Sunday Roast: Veterans Day

Veterans Day is a United States holiday which honors ALL military veterans, living and dead.  Remembrance Day is commemorated on the same day in Britain, Canada, and several other countries, to remember those who died serving their countries, and marking the anniversary of the signing of the Armistice by the Germans at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, 1918, which ended World War I.

Please join TheZoo in honoring all who serve their countries in the military, and remembering those who never came home.

This is our daily open thread.

The Watering Hole, Thursday, September 20th, 2012: Veterans for Romney?

So far, the one and only yard sign for Mitt Romney that I’ve seen read “Veterans for Romney.” Since I cannot imagine any reason why any veterans would support Romney, I started looking for further information.

The website vetsforromney.com only leads to more confusion: it consists of a photo of Romney with some people dressed in military garb, and a section entitled “Our Platform”; here’s a few bits of said “platform”:

A Responsive Department of Veteran Affairs (VA): As with most government agencies, the VA is growing to become a behemoth…

[sigh – Mitt, keep ignoring those eight years increase in the size of the government under George W. Bush, and keep ignoring the provable fact that President Barack Obama cut several hundred thousand government jobs.]

National Defense: The strength of this nation is built on the bedrock of a strong national defense. They call it low hanging fruit. It’s easy to target defense spending as the first area of cuts. unchecked spending threatens the sovereignty of our nation. Excessive levels of debt disrupt all financial units – whether it be a family, a business or a local, state or federal government. But, the knee jerk reaction can not be to axe away at defense spending while the current administration is unwilling to even mention, let alone seriously consider, reductions in entitlement programs. The strength of this nation is built on the bedrock of a strong national defense.

[Okay, yeah, yeah, strength, bedrock, defense, enough! Mitt, quick question: how do you reconcile this sentence with the one that immediately follows? “It’s easy to target defense spending as the first area of cuts. unchecked spending threatens the sovereignty of our nation.”

However, that site led me to some interesting places. Clicking on “ISSUES” at the top brought me directly to…a page on Mitt Romney’s website. There is not one single word on this page regarding veterans, nor in the available links to a variety of “issues” (including “Human Capital”, a disgusting and degrading term.) So, Mitt, what about those veterans and military families?

Next…at the bottom of the “Issues” page is a box that says “Paid for by Romney for President, Inc.” I tried looking into “Romney for President, Inc” and found two sites: one which, oddly, lists Romney’s campaign staff along with brief bios of each; the second appears to be a business search site, simply listing the corporation, its address and a little contact info. Nothing there about veterans and their families, either.

One of the other tabs on the Romney site was labeled “COMMUNITIES”, which was where I found “Veterans and Military Families for Romney.” Aha! I thought: now I’ll find something about why veterans would support Mitt Romney. However, the page does not seem to have any actual Veterans and/or Military Families writing or speaking in support of Mitt Romney. Aside the usual requests for donations, and offers to purchase “Veterans for Romney” merchandise, the only mention of the military is a story about “National Military Voter Readiness Day”, which apparently occurred this past Saturday, September 15th.

The “NEWS/BLOG”, linked from the ‘Veterans for Romney’ website, appears to be a work that’s not in progress. Underneath its amateurish appearance, it at least gives a sort of time-capsule, there are some gems of information about Romney’s reign in Massachusetts, such as a 2007 report by the Gun Owners’ Action League (GOAL). Here’s an excerpt:

General Comments:
In the first months of the Romney administration the Governor isolated himself to all but a handful of close advisors most of whom came from the business community. This caused the Governor to make some rather serious political missteps that could have been avoided through better communications. However, relations dramatically improved and in the end, GOAL had more access to this administration than any other since the days of Governor Ed King in 1979.

Okay, STILL no mention of veterans and their families, jobs, the V.A., etc.

Either Mitt Romney doesn’t have a plan for America’s veterans and military families, or it is extremely well hidden.

I want someone to ask Mitt Romney to tell America’s veterans whether he approves of the Senate Republicans’ filibuster of the bipartisan Veterans Jobs Corps Bill killing it until next year. I want someone to ask Mitt Romney why he refuses to cut a dime from the bloated Defense budget, yet will be happy to cut “entitlements” and the “behemoth” V.A., which benefit veterans and active military personnel.

Again I ask, why “Veterans for Romney”?

This is our Open Thread. Speak Up on any topic that you choose.

Air Force Academy, Prayer Breakfasts and The Family

Air Force Academy Taps Member of “Lord’s Army” to Speak at National Prayer Luncheon

During the first two weeks of February, military bases and schools across the country will join dozens of other organizations in holding annual “prayer breakfasts” and luncheons in coordination with the controversial National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, DC

This has long been part of The Family’s agenda. These self-proclaimed “christians” have infiltrated the halls of power around the globe, using “prayer breakfasts.” Not satisfied with wooing politicians, they have encroached into various militaries.

