A Pile of Bright and Shining Lies

Fifty years ago I was a member of Students For a Democratic Society.

In October of 1967 I left home. I was planning on leaving, but I was also planning on attending the October 21st anti-war rally in Washington DC and joining the march on the Pentagon.

You know the iconic picture of the young man sticking flowers in the barrels of the soldier’s rifles.

I was there.  I was part of a group of several thousand that gathered on the steps of the Pentagon that autumn night.

We smoked weed, drank wine, ate sandwiches and talked with other anti-war people from across the country.  We heard how Berkeley students and folks in the Bay Area had actually fought with the police during the demonstrations to shut down the Oakland Draft Center.

We had spent time the week before practicing non-violence and how to react when they came to arrest us for siting in.  Our response was to be the same as the draft resistors, “Hell No! We won’t go!”  Some burned their draft cards that cold night.  We talked about moving from protest to resistance.

At some point during the long cold night those making the arrests finally got to me, and asked if I would move voluntarily. I answered, “Hell no. I’ve been sitting here all night waiting to be arrested.”  They roughly dragged me to a bus and sent a bunch of us to a big building in Occoquan.  Dr. Spock was there and so was Norman Mailer and a lot of other people I knew only from stories in newspapers.

Afterwards I made my way west to the Haight Ashbury and wound up in a cadre called HADU which variously stood for Haight Anti-Draft Union and Haight Ashbury Defense Unit.

We encouraged desertion and had lots of men take us up on it.  That’s something that was left out of Ken Burns “History”.  Hippies and draftees, guys returning from Nam were all the same age.  We all listened to the same music, smoked the same dope, dropped the same acid.  And most hated the war.  If you were working class or a person of color you were draftable.  You didn’t get out on a technicality the way the rich Frat Boys did.

Being an anti-war hippie meant that it was your friends and high school classmates who were being drafted and who were coming home in body bags.  So when someone in a uniform showed up at Hippie Hill we got them stoned, asked them if they wanted to have dinner with us.  Hippie women would sleep with them.

A couple of years later after I had moved to Berkeley I joined the ranks of women with a deserter boyfriend, a guy named Jerry, a Marine who had done his tour of duty plus as there weren’t enough replacements.  Unlike other friends who had deserted he didn’t go to Canada.

Instead he was part of those who stayed and resisted.

When he was arrested I got him out.  Moved, hid him out.

All along we knew there was not one thing in Vietnam worth the life of one American soldier.

The South Vietnamese government was rotten to the core.  We knew that when the Buddhists monks burned themselves alive back in 1963, before JFK was killed.

Our government told us lie upon lie after lie.  News Paper, TV too told us all these bright and shining lies until Tet in 1968…  Then the cracks started to appear.

But we were young and dumb and couldn’t see how bad Nixon was and how he was the Donald Trump of his time full of lies and hypocrisy.

Yes I have watched part of the Ken Burns documentary.  The list of those who put up the money tells whose point of view you are getting.

There are a pile of books I could tell you to read.  Apocalypse Now! gets the absurdity of it all.

There is a wall in Washington that has nearly 60 thousand names of my contemporaries on it.

Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot!

We didn’t trust capitalism, were so eager for a war to stop Communism.  The men, and in those days they were virtually all men who made the decisions weren’t about to listen to an old wispy bearded Asian man (hell we called them “gooks” ) who used documents from our own revolution.

Now 50 years later we build factories there and import cheap clothing and shrimp/seafood from there.

As an old hippie woman I can’t help but think we could have gotten to the same place without all the death and destruction.

Nearly 60 thousand dead Americans and no one knows how many Asian people died for what was a bunch of bright and shining lies.

10 Things About Patriotism

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Liberal Redneck – Take a Knee, Y’all

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Ken Burns’ New Vietnam War Series Teaches a Flawed, Misleading Lesson

From Alternet:  http://www.alternet.org/burns-wrong-lessons

The new film distorts what scholars, veterans and antiwar activists alike know about the war and its aftermath.

