Episodes and blog posts

Waking Up On The Appalachian Trail w/ N.B. Hankes – Ep 73

N.B. Hankes stops by the podcast to discuss his new book, “Waking Up On the Appalachian Trail: A Story of War, Brotherhood, and the Pursuit of Truth.”  We discuss Nate’s time as a drone operator in Iraq, his long trek on the Appalachian Trail with his brother, and ridding one’s self of the American military hero mythos.  If you want to buy a copy of his book, go to his site (linked above) and use the code FORTRESS to get free shipping.  Enjoy!

N. B. Hankes (pronounced hang-kiss) is author of the recent adventure travel bestseller, Waking Up On the Appalachian Trail: A Story of War, Brotherhood, and the Pursuit of Truth. He is a veteran of the Iraq War, where he operated drones with 4th Brigade 1st Infantry Division between February 2007 and April 2008. He is also the founder of the Veteran Artist Residencies non-profit, which provides artistic residencies for OEF and OIF combat veterans seeking self-expression and healing through the arts.


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A special thanks to our Patreon honorary producers – Will Ahrens, Fahim Shirazee, James O’Barr, Adam Bellows, Eric Phillips, Paul Appell, Julie Dupris, Thomas Benson, Emma P, Janet Hanson, Lawrence Taylor, and the Statist Quo Podcast.  You all are the engine that helps us power the podcast.  Thank you so much!!!

Not up for something recurring like Patreon, but want to give a couple bucks?!  Visit Paypal.me/fortressonahill to contribute!!

Fortress On A Hill is hosted, written, and produced by Chris ‘Henri’ Henrikson, Danny Sjursen, and Keagan Miller.

Intro / outro music “Fortress on a hill” written and performed by Clifton Hicks.  Clifton’s Bandcamp pageClifton’s Patreon page

Cover and website art designed by Brian K. Wyatt Jr. of B-EZ Graphix Multimedia Marketing Agency in Tallehassee, FL

Note: The views expressed in this podcast are those of the hosts alone, expressed in an unofficial capacity, and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the U.S. government.

Stone & Sjursen Part 2 – Ep 72

Part 2 of Danny’s discussion with Oliver Stone is here!!!  Danny and Oliver discuss differences between their combat experiences, the unabashed hero worship of modern military movies, the productions of Platoon and Salvador, the all volunteer force, and much, much more.  A great discussion and it’s only part 2 of 4.  Enjoy!!!

Order Oliver’s new book, “Chasing the Light: Writing, Directing, and Surviving Platoon, Midnight Express, Scarface, Salvador, and the Movie Game”

Pre-order Danny’s new book “Patriotic Dissent: America in the Age of Endless War.”


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A special thanks to our Patreon honorary producers – Will Ahrens, Fahim Shirazee, James O’Barr, Adam Bellows, Eric Phillips, Paul Appell, Julie Dupris, Thomas Benson, Emma P, Janet Hanson, Lawrence Taylor, and the Statist Quo Podcast.  You all are the engine that helps us power the podcast.  Thank you so much!!!

Not up for something recurring like Patreon, but want to give a couple bucks?!  Visit Paypal.me/fortressonahill to contribute!!

Fortress On A Hill is hosted, written, and produced by Chris ‘Henri’ Henrikson, Danny Sjursen, and Keagan Miller.

Intro / outro music “Fortress on a hill” written and performed by Clifton Hicks.  Clifton’s Bandcamp pageClifton’s Patreon page

Cover and website art designed by Brian K. Wyatt Jr. of B-EZ Graphix Multimedia Marketing Agency in Tallehassee, FL

Note: The views expressed in this podcast are those of the hosts alone, expressed in an unofficial capacity, and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the U.S. government.

Stone & Sjursen Part 1: The Unbearable Violence of Being American – Ep 71

(click here to see the video version of this episode.)

America’s military industrial complex and multiple presidential administrations have funnelled several generations of soldiers through unwinnable wars from Vietnam to Afghanistan and Iraq seemingly without qualms. What has emerged from these tragedies are thousands of traumatized young Americans bringing home wars and leaving behind millions of innocent civilians killed, wounded and forced to become refugees. But some of these former soldiers also came home with an urgent new perspective to share with their compatriots. That is the case of the two veterans on this week’s “Scheer Intelligence” episode: Oscar-winning film director Oliver Stone and journalist Maj. Danny Sjursen.

