Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Last Casualties of the Cold War


The below House ofRepresentitives Resolution details what might very well be the some of the last if not the final US serviceman killed during the Cold War by Communist forces (The insurgent group FMLN)

HCON 314 IH 105th CONGRESS 2d Session H. CON. RES. 314

Expressing the sense of the Congress with respect to war crimes against United States military personnel and their families, and in particular to the war crimes committed in El Salvador against United States Army pilots David H. Pickett and Earnest Dawson, Jr.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

August 3, 1998 Mr. BRYANT (for himself, Mr. FAWELL, and Mr. LEWIS of Kentucky) submitted the following concurrent resolution; which was referred to the Committee on International Relations

CONCURRENT RESOLUTION

Expressing the sense of the Congress with respect to war crimes against United States military personnel and their families, and in particular to the war crimes committed in El Salvador against United States Army pilots David H. Pickett and Earnest Dawson, Jr

. Whereas in 1991, David H. Pickett was a lieutenant colonel and Earnest Dawson, Jr., was a private first class in the United States Army;

Whereas on January 2, 1991, David H. Pickett and Earnest Dawson, Jr., along with Chief Warrant Officer Daniel Scott, were on official business when their helicopter was shot down over El Salvador by Marxist guerrillas of the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN);

Whereas in the helicopter crash Daniel Scott died and David H. Pickett and Earnest Dawson, Jr., were wounded;

Whereas David H. Pickett and Earnest Dawson, Jr., were captured and promptly murdered by FMLN guerrillas, including Ferman Hernandez and Serveriano Fuentes;

Whereas after the murders of David H. Pickett and Earnest Dawson, Jr., were investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Justice sought and obtained a warrant for the arrest of Ferman Hernandez from the United States District Court in Washington, DC; Whereas the Department of State directed that Ferman Hernandez be detained if he entered the territory of the United States;

Whereas the United Nations brokered a peace agreement that ended the civil war in El Salvador in January 1992 and resulted in the Government of El Salvador signing a comprehensive peace accord with the FMLN;

Whereas the FMLN surrendered Ferman Hernandez and Serveriano Fuentes to the Government of El Salvador on March 17, 1992;

Whereas Ferman Hernandez and Serveriano Fuentes confessed to the murders of David H. Pickett and Earnest Dawson, Jr., and were detained by Salvadoran authorities;

Whereas a commission of the United Nations found, on April 1, 1993, that David H. Pickett and Earnest Dawson, Jr., while wounded and defenseless, had been executed by Ferman Hernandez, who was acting on the orders of Serveriano Fuentes;

Whereas the commission found that the actions of Ferman Hernandez and Serveriano Fuentes were in violation of international humanitarian law; Whereas the Government of El Salvador enacted a general amnesty law in May 1993, and released Ferman Hernandez and Serveriano Fuentes in accordance with that law;

Whereas the failure and refusal of the Government of El Salvador to bring Ferman Hernandez and Serveriano Fuentes to trial violates the Geneva Convention and other international agreements to which the Government of El Salvador is a signatory;

Whereas the United States has made diplomatic efforts toward the Government of El Salvador, but has failed to persuade the Government of El Salvador to comply with the Geneva Convention and other international human rights agreements by bringing Ferman Hernandez and Serveriano Fuentes to trial;

Whereas the United States has also failed to obtain from the Government of El Salvador the extradition of Ferman Hernandez and Serveriano Fuentes to the United States;

Whereas the Constitution of El Salvador prohibits the extradition of Ferman Hernandez and Serveriano Fuentes to the United States for trial;

Whereas there has been preliminary legislative action in El Salvador to amend the Constitution to permit extradition under certain circumstances, but further legislative action is necessary to ratify the amendment, and the amendment in its present form is not retroactive and therefore would not apply to Ferman Hernandez and Serveriano Fuentes;

Whereas the inability of the United States to meaningfully address the murder of two members of the United States Armed Forces in this instance raises concerns about the effectiveness of legal protections for the men and women of the United States Armed Forces who serve in foreign lands and for their families;

Whereas the United States has more than 350,000 military personnel deployed in over 120 foreign countries; Whereas tragic and wrongful acts against United States military personnel may occur in the future, and the United States should not again be unable to obtain redress, as in the case of the deaths of David H. Pickett and Earnest Dawson, Jr.; and

Whereas the 104th Congress enacted the War Crimes Act of 1996, which provided by law for criminal penalties for certain war crimes and for certain grave breaches of the Geneva Convention, and the 105th Congress strengthened and improved those provisions:

Now, therefore, be it Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring),

SECTION 1. EXPRESSION OF CONGRESS WITH RESPECT TO THE DEATHS OF DAVID H. PICKETT AND EARNEST DAWSON, JR.

The Congress expresses-- (1) sincere appreciation for the military service of Lieutenant Colonel David H. Pickett, Private First Class Earnest Dawson Jr., and Chief Warrant Officer Daniel Scott; (2) deepest sympathy to the families of David H. Pickett and Earnest Dawson, Jr., for their tragic and wrongful deaths; and (3) profound regret that the available remedies have failed to bring Ferman Hernandez and Serveriano Fuentes to justice and thereby bring closure to this tragedy.

SEC. 2. SENSE OF THE CONGRESS WITH RESPECT TO WAR CRIMES. It is the sense of the Congress that-- (1) the United States should improve the legal protections for its military personnel who serve in foreign lands and the families of such military personnel; (2) the Government of El Salvador should amend its Constitution to permit the extradition of Ferman Hernandez and Serveriano Fuentes to the United States for trial; and

(3) the President of the United States should-- (A) make vigorous and continuing efforts to obtain the extradition of Ferman Hernandez and Serveriano Fuentes to the United States; (B) initiate changes to the Geneva Convention and other relevant international agreements that would prevent amnesty from being used to deny redress for grave breaches of the Geneva Convention; (C) initiate other changes to the Geneva Convention and other relevant international agreements as appropriate to ensure and improve the legal protections for United States military personnel who serve in foreign lands and the families of such military personnel; (D) examine all status-of-forces agreements and similar agreements and obtain revisions as appropriate to ensure that the legal protections for United States military personnel will not suffer another failure, as in the case of David H. Pickett and Earnest Dawson, Jr.; (E) encourage other countries to enact laws substantially similar to the War Crimes Act of 1996; and (F) report to the Congress at least annually regarding the actions taken and progress made by the President in connection with the matters set forth in this resolution.
POW MIA RADIO UPDATE




Our scheduled guests on POW/MIA Radio for Sunday, March 1, 2009 are:

2:00-4:00pm Mountain time: Mr Sean Eagan, Chairman and Dr. Frank Tims, Ph.D., Historian and Legislative Director for the American Cold War Veterans. The American Cold War Veterans is incorporated in the State of Florida and founded on August 18, 2007 at The Truman Library in Independence, MO. They are dedicated to all veterans, with special dedication to those who served during the Cold War era, September, 1945 to December, 1991. From their mission statement: "Our Mission is to bring respect, recognition and awareness to Veterans of the Cold War era no matter what branch of service, whether active duty, reserve or National Guard. We are committed to honoring the sacrifices made by millions of American men and women during the Cold War, especially those who paid the ultimate price of life or liberty. We intend to see that the Cold War's history is completely and accurately understood by people everywhere. We are united in these goals and speak with one voice." Besides awareness for our Cold War Veterans and their sacrifices, they have been actively working to see that a Cold War Medal be issued to those who served during that period. Sean and Frank will discuss their group and their latest activities.
Please visit their website, http://www.americancoldwarvets.org for more information.

4:00pm Mtn - News and Views: An hour of the latest POW/MIA and veterans issues.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Rep. Peter King (R-NY) has re-introduced H. Res. 111. The resolution currently has 72 co-sponsors. We need to act again and contact our state representatives to sign on as co-sponsors. Please visit http://www.nationalalliance.org for additional information on how we can make this legislation successful.

Remember Jack and Wilma Laeufer at Lima Area MIA-POW have many items available for purchase in support of our veterans and missing Americans. Please contact them at 419-641-2340.

Thanks to our sponsors for this sponsorship period:

Korean War Ex-POWs Association
Annonymous
Chained Eagles of Ohio

Listen to POW/MIA Radio every Sunday on The American Freedom Network, http://www.americanewsnet.com . We also broadcast with 10,000 watts.on KHNC-AM, 1360khz, Johnstown, Colorado. If you are unable to get the show on the website, please re-enter the URL in your address line and try again.

