Freeing People Since the Revolutionary War

Freeing you for our benefit

Laugh. It’s okay. I’ll wait. I thought it was darkly funny too. Then I thought deeply about what it really meant. And this is what I came up with:

America’s Imperialist Policies: “Freeing” People Since the Revolutionary War

Or so they would have you believe. When I saw this graphic, I realized much of what has bothered me about the United States military is the very existence of that military and how it has been used since the forming of this nation. The military is the ultimate expression of “cognitive dissonance” and freedom.

  • How free are we if we spend more than the next 14 nations who are our allies to maintain our military superiority?
  • How free are we if we are free to starve in the streets, while millionaires look on at the starving masses from their helicopters?
  • How free are we when we look down at the chicken we just bought from the market and have to wonder: “Is it safe to eat?”
  • How free are we when our students leave school with more debt and less to show for it than any generation in 100 years.

To have a chance at a decent job, some of them will leave school with what we once spent on a house.

You remember those. Where people who live in tent cities across America used to live, in homes. Homes they have lost due to the collapsed financial market. A market where we have finally gotten around to slapping fines out but no executives of these banks who knew they were engaged in what should have been considered illegal activities have been sent to jail yet; if ever.

If you want to see a jail cell, then protest appears to be the way to go. Executives have to be caught eating a live human baby, on camera with at least 12 reliable witnesses and even then a good lawyer gets them “time served” and a napkin.

We say our military might is about maintaining our freedom. Freedom appears pretty expensive to me.

The need for the military and its purchases certainly appears to be more important than:

  • schools – we don’t seem to value education anymore; no money? No education. We don’t plan on you making any decisions anyway so who cares if you learn anything?
  • bridges – we haven’t had enough collapse to make anyone care, yet. With over 2,000 in a dangerous state of repair, its just a waitin’ game.
  • roads – we are turning them back to gravel. FDR would be so proud.
  • updating our electricity infrastructure – parts of the nation spend more time in the dark than the Amish
  • water – no one is mentioning this number one hard to come by resource, nationwide
  • waste management – take it to the landfill, no plan after that
  • research and development – we don’t do that here, anymore
  • manufacturing – precious little of this either
  • plumbing and city-wide sewer and sanitation for every major metropolis in the US.

Thank God [sarcasm] we are still privatizing prisons. American innovation at its finest. [/sarcasm] 

Did I miss anything important? Wait:

  • industrialized food production – or how to create foods that will eventually kill us
  • genetically modified foods – no useful or specific testing before human use
  • dying bee populations likely due to pesticide overuse
  • antibiotic resistant disease management – welcome back to the age of dying-from-a-scratch. Penicillin we hardly knew ye…
  • overpopulation – no need to stop now, we can break 10 billion by 2040.
  • climate change – yes, I know, its a myth, like Creation, right?
  • fracking and its poisoned waste water – we don’t need fresh water; fracking scientists assure me, flammable water IS still drinkable.
  • oil production, oil sand extraction – moonscape anyone?
  • lack of transition to non-oil based technologies – solar panels? We don’t need no stinking solar panels, or wind farms or biogas facilities. Peak oil is a myth too.

The US maintains over 600 military bases around the world. We have more fighters and bombers than we will ever use. We have cargo planes coming off the assembly line and being scrapped in the same year. We have so much military hardware, we are selling it to the police in our local communities.


Just what we need, antipersonnel vehicles on Main Street.

The military is a jobs program with a $600 billion dollar price tag. Yes, I said it.

That is the American way. We starve our schools while our fighter bomber programs roam free across the countryside, ensuring powerful defense contractors continue to get their piece of our “ignorant nation” pie.

American Imperialism is dead, hear tell it. Now that there are almost no nations we can destabilize and then attack under the guise of “freedom.” We are being told that our president has no sense of foreign policy. In conservative speak: no sense of foreign policy means any policy which does not put boots on the ground and food in a defense contractors mouths.

It has been the American way for so long to deliver freedom from the barrel of a gun or the bomber bay of attack aircraft if your country needed “freedom”. Freedom meant we bombed you into freedom and then you spent twenty five years “recovering” and not being an economic threat to our hegemony.

Clever plan, eh?

