Saturday, December 10, 2011
Socrates was one of the greatest educators who taught by asking questions and thus drawing out answers from his pupils ('ex duco', means to 'lead out', which is the root of 'education'). Sadly, he martyred himself by drinking hemlock rather than compromise his principles. Bold, but not a good survival strategy. But then he lived very frugally and was known for his eccentricity. One of his pupils was Plato, who wrote up much what we know of him.
Here are the six types of questions that Socrates asked his pupils. Probably often to their initial annoyance but more often to their ultimate delight. He was a man of remarkable integrity and his story makes for marvelous reading.
The overall purpose of Socratic questioning, is to challenge accuracy and completeness of thinking in a way that acts to move people towards their ultimate goal.
Get them to think more about what exactly they are asking or thinking about. Prove the concepts behind their argument. Use basic 'tell me more' questions that get them to go deeper.
- Why are you saying that?
- What exactly does this mean?
- How does this relate to what we have been talking about?
- What is the nature of ...?
- What do we already know about this?
- Can you give me an example?
- Are you saying ... or ... ?
- Can you rephrase that, please?
Probing their assumptions makes them think about the presuppositions and unquestioned beliefs on which they are founding their argument. This is shaking the bedrock and should get them really going!
- What else could we assume?
- You seem to be assuming ... ?
- How did you choose those assumptions?
- Please explain why/how ... ?
- How can you verify or disprove that assumption?
- What would happen if ... ?
- Do you agree or disagree with ... ?
When they give a rationale for their arguments, dig into that reasoning rather than assuming it is a given. People often use un-thought-through or weakly-understood supports for their arguments.
- Why is that happening?
- How do you know this?
- Show me ... ?
- Can you give me an example of that?
- What do you think causes ... ?
- What is the nature of this?
- Are these reasons good enough?
- Would it stand up in court?
- How might it be refuted?
- How can I be sure of what you are saying?
- Why is ... happening?
- Why? (keep asking it -- you'll never get past a few times)
- What evidence is there to support what you are saying?
- On what authority are you basing your argument?
Most arguments are given from a particular position. So attack the position. Show that there are other, equally valid, viewpoints.
- Another way of looking at this is ..., does this seem reasonable?
- What alternative ways of looking at this are there?
- Why it is ... necessary?
- Who benefits from this?
- What is the difference between... and...?
- Why is it better than ...?
- What are the strengths and weaknesses of...?
- How are ... and ... similar?
- What would ... say about it?
- What if you compared ... and ... ?
- How could you look another way at this?
The argument that they give may have logical implications that can be forecast. Do these make sense? Are they desirable?
- Then what would happen?
- What are the consequences of that assumption?
- How could ... be used to ... ?
- What are the implications of ... ?
- How does ... affect ... ?
- How does ... fit with what we learned before?
- Why is ... important?
- What is the best ... ? Why?
And you can also get reflexive about the whole thing, turning the question in on itself. Use their attack against themselves. Bounce the ball back into their court, etc.
- What was the point of asking that question?
- Why do you think I asked this question?
- Am I making sense? Why not?
- What else might I ask?
- What does that mean?
From the currently worst President ever to hold office, who proclaimed that his administration would be *the most transparent administration ever*, we have this story…
The headline reads:
Justice Department Proposes Letting Government Deny Existence of Sensitive Documents
Got that? The Justice Department is proposing that if the bureaucracy feels that certain information is too sensitive to be revealed in a FOIA request, they can simply tell you that the information you are looking for doesn’t exist.
And lets not kid ourselves…this is in direct response to the Fast and Furious gunrunning scandal, that has now become obvious that it goes all the way up to the POTUS, and the response by DoJ to cover it up.
Massively cover it up.
This is High Crimes and Misdemeanors territory, folks. Impeachable offenses. And no, I’m not one of the tin-foil wearing nutjobs that stands on the corner screeching about Birth Certificates and how we need to impeach him NOW!!!!!!!
I was content to chalk up the massive mistake my fellow American Citizens made in the last election to their sheer stupidity, lack of understanding what was at stake, and their desire to be able to tell their kids that they were *a part of history when they voted for the first black president*. (I have an uber-liberal cousin who, when she could not defend her choice for Obama based on merit or anything he did in the past that would point to his being a capable president, said EXACTLY THAT…she wanted to be able to tell her grandkids that she was part of history…she’s an idiot.)
