Thursday, March 31, 2005

One State is not Forgetting Veterans, and It's Not a Red State

After dodging roadside bombs and avoiding heatstroke in Iraq and Afghanistan, many Oregon Army National Guard soldiers come home to another challenge -- unemployment.

About half of the latest wave of 700 returning Oregon Guardsmen didn't have civilian jobs before they were deployed, a U.S. Labor Department official said Tuesday. Other members of the 2nd Battalion, 162nd Infantry, which arrived home last week, lost their jobs while they were on active duty.

The high unemployment rate among Guard soldiers "certainly was a surprise to me," said Ron Cannon, the Labor Department's director of Veterans Employment and Training in Portland. "We're trying to put our finger on it." Oregon's overall unemployment rate stands at about 6.4 percent.

The numbers defy the traditional image of Guard soldiers as part-time reservists who leave civilian careers and families to serve when needed, then pick up where they left off when their tour ends.

The problem has prompted the Labor Department to offer Oregon a first-ever training program for returning soldiers, tutoring them on everything from how to craft a resume to how to dress for a job interview. And it moved Gov. Ted Kulongoski to publicly call on Oregon employers to "give 'em a job."

....Returning soldiers are going to have a tough enough time readjusting to civilian life after their extended tours overseas, the governor said at a news conference.

"They don't need to be worrying about whether they're going to be able to find a job or not," Kulongoski said. "The employers of the state can do this. All they have to do is step up to it, make it a priority, hire a vet."

By the way, Gov Kulongoski is a Democrat. See, what matters are actions, not words - see the title line at the top of this blog site.

Posted by a Vet -- -- permanent link

Monday, March 28, 2005

A Legacy of Forgetting

From the Civil War until the war in Iraq, the pattern has been familiar, and because the pattern has repeated and repeated, it’s all that more unforgivable. Presidents and the Congress have sent our young off to fight in wars, most of them supported by the citizens of this great country.

Yet a predictable disconnect takes place as these men (and now women) return from the battlefield, and many of them back to civilian life.

They are forgotten. They are our veterans – and their families. They no longer are a priority. They no longer grab the headlines. They parade once or twice a year and most everyone applauds them – and they are promptly forgotten again. They are used in elections, and they forgotten again.

The country has almost always promised veterans some sorts of support upon their return, and as they grow old, but somehow as time goes by, priorities change things, and veterans find themselves having to fight once more – this time for things promised as a payment for their sacrifices.

Too harsh of an indictment, you say. I don’t think so. Once again history is repeating itself, and if not for organizations who fight for veterans rights, veterans would be totally forgotten.

The old cliché holds true: the lessons of history not learned are doomed to be repeated.

The lessons from World War I are especially instructive.

More to come…

Posted by a Vet -- -- permanent link

Saturday, March 26, 2005

For Those of You Who Frequent Wendy's...

... you may want to rethink it...

I'm back, and I'll be blogging next week. Happy Easter!

Posted by a Vet -- -- permanent link

Friday, March 18, 2005

Catching Up...

I'm off to see my active duty son for a week. So, I'll blog a couple times from there - and the impressions I get from him. As I've mentioned before, he's been in several war zones, and I'm very proud of him. And when I return, I'm going to start reviewing the book, The Bonus Army by Paul Dickson & Thomas Allen, that came out last year. Every veteran should read it, and others interested in veterans' issues. A preview: What you'll find out is that we have a long documented history - going back at least to World War I and before - of trampling on our veterans, after asking them to go to war for us.

It's time it stopped.

Posted by a Vet -- -- permanent link

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

More Neocon Jackboots Appointed - Peter Principle Upheld

John Bolton to be our UN representative, and Paul Kill-em-all Wolfowitz to head the World Bank? What next, Hannibal Lechter put in charge of Health and Human Services, or Bernie Ebbers nominated for Secretary of the Treasury? How about the Gambino family put in charge of the Justice Dept? Or Tom Delay promoted to a new cabinet Department as Secretary of Ethics?

You think I'm mostly joking, don't you. I'm not.

Thanks to Buzzflash for the link

Posted by a Vet -- -- permanent link

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

A "Vision for U.S. National Security in the 21st Century" That Makes Sense...

...and it's not coming from the administration. Experienced and thoughtful veterans from Veterans for Common Sense, have put together a strategic plan for the future use of our military and the protection of our nation.

Read it here.

Posted by a Vet -- -- permanent link

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Now it Even Makes More 'Sense'...

Not only did a couple of dozen Dem senators join the compassionate' Repugs' vote for the Bancruptcy bill, but among them, I'm told, was none other than Harry Reid from Nevada, our minority leader (if true, he's no longer my party leader!). Forgotten in the hullabaloo of the bill are veterans, past and present, through no fault of their own, who now will have no recourse for events beyond their control - such as being called up from the National Guard and Reserves and serving much longer than their 'maximum' advertised deployment time - veterans now out of business or out of work. Yes there are those, veterans and others, who have abused bancruptcy, but most have no other options.

And now we know the "rest of the story" - kept out of initial reports. Not only was MNBA, the largest credit card company, and the largest of W's supporters, behind passage of the bill, but guess who now is the General Counsel for MNBA?

Louis Freeh - that's right, W's former FBI Director who left under fire to 'spend more time with his family' - and is now making millions of bucks spending more time with his family while getting W to help him do so - while practicing usury on the general public. How bad does it have to smell Repugs? It's disgusting - especially where the elderly and veterans are concerned.

How do you spell C-O-M-P-A-S-S-I-O-N-A-T-E, conservatives?

