Bungling Banks get Billion$, Vets get the shaft

(Stupid WordPress didn’t put a link in for the Day by Day site.  So here it is: Day by Day)

So, the policy of the Obama administration seems to be, the bigger you fail, the more tax payer dollars you get.  AIG gets a hundreds of millions of bail out dollars, GM is about to get the same, and to help pay for all this, Obama wants to bill US veterans, particularly those wounded in combat for their medical bills.

Does this make any sense except to the nut cases in Berkley?  If there is one group of people that this country as a whole owes a nearly unpayable debt to, it is our veterans.  We, as a nation, should be paying for, with out question, whatever medical treatment these men and women need.  How can anyone think that having these people, who we have asked to risk the ultimate sacrifice for us, pay up front for their service related medical costs is “fair” or “just” or even sensible?

How’s this for a thought.  Instead of spending billions on chowder heads like AIG and GM, we instead use that money to fund the VA?  Let the big corporations fall apart into hundreds of little companies.  That’s how it supposed to happen.  And then let us pay off the real debts we owe to people who deserve to be repaid.

Several veterans organizations have sent a letter of protest to Obama over this.  They even had a meeting with Obama, Rahm Emmauel, Gen. Shinseki, and a couple of nigh useless bean counters.  From the news reports, the meeting was not very constructive, as American Legion National Commander David Rehbein came out of it “disappointed.”  You can read the actual letter HERE, and it is signed by the presidents of: The American Legion, AMVETS (American Veterans), Blinded Veterans Association, Disabled American Veterans, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Jewish War Veterans of the USA, Military Officers Association of America, Military Order of the Purple Heart of the U.S.A. inc, Paralyzed Veterans of America, Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, Vietnam Veterans of America inc.

I still can’t wrap my head around this one.  It makes no sense what so ever.  More so in the whole “we support the troops” mantra that gets espoused.  This is not how you support the troops folks.  This is how you disuade them from stepping up when the time comes.  This is how you weaken the very people who defend this nation.  This is a morale killer people.  The worst thing is, it comes from our own government, not from enemy action.

Some links for those interested:

American Legion

VFW

AMVETS

Blinded Veterans Asscoiation

Disabled American Veterans

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America

Jewish War Veterans of the USA

Military Officers Asscoiation of America

Military Order of the Purple Heart of the U.S.A. INC

Paralyzed Veterans of America

Vietnam Veterans of America INC

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OK, So I’ve been lazy of late

And I haven’t done much of anything with this blog in quite some time.  Sue me.  I’m not one of those whose entire existence, whose sole self worth is determined by the number of hits I get here.  This is a place where I get to sound off when  I so feel like it.  I am not compelled to post daily, nor do I have any sort of need to do so.  I post when I like, about what I want.

That said, I have had thinsg to post of late, from PS3 game reviews, to Bluray movie comments, even to some political ramblings.  I just never quite got around to it.  I think I’ll get to it this week, or maybe weekend.  But as a teaser, for those that care (all 5 of you I’d guess), these will include:

PS3 games: Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe; Call of Duty: World at War

Bluray Movies: The Dark Knight; Resident Evil-Degeneration; Hellboy II; Event Horizon

On the political front: Kirsten Gillibrand’s appointment to the US Senate; Who will replace her in the 20th Congressional district; the “bail out”; the farce that the Minnesota Senate race has become; Joe Bruno’s “indictment”.

That should keep enough posts coming for a few days…

Obama now President elect

Barrack Obama is now the President elect of the United States.  Congratululations to him on his victory.  He got the votes, and he will be sworn in as our next Presient in January.

While I am not pleased with the outcome of the election, it is done and over.  Barring an unforeseen situation, he will become the next President.  It is now up to us, the voters, of all persuassions, to keep Obama and his cohorts in the Congress on track, and yes, in check. 

Obama and the Democrats have now been handed the keys to the Kingdom.  Now we shall see what they do over the next two years.  You see, two years is all they can count on, as the next Congressional elections will be in 2010.  Obama and the Democrats will have to work a lot of miracles over those two years, or face the wrath of an electorate that will turn their cyicism on them like the did the GOP in 2006. 

A person on a message board I regularly post on was worried that expectations may be too high for Obama and the Democrats, and she is an ardent Democrat.  Of course the Obama campaign was already laying the ground work for “reduced expectations” several weeks ago.  But a great mahy of Obama’s supporters have extremely high, and unreasonable, and unrealistic expectations of what will happen. 

Two years.  Everything will have to go perfectly for Obama and the Democrats over those two years if they hope to carry on beyond that.  The economy will not only have to rebound, but accelerate.  There can be no international crisis, especially not one of a violent nature.  Al-Qaeda will have to remain silent (web videos don’t count).  They will have to meet every voters wants and desires.  If they don’t, the electorate will turn on them.  They’ve done it before, they’ll do it again.  Americans are fickle, self indulgent people, who only care about “what have you done for me lately.”  With control of Congress, and the White House, the Democrats will have no one to blame if things don’t go as well as expectations.  It’s put up or shut up for them.

