Category Archives: US Military / Veterans Issues

Sunday morning cartoons

In honor (?) of the Bush administration’s attempt to rush through last minute legislation to open the Grand Canyon area to uranium mining:

Pat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune, 11.07.08

Pat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune, 11.07.08

 A combo shot at the new puppy and Rahm Emanuel:

Jimmy Margulies, The Record (NJ), 11.08.08

Jimmy Margulies, The Record (NJ), 11.08.08

 A little more on the historic nature of the election:  from Rosa Parks to Barack Obama:

Jack Ohman, The Portland Oregonian, 11.07.08

Jack Ohman, The Portland Oregonian, 11.07.08

 On the dichotomy of the Obama win v. the ban on gay marriage in California and other defeats of civil rights measures for gays and lesbians in Arizona, Florida, and Arkansas:

Mikhaela Reid, 11.07.08

Mikhaela Reid, 11.07.08

This one was jarring … because it’s from Sweden:

Riber Hansson, Sweden, 8.17.08

Riber Hansson, Sweden, 8.17.08

And, finally, to begin the recognition of Veterans’ Day.  Remember, political cartoons (and children) frequently confront us with a truth we don’t want to face:

Rick McKee, The Augusta Chronicle (GA), 11.08.08

Rick McKee, The Augusta Chronicle (GA), 11.08.08

 If you’d like to help, visit the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans.

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Filed under Barack Obama, gay rights, political cartoons, Racism, US Military / Veterans Issues, Victory

McCain’s true record on Veterans’ issues

McCain postures himself as a real fighter for veterans.  Recently, however, veterans’ groups have taken issue with this stance and issued some reports showing that the opposite is, in fact true.  The Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America points out that McCain missed 6 of 9 important votes on veterans bills this year and stood in the way of passage of the new GI bill.  VoteVets.org has issued this ad taking McCain to task for his position on that same bill:

This isn’t new ground for us here at AshPolitics.  On September 22, I posted a piece from Veterans for Obama detailing areas where McCain has, frankly, let veterans down. 

We should remember that the fact that McCain is a veteran doesn’t mean he’s good for veterans.  The fact that a Senator is gay doesn’t mean he’s good for gay rights.  The fact that a Senator is a woman doesn’t mean that she’s good on choice.  You get my point.  If veterans issues are important to you, go to IAVA.org and VoteVets.org and educate yourself before you vote.

**Update:  The IAVA Action Fund has issued their 2008 Congressional Report Card.  McCain’s grade?  D.  Obama’s grade?  B.  ‘Nuff said.

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Filed under John McCain, US Military / Veterans Issues

Sarah Palin’s real record on the military

Granted, this is from a partisan source:  Philip Carter, national director of Veterans for Obama.  But the sources he cites are decidedly non-partisan.  I hope you will find it an informative juxtaposition to Palin’s rhetoric on her strong support of the military.

Palin’s Record on Military ReadinessDuring the debate on October 2, Gov. Sarah Palin asserted she and John McCain would “win the wars” in Iraq and Afghanistan and keep America safe: “We cannot afford to lose against al Qaeda and the Shia extremists who are still there, still fighting us, but we’re getting closer and closer to victory. And it would be a travesty if we quit now in Iraq.”

 

Palin also attempted to downplay the hardships and burdens facing today’s veterans and military families, stating with a smirk that “There have been huge blunders in the war. There have been huge blunders throughout this administration, as there are with every administration.”

America’s military deserves better than 4 more years of the same.  Just as President Bush’s stewardship has hurt the American military during the past 8 years, Gov. Palin’s oversight of the Alaska National Guard has left it dangerously unprepared.  The Alaska National Guard ranks in the bottom 20% of all states on manpower issues, and similarly low on equipment, training and resources.

�    The Alaska Air National Guard is 370 members short of its authorized end strength.  Alaska’s Air Guard fills only 84% of its positions, the lowest fill rate in the country.  Only 8 other states below 90% fill rate. (Richard Lardner, “Alaska National Guard Faces Personnel Crisis,” Associated Press, 9/4/08.)

