By Frank Byronn Glenn – Nov. 1, 2016 —
This was a short story I originally wrote in June of 2015, after my first visit to Earnest Hemingway’s grave in Ketchem, Idaho. I posted it to my blog, Spotlight on Democracy, shortly after that, and then recently I noticed that the blog had mysteriously gone missing — so I reposted it. Hope you enjoy it.
The Great Escape
Johnny Tudor was different from the rest of us – the American soldiers in Vietnam in 1968. He had studied the history of Vietnam at Ohio State University. He had studied the political history of the Indo-Chino Wars. He knew many of the details of the events that led up to the decisive defeat of the French at the battle of Dien Bien Phu on May 7, 1954. He had received his undergraduate degree in American History — and planned to attend graduate school when he got out of the Army — and ultimately teach at a small college or university.
He also saw the steady ramp-up of the public relations campaign and the political posturing and rhetoric that set the stage for the gradual involvement and eventual build-up of the American forces in Vietnam after the French defeat and withdrawal.
But more than anything, he knew — and understood — to the extent that an outsider could — the long and tortured history of the Vietnamese people. The periodic invasions throughout their history, and their nature and culture and the great pride they took in their commitment — their defiance – over hundreds of years long struggles — to rid their country of the invaders – their oppressors.
Once he got to Vietnam in person, though, he quickly fell in love with the Vietnamese people themselves. And his blue, twinkling eyes, his bushy thatch of straw blond hair, and his ready smile, drew the Vietnamese to him as well.
Johnny Tudor was quick to laugh, and his dancing, mirthful eyes and broad smile made him a favorite of almost everyone. He almost seemed to enjoy and revel in life — for life’s sake – in and everything Vietnamese. He loved their food, he loved their culture – and he learned the language so quickly it was almost as if he were born Vietnamese.
Underneath it all, he was as decent a human being – and man — as I have ever known – in Vietnam — or anywhere else – at any time in my life.
The old mama-sans watched over him devotedly, and followed his every move with pride and enjoyment – as if he was their own son. The young girls were all crazy in love with Johnny at some level or another — but he playfully, sweetly and tenderly rebuffed them at every turn – and continuously turned their devotion to him into opportunities to spend time with them – and continuously refocused their feelings and energies onto themselves and each other – and took advantage of their rapt attention to him to coach and assist them in learning to read and speak English, study, and learn skills and competencies – that’s what he called them – competencies — that would improve their lives in the immediate – or prepare them for more opportunity — or more independence — in the future.
One young Vietnamese girl in particular, a young girl from a formerly well-to-do Vietnamese family fallen on hard times — Bui Ti Bui – took a particular liking to Jonny. Not a romantic interest so much, although there was certainly a spark and a chemistry between them – but more of a soul-mate, kindred spirit – almost favorite sibling kind of a relationship.
She, too, was quick to laugh, had dancing eyes, and was quite mischievous in nature. She loved playing pranks and teasing, and, with some help and careful, patient coaching from Tudor, even learned to tell American GI jokes in half-way decent English – to the shock, surprise, and amusement of Johnny’s GI buddies sometimes – and to the great amusement, delight – and pride – of Johnny — each and every time she pulled one off. They were joyous co-conspirators.
Johnny would listen to the stories the Vietnamese told – of their pain and their suffering – in the war. Their loss of lives of loved ones –through indiscriminate bombings – and the decentigration and destruction of their culture and their way of life — the loss of their sense of self-respect through the indignation and humiliation of living in a country occupied by the Americans.
The overwhelming influx American dollars that came with the arrival of the Americans, had destroyed the local economies of many of the small towns and villages of Vietnam and for the people who lived in them. Bui Ti Bui’s family had been broom makers for their cash subsistence needs. They grew a little rice and a lot of vegetables like most Vietnamese peasants, but for generations they had built a reputation as one of the exemplary broom- making families of Vietnam. Their community found their brooms useful and of good value – so they liked them and they used them – and over time they bought a lot of them. The broom sales provided the family with enough income to be considered prosperous – and had supplied all the money the family needed to provide for the little things that make the difference between a subsistence living and a life of security and quality.
