Tonight we’ll be speaking with Jim Davis, founder and president of Veterans-For-Change, a Veterans Advocacy and Assistance Organization .
The purpose of Veterans-For-Change is to make major changes in the treatment and rights for all veterans. In benefits claims, appeals, medical care and treatment, VA Facilities, PTSD, Agent Orange, POW MIA recoveries, diabetes, TBI and dioxins.
I’ve been trying to keep up on what’s happening, and not happening, in the legislation for our Veterans. It’s not an easy task, especially with the past couple of Congresses. This is more than one civilian’s interest ~ it’s personal, as I have two very special active-duty Soldiers in my life who will one day be Vets. It’s imperative that I do everything I can to make sure that the promise made by the government, who hired them, keeps it’s promises to them. Seems the legislators are very good at making promises and then breaking them.
With this less-than-Military-friendly administration and the state of the economy, Vets are finding it hard to get jobs in the civilian world (like a lot of other folks) and too many are finding it impossible to afford a home, or if they have a home, to keep up with all their bills and family needs. Support organizations have seen their donations drop dramatically as everyone is tightening their financial belts and have less adn less money to help our Veterans. Then there’s the VA system ~ a huge bureaucracy with too many obstacles and failings.
And lord knows, our Congress is really good at throwing huge amounts of taxpayer dollars at a broken system, instead of really fixing it.
As with so much else in regard to our government’s disconnect from reality, it’s going to be up to us to hold their feet to the fire and make sure our Veterans don’t get screwed again, and again, and again.
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. … Done…the seventeenth day of September, in the year of our LORD one thousand seven hundred and eighty seven.” –George Washington and the delegates
On 17 September of each year, we observe Constitution Day, in recognition of the anniversary of that venerable document’s signing by our nation’s Founders. Of course, most of the federal judiciary pay no homage to that date. They are preoccupied rewriting the so-called “Living Constitution,” amending it by judicial diktat rather than its prescribed method in Article V.
In 1776, an extraordinary group of men signed a document that affirmed their God-given right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” By attaching their signatures to our great Declaration of Independence, they, in effect, were signing their potential death warrants.
Indeed, the last line of our Declaration reads, “For the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.”
Hailed as “the Oxford English Dictionary of American constitutional history,” the print edition of The Founders’ Constitution has proved since its publication in 1986 to be an invaluable aid to all those seeking a deeper understanding of one of our nation’s most important legal documents.
The Library is where electronic versions of classic books about individual liberty are stored. These texts go back some 4,000 years and cover the disciplines of economics, history, law, literature, philosophy, political theory, religion, war and peace.
The map below shows the dollar value of earmarks based on the home state of the sponsors. Click on a state to view total earmarks sponsored by each individual lawmaker from that state.
“Death and Taxes”is a large representational graph and poster (24″ x 36″) of the federal budget. It contains over 500 programs and departments and almost every program that receives over 200 million dollars annually. The data is straight from the president’s 2011 budget request and will be debated, amended, and approved by Congress to begin the fiscal year. All of the item circles are proportional in size to their funding levels for visual comparison and the percentage change from both 2010 and 2001 is included so you can spot trends.
The Real Warriors Campaign is an initiative launched by the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE) to promote the processes of building resilience, facilitating recovery and supporting reintegration of returning service members, veterans and their families.
Every time a Muslim terrorist is caught trying to kill Americans in the name of Islam, the media and the politicians immediately go on full alert over the threat of an “Islamophobic backlash” against Muslims.
WASHINGTON, Jan. 26, 2011 – The Defense Department’s plans to cut $78 billion from its budget over five years and find more than $100 billion in savings for reinvestment was a collaborative effort and a reasonable balance between military needs and budget constraints, Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III said today.
“Some will argue that our proposals cut defense too much, others will argue it doesn’t cut enough,” Lynn told the House Armed Services Committee. “We believe it strikes the right balance for these difficult times.”
Lynn was accompanied by the vice chiefs of each of the services, each of whom agreed that the budget plans were a collaborative effort that included service leaders.
“We were part of that process and agreed with the decisions that have been made,” Gen. Peter Chiarelli, Army vice chief of staff, said.
