Monday, February 23, 2009

Shoot them, shoot them all.

Army Charity Hoards Millions

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by: Jeff Donn, The Associated Press

photo
Pvt. Josh Bebbino looks at pamphlet for financial classes. An Associated Press investigation found that the Army has been stashing away funds meant to help soldiers and their families. (Photo: Victor Calzada / AP)

  
Fort Bliss, Texas - As soldiers stream home from Iraq and Afghanistan, the biggest charity inside the U.S. military has been stockpiling tens of millions of dollars meant to help put returning fighters back on their feet, an Associated Press investigation shows.

    Between 2003 and 2007 - as many military families dealt with long war deployments and increased numbers of home foreclosures - Army Emergency Relief grew into a $345 million behemoth. During those years, the charity packed away $117 million into its own reserves while spending just $64 million on direct aid, according to an AP analysis of its tax records.

    Tax-exempt and legally separate from the military, AER projects a facade of independence but really operates under close Army control. The massive nonprofit - funded predominantly by troops - allows superiors to squeeze soldiers for contributions; forces struggling soldiers to repay loans - sometimes delaying transfers and promotions; and too often violates its own rules by rewarding donors, such as giving free passes from physical training, the AP found.

    Founded in 1942, AER eases cash emergencies of active-duty soldiers and retirees and provides college scholarships for their families. Its emergency aid covers mortgage payments and food, car repairs, medical bills, travel to family funerals, and the like.
continued here: http://www.truthout.org/022309J

Sunday, February 22, 2009

help returning veterans

Copy and paste this or use whatever parts you like or add whatever you feel is appropriate and send it to your Congressman and Senators.
Where is the bailout money going?
Far too much of the bailout money has gone to failed Wall Street paper shufflers. These characters who sent our economy into a tailspin have gouged us like never before. Eighteen billion, four hundred thousand dollars were awarded to failed businessmen. The mismanaged corporations have purchased private jets with our tax dollars. It looks like the working class will have to wait for the trickle down. It's golden parachutes for the wealthy and golden showers for everyone else, including our returning veterans from wars in the Middle East.
With unemployment rising faster than hot air in Washington, and the specter of depression looming, Wall Street shysters giving themselves unqualified bloated bonuses are courting another Bastille Day followed by guillotines and head baskets. They just don't get it, and neither do the elected officials who gave these bums blank checks.
We have thousands of veterans returning from combat with slim prospects of finding gainful employment. Their health, mental and physical, is at risk, and funding for their well being and readjustment to civilian life is shortchanged so the wealthy who profited from the war can get smaller tax obligations and unwarranted bonuses.
There is class warfare going on, and the top one percent is not only winning, but winning at the expense of our brave men and women in uniform dedicated to preserving our way of life. Neglecting our returning soldiers is tempting fate and morally bankrupt. They deserve our best efforts to help the restore their lives and repair the damage done by combat.
We have money for the greedy who have no compunction about their feeling of entitlement. Wealth derived from inheritance or chicanery has no idea what our soldiers sacrifice for our well being. Contrary to Gordon Geko, greed is not good, and it's one of the primary factors that got us where we are today.


"With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations."
(Abraham Lincoln, Second Inaugural, March 4, 1865)

 

Saturday, February 21, 2009

nice rant

By Nance Greggs
Not for Nuthin’, Michelle Fry, But WTF have YOU been for the Past Eight Years?

According to a story which appeared on FOXNews.com today:
“Michelle Fry is a suburban Atlanta homeowner who has seen the value of her modest one-family home drop by more than half in the past year. She now sees a national mortgage bailout plan that appears to reward people who bought more house than they could afford and can't pay their bills. And she has a simple question for President Obama: "Why am I paying for them?"

Well, Michelle, I have a question for you: Where the fuck was your outrage when one George W. Bush, along with his ass-kissin’ party, were insisting that government oversight of anything and everything was detrimental to the nation’s economy (oh, and yeah, that would be the same economy that is in ruins right now, thanks to his policies.)