Before the Americans came, the brooms Bui Ti Bui’s family made had the equivalent value of a bushel of rice — enough rice to provide Bui Ti Bui’s extended family food to live on for almost a month – and there was even a little extra available for friends and neighbors, occasionally. Or for a community dinner together. After the Americans came, it was not long before one of the family brooms would barely buy a small cup of rice. And not long after that, no one would even part with a small cup of rice for a single broom.
Most poor Vietnamese families were forced to do extraordinary things to keep their families alive during these times. Many were forced to send their daughters into a life of prostituting themselves to the American and Australian soldiers in order to get enough money to live. Some had sons that went into the Army of the Republic of Vietnam and they used their meager pay to help support their families. If they were lucky, one or more of the old mama-sans and the young girls would get jobs on the American military bases and earned eight dollars a month for working eight hours a day, seven days a week, for a month – sweeping hooches, doing laundry, simple mending and repairs, and then ironing soldiers’ uniforms and hanging them neatly for work the next day. They also shined the soldiers’ boots, shined their belt buckles, and washed their linens and made their bunks each day.
When the price of brooms collapsed shortly after the arrival of the Americans, Bui Ti Bui’s family had fallen on terribly desperate times. They had no choice but to force Bui Ti Bui’s older sister Lia, a well-educated, sweet, tender-hearted, French-speaking soul and a local Vietnamese – and French language poet of some renown, into a life of prostitution in Saigon. They used the dollars she earned from the American and Australian soldiers to keep the family alive.
On her sixteenth birthday, Lia pulled a .45 caliber pistol from the holster of the American Major she had just prostituted herself to, and put it to her head, pulled the trigger, and killed herself.
Bui Ti Bui’s family never sent another daughter into prostitution – but the oldest two sons had both been conscripted into the ARVN army when they were teenagers – and their pay helped support the family. Both of them were killed — at the same time — in the same place — on December 25th, 1968, by an errant American air-strike intended for some unfriendlies a short distance away.
Johnny Tudor really loved the Vietnamese people. Not only their histories – their long struggles – but the people themselves. He felt he understood their hearts. He understood them because he spent many long hours with them, in off duty time – hearing of their joys – their sorrows—their hopes and dreams – and their deep longing for that peaceful, normal kind of life that they hoped to have when the Americans had finally gone home and the long healing process was complete. A time many of them believed they, themselves, would never live to see.
One morning in late February in 1969, Johnny Tudor returned from his early morning guard shift and stopped by his hooch to drop his weapon off before he went to chow. Bui Ti Bui was standing on the backside of his bunk, watching him enter across the bed. He winked at her — and smiled. She smiled back — and flashed him her trade-mark single-pinkie wave — and a giggle. Johnny tossed his AR-16 assault weapon up onto his bunk. The weapon discharged on impact, and fired a .22 caliber high velocity ammunition round into the forehead and out the back of the skull of Bui Ti Bui – killing her instantly.
Johnny ended up in the psyche ward somewhere over on Long Binh Post for a few weeks – before he came back to the company and resumed his duties. He was different, though. He was just a shadow of his former self when he returned. It seemed as if the light had gone out of his eyes – and the joy out of his life. The once robust thatch of yellow hair now hung limp and lifeless down the side of his head. He was thinner. His face was gaunt – and his eyes had a haunted, hollow look to them. He moved slowly – trance like — at times. He never laughed and he never smiled again — that I ever saw.
He still showed up for work at his job at Signal Corp each day. He still went to the mess hall and ate, though sometimes just once a day. And he still pulled guard duty when his turn came up.
One night in early spring, the day after pay day, one of his guard duty comrades for the night found me playing Acey-Deucey in the hooch a little after mid-night – and said that Johnny was down at Guard Post 3 with his assault rifle to his head, saying he was “taking the AR-16 special to Never-Land tonight.”
