ‘latest generation’ of airmen,” said Lt. Gen. Walter E. Buchanan III, commander of the Ninth Air Force and US Central Command Air Forces, in an e-mail to the Associated Press.

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    A Cruel Shell, BP and ExxonMobil Game

    The Natural Resources Defense Council asks those of us who care about our Mother Earth to contribute to a worthy cause, a plea to the people for a clean environment.  Perchance, we can help advance the message.

    Help Expose Bush’s Big Lie and Save Our Coasts!

    Please help run this powerful new ad in The Washington Post and turn the tide in Congress against legislation that would sacrifice our fragile coasts to Big Oil and the threat of catastrophic spills.


    GBGsPrc

    NRDCActionFund.org

    With our economy sinking and oil prices soaring, George Bush is offering snake oil: a plan to sacrifice more of our coasts to oil drilling on the chance it will produce a few weeks’ worth of oil and reduce gas prices by a few pennies a gallon…in 2028. Imagine America forever tethered to Bush’s failed energy policy. It’s like giving him five more terms.

    It’s a cruel Shell game.  And BP game.  And ExxonMobil game.

    Over the past five years, the number of domestic drilling permits has nearly doubled. But because of rising worldwide demand, oil prices have skyrocketed. More drilling off our coasts is not the answer. Once destroyed they can never be replaced. The only winners will be the oil companies.

    Want gas at $1 a gallon?

    America needs a bold new approach to energy, from more fuel efficient vehicles to plug-in hybrids and electric cars. A cleaner electric grid powered by renewables.

    Existing technologies could have us driving at the equivalent of a buck a gallon for gas!

    Tell your Representative and Senators to stop the giveaway of our coasts. Tell them you won’t stand for billions more for oil companies-and snake oil for the rest of us.

    [The Advertisement will be] Paid for by supporters of the Natural Resources Defense Council Action Fund.

    Thank you for your consideration and contribution.


    Crabs In A Barrel

    copyright © 2008 Forgiven. The Disputed Truth

    There is a saying in the black community that blacks cannot improve as a people because like crabs in a barrel whenever one tries to climb out of the barrel the other ones will pull him back down. The reaction of some of the so-called black leaders to the success of Senator Barack Obama seems to bear out this analogy. It seems like the closer he gets to making history the more the “haters” try to sabotage him. The sad part about this whole episode is that the same leaders who are critical of the Senator today, should he get elected will be at the White House the day after the inauguration looking for handouts.

    The latest in the purveyors of the “crab mentality” is Jesse Jackson, his comments being aired on Fox News about Senator Obama are indicative of this phenomenon. Now I have written extensively about the exploits of Mr. Jackson. From his reshaping of his relationship to Dr. King, to his corporate boycotts that seem to benefit his family, to his love child exploits; Mr. Jackson has demonstrated a lack of personal integrity in my opinion. His recent comments caught on a hot mic during an interview concerning health care policy where he appeared to be promoting the castration of Senator Obama is just the latest in a long line of comments that Mr. Jackson has been allowing to “slip” since it became clear that Senator Obama was going to make a serious run at the nomination.

    Jesse Jackson reportedly ripped presidential candidate Barack Obama for “acting like he’s white,” according to The State newspaper in South Carolina, but the civil rights leader says he doesn’t recall making any such comment…He later told the newspaper that he did not remember making the remark, but State reporter Roddie Burris told FOX News that Jackson’s “acting like he’s white” comment came during a 45-minute, one-on-one interview Tuesday after an hour-long speech at Benedict College in Columbia, S.C. Burris said he stands by his report.Fox News

    These comments were made back in September of 2007, when the Senator would not bring attention to a rally Mr. Jackson and Al Sharpton were holding for the Jena Six. While the Senator wanted to draw attention to the larger role of race in America, according to Mr. Jackson because Senator Obama didn’t follow his lead then he was acting white. When did Jesse Jackson become the barometer of blackness in America? The comments made by Jackson then and echoed today are representative of more than the generational differences between the two men, but also represent the envy and jealously that is being barely contained on the part of Mr. Jackson.