Posted by a Vet -- -- permanent link

Thursday, March 10, 2005

You've Got to be Kidding Me...

On the one hand, as reported on NPR this week, life threatening battlefield casualties have never been better handled logistically, to get badly wounded troops medivaced to trauma health care centers. On the other hand, it takes two U.S. senators to get our 'support-the-troops' administration off of it's bureaucratic tails:
Two senators have sent a letter to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld asking why U.S. troops in Iraq are operating without inexpensive tourniquets that can potentially save lives.

The letter from Sen. Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., and Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., obtained by ABC News, refers to a report in Sunday's edition of The Baltimore Sun that there has been a delay in getting new first-aid kits containing tourniquets to the troops.

"A number of our bravest military personnel have reportedly bled to death on the battlefield, and the experts have determined that putting a tourniquet in the hands of every soldier is a vital life-saving measure," the letter states. "Holding up the fielding of a life-saving medical kit simply to optimize its carrying pouch suggests a mindset oblivious to the wartime needs of our soldiers."

---Courtesy of Buzzflash

Posted by a Vet -- -- permanent link

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

To My Faithful (and Unfaithful?) Readers...

For the third time in three weeks, my hard drive has been virus- attacked, and crashed. The very smart folks who have fixed it each time said that because I'm doing all the possible preventative stuff reasonably well, something else is going on, perhaps just by connecting to a particular blog/site that I frequent. So for awhile, I'm going to cut down my surfing significantly to see if we can isolate the problem. I'll still be blogging.

But then Roger the techie asked offhand, "Is there anybody that really doesn't want you on the net?" And I answered, yes probably a lot of folks.

As I've said before here, I'm not one to jump on a conspiracy theory bandwagon, but just in case, I think some kind of a computer WMD would be nice response, don't you? I think I'll ask W if he can help me out and find one somewhere...

Posted by a Vet -- -- permanent link

Monday, March 07, 2005

'A History of the Bush Administration in One Sentence' William Pitt at Truthout

... and we're all under an 8-year 'sentence' of another sort...

Posted by a Vet -- -- permanent link

Friday, March 04, 2005

'Bad to Worse'

Republicans vote down military exemption to bankruptcy bill, add loopholes for rich

How is it you hypocrite Repugs can plaster magnetic yellow ribbons all over your cars when you, and the people you voted in, could care less about the troops? How do sleep at night? Maybe because you don't have a son or daughter in harm's way? What is your excuse?

Posted by a Vet -- -- permanent link

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Support the Troops....Oh, Yeah, Part 172

A bank is trying to foreclose on Sgt. Steve Welter's house in Osawatomie (KS), which is illegal. It is a violation of a 64-year-old federal law to foreclose on a soldier's property while he or she is at war.

Welter has been fighting in Iraq since September. Meanwhile, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage is threatening to foreclose on the house where his wife and three children live.

"And he's fighting in a war. And yet an American company is trying to take our home," said Keira Welter, Steve's wife.

The Soldiers' and Sailors' Civil Relief Act reads in part: "No sale, foreclosure or seizure of property ... shall be valid if made during the period of military service."

By the way, it's the Democrats who are trying to keep the troops from losing their shirts while away at war. W's new anti-bancruptcy law, which is close to passage, makes no provisions to support the troops who are losing their businesses and their livelihoods in support of the Pre-emptive Posse. Dems are trying to get the 'support-your-troop' Repubs to listen, with no response so far...

(Thanks to Veterans for Common Sense for the the link)

Posted by a Vet -- -- permanent link

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Sound Familiar?

There are those that refuse to learn from history, or insist that analogies don't hold, because the circumstances, details, and times are different. We ignore the past, and we make fools of ourselves. So for those of you that missed it yesterday, here is an excerpt from Thom Hartman's chilling reminder, that we forget the past at our own peril:

It started when the government, in the midst of an economic crisis, received reports of an imminent terrorist attack. A foreign ideologue had launched feeble attacks on a few famous buildings, but the media largely ignored his relatively small efforts. The intelligence services knew, however, that the odds were he would eventually succeed.

...He was a simpleton, some said, a cartoon character of a man who saw things in black-and-white terms and didn't have the intellect to understand the subtleties of running a nation in a complex and internationalist world.

...His coarse use of language - reflecting his political roots in a southernmost state - and his simplistic and often-inflammatory nationalistic rhetoric offended the aristocrats, foreign leaders, and the well-educated elite in the government and media. And, as a young man, he'd joined a secret society with an occult-sounding name and bizarre initiation rituals that involved skulls and human bones.

...Within four weeks of the terrorist attack, the nation's now-popular leader had pushed through legislation - in the name of combating terrorism and fighting the philosophy he said spawned it - that suspended constitutional guarantees of free speech, privacy, and habeas corpus. Police could now intercept mail and wiretap phones; suspected terrorists could be imprisoned without specific charges and without access to their lawyers; police could sneak into people's homes without warrants if the cases involved terrorism.


Posted by a Vet -- -- permanent link

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Dr. Death Gonzales Pushes to Extend Patriot Act

...Mr. Gonzales also said he expected the Justice Department to look for more aggressive ways to prosecute obscenity crimes

Speaking of obscenities Mr. Attorney General, let's start with your executions in Texas. And then let's talk about how you have put every one of our troops in jeopardy because you've decided the Geneva Conventions don't matter. And then finally let's talk about how you are finding ways to justify torture by sending prisoners to other countries to be 'questioned.'

That should keep you busy with obscenity for awhile.

Posted by a Vet -- -- permanent link