Maybe the best way to honor the fallen… would be to find more ways to NOT send others to join them.
To my brothers and sisters in arms, both in the field and in Valhalla, I salute your efforts and your sacrifices. I honor them by making the world a better place through my Works as you believed you have in yours.
Fred, Frank, Eric, Robert, Paul. You will always be my brothers.
Memorial Day 2013
Thaddeus Howze, Operations Specialist 3rd Class, retired. United States Navy.
While I discuss publishing, writing, and yellow labs on this blog quite often, there are times when one must get serious. In the past year we’ve seen Hurricane Sandy, a landslide on Whidbey Island, a tornado in Oklahoma and other man-made and natural disasters. So I’m going to start posting excerpts from The Green Beret Survival Guideon this blog at least once a week because I truly feel it’s the most important book I’ve ever written because it does save lives. One of the key things that made us “Special” Forces was our ability to prepare for missions. In the same way, it’s key to prepare for disasters before they occur and I’ll post information on that, such as grabngo bags and more.
Since it’s fresh in our minds, let’s cover Tornadoes and Hurricanes first:
Tornados strike with little warning. If an alarm or alert has been sounded, even…
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To all representatives of state governments and to the Congressmen of the United States:
In the coming years, despite your protestations to the contrary, the climate crisis will continue to accelerate. To keep the science simple, our atmosphere is an energy sink where heat delivered from the sun irradiates the Earth and is now trapped in our atmosphere.
When cool water or cooler ground temperatures interact with that warm air, atmospheric disturbances such as tornadoes and hurricanes are the inevitable result. For some places, they will experience an improvement in their weather. They will be the exception.
Most places which had temperate climates will now become sites of extreme climate activity. Warm will become HOT, dry may become flooded, seasonal snow may become a temporary ice age. Places which have never known seasons may now experience violent transformations in their weather patterns. 2012 was a year showing extreme variations in climate across the entire planet with long freezes in places that barely knew rain, now having snow and ice. You may think the climate crisis may be making weather better because a few people had a milder winter but I assure it what its doing is making our weather more extreme.
Parts of the United States were already known for extreme weather phenomena due to our varied terrain. The Midwest is known for its tornadoes, for example. As the climate crisis accelerates we can expect larger thunderstorms with more extreme effects. Larger transfers of water because warmer air holds more moisture.
We can expect larger and more dangerous hailstorms, where we once were annoyed by dime-sized hail we can now routinely see hail the size of baseballs (far more than annoying, they can destroy an automobile, damage homes, kill wildlife and if caught unaware, injure or kill human beings as well. The most terrible effect of these new larger and more energetic thunderstorms are the tornadoes generated from them.
They will form more quickly. What used to take hours to form, may now happen in only minutes as the recent Moore, Oklahoma tornado did. It went from a thunderstorm to an EF-5 tornado with winds in excess of three hundred miles an hour in a single hour. It proceeded to last for an hour, spreading to nearly two and a half miles wide and carving a swath across the landscape for thirty miles. While the lost of life was relatively low, the damage to homes and lives was catastrophic. Any home that was struck was completely destroyed. This is the future of anyplace where tornadoes form. They will be fast-forming, fast-moving, completely capable of destroying everything in their path. A home that is even partially affected can be made unlivable, harming families, livelihoods and educational opportunities for its residents.
If you need a visual, think of an EF-5 tornado like you would a mobile atomic weapon, distributing damage across a path of destruction. The damage will be comparable each time one of these super-tornadoes strikes. Most tornadoes fortunately will not be EF-5. There are only seven or eight of those on record. But there are over one hundred EF-4 tornadoes and the damage from those is almost indistinguishable from an EF-5. This threat is not one to be taken lightly.
Tornadoes are a result of heat exchange between the Earth and the sky and while they are devastating when they occur, there are other effects from the heating atmosphere which also affect the human way of life.
The constant rise of the planet’s overall temperature, whether you care to acknowledge, CO2/methane interactions as the cause can no longer be denied. This means:
- Rising ocean levels – as global ice caps continue to melt, our oceans are rising slowly threatening every land mass that uses ports or has cities on its coasts.