Acting on Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates’ directive, the services already have found more than $100 billion in savings. They expect to redirect those savings to spend $70 billion on improved weaponry and technical capabilities and $28 billion on higher-than-expected operating expenses in the next five years, Lynn said.
The Army will realize savings partly from terminating its SLAM-RAM — Standoff Land Attack Missile and Rolling Airframe Missile programs, as well as its nonline-of-sight air missiles. With the savings, the Army will invest more heavily in Abrams tanks, Bradley fighting vehicles and Stryker wheeled vehicles, Lynn said.
The savings will allow the Navy to buy six more ships, including a destroyer, he said.
Gates made tough decisions, Lynn said, in terminating programs such as a new presidential helicopter, the F-22 fighter jet, the Future Combat System and the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle. “The department needs to make hard decisions early on [in procurement], and we are endeavoring to do that,” he said. “We’ve often balanced in favor of performance, but then the budget and the schedule suffers. We’re trying to balance better.”
Quoting Gates’ earlier statements, Lynn said the budget plans represent “reasonable, responsible, and sustainable defense spending for the next five years.”
The budget cuts $78 billion from the department’s top line over five years, giving it a $553 billion baseline budget a modest increase for fiscal 2012, Lynn said. The cut was made in keeping with Obama administration efforts to lower the deficit, he said.
“The strength of our national defense depends on a strong economy as well,” Lynn said.
The cuts will mean freezing most civilian personnel hiring through 2013, and cutting the department’s contractor work force by 10 percent for three years, Lynn said.
The department also will seek savings through its TRICARE medical system, for which costs have nearly doubled in 10 years, he said. The budget would lift TRICARE enrollment fees which have remained unchanged since the program began 15 years ago — for working-age military retirees, stop subsidies to nonmilitary hospitals, and adjust pharmacy co-payments, he said.
Other streamlining measures include closing U.S. Joint Forces Command and merging its essential functions into other areas, eliminating the Business Transformation Agency, and doing away with the position of assistant secretary of defense for network and information integration, Lynn said.
Force structure will grow 2 to 3 percent for fiscal 2012, then decline to the point of no growth in fiscal 2015 and 2016, the deputy secretary said.
Under the plan, the Army would lose 27,000 positions in end strength, and the Marine Corps would lose 15,000 to 20,000. Those reductions would not begin until after U.S. troops are scheduled to leave Afghanistan in 2014, Lynn said, and still would leave end strength higher than it was when Gates took office in December 2006, he said.
Even with the cuts, when the National Guard and Reserve are factored in, the Army will have 47,000 more soldiers in 2015 than it had in 2006, Chiarelli said.
William J. Lynn III, a former Pentagon official under President Bill Clinton and Obama’s choice for deputy secretary of the Defense Department, spent the better part of the past two years lobbying for defense contractor Raytheon, federal records show.
Hmmm…so much for those “No lobbyists in my Administration” Obama.
Well, the hearings have begun and the questions from the Committee members have changed a bit:
“While some argue that our nation spends too much money on defense, Congressman Akin believes that our national security should be the first priority of the federal government. In the 1990’s our nation cut back on defense spending and we developed a hollow military-lacking good equipment and training. We cannot allow this to happen again. We must maintain a strong military, not so that we can fight, but so that we can deter bad actors from fighting us.”
Congressman J. Randy Forbes (VA-04) released the following statement after receiving testimony at a House Armed Services Committee hearing on the proposed Department of Defense budget reductions and efficiencies initiatives:
“DoD officials testified today that Secretary Gates – who manages a $708-billion-a-year defense budget equivalent to the 22nd largest economy in the world – failed to comply with the law requiring auditable financial statements in 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010. It was also acknowledged that none of the $708 billion defense budget managed by Secretary Gates was even in a position to be audited. In that same hearing, Secretary Lynn, the Chief Managing Officer of the Department of Defense said ‘We owe it to the taxpayers to make the most of every dollar entrusted to us.’
“If the Department of Defense does not know where our defense dollars are going, how then are they qualified to talk about efficiencies? Furthermore, if the Department of Defense does not even have mechanisms in place to perform the audits, how are they able to comply with the law? Finally, if all agencies are required to perform regular audits, how is the Department of Defense able to skirt this compliance? If we want to get serious about efficiencies, we need to first make it clear that the Department of Defense is not above the law, and, second, demand to know where our defense dollars are going.”
