Category Archives: Veterans

Scathing UN Report Condemns Trump and GOP for ‘Deliberately’ Driving Up Already Devastating Inequality

“At the end of the day, particularly in a rich country like the United States, the persistence of extreme poverty is a political choice made by those in power.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-1-2018

Rev. William Barber unveils Poor People’s Campaign’s list of demands at a rally in April. (Photo: Poor People’s Campaign/Twitter)

It is no secret that the United States has among the worst levels of inequality, poverty, and infant mortality of all wealthy nations, but a scathing new United Nations report (pdf) concludes that President Donald Trump and the GOP-controlled Congress are “deliberately” working to make these already devastating crises worse by waging war on the poor while lavishing the rich with massive tax cuts.

Highlighting the Trump administration’s push to dismantle the last vestiges of the American social safety net, Philip Alston—U.N. Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights and author of the new report—told the Guardian on Friday: “This is a systematic attack on America’s welfare program that is undermining the social safety net for those who can’t cope on their own. Once you start removing any sense of government commitment, you quickly move into cruelty.” Continue reading

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Hundreds Arrested Nationwide as Poor People’s Campaign Demands ‘End to the War Economy’

“We have a long history of wars against other people, mostly people of color, around the world. It’s time we stopped calling it the Defense Department and started calling it what it is: the Department of War.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-29-2018

In its demands unveiled last month, the Poor People’s Campaign called for “a reallocation of resources from the military budget to education, healthcare, jobs, and green infrastructure needs, and strengthening a Veterans Administration system that must remain public.” (Photo: Poor People’s Campaign/Twitter)

Inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s warning that “a nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom,” the Poor People’s Campaign launched its third week of action in cities nationwide on Tuesday with the aim of confronting the American war economy, which pours resources that could be used to provide healthcare and food to the poor at home into the killing of innocents aboad.

Hoisting signs that read “The War Economy Is Immoral” and “Ban Killer Drones,” demonstrators gathered at the capitol buildings of New York, North Carolina, Tennessee, and several other states to denounce a militaristic system that profits “every time a bomb is dropped on innocent people.” Continue reading

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This Memorial Day, support our troops by stopping the wars

By Kevin Basl. Published 5-25-2018 by People’s World

Vietnam Vets Against the War take part in an antiwar rally – 1970. Photo: flickr

“How do you motivate men and women to fight and die for a cause many of them don’t believe in, and whose purpose they can’t articulate?”

That’s what Phil Klay, author and U.S. Marine Corps veteran, asks in an essay published this month in The Atlantic. Unfortunately, he points out in a recent New York Times op-ed, “Serious discussion of foreign policy and the military’s role within it is often prohibited” by what he calls “patriotic correctness.”

In a well-functioning democracy, Klay argues, citizens must debate and question how their elected officials employ their military, an organization which ought to represent the values of the people. But it seems many Americans remain unconcerned about the wars the United States is currently fighting (at last count, we’re bombing at least seven countries) though they foot the bill both in tax dollars and lives. Continue reading

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House Approves $700B ‘Cash Cow for Weapons Companies’—But Single Payer ‘Too Expensive’

“What if we tell House Republicans and Democrats that North Korea wanted to close schools, take our healthcare away and pump CO2 into our air—we could suddenly, magically find $700 billion dollars for all of it.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for CommonDreams. Published 11-15-2017

“This is a massive cash cow for weapons companies, nothing more,” writes Alex Emmons of The Intercept. (Photo: mariordo59/Flickr/cc)

In a bipartisan show of support for endless war and out-of-control military spending, the House of Representatives on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved the nearly $700 billion National Defense Authorization Act of 2018 that aims to boost war outlays by $80 billion—an amount that critics noted would easily cover the costs of free public college tuition and other initiatives that are frequently dismissed as too expensive.

The final vote tally was 357-70, with 127 Democrats throwing their support behind the bill. Sixty-seven Democrats—including Reps. Barbara Lee of California, Keith Ellison of Minnesota, and John Conyers of Michigan—voted against the legislation. Continue reading

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Nation That Says It Can’t Afford Medicare for All Has Spent $5.6 Trillion on War Since 9/11

Because, as new study notes, wars force the question: “What we might have done differently with the money spent?”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for CommonDreams. Published 11-8-2017

“From the civilians harmed and displaced by violence, to the soldiers killed and wounded, to the children who play years later on roads and fields sown with improvised explosive devices and cluster bombs, no set of numbers can convey the human toll of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, or how they have spilled into the neighboring states of Syria and Pakistan, and come home to the U.S. and its allies in the form of wounded veterans and contractors,” the new report states. (Photo: Lynn Friedman/flickr/cc)

new analysis offers a damning assessment of the United States’ so-called global war on terror, and it includes a “staggering” estimated price tag for wars waged since 9/11—over $5.6 trillion.

