Monday, February 19, 2007

 

On Our Gutless Wonders in Congress

[A copy of a post from Round Circle by Spadoman, a Veteran who has been there -done that on the war scene.
NS]
Monday, February 19, 2007

An Attempt at Inspiration by a Veteran
My friend, This Old Broad, who used to be known as Hill Gal and will always be Hill Gal to me, inspired me to write this today. Her blog post shows her anger and reply to a failed Senate that wouldn't vote to "talk about" the vote for a NON-BINDING resolution. I saw her anger and her frustration, and I share it, tenfold!

Let me make one thing perfectly clear. Non violence is the way I want to handle things, like at the Tuesday Peace March, (See Spadoman's Peace Blog on the side bar), Anger is not violent if you control your anger and not strike out physically at your foe. I won't strike out at these heartless, gutless, back stabbing, puppets we call the Republican Senators that voted to not even discuss the matter of death and destruction that is taking place IN YOUR NAME!

YOUR NAME! That's right. They speak for you. Don't turn your back if you come from a state that has Democrats for elected Senators. Like Wisconsin, where I live. Both our Senators voted for discussion of the non-binding resolution. And a few Republicans did too, but not enough to take the whole issue to debate and discussion.Don't sit back and say that your Democrat Senator voted and say that's OK. Write these Republicans that said no and use the words from Old Broad Hill Gal's post and ask them how many must die, how many must we kill.

Ask them. Tell them you want an end to it. They are all your Senators, not just the ones from your state. They all have fax numbers, telephones, e-mails and post office addresses. What will it take to motivate the people, the peace loving people? We supposedly want peace. We voted last November. Remember, the press told us that we mandated change. The controlled press told us that bush's popularity rating is down the toilet. So, what do we do, sit back and wait I guess.

WRONG! I think every American that wants the war to end needs to write a letter, at least once per week, to their own Senator and to a Senator or two from the Republican ranks that voted to not even discuss the isuue. They slapped you in the face and pissed on your fucking leg and you let them.

Get out and do something. There really are no excuses any more. Too busy working means do it later in the evening. Sacrifice a few minutes sleep to get the chore done. Donate one fucking dollar to an organization that promotes peace or to the fund of the Senator that will get the job done. Everything you say is an excuse. If you don't do one little thing once in a while, it will always be this way and we will all suffer. You'll all sit there and read the liberal blogs and comment as to how "right on" we all are, but do nothing. You are as shameful as the Senate that voted to not even discuss the Iraq war.

Wanna hate me for saying these things to you? Go ahead. This is the truth. Everybody that wants the war to end needs to do something more. If you don't, you are part of the problem. I have been part of the problem for years. I am doing something more than I did before, and I beat myself silly wondering if I'm doing all I can do now. I started doing something. You can too. One letter once per week. One dollar, once a month, one thing. Do it, for God's sake, for the world, for the love of anything, do something!

When I graduated High School in 1967, I was 18 years and one month old. I was drafted in 1968, one month shy of 19 years old. I didn't read the paper. I didn't listen to the news. TV wasn't so popular so we didn't watch much. I chased around in my Ford Galaxie convertable and tried to fall in love with every girl I met. I didn't pay attention to the deatils and only heard what the mainstream said. When I was drafted, I went and showed up at the induction office. My thoughts were that my government would never ask me to go to war if we weren't suppose to be there. If it wasn't to promote good. If it wasn't to save these poor Vietnamese people who didn't want to live under Communist rule.

Communism was a bad thing, we were told. We listened. We had just been though many years of Air Raid drills where we would go to the lowest level of the basement at our school and line up on an inside wall and cover our heads with our hands and wait for the bombs to drop or the "All Clear". We had water in containers that we saved for the day when we would be attacked. We were told that when the bomb came, it would be the Communists that dropped it. We were taught that Communism meant an end to freedom. We believed what our government told us. We believed that there was a threat to freedom and we, as Americans, needed to fight for freedom of the poorer down trodden people in Vietnam so they wouldn't have to be taken over by ruthless Communists. Besides, if we didn't fight it over there, then we would have to fight it over here!