    There are two aspects to the cause of the continued “slips of the tongue” that has plagued Mr. Jackson; the first is the generational gap between the two and how it plays out in their views of America. Mr. Jackson wants Senator Obama to be a black man who is running for President, while Senator Obama views himself as a man who happens to be black running for office. Those seemingly subtle differences in language bridge decades of black life in America.  Senator Obama cannot win running as a black candidate, just as Jesse Jackson could not win. Why Mr. Jackson would want to insure the defeat of Senator Obama is beyond me.  Mr. Jackson still views the nation in terms of the old struggles with the old answers.

    According to the article, Jackson called the incident in Jena “a defining moment, just like Selma was a defining moment,” and said Obama’s failure to seize the opportunity to highlight what he describes as a disparate approach to prosecuting whites and blacks demonstrates his weaknesses as a candidate.

    “If I were a candidate, I’d be all over Jena,” Jackson said at the historically black college. Fox News

    Is there still racism in America? Of course there is, but it’s forms have changed over the years and so it’s alleviation will require new tactics. Tactics Mr. Jackson is either unwilling or unable to grasp. In standing by the old methods of delivering money to urban organizations to mete out to the uneducated masses of poor inner-city people, Mr. Jackson stands to fill his coffers at the expense of his less fortunate brothers and sisters. It is no wonder he is opposed to any new concepts for attacking the problems of the inner-city.

    We should consider which man is really “talking down” to black people. The man who speaks of realizing new possibilities and dreaming new dreams with straight talk about those things we are doing to help perpetuate our lack of success or someone who uses simple slogans and rhymes with no details of how to bring about any real change.

    Senator Obama will be our next President not because of people like Jesse Jackson, Jeremiah Wright, or the many new “black” Republican commentators who have suddenly been discovered by the MSM, but in spite of them. There is a train leaving the station in America and there will be some folks who won’t get onboard for various reasons, but the train will leave with or without them.

    Richard Pryor had a joke he told that encapsulates the current state of black support for Senator Obama from the old guard of civil rights movement. He is not one of them and so he isn’t beholden to any of them. Richard said he use to go home and when his old friends would see him they would say, “Man you ain’t nothing, you wasn’t ever nothing, you was telling them same ole jokes back then, loan me a dollar.

    Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts.

    ~ Daniel Patrick Moynihan

    Black History: The Second Klan

    © copyright 2008 Storm Bear.  Town Called Dobson


    To view the original, travel to a Town Called Dobson.  Black History: The Second Klan

    From Wikipedia:

    The second Klan rose in response to urbanization and industrialization, massive immigration from eastern and southern Europe, the Great Migration of African Americans to the North, and the migration of African Americans and whites from rural areas to Southern cities. The Klan grew most in cities which had high growth rates between 1910 and 1930, such as Detroit, Memphis, Dayton, Atlanta, Dallas, and Houston.

    Its growth was also affected by mobilization for WWI and postwar tensions, especially in the cities where strangers came up against each other more often. Southern whites resented the arming of black soldiers. Black veterans did not want to go back to second class status. This Klan modeled itself after other fraternal organizations created in the early decades of the 20th century. Organizers signed up hundreds of new members, who paid initiation fees and bought KKK costumes. The organizer kept half the money and sent the rest to state or national officials. When the organizer was done with an area, he organized a huge rally, often with burning crosses and perhaps presenting a Bible to a local Protestant minister. He then left town with the money. The local units operated like many fraternal organizations and occasionally brought in speakers. State and national officials had little or no control over the locals and rarely attempted to forge political activist groups. Stanley Horn, a Southern historian sympathetic to the first Klan, was careful in an oral interview to distinguish it from the later “spurious Ku Klux organization which was in ill-repute – and, of course, had no connection whatsoever with the Klan of Reconstruction days.”

    The accumulating social tensions of rapid change were sparked by events in 1915:

    • The film The Birth of a Nation was released, mythologizing and glorifying the first Klan.
    • Leo Frank, a Jewish man accused of the rape and murder of a young white girl named Mary Phagan, was tried, convicted and lynched near Atlanta against a backdrop of media frenzy.
    • The second Ku Klux Klan was founded in Atlanta with a new anti-immigrant, anti-Catholic, and anti-Semitic agenda. The bulk of the founders were from an Atlanta-area organization calling itself the Knights of Mary Phagan that had organized around the Frank trial. The new organization emulated the fictionalized version of the Klan presented in The Birth of a Nation.

