Thursday, August 17, 2017

Evil Came to Charlottesville

You kill a black man at midnight
Just for talking to your daughter,
Then you make his wife your mistress
And you leave her without water;
And the sheet you wear upon your face
Is the sheet your children sleep on,
At every meal you say a prayer;
You don't believe but still you keep on.
Larry Norman

I remember this protest song from the 1970's from an obscure artist, Larry Norman, entitled the "The Great American Novel." These words came crashing into my brain this week as I watched an event in Charlottesville go from a racial clash, to a leader, and possibly a whole administration, that wants to have it both ways. Brene Brown, (Author, teacher, and lecturer) in a presentation remarks:
"Racism is trauma, poverty is trauma, classism is trauma, homophobia is trauma.-- When vulnerability, the ability to be who we are, becomes a realm of only the privileged, we have lost our capacity to create a school, a home and a country that we love." 
-Brené Brown, SXSWedu 2017 Keynote, Daring Classrooms
This week our country was asked by our president to understand that people who have intolerance to other people are not so bad. Donald Trump, in a wild shouting match with the press, claimed the people came to Charlottesville Friday to peacefully demonstrate.
" There were people in that rally-- and I looked the night before-- if you look they were people protesting very quietly, the taking down of the statue of Robert E Lee"- Donald Trump
As I watched the livestream on Friday night, I saw something different than Mr. Trump did.
Friday night August 11, a mob of mostly young men with Tiki torches screaming from the Thomas Jefferson to the Robert E Lee statues, "You will not replace us-- Blood and Soil--- Whose Streets... Our streets!!!" Plus it's obvious to the casual observer what a mob of thousand lit Tiki torches are designed for--- These so-called protestors that Mr. Trump defended to the press surrounded the Confederate statue with the VA student anti-protestors trapped at the foot of the memorial, with no exit route. On the UVA campus, people gathered for an all faith prayer meeting:
"We were worshiping, and close to the end of our worship service we received the message that we could not leave the church because a mob was approaching the church with torches. They were chanting blood and soil-- they were chanting you will not replace us-- they were chanting Jews will not replace us-- they were chanting white lives matter-- and for over 30 minutes we were not allowed to leave the church. When we were finally allowed to leave, we could not go out the front door for fear that we would be assaulted. We were ushered out the side door and the back into alleys; this is America in 2017" - Reverend Traci Blackmon Executive Minister, United Church of Christ 
She describes something echoing back to the 1950's. It was something that was done in secret, away from the public. But what the President of the United States described to reporters as a peaceful quiet protest, had been orchestrated under the tent, "Unite The Right." A combining of Neo- Nazi's, Klansmen, and White Nationalist. They were there to terrorize the population of this college town, in the name of white purity. They came looking for a confrontation. Men like Christopher Cantwell, a proclaimed White Nationalist, and spokesman for "Unite The Right" met with a news team covering the demonstration. He bragged openly about being willing to kill.

White Nationalist Christopher Cantwell "Unite The Right" 
"Of course we're capable. I'm carrying a pistol-- I go to the gym all the time. I'm trying to make myself capable of violence. I'm here to spread ideas-- talk in the hopes that someone more capable will come along and do that. Someone like Donald Trump does not give his daughter to a Jew."- Christopher Cantwell "Unite The Right" Race and Terror, Vice News
These are not peaceful people. They have a racist agenda of white domination in America. They came to Charlottesville to be seen before America and the media, promoting the idea of saving the Robert E Lee statue which is set for removal from Lee Park in Charlottesville. The real agenda in my opinion, was to come out of the shadows as a recruitment stunt for others with their views. Racist hate speech and demonstrations are nothing new in this country. But what is new is a President who by Monday of this week saw their activities and cause in a different angle. He pushed back on reporters in the lobby of Trump Tower proclaiming that there were nice people on both sides, and there was enough blame to go around.

"...Excuse me-- what about the alt left? They came charging at the, as you say, 'the alt right-- 'Do they have any semblance of guilt? --Let me ask you this: what about the fact that they came charging with clubs in their hand swinging clubs? Do they have any problem, I think they do.-- I watch those, very closely much more closely than you people watched it, and you had a group on one side that was bad, and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent, and nobody wants to say that but I'll say it right now-- you had a group on the other side that came charging in without a permit and they were very very violent. --I've condemned Neo-Nazis-- I've condemned many different groups but not all of those people were Neo-Nazis, believe me, not all of those people were white supremacist by any stretch."
I had to watch this press briefing (that was suppose to be about his infrastructure plans) several times, just to wrap my brain around the idea; our President is trying to change our perspective on racists and white nationalists.  America was still reeling from the weekend melee that took place in Charlottesville, ending in a young woman's death at the hands of a radicalized white supremacist, when Trump began this mad man's argument. We saw the Neo-Nazis, the KKK, (who traded their traditional klan garb for polo shirts, khaki pants, and Make America Great Again ball caps), punching with brass knuckles, clubbing with bats, flinging water bottles of water and urine at their adversaries. We saw the architect of race purging, David Duke, rear his ugly head to proclaim that the Alt-Right was hear to reclaim America for the white man.