By Jerry Lembcke Public Books
September 19, 2017

When Karl Marlantes takes the screen during the new PBS film series The Vietnam War, he says coming home was nearly as traumatic as the war itself. Later, he describes being assaulted by protesters at the airport, invoking the image of spat-on Vietnam veterans, an image that Los Angeles Times editorial writer Michael McGough said in 2012 was based on a myth. An edifying myth, McGough called it, but still a myth.

With The Vietnam War, Ken Burns and Lynn Novick have created a film that rehashes some old, tired tropes. In doing so, they distort what soldiers, veterans, and antiwar activists alike know about the war and its aftermath, especially inside the United States.

In their May 29 New York Times op-ed advertisement for the series, Burns and Novick give a lofty rationale for their film. Succumbing to another cliché, they claim it is about healing. But the discourse of healing misleads as much as it informs, presupposing a prewar America that was a seamless unity, where everyone got along. As sociologist Keith Beattie showed in his 1998 book The Scar That Binds: American Culture and the Vietnam War, that America was mythical. The real one was already torn by racism and McCarthyism, and frayed by modern technology. Domestic class conflict and racial and gender anxieties, too, continued right through the war, as the historian Milton Bates pointed out in his 1996 book The Wars We Took to Vietnam.

That fractured America was complicit in its going to war, not simply a passive victim of it. Burns and Novick intentionally exclude scholars like Beattie and Bates, however. “No historians or other expert talking heads” mar their film, they told the Times’s reviewer Jennifer Schuessler. “Instead,” Schuessler reports matter-of-factly, their “79 onscreen interviews give the ground-up view of the war from the mostly ordinary people who lived through it.”

Ground-up views are susceptible, especially after 40 years, to the very myths they are supposed to belie. Memories that are 40 years old are too influenced by movies, novels, newspapers, and television—or those dreaded historians—to count for documentation. Lawyers, judges, and courts concluded years ago that eyewitness accounts of crimes that are only hours old are unreliable—so, 40 years? Or 50? In the hands of filmmakers, however, such accounts are too easily and too often used as a veneer to manage viewer perceptions.1 Here Burns and Novick offer false equivalences, or “balance” in journalistic parlance. In promoting healing instead of the search for truth, The Vietnam War offers misleading comforts.

The contradictions of The Vietnam War pile up from the start. Its creators might claim a ground-up view—and the film does give us lot of grunt-level footage, like Marines in rice paddies and GIs jumping out of helicopters—but the prevailing interpretations of these scenes come from elites. Some of these notables would be better cast into confessional booths than onto PBS screens, too. For example, John Negroponte, a prominent interpreter in the film, used diplomatic appointments as cover for covert activities over a half-century of US-engineered (or –attempted) regime-change operations.

Continue reading at:  http://www.alternet.org/burns-wrong-lessons

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We Will Not Stand for Trump | The Resistance with Keith Olbermann | GQ

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Neo-Nazis, the KKK, and White Supremacists Are Coming After All of Us

From The Rainbow Times:  http://www.therainbowtimesmass.com/neo-nazis-kkk-white-supremacists-coming-us/

By: Deja Nicole Greenlaw
September 7, 2017

I wasn’t surprised when the KKK, white nationalists, and white supremacists gathered in Charlottesville, Virginia to protest the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue, but I was surprised to see Nazi flags flying among their midst. I was shocked that those who flew the Nazi flag were so open about it. The Nazi symbol, the swastika, is such an awful symbol that for someone to actually fly the Nazi flag today was out of the question, or so I thought. It was bad enough seeing the KKK and the white nationalists and supremacists at that protest but to add neo-Nazis to the mix was to add horror to an already deplorable protest. 

The neo-Nazis hold the same beliefs as the original Nazis. Their cardinal enemy is the Jewish people, but they also despise non-white, as well as LGBTQ folk. The Neo-Nazis are afraid that they are losing their place in society and the Jewish people, the non-white people, and the LGBTQ people are seen as taking away their rights and knocking them off their place in society. What is going on with these folks? How can they think like this? 