Thanks,

Rod Utech


"Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God!" Patrick Henry, 1775

Thursday, February 26, 2009

President's 2010 Budget Request Strongly Supports VA Programs


Funding Plan Improves Access, Modernizes Technology

WASHINGTON (Feb. 26, 2009) - President Obama's first proposed budget forthe Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) expands eligibility for healthcare to an additional 500,000 deserving Veterans over the next fiveyears, meets the need for continued growth in programs for the combatVeterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, and provides the resources to deliverquality health care for the Nation's 5.5 million Veteran patients.The 2010 budget request is a significant step toward realizing a visionshared by the President and Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K.Shinseki to transform VA into an organization that is people-centric,results-driven and forward-looking."Our success must encompass cost-effectiveness," Shinseki said. "We arestewards of taxpayer dollars, and we will include appropriate metrics to accurately gauge the quality of our care and the effectiveness of our management processes."If accepted by Congress, the President's budget proposal would increaseVA's budget from $97.7 billion this fiscal year to $112.8 billion forthe fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, 2009.  This is in addition to the $1.4billion provided for VA projects in the American Recovery andReinvestment Act of 2009.The 2010 budget represents the first step toward increasingdiscretionary funding for VA efforts by $25 billion over the next fiveyears.

 The gradual expansion in health care enrollment that this wouldsupport will open hospital and clinic doors to more than 500,000Veterans by 2013 who have been regrettably excluded from VA medical carebenefits since 2003.

 The 2010 budget request provides the resources toachieve this level of service while maintaining high quality and timelycare for lower-income and service-disabled Veterans who currently rely
Dover Ban Should Be Lifted


I do not like the idea of our goverment hiding the human cost of the GWOT. This is a email that came in from VoteVets.org . I invite your comments. Should the ban be lifted? Personally I think so. Chime in below what do you think.


Dear VoteVets.org Supporter,

We're hearing that the Pentagon is close to making a recommendation to the President on whether to lift the ban on photos of caskets of our returning war dead at Dover Air Force Base and other ports of entry. There is very good reason for the Pentagon to lift the ban, and we want to ensure that they do.

The ban is not something that's been around forever. In fact, it's a pretty recent policy, instituted for purely political reasons, with waivers given, also for purely political reasons. The ban was instituted just before the first Gulf War, by the first President Bush, worried that images of the dead coming home could affect support for the war, just as they had during Vietnam. But, George W. Bush allowed images of a victim of the Pentagon 9/11 attacks to be shown, to stir up anger (as if we needed any more reason).

More importantly, those of us who served swore to uphold the Constitution of the United States. Part of that Constitution is freedom of the press, to promote the ability of the public to have as much information as possible -- even when that information is not comfortable for those decision-makers in power.

And finally, this is about being able to honor the fallen. The return ceremony is incredibly respectful, and deeply honorable. We should be allowing all Americans to share in honoring the fallen, not hiding it.

CLICK HERE TO URGE THE PENTAGON TO CHANGE THE DOVER BAN
Honoring Veterans


FOREST CITY, IA - The Forest City American Legion is working with other military organizations to plan an honor flight.

  They're flying one hundred World War II vets from North Iowa and Southern Minnesota to Washington D.C. on April 18th. 

The trip just lasts one day, but the group will have the chance to tour most of the Capitol.  Plus they'll spend two full hours at the World War II Memorial.  It's a tightly packed schedule, but Vietnam Vet Bill Clark explained it's nothing compared to what they've been through. Clark told KIMT News 3, "this is a piece of cake, this is a walk in the park for these guys.  I talked to a guy that's 94 years old and one of the questions on the application is, can you walk 100 yards?  He says, if you let me rest a little bit.  They're fired up to go." Donations and other sponsorships are allowing the World War II vets to travel free of charge.

  If you'd like to help, the organizers are asking you send checks payable to "Honor Flight Winnebago" to HFW, 216 S. 4th Street, Forest City, IA 50436. 

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Sean Eagan and Dr. Frank Tims of americancoldwarvets.org will be on POW-MIA Radio Hosted by Rod Utech Sunday March 1st to discus the Cold War.







Here



POW/MIA Radio is broadcast by the American Freedom Network





Sean and Frank and Rod will discuss Cold War veteran issues and the 14 Cold War incidents that DOD lists 126 men as missing from to this day.

(http://www.americanewsnet.com). Its flagship station is KHNC 1360AM out of Johnstown, CO. You can also catch their broadcast on Satellite: G-9 Channel 2, Sub-Audio 7.76, Horizontal Polarity.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Wounded Warrior Project
event to raise funds and awareness for our nation’s injured service members event will be held at The Pearl Room 8203 3rd Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11209 on Monday February 23, 2009 from 7:00PM – 10:00PM with our host and WWP Supporter Actor Tony Sirico AKA Pauli Walnuts of the Sopranos








January 5, 2009


Dear Friends:

On behalf of Wounded Warrior Project, we’d like to ask for your support as we participate in The Pearl Room / Wounded Warrior Project event to raise funds and awareness for our nation’s injured service members. The event will be held at The Pearl Room 8203 3rd Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11209 on Monday February 23, 2009 from 7:00PM – 10:00PM with our host and WWP Supporter Actor Tony Sirico AKA Pauli Walnuts of the Sopranos and our sponsorship goal is to raise as much funds as possible to assist the needs of Our Great American Heroes.

Over 30,000 troops have been wounded in recent conflicts, many of them suffering traumatic brain injuries, amputations, and severe burns. The Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) provides programs and services that ease the burdens of the wounded and their families, aid in the recovery process, and smooth the transition back to civilian life.

We have committed to the Wounded Warrior Project and the young men and women that benefit from WWP’s programs and services. These service men and women give life and limb to protect our freedom, and together, you and I can recognize their sacrifices.

We are asking for a donation of $100 to change the life of a Wounded Warrior, with this comes a t-shirt and other giveaways upon your admission to The Pearl Room on February 23rd for this event. Also, food and drinks will be provided by The Pearl Room as part of your donation. Sponsors are strongly encouraged with a minimum of $250 to have your name on the back of the t-shirt, which will be given to all who attend and a banner that will be prominently displayed that night. Please contact Chris or Nancy at The Pearl Room for sponsor info at 718.833.6666, deadline for this is February 13, 2009.

In exchange for your generosity and check made payable to The Pearl Room/WWP Event, you will receive a tax-deductible acknowledgment from WWP. Please contact the below for info reservations and how you can Support and Honor Heroes of this Great Country.

The Pearl Room
Attn: Chris, Tony or Nancy
8203 3rd Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11209
718.833.6666
dinepearlroom@yahoo.com

Please visit the Wounded Warrior Project at www.woundedwarriorproject.org to find out more about this extraordinary organization and the outstanding contributions and difference it has in the lives of the young men and women that continue to protect our freedom. The Wounded Warrior Project is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization, Federal Tax I.D. #20-2370934.

Thank you for your support!

Sincerely,

Nancy Venturine
Chris Paulsen
Tony Scialdone


Slide Show





Michael Rigert - NORTH COUNTY STAFF
On any given day, a dozen or so men clad in field caps and navy-blue jackets and bearing World War II-era M1 Garand rifles may be called up to serve.

They're not acting as military history re-enactors or part of some new Homeland Security defense force, but rather, they are U.S. armed forces veterans performing military rites at the funeral of a veteran.

George Van De Water of Orem is a former commander of Orem's American Legion Post 72, which has just more than 100 dues-paying members. He served aboard the Navy battleship Iowa off the coast of Korea during the Korean War as part of a Marine contingent.

The post's members are mostly veterans of the Korean and Vietnam wars, with very few living World War II servicemen left. Van De Water said one of their solemn duties is performing military rites, which include a legion chaplain, a flag presentation to the veteran's next of kin, three rifle volleys fired off by an honor guard of typically seven men, and a bugler playing "Taps."

The military funeral honors are provided to any honorably discharged U.S. military veteran at the request of his or her family. There is no charge, and the Orem post covers such requests for most of northern Utah County.

"There is no cost," Van De Water said. "This is something we do because we feel each of these veterans deserves to be recognized."

Norm Rohr, a member of the Orem-based American Legion post, currently serves as the chapter's post adjutant. He served during the Korean War aboard the Navy aircraft carrier USS Princeton as part of a five-man crew assigned to a F6F Hellcat fighter plane.

One of Rohr's many responsibilities with the Legion is to coordinate the assignments of requested military funeral honors. He said the Orem post performed military rites at 86 veterans' funerals last year, and 94 the year before that. Though he's only been in the Legion for five years, he believes the number of veterans funerals they've participated in is steadily on the increase.

"We average two per week," Rohr said. "Our veterans are dying left and right."

On Tuesday, Rohr and a compliment of Legion members stood in the snow at the Orem City Cemetery as part of an honor guard at the funeral of Korean War veteran Wayne Vance Gygi. Though it requires the dedication of the 30 members who routinely participate in the honor guards from week to week, every Legion member considers the service a form of solemn duty of brotherhood, Van De Water and Rohr said.

"We look at it as an honor," Rohr said. "These guys are veterans and they deserve the best."

