Saturday, November 10, 2018

Veterans Day and Why it Should be Special



82 million. That's the number, give or take a few hundred thousand here or there. 82 million. Written out, it's just an eight and a two followed by six zeros. A really big number, but not overly impressive in a day and age where we talk about a Gross National Product (GDP) of $20.3 trillion dollars, or a national debt of $21.6 trillion dollars or a national revenue of $3.6 trillion dollars. But those are financial numbers; figures so large that it's hard for the average American to wrap their head around. However, the 82 million I mentioned, while smaller, is perhaps an even more significant number than the national debt or rate of unemployment or interest or whatever else.

So, just what is this 82 million that makes it so special? Simply this. It represents the number of American military personnel who've died in the defense of this country. It represents individual lives lost do to war and the anticipation of war. It represents individuals dreams, hopes, and aspirations lost forever. It represents lost smiles, laughter, and conversations. It represents lost potentials; potentials which could have created jobs, make new discoveries, or cured diseases. The 82 million also represents the lost of fathers, brothers, sisters, sons, wives, and daughters, not to mention aunts and uncles. Its represents a lot of lonely days, nights, months, and years, and doesn't even begin to cover the number of tears shed for each one of those lives. The sad or perhaps profound thing about that number is that it's only an approximation; a "best guess" since it doesn't cover those who suffered daily for years from the injuries suffered in war, either physically or mentally; individuals who died as a result of diseases, chemicals, or unsuccessful surgeries. It also doesn't include the disabled who, while alive, continue to suffer their entire life for service to this country.

Yes, it's true that they receive a modest amount of monetary compensation and somewhat reasonable medical care (varying greatly from medical facility to medical facility). In fact, thousands die annually just for waiting for medical care. A 2005 Veterans Affairs report from the Inspector General estimated that some 300,000 veterans died while waiting for medical care. At a single VA facility in Los Angeles, 100 former servicemen and women died while awaiting treatment...in 2017. That was 43% of those on the waiting list.

Auditors found that 82% of veterans waited a month or longer for an appointment, with the average wait time being three months. Given the ages and health condition of many of these veterans, that's simply longer than they have (almost 50% of all veterans are 75 or older). Worse is that incorrect or fraudulent record keeping have kept some veterans from seeking medical care from civilian doctors or treatment centers.

In the United States we have approximately 130,000 and 200,000 homeless veterans existing in the streets on any given night. According to the National Coalition for the Homeless, that represents in the area one quarter of all homeless individuals. While veterans comprise just of 1/3 of the total US population, homeless veterans comprise 43% of all homelessness. That figure doesn't cover those who are able to obtain short term temporary shelter. To make matters worse, the Veterans Administration predicts that at least 400,000 veterans will experience homelessness during the years.

Ninety seven percent of homeless veterans are men. 46% are 45 years of age or older with 41% being between the ages of 30 and 50. While just 3% of homeless veterans are women, they are more likely to be married and to suffer from some sort of mental illness. 46% are white males while 45% are black or Hispanic. 47% are Vietnam Era veterans; 15% are pre-Vietnam while 17% are post-Vietnam. 67% served three or more years in the military while 89% earned a Honorable Discharge. 85% have a high school diploma or GED compared to just 56% of the general population. Lastly, and more tellingly, 76% of all homeless veterans suffer from drug, alcohol, and/or mental illness; of these, many are unable to get or keep the help they need as a result. 18% of all adult suicides are a veteran.

In terms of general demographics, there are approximately 18.5 million veterans in the US today with three states, California, Texas, and Florida have over one million veterans each. 1.6 million of these are women. 6.7 million are Vietnam War veterans. 78% of all veterans are white, white 11.6% are black. 6.1% are Hispanic and 1.6% are Asian. 0.7% are Native American with the remainder being some other race. There are 4 million service connected disabled veterans (including yours truly).

Veterans Day grew out of Armistice Day which marked the end of World War One. Of the 4,743,826 Americans who served in that war, none are alive today. Of the 16 million US service personnel who served in World War II, only 496,000 remain (they are all in their 80's or older), and we're losing around 348 every day. Let that sink in for a minute or two. Those young men and women you see in those documentaries are all in their 80's and 90's. They were the "Greatest Generation" in every sense of the word, and yet we're losing them at a rate of just over 14 "heroes" (in my opinion) an hour...every single day.

Let's look at another interesting figure for a moment. There has been a few politicians of late calling for or encouraging violence while blaming the other side for not being "civil". The result has been a serious increase in acts of violence and intolerance of differing opinions. In some cases, there have been threats of physical harm (or death), acts of vandalism, mass shootings, and so forth. In short, the US is starting to look like the era just preceding the Civil War. In fact, historians and political scientists will tell you that American is more broadly and more deeply divided at any time since the late 1850's. We are being divided at every possible point while politicians and various faux groups are fanning the flames (thank you Citizens United). Do we really want that; another Civil War? I don't think so.