But this president pushed half the blame for what happened, and dropped it into the column of those who opposed the Klan, the Neo-Nazis, and others with a white purist agenda. It left me stunned, and no doubt other's reeling. He can't see the difference in white supremacy, and Americans who (aside from political ideas), believe we all share the same principles. 
Many people, from ordinary folks on social media to mainstream media, and folks on both sides of the political isle, have denounced his rouge conference. 

America from social media to the mainstream
were shocked by Trump's proclamation
"Mr. President, people, good people don't pal around with Nazis and white supremacist; maybe they don't consider themselves white supremacist and Nazis, but certainly they hold those views. This has become very troubling and for anyone to come on any network and defend what President Trump did and said at their press conference yesterday-- is completely lost and has the potential to be morally bankrupt."- Gianno Caldwell, Republican Political Strategist

No matter what political beliefs you might have, if your moral compass points North, Trump's words left you in shock.

But there were those who responded to Trump's remarks with perverse glee. Both Richard Spencer, who is the author of the Neo-Nazi movement "The Alt Right" (giving Hitler salutes of Hail Trump, Hail to our Leader"), and the morally bankrupted, David Duke, sent positive Tweets and remarks back to Trump after his Monday wild street-corner shouting match with the press. This was their victory dance. Donald Trump has done their dirty work and normalized their cause at our expense. I won't even dignify their sick mindset with direct quotes or pictures. Perhaps many of you understand what Trump's "Make America Great Again" cry has meant for soulless men like these. To tell America that we need to simply forgive, and come together, rings hollow. In some sad way, most of us have come together over the death of Heather Heyer who was snatched away this life, thanks to a radical terrorist. And some have come together because of the failing of this president to call evil something that is not so bad. But we as a Nation are living with the trauma of failed leadership.

For the sake of this country which belongs to all of us, and our children and generations to come, we cannot let this President's words go unchallenged.
Artist Sam Welty painting a mural of Heather on the town's Freedom of Speech Wall.

Friday, August 11, 2017

The Taylor Swift Grab

Taylor Swift performs the song "Safe and Sound"
In order to escape accountability from his crimes,
the perpetrator does everything in his power to promote forgetting.
Secrecy and silence are the perpetrator's first line of defense.
If Secrecy fails, the perpetrator attacks the victim's credibility.

From Judith Lewis Herman
Trauma and Recovery

I will be honest with you, I've never bought a Taylor Swift song, or been to a concert. That might make me less than a fan, but nevertheless, I know who she is, and I've caught a tune here or there. 
Miss Swift is at the peak of her popularity these days. With her clean looks and amazing musical magic, she's packing out concerts and scoring hits. But recently, Taylor has found herself fighting for reputation as an artist and a person.
In 2013 Taylor says she was “violated” by a then–country radio DJ, in a way she “had never experienced before.” David Mueller, who was 51 to Swift’s 23 at the time, “grabbed my ass underneath my skirt,” -Slate.Com Aug. 10. 2017
When the incident happened Swift's mom chose not to take it to the media or the police, but instead reported it directly to Muller's boss who took quick action and fired the then Country-Western DJ. Apparently in Muller's head, he did nothing wrong that should have gotten him fired. So he's now trying to get some revenge and payback by suing Taylor Swift. This seems to be a tactic that perps  use these days. They'd rather eat a shit sandwich than admit what they did was wrong. If any system finds them guilty of sexual misconduct, perpetrators have retrained themselves to steal a victim's narrative and hide among the wrongfully accused while employing acting skills and claim bogus victimization.

Taylor Swift center poses with David Muller and Girlfriend
Aside from the fact that this ass-grabbing thing, is just crude and stupid to do to someone you know in public, it takes a lot of nerve to think anyone should put up with handling them like a piece of choice meat. But in the narcissist's mind, he must win at all costs. The truth is against him; reality isn't his friend, but he continues to shout, kick, accuse, and flail about like a man sinking in quicksand. I looked at the photo that Taylor Swift posed for with  Muller's girlfriend. If Muller's fingers were around her waist, then he's got arms like Gumby.

I mentioned the fact that I'm not a fan of Miss Swifts, (in the conventional sense) not because I don't like her or her music, but because her celebrity status doesn't prejudice me one way or the other. She is a person and a human being who shouldn't have to endure this type of treatment from fans, friends, or anyone.

Other Pop celebs like Beyonce have been the target of stupid people whose pitiful excuse was that they couldn't help themselves. In 2013 in Copenhagen, Denmark, in the midst of strutting down the stage and slapping hands of screaming fans, one guy couldn't help himself; he crossed the line by giving the superstar a whack on the ass.  Her reaction? She gracefully turns around and states: “I will have you escorted out right now, alright?” -Beyonce's Response to Getting Butt Slapped Exemplifies Why We Need to React to Everyday Injustices Alternet.Org May 29, 2013

Fortunately for the Copenhagen fan, he took his scolding, and it ended there. David Muller, Ex- DJ on the other hand thinks that the lawsuit will help him get his manhood and dignity back. But Swift refused to settle out of court or to blink in any way. Her counter suit of one dollar seems to be symbolic of what the real issue is about.

