The Light Where Shadows End : A Book Review by Daniel C. Lavery for VVAW, A War Hero’s Inspirational Journey Through Death, Recovery, and a World Without Home by r.g. cantalupo (He uses no capitals in his name on the cover: New World Publishers, paper, 2015, 171 pages) A member of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War, the author took part in the 1971 Winter Soldier Investigations where he confessed to committing crimes and atrocities. A Radio-Telephone Operator (RTO) with the 25th Infantry Division in 1968-69, Cantalupo (a nickname, actually H. H. Gregory), served in Vietnam and was awarded a Bronze Star with a Combat V and three Purple Hearts. He describes himself as a war criminal who fired white phosphorus mortars and called in napalm bombs on civilians using weapons banned by the Geneva Convention. He returns to the scene of his action in 2015 “to survive my looming suicide… to Trang Bang where Nick Ut photographed the ‘Napalm Girl’. That was also where he ordered villagers to lie down while they destroyed their village and where Lonny, Baby, San, Devil and I lay dying not for God, or flag, or country, but simply because we were “the chosen”, draftees offered up from poor black, brown, or white families by an upper-middle-class draft board that didn’t want to take sons from their own.
He describes his boot camp training droning into him like a mantra: “They are gooks, dinks, commies, savages, nothing resembling us, nothing close to human. And, it worked-when I was shooting at a cardboard man, when I was stabbing a dummy to death with a bayonet, when I was on the edge of terror--it was the only voice I heard. But four months in Vietnam had changed me. The kids along Highway 1 chanting “G. I. Numba One” as they begged chocolate bar or cokes looked no different than the kids from my tenement—Asian versus black, or Puerto Rican or Pollock or Jew—hungrier maybe, more desperation in their eyes, but under the grime and stink, they were no different than the kids I grew up with carrying hopes and fears and dream. And so I heard a different voice—my own… How long does it take to kill a man-- from inside? …How long before I was no longer a man but a rifle. A bullet, and I inside a soulless body?
After his good friend Lonny is killed when he makes eye contact with an enemy soldier who is badly wounded and groaning in the Elephant grass, Cantalpo raises his rifle: "I put his head in the crosshairs, held my breath, and put my finger on the trigger guard. I didn’t squeeze the trigger. I couldn’t. Not anymore. Lonny was dead. Nothing I could do would bring him back. Not killing this soldier. Not killing the whole fucking North Vietnamese Army. Lonny was dead. Shot in the throat and chest by his own men. Friendly fire. Friendly. As if killing was somehow friendlier if done by your own men. And who was to blame? The soldiers on the perimeter who opened fire from fear of being overrun? The C.O. who sent us out? General Westmoreland? Nixon? Kissinger? The Pentagon? The Army? The rich? The whole fucking US of A? My mother? My war-hero father? Yes, everyone was to blame. Everyone carried Lonny’s blood on their hands. I lowered my rifle. I was done. I was done with killing, done with death, done with war. For a long moment, the wounded soldier held my eyes, then he turned and slowly crawled away."
He recounts his horrendous injuries from a mortar exploding a few feet away that hurled his body into the dark sky and then crashed down leaving him covered in warm blood and a nurse nicknamed “Peaches” helped him through hours, days and weeks of care with whom he says he seriously fell in love. “And then I rose. Above my body. Above my life. Is this my soul parting from my flesh, my spirit rising toward eternity, flying through the tunnel of white light toward people I loved? I rose in darkness, in shadow, the body below me—my body—graying to a shade, the medic slowly dimming to a hazy silhouette. I rose, but my wounds did not fly away on angel’s wings, nor did I see my mortal life bleeding into light as if I were eternal. I merely slipped in and out of a world filled with fire and burning pain—“
A film crew from Vietnam TV International recorded his anguish following his journey toward reconciliation meeting with former members of The People’s Army against whom he fought. They share the truth of where the People’s Army hid in tunnels awaiting to attack and use a map to describe each of their locations in battles. After awkward embraces and they shake hands and say goodbye through the pain such a meeting engendered. The war’s legacy in Vietnam, Cantalupo says, includes “leaving hundreds of thousands of unexploded bombs to kill more children,” as well as “fourth generation birth defects and genetic mutations caused by our massive spraying of Agent Orange.” That situation “will not allow for my reconciliation. This was the most profoundly moving memoir I have read on Vietnam showing how a man changed from a war criminal to a sensitive human being aware he was lucky to have survived and gained an inspiration and an awakening that changed his life.
