DARK HORSE: Bernie Sanders 2016- Death of a Soldier


The number of veterans who commit suicide daily in the US, according to the Veterans Administration is 22.

In November 2013 CNN reported that the figure might be low. The VA figure was based upon data from 21 states and did not take into account deaths from three of the five largest states, Illinois, California and Texas. Considering the VA figures take into account only 40% of the nation, the reality indicates a daily suicide number in excess of 50 veterans daily, or an annual figure of an astounding 18,ooo annually. By comparison there were 14.748 homicides of all types in the US in 2010, and yet the tragedy of suicides among the nation’s veterans has gone largely ignored.

In April 2007 Afghan veteran Levi Derby, haunted, according to his mother, by seeing an Afghan child blown apart by a landmine as he handed her a bottle of water hanged himself. According to CNN, Illinois does not send data on suicides, like Derby, to the VA. In September 2014, Iraq and Afghan Veterans Against the War, #IVAW activist, who had served three combat tours in Afghanistan Jacob David George committed suicide, the ultimate therapy for sufferers of the aftermath of combat, violence and trauma. George, who struggled with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD was critical of treatment by the VA, saying in an speech that the VA, “isn’t designed to address the depths of the wounds we have. They don’t really look at the soul and how the soul has been injured in war.”

The irony is that in a society which was relatively untouched by the war, and in which reporting on the war was filtered and sanitized, American veterans may be more susceptible to suicide than countries where warfare has occurred. A study titled, “Suicide in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the city of Sarajevo” found no significant increase in the number of suicides pre and post war (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24197489). Bosnia was involved in a bloody civil war, with its capital Sarajevo besieged, from April 1992 until April 1995. Bosnia’s overall official suicide is moderately low, according to worldlifeexpectancy.com. who takes its data from the World Health Organization, UNESCO and other databases (http://www.worldlifeexpectancy.com/cause-of-death/suicide/by-country/). While the numbers coming from Bosnia are suspect, the author’s experience in more than 20 years in the Balkans indicates a cultural ‘understanding” that indicates shared trauma on a community-wide scale. They all suffered through the war and now commiserate in its aftermath, even after more than 20 years. There is no such understanding on a national level in the US. As with Vietnam and Korea, veterans return to a nation with little or no understanding of the traumas and moral transgressions of war veterans must confront.

It was only in the last several years that tens of thousands of veterans, dishonorably discharged for PTSD related behavior could apply to upgrade their discharge in order to receive VA benefits. The Pentagon did not formally recognize PTSD until 1980. Indeed, the culture of the military still is far behind in understanding, let alone dealing with PTSD. In 2012 Blue Star Families, an advocacy group for military family members, in a report s aid that inadequacies in treatment were to blame for the high number of suicides among veterans. They also pointed to the military culture as well, and a system of soft retribution for soldiers admitting to PTSD.

Congress has been painfully slow in action regarding the PTSD crisis. While there has been legislation regarding mental health care and quality of life issues for veterans facing lifelong disabilities, it has continued to ignore the unique characteristics of PTSD (http://mic.com/articles/3400/despite-combat-ptsd-act-congress-is-falling-short-in-providing-for-veterans-with-ptsd). For veterans the primary issue is one of trust in the therapy and the therapist. PTSD is unlike other mental illnesses, in that there are multiple dimensions to the disorder from a myriad of causes and is highly individual in its nature. Compounding the disorder is the social nature of PTSD as family, friends and coworkers feed and become part of the disorder for a returning veteran. PTSD becomes community. True lasting an substantive therapy should combine individual psychological and physical therapy with family therapy as well. America must become part of its war making process and be a full agent in its aftermath. Currently it is not. Uncertainty, such as Joblessness and the economy factor greatly in the long term recovery of soldiers and civilians suffering PTSD. Insolated, isolated from warfare and its horrors, propagandized by a burgeoning and greed-centered defense industry and harboring jingoistic notions of war and violence, the nation has created a climate encouraging suicide rather than minimizing it.

Donald Trump did indeed call attention to veterans’ issues, though not in the way he believes. Trump, in assaulting and insulting the not just McCain, but all former American Prisoners of War, as well as veterans overall. What he did was to underscore the ultimate ignorance of the American government, the Pentagon, lawmakers and the American people regarding the plight of veterans, who are all but forgotten once they return home from war.

Trump is all but out of the race. Since his candidacy was far more about his ego than about the country, and based upon defiant comments to critics, and a refusal to back down at all over the McCain comments, Trump won’t leave quietly. Supporters flooded phone lines equally redoubling support for Trump as well as supporting his attacks on McCain’s service. Within that narrative is a glimpse into the direction the Tea Party and hardliners are taking the GOP. To observers it is no secret that support for veteran’s issues is a populist ploy to further corporate and power interests. To be accurate, the DNC has pandered here as well, both parties using the military as a gateway into the heartland while promoting policies that ultimately are anti-vet, anti-minority and anti-poor.

