Tom Hayden—R.I.P.

Back in the days of my youth there were special people if you were into the protest scene…..Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin and Tom Hayden…..among others.

It all began with the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and their Huron Statement and the movement ballooned from there…..into a nationwide protest against war….where have all the leaders gone?

They were the backbone of the anti-war activism…..we took our cue from their examples……slowly our “heroes” from those days are dying off and there seems to be NO one capable of taking their place as the leaders of a movement……

Sadly Tom Hayden has passed on….he will be missed…..

Famed ’60s anti-war activist Tom Hayden, whose name became forever linked with the celebrated Chicago 7 trial, Vietnam War protests, and ex-wife actress Jane Fonda, has died. He was 76. He died on Sunday after a long illness, said his wife, actress Barbara Williams, noting that he suffered a stroke in 2015. Hayden, once denounced as a traitor by his detractors, overcame his past and won election to the California Assembly and Senate, where he served for almost two decades as a progressive force on such issues as the environment and education. He was the only one of the radical Chicago 7 defendants to win such distinction in the mainstream political world, the AP reports.

In 1960, while a student at the University of Michigan, Hayden was involved in the formation of Students for a Democratic Society, then dedicated to desegregating the South. In 1968, he helped organize anti-war demonstrations during the Democratic National Convention in Chicago that turned violent and resulted in the notorious and circus-like Chicago 7 trial. Hayden and three others were convicted of crossing state lines to incite riot. The convictions were later overturned, and an official report deemed the violence “a police riot.” “Rarely, if ever, in American history has a generation begun with higher ideals and experienced greater trauma than those who lived fully the short time from 1960 to 1968,” he wrote in the essay “Streets of Chicago.” Read more about Hayden, who was married to Fonda for 17 years, here.

Good-bye old friend….Rest In Peace.

A Westphalian Peace for the Middle East

Once again I am about to let fly my now famous historical perspectives….

I think we all can agree that the Middle East as it is today is a mess…….as I student of conflicts I am always looking for a possible way to end all these hostilities and bring some sort of peacefulness to the region.

What sort of peace could there possibly be and then I thought about the Westphalian Peace Treaty……it ended the 30 years war……

The Thirty Years’ War (1618-48) began when Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand II of Bohemia attempted to curtail the religious activities of his subjects, sparking rebellion among Protestants. The war came to involve the major powers of Europe, with Sweden, France, Spain and Austria all waging campaigns primarily on German soil. Known in part for the atrocities committed by mercenary soldiers, the war ended with a series of treaties that made up the Peace of Westphalia. The fallout reshaped the religious and political map of central Europe, setting the stage for the old centralized Roman Catholic empire to give way to a community of sovereign states.

Why the Peace of Westphalia, which helped end a series of bloody wars in seventeenth century Europe, could work for the Middle East today.

Between 1618 and 1648, central Europe, and the Holy Roman Empire in particular, was devastated by a series of conflicts that were caused by competing visions of political order, great power, and dynastic rivalries, and that were exacerbated by religious differences. This soon came to be called the Thirty Years’ War. But the Peace of Westphalia, which successfully ended the German phase of the conflict, has been much misunderstood.

The 1648 settlement is widely thought to have inaugurated a modern system of sovereign independent nation-states in Europe (often referred to as the Westphalian system). And, as the argument goes, when that concept was later applied to the Middle East after the fall of the Ottoman Empire, it actually contributed to much of the region’s current dysfunction. But in reality, the Westphalia settlement did something quite different from what has been commonly thought. It set up a system of limited sovereignty for the numerous states of the Holy Roman Empire (formally known as imperial estates, which were the component territories of the empire, ruled by princes or city councils). It also created legal mechanisms for settling disputes and offered mutual guarantees for upholding the treaty’s terms, which taken altogether, formed a system of collective security.

Source: A Westphalian Peace for the Middle East | Foreign Affairs

Apparently what the world is doing these days will never lead to a peaceful conclusion of the violence and destruction.

Why not take some time and use a previous agreement as a template that could lead to an end to this deadly games?

Return Of The Ottomans?

There is no one left alive that can give much first hand knowledge about the Ottoman Empire…..unless one is a history major or buff.  It has been about 93 years since the Ottoman Empire collapsed.

