Giants Won the World Series

Giants Won the World Series

Hi Friends: Just finished watching what may have been the best World Series ever. I loved the Kansas City Royals, their manager, Ned Yost, and amazing fans who stood up through the games, cheered their beloved team, and made baseball a much more interesting sport this year. I also happened to love the San Francisco Giants, their amazing players, and especially MVP Madison Bumgarner who set many pitching records for his magnificent performance of pitching the most innings ever in a World Series, and his gutty 5 innings, 67 pitches, in relief on 2 days rest. But both teams have much to celebrate. Hunter Pence smashed the most hits in a series. Sandoval was right behind him and made many spectacular plays at third and was a magnetic leader for his teammates. Rookie Panik made the play of the series in the last game spearing a ball going into centerfield one handed and using his glove to toss it to the shortstop for a double play instead of runners on first and third and no outs. That play could have saved the game for the Giants. Finally, the Royals had a great opportunity to tie the game with two out in the bottom of the ninth when the batter hit a line drive to centerfield that Blanco should have caught but misjudged as it went by him to the wall way out in deep centerfield. The left fielder almost retrieved it for a moment but in the process kicked it away and stumbled while the batter Gordon rounded second and was almost to third.Unbelieveably, the Royals coach played it conservative and held the runner at third. So Bumgarner just went back to work and finished the Royals. That was a time when an aggressive approach would have removed Bumgarner from being the difference, and I felt the runner could have tied the game for the Royals. I doubt if Bumgarner could have kept going for another inning but who will ever know. Glad a controversy ended the game because it was just that close. Both teams were really fantastic. They put on a great World Series. I'm sorry it had to end. It did give a number of relatively unknown ball players an opportunity to show their skill. These teams were both Wild Card teams who had to play more games than any other just to get into the World Series, and made baseball far more interesting because they were not the favored teams at the end of the season.The Angels had the best record, and the Dodgers seemed to me and many others to have the best talent. I for one will miss the excitement of this unforgettable baseball season. Cheers, Dan
Giants win Series Dan in pic102614.jpg

Dan after the series concluded with a cold Bud in his hands and a Giants jersey!

 

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How I Became Radicalized

Here my friends is an excellent article that shows the difference between being radicalized and extremesized (a new word made up by the author that is quite appropriate as you will see if you check this well-reasoned and written piece)

I saw the masked men Throwing truth into a well. When I began to weep for it I found it everywhere. -Claudia Lars

I'm not exactly sure when I became radicalized, but it was sometime in the mid 1980s. I purposely use the term radicalize because, with the rise of globalized insurgency in general and al Qaeda and now ISIS in particular, the word has become a favorite in the media, especially for those on the right.

Sean Hannity likes to talk fast, and he uses the term over and over as if it sounds good to him. The problem is he misuses the word. When it pops up these days, it's in reference to young Americans or Europeans recruited on-line by violent Muslims to join a jihadi organization or, specifically, to be recruited to work for ISIS in Syria or Iraq. The more accurate word for this behavior would be to use the term extremist. Radical refers more to ideas and how someone thinks, while extremist refers to behavior, what someone does.

Dick Cheney, the radical author, and Henry Kissinger by unknown

I'm a radical; but I'm not an extremist. Using myself, I'd distinguish the terms this way: I think Henry Kissinger and Dick Cheney should be in prison for mass murder, but since this is obviously not in the cards I don't advocate violent actions be taken against either man. My understanding of the history of the Vietnam and the Iraq Wars is radical in that I refuse to go along with selective propaganda about those wars; I choose not to willfully forget the damning facts about those wars. In this country, that's a radical frame of mind. The word radical comes from the Latin word radix, which means root. The roots of both those wars are damnable and, if there was real justice, men like Kissinger and Cheney would be prosecuted, convicted and imprisoned.