    Director D. W. Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation glorified the original Klan. His film was based on the book and play The Clansman and the book The Leopard’s Spots, both by Thomas Dixon. Dixon said his purpose was “to revolutionize northern sentiment by a presentation of history that would transform every man in my audience into a good Democrat!” The film created a nationwide Klan craze. At the official premier in Atlanta, members of the Klan rode up and down the street in front of the theater.

    Much of the modern Klan’s iconography, including the standardized white costume and the lighted cross, are derived from the film. Its imagery was based on Dixon’s romanticized concept of old Scotland, as portrayed in the novels and poetry of Sir Walter Scott. The film’s influence and popularity were enhanced by a widely reported endorsement by historian and U.S. President Woodrow Wilson.

    he Birth of a Nation included extensive quotations from Woodrow Wilson’s History of the American People, as if to give it a stronger basis. On seeing the film in a special White House screening, Wilson allegedly said, “It is like writing history with lightning, and my only regret is that it is all so terribly true.” Given Wilson’s views on race and the Klan, his statement was taken as supportive of the film. In later correspondence with Griffith, Wilson confirmed his enthusiasm. Wilson’s remarks immediately became controversial. Wilson tried to remain aloof, but finally, on April 30, he issued a non-denial denial. Historian Arthur Link quotes Wilson’s aide, Joseph Tumulty, who said, “the President was entirely unaware of the nature of the play before it was presented and at no time has expressed his approbation of it.”

    Another event that influenced the Klan was sensational coverage of the trial, conviction and lynching of a Jewish factory manager from Atlanta named Leo Frank. In lurid newspaper accounts, Frank was accused of the rape and murder of Mary Phagan, a girl employed at his factory.

    After a trial in Georgia in which a mob daily surrounded the courtroom, Frank was convicted. Because of the armed mob, the judge asked Frank and his counsel to stay away when the verdict was announced. Frank’s appeals failed. Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes dissented from other justices and condemned the mob’s intimidation of the jury as the court’s failing to provide due process to the defendant. After the governor commuted Frank’s sentence to life imprisonment, a mob calling itself the Knights of Mary Phagan kidnapped Frank from prison and lynched him.

    The Frank trial was used skillfully by Georgia politician and publisher Thomas E. Watson, the editor for The Jeffersonian magazine. He was a leader in recreating the Klan and was later elected to the U.S. Senate. The new Klan was inaugurated in 1915 at a meeting led by William J. Simmons on top of Stone Mountain. A few aging members of the original Klan attended, along with members of the self-named Knights of Mary Phagan.

    Simmons claimed to have been inspired by the original Klan’s “Prescripts,” written in 1867 by Confederate veteran George Gordon to try to create a national organization. These were never adopted by the Klan, however. The Prescript stated the Klan’s purposes in idealistic terms, hiding the fact that they committed vigilante violence and murder from behind masks.

    “The Klan’s resurgence in the 1920s partially stemmed from the extreme militant wing of the temperance movement. In Arkansas, as elsewhere, the newly formed Ku Klux Klan marked bootleggers as one of the groups that needed to be purged from a morally upright community. In 1922, 200 Klansmen torched saloons that had sprung up in Union County in the wake of the oil discovery boom. The national Klan office ended up in Dallas, Texas, but Little Rock was the home of the Women of the Ku Klux Klan. The first head of this female auxiliary was a former president of the Arkansas WCTU.”

    In 1921, the Klan arrived in Oregon from central California and established the state’s first klavern in Medford. In a state with one of the country’s highest percentages of white residents, the Klan attracted up to 14,000 members and established 58 klaverns by the end of 1922. Given small population of non-white minorities outside Portland, the Oregon Klan directed attention almost exclusively against Catholics, who numbered about 8% of the population. In 1922, the Masonic Grand Lodge of Oregon sponsored a bill to require all school-age children to attend public schools. With support of the Klan and Democrat Governor Walter M. Pierce, endorsed by the Klan, the Compulsory Education Law was passed with a majority of votes. Its primary purpose was to shut down Catholic schools in Oregon, but it also affected other private and military schools. It was challenged in court and struck down by the United States Supreme Court Pierce v. Society of Sisters (1925) before it went into effect.