And though the Legion keeps busy with many other activities including sponsoring local high-school students at Boys and Girls State through a speech contest, giving patriotic presentations at Orem schools, and placing crosses on veterans' graves on Memorial Day, they know what it means to veterans' families to extend the graveside services.

"It always happens. Part of the family and friends of the veteran will come up to several of us afterward and thank us, say how impressed they were, say how grateful they are," Rohr said. "That makes it worthwhile right there as far as I'm concerned."

Van De Water, who spent a combined 24 years in the Marines and the Army, agrees.

"As many times as I've done that I still feel tears when 'Taps' is played," he said.

"People often mention we're heroes when we perform an honor guard at funerals. My sense is, the heroes are the ones who didn't come back, and we honor them by honoring these fallen heroes," Van De Water said.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Veterans Affairs in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act CNN rated Veterans Affairs as one of the losers in this stimulus package




The following Joe Bello of NY Metrovets put together regarding Veterans Affairs in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that was approved by Congress and signed by President Obama yesterday. I note that CNN rated Veterans Affairs as one of the losers in this stimulus package as nearly all items for Veterans Affairs were reduced and the $2 billion the U.S. Senate wanted for VA Construction was wiped out altogether. Even Rep. Filner stated in a press release: “I am disappointed that we could not provide more of an investment in this bill and I will continue to work to draw attention to the growing and unmet needs of our veterans.” Also, please note that I have put nothing in here regarding the Filipino Veterans provisions. If I missed anything, I am truly sorry - it was a BIG document and I did this myself. Please pass on to others...Joe.

The breakdown is as follows:

MILITARY CONSTRUCTION AND VETERANS AFFAIRS (TITLE X)
Job creation. The conferees note that the Associated General Contractors of America estimates that each $1,000,000,000 in non-residential construction spending* will create or sustain 28,500 jobs. Based on this estimate and data provided by the. Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs, the conferees estimate that the construction funds and other programs in this will create or sustain 97,200 jobs.
DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS

VETERANS HEALTH ADMINISTRATION (VHA)

MEDICAL FACILITIES - $1,000,000,000*

For an additional amount for "Medical Facilities" for non-recurring maintenance, including energy projects, $1,000,000,000 to remain available until September 30, 2010: Provided, that not later than 30 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall submit to the Committees on Appropriations of both Houses of Congress an expenditure plan for funds provided under this heading. (Joe’s Note: The VA has identified a $5 billion backlog in needed repairs, including energy efficiency projects, at its 153 medical facilities. The $1 billion is for medical facilities renovation and retooling.)

NATIONAL CEMETERY ADMINISTRATION - $50,000,000
For an additional amount for "National Cemetery Administration" for monument and memorial repairs, including energy projects, $50,000,000, to remain available until September 30, 2010: Provided, that not later than 30 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall submit to the Committees on Appropriations of both Houses of Congress an expenditure plan for funds provided under this heading.
DEPARTMENTAL ADMINISTRATION

GENERAL OPERATING EXPENSES - $150,000,000
For an additional amount for "General Operating Expenses", $150,000,000, to remain available until September 30, 2010, for additional expenses related to the hiring and training of temporary surge claims processors.
INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY SYSTEMS - $50,000,000

For an additional amount for "Information Technology Systems", $50,000,000, to remain, available until September 30, 2010, for the Veterans Benefits Administration, Provided, that not later than 30 days after the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall submit to the Committees on Appropriations both houses of Congress an expenditure plan for funds' provided under this heading.
OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL - $1,000,000
For an additional amount for "Office of Inspector General", $1,000,000, to remain available until September 30, 2011, for oversight and audit of programs, grants and projects funded under this title.
GRANTS FOR CONSTRUCTION OF STATE EXTENDED CARE FACILITIES - $150,000,000
For an additional amount for "Grants for Construction of State Extended Care Facilities", $150,000,000, to remain available until September 30, 2010, for grants to assist States to acquire or construct State nursing home and domiciliary facilities and to remodel, modify, or alter existing hospital, nursing home, and domiciliary facilities in State homes, for furnishing care to veterans as authorized by sections 8131 through 8137 of title 38, United 7 States Code.
OTHER ITEMS FOR VETERANS AFFAIRS
CREDIT ALLOWED FOR UNEMPLOYED VETERANS HIRED IN 2009 OR 2010 (15 SEC. 1221)
Any unemployed veteran who begins work for the employer during 2009 or 2010 shall be treated as a member of a targeted group.
An unemployed veteran is defined as an individual certified by the designated local agency as someone who: (1) has served on active duty (other than for training) in the Armed Forces for more than 180 days or who has been discharged or released from active duty in the Armed Forces for a service-connected disability; (2) has been discharged or released from active duty in the Armed Forces during the five-year period ending on the hiring date; and (3) has received unemployment compensation under State or Federal law for not less than four weeks during the one-year period ending on the hiring date.

The work opportunity tax credit is available on an elective basis for employers hiring individuals from one or more of nine targeted groups. The amount of the credit available to an employer is determined by the amount of qualified wages paid by the employer. Generally, qualified wages consist of wages attributable to service rendered by a member of a targeted group during the one-year period beginning with the day the individual begins work for the employer (two years in the case of an individual in the long-term family assistance recipient category).
Targeted groups eligible for the credit
Generally an employer is eligible for the credit only for qualified wages paid to members of a targeted group.
(1) Families receiving TANF
(2) Qualified veteran
There are two subcategories of qualified veterans related to eligibility for Food stamps and compensation for a service-connected disability.
Food stamps
A qualified veteran is a veteran who is certified by the designated local agency as a member of a family receiving assistance under a food stamp program under the Food Stamp Act of 1977 for a period of at least three months part of which is during the 12-month period ending on the hiring date. For these purposes, members of a family are defined to include only those individuals taken into account for purposes of determining eligibility for a food stamp program under the Food Stamp Act of 1977.

Entitled to compensation for a service-connected disability
A qualified veteran also includes an individual who is certified as entitled to compensation for a service-connected disability and: (1) having a hiring date which is not more than one year after having been discharged or released from active duty in the Armed Forces of the United States; or (2) having been unemployed for six months or more (whether or not consecutive) during the one-year period ending on the date of hiring.

EFFECTIVE DATE: The amendments made by this section shall apply to individuals who begin work for the employer after December 31, 2008. (Joe’s Note: As many have stated, the basic problem with this part is that in order for an employer to receive the work opportunity tax credit, the Veteran will have to be on unemployment benefits for four weeks. Personally, I do believe that this is fair to the veteran. I am also not crazy about the part for service connected disability.)

ECONOMIC RECOVERY PAYMENTS TO CERTAIN INDIVIDUALS (SEC. 2201)
(Joe’s Note: This section will provide $14 billion for one-time $250 payments to all Social Security recipients, as well as poor people on Supplemental Security Income, and veterans who receive disability payments and pensions. There will be NO double payments.)
Directs the Secretary of the Treasury to disburse a onetime Economic Recovery Payment of $250 to adults who were eligible for Social Security benefits, Railroad Retirement benefits, or veteran's compensation or pension benefits; or individuals who were eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits (excluding individuals who receive SSI while in a Medicaid institution) . Only individuals who were eligible for one of the four programs for any of the three months prior to the month of enactment shall receive an Economic Recovery Payment.
The Secretary of the Treasury shall commence disbursing payments under this section at the earliest practicable date but in no event later than 120 days after the date of enactment of this Act. The Secretary of the Treasury may disburse any payment electronically to an individual in such manner as if such payment was a benefit payment or cash benefit to such individual.
No payments shall be disbursed under this section after December 31, 2010, regardless of any determinations of entitlement to, or eligibility for, such payments made after such date.

IDENTIFICATION OF RECIPIENTS
The Commissioner of Social Security, the Railroad Retirement Board, and the Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall certify the individuals entitled to receive payments under this section and provide the Secretary of the Treasury with the information needed to disburse such payments. A certification of an individual shall be unaffected by any subsequent termination or redetermination of the individual's entitlement to, or eligibility for, a benefit specified in subparagraph (B) or (C) of subsection (a)(l).

The VA will receive $100,000 for the Information Systems Technology account and $7,100,000 for the General Operating Expenses account for administrative costs incurred in carrying out this section.

The Department of Veterans Affairs Compensation and Pensions account shall hereinafter be available for payments authorized under subsection (a)(1)(A) to individuals entitled to a benefit payment described in subsection (a)(1)(B)(iii) .








Clyde Lewis, VFW Commander-in-Chief, 1949-1950 died Feb. 4, 2009, at Plattsburgh, N.Y

Lewis, an attorney, was the first World War II veteran to attain the highest office in a major U.S. veterans organization. He was elected Commander-in-Chief of the Veterans of Foreign Wars at the Golden Jubilee Convention in Miami, Florida in 1949.