The facts are clear that the roots of the Iraq war are tangled with premeditated dishonesty and misuse of power; there's plenty of criminal malfeasance if there was a prosecutor to prosecute. Bringing this radical view right up to the moment, I guarantee (I'm confident saying this) that without that war and the horrors it unleashed in Anbar Province there would be no such thing as ISIS. What the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld war did was extremisize the people now unleashing violence and fury in Anbar Province and surrounding areas. (Don't bother looking extremisize up in your dictionary, because I just made it up.)

So how did I become radicalized? And why wasn't I extremisized?

What radicalized me was ending up in the mid-1970s a very frustrated young man in inner city Philadelphia. This followed a childhood in rural, redneck south Dade County, Florida, a transplant from New Jersey. There was an influential tour in Vietnam, then an English degree from Florida State University. I came to Philadelphia for graduate school in Journalism at Temple University and ended up staying to work for local inner city newspapers. I had never lived in a city before.

I wasn't critical of the Vietnam War until I read the history of the war. I was a naive 19-year-old radio direction finder in the mountains west of Pleiku. My job had been to locate young Vietnamese soldiers opposed to a US occupying army that I was an unwitting part of. I learned my enemy had been a US ally during World War Two, and all they wanted was freedom from the French colonial military that had capitulated to the Japanese. FDR spoke about supporting the de-colonization process; but Truman succumbed to Cold War fears and supported the French desire to re-colonize Vietnam.

Nothing will radicalize a young man more than to learn he had been hoodwinked by his leaders into serving a bad cause.

I taught myself photography. I became an EMT and volunteered at night with an ambulance corps in a mixed-race area of Philadelphia. I fed the homeless in back alleys every Wednesday night, where I enjoyed socializing with other, like-minded people. I read about Central America and joined a group of labor unionists on a trip to Honduras. The unionists asked Honduran officials about reports of the murder and disappearance of union leaders and human rights workers. This disturbed the Honduran government and its US master, which was then up to its neck operating the Contra War against neighboring Nicaragua. We were arrested and deported.

I was barred from returning to Honduras. But by the early 1990s, I'd made ten trips as a photographer to Nicaragua and into the rebel zones of El Salvador. This stuff really radicalized me. A friend once suggested I was being brainwashed when I went to Central America; she knew this, of course, from watching television. I knew the real reason was it was all wrapped up in the Cold War, that huge political and cultural meta-narrative that had given us the Vietnam War. It was now giving us atrocities in Central America, and I was hearing first-hand the personal, human stories of these atrocities.

Like in Salvadoran poet Claudia Lars' lines, quoted above, the deeper and deeper I went, the more "I found it everywhere." The "it" was injustice, brutality and an elite insensitivity to poverty and human suffering. The culprit had many labels: some liked to call it Capitalism; for others, it was social Darwinism; for still others, it was simply a matter of entitlement, a feeling of being more deserving than others, being exceptional, not humbled by being born on third base.

I loved literature as a kid, so I studied creative writing in college and, looking back, I think it made me insist on more moral complexity than we are the good guys and they are the bad guys. I was struck with a bad case of empathy. There was always another way to look at anything and everything: there were different voices for different perspectives. Truth became more important than power as I watched the culture go full-throttle into the post-Reagan age of funny finance. The key factor in my radicalization was a determination not to look away. Our political culture offers an amazing number of opportunities to look away. There's the material dream, the pursuit of power and all sorts of comforting ideologies and institutions that provide an easy place to hide from discomforting truths. There's the time-honored Bread and Circus.

As might be expected, my life had not been going terribly well in the money-making realm. Business and entrepreneurial enterprises bored me, though I learned to sell myself as a free-lance photographer and I undertook a number of money-making sidelines like making custom bookcases. I scraped by. It never occurred to me I was abandoning or betraying my class. An editor at a business newspaper once told me: "The trouble with you, John, is you don't know on which side your bread is buttered." I'm afraid she was right.

