Third Party & Independents Archives

December 27, 2005

2 stories: Alito - Spending Priorities

Spending Priorites:
Washington Post: : “The spiraling cost of post-traumatic stress disorder among war veterans has triggered a politically charged debate and ignited fears that the government is trying to limit expensive benefits for emotionally scarred troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

These are the kinds of irresponsible choices politicians force themselves into as a result of their pork-laden and wasteful, fraudulent, and abusive accomodations to big campaign donors and lobbyist's special interests. Sen Stevens of Alaska is just a figurehead for the rampant irresponsible spending in Congress that is forcing them to cut worthy spending and necessities as a result.

Alito:
Washington Post: : "Supreme Court nominee Samuel A. Alito Jr. once argued that the nation's top law enforcement official deserves blanket protection from lawsuits when acting in the name of national security, even when those actions involve the illegal wiretapping of American citizens, documents released yesterday show."

So, what we have here is a Supreme Court nominee who believes the law does not apply to the President. A court nominee who believes some folks are, and should be, above the law they swear to defend and protect. Can America afford such a justice on the Supreme Court? What happens when we get a really bad president? I mean worse than this one, if the Supreme Court says they are not bound by laws meant for everyone else?

Posted by David R. Remer at December 27, 2005 04:54 AM
Comments
Comment #107922

A court nominee who believes some folks are, and should be, above the law they swear to defend and protect

Didn’t Bill Clinton commit purjury and not even get a slap on the wrist?

In fact, doesn’t a large percent of this country think that him lying under oath to congress should never even have been prosecuted?

Gimme a break.

Posted by: Ynot at December 27, 2005 10:03 AM
Comment #107924

A Clinton comment first out-of-the-box?
How, cute, what grade are you in?

Posted by: Dave at December 27, 2005 10:11 AM
Comment #107928

Clinton did a good job as president and Clinton comments can be overdone, but we do need to bring up the comparison sometimes.

We have the real and the ideal world. In the real world, people make lots of mistakes and do foolish things. In the real world, nothing works exactly as intended.

In the ideal world we can make all sorts of contradictory things possible. We can stipulate omniscience and omnipotence. Anything less can be called an abysmal failure.

It is easy to find fault with George Bush by ideal measurements. The real world comparison has to be with other presidents. The most recent is Bill Clinton. If you didn’t require perfection from Bill Clinton, you can’t change the standard for George Bush without explaining why. That is why bringing up Clinton is valid.

Posted by: Jack at December 27, 2005 10:28 AM
Comment #107929

Regarding the 1st article on veteran’s disability due to PTSD, I expect their is some fraud in the system. However, I would also expect this is minimal and the costs manifesting themselves by and large are legitimate. This must not turn into the “Welfare queen in her Caddy” myth that pervaded the 1980’s. PTSD is real. It’s effecting hundreds of thousands of veteran’s today and God only knows what we’ll see as the current group of veteran’s start to muster out and return to society. Sometimes the costs of war escalate over time before they surface.

We should pay very close attention to administration and congressional action regarding veteran’s benefits. In my view, anyone, anyone who cuts veteran’s benefits by one dollar before exhausting all other spending cuts should be voted out of office. For goodness sake, we’ve asked so much of these people, to start chipping away at the benefits they’ve been promised is not just reprehensible, it’s immoral.

With respect to the second article on Samuel Alito, I’m not sure it makes any difference anymore what a judge thinks about this. The executive has in my view descended into an imperial presidency long before the current occupant of the White House arrived. FDR was a major abuser of presidential power, Johnson exploited the presidency regarding Viet Nam, Nixon, well enough said about him, Reagan with Iran Contra, and Bill Clinton all have exploited the office and basically told the other branches of government to go pound sand. Interestingly, President Clinton was one of the most active exploiters of the office. Whether it was attempting to enforce treaties that had not been ratified (i.e. The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, Kyoto) or to wage war (I.e. Bosnia and Serbia), the president exercised powers that are not explicitly called out in the Consitution. As long as we have a congress willing to go along with this type of behavior from the executive, then we’ll see more and more power assumed from the executive.

Senator William J. Fulbright was a long-time Senator from Arkansas and ironically enough a mentor to the aforementioned President Clinton. He wrote presciently in his book, “The Arrogance of Power” that “Whatever lip service might be paid to traditional forms, our Government would soon become what is has already come a long way toward becoming; and elective dictatorship, more or less complete over foreign policy and over those vast and expanding areas of our domestic life which in one way or another are related to or dependent upon the military establishment. If, in short, America is to become an empire, there is very little chance that it can avoid becoming a dictatorshp as well.”

Now, the former senator’s words were spawned from another conflict and another powerful President with a congress lined up to support his efforts. Lyndon Johnson had prior to 1967, essentially unanimous support for the war in Viet Nam. The ability for him to direct policy of this country was almost without challenge. Few people wanted to be viewed as “soft on communism”, and to start the “domino effect” of communist conquest across southeast asia.

The parallels to today’s situation are hauntingly similar. Few people in congress want to be seen as “Soft on Terrorism”. It takes some courage to stand up for your principles. I admire the President for doing so with respect to his beliefs, and I admire people like Dennis Kucinich for his stance on principle as well.