But at this juncture, I cannot stand idly by and try to stay above the fray…our country is descending into a socialist/marxist state…the TSA starting to occupy truck weigh stations, proposing the occupation of malls, occupying airports, all in the name of *public security*? And now the DoJ wants to be able to outright lie and hide what someone determines to be a *sensitive document*?
This is a VERY slippery slope, and I fear that we’ve slid too far down that we’re at the point of having too much momentum to stop and crawl back up the hill to safety. Oleg talks about it here.
Time to start stocking up on ammo, my friends…the tipping point, I fear, is getting real close.
My Occupy LA Arrest by Patrick Meighan
My name is Patrick Meighan, and I’m a husband, a father, a writer on the Fox animated sitcom “Family Guy”, and a member of the Unitarian Universalist Community Church of Santa Monica.
I was arrested at about 1 a.m. Wednesday morning with 291 other people at Occupy LA. I was sitting in City Hall Park with a pillow, a blanket, and a copy of Thich Nhat Hanh’s “Being Peace” when 1,400 heavily-armed LAPD officers in paramilitary SWAT gear streamed in. I was in a group of about 50 peaceful protestors who sat Indian-style, arms interlocked, around a tent (the symbolic image of the Occupy movement). The LAPD officers encircled us, weapons drawn, while we chanted “We Are Peaceful” and “We Are Nonviolent” and “Join Us.”
As we sat there, encircled, a separate team of LAPD officers used knives to slice open every personal tent in the park. They forcibly removed anyone sleeping inside, and then yanked out and destroyed any personal property inside those tents, scattering the contents across the park. They then did the same with the communal property of the Occupy LA movement. For example, I watched as the LAPD destroyed a pop-up canopy tent that, until that moment, had been serving as Occupy LA’s First Aid and Wellness tent, in which volunteer health professionals gave free medical care to absolutely anyone who requested it. As it happens, my family had personally contributed that exact canopy tent to Occupy LA, at a cost of several hundred of my family’s dollars. As I watched, the LAPD sliced that canopy tent to shreds, broke the telescoping poles into pieces and scattered the detritus across the park. Note that these were the objects described in subsequent mainstream press reports as “30 tons of garbage” that was “abandoned” by Occupy LA: personal property forcibly stolen from us, destroyed in front of our eyes and then left for maintenance workers to dispose of while we were sent to prison.
When the LAPD finally began arresting those of us interlocked around the symbolic tent, we were all ordered by the LAPD to unlink from each other (in order to facilitate the arrests). Each seated, nonviolent protester beside me who refused to cooperate by unlinking his arms had the following done to him: an LAPD officer would forcibly extend the protestor’s legs, grab his left foot, twist it all the way around and then stomp his boot on the insole, pinning the protestor’s left foot to the pavement, twisted backwards. Then the LAPD officer would grab the protestor’s right foot and twist it all the way the other direction until the non-violent protestor, in incredible agony, would shriek in pain and unlink from his neighbor.
It was horrible to watch, and apparently designed to terrorize the rest of us. At least I was sufficiently terrorized. I unlinked my arms voluntarily and informed the LAPD officers that I would go peacefully and cooperatively. I stood as instructed, and then I had my arms wrenched behind my back, and an officer hyperextended my wrists into my inner arms. It was super violent, it hurt really really bad, and he was doing it on purpose. When I involuntarily recoiled from the pain, the LAPD officer threw me face-first to the pavement. He had my hands behind my back, so I landed right on my face. The officer dropped with his knee on my back and ground my face into the pavement. It really, really hurt and my face started bleeding and I was very scared. I begged for mercy and I promised that I was honestly not resisting and would not resist.
My hands were then zipcuffed very tightly behind my back, where they turned blue. I am now suffering nerve damage in my right thumb and palm.
I was put on a paddywagon with other nonviolent protestors and taken to a parking garage in Parker Center. They forced us to kneel on the hard pavement of that parking garage for seven straight hours with our hands still tightly zipcuffed behind our backs. Some began to pass out. One man rolled to the ground and vomited for a long, long time before falling unconscious. The LAPD officers watched and did nothing.
At 9 a.m. we were finally taken from the pavement into the station to be processed. The charge was sitting in the park after the police said not to. It’s a misdemeanor. Almost always, for a misdemeanor, the police just give you a ticket and let you go. It costs you a couple hundred dollars. Apparently, that’s what happened with most every other misdemeanor arrest in LA that day.
