Thursday, January 9, 2020

Mass Shootings Down Memory Hole While Military Propaganda Creates New Reality

It didn't take the media more than a week or two to move on to the next obsession du jour after there were two mass shootings in two days, without mentioning any of the other mass shootings by veterans on military bases or the hundreds if not thousands more murders by veterans.

At the same time they're constantly promoting propaganda glorifying veterans giving them a false image, especially around the holidays when they play routine surprise homecomings on national and local news shows.

Not that I'm trying to imply that all veterans are mass shooters; this certainly isn't close to the truth. The vast majority of veterans aren't mass killers, and many of them are the first to recognize this problem and try to solve it, in addition to the veterans that have learned that their government has betrayed them and have joined organizations against wars based on lies.

It would be highly inappropriate to stereotype veterans by saying or implying that they're all alike; yet that's exactly what routine propaganda about them all being heroes when they join the military to "fight for our freedom." But then as soon as they question authority, raising doubts about fighting wars based on lies, they're often demonized as being unpatriotic. Or even worse when some of the most violence ones go on mass shooting sprees, which is far more common than most people realize; then they act as if each shooting is an isolated incident.

I went into this more about five years ago in Teach a soldier to kill and he just might where I cited a surprisingly long list of veterans going on shootings sprees or domestic violence, including murder. In many cases the most common victim of veteran shootings are other veterans and their own family members. These are often the first people to acknowledge the problem and try to solve it; but they get little or no help from the military, which is often more concerned with recruiting more veterans and even creating propaganda to glorify wars, often indirectly by creating a false image of veterans which ignores their real concerns.

These veteran shootings continue to happen on a semi-regular basis, although they're typically only reported as isolated incidents at the local level, with a few higher profile ones; I haven't compiled as long a list or as thorough a review since the one in 2014 but I have covered additional veteran shootings since then some which were listed in a Twitter string about Veterans Shootings these continue to day including a veteran that was arrested and charged for murdering a toddler on New Years Day, several higher profile ones including Mikhail Schmidt, Edward Gallagher & Roy H. Murry, and many more much lower profile ones that are only reported at the local level and they may not always report that those charged are veterans.

Roy H. Murry was an Iraq veteran and former Republican nominee for the State Senate convicted of killing three members of his wife's family and burning their house in an attempt to hide the evidence; Mikhail Schmidt was another Iraq veteran and triathlete who competed in the Iron Man Triathlon who allegedly "Craved the Taste of Blood" and "Missed Thrill of Killing" and claims that "a counter-terror group called 'Agent Orange' implanted nanobots in his brain and activated him to carry out the killing at an Oceanside construction site;" and Edward Gallagher has made more news nationally after Trump pardoned him despite the fact that he posed with the dead bodies of his victims in Iraq and one of his fellow Navy SEALs claimed he was "Freaking Evil."

The vast majority of veterans certainly aren't like this many are far more like those that try to stand up to them; however many others go along with them, including other veterans that posed with Gallagher and numerous other similar incidents that have been reported over the years.

Of course that's not the image the military is trying to present, and they go to the complete opposite extreme creating an image that doesn't stand up to basic scrutiny with propaganda glorifying veterans as if they're all heroes including hundreds of "surprise homecomings" that clearly take an enormous amount of planning, and are often broadcast on national or local TV and at sporting events.

I've been seeing "surprise homecomings" for years now almost every holiday, and often in between for birthdays graduations, and apparently a lot at sporting events. these are all caught on video and broadcast on TV, some of the ones at sporting events show them on a large screen to the audience as it happens. There were at least three of them, where the veteran literally jumps out of boxes disguised as birthday or Christmas presents. At first I thought this was a few isolated cases, but after seeing enough of them it became increasingly obvious that these are happening way to often and following a consistent pattern where veterans, and other institutions like sports stadiums, schools, Sea world, and any place else hosting these affairs clearly has to be involved in the planning for this.

I didn't need any hard evidence to see that this is clearly an organized plan, especially once I started checking to see how many of these events would turn up on Google and quickly found dozens of them, and no doubt could find hundreds if not thousands more if I spent enough time searching for "surprise homecomings" for holidays throughout the year, birthdays and a variety of different sporting events or states.