Although they served in the U.S. military with very different ranks and decades apart, the two share one important commonality: dissent. Before pursuing a career in film, that ultimately would win him many awards and accolades, despite often tackling controversial topics, Stone worked first on a U.S. Merchant Marine ship in 1966, and later joined the U.S. Army and requested to be sent into combat. Sjursen took another route, becoming  a military officer at the prestigious West Point Academy before being sent overseas for several tours in Iraq and Afghanistan and recently retiring after nearly two decades of service.

Stone’s new book, “Chasing the Light: Writing, Directing, and Surviving Platoon, Midnight Express, Scarface, Salvador, and the Movie Game” coming out soon, and Sjursen’s new book, “Patriotic Dissent: America in the Age of Endless War,” to be published in September, the two dissenters sat down with host Robert Scheer to discuss the concepts of patriotism and American exceptionalism in the context of their own life experiences as well as the film director’s career. 

“When we talk about exceptionalism,” says the retired Army major, “through these terrible movies that are made post-9/11 about combat, it strikes me that perhaps your dedication to showing reality, to showing the brutality, is often misunderstood [by critics] as liking the violence or fetishization of violence when the reality is you hate violence so much. Perhaps you’re trying to demonstrate that through a refusal to whitewash it. Has that been an aspect for you throughout [your career]?”

“As I said in the book, it’s in me too,” responds Stone, reflecting on the violence he internalized while fighting in Vietnam. “There is an aspect of that ugliness in me. Charlie Sheen comes out of that war [in my film “Platoon” and] he says, ‘I’m the stepchild, the child of both [sergeants] Barnes and Elias.’ You take in the poison. You have to, to survive, I suppose. You can’t be an idealist in a war. You’re on site. It’s a very dirty situation. 

“So I came home a darker strain of myself,” he concludes. “And I saw it in myself. So when I did these movies, I said, ‘Let it out, show it, man. Show it in all its ferocity, and let them fucking realize.’ That was what was misunderstood, and thank you for saying that. That’s been constant in my fucking life, just constant.”

Sjursen pins the conversation back to Stone’s book, which details the first four decades of the film director and screenwriter’s life, throughout the discussion, insightfully linking Stone’s many films, from “Platoon” to “Salvador” and “The Untold History of the United States,”  to the political events that not only shaped the two veteran’s lives, but also the America we all know and live in today. 

Tying the two careers together, Scheer concludes, “Oliver Stone’s movies and Maj. Danny Sjursen’s writing are ultimately attempts to hold us accountable. For our apathy, our indifference. We send people like Oliver and Danny to war. We all do; we pay the taxes. Most people didn’t protest, most people think it’s just hunky-dory, right. And you guys witnessed evil by your own side.” 

Listen to Stone, Sjursen and Scheer grapple with what it means to be American, the coronavirus pandemic, ongoing police brutality and the upcoming presidential election.

(This episode was a co-production of Scheer Intelligence and Fortress On A Hill.  To see the full credits and transcript at scheerpost.com, click here.)


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A special thanks to our Patreon honorary producers – Will Ahrens, Fahim Shirazee, James O’Barr, Adam Bellows, Eric Phillips, Paul Appell, Julie Dupris, Thomas Benson, Emma P, Janet Hanson, Lawrence Taylor, and the Statist Quo Podcast.  You all are the engine that helps us power the podcast.  Thank you so much!!!

Not up for something recurring like Patreon, but want to give a couple bucks?!  Visit Paypal.me/fortressonahill to contribute!!

Fortress On A Hill is hosted, written, and produced by Chris ‘Henri’ Henrikson, Danny Sjursen, and Keagan Miller.

Intro / outro music “Fortress on a hill” written and performed by Clifton Hicks.  Clifton’s Bandcamp pageClifton’s Patreon page

Cover and website art designed by Brian K. Wyatt Jr. of B-EZ Graphix Multimedia Marketing Agency in Tallehassee, FL

Note: The views expressed in this podcast are those of the hosts alone, expressed in an unofficial capacity, and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the U.S. government.