The people I admired in history and current events were people who struggled mightily with ideas and with crafts like writing and photography, using them to dialogue with the real world. I began to see one of the strengths of the class I came from was the ability not to see things that might encumber or slow down upward mobility or cut into the profit margin. Of course, I did my time looking to the poorer classes for authenticity. The 2000 election debacle in my home state of Florida further radicalized me. I was naïve enough to think national presidential elections could not be stolen. But I watched Al Gore and the mainstream media cover their eyes to avoid conflict, and Bush v. Gore was hidden away in a trunk in the cellar like a bullet-riddled corpse they didn't know what to do with. We still get fetid whiffs from that cellar. I'm not an Al Gore fan, but there's little doubt a Gore presidency would not have taken the nation so far off the rails. It's radical to remember this stuff.

Then, 16 Saudi Arabians angry at our imperial relationship with the obscenely rich Saudi oil potentates hijacked planes full of jet fuel from Saudi Arabia and flew them into our iconic buildings. We suddenly had an illegitimate government raging on adrenaline. A less-than-astute president and his managers saw an opportunity. In September 2000, the far-right think tank The Project For a New American Century had published a 90-page report called Rebuilding America's Defenses advocating militarist scenarios that included attacks on Iraq and Syria. In Subsection V, "Creating Tomorrow's Dominant Force," it included the following: "[T]he process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event----like a new Pearl Harbor." The top Bush people were radicals on the far right. They were also extremists, the children of Barry Goldwater who in 1964 had famously said, "Extremism in the cause of liberty is no vice." Goldwater was wrong; extremism is a vice. And that moment had arrived.

I don't subscribe to theories about US complicity in 9/11. For me, the indisputable facts are rotten and conspiratorial enough. During the Iraq War, I made two trips into Iraq to see for myself. One trip was with veteran peace activists and another was as a cameraman on a documentary film. These trips entailed four 12-hour treks by large SUV between Ammon, Jordan, and Baghdad through the vast and inhospitable desert of Anbar Province. This is the area routed by ISIS and now known as The Islamic State. I had tea and kabobs in truck stops among pro-Saddam Sunni Arabs, some who are now no doubt part of ISIS.

Strange bedfellows are a hazard in the radical area. Glenn Beck of all people is on record against renewed war in Iraq. "Not one more life! Not one more dollar!" he says, meaning no US military involvement in Iraq.

"The people of Iraq have got to work this out themselves," he said on his show. "Our days of being the world's policeman, our days [as] interventionalists is over. If we are directly attacked, so be it. But this must end now. Now, can't we come together on that? Are we not all a people that can come together on that?"

It's like waking up in the morning in bed with the monster from Alien.

Like a classic radical, Beck emphasizes the reading of history, especially in this case the 1916 Sykes-Picot Treaty that carved up the Ottoman Empire after WWI between the English and French and, ignoring ethnic realities, created an Iraq controllable by the Brits. At the end of Lawrence of Arabia, Claude Rains plays a slimy fictional composite of Mark Sykes and François Georges-Picot. About his scheming politics, he says: "A man who tells lies, like me, merely hides the truth. But a man who tells half-lies, has forgotten where he's put it." Dick Cheney would understand this man. George W. Bush would be the other guy, the half-liar who has no clue what the truth is and doesn't care -- one of philosopher Harry Frankfurt's modern bullshitters.

Given the notion of strange bedfellows and the across-the-aisle radical dialogue Beck and some libertarians suggest exists, the possibility of educating Americans about the costs of militarism becomes an interesting possibility. That's the thing about radical ideas, at some point they begin to make sense to a wider swath of people, and they don't feel so "radical" any more. Sometimes a critical mass is reached, and a radical idea can lead to the fall of an empire like happened to the Soviets. The US Government and the Pentagon must live in terror of this.

I'm part of a group of decent radical American veterans concerned that the US government's upcoming 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War fairly represent that war. Given the government's inclination so far to turn the anniversary into a glorification of US suffering and heroism, those raising moral questions about the war seem destined to be classified as radicals and, thus, shunned. Me, I'll proudly accept the epithet radical. Individual bravery and suffering should certainly be recognized; but the record must show the truly dark side of the Vietnam War. A one-sided fiction of glory can too readily be used to promote future bad wars. The history of the Vietnam War should be a moral cautionary tale.