I don't know when they became so common but I suspect that they gradually increased after the Iraq War and after finding this article The NDAA Legalizes The Use Of Propaganda On The US Public 05/21/2012 I wouldn't be surprised if they increased even more after 2012. There's little or no hard evidence, that I know of showing this is intentional propaganda; however, it's incredibly hard to imagine how there could be so many of these surprise homecomings otherwise and checking for "surprise homecomings turns up at least a couple articles strongly confirming this including this one:

Editorial: Tax-funded propaganda is the norm for government 11/17/2016

“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society,” wrote Edward Bernays, regarded as the “father of public relations,” in his 1928 book, “Propaganda.” The U.S. government seems to have gotten the message, spending significant resources on public-relations efforts.

Federal agencies have spent about $1 billion a year over the past decade on advertising and public relations, according to a recent Government Accountability Office report. Even this figure likely understates the actual costs, the GAO notes, due to imprecise budget classifications and the difficulty in defining “public relations” activities and personnel.

The Defense Department is responsible for the largest share by far, accounting for 40 percent of all federal public-relations personnel and 60 percent of all PR spending. The Department of Veterans Affairs experienced the largest rate of increase in public relations spending during the period, doubling its PR staff from 144 in 2006 to 286 in 2014 (which was, probably not coincidentally, the year the VA hospital negligence and wait time scandal broke).

The government’s public-relations services include perfectly legitimate functions, such as providing notice of impending regulations and public comment periods or informing the public about health and safety threats. But when the Health and Human Services Department launches an expensive pro-Obamacare advertising campaign, or the Pentagon tries to spin and influence media coverage of military actions, the question we must continually ask is: When does public information cross the line to propaganda?

A report last year from Arizona Republican Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake criticized what they called “paid patriotism,” the practice of the military paying pro and college sports teams to perform on-field flag ceremonies, surprise homecomings, wounded warrior tributes, ceremonial first pitches and the like.

“Americans deserve the ability to assume that tributes for our men and women in military uniform are genuine displays of national pride, which many are, rather than taxpayer-funded DoD marketing gimmicks,” they said.

A 2008 New York Times investigation revealed that the retired military officers who serve as “military analysts” on many news programs oftentimes parroted administration talking points in exchange for special briefings and access to administration officials, which many of them used to advance their own business interests by pursuing government defense contracts. Complete article

But apparently they're going even further with their propaganda and their choice of family members and retiring veterans clearly has obvious political implications in the following article about a veteran who served in South Korea, which hasn't been a combat zone in almost six decades, and the wife he was surprising also happens to be a cheer leader and a candidate for political office:

Surprise Military Reunions At NFL Games Reach Peak Bullshit 09/02/2015

During last weekend’s preseason St. Louis Rams game, a familiar ritual played out: With a stadium full of fans and a television audience watching, Rams cheerleader Candace Ruocco Valentine was surprised by the arrival of her husband August Valentine, a Marine Corps first lieutenant, who had just returned home from service abroad.


These headlines accurately capture what’s imparted in the story-like objects over which they run, which tell the tale of the St. Louis Rams surprising a cheerleader with the return of her military husband from service overseas. As far as we can tell, every element of it is true. It could also be described rather differently.

Candace Ruocco Valentine is in fact a cheerleader for the St. Louis Rams. She made her debut this past weekend, at the very game at which her husband surprised her with his return from abroad. She’s several other things as well: a first lieutenant in the USMC (without wanting to scrutinize the gender politics of something that involves Rampage the Ram too closely, one might wonder why no headline writer went with “Husband Surprises Military Wife At Her Job”); a former White House intern who worked under Laura Bush; and a member of the Ruocco family, which is heavily involved in Illinois Republican politics.

August Valentine, meanwhile, is in fact a first lieutenant in the USMC. He made his surprise return to St. Louis, though, not from, say, the anxiety and peril of a security mission in Anbar province, but from a posting in South Korea, where combat operations wound down 62 years ago. He also happens to be not some anonymous leatherneck but a member of the galactically wealthy Busch family, which built the Anheuser-Busch corporation and, years after the sale of the business, retains incredible power in St. Louis. Valentine’s maternal grandfather, Gussie Busch, is generally credited with building the family business into the biggest brewery in the world; the Rams at one point played in a stadium named for the family.