When I got down to Guard Post 3 Johnny still had the weapon to his head. He was leaning back against the bunker, the stock between his boots with the barrel right in the middle of his forehead, two inches above his eyes. I sat down on the steps in the doorway leading down into the bunker beside him and we talked for several hours. A little after 5:30am he finally took the AR-16 away from his head and leaned it up against the outside bunker wall. The early morning light was splaying softly across the top of the bunker.
Johnny said he realized that what had happened to Bui Ti Bui had just been an accident. A horrible accident. He said that he knew that it wasn’t his fault – technically – that Bui Ti Bui was dead. Because it wasn’t intentional. He knew that. He said he recognized that war was horrible – and that sometimes things just happened that way. That war itself was just that way. That sometimes things just happened that way in war — and there’s was no real understanding it. They just happen. And there’s no reason for it.
He said he felt better now. He said that he really appreciated me coming down to the guard post and talking with him. He said I was a good friend – his best friend in all the world. He said he loved me. He said we were going to be all right – we were going to get through this –and get back to the states– and get on with our normal lives.
I went back to base-camp and went directly to the mess hall for breakfast. I got my morning ration of S.O.S. and a stiff, thick, black strong cup of coffee.
Guard duty officially ended each day at 6:30. At 6:31am the Officer of the Day came into the mess hall and walked directly over to the table where I was eating.
“Johnny Tudor just put a “16” bullet though his head — and he’s dead as a door-nail down at Guard Post 3.”
I didn’t say anything. I just sat there looking down at my hand on my coffee cup – staring at the faint puff of steam wafting up from it.
“Poor son-of-a-bitch”, the Officer of the Day said, shaking his head. “Sorry, Greer.” He about-faced and walked stiffly away from me across the mess hall the way he had come in and back out the door and into the company street.
I sat for a few minutes after he was gone. Just not thinking. I don’t know how long I sat there because I didn’t keep track – and no one bothered me.
I guessed that was it, then, for Johnny Tudor. Johnny Tudor –big, beautiful, happy, smiling – wonderful Johnny Tudor – had finally done it. He finally figured it out. He finally found a way to tell the United States Government — the mighty American war machine – the politicians – he had finally found a way to tell them all – all of them – to kiss his ass!
Johnny Tudor was out of here. He was finally out of this god-forsaken, blood-sucking, soul-killing – joy snuffing — war – world – and life — he had been born into.
Johnny Tudor was gone. Going, going – gone. Johnny Tudor was free at last.
By Byronn Glenn — June 13, 2016
Those ‘Democratic’ apologists for Hillary Clinton, who say that she is right that “single-payer healthcare will never, ever happen.” and that “we can’t pay for it if it did”, either do not know how to add and subtract — or have forgotten how to dream.
Forgotten how to dream, as Bobby Kennedy so eloquently said the year he was assassinated. Dream, he said, “not of things that once were, but of things that have never been.”
They have also forgotten that when Bill Clinton left office, moderate Republican though he was, the defense budget was down several hundred billion dollars a year from what it was when he came into office, to a svelte $327 billion or so, and when Barack Obama came to office it was back up to $987 billion, and we were all still petrified of those big, old mean terrorists bad guys.
I ask you, after the 50 people were gunned down by the “purported” radical extremist with Islamo-terrorist ties in Orlando over the week-end, “don’t you feel a lot safer now than you did when we were only spending a measly $327 billion dollars a year to “keep us safe.”
In truth, the reason we spend lots of money on national defense is so that corporations can have their own personal “Republican Guard” looking after their financial interests and assisting them in their imperialistic predations around the world — and to facilitate an occasional resource take-over or U.S. sponsored coup d’etat in a small, uppity third-world country that had the audacity to nationalize an industry or re-take control of a natural or national resources — an insult our wealthy corporatists simple could not abide.
And — oh, yes…. we also have a big military budget because their are lots of wealthy people feeding at the easy trough of instant obsolescence manifest in the profitable defense and munitions manufacturing business — and lots of big fortunes to be made in the enormous wealth transfer — through taxes — from working people to the ruling class — in the name of nation-hood and keeping America safe.
To examine further: When you say ‘single-payer health care will never happen”, all you’re really saying is the wealthy don’t need it, won’t permit it, and so it will “never happen”. I bow to the so easily defeated! The acquiescent. The unwilling. The afraid? The afraid to dream…….?