    One historian contends that the KKK’s “support for Prohibition represented the single most important bond between Klansmen throughout the nation.” Membership in the Klan and other prohibition groups overlapped, and they often coordinated activities. For example, Edward Young Clarke, a top leader of the Klan, raised funds for both the Klan and the Anti-Saloon League. A man with his own demons, Clarke was indicted in 1923 for violations of the Mann Act.

    A significant characteristic of the second Klan was that it was an organization based in urban areas, reflecting the major shifts of population to cities in both the North and the South. In Michigan, for instance, 40,000 members lived in Detroit, where they made up more than half of the state’s membership. Most Klansmen were lower to middle-class whites who were trying to protect their jobs and housing from the waves of newcomers to the industrial cities: immigrants from southern and eastern Europe, who tended to be Catholic and Jewish in numbers higher than earlier groups of immigrants; and black and white migrants from the South. As new populations poured into cities, rapidly changing neighborhoods created social tensions. Because of the rapid pace of population growth in industrializing cities such as Detroit and Chicago, the Klan grew rapidly in the U.S. Midwest. The Klan also grew in booming Southern cities such as Dallas and Houston.

    For some states, historians have obtained membership rosters of some local units and matched the names against city directory and local records to create statistical profiles of the membership. Big city newspapers were often hostile and ridiculed Klansmen as ignorant farmers. Detailed analysis from Indiana showed the rural stereotype was false for that state:


    Indiana’s Klansmen represented a wide cross section of society: they were not disproportionately urban or rural, nor were they significantly more or less likely than other members of society to be from the working class, middle class, or professional ranks. Klansmen were Protestants, of course, but they cannot be described exclusively or even predominantly as fundamentalists. In reality, their religious affiliations mirrored the whole of white Protestant society, including those who did not belong to any church.

    The Klan attracted people but did not hold most. Membership turned over rapidly as people found it was not the group they wanted. Millions joined, and at its peak in the 1920s, the organization included about 15% of the nation’s eligible population. Lessening of social tensions contributed to decline.

    The Klan attracted people but did not hold most. Membership turned over rapidly as people found it was not the group they wanted. Millions joined, and at its peak in the 1920s, the organization included about 15% of the nation’s eligible population. Lessening of social tensions contributed to decline.

    In reaction to social changes, the Klan adopted anti-Jewish, anti-Catholic, anti-Communist and anti-immigrant slants. The social unrest of the postwar period included labor strikes over low wages and working conditions in many industrial cities, often led by immigrants, who also organized unions. Klan members worried about labor organizers and socialist leanings of some of the immigrants, which added to the tensions. They also resented upwardly mobile ethnic Catholics. At the same time, in cities Klan members were themselves working in industrial environments and often struggled with working conditions.

    Klan groups lynched and murdered Black soldiers returning from World War I while they were still in military uniforms. The Klan warned Blacks that they must respect the rights of the white race “in whose country they are permitted to reside.” The number of lynchings escalated, and from 1918 to 1927, 416 African Americans were killed, mostly in the South.

    In Florida, when two black men attempted to vote in November 1920 in Ocoee, Orange County, the Klan attacked the black community. In the ensuing violence, six black residents and two whites were killed, and twenty five black homes, two churches, and a fraternal lodge were destroyed.

    Although Klan members were concentrated in the South, Midwest and west, there were some members in New England, too. Klan members torched an African American school in Scituate, Rhode Island.

    In the 1920s and 1930s, a violent and zealous faction of the Klan called the Black Legion was active in the Midwestern U.S.. The Legion wore black uniforms and targeted and assassinated communists and socialists.

    In southern cities such as Birmingham, Alabama, Klan members kept control of access to the better-paying industrial jobs but opposed unions. During the 1930s and 1940s, Klan leaders urged members to disrupt the Congress of Industrial Organizations(CIO), which advocated industrial unions and was open to African-American members. With access to dynamite and skills from their jobs in mining and steel, in the late 1940s some Klan members in Birmingham began using bombings to intimidate upwardly mobile blacks who moved into middle-class neighborhoods. “By mid-1949, there were so many charred house carcasses that the area [College Hills] was informally named Dynamite Hill.” Independent Klan groups remained active in Birmingham and were deeply engaged in violent opposition to the Civil Rights Movement.