She says she is not suing for money, but rather to convey a warning on behalf of all American women about sexual assault and is hoping that a favorable verdict by a Denver jury of six women and two men will send the message of "get your groping hands off us" to men across the nation and around the world. August 10, 2017

If Muller and his attorney were hoping to encounter a shrinking
Courtroom sketch of Taylor Swift
violet, full of remorse or too afraid to face her assailant again, from all accounts in the Denver court room today, she remained calm and unwavering in her convictions that Muller would not get a pay-day off of her. And if Swift was too busy before with her career, or was indifferent to the issue of sexual assault in the past, she's not anymore. It's possible that David Muller indirectly might be responsible for creating another advocate. Whoops!! But that, in my book, is a bonus. 
 When McFarland asked her how she felt when Mueller got the boot from his job at the Denver radio station, Swift said she had no response. “I am not going to allow your client to make me feel like it is any way my fault, because it isn’t,” she said. Later, she continued: “I am being blamed for the unfortunate events of his life that are a product of his decisions and not mine.” Women who allege sexual assault are scolded all the time for ruining men’s lives, even if those men are proven guilty. Swift’s sharp testimony is a very visible condemnation of that common turn in cases like these. That’s an important message for women who may find themselves in Swift’s position someday, and maybe even more so for the men who’ll be called on to support or rebuff them.- August 10, 2017

The Judge of course threw out the silly trial, declaring Muller failed to show burden of proof that Swift intended to hurt his career. I'll be a little nerdy here and say, chalk up one for the good guys!

 6-year-old Taylor Rayburn diagnosed
 with kidney cancer

Fame is not, and should never be, a trade-off for self worth. And whether Taylor wins or loses this legal battle today, she has a new fan in me.

Some people are declaring their freedom under the new President. For them it means life, liberty, and the pursuit of grabbiness. Check out my YouTube channel on this issue.
Click here for Youtube 

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

THE INVISIBLE WARRIOR REPORT: Sexual Harassment- The Beat Goes On

THE INVISIBLE WARRIOR REPORT: Sexual Harassment- The Beat Goes On: The beat goes on, the beat goes on. Drums keep pounding rhythm to the brain. La de da de de, la de da de dai. Charleston was once the rage...

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Sexual Harassment- The Beat Goes On

The beat goes on, the beat goes on.
Drums keep pounding rhythm to the brain.
La de da de de, la de da de dai.
Charleston was once the rage, uh huh,
History has turned the page, uh huh.

- Sonny Bono

Drums Keep Pounding a Rhythm to The Brain

I am dumfounded that sexual harassment scandals continue not just among politicians like Anthony Weiner, who sexted penis pictures, but the beat goes on with "on-air media types" who claim to be the voices for truth and justice for us all.  Bill O'Reilly, long time voice for right-wing journalism on Fox News, was finally forced off the air because the stench of allegations against him were too overwhelming, including:
"Approaching an African American woman whose desk was near his, referring to her as “hot chocolate,” and grunting like a “wild boar”
offering multiple unwanted sexual advances and lewd comments to a woman producer on his show, phoning her “when it sounded as if he was masturbating” and describing “various sexual fantasies”
suggesting that she “buy a vibrator,” “engage in phone sex or a threesome with him,” and listen to “the details of his alleged sexual encounters with a cabana masseuse, airline stewardesses, and Thai sex-show workers”-
The Atlantic, April 19,2017
L- Gretchen Carlson, R- former CEO Roger Ailes
The former top guy at Fox News:  Roger Ailes got outed in July 2016, after allegations emerged that he had harassed female colleagues.
"In a lawsuit, former anchor Gretchen Carlson claimed she was sacked for refusing Ailes’ advances. Six other female Fox employees and former Fox host, Megyn Kelly, also alleged harassment by Ailes.- Newsweek August 5, 2017

Boys Keep Chasing Girls

And now, out of that same camp, comes allegations of Eric Bolling's unprofessional and disrespectful behavior towards women.  Bolling was a former co-host of the Five and recently began an O'Reilly Factor replacement gig of an afternoon show known as the "Specialists." Ironically Bolling, a voice decrying the disgusting behavior of Anthony Weiner, now has been accused by three female colleagues of sending them sexting pics of someone's man parts.  Fox, looking past his "Boobs on the ground" remark, and referring to another on-air female contributor Caroline Heldman, a politics professor at Occidental College, as "McHottie" now has been forced to deal with this issue.

Eric Bolling on suspension
I can't help it if you feel like there is a conspiracy against all right-wing male journalists at Fox. The  problem is with the institution, and not with me or anyone who would tell you to your face that sexual harassment from anyone is wrong and indefensible. When any institution or corporation throws out a few bad apples but doesn't dig deeper to root out this cancerous behavior, then they're asking for more blow-back of the same kind.