He became active in the VFW immediately after separation from service when he joined Post 125 in Plattsburgh in September 1945. He held important elective and appointive offices in the Post, County Council and Department of New York. He was elected Junior Vice Commander-in-Chief in 1947 and Senior Vice Commander-in-Chief in 1948. He was a member of the National Legislative Committee, 1946-47, and since that time has served on many national committees. For more than 35 years he has served as chairman/vice chairman of the VFW Employee’s Retirement Board.

Lewis enlisted in the Army Air Corps as a private in April 1942, was appointed an aviation cadet, commissioned and received his wings as a pilot in March 1943. He spent 21 months overseas. He was successively a Flight Commander, Squadron Operations Officer and Squadron Commander of the 401st Bombardment Group, 8AF. He completed one tour of duty and volunteered for and had almost completed his second tour by V-E Day. After his first 15 missions as a flight commander he flew as a Group or Wing leader. He was promoted to major in January 1945, and separated from service the following September.

His decorations include the Distinguished Flying Cross with two Oak Leaf Clusters, the French Croix de Guerre, the Air Medal with four clusters, Distinguished Unit Citation with one cluster and the European-African-Middle East campaign ribbon with six battle stars.

Lewis was born in Hoquiam, Washington On June 20, 1913. He graduated from South Ben (Washington) High School in 1929 and from the University of Notre Dame, where he received his BA in 1934. He entered Harvard Law School and received the degree of Juris Doctor in 1939. He was the senior member of the law firm of Lewis, Rogers, Kudrle and Meconi, P.C. in Plattsburgh. He retired from the practice on December 31, 2001.

He is a member of the Capitol Hill Club, Elks, Knights of Columbus and Clinton County, New York State and American Bar Associations. In January 1970, he was invested a Knight of Malta.

From 1952 to 1995, he served as chairman of Plattsburgh Air Base Liaison Committee. He was the honorary wing commander of the 380th Bombardment Wing (SAC)/Air Mobility Wing (AMC) assigned to Plattsburgh AFB. The wing was deactivated and the base closed in 1995.

In 1985, the United States Air Force presented him its highest civilian award, the Exceptional Service Award. His biography appears in Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who in the World.

Lewis was married to the former Helen M. Judge of Plattsburgh, New York, who died in 1985 after 49 years of marriage. He has two sons, Rev. Clyde A. and John E. He married Patricia Davis Judge on October 1, 1988.
CSTO is Bringing Central Asia Back Into Russian Sphere of Influence





By Roger McDermott

The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) summit in Moscow on February 3, followed the next day by the meeting of the Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsEc) was overshadowed by Kyrgyzstan's President Kurmanbek Bakiyev announcing the closure of the US Manas air base in Bishkek.

However, Moscow's increasingly assertive foreign policy within the former Soviet Union, including reasserting Russia's security credentials in the South Caucasus and Central Asia and what many regard as playing a role in the Kyrgyz decision to close the American base, was also apparent in declaring the formation of a


"new" CSTO rapid reaction force, which Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev claimed will not be less capable than its North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) counterpart.

The new military structure is designed to play a regional role as a "last resort" while it will not aspire to become a counterweight to NATO. Arguably this initiative, combined with elaborating new regional air defense ambitions, is calculated to restrict NATO's influence in the South Caucasus and Central Asia promoting Russia's interests as Moscow conducts a "virtual cold war".

Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister, Grigoriy Karasin, clarified aspects of the new CSTO force on February 12.

"In peaceful conditions they will remain in their places of permanent stationing. In the event that a threat of aggression emerges in respect of CSTO states, as well as in order to quickly react to crisis situations, they would be redeployed in the direction of the threat on the basis of a decision by the Collective Security Council of the CSTO," Karasin said.

This would require presidential approval in each member state, acting only on the basis of consensus.

The CSTO rapid reaction forces
The structure which has existed on paper for several years will now be activated using national military sub-units, interior ministry special forces, other security agencies and units from emergency ministries. Russia will, of course, be the lead provider of military personnel to the CSTO rapid reaction capabilities, availing a division to its overall composition. The Central Asian members of the CSTO (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan) will also contribute forces to the CSTO rapid reaction forces.

The pattern of CSTO military exercises indicates these will be mostly tasked with playing supporting roles, drawn from mobile formations and specialist units. In the case of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan their numerical input will be purely of token value.

Uzbekistan will earmark forces for participation in exercises and operations, but has no plans to locate formations in a permanent headquarters, should one emerge in the future. Moreover, Tashkent negotiated a special clause allowing a case-by-case assessment as to whether it would participate and is more reluctant than the other Central Asian CSTO members to become involved in non-military operations such as emergency tasks or responding to a natural disaster.

This is counterbalanced by the critical role within the region that Kazakhstan has chosen to play in developing and contributing to these forces. Astana will attach an airborne assault brigade to the CSTO collective rapid reaction force, drawn from its airmobile forces headquartered in Kapchagai.

Kazakhstan: Russia's gateway to Central Asia
It is from within these structures that Kazakhstan has developed its peacekeeping capabilities with US and NATO assistance, initially as a battalion (KAZBAT) and with additional cooperation from the Alliance this has been transformed into a brigade (KAZBRIG).

Both NATO and Russia have potentially conflicting interests in these structures. Moscow, in alliance with Astana through the CSTO, holds sway since Kazakhstan has legal obligations to prefer CSTO commitments, in contrast to its "partner" status with NATO's Partnership for Peace program.

Kazakhstan Defense Minister Daniyal Akhmetov asserted that this brigade is ready for the duties assigned to it under the CSTO, which puzzled many observers. "The Kazakh airborne assault brigade attached to the CRRF is ready for combat. It is equipped with advanced armaments and military hardware, as well as capable of fulfilling its mission. The Kazakh brigade will be a worthy component of the CRRF," Akhmetov said in Astana on February 12.

The other brigades in Kazakhstan's airmobile forces are equipped with Russian made weapons and equipment and their combat capability is not as high as its Western-trained KAZBRIG. If Akhmetov referred to the latter, it represents a serious blow to NATO objectives with Kazakhstan's armed forces, preparing an interoperable brigade for possible future deployment on international peace support operations: if the brigade belongs to one of the other airmobile structures, it will further limit Kazakhstan's NATO partnership action program goals. In a worst case scenario, NATO training for KAZBRIG may mostly benefit the CSTO.

Air Defense: Squeezing Western influence
Colonel-General Alexander Zelin, commander in chief of Russia's Air Force, said on February 10 that Russia and its allies are currently building regional air defenses in three directions: East Europe, South Caucasus and Central Asia. Draft agreements, based on the unified air defense system between Belarus and Russia are now being prepared for other CIS members.

A unified CIS air defense system was first agreed on February 10, 1996, consisting of seven air defense brigades and 46 missile air defense units armed with S-125 S-75, S-200 and S-300 systems of various modifications, as well as 23 aviation units equipped with MiG-29, MiG-31 and Su-27 aircraft, 22 formations of radio technical troops and two electronic warfare units.

During the past 13 years, progress on integrating air defense within the CIS has been sporadic and often lacking genuine political will to implement such grand schemes amongst Russia's neighbors; Georgia exited early and Ukraine has proven ambivalent. Belarus proved one notable exception both preserving and strengthening its existing air defense capabilities and closely cooperating with Russia.

Russia has agreed on joint air defense combat duty with Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. General Zelin especially singled Russia's close ally in Central Asia, Kazakhstan, which has initiated the modernization and expansion of its air defense systems with Moscow's assistance and political support.

In order to realize these plans, efforts are underway to design "Zaslon", an automatization complex for command posts and the headquarters of the unified CIS air defense, in the context of bilateral programs. Moscow is considering supplying this system to Armenia, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Zelin stated that Russia's air force will be involved in any operation to defend a CIS member state; de facto asserting Russia's security suzerainty over the South Caucasus and Central Asia in particular.

On February 13 Nikolay Bordyuzha, secretary general of the CSTO, announced that Russia will set up a joint air defense system with Armenia. Bordyuzha portrayed this as advancing Russia's security interests in the region in which unified rules will be developed for exchanging air defense information, and as a step towards the future goal of achieving a common air defense system covering Belarus, Central Asia and the South Caucasus.

In an interview with Ekho Moskvy radio on February 13, Russia's ambassador to NATO, Dmitriy Rogozin, expanded on Moscow's plans for extending air defense capabilities beyond its borders offering protection from an "aggressor" or in cases of aircraft hijacked by terrorists. He suggested individual state air defenses were inadequate, and if a state is under threat of air attack it is best to intercept targets some distance from its own borders. Ragozin seemed to consider the issue in terms protecting Russian airspace.

Armenia and Kazakhstan as Russia's air defense partners
Developing these systems in Armenia, Belarus and Kazakhstan enables Moscow to receive information relating to the air space within their three respective strategic regions, while providing a need for the training of personnel from these countries within Russia in the use of integrated systems, communications and information systems, command and control and carrying out strikes.