For an imperial presidency to be reigned in, we have to have a congress with the testosterone quotient high enough to pass legislation that will do so. One way of beginning to show the backbone necessary to do so is to oppose Alito’s confirmation. It’s not a matter of Alito ascending to the bench and affirming Bush’s actions that is troublesome. The more troubling issue will be if congress does nothing to curb the voracious appetite of this administration for more power. In November of this year, the voting public has a chance to be very clear with the congress regarding the checks and balances that the founder’s engineered into our system of Government. It’s important that these messages continue to be discussed throughout the primary season and up to the general election.

Posted by: Dennis at December 27, 2005 10:36 AM
Comment #107933

Jack,

Bringing up Clinton is purile in this context as it avoids discussion with the childish “Oh yeah!”

(1) The GOP budget pays for tax cuts to the wealthiest 1% of Americans and supplies $600 million dollars for an unwanted bridge at the expense of, among other things, medical support to psychologically damaged soldiers. Support the tax cuts and pork, yes or no?
(2) Alito supports strict immunity for gov’t officials even if they intentionally break the law. “Agree or not” is the topic. Is he a good choice? Because of or despite this?

What does that have to do with Clinton?

Posted by: Dave at December 27, 2005 10:55 AM
Comment #107941

Dave,

You know, I really get tired of 2 things.

1.) Clinton. Yes, he perjured himself. (Here’s the important part) Yes, he lost him license to practice law because of it. Slap on the wrist? Losing your license to practice law? Don’t think so.

2.) Dems saying that tax cuts were for the wealthiest 1% of the population. If so…please explain in great and exquisite detail how I got back $126 MORE this last year (2004) than the previous (2003). I did not file any different. I am NOT in the top 1%. But I got back more. I wait to hear the explaination.

Posted by: Jim T at December 27, 2005 11:21 AM
Comment #107943

Jim T,

I’ll answer after this questionairre:

What did you pre-pay as withholding, etc.. in each of those years? Did you withhold more so got back more?

What did you pay as pct of income gross/net each year? Did it go up or down as each category?

What were your deductibles in each of those years? New house or mortgage or property tax changes? Do you itemize now but not last year? Got a new kid? If jointly filing, what about the spouse? What about alimony/child care? Are you using cafe plans now?

Finally, who said only the wealthiest 1% got tax cuts? They got the lions share but not the only cuts.

Posted by: Dave at December 27, 2005 11:28 AM
Comment #107962

Every American who pays Federal taxes got a tax cut under the Bush plan.

The argument against tax cuts is unassailable but wrong headed.

If everyone gets the same percentage cut in taxes, the richest get more, since 1% of 10,000 is less than 1% of a 1,000,000. The Bush tax cuts actually helped the poorer people more in percentage terms, since various credits are phased out when you make more than certain amounts.

What the real argument is about is how much more the rich should pay in percentage terms. The rich already pay most of the Federal taxes and the poorest half of the population pays very little. Any across the board tax cut will reflect that. The lowest 20% of income earner actually get a positive return on their Federal taxes (i.e. they get more in credits than they pay in). You can’t cut that tax.

Posted by: Jack at December 27, 2005 12:13 PM
Comment #107965

Jack,

That’s all spin and rehashed pundit lies.

The wealthy pay far less as a percentage of their wealth than the rest of us. Thanks to Bush, they pay even less now. The middle class is paying more in taxes.
Further, if you include the reductions in benefits from Bush and his Congress, then the poor (receivers of benefits) lose out even more.

Posted by: Dave at December 27, 2005 12:19 PM
Comment #107983

Thank you Dennis for a rational and on-topic response to this article.

This is how it goes, observing others comments above. Dem’s sling the faults their own party members are guilty of, at Republicans, and vice versa, thereby justifiying both parties continuing to reserve their right to act above the law, abuse the law, and exalt such behavior is justified. This is insanity and America, the nation and her people continue to lose potential for remaining a great nation, a leader nation in the world, and a solvent nation in the future, as a result.

The November 2006 elections is the time Americans concerned for America’s future, can vote against both Democratic and Republican incumbents who perpetutate this destructive behavior aimed directly at our children’s future.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 27, 2005 01:05 PM
Comment #108000

Dave

How do you think that is even possible?

The rates rise with income. I suppose you think that rich are figuring out loopholes and I suppose they are. But the rich pay most of the taxes, as you can find from statistics. The top 20% of taxpayer pay about 65% of the total taxes. Their effective rate of taxation is around 27%. The richest 1% has an effective rate of around 33%. The effective rate for the lowest 20% is only 5.4%, by comparison. That is from a CBO study confirmed many other places. http://www.cbo.gov/showdoc.cfm?index=5746&sequence=0

Posted by: Jack at December 27, 2005 01:29 PM
Comment #108005

“The top 20% of taxpayer pay about 65% of the total taxes. “

They also have well over 90% of the money. So, why aren’t they paying well over 90% of the taxes?

Ya’ gotta get away from the quintile BS the rightypudits are spewing around Jack.

Posted by: Dave at December 27, 2005 01:34 PM
Comment #108052

So, Jack, in a system that seeks revenue from income, is it not appropriate that those with the most income pay the most tax revenue? Or should the immensely successful also be rewarded in addition to their wealth, by exemption from taxes which pay for the creation and maintenance of the society in which such wealth is possible?

And what has any of this to do with the article’s topic of spending priorities. Let’s try this. Do not our soldiers protect and defend the the very system and nation which permits such amassing of wealth, and shouldn’t the wealthy pay an extraordinary share of the costs for those veterans who protect those who benefit most from our society?