    The Klan had major political influence in several states and was influential mostly in the center of the country. The Klan spread from the South into the Midwest and Northern states, and into Canada where there was a large movement against Catholic immigrants. At its peak, Klan membership exceeded four million and comprised 20% of the adult white male population in many broad geographic regions, with 40% in some areas. Most of the membership resided in Midwestern states.

    The KKK controlled Southern legislatures and the governments of Tennessee, Indiana, Oklahoma, and Oregon. In Indiana, Republican Klansman Edward Jackson was elected governor in 1924.

    In another well-known example from the same year, the Klan decided to make Anaheim, California, into a model Klan city. It secretly took over the City Council, but the city conducted a special recall election and Klan members were voted out.

    Klan delegates played a significant role at the path-setting 1924 Democratic National Convention in New York City, often called the “Klanbake Convention.” The convention initially pitted Klan-backed candidate William Gibbs McAdoo against Catholic New York Governor Al Smith. After days of stalemates and rioting, both candidates withdrew in favor of a compromise. Klan delegates defeated a Democratic Party platform plank that would have condemned their organization. On July 4, 1924, thousands of Klansmen celebrated victory on a nearby field in New Jersey by burning effigies of Smith and by burning crosses.

    In some states, such as Alabama, the KKK worked for political and social reform. The state’s Klansmen were among the foremost advocates of better public schools, effective prohibition enforcement, expanded road construction, and other “progressive” political measures. In many ways these reforms benefited lower class white people. By 1925, the Klan was a political force in the state, as leaders like J. Thomas Heflin, David Bibb Graves, and Hugo Black manipulated the KKK membership against the power of Black Belt planters who had long dominated the state.

    Black was elected senator in 1926 and later became a Supreme Court Justice. In 1926, with Klan support, a former Klan chapter head named Bibb Graves won the Alabama governor’s office. He pushed for increased education funding, better public health, new highway construction, and pro-labor legislation. Because the Alabama state legislature refused to redistrict until 1972, however, even the Klan was unable to break the planters’ and rural areas’ hold on power.

    Many groups and leaders, including prominent Protestant ministers such as Reinhold Niebuhr in Detroit, spoke up against the Klan. To blunt attacks against Jewish Americans and conduct public education, the Jewish Anti-Defamation League was formed after the lynching of Leo Frank. When one civic group began to publish Klan membership lists, the number of members quickly declined. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People carried on public education about Klan activities and lobbied against Klan abuses in Congress. After its peak in 1925, Klan membership began to decline rapidly in most areas of the Midwest.

    In Alabama, KKK vigilantes, thinking they had governmental protection, launched a wave of physical terror in 1927, targeting both blacks and whites for violating racial norms and perceived moral lapses. The state’s conservative elite counterattacked. Grover C. Hall, Sr., editor of the Montgomery Advertiser, began a series of editorials and articles attacking the Klan for their “racial and religious intolerance.” Hall won a Pulitzer Prize for his crusade. Other newspapers kept up a steady, loud attack on the Klan as violent and “un-American.” Sheriffs cracked down. In the 1928 presidential election, the state voted for the Democratic candidate Al Smith, although he was Catholic. Klan membership in Alabama dropped to less than six thousand by 1930. Small independent units continued to be active in Birmingham, where in the late 1940s, members started a program of bombings against the homes of upwardly mobile African Americans. KKK activism increased against the civil rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s.

    When the Grand Dragon of Indiana and fourteen states, David Stephenson, was convicted of the rape and murder of Madge Oberholtzer, the Klan declined further. Stephenson was convicted in a sensational trial. According to historian Leonard Moore, a leadership failure caused the organization’s collapse:


    Stephenson and the other salesmen and office seekers who maneuvered for control of Indiana’s Invisible Empire lacked both the ability and the desire to use the political system to carry out the Klan’s stated goals. They were disinterested in, or perhaps even unaware of, grass roots concerns within the movement. For them, the Klan had been nothing more than a means for gaining wealth and power. These marginal men had risen to the top of the hooded order because, until it became a political force, the Klan had never required strong, dedicated leadership. More established and experienced politicians who endorsed the Klan, or who pursued some of the interests of their Klan constituents, also accomplished little. Factionalism created one barrier, but many politicians had supported the Klan simply out of expedience. When charges of crime and corruption began to taint the movement, those concerned about their political futures had even less reason to work on the Klan’s behalf.