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Love to the IVAW: Honoring a Fallen Warrior

I would like us all to take a moment to honor IVAW member Jacob David George who’s untimely passing has left a community with an empty seat at the table. This remembrance was provided by our fried Robert:

“From Arkansas, Jacob was an Afghanistan Veteran, musician, and good friend of many of
the members of the IVAW Chicago chapter. Jacob utilized art and music and traveled the country, even returning to Afghanistan to advance his message of peace.  Jacob returned his medals with his IVAW brothers and sisters during the NATO summit and was a key in IVAW’s collaboration with the group Afghans for Peace.”

A gathering to celebrate and remember Jacob’s life was held for Jacob this past Friday, September 19th, on west Division street here in Chicago.

We at Revolution and Beer extend our hearts and thoughts to his family and friends. We greatly respect the work that the IVAW does, and their willingness to come on our show and talk about their struggles and triumphs.

Thanks to Robert Clack for reaching out to let us know.

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On Today’s Show: Memorial Day, War, & Surrealism: The National Veterans Art Meuseum

“Surrealism and War” opens Monday, May 26th, in observance of Memorial Day.

This Saturday on Revolution and Beer, broadcasting on AM1680 in Chicago; streaming on Que4.org, we’ll be talking about Art, War, and Memorial Day. We’ll be joined by Patrick Putze, a veteran and an artist, from the National Veterans Art Museum(NVAM). He’s coming on to tell us about what we can expect to find at the upcoming exhibition “Surrealism and War.” The Memorial Day opening of the exhibit marks the NVAM’s second Memorial Day at their home in the Six Corners neighborhood.

“Surrealism is an attempt to revolt against the inherent contradictions of a society ruled by rational thought while dominated by war and oppression. Surrealism seeks expression of thought in the absence of all control exercised by reason and free of aesthetic and moral preoccupation. It is this same absence of control exercised by reason that many combat veterans seek to explore and express after their experiences in war.”

The exhibit, curated by Aaron Hughes, opens on Memorial Day. In addition to Jim Leedy and Aaron Hughes, the show features nine other veteran artists that intentionally and unintentionally use and explore Surrealist processes and concepts. Here’s the facebook event page. Event details are below.

A group exhibition of exquisite corpse drawings by Chicago artists and veteran/artists.Come see the collaboration of Mary Lou Zelazny, Lisa Boumstein- Smalley, and Geoffry Smalley, among many others.
Opening Memorial Day, Monday, May 26, 2014
National Veterans Art Museum
4041 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60641
11:00 AM Color Guard, 2:00PM, Artist Talk
Exhibition runs from May 26 to November 1, 2014

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Tonight: IVAW on Revolution and Beer

IVAW Labor Day Cookout

Tonight at 7:30 p.m. CST on Chicago Cable Channel 19. Repeat: Wed. 2:30 p.m.

– What makes the IVAW different than most of the veterans organizations that has come before it?

– Why are the armed forces making reference to environmental disasters in their recruiting advertisements?

– What’s it like as a soldier to struggle with PTSD? How about a civilian caught in warfare?

– What does militarism at home and abroad mean?

These are just a few of the questions we’ll be answering on the next Revolution and Beer show. Joining us is Vincent Emanuele, member of the IVAW board of directors. We were very lucky to get a chance to sit down at The Elbo Room for this two-part series. A heartfelt thank you goes out again Robert Clack and Solfrid Migét for making this possible.

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21st Century American Militarism

21st Century American Militarism

Friday, August 2nd, 7:00pm @ The Chicago Temple, 77 West Washington, Chicago, IL

Our friends the Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) sent along an invitation to attend this extremely timely and critical panel on US militarism in the 21st Century.

On Friday, August 2nd, a panel will discuss the context and consequences of our growing military presence and ongoing war theaters; along with how we can organize together to resist this violent and expensive trend. Panelists and attendees will consist of people who have experienced the chaos of it from all sides. Joining the panel will be:

  • Christian Parenti, writer of Tropic of Chaos
  • Historian and writer Nick Turse – author of “Kill Anything That Moves”
  • Michael Rakowitz
  • Suraia Suhar

Be a part of this dynamic discussion regarding the past decade and the future of militarism. Please share this invitation on. Full details below.

21st Century American Militarism: Occupation Abroad and Resistance at Home
Friday, August 2nd, 7:00pm
@ The Chicago Temple, 77 West Washington

Featuring speakers: Nick Turse, Christian Parenti, Michael Rakowitz, Suraia Suhar

$10 Suggested Donation, no one turned away
Visit the Facebook event page here.

Visit the IVAW Event page here.

Event Endorsed By:

Afghans United for Justice, American Friends Service Committee, Anti-War Committee- Chicago, Catalyst Project, Center for Constitutional Rights, Chicago Area Peace Action, Chicago Grey Panthers, Civilian Soldier Alliance, Four Star Anarchist Organization, Gay Liberation Network, Haymarket Press, Illinois Coalition Against Torture, Iraq and American Reconciliation Project, Labor Beat/Labor Express, Mental Health Movement, Military Law Task Force, National Nurses United, National Writers Union, Near West Citizens for Peace and Justice, Peace Action, Third Unitarian Church Social Action, UE- Western Region, U.S. Labor Against the War, Veterans for Peace- Chicago, Vietnam Veterans Against the War, Voices for Creative Non-Violence, War Resisters League-Chicago, Wellington Avenue United Church of Christ

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Fellow Patriots …errr …Anarcho-WHAT?!

Adam Kokesh is a former marine, and an Iraq war veteran, who fought in the battle of Fellujah, in 2004. Since serving, he’s moved on to engage in several campaigns and stunts that have landed him on the edge of losing his honorable discharge classification from the military. In 2007, along with two other reservists, he participated in an anti-war march in his marine fatigues. This drew a harsh dressing-down from higher ups in the Corps. However it also lead to Kokesh getting a strong declaration of support from Gary Kurpius, the national commander of Veterans of Foreign Wars, who issued a very stern critique of the at the Marine Corps for downgrading the discharge status of Adam and his two colleagues:

“I may disagree with the message . . . but I and my organization will always defend their right to say it.”

“VFW to Corps: Don’t stifle freedom of speech.”

Open Carry March on Washington, and “The Final American Revolution”

In late April of this year, Adam called for a spectacle that he deemed the Open Carry March on Washington. The purpose: to “put the government on notice that we will not be intimidated & cower in submission to tyranny.

“The time to sit idly by has passed. To remain neutral is to be complicit, just doing your job is not an excuse, and the line in the sand has been drawn between the people, and the criminals in Washington, D.C. While some timid souls will say that it is too early, that we can solve this problem through democratic means provided by government, that current levels of taxation are reasonable for the services provided, and that the crimes of this government are merely a tolerable nuisance, it may already be too late.”

This all seemed a little hard to believe. He was telling folks to expect thousands. He even had Alex Jones call the Info Wars bullhorn for him. Is this really the first shot of a new “American Revolution?” They’ve been threatening to do this for a loooong time. As of yesterday, July 3rd, the Facebook page for the event had over 6,000 people declaring their plans to support and attend the Washington, DC march.


So Turck decides to go:

On May 11th, WC Turck stated:

“This is not about gun banning, a fear of guns or an infringement on the Second Amendment, which very clearly describes a “well regulated militia.” The “regulated” word is critical to mature, rational and moral discussions about the place and importance of guns in contemporary American civil society. That discussion is important in stemming the bloodshed on America’s streets, but also important to people who wish to protect their families. However, the NRA and “gun pornographers,” as Turck describes them, have chosen to raise the rhetoric to a level of hysteria and paranoia. Rather than treating weapons as a tool, the NRA has promulgated them to a near religious fervor, and is forcing gun proliferation upon Americans everywhere in civil society.”

But then things got tricky:

“KOKESH: Please don’t come to Washington, D.C., this now an appeal to the state level and I think it’s much more appropriate given the gravity of the situation. We shouldn’t be begging the federal government to change, we shouldn’t be hoping that they respect our rights because it’s clear that they don’t.”

“And I can’t even, as the organizer of this event, be able to say that I’m going to be there. We can’t have this depend on any one person or even any central event.”


Flying these days just never pays-off.

So Who Made It?

Well, we’ve got a damn fine story, but here’s a sneak peak for now:

Sun-burnt to hell, and looking like a raccoon, Turck set out on a mile and a half walk through the capitol of “the freest country in the world.” However, this morning it came off more like a military lock-down after a forced evacuation. It hit well over 90 degrees there today, and it wasn’t like he was just able to stroll down a sidewalk. Arriving at the planned location of the Washington D.C. (leg?) march at around 8:30 am.

He walked around the area for about an hour, spoke with some cops, and filmed some commentary. Around 9:30 or so, he returned to the Big stone bridge where it was meant to kick-off from. Then, guys began to trickle over the bridge a couple at a time to amass a crowd of… 5.

They greeted each other, and introduced themselves. Turck asked: “Are you guys here for the march?” “Yeah,” they replied. Then one of them asked “What are you here for?” To which Turck honestly replied: “I’m here in opposition to it.” They got into some banter on issues, arguing a bit before the conversation turned to the obvious question: “WTF?!?!”

Turck proposed, in honor of what Adam started, and what these guys believe in and endured to get there; that they walk across the bridge together as planned. In addition, after the “march,” he would record their views and post them unedited, and without editorial from us, on our page. They all decided to go for it. After the interviews, they walked and continued the conversation with him almost all the way back to the hotel.


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