Congressman Forbes is Chairman of the House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee.
Of course, Pres. Obama isn’t all that interested in Defense or Foreign Policy ~ expensive domestic Entitlement Programs are his brass rings. And the Progressives really believe if they could just get rid of all guns and such, there would be no more wars. They salivate over all that money that could go into their social engineering programs bringing forth their fantastical vision of Utopia under Socialistic Democracy where everyone is equal (and mediocre) and the playing field is leveled (no more of that competition thing) and everyone is happy (in their enslavement to the State). Exceptionalism? Why everyone is exceptional (all the same)!
“Even as we begin planning for the 112th Congress, there is still work to be completed this year. Republicans on both sides the Capitol are committed to passing a National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011 that is not weighed down by the current majority’s social agenda items,” concluded (Buck) McKeon.
WASHINGTON, Jan. 21, 2011 – Federal Voting Assistance Program officials will use winning entries from slogan and poster contests that start today to encourage absentee voting in U.S. elections by service members, their families and other citizens living overseas.
All U.S. citizens are eligible to enter, and the winning slogan and poster artwork will be featured on the program’s website, its 2012-2013 Voting Assistance Guide and other motivational materials, officials said.
The winner for each contest and a guest will receive a trip to the nation’s capital to participate in special events and tours.
The winning slogan will be selected on its originality and motivational value, and poster entries will be judged on how well they express with original artwork what it means to be an American voter anywhere in the world. The winning design will be selected on its originality, design and motivational value, officials said, and must not include copyrighted material.
Runners-up will receive certificates of recognition for their contributions.
The deadline for submissions is April 8, and winners will be announced April 29.
Yep, that’s the ticket!! Posters!!
Nevermind all the states that received waivers for not having the earlier absentee ballot mailing dates in place for the 2010 elections, thereby cutting off a good percentage of Military voters. Guess the dominant party in those states!
Could we please make the children sit down ~ on their hands?
And they are not very nice people at all. In fact, they pray for our infidel dog deaths, in the name of Allah, right after throwing nasty bodily fluids (saved just for this reason) at the young men and women guarding them. Just one of their lovely tricks.
I’d almost forgotten what it’s like to have people speak respectfully of our Military and actually mean it. *sigh*
The last question from one of the twits reporters and response from McKeon is worth hearing if you don’t want to watch the whole thing. Forward to 22:47.
Not that the media will be reporting much on that fact. Nor will it be talking much about how their guy has not kept his promise ~ oh, the heartbreak of betrayal! Better just to pretend it doesn’t exist at all.
And then find someone to talk about the US’s rampant use of (insert expression of absolute horror and indignation here) “TORTURE”.
Jan 26, 2011 – Bill Action Introduced: H.R. 513: To prohibit the use of funds to transfer individuals detained by the United States at Naval Station, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and certain other enemy belligerents to the United States.
Rep. Aaron Schock [R-IL18] introduced this bill.
Cpl. Jason A. Karella
20 years old from Anchorage, Alaska
2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force
October 9, 2008
Cpl. Jason A. Karella died supporting combat operations in the Farah province of Afghanistan when the Humvee he was riding in rolled over. He had given up his, as his Father described “best seat in the armored Humvee” to the turret gunner who wasn’t feeling well that day.
“My son was proud of what he stood for,” said his father, Kevin. “He had a fiancee named Beth and he said to me, ‘Dad, I don’t have to worry about Beth getting blown up in a market over there because we’re keeping them busy here.'”
Karella grew up in a strong military family, with his father a former chief warrant officer in the Army, and his brother Josh also having served in Iraq.
Marines recognized Karella for his incredible strength, which he used to carry large amounts of ammunition with him in the battlefield. They referred to him as “the walking ammo supply point” and “the walking arsenal.” Well-respected among his peers, he was awaiting a promotion to Sergeant at the time of his death.
This page has a nice background piece on Cpl. Karell.
From the website, War Is A Crime: (Google it. I refuse to link to this site.)