The Costs of War Project at Brown University’s Watson Center says the figure—which covers the conflicts in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, and Pakistan from 2001 through 2018—is the equivalent of more than $23,386 per taxpayer. Continue reading

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After 16 Years, House Panel Takes Step to Cancel ‘Blank Check for Endless War’

‘The 2001 AUMF has provided three administrations with a blank check for war’

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-30-2017

“At long last, I am pleased that my Democratic and Republican colleagues supported my effort to put an end to the overly broad blank check for war that is the 2001 AUMF,” said Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.). (Photo: Alex Guerrero/flickr/cc)

A House committee on Thursday took a surprising—yet welcome—step towards canceling the “blank check for endless war.”

That’s because the Republican-controlled House Appropriations Committee passed a repeal of the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), which has been used justify ongoing military actions in regions around the world spanning the George W. Bush, Obama, and now Trump administrations.

The amendment to the 2018 Defense Appropriations Bill was put forth by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.)—the sole member of Congress to vote against the AUMF passed in the wake of the Sept. 11 attack—and would repeal the AUMF 240 days after enactment of the appropriations bill. Continue reading

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Disabled, Sick or Poor? Trump’s America is not for You

Trump’s contempt for disabilities became apparent early in his campaign. Now echoed by Ryan’s budget and the GOP’s pushing of a healthcare plan whose success depends on Americans with illness dying to save billions over the years in lowered medical costs, many are losing hope.

Written by John Benedict

Photo: fionao71/tumblr

I’m angry.

As an American who works for a company whose owner is disabled; as a coworker of a person who is disabled; as the son and nephew of disabled American Veterans; and the spouse of a person who receives RSDI income due to a disability; I’m sickened by the proposed 2018 Federal Budget put out by the Trump White House.

The current administration shows no regard for Americans with disabilities. Nor do they appear to care about anyone with a “pre-existing” medical condition. Nor do they care about anyone else who will lose their healthcare coverage when the Republicans figure out a way to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Oh, did I mention that they also plan on slashing spending on Medicaid,  the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the Childhood Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Social Security Disability Insurance, Social Security Benefits, and other programs?

Since when do we care so little about our fellow Americans that we would be willing to let them suffer and even die so that “we” can build up our already enormous stockpile of military weapons and be able to give each of the millionaires in the United States a nice $50,000 tax break (round numbers- if you happen to be a millionaire -your slice of what is left of the sick / disabled /or poor may be slightly different)?

I have paid taxes for 39 years to fund these programs. Now this administration tells me and the rest of the American taxpayers that we don’t need any safety nets. If you can’t work, well then , you don’t deserve to eat. If you are unfortunate enough to get hurt on the job, well then, it sucks to be you. You don’t deserve a “hand-out” from the insurance fund that you have paid into your entire working life. If your child has cancer that is being treated under your current insurance policy, and your employer decides to change insurance providers, well sorry about that, but that is a ‘pre-existing’ condition now and your new insurance won’t cover it, or it will up to a limit that you will surpass in a short amount of time, we can’t worry about that, because this country needs more bombs and missiles, and a tax cut for the millionaires who REALLY don’t care if that child of yours dies or not. Suck it up buttercup and get with the program. You and your well being JUST DON’T MATTER.

I love my county. I believe  the politicians that “We the People” elect are supposed to represent  all of us that comprise”We the People”. Not the Corporations (no matter what SCOTUS told us in the ‘Citizens’ United’ decision), and NOT just a small amount of “citizens”who have filled their campaign coffers. We need politicians who have the gumption to stand up against this budget which is nothing more than a vile attack on those who are poor, sick or disabled.

We as Americans deserve better. Much Better.

Related Article: No country for people with disabilities

About the Author:
John Benedict grew up in white, middle-class America when there still was such a thing. He has worked blue collar jobs for nearly 40 years. He grew up in a home where one parent who had a disability. He also is now married to a disabled spouse.