Little Girls Still Break Their Hearts

Victims of sexual harassment face losing their jobs, being branded as a troublemaker, a liar, or worse. Caroline Heldman chose to try to navigate through the harassment with Bolling, O'Reilly, and Roger Ailes right hand guy Bill Shine, to try to keep making a difference on-air. As I look at Twitter and Facebook accounts, I'm blown away by the insensitive and down-right misogynist replies from full grown people with high-school mindsets. When you trade plain ordinary values of respect for the devotion to our favorite politician, celebrity, or institution, then humanity is in trouble.

So here is my final big-picture thought-- If you think women who accuse men of this, have an agenda of trying to wreck someone's career, you're part of the problem. If you think sexual harassment is no big deal, then you're disconnected from people. If you think it's a political conspiracy, or the person making the complaints hates your party, then you really don't care about the truth. It's easier for me to turn the channel, rather than turn my back on victims of sexual harassment. And no person on either side of the political isle should get your vote, knowing that they carried on in a way that demeans another person.

Activist Celebrity David Schwimmer
"I really feel like men need to be made aware that this is happening to their wives, their daughters, their sisters, and their mothers. I don't know anyone in my family, that hasn't been a victim of sexual harassment." - David Schwimmer, Associated Press April 5, 20017
Check out David's video series on this issue. Of course Sexual Harassment can happen to either gender. So my aim goes to those who are in power, as well as those making excuses for this behavior.

Watch and share my Invisible Warrior Report
On YouTube

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Rape Busters!

If there's something strange in you neighborhood
Who you gonna call? 

Cast of New Ghostbusters movie
2016 Sony Pictures
If there's something weird
And it don't look good
Who you gonna call? 

-Ray Parker Jr.

Too bad we don't have a team of men or women, with scientific gadgets to eradicate sexual assault wherever they find it. They'd have technology to take the guess work out of crime fighting. Yes, very Sci-Fi, and no, I'm not suggesting killing people who commit sexual assault, but perhaps a way to bring justice to victims and catching the assholes who commit the one crime that gives certain institutions feet of clay.

Betsy DeVos- United States Secretary of Education
After reading and watching the latest developments of what's been happening since Betsy DeVos began investigating sexual assault claims from groups on both sides of the issue, how Title IX has affected their lives, I need to address the rumors and miss-statements of Rape on our University and College campuses. 

Many men's rights groups have sounded the "falsely accused alarm," claiming they were victims of a bad and unfair adjudication process. There has been pressure from men's rights groups, and right-wing advocates who are obviously anti-Title IX activists, attempting to point Universities and students towards calling the police only, and that the Universities should stay out of the criminal justice game.

The first fact is: Colleges and Universities don't have the right to address sexual assault and rape on a criminal justice basis. They are there to educate students. However Colleges and Universities are microcosm's of our society, with rules and standards for behavior and conduct for those attending. When students are accepted, they agree to follow the rules and accept the consequences for bad behavior.
A University which accepts federal money to help operate has an obligation not to discriminate against any student based on race, gender, or religion according to the law. When a student gets expelled from a school, it's because they have broken the code of conduct law, which the school has established, written out, and a student has agreed to follow. If they break the rule, the school has an obligation to investigate, and conduct a disciplinary procedure, not a criminal one.

What has been challenged by many students is their right to live in a safe environment. Title IX has been the law since 1972. It took a handful of students to find it and make their case known. This is not a law designed to protect feminists against men. It's meant to keep any institution from discriminating against any student and give all students an equal, fair chance for education.

The problem it seems, is that many Universities have been forced to do their jobs if they weren't already doing them, trying to stop rape on campuses, and people with politically driven agendas don't like what's happened. It's not to say that a false accusation doesn't happen from time to time, but it appears MRAs (mens rights activists) are attempting to wear the uniform as victims in order to win this fight in the political arena.

The second fact is: many victims don't go to the police because some law enforcement agencies have have built a reputation of not believing the victim. The more inclosed the local town and culture of the area is, the better the chances of the town, circling the wagons and shutting the scandal down.
Some police have been called out to investigate the rape of a girl by the quarterback of the town's local football team. Sometimes police are cynical through a lack of understanding what rape is really all about and also failing to take an unbiased view of rape and its victims.
We found indications that officers fail to meaningfully investigate reports of sexual assault, particularly for assaults involving women with additional vulnerabilities, such as those who are involved in the sex trade. Detectives fail to develop and resolve preliminary investigations; fail to identify and collect evidence to corroborate victims’ accounts; inadequately document their investigative steps; fail to collect and assess data, and report and classify reports of sexual assault; and lack supervisory review. We also have concerns that officers’ interactions with women victims of sexual assault and with transgender individuals display unlawful gender bias. - U.S. Justice Department finds discriminatory practices in Baltimore police, Washington Post

