Thursday, November 10, 2011

Veterans issues and what overcompensating might cost the Dems

As Veterans Day approaches, a new survey paints a disturbing picture of US veterans. David Zucchino (Los Angeles Times) reports, "Veterans who become homeless tend to stay homeless for longer periods than nonveterans, according to a new national survey by a nonprofit advocacy group. They're also more likely to suffer from serious health conditions leading to death. The survey of 23,000 homeless people was released Tuesday by the 100,000 Homes Campaign, a nonprofit coalition of local community groups combating homelessness. The survey found that, although veterans make up 9% of the country's population, they accounted for more than 15% of the homeless people surveyed." Alex Branch (Fort Worth Star-Telegram) adds, "About 20 percent of homeless veterans were over 60, compared to 9 percent of non veterans. Iraq and Afghanistan veterans were more likely to face certain challenges. Twenty-seven percent of veterans of those wars reported traumatic brain injuries, compared to 19 percent of other veterans. Forty-six percent of Iraq/Afghanistan veterans needed mental health treatment, compared to 41 percent of other veterans." Also covering the report, Lana Bortolot (Wall St. Journal) notes, "The results portray veterans as worried about their ability to buy food, with nearly one in three concerned that they will have to turn to food stamps or government assistance. About one in 10 didn't have enough money to buy food in the past year, the report said."

Meanwhile in their efforts to worship at the crotch of the military-industrial complex, the Democrats are on the verge of passing a law that could help them the lose the Senate. The issues raised in the new study? Important ones. Promises need to be kept -- such as health care benefits. But to create a tiered system in the US with regards to hiring? At a time of economic crisis. When millions of Americans still can't find work and have exhausted their unemployment benefits, you're going to set up a system where in any hiring situation veterans will get a preference over non-veterans? Welcome to the United Junta of America, where all are not equal. And grasp that the voting pool that will be pleased with the preference is far smaller than the voting pool that will be pissed off.

Affirmative Action was needed (and I would argue it still is) but what created a backlash against the program wasn't what it accomplished. What created the backlash was that people didn't get jobs and some doing the hiring didn't have the guts to say, "We're not hiring you because . . ." leaving angry people with the impression that, had they been a certain group of people, they would have gotten a job. Or they were given a reason but human nature being what it is, a lot of people needed someone to blame when they didn't get a job and Affirmative Action became the way to go.

If the Democrats pass the hiring preference, you're going to have a lot of people pissed off. And not just right now. You're going to have children who can't vote right now who will be growing up in homes where a parent doesn't have a job and can't find one and the situation is very ripe for that parent to believe she or he would have gotten the job if they'd been a veteran. So every economci struggle that family faces will be pinned on that hiring preference.

In a democracy, all are supposed to be equal. Groups that have been historically discriminated against? By all means, measures should be taken to address that historic inequality (my opinion). But being in the military isn't supposed to be a discrimination. And creating 'super class' for hiring via legislation is really pathetic and goes against what a democracy is supposed to be. The highest unemployment rate today is young, African-American men and the Congress and the White House haven't done a damn thing to address that. But they'll go along with this because they are so pathetic and then we'll be back to post-Carter, where political scientists wonder if it's time for Democrats to give up on the White House and just try to control Congress. (After three losses in a row -- 1980, 1984 and 1988 -- that was suggested by the poli sci left.)

Larry Avila (Green Bay Press Gazette) explores
the pluses and minuses of the proposal. We'll note this from his discussion with Tammy Schultz:

If the tax credit were available today, and two job candidates with equal qualifications applied for a job with her company, but one was a veteran, the decision whom to hire would be clear.
"As a small business, and that was an opportunity presented to me to take advantage of, with no ramifications, it would be a deciding factor," Schultz said.
But remove the tax credit, regardless of a job candidate's military service history, and it would make no difference, she said.
"The person with the better experience would win out," Schultz said.
Schultz wonders if the plan would give an upper hand to veterans over the millions of other unemployed Americans seeking work.

Creating new training benefits for veterans, creating new grants for unemployed veterans, those things are fine. But if you grab ten people and tell nine of them that it doesn't matter what the experience or training is or what degrees they hold, that the tenth person is a veteran so that person's going to be hired and not them, you've got nine pissed off voters. And, in most cases, the veteran won't be hired ("in most cases" due to the small number of veterans when compared to the rest of the population) but the mythical veteran will be the fall guy/gal for those who didn't get hired, the excuse/rationalization for why they didn't get hired. Facts won't really matter at that point. Again, the Democrats would be very smart to drop that portion of the bill.

The following community sites -- plus The Diane Rehm Show (which is examining military issues including suicides today),, Susan's On Edge and Adam Kokesh -- updated last night and this morning:

We'll close with this from Sherwood Ross' "World Should Heed Murakami Warning on Nuclear Power" (The International News Magazine):

Terming Fukushima Japan's "second massive nuclear disaster," novelist Haruki Murakami said "this time no one dropped a bomb on us" but instead "we set the stage, we committed the crime with our own hands, we are destroying our own lands, and we are destroying our own lives."
"While we are the victims, we are also the perpetrators. We must fix our eyes on this fact," he continued. "If we fail to do so, we will inevitably repeat the same mistake again, somewhere else."
Murakami, whose novels "Norwegian Wood" and "The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle," among others, have given him a global following, made his comments in an interview with Evan Osnos which appears in the Oct. 17th issue of "The New Yorker" magazine.
Osnos writes about the Japanese response to the March 11th earthquake and the subsequent tidal waves that rocked the Fukushima Daichi Nuclear Power Station on Japan's Pacific coast.
He quotes then Prime Minister Naoto Kan as saying that he felt "Japan was facing the possibility of a collapse." Kan, 64, resigned last August amid widespread criticism that he had mishandled the Fukushima crisis.
As journalist Walter Brasch summarized in OpEdNews November 9th: "an earthquake measuring 9.0 on the Richter scale and the ensuing 50-foot high tsunami wave led to a meltdown of three of Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactors. Japan's nuclear regulatory agency reported that 31 radioactive isotopes were released. In contrast, 16 radioactive isotopes were released from the A-bomb that hit Hiroshima Aug. 6, 1945. The agency also reported that radioactive cesium released was almost 170 times the amount of the A-bomb, and that the release of radioactive Iodine-131 and Strontium-90 was about two to three times the level of the A-bomb."

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