And when you say we could “never pay for it, if we did”. All you’re really saying is that we can’t pay for it and still have tw0-thirds of our federal budget going to pay for corporate war and murder for profit. And we can’t pay for it without asking millionaires and billionaires to chip in a tiny fraction more of their ill-gotten largese. And you’re also saying that that’s okay with you. And that those national priorities match up nicely with yours — and that those priorities fulfill your vision of America’s role in the world. That they define for you what is good and what is desirable — not just in a country and a world — but in a civilization.
But sadly, you are saying something else, as well. You’re saying that you won’t fight for a better country and a better world — a more hopeful path forward for civilization. Or you are admitting that you are unwilling — unable — or unworthy….
And that’s a hard one to argue against. Because, if you really do believe we shall never have something like single-payer healthcare, and you really do believe that even if we did, we re not smart enough, capable enough, or good enough– to ever prioritize that it could come to pass and we could sustain it — over time — then I agree. It may never come to pass for us. And we will richly deserve to be deprived of that goodness and humanity in our world — perhaps, because we had forgotten, or never learned, or were simply unwilling to even dream…to try to dream — of better life and world.
And as far as not being able to pay for it? That’s just the child in us accepting, without protest, the serial abuse of the older and more powerful in our lives…. because we did not have the simple courage to cry out and to ask to be treated better — and with greater equality and fairness — and to accept, instead, that we — and mankind — simply are not worth of it.
In short, there’s twenty ways to pay for it, if we want it. All we have to do is ask for — no, demand — it. Are you able? Are you willing?
Is Hillary Clinton?
By Byronn Glenn – June 11, 2016 — “Run, Bernie, Run!”
Hilary Clinton saying she is just being “realistic”, because “single-payer healthcare is never, ever going to happen” — is like a legislator saying that “laws against rape are pointless, because the sexual urge is just part of human sexual biology — and there’s just nothing we can do about it”.
The point is, Hilary, what we want as citizens of this country is our choice, and what your statement is really saying is, “Hey insurance companies, hey big pharma, hey, rich healthcare providers, please send me lots of money right away — because I am going out on a limb, in the national media, in front of God and everybody, letting you know right up front that I am going on the “official” record as a proud “corporatist”, that I’m a ‘big insurance’, ‘big pharma’ girl through and through– and that I have your back – so don’t worry!” Just make it worth it to me!
And of course, what her donors hear, is “oh no, you don’t. No single payer here. Not one my watch!”
The point is Hilary, it’s a choice. And you have made yours. It just happens to be in direct contradiction to what 70% of Americans — including Bernie Sanders and his supporters — believe we should have. Trump is apparently so bad in your mind, you believe you can run as a Republican and all of us donkeys and jackasses are so dumb that we ll just vote for you, anyway.
Well, I say, “No thanks!” Run, Bernie, Run! Do you really want to go back to the Senate and carry water for a fake Democrat at the age of 74?
If Trump wins, at least maybe we ll get the revolution on for real!
Here’s to the new Democratic-Socialist Party! Keep the momentum! Build the movement! Make it Bern, or let it burn!
By Byronn Glenn — The Clinton camp has returned to the same old tired and disengenious old drum beat that the establishment media has been beating since June of 2015. Sanders isn’t prepared — Sanders Isn’t Electable — Sanders is Foreign Policy Naive — Sanders is too old (oops, be careful on that one).
But even though Clinton by all rights should have buried Sanders by now — for some reason he just keeps seeming to gain name recognition and favor. Maybe it’s just that the not quite ready for prime time American public has taken itself a long time to figure out that with Sanders – “what you see and hear is what you get”. Sanders hasn’t changed too many positions on policies and programs over the entire course of his life in politics — and Americans have seen that so seldom — that it has taken them a long time to recognize it — and even longer to believe it is true of a career politician.
More and more, people are beginning to realize that Bernie Sanders is speaking about them and for them. That he’s saying the same things on the campaign trail that a lot of us have been muttering under our breaths over morning coffee for most of our lifetimes.