The Ottoman Empire was an imperial state that was founded in 1299 after growing out of the break-down of several Turkish tribes. The empire then grew to include many areas in what is now present-day Europe to and it eventually became one of the largest, most powerful and longest-lasting empires in the history of the world. At its peak, the Ottoman Empire included the areas of Turkey, Egypt, Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, Macedonia, Hungary, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and parts of the Arabian Peninsula and North Africa.

In the 1700s the Ottoman Empire began to rapidly deteriorate following the Russo-Turkish Wars and a series of treaties during that time caused the empire to lose some of its economic independence. The Crimean War, which lasted from 1853-1856, further exhausted the struggling empire. In 1856 the independence of the Ottoman Empire was recognized by the Congress of Paris but it was still losing its strength as a European power.

In the late 1800s, there were several rebellions and the Ottoman Empire continued to lose territory and political and social instability in the 1890s created international negativity toward the empire. The Balkan Wars of 1912-1913 and uprisings by Turkish nationalists further reduced the empire’s territory and increased instability. Following the end of World War One, the Ottoman Empire officially came to an end with the Treaty of Sevres.

I bring up this simplistic history about Turkey because of the situation today in the Middle East.

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan called last year for the “conquest” of Europe by Islam “through emigration” into Europe and announced that the “conquest is to have the courage, tenacity, and sagacity to defy the entire world even at the hardest times.”

The speech, delivered in Istanbul on May 30, 2015, at a public meeting celebrating the 562nd anniversary of the fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Empire’s Muslim armies, has just been translated into English for the first time.

Source: Erdogan and the Return of the Ottoman Empire – The New Observer

Turkey’s interest in northern Syria and northern Iraq is not an abstraction triggered by a group of religious fanatics calling themselves the Islamic State; it is the bypass, intersection and reinforcement of multiple geopolitical wavelengths creating an invisible force behind Ankara to re-extend Turkey’s formal and informal boundaries beyond Anatolia.

They, Turkey, has already started making in roads in the empire business…..they have ground troops in Syria and Iraq and they have little intention of leaving…..

Turkey insisted on Thursday that its troops will remain in Iraq despite Baghdad’s growing anger ahead of a planned operation to retake the Iraqi city of Mosul from ISIS.

Baghdad has accused Ankara of risking a regional war by keeping its forces inside Iraq, with the dispute complicating plans for the ambitious American-backed Mosul operation.

“No matter what the Iraqi government in Baghdad says, a Turkish presence will remain there to fight against Daesh (ISIS), and to avoid any forceful change of the demographic composition in the region,” Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said in televised comments.

Turkey has an estimated 2,000 troops in Iraq — around 500 of them in the Bashiqa camp in northern Iraq training Iraqi fighters who hope to participate in the battle to recapture Mosul, according to Turkish media.

The Turkish parliament on Saturday extended a government mandate by one year, allowing its troops to remain on both Iraqi and Syrian soil.

The Iraqi parliament labelled the Turkish troops an “occupying force” while Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi raised fears that Turkey’s move could lead to “regional war”.

Turkey is fighting the Kurds in Syria and some factions that it does not like…..ground troops are there to stay also…..

Since the supposed coup, Erdogan has been consolidating his power base….the Ottomans are making a slow return…….a new sultan in the making.

Just a thought……


The Petticoat Revolution of 1916

It is a Saturday and the election is closing in on our sanity…..I like to read reports when people take it upon themselves to change things….especially when it comes to politics and elections……

My regulars know I am a bit of a nut on giving some sort of historic perspective…..this election needs all the perspective it can get…..we have two candidates that are about as popular as a gorilla in heat……

I also like to give women all the credit they deserve……with that in mind I found a great perspective to offer up……

The incumbent all-male government in the tiny town of Umatilla, Oregon—population just 198—was confident going into the 1916 election. Mayor E.E. Starcher didn’t even worry about campaigning to keep his seat. After all, most citizens of the town didn’t bother to vote anymore, and since no one had announced that they were challenging him, ballots hadn’t even been ordered.

