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Archive for November 25th, 2009

This Thanksgiving, Hear What New Veterans Are Grateful For

Huffington Post

Paul Rieckhoff– Exec. Director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA)

Posted: November 25, 2009 06:38 PM

It’s time once again for that seasonal blend of gratitude and that deep longing for the familiar –family, health, pumpkin pie, turkey, and the Detroit Lions getting blown-out on National TV.

Eight years of war have brought tremendous challenges for our military, our veterans and their families. And just a few weeks ago, the military community was tested yet again by the terrible tragedy at Fort Hood.

Despite these obstacles, our men and women in uniform continue to soldier on. And this year, they have more than a few things to give thanks for. In 2009, we’ve seen some big victories for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. Just last month, advanced funding for VA health care was signed into law. A top priority for leading veterans groups for decades, this reform will transform veterans’ health care forever.

In 2009, we also saw the implementation of the new GI Bill, a historic measure which will send thousands of young men and women in uniform to college. And, we saw the new veterans movement grow and take hold across the country. From the largest Veterans Week celebrations ever to a thriving Community of Veterans, Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are coming together and showing one another that they have each other’s backs.

I know I am thankful for all of the above, but also for the support I’ve seen from people around the country for our veterans. I also think back to my Thanksgiving in Germany at CMCT, and I am grateful that I am not in the mud freezing my butt off. And I think back to my Thanksgiving in Baghdad, and I am grateful that all the men in my platoon came home alive. I am also grateful for those like Milo Ventimiglia who are taking USO trips overseas to see our troops. And, I am grateful for the inspiration of a true American hero, J.R Martinez, and the 60 kids from P.S. 22 who taught us that Rihanna can be a very powerful anthem.

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Wham- Last Christmas

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The Republican Way: Keeping Everything The Way It Is

Huffington Post- Alec Baldwin

Posted: November 24, 2009 12:10 PM

Didn’t you know, all along, that the goal of U.S. policy in Iraq was about accessing oil?

Not oil as in those production levels at the onset of the Bush era incursion in March, 2003. But newer, stronger, American-style production levels. American oil companies had been forbidden from exploring and developing new oil fields since the nationalization of Iraq’s reserves in 1972 and those American oil companies have long contended that Iraqi estimates of their potential reserves are grossly underestimated, by perhaps as much as a couple of hundred billion barrels.

Likewise, didn’t you know all along that Republican opposition to current health care reform is about maintaining the unconscionable monopoly that insurance companies have in the American economy. Why? For the same reason Bush went to war in Iraq, spent money we didn’t have, pushed the country into financial ruin and did more to threaten our long term national security than any modern president. The GOP needs contributions. I would never contend that the GOP is alone in this practice. When an administration awards contracts to some supporter, they anticipate more support. But no group, in the history of this country, has ever done this to such an extent. Remember, I am always careful to separate the leadership of any party from its rank and file. So when I level such a charge against “Republicans”, I am referring to their leadership on Capitol Hill. But, I think it’s safe to say now that the war in Iraq was started to provide U.S. oil companies with the opportunity to develop new oil fields there in return for the massive campaign contributions those oil companies will make to the Republicans in 2010 and, especially, 2012 in their effort to unseat President Obama.

The same is true for the health care industry, and insurance companies in particular. They don’t want reform. The current system works quite well for them. If an excess of Americans die due to insufficient health care, so what. Republican leaders argue that health care reform will lead to a big, fat, incompetent bureaucracy that will gobble up billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars and provide little accountability. But wait. Isn’t the Pentagon a big, fat, incompetent bureaucracy that gobbles up…? Well, you get it.

MORE HERE

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