The only unanswered question is: Will the awakening realization in the American voting public that for once in their lifetime there is actually a politician who is pulling for them — sees the same things wrong in Washington and in the country as they do — and is sincere about trying to make them better — will the realization happen fast enough and big enough to put some winning momentum behind the campaign of this tireless, courageous champion of the American middle class and working families.
Rise up, America! This is your time! It may be your last chance for a long time…. Democracy Now! Democracy Now! Democracy Now!
Benghazi Attack Mastermind — Abu Khattala — Himself, Says Attacks Were Motivated By Anti-Muslim Video!
By Frank Byronn Glenn — There you have it. Abu Kattala himself said the Benghazi attack was retaliation for the anti-muslim video. And I am still waiting for the right wing echo chamber and all the right wing Congressional talking heads to: 1) acknowledge publicly that the one of the instigators and leaders of the Benghazi attack said himself that the anti-muslim video was one of the motivations for the attacks; 2) apologize to Susan Rice and President Obama for demonizing and politicizing a national tragedy for raw and grass political gain based on errors and mis-statements of fact — and seriously erroneous and/or disingenuous statements and accusations repeated as Republican mantra and hype for months.
As Hilary Clinton so aptly pointed out at the time — what difference does it make — whether it was evil terrorists, anti-muslin video protestors, or a small band of depraved individuals in a far off, inhospitable place in the world — just out for their evening kill. The answer, of course, at least from the fanatic right wing, was that it makes all the difference in the world. If you say it was anti-muslim video protestors — then you are lying, and you are incompetent, and you are involved in a cover-up and mis-representation of facts and the President needs impeached and Susan Rice and anybody else that knows anything about it should be fired and/or tried for treason.
Before long, all the ills of the nation under this, the black President — “fast and furious” (which was actually a Bush administration program), the Affordable Care Act, being born in Kenyan and then somehow smuggling himself into the Presidency when we weren’t looking, the IRS plot to destroy right-wing pacs and non-profits — all became wrapped in the 800 pound political gorilla — “Benghazi” — as the right wingers thought they final had the black guy in a political death grip — maybe even an impeachable blunder. In combination, running out of fake scandals and phony reasons to hate a black President for “racial” reasons without actually saying it right out, not having any palatable ideas, policies, or programs that would benefit anybody but themselves and their rich “sugar daddies” — and Republicans and their morally and politically bankrupt alllies clutching and grasping at “Benghazi” — clamoring aboard it like the last gasp political “life boat” it was — in desperate hopes of staying alive in the political battle against a really effective Democratic adversary in Barack Obama — Republicans just simply could not afford to let the issue fade away — because as it did — so did the moral justification for their Republican Party — at least in their minds.
I, personally, do not think there has been a moral justification for the Republican Party for the last thirty years or so. But now they have a dilemma. The guy who did “Benghazi”, himself, has said that the anti-muslim video was one of the motivations for the attacks. Not Susan Rice, not President Obama — Abu Kattala, himself. So what do the GOP crazies do not. The Drudge report ignored that fact. Other Republicans have hem and hawed about the fact that this must be just another trick and deception by Obama — that the timing is just “too curious”.
I submit that what is most curious of all is the fact that the American people have not run these “dead-beat dad” political hacks masquerading as statesmen out of town on a rail — much less continue to vote the “jerks” and “jokes” into office — and then be forced to watch the 24/7 clown-car parade they hilariously refer to as the “Republican Party” — embarrassingly play charades with our national policy and federal government on national television and in media outlets around the world. What an embarrassment and humiliation to this great, good country and its wonderful people — to have the “no accounts” pretending to represent us!
To “Extinctionist” Republicans Desparately Denouncing President Obama’s Plan To Help Save The Planet — I Say Good Riddance To Bad Rubbish!
By Bifford Caulfied — It’s not like we have been able to count on Republicans to come up with anything sensible in politics, business, tax policy, the middle class, or foreign policy for years, anyway –— so I don’t know why it continues to surprise us when these knuckle-dragging troglodytes vehemently denounce a plan to make our planet a tiny bit more sustainable.