I would say our experimentation with a Democratic Republic has had a rocky road and almost no one who has tried to embrace our freedom, particularly after we send them a dose of HE has been successful in its implementation.

Could it be our brand of freedom comes at too high a price?

A friend of mine had this to say about the secrets a government must keep to maintain its control:

by H Wolfgang Porter

The thing that a staggering amount of people in the US cannot comprehend is how the government works on a multi-level, multi-tiered, multifaceted framework nationally and internationally simultaneously. Few people ever get to see the ‘whole picture’ and even fewer can comprehend it when they do!

Most folks see one small aspect of what the country does and support or flip out over it based upon the limited info they get from news sources (often singular.) What the government does is crazy deep. When you get things going at such ‘depths’, there’s a lot of ‘dark’ activities going on. Rarely are those activities stuff you’d want to shine a light on.

What’s jacked though is the people of the US benefit quite a bit from those things ‘done in the dark’. For everything perceived as ‘good and above board’, an unknown (probably for the best) amount of shadowy events went down to push that ‘light event’ into being.

No one in this country wants to acknowledge or admit that the US is an Empire. You don’t get to be an empire or ‘superpower’ in the world without a lot of people getting covered in blood and dirt. It’s jacked up because we want the country to present the best face and intentions possible at all times. But, in the real world it doesn’t work that way.

At best, ‘We the People’ should be working towards keeping our government ‘honest as possible’. It will never be 100% above board because other nations aren’t playing by those rules. Plus, we’ll always have people in power who have their own agenda and those folks with the money and influence to push them along. We counteract those factors by being well informed as possible and do our individual best to not look at everything through ‘tribal filters’.

There is No Future – A cheery film talking about why we need to start changing how we do things around here. Or else.

Is this a bad time to mention we still have 20,000 nuclear weapons rusting away quietly all across this nation, ready to keep us free (or begin to quietly fail) and be unable to launch with hunks of active plutonium waiting at the maybe secure launch facility.

Nothing to worry about. What’s the worst that can happen? An explosion of Freedom…


© Thaddeus Howze 2013, All Rights Reserved

© H. Wolfgang Porter 2013, All Rights Reserved

Kill Your TV. It’s making you stupid.

Stupid TV



Okay, that’s not fair. TV isn’t making everyone stupid but it IS making some of us, stupider by the second.

My writings on this site address some of these issues. Indeed the very name, A Matter of Scale talks about the fact our problems are no longer solvable by a single person, they have grown too large to address unless we are all involved. It is literally a matter of scale.

I probe into the questions of why we can do certain things like creating food on a massive scale, transforming it into any number of other forms and distributing it to people for what is an amazing economy of scale, while at the same time, we throw away food by the ton at our supermarkets and megastores while people all over the planet are suffering from starvation.

We don’t seem to see the contradiction.

We don’t seem to feel the suffering.

We have become disconnected from our humanity, our sense of feeling, our sense of responsibility.

Our sense of belonging to something greater than ourselves has eroded to just our family, the people we share a blood relationship to, or maybe our religious group who base our affinity on the invisible relationship we have to a divine being who may or may not exist. We devote our time, our energy, our efforts to THAT relationship while allowing our more reachable, touchable, necessary and mundane relationships to people outside of our blood to languish, to fail, to wither away, in some cases right before our very eyes; opportunities for love, laughter, and a life worth leading languishing on the vine.

I wanted to write something as touching as A. Person did, showing I understood his wrath at things like Game of Thrones, where people invest so much of their emotional capital into something that doesn’t exist. Where people are so upset about a thing that happened, not at all, anywhere, while real atrocities which would make the Red Wedding little more than an afternoon of fun for the whole family.

I am with him when people say to him that he is crazed for NOT participating in Game of Thrones, only the most pivotal television to have ever happened ever. Because like him, I say, it is not real.

Are you seeking treachery on the scale of Game of Thrones?