So, when I was called up and drafted. I went. Willingly. I said I'd go and fight if they asked me and they did. And I went. When I got there and I was laying in some rice patty 25,000 miles from my home, I realized many things. I found out that my government lied to me. I found out that my enemies weren't these people whose land we were on. I realized that my brothers that I watched die were given up so that Lyndon Johnson wouldn't be the president that "lost" the war in Vietnam.When we 'cut and run" in 1975 and got out of Vietnam, we lost that war, but we won peace. Guess what. America lived through it.

There was a time earlier on when only 3137 soldiers were dead from the war in Vietnam. That number didn't stop until there were over 58,000. What the fuck are we waiting for? Why aren't we outraged to the point of doing something?I fought. I fought for my brother. I fought for my community. I fought for my family. I fought for my life. I did fight for freedom, my own. Free to walk this earth when and if I got home. I made it so I could come here and tell you that we need to do more to stop what is happening. I made it to make the deaths of over 58,000 of my brothers mean something. I made it so we wouldn't make the same mistake again.

Stop the war. Make enough noise that you can't be ignored. Make a difference. Be counted in real time. Do something.Lastly, I watched a great show on Link TV, a satellite station on Direct TV, that also carries Democracy Now. If you don't already listen to it, check out Democracy Now on the TV or the radio, or read it on their website. This is the news that the government doesn't want you to listen to. This is the truth.

On this program last Friday night, I saw the show entitled, "Weapons of Mass Deception". Check out these sites and try to see this movie. They will show to you and prove to you how the government has lied to you about this war and how they steal your dignity from you by allowing you to believe that the war effort is a good one. I'm sure these stupid ass Senators that followed their political party were in on the ruse. They voted to not discuss it because it would end their cash flow that they get from their war machine investments. Go ahead, take a look Hereand Here.

Don't take this personally unless it raises the truth in your own life that you feel you haven't done enough and need to do more about bringing an end to War. If you think I'm talking about you and you do take it personally, don't shoot the messenger. Write a letter instead.

Peace to you all. I love you

May Peace prevail on the Sacred Earth Mother.
Posted by Spadoman at 10:44 AM 5 comments
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[WA:
Weapons of Mass Deception is available for rental at most video/game rental stores. It is available at Blockbuster Video rental; if your local store does not have it in stock, it can be rented via blockbusteronline@blockbuster.com at a nominal contract fee. Contract may be cancelled at any time. ]

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Monday, February 12, 2007

 

Bush: More Billions for War but Cut Veterans' Benefits

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16991516
11.3 percent hike proposed for Pentagon budget
Plus extra billions added to president’s 2008 budget for war costs
NBC VIDEO


• Will Congress balk at Iraq war budget?
Feb. 5: The White House wants roughly $100 billion on top of the $70 billion Congress has already provided. NBC's David Gregory reports.
Nightly News


Updated: 5:22 p.m. CT Feb 7, 2007
WASHINGTON - President Bush's 2008 budget request includes $624.6 billion in defense spending and marks the first time he has offered an estimate of how much the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will cost a year in advance.

On top of $93.4 billion in additional money for this year's war operations and $141.7 billion in projected war costs for next year, the administration is seeking $481.4 billion to run the Defense Department in the budget year beginning Oct. 1. That is an 11.3 percent increase over the $432 billion approved by Congress for this year. Also in the request for department spending is a little less than $2 billion for benefit programs.

For the first time, the Pentagon figures include what Bush wants to spend to fight the Iraq war, money that in past years was put in supplemental appropriations rather than the regular budget.