One reason that they may think like this is because many of them do not have the ability to think in a way that is nuanced. They can only see things in black and white rather than the more complex gray way. They lack integrative complexity when it comes to thinking. This was a finding from Alejandro Beutel who researches violent extremist ideologies. Beutel is a researcher studying countering violent extremism at the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START).  

Beutel’s findings show that the black and white thinking process can accept simplistic ideas such as the whites make up an Aryan race and that this race should hold privilege in the world. Of course, this is a ridiculous thought but unfortunately some people do buy into this ideology. This thinking places non-white and Jewish folk as enemies to the Neo-Nazis but how do LGBTQ folk fit in? LGBTQ folk are seen as abnormal to the neo-Nazis and that we should all go back into the closet. For instance, I recently saw on the internet, a KKK flyer which supported “bathroom bill” legislation. 

 So, what can we do to stop this kind of hideous, extremist thinking? Holding counter protests, like Charlottesville did, to bring more awareness to these terrible ideologies and letting everyone know that thy must not be tolerated. Other things you can do are to contact your legislators, let them know your feelings, and ask them what they will do to address these hateful ideas and actions. Keep abreast of any legislative bills coming up at town, state, or national levels and show your support or disapproval by lobbying your legislators. The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) reports that 100 anti-LGBTQ bills were introduced so far in 2017. You can also talk to friends and acquaintances and those folks who use social media, such as Facebook, to discuss their concerns about these ideologies.  

Continue reading at:  http://www.therainbowtimesmass.com/neo-nazis-kkk-white-supremacists-coming-us/

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GLAAD calls for increased and accurate media coverage of transgender murders

From GLAAD:  https://www.glaad.org/blog/glaad-calls-increased-and-accurate-media-coverage-transgender-murders

By Nick Adams, Director of Programs, Transgender Media
September 14, 2017

This page is updated regularly as new deaths are reported. Please see resources below on how to write stories about transgender people who have been victimized by crime, and additional resources for writing about the violence that affects transgender people, especially transgender women of color.

These are the 20 transgender people killed in 2017 — all are transgender people of color, with the exception of Gwynevere River Song:

  • Derricka Banner was killed on September 12 in Charlotte, North Carolina. She was 26 years old.
  • Kashmire Redd was killed on September 4 in Gates, New York. He was 28 years old.
  • Kiwi Herring was killed on August 22 in St. Louis, Missouri. She was 30 years old.
  • Gwynevere River Song was killed on August 12 in Waxahachie, Texas. Gwynevere was 26 years old.
  • TeeTee Dangerfield was killed on July 31 in Atlanta, Georgia. She was 32 years old.
  • Ebony Morgan was killed on July 2 in Lynchburg, Virgina. She was 28 years old.
  • Ava Le’Ray Barrin was killed on June 25 in Athens, Georgia. She was 17 years old.
  • Josie Berrios (also known as Kendra Adams and Kimbella Rosé) was killed on June 13 in Ithaca, New York. She was 28 years old.
  • Kenne McFadden was found on April 9 in San Antonio, Texas, but due to misgendering by police and the media she was not identified as a transgender woman until June 6. She was 27 years old.
  • Sherrell Faulkner was attacked on November 30, 2016 and died on May 16, 2017 in Charlotte, North Carolina. She was 46 years old.
  • Brenda Bostick was attacked on April 25 and died on May 4 in New York City. She was 59 years old. (There have been conflicting reports about the name this person used and their gender. It now seems clear that this person was assigned male at birth and lived at least part of her life as Brenda. Therefore we refer to her as Brenda and use female pronouns out of respect for that identity.)
  • Chay Reed killed on April 21 in Miami, Florida. She was 28 years old.
  • Alphonza Watson killed on March 22 in Baltimore, Maryland. She was 38 years old.
  • Jaquarrius Holland killed on February 19 in Monroe, Louisiana (identified as trans on February 28). She was 18 years old.
  • Ciara McElveen killed on February 27 in New Orleans, Louisiana. She was 21 years old.
  • Chyna Gibson killed on February 25 in New Orleans, Louisiana. She was 31 years old.
  • Keke Collier killed on February 21 in Englewood, Chicago. She was 24 years old.
  • JoJo Striker killed on February 8 in Toledo, Ohio. She was 23 years old.
  • Mesha Caldwell killed on January 4 in Canton, Mississippi. She was 41 years old.
  • Jamie Lee Wounded Arrow killed on January 1 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. She was 28 years old.