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 27, 2005 02:41 PM
Comment #108065

Dave,

Nope…made the same amount both years. Filed 1040-EZ both years. Made $126 more this last year in refund.

Should the rich pay more? Percentage? Actual money contribution? Sure! And more…and more…and more…and more until they have the same amount of money we do.

Only then can we truly be a Socialist society!

Posted by: Jim T at December 27, 2005 02:59 PM
Comment #108070

Concerning the VA and payments and the philosophical questions…

I am a 40% disabled vet. I started out as a 10% because a state veterans advocate asked me if I had any medical conditions related to military service. I answered that I did and forgot about it. I was there to see about getting help with my educational benefits under the GI bill. This was back in 1987.

I was surprised that I got the 10% and didn’t give it much thought. I was grateful that my country honored my service and took into considerations aspects of my service that would effect me for the rest of my life.

Since that time, the medical condition has worsened and that increased the amount of disability.

As mentioned in the article, a balance is trying to be found where we can treated and help vets depending on their needs, as a result of their service to our country.

I can attest to the almost automatic dissapproval of any benefit request. This, some believe, is done as a way of filtering out some of the less serious claims… those that need the services or benefits will not be put off and will appeal the disapproval. It can, however, filter out those that do need the service but are not willing to put up the fight for them as mentioned in the article.

I do not, for the life of me, see how any past President, or their actions, can be brought into the discussion.

Servicemen serve regardles of who is in office. They are not asked after each election whether or not they want to continue to serve under the newly elected President.

Whether or not a person views the war as justified, most rational people, even those against the war (which I was) do clearly understand that while they do not support the President’s choice, they can still care for and respect the soldiers serving.

This is exactly why I so disagree with politicizing the support of our soldiers with agreement or disagreement with a President. IT DOES NOT MATTER.

These people require the best that we can provide them because they served. Period. We need to make this the best we can with whatever the resources we can… a lot of resources or a little.

Please, do not politicize a soldier doing his duty into acceptance of one belief or another… that is unfair.

Posted by: Darren7160 at December 27, 2005 03:07 PM
Comment #108073

David,

Why aren’t the budgets of social programs growing? Why are they being cut back? Why does it seem like a program that helps get slashed from the federal budget? Why doesn’t the Veteran’s Administration have an extremely hefty budget to provide for care for veterans?

Good questions? Wanna know the answer?

Our budget is 2.2 trillion dollars (yes, even with those huge deficits).

Three (3) entitlement programs took up almost one-half (1/2!!!) of the federal budget this year. 1 trillion (trillion with a “t”) dollars were budgeted for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. And they are set to grow even larger as the “baby boom” generation retires. Soon, well over half of the budget will go to those entitlements.

Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

Wanna cut those? Wanna commit political suicide? Who wants to get their hand cut off throwing their hat into the ring on this one? Reps? Dems?

Posted by: Jim T at December 27, 2005 03:10 PM
Comment #108083

Darren7160,

I agree completely. To politicize our servicemen and women is wrong. Very wrong.

I agree that whatever the cost to the budget, our servicemen and women need and deserve the very best healthcare and treatment known.

The only reason we can sit here and discuss anything with a free exchange of ideas is because thousands of someones in blue coats died defeating thousands of others in red coats.

And whether it was blue coats or green coats or white coats, our military has always been the ones who stood on the wall guarding our freedoms…even the freedom to say something stupid.

Let’s do something. Let’s let someone ELSE build a bridge to nowhere. Let’s let someone ELSE fund another dam that no one needs. Let’s let someone ELSE pay for overseas advertising to promote American products. Let’s let someone ELSE fund a missile plant in a powerful senator’s home state.

Let’s take THAT money and help those that deserve it. Those that kept and are keeping us free.

Posted by: Jim T at December 27, 2005 03:23 PM
Comment #108085

Concerning tax cuts and percentages…

When I was in the service, the lower ranks were eledgible for food stamps depending on their marital status, off base versus on base housing and number of children.

The pay increases were always across the board pay increases. I wondered about that because,

The lower ranks were having difficulty making ends meet (especially when deployed which increased the demands on their limited funds) while the more senior ranks were not effected as badly.

It seemded to me that the pay increases should have been graduated across the pay grades to give the lower ranks a bit more breathing room.

For ease of calculation:

E-1 5% of 1,000 base pay is 1,050 $50 more
E-5 5% of 1,500 base pay is 1,575 $75 more
E-9 5% of 2,000 base pay is 2,100 $100 more

Please feel free to adjust the numbers to anything you want. But, the bottom line is to use the same percentage against a different base salary (or income) means a larger dollar amount the larger the base.

Obvious? I know. However, it does illustrate clearly that a simple percentage across the board does not equal the same significance.

I love percentages…. what is the difference between 1% milk and 2%?

One could say 1%
Another could say 100%

Posted by: Darren7160 at December 27, 2005 03:25 PM
Comment #108092

Jim T., a tremendous opportunity to rein in costs of Medicare through competitive bidding on its Rx drug plan, was rejected by Republicans. They had to pay back their Pharmaceutical CEO and shareholder buddies for all them campaign contributions. Remove Republicans from office, and we might just be able to make those programs more affordable and sustainable. Democrats aren’t much better, but, at least they are on the Pay as You Go, bandwagon which would vastly improve our fiscal policies over what Republicans have been following.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 27, 2005 03:31 PM
Comment #108094

Nope…made the same amount both years. Filed 1040-EZ both years. Made $126 more this last year in refund.
Posted by Jim T at December 27, 2005 02:59 PM
===============================================
How much did you pay in taxes as a percentage of your gross and net earnings is the real question. If you paid an extra $126 in withholding then got it back, you still paid the same in taxes.