- As the oceans rise, they are heating as well, increasing their ability to hold carbon dioxide causing acidification. Rising carbon dioxide is destroying plant and animal balances, killing wildlife and destroying coral reefs. The food chain in the ocean is being disrupted and nearly 50% of the world’s population depends on food from the seas. The oceans are rapidly becoming unable to support life.
- Coastline flooding – hundreds of millions of people worldwide live on coastlines
- Threats to island nations including their complete erasure as rising tides and storms destroy their coastlines or simply batter the island structures into rubble. Displacement of entire nations will eventually be the cause.
At this point many of you are thinking this isn’t a problem for America. I would like you to think again.
- The Port of Los Angeles, one of the nation’s busiest port cities would be directly affected as the ocean levels rise, potentially affecting three million jobs in the United States. This port is one of our nation’s largest import/export sites. San Francisco’s ports would also be affect. The New York Stock Exchange is also located on the coast of the United States on the island of Manhattan which is barely above sea level today.
- Millions of people in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, New York, Washington DC, Miami, Newport News, Savannah, Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa, hhiladelphia, Boston, New Orleans Houston and San Diego would all be affected. These people could be permanently displaced as their city infrastructures, which are already nearly one hundred years old, could not hope to cope with encroaching waters from the ocean.
- Where will these displaced Americans go? Inland? Where insufficient resources or infrastructure exists to support such a mass migration. Infrastructure away from most coastal regions currently barely supports the people living on it. Nor have any contingencies for such population density increases even been considered or planned.
- Such mass migrations are already occurring all over the planet, disrupting trade, manufacturing and tourism.
Let’s just mention in passing some of the ecological disasters coming soon to a state near you:
- Super-hurricanes: large storms which form off the coast of nearly every nation on Earth, hurricanes whose water content, wind speed, storm swells and size will continue to increase in number and ferocity in the coming decades. Hurricanes are not like tornadoes which limit their destruction to a swath, five to forty miles long and perhaps two miles wide. Hurricanes bring regional flooding, torrential rains, winds capable of reaching one hundred fifty to two hundred miles an hour for sustained periods of six to thirty hours as they move inland.
- The damage from hurricanes is comparable to tornadoes; homes are destroyed, flooded out, roofs removed, vehicles lost, schools, medical facilities destroyed or well over capacity during the event. Lives lost can be minimized with sufficient warning and evacuations but property damage can reach the tens of billions with a modest size storm. With one the size of Hurricane Katrina, costs reached 80 billion dollars. Storms that size will become the norm, not the exception.
- With all the wrangling for disaster-relief funds, there will come a time when the entire nation will be covered in ecological disasters. Is that what it will take for the people who are embroiled in scandal chasing for political benefit? When there isn’t any funding or when we have to prioritize which type of disaster is the one that will get precedence?
Will it take:
- Fires sweeping across the West and the food belt as record temperatures and high winds whip firestorms destroying hundreds of acres of woodland, farmland and residential areas? Try this interactive fire map to see what fire season looks like right now, near you.
- Destruction of other residential areas as failing infrastructure is unable to deal with flash-floods as storms increase during the raining seasons?
- Decimation of our food crops and the continued rising costs as food becomes more scarce across the planet. Temperatures across the nation’s food producing regions reached record temperatures of 110-120 degrees for three weeks last year, sufficient to destroy one third of the food production capacity of the nation. Another three or four summers like this and the nation may face REAL shortages which won’t be able to be made up by trade imports. The same event is happening world-wide.
- Super-storms as I have outlined earlier?
- Destruction of habitable areas for wildlife and food producing regions of the ocean?
- Reducing air quality as carbon levels increase and ocean phyto-plankton, which account for one quarter of the Earth’s atmospheric oxygen production continue to die in the oceans, which will also affect oxygen levels for underwater dwelling species humans rely on. Granted we are already over-fishing most of those food sources but this will ensure they will not recover, even if we realize our error and stop tomorrow.
- Or how about the idea that economically the catastrophe sweeping the nation as these disasters are enacted are a tremendous risk to national security. I don’t care how large your army or police force are, once the people become hungry, there won’t be enough bullets to quell them. Yes, I know the government is flush with ammunition at the moment, but if you have to kill the patient to save him, then what exactly is the point of having you in office?
