Cold War Blues: A Review

Long overdue recognition for a nearly forgotten part of the Cold War

Image of the Amazon kindle edition cover of Jim Stark's book.

Image of the 2010 Amazon kindle edition cover of Jim Stark’s 1989 book.

Cold War Blues: The Operation Dismantle Story is unique. Jim Stark’s book is a rare and worthy addition to our history of this enigmatic and most dangerous war. First, this book is original history, i.e. a primary source, from the Cold War. It’s not a rehash of espionage dramas, combat ops, or Cuban Missile Crisis politics. It is a detailed account of this planet-wide conflict on a personal level from the anti-war camps. Specifically it addresses the rise and fall of the Operation Dismantle campaign of 1977 – 1985. What makes the book an especially novel read is it’s written in memoir fashion from the perspective of a Canadian pro-peace and anti-nuclear weapons activist, not those espousing American or Soviet viewpoints. One hears the desperation and hope of those within other nations compelled to choose sides in a glacial world war that more than once almost erupted into thermonuclear Armageddon.

Jim and his fellow Canadian activists carved or threatened to established a third front to challenge not just Soviet Communist totalitarianism but the hypocrisy and murderous arrogance of the Western Capitalist, anti-Communist regimes. “Yes, I managed to piss off both superpowers at times,” wrote Jim.[1] Operation Dismantle became a major force to be reckoned with not only in Canada but also with the Americans as it came close to stopping the deployment of U.S. cruise missiles including those quietly armed with atomic warheads into sovereign Canadian territory. Continue reading “Cold War Blues: A Review” »

Amend the Second Amendment: An Immodest Proposal

Amendment II
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

This is the second of the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution, those collectively regarded as the Bill of Rights. The Second Amendment was ratified on December 15, 1791. That’s a little more than fifteen years after the American Declaration of Independence and eight years after the Peace Treaty of Paris ended the American Revolutionary War. It became known as the “Right to Bear Arms” amendment.

Note the Constitution lacks any direct reference to individual self-defense.  Instead we have a muddled Second Amendment that declares a stand for the right to bear Arms. Not swords, battle-axes, legs, or cannon, but arms as in firearms as in guns. It doesn’t proclaim a right to self-defense. Indeed, there is not any reference whatsoever to any right of self-defense. Which is interesting, isn’t it?

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Guns, Madness, and Mass Shootings as the Perfect Storm of Blowback hits Mount Rainier


U.S. veteran Benjamin Colton Barnes, proud of his guns, in
a photo from Pierce County Sheriff Department archives. Note
the high-capacity magazine clips on both firearms.

This undated photo provided by Mount Rainier National Park shows park Ranger Margaret Anderson. Anderson, 34, was fatally shot Sunday, Jan. 1, 2012, at Mount Rainier National Park in Washington state, according to the National Park Service.
Ranger Margaret Anderson, Mount Rainier
National Park, Washington State. Photo
from MRNP archives.

New Year’s Day 2012 began as if Doomsday had arrived way too early from out of the prophesized Mayan Apocalypse. By the time the one-man war of Army veteran Benjamin Colton Barnes ended, two people are dead with four more injured, two of them critically wounded, three children left without parents, and communities across the United States, including Mount Rainier National Park were devastated. It’s almost a year, too, after Rep. Gabby Giffords and a number of others were shot with many killed in Tucson, Arizona. Excuse my lack of professionalism, but WTF?

In grotesque mockery of its own Constitution, the United States Government continues its overreaching neo-imperial agenda. We invade Iraq for the oil, for revenge against Saddam, and to outflank Iran and thumb our noses at Russia and China. We spend more money on our military than the next 17 countries combined. Yet we don’t help our veterans. And anytime you send people into combat, battles, and wars, guess what? Real, live human beings – men, women, and children are killed and maimed, often in horrific manner. Many in our Armed Forces return with damaged minds. Not everyone, but many more than most admit.

Since our government is so deep in debt and has been played by the banksters, it implements austerity measures and cuts services. National Park services get cut. Rangers get less support.

Bankster and corporatocratic manipulation of finances, markets, political elections, and government leads to illegal wars and economic disruption.

Illegal wars are still real wars. Our young men and women kill and injure other human beings. Many of our men and women are themselves killed and injured. All survivors witness great destruction. The Americans return home, and some of them break down, fall apart, and go crazy. And usually not in ways that engender sympathy.

A government short on money begins by cutting then chopping services. “Our” Federal Government begins by eviscerating federal institutions. Not nearly enough health care is provided for our veterans and their families, especially psychotherapy and counseling. It’s easier, faster, and cheaper to build flashy new weapons and weapons systems. Other federal services get cut, including the national park service.

Benjamin Colton Barnes was a former soldier in the United States Army. He served in the Iraq campaigns of 2007-2008 during the Global Long War on Terror. A private first class, he served in communications while deployed into Iraq. Barnes was also released from the military with a misconduct discharge for a string of offenses.