Posted by: Dave at December 27, 2005 03:35 PM
Comment #108096

As to the second Washington Post article. I think it is important to note:

As a lawyer in the Reagan Justice Department, Alito said the attorney general must be free to take steps to protect the country from threats such as terrorism and espionage without fear of personal liability. But in a 1984 memo involving a case that dated to the Nixon administration, Alito also cautioned his superiors that the time may not be right to make that argument and urged a more incremental approach.

I’d also point out this was back in 1984 and that many Presidents including one of my favorites, President Carter, allowed wiretaps without warrants to happen under certain circumstances.

Even further in the same article it states:

“The label of ‘national security’ may cover a multitude of sins,” then-Justice Byron R. White wrote for the majority in 1985. “The danger that high federal officials will disregard constitutional rights in their zeal to protect the national security is sufficiently real to counsel against affording such officials an absolute immunity.”

That danger is still real today, yet I do not believe even Alito would give a free pass given the established position of the court on this issue.

Posted by: Lisa Renee at December 27, 2005 03:36 PM
Comment #108134

Dave,

Made the same amount of money…withheld the same amount…authorized no changes to withholding…same, same, same.

BTW…I got,like, a dollar or something back from the state gov. Thanks for nothing!

Posted by: Jim T at December 27, 2005 04:27 PM
Comment #108195

NOONE IS ABOVE THE LAW!
Not cops, judges, lawyers, politicians or anyone else. We’re ALL subject to the laws of the land.
I don’t care what Alito says. He needs to do a reality check if he really believes that cops shoudn’t be held responsible for their actions.
If he really believes this then he has NO business sitting on the highest court of the land.

Posted by: Ron Brown at December 27, 2005 07:52 PM
Comment #108197

Dave

Wealth produces income. We can tax income. Taxing wealth is not practical or desirable.

How do you measure wealth? Do you tax at its market value? What if the market value is unknown? Who gets to estimate? Do you give rebates? Maybe you had a portfolio worth a million dollars in 2000 that is worth ten dollars today? Should the government pay you? What if your wealth is something else that is not liquid? What about land (I assume your wealth tax would be beyond property taxes). Have you ever bought raw land? Were you sure what it was worth? I know some potential millionaires who can’t find $20 in cash. Their land is worth a lot - maybe. If the land is worth 500K as a farm or 5 million as a potential development, which is the tax?

We have a kind of a wealth tax in property taxes. Anything beyond that sounds good only to those who have not though it through or those who so hate people who have more money that they don’t care.

Wealth produces income. If it does not produce income it is only potential wealth. You can tax the income wealth produces.

We fundamentally disagree on this. It is good you are not in charge. You are interested in wealth redistribution. Programs like that have usually ended badly and bloodily. In order to tax wealth, you need a totalitarian state that will determine wealth from potential wealth.

I will stick to my quintiles and income. As I said, we won’t agree on this. But my view will prevail in law and in fact.

Posted by: Jack at December 27, 2005 07:58 PM
Comment #108203

Once again the vet gets lost in the shuffle to point the finger at one part of the other.

Thank you America. It makes me warm and fuzzy inside to see that your priorities are in place.

God bless us everyone.

Posted by: Darren7160 at December 27, 2005 08:45 PM
Comment #108209

Jack,

I do not believe in ‘re-distribution’ but I do believe that a role of gov’t is to ensure that the few don’t get it all. The people who think there are infinite resourses use the ‘redistribution’ republicanism strawman. Also, taxing wealth is plausible and practical, see FL state tax.

Darren,

Sorry if the veterens seem to have gotten lost in this thread. I’m interested in getting the vet paid for his service in terms of his/her care. Where to get the money? Apparently not from the rich if you ask the opposing group.

Posted by: Dave at December 27, 2005 09:11 PM
Comment #108214

Ron Brown,

I knew that somewhere, sometime there would be something we agree on:

NOONE IS ABOVE THE LAW!
Not cops, judges, lawyers, politicians or anyone else. We’re ALL subject to the laws of the land.
I don’t care what Alito says. He needs to do a reality check if he really believes that cops shoudn’t be held responsible for their actions.
If he really believes this then he has NO business sitting on the highest court of the land.
Posted by Ron Brown at December 27, 2005 07:52 PM

Worth repeating

Posted by: Dave at December 27, 2005 09:26 PM
Comment #108367

Dave
Everyone will agree once in awhile. Who knows, maybe sometime in the near future we might agree again.

Posted by: Ron Brown at December 28, 2005 10:03 AM
Comment #108378

“Sorry if the veterens seem to have gotten lost in this thread. I’m interested in getting the vet paid for his service in terms of his/her care.”

Just like the left did in the 90s for the vets with Gulf War Syndrome.
Thanks, but no thanks.

Posted by: kctim at December 28, 2005 10:24 AM
Comment #108392

It’s not the tax cuts for individual taxpayers that make the difference between being able to keep a VA hospital open or closing it.Maybe if the corporations in this country weren’t given the (actual)huge tax breaks we would have enough money to help our veterans (and everyone else).