It also serves as a deterrent to those states that may contemplate using military force and reasserts Russia's position as regional security guarantor. Reservations about air defense initiatives and the new CSTO rapid reaction forces have already been expressed in Baku.

Kazakhstan has Russian S-300 air defense systems protecting Astana and Almaty. Nevertheless, Akhmetov confirmed on February 12 that the Kazakhstani Ministry of Defense expects additional S-300 systems soon. Astana has also been trying to procure S-400 systems from Russia.

Akhmetov told foreign defense attaches accredited in Astana that that the country will receive "a significant number of the S-300 units", though he was less clear about what is necessitating the sudden emphasis on air defense. He said air defense systems would make it possible "to significantly reinforce Kazakhstan's air defense system, as well as to step up the country's integration into the CSTO". In this sense he sees their value as more political than military, signaling Astana's determination to prioritize the CSTO.

Indeed, the political-military justification only makes sense when questions are raised about the threat Kazakhstan is protecting itself from, and what it considers most vulnerable: the answer lies in its drive to adequately protect its energy infrastructure from potential attack from the air. This is crucial, since NATO has been exploring offering energy security capabilities to Kazakhstan: Russia has now effectively closed this door, with Astana's approval.

Akhmetov has talked up Kazakhstan's military cooperation with NATO and its members, as well as maintaining close defense relations with Russia both bilaterally and through the CSTO. Recently he has become more confident about Kazakhstan's defense ties with Russia, which are set to deepen further.

In 2009 both countries will hold large-scale joint military exercises. Commenting on the CSTO, Akhmetov said it was "above all about Russia", as they plan to hold different types of military exercises in terms of the quantity and quality of troops and equipment involved.

"Virtual cooperation" gives way to "virtual cold war"
While conducting vigorous international diplomacy to boost Moscow's cooperative posture with the West, Russia is actively pursuing policies which either thwart NATO objectives or policies, or alternatively make future engagement in these regions more difficult without Moscow's consent.

In this sense, Russia is currently engaging in a "virtual cold war", one that is not as costly as a real cold war, allowing it to minimize Western influence in regions regarded as a "sphere of influence" while allowing the presentation of the "user friendly" and potentially cooperative stance with the West.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009






Soviet spies sent an assassin to Poland to kill the Pope during the Cold War to try and prevent the collapse of the Iron Curtain, it has been claimed.

Soviets feared that the Catholic church in Poland had become the focus for the resistance to their dwindling rule and planned to kill Pope John Paul II when he visited his home country in 1987.

Soviet Military Intelligence set up a Bulgarian assassin with secret details of the Pope's itinerary and train tickets to where he was due to speak, but he was betrayed by his Catholic wife.

The woman confessed to her priest Zdzislaw Krol who alerted the police.

Officers later arrested the assassin.

Last night Father Krol said: 'A woman told me that she had information of a possible assassination attempt.
'A husband or life partner of this woman, of Bulgarian origin, was in the possession of plans of the Pope’s route through Poland’s most holy city Czestochowa as well some train tickets. I called the security officials after which the would-be assassin was arrested.'

It is believed the Russians wanted the dead because of his fiercely anti-communist stance which was hastening the collapse of their rule in Eastern Europe.
Several Cold War historians have credited John Paul with mobilising spiritual resistance to communism with his return to Poland in 1979.

Jan Zaryn, historian at the Polish Institute of the National Remembrance - set up to investigate war crimes committed by the Nazis and Soviets - confirmed the assassination attempt in 1987 from their files.


He said: 'The assassination plans could have been a provocation and set up by the communist secret services, in their quest to control the church in Poland, which during the 1980s had become the focus for much of the opposition movement.'


Father Krol is now chancellor of the Warsaw Metropolitan Curia - a leading Polish Catholic body and accompanied the Pope on his groundbreaking tours to Poland in the 1980's.

He also disclosed that during the Pope’s second pilgrimage to Poland in 1983, he received information of another assassination attempt, this time to take place at a mass at Warsaw’s 10th Anniversary Stadium.
He said the source was a person at the Austrian embassy who claimed that three fugitives from a German prison linked to the left-wing Red Brigade had managed to get into Poland and were planning to kill the Pope.

In 1981, John Paul II was shot and critically wounded in St Peter's Square by Turk Mehmet Ali Agca, an expert gunman.

On 2 March, 2006, an Italian parliamentary commission, set up by Silvio Berlusconi, concluded that the Soviet Union was behind the 1981 attempt on John Paul II's life in retaliation for the pope's support of Solidarity, the Catholic, pro-democratic Polish workers' movement, a theory supported by the CIA.

The Italian report stated security departments in communist-controlled Bulgaria were used to prevent the Soviet Union's role from being uncovered, and said Soviet Military Intelligence was responsible.

Mehmet Ali Ağca later admitted he had two Bulgarian accomplices in Rome at the time, including Zilo Vassilev, the Bulgarian military attaché in Italy.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Comforting Embrace


Air Force Chief Master Sgt. John Gebhardt, of the 332nd Expeditionary Medical Group at Balad, Irag, cradles a young girl as they both sleep in the hospital. The girl's entire family was executed by insurgents; the killers shot her in the head as well. The girl received treatment at the U.S. military hospital in Balad, but cries and moans often. According to nurses at the facility, Gebhardt is the only one who can calm down the girl, so he has spent the last several nights holding her while they both sleep in a chair. Photo couresy of David W. Gilmore Jr./U.S. Air Force




SHARE THIS PICTURE WITH EVERYONE!Why isn't this all over the news? If he had done something wrong, it surely would be!







Kay Donovan Casa das Flores Tel: +351 244 686041Mobile: +351 91 456 0981Website: http://www.casadasflores.eu/ http://www.florcasa.com/

Sunday, February 15, 2009



The Bay of Pigs
Cuba 1961





Author: Alejandro de Quesada
Illustrator: Stephen Walsh



I just finished this title from Osprey Publishing called " The Bay of Pigs" it is 64 pages packed with the little known details of Cuban exile Assault Brigade 2506 at the Bay of Pigs on April 17, 1961. This incident was as Cold War as it gets. JFK's decision had condemned them to constant attacks by Castro’s air force dooming the mission. The lack of coherent strategy and the unwillingness of the white house to provide more overt support throughout the whole planning of the operation leads one to believe we underestimated what it would take to get rid of Castro's regime .

The books details the unit history and order of battle as well as documenting the the actual three day operation. Castro's forces involved in the battle are covered in depth with great photographs from each side. The use and loss of American pilots during the operation was one of the more interesting tidbits. The use of US assets in a more relevant way might have turned the tide for Brigade 2506 but the White house's fear of escalation and a confrontation with the Russians ultimately led to failure of the operation.

Well written and fantasticly illustrated this book is a must have for anyone seriously studying the Cold War.


Sean Eagan Chairman American Cold War Veterans, Inc.

http://americancoldwarvets.org/

Sean.Eagan@gmail.com




Order this book

Elite 166
Author: Alejandro de Quesada
Illustrator: Stephen Walsh


About this bookThe landings by the Cuban exile Assault Brigade 2506 at the Bay of Pigs on April 17, 1961 led to three days of savage but unequal combat. Before they even sailed for Cuba, a White House decision had condemned them to constant attacks by Castro’s air force, which sank two of their ships loaded with vital supplies and equipment. Despite stubborn resistance to Castro’s troops and tanks, and heroic sorties by Cuban and American B-26 pilots, the Brigade was strangled for lack of firepower and ammunition. Their story is illustrated with rare photos from Brigade veterans, and detailed color plates of the uniforms and insignia of both sides.






February 13, 2009: Another collision in orbital space has destroyed an operational communications satellite (one of the Iridium birds, which supplies satellite phone service), at an altitude of about 770 kilometers over central Russia. The Iridium satellite was hit, on February 10th, by a dead Russian communications satellite (the one ton Cosmos 2251, equipped with a nuclear power supply, launched in 1993). The Russian bird could not be moved, nor could the Iridium (which, while active, was not equipped with thrusters for movement). The Iridium bird was one of sixty, so satellite phone services was not interrupted, because of the spare capacity in the system. The collision turned the two satellites into 600 bits of debris.
The last time anything like this happened was in 1991, when a dead satellite ran into debris from another, and created more debris. There have been two deliberate collisions since then. Two years ago, China launched a "killsat" that maneuvered into the path of a dead Chinese weather satellite, and destroyed it. Last year, the U.S. Navy used one of its Aegis equipped warships to destroy a malfunctioning U.S. spy satellite with an anti-missile missile. Russia and China have since called for such U.S. activity to be outlawed.