For perspective, the happy couple had their wedding ceremony at the Vatican. That isn’t to say that rich people don’t deserve nice moments, or that their Rampage-approved emotions are less authentic than anyone else’s, but, along with other basic information about the two, it does slightly complicate the story of a photogenic NFL cheerleader being surprised by her photogenic military husband’s surprise return from service at the football game. So does one of Candace Ruocco Valentine’s Facebook posts, in which she lauds not only the Rams for their efforts to make this reunion happen, but “the mom-with-a-plan: Mrs. Katherine Ruocco.”

Speaking of plans, that would be the same Katherine Ruocco who is running for a state representative’s seat in Illinois, and who now has a patriotic viral video featuring her family—lately seen on Fox News—to share on her campaign’s official Facebook page.

It makes sense that an NFL team would go out of its way to do something special for a member of one of the most powerful families in America instead of, say, a local grunt who’d served in a combat zone, because these reunions really aren’t orchestrated and televised for the benefit of the soldiers and families involved. They are done because cozying up to the military is a good way for the NFL to market itself as a noble civic endeavor while making some extra money, and because the American football-loving public loves a chance to share in a bit of un-earned catharsis—watching two smiling, photogenic soldiers embrace in relief is a great way to forget about all the bodies that have piled up. If a given reunion happens to basically be a viral political ad—and given that Candace Ruocco Valentine is not only the member of two connected families and a former White House intern but has pursued or is pursuing both a JD and a doctorate in public policy analysis, one suspects that this moment may be shared on some campaign page of her own before too long—it’s hard to be too put out. That is, after all, what they all are. Complete article

If this isn't considered hard evidence of obvious propaganda I can't imagine what is.

With so many of these surprise homecomings they have to be careful to select veterans that they think will reflect well on the military; they can't all be from privileged families that use their connections to help create propaganda. And they also have to be aware of all the mass shootings or studies showing that rates of domestic violence are higher in the military, as well as in the police force, than they are among the general public.

Hollywood certainly considered this when they created "Wag the Dog" over twenty years ago and Woody Harrelson played the person they chose to present as a "war hero" who they wanted to nickname "Old Shoe" so they picked Sgt. William Schumann. However after committing themselves to this person without running a background check they found out he was in prison for rape and that he was a psychopath; but by the time they learned this they already committed to him and decided to go ahead with it anyway and he was sent t other custody when he escaped, tried to rape someone and was killed, in self defense. They managed to cover this up and changed the plan to glorifying him as a veteran who died serving his country creating what they called "The Ballad of 303" which was a clear variation of "The Ballad of the Green Berets which was a hit song in 1966; however the veteran singer, Barry Sadler who "killed a country music songwriter named Lee Emerson Bellamy ..... According to court records, Sadler had then placed a handgun in Bellamy's van, presumably to strengthen his claim of self-defense."

He served a total of twenty-eight days in jail, which presumably few if any military veterans could get away with that aren't famous; he was eventually shot in the head putting him in a coma and eventually killing him, under circumstances that aren't fully explained.

The Hollywood propaganda version is obviously an exaggeration, if not a total fabrication, of some of the problems they have with violent veterans that have committed murder or gone on mass shootings sprees, including Ivan Lopez who went on a mass shootings spree at Fort Hood Texas after they refused to give him leave time to go home when his mother died.

And there are plenty more stories about the more violent veterans that do get in more trouble, either for murder domestic abuse or lots of fights, including in the memoirs of many of the most famous veterans that don't describe noble attitudes concerned about fighting for freedom at all, including Michael Walsh author of "Seal" and Chris Kyle author of “American Sniper” both who report about large number of fights often bragging about them, sometimes over petty reasons. According to Kyle's book he allegedly encountered a celebrity, who turned out to be Jesse Ventura, who said that they shouldn't have been in Iraq, and that he turned up at a funeral with a black eye after this strongly implying that he punched him out over the argument. Jesse Ventura eventually won a libel suit against him; but even if you accept Kyle's version of events it seems to imply that punching someone out for telling the truth about a war which was based on lies is justification for punching someone out.

