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Politicians, Gullible Veterans and Hyperventilating Hillary

 

J. D. Pendry

 

Ok, I'll fess up.  I'm a registered, voting Republican with mostly conservative views.Iím sure that revelation shocks many of you.On some issues, I do moderate a bit, however.Occasionally, Iíll even take the liberal side.  The driving force behind my views is much simpler than the application of classification labels to them.  If it sounds, feels and looks right and is the honest and fair thing to do in my opinion, that's the view I adopt as mine.  There is no party line that Iím required to toe and I reserve the right to decide for myself what and who is right, honest and fair.

 

Most politicians, Iíve observed, tell us they share the same philosophy. ďIím interested in doing whatís best for Americans.ĒIím sure youíve heard that or something similar to it come from every prominent politician that has ever made a campaign speech.They tell us that, then once elected promptly adopt the party line.Their views are decided for them not by the desires of constituents or whatís best for Americans, but the party line.The party line comes from several sources.The first source is whoever holds the power in the party.This power person or group might not establish the line, but they set the tone and direction for it.The second decider is whatever view is opposite the other partyís position.  The party with power also studies the polls, but they will insist they donít.Whatís popular with Joe Voter, or some version of it, completes the party line.†† Here's another interesting twist.The party line this year just might not be the party line next year.This is an interesting phenomenon.  In our political system, the apparent focus of the political parties and politicians is to get in power and stay there.Because of this, our system often becomes a system of unfilled promises.How does that happen?Politicians court voters with promises because without their votes they canít get the power they desire.Does that sound a bit cynical?I guess you can label me as a moderately cynical conservative.I wonder how cynical conservatism stacks up against compassionate conservatism?

 

Our political system at times appears to be more about getting and keeping power than about doing whatís best, or for that matter, practically anything.I remember listening to Ross Perot once when he was running for President.Iím paraphrasing, but Perot said that there are many good ideas in Washington, DC.The Republicans have some and the Democrats have some.  The task is to take the best of these ideas, regardless of the source, and put them in place for the betterment of the country.  I knew then that old Ross didnít have a chance.Our system of party politics says that the ideas of your party are bad ideas, even if they were previously the ideas of my party.Even if Ross was right, and he was in that regard, he didnít stand a chance.

 

Military people and veterans are often victims of party politics.We are victims because we are gullible.We spent much time in an environment of honor and integrity.Integrity is important to us.What weíre accustomed to and expect is that people actually do what they tell you they will do.  That defines gullibility out here in a world driven by party politics.It makes us great fodder for the politicians.Vote fodder.The problem is that we tend to vote, if at all, based on whatís promised us, not on whatís delivered to us Ė and they know it.Case in point is concurrent receipt of military retired pay and VA disability compensation.The concurrent receipt law, passed in 1891, intended to prevent military people from receiving disability compensation while still on the active rolls, which some were doing at the time.The law as it is applied now prevents disabled retirees from receiving both the retirement they earned and compensation for the disabilities they incurred while on active duty.Just before the 2002 elections, 83 percent of our Senators and 90 percent of our Representatives were proud to let us know that they co-sponsored legislation that would fix the unfair law.Both of my state senators and my congressional representative gave me assurance in letters that they would continue to pursue the repeal of this antiquated law.Iím betting many disabled retirees got the same response.Then we voted.Then we got Combat-Related Special Compensation (CRSC).Iíll let you go to the link and read about it https://www.dmdc.osd.mil/crsc/.Iím grateful that some veterans will get back some of their retirement pay in the form of CRSC.However, only a miniscule fraction of those affected by the concurrent receipt law will realize any benefit.But, none, even those with a 100% combat related disability, will get it all back.The amount the VA pays for dependents, which DOD deducts from retired pay, will not come back to you through CRSC.Here is something else interesting for you to ponder.If the law were repealed, it would simplify business for both the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) and the Veterans Benefits Administration and actually reduce some work by removing some cumbersome administrative procedures from both operations.Instead of approaching it that way, hereís what CRSC does.It places the administration of CRSC under six different service departments.Each will interpret the rules to determine if their retiree applicants are eligible.You can expect six different interpretations.All of them will have to come to the VA for records, which will place an additional burden on the VA who is already understaffed and has difficulty staying up with the routine workload.I just have to wonder what the cost of administering CRSC is going to be when compared with simply repealing concurrent receipt.What we are getting with CRSC is more government administration and bureaucracy for less benefit.Thatís my cynical conservatism acting up.There is no chance of us getting concurrent receipt repealed in 2003.In 2004, expect more promises to repeal the law.

 

Just to demonstrate how much I believe what politicians tell me, Iím convinced that Hillary is a hysterical, hyperventilating woman.Not.Conservative cynicism says cold, ruthless and calculating is more in character.Hillary is on a trip to the 2008 presidential race.Why then and not now, and what does that have to do with anything Iíve been talking about?One lesson Hillary learned from the Lip-biter-in-Chief was how to be a slick politician.A woman president is a long shot.Itís even more of one if you run against an incumbent.Hillary, by timing the release of her book just right is sucking all the attention away from the democratic candidates for president.She is virtually ensuring that none of them will win.This gives her an open door to run against a Republican who is not the incumbent.Conservative cynicism says if you are not in power, your objective is to do whatís necessary to get in power.Hyperventilating Hillary, along with her companion of convenience, is also the example of integrity or lack of it I needed.I wonder what she might promise us.

 

Like the rest of America, Iíve focused on the important issues this past week.Besides wondering if Hillary really did hyperventilate I wondered is Martha really is a crook.I asked myself what I would do if someone with inside information told me my stock in a company was about to tank.I answered myself. Iíd sell the stuff.After contemplating Marthaís dilemma, I wondered about Sammyís bats.Iím a long time Cubs fan.I spent many afternoons at Wrigley Field when I should have been elsewhere.They do open a couple of hours before game time so the fans can see Cubs batting practice and the players do like to show off.Itís conceivable that Sammy had a show off bat.It turns out that he had 76 others that were clean.So, Iím wondering how do you select the one with cork in it during the game?Hey Sammy, the democrats are looking for a good candidate.Did you ever consider politics?

 

Well, Iím going to take leave of you all now and go fill out my CRSC application.Since I meet the criteria I might as well apply.When I read the instructions and the application form and weighed my chances of getting anything before writing this, I did hyperventilate just a little.I guess we have that in common Hillary.It appears politicians lied to and screwed both of us.

 

Copyright, © 2003, J.D. Pendry, All Rights Reserved