"We are very frustrated and scared," said Fry, 32, a newly expectant mother who works as a creative director for a public relations firm. Her husband Sam, 38, is a truck driver for a local printing company. Their combined household income is less than $100,000."

Wow, you’re scrapin’ by on less than $100,000 a year? Jesus H. Christ, I feel your pain. No doubt the people who are jobless, homeless, and bankrupt as a direct result of the BushCo Administration are cryin’ over your plight, even as we speak.

"My husband and I always discuss, 'Why do we try to better ourselves, when it seems if you do nothing, you get all the help in the world?'” she said.

Well, you got it, Michelle. All of those people who did nothing to better themselves – like banking officials who looked the other way while offering dream mortgages to people they knew couldn’t afford them – are now wondering where the help is going to come from. Ever try to switch from caviar to Caviar Helper? It’s a bitch.

“Middle class homeowners who worked hard, played by the rules and paid their mortgage bills and taxes on time are wondering out loud whether the government is interested in helping them, too.”

Yeah, exactly. As we all know, every last one of those citizens who were trapped by the fiscal irresponsibility of the past administration are ALL responsible for their own misfortune – kinda like the victims of Katrina in NOLA were ALL responsible for losing everything. Some people just have no sense of personal responsibility. Next thing you know, people responsible for torture will be denying they had anything to do with it – go figure.

“The president”, as reported by FOX-News, who are apparently still unaware that the title has gone back to warranting the use of a capital “P’, “took pains to defend his plan against critics who say it bails out irresponsible buyers who spent more than they could afford.”

"The plan I’m announcing focuses on rescuing families who have played by the rules and acted responsibly," Obama said. (That’s PRESIDENT OBAMA, isn’t it?) "It will not rescue the unscrupulous or irresponsible by throwing good taxpayer money after bad loans. And it will not reward folks who bought homes they knew from the beginning they would never be able to afford."

Whoa there. Am I hearing a capital-P President talking about irresponsible people NOT being rewarded for being irresponsible? That’s hope ‘n’ change I can live with. How about you, Me-Me-Michelle?

To put it bluntly – which, I have been told, is part of my charm – people like you make me retch. You live in fear that someone – anyone – might benefit from a single penny of your tax dollars. You spend restless nights tossing and turning, as you ponder the idea of some fellow citizen being rescued from financial ruin – as opposed to the nights you slept soundly when it was only unscrupulous, multi-million-dollar-a-year bonus-receiving CEOs who were raking in the dough, hand over fist, at the expense of the labourers who generated the profits that allowed for such excess.

Michelle, get a fucking grip already. There are fellow citizens out there who deserve a leg up in today’s disastrous economy – you know, people who are living in their cars and eating out of garbage bins behind fast-food restaurants, because the policies of the past eight years have left them bereft of any other chance at survival.

And try listening to something other than FOX-News – it’s not too late to open your eyes to the truth. You’ll recognize it when you see it – it will involve real people caught up in unreal circumstances, like trusting a fucking bank official when he says, “No, really, this will all work out to your benefit in the end. And don’t bother yourself with the fine print.”

I’m still retching here, Michelle. That’s because I’m living with the fact that people like you never read the fine print – until you think it might cost you a dime or two.

Here’s hoping you and the hubby manage to survive the economic crisis wrought by GWB and his cohorts – because while margarine is never a real substitute for butter, it will do in a pinch ...

