Sunday, May 3, 2015

Laughlin All the Way to the White House

Only problem is, he's dead (although a dead guy did beat John Ashcroft for a U.S. Senate seat in Missouri once):

"In 1992 race, Tom Laughlin was a voice for the voiceless" by Katy Burns Globe Correspondent  March 27, 2015

In early 1992, as a relatively recent arrival in the Granite State from Ohio, I was skeptical about the fabled New Hampshire presidential primary. Why on earth should anyone pay attention to one little unrepresentative state tucked up in the cold, white northeast corner of the country?

And while there was plenty for the newcomer to see — there were enough heavy-hitter candidates on the Democratic side to field a baseball team — I thought it would be fun to check out the crackpot scene as well, perennial candidates like Lobsterman with his red cape and claw mitts and Vermin Supreme, who campaigned with a boot on his head.

Well, I think I've had enough elitist insult and stereotyping for the day already.

When newly announced candidate Tom Laughlin held a forum near my house, I couldn’t resist going. Laughlin — a barely remembered writer, actor, filmmaker, and political activist — had achieved a certain cult status years earlier when he made and starred in four movies as “Billy Jack,” a half-Navajo ex-Green Beret Vietnam veteran and martial arts expert who used his skills to fight for his version of the American dream.

And I quickly realized that Laughlin wasn’t really a crackpot. He may have been a favorite of martial film buffs. But he had an equally fervent following among a then-relatively unheard from group: Vietnam War veterans.

Has she seen the movies because he also spoke to people who were against that mass-murdering exercise based on a lie (as I am reduced to tears for being called a member of a cult. At least I'm not a member of a murderous tribe pushing war lies leading to the deaths and suffering of millions across this planet. Did everything I could to stop it. Have pretty much surrendered now. Still angry after all these years, but absolutely exhausted. Been thinking that I will carry this through until the end of Obama and then move on with my life. Ten years gone like that. See you in the streets. May the ruling class self-destruct as quick as possible so that humanity may move forward. The alternative are mushroom clouds across the planet as they retreat to their bunkers).

That unpopular war had been an unhappy time.

Of course, now I am told we are war-weary and yet willing to wage more wars, according to all the propaganda pre$$ polls.

So what war was ever really popular with people? I know what the lying, war-promoting, $elf-$erving propaganda pre$$ thinks of wars for good and all. 

Many who fought in it — especially the reluctant draftees — felt used and abused by the country they had served.

Have you seen the VA lately?

Many believed they had left the battlefield in the ’70s to return to a hostile home front where they were expected to blend quietly back into civilian life. 

I do believe that is a myth propagated by a pre$$ with a track record for lying, although I do agree: antiwar people are evil.

In 1992, they were only beginning to deal with a host of problems — from barely acknowledged PTSD to the lingering health effects caused by Agent Orange and other lethal chemicals that were used abundantly in that conflict.

Yeah, I did mention that. The lying government that sends them to wars based on lies then denies their health problems until they die so they don't have to spend money (as the appointments at the VA are phoned up so promotions and bonuses can be paid on time to guys already making hundreds of thousands of dollars to "$erve").

Laughlin had a varied platform, talking of “two Americas,” one for the haves and one for the have-nots.

John Edwards said something like that and.... bang, scandal! That kind of talk eliminates you as a candidate these days. It's going to be paid lip service by millionaires during the $hit $how fooley of a campaign, but that's it. Then the $ame theme will be trotted out in 2018, and so on, and so on.

He wanted a tax cut for “ordinary Americans,” universal health care, and nuclear disarmament. But he especially focused on veterans, those he felt had been used and cast aside.

I'm no longer disarmament for two reasons: 

1) It keeps the U.S. from invading you. Iraq didn't have them; North Korea does.

2) I don't want Israel left with a secret stockpile with which they can threaten the world.

And the vets responded, flocking to his appearances in places like the restaurant meeting room near my home. Many wore their old uniforms or remnants of them, including fatigues, and they sported their medals. Some were angry, others more worried, convinced that no one cared about them or their problems — at least until Laughlin, Billy Jack, came along. He listened. He encouraged them to air their health concerns, not just to him but to others seeking national office. He spoke up for homeless vets and for vets with drug and other addiction problems.

He was a serious candidate with serious concerns.

In the time since Laughlin fought for his troops in ’92, veterans’ concerns have moved to the forefront of national political concerns, propelled not only by vocal Vietnam veterans but by those serving in our more recent conflicts, who have rapidly rallied and mobilized to advance their service-related concerns.

Yeah, now he's to be taken seriously. I wish I could take this seriously. I used to. I used to love it.

Laughlin faded from the scene. In 2013 he died. But at least for a short time he had some devoted followers in the person of disillusioned vets who felt they had just been thrown away. And the New Hampshire primary gave him — and them — a voice.

I wanted to take the time to thank the 35 of you, whether you are there or not. Would have shut down long were it not for you.

And that is why the New Hampshire primary is worth our attention.

It won't be worth much of mine given the crop of corporate-controlled creatures running this time.


Related: The Lessons of Vietnam

No longer Laughlin.... 


"Haverhill residents mourn troubled Vietnam veteran" by Andy Rosen Globe Staff  May 13, 2015

HAVERHILL — Many here knew him as “Crazy Mike,” a man who often slept outside, loitered near strip malls and parks, and sometimes shouted angry nonsense or pointed imaginary guns as he publicly struggled with mental illness.

The cruelest of his neighbors pretended to lob grenades his way, making light of the demons he brought back from Vietnam.

Soon after Mike Nicoloro died this month, though, a different image emerged. A photo that made its way around Facebook showed Nicoloro as a clean-cut young soldier, wearing the pin of an Army Airborne medic, and helped bring his story of service and suffering into focus for those who had passed him by for years with little thought.

More than a thousand people have expressed condolences by joining a Facebook page in Nicoloro’s honor, and hundreds more have shown up to memorial events — including the vigil, which was put together by a 14-year-old boy.

For some who never really knew him, Nicoloro’s death was an occasion of regret. Could they have done more to help a man who was so clearly suffering?

If she had it to do over again, Crystina Hernandez said, she would have done something to help....


Not funny at all, but time to forget him again.