Posts Tagged ‘Veterans for Peace’

WHY ARE VETERANS HOMELESS IN AMERICA?

October 17, 2009

United States homeless veterans include a significant growing number from the current wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.  Many suffer from post traumatic stress disorder and severe sleep deprivation.  Often those who have never suffered from the inability to sleep are unaware of how great of a toll such a problem has, in preventing those who do from being able to function well enough to hold down a steady job.

Many veterans have lost their civilian jobs due to extended tours in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere and upon returning home, find it very difficult to support themselves and their families.  Many who are not currently homeless are in danger of becoming so, especially in growing economic hard times.

In 2006, approximately 196,000 veterans were homeless on any given night, up from an estimated 194,000 in 2005.  Estimates of the total number of homeless veterans in the United States currently exceed 500,000; this figure doesn’t include spouses and children, who may also be homeless or severely impoverished.

An additional half million more pay over 50% of their income to cover their rent or mortgage.  In the United States, 26% of the homeless population are veterans, while they represent only 11% of the adult population.  In Tennessee alone, there were approximately 2800 veterans homeless on any given night in 2006 and, numbers have steadily increased due to the worsening economy since then.

According to many social service providers, while lack of income, disabilities, physical sickness, mental health issues and substance abuse all contribute to homelessness, the primary reason veterans are homeless is the lack of affordable housing.  And, this problem keeps getting worse, rather than better.

Regardless of religious, political or other persuasion, there is no excuse for the citizens of the United States to allow even one veteran or one veteran’s spouse or child to be homeless.  Politicians who refuse to help them should be voted out of office and candidates who don’t place helping them at the top of their agenda should not be voted for in the first place, regardless of party or position on any other issue.

Americans who sit idly by and make no attempt to address and alleviate problems of poverty in general and the plight of homeless veterans and children in particular, demonstrate a severe lack of patriotism.  And, they display a severe lack of historical and moral understanding and absence of personal ethics, responsibility, respect and dignity.

Do Americans who ignore the plight of homeless veterans really support the troops?  Can we march in parades waving flags pretending to be patriotic while continuing to ignore our growing homeless population, regardless of the reasons why they are homeless?

What manner of nation claims to be the greatest nation on earth and to be a beacon for freedom and democracy to the rest of the world and yet, her citizens continue to look the other way while growing numbers of homeless veterans and children struggle in plain sight to somehow survive?

Why are there homeless veterans in America?  You decide.

Link to footnotes and documentation for the above article

Advertisements

WHY IS BILL MAHER LYING TO AMERICANS? ~ Does Belief in God Really Cause War?

October 17, 2009

Unlike in the time of Thomas Jefferson, when “Creator”, “religion” and “church” represented three distinct ideas, “religion” today is a very loaded term.  It is entirely inaccurate, as Bill Maher and other atheists often do, to lump belief in God, organized religion and the evil that adherents of a particular religion engage in, together under a common term and then, to place the blame there for humanity’s problems.

For example, Jesus is very clearly not the founder of Christianity or anything remotely like it, nor is it any more fair to blame Jesus for what people do in his name, than it is to blame Copernicus and Isaac Newton for Hiroshima.  The same applies in varying degrees to Buddha, Confucius, Zarathustra and certain other so-called “founders” of various religions.  There is no greater critic of fundamentalist religion or religious hypocrisy in history than Jesus, nor is there any greater advocate for personal, local and global peace.

Like religion, science and education are historically intimately entwined with war and human oppression on a massive scale, tracing back from ever more effective designs for ancient war chariots, DaVinci’s war-machine inventions and, on up through the Manhattan Project, the modern-day military industrial complex and ever worse weapons of mass destruction.  The American, French, Russian and several other revolutions were fomented by so-called “enlightened” intellectuals.

It is correct to say religion is a tool often used to foment war and human oppression and, it’s just as fair to point out science and education are often used for the same purpose.  However, it is not accurate to pretend either one is a root “cause” of human aggression. Believers in God and scientists both often leave a positive legacy and, many of history’s most revered individuals demonstrated a profound personal belief in God.  Jesus correctly singled out religious hypocrisy, rather than belief in God, as having a significant negative societal impact.

Since the invention of printing, which helped break the societal stranglehold of organized religion, justification for war has more and more been shifted away from religious to other excuses.  In a so-called “post-Enlightenment Age”, wars are now often fought in the name of democracy, freedom, communism, socialism, anarchism and even human rights.  Those who blame belief in God for war, rather than placing the blame for war where it squarely belongs, on individual human beings making their own poor choices, are plainly liars.

According to Jesus and some New Testament authors and, according to ALL known scientific and historical evidence, the root cause of humanity’s problems is sin, causing individual human frustration, greed and aggression, resulting in negative choices being made by individual human beings.  Families, tribes, cities, states, nations, armies, religions, political parties, corporations, unions, educational institutions, professional scientists and all other “groupings” of human beings, are made up of individual people, each making their own individual choices.