But it was exactly this sort of complacency and particulars—a disengaged voting population and elections in which writes-ins were acceptable—that allowed the “Petticoat Revolution” to topple the old boys’ club, replacing the majority of elected officials with women (who had gained suffrage in Oregon in 1912) and ousting E.E. Starcher for none other than his own wife, Laura Stockton Starcher.

Source: Laura Starcher and the Petticoat Revolution of 1916 | Mental Floss

That is what this country needs….another revolution (you may take that any damn way you like) our reps are lazy, complacent and corrupt……time for a change and since we cannot do it through the election process….what choice do we have?

This will be my only post today unless news warrants my attention……

Start you weekend with a little fun…..

Death Of An Icon

My weekend begins with the news of someone that I knew….not personally but rather through the radio while I was serving in Vietnam….anyone that was there will recognize the name of “Hanoi Hanna”…..

She passed away this week……at the age of 85…….

Thinh Thi Ngo, the Vietnamese radio host better known as “Hanoi Hannah,” passed away on Friday at age 85, reports the New York Times. Ngo was a propaganda broadcaster for North Vietnam during the war; her English-language program was designed to convince American soldiers that their presence in Vietnam was wrong. Despite the serious nature of her mission, many who heard her remember her fondly, including Sen. John McCain, who was forced to listen to Ngo’s broadcasts daily during his captivity in the “Hanoi Hilton” POW camp. “She’s a marvelous entertainer,” McCain recalled in 2000. “I’m surprised she didn’t get to Hollywood.”

Ngo’s 30-minute broadcasts ran for a decade, from 1965 to the end of the war in 1975. AFP says Ngo’s programs were an eclectic mix: in soft-spoken English, Ngo would read out names of American soldiers killed that day, interspersed with lessons on Vietnamese history, and music by modern American singers like Bob Dylan and Joan Baez. In a 1994 interview with the New York Times, Ngo said “My work was to make the G.I.s understand that it was not right for them to take part in this war.” Of her moniker, she said: “The Americans like nicknames.”

She was not well loved by US troops would be an understatement….but she was a fixture on our radios…..and yes…an ICON.

Ironically 3 years ago the General of the North Vietnamese Army, Gen. Giap dies at the age of 103…..he also is an icon of the day…..his book, People’s Army, People’s War, was required reading …….

I recently read an interview that he gave about the war in Vietnam…..

The death of Vo Nguyen Giap on October 4, 2013, in his 103rd year, was noted with respect everywhere in the world. General Giap commanded the military forces that freed Vietnam from French colonialism in the 1946–1954 war that ended with the victory at Dien Bien Phu (1954), and that then defeated U.S. imperialist aggression in the 1962–1975 war that ended with liberation of Saigon. The heroic and victorious struggle of Communist Vietnam was a major factor in the growth of anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist movements that shook the previously colonized world, Western Europe, and even the United States.

Source: The United States Has Lost the War: An Interview by General Vo Nguyen Giap |

Yes he was the enemy…but I cannot argue against his tactics……they were effective……

Slowly, all of us vets that served in Vietnam are dying out and soon we will be the forgotten generation along with those of the Korean War…..we already the ignored generation….soon we will be the forgotten.

Libertarianism and War

Note:  Please forgive the small amounts of posts but yesterday and today are my doctors and their tests and probes and tickles…….I should be back to form on Monday.

This election as with most in recent history there will be a Libertarian vying for the presidency, Gary Johnson…..normally I am not a fan of the Libertarian economic policies however I do find some of their stands in foreign policy interesting and even some that I could support….like their ideas on interventionism.

Their ideas on war or armed conflicts if war is too strong of a word for you….go back about 60 years to 1956 (and here is that historical perspective that has been missing for a couple of posts)…….

The year was 1956: the icy winds of the cold war were blowing across the political landscape. And it was a presidential election year, pitting the internationalist Republican Dwight Eisenhower against Adlai Stevenson, the darling of the Democratic party’s left wing. The “isolationist” faction of the GOP, led by Sen. Robert A. Taft, had been finally defeated by what Phyllis Schlafly later called the Republican “kingmakers” of the Eastern Establishment. And the looming menace of the cold war turning hot was everywhere in the headlines. While Eisenhower was rallying the nation against the alleged Communist “threat,” Stevenson was calling for a nuclear test ban, negotiations with the Soviet Union, and an end to the military draft.