We Will Oppose Obama As Long As He Supports War
We the undersigned share with nearly two-thirds of our fellow Americans the conviction that our wars in Afghanistan and Iraq should be ended and that overall military spending should be dramatically reduced. This has been our position for years and will continue to be, and we take it seriously. We vow not to support President Barack Obama for renomination for another term in office, and to actively seek to impede his war policies unless and until he reverses them.
Since he became president, Obama has had three opportunities to work with Congress to reduce military spending, but instead has championed increases in that spending each time, despite the fact that this spending represents a clear threat to the economic future of our country. He has continued as well to try to hide the true costs of the wars by funding them with off-the-books supplemental spending bills, despite the fact that he campaigned against this very practice.
The President has escalated a war on Afghanistan in which rising civilian deaths and atrocities have become routine.
The whole petition and signers are found after the fold.
(I could take each part of the petition and blow it out of the water, but I don’t have a week to spend targeting all the misinformation in this screed.)
Well, that’s quite a good percentage of his useful idiots base. I imagine the “potluck” meetings have been frequent and furious lately. And that lame duck session tax compromise must just be salt to the wound.
How could they be betrayed by “The One” this way? Oh, the angst and tribulation!!
What will they do? Will they take to the streets with Obama puppets? Will they burn Obama in effigy? How many (made in China) US flags will be burned? Will stores find that they have run out of pink and black clothing and SHEMAGH scarves? Will there be tents in Lafayette Park? Hunger strikes?
Stay tuned! This Spring could be very entertaining!
Being thoroughly disgusted by and tired of the stoopidity of those in this country who do not understand the concept of liberty and certain unalienable rights endowed by our Creator, I’m starting off the week with one of my favorite things.
WASHINGTON, Nov. 19, 2010 – Servicemembers in Afghanistan’s Regional Command Southwest will receive 14 M1A1 Abrams tanks to aid in the fight against the Taliban.
The Marine Corps tanks, which pack a super-accurate 120 mm main gun, will begin to arrive in January. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, are aware that the tanks are being deployed, though the transfer did not require their approval.
“This is a capability the Marine force on the ground has in their inventory so they are swapping capabilities,” Pentagon spokesman Marine Col. Dave Lapan said. “This isn’t additive to what they have.”
Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Richard P. Mills, commander of Regional Command-Southwest which is responsible for security operations in Helmand and Nimroz provinces, requested the tanks. Army Gen. David Petraeus, commander of the International Security Assistance Force, and Marine Gen. James N. Mattis, the commander of U.S. Central Command, approved the request.
“All commanders evaluate their situations and their operations,” Lapan said. “The commander in RC-Southwest determined that tanks would be useful in the fight he has because of the increased mobility, the increased firepower, because of the optics the tanks have.”
Tanks are more accurate than artillery, mortars or aerial bombardment, Lapan said. Coalition allies have had main battle tanks in Afghanistan in the past.
The RC Southwest region lends itself to armored operations. The area is wide open and has none of the mountainous terrain that characterizes Regional Command East and the northern portions of Regional Command South. Commanders in those areas are not requesting tanks, Lapan said.
The Afghan people have bad memories of tanks in action. The Soviet Union deployed thousands of T-55, T-62 and T-72 main battle tanks into Afghanistan when it invaded the country in 1979. Soviet crews used the tanks to mow down civilians and destroy whole villages. Tanks became a hated object of oppression, and to this day, people can still see burnt out hulks of old Soviet tanks rusting in various parts of Afghanistan.
“Soviet tanks were something the populace will obviously remember,” Lapan said. The local command will work with local leaders and shuras to explain to the public what’s happening, and how the tanks will be used.
Lapan emphasized that the movement of the M1A1s to Afghanistan does not represent an escalation of the conflict there.
“These things happen all the time,” he said. “We’re conducting full-spectrum combat operations today, we’ll be doing it tomorrow, we’ll be doing it next month. Until the Afghan security forces are ready to take over lead for security … we will continue to do combat operations to defeat the enemy.
“Whether we use tanks, or infantry on the ground,” Lapan continued, “these are all tactics we use to defeat the enemy.”
Camp Pendleton Marines have been engaging the enemy on a regular basis in Afghanistan’s southern Helmand province. It’s been a bloody couple of months.