At a New Year’s Eve 2011 party in Skyway, a satellite town on the edge of the Greater Seattle Pugetopolis, Washington State, a number people brought guns including military weaponry to show off, brag, and posture. The rest of us would likely call them “gun nuts,” a term I reserve NOT for those who respect the firearms they collect and the responsibilities the right to possess a firearm demands, but for those who are immature, violent, and spoiling for a fight. The latter are consumed with egoitis. Barnes was at the party with several hot dates, all of them guns.

Posturing and bragging led to bruised egos. The ego is easily wounded when one’s skin is so thin. Arguments escalated into threats escalated into a gun battle. The details remain murky, but so far it appears Barnes took on the others, big bad soldier from Iraq he is, or was. In the ensuing firefight Barnes shot four people. Two of them were grievously injured and remain in critical care.

Barnes fled the party early in the morning of 1 January 2012. He drove off in a car with guns, knives, ammo, and survival gear. He raced into Mount Rainier National Park to hide out in the middle of the Cascade Mountains. Mt. Rainier remains one of the world’s most dangerous volcanoes, is more massive of a mountain than any of those in the Himalayans, and soars skyward to 4,392 meters or 14,411 feet above sea level. The Mountain dominates the Pacific Northwest and is the black hole of severe winter storms. It receives astounding amounts of precipitation. Its vast slopes are blanked with heavy, deep snow, thick forests, and icy glaciers.

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Fear and Paranoia: Down Out of the UFO Attic

UFOs are taboo.

To be more precise, as Unidentified Flying Objects seem to come and go as they please and not when and where as we would expect or even like, it is the topic of UFOs which is taboo. This includes many squirmy topics, which may or may not be completely true nor completely false, such as: shape-shifting and transforming objects, alien abductions with grotesque medical, genetic, and sexual experiments, mutilations of animals including cattle, horses, and humans, USOs or UUOs (Unidentified Submersible Objects or Unidentified Underwater Objects), secret underground and underwater bases, soul harvesting, anomalies on the Moon and on Mars and elsewhere which appear to be the ruins of vastly ancient civilizations, mysterious orbs, biomechanical or cyborg ships, Cold War conspiracies, ridicule by the authorities, stupidity in the media, cover-ups by hypercompartmentalized entities within or outside the military/security-industrial/corporate-education/prison-intelligence/surveillance complex, extraterrestrial and/or interdimensional species and technologies, free energy, and secret weapons.

There are allegations by whistleblowers and others in or who used to be in the militaries, intelligence agencies, scientific institutions, and other reputable organizations around the planet about and for these things. There are the so-called “black projects” within Unacknowledged Special Access Programs (USAPs). A deluge of documents has been declassified by a number of governments that demonstrate a significant and prolonged interest in a mystery otherwise dismissed and debunked in public.

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Violence: After Newtown

There are days and there are nights when the best way to face horror and tragedy is to go right into it, into the pain, and not turn away.

The recent gun massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, touches us all on some level as our lives are so intertwined. A young man, Adam Lanza, sick with perhaps more than one illness, shot dead 20 young boys and girls, seven adults, and then took his own life. His illnesses are termed “psychological” or “mental” even though all such disorders stem from the body as mind arises from brain activity. Reports claim he shot many of these people numerous times. He was so accurate with his gun that there were no survivors among those he shot.

Police reports claim he used a Bushmaster .223 caliber Remington AR-15, a semiautomatic rifle. It’s a demilitarized version of the Army’s Vietnam-era M16 and is categorized as an assault rifle. Our national ban on assault rifles expired in 2004. Adam Lanza also allegedly carried two handguns and several hundred rounds of ammunition including high-capacity magazines for the Bushmaster. He stole these weapons from his mother, a registered gun owner, whom he killed first.

Regardless of deep emotions and strong beliefs inflamed by such murders, this massacre of schoolchildren as young as six and seven years old aroused a nation. Indeed, it aroused the world. We are once again reminded that even though we divide ourselves over politics, religion, and ethnicity, we are still one species sharing one planet.

Many issues are at stake here. What is most striking is even though so many people have staked out rigid positions on the various issues; many more are willing to engage in dialogue about them for solutions. That is good news and feels long overdue.

Let me name the dragons we finally have the courage to face as a nation. Keep in mind that to name something is to identify it and to some degree rob it of its power. To name something is to respond without reacting and thus we take on being responsible. By taking on responsibility, especially after first accepting what has happened even if we don’t like it, we become cause in the matter, not victims of circumstance.

Below I name our dragons:

This is an issue of emotionally laden language between groups of people who label each other “gun nuts” versus “gun grabbers.” The issue is the capacity and the willingness to set such divisive blame and shame language aside, or the incapacity and unwillingness for people to do so. Can we stop calling each other names?

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We’re at the Brink of War

We are at the brink of war. You won’t find this being addressed in our current run of debates between Republicans and Democrats here in America. When I say “war,” I refer to major regional or world war, not the Global Long War on Terror. The black hole of world war is opening right now in the Middle East.