  • How about the financial institutions that gambled with the mortgages of millions of people and lost it all.
  • Then needing to be bailed out by the government, who is in actuality the voice and the money of the people.
  • Then to find out later, the banks would not only fail to be accountable to anyone regarding what happened, they would have a profit that made their previous earnings insignificant by comparison.
  • But the ultimate treachery was made manifest when banks, having been rescued by the government, the agency of the people, turned around and told the people who rescued them “‘Fuck Off’ you won’t be getting any help with your mortgage.”
  • Instead you will be put out of your home onto the street, and I, the banker, will still make money while you and your family rot, displaced and dispossessed, on the street, dodging the police for living in your car, struggling to keep your job and hold your family together and those same bankers will never know a day of drudgery or suffering ever again in their lives.
  • These same bankers will derail the economic policies of the nation by making sure what little regulation that might protect people from their predations in the future will NEVER happen.
  • This did not happen to a single family. This happened to MILLIONS of families. Amplify the anguish and suffering of the Red Wedding, score it like the Nielsen ratings and you would have had a show that would have had epic numbers. No show could compare with the anguish of the Red Financial Crisis of 2008. More people watched helplessly, more lives were affected negatively and more economic value was destroyed than any other financial event in the history of the world, including the Great Depression.

The Red Wedding was a mercy killing by comparison.

I wanted to let you know that as terrible as the Economic crisis of 2008 and its effects continue, there are still a multitude of things taking place out there we are still in denial about and television and its masters ensure we stay divided, broken, unfocused, and unable to marshal the will to make a difference.

  • Instead of a Clean Energy Age we are doubling down on the Remnant Fossil Fuel program, where we poison our environment draining the last of the fossil fuels from every last crevice in the ground to make as much money as possible while killing as many people now and in the future as possible.
  • We lose one Rhino and five lions a day. We also lose one Elephant an hour due to poaching. 15000 species which go into extinction every year while we increase the temperature of the Earth, poison and overfish the seas, and generally make a mad dash to convert the Commons into wealth for an elite few individuals.
  • I acknowledge my share of responsibility because while I am not wealthy, I do benefit tangentially from that wealth being generated by living in the US, a nation of vast and unequal wealth, though I enjoy none of it specifically.

Instead, I am going to let you watch this video which says what I would like to say to everyone. Instead of watching the fake Game of Thrones or Scandal or Law and Order SVU, you instead turn off your entertainment and watch more responsible news. See the events unfolding in your life, sure to affect you, your children and their children. Be the hero of your own story and fight for those unborn billions who WILL inherit a broken planet, displaced millions, and an economic system which will promote the very idea, if you aren’t already rich, you don’t matter. That if your ancestors did not find a way to exploit someone less capable, less rich, less intelligent, less educated, more ethical than they were, then they deserve the spot on the ladder Darwin made for them.

Know such thinking is a lie. Your value cannot and should not be determined by someone who is willing to burn you like a hunk of coal for their personal wealth.

You must value you and your potential contribution to the world. Your value isn’t solely determined by your physical beauty, your physical acumen in sports, or your intellectual capacity. It is determined by your humanity and your willingness to put yourself out for someone who has nothing to offer you but their thanks.

And in a perfect world, their thanks would be all that you would need to get on your way to the next person who needed your assistance.

Life is mean, brutish and short is the message of Game of Thrones. Our world replicates that quite nicely.

But the idea that it could be more is always there in all of our minds. That fairness is a possibility, helping your fellow man does NOT take food out of your mouth, being aware of where your food comes from does not make you less of a cool person. That saving animals, trees and our environment in general does not make you a tree-hugging liberal.

It makes you a decent person to think about what we do now affecting the future.

Stop listening to the lies. Trust the voice deep inside you buried under all of the failed aphorisms of television, of Darwin, of a dog-eat-dog world and know WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE.

But we have to stop listening to the lies being propagated to keep us poor, divided and uninformed. Kill your TV. Take your mind back. Change the world, one smile, one hand, one heart at a time. Game of Thrones can’t even compare to the feeling you get when you do.

The Great Global Distraction

Published by A Film for Action

Words by A. Person

Music, edits and talking by Jordan B.

Mashed footage used from various sources with credits to respective creators.

Connected with: You Get What You Pay For

Memorial Day, by the numbers

Memorial Day at a Glance


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.

Rape in the Military: Uniformed Code of Military Injustice

You've been raped

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.

Daily Kos Logo

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.)