So the final question: why wasn't I extremisized?

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova of p*ssy Riot explains it best. It has to do with humility and a true desire for peace. Tolokonnikova's non-violent actions led to her doing real time in one of Russia's most dreaded prisons. She had no interest to chop anybody's head off or to bomb anyone. Based on a radical analysis, she and her band confronted Russian cultural taboos and raised important public questions. In a letter to Tolokonnikova in prison, the Slovenian writer Slavoj Zizek said this of her and p*ssy Riot: "[Y]ou know very well what you don't know, you don't pretend to have fast and easy answers, but what you are also telling us is that those in power don't know either."

Tolokonnikova responded by elaborating on the humility at the root of her radicalism:

"The main thing is to realize that you yourself are as blind as can be. Once you get that, you can, for maybe the first time, doubt the natural place in the world to which your skin and your bones have rooted you, the inherited condition that constantly threatens to spill over into feelings of terror."

(Author Bio)

I am a 65-year-old American who served in Vietnam as a naive 19-year-old kid. From that moment on, I've been studying and re-thinking what US counter-insurgency war means. I live outside of Philadelphia, where I'm a writer, photographer and a video filmmaker. I have been a member of Veterans For Peace for 27 years. I think we're living through a complex economic reckoning we do not fully understand. I'm clear, as Americans, we need to re-evaluate who we are and we need to ratchet down the imperial world policeman role we too often take for granted. We need to stay engaged diplomatically in the world, but we need to better look after our own nation's problems. I like good writing, good film, good music and good times. I drink alcohol and smoke dope socially and responsibly. I say this publicly because I think the Drug War is an hypocritical failure. I'm a committed pragmatist who actually subscribes to the old right-wing formula: My Country Right Or Wrong. When our government is wrong, which it is a lot of the time, I'm happy to say it. And I plan to stick around.

   

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Noon Hike at Halfmoon Bay

pelican soars over waves

Halfmoon Bay huge wave with surfer

Torrents of breeze chilled my face and hands

Dappled brown and white seagull landed

On to old tattered beach table top

Thanked him with mellow words as he stared

Gestured with my two empty hands that

Showed I brought no food for him today

Halfmoon Bay surfer

Sign warned of rip tides, strong currents, and

Dangerous sleeper waves that threatened

Hundreds of swells crushed and churned ocean

Thundered air like hundreds of drummers

Warning all of nature’s wild forces

Small birds skipped and darted with no fear

 Halfmoon Bay beach and surf

Black wet-suited surfer caught huge wave

Broke over him fifty yards from shore

Emerged with surfboard through water wall

Glided down like skier on ice slope

Sped toward shoreline and darted past me

Human seal left sand trail puffs in wake

porpoise 2

Pod of dolphin black fins broke surface

Thirty feet from wet sand that glistened

Found a bench for two a mile away

Hikers and bikers with dogs behind

Stretched their legs and moved into the wind

Clouds circled in wisps over our heads

Halfmoon Bay Map

Hiked back to our car and left for town

Stores for clothes, books, coffee shops, and more

Found a grill for a salad and meal

Smiling dwellers in eclectic town

Fifteen miles from massive traffic jams

Cement, cars, highways, and industry

Halfmoon Bay many surfers

McGrath Beach many least terns and brwon pelican

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Latest Pentagon Folly, a $30 Million Sanitized, Revisionist History of the Vietnam War

  By Dave Lefcourt From commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:The_Pentagon.JPG:

Re-writing history-or in today's parlance-" revisionism"-particularly military history, is something all countries contrive to do, portraying their "history" favorably, all their actions "patriotic", defending the "mother" country, "fatherland" or here in the US our military "fighting for us", defending "America" and now the "homeland".