Ben Cohen (of Ben & Jerry’s) – Ep 70

Ben Cohen (of Ben & Jerry’s) stops by the podcast to discuss his many philanthropic efforts, his long standing friendship with Bernie Sanders, his new project with Danny called the Eisenhower Media Network, his thoughts on police violence and Black Lives Matter, and even a spoonful or two about ice cream.  Enjoy!!!

(Editing note: apologies for the wind on this episode.  Ben called in from Lake Champlain.)


Let me guess.  You’re enjoying the show so much, you’d like to leave us a review?!  Click here for Stitcher.  Click here for Apple Podcasts.  Click here for our Facebook page.

Email us at fortressonahill@gmail.com

Leave us a voicemail at 860-598-0570.

Check out our t-shirt store on Spreadshirt.com

Not a contributor on Patreon? You’re missing out on amazing bonus content! Sign up to be one of our patrons today! – www.patreon.com/fortressonahill

A special thanks to our Patreon honorary producers – Will Ahrens, Fahim Shirazee, James O’Barr, Adam Bellows, Eric Phillips, Paul Appell, Julie Dupris, Thomas Benson, Emma P, Janet Hanson, Lawrence Taylor, and the Statist Quo Podcast.  You all are the engine that helps us power the podcast.  Thank you so much!!!

Not up for something recurring like Patreon, but want to give a couple bucks?!  Visit Paypal.me/fortressonahill to contribute!!

Fortress On A Hill is hosted, written, and produced by Chris ‘Henri’ Henrikson, Danny Sjursen, and Keagan Miller.

Intro / outro music “Fortress on a hill” written and performed by Clifton Hicks.  Clifton’s Bandcamp pageClifton’s Patreon page

Cover and website art designed by Brian K. Wyatt Jr. of B-EZ Graphix Multimedia Marketing Agency in Tallehassee, FL

Note: The views expressed in this podcast are those of the hosts alone, expressed in an unofficial capacity, and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the U.S. government.

Memorial Day live stream (audio only) – Ep 69

Memorial Day has become a holiday that is farcical and cheap; while it may honor deceased veterans in a NFL playoff game sort of way, what does all the fanfare and bright lights mean?  How do discounts at Home Depot or free meals at Applebee’s honor veterans?  If our nation is destined to continue regime change at its current pace, does the president leaving a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, among the graves of thousands of fallen troops, really dignify the sacrifices present there?  

For Memorial Day this year, we decided to do something different.  On Memorial Day, we held a panel as a live episode of the podcast.  We invited some of the loudest voices among the anti-war movement to share with you our thoughts on service and sacrifice, here in 2020.  If you’re looking to hear a particular participant, click the time link next to their name and it’ll take you right there in the episode.

1:06 – Danny Sjursen

10:43 – Keagan Miller

21:22 – Ryan Keen

40:47 – Jovanni Reyes

58:56 – Erik Edstrom

1:19:12 – Matthew Hoh

1:42:38 – Clifton Hicks

1:55:22 – Chris Henrikson


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Email us at fortressonahill@gmail.com

Leave us a voicemail at 860-598-0570.

Check out our t-shirt store on Spreadshirt.com

Not a contributor on Patreon? You’re missing out on amazing bonus content! Sign up to be one of our patrons today! – www.patreon.com/fortressonahill

A special thanks to our Patreon honorary producers – Will Ahrens, Fahim Shirazee, James O’Barr, Henry Szamota, Adam Bellows, Eric Phillips, Paul Appell, Julie Dupris, Thomas Benson, Emma P, Janet Hanson, Lawrence Taylor, and the Statist Quo Podcast.  You all are the engine that helps us power the podcast.  Thank you so much!!!

Not up for something recurring like Patreon, but want to give a couple bucks?!  Visit Paypal.me/fortressonahill to contribute!!

Fortress On A Hill is hosted, written, and produced by Chris ‘Henri’ Henrikson, Danny Sjursen, and Keagan Miller.