Some of these memoirs brag about using force to get their way, and they're often the ones considered most heroic; but of course, that's not all veterans but the military actually encourages this type of behavior in their training starting with boot camp indoctrination where drill instructors teach cadets to blindly obey orders and believe what they're told to believe.

If there were only one or two of these surprise homecomings that might not impact the vast majority of other veterans; however since they're being done on a massive scale it's clear that those chosen to participate in them do so at the expense of those that are turned down. The public never hears about the vast majority of of veterans that are often turned down to make up for shortages; however samples of their stories are told in numerous memoirs. These aren't limited to being unable to go home for the holidays, of course.

One example which is cited in "As You Were: To war And Back" Christian Davenport involved a veteran who tried to call the hotline for veterans with PTSD who wanted to get help and got the run-around with little or no response. She heard about a meeting offering help for veterans with problems and decided to attend; but got so angry that she started yelling at the speaker about how many problems there were with their programs and stormed out. She later encountered the same speaker and instead of reprimanding her for disorderly conduct to an officer seemed sympathetic and told her that he wanted her to call a number that he gave he. She seemed to think he was sincere and thought that this might help; but when she got home and looked at the number she realized that it was the same hotline that had already given her the run around.

On one recent occasion a relatively minor attempt at propaganda backfired in a major way when it was presented on social media; the Army Tweeted "Hear from Pfc. Nathan Spencer, a scout with @FightingFirst who shares how the #USArmy has influenced his life," with a video from a veteran talking about positive things the army did for his life then followed up by asking other veterans How has serving impacted you? 05/23/2019 The vast majority of responses were overwhelmingly negative talking about how much damage the military did to their life. I had to scroll down though a few dozen before seeing a joke that might be considered mildly positive and another dozen or two before seeing a tweet that was clearly positive. It must be at least 95-98% negative with some horrible claims. A few of these were compiled in The US Army Asked Twitter How Service Has Impacted People. The Answers Were Gut-Wrenching. 05/25/2019 and These 30 Responses To U.S. Army Asking ‘How Has Serving Impacted You?’ Was Not What They Were Expecting To Hear June 2019

This is a clear indication that if they allow equal input from social media their propaganda won't even come close to holding up. the only reason they can get away with this is because large institutions are all controlled by wealthy people including the six corporations that control the media and they have hundreds of high paid propagandists that study how to manipulate the public to believing what they're told even when it often contradicts overwhelming evidence!

Stories like this are repeated over and over again from many veterans in memoirs or elsewhere; but they're not the image the military depicts in their propaganda which is nothing like reality. While the version presented by mainstream media and the military is constantly glorifying the military repeating claims that they're fighting for our freedom over and over again, memoirs or alternative media outlets routinely tell a totally different version of reality exposing enormous amount of corrupt, lies about weapons of mass destruction, babies being removed from incubators, the Gulf of Tonkin and reminding the public that the Vietnamese signed their own Declaration of Independence, and that many of the leaders we're fighting against often have far more support from their own people, meaning that our military isn't fighting to defend democracy at all!

If one of the leading propagandist for the Vietnam war can't demonstrate with his actions that they;re fighting for freedom, especially since the Vietnamese people never tried to invade our country and only wanted to choose their own leaders, that should raise major doubts about the media's propaganda. But of course the best research into the truth about wars is absent from mainstream media, so it often goes without scrutiny, even if it doesn't seem to make sense, since it's at best an incomplete story.
Ballad of the Green Berets

Barry Sadler

Fighting Soldiers from the sky
Fearless men who jump and die
Men who mean just what they say
The brave men of the Green Beret

Silver Wings upon their chest
These are men America's best
100 men will test today
But only 3 win the Green Beret

Trained to live of nature's land
Trained in combat hand to hand
Men who fight by night and day
Courage take from the Green Beret

Silver Wings upon their chest
These are men America's best
100 men will test today
But only 3 win the Green Beret

Back at home a young wife waits
Her Green Beret has met his fate
He has died for those oppressed
Leaving her his last request

Put Silver Wings on my son's chest
Make him one of America's best
He'll be a man he'll test one day
Have him win the Green Beret