Fair taxes

Representative Bill Thomas (R-22nd, CA), Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, has proposed a bill, H.R. 2896, that would grant corporations new tax breaks totaling $128 billion over the next decade. The Thomas proposal only offsets a portion of these new tax cuts, bringing the official ten-year price tag to $60 billion. In reality, however, the cost of these tax cuts will be far greater over the long term. The Thomas tax cut package uses budget gimmicks – like phasing in the tax cuts over the next decade and artificially scheduling some provisions to expire – to mask the true cost of the bill. After 2013, the last year included in official estimates of the bill’s cost, the tax breaks in H.R. 2896 will likely cost the federal government more than $120 billion per decade.

Bush quietly signs corporate tax-cut bill

Surge in Corporate welfare


Where’s the outrage at that?

Posted by: isisbless at December 28, 2005 10:57 AM
Comment #108417

kctim

“Just like the left did in the 90s for the vets with Gulf War Syndrome.
Thanks, but no thanks.”

Sir, I do appreciate your concern for the vets. However, making it a partisan position based upon what was done in the past by a particular group does not advance the issue, instead it becomes a tit-for-tat…. as in “Agent Orange” and which administration did what for whom.

I am a left-wing liberal democrat. They did not require me to make a loyality oath to a particular political party or specific President by name. They did not ask me if I agreed with the new President and wished to continue my service. Because of this, for one side to believe that they are more representative of the soilder/sailor/airman than the other denigrates my service and that of others who may not particularly support the party attempting to use them to promote a party agenda. On either side.

As too often happens, when people attempt to politicize the military is eventually leads to labeling those in the service who agree with us “Heros” while those that don’t as “Cowards.”

We could also look at one party’s extreme focus on multi-billion weapons systems at the expense of the welfare of the lower ranks who are at or under the poverty line. They are the ones that will have to maintain and use them.

We could look at another party that at the extreme also might want to pay someone a good enough wage that we sacrafice the quality of the equipment which will save his life.

If there ever was a non-partisan institution in America it would be the military ENLISTED ranks.

I believe that as Americans with an incredible wealth, we can do what is needed, regardless of political persuasion, to do what is right for the young men and women who served our country so they may get the help they legitimatlly require.

When it comes time for the cost of a new weapons system or to increase the safety of a soldier in the time of the bullets flying no one points a finger or worries about the cost… just how quickly can they be supplied.

Some might want to point fingers at the other because of the lack of eqipment but I do not condone that either.

… when it comes time to support those men and women once the bullets STOP flying it becomes partisan. At least this is the way it appears.

While people are looking at their tax returns to debate which program should be cut, or who should be taxed to pay for this care, no one is contacting their representatives on a state or national level and demanding the same level of care for our military that we expect during combat.

Posted by: Darren7160 at December 28, 2005 11:59 AM
Comment #108433

“no one is contacting their representatives on a state or national level and demanding the same level of care for our military that we expect during combat”

Thats right. NO ONE!
So if NO ONE, is interested in the troops, then my post is valid.
One side cannot pretend to support us now, when they were happy to ignore us in the 90s.

“If there ever was a non-partisan institution in America it would be the military ENLISTED ranks”

As a self proclaimed liberal democrat, you need to get your fellow members to work on that then. You want it to be a non-partisan issue? Then support them in a way in which they can not question your support.

“I believe that as Americans with an incredible wealth, we can do what is needed, regardless of political persuasion, to do what is right for the young men and women who served our country so they may get the help they legitimatlly require”

We have more than enough money to support the troops and our military is one of the best equipped in the world.
Its how we waste it that is the problem.
Excessive pay for ALL politicians, saving the latest tree humping squirrel fish, needles to druggies, lifetime welfare etc… all suck money from more deserving things such as the military.

You want the military to not be a partisan issue?
Then people should quit making the troops think it is.

Posted by: kctim at December 28, 2005 12:23 PM
Comment #108459

kcim, what an utterly one sided view of why the money isn’t there. I would go on about tax cuts as a contributing factor, but, what would be the point, right?

Darren7160, as a veteran who was lucky enough to never have a service related disability, but, one who worked in a military hosptital, I could not agree with your comments more. Those patients I worked with in a Psychiatric Hospital at Ft. Sam in 1974 and ‘75, were given the best of care we fellow soldiers could possibly provide.

I had occasion to visit the VA hospital in San Antionio a couple times after leaving the Army, and the difference was striking in some ways. Under any administration since, Viet Nam, I don’t think our troops have benefited from the full potential of thanks and respect which they should always have received after leaving the service. It is an ugly job many of them they do at our bidding, so ugly as to damage many of them as healthy, happy human beings in American society.

Politicians on both sides use our veterans as ping pong balls in their game, set, match, of D.C. politics, and that wouldn’t be so bad, if our veteran’s weren’t left wanting the due care and support they so richly deserve. But, they are left wanting, and incumbent politicians are responsible for that, and I can not vote for that kind of opportunistic politician anymore.

I truly believe, if enough Americans will vote anti-incumbent until American government and politics improves, such improvements will indeed be forthcoming. For nothing motivates a politician like reelection, and if reelection can’t be had, without responsible government and politics, then responsible government and politics is what they will deliver.