… you fuckin' self-centered bitch.
source:  http://journals.democraticunderground.com/NanceGreggs/483

Friday, February 20, 2009

Nuremberg, USA

Why the Bush Cartel must be tried for crimes against humanity and treason
If we don't fight them now we'll be paying for eternity.
By McCamy Taylor
If the journal that follows looks familiar, you are not experiencing déjà vu . I wrote a journal almost exactly like this one called Nuremberg USA: Impeach Now So It Will Never Happen Again just about one year ago today. Since Congress did not do its job, our newly elected President has the task of preventing future presidents from carrying forward the policies that Dick Nixon, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush have enacted to strip this country’s citizens of their Constitutional liberties under guise of protecting us from (phantom) threats abroad or at home. Call it the War on Drugs or the War on Terrorism or the Cold War or the Vietnam War, the conflict is always the same----an endless exercise in futility against an enemy which is poorly defined on a battlefield that seems to be far away but which is, in fact, located in our own living rooms. The goal is the consolidation of power in the executive branch and the weakening of the legislative and judicial branches so that the corporations which run this country need only buy one individual, a puppet leader, and tell him how he will make us make more money for them.  I am going to make a prediction right now. The same people who cheered at the thought of dragging W. and Cheney from the White House are going to offer a great big Hold on there--- when I suggest that the current administration needs to take the first steps towards limiting the unchecked executive powers which previous administrations have seized for themselves. But that is our guy in the White House, now. It’s our power. We can limit those executive privileges the next time the Republicans win an election. Obama needs all the help he can get. .

That kind of thinking is exactly what the next Republican coup is counting on.

Nuremberg USA, Again

“The trail of Richard Nixon, if it happens, will amount to a de facto trial of the American Dream. The importance of Nixon now is not merely to get rid of him; that’s strictly political consideration…The real question is why we are forced to impeach a president elected by the largest margin in the history of presidential elections…The necessity of actually bringing Nixon to trial, in order to understand our reality in the same way the Nuremberg trials forced Germany to confront itself…” Hunter S. Thompson Fear and Loathing in Washington: The Boys in the Bag 1974 The Great Shark Hunt


Would the history of the American West have been different if the Andersonville Trial had been different? What a silly question. The mind of the United States would have to be different for that to happen. Especially in its early days, this country had a slash and burn mentality. You don’t like the place you are or what you have? Cut it down, pack up your belongings and move west to start over again.
more here:  http://journals.democraticunderground.com/McCamy%20Taylor/375

Saturday, February 14, 2009

An open letter to President Obama


Bipartisan approach can't win
As a former lifelong Republican, son of a co-founder of the Religious Right; my late evangelical leader father, Francis Schaeffer, I'm in a unique position to tell you a few things about the Republicans from inside perspective. (As you know I left that movement in the mid 1980s.)

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As someone who appeared numerous times on the 700 Club with Pat Robertson, as someone for whom Jerry Falwell used to send his private jet to bring me to speak at his college, as an author who had James Dobson giveaway 150,000 copies of my one of my fundamentalist "books" allow me to explain something: the Republican Party is controlled by two ideological groups. First, is the Religious Right. Second, are the neoconservatives. Both groups share one thing in common: they are driven by fear and paranoia. Between them there is no Republican "center" for you to appeal to, just two versions of hate-filled extremes.

The Religious Right supply the kind of people who at McCain and Palin rallies were yelling things such as "kill him" about you. That's the constituency to which your hand was extended when looking for compromise on your financial bailout bill.

There's only one thing that makes sense for you now. Mr. President, you need to forget a bipartisan approach and get on with the business of governing by winning each battle. You will never be able to work with the Republicans because they hate you. Believe me, Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter are the norm not the exception. James Dobson and the rest are praying for you to fail. The neoconservatives are gnashing their teeth and waiting for you to "sell out Israel" or "show weakness" in Afghanistan, whatever, so they can declare you a traitor.
Entire article here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/frank-schaeffer/an-open-letter-to-preside_b_165359.html

Trying to compromise with the insane is like trying to hold smoke in your hand.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

War is a racket

U.S. soldiers have long been used by our nation’s leaders and war profiteers as pawns in the service or their plans. Not only are they sent to foreign lands to fight and die, but they are used in numerous public relations stunts. When people criticize a war, especially during the Bush/Cheney administration, our leaders pretend that our criticisms are directed at “the troops” rather than at the leaders who started the war. When Democratic Congresspersons threaten to withhold funds for continuation of the war, they are accused of withholding funds for the protection of “our troops”.