There should be no doubt that the vast majority of veterans don't go into the army thinking that they're going to fight wars base don lies, but all to often they find out the hard way, either that or they accept the propaganda without thinking it thorugh and go into denial, which is almost certainly a major contributing factor of PTSD. No one would want to believe that Tim McIlrath's version with "Rise Against" is closer to truth but for many it just might be:
Hero of War

Rise Against

He said son, have you seen the world?
Well, what would you say if I said that you could
Just carry this gun, you'll even get paid
I said that sounds pretty good

Black leather boots
Spit-shined so bright
They cut off my hair but it looked alright
We marched and we sang
We all became friends
As we learned how to fight

A hero of war
Yeah that's what I'll be
And when I come home
They'll be damn proud of me
I'll carry this flag
To the grave if I must
Cause it's a flag that I love
And a flag that I trust

I kicked in the door
I yelled my commands
The children, they cried
But I got my man
We took him away
A bag over his face
From his family and his friends

They took off his clothes
They pissed in his hands
I told them to stop
But then I joined in
We beat him with guns
And batons not just once
But again and again

A hero of war
Yeah that's what I'll be
And when I come home
They'll be damn proud of me
I'll carry this flag
To the grave if I must
Cause it's a flag that I love
And a flag that I trust

She walked through bullets and haze
I asked her to stop
I begged her to stay
But she pressed on
So I lifted my gun
And I fired away

And the shells jumped through the smoke
And into the sand
That the blood now had soaked
She collapsed with a flag in her hand
A flag white as snow

A hero of war
Is that what they see?
Just medals and scars
So damn proud of me
And I brought home that flag
Now it gathers dust
But it's a flag that I love
The only flag that I trust

He said, son, have you seen the world?
Well what would you say, if I said that you could?

It may not be clear in the lyrics but according to Hero of War description he finds out the hard way that the girl he shot was carrying a flag of surrender, and that's the one he took home and trusted more than the one he started out with. The most credible news or propaganda is rarely ever what the media or the government gives to the majority of the public.
Ain’t no use in going back
Jody’s got your Cadillac

Ain’t no use in calling home
Jody’s got your girl and gone

Ain’t no use in feeling blue
Jody’s got your sister too
Mama Mama can’t you see
What this Army’s done for me

Mama Mama can’t you see
This Army life is killing me

The following are some additional sources, including more about violent veterans and dozens of stories or videos about these surprise homecomings which are almost certainly only a small fraction of what they've been putting out:

Gabriel Antonio Romero: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know 12/15/2019

Saudi gunman tweeted against US before naval base shooting 12/14/2019

The heart-melting moment a soldier surprises his family by jumping out of a gift box after nine months in Afghanistan 12/24/2014

Fort Hood shooter, Ivan Lopez, denied leave day of rampage, source says 04/04/2014

Navy SEALs Call Edward Gallagher “Freaking Evil” and “Toxic” in Leaked Videos 12/28/2019 Three SEALs said they saw Gallagher stab a teenager who was in their custody and barely conscious. Gallagher then conducted a ceremony in which he treated the teenager’s body like a trophy. “I was listening to it, and I was just thinking, like, this is the most disgraceful thing I’ve ever seen in my life,” Miller told investigators.

Iraq war veteran found guilty of murder; jury to determine sanity 09/19/2019 An Iraq war veteran who said nanobots injected into his brain by a secret government agency compelled him to kill a sleeping stranger in Oceanside two years ago was convicted Thursday of first-degree murder.

Veteran on trial for murder says Marines put nanobots in his brain 09/17/2019

Family describes slain plumber as 'beautiful soul,' relieved about Oceanside arrest 11/2/2019 Twelve hours later, officers arrested an Oceanside triathlete and former Marine instructor in connection with the homicide. Mikhail Schmidt, 30, pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder on Monday and is being held on $3 million bail.