To date however, no matter how bad things get, Americans vote more than 94% of these incumbents back in office again and again. This is truly illogical voting behavior in my opinion. I hope Americans will reassume their rightful role as employer of politicians instead of allowing politicians to believe that campaign donors and lobbyist’s special interests are their employers. I hope voters will deliver this message in 2006, 2008, and 2010 by voting anti-incumbent. If they do, I know deep down, that America’s future, my daughter’s future in America, will be a brighter one.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 28, 2005 01:21 PM
Comment #108482

David
One sided? Waste is the ONLY reason why our taxes are so high.
Tax cuts would not even be needed if the govt spent our tax money properly.

“Under any administration since, Viet Nam, I don’t think our troops have benefited from the full potential of thanks and respect which they should always have received after leaving the service”

I agree with you guys. I too am a veteran and have seeked treatment at the VA from 96 to the present. There is no difference in the quality of care or treatment of patients, spanning those years.
We want the same thing for vets David and Darren, I just don’t see ever raising taxes when we have so much waste.

Posted by: kctim at December 28, 2005 02:24 PM
Comment #108488

But, kctim, that leaves us with Congress, as we speak, cutting the budget 40 billion, and cutting tax revenues more than 90 billion. This math is destroying our future. The way to lower taxes in the future is halting the deficits today. That is not what is happening in reality. Sure, there is a lot of lip service, and perhaps Bush will find his veto pen in 2008 and that one year out of 8, cut the deficit in half. But, even if he does, it leaves us with over 10 trillion dollars of national debt. That is double what it was when he came into office.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 28, 2005 02:32 PM
Comment #108535

Sir,

If no one is contacting their representatives then I don’t see how that can be because of Liberals. Are we so powerful as to prevent the Conservatives to contact their representatives? I am sorry, but I do not see the reasoning behind this supporting you statements, but if you care to clarify then I will be happy to read.

Again sir, are we limited, if we must digress and point fingers to an historical depth of only the 1990’s? May we also go back further? May we go to today when the Bush appointed head of the DVA FORGOT to include in the budget the funds to deal with the wounded from THIS WAR?

I had requested keeping to point, but you insist on making my contributions and points partisan so I will reply as such.

Sir, I have descirbed my reasons behind serving and my philosophy behind why I serve.

You either chose to ignore the significance of my statement that the military is non-partisan or chose to pretend that it doesn’t matter. It does.

If a person decides that the use of our military is wrong and he disagrees then it is not a reflection on the solider. Our soldiers are much more intelligent than you seem to want to give them credit for…

But, I can understand you wanting to make them silly little wind up toys or movie starts that need applause to feel good about what they are doing. Sir, it is appreciated, but not necessary for a professional volunteer to do what he is supposed to do.

That is one of the reasons so many soldiers are uncomfortable with their being praised and pointed out. They were doing their duty.

Which, THEY ALL understand is political debates are a protected freedom and make America great.

They are also very very much aware of the short term nature of the respect and admiration of the arm-chair patriot.

Sir, this will go across ALL POLITICAL ideologies. The American solider knows that the publics interst and support is only forefront in their minds when the bullets are flying.

Your insistance that speech should be limited and delineated between Patriotic (anything you believe) and Unpatriotic (anything you don’t believe) is not representative of our very First Amendment.

You are now bringing squirrels into this? Oh Dear…. here we go. Is this based on a financially conservative viewpoint or a Christian-Conservative viewpoint. I need to know.

How does support of our troops have anything to do with the environment? Come on. Please, do you know who signed the EPA into existance???????????????????

From a Christian-Conservative viewpoint… God gave us dominion over the animals and the land. Should we not treat his gift with respect?

If I gave my children a family heirloom to pass down to their children, I would be concerned if they did not treat it with respect so the coming generations could have it too!


You want the military to not be a partisan issue?
Then people should quit making the troops think it is.

Again, you really are showing your real contempt for the intelligence and dedication of the American Military Professional when you believe that he is so stupid that he doesn’t understand the underlying principles of what America stands for.

Wrap yourself in the flag and cite the concern of the military (why not the children while you are at it) and how YOU only know what American means and anyone that disagress is somehow morally responsible for the feelings of a highly trained, equiped and motivated troop.

If you cared, you would do anything you could to make sure that any death or wound is not in vain. Not one more dying than needs to die.

Some can say they are concerned about this and that is why the support the President…

The others can say they are concerned about this and that is why they want to propose alternatives.

Kerry was accused of being wishy-washy or a flip-flopper. Probably because he saw new or conflicting evidence to his opinion and he was intelligent enough to change his stance.

Bush never deviates, even in conflict with reality and people applaude him for his “steadfastness.”

That right there tells me the intellectual depth that you and your party wish to honor.

Thank you very much sir for ingorning my request to focus on the military and the attention our soldiers will need when back here.

Now, we are partisan.

And, which you also chose to ignore… I did state that I do not support ALL actions of beliefs of my party….

Know why? Because, I chose to think for myself (even if I have to cross pary lines to do it) and you don’t.

Now let the MUD Sling begin!!!

Cry Havok and Let Loose the Dogs of War!!!!!

Posted by: Darren7160 at December 28, 2005 03:55 PM
Comment #108543

I always thought post-traumatic stress syndrome the same way I think of Agent Orange. Its just another bleeding heart Liberal nonsense. Everybody knows its all fake like that Gulf-War Syndrome thing. Just ignore it and spend the money in tax cuts instead.