Intro / outro music “Fortress on a hill” written and performed by Clifton Hicks.  Clifton’s Bandcamp pageClifton’s Patreon page

Cover and website art designed by Brian K. Wyatt Jr. of B-EZ Graphix Multimedia Marketing Agency in Tallehassee, FL

Note: The views expressed in this podcast are those of the hosts alone, expressed in an unofficial capacity, and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the U.S. government.

In memory of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor – Ep 68

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This week, we are reflecting on the murder of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer, along with the shooting murder of Breanna Taylor during a no-knock raid in Louisville; two deaths that shine a horrific, but common light on the reality of police brutality among black Americans as well as other people of color in the United States and the apathy of the American public towards these slayings.  We take the episode to discuss our observations from the past few weeks, discussing police militarization through their violent response to protests, the presence of National Guard troops among the police forces, and how fellow anti-war veterans have responded in support to victims of police brutality. 

(Editing note: this episode was mixed incorrectly, with the beginning at the end and vice versa.  It’s now fixed.)

Below is a list of resources and organizations that support Black Lives Matter.  Please learn all you can and donate to help end police brutality.

Police violence video spreadsheet (This spreadsheet is cataloging recent police violence videos from the protests, broken down by location.)

NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund

Signal: Encrypt Your Face (donates masks that scramble face recognition technology.)

National Bail Fund Network

Mutual Aid Network (find justice projects in your area)

Integrate NYC

Black Lives Matter Global Network

American Civil Liberties Union

Equality for Flatbush (Brooklyn, NY based org)

Ida B. Wells Society for Investigative Reporting

The Marshall Project

National map showing tear gas manufacturers


Let me guess.  You’re enjoying the show so much, you’d like to leave us a review?!  Click here for Stitcher.  Click here for Apple Podcasts.  Click here for our Facebook page.

Email us at fortressonahill@gmail.com

Leave us a voicemail at 860-598-0570.

Check out our t-shirt store on Spreadshirt.com

Not a contributor on Patreon? You’re missing out on amazing bonus content! Sign up to be one of our patrons today! – www.patreon.com/fortressonahill

A special thanks to our Patreon honorary producers – Will Ahrens, Fahim Shirazee, James O’Barr, Henry Szamota, Adam Bellows, Eric Phillips, Paul Appell, Julie Dupris, Thomas Benson, Emma P, Janet Hanson, Lawrence Taylor, and the Statist Quo Podcast.  You all are the engine that helps us power the podcast.  Thank you so much!!!

Not up for something recurring like Patreon, but want to give a couple bucks?!  Visit Paypal.me/fortressonahill to contribute!!

Fortress On A Hill is hosted, written, and produced by Chris ‘Henri’ Henrikson, Danny Sjursen, and Keagan Miller.

Intro / outro music “Fortress on a hill” written and performed by Clifton Hicks.  Clifton’s Bandcamp pageClifton’s Patreon page

Cover and website art designed by Brian K. Wyatt Jr. of B-EZ Graphix Multimedia Marketing Agency in Tallehassee, FL

Note: The views expressed in this podcast are those of the hosts alone, expressed in an unofficial capacity, and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the U.S. government.

Larry Wilkerson – Ep 67

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Powerful.  That’s how I’d describe today’s episode.  A deep dive into the mind of COL(R) Larry Wilkerson, his career as a U.S. Army officer to include combat in Vietnam, his close professional relationship with Colin Powell, his time at the State Department during the Bush II era, his thoughts on various conflicts to include Iraq and Syria, and his thoughts on the murder of George Floyd amist the COVID-19 era.  

Lawrence Wilkerson’s last positions in government were as Secretary of State Colin Powell’s Chief of Staff (2002-05), Associate Director of the State Department’s Policy Planning staff under the directorship of Ambassador Richard N. Haass, and member of that staff responsible for East Asia and the Pacific, political-military and legislative affairs (2001-02). 

Before serving at the State Department, Wilkerson served 31 years in the U.S. Army. During that time, he was a member of the faculty of the U.S. Naval War College (1987 to 1989), Special Assistant to General Powell when he was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (1989-93), and Director and Deputy Director of the U.S. Marine Corps War College at Quantico, Virginia (1993-97). 