A lot of Americans don't realize that the Civil War (1861-1865) was the bloodiest war that the US has ever fought. The Korean war cost 36,516 American lives. The Vietnam War took 58,209. WWI claimed 116,516 souls, while WWII resulted in the deaths of 405,399 American servicemen and women. Yet, the American Civil War, which ended over 153 years ago, still holds the record with 620,000 died, not including those who died of disease or injury later, and we are still feeling ramifications from that war all these years later. We're suddenly seeing the destruction or defacing of monuments and memorials, the removal (and prohibition) of Confederate flags and symbols, as well as the dropping of mascots and changing of school names, streets, and the rewriting of American history all in the name of political correctness.

Why, after all these decades and all these generations is this happening? It wasn't an issue at the end of the war when feelings were running high. It wasn't an issue during Reconstruction. It wasn't an issue when the 13th Amendment was enacted. It wasn't an issue during the Spanish-American War, World War One, World War Two, the Korean War, or even Vietnam. It wasn't an issue during the Civil Rights Era, with the Freedom Riders or any of the great Civil Rights leaders, during the Watts riot or the Chicago Police Riot of 1969. It wasn't an issue during the latter 1960's or 1970's either. It wasn't even an issue during the mid 1970's and forced busing. In fact, by the late 1970's race relations were actually pretty decent overall.

The point, of course, is that these calls for violence, intolerance, restrictions on free speech (not everyone's, just certain groups and individuals), protests, vandalism, all organized and paid for by shadowy political organizations, the media, and various politicians, have the potential to ignite a war which would surpass the Civil War. Do we really want that? So far, the ideological Right and Center have been very quite while the far Left has been on "hate-fest". These are mostly naive young adults who are full of themselves and determined to impose their views and ideas on everyone else, even if it means various forms of domestic terrorism, all dressed in their black hoodies and hiding behind masks. Aren't they just the cutest?

The corporate owned media seems intent on encouraging them while downplaying or ignoring their actions. That doesn't mean the Right gets off scot-free. They too have been engaged in name calling like accusing the Left of trying to impose "socialism" or Communism which is utter nonsense. As anyone who's bothered to read a history book knows, "socialism" and Communism both prohibit Capitalism, with the rich usually murdered. Now, what do you think the chances of Wallstreet folding are? What do you think the chances of America's ruling financial elite suddenly and willingly giving up their wealth, the power, or their control are? Yeah, see my point?

At the same time, the Left likes to call President Trump "Hitler" or anyone on the Right (or whom they disagree with) for that matter a "Nazi", which is just as silly. They also accuse anyone they disagree with as being a "Fascist", yet they are the ones engaging in Brownshirt behavior. However, even if it were slightly true, then they wouldn't be any one of them not in prison, in a concentration camp, or simply stood up against a wall an shot. In short, they wouldn't be afforded the opportunity to peacefully protest or verbally attack anyone.

America is, as you know by now, an Oligarchy whose ruling elite are a small percentage of very wealthy individuals and corporations. Their goal is control pure and simple. They already control business, the media, the government, both political parties and their politicians. They use the US military as their personal enforcers to ensure governments and groups fully "cooperate" and that everyone remains on the Petrodollar which keeps the US economy afloat. What they need from us is chaos. They need to divide us every way possible and to create a situation to bad that we demand the government "do something", and trust me they will, but not in the way you hope or expect.

In truth, we are in a new war. Not quite a Marxist "class" war, or a race war. It's not a gender war, or one of religion, a war to subvert our laws, or even of "American" vs. "non-American". It's a war to fictionalize us at every step; to break our moors from family, Faith, community, ancestral, regional and even national pride until we have no one left to turn to but the State. The State will provide for us, protect us, educate us, nurture us, and even bury us. All is requires is our obedience and submission. To put it another way, the Left wing of the ruling Oligarchy wants to impose a softer and kinder form of Fascism with us becoming their serfs. The Right wing of the ruling Oligarchy wants to impose a more restrictive form of Fascism with us becoming their serfs. See the difference?

The war were engaged in now, whether we acknowledge it or not, is for the present and future of America; whether we return to a Constitutional Republic or continue down the road to some form of Fascism (for comparison, read up on the late Roman Republic). 82 million Americans gave their lives for our freedom. Countless others have given their minds and bodies. Many more struggle through their own private hell. We should honor them on more than just one or two days a year. We owe them this country and our freedom for all they've done. Don't let a handful of greedy individuals, politicians, and special interest groups take it away from them...or us.



IG report: 300,000 Veterans Died While Waiting for Health Care at VA

Inaccurate VA wait times preclude thousands of vets from getting outside care, probe finds


National Coalition for the Homeless: Homeless Veterans


National Coalition for Homeless Veteran: FAQ About Homeless Veterans


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