According to Cpl. Ned Johnson, of the 1st Marine Division, Camp Pendleton Marines are about to get a little support from some familiar Pendleton brothers – brothers at the helm of M1A1 Abrams tanks.
“It’s definitely humbling to be the first tankers in Afghanistan,” said Cpl. Todd Cross, a tank crewman with Delta Co., 1st Tanks. “We want to make a good name for ourselves and we want to leave a good name for the tanks who come after us as well.”
While the pundits and politicos talk and talk and talk about civility, all the while being very uncivil about conservatives, and bloggers blog on about all the nonsense known as politics and this administration is doing everything in its unconstitutional, self-employed powers to regulate this country to death, there are thousands of young men and women in hellish places shouldering and overcoming hellish situations.
Many leading from the front, placing themselves in the most dangerous positions because that’s just what they do.
But what we hear as “news” rarely has anything to do with these people. No, we get spoon-fed hours of the latest scandal in Hollywood or the latest grisly murder or how offended someone is by some word used by someone on “the other side” that might, could be, maybe is, probably not meant in the way it was taken. Nowadays, news is, more often than not, just opinions.
Our elected and appointed ones could, and damn well should, take a few lessons from these young people.
One key for leaders is to find a balance between getting out front and sitting back to see the big picture, says Lt. Col. Anthony Henderson.
“That is the biggest quandary,” the Marine Corps officer told IBD.
“There are no textbooks that say, ‘Your position is here at this moment.’ You have to feel it. You have to learn it by training and then from experience.”
Stanford, the sergeant major in Henderson’s battalion-level task force, said the other Marines respected their commander for heading to the frontlines. “It takes a special leader to be able to do that. I will tell you it means a lot to the Marines,” Stanford said. “Just like anybody else, they can look at someone and tell if they’re genuine.”
It’s really not so courageous to call an opponent a “Nazi” and then have to face the press and sorta, kinda, apologize for “offending anyone”. It’s really not at all courageous to stay quiet while others do your dirty work so you can step in after to be the “uniter” and “peacemaker” and talk of civility. It’s not even much of a hardship having oneself driven to the Hill to vote on a bill one hasn’t read or meet with lobbyists who don’t donate to one’s campaign or sit on a committee, even if one is of the minority party. Having smarts doesn’t even seem to be necessary, or any knowledge of the Constitution one took an oath to uphold.
And there are no secret backroom deals on the front.
This country has a segment of it’s population that you hardly ever hear about, made up of some the most well-educated and disciplined young people doing amazing things in some of the most dangerous places on this planet.
Yet, you never hear their names or even know they exist.
But be some toe-tapping politician or skinny famous-for-being-rich blonde arrested for doing coke and you get days of airtime on what they call the news today.
The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a serviceman, missing in action from the Korean War, has been identified and returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
Air Force 1st Lt. Robert F. Dees, 23, of Moultrie, Ga., will be buried Jan. 22 at the Longstreet Historical Cemetery in Ozark, Ala. On Oct. 9, 1952, he was flying an F-84 Thunderjet, attacking several targets in North Korea. After he and three aircraft from the 430th Fighter-Bomber Squadron completed their attack on their primary target, they began their bombing run against enemy boxcars on the railroad near Sinyang. Other members of his flight reported seeing an explosion near the target they were attacking. They believed it to be the crash of Dees’ aircraft and could not raise any radio contact with him. Airborne searches over the battlefield failed to locate him or his aircraft.
Following the armistice in 1953, the North Koreans repatriated 4,219 remains of U.S. and allied soldiers during Operation Glory. In November 1954, they turned over remains which they reported were recovered from Sinyang. Accompanying the remains were portions of a pilot’s flight suit and a pneumatic life preserver. But after two attempts, the Army’s mortuary at Kokura, Japan, was unable to identify the remains. They were buried in 1956 as “unknown” at the Punch Bowl Cemetery in Hawaii.
Beginning in the late 1990s, analysts from DPMO and the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) undertook a concentrated review of Korean War air losses, as well as a review of the Kokura mortuary files. They made a tentative association to Dees, based on U.S. wartime records as well as the information provided by the North Koreans. These remains were disinterred from the Punch Bowl Cemetery in June 2010.
Dees’ remains were identified by making extensive dental comparisons with his medical records.
For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call 703-699-1169.