For purposes of brevity, the focus of this piece will be on America's latest gambit of "revisionist" history with the Pentagon launching a $30 million program to commemorate the 50 th anniversary of the Vietnam War, which Marjorie Cohn accurately depicts as "$30 million program to rewrite and sanitize its history". [i]

Cohn writes, "For many years after the Vietnam War, we enjoyed the 'Vietnam syndrome', in which US presidents hesitated to launch substantial military attacks on other countries. They feared intense opposition akin to the powerful movement that helped bring an end to the war in Vietnam. But in 1991, at the end of the Gulf War, George H.W. Bush declared, 'By God, we've kicked the Vietnam syndrome once and for all".

"With George W. Bush's wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Barack Obama's drone wars in seven Muslim-majority countries and his escalating wars in Iraq and Syria, we have apparently moved beyond the Vietnam syndrome. By planting disinformation in the public realm, the government has built support for its recent wars, as it did with Vietnam."

Replete with a fancy interactive website ( http://www.vietnamwar50th.com/ ), the effort is aimed at teaching schoolchildren a revisionist history of the war. The program is focused on honoring our service members who fought in Vietnam. But conspicuously absent from the website is a description of the antiwar movement, at the heart of which was the GI movement".

 

Typical of the "war" department sanitizing the history of that time in America essentially dismissing the hundreds of thousands nationwide protesting and demonstrating against the war-particularly after 1967 on college campuses, at the Democratic National Convention in 1968, the 250,000 thousand demonstrating against the war on November 15, 1969, Nixon bombing Cambodia in the Spring of 1970-there were huge rallies-including yours truly-of college students marching and "meeting up" with each other which the Pentagon now refers to as simply "massive protest".

As to the My Lai "massacre" where some 500 unarmed Vietnamese old men, women and children were slaughtered by Lt. Calley and his men has become the in Pentagon parlance the "My Lai Incident".

 

Well read Nick Turse's, "Kill Anything That Moves" where he reveals "My Lai" was hardly an "incident", as the Pentagon describes it, and not just a one time massacre committed by crazed GI's that day in Vietnam but something that was occurring on a daily basis. Remarkably, Turses' research was gleaned directly from the Pentagon's own written accounts of the war that were sitting in its vaults gathering dust until Turse dug into the factual record to discover the truth which he later gave light and revealed to the public.

To those of us who came of age during that time, the protests against the Vietnam war was personal and visceral unlike any protest since, including "Occupy".

And for those of you who weren't born yet or too young to take part in the anti-war movement of the late 1960's and early 70's-even reading about that time-it's hard to imagine in today's America-the dynamic fervor and sense of solidarity one felt actually being a part of it, that revolution was in the air and we were part of the vanguard bringing it on.

 

Getting back to Cohn she quotes, antiwar activists" "Tom Hayden and Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg saying, "All of us remember that the Pentagon got us into this war in Vietnam with its version of the truth. If you conduct a war, you shouldn't be in charge of narrating it".

 

The antiwar group "Veterans for Peace" (VFP) "is organizing an alternative commemoration ( http://www.veteransforpeace.org/our-work/vietnam-full-disclosure-campaign/ ) of the Vietnam war. This from VFP executive director Michael McPhearson, "One of the biggest concerns for us is that if a full narrative is not remembered, the government will use the narrative it creates to continue to conduct wars around the world -- as a propaganda tool."

Cohn concludes," Unless we are provided an honest accounting of the disgraceful history of the US war in Vietnam, we will be ill equipped to protest the current and future wars conducted in our name".

Well we already have an "honest accounting of the disgraceful history of the US war in Vietnam", Turse's "Kill anything That Moves"; must reading including Cohn who apparently hasn't read Turses' account.