    Imperial Wizard Hiram Wesley Evans sold the organization in 1939 to James Colescott, an Indiana veterinarian, and Samuel Green, an Atlanta obstetrician, but they were unable to staunch the exodus of members. The Klan’s image was further damaged by Colescott’s association with Nazi-sympathizer organizations, the Klan’s involvement in the 1943 Detroit Race Riot, and efforts to disrupt the American war effort during World War II. In 1944, the IRS filed a lien for $685,000 in back taxes against the Klan, and Colescott was forced to dissolve the organization in 1944.

    After WWII, folklorist and author Stetson Kennedy infiltrated the Klan and provided information to media and law enforcement agencies. He also provided secret code words to the writers of the Superman radio program, resulting in episodes in which Superman took on the KKK. Kennedy’s intention to strip away the Klan’s mystique and trivialize the Klan’s rituals and code words may have contributed to the decline in Klan recruiting and membership. In the 1950s, Kennedy wrote a bestselling book about his experiences, which further damaged the Klan.

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    Woodstock; War and Peace Revisited



    country joe mcdonald and the fish- vietman song

    copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert

    It was summer.  Temperatures were high and war was in the air.  People said they were upset with politicians who refused to heed the cries for peace.  Battlefields far from home became burial grounds.  The public noted too many people had died, perhaps unnecessarily.  Americans publicly announced, its time to bring our young home.  End the combat was the common cry.  Yet, it seemed the Administration did not intend to declare a cease-fire.  Some feared a superpower might appear weak.  A pullout would indicate that we had surrendered.  As Americans safe at home pondered policy, soldiers still fell on foreign fields.  Families struggled to come to terms with what it means to be a patriot.  Moms and Dads of military personnel may have wrestled with the idea of what it means to win a war more so than the average American did.  The year was 1969.  

    Now, near four decades later United States citizens can closely examine what was on August 16, two score ago.  The opportunity for deep reflection, in retrospect, is possible since a museum at the Woodstock concert site opened in June 2008.  

    As visitors literally trek from one exhibit to the next, they figuratively travel through time and space.  Spectators are emotionally transported to the world of the now legendary Woodstock, a festival that marked a political movement.  Within the walls of the museum, people read of the arts and melodies gala, billed as “3 Days of Peace and Music.”  

    The words the main organizer of this event, delivered to a massive audience of anti-war youth echoes through the newly constructed chamber.  Then forty-nine (49) year-old dairy farmer Max Yasgur, a man who provided $50,000 and 600 acres of his land, pronounced  “You have proven something to the world . . . that half a million kids can get together for fun and music and have nothing but fun and music.”  Indeed, they did.  Many hoped the event had established that people, who yearn for global tranquility, could lead by example.  News reports mirrored this message.

    An estimated 400,000 youngsters turned up to hear big-name bands play in a field near the village of Bethel, New York state in what has become the largest rock concert of the decade.

    About 186,000 tickets were sold so promoters anticipated that around 200,000 would turn up.  But on Friday night, the flimsy fences and ticket barriers had come down and organisers announced the concert was free prompting thousands more to head for the concert.

    Traffic jams eight miles long blocked off the area near White Lake, near Bethel, some 50 miles from the town of Woodstock.

    Local police estimated a million people were on the road yesterday (August 1969) trying to get to Woodstock.  They were overwhelmed by the numbers but were impressed by a good level of behaviour.

    Yet, good behavior amongst brethren taught us nothing.  Perchance sadly, those separate from the event, who saw what happened only from a distance, could not accept the veracity; peace is possible.  Ed Meese, U.S. Attorney General, in the Reagan Administration certainly could not.  When asked to reflect on the era in which the historic event occurred, he spoke with disapproval.  Mister Meese, who in 1969, served as an Executive Assistant to then California Governor Ronald Reagan, remembered the Age of Aquarius with disdain.  He said definitely, “It was the age of selfishness. It was the age of self-indulgence.  It was the age of anti-authority.  It was an age in which people did all kinds of wrong things.”  

