A thoughtful look at US foreign Policy not brong to us by MSM or .gov!:
Doublethink allows the U.S. government and media to apply its attention and ire selectively while maintaining that the U.S. supports democracy and opposes human rights abuses in the Middle East. It also facilitates the implementation of policies that blatantly contradict each other.
SDS Picketing against the war on the corner of University and 13th Street
New VFP Members Jessica, Joe and Darwin at our picket
Paul Ortiz and UF Students and SDS members at our Picket
Vets for Peace and CCAWT (Community Coalition Against War and Terrorism) Have been picketing together since 2003. Today we were joined by new VFP members, Members of Occupy and of the UF Chapter of SDS (Students for a Democratic Society) A great start to the season and thanks to Paul and Sheila for getting the word out!
As most of you know by now, our dear friend and brother Pat Fitzpatrick died last night at the VA Hospital. He had been ill and in considerable pain for two years, but continued his work and his advocacy right up until the day before he went into the hospital last week. Pat was a founding member of the Home Van and he is the one who taught me how to work with homeless people. He himself had worked with the poor and the marginalized for all his life, beginning with his days of staying at Ernie’s Flophouse in Immokalee, Florida and doing union organizing with the migrant workers. He was on our very first home van driveout, on September 26, 2002. I wanted to help people but was paralyzed in place at the notion of going up to a perfect stranger and starting a conversation and asking them if they wanted food. For Pat it wasn’t a problem. He’d walk right up to one of our homeless guys, put his hand on their shoulder and say, “Hello brother, I’m Pat Fitzpatrick. What’s your name? Are you hungry? We have some food here.” In retrospect, that came easy to Pat because he wasn’t thinking about himself. He wasn’t worried about how people would react to him or if he would look like an idiot or anything like that. His whole focus was on the other person and what help they might need. Pat genuinely loved people, all people, and there was nothing within his power that he would not do to help another person.
Pat was a student of the Catholic Principles of Social Justice and had many books on that subject, which he studied at night. He told me, quoting from one of the books, “If you have two coats, one of those coats belongs to the poor.” Freeman once found a particularly fine Gator jacket at a garage sale and bought it for Pat. The next time Freeman saw the jacket, a homeless guy downtown was wearing it. Pat already had a jacket.
We are finding it very hard to imagine life without Pat. The best we can do is try to live as well and compassionately as he did. There will be a requiem Mass for Pat this coming Saturday, at 10 a.m., at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church.
‘Last Week Tonight’ host speaks out against gruesome “enhanced interrogation” techniques
“If enhanced interrogation were not torture, which it is, and even if torture did work, which it doesn’t, America should not be a country that tortures people,” the host says. “Because it is brutal; it is medieval; and it is beneath us.”
I have long thought that the Imperial violence the US has imposed on the rest of the world is coming home to roost. Giroux describes it in powerful but horrifying prose.
Outfitted with full riot gear, submachine guns, armored vehicles and other lethal weapons imported from the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, their mission is to assume battle-ready behavior. Is it any wonder that violence rather than painstaking, neighborhood police work and community dialogue and engagement becomes the norm for dealing with alleged “criminals,” especially at a time when more and more behaviors are being criminalized? At the same time, violence becomes the DNA of a society that refuses to deal with larger structural issues such as massive inequality in wealth and power, and a government that now unapologetically serves the rich and powerful corporate interests, and makes violence the organizing principle of governance.
Giroux proposes a solution. That solution will not be easy considering the forces arrayed against free thought.
Many Americans are asking questions about why there are not more people in the streets, as if economic turmoil or even the most overt expressions of state violence offer us a politics with guarantees. One reason, of course, is that the war on the imagination has been matched by the war on solidarity, communal relations and values that can’t be commodified. We all live in war zones now, regimes marked by the most insidious violence and displays of greed, cruelty and lies. They are made all the worse because of the economic crisis; the new totalitarianism has not been matched by a crisis of ideas. Subjectivity has been stripped of any meaning, reduced to the gaze of public relations industries that feed the dispossession by extraction machine. Capitalism has reached its endpoint, blind to its death march. Fortunately, more and more young people and others are refusing to stand by and let state terrorism and market fundamentalism define their everyday lives.
As John Dewey, Pierre Bourdieu, Noam Chomsky, Paulo Freire, Ellen Willis and others have reminded us there is no democracy without an informed public. This is a lesson the right wing took very seriously after the democratic uprisings of the 1960s. This is not a matter of blaming the public but of trying to understand the role of culture and power as a vital force in politics and how it is linked to massive inequities in wealth and income. The financial state promotes a form of ideological terrorism and the key issue is how to expose it, and dismantle its cultural apparatuses with the use of social media, new political formations, and ongoing collective educational and political struggles.
And so story telling becomes our weapon because those who tell the best stories which form the basis of our cultural view of the world will win control of society. that’s why the Memorial Mile is so important because it tells a powerful story and reveals the State for what it really is. It also forges a community activists who work together making connections in an unconnected world. So we are practicing what Giroux preaches here in our own little sphere thanks to Scott’s leadership and all our hard work. Thanks Friends! 😉
Our sessions are ending but we still have a lot of networking to do. Se you all at the May VFP meeting and Thanks to VFP for sending us to this amazing conference! There will be more pictures on the veterans for Common Sense website.
Michael continues this afternoon to offer information on the Entrepreneurial process. Right now he is talking about the types of research you need to do to start a business with lots of examples of Veteran businesses. You need to research Demographics – who are your customers, Geographic ‘s, where are your customers and psychographic’s, who are the affinity groups who will be your customers.
Resources for research include: US Census, Business Schools, International Business Intelligence System (IBIS) – accessed through a school of Business, Local government and footwork.
Next Write a Vision Statement:
Make it very short and it should create a visual image of what you want to do Mission Statement:
The purpose of your business Value Proposition:
Need to employ financial, social and cultural capital
Writing a business plan includes
Plan around a 100 day timeline
Need a banker, lawyer, accountant and insurance agent
See the New Business Road test to check and see the chance of success form your plan.
Te Pitch – used to convince your vendors, funders, public and partners that what you do will succeed
Nadine is the lead organizer of this conference and she is also a woman vet small business Entrepreneur. Here is our own Nancy Shebenek modeling some of Nadine’s work. She does T shirts for women Veterans and her business is called Lady Brigade
I am sitting in the Entrepreneur workshop with the amazing Marine, Michael Zacchea who I introduced in an earlier post on the opening session.
Dr Zacchea started working on Veterans workforce issues in 2010. He found a downward spiral for veterans who fell out of the workforce and set about to do more than current veterans services who try to fix the superficial problems rather than offering more support as they come back into the workforce and start new businesses.He found a significant number of veteran owned businesses in Connecticut and so came up with a model is called the re-integration value chain model.
Veterans need to plan for separation at least 2 years before they get out. They need to have a plan.
Work with educational institutions to make them aware of the number of veterans enrolled and to help meet their educational needs. Leverage defense industries and veteran owned businesses to provide more employment opportunity.
Workforce reintegration needs support from businesses who fear liability issues connected with vets with issues like PTSD.
Better access to Health care as they reintegrate
Better access to adequate food and housing.
all these service create what mike calls a “Sea of Goodwill”