The word mandate is being bandied about in some quarters.  Sorry, but no, this is not the case.  The numbers don’t support that concept.  For that matter, very few Presidents have ever had a mandate, the last being Reagan in 1984 (and maybe Johnson in 64).  I have not yet poured over all the numbers as yet, mainly because they’re not all available as yet, but a mandate is not indictaed.  Too many close races, too many states were close (vote wise, not percentage wise) that a mandate cannot be concluded.

“Always in motion is the future.”  Yoda said that.  Even though it came form a muppet in a movie, it still is true.  We cannot control the future.  We can’t even predict it much (all you Edgar Cayce fans just go away now please).  Even so, I will get a smug smirk on my face when things don’t suddenly become all wine and roses (or is that Rojas?) next January.  The excuses as to why should be entertaining as well.

Another 9/11 Anniversary has come to pass

*Sigh*

Here we are again, now 7 years on.  The Anniversary of the 9-11 attacks is here, and we have forgotten already.  Oh, not all of us have forgotten, but that’s mainly those who had to deal dirctly with what happened that day.  The vast majority of Americans, and the world, have pushed those memories aside, they have fortgotten what it was like that day.

The fact of the matter is, you either remember or you don’t want to.  Most don’t want to.  It’s too painful, too inconvienient.  And we are worse off for that.  Set aside the politicians, the leaders, those who got the “face time” on TV.  Ignore the pundits and the talking heads on TV and radio.  They will dominate the airwaves, for what little coverage there will be today.  Instead, go to one of the lists of the dead from that day.  All those people who never held public office, or got a cushy job reading the news, or expounding on the days events. 

There were, and are, plenty of great stories from that day.  While most may not be “movie of the week” type stuff, it is none the less real actions by real people.  It’s simple stuff that goes unrecognized, unrewarded, and virtually unknown to the masses.  We over look them, in part because what they did, or do, is “expected” of them, or worse, because they’re not “politically correct.”

So we ignore what’s inconvienient to our world views.  We push aside anything that may interfere with an agenda.  We seek to minimalize loss to further an unrelated goal.  So we minimalize the rememberance of events.  We did with Pearl Harbor.  We’re doing it with 9-11. 

It’s yesterday’s news.  It’s “not relevant anymore.”  After all, it’s just another Thursday right?

RIP Ken Marino, Rescue 1 NYFD.  Father, husband, sports fan, and fellow Stratomatic player.

Putin’s Paranoia

So, you think foreign personages and governments aren’t trying to infuence the US Presidential election?

Just look at the latest exposition from Soviet Russian leader Vladimir Putin.  According to Putin, the US orchestrated the conflict in Georgia.  To what end?  Why to give a Presidential candidate a “talking point” of course.  It was all done to take a slap at the Russians, and to give McCain a boost.  Uh-huh.  I think Vlad needs to stop reading disinfo.com every day.

This is patently ridiculous.  Only the Russians stood to gain anything from the conflict over South Ossetia.  The impact on the US election will be minimal, if any at all.  But the Russians stood to regain dominance in the region.  They stood to gain effective control over Georgia by splitting it in two, controlling the main road and rail ways across the country.  The Russians stood to gain effective control over the oil pipe lines running through Georgia. 

No, this has little, if anything to do with US politics.  This is all about classic Russian ambitions.  The dreams of empire, which did not die with the USSR, are still alive and well.  And with an ex-KGB thug like Putin in charge, the Russian’s have been rather active in re-establishing their control and dominance over the former Republics.  Georgia is not alone, just that they’ve been the ones to get the Poland-Czechoslovakia treatment so far.

The Russians have been pushing hard on many of the former Soviet Republics.  The Baltic nations of Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania have all received heavy political and economic pressure from Moscow.  The Ukraine and Belarus have received more “active” pressures.  The Central Asian republics (Tajikistan, Khazhakistan, etc) have all been pressured by Moscow.  Their independence, their soveriegnty is irrelevant ot Moscow.  as far as the Kremlin nudniks are concerned, they’re all Russian possessions, they just don’t know it yet.

This policy is nothing new.  It’s old.  It goes all the way back to the time before there was a Russia, just warring Duchies and smaller kingdoms.  It begins with the ambitions of Novgorod and the Duchy of Moscow, and who would be the inheritors of the Byzantine Empire (setting aside Greece and Trabizond).  From then on, it has been about Empire, and expanding the empire.  Even under the defunct USSR, this was the policy, though expansion was often referred to as “buffer zones.” 