It would be refreshing if modern educators and people like Bill Maher, Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens could grow up just a little and, begin placing the blame for humanity’s problems where it belongs, squarely on our own self-contradicting shoulders. Perhaps then, a modern species in grave peril of losing it’s own commonly shared global habitat, could begin to have a little more unbiased and accurate understanding of where Jesus and the authors of the Bible are actually coming from.

Were the American, French, Russian and Chinese revolutions, WWI, WWII, Vietnam and Iraq, among hundreds of other wars from the 20th Century forward, caused more by belief in God, organized religion, intellectual idealism, nationalism or just plain old common human greed, as ALL wars can invariably be traced back to?  Does belief in God really cause war?  You decide.

Link to footnotes and documentation for the above article

SHOULD WE LAY DOWN OUR SWORDS?

October 17, 2009

Like most conceptual terms, it is not accurate to paint “pacifism” with a quick broad brush.  One form of pacifism is to never strike back, which was practiced personally by Martin Luther King, Jr.  While in the midst of a speech, a man jumped on stage and struck him in the face, knocking him down.  King, a former wrestler, got back up and offered the man his chair on the stage.

Another form of pacifism allows for the defense of one’s own physical person and immediate family or small group.  This form is possibly, but not necessarily in agreement with Jesus, when taken in context of several different teachings; it’s never accurate to extrapolate only some of what Jesus said, as conservative Christians often do.

Jesus drew a distinct line against war and violence.  From an accurate historical perspective, war is invariably about either protecting one’s own wealth or taking someone else’s wealth and almost always, about both.  Thus, war is not the same as self defense, which is protecting one’s physical person.

In war, soldiers are compelled to obey orders from the top down, regardless of how right or wrong they personally believe them to be. Following orders from the top down in WWII, soldiers who may never had previously violently attacked anyone, dropped atomic weapons on a large civilian population.

No side is right in war, because seeds of one conflict trace to a previous conflict.  Just as seeds of WWII trace to WWI and back even before the American Revolution, which was also about wealth; perceived unjust taxation, which was minuscule compared to what U.S. citizens routinely pay today, was a primary revolutionary motivation.

One of the supposedly most “justified” wars in U.S. history is WWII, based on the theory that Japan attacked the United States without provocation.  The problem with this theory is, long before Pearl Harbor, we had gained substantially monetarily by supplying England and France with weapons which were used against Japan.  And at the time, we were attempting to blockade supplies coming into Japan, which was a threat to their population’s survival.

It is not that Japan was right and we were wrong but rather, war is invariably about both sides being wrong.  No nation profiting from a war is guiltless concerning that war.

Perhaps the best American historical example of justifiable self defense in regards to war, is when Colonel Chivington attacked and massacred a tribe of natives, who were sleeping inside their homes with white flag raised.  If there was ever a justified response, it is how American natives responded to Sand Creek.

Jesus taught the way to achieve peace is to lay down our swords. This solution is so obvious, a small child can easily understand what apparently, is too profound for many educated historians and conservative preachers to grasp.  In the book of Revelation, this command is repeated and, those who resort to violence and war as a means to an end, are placed on the wrong side of God, human rights and human history.

Is laying down our swords wise?  Has picking up a sword ever “secured the peace”, preventing war from breaking out again?  Is there a better or any other solution to war, other than laying down our swords?  Are you smarter than Jesus?  You decide.

Link to footnotes and documentation for the above article

WHO IS REALLY LYING ABOUT HEALTH CARE?

October 17, 2009

NOTE:  The numbered items below are taken from a Republican Party health care flier handed out at various health care demonstrations.  
 

1.  We need to reform health care.  It costs too much.

Republicans under Bush did nothing to reform the health care industry.  There is no historical track record of Republican health care reform.  Thus, current proposals reek of partisan political charades and complete and total dishonesty.

2. Make health insurance portable so Americans can keep their coverage when they change jobs.

This does nothing to reduce dramatically rising health care costs, eliminate high deductibles and co-payments, help the uninsured or people with pre-existing conditions or, prevent insurers from refusing to cover the sickest among us.  And, this wasn’t proposed by Republicans prior to the 2008 campaign.

3. Provide tax credits to make health care more affordable and accessible. 

In addition to solving none of the things noted previously, this was first proposed by John McCain while running for president.  Prior to that, there is no record of Republican tax credit proposals.  On the contrary, Republicans in Congress under Bush pushed to reduce federal funding, including opposing helping uninsured children.