Posted by: Aldous at December 28, 2005 04:04 PM
Comment #108570

To tell the truth Dave, if Alito really thinks that cops shouldn’t be held responsible for their actions. He should have never been made a judge. Much less put on the Supreme Court.

Posted by: Ron Brown at December 28, 2005 04:33 PM
Comment #108574

I always thought post-traumatic stress syndrome the same way I think of Agent Orange. Its just another bleeding heart Liberal nonsense. Everybody knows its all fake like that Gulf-War Syndrome thing. Just ignore it and spend the money in tax cuts instead.

Posted by: Aldous at December 28, 2005 04:04 PM

That’s exactly what the bleeding heart liberials and eveyone else in government has been doing.
Ignoring it and spending money.

Posted by: Ron Brown at December 28, 2005 04:37 PM
Comment #108612

Darren
“Now let the MUD Sling begin!!!
Cry Havok and Let Loose the Dogs of War!!!!!”

Mud slinging teaches us nothing.

From Dave: Sorry if the veterens seem to have gotten lost in this thread. I’m interested in getting the vet paid for his service in terms of his/her care. Where to get the money? Apparently not from the rich if you ask the opposing group

From me: Just like the left did in the 90s for the vets with Gulf War Syndrome.
Thanks, but no thanks-

A simple retort to Daves post, where he suggested the “opposing group” doesnt care as much as his group.
NEITHER side cares about vets all that much. To say one does so more than the other, is wrong.
That is what I was saying.

Our military should NOT be a partisan issue, but, as you said, it has become one.
My post to you saying that the left really needed to work on their image when it concerns the troops is valid. The military vote shows that.

David’s Spending Priorities section clearly talks about vets and their benefits. These fears are nothing new and were around when I first left the military.
Non-partisan? Believe me, the left will try to get votes with this, even though they did the same thing to us in the 90s.
Its not about what is right, it is about getting the votes.

Now, I would be happy to respond to your last post to me if you would like to get into that.

btw: I’m not a Conservative and I’m an atheist, so those jabs dont get me riled up in any way.

Posted by: kctim at December 28, 2005 05:30 PM
Comment #108621

David
You forget, I don’t really support Bush all that much.

“The way to lower taxes in the future is halting the deficits today”

Well said. How we do that is where we differ.
I believe we need to get rid of ALL the waste. Not by raising taxes or blaming tax cuts.
Cutting waste should be the number one priority.

Posted by: kctim at December 28, 2005 05:39 PM
Comment #108658

kctim, you will have to define waste for me. We agree on the pork barrel spending for local projects having nothing to do with the national legislation being voted on. But, that waste is a drop in the bucket compared to the amount of spending that would have to be cut in order to keep up with tax cuts and zeroing out the deficit.

In this latest closed fiscal year one would be looking at something in the range of 600 billion dollars, if not more.

So, where are you going to find 600 billion in waste? I frankly don’t see it. Waste in terms of pork defined above does not even come to 1 billion dollars.

So what do you define as waste, kctim?

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 28, 2005 07:16 PM
Comment #108706

Waste? would that be anything that did not entail an approval by the conservative republican party?

Sadly, some need to check their opinions based upon the politically correct view of the republican party…

Then they have to research and reference a nasty remark towards a President of the opposition, if not then they just go to the environment or any other subject…

Then they have to find a way to cloak it in patriotism, while implying they are the only ones and sprinkle it with aspersions on the integrety of the other party.

Shake and serve.

David… honestly it is just easier to go the Republican Party Website because some people just are not going to think for themseves and will determine right and wrong through a prism as created by others.

Again, Kerry was condemed for chaging a postion based on the weight of evidence not supporting his belief, Bush doesn’t change regardless of the evidence (or consequences). Bush is the one respected. Go figure!

This tells me, if you are looking for a fair debate where you might be able to change a persons thoughts based on logic and evidence… you are wasting your time. Ain’t gonna happen.

Posted by: Darren7160 at December 28, 2005 09:55 PM
Comment #108888

David
Good question and one I’m sure that is different for each person.
I believe ALOT of our social programs are waste.
Special interest groups and faith based type of things.
This dumb war is costing us a ton.
I also think we should stop all money going to foreign countries.
I know these alone won’t fix things overnight, I believe they would get us on the right track.
Most of us agree that something must be done with the deficit. How we do it needs to be discussed.
Our reps have quit discussing and now only attack or work to please their party.
They need to work for the country, not against the people.

Posted by: kctim at December 29, 2005 10:17 AM
Comment #108981

kctim, I could not agree with you more on your last two sentences.

We are quickly being boxed into a corner. In less than 5 years, the debt and deficits are going to be viewed as one of the biggest threats facing our future. This of course will pressure politicians to make spending cuts.

In such times, cuts are necessary and mandated. But this trend of our Congress to make across the board cuts is abominable. As any person who manages a household budget knows, spending cuts must be prioritized so as to do the least harm. Our government has demonstrated they utterly lack that ability or even will to try.

This is in itself, very dangerous. Cutting too much of the wrong kind of spending can undercut consumerism in the US and in turn undercut our economic and job growth, perhaps even sending us into another recession. It seems however, that the only way Dem’s and Rep’s can muster sufficient support for spending cuts is make them across the board cuts, rather than targeted cuts aimed, as you suggest, at waste, for example.