The great question is, will there come a point when those “christians” in our military feel duty-bound to follow “christ” instead of the Commander in Chief? I believe the answer is “Yes.” There will be a mutiny in our military. The severity and extent is unknowable. Hopefully, it won’t be a Dr. Strangelove scenario.

Sunday Roast: The President’s Weekly Address

The President and Vice President have a sincere desire to do right by our veterans, and I hope they are able to get their ideas in place.  It’s the least we can do for the troops and families we put in harm’s way for no good reason at all.

Of course, it’s fun for the whole family, since the Republicans will bar or gut any program the Democrats want to put in place for the troops — all the while professing more love and respect for the troops than anyone else in the whole damned world.

What’s on your mind this fine morning?  This is the place to vent!

How You Pay For Military Proselytizing

Regardless of what your personal religious beliefs are, you are paying to have some of our soldiers preached to against their will, forced to attend religious concerts and events, and punished for exercising their Constitutional and Military rights to refuse to participate. The events are called “The Commanding General’s Spiritual Fitness Concert Series”, Continue reading

That was close..

The New York Times reports:

Top Bush administration officials in 2002 debated testing the Constitution by sending American troops into the suburbs of Buffalo to arrest a group of men suspected of plotting with Al Qaeda, according to former administration officials. (read story)

Cheney was all for it? Surprise, surprise. Some more familiar names crop up John Yoo or Alberto R. Gonzales. Condi was against it.

Your Constitution took a couple of hits during the Bush years, but this is proof how close they were to disband it altogether.

And this is what it was all about.

Former officials said the 2002 debate arose partly from Justice Department concerns that there might not be enough evidence to arrest and successfully prosecute the suspects in Lackawanna. Mr. Cheney, the officials said, had argued that the administration would need a lower threshold of evidence to declare them enemy combatants and keep them in military custody.

To think it would have been only “enemy combatants” who were the ultimate target of the “lower threshold of evidence” would be naive in the extreme. That was meant for you all.

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Right-Winger Thanks Bush for Somali Rescue

Well, didn’t you just know this was coming?

Andy Martin thanks President George W. Bush for rescuing the U.S. ship captain held hostage by Somali pirates

Obama’s “Somali” response sent a message of weakness to our enemies, says Martin

Liberal media again distort the true significance of the rescue [Ed. Did this guy ever hear of a period?]

(NEW YORK)(April 13, 2009) I don’t often have good things to say about former President George W. Bush. But today I want to thank him for the rescue of Captain Richard Phillips, held hostage by Somali criminals and rescued by the U. S. Navy.

The captain was rescued by George W. Bush’s Navy, not Barack Obama’s Navy.

That is why today I am alone in all of America’s media in singing the praises of President George W. Bush. He rescued Captain Phillips.

Well, Obama “proved” himself all right. He proved he is an uncertain and unsteady hand on the tiller.

Barack Obama proved he is the new Jimmy Carter.

Even though Obama has increased the size of the defense budget, it is not enough for these neocons. And the whole Obama Is a Muslim and Not An American Citizen is old and tired. Sorry, fellas, nobody is buying what you’re selling.

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General Craddock to retire?

There has been some movement in the case of NATO commander Craddock. Various generals have objected to his cavalier plan to kill Afghan opium growers summarily. He dumped his plans and is now seemingly on the road to retirement.

Der Spiegel updates on this earlier story:

On Jan. 30, General Bantz John Craddock gave up. On that day, the NATO High Commander retracted an order calling on troops fighting in Afghanistan with NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) to attack drug traffickers and facilities. Many of Craddock’s comrades found the order unpalatable — it explicitly directed NATO troops to kill those involved in the drug trade even if there was no proof that they supported insurgents fighting against NATO or Afghan security forces.

General Egon Ramms, from Germany, who heads up the NATO command center responsible for Afghanistan in Brunssum, the Netherlands, expressed his displeasure with the order as did US General David McKiernan, who heads up the NATO command in Afghanistan. Both felt that the order violated ISAF rules of engagement as well as international law.

According to Spiegel Craddock is attending a seminar for military retirees and not expected to stay in his role. Good

Pentagon Redefines Combat Disabilities – Wounded Vets Lose Benefits

Just when you think the government can’t possibly cause more problems for veterans than they already have, the Pentagon gives them a surprise and sinks to an all new low.

In a little-noticed regulation change in March, the military’s definition of combat-related disabilities was narrowed, costing some injured veterans thousands of dollars in lost benefits — and triggering outrage from veterans’ advocacy groups.

The Pentagon said the change was consistent with Congress’ intent when it passed a “wounded warrior” law in January. Narrowing the combat-related definition was necessary to preserve the “special distinction for those who incur disabilities while participating in the risk of combat, in contrast with those injured otherwise,” William J. Carr, deputy undersecretary of Defense, wrote in a letter to the 1.3-million-member Disabled American Veterans.