And the irony shouldn’t be lost on you. You will end up killing the people you were elected to serve. This is a completely avoidable situation. Take your heads out of your asses, get out of corporate pockets who have already proven they are completely willing to burn the country to the ground as long as they can make a buck and travel to a different country to spend it. This is a problem affecting the entire planet.
There is no place left to run. We are at the same crossroads as the people living in Moore, Oklahoma or anyplace else hit by fire, flooding, wind, hurricane, tornado or other unexpected natural disaster. Don’t confuse the idea that having money will keep you safe. It won’t.
A natural disaster is coming soon to a city near you. If not the one you live in, one your constituents live in. And eventually coming to all of us in one way or another, whether we have to leave our homes due to disaster or economic collapse or the simple inability to put food on the table because THERE ISN’T ANY, it will be on the heads of the government who did nothing to curb the suicidal and sociopathic corporate destruction of our environment for profit.
Personally, I don’t think you will do anything that matters except continue to take money from the corporations who own you. I don’t depend on your better natures, you obviously don’t have any.
I depend on your sense of self-preservation, that you can hear the sound of a tornado bearing down on you and make the right decision to get out of the way. Most of these people are depending on you. I’m not. I know you are pathologically unable to make a good decision to save your life, or the lives of people depending on you.
So this goes to the Unrepresented People of the United States
Find your representative. Get their name using this web tool. Then do your research and find out if your representative believes in our climate crisis. If they don’t, send them my letter. Cut, copy, paste. Get your friends to do it. If not consider the following:
Find someone who does not believe magic will save us. Find a person for office who believes WE ARE THE ARCHITECTS OF OUR DESTRUCTION. Find someone who is willing to say to corporations, we have had enough of your shit. Sit down and put all of that brainpower you have spend destroying the environment into saving it, because otherwise, the next one hundred years will be HELL ON EARTH.
I promise you we have only just begun to see what is coming. It’s darkest just before it goes completely BLACK.
Vote for someone, anyone who recognizes an Extinction Level Event when they see one. Or everyone you know, everything you hold dear, your friends, your family, your children, your way of life WILL BE OVER.
My woman says this document was too strident, too raw, too angry, too much like a lecture or a rebuke.
“IF YOU AREN’T ANGRY, YOU HAVEN’T BEEN PAYING ATTENTION.”
Call it whatever you like as long as you are doing something about it. I can tell from my personal experiences, no matter what the media tells me, my summers are getting hotter, the fires ARE more numerous, the tornadoes more deadly, the hurricanes more powerful and numerous, the natural disasters grow more expensive every year. How long will I have to put up with political correctness before we start to acknowledge what we are all seeing?
Don’t believe me? Good, do the research, follow the money and decide for yourself.
Find out which states are getting disaster relief and why. Find out which states spend more money on infrastructure and why. Find out which governors support disaster relief and which don’t. The answers will surely surprise you.
Don’t take my word for anything.
DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH.
Yes, there will be people out there who will tell you there is no climate crisis. FOLLOW THE MONEY. Who pays them to say this. 99% of the scientist agree, our climate is changing. So if you want to sit there and let EXXON and whatever other corporate agency who benefits from your ignorance tell you everything is fine. You are free to do so. Just stay out of my way.
I believe what my experience is telling me. It’s telling me we have to do something different, while we are still able. I put my name on this document because I believe in it. And if I am wrong, I will be the first one to sit there and laugh and call myself a quack or a lunatic. BECAUSE I WILL HAVE THE LUXURY OF BEING WRONG. And we can sit and laugh over a beer as the climate cools and the Earth returns to normal.
Ask yourself, what if I am right? What if all of those scientists are right? Can we afford to do nothing out of fear? Can we let corporations who profit the most from that fear, which they promote so they can continue business as usual, is it more important for them to make money while the rest of us die in the eco-catastrophes that follow?
Is that what a democracy has come to mean? He who dies with the most money wins?
Screw that. I am going to fight on the side of the planet. It’s where I keep all my stuff. And there will never be a place like it for us if we fail to protect it.