This is why I truly believe the incumbents, who are locked into this partisan warfare and incapable of rational and sensible bi-partisan efforts, are the true enemy of our future. Replacing incumbents with politicians who recognize that incumbency will depend upon performance for the people’s issues, is I believe our one great hope of salvaging America’s future.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 29, 2005 03:02 PM
Comment #108986

I agree David.
But that corner is getting smaller and it may soon be too late.

The “replacing incumbents” is interesting. I’m being fair and giving it a chance. Been looking into the idea so that I can give it a fair shot.

Even though Darren and I were going in different directions and talking in circles to each other, I’m glad you stuck with your thread and gave me your input. Thx.

Posted by: kctim at December 29, 2005 03:52 PM
Comment #109004

Thank you, kctim.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 29, 2005 05:34 PM
Comment #109164

It was my hope to find a place to discuss and debate. Not listen to a rehash of what political pundits have already said.

Maybe this is the wrong blog site for that since way to many discussions want to argue from a specific party extreme instead of debating the issues or argument on its merits.

When one side or the other immedately comes out with a defense of something by citing the “sins” of the other fellow or President, it can be pretty much believed that consideration has been abandoned.

I do stand by my assertion, that VETs and their treatment should not be a political issue! No one party should be tyring to say that they are more pro Vet than the other.

Instead, a statesman (of which there are way too few) would discuss it in terms of an obvious AMERICAN issue and work towards a goal, rather than say that the other side has done this in the past, which shows their contempt for the VETS, and we want to do this and that.

Posted by: Darren7160 at December 30, 2005 09:02 AM
Comment #109174

A simple retort to Daves post, where he suggested the “opposing group” doesnt care as much as his group.
NEITHER side cares about vets all that much. To say one does so more than the other, is wrong.
That is what I was saying.
Posted by kctim at December 28, 2005 05:30 PM

I never said the “opposing side cared less”. I said they weren’t willing to give up tax cuts to those who don’t need gov’t benefits to pay for benefits of those who do.


Darren,
Unfortunately, benefits to those in need is nothing but a political issue. As in, “Who deserves those benefits and who pays for them?”

Posted by: Dave at December 30, 2005 10:03 AM
Comment #109195

Dave,
Political can just mean we need to cooperate within a political system for what is best for something too… a middle ground. I know that compromise has somehow become a dirty word in politics and that really is a shame.

I agree that benefits and who pays them needs to be considered.

When people talk from positions based on a political party they have a tendency to not want to address specifics… They attack the person wanting to discuss right off the bat as a “tax and spend Liberal”, “Un-patriotic, cares less for the vets because in the past…”

Back to my assertion that our military is probably the most non-partisan institution in our country. It has been used, and pretty successfully to intergrate minorities into the mainstream… work together towards a common goal regardless of political affiliation or religous beliefs… let each man or woman achieve the highest level they are capable of… and stay out of politics (with a few exceptions such as MacArthur and DDE).

I served in the military for 10 years and different Presidents. We did not care which party was in power or President we served. We knew that America was behind us… we did not care if someone wanted to use their rights and freedoms to speak out against how we were being used. That was their right… and the people I talked to and worked with understood this perfectly!!!

That was political and the military is not supposed have political say. As individuals, yes, we all could vote, but as an institution, we were responsible to the civilian government… that is why there is so little fear of a military coup in our country.

When it comes to specific needs or programs there isn’t discussion. One party will disaparage the program which shows me that they are not wanting to discuss particulars as to their position… should it be eliminated, maintained but altered? Is it too much? If so, how can it be changed and still meet the original intent?

I do not see specific, 1…2…3… solutions or suggestions to today’s problems, just more “Your President did this….” or “All your Liberals want to do is…”, or “All you conservatives want to ….”

I was hoping for a chance to air views based on each person’s perspective and best thoughts about issues… not party lines.

When I want to bring someone to my side of an argument I try, with varying levels of success, to find out what that person’s thoughts are on the issue. Then I attempt to persuade him point by point. If it immediately goes into a tot-for-tat finger pointing then one side trying to persuade the other based on the best argument is lost.

Somehow, it isn’t about what is best for America any more… it is about winning political battles in a winner take all war. Who loses? The American people that the government is supposed to be answering to.

Again, if a person is relying on a political party to do all their thinking for them, they can look at the Loooooooooong run and feel justified that by smashing the opponents (using whatever means necessary) this will eventually lead them to where THEY want America to go… because the opposing people are incapable of having a good idea or vision for America.

No one party, I believe, can meet every belief or concern of someone. It might be possible, but I see all issues being lumped together into a party…

A person can be fiscally conservative while being socially liberal. I may believe that we need to control spending but also concerned that some social issues are not being addressed, such as race relations and America’s ability to offer an equal opportunity to all peoples.

Possibly I could be an independant, but that dilutes my voice in a real world, two pary system. I would rather try to influence my party to work for what is best for America… but that does not mean that we have all the answers and I do disagree with some of the more far leaning beliefs… but my voice (and many other’s) get lost in the partisanship stereotyping of the majority from the extremes of both parties.

If they were children I would sit them all in the corner until they showed a bit more maturity.

Thanks

Posted by: Darren7160 at December 30, 2005 12:06 PM
Comment #109210

On a personal note… I just got my VA Disability check in the mail… and it went up like it usually does in Dec.

Thank you very much America!

Posted by: Darren7160 at December 30, 2005 01:24 PM
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