Category Archives: Iraq

Hezbollah Has One Thing in Common With ISIS

Courtesy: Wikipedia and Wikipedia commons

It is important to note how the decisions of Israel’s policy makers to go to war in Lebanon in 1982, literally created what is now, decades of resentment among Shiite people toward the Zionist state.

Tim King

Hezbollah’s origin is directly related to the defense of Palestinian people who were forced out of their own country during the creation of Israel in 1947/48. The group came into existence to protect the Palestinian refugees of Lebanon after the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) agreed to pull out of the area in the early 1980’s. With Palestinian civilian refugees facing immense threat and pressure from both Israel’s military and the Lebanese Christian militias, Hezbollah was born under the fires of oppression and occupation. The group came to existence in a vacuum created by the exit of the PLO, and they are a highly accomplished military, political and humanitarian party in Lebanon with full participation in government policy.

Disabled Veterans Benefits Saved for Now

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The Trump Administration targeted disabled veterans in 2017. Regardless of the ‘lip service’ from the White House, it’s clear that disabled Veterans’ benefits are a target of opportunity.

Robert O’Dowd

(WASHINGTON, DC) – Last year the Trump Administration’s budget proposal attempted to reduce federal spending on the backs of disabled veterans who were unemployable.

The money cut from the benefit would’ve gone to an updated version of the VA Choice program that VA Secretary David Shulkin intended to have passed through Congress by the end of fiscal year 2017 on Sept. 30. The program allows veterans to seek health care outside the department.

In May 2017, the Administration’s budget proposal contained a proposal that would have eliminated eligibility for VA’s Individual Unemployability (IU) program for thousands of disabled veterans.

As usual, it’s about money. The budget proposed to remove veterans from the program who are eligible for Social Security payments and reached the minimum age to receive Social Security. Approximately 225,000 veterans aged 60 or older could’ve been affected by the proposal. Of those veterans, 7,000 are 80 years old or older.

If enacted, it would have terminated existing IU ratings for veterans when they reach the age of 62-the minimum retirement age for Social Security benefits–as well as cut off IU benefits for any veteran already in receipt of Social Security retirement benefits.

In the face of staunch opposition from DAV and other VSOs, the Administration subsequently backed away from this measure; however, the threat remains that this proposal or something like it could resurface in the future.

IU is a part of VA’s disability compensation program that allows the VA to pay certain Veterans disability compensation at the 100% rate, even though VA has not rated their service-connected disabilities at the total level. The eligibility requirements are (1) You must be a Veteran; (2) You must have at least one service connected disability rated at least at 60%, OR (3) Two or more service connected disabilities at least one disability ratable at 40 percent or more with a combined rating of 70 percent or more (4) You must be unable to maintain substantially gainful employment as a result of service-connected disabilities (marginal employment, such as odd jobs, is not considered substantial gainful).

There is more than enough fat from the VA’s budget to cut than to go after the benefits paid to disabled veterans. Veterans signed an IOU to the government to give their lives, if necessary, to protect the freedoms that all Americans enjoy. Those who were disabled from military service deserve not only a “Thanks for your service,” but the VA benefits they earned with their sweat and blood.

In the FY 2019 Budget, President Trump proposes a total of $198.6 billion for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). This request, an increase of $12.1 billion over 2018.

In the face of mounting pressure from veterans and Congressman, the VA Secretary David Shulkin backed-off the proposal to terminate the IU program for older Veterans.

The only way to ensure that IU benefits are protected is to codify them into law. On November 9, 2017, Representative Maxine Waters (CA), introduced H.R. 4369, the Protecting Benefits for Disabled Veterans Act of 2017. The bill would codify regulations on IU into federal law.

H.R. 4369 would provide additional protections for IU and prohibit the VA from considering the age of the veteran or their eligibility to any retirement benefit, including Social Security, in making such determinations.

Fifty-seven Congressman signed a letter to VA Secretary objecting to the Trump proposal. Yet, when if came to co-sponsoring H.R. 4369, most of them were AWOL.

As of this date, there are nine Democratic co-sponsors to H.R. 4369: Rep. Evans, Dwight [D-PA-2], Rep. Beatty, Joyce [D-OH-3], Rep. Maloney, Sean Patrick [D-NY-18], Rep. Payne, Donald M., Jr. [D-NJ-10], Rep. Norton, Eleanor Holmes [D-DC-At Large], Rep. Ryan, Tim [D-OH-13], Rep. Bordallo, Madeleine Z. [D-GU-At Large], Rep. DeFazio, Peter A. [D-OR-4], and Rep. Lofgren, Zoe [D-CA-19].