The Pentagon said the $141.7 billion in anticipated war costs for 2008 include not only the cost of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan but also the cost of repairing, replacing or replenishing equipment lost in combat by both the active-duty military as well as the National Guard and Reserve.

Though the proposed 2008 figure is less than the $170 billion being spent in 2007 on fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, White House spokesman Tony Fratto said that fact shouldn't be interpreted as an indication of likely reduction in U.S. troops in Iraq.

"We're not saying that the number for '08 is the final number," Fratto said. "We don't know that right now." He said it is "very, very difficult to project costs in future years."

The budget request, expected to undergo close scrutiny by a Democratic-controlled Congress that has grown increasingly opposed to Bush's Iraq war policy, includes no cancellations of major weapons programs.

Rep. Ike Skelton, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, called the proposed war costs "staggering."

"We cannot provide an adequate national defense on the cheap, but neither can we afford to simply ratify the president's request without performing the due diligence and oversight our Constitution requires," Skelton said.

The budget would provide a 3 percent pay raise for members of the military. In a statement released with the budget request, the Pentagon said military pay has increased by 32 percent since 2001, when the war on terror began.

Among the services, the Army would get $130.1 billion, a 20 percent increase over this year. The Air Force would get an 8 percent increase, to $136.6 billion; the Navy's budget would rise by 9 percent, to $119.3 billion, and the Marine Corps would rise 4.3 percent, to $20.5 billion.

Steven Kosiak, an analyst with the private Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, said the president's proposed increases bring the Defense Department budget back up to where it was during the 1980s, a peak period for Pentagon spending, when calculated in today's dollars.

"An 11.3 percent increase is the kind of increase we had right after 9/11 and in the four or five years of the (President) Reagan buildup," Kosiak said. "So by historical perspectives, it's a pretty big jump."

© 2007 The Associated Press.

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http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17117430

Veterans face budget increase, then big cuts
Some complain Bush trying to make long-term deficit figures look better.

WASHINGTON - The Bush administration’s budget assumes cuts to funding for veterans’ health care two years from now — even as badly wounded troops returning from Iraq could overwhelm the system.
Bush is using the cuts, critics say, to help fulfill his pledge to balance the budget by 2012. But even administration allies say the numbers are not real and are being used to make the overall budget picture look better.
After an increase sought for next year, the Bush budget would turn current trends on their head. Even though the cost of providing medical care to veterans has been growing rapidly — by more than 10 percent in many years — White House budget documents assume consecutive cutbacks in 2009 and 2010 and a freeze thereafter.

The proposed cuts are unrealistic in light of recent VA budget trends — its medical care budget has risen every year for two decades and 83 percent in the six years since Bush took office — sowing suspicion that the White House is simply making them up to make its long-term deficit figures look better.
“Either the administration is willingly proposing massive cuts in VA health care,” said Rep. Chet Edwards of Texas, chairman of the panel overseeing the VA’s budget. “Or its promise of a balanced budget by 2012 is based on completely unrealistic assumptions.”
Click for related content

Bush sends $2.9 trillion budget to Congress
A spokesman for Larry Craig, R-Idaho, the top Republican on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, called the White House moves another step in a longtime “budgeting game.”
“No one who is knowledgeable about VA budgeting issues anticipates any cuts to VA funding. None. Zero. Zip,” said Craig spokesman Jeff Schrade.
Edwards said that a more realistic estimate of veterans costs is $16 billion higher than the Bush estimate for 2012.
In fact, even the White House doesn’t seem serious about the numbers. It says the long-term budget numbers don’t represent actual administration policies. Similar cuts assumed in earlier budgets have been repealed.

