August 19, 2010 Issue


Jordan says goodbye to good friend, Willie Tarver

Dear Editor:

I found solace when I heard of your passing by going to our Bartow Museum to visit the exhibit you and Mae had helped me set up.

I felt good that your folk art images displayed there reflected your talent as an artist. I felt good that the copy we had written on your life gave the background and factual history the museum visitor would need to know.



When I turned on the special video we had done on your life called, “Willie and Mae Tarver, A Love Story,” I shed a tear.

I felt good though, that this personal interview had captured the essence of your soul and completed your image reflecting not only you the artist, but also, you the man. The memories of you tucked away in that small corner of the room, I will hold on to, share and preserve for posterity.

I’m sorry you won’t be at the opening of the museum in October of this year, but your presence will be felt. You were a patient man and always a gentleman.

The sight of your standing at your exhibit when we had a special showing last October at our festival does give me comfort. You were having your own private opening and you shared proudly with friends and strangers your artwork and the love and support your wife Mae gave your profession.

As I was leaving the museum that day I glimpsed you again in another video. The image of you waving hello as the camera went by your booth at the Speir’s Turnout Festival quickly became an image of you now telling us goodbye.

Willie, your concrete and metal creations hold positions of prominence in museums, art galleries and major collections throughout the United States and for that we are proud. But, we take the most pride in having known the kind and humble man who in his own words said, “It was just all about fooling around with cement.” Simply put, you have left your art images in our own museums, our yards, our side tables, our bookshelves, our mantles, our homes and now our hearts.

The lasting image of my visit to the Bartow Museum that day I will treasure forever. In your video you sat in your rocking chair, looked straight into the camera and left us forever blessed with these last beautiful words, which are now your legacy, “It is not what you take with you when you leave the world behind, but it’s what you leave behind you when you go.”

God bless-Rest in peace my friend,

Patsy Jordan

Wage peace instead of costly wars Cain says

Dear Editor:

On July 27, the U.S. House of Representatives passed an emergency $59 billion supplemental spending bill that included $37 billion to continue financing America’s two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. This was in addition to the record $534 billion congress had voted for the U.S. military which did not include war spending. Including previously approved war spending, the Pentagon had already received a record $709 billion in fiscal year 2010.

To date United States has spent $708 billion in up front costs on the war in Iraq and $345 billion for the war in Afghanistan. This is more than $1 trillion! These figures do not include long term costs of providing heath care for wounded veterans. Neither conflict is anywhere near being resolved. In September, United States will begin its tenth year of war in Afghanistan with violence at record levels.

From any perspective these wars are massive American failures. The fiscal costs of these wars go directly into the national debt because the money to finance them is borrowed. The human costs are incalculable. They make no sense from a religious perspective. They make no sense from a pragmatic perspective because they are counterproductive to legitimate American interests. They make no sense from ethical or humanitarian perspectives.

United States continues to wage these wars for three reasons: from a sense of false pride; from fear of humiliation; and for profits for defense contractors. The U.S. economy has become highly dependent on military spending and on waging perpetual wars. This is not my view alone. It is also the view of experts including historian Andrew Bacevich, a retired career officer who lost a son in Iraq.

Gareth Porter of Inter Press Service wrote the two following paragraphs:

In his latest book, “Washington Rules,” historian Andrew Bacevich points to this largely undiscussed aspect of recent U.S. wars. The Washington rules to which the title refers are the basic principles of U.S. global policy that have been required beliefs for entrance into the U.S. political elite ever since the United States became a superpower. The three rules are U.S. global military presence, global projection of U.S. military power and the use of that power in one conflict after another.?

Bacevich suggests that personal and institutional interests bind the U.S. political elite and national security bureaucrats to that system of global military dominance. The politicians and bureaucrats will continue to insist on those principles, he writes, because they “deliver profit, power and privilege to a long list of beneficiaries: elected and appointed officials, corporate executives and corporate lobbyists, admirals and generals, functionaries staffing the national security apparatus, media personalities and policy intellectuals from universities and research organizations.”

I spoke with Congressman John Barrow’s legislative assistant, Brandon Webb, on July 28. He informed me that Congressman Barrow voted additional funds for the war in Afghanistan because “Congressman Barrow wants our soldiers to have the resources they need to be successful in their mission in Afghanistan.” I understand that congress does not make military or foreign policy, but congress does have the power to fund or not to fund military operations.

There is growing opposition to the nine-year long U.S. war in Afghanistan. At some point our leaders will be forced to recognize that the U.S. war in Afghanistan is counterproductive to our interests. Costly, protracted, unwinnable wars have helped to decimate the U.S. Treasury. Domestic programs are suffering and Americans’ standard of living is declining.

The surge of U.S. troops into Afghanistan will not lead to a stable Afghanistan or a more secure United States. The only guaranteed “success” of the surge will be a further destabilization of neighboring Pakistan. The U.S. war on terror has “succeeded” in destabilizing Pakistan to such an extent that a catastrophic flood has raised fears that the country will collapse.

It is time for United States to wage peace instead of perpetual war. This is the only course of action that will lead to a sustainable U.S. economic recovery and to stability in the Middle East and South Asia. United States must put people before profits. Americans of goodwill must speak out and demand that our leaders pursue peace and programs that benefit people instead of pursuing perpetual war and bloodstained profits for the military-industrial complex.

Randy Cain


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