4. President Obama and the Democrats are conducting a dangerous 1.6 trillion dollar experiment with our health care
 
When cost savings are factored in, the actual cost would be about 100 billion per year.  This is less than 1/30th of the estimated cost for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Apparently, Republicans believe pretending to protect us from harm in foreign lands is more important than protecting Americans against contagious diseases and death from lack of health care here at home.   
Tax cuts for the wealthy under Bush alone would cover this cost and provide a home for every homeless veteran as well.  Annual losses in national productivity, due to the spread of common contagious diseases easily preventable if everyone had access to health care, cost Americans far more than reforms being proposed by Obama.    

5. Democrat proposals will raise taxes by 800 billion, mostly on small business. 

President Obama has proposed raising taxes on personal net income over 250K to help pay for health care reform.  Republican opposition is a continuation of the ongoing “Joe the Plumber” lie never dissected properly by the media; almost no plumbers or owners of small independently-owned companies earn over 250K annually after deductions. Also, businesses employing less than 50 people will not be required to pay for health care under proposed reforms.

6. Democrat proposals will create a national set of one-size-fits-all regulations, making health care more expensive for everyone. 

This is not at all what Obama and the Democrats are proposing but even if it was, it would serve to greatly reduce the cost for everyone, if the health care industry was forced to bid against the entire U.S. population base.

7. New regulations will make your employer drop your plan or cause your current insurance carrier stop offering your plan.   

Proposed regulations would actually have the opposite effect than what is pretended in Republican propaganda.  They include requiring employers to insure employees or else, pay a penalty to offset the costs of a government option.  New regulations would force insurers to accept all people, regardless of pre-existing conditions and, require them to cease dropping patients who are deemed “too expensive” for profit margins. 
 
8. Democrats will create a government run insurance option that would unfairly drive out competitors to become a monopoly.   

Since deregulation began under Ronald Reagan, major insurance corporations have essentially become a monopoly, unfairly driving out smaller competitors and, insurers who attempted to provide honest coverage.  Predominately supported by Republicans, deregulation reduced and eliminated rules that once prevented the industry from refusing to pay for expensive treatments and, protected poor and elderly patients from being literally dumped out the backs of ambulances onto Skid Row, as was famously video taped and revealed on national television.  
 
 
It’s true the Democrats are grossly in error regarding health care, bowing to corporate pressure and pretending that we can expect to survive as a modern nation, while leaving insurance industry profits in the way of achieving quality affordable health care for us all.  History has over and over again proven this to be a complete and total lie.   
 
But. . .  Who is really, really, really lying about health care?  You decide. 
 
Link to footnotes and documentation for this article:
http://www.freedomtracks.com/500/healthcare.html 

CAN CONGRESS BE REFORMED?

October 17, 2009

Anyone with a thimble-full of political sense can readily determine there is no way to fix America unless the influence of big money is eliminated from the political process.  Any other plan is mainly a big waste of everyone’s time, if we don’t as all-partisan citizens, regardless of religious, political or other persuasion, rise up and demand the complete elimination of bribery from sea to once shining sea.

Nothing illustrates this need better than the current crop of malfeasant Democrats, who since regaining control of Congress in 2007, haven’t done a single thing we the people obviously want.  Other than passing a minimum wage law that was over ten years too late and as many dollars too low, lack of health care, education costs, poverty, infrastructure decay, joblessness and homelessness have all dramatically increased.

Rather than helping average Americans, Congress has engaged in endless bend-over political charades, increased rather than reduced troop levels and war funding and signed away even more of our quickly disappearing rights.  And since 2008, they have sold our children’s future down a no-strings-attached, golden-platter river of unprecedented corporate bailout malfeasance.

Because the Supreme Court will always otherwise, declare any and all manner of corruption-eliminating reform “unconstitutional”,  the only way to get rid of big money influence is by constitutional amendment.  Attempts at other methods of reform have left a long historical trail of tears of utter frustration and defeat.

We need an amendment making it punishable by life in prison without parole, for any organization or group of people of any kind, for any reason, to contribute one penny or anything of higher value, to one small-town city council office seeker on up to president of the United States.  And we need to limit individual contributions to 1% of the median income per candidate per year, including candidates themselves; approximately $480 in 2008 dollars.

In order to be licensed for broadcasting on what are theoretically “the people’s” airwaves, we need to require all radio and television stations to grant free equal airtime to “qualified” candidates; qualification determined by obtaining enough signatures of registered voters, amount determined by office and number of people represented.  And, we need to eliminate the electoral college, elect everyone by popular vote, hold all party primaries on the same date and require a verifiable paper trail.

There is much tweaking necessary for the amendment proposed here, but this sketch outline is sufficient to grasp the basic idea.  No law will eliminate all corruption, but what is suggested here would eliminate well over 90% of the current problem and, would allow the majority of we the people to actually have a voice.

Will the bottom-feeding miscreant corporate-puppet juvenile delinquent treasonous reprobates of Congress ever be eliminated and put in federal prison where they belong?  You decide.

Link to footnotes and documentation for this article:
http://www.freedomtracks.com/500/congressionalreform.html