"Officers routinely questioned sex crime victims in a way that put the blame on the victims themselves, like suggesting they were responsible. Detectives would ask “Why are you messing up that guy’s life?” and suggest the victims were lying by not reporting the assault immediately.
A prosecutor handling a sexual assault case wrote in an email to a BPD officer that the woman who reported the crime was a “conniving little whore,” and the cop responded “Lmao! I feel the same.”
Detectives made “minimal to no effort to locate, identify, interrogate, or investigate suspects,” the DOJ said. BPD sex crimes unit officials would complain that all of the sexual assault reports were false, saying at a social event, “In homicide, there are real victims; all our cases are bullshit.” 
And People Ask Why Rape Victims Don’t Report To Police- Huffpost August 12, 2016 

"Don't under estimate the need for attention... Especially young girls. There's a lot of pressure on young girls in our society to be pretty-- to be liked, to be the popular one. And it's not fair but it's the way our society works."- Darren White, Sheriff of Nordway County, Missouri -From Netflix Documentary "Audrie and Daisy

In John Krakauer's book, he documents a victim's initial dealing going to the police to report her assault. The policeman (Officer Vreeland) asked the victim, (Kelly Barrett) "so what do you want to come of this?" Paraphrasing the author; Barrett was taken aback by the question.  Officer Vreeland continues, "Since you were fooling around before, and no one saw the rape happen, it will be hard to prove." and as he was closing the interview the officer asked if she had a boyfriend... explaining "Sometimes girls cheat on their boyfriends, and later regret it. and then claim they were raped."

The Times Tribune Editorial Board recently published an article entitled, "Call The Police In Rape Cases." They site the arrest and conviction of Former Vanderbilt University football player Brandon Vandenburg.

They seem to be insinuating that this is the way the police work in rape investigations.  I applaud the work of the Nashville PD in Vandenburg case, but it's not the prevailing mindset of law enforcement across this country.  The police need to collectively update how victims of sex crimes are treated. You cannot gain someone's trust with bad public relations. It's something that needs fixing.

Victims should have both options in seeking justice. And whether a victim reports this crime to the police, or her University he or she deserves the full competent support from both institutions.

Check out my You Tube Channel on this topic.

Monday, May 29, 2017

In Remembrance Of The Fallen

In honor of many fallen soldiers, I'm republishing this issue of the Invisible Warrior Report in honor of the memory of a young woman whose death, remains unanswered, and a cover-up in our Government. I hope that there are those who will continue to search for answers.

LaVena L. Johnson was sexual assault, brutally beaten, murdered, and evidence of the rape was covered up. This was truly injustice for her, and her family.

Natalie and Nat King Cole singing together  posthumously I

Unforgettable, that's what you are,
Unforgettable, though, near or far,
Like a song of love that clings to me
How the thought of you,
Does things to me,
Never before, has someone been more.

PFC LaVena Johnson with Her father John Johnson
As I watched a video of Natalie Cole singing an amazing duet with her father, the late and great Nat King Cole, my thoughts rushed forward to the heartache of John Johnson, a veteran and father of PFC LaVena L. Johnson, who died in Afghanistan in 2005. She undoubtedly has become "unforgettable" to many of us who know her tragic story. It is painful for any parent to lose a child under any circumstances, but when the reasons are under a cloud of suspicion and a cover-up, we are restless in our spirits for answers. Perhaps no one is more restless or heart broken than her parents, John and Linda.
The military seems to be attempting to move forward in trying to correct its bad record of sexual assaults in its ranks, but the mysterious death of this young woman and others, killed while serving in the theater of war, still hovers over the military, as they undoubtedly hope that time will erase the memory of this crime.

Trigger Warning! Graphic Subject!

An Unforgettable Crime

Yes, I said crime. Because the evidence is staggering. I've poured over the details of her death, read countless news stories, and watched interviews with the Johnson's, and LaVena's death is still haunting.
A young young woman who by all accounts was positive, out-going and a true patriot, wanted to serve
LaVena was an honor roll graduate
her country after 911. LaVena, the oldest of 3 children, was determine to go to college, but not place a heavy financial burden on her parents, and believed that to serve her country and then pursue her education afterwards would be a great solution. John Johnson remembers that LaVena approached him about signing up. His reaction was that of pride that his daughter wanted to forge her own future.
"My daughter LaVena was a very patriotic person she love this country and she thought she was doing something good; she thought she was doing something right. She first had discussed this with her dad. I was not in agreement with this at all because ---I just thought she was just going straight on to college. She was an honor roll student; she was a very good student ---and the most beautiful daughter than any mother would want to have. She had discussed this with her dad first and finally told me." ---Linda Johnson
 The most daunting thing any parent can do is to let go and allow your child brave the unknown. LaVena was an unforgettable daughter and friend. She was well liked; always had a smile and a cheerful disposition. That is what makes this story so painful: that a sweet person of 19 would die in this horrific manner, and that her killer, or killers still go unpunished.
Also the unforgettable way this young woman was treated by the US Army and those whom she served. Conflicting reports show that LeVena's body had contusions, she had missing teeth, a bruise under her eye and a gun shot wound to the head. It is impossible for a person that was only 5'1" to shoot herself with an M-16 military rifle. As a Vet myself, I know the sort of damage an M-16 can do up close. The most horrific damage was done to the vaginal area, where apparently acid of some sort was used to destroy the evidence of a sexual assault. But in spite of this botched cover up, and the fact that someone tried to set the KBR contractors tent on fire with LeVena's body in it, her death was ruled a suicide by the Army, and a Congressional Subcommittee endorse their ruling. This can only lead me to believe that this investigation was criminally negligent, and a huge cover-up by our government.

