The Door’s Over There. It’s The One Under The Green Bus

If Mike Duffy can hang on for a little over one more year he’ll qualify for a senate pension. He may well have to resign before he’s charged with fraud but if he times it right a monthly cheque from the government will be secure and he can reacquaint himself with that place he’s supposed to be a senator from. If he and the Conservative party had been a little more stringent in their views on expense accounts then that pesky legal issue  wouldn’t have been a problem and his reward for being a CPC shill would have been a pension that, while it may not keep all the wolves from the door, will at least thin out the pack a bit.  Of course, as a Senator’s time in office grows so does his pension. Eventually that wolf pack will go find someone else to trouble.

Now, lets compare that to how the government treats the members of it’s armed forces. It’s a reasonable pension, if they let you stick around to get it. Which they are apparently not all that willing to do if they can help it, according to the Globe and Mail. And it’s not just the two guys in the Globe’s article. Stories of DND and Veteran’s affairs screwing over it’s wounded and injured members are available by the job lot. The telling bit is the quote from Mike Blais near the end of the story. He puts the blame for pushing out mentally or physically damaged servicemen on National Defence Headquarters and their drive to make the party in power happy with how much money they can save, and he’s right. The Generals that run the show have always had an unseemly anxiousness to be patted on the head by the PM for saving a few dollars. So it comes as no surprise to me that they if they see a chance to save a few bucks on the pension plan they’ll take it.  And I’m a former serviceman myself. I believe that you should be able to do what is frequently a very physically demanding job and if you can’t, it’s time to find something else to do.  Now that I’ve said all that, I also believe that if the job that the government tells you that you have to be willing to die to have breaks you, at any point in your service, then they owe you a lot more than a serviceman’s lapel pin and writing  you off as a bad investment.

entertainment, health care, Iraq, justice, media, military, Things We Should Know

Thursday News Roundup

  1. Doctor Assailed for Leaving Dead Man in Waiting Room: A 77-year-old man in respiratory distress arrived at a private clinic in Montreal, only to be told to ‘wait his turn’. His turn came, but not quite in the way everyone was counting on. After his heart stopped, and his dentures fell on the floor, someone apparently thought, “Hmm. Perhaps something wrong.” The clinic’s doctor came out, gave the man a cursory examination (AFTER he was dead, mind), and did nothing. In a shocking yet completely not shocking turn of events, the doctor’s name is Jaques Chaoulli, famous for crusading in favor of privatized medicine. I guess in this instance, evidence suggests private care can fall a little short there, doc.
  2. Apple Pulls Plug on ‘Baby Shaker’ iPhone Program: Apple has removed from its’ website a 99 cent application that urged users to silence a crying infant through a vigorous shaking of the device. Once the user finished, the silenced infant would appear with little red ‘X’s over its’ eyes. Also removed: Jew Cooker and Child Molester.
  3. Jim Carrey Speaks out on Vaccine Safety: I’m sorry – what? You expect us to take you seriously after you talk out your ass? With this mix of alarmist rhetoric mixed with conspiracy theory, I’d say you still are.
  4. Pentagon: Iraqi Insurgent Attacks Will Increase as U.S. Troops Leave: On a related note, the Pentagon predicts the sun will in all likelihood fall below the horizon some time this evening, but will return several hours later at the opposite side of the sky. But only if they sacrifice another 150 American soldiers.
  5. Composite Image Released of Possible Abductor of Tori Stafford: Tori Stafford, presumably the only child in Canada to go missing over the past few weeks, or at least the only white, blond one, stays in the headlines through the release of a composite sketch of her alleged abductor:

0422woodstock188I think it’s sad that Odo couldn’t find work after Deep Space Nine ended.

I don’t say this very often, but man, am I in Completely Offensive mode this morning? In particular, I think it may be necessary to clarify my point on the last item: I am saddened by the fact that Tori Stafford has been abducted, and I can’t imagine what the family must be going through, but how many other children, who deserve an equal amount of worry and concern, and whose parents deserve an equal amount of sympathy, have gone missing during this time? The sheer number of child abductions in Canada (Over 60,000/yr.) leads me to suspect that there are at least a few.  How many of these are from low-income neighborhoods? How many of them are Aboriginal, or Black, or Indian, or… well, you get the picture. And, how many of them are on the news every night?

Exactly none. Sorry to end on a downer, but reality, and the media, sucks.

afghanistan, Conservatives, Fox, media, military, Republicans, war

Fox “News”: I Got’cher Fair and Balanced Right Here…

Ah, Fox News. Is there any topic you can’t bring shame to your nation on?


Currently (according to stories here, here and here), we should apparently be on the lookout for large white pundits approaching our southern border, wishing to invade because they feel we have no army. This, and the rest of the pinheaded discussion on Fox News, was in response to General Andrew Leslie’s comment that our troops will require some rest after the Afghan mission is complete in 2011. Our armed forces are mocked for needing “manicures and pedicures”, along with this gem:

“…the Canadian military wants to take a breather to do some yoga, paint landscapes, run on the beach in gorgeous white Capri pants.”