Hastings College of Law The Law of War and Peace Fall 2014 - Pg 71 001

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Please sign the petition for the Vietnam Peace Commemoration Committee

Vietnam Peace Commemoration Committee Petition:

Hi Friends: Please scroll down to the Vietnam Peace Commemoration Committee reasons for signing the petition at the end I signed and urge you to do to spread the truth rather than more propaganda about our wars from Vietnam to the present:

2000 M Street NW, Suite 720

Washington, DC 20036

Lt. Gen. Claude M. "Mick" Kicklighter Vietnam 50th Anniversary Commemoration Program 1101 Wilson Blvd. Ste. 810 Arlington, Va. 22209

Dear Gen. Kicklighter,

We write on behalf of many veterans of the American peace movement during the Vietnam era with a deep concern that taxpayer funds and government resources are being expended on a one-sided, three-year, $30 million educational program on the "lessons of Vietnam" to be implemented in our nation's schools, universities and public settings.

We believe this official program should include viewpoints, speakers and educational materials that represent a full and fair reflection of the issues which divided our country during the war in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.

We support the announced purpose of honoring our veterans for their idealism, valor and sacrifices, assuming that the full diversity of veterans' views is included. As you know, anti-war sentiment was widely prevalent among our armed forces both during and after service, and was certainly a factor in bringing the war to a close.

Our current Secretary of State, John Kerry, was an important example of GI anti-war commitment. He served with distinction, was " wounded in battle," eloquently testified in Congress and joined with Vietnam Veterans Against the War to return ribbons and medals in protest at the Capitol.

No commemoration of the war in Vietnam can exclude the many thousands of veterans who opposed it, as well as the draft refusals of many thousands of young Americans, some at the cost of imprisonment or of exile until amnesty was granted. Nor can we forget the millions who exercised their rights as American citizens by marching, praying, organizing moratoriums, writing letters to Congress, as well as those who were tried by our government for civil disobedience or who died in protests. And very importantly, we cannot forget the millions of victims of the war, both military and civilian, who died in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, nor those who perished or were hurt in its aftermath by land mines, unexploded ordnance, Agent Orange and refugee flight.

These are serious official historical omissions which cause a flawed understanding of lessons we need to absorb as a country

Your official commemoration should be an opportunity to hear, recognize and perhaps reconcile or heal the lasting wounds of that era. If the US government cannot provide a bridge for crossing that Vietnam divide, how can we urge reconciliation in other parts of the world where sectarian tensions are on the rise? We believe, as did such a huge proportion of the US population decades ago, that the Vietnam war was a mistake. No commemoration of the war can ignore that view. How else can we as a nation hope to learn the lessons of Vietnam, to avoid repeating that mistake over and over again?

The commemoration can also provide a model for international reconciliation by respecting the growing ties between the US and Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. Whether current reality is seen as a hopeful illustration of moving beyond old conflicts or as evidence the war was unnecessary, the commemoration should not reopen wounds with new friends in Indochina by conveying a one-sided view of our shared history.

Please consider that our government is restricted by laws and precedents from subsidizing "viewpoint discrimination", in the phrase of respected constitutional scholar Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of the UC Irvine law school. Dean Chemerinsky cites the US Supreme Court decision, Rosenberger v. The University of Virginia [1995] where the Court found that students at a state-supported institution could not be denied the same benefits that other student groups received simply because of the nature of their views. Other laws and regulations going back to the 1950s forbid the government from using appropriated funds for self-aggrandizing propaganda or "puffery." In 1987, the US Government Accounting Office [GAO] investigated and chastised the State Department for funding propaganda pieces on Central America to influence public opinion in the United States.

As we observe the fiftieth anniversary of the war and the concurrent anti-war movement, we would like you to consider the following:

[1] an immediate meeting to explore the differences and similarities of our perspectives; [2] a voice for peace advocates in reviewing and preparing educational materials; [3] a mechanism for attempting to resolve factual disputes as to the war's history; [4] invitations to peace advocates, as appropriate, to public conferences and dialogues sponsored by your agency; [5] an exploration of your possible presence at the fiftieth anniversaries of the teach-ins and first march against the Vietnam War next spring.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

Vietnam Peace Commemoration Committee.

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