And when they cry out, “Hey, I’m not a scientist, I don’t know”, I distinctly hear, “I am just too dumb and too bought and paid for by the Koch Bros and their “ilk” to dare care about something like the health or sustainability of the planet.” It’s hard to tell what they really think — or if there actually is any signs of life in those seemingly inert brains — but Republicans for some reason believe it is their designated mission (probably Koch Bros assigned) to protest that anything that might extend the life of the planet a week is inherently evil, European socialist with a twist of Obama-Kenya-ism, anti-jobs, and bad for the national debt — and therefore must be fought to the death and defeated.
I guess after watching the “extinctionists” for a few years now — I have just one question. If you guys are so bound and determined to kill the planet and life on earth as absolutely “fast and furiously” as you can — why don’t you all form a Jones-town like cult — all of you go to an Alex meeting presided over by the Koch Bros on some scantily populated South Sea island — and all of you drink the poison cool-aid and kill yourselves. Then you have achieved your goals (at least for yourselves) of ending life, you’re out of your collective misery, and the rest of us can go about the sensible business of trying to sustain life on earth for ourselves and our children and grandchildren. Plus — what a relief to be rid of all of you Republican and Tea Party losers and your plutocratic boyfriends!
Or — as we used to say when I was a kid: “Good riddance — to bad rubbish!”
By Ritchie Totten — LeBron James showed his championship mettle — leading Miami out to a 16 point lead in the first quarter — James scoring 17 points himself in the first. Then the Spurs — ever the Spurs — played Spurs ball. Miami lost a half-step off their frenzied defense — Spurs moved the ball, got the good shots, and Manu Genobili and Kahwi Leonard played lights out — and presto chango — Spurs up 7 points at half — and looking for more! Half-time score — 47-40.
The Second Half. All Spurs! Nothing Miami could do could slow down San Antonio. Tony Parker could hit nothing offensively in the first half, but his speed, deceptiveness, his passing and play making kept the big machine rolling — then suddenly he was on fire as well and hit five shots in a row — and San Antonio rolled into the NBA Championship like a cross between an avalanche and a stampede. Great tribute to Coach Popovich and the “big fundamental” Tim Duncan. Manu Ginobli also had a “back to the future” game in a “back to the future” series– for him. Beautiful basketball. Great run! Spurs win it — 104-87!
By Frank B. Glenn — Despite the fact that Eric Cantor spent 10 million on his house race and David Brat spent less than $100,000, Cantor got soundly whipped in his Virginia Congressional race — and was quite surprised by the fact, apparently. That Cantor lost was pretty surprising, because he had promenaded himself around town as a Tea Party advocate, champion, and cheerleader. The truth of the matter was more that he pretended to be an authentic “tea partier”, but all he actually was in reality was a tireless advocate for the interests of the wealthy — wall street, big business, and corporations, in general.
Either he thought that by cozying up to business working as a tireless “tool” for their interests, he could use their substantial political contributions to overcome any trivial grass-roots protests, or he thought that because he was the Republican majority leader in Congress he was an untouchable — money and connections didn’t matter — and therefore he just couldn’t lose. The “punditocracy” tirelessly beat the “immigration” drum, saying that Cantor had gotten out of step with his constituents on immigration and that that was what did him in. They quoted showed video of, or quoted David Brat railing on Eric Cantor’s views on immigration almost exclusively — but the reality was that David Brat’s entire campaign was based on the fact that Eric Cantor was out of touch — or didn’t care about the everyday people in his district — that all he was was an over-acheiving and predictable advocate for the interests of “big business” and not ordinary Americans.
In fact, surveys taken in Cantor’s district immediately before and immediately after the election showed that more than half of everybody — including Republicans — favored some kind of sensible immigration reform. The only thing immigration related that they objected to with regard to Eric Cantor was that the way he talked about immigration was in the same way that big business and corporations talked about immigration — and that he was simply representing business’s position on immigration, not his the people in his Congressional district in Virginia.