 

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‘Dangerous’ and ‘Dumb’: Trump Signs Executive Order Torching Regulations

“It will fundamentally change our government’s role from one of protecting the public to protecting corporate profits”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-30-2017

A demonstrator in Washington, D.C. holds a sign on Jan. 27, 2017. (Photo: Lorie Shaull/flickr/cc)

President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Monday that aims to slash regulations—an action, advocacy groups say, that puts lives at risk.

The order—the latest of a flurry since he took office—states that “for every one new regulation issued, at least two prior regulations be identified for elimination,” fulfilling a campaign promise he made.

“For fiscal year 2017, which is in progress, the heads of all agencies are directed that the total incremental cost of all new regulations, including repealed regulations, to be finalized this year shall be no greater than zero,” it adds. Continue reading

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A Message to Donald J. Trump

Inauguration (left,) vs Women’s March (right). Photo: Mashable (composite of EarthCam screengrabs)

You are now President of the United States of America.

We, the People, have already noticed a few things, and we’d like to tell you what you apparently are not being told by your “advisors.”

Your removal of the term “Civil Rights” from the White House website implies that these are no longer a concern to a man that was elected to serve ALL Americans, not just those that “look” like you.

Your removal of all information regarding Health Care from the same website implies that the health care of the people of this country is not important enough to you to even indicate what you plan to do now that measures have already been taken to effectively terminate coverage under the ACA.

Your removal of all discussion of Climate Change is a clear example that you are not willing to listen to science and reason when it comes to protecting America’s valuable resources for generations to come.

You attack through tweeting those that offend you, as though it makes you look “presidential.” It instead reveals the immature, narcissistic individual you are, one that must have instant gratification whenever a pimple in life appears on your ugly face of divisiveness.

You brag about assaulting women, and insult the victims of your misogyny.

You indicate you want the equivalent to a “Christian caliphate” in this country: emulating what the enemy is demanding makes one weak, not strong. Even 1st graders know that, Mr. President. It also validates what ISIS is doing.

You asked for military style parades during your inauguration, while veterans that have served go without medical care, homes or jobs. You have stated you intend to fly war planes over our cities to remind us that our military is great, while we feed homeless veterans living in our parks, the planes drowning out our conversations with them.

America is a nation of law. We are not governed by corporate organizational structures. You won’t get your way all the time, and you can’t scream “You’re Fired!” at everyone that sees things differently.

Your first act was to claw back a relief package for low to middle income mortgage holders that would have saved them on average $500 a year. That doesn’t sound like much money to you, but to the American people you are supposed to serve, it can make the difference between having a home and not having a home. You proved to these people your heartlessness right from the beginning of your term.

You claim to have a mandate. Let us remind you that you were elected by 46% of the vote, from which only 30% of the population even chose to participate in. This means, in fact, you hold office because only 14% of eligible voters in this country decided to vote for you, and many did so simply in objection to your opponent. This is not a mandate.

A MANDATE is what happened the day AFTER your inauguration, when the entire world sent you a rejection notice.

I expect you won’t like what I’ve said here, and so much so that you will try to shut this website down. That doesn’t matter, because you see, where I am is a place all of America is. You seem to think you hold the power to shut down the MINDS and CONSCIOUSNESS of every American, you DON’T. We won’t stop.

You seem to think that attacking media for reporting things you don’t like is your right. You appear to think that executive power includes control of the nation’s press. As an American and a journalist, let me remind you that your oath of office is to protect the US Constitution. You apparently are not familiar with that document, so here is the 1st Amendment to it, protecting the media from what you threaten them with. To act against the 1st Amendment is a violation of your oath and is an impeachable offense.

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Shape up, or we will ship you out as easily as you were shipped in.

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Rethinking The Cost of War

What if casualties don’t end on the battlefield, but extend to future generations? Our reporting this year suggests the government may not want to know the answer

By Mike Hixenbaugh for The Virginian-Pilot, and Charles Ornstein, ProPublica. Published 1-1-2017 by ProPublica

The Department of Veterans Affairs Building on Vermont Avenue in Washington, DC. (Photo: JeffOnWire/flickr/cc)

This story was co-published with The Virginian-Pilot.

There are many ways to measure the cost of U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War: In bombs (7 million tons), in dollars ($760 billion in today’s dollars) and in bodies (58,220).

Then there’s the price of caring for those who survived: Each year, the Department of Veterans Affairs spends more than $23 billion compensating Vietnam-era veterans for disabilities linked to their military service — a repayment of a debt that’s supported by most Americans.

But what if the casualties don’t end there? Continue reading

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