BIO: Daniel C. Lavery graduated Annapolis, navigated a Navy jet, and then a ship to Vietnam. He resigned, turned peace activist and became a civil rights attorney for Cesar Chavez's UFW and the ACLU. His memoir, All the Difference, describes his change from a pawn to an advocate crusading for justice. HTTP://www.danielclavery.com(Author website)
A report released Tuesday accusing President-elect Donald Trump's team of communicating with Russia as it influenced the election caused some critics to question Trump's future in the White House. Though Trump has routinely denied such allegations, taking to Twitter to say the latest report was “completely false,” if Congress proves he was involved, it could eventually result in impeachment.
The grounds for impeaching a president can be found in Article II of the United States Constitution, which says an official must be convicted by a majority vote in Congress over “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” Treason may be the most likely Russia-related charge to take down Trump.
Trump has become the target of impeachment efforts because working with Russian officials would make him vulnerable to compromising information that could be used to blackmail or influence him politically during his presidency.
A former British intelligence officer released a report, which alleged the Russian government had been “cultivating, supporting and assisting” Trump for several years. A two-page synopsis of the report was given to both President Barack Obama and Trump, CNN reported Tuesday.
“That is a strong indication that these allegations should be taken seriously,” former NSA legal counsel Susan Hennessey told Forbes. “If there was any evidence that the Trump campaign actively colluded with Russia and committed crimes, that would be the most shocking political scandal in American history ... If sufficient evidence emerges that the FBI has substantiated the allegations or is preparing criminal indictments, then even hardline Republicans in Congress will likely call for Governor Pence to take the oath of office.”
Impeachment does not mean Trump would immediately be stripped of his presidency. If the House of Representatives were to agree he should be impeached, Trump would also have to go through a Senate trial. Then, two-thirds of the Senate would have to agree in order for him to be removed from office.’
Impeachment has been used a few times on presidents. Andrew Johnson was impeached in 1868 over a political conflict stemming from the Civil War. More recently, former President Bill Clinton was impeached on Dec. 19, 1998 over perjury and obstruction of justice after he was found to have lied under oath about his affair with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky. However, both Clinton and Johnson were impeached for crimes committed while they were president.
Christopher Lewis Peterson, a law professor at the University of Utah, wrote a paper last year arguing Trump could be impeached immediately upon taking office — though not for treason. The report said the “high crimes and misdemeanors” clause for impeaching a sitting president in the Constitution applied to all "ordinary" citizens acting against U.S. law. Peterson claimed Trump could be on the hook for fraudulent activities related to false advertising for his real estate program Trump University.
Treason is equally unlikely some say to bring an impeachment. There have been fewer than 20 treason convictions in American history, and none since the 1950s. Most of those were tied to revolts or wartime espionage; none applied to a President. They contend Trump would, hypothetically, only face impeachment for bribery or for another unspecified crime, either before or during his time in the Oval Office — although some constitutional experts say there’s no precedent for impeaching a President for actions taken before they took office. I am inclined to think if the constant contact of Trump and his enablers occurred during the election process and Russia’s efforts to sway the election to him we have uncharted water and treason should certainly be included. Trump's most likely path to an impeachable offense, experts say, could come from this obscure anti-bribery clause in the Constitution.
Then there is the emoluments clause which says the President cannot “accept any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatsoever, from any king, prince, or foreign state.” In other words: No gifts from foreign leaders or diplomats. With his tangle of business interests worldwide — and his refusal to officially cut ties with them — Trump may have been pushing the envelope on this ever since he won the election.
“The whole question now is whether he is going to be violating the Constitution on day one with the emoluments clause,” said John Dean, a former White House Counsel to President Richard Nixon. That would indicate another strong avenue for impeachment as many of his holdings continue to obtain considerable infusion of millions of dollars since his presidency began and he has not even revealed his taxes as every president has done in the past. His children are running much of his powerful assets around the world that continue to provide enormous wealth as no president before him accumulated and his presidency just began. Trump claimed through the campaign he would put his assets into a blind trust if he won. Instead, he revealed he handed the Trump Organization to his sons and will simply not involve himself in the business.
His handoff may be legal for the presidency — but it does little to keep the commander-in-chief away from conflicts of interest, especially since he has been inviting his children into meetings with foreign diplomats.