Allied countries, despite their angry rhetoric with each other, are lining up against other allied countries that also squabble among themselves. Common self-interests in the midst of extreme crises have a way of polarizing nations into opposing armed camps. This whirlpool of destruction will quickly pull in a succession of nations from all over Earth. Ongoing smaller wars around the world will likely merge into a planetwide conflagration as fast as news zips through cell phones and the Internet.

You will find little news of these urgent matters in the majority of the mainstream mass media, although tidbits surface now and then. I search through military and intelligence sources, scan news from both the far right and the far left, and sift through educated opinions from ivory tower pundits to conspiracy theory gurus. There is a lot out of detailed information out there, but so little for the public to readily see.

Why is something so vitally important kept out of the public discourse?

Several reasons exist. Primarily no one in power really wants all-out war and thus they seek to ignore or deflect attention away from its buildup. Why not inform the public? We can handle the news.

Many in the know understand such a war will crash the world economy during this Great Global Recession. An economic collapse will lead to greater environmental destruction and possibly famine. Survivors will ravage our environment even further for energy and resources in order to rebuild. We’ve not as a species experienced the collapse of a complex global economy on such a scale before. No one in their heart wants this in their legacy.

Because such a war will upend significant elections such as the American electorate voting for Obama or for Romney or other candidates. No candidate wants a war on their hands in a war-weary nation. Right? After all, we’re inundated with doom and gloom and jokes about the end of the world because it’s the year 2012.

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Lipwood and the End of America

imagesdrone_1_thumbUnknown Free Clip Art

A Next Generation Drone Just For You & Yours

Once upon a time not all that long ago somewhere over there in the Land of Barely There and Right Here Now, a group of men and women from across different religions and races gathered together in the city. They were fed up. They were fed up with frakkin’ ass local politicians, bureaucrats, and bankers hobfoggin’ all together to hire those guys from Way Over There to come way over here to install those robotic spy cameras all over town.

So these men and women from a number of ethnic groups and of varying religious convictions took up arms, as was their right, and blew the FRAK out of all those damn traffic surveillance cameras in Lipwood, George, the once-new state named after the first American president’s first name. Yes, George was a composite of counties that once bordered two states. Could be what used to be the Washington – Idaho border. With a corner of Oregon? Or Colorado-Nebraska with a corner of Kansas? I suppose it doesn’t matter because the once-famous State of George doesn’t exist anymore. In the beginning, however, their clamors for secession were so loud and cantankerous the rest of the states hollered, “Truck ’em away, goddammit! To Hell with ‘em then!”

Oh, it was a wild, righteous joy to pump slugs from a shotgun into those damn spy cameras. Never mind one or two shooters themselves had a couple of tiny little surveillance devices discreetly tucked away on their persons to record such destructive indignation. In the shouts of revolt all justifications arose and no one would remember the lessons of violence throughout time. Something just had to be done…NOW! People were beyond feeling FED up! Aye, We the People felt frakkin’ FED up with the flipass FEDS!!!

Oh, it felt good. Real good. They weren’t terrorists. Who the hell were they terrorizing? Even the cops felt waves of relief. Yes, these good men and women considered themselves patriots and reclaimed their privacy from corporate-dominated government gone amok with schemes to get rich by privatizing domestic spying. F*ck*rs.

Yes, these rowdy citizens considered it their solemn duty to get out yonder and blow shit up. Especially when they found out their own shit was looking back spying on them. So out came bags of nitrogen fertilizer and cans of diesel fuel, yeah man. Freedom loving democratic socialist vanguard redneck libertarian green goo anarchists coffee tea whiskey mixing neo-communist muhfukkahs LOVE to … blow shit up.

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Boomerang Tree

Once upon a time when I was a brave and crazy fool I rode a tree like a dragon. Armed with a homemade boomerang, I was a pretty young lad somewhere in that transition between preteen to true teen. My exact age and even what grade I was in remain lost to memory. What I do remember is a gusty, late afternoon storm with cloudy skies churning the color of dark green moss. It happened in Virginia where I grew up on a farm, and I thought I was gonna die.

I felt proud of my boomerang. I’ve spent hours carving and sanding it from a piece of wood. When I whipped it through the air across the cow pastures on my parents’ dairy farm, my boomerang actually returned. It would spin away from me whirling like a helicopter propeller. As my boomerang spun it rose high and higher still, turned, and came zooming back to me. Sometimes it flopped and dug into grass and dirt and skittered off rocks. At other times, however, I had to duck as it zipped over my head. I dared not reach out to grab it. Those were the best!

My buddy Jerry Vernon and I were out in a huge cowpasture on the Gates Family Farm. Jerry’s dad worked for the Gateses milking cows and fixing fences, so we played a lot. My brother Joe, six years younger, also hung with us that day. Our dad ran the Bass farm for his uncle, who was cousins with the Gateses and further down the road the Bruces.

It was one afternoon after school, and I can’t remember if it was November or March. The weather felt heavy with a cloudy-late-afternoon-right-before-supper-time feel, and we had one eye out for bulls. Rumor had it the Gateses had turned loose a bull into the pasture to impregnate the cows, and he would snort, charge, stomp, and gore you all to bloody pieces if he discovered you simply existed. We were terrified of bulls.

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