Veteran Affairs

The veterans cuts, said White House budget office spokesman Sean Kevelighan, “don’t reflect any policy decisions. We’ll revisit them when we do the (future) budgets.”
The number of veterans coming into the VA health care system has been rising by about 5 percent a year as the number of people returning from Iraq with illnesses or injuries keep rising. Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans represent almost 5 percent of the VA’s patient caseload, and many are returning from battle with grievous injuries requiring costly care, such as traumatic brain injuries.
All told, the VA expects to treat about 5.8 million patients next year, including 263,000 veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan.
The White House budget office, however, assumes that the veterans’ medical services budget — up 83 percent since Bush took office and winning a big increase in Bush’s proposed 2008 budget — can absorb a 2 percent cut the following year and remain essentially frozen for three years in a row after that.
“It’s implausible,” Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., said of the budget projections.
The White House made virtually identical assumptions last year — a big increase in the first year of the budget and cuts for every year thereafter to veterans medical care. Now, the White House estimate for 2008 is more than $4 billion higher than Bush figured last year.
And the VA has been known to get short-term estimates wrong as well. Two years ago, Congress had to pass an emergency $1.5 billion infusion for veterans health programs for 2005 and added $2.7 billion to Bush’s request for 2006. The VA underestimated the number of veterans, including those from Iraq and Afghanistan, who were seeking care, as well as the cost of treatment and long-term care.
The budget for hospital and medical care for veterans is funded for the current year at $35.6 billion, and would rise to $39.6 billion in 2008 under Bush’s budget. That’s about 9 percent. But the budget faces a cut to $38.8 billion in 2009 and would hover around that level through 2012.
The cuts come even as the number of veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars is expected to increase 26 percent next year.
In Bush’s proposal to balance the budget by 2012, he’s assuming that spending on domestic agency operating budgets will increase by about 1 percent each year.

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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

 

AlterNet: 20 States Oppose Bush's Iraq Escalation

20 states demand congress stop iraq escalation

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20 States Oppose Bush's Iraq Escalation
http://www.alternet.org/story/47646

States all over the country take a stand and demand Congress use its power to stop the so-called "surge."
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AlterNet: Why they hate us [VIDEO]

run 'em off the road - and wonder why they hate us.

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Why they hate us [VIDEO]
http://www.alternet.org/bloggers/joshua/47676

Joshua Holland: a view of Baghdad courtesy of the U.S. military.
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Monday, February 05, 2007

 

IAVA GOES TO WASHINGTON

http://www.iava.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=blogcategory&id=65&Itemid=239
2007 Legislative Agenda
As the Iraq War enters its fifth year, our obligation to show real support for our troops and veterans is both a moral duty and a crucial component of our national security. For 2007, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America has developed the comprehensive IAVA Legislative Agenda to help legislators honor our men and women in uniform by addressing the real issues facing troops and new veterans. We look forward to working with the 110th Congress.
The IAVA Legislative Agenda covers four key areas: mental health, homecoming, health care, and government accountability. From these areas, we've chosen seven IAVA Legislative Priorities: actions Congress can take this session to show that they really support the men and women who have served and continue to serve in Iraq and Afghanistan. For complete details, please see the 2007 IAVA Legislative Agenda.
Introduction
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IAVA Legislative Priorities
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I. Mental Health
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II. Homecoming
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III. Health Care
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IV. Accountability
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Contact Us
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Tell Your Representatives
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Sections
Introduction" href="http://www.iava.org/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=2358&Itemid=239">Introduction
IAVA Legislative Priorities" href="http://www.iava.org/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=2359&Itemid=239">IAVA Legislative Priorities
I. Mental Health" href="http://www.iava.org/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=2360&Itemid=239">I. Mental Health
II. Homecoming" href="http://www.iava.org/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=2361&Itemid=239">II. Homecoming
III. Health Care" href="http://www.iava.org/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=2362&Itemid=239">III. Health Care
IV. Accountability" href="http://www.iava.org/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=2363&Itemid=239">IV. Accountability
Contact Us" href="http://www.iava.org/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=2364&Itemid=239">Contact Us
Tell Your Representatives" href="http://www.iava.org/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=2365&Itemid=239">Tell Your Representatives
Spread the Word

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