Then, of course, there was the on going insult and disrespect evidenced by Cantor toward his district –– in that as time went on he spent less and less time in his district communicating with voters about their concerns — ones that he might have spoken out for — or represented them about in Congress.
In short, I think Eric Cantor had served as a faithful “tool” or money and power — and obviously thought that with “money and power” his side, he didn’t have to worry much about the pointy headed professor running against him. In fact, Cantor actually mocked David Brat for being an elitist college “professor” type — and implied that therefore Professor Brat could not be taken seriously by the voters. It appears, Mr. Cantor, that you were wrong on that one.
In an interesting political twist, however, we suddenly see the potential for “real” political change emerging as the anti-corporate tea party views and the liberal progressive views coalesce around the ideas of reigning in the power of business in politics and trying to create an economy in which their is a more level playing ground and more income equality.
By John Boudiette — National momentum seems to shifting in favor of legalizing recreational use of marijuana in the after-math of recreational marijuana use having been legalized by voter referenda in Colorado and Washington.
Representative Earl Blumenauer, D-Oregon, spoke out in favor of ending the federal ban on recreational use of marijuana, noting that 18 states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana and many other states are in the process of exploring that option in response to growing public pressure. About 10 lawmakers, most of them liberal democrats, of course, have written or are writing bills that will serve as legislative “guideposts” for the future if the GOP-controlled House of Representatives, as would be presumed, ignores their proposals — and, as is likely — the whole issue of marijuana — during the current Congress. The members, who say it is time to end the 43 year federal ban on recreational use of marijuana — say they are prepared to keep the pressure on even if it takes years to get it done.
“Maybe next year, maybe next Congress, but this is going to change. And the federal government will get out of the way,” Representative Blumenauer said. “I’m very patient. I’ve been working on this one way or another for 40 years, and I think the likelihood of something happening in the next four or five years is greater than ever.” And of course, Peter Bensinger, a former head of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, urged lawmakers to keep the ban in place — despite the pressure to legalize it. “Legalizing it is going to cost lives, money, addiction, dependency,” Bensinger warned in an interview Wednesday.
But regardless of whether it is now or later — it looks like the tide is irrevocably turning in the favor of legalization. I mean — if you are okay with alcohol and cigarettes — you should be able to tolerate little old innocuous marijuana.
By Robert Preston –A protestor set a new high bar for personal commitment to an issue at the White House gates — when he was arrested for –– among other things — stripping down to his birthday suit in what can only be described as the first “au natural” protest at the White House gates in some time.
Whether the protestor, identified as one Michel Bechard, did it for the simple shock value — or just as a slightly more news-worthy way of calling attention to his “issue du jour” is not, of course, known yet. Nor has it been determined that the physical assets of the protesting individual were note-worthy to such a degree that it added “tour de force” value to his protest — but for certain no one is questioning his commitment and “verve” in the immediate aftermath of his arrest.
Police arrested the man, who stripped down and then fought with officers after initially being denied access to the White House grounds. The Secret Service identified the man — and said he was charged with assault and indecent exposure — although only the man himself seemed to have suffered scrapes and bruises in the tussle over admission to the White House grounds. Neither the Secret Service, the White House, the police, nor the media bothered — apparently — to find out what the man was so fervently protesting that he felt compelled to disrobe to further emphasize the point he was trying to make.
On a side note, Reuters had a brief report on the event, stating that “Officers subdued the man, covered him and sent to a hospital for treatment of minor injuries suffered in the “tussle”. A reporter for the Daily Caller website, who was entering the White House through the same checkpoint, said the man had told the Secret Service officers that he had a 3pm appointment with President Barack Obama and presented his identification. The reporter said the ID was rejected because it was from a foreign country and the man began undressing while insisting that he had to keep his appointment with Obama.
The President apparently had no comment on the aforementioned, presumed, 3pm appointment with the “nudie” protestor. Sometimes it takes a lot of hard work, time, and devotion to draw attention to the issues of import to oneself — but in this case — whether or not the issue was heard — Michel Bechard must certainly be declared a success when it comes to drawing attention to at least some parts of the “presentation”!