Wilkerson retired from active service in 1997 as a colonel, and began work as an advisor to General Powell. He has also taught national security affairs in the Honors Program at the George Washington University.  He is currently working on a book about the first George W. Bush administration.


Let me guess.  You’re enjoying the show so much, you’d like to leave us a review?!  Click here for Stitcher.  Click here for Apple Podcasts.  Click here for our Facebook page.

Email us at fortressonahill@gmail.com

Leave us a voicemail at 860-598-0570.

Check out our t-shirt store on Spreadshirt.com

Not a contributor on Patreon? You’re missing out on amazing bonus content! Sign up to be one of our patrons today! – www.patreon.com/fortressonahill

A special thanks to our Patreon honorary producers – Will Ahrens, Fahim Shirazee, James O’Barr, Henry Szamota, Adam Bellows, Eric Phillips, Paul Appell, Julie Dupris, Thomas Benson, Emma P, Janet Hanson, Lawrence Taylor, and the Statist Quo Podcast.  You all are the engine that helps us power the podcast.  Thank you so much!!!

Not up for something recurring like Patreon, but want to give a couple bucks?!  Visit Paypal.me/fortressonahill to contribute!!

Fortress On A Hill is hosted, written, and produced by Chris ‘Henri’ Henrikson, Danny Sjursen, and Keagan Miller.

Intro / outro music “Fortress on a hill” written and performed by Clifton Hicks.  Clifton’s Bandcamp pageClifton’s Patreon page

Cover and website art designed by Brian K. Wyatt Jr. of B-EZ Graphix Multimedia Marketing Agency in Tallehassee, FL

Note: The views expressed in this podcast are those of the hosts alone, expressed in an unofficial capacity, and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the U.S. government.

Kevin Zeese of Popular Resistance – Ep 66

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Kevin Zeese of Popular Resistance stops by the podcast to discuss his path to becoming an activist during protests in the 60’s and 70’s, what he’s learned from Ralph Nader, police brutality and militarization, Kevin’s long standing work on the Vietnam war and Venezuela, and the dynamics of “lesser evil voting.”

Kevin Zeese is a public interest attorney who has worked for economic, racial and environmental justice since graduating from George Washington Law School in 1980.

He co-directs PopularResistance.org which works to build the independent movement for transformational change. Kevin co-hosts,  “Clearing the FOG “ radio which airs on We Act Radio Progressive Radio Network and other outlets.  He is recognized as a leading activist in the United States in the series Americans Who Tell the Truth.

Kevin was an organizer of the Occupation of Freedom Plaza in Washington, DC in 2011. He serves as president of Common Sense for Drug Policy and is a co-founder of the Drug Policy Foundation, now known as Drug Policy Alliance .

He is a co-founder of Health Over Profit for Everyone which seeks to put in place National Improved Medicare for All. Kevin is an advocate of Internet Freedom and is a leader of the campaign for Title II Net Neutrality to ensure equal access and treatment for everyone on the Internet. He is one of the organizers of We Are Cove Point which seeks to stop a fracked gas export terminal in southern Maryland.

He is an election integrity advocate who a co-founded TrueVote Maryland which led a successful campaign to end the use of paperless voting machines in the state. 

Kevin is co-founder of Come Home America which brings people from across the political spectrum together to work against war and militarism. He served on the steering committees of the Chelsea Manning Support Network as well as on the advisory board of the Courage Foundation which supports Edward Snowden and other whistleblowers.

He has been active in independent and third party political campaigns, served as press secretary and spokesperson for Ralph Nader in 2004 and as a senior advisor to Jill Stein in 2016.  He ran for the US Senate in 2006; and he’s the only person ever nominated by the Green, Libertarian and Populist Parties of Maryland.


Let me guess.  You’re enjoying the show so much, you’d like to leave us a review?!  Click here for Stitcher.  Click here for Apple Podcasts.  Click here for our Facebook page.

Email us at fortressonahill@gmail.com

Leave us a voicemail at 860-598-0570.