With us Occupy LA protestors, however, they set bail at $5,000 and booked us into jail. Almost none of the protesters could afford to bail themselves out. I’m lucky and I could afford it, except the LAPD spent all day refusing to actually *accept* the bail they set. If you were an accused murderer or a rapist in LAPD custody that day, you could bail yourself right out and be back on the street, no problem. But if you were a nonviolent Occupy LA protestor with bail money in hand, you were held long into the following morning, with absolutely no access to a lawyer.
I spent most of my day and night crammed into an eight-man jail cell, along with sixteen other Occupy LA protesters. My sleeping spot was on the floor next to the toilet.
Finally, at 2:30 the next morning, after twenty-five hours in custody, I was released on bail. But there were at least 200 Occupy LA protestors who couldn’t afford the bail. The LAPD chose to keep those peaceful, non-violent protesters in prison for two full days… the absolute legal maximum that the LAPD is allowed to detain someone on misdemeanor charges.
As a reminder, Antonio Villaraigosa has referred to all of this as “the LAPD’s finest hour.”
So that’s what happened to the 292 women and men were arrested last Wednesday. Now let’s talk about a man who was not arrested last Wednesday. He is former Citigroup CEO Charles Prince. Under Charles Prince, Citigroup was guilty of massive, coordinated securities fraud.
Citigroup spent years intentionally buying up every bad mortgage loan it could find, creating bad securities out of those bad loans and then selling shares in those bad securities to duped investors. And then they sometimes secretly bet *against* their *own* bad securities to make even more money. For one such bad Citigroup security, Citigroup executives were internally calling it, quote, “a collection of dogshit”. To investors, however, they called it, quote, “an attractive investment rigorously selected by an independent investment adviser”.
This is fraud, and it’s a felony, and the Charles Princes of the world spent several years doing it again and again: knowingly writing bad mortgages, and then packaging them into fraudulent securities which they then sold to suckers and then repeating the process. This is a big part of why your property values went up so fast. But then the bubble burst, and that’s why our economy is now shattered for a generation, and it’s also why your home is now underwater. Or at least mine is.
Anyway, if your retirement fund lost a decade’s-worth of gains overnight, this is why.
If your son’s middle school has added furlough days because the school district can’t afford to keep its doors open for a full school year, this is why.
If your daughter has come out of college with a degree only to discover that there are no jobs for her, this is why.
But back to Charles Prince. For his four years of in charge of massive, repeated fraud at Citigroup, he received fifty-three million dollars in salary and also received another ninety-four million dollars in stock holdings. What Charles Prince has *not* received is a pair of zipcuffs. The nerves in his thumb are fine. No cop has thrown Charles Prince into the pavement, face-first. Each and every peaceful, nonviolent Occupy LA protester arrested last week has has spent more time sleeping on a jail floor than every single Charles Prince on Wall Street, combined.
The more I think about that, the madder I get. What does it say about our country that nonviolent protesters are given the bottom of a police boot while those who steal hundreds of billions, do trillions worth of damage to our economy and shatter our social fabric for a generation are not only spared the zipcuffs but showered with rewards?
In any event, believe it or not, I’m really not angry that I got arrested. I chose to get arrested. And I’m not even angry that the mayor and the LAPD decided to give non-violent protestors like me a little extra shiv in jail (although I’m not especially grateful for it either).
I’m just really angry that every single Charles Prince wasn’t in jail with me.
Thank you for letting me share that anger with you today.
Does it seem curious to anyone why President Obama chose Osawatomie, Kansas, of all places, to give a controversial speech attacking capitalism?
Trevor Loudon of New Zeal Blog does, and he’s not the only one.
Loudon points out that the odd sounding Osawatomie was also the name given to the Weather Underground’s publication. Of course, Weather Underground was lead by none other than Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn.
Here’s another one of those “coincidences” about Obama and Osawatomie unearthed by Zombietime.com back in 2008: “Obama’s Election ’08 logo, and the logo of Osawatomie, the newspaper of the Weather Underground are one and the same. “Confronted, they (Obama and Ayers) would laugh it off as coincidence and conspiracy theory, and generations of graduates from the public school system, would counter a unified: “So what?”
So when Obama was doing the talking in Osawatomie on Tuesday, Billy Ayers and the Weather Underground were pulling his wobbly strings.
Are these coincidences or is Obama signaling in code (or in this case, out in the open) that he is in lock-step with the radical left?