"With emoluments, presidents usually go out of their way not to have these problems," an authority named Libowitz said. "This is not something we've seen before. It brings incredibly serious issues."
The potential for impeachable conflicts is nearly as vast as Trump's empire. For instance, there are the meetings with foreign diplomats, sometimes from countries where Trump has deals pending, since the election. There are Trump's denials that he has ever done deals with Russia, despite one of his sons once claiming the family saw "money pouring in" from there. There is Trump's new Washington, D.C., hotel, which has been catering to foreign officials visiting the nation's capital.
Trump’s lawyer said earlier this month that’s not a violation of the emoluments clause because that applies to gifts, not business transactions like renting a hotel room. But ethics experts are unconvinced by that argument. For an impeachment, though, Trump would have to be caught explicitly exchanging a political deal for a business deal to be guilty of bribery.
“There would have to be facts showing a quid pro quo,” said Michael Gerhardt, a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Law professor who testified in a hearing for President Bill Clinton's impeachment. "It would be like Watergate — 'Follow the money.' We'd have to be able to follow the money to Trump to know what extent he might be corrupted." "There's a potential there," Gerhardt added, "that just has not existed with other presidents before."
Then there is the crime of perjury to consider. Along with his businesses, Trump brings another liability — literally — with him to the White House: He has been involved in more than 4,000 state and federal lawsuits, according to a USA Today analysis. As the leader of the free world, more than 60 lawsuits come with him that include disputes over contracts, taxes and even his campaign. All will be open and exposing him to scrutiny never before seen.
We have a president that now is openly using his power in ridiculously foolish billion dollar fiascos that could seriously fail such as his imbecilic wall. Many authorities find this concept flawed with no chance Mexico will pay for it despite Trump’s foolish belief they will. Many have said this wall can easily be scaled, or dug under. Meanwhile serious disruption of wildlife will result and twenty billion dollars squandered. If Bannon’s stated goal is to bring down the government, this gigantic boondoggle will be one of many reasons our government might fail with all on its early agenda.
In the late 1980s, Lieserl, the daughter of the famous genius, donated 1,400 letters, written by Einstein, to the Hebrew University, with orders not to publish their contents until two decades after his death. This is one of them, for Lieserl Einstein.
(Albert Einstein and his daughter, Lieserl)
"When I proposed the theory of relativity, very few understood me, and what I will reveal now to transmit to mankind will also collide with the misunderstanding and prejudice in the world.
I ask you to guard the letters as long as necessary, years, decades until society is advanced enough to accept what I will explain below.
There is an extremely powerful force that, so far, science has not found a formal explanation to. It is a force that includes and governs all others, and is even behind any phenomenon operating in the universe and has not yet been identified by us. This universal force is LOVE.
When scientists looked for a unified theory of the universe they forgot the most powerful unseen force. Love is Light, that enlightens those who give and receive it. Love is gravity, because it makes some people feel attracted to others. Love is power, because it multiplies the best we have, and allows humanity not to be extinguished in their blind selfishness. Love unfolds and reveals. For love we live and die. Love is God and God is Love.
This force explains everything and gives meaning to life. This is the variable that we have ignored for too long, maybe because we are afraid of love because it is the only energy in the universe that man has not learned to drive at will.
To give visibility to love, I made a simple substitution in my most famous equation. If instead of E = mc2, we accept that the energy to heal the world can be obtained through love multiplied by the speed of light squared, we arrive at the conclusion that love is the most powerful force there is, because it has no limits.
After the failure of humanity in the use and control of the other forces of the universe that have turned against us, it is urgent that we nourish ourselves with another kind of energy…
If we want our species to survive, if we are to find meaning in life, if we want to save the world and every sentient being that inhabits it, love is the one and only answer.
Perhaps we are not yet ready to make a bomb of love, a device powerful enough to entirely destroy the hate, selfishness and greed that devastate the planet.
(Einstein with first wife, Mileva Maric)
However, each individual carries within them a small but powerful generator of love whose energy is waiting to be released.
When we learn to give and receive this universal energy, dear Lieserl, we will have affirmed that love conquers all, is able to transcend everything and anything, because love is the quintessence of life.
I deeply regret not having been able to express what is in my heart, which has quietly beaten for you all my life. Maybe it's too late to apologize, but as time is relative, I need to tell you that I love you and thanks to you I have reached the ultimate answer! ".
(Article in part from Robert Vancina quoting Einstein's letter with all but one photo added)