Check out our t-shirt store on Spreadshirt.com

Not a contributor on Patreon? You’re missing out on amazing bonus content! Sign up to be one of our patrons today! – www.patreon.com/fortressonahill

A special thanks to our Patreon honorary producers – Will Ahrens, Fahim Shirazee, James O’Barr, Henry Szamota, Adam Bellows, Eric Phillips, Paul Appell, Julie Dupris, Thomas Benson, Emma P, Janet Hanson, Lawrence Taylor, and the Statist Quo Podcast.  You all are the engine that helps us power the podcast.  Thank you so much!!!

Not up for something recurring like Patreon, but want to give a couple bucks?!  Visit Paypal.me/fortressonahill to contribute!!

Fortress On A Hill is hosted, written, and produced by Chris ‘Henri’ Henrikson, Danny Sjursen, and Keagan Miller.

Intro / outro music “Fortress on a hill” written and performed by Clifton Hicks.  Clifton’s Bandcamp pageClifton’s Patreon page

Cover and website art designed by Brian K. Wyatt Jr. of B-EZ Graphix Multimedia Marketing Agency in Tallehassee, FL

Note: The views expressed in this podcast are those of the hosts alone, expressed in an unofficial capacity, and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the U.S. government.

Gareth Porter – Ep 65

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Gareth Porter stops by the podcast to discuss his long standing work on the Vietnam war, his thoughts on COVID-19 via the USS Theodore Roosevelt along with his previous work on the 1919 flu epidemic, the terrifying connections between Mike Pompeo and Bibi Netanyahu, and Israel’s secret long standing nuclear stockpile.

Gareth Porter is an independent investigative journalist who has covered national security policy for decades, really, and was the recipient of the 2012 Gellhorn Prize for Journalism for his coverage of the U.S. War in Afghanistan.  He is a graduate of the University of Chicago and Cornell, where he earned a Ph.D. in Southeast Asian Studies.  Much of his early work – as scholar and activist – surrounded the American War in Vietnam.  He was, in fact, a chairman of the Committee of Concerned Asian Scholars at Cornell and then a Saigon Bureau Chief in country.  Especially since 2005, he’s regularly reported on political, diplomatic and military developments in the Middle East for a variety of mainstream and alternative publications.

His previous books include Perils of Dominance: Imbalance of Power and the Road to War in Vietnam, and Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare (2014), among many others.  His most recent is The CIA Insider’s Guide to the Iran Crisis co-authored with John Kiriakou.  Currently, he has a column at the GrayZone.


Enjoy the show?!  Please leave us a review right here.

Contact us direct by email at fortressonahill@gmail.com

Check out our t-shirt store on Spreadshirt.com

Leave us a voicemail at 860-598-0570.

Not a contributor on Patreon? You’re missing out on amazing bonus content! Sign up to be one of our contributors today! – www.patreon.com/fortressonahill

A special thanks to our honorary producers – Will Ahrens, Fahim Shirazee, Henry Szamota, Adam Bellows, Eric Phillips, Paul Appell, Julie Dupris, Thomas Benson, Emma P, Janet Hanson, Lawrence Taylor, and the Statist Quo Podcast.  Without you guys, we couldn’t continue our work.  Thank you so much!!!

Not up for something recurring like Patreon, but want to give a couple bucks?!  Visit Paypal.me/fortressonahill to contribute!!

FOH is hosted, written, and produced by Chris ‘Henri’ Henrikson, Danny Sjursen, and Keagan Miller.

Intro / outro music “Fortress on a hill” written and performed by Clifton Hicks.  Clifton’s Bandcamp pageClifton’s Patreon page

Cover and website art designed by Brian K. Wyatt Jr. of B-EZ Graphix Multimedia Marketing Agency in Tallehassee, FL

Note: The views expressed in this podcast are those of the hosts alone, expressed in an unofficial capacity, and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the U.S. government.

Danny’s appearance on The Jimmy Dore Show

Danny got an invite for a discussion with Jimmy Dore on Memorial Day.  They discussed many topics germane to Memorial Day, including discussing empire, veteran’s struggles, systemic-militarism, the hijacking of Pat Tillman, citizen/soldier-dissent, and the inherent limits of duopoly.

Danny’s appearance on The Jimmy Dore Show