Thaddeus Howze – Hayward, California
From The Daily Kos
“So, you may have a question for me,” Whitehouse said. “Why do you care? Why do you, Sheldon Whitehouse, Democrat of Rhode Island, care if we Republicans run off the climate cliff like a bunch of proverbial lemmings and disgrace ourselves? I’ll tell you why. We’re stuck in this together. We are stuck in this together. When cyclones tear up Oklahoma and hurricanes swamp Alabama and wildfires scorch Texas, you come to us, the rest of the country, for billions of dollars to recover. And the damage that your polluters and deniers are doing doesn’t just hit Oklahoma and Alabama and Texas. It hits Rhode Island with floods and storms. It hits Oregon with acidified seas, it hits Montana with dying forests. So, like it or not, we’re in this together.”
The Daily Caller has a bit more from Whitehouse:
“You drag America with you to your fate,” he continued. “So, I want this future: I want a Republican Party that has returned to its senses and is strong and a worthy adversary in a strong America that has done right by its people and the world. That’s what I want. I don’t want this future. I don’t want a Republican Party disgraced, that let its extremists run off the cliff, and an America suffering from grave economic and environmental and diplomatic damage because we failed, because we didn’t wake up and do our duty to our people, and because we didn’t lead the world. I do not want that future. But that’s where we’re headed. So I will keep reaching out and calling out, ever hopeful that you will wake up before it is too late.”
UCMJ – Unjustly Coddling Military Jerks
If you are a woman in the military you have to put up with a lot of shit. And any women who is in the military would like to tell you this but she has to contend with a few forces which make that almost impossible, so I am going to tell you for her. And lest you think this is about all men in the military, it isn’t. I served my time in the United States Navy, and I am certain what I am about to say does not apply to every man in the military but it does apply to enough to make it both a cautionary tale and something I am ashamed to say is happening in ever-increasing numbers.
A woman is always reminded, using subtle or not so subtle jabs, that no matter how strong she are, or how smart she are, she will never be as good as a man, no matter the job, no matter the circumstance. That a woman only has one purpose for a man and when no one is within earshot he will be only too happy to tell you. And worse, if no one is around at the time, he may even show you. Forcefully.
The military is a paternalistic and patriarchal culture which tells you, if you are a woman, without saying it, you are a second-class citizen in what should be an all-males club. No good reason is ever made for why this should be an all male club; a woman should have the same right to fight and die for what she believes in as any man and that is really what it SHOULD be about, but it almost never is.
And yes, there are those men who will be decent to you, who will act as if you are a member of the team and they will mean it, while they are with you. When they return to the male only part of the armed force, they will be forced to admit women are inferior, they will be forced to admit, through peer pressure, through limited opportunities for advancement, through working the good-ole boy network, women are less than men. If they don’t, they don’t advance either.
This is a reflection of our current society. Where advancement in the military replaces money. Power and rank is a reflection of what you can do and who has to listen to you once you become powerful enough not to have to report what you don’t want to.
So what we have a sociopathic environment in which participation requires you either play the game, find your way around it, or accept what is being done and embrace secondary sociopathic tendencies. This is how good people end up doing bad things. If you want to get ahead, you want to play with the big boys, you want the rank, you want to go as far as the military allows, you will find, winnow and cull the weak. Those who won’t tow the party line, those who won’t allow the abuse, those who fight against what the military deems to be the Darwinian method of fitness. Survival by any means, and the weak shall perish.
This is an environment ripe for rape. And rape is everywhere. And it is not just women being raped. Men are suffering the same brutal treatment and there is just as little being reported about this phenomenon. We have another article this month addressing the fact that: Men are being sexually assaulted in the military but nobody is talking about it.
Getting justice comes at a price
Any woman, at any time, can if she is unfortunate enough, be on a base where an accused rapist has already been pardoned by a base commander as a “misunderstanding” or a “lack of evidence” and reassigned here as a means of keeping the accused rapist in the military because he is a “good soldier”.
On those times when a woman is willing to fall on her sword and do whatever it takes to bring a man to justice, and can find someone in the military willing to take her case, and a man is accused and tried by the UCMJ (Uniformed Code of Military Justice), he goes to the brig (military jail) for sixty days and given a dishonorable discharge. End of story. In the civilian world he would be, if convicted, looking at ten to fifteen years for rape.