"We know that the people we're dealing with, lie easy as they breathe. So that's why we 
LaVena With Mom Linda Johnson
need the congressional hearing; so that people can be under oath to tell the truth. We want justice for our daughter because I believe with all my heart my daughter was murdered. I cannot look at the pictures; I don't have to look at the pictures. I've heard enough from my husband. And it took him awhile to even let me know the things that have been done to my precious daughter--- and to know that my daughter was set on fire and someone tried to burn her body--- it was heartbreaking." -Linda Johnson

The Johnson's Sharing grief and outrage "We deserve better than this." 28:00

Can you imagine remembering the last time you saw your daughter alive was when she was running with open arms across the tarmac to greet you like a child? And now you're at the same airfield months later, to receive her body in a box? This story is surrounded in a mystery, involving straight-faced liars, and an ineffective Congress who backs up rape and murder with silence.

Ann Wright, Retired Army Colonel, and advocate against the Iraq war, actively help the Johnsons to find the answers to LaVena's murder. After setting up a meeting with the Johnsons and Congressman William Clay Jr. (D-Mo) she was barred by the military from attending the meeting. No doubt this was because the Army feared Ms. Wright a former Army Col. would be a formidable person that would not accept their bullshit.
Retired Lt. Col Ann Wright
"We know the military has misinformed many military families to include Tillman family--- Karen Meredith whose son Ken was killed by Iraqi trainees--- Kemisha Block who was shot in her barracks and the family told she was killed by friendly fire-- one shot--- it turned out she was killed by five shots and her killer which was one member of her unit committed suicide right in her barracks--- and yet the family was not told this for over eight months. So there's a lot of misinformation that's going on with the families, and I firmly believe that if we can get the Congress to hold hearings and require people to come forward under oath that indeed we can get to the bottom of what happened to LeVena Johnson." Col. Ann Wright

Unforgettable Cover Ups

There are many men and women who have gone to serve in both Iraq, and Afghanistan since 911. Sadly many lives have been lost due to honorable combat. Even sadder is when some of these protectors died not by the enemy but by other means, and the military attempts to cover over the details.

Spc. Kemisha Block 
Spc. Kemisha Block was a female soldier who was fatally shot by Staff Sargent Paul Norris. Norris was an insanely jealous suitor and a rage-aholic who abuse the young female soldier during her time at Fort Hood, and somehow managed to pull some strings to be stationed with Block at Operation Iraqi Freedom. The relationship was against Army regulations, but his superiors seemed to look the other way. Fellow soldiers feared for her safety, and even Kemisha attempted several times to get transferred from Norris's command. When her plight did reach the proper authorities, Norris was ordered to stand down and cut off his relationship with Kemisha. He responded by appearing at her barracks one evening and shooting the unarmed soldier in the face 5 times. The Army listed her death as being casualty of Friendly Fire. Sadly Kemisha's family did not unearth the real truth for months. The Army allowed this crazed NCO to terrorize this soldier until his jealous obsession with her became Kemisha's end.

Pat Tillman who was famous for walking away from a lucrative football contract and a stellar career in
Corporal Patrick Tillman
the NFL, signed up to do his bit for America following 911. Because of this celebrity status his death was propaganda for the Bush Administration, and their war on terror. When Pat was reported dead, his widow first received the news that he had been killed in a gun battle in Afghanistan. His mother described his death as too contrived. It was something you'd see in a John Wayne movie.---Charging up a hill to protect his fellow Army Rangers. Sadly the unadorned truth was that Pat was killed by "friendly fire." Instead of coming out with the truth that Tillman and an Afghan Militia Forces allied soldier were shot and killed even as he called out to his band of brothers to cease firing. Rather than to tell the family and the public the truth, a deliberate lie was put in place to cover up Tillman's death.
Pat's mom Mary said in an 60 Minute interview; "When you're lied to, your brain goes all over the map, and things that aren't really true can appear to be true."