To characterize this as idiotic, insensitive and ill-informed is not even to scratch the surface of the insult this brings to our Canadian military. We ‘Koggers have friends and relatives in Afghanistan, and Ms. Flash had a high school friend killed in a firefight not long ago. Why idiotic conversations like this are allowed to continue uncensored immediately after the deaths of so many of our best and brightest is beyond me – THIS is why many Canadians dislike, or openly hate, Americans. This vocal, mindless minority spewing ignorance on the airwaves.

How about this: instead of the planned invasion of fat-assed right wing blowhards, let’s hand each of them a rifle and send them to spend some time with our troops. After they’re done shitting themselves they will be entitled to an opinion.

Ladies and gentlemen, for your edification, I present the incriminating footage (try not to eat before watching):

Read the comments on the video over at Youtube, it’s more than worth it – for a change.

Remember 1812.

Addendum: Aw, He’s sorry. He says it was s’posed to be funny. It wasn’t.

Iraq, military, United States, war

American troops rotten to the core?

Yes, this is an examination of the “a few bad apples” philosophy spouted by Rumsfeld, Bush, and Cheney. A recent study by the Office of the Surgeon General of the US Army Medical Command suggests that the mistreatment of innocent Iraqis is something that a majority of the rank-and-file will not report. Moreover, it suggests that a minority of American troops believe that “Iraqi noncombatants should be treated with dignity and respect.”

Alternet article on the Surgeon General’s Report

Some of the press accounts of the surgeon general’s study, “Mental Health Advisory Team (MHAT) IV; Operation Iraqi Freedom 05-07,” also reported the more detailed findings from its chapter on “Battlefield Ethics.” The information became more disconcerting; the problems were clearly more serious and pervasive than the executive summary indicated:

“Only 47 percent of soldiers and only 38 percent of Marines agreed that noncombatants should be treated with dignity and respect.”

“Well over a third of soldiers and Marines reported torture should be allowed, whether to save the life of a fellow soldier or Marine … or to obtain important information about insurgents….”

28 percent of soldiers and 30 percent of Marines reported they had cursed and/or insulted Iraqi noncombatants in their presence.
9 percent and 12 percent, respectively, reported damaging or destroying Iraqi property “when it was not necessary.”

4 percent and 7 percent, respectively, reported hitting or kicking a noncombatant “when it was not necessary.

The study also reports that only 55 percent of soldiers and just 40 percent of Marines would report a unit member injuring or killing “an innocent noncombatant,” and just 43 percent and 30 percent, respectively, would report a unit member destroying or damaging private property.

Immorality breeds immorality. This is the true Bush legacy.

Bush, military, Walter Reed

Bush, Walter Reed, and semper fi

It’s interesting to watch the Bush Administration spastic reaction to problems it created, and the newest one is proving especially vexing as it involves their last remaining sacred cow: the military. More specifically, the soldier.

The medical treatment of returning soldiers has recently become a political football, but it goes back years. The Army Times cites the Government Accountability Office that

In 2001, 10 percent of soldiers going through the medical retirement process received permanent disability benefits. In 2005, with two wars raging, that percentage dropped to 3 percent, according to the Government Accountability Office. Reservists dropped from 16 percent to 5 percent.

You read that right – a mere 3% of soldiers forced to retire due to medical necessity, mostly through wounds received in combat, were given permanent disability benefits. In addition, I think that we can be well assured that the benefits handed out have been chiselled down as low as possible before being yanked from Uncle Sam’s hand. The case of the Walter Reed Army Medical Center is just the most recently revealed abuse of those that serve at the behest of the Commander in Chief, going back many years, abuse that will not end at the gates of that now-famous hospital.

The Walter Reed case is a nearly classic example of how this Administration reacts to problems which are the inevitable outcome of its own actions – ask for the heads of other people. If there is a phrase that sums up the Bush/Cheney presidency it will have to be culpable deniability. In this case, the combined effects of fighting two wars on a shoestring budget and the privatization of services at the hospital, which began in 2000, can only result in one thing – firing/retiring the managers below the level of real decision-making.

I mean, after all.

I will leave you with one final quote from the Army Times:

According to multiple sources, the decision to privatize support services at Walter Reed led to a precipitous drop in support personnel at Walter Reed.”

The committee’s letter also noted that Walter Reed awarded a five-year, $120 million contract to IAP Worldwide Services, which is run by Al Neffgen, a former senior Halliburton official.

You knew those bastards had to be involved, didn’t you?

military, politics

General CampaignQuote Reporting For Duty, Sir!

Rick Hillier would apparently rather be shot at or bombed than called a “political prop”, which Liberal MP Denis Coderre did after Hillier referred to the period beginning in 1994 as a “decade of darkness” for the military owing to the cuts of the previous Liberal administration. Now I wouldn’t want to step on his bravado or anything, that’s the military’s stock and trade after all, but if someone goes and voluntarily says something that is just asking to be put into a campaign ad for someone else, that person has offered himself as a hack, a tool, or indeed, a prop.

I am not debating the content of his initial assertion – military funding was frozen or decreased in most years under Chretien, so from his standpoint I’m sure it was “a decade of darkness”. In fact, I know people that are or were in the military who feel Chretien was openly disdainful or at best dismissive of them until they were needed for political reasons. However, having made such a partisan political statement, for surely Hillier must have understood how it would be interpretted whether he meant it politically or not, getting weepy over being called on it is stupidity.

So which do you prefer, General – hack, tool, or prop? For surely you are being used as one of them, whether you like it or not.