Tuesday, May 29, 2012

AFSC Program Committee Meeting


Fortunately I have good hearing and am tuning in most of what's going on in the other room.  Carol (my mom) is running the meeting.  I'm being more the deck hand / stage hand for this one, as there's not much space and there's quite of bit of logistics involved, what with projecting, conference call, Middle Eastern food from Hoda's etc.  Eddy Crouch did a lot of the leg work to get this one organized.  She's the event director I'd say.

I've spent a lot of time in this house on East Burnside, but not recently.  I've not sat in this front downstairs office since my last meeting with Dan (I was showing Lindsey around -- she ended up volunteering with Laughing Horse Books and Video Collective for many reasons).

When ESI (then Electro-Measurements, Inc.) gave Quakers their building (sold it for one dollar goes the story), there was a stipulation that AFSC could stay there as long as it liked.  In my early childhood, AFSC was the office you walked through on the way to the meeting room, now the social room.  However, the AFSC found this house on East Burnside and moved there.  Arthur Dye fits in here, as a previous regional director.

After I returned to Portland in the mid 1980s, I was groomed by Paulette Wittwer to gradually assume the editorship for Asian Pacific Issues News.  In many ways, that chapter ended when the Compact of Free Association (COFA) was finally enacted (the election was restaged until it came out right), and Pelau joined the other occupied states in the region in submitting to "Fourth Reich" / Business Plot authorities (a lingering / dying LAWCAP), who insisted on their right to park their WMDs anywhere in tropical paradise.

LAWCAP, studied by AFSC under the heading of NARMIC is what Medal of Freedom winner Bucky Fuller credited with hijacking the USA in the post FDR era, forcing us into a Cold War with former allies in order to keep the profitable wartime economy going.

Congress teamed up with a new kind of soldier-bureaucrat (e.g. McNamara's crew) in dividing the pork among the 50 states.  A jet fighter the Pentagon might not really need for strategic reasons might still be needed for employment reasons.  Likewise those bases around the world.

Post WW2, coherent military moves took a back seat to more twitching "head bit off" activities, such as basing soldiers in Saudi Arabia after spazzing out in Kuwait (was Gen. Schwarzkopf like Gen. MacArthur, with less civilian resistance? -- Eisenhower had been a general, which gave him the guts to fire that guy).

Bush Sr. only just managed to avoid disaster that first time (an attack against Baghdad), but the Idiocracy still wanted its day in the sun, and Bush Jr. had no way to contain the neocon bozos other than to give it a ridiculously comic spin, given the corroded state of DC's system of "checks and balances".

Congress had caved, too weak and corrupt to steer a responsible course in the wake of 911, while the UK had Tony Blair.

The military is a jobs program, first and foremost, mostly for guys.  LAWCAP moved that obvious reality from spoof status, an "Iron Mountain" distopia, to an "everybody knows that" fact of life, through just a few short presidencies.  The greed behind war profiteering became legitimized as the Beltway Junta settled in for the long haul.

Back to the present, the AFSC would like better access to the same data the military has in terms of opt in versus opt out rates, among high schoolers.  Shouldn't that be public information, another polling result? Currently the program is opt out, while the military services have a default blanket invitation to come onto school campuses -- unlike in Afghanistan where this would be regarded as a provocative and reckless act.

This open campus policy makes more sense within the USA itself, as the USA is a militaristic society that shows signs of wanting to eradicate any democratic institutions that might frustrate its most belligerent players.  Schools are a good place to showcase your true colors.  If you're a bully, you know how to kick the schools around, make them kowtow.

Anyway, these are very far from being official minutes of anything.  I'm more just musing, recalling.

Eddy mentioned AFSC was supportive of Occupy but I don't know if she means the move to celebrate our Islamic / Arab Spring heritage e.g. in the form of Muhammad Ali.  His principled defiance of authorities in the Viet Nam chapter makes him a great American hero.

Gen. Smedley Butler is another big name around Occupy Portland (if you've been paying attention at all), given the Bonus Army connection.  He joins Bayard Rustin as another "speaking truth to power" type person.  Self respecting military (e.g. Col. Fletcher Prouty, Gen. Eisenhower) are and were highly suspicious of Business Plot / LAWCAP motives and many of them have given us their support, logistical and otherwise.  There's nothing in the Constitution that says we can't treat LAWCAP as an enemy.