Lance Corporal Anne Dryden
Lance Corporal Anne Dryden came from tough stock. She was a sweetheart but a tough devoted Marine as well. Again another casualty death while deployed overseas. He body was found in a portable latrine following a friendly wrestling match where Dryden suffered a concussion to the head. Her parents were told that her death was a friendly wrestling match gone bad. Her mom was suspicious, but got scared away from the original finding. She refused to do interviews about Anne's death, and advised her ex-husband Scott to do the same.  As it turns out Scott Dryden refused to back down, and received completely different version of events. Yes, there was a wrestling match, but it was not so friendly.  This was re-accounted to him over the phone by someone who later just disappeared. He set out to find out what really happened. For one thing; female soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan have been told to never go to the portable latrines without a buddy. And then to find her body left in a latrine like that leads one to suspect possible rape and murder.  Of course, it was up to the Commander to make the decision whether press charges. Hello? Do I have to tell you how well that worked out?
Ann Wright Questions Military's Finding in deaths
"Women are supposed to go to the latrines only with a buddy, as so many rapes have occurred near the porta-potties," she says. "That's why many women carry knives in Iraq and Afghanistan for protection. Predators in a war zone," says Wright, "usually follow a rape with intimidation because the victim is already surrounded by violence and confusion. They'll say, 'You're going to be dead by tomorrow. Raping you is just the cost of war. We'll just chalk it up [your death] to unsafe security.'" She believes this may be what happened to Annie Dryden. Anne Wright

Sadly the disrespectful way many of these soldiers died, and how their families were lied to is an inexcusable shame that will not go away with time, medals, or military honors. I hope that the roll call of these men and women who died under suspicion circumstances will echo and ring in the ears of the military for years to come. Because they choose to lie to us us about these unforgettable lives.

Please remember these soldiers and their families in your special way this Memorial Day. They are gone but remain "Unforgettable."


Special thanks as always to 
Rosie Palfy
and special thanks to 
Elizabeth Grous 

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Everyday People

Sometimes I'm Right, and I Can Be Wrong

Funny how some songs will lay dormant in your head for years, only to awake at a moment of contemplation. (If you click on the lyrics, you can hear the song) And A song like Every Day people becomes more than just a happy cultural pop tune. It become a statement of the who we are, or who we should be to each other. The divisions in our society seem to be widening almost everywhere we go. Politics seems to be the most evident these days where the lines are even more blurred than before. Religious beliefs are taking strange turns, and of course racial tensions are at a fever pitch with no no obvious conclusions in sight. Both men and women seem to be drawing new lines in the sand. Brene Brown, therapist and public Ted Talks speaker noted: 
"the other thing we do is we make everything that uncertain certain. Religion has gone from a belief and faith and mystery to certainty. I'm right you're wrong shut up! that's it--- Just certain---  The more afraid we are--- the more vunerable we--- are the more afraid we are. This is what politics looks like today. There's no discourse anymore. There's no conversation their just blame" -BrenĂ© Brown: The power of vulnerability: TED TALKS

My Own Beliefs Are In My Song

One of the biggest problems in advocating against sexual assault in the military or college campuses or society is that the issue gets divided up, analyzed, and marginalized by those who are suppose to be the biggest supporters. When you hear the word rape, do you think of only a gender or race, or a status in life? Sexual assault and rape breeds apologists, victim-blamers, gender defenders, number grumblers, and political speculators. After you've read all their op ed pages and blogs, and online comments you don't know if the subject really makes sense.

I want to restate so that everyone reading this gets it: Rape is wrong, Rape is a crime. People who rape should go to jail. And if this happened to you, then you are not the blame.
We are everyday people. Men, women, and children. No matter what our color is, or economic status, or our politics, rape does happen to everyday people.
I've talked to and tweeted many survivor-victims who have the courage to say "this happened to me." And "This person did this to me." Victims are not looking to indict all men, or all women, or a certain race. They're trying to bring an issue into the light. It's great when we come together to illuminate the problem by stating "Rape is wrong. What can I do to help?" Shockingly I've seen responses such as "Young white girls get more attention." Or absurd statements like "women rape as much as men do. Maybe more." Some of this comes from an honest place of hurt and feeling treated less important. But then there are those who fear they're on the wrong side of an issue. So rather than to admit you could be right, they say  "try to include both sides in the issue."

You Love Me, You Hate Me

Many times the media, and even we bloggers are guilty of running after the low hanging fruit, but personally I feel that a victim gets re-victimized again by the very people who should be in his or her corner. Everyday people who are rape victims need to understand that nothing in your background makes rape less or more qualified to have your voice heard and to stand with others in this Invisible (Or maybe not so Invisible) War.

Matt Rogers and Franchesca Ramsey Social Justice Warriors
Franchesca Ramsey does a very good job with humor and truth sharing the complexities of making a difference in a world where scoffers and haters will attack you for speaking up on issues like truth and equality for all. You should check out her MTV video: Social Justice Warrior Training Video, LEAKED! While it has the feel of a parody about the military mind set, if you've ever known how it feels to be hit with a false narrative in the face of an issue, then you'll appreciate this funny video of how we need to "boot camp up" to deal with misogyny, racism, and what's the difference in being respectful versus politically correct. I like the idea of dealing with what it takes to stand up for basic human dignity. Because no mater how real and tangible the truth can be, the loud angry voices of shame and criticism will always try to overwhelm and drown it out. Speaking the truth (And again I'm borrowing from this video) can be as overwhelming as being locked in a room full of gas. (We went though this in basic training to simulate being captured and tortured by the enemy.) It burns your eyes, lungs, and overwhelms your senses. That's how it can feel when you're on Twitter, Facebook, Reditt, or other social media. Have you ever read the comment section of YouTube after enjoying a good video? Proceed at your own risk.