Marine On Trial for Murder ‘Missed Thrill of Killing’: DA 09/11/2019

‘Craved the Taste of Blood’: US Marine Veteran Sentenced for Stabbing and Killing Construction Worker 10/22/2019

Military mom surprises son during Shamu show at SeaWorld 08/10/2015 (1)

US soldier in Iraq surprises son by jumping out of present 01/31/2009 (2)

VIDEO: Soldier surprises mom and sisters with unexpected Christmas homecoming 12/28/2019 (3)

Soldier Surprised Her Son By Jumping Out Of A Gift Box At School 12/24/2012 (4)

The 14 Best Military Homecomings At Sporting Events (5-18)  and there are many more: 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38,39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45,

The NFL and the military: a love affair as strange and cynical as ever 09/11/2015

How Pro Sports Became Part of the U.S. Military’s War Machine 08/20/2018

Surprise Military Reunions At NFL Games Reach Peak Bullshit 09/02/2015 Speaking of plans, that would be the same Katherine Ruocco who is running for a state representative’s seat in Illinois, and who now has a patriotic viral video featuring her family—lately seen on Fox News—to share on her campaign’s official Facebook page.

Mississippi Army Sergeant Charged with Murder of Wife 12/26/2019

Iraq War veteran accused of killing Richmond cop testifies in court 10/24/2017 An Iraq War veteran on trial for allegedly killing his ex-girlfriend’s father last year took the stand in his own defense Monday in Solano County Superior Court. Robert J. Vega, 32, of Fairfield is charged with murder and kidnapping.

Iraq War veteran, Roy H. Murry, charged with murder in deaths of relatives 06/02/2015

Iraq veterans leave a trail of death and heartbreak in U.S. 01/13/2008

North Carolina man, an active duty military member, charged with murder in toddler’s death on New Year’s Day 01/06/2020

Marine deserter sought in Virginia murder hid in camper as investigators tore it apart: report 12/14/2019

Marines: Hanukkah stabbing suspect kicked out of boot camp 12/31/2019

90-year-old homicide victim was once linked to contract killing 12/31/2019 Victim was a Marine who stayed out of trouble for decades, often helping others, after serving time for alleged part in contract killing.

UPDATE: Wanted Marine found hiding in attic 12/03/2019 ROANOKE, VIRGINIA (WITN) - Authorities say a Marine that was wanted in the murder of his mother's boyfriend was found hiding in an attic.

Judge blasts former Marine who killed two women, says he'll 'never see a day of freedom in his life' 10/18/2019

Former Marine accused of rape and murder 43 years after woman’s death 06/01/2019 Eddie Lee Anderson, 66, is charged with one count of murder with a special allegation of rape, according to the Orange County district attorney’s office. The criminal complaint was filed in Orange County Superior Court on May 24, the day Anderson was arrested at his home in River Ridge, La.

DNA Leads To Arrest Of Marine Veteran In 1976 Slaying Of Woman Who Disappeared In Costa Mesa 05/31/2019

2 active shooters in one week prompt questions about military bases' ban on firearms 12/06/2019 To have two shootings clustered one after another on military bases is unusual. In the past two decades, there have only been about seven other active shootings on bases; the deadliest was a November 2009 shooting spree in Fort Hood, Texas, which killed 13 and injured 32. (Limited definition of "active shootings on bases" presumably ignores many other shootings or murders which haven't been fully complied.)

A History of Shootings at Military Installations in the U.S. 09/16/2013 updated on 12/06/2019

Stop Telling Veterans That They Are Heroes 09/18/2019

The US Army Asked Twitter How Service Has Impacted People. The Answers Were Gut-Wrenching. 05/25/2019

A cross-partisan movement dedicated to promoting and advancing principled veteran leadership in order to reduce polarization

Veterans Campaign These recruitment organizations point out that there are far fewer veterans in Congress than there used to be; however the don't mention that there are also far fewer veterans in the general population than there used to be dropping from above fifty percent of males in the fifties to below ten percent now, and there are still a far higher percentage veterans in Congress than the general population.

Get On Back Home

How has serving impacted you? My children's father used his military leave to periodically return to town to try to kill me and cause other havoc. He was never held accountable. One time he took our son and I haven't seen him since. I'm sure he's ok with his service. I'm still traumatized. Thanks. 01/0/2020 He actually got into the Army because his recruiting officer went to the DA and got his guilty judgment for assault (against me) overturned. The Army has rewarded him well for making my life hell.

“American Sniper” Chris Kyle Distorted His Military Record, Documents Show 05/25/2016

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