After sixty years of humans putting objects into orbit, there is a lot of junk up there. Currently, over 300,000 dangerous objects 10 mm (.4 inch) in size have been identified. The smallest of these is capable of disabling a satellite, or damaging a spacecraft. That's because these objects hit at very high speed (9-10 times faster than a bullet) if they, and their target, are coming from different directions.

There are nearly 18,000 objects 10 centimeters (4 inches) or larger. These can do some catastrophic damage, to satellites or spacecraft. There are billions of objects smaller than 10mm, and these are responsible for many satellites failing early because of cumulative damage from getting hit by several of these micro objects. There are also about 220 commercial satellites up there, plus nearly as many military ones.

There are lots of people keeping an eye on this clutter. The U.S. Air Force Space Surveillance Network, which tracks nearly 18,000 objects 10mm and larger, stopped sharing all of its information five years ago, for national security reasons. The Russian Space Surveillance System is known to use radar to track over 5,000 objects in low orbit. But the Russians have never shared this data completely, or regularly. Filling in the gaps are two international organizations; IADC (Inter-Agency Space Debris Coordination Committee) and ISON (International Space Observation Network). IADC is a government operation, whose members include the U.S. NASA, and the equivalents in Russia, China and several other major nations. Like most government organizations, not all data is shared.

ISON is a non-government organization, and they come up with some of the most interesting stuff. ISON comprises 18 scientific institutions, 18 observatories, 25 telescopes and over a hundred professionals. ISON does not, as far as anyone knows, withhold data because of any national security concerns. This is fairly certain because ISON work is monitored, and complemented, by the efforts of thousands of amateur astronomers and orbital addicts who connect via the Internet, and constantly scour the orbital space for new objects, and dangerous movements by existing ones.

ISON already has spotted 152 larger (over 10mm) objects that have never been reported by any of the government organizations. The Internet based amateurs are often the first to spot a lot of this new activity, mainly because they have more eyeballs, and, in some cases, impressive optical equipment, searching the skies.

When someone spots an object headed for a maneuverable satellite, the owner is alerted, and the bird is moved. This has happened several times in the last few years. The number of dangerous objects up there increases 10-20 percent a year. That's even with many of them falling into the atmosphere and burning up each year. Apparently, no one was able to predict the collision between Cosmos 2251 and the Iridium bird, largely because the high speed of these objects, and slight instability of their orbits, can turn an expected near miss into a direct hit.



Living On Cold War Leftovers


February 15, 2009: The global recession has hit Russia particularly hard, mainly because of the sharp drop in the price of oil and other raw materials. The Russian government gets most of its income from taxes on those raw materials exports. Thus the defense budget is being cut by 15 percent. There may be further cuts. There was no announcement of what programs would get cut. But based on past decisions, the nuclear weapons programs (land and sea ballistic missiles and submarines that carry them) will probably not suffer, and the ground forces will likely take most of the cuts.

Despite Russians huge size (17 million square kilometers, the largest nation in the world) and long borders (20,000 kilometers worth on land, another 37,000 of shoreline), it's primary means of national defense is its nuclear weapons. The army is a ramshackle force, smaller than the U.S. Army, and much more poorly equipped. Most of the million troops in the Russian armed forces are paramilitary forces working for the Interior Ministry and other branches of the government (like the FSB, which controls border guards.) These forces get by with assault rifles, machine-guns and low tech land transport, patrol boats and aircraft. The Russian army will have to wait longer to get new armored vehicles and other equipment. The government says it will not cut any warship building programs, so the air force will continue to scrape by with poorly maintained Cold War leftovers.






by Jere Beery

Today Iowa State Legislators unanimously approved a Bill that will enhance Federal statutes designed to protect veterans’ disability compensation from attachment in divorce settlements.

Veterans’ service-connected disability compensation is intended to financially compensate a military veteran disabled in the line of duty. This compensation is not an asset, or property, and should not be used to calculate a veteran’s net worth. Disability compensation is awarded to a veteran that has lost some/all physical or mental ability to work, or maintain a daily routine. Veteran’s disability compensation is tax exempt and not classified as ‘income’ by the IRS.

VA disability compensation is non-transferable and cannot be awarded to a third party under any legal process whatsoever. Even after the veteran has deposited these funds into their personal bank account they are federally protected from attachment or seizure. Disability compensation belongs solely to the disabled veteran that has suffered the disability.

USC, Title 38, Section 5301 reads in part; Payments of benefits due or to become due under any law administered by the Secretary shall not be assignable except to the extent specifically authorized by law, and such payments made to, or on account of, a beneficiary shall be exempt from taxation, shall be exempt from the claim of creditors, and shall not be liable to attachment, levy, or seizure by or under any legal or equitable process whatever, either before or after receipt by the beneficiary.

Although United States Code, Title 38, Section 5301 is very clear in its wording and intent, civil court judges nationwide have routinely ignored the U.S. Code and calculated veterans’ disability compensation into divorce settlements as a divisible asset.

The Iowa effort was spearheaded by U.S. Army veteran Jerry Bohr of Ossian, Iowa. Bohr is Operation Firing For Effect Director of Operations for the state of Iowa. He is also employed as a service officer for the Iowa State Department of Veterans Affairs. In addition, Jerry Bohr is a member of the 5301 Club, a grassroots group devoted to the protection of disability benefits from third party awards in civil courts. To say Jerry Bohr is well versed in veterans’ affairs is an understatement.

Operation Firing For Effect is currently monitoring 38 individual divorce cases nationwide in which veterans’ disability compensation has been misused as a divisible asset in a divorce settlement. Although United States Code, Title 38, prohibits such attachment of veterans’ benefits by any legal process whatsoever, many civil court judges routinely circumvent the wording and intent of this Federal statute by factoring in veteran’s disability compensation for spousal support, alimony, and child support awards.

In an effort to straighten the Federal statute and stop obvious abuses by civil courts, Jerry Bohr conferred with a number of Iowa State Legislators (to include; Representatives Brian Quirk, John Beard, Mckinnley Bailey, and Senators Mary Jo Wilhelm and Daryl Beall) and explained the problem to them. Bohr’s efforts paid off earlier this week when Representative Brian Quirk authored and introduced a Bill to the state legislature for a vote. Quirk’s Bill was designed to stop this very questionable practice by civil court judges. And today the Iowa General Assembly unanimously passed House Bill 170. Brian Quirk’s Bill was modeled on legislation created by the West Virginia legislature early last year to combat the very same problem.

House File 170 – PASSED

A BILL FOR

An Act relating to the exclusion of veterans' disability compensation in calculating property disposition and support obligations.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF IOWA:

TLSB 1900HH 83

pf/nh/14

Section 1. Section 252B.7A, Code 2009, is amended by adding the following new subsection:

NEW SUBSECTION. 1A. Disability compensation received by a party from the United States department of veterans' affairs for service=related injuries shall not be considered income for the purposes of determining a parent's income under this section.

Sec.2. Section 598.11, Code 2009, is amended by adding the following new subsection:

NEW SUBSECTION. 4. The court shall not consider disability compensation received by a party from the United States department of veterans' affairs for service-related injuries in determining the amount of temporary support awarded under this section.

Sec.3. Section 598.13, Code 2009, is amended by adding the following new subsection:

NEW SUBSECTION. 3. Disability compensation received by a party from the United States department of veterans' affairs for service-related injuries shall not be considered income or property for the purposes of disclosing the financial status of such party.

Sec.4. Section 598.21, Code 2009, is amended by adding the following new subsection:

NEW SUBSECTION. 6A. VETERANS' DISABILITY COMPENSATION. Disability compensation received by a party from the United States department of veterans' affairs for service-related injuries shall not be considered property for the purposes of this section.

Sec.5. Section 598.21A, Code 2009, is amended by adding the following new subsection:

NEW SUBSECTION. 3. VETERANS' DISABILITY COMPENSATION. Disability compensation received by a party from the United States department of veterans' affairs for service-related injuries shall not be considered income for the purposes of this section.

Sec.6. Section 598.21B, subsection 2, paragraph b, Code 2009, is amended by adding the following new subparagraph:

NEW SUBPARAGRAPH.(4) For purposes of calculating a support obligation under this section, disability compensation received by a party from the United States department of veterans' affairs for service-related injuries shall not be considered income.

Sec.7. Section 598.21C, Code 2009, is amended by adding the following new subsection:

NEW SUBSECTION. 1A. VETERANS' DISABILITY COMPENSATION. Changes in the amount of disability compensation received by a party from the United States department of veterans' affairs for service=related injuries shall not be considered a substantial change in circumstances for the purposes of this section.

EXPLANATION

This bill excludes from the calculation of property disposition and support obligations under dissolution of marriage and child support determinations, disability compensation received by a party from the United States department of veterans' affairs for service-related injuries. United States department of veterans' affairs disability compensation, in general, is a benefit paid to a veteran due to injuries or diseases that were incurred in or aggravated by military service.

LSB 1900HH 83

pf/nh/14


For more information on this issue, visit; http://jerebeery.com/5301%20Club.htm
Jere Beery
OFFE National Public Relations Director
jerebeery@aol.com

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Soviet veterans: The Americans will never win in Afghanistan




Sovietski veteráni: Američania v Afganistane nikdy nezvíťazia

Here is a article you will not see in mainstream media the translation is from below blog so we will trust them on it. If the translation is wrong or please comment and we will discuss


From translation at http://springtimefordubcek.wordpress.com


MOSCOW. Soviet veterans, recalling the 20th anniversary of the USSR’s defeat in Afghanistan, warned the United States that it will never succeed in gaining full control over this Central Asian country. They also stated that the generation of soldiers they’re sending to fight in the war in Afghanistan cannot prevail.

The United States, which is preparing to send more troops to Afghanistan with the goal of suppressing the growing resistance to the Taliban, is living through the same nightmare as the former USSR, Soviet veterans said.

“It’s like trying to fight against quicksand. No force will prove it can defeat the Afghans. It is sacred land to them, it doesn’t matter to them whether you’re Russian or American. We’re all soldiers to them,” the 47-year-old stocky Oleg Kubanov, a former officer decorated with the Order of the Red Star, said in Moscow at a concert marking the 20th anniversary of the Soviets’ defeat.

At Friday’s grand festivities, organized by Moscow’s city hall, thousands of veterans assembled, several in suits, others in uniform. Many of them regarded Washington’s problems in Afghanistan as proof that the Americans’ campaign had no hope of success from the beginning.

Obama’s plan reminds Russians of a replay of old mistakes

Reports that U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration is preparing to increase the number of its own troops in Afghanistan to 60,000 remind Russians of the stationing of Soviet soldiers, which culminated in the mid-1980s when more than 100,000 of them served in the Central Asian country.

“You cannot station a soldier in front of every building, nor place a base on every hill. We were witness of this ourselves. The more solders [you send], the greater the resistance [from Afghans] that will follow,” said a Soviet veteran.

Soviet tanks and soldiers entered Afghanistan in 1979 with the goal of supporting the puppet Communist government in Kabul. However, hopes of a quick victory quickly dissipated when when the Soviets found themselves in the whirlwind of the persistent resistance of the Mujahedin, which could rely on American weapons and financial support, and on retreats to rebel bases in neighboring Pakistan.

Ethnic groups are supposedly uncontrollable

After a decade of constant increases in the number of Soviet soldiers, the Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev finally ordered a withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1989.

Like the United States, the USSR also tried to create a unified state out of Afghanistan and to eliminate the rivalries among individual tribes and ethnicities.

“There is no common language among the ethnic groups and clans there. It is not possible to get them under control,” said one of the participants at the Friday concert in Moscow.

The United States rejects the similarities of its operation in Afghanistan with the Soviet one. It claims that it is fighting against Islamic militants and trying to install a democratic society founded on the rule of law and to bring freedom to the country, while the Soviets wanted to subordinate Afghanistan.

Such a proclamation brings a smile to the face of Gurgen Karapetyan, a 73-year-old former helicopter pilot instructor. “We also went in with good intentions,” he said. They told Soviet soldiers that the Communists would build schools, roads, and would build an electric grid. “[The Americans] will never win. They should get out before it’s too late.”

What to make of this?

Well, I guess the short answer is that, obviously, it’s foolhardy to think you can “win” a conflict against an unconventional foe, especially this sort of insurgency. Modern armies are largely designed, constructed and trained to fight, well, modern armies. And while there has definitely been more of an emphasis on counterinsurgency training in the post-Vietnam period, it’s still not an army’s bread and butter.

But I also think it’s a bit sobering to hear the Soviet veterans of Afghanistan talk about how they thought they were just going to build schools, roads and other elements of a modern infrastructure. Boy, that sounds familiar.

Cold War Medal Discussions Radio Archives


Cold War Veterans Association On My Point Radio - My Point RadioCWVA Northeast Director Sean Eagan does a 30 minute interview with Jenn of the Jungle (screwliberals.com) on My Point Radio.Keywords: Cold War Medal Act Interview On Blog Talk RadioDownloads: 61 Average rating: (0 review)


American Cold War Veterans Blog talk Radio7-17-08 - The Political Jungle and Sean EaganSean Eagan from American Cold War Veterans joins "The Political Jungle" to talk about NY Gov. Paterson's veto of a new Cold War medalKeywords: The Political Jungle; American Cold War Veterans; Cold War medalDownloads: 22


Cold War Veterans 4-07-07 Podcast - Sean EaganCold War Veterans Association April Audio PodcastKeywords: Cold War Memorial Medal VeteransDownloads: 34 Average rating: (0 review)


May 1st Cold War Veterans Association Podcast - Sean EaganMay 1st Cold War Veterans Association PodcastKeywords: Cold War Service MedalDownloads: 74 Average rating: (0 review)
Dr. Clevenger and Dr.Tims Radio Interview on WEPB NW FLA. - ClevengerDicussions on Cold War Service medal and Cold War veterans Association issues. 1 HourKeywords: Cold War Veteran Associati0on Cold War Medal ActDownloads: 704 Average rating: (0 review)


Dr Frank Tims Excerpt from 11-11-07 Radio Interview WAVA - Sean Eaganon satellite radio Sunday night at 10:30 Eastern Time (9:30 central, 8:30 mountain, and 7:30 Pacific time. This program is on XM Satellite radio, at Channel 170 (FAMILY TALK), and also over internet radio at www.wava.com, and heard locally in WashingtonKeywords: American Cold War Veterans Chairman Frank Tims on WAVADownloads: 260


NPR Weekend America 12-27-08 - Eric Molinsky and American Cold War veterans Inc.Honoring Cold War Veterans NPR Weekend America 12-27-08Keywords: Honoring Cold War VeteransDownloads: 8


American Cold War Veterans On Let's Get This Right Radio with Congressman Mike Rogers, (R) AL-3rd di - Let's Get This Right RadioLet's Get This Right Radio Congressman Mike Rogers, (R) AL-3rd will be our guest. Congressman Rogers is a member of the House Armed Services Committee as well as the House Committee on Homeland Security.Keywords: ACWV; Congressman Mike Rogers; House Armed Services Committee






Moscow , Feb 13 Residents of a sleepy Borovichi town situated halfway between Moscow and St Petersburg had to get up by the shrill sound of air raid sirens and warnings of imminent air strikes over loudspeakers, reminding them the old Cold War days.


Borovichi with a population of about 70,000 was put on alert shortly before midnight yesterday with the wail of air raid signals and announcements of an imminent air strike, said a spokesman of the Emergency Situations Ministry.

"The long signal of the siren and the subsequent announcements not only alerted residents in the centre of the city, but in the outskirts as well,"the spokesman was quoted as saying by RIA Novsoti.

The residents took the signal seriously and made a large number of calls to police, asking how serious the threat was and what people should do in the event of an air-raid.

City police eventually turned off the siren, which is located on top of a dormitory. They are investigating whether a prankster set off the alarm or it was a mechanical fault.

Friday, February 13, 2009

VFW Reaffirms Support for CWVM


Membership Director Scott L'Ecuyer recieved the VFW's current positon from VFW National Legislative Director Eric A. Hilleman . This is the VFW's current position and they have been working on this with several offices in Washington.


Resolution No. 428


COLD WAR VICTORY MEDAL


WHEREAS, in 1998, the United States (U.S.) government recognized the contributions of over 20 million U.S. service members during the Cold War with a certificate of recognition; and


WHEREAS, no medal exists to recognize the dedication and participation of these service members in hundreds of military exercises and operations that occurred between 2 September 1945 to 26 December 1991 to promote world peace and stability; and


WHEREAS, during this period service members were killed, wounded, and missing in Cold War operations overseas, which were separate from other recognized wars such as the Korean War and Vietnam War; and


WHEREAS, eligibility for a veteran’s pension, in part, requires honorable service during time of war, Cold War veterans are not eligible for a pension because there is no medal indicating a Cold War existed; and


WHEREAS, there is a significant population of homeless veterans in the United States many of whom are not eligible for a veteran’s pension; and


WHEREAS, the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States recognizes that the Cold War veterans prevented world domination of communism and nuclear war; and


WHEREAS, it is fitting and right that these service members receive proper recognition from their government in the form of the award of a Cold War Victory Medal that will entitle eligibility for a veteran’s pension; and


WHEREAS, the United States government has not properly recognized the service of these veterans who sacrificed so much; now, therefore



BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, that we support the creation and awarding of a Cold War Victory Medal to all eligible U.S. service personnel who served in the military during the Cold War era, 2 September 1945 to 26 December 1991, and whose service has not already been recognized by a campaign or service medal.




Adopted by the 108th National Convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States held in Kansas City, Missouri, August 18-23, 2007
Army reports alarming spike in suicides last month


By PAULINE JELINEK – Feb 5, 2009

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Army is investigating an unexplained and stunning spike in suicides in January. The count is likely to surpass the number of combat deaths reported last month by all branches of the armed forces in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere in the fight against terrorism.

"In January, we lost more soldiers to suicide than to al-Qaida," said Paul Rieckhoff, director of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. He urged "bold and immediate action" by the departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs.

According to figures obtained by The Associated Press, there were seven confirmed suicides last month, compared with five a year earlier. An additional 17 cases from January are under investigation.

There was no detailed breakdown available for January, such as the percentage of suicides that occurred in Iraq and Afghanistan or information about the dead. But just one base — Fort Campbell in Kentucky — reported that four soldiers killed themselves near the installation, where 14,000 soldiers from the two war have returned from duty since October.

Some Fort Campbell soldiers have done three or four tours of duty in the wars. "They come back and they really need to be in a supportive environment," said Dr. Bret Logan, a commander at the base's Blanchfield Army Community Hospital. "They really need to be nourished back to normalcy because they have been in a very extreme experience that makes them vulnerable to all kinds of problems."

Officials said they did not know what caused the rise in suicides last month and that it often takes time to fully investigate a number of the deaths. "There is no way to know — we have not identified any particular problem," said Lt. Col. Mike Moose, a spokesman for Army personnel issues.

Yearly suicides have risen steadily since 2004 amid increasing stress on the force from long and repeated tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The service has rarely, if ever, released a month-by-month update on suicides. But officials said Thursday they wanted to re-emphasize "the urgency and seriousness necessary for preventive action at all levels" of the force.

The seven confirmed suicides and 17 other suspected suicides in January were far above the toll for most months. Self-inflicted deaths were at 12 or fewer for each of nine months in 2008, Army data showed. The highest monthly number last year was 14 in August.

Usually the vast majority of suspected suicides are eventually confirmed. If that holds true, it would mean that self-inflicted deaths in January surpassed the 16 combat deaths reported last month in all branches of the armed forces in Iraq, Afghanistan and other nations considered part of the global fight against terrorism.

Army leaders took the unusual step of briefing congressional leaders on the information Thursday.

An annual report last week showed that soldiers killed themselves at the highest rate on record in 2008. The toll for all of last year — 128 confirmed and 15 pending investigation — was an increase for the fourth straight year. It even surpassed the civilian rate adjusted to reflect the age and gender differences in the military.

"The trend and trajectory seen in January further heightens the seriousness and urgency that all of us must have in preventing suicides," Gen. Peter Chiarelli, the Army's vice chief of staff, said Thursday.

The other services did not immediately provide information on their suicide figures for January. But the Army in the past few years has posted a consistently higher rate of suicides than the Navy, Air Force and Marines as it has carried the largest burden of the two largely ground wars.

In announcing the 2008 figures last week, the Army said it would hold special training from Feb. 15 to March 15 to help troops recognize suicidal behaviors and to intervene if they see such behavior in a buddy. After that, the Army also plans a suicide prevention program for all soldiers from the top of the chain of command down.

Yearly increases in suicides have been recorded since 2004, when there were 64 all year. Officials have said over the years that they found that the most common factors were soldiers suffering problems with their personal relationships, legal or financial issues and problems on the job.

But Army Secretary Pete Geren acknowledged last week that officials have been stumped by the spiraling number of cases.

The relentless rise in suicides has frustrated the service, which has tried to address the issue through additional suicide prevention training, the hiring of more psychiatrists and other mental health staff, and other programs both at home and at the battlefront for troops and their families.

In October, the Army and the National Institute of Mental Health signed an agreement to do a five-year study to identify factors affecting the mental and behavioral health of soldiers and come up with intervention strategies at intervals along the way.

Associated Press writer Kristin M. Hall in Nashville, Tenn., contributed to this report.

On the Net:
Army suicide prevention: http://www.armyg1.army.mil/HR/suicide/default.asp




By Arline A. Fleming/Special to the Independent







SOUTH KINGSTOWN — Stephen O. Stewart, state commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, crisply rattles off the number of Rhode Islanders listed as VFW members.

“Six thousand.”

Just as quickly, he lists local posts remaining in the state.

“Thirty-seven.”

As the recently named state commander of VFW, Stewart is leader to all 500 dozen Ocean State members, which means that apart from visiting his own South Kingstown Post No. 916 on a regular basis, he visits the other 36 groups as well.

VFW members, said this South Kingstown resident, come together as a team to make certain veterans’ entitlements aren’t weakened.

“One person going to a congressman or senator isn’t going to make a big difference. If two or three go, they might hear better,” he said.

The organization was established in 1899 when veterans of the Spanish-American War organized to secure rights and benefits for returning soldiers.

Numbers might be down from the approximately 2.2 million listed on the VFW Web site, as veterans die and interest in service organizations wanes as fast as 401(k)s. Attracting younger veterans to donate precious free time is as challenging to this group as it is to other organizations, such as the Grange.

But Stewart won’t allow his enthusiasm for the VFW to be altered by diminished numbers or misguided assumptions about their mission. “We don’t sit around and tell war stories,” he said, his crisp commander cap sitting proudly atop his 62 year-old head.

“We have to change that mindset.”

If it’s a rough winter night, but he made a commitment to visit a post in the northern part of the state, Stewart still makes the visit.

“Weather doesn’t bother me,” said the veteran of Vietnam and South County native who often labors outdoors as an employee of the R.I. Airport Corp. He tells of coming home to change from work clothes into go-to-VFW-meeting clothes with minutes to spare.

“I go to as many meetings as I can possibly get to.” Being state commander, he acknowledges, “can be a lot of work, if you do it right.”

He looks upon his commitment to the VFW in much the same way as he looked upon enlisting back in 1967 when he was a much younger man growing up on South Road in Kingston.

“I felt it was my duty.”

Shoring up VFW membership and activities is his duty now, taking him to a weekly round of ceremonies, conferences and military-related events. It is Stewart’s belief that in keeping the organization strong, veterans’ benefits will stay strong, too.

“I don’t like to use the word benefits. I say entitlement.” Entitlements range from medical insurance to recognizing military service on an honor roll. He doesn’t want any of it to go away. Veterans, he said, have earned these entitlements.

He sees membership as one of his missions as state leader, and has even been known to telephone those considering joining to remind them of meeting time and location.

“As membership goes down, so does the voice. There’s strength in numbers.”

The VFW voice, he says, helped create the GI Bill, fight for compensation for Vietnam veterans exposed to Agent Orange and helped create various war memorials.

And yes, the organization is open to women, though admittedly, mostly men attend.

Jack Brearley, 87, a South Kingstown native living in North Kingstown, arranges to find a ride so that he can attend Post meetings on the second Tuesday of each month.

Brearley, said Stewart, is his mentor, and a past commander of the Wakefield post, where he once devoted many hours. His own advancing age limits his activity, but having a South County resident serving as state commander makes Brearley feel proud.

“It’s been a long time since we had a state commander from around here,” he said. “It’s quite an honor. We’re all proud of him.”

“It helps to have someone who looks at how we do things down here,” said Jim Tourgee Jr., a 30-year member of the U.S. Army. Tourgee said the commander position usually goes to VFW members from the bigger cities in Rhode Island.

“This is a big deal. And he’s a good man.”

Stewart looks with admiration at the wall of past post commanders in South Kingstown, soldiers with last names such as Frisella, Toth, Costanza, Champlin.

They came back from Europe and Korea and Vietnam to high school sweethearts and a post hall where they could gather for big fund-raiser breakfasts or small gatherings around coffee on a Tuesday night.

“This building has a lot of heart and soul,” Stewart said. He hopes it lasts at least another seven decades.

“It would be terrible if vets didn’t have a place to go.”

The new state commander sees it as his job to make sure veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan know about post halls, or about chapters without posts, so he is listening to what they hope for from the organization. Some say they are looking for more family-oriented chapter events in addition to a place to conduct business meetings.

Veterans can contact him at the Providence VFW headquarters across from the State House. Call 751-8200. Or they can visit Post 916 on High Street, where there is a fieldstone fireplace, wood floors – and the usual problems any 70-year-old building might have. In order to keep the building up to date, Stewart, who was post commander twice, said they often rent out the space. Dancing lessons are being taught there these days when the building is not in use by the organization, and the dance director has organized a Valentine’s Day fund-raiser dinner at the post to support the cause, Stewart said.

The 6:30 p.m. event is open to the public. For tickets, call 789-0150. The $12 admission will include refreshments.

Will Stewart be there?

“Oh yes.”

But apart from the obvious, attending public functions and marching in parades, if there’s a veteran in need, be it emergency funds or information regarding prescription drug plans, VFW members, with Stewart in the lead, are there to help.

Said Stewart, “I love this job.”