(BEIRUT) — Syrian security forces fired on anti-government demonstrations across the country on Friday, killing at least 24 people — including several children — as the regime tries to choke off a 9-month-old uprising, activists said.
Friday, December 9, 2011
Thursday, December 8, 2011
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Sen. Lindsey Graham Says He Didn't Know Defense Bill He Approved Lifts Military Ban on Sodomy and Bestiality | CNSnews.com
there's a joke about "selective service" here somewhere
In any economic system, whether it be Communism, Socialism, Fascism, or Capitalism, goods and services are rationed in some manner. In the Socialist model, this rationing is done through state control. This is to say the government directly administers and controls the distribution of goods or services. Contrast this with the Laissez-Faire Capitalist economic model, in which the rationing of goods occurs as a result of a price system.
In a free market, individuals decide how much a good is worth to them personally by deciding how much they are willing to give up in order to obtain that good. This ensures that those willing to endure the highest cost in order to obtain a good are those that value it most. As a result, prices act as a conveyer of information to the market at large. Prices become the measure of consumer demand for various goods and services. As supply and demand shift, price also shifts ensuring that all resources are utilized to maximum efficiency.
In a Socialist system, goods are supplied to the citizenry at a fixed cost. This cost is obtained from the citizenry in the form of taxation, and the citizenry is free to utilize the state goods or services provided at whatever rate the state permits. The problem here, is that without prices the State has no way of knowing what the quantity demanded of any particular good or service is. As a result, the state will overproduce in some areas and underproduce in other areas. This is known in economics as the "economic calculation problem".
The lack of the state to accurately calculate economic needs leads to unnecessary surpluses and shortages which are impossible in a market economy. In a free market as goods become more scarce, if the demand remains constant the price will increase. This makes sure that only those who most highly desire the good will obtain it.
To illustrate the necessity of prices in a functional economy consider the following example. Imagine there is a costal city that is hit by a hurricane. As a result, no trucks can come in or out of the city. The city has a limited supply of ice. If this city exists in a Capitalist society, the price mechanism will cause Ice to be more costly. As a result only those in most dire need of it (those who need to refrigerate medicine for example) will pay for it. Those who simply want to keep their beer cold will refrain from the purchase.
In a socialist society where prices do not exist this would be a free for all. Those who simply want to cool their beer and those who need to keep their insulin cold would pay the same price. A shortage would ensue and deaths would result. Suffice to say, without a price mechanism an economy cannot function. Therefore, Socialism cannot function.
Little do my socialist friends know, but “The Internationale,” the worldwide anthem to communism written (of course) in France and popularized by the Soviet Union, is really about worshipping Christ. I mean, look at the first two lines:
“Stand up, damned of the earth / Stand up, prisoners of starvation.”
All of us are damned without Christ, you see, and all starving for the Word as well as the Body and Blood of the Eucharist. How hypocritical, then, of socialists who fail to heed the calling of their founders when they try to live without God.
And consider the first two lines of the second stanza:
“There are no supreme saviors / Neither God, nor Caesar, nor tribune.”
What that means, of course, is that the Trinity doesn’t include mortal rulers, but the Triune Godhead of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, co-equal in majesty and power. Clarifying the essence of the Trinity was always important to socialists, even if their modern-day counterparts don’t understand this.
The rest of this hymn to God is filled with a calling to spiritual discipline (”So that the spirit be pulled from its prison / Let us fan the forge ourselves”), peace (”Let the armies go on strike”), and the eventual return of Christ (”The sun will shine forever”). What a pity, then, that today’s socialists don’t revere God the way they should, getting caught up instead in worrying over who will get what portion of the economic pie. That was never what socialism was about.
Now, will someone please send the foregoing to self-appointed voices for Christianity on the left, who are fond of yanking Bible verses from their scriptural and traditional contexts, and forcing them into service of an economic vision that was about as important to Christ as what brand of sandal He wore? Whether it’s Jim Wallis, declaring that the Occupy Wall Street protestors are carrying forward “Gospel issues,” or Jeremy John, explaining that the Occupiers are battling “Christ’s ancient foe, the love of profit above the needs of people,” they’re engaged in a word game that is no less silly than combing through “The Internationale” to prove it’s really a faith document.
In other words, if socialist Christians could start treating the Bible with as much respect and integrity as they would treat texts written by the misguided apostles of their true, underlying faith, we’d all be better off.
NYPD officers made nine arrests, but two officers were hospitalized in the attack. Police also recovered a starter pistol, which may have been intended to further terrify the original female target of the mob.
The scene unfolded in New York’s Staten Island borough when a mob of 50 young females gathered outside the home of a single young girl and threatened her. Apparently, the girl had been kept home from school for several days because of repeated and vicious bullying, so the bullies came to her doorstep.
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Influence of Germanic paganism and folklore
Numerous parallels have been drawn between Santa Claus and the figure of Odin, a major god amongst the Germanic peoples prior to their Christianization. Since many of these elements are unrelated to Christianity, there are theories regarding the pagan origins of various customs of the holiday stemming from areas where the Germanic peoples were Christianized and retained elements of their indigenous traditions, surviving in various forms into modern depictions of Santa Claus.
Odin was sometimes recorded, at the native Germanic holiday of Yule, as leading a great hunting party through the sky. Two books from Iceland, the Poetic Edda, compiled in the 13th century from earlier sources, and the Prose Edda, written in the 13th century by Snorri Sturluson, describe Odin as riding an eight-legged horse named Sleipnir that could leap great distances, giving rise to comparisons to Santa Claus's reindeer. Further, Odin was referred to by many names in Skaldic poetry, some of which describe his appearance or functions. These include Síðgrani, Síðskeggr, Langbarðr, (all meaning "long beard") and Jólnir ("Yule figure").
According to some traditions, children would place their boots, filled with carrots, straw, or sugar, near the chimney for Odin's flying horse, Sleipnir, to eat. Odin would then reward those children for their kindness by replacing Sleipnir's food with gifts or candy. This practice still survives in Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands and became associated with Saint Nicholas since Christianization. In other countries it has been replaced by the hanging of stockings at the chimney in homes.
Originating from pre-Christian Alpine traditions and influenced by later Christianization, the Krampus is represented as a Companion of Saint Nicholas. Traditionally, some young men dress up as the Krampus in the first two weeks of December and particularly on the evening of December 5 and roam the streets frightening children (and adults) with rusty chains and bells.
Police say around 11:30 p.m. Friday, Anthony Miranda, 24, walked up to a car parked at 55th Street and Kenneth Avenue, just a few blocks from Midway International Airport.
Miranda asked the driver for a lighter, and the driver said he didn’t have one. Then Miranda pulled a handgun and demanded that the driver hand over his money, police said.
Even after the driver complied and gave up some money, Miranda ordered him out of his car, police said.
Monday, December 5, 2011
What should be done about income inequality? That basic question underlies the arguments hashed out in the supercommittee and promises to be a central issue in the presidential campaign.
Supercommittee Democrats argue that income inequality has been increasing and can be at least partially reversed by higher tax rates on high earners. They refused to agree on any deal that didn't include such tax increases.
Supercommittee Republicans offered a plan to eliminate tax preferences and reduce tax rates, as in the 1986 bipartisan tax reform. They argued that high tax rates would squelch economic growth.
They didn't make the case that their proposals would also address income inequality. But House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, in a 17-page paper based largely on a analysis of income trends between 1979 and 2007, has done so.
Ryan, a Republican from Wisconsin, makes the point that the government redistributes income not only through taxes but also through transfer payments, including Social Security, Medicare, food stamps and unemployment benefits. The CBO study helpfully measures income, adjusted for inflation, after taxes and after such transfer payments.
Many may find the results of the CBO study surprising. It turns out, Ryan reports, that federal income taxes (including the refundable Earned Income Tax Credit) actually decreased income inequality slightly between 1979 and 2007, while the federal payroll taxes that supposedly fund Social Security and Medicare slightly increased income inequality. That's despite the fact that income tax rates are lower than in 1979 and payroll taxes higher.
Perhaps even more surprising, federal transfer payments have done much more to increase income inequality than federal taxes. That's because, in Ryan's words, "the distribution of government transfers has moved away from households in the lower part of the income scale. For instance, in 1979, households in the lowest income quintile received 54 percent of all transfer payments. In 2007, those households received just 36 percent of transfers."
In effect, Social Security and Medicare have been transferring money from low-earning young people (who don't pay income but are hit by the payroll tax) to increasingly affluent old people.
The Democrats, perhaps following the polls and focus groups, have been protecting these entitlement programs that have done more to increase income inequality than the Reagan and Bush tax cuts put together.
Ryan makes three more points that may strike many as counterintuitive.
First, reductions in some transfer payments haven't hurt the living standards of most low-earners. The prime example is the welfare reform act of 1996, which reduced transfers to single mothers but induced many of them to find jobs that left them better off economically and, probably, psychologically.
Second, Americans aren't trapped in one segment of the income distribution. A Tax Journal analysis of individual income tax returns found that 58 percent of those in the lowest income quintile in 1996 had moved to a higher income segment by 2005. This comports with common experience. We move up and down the income scale in the course of a lifetime.
Finally, the inflation adjustment used in the CBO analysis was the Consumer Price Index. But that tends to overstate inflation (as any indexes tends to do, since it measures the cost of a static market basket of goods and services). A study by Chicago economist found that prices for goods purchased by low-earners have been rapidly decreasing, while prices for goods of high-earners have increased. Kids' school clothes may be cheaper at Walmart than they were years ago, while prices at keep increasing.
So if the question is how to compensate for increasing income inequality, higher tax rates on high-earners won't do much -- and could be counterproductive if they diminish economic growth.
A better way is suggested by the supercommittee Republicans: Limit future increases in transfer payments to affluent households, and cap deductions for home mortgage interest and state and local taxes, which are hugely lucrative for high-earners and worthless for low-earners who don't pay income tax.
These proposals won't reduce income inequality altogether. Much of the increased inequality comes from the huge increases for those in the top 1 percent of earners. But we wouldn't be better off if had never existed.
Keeping entitlements as they are and raising tax rates on high-earners is a recipe for Europe-style stagnation. Ryan and the supercommittee Republicans point toward a better way.
Nevertheless, we aren't completely clear when Anarchistnews.org first appeared on the scene (*which anarchists generally operate within, rather than, y'know, movements). The site has posts dating back to 2005, but became most clearly evident only last year, staging what amounted to a Jerry Springer Show for anarchist(er-than-thou) communiques and tracts, complete with chair throwing commentary and overblown melodrama. It beat out the United States competitors like A-Infos, Infoshop, and Indymedia. Granted, Infoshop contributed greatly to its own demise as the North American anarchist web news of choice, but the ascent of this latecomer has been impressive.
Sunday, December 4, 2011
No. As of 2007 (VA's most recent information), there were 3x as many Veterans over 65 than under 40. Of Our Living Veterans, more than 39% are over 64. In fact there were twice as many Veterans over 80 than there are Veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan. As of the end of 2006, according to CBS (in 2009), 947,000 Viet Nam Veterans were receiving compensation for their disabilities. This compares to only 181,000 current conflict Veterans receiving compensation (of at least $1). "Officially" we've been at war longer, and in two Nations, than we were in Viet Nam, though that doesn't account for the early years of the Viet Nam War.
Why are there so many more Viet Nam Veterans than current conflict Veterans? A greater burden has been placed on a smaller number of people. In Viet Nam, a very high percentage of Veterans did one deployment and one term of enlistment. In today's conflicts, a very high percentage of Troops have served multiple tours. And we have fewer Troops deployed.
But how does the Obama Administration get away with it? Well, the US Government is "self-insured." That means they decided that since they have a limitless supply of money, they decided they didn't need to buy Worker's Compensation Insurance, that they'd pay out of our taxes for the costs of the injuries sustained in the workplace, including those in Basic Training and in Combat Zones.
The Troops don't have a Union and can't have one. We can't have Our Troops going on strike, and they don't want to strike and don't want a Union. But that also means that they must rely on the American People to force politicians to do the right thing. They must rely on Veterans and Veterans Organizations like the VFW and American Legion to keep the American People informed, and the pressure on politicians to do right by the Veterans they sent into harm's way on our behalf.
At one time, Veterans made up a huge portion of Americans, but the number is shrinking, quickly. And the number of future Veterans, i.e. currently authorized Troops, is also shrinking. Less than 8% of Americans (300 Million) were Veterans (23.8 Million) of any era, peacetime or war, in 2007. That is down significantly from more than 26 Million Veterans in 2000. By 2010, the number of living Veterans (including new Veterans) had shrunk by at least 100,000, despite two wars or even more according to another VA statistic (22.34 Million, or 1.5 Million fewer Veterans) from 9/2010. The VA projects that close to 250,000 WWII Veterans will die in 2011, along with 150,000 Korean War Veterans, and 125,000 Viet Nam Era Veterans, in addition to the numbers that served pre-1941, between the Korean and Viet Nam Wars, and after it. Let's face Veterans are a dying breed.
CBS tells us that the number of "disabled Veterans" has increased by 25% since 2001, without telling us that that equates to an increase of 580,000, to 2.9 Million. That's 12.2% of the total number of Veterans in 2007. This contrasts with their number of 181,000 (less than 6% of Veterans under 40 years old) current conflict Veterans receiving a disability check. Meanwhile, 947,000 Viet Nam Veterans (of 7.4 Million Viet Nam era Veterans) or 12.8% are receiving disability compensation. So, we have a disparity of approximately 400,000 new "disabled Veterans" since 2001. Did someone lie? Or did they purposely blur the the distinctions of a 0% disability and those receiving financial compensation for a serious (or minor) injury? With current Veterans receiving compensation at a rate half that of Our Viet Nam era Brothers and that of Veterans of all eras, current War Veterans are not the problem. (Neither are Our Brothers that served before us.)
I was told when I was out-processing the Army that I should scour my records for a way to claim a disability. The "counselor" said that if I had been peeling potatoes in on-post housing and accidentally cut myself, that I could claim it as a service related (0%) disability, even though it wouldn't get me a check. The benefit she said was that I'd have a better chance of employment with the Federal Government if I had a 0% disability. She really sold it and I could have found something to claim, but I didn't. A number of those 400,000 did. Others were rightfully added for peacetime or Desert Storm or Viet Nam era injuries.
In 2003, the VA Download Unique_VA_Users_FY2003 released the numbers on how many Veterans of all periods received any VA Benefit at all. Though 2% (241,900 total used this service in 2003) of the "living recipients" only utilized burial services, according to the report, a total of 7.9 Million Veterans used some service ranging from only a Life Insurance policy to Health Care. That was 32% of the Veteran population at that time. And the percentage using Compensation & Pension (2.9 Million) benefits was 12% at the time. In some of the VA statistics, the information was skewed because the recipients didn't have a Social Security Number on file, which also means the VA had no way to prove the recipient was even a Veteran.
This Administration has campaigned to get more Veterans on Disability, particularly on Disability for PTSD. The recipients no longer have to provide any proof of a reason for PTSD. The Traumatic event is no longer a requirement. Now, a clerk that never left Camp Victory, Iraq or Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, that never even heard a round fired in combat can claim PTSD, the check, and the visits with the shrink. That's a future part of those increases in new disability claims, though that change came after the increase by 400,000 in disability claims. In other words, we can expect another surge when the 2011 numbers are published.
PTSD, TBI, and back injuries are difficult to objectively prove/disprove. Basically, in many cases, one simply has to take the word of the person making the claim. For those that really need the help, the available assets are reduced by those that are simply looking for a free ride. It actually reduces the likelihood of those that really need it, to seek help, when they see the room flooded with those that weren't in traumatic situations.
So, what does all this mean? Our Veterans have earned their benefits, paid for in blood, sweat, and sacrifice. Inflating the costs does not help fix the problem. Clogging the system with beneficiaries that don't have those scars does not help fix the problem. Throwing money at the problem does not help fix it. Using those inflated numbers as an excuse to argue against the mission Our Troops volunteered for does not help the situation. Forcing Veterans that earned the benefit pay their own way, is wrong.
It is not Our Veterans that are bankrupting this Nation. Less than 1% of Our Nation has borne the burden in the current defense of Our Nation. We've been at war for 10 years and have fewer Veterans now than we did when it started. The number of Veterans from Our Current Conflicts receiving disability compensation was less than .06% of the population (2007) of the Nation. The Obama Administration did not inflict the costs of health care on Military Combat Veterans and Retirees because more Veterans need health care, but so he could "pay for" his giveaway of health insurance to those that did not earn it with their blood. Less than 1% of Our Nation is receiving compensation of any amount for their role in defending this Nation, in all Wars. That percentage is going down, not up, as Our WWII, Korean War, & Viet Nam era Brothers fall to old age at a rate faster than Afghanistan Veterans are added.
Not going to melt any time soon, says boffin
Many of these candidates draw votes even though they may never serve in Parliament. Under complex rules, the parties can replace candidates who withdraw. Only United Russia has the resources to field strong lists in every region.
“President Obama must fire his ambassador to Belgium for rationalizing and downplaying anti-Semitism and linking it to Israeli policy toward the Palestinians. The ambassador's comments demonstrate the Obama administration's failure to understand the worldwide campaign to delegitimize Israel and its appalling penchant for undermining our close ally.”
Newt Gingrich called for Ambassador Gutman's firing yesterday on Twitter.
Creeping sharia? Hardly. That time has came and went. We have now entered the phase of sharia on warp speed. But go on with your life, ignore all signs, pretend it is not a reality. Continue to simultaneously kiss the collective arse’s of Satan’s little helpers while bowing in deference. Mock those who are fighting for your freedom. Scoff at and ridicule Americans who are pushing for anti-Sharia laws. Keep it up, and one day, you will wake with the shackles of Islam around your ankles. That will be the day, you wake up in –hell.
(Daily Mail) Residents of the wealthy Upper West Side of Manhattan are outraged that their streets are being taken over multiple times each day for the 45-minute service.
The taxi drivers are double and triple parking in a huge line that forces traffic into the oncoming lane
Tow each and every last one AWAY. Far away. Make it as hard on them as humanly possible to retrieve their cabs. And if they continue to flout the law, pull their taxi operators licenses’. If there is not a regulation or law that would allow such at the present time. Pass one!
The situation has flared up and on one occasion a cop telling a taxi driver to move on was swarmed by other hacks – and had to call for reinforcements.
When several other police cars arrived the taxi driver was handcuffed and led away.
When a cop can not manage the simple task of ordering an illegally parked Muslim cab driver to move without his Islamic rage boy brethren swarming in, to the point of calling for reinforcements. Then Houston, we have a problem.
Muslims have been parking illegally at the Islamic Cultural Centre for four years but the row has blown up because a road that connects to it that has been closed for the whole time has now reopened.
Give Islam an inch and it takes an acre. The illegal parking issue should of been nipped in the bud from the get go.
Prayers take place five times a day but the busiest is on Fridays at lunchtime when up to 300 worshippers – and 200 taxi drivers – are in attendance.
Once the Mosque no longer can accommodate Allah FUBAR’s slaves, they will spill out into the streets, blocking the entire road. Picture that scenario recurring in your neighborhood each and every Friday. Would you sit back and be walked on by the Muslim hordes or?
Most of the taxi drivers appear unrepentant with one claiming: ‘I have to pray. I have no choice but to break the rules.’
That is where you are WRONG! Dead wrong. You do have a choice, you ignorant Muslim, obey the law or LEAVE! Go where sharia law is applied and that sure as hell is not the United States of America.
‘It’s an accident waiting to happen, said James Beale, the resident manager at a Trump tower block that is next to the mosque.
‘It’s a very dangerous situation. It’s like all the rules of the road are thrown aside,’ he told DNA info.
BINGO, we have a winner! Islam does as Islam pleases, regardless of the location. Islamic law is [all] they are taught to obey. Period.
Islam has it’s priorities and the safety and security of citizens around it, is NEVER a top concern. See: Violent Islamic jihad.
Abdur Rahman, an assistant imam at the mosque, said it had told worshippers to respect the parking rules but they had failed to do so.
Nope, not falling for that one.
But he also claimed that the parking rules should be more flexible to accommodate worshippers’ needs.
The arrogance of Islam is profoundly disturbing. No, if they do not wish to follow the rules in an American city, then they can park in an Islamic hell hole of their choice.
“Thanks to your democratic laws, we will invade you. Thanks to our religious laws, we will dominate you.”
More Westerners had better wake up to reality. And soon! Islam is not playing around, Islam plays for keeps.
- Islamization in France: Jaw Dropping Examples of Muslims Asserting their Red Carpet Supremacy [Videos]
- Red Carpet Islamic Supremacy Rages On In France –Illegal Street Prayers Continue
- Muslim Congressman Keith Ellison’s Sharia Taqiyyah and ICNA’s ‘National Sharia Campaign’ (July 2011)
- Concerns Over Islam’s Role in Europe Have Gone Mainstream (August 2011)
- Sharia Inclined Dearborn Muslims Protest U.S. Constitutional Right to Free Speech [Video] (April 2011)
- Muslim Brotherhood Memo: An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Brotherhood in North America
- Islam’s Dar al-Harb [House of War] Strategy & Goals
- Hertz Suspends Muslim Shuttle Drivers Who Expect Pay to Pray
- Oklahoma Poised to Pass Law Prohibiting Islamic Sharia
- Glenn Beck: Sharia Law In America
- Keith Ellison’s Sharia Taqiyyah and ICNA’s ‘National Sharia Campaign’
- Eid al-Fitr in Moscow: Mega Muslim Mob Flooding into the Streets to Pray Marking End of Ramadan