There are 192 Democrats in the House of Representatives. There is no excuse for many more Democrats to be co-sponsors of H.R. 4369. If your Democratic representative is not on the list of co-sponsors, this is the time to urge him/her to do so.

There are no Republicans co-sponsored for H.R. 4369. There is no comparable bill introduced in the U.S. Senate.

All 435 seats in the United States House of Representatives and 33 of the 100 seats in the United States Senate will be contested in 2018.

There are about 22 million Veterans in the country. Veterans need to let their voices be heard. If your Representative is not a co-sponsor of H.R. 4369, this is the time to let him/her know how you feel about throwing your brothers under the bus.

The termination of IU would have eliminated 225,000 senior disabled veterans from the IU benefit.

The Disabled American Veterans (DAV) is vehemently opposed to limiting disability compensation benefits, including IU, due to a veteran’s age. Many disabled veterans may not have income replacement available-especially those who have been on IU for an extended period in advance of reaching retirement age. Cutting off IU eligibility for veterans who turn 62 would compel many disabled veterans to take Social Security benefits early which significantly reduces the value of the benefit. The disabled veterans affected could thus be “doubly” penalized because they cannot work and save for retirement as do many peers of their age. Eliminating their eligibility for IU would be grossly unfair.

The DAV is calling on all members and supporters to contact their Representatives and urge them to co-sponsor and support H.R. 4369 to protect veterans and their families now and in the future, from these harmful proposals.

Click the link below to log in and send your message to your Congressional representative to support H.R. 4369:
https://www.votervoice.net/BroadcastLinks/Imefs73H8IxbUhG9qnbtwA

bob-o-dowdBob O’Dowd is a former U.S. Marine with thirty years of experience on the east coast as an auditor, accountant, and financial manager with the Federal government, half of that time with the Defense Logistics Agency in Philadelphia. Originally from Pennsylvania, he enlisted in the Marine Corps at age 19, served in the 1st, 3rd, and 4th Marine Aircraft Wings in 52 months of active duty in the 1960s. He went on to graduate from Temple University. Robert O’Dowd and Tim King co-authored BETRAYAL: Toxic Exposure of U.S. Marines, Murder and Government Cover-Up. This book stands with the best works of New Journalism. It tells the story of the thousands of Veterans and their families, once stationed at these hazardous military installations, who have continued to be ignored by the U.S. government by denial of the effects of exposure to environmental hazards, including the highest incidence of occurrence of male breast cancer in any other demographic in the U.S. Legislation to provide health care and compensation for Camp Lejeune Veterans and their dependents was introduced during the 111th Congress.

Trump issues draconian Executive Order banning persons from seven Muslim countries

unnamedOn 9/11, the nineteen terrorists who attacked America that day, fifteen were from Saudi Arabia, two were from the United Arab Emirates, and one was from Lebanon. This means that only two of the seven countries on Trump’s list produced terrorists who have actually perpetrated attacks on U.S. soil.

Ralph E Stone GlobalNewsCentre.com

(SAN FRANCISCO)  During the presidential campaign, Donald Trump issued a statement saying, if elected, he would issue “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our representatives can figure out what’s going on.” Now, Trump has followed through on his campaign promise by issuing an executive order suspending visa entry of persons from seven countries that have predominately Muslim populations.  The banned countries are Syria, Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Libya, Sudan and Yemen.

Human rights: quotable quotes

Human Rights‘Today, in a world convulsed by violence and unbelievable brutality the lines between ‘us’ and ‘the terrorists’ have been completely blurred…

Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh Global News Centre

(BETHLEHEM)   The manufactured hysteria about the bombing in Paris will expand weapons manufacturing and sales around western countries. Arms manufacturer stocks are already booming and the Zionists and neoconservatives who own and run these companies will get even richer. Liberty and democracy will suffer as new freedom-restricting laws are passed using manufactured fear (like in the US after September 11, 2001).

Thoughts on the Paris attacks

syria-rs2Sudden shocks such as the Charlie Hebdo and Paris massacres have been used to justify the French to bolster its security and intelligence forces and introduce new surveillance laws.  In ordinary times, such laws might have been vigorously opposed by the populace.  When security trumps privacy, the terrorists win.

Ralph E. Stone Global News Centre

(SAN FRANCISCO) France and the free world are in mourