THE HANDSTAND

JULY 2006

DOREMUS OBSERVES : MATTERS OF INTEREST

Doremus Jessup, editor of the Fort Beulah The Daily Informer, in Sinclair Lewis' famous book "It Can't Happen Here", at its conclusion, after imprisonment and torture escaped and "drove out, saluted by the meadow larks, and onward all day, to a hidden cabin in the Northern Woods where quiet men awaited news of freedom.....still Doremus goes on, into the sunrise, for a Doremus Jessup can never die......

"I will share an incident - one I will not forget - which classically characterized the Israeli attitude to people which they OPENLY refer to as "animals". While in another area of Gaza, we were following our IDF Para escort. It was an open jeep with heavily armed Paratroops. Suddenly it screeched to a halt not 10 yards in front of us and out jumped the men - one immediately dropped to one knee and took careful aim at his victim to our immediate right. The 'enemy' some 50 feet away - throwing egg size rocks at their tormentors. Hardly sophisticated or dangerous - but there he stood - proud, defiant and fearless - a 10 year old child. This was HIS neighborhood and HIS country and HIS land -and he was a prisoner in this Israeli 'concentration camp' for "animals". Think of it as a 'role change' for David and Goliath.

Children like this young lad, routinely 'disappear' in occupied territories. They are just never seen or heard of again. I have children - and grandchildren whom I would defend with my life. I would like you to imagine for just a moment that you are not an American - just close your eyes and visualize -- finding your beloved 10 year old child with half his head blown away - the flies feasting on his scattered brains. The unimaginable accident ? - NO - a war crime- and it is YOUR child! The 'sin' of your child? He was throwing egg sized rocks at an Israeli tank - BOUGHT and PAID FOR by AMERICAN citizens. Could you just forget it as if were only the family cat - or would you swear revenge/ justice against the monsters that made it happen?"

"Could you possibly be so arrogant as to believe that this Palestinian mother and father loved their child any less than you would - or that 'his' life is 'worth' less in the eyes of God?"
Joe Cortina, a retired Florida businessman.



T.H.E. .M.U.S.E. .A.N.D. .W.H.I.R.L.E.D. .R.E.T.O.R.T.  - July, 2006
by Chris Chandler and David Roe
June 24, 2006
Volume VII Issue ix
Elko, Nevada

The New CD is doing great! by Far the best record I have ever made.
TO GET THE NEW 2 VOLUME ENHANCED CD SET "American Storyteller:"
http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/cchandler3

Hey everybody, It's that time of the month again.  The past 48 hours or so have been a bit of a blur. Driving rapidly across the country to start this amazing west coast tour --  two billion miles in two and a half days, thinking - if you, gentle reader, know anyone on the west coast - please give them a call to tell them to make it out to one of these shows.

Yesterday, I was standing on a corner in Winslow Arizona - all the way to Tacoma, Philadelphia, Atlanta, L.A.. Tohachapee to Tonapah, Don't forget the Motor City.Meet me tonight in Atlantic City. and give my regards to Sweet Home labama.. Rock Rock Rock Rock Rock-Away Beach.  Gimmie a "T" for Texas. Abilene, prettiest town, I ever seen.touch of country in the city. I know what it means to miss New Orleans. I'm goin to Kansas City. New York, Chicago, Chattanooga, Baton Rouge, I'm so glad I am livin in the USA. I have never been to London, But I have been to Oklahoma. Kansas Georgia, Tennessee, California is a garden of Eden, but I ain't got the doe-ray-me.

I've been everywhere, Man.

No, that's not where we have been, that is just the songs we have listened to on this Sirius Satellite Radio D. R. bought from a Mexican in the Wal-Mart parking lot.

Man-Oh-Man, D.R. and I have been zooming down the interstate with an end war sticker attached to the gas tank.  Boy, that'll tell 'em.  I feel like such a hypocrite.  I mean, we ARE getting 40 miles to the gallon while packed to the luggage rack with an 88 key piano, a video projector and a month's worth of gear in a little Ford Escort.  (hmmm here in Nevada "escort" has a much different meaning.)  

Between the mile markers and Wal-Marts, we have been playing the "Left Wing/Right Wing - Wing Nut Job Bumper Sticker Game ".  If a car has more than three bumper stickers (which we deem to be a left wing or right wing piece of propaganda), it gets a point.  Five, and it gets two points. And for everyone after that: one point per bumper sticker. One or two simple bumper stickers - no points at all, that's tasteful freedom of speech.

With those parameters, it gets tough.  I mean, is an "NPR" bumper sticker left or right?  The Sierra Club?  The Shriners? Or how 'bout simply "Support our troops?"   Does one categorically - give that phrase to the right?

Well, we have complicated scoring system.  For instance: an "Impeach Cheney First" sticker coupled with a "If your right, your wrong" and a "Support our Troops " (Made in China) magnetic sticker is a point for the left (Especially if there is a bicycle rack.) But a "W," "NRA'" and an "Elks Club" is a point for the right. 

Fair?  I think so.

My favorite single bumper sticker has been "I am a right wing whack job and I vote." (OK, I made that one up.)

But anyway, let me ask you: how would you vote on "I support my PTA,"  "Proud to be a Union engineer" and "My child is an honor student at West Lake Elementary." I don't know.  I think: speech writer for John Kerry.

Then there are the cars with the non committal stickers such as "Why B Normal?," "It's not a bald head it's a solar powered sex machine," and "My son made early parole." They get a point in the "Unknown" category.  Honestly, they are winning this game - but that is due largely to one car with their entire rear view vision blocked with advertisements for an 80's band called "The Cure."


Forty Seven Points with one car (they really really liked that band.)

To be honest, I am not sure who I am rooting for - left or right,  I mean I am not sure I want to have my side be known as the one that wall papers their automobile with semi-witty, mean spirited one liners.  But at present the score is (no hyperbole) tied - much like the country.
 
It has been a while since I have driven through this part of the country.  The Bonneville Salt Flats are a sight to behold, but here is a pale yellow smog on the horizon - and it makes me sad.  Paralleling the interstate along I-80, through the Bonneville Salt Flats, just north of the nuclear testing facility, east of gambling and prostitution haven known as the Nevada border, there is a train track.  Our little escort smokes the train and I feel guilty.

I think of the resources this country has at its fingertips, and it gets me back to what I think my point is.  Out Interstate Highway system is amazing, but our method of fueling it is still in the 19th century WHEN THE COMBUSTION ENGINE WAS INVENTED!

After Montgomery's successful North African campaign, Hitler's oil supply was largely cutoff.  But still he invaded Russia. Think about that. He ravished the Russian country side of grain.  People starved.  Not like "the late night drive through window is closed" starved - they really starved.   He did this, not just, to support HIS troops, but to turn vegetable oil into fuel.  He had none.  He demanded ingenuity, and he got it. 

Now, as I read the bumper stickers and bill boards that pepper the highways boasting of good ol American ingenuity - I wonder why we can't do that.  The technology is there.   We have lots of land - Hell, this hemisphere has only been exploited for less than a century.

At one time when we Americans went to war we planted Victory Gardens - Now we are in a war for oil and there is barely a word of such a thing. 

When Japan invaded the Philippines and Manila fell, our supply of rope to run a Navy also fell.   We needed rope.  Well, we had a capacity to grow large amounts of hemp.  Only problem was, a few years before - on April 4, 1920 (hence 420) we had decided that that the growing hemp should be halted -  having to do something with short term memory - but I don't remember exactly what it was.  Turns out the effect was more of a collective short term memory loss.  What was I talking about?  Oh yea.

.something had to be done about our need for rope. 

The solution was. allowing twenty 4-H clubs somewhere in Ohio to grow the stuff (hence 420.)  Today, we make our ropes from well. synthetics. dinosaurs. oil.  They still make this nylon rope here in the USA at a factory just off interstate 420. (hence 420.)  So while we're at it, If we could grow hemp in victory gardens in the 30s and 40s -  FOR THE WAR EFFORT - couldn't we grow some in the new century - ummmm. for the war effort?

I mean, we are at war. for. oil.  ooops, I mean: "To Make Sure Sadam Doesn't Have A Nucular Weapon Hidden Inside A Toyota Hybrid ." 

Now, really I don't care about smoking rope, but I do have to notice that it is the stoners whose voice is the loudest on this subject.  Coincidentally, they also claim smoking the stuff increases your imagination.  It seems to be that them that has fantasized a way to turn the plant into fuel - and all the sober facts seem to agree - so what if: THEY ARE RIGHT, on both counts?  It doesn't seem as preposterous as the weapons of mass destruction hidden in a gas pump scenario that has us spending 30 billion an afternoon on this war.

So, assuming you buy all of this:
We gotta figure out a way to get the "right" and their "pry it from my cold dead hands" mentality to embrace the subject. 

Hey, Dixie Chicks - gotta song about it?  Maybe involving NASCAR? Smoking pot and gas prices?  Let's hear it.  Maybe I could hear it on the Sirius Satellite station called left wing country.

Now, don't get me wrong here, I applauded Willie Nelson for his advocacy for Bio -Diesel - but considering how much the notion relies on growing marijuana I wonder if his efforts are purely altruistic.

None-the-less, I do want to hear the song.  I would write it but. Ya know, my music has ummm. never really appealed to the Merle Fest types.

It is a shame because I do listen to a lot of country music.  DR and I are listening to the Sirius Satellite Outlaw country station.

As I write this we are 75 miles an hour past the salty Mountains of Nevada listening to the "outlaw" Country music station - none-the-less, I don't think I could get the cowboy hats listening but I would like to try:

(think Branson, MO, Pedal Steel and Grand 'ol Oprey harmonies.... You ready?)

Hit it boys

"Keeping the Blue Skies Blue"
By Chris Chandler and David Roe

Across the Appalachian,
Past the fruited plain,
Atop purple mountains majesty,
Upon a great Highway.

From the farmland to the city,
To the tune of a country song,
It's 18 wheels of glass and steel
that made this country strong.

-Chorus-
We're keeping the blue skies blue,
With amber waves of grain.
Gasoline that's burnin clean
Grown in the U.S.A.

Before I bought this big rig
I had sailed the seven seas
Served in Desert Storm
I thought, to keep this country free

But now my boy is over there
And it occurs to me
Being free of oil from foreign soil
Will make us truly free.

-Chorus-
We're keeping the blue skies blue,
With amber waves of grain.
Gasoline that's burnin clean
Grown in the U.S.A.

-Bridge-
From the rural black-top highways
To the clover leaves and loops
I fill my tank with bio-diesel
To show I support our troops

-Chorus-
We're keeping the blue skies blue
With amber waves of grain
Gasoline that's burnin clean
Grown in the U.S.A.

Dat's all for now


surprise visitor
................
US Iraq War Vets Decry Public Apathy

CAIRO, May 14, 2006 (IslamOnline.net) – Sure, US soldiers coming home from Iraq are welcomed with parades, yellow-ribbon bumper stickers and opens arms. But when they were out of uniform, everything was different.

For many Iraq war veterans, those moments of gratitude were short-lived or limited to close friends and family as they soon come to realize bitter impressions of a society that seems to be increasingly indifferent to their psychological and combat sufferings in Iraq, The Washington Post reported on Sunday, May 14.

The paper interviewed 100 of Iraq war veterans, many of whom were still in the service, others were not, and the constant theme through the interviews was that the public apathy about the Iraq war despite round-the-clock television and Internet exposure.

"It is not a United States unified behind the war effort, such as in World War II. There's no rationing, no sacrifice, no Rosie the Riveter urging, "We Can Do it!" Nor is it the country that protested Vietnam and derided many vets as baby killers," the Post concluded from the answers given by the vets.

Many said that the United States that Iraq veterans are returning to is indifferent.

They realized that the people are more interested in voting for the best young singer in the country through the popular American Idol show than knowing how many soldiers were killed in the daily Baghdad bombings.

"It doesn't cross their minds," stuff Adam Reuter told the Post. "To them, everything is fine."

Looking across a restaurant where everyone were stuffing their faces with pasta and drinking wine, Army Capt. Tyler McIntyre wanted to yell, "You don't know what you have! You don't appreciate it! You don't care!"

"The country is at war. People are fighting at this very moment. Don't these people know what's going on? Don't they care?

US President George W. Bush invaded Iraq in March 2003 on the grounds that ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was stockpiling weapons of mass destruction and had close links to Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden.

By congressional reports proved later that Bush was "dead wrong" on the weapons case and the Green Zone prisoner had no link with Al-Qaeda.

"What Was it Like?"

Many vets are fed up with "dumb" questions by Americans like "what was it like?" in Iraq.

"You just try to give a softball answer," said Army Captain Garett Reppenhagen, who has been out of the Army for a year.

"Yeah, it was horrible -- whatever. Or you don't answer the question. You say it was hot. You don't tell them what it's like to kill a man or to have one of your buddies blown up. You just don't go there."

But the captain could spare no details if people pressed for an answer, then he would look up and see an expression that made him think they did not really want to know after all.

"The look on their face: This is not the light conversation I want to hear at a party," he said.

Sometimes, they would ask something so crazy there just was not any way to respond, such as when a friend asked Monika Dyrcakz, "Did you go clubbing in Iraq?"

"Some people have no idea," she said.

There are 136,000 US troops in Iraq.

A March 2006 survey by Zogby International and Le Moyne College found that the vast majority of US troops in Iraq (72 percent) wanted to end occupation of the Arab country within a year and return home to their loved ones.

Traumatized

Many soldiers came home haunted, carrying heavy memories that will take years to sort out with the images of bombings and bloodshed making some of them jumping out of bed in the middle of the night.

"I was taken out of my normal habitat and put in a crazy dream -- a nightmare, really," said Army Spec. Cheyenne Cannaday.

"I think about it every day still, and I'm not sure if it's gonna go away."

They came home driving scared, scanning the interstates and the back roads of their home towns, looking for bombs that were not there.

Jeramey James "Jay" Lopez was working under the hood of his car with his dad in New Mexico when one of the noisemakers designed to scare the birds out of the nearby pecan orchard went off.

It sounded "just like a round coming out of a tank," he said. Lopez's head snapped up and smacked the inside of the hood.

"My dad put his hand on my back, and he just said, 'Son, you're okay. You're home.' "

Others like Jon Powers came home and thought that their work in Iraq was finished and "swore I would never go back to Iraq until they build a Disney World in Baghdad."

But moved by the scene of Iraqi orphans, Powers knew his work in Iraq was not yet over.

He helped start a nonprofit, War Kids Relief, that helps Iraqi children. That is his new career.

A recent US study revealed that US troops returning from Iraq have the highest rate of mental health consultation and psychological problems compared to other troops returning from Afghanistan and other trouble spots.

One third of US troops returning from Iraq have needed at least one mental health consultation and one in five have been diagnosed with combat-induced psychological problems. 

Amputees

Thousands also came home wounded, scars fresh; some even with shrapnel in them.

Kevin Whelan, who was wounded when a roadside bomb exploded next to his Humvee, has so much metal embedded under his skin that it set off a security detector at the airport.

"In case it goes off," he warned the guard, "I do have shrapnel in me." The wand beeped as it passed over his shoulder.

Nearly 400 of the 550,000 Iraq war veterans returned as amputees and had to learn to open doors with metal fingers, walk on prosthetic legs, the paper said.

Senior Airman Brian Kolfage came home to sad, strange stares and spontaneous charity.

As he sat in a wheelchair after having lost both legs and his right arm when a mortar exploded outside his tent, a stranger handed him $250 in cash.

Many others have breathed their last in a war that alienated many Americans from the current administration.

A group of mothers led by prominent war opponent Cindy Sheehan, who lost her soldier son in Iraq, started Saturday a 24-hour vigil outside the White House to protest the presence of US soldiers in Iraq.

At least 2,437 members of the US military have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003, according to a Pentagon count.