Monday, May 26, 2008

Defying Logic

Ok, it's Memorial Day and all of us should be grateful to those veterans who have given their life for our country and all of us should thank all veterans for their time serviing their country. It's usually a time a young man or woman has the world in front of them, and despite all those opportunities, they chose to serve. They felt a duty to their country, our country, and ensuring our democratic republic will survive into the future. And yes, I too served, 1969-73 in the US Air Force.

So, I don't understand anyone arguing against the servicemen and women. It's all about the troops. We shouldn't engage in any war for political purposes that doesn't threaten our national security, safety, soverignty, and freedoms. And we have seen this idea corrupted in the name of politics by a few diehard neoconservatives for their own goals and to help their personal and corporate friends.

Don't buy that idea about the Iraq war? I'll always argue for the war in Afghanistan and we're failing there because of the diversion for the war in Iraq. The Iraq war is the imagination of Dick Cheney and cohorts in the name of something they've never proven and something they've never justified. And all during the this war, Cheney has never refused his dividends from his investments in Haliburton after he left as their CEO.

But that said, it's still always about the troops. So why does our President who talks frequently at bases and military colleges and academies about the war decides to threaten to veto the new GI Bill. Doesn't he believe the troops deserve more after they've served? I do, and did. I used the GI Bill to get my BA and MS degrees. The Afghanistan and Iraq war veterans deserve more than I earned for simply surviving, and those who died should be able to pass some of those benefits to their family.

So, why does Bush oppose the new GI BIll? He says it will cause many troops to leave the service. Gee? Many have done two or three tours in the middle East. The Army has used stop-loss orders to keep servicemen and women in the Army, extended tours past the 12 month deployment, and rotated troops quicker back home to return to Iraq. The Army is running out of troops and enlistments aren't filling the need.

So, they want to leave. I don't blame them. Many in the National Guard and Reserves have lost their jobs, despite laws protecting their jobs while in service. Servicemen and women have one of the highest divorce and suicide rates. Many are trying to live with permanent disabilities. They deserve the oppporunity to get their life on the road they want. Themselves and their families. And their families at home deserve benefits while they're loved one(s) are in-country and often trying to survive with disabled veterans

And so our President wants more troops with less benefits. Simply defies logic.

More? Yup. How about Joe Lieberman?

Senator Lieberman was offended YouTube had videos posted by middle Eastern people which he decided were promoting terrorism and terrorists. He says the Internet "promotes radicalization and terrorism."

Ok, like the Internet does not promote right wing war mongering? How about the anti-abortion groups sugggesting terrorism against women and Planned Parenthood clinics? How Christian group, religions and organizations promoting wars against equality and human rights?

And now Congress wants to pass the Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Preventation Act to establish a commission to study the terrorist threat and propose legislation. The ACLU says it's opening the front door to censorship of the Internet.

While YouTube removed some videos from Senator Lieberman's request, they left the majority on-line which angers the Senator who wants more removed. It's about free speech and US laws won't apply outside the US, so any law here will simply move the videos to overseas Websites, and likely more videos.

Senator Lieberman doesn't seem to undersand the Internet isn't the problem. It's the US global policy which is creating more terorists groups and recruiting more terrorists. What doesn't he understand about that?

And yes, it simply defies logic.

Did you know that gas station owners only make 8-10 cents, that's $.08-.10 per gallon of gas. All the rest goes to taxes, about 40-60 cents depending on the federal, state and local taxes. Subtract the amount for refining, about another 60 cents, and distribution, about another 20 cents, you can see 60% and more of the price of gas goes directly to the energy companies. There is more information here.

My point? Don't blame the gas station owner, many barely make a profit for themselves. They have little room outside the cost of the station and staff to be rich. And most of their real profit is with food sales, which is why nearly 70% are both gas stations and mini-marts. If you angry about the prices, take it to your elected representatives, like they'll really do much anyway (ok, personal opinion of Congress), about the lack of refineries, none built in the last 20 years, and the oil companies.

And yes, I once worked in a gas station. After I was discharged I needed a part-time job while going back to college and I worked at two stations in Sacramento. I first worked graveyard shift (midnight to 8:00 am) and then night shift (4:00 pm to midnight for one and 4:00 pm to closing at the other). Gas then (1973-74) gas was 29.9 cents regular and 32.9 cents premium.

So that's my thought this Memorial Day. While we should be honoring our veterans, some people defy logic. In any case, as always thank a veteran, they'll appreciate it.

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