There was no organized libertarian movement at the time, although the people and institutions that would later emerge as the leadership were beginning to coalesce. Prominent among them was Murray Rothbard, then a thirty year old economist and consultant for the Volker Fund, who was also the Washington correspondent for the quasi-libertarian Faith and Freedom magazine. While most if not all conservatives and libertarians favored Eisenhower, Rothbard shocked his readers with a ringing endorsement of the liberal Democrat Stevenson.

Source: Libertarianism and War – Original by —

Foreign policy should be foremost on the voters mind……but instead we have platitudes and campaigns about NOTHING…..I mean these campaigns this time around are more boring than the Seinfeld Show…..

There is still time for the voter to come to grips with the absolute worthlessness of the two major candidates and find an alternative that could lead this country……but will they?

But the Libertarian candidate leaves much to be desired to be considered as a viable candidate…..

Gary Johnson’s had his “Aleppo moment.” He’s had his “forgetting world leaders” moment. And now the Libertarian candidate for president has completed the foot-in-mouth trifecta with his “Are you seriously asking me for the name of North Korea’s leader?” moment. USA Today reports that that latter event happened during a Wednesday interview with the New York Times, in which Johnson was asked if he knew the name of that particular person who happens to run Pyongyang and its environs. “I do,” he replied, before adding, “You want me to name [that person]. … Really.”

Yes, Gary, really—which is why you were asked. But he didn’t ever give the Times that name. (It’s Kim Jong Un, by the way), and the Times speculates he was “conspicuously [seeking] to avoid another misstep” with his non-answer, noting that he spoke “dryly” when he asked if the reporter was serious. Jezebel has the most reasonable speculation on why Johnson may have demurred from speaking the Supreme Leader’s name: He perhaps confused him with Voldemort. (Still, Gary Johnson says don’t forget about Gary Johnson on Election Day.)

Time to get serious and find a candidate that is not an idiot or uninformed……


Think About Joining The BDS

Sunday begins and I find myself still not thinking about anything other than the world situation……our election is a joke…….so let’s talk boycotts…….

It is no secret I am a supporter of the BDS Movement against the state of Israel……and because of that support I am fan of noted activist Edward Said…..

Edward Said

September 25, 2016 marked the thirteenth anniversary of the passing of Professor Edward Said, one of the most influential intellectuals of the twentieth century, and a political icon for anyone invested in the Question of Palestine.  And as happens with many historical icons, Said’s legacy is causing a tug-of-war between “liberal Zionists” on the one hand, and the thousands of anti-Zionist critics and BDS activists his radical scholarship and political engagement have spawned.

For decades, while still among us, Said was smeared as a “professor of terror,” including by the right-wing Commentary magazine, which also accused him of leading  a “double career as literary scholar and ideologue of terrorism.”    In 2000, he was vilified as embracing violence when he threw a rock towards Israel from a village in southern Lebanon, newly-liberated from twenty-two years of Israeli occupation.  Throughout his career, there were concerted efforts to discredit his scholarship, and even deny his Palestinian identity.  The latter is an offense millions of Diaspora Palestinians are subjected of:  even as the Palestinian refugee status is the only such status globally to be passed down from one generation to another, those of us born outside of the historic homeland, but without the UN-issued “refugee status” documentation, are denied our Palestinian identity, as Zionists seek to erase our right of return, and deny that hundreds of thousands of us were displaced during the Nakba.  (The pro-Israel organization StandWithUs, for example, has declared me Iraqi, a “fake Palestinian,” because I was indeed born in Bagdad, but to Palestinian parents, both from the old city of Jerusalem.)  Said, his detractors claimed, was Egyptian, because he grew up in Cairo.

– See more at:

Anyone that wants to impact the treatment of the Palestinian people should consider joining the BDS Movement…..
Caution:  It us illegal to criticize Israel in several states….New York and California to mention a few…..these states can BITE ME!  We still have freedom of speech unless that is on the outs along with privacy and voting….. (you might find it difficult to load for there are many forces trying to stop this movement)
UPDATE:  women’s flotilla is nearing Gaza….Israel has issued orders to its Navy to stop them……once again Israel is denying aid to the people of Gaza….when will the world wake up to this violation of human rights?