These claims are of course absurd. Criticism of a war is almost always directed at those who create and propagate it – not at those who fight in it. And nothing would protect our troops more than to end the war and send them home. Yet, those who have an interest in the continuation of war never miss an opportunity to slam a war’s opponents as being unpatriotic and against “our troops”.


My perspective on war

When I was very young, like the vast majority of Americans I bought into the idea that it was always a good and patriotic thing to fight in American wars. My liberal parents told me that our country was on the side of virtue and justice in every war it had fought in. Undoubtedly, that’s what they were taught in school – just as I was. But with the onset of the Vietnam War (when I was a teenager) they actually became active in protesting against it.

One thing that makes it difficult to assess justifications for war is that the true motivations are rarely if ever publicly announced, and there are usually multiple true motivations. Different historical accounts provide so many different reasons for wars.

That said, my ideas on valid justifications for war are very similar to the justifications provided by the United Nations. I believe that self-defense and the stopping of genocide (or something similar) are the only two valid justifications for war. As such, the more I read the more I have come to realize that so many of our wars were not justified, contrary to what I had been taught. At this time, our only wars that I believe to have been justified were the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, World War II, and the war to stop the genocide in Kosovo. A very many of them were motivated largely by the worst kinds of motives, including war profiteering, imperialism and racism.

Therefore, I no longer believe in a draft – for my country or any other. I used to believe in it because it made sense to me that if people want the privileges of citizenship they should be required to pay for those privileges in times of great danger to their country. After all, how can a country exist if it doesn’t have the power to defend itself in times of need? But since I realized the extent to which war has been abused by our nation’s leaders through much of our history, I have come to feel differently. If a country can’t persuade its citizens voluntarily to fight for it when necessary, then maybe that country shouldn’t exist.


Our troops

In order for our nation’s war profiteers to be able to use our troops as pawns in their propaganda projects, they have to make them out to be so sacred that the least criticism of them, or even implied criticism, is seen as something akin to treason. Sometimes that is not very hard to do. For Americans who have been brought up to believe that the purpose of every American war is to protect them from a fate worse than death, it is easy to understand the unquestioned reverence they have for our troops. They believe that they are in great danger, and the only thing standing between them and a fate worse than death are our American soldiers.
more here:  http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=389x5000641

My response to the above article
A few decades back we were told we were bringing democracy to South East Asia. My inner conflict centered on the fact that we were taught in school that when people choose their government it's called democracy.
So here I was in someone else's land imposing my government's heavy hand on people who never lifted a finger to harm us. To effectuate this international domination at gunpoint we used small arms, claymore mines, mortars, artillery, helicopter gunships, jet fighters, heavy bombers and so on.
We were transformed from normal kids into trained killers, brainwashed to believe that we were saving the world from communist domination and ruthless dictators like Ho Chi Minh who enslaved their people and wanted to enslave Americans. There was the Domino Theory that gave justification to our aggression.
We went to Vietnam to protect the American Constitution, at least that's that's why we were told to take the oath. Although Antonin Scalia uses the Constitution for toilet paper and the Bush Administration did whatever it could to shred it, our Constitution still survives. Through all of it, our number one goal was to get home alive. Most of us did get to return home, albeit damaged.
By the standards set for us we succeeded. Communism stopped spreading (Reagan gets credit for this today), we still have a Constitution (although weakened by by fascists), and most of us made it home.
When something is imposed at gunpoint, democracy is not in the equation.
The short-peckered chest thumpers who were/are too chicken shit to fight wars from which they derive personal profit or a vicarious erection can, in the words of Dick "Chickenhawk" Cheney, go fuck themselves. And I'm still pissed off for what they did to us those many years ago.