And this doesn’t even bring up the hypocrisy of Moscow as regards South Ossetia.  Compare what happened in South Ossetia with what happened in Chechnya.  Same thing, only the sides were drawn differently.  What Chechnya did was “illegal,” and “needed to be repressed.”  But the South Ossetians were “justified,” and “needed to be protected.”  So, aspirations of Chechnyians was not OK, but the aspirations of South Ossetians is OK.  The difference?  The Russians stood to gain from South Ossetia, and lose in Chechnya.

It should be noted that the EU, and its composite nations, have had a more active response to the Georgian crisis than has the USA.  They have taken a rather active stance in opposition to the Russian moves.  Well, except for the “old left” on the continent.  But this is only natural, as the EU borders Russia, and has some many deals in teh works with the Russsians.  In addition, the former Warsaw Pact nations, notably Poland, Hungary, and Romania, are all looking at the Russians anew in old ways.

And now the UN Security Council is meeting on the Georgian situation.  Not that anything will come out of that.  The Russians do have a veto there.  But it is an indication of what sort of hit the Russians will be taking for this.  It won’t just be the UN, or bad press.

The invasion of Georgia threatens a good deal for the Russians.  The natural gas/petroleum deal with Germany is up in the air.  Poland, which had been backing off the US missile defense plan, now has signed on.  The Baltics are ramping up their push to join NATO.  Georgia was on the verge of membership in NATO, which has also upset the EU.  The relations between Moscow and the former Soviet republics has taken a turn towards the tense.  They’re worried they may be next.  Former Eastern Bloc nations are looking to the EU and the USA to help fend off Russian expansionism.

Almost single handedly, Putin has pushed relations between Moscow and the world back 20 years, to the era before Glasnost and Perestroika.  Then again, you may be able to take the boy out of the KGB, but you can’t take the KGB out of the boy.

Interesting History

http://edition.cnn.com/2008/US/08/14/spies.revealed.ap/index.html

This really isn’t anything new, as Julia Childs had mentioned her involvement in the OSS when she was still alive.  While she kept details to herself, her name appearing on the list of OSS operatives is no surprise.  What will be interesting is to see what duties and assignments these people had during their involvement.

I already knew about Moe Berg, the baseball player.  It is widely known that while US MLB players were touring Japan in the 30’s, Berg was assigned to make notes, and take pictures of interest to the US government.  Due to his “celebrity” status, and his role as a professional athlete, Berg was accounted a greater degree of access than most people would have received.

This should prove to be interesting reading once all the records are released by the National Archives.

Can you tell it’s an election year?

Well, the politial hoopla never seems to end, does it?

On the national scene, we have the NYT showing again how biased it really is, rejecting a counter point Op-Ed by John McCain to one published by the Times from Barack Obama.  It’s not the rejection itself that’s a problem, we should expect this sort of nonsense, but the rationale as to why it was rejected.  “It (McCain’s piece) should ‘mirror’ Barack Obama’s.”  Eh?  “Mirror Barack Obama’s?”  Essentially, what the Times was asking of McCain, was to effectively parrot Obama’s Iraq position, and the position they endorse.  Ideological hegemony, NYT style.

Then there’s Obama’s “Triumph of the Will” speach in Germany.  Does no one else see the similarities between Obama’s speaches and Hitler’s Nuremburg rallies?  No, I’m not comparing Obama to Adolf, that’s just absurd.  But it that sort of personal charisma, and people swooning because he sounds good that should worry people.  There’s sound and fury, but no subatance people.  It scares me to see how eailly swayed and at time guillible the American people are.

In the State of NY, some things just aren’t going away.  Remember Trooper-Gate?  Well, four Spitzer appointees are under charge from the Public Integrity Commission.  Two have already cut deals, while former Pressman Darren Dopp, and former State Police Suprintendent Felton Spencer are fighting the charges (sort of).  It may be a matter of time before criminal charges are filed against Dopp, and possibly others in their role in the use of State Police for political puroses, then leaking confidential information to the press.  Of course, the shiftless Times-Union will not even face a whiff of charges over thier role in this.  Typical.

These charges come on the heels of Joe Bruno’s retirement from the NYS Senate to take a private sector job.  Joe walked away first from re-election, then from the Senate entirely.  The fact was he was burned out from the politics, and the personal vendettas and vitriol thrown at him, compounded by the death of his wife.  But even once he had sailed off inot the sunset, he still can’t escape the Spitzer dirty tricks scandal. 

On an even more local level, Mike Conners (Albany Co. Comptroller), released a scathing report on the financial practices of the Albany County DA’s office.  The focus revolved around the petty cash fund of the DA’s office, and the lax practices involving it.  Naturally David Soares (Albany County DA) was upset at some of the accustaions.  But Soares is already in trouble, from his lack of attention to local criminal investigations, preferring the national spotlight, and his bungling of the Spitzer Trooper-gate scandal.  If an even mediocre challenger to his post arose, he’d be bounced from office.