Rape is an ugly, vile, and disgusting crime that should not be spoken in political terms. Those who want to make this issue go away, will label it as a women's issue, which only feminists shriek the loudest about.

Different Strokes

Sexual assault or rape seems to be regarded like a screaming infant with a dirty diaper. When the institutions can no longer hide the crime, they speak with tones of surprise, maybe some outrage, and even the promise to "address the problem." Now those who are in earnest will work with authorities, the victims, and others to resolved the problem. They don't give PR spin, or try to turn your attention elsewhere for the sake of their institution.

And the not-so-ordinary people have been putting their foot into our mouths and speaking out of turn such as Conservative Journalist Liz Trotta.

Liz Trotta
"Just a few weeks ago Defense Secretary Leon Panetta commented on a new Pentagon report on sexual abuse in the military. I think they've actually discovered there's a difference between men and women. --- and the sexual abuse report says that there's been since 2006 a 64 percent increase in violent sexual assaults. Now what did they expect? I mean these people are in close contact; the whole airing on this issue has never been done by congress. It's strictly been a question of pressure from the feminists."  -Liz Trotta on sexual assault in the military- YouTube Feb. 13, 2013
 Just recently a writer for the Washington Examiner noted that college campuses have become a place which harbors "Snow Flakes"
This past school year, colleges and universities saw some of the most embarrassing displays of student and faculty behavior ever witnessed in modern history.
Bolstered by a grievance culture that promotes victimhood, campus protesters demanded "safe spaces" from ideas they disagreed with and "trigger warnings" on readings that might make them uncomfortable. They accused those whose comments might seem slightly insensitive of committing "microaggressions." -What's Next For College SnowFlakes?
Please note the obvious political dog-whistle words. Someone has been sexually assaulted on a college campus, perhaps the alleged rapist is still there. A student/victim of this crime which haunts her is called a cup cake because they want refuge from either their attacker, or from the politics of it all.  While any student should still submit to their courses set before them, in my opinion this should happen in a safe environment where they can attempt to study without further harassment or from retaliation. The lack of empathy by some so-called enlighten thinkers, on the subject is staggering.

We Are The Same, Whatever We Do

SJW-Dealing With Anti-Equality Advocates
I have an obvious bias when it comes to the issue of sexual assault. You can never water it down in the political arena and expect an real truth to come out of it. Those who want to quiet the voices of every day people who are victims or advocates, will attach side issues of gender inequality, or what the statistics are. Also while harboring a dislike for women, they make it a feminist issue. (And of course feminist is a "bad" thing.) This creates an air of feeling defensive or being ashamed for defending victims. Some advocates find themselves tangled in arguments on social medial by slick, well-versed, spoiler-types, who troll this issue to silence it forever. If you spend any amount of time on social media you'll run headlong into those who try to disarm this issue with accusations of people who care too much about this issue, are too stupid, or too bleeding-heart, and who perhaps should be raped themselves.

You will never win with these people, because while your agenda is to make them understand, the issue, their agenda is to hurt and ridicule you. My friend Catherine, a retired therapist, always tells me: "Kevin don't let them rent space in your head." Meaning block and move on because their goal is to always disagree with you.

We Got To Live Together

The worst part can be is when victims/advocates lash out at each other, and then we begin to lose
ground. It's sad when we start out coming together as allies, and then when politics creeps in, or we see each others imperfections we walk away, while this crime against us all continues to destroy us like cancer. We are all different in so many ways. We must give each other room to be who we are.
We may not all be religious, or have the same political views. But our common ground must be in coming against sexual assault, rape, sexual harassment, and other things associated with them. The number of victims are being added to the roster each day, regardless of race, age, who they voted for, men, or women, straight or gay. Haters, blamers, and shamers, will always study us, and try and whisper words or doubt, and stand back to watch the results.

Our goals need to be focusing in on helping victims who don't know where to turn. Someone right now, may be a victim of homelessness, fighting for their VA rights, contemplating suicide, or just needing someone to talk to because they couldn't sleep last night. Many could feel a real loss if all they see is backbiting, distension, or hurt. Because in the back of their minds they're no doubt thinking... "It maybe a matter of time when they begin to whisper about me like this." So let's not be the third wave of victimization. We can claim that we're diverse, but are we really unified as Everyday people?


Every Day People-
Social Justice Warrior Training Video Leaked
Liz Trotta On Sexual Assault-
What's Next For College Snowflakes- Washington

Special Thanks To

Vera Santa Clara 
Who got me started thinking about the danger of division with advocates
Denise (Dancing Paint Brush)
For your invaluable editing and spell checking powers
Catherine (Deja1422)
This has been an emotional month my friend with personal loss for us both

This Blog is Lovingly Dedicated To my everyday Twitter friend, Jan "Jipso" Goss
RIP Jan. You showed us how life was suppose to be. You will be missed

Previous Blog

I Dreamed a Dream: The Reality of Rape And Sex Trafficking