* Initial police reports from Fresno, California identified homicide victim Imer Alvarado as a transgender woman, but Alvarado’s friends say he identified as a gay man who occasionally dressed in drag. Police have not arrested a suspect nor revealed a motivation for the murder, which happened on May 17.

* Initial news reports from San Francisco, California identified homicide victim Anthony Torres, aka Bubbles, as a transgender activist, but Torres did not identify as transgender. Police have not arrested a suspect nor revealed a motivation for the murder, which happened on September 9.

* On September 16, Georgia Tech student Scout Schultz was killed by police while they were experiencing a mental health crisis. Schultz was 21-years old, and identified as non-binary, using they/them pronouns. On January 6, in Sharon, Pennsylvania, a 23-year-old transgender man named Sean Hake was also killed by police while Hake was attempting to harm himself. On February 4, 2016 in Mesa, Arizona, police shot and killed Kayden Clarke, a 24-year-old transgender man with Asperger syndrome, after Clarke’s friend asked the police to go to his apartment because she was afraid Clarke was suicidal. These tragic incidents speak to the need for more mental health resources for transgender people, and for more comprehensive training for police on how to respond to people experiencing a mental health crisis.

GLAAD is calling on the media to:

  • Report on the brutal violence perpetrated against transgender people, particularly transgender women of color. With violence against transgender people at an all-time high and rising, national media coverage is severely lacking. The media must do a better job of reporting these murders and bringing needed attention to a community under vicious and violent attack. In order for people to be aware of the horrific violence affecting the community, the public needs to know it is happening. The media has a responsibility to communicate about the deadly realities faced by transgender people.
  • Respect and use the lived identity, name, and pronoun of the victim. Report on each victim with dignity and respect, portraying them as a person, not just a statistic. Disregarding the victim’s gender identity and misgendering them in news reports adds further insult to injury, compounding the tragedy by invalidating who the victims were. GLAAD’s Doubly Victimized: Reporting on Transgender Victims of Crime offers clear guidelines for reporting respectfully on stories where transgender people have been victimized by crime. GLAAD’s Media Reference Guide also offers a glossary of terms, and best practices for fairly and accurately covering transgender stories.

As necessary, GLAAD reaches out to media outlets to correct incidents of irresponsible reporting where misgendering and victim-blaming occur. We also work with local communities and advocates, connecting them to journalists to confirm information about the victims. If you see a news story which misgenders a transgender victim and/or publishes details about their personal life irrelevant to their murder, contact us at transgender@glaad.org.


Victims of anti-transgender violence are overwhelmingly transgender women of color, who live at the dangerous intersections of transphobia, racism, sexism, and criminalization which often lead to high rates of poverty, unemployment, and homelessness. While some homicides have not yet been identified as hate crimes due to lack of information about the perpetrators or motives, the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs reports an alarming multi-year trend showing that transgender women experience a greater risk of death by hate violence than any other group.

2016 overtook 2015 as the deadliest year on record for transgender people in the United States. In 2016, 27 transgender people were killed in the United States and nearly all of the victims were transgender women of color. (The 27th victim was India Monroe, a Black transgender woman, who was found shot to death in Newport News, Virginia on December 21, 2016; however, because initial reporting misgendered and misidentified her using her birth name, her death was not known until January.) This number does not include transgender people whose deaths were not reported due to misgendering in police reports, news stories, and sometimes by the victim’s family.

Additional Resources:

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