But the woman suffers a far worse fate. For standing up to her attackers and the male-dominated culture of the military, she is expelled from the service, no matter how exemplary her time in the military has been. A reason is made, post-traumatic stress disorder is the current favorite, for having women who challenge the status quo removed without question.
The ultimate affront is to find so many of the people in charge of managing military staff, or should be protecting women from the horrors of rape, are being accused of sexual harassment, assault or rape themselves. Lt Colonel Jeffrey Krunsinski was accused of approaching and assaulting a woman in a parking lot. He was the chief of the sexual assault prevention and response branch. A second sergeant at Fort Hood, Texas has been investigated for pandering, abusive sexual contact and maltreatment of subordinates.
In 2012, 26,000 cases of sexual assault are estimated to have happened with only 3,500 actually being reported. If the people being reported to are themselves rapists or willing to assault, pander, or abuse their subordinates, who are the subordinates suppose to go to for recourse?
The military has proven it lacks the moral fortitude to prosecute rapists and protect its members from rape. The Uniformed Code of Military Justice, is toothless and the structures for reporting the crimes of sexual harassment, rape, abuse, are all far too easily swept under the hierarchical rug where one abuser can protect dozens under his control, if it is in his interest to do so. Judging from the staggering numbers, it is clearly time for a change.
This unfortunately will not help the women who have been harmed, twice.
Raped, abused, mistreated, then maligned, accused of falsehoods, then watching their abuser go free and go back to work while they are escorted to their barracks, made to pack their bags and head back to their homes as failures for defending their right to not have to be abused.
These are women who have made a sacrifice, sometimes of family, to be away from home, to handle harsh physical conditions, tolerate cultures which may not give them the same respect as men, and yet they persevere, they endure, they carry the standards of a military which is supposedly out making the world safer for everyone. They are going to the hardest work you could ever learn to love, protecting a nation whose internal workings are not designed to protect them.
Is this the best we can do?
It better not be. I didn’t serve my nation to watch the supposed best we have to offer become the worst in my lifetime. All of you so-called leaders at the Pentagon with your shiny brass and all too impressive breadboards, you are not living up to the standards I was willing to die for. You were fond of telling me while I was a member of the military to give it my all, to fight the good fight until there was nothing left. Well, gentlemen. I would say you have come up short. This cannot be your all.
There are women and men who are depending on you to lead them into battle, whether it be on foreign soil or in a domestic barracks. They are expecting to be safe with the men under your commands, expecting no matter what conditions they may find themselves, the last thing they will be forced to do is endure indignities and assaults.
The time where this could be considered acceptable is over. Just so we are clear, it was never acceptable. But what I have learned about large organizations, is they stay the same until someone acknowledges there is a problem. We are now aware there is a problem and it must be done away with. The same way we did away with keelhauling as a cruel and unnecessary punishment, the same way we did away with slavery as an affront to our nation’s ethical standards, the same way we stopped putting children in unsafe conditions in coal mines and factories, we must now stop accepting rape as a price of service in the military.
The fear of assault undermines the very fabric of trust necessary on the field of battle. It destroys the sense of pride and honor every soldier, male or female, wants to have when they don their uniform or gird their loins for battle. Armies win battles, face enemies, withstand hardship based on the strength of their morale. Sexual harassment, assault, and rape, if they are a hidden part of your culture undermines morale, destroying your military from within. You must stop this, lest one day you find no one willing to serve.
My commanding officers were fond of reminding me we were part of the finest fighting forces on Earth. I think its time for the leaders of the Pentagon and of the civilian agencies which provide oversight to the military, to take another look.
Some of the shine has worn off. I am certain you still extol your troops to do better, daily. I remind you now, of the same. Do better.
Thaddeus Howze, Operations Specialist Third Class, retired, USN
The Invisible War, documentary, June 2012
The academy-award nominated documentary has helped bring the military’s rape crisis to national attention. Filmmakers interviewed victims and military personnel to reveal the overwhelming obstacles to prosecuting military rape, and how inadequate efforts have been so far to curbing sexual assault.
