The military serve us 24/7/365 all across the world. Their's is a thankless task. When things are going well, we hardly know they are there. And when things go badly anywhere in the world, they're called upon to make sure that we as a nation are kept safe.
For doing such a life-threatening task, we should, at the very least lavish them with praise and thanks. Not that they're looking for it. But it's deserved.
Way too often we hear of the results of this constant stress that these brave souls endure and in many too many cases, the aftermath of those who crack. The human soul is fragile, and sometimes individuals crack or break. Whether this ends up being reported as an on base shooting, a suicide, a sexual attack or most commonly substance abuse, we can't desert them. We can't just turn our backs. They need support. Our support.
Returning vets are promised and need medical care, mental health counselling, reintegration therapy and understanding. Sadly our government hasn't kept up with that. Imagine we're the country with drones and satellite technology, but we still have a bulk of our returning vets records on hand prepared forms. The computerization of veterans benefits and payments lags an estimated 18 months behind. A vet returns and it's a year and a half before they are up to speed on their post release care, therapy, and promised benefits.
According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, a count on a January night in 2012, there were 62,619 Veterans who were homeless. This is just plain wrong.
Numbers of those returning with mental, emotional or substance dependency issues dwarf those numbers. From the National Institute of Health (NIH)
Alcohol abuse is the most prevalent problem and one which poses a significant health risk. A study of Army soldiers screened 3 to 4 months after returning from deployment to Iraq showed that 27 percent met criteria for alcohol abuse and were at increased risk for related harmful behaviors (e.g., drinking and driving, using illicit drugs).
Mental illness among military personnel is also a major concern. In another study of returning soldiers, clinicians identified 20 percent of active and 42 percent of reserve component soldiers as requiring mental health treatment.
So while Paul Ryan and his GOP budget cutters try to pare back the aid given to the military, think about how much we rely on our soldiers, and how little we really give them after we've taken four years from them in life altering stress. They serve for us. They volunteer. Let's volunteer back and help them out. Support more money for returning troops. Support Veterans programs.
Here's a feel good sample of what can happen when you truly do support our returning heroes:
Tell me he doesn't resemble Mark Walberg!
It's looking more and more likely the government is going to shut down on October first. From THE HILL:
Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said for the first time on Thursday that the House is unlikely to accept a clean spending bill from the Senate, increasing the chances of a government shutdown after Sept. 30.
“I don’t see that happening,” Boehner told reporters at a Capitol press conference.
So what does all that mean? Who's going to be out of a job? What departments are not going to be functioning? Will we still get mail?
First off, the only money we're talking about being affected in the government shut down is Discretionary spending. Mandatory spending and our interest payments are not affected.
We all know what the interest payments on our debt are. Those will be paid. Next, what are the mandatory payments which also will not be affected by the shutdown?
Mandatory spending makes up around two-thirds of the total federal budget. The largest mandatory program is Social Security, which comprises more than a third of mandatory spending and around 22 percent of the total federal budget.
Mandatory spending is largely made up of earned-benefit or entitlement programs, and the spending for those programs is determined by eligibility rules rather than the appropriations process.
So what's left is discretionary spending, those things that can and will be affected in a government shutdown. Let's take a look:
In this pie are education, housing, government (which includes congressional staff, but not the congressional members) veteran's benefits,health, international affairs, energy, transportation, food/agriculture and the biggest, with 57% of the money -- THE MILITARY.
Now understand this -- the President has the power to unilaterally make any spending decisions relating to our national security. Basically, he can keep the military money safe which of course he will do. But other governmental offices can and will be impacted. National parks,after school programs, even healthcare spending (outside of ACA - Obamacare -- as it falls under the mandatory spending funds and is untouchable a shutdown) will be effected immediately.
So, if this whole brouhaha is about Obamacare, it's not affected.
There's really a lot at stake here, though. We're all going to feel it's pinch. That's why we have to let our representatives know that we mean business in saying no government shutdown. If they vote to shut down our country, we have no choice but to vote to shut them down at the next election. Time to dust off those vocal cords and make our will known.
Tell your representatives that if you want to fix our government, go ahead. We're always looking for improvements. But we're not looking to shut down for them to play political games. It's petulant, childish and dangerous. Lives are at stake.
Ted Cruz and his cronies, John Boehner and his gang, they all say they want to do what the people want. Well here's what the people want, according to a Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013 CBS/NY Times Poll:
Is Threatening a Government Shutdown an Acceptable Way to Negotiate?
So perhaps, Mr. Boehner, Mr. Cruz and the rest of you Republican zanies might want to reconsider your actions. Even Republicans by a margin of 72% to 23% (same poll) don't want you to shut us down. Don't go thinking your safe in your gerrymandered districts, you're not going to be protected.
Earlier I posted, "Supreme Court appears poised to allow more of the wealthy few to buy elections." Huge, virtually unlimited contributions to political campaigns and corporate causes have taken a huge toll on democracy, corrupted our election system, and given way too much power to a very few wealthy donors. And now it may go from bad to worse.
With that, here is today's Los Angeles Times letters to the editor, because our voices matter:
Re "Patt Morrison Asks: Howard 'Buck' McKeon," Opinion, Sept. 18
Patt Morrison notes that Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon's (R-Santa Clarita) "campaigns have benefited from the district's aerospace and defense industries."
So when he asks for better funding for the military as chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, is he representing actual Americans or his contributors? This brings to mind the fox guarding the chicken coop.
Even with sequestration, the U.S. will have a military many times more powerful than that of any potential adversary. Under the spending cuts McKeon is seeking to reverse, we simply need to put our military in places around the world where it is actually needed.
McKeon and other "representatives" who are bankrolled by the military/industrial complex should recuse themselves from voting on the military budget.
Seymour R. Levin
McKeon sounds like the moth who got too close to the flame. And now he's lamenting the fact that his own military interests weren't exempted from sequestration. Talk about passing the buck.
The FBI's new director recently stated that because of funding cuts, his headquarters as well as field offices might have to close from time to time (except for skeleton crews) and that special agents might be furloughed. What's more important to McKeon — funding the FBI, which protects all Americans and has brought domestic terrorism suspects to justice, or bombing Syria?
McKeon voted for sequestration, and now he wants an exemption for the military. How about authoring some legislation to repeal the sequester?