    Years later however, former President Bill Clinton mused the Reagan years, “The 1980s ushered in a gilded age of greed, selfishness, irresponsibility, excess, and neglect.”  Perhaps, history allows for perspective, or only verifies how often humans repeat errors.

    Thirty-nine years later, Americans have an opportunity to re-assess for themselves what was and is.  As many journey back into the garden that was Max Yasgur’s farm, in Bethel Woods, Americans may realize novel insights.  The past is ubiquitous in the present.  As people young and older stroll through a Woodstock Museum, vivid reveries may stimulate much thought.  

    A child may study the similarities that plagued people then and now.  War is again in the wind.  A teen might think of the trail laid before them.  Is it different from the path a parent or grandparent was forced to choose.  Will they too be asked to fight for a country that did not care to end all combat?  Ample analogies will likely be evident to a young adult.  Elders might sway to the music piped into the halls and be transcended.  Sounds from years gone by may  offer a view of the world too easily forgotten.  In 1969, and 2008, many of our young feel like they are fixin’ to die.  Why?  

    The answers are found in the lyrics of a melody sung at the Woodstock concert in 1969.  The festival now seems a century ago.  Perhaps the words will again be vocalized in Bethel Woods in 2008.  Country Joe MacDonald and the Fish speak for many young Americans when they say  . . .


    “I Feel Like I’m Fixin’ to Die”

    Yeah, come on all of you, big strong men,

    Uncle Sam needs your help again.

    He’s got himself in a terrible jam

    Way down yonder in Vietnam (Iraq, Iran (?), Afghanistan)

    So, put down your books and pick up a gun,

    We’re gonna have a whole lotta fun.

    And it’s one, two, three,

    What are we fighting for?

    Don’t ask me, I don’t give a damn.

    Next stop is Vietnam;

    And it’s five, six, seven,

    Open up the pearly gates,

    Well there ain’t no time to wonder why.

    Whoopee!  we’re all gonna die.

    Well, come on generals, let’s move fast;

    Your big chance has come at last

    Gotta go out and get those reds – The only good commie is the one who’s dead

    And you know that peace can only be won?

    When we’ve blown ’em all to kingdom come.

    And it’s one, two, three.

    What are we fighting for?

    Don’t ask me, I don’t give a damn.

    Next stop is Vietnam (Iraq, Iran (?), Afghanistan);

    And it’s five, six, seven

    Open up the pearly gates.

    Well there ain’t no time to wonder why

    Whoopee!  we’re all gonna die.

    Huh!

    Well, come on Wall Street, don’t move slow.

    Why man, this is war au-go-go.

    There’s plenty good money to be made?

    By supplying the Army with the tools of the trade.

    Just hope and pray that if they drop the bomb.

    They drop it on the Viet Cong.

    And it’s one, two, three.

    What are we fighting for?

    Don’t ask me, I don’t give a damn.

    Next stop is Vietnam (Iraq, Iran (?), Afghanistan).

    And it’s five, six, seven.

    Open up the pearly gates,

    Well there ain’t no time to wonder why

    Whoopee!  we’re all gonna die.

    Well, come on mothers throughout the land,

    Pack your boys off to Vietnam (Iraq, Iran (?), Afghanistan)

    Come on fathers, don’t hesitate,

    Send ’em off before it’s too late.

    Be the first one on your block

    To have your boy come home in a box.

    And it’s one, two, three

    What are we fighting for?

    Don’t ask me, I don’t give a damn,

    Next stop is Vietnam (Iraq, Iran (?), Afghanistan)

    And it’s five, six, seven.

    Open up the pearly gates,

    Well there ain’t no time to wonder why.

    Whoopee!  we’re all gonna die.

    America, might we sigh and consider, the more things transform, the more they stay the same.  If today we wish to chant, “Change we can believe in,” might we contemplate that there is still talk of war.  Troops trample through Iraq.  Soon they may storm into Iran.  Those in the Middle East might be shifted to the sands of Afghanistan, or possibly conflict in Pakistan will be on the horizon.  

    We need not journey to a Museum to revisit history.  Our local mausoleum may serve to tell the tale of war and peace.

    What are we fighting for . . .