Trauma Sets Female Veterans Adrift Back Home, New York Times, February 2013
According to the Pentagon report, 48,100 women (and 43,700 men) reported military sexual trauma last year, which studies say makes them nine times more likely to suffer from PTSD. This two-part New York Times series documents the struggles facing women veterans who’ve suffered from sexual assault, including homelessness and unemployment.
The Rape of Petty Officer Blumer, Rolling Stone, February 2013
The story of one naval officer’s rape details the consequences victims face for coming forward — consequences that keep most victims from reporting sexual attacks. After telling her superiors she had been raped, Rebecca Blumer was accused of lying, sexually harassed, denied promotions and ultimately discharged.
Rape victims say military labels them ‘crazy’, CNN, April 2012
A CNN investigation found another way the military handles rape accusations: labeling victims as emotionally unstable. After reporting a sexual assault, multiple service members were diagnosed with a personality disorder and discharged. Their abuse allegations were ignored.
The Enemy Within, National Journal, September 2012
What is it about the military that makes sexual assault so pervasive? The National Journal digs into the policies behind the statistics, and the legal loopholes exploited by sexual predators.
Pentagon grapples with sex crimes by military recruiters, Washington Post, May 2013
Active service members aren’t the only ones vulnerable to sexual assault. A recent series of scandals across the country exposed military recruiters accused of sexually abusing young people looking to enlist.
Betrayal in the Ranks, The Denver Post, 2004
The Denver Post spoke with more than 60 victims about their battle for justice, and the psychological trauma that lasted long after their assault. Many felt the military blamed them for their rape, while shielding their attackers from punishment.
So where is Hagel to begin? One problem with the military’s refusal to accept outside help is that it has led to a fox guarding the henhouse scenario. In many cases, the very people tasked with stamping out the scourge of rape have been committing sexual crimes themselves:
Earlier this year, Virginia Messick recounted her rape at the hands of her training instructor at Lackland Air Force Base. (Her attacker is now serving a 20 year sentence for crimes involving a total of 10 women)
This month, the chief of the Air Force sexual assault prevention unit Lt. Col Jeffrey Krisinski was arrested and charged with sexual assault.
Also this month, the manager of the sexual assault response program at Fort Campbell Lt. Col. Darin Haas was arrested and charged with stalking and violating a restraining order.
The Army is currently investigating sexual abuse educator Sgt First Class Gregory McQueen at Fort Hood, Texas, for persuading a female soldier to prostitute herself and for sexual assault of another soldier.
And, finally, Chuck Hagel has ordered a review of a case in which an Air Force general dismissed charges against a lieutenant colonel who was convicted of sexual assault. (Lt. Col. James Wilkerson was convicted by a military panel of sexual assault on a civilian employee. He was sentenced to one year in prison and dismissed from the Air Force. Lt. Gen. Craig Franklin reviewed the evidence and overturned the conviction.)
As men, we look at our sons, sometimes without realizing it, and remember all that we want for our sons. We want them to enjoy the feelings of success in sports we, ourselves may never had enjoyed. We want them to enjoy the social success with their peers, we may never been able to fathom when we were their ages.
And so we drive them hard. We drive them to succeed. We push them to catch, to throw, to run, to shoot, to be better at everything at their age, than we were. Like it or not, we admonish them to be better than we were.
But here is the truth. It’s not about you.
It’s not about him being a representation of you. It’s not about your having a second chance to live vicariously through your son. It isn’t.
And that is a hard thing to admit.
Because, if you are lucky, will see yourself again and again in your son. When he goes to bat, when he is on the field somewhere, when he struggles with is homework, when he fails in a spelling bee, when he scrubs out on his brand new bicycle. When he goes to high school, when he stays out late, when he doesn’t get into the college you think he should.
When he defies you and tells you to drop dead.
He is as he should be. When he is a little boy, the man he becomes is directly proportional to the love, support and willingness to let him succeed or fail on his own merits. Teach him to play, teach him to excel, teach him to fail well.
Then step back and let him grow. Be there with him both when he succeeds and more importantly when he fails. Both have lessons he will need to learn and no one will ever teach him better than you.
Except maybe Mom, but we’ll keep that under our hat. He’s not a man yet. And every day you spend with him will make him the man he’s supposed to be. And that’s not you.
And that’s okay. Grow with him.