The men and women need to be given difficult problems and rigorous training so that when they get into combat they are better prepared and equipped for the circumstances they will encounter. Under such hard training you expect to have some injuries, and those who are injured should be treated the same as the veterans wounded in combat, because that is reason for training.

Participation in life-threatening duties while not necessarily related to combat should be a no brainer when it comes to health coverage for those injuries – if these functions were not performed by military personnel who does the Pentagon think is suppose to do the work?   Or should they think twice about taking the risk because, heaven forbid, if while performing their duties they get seriously injured the government isn’t going to pay for the surgeries that are required to correct the damage done.  Could the government get any more heartless in their interpretation.  This reminds me of the movie Article 99.

Marine Cpl. James Dixon was wounded twice in Iraq — by a roadside bomb and a land mine. He suffered a traumatic brain injury, a concussion, a dislocated hip and hearing loss. He was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Continue reading

He Proudly Served His Nation

Today is Veteran’s Day.  It’s a day of honoring those that served our nation, during peace and during war.

How well does our government treat its veterans?   During the Vietnam War, many veterans were exposed to Agent Orange… a known cancer causing agent.

The LA Times has a story of a veteran that survived the “Russian Roulette” of Vietnam, return home intact both physically and mentally only to die years later from a cancer that was caused by his exposure to Agent Orange.

He was also a member of the class of veterans that sued Dow Chemical Co., the manufacturer of Agent Orange. That lawsuit was settled when Dow agreed to pay millions of dollars into a fund to compensate those veterans who developed cancer from their exposure to Agent Orange. Although the settlement appeared reasonable at the time, the amount proved to be inadequate; the fund was exhausted by the time my friend became ill. A second and third lawsuit was dismissed by the judge who had presided over the first action. However, the findings made by the judge in his decision reveal a lot. Continue reading

With Solemn Pride

On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918, armistice began. World War I, The “Great War,” the war between the Entente Powers (the Allies) and the Central Powers (led by Germany) had finally come to an end. The next year, President Woodrow Wilson declared November 11, 1919, to be Armistice Day. His proclamation began, “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations….”
Continue reading

Britain ready to sign cluster bomb ban treaty

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In a surprising move Britain’s prime minister Gordon Brown has changed position in negotiating a cluster bomb ban. The negotiators are now advised to accept a ban including the Helicopter ammunitions M73 and M85. The only open questions left seems to be about the timeline of scrapping the bombs. Gordon Brown advised the abolition of the most dangerous cluster ammunition in Britain’s arsenal immediately. As pointed out yesterday, this opens questions about possible prosecution for British soldiers who fight along military still using the bombs, thus putting pressure on the US to stop using them in joint operations.

This is good news indeed!

For more, read:

The Times
The Guardian
The Telegraph
BBC-homepage

and , of course TheZoo

Deals with the Devil

(picture via: private.addcom.de/asiaphoto)

The Myanmar junta has brought the uprising of it’s people mostly under the control of their brutal riot police, it seems. There are some demonstrations going on, but information is scarce. A dear price has been paid by scores of buddhist monks and Burmese civilians. The International community failed even to condem the regime’s brutal attacks against its citizens. “The Guardian” takes a look behind the scenes and informs us about the reasons of China’s aid to the Generals.

But it’s not only the Chines who are dealing with the devil. The French, namely the oil/energy company “Total” are busily doing business with the generals. President Sarkozy has hypocritically asked French companies to freeze new investments, fully aware of the fact, that only Total is working in Myanmar and doesn’t plan any new investments anyway.

Good Morning from Europe – The Myanmar Horror

 (Via Mala, Switzerland)

Today the news is dominated by the situation in Myanmar, more and more countries protest against the brutal crack down on the protests there, but to little avail.

Myanmar: 

There is only very little information obtainable from Burma, as the military junta has closed down all internet traffic, land and mobile phone lines are down as well. There seem to be demonstrations still. However, the monks, who were leading the uprising up to now, are mostly missing from the scene. They are allegedly held in internment camps, it may well be they simply aren’t around any more. Please do not forget to visit “The Guardian’s” blog on this and the latest developments. Showing we’re interested and that there is a large international audience, are probably the only means we have, to offer our support to the Burmese people.

Japan is reeling from the pictures of the willful shooting of Mr Nagai a video journalist. The scene was captured by another camera. (The event is very upsetting, so feel free to skip this.)

Blackwater is at least partly responsible for the surge in violence in the Fallujah region 2004, says the US House of Representatives.

After the murder of Blackwater employees in Fallujah, US troops launched an offensive, which ultimately cost the lives of 36 US soldiers, 200 Iraqi insurgents and 600 Iraqi civilians. It turns out, that Blackwater disregarded warnings about the dire security situation in Fallujah, before sending in their men. While Blackwater is rightly blamed for a variety of their actions, the blame for the disastrous planning of the war, which led to the reliance on private mercenary armies, lies elsewhere.

More details as to the shooting that triggered the Blackwater Affair have come to light as well, read more here.

Have a good day and take care everybody!