�    Lieutenant General Craig Campbell, Adjutant General of the Alaska National Guard, sent an internal memo to his deputy stating that “missions are at risk” due to the Air Guard’s shortfalls.  According to Lt. Gen. Campbell, the lack of qualified airmen “has reached a critical level.” (AP, 9/4/08.)

�    Consistent with other National Guard bureaus, Alaska has access to approximately one-half of its authorized equipment at any given time.  This puts great stress on the Alaska Army and Air National Guard efforts in rural communities, including rescuing lost travelers and providing assistance during natural disasters.  (AP, 2/12/08; AP, 3/8/07)

�    The State of Alaska’s own readiness ratings clearly show that Alaska’s Guard is not prepared and ready for a domestic contingency or combat mobilization.  Each Alaska Army National Guard unit is assigned a “T-Rating” – ranging from T-1, for trained and ready, to T-4, not trained and not ready.   ; For every quarter since FY 2005, the T-Rating for the Alaska Army National Guard as a whole has been T-4 – the lowest level in the system. (State of Alaska, FY2009 Governor’s Operating Budget, December 2007, p. 7.)

�    The State of Alaska gives its own employees who serve in the Guard minimal benefits, especially when compared with other states like California and New York.  Alaska provides only 15 days of paid leave during deployment, instead of any differential pay during deployments. California, in comparison, provides pay differential between state employment and military salary for up to 365 days during federal or state deployments. This despite a manpower crisis in the Guard, and pleas from Guard officers for additional benefits to assist with recruiting.

�    According to a recent study by the non-partisan Veterans for America, Alaska’s Guard personnel lack adequate access to health care during or after deployments . (Veterans for America, 10/1/08.)

�    Many Guard families live in remote areas with no access to TRICARE providers during deployments.  According to the VFA study, the state of Alaska does too little to assist these Guardsmen and their families with accessing the medical care they need. (Veterans for America, 10/1/08.)

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Filed under Sarah Palin, US Military / Veterans Issues

Veterans for Obama

So Jeffrey left a comment on my post, ‘McCain no friend of the military’.  He encouraged me to watch the following video.  I encourage you to do the same. 

Thanks, Jeffrey.  And thanks, Veterans (yes, John, including you … and Kevin and Harry and Joe and Rob and … and … and ….).

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Filed under US Military / Veterans Issues

McCain no friend of the military

There’s an open secret in the US Military:  more folks want Obama to win this election.  I know, you’re shocked.  Most people are.  The Center for Responsive Politics backs this up, reporting in August that Obama has received nearly six times the amount of donations that McCain has received from troops serving abroad.  So, let’s make sure we understand, those folks actually killing people and at risk of being killed in Iraq in Afghanistan would rather that Obama win the White House than hawkish McCain.

My friend Richard Smith, Alabama State Chair of Veterans for Obama, sent me an email with reams of details explaining why this might be so.  Below are some of the highlights (lowlights?).  If you’d like all of the information, just drop me a line at ashpolitics@gmail.com

  1. McCain Has Voted To Cut, Eliminate, or Gut Veterans Health Care Funding At Least 27 Times.
  2. Two Days After Iraq Invasion, McCain Voted Against A $1 Billion Increase In Veterans’ Programs.  The amendment failed 49-51. [SCR 23, Vote #74, 3/21/03]
  3. McCain Has Refused to Endorse Webb’s GI Education Bill.  (Obama not only voted in favor, he co-sponsored it.)  According to the Politico, “Yet the former Navy pilot and Vietnam POW makes himself a target by refusing to endorse Webb’s new GI education bill and instead signing on to a Republican alternative that focuses more on career soldiers than on the great majority who leave after their first four years.” [Politico, 4/30/08]   More:  Current GI Benefit Woefully Inadequate to Meet Educational Needs of GI’s. “The most a veteran can receive now is approximately $9,600 per year for four years. Those who served combat tours with the National Guard or Reserves are eligible for even less — typically just $440 per month, or $5,280 a year. By contrast, the College Board reports that the average four-year public college costs more than $65,000, or about $16,250 a year, for an in-state student. A private university costs on average about $133,000 for four years.” [The Hill, 4/22/08]

As I said, there are reams of details, including specifics on voting records and their impact.  Email me at ashpolitics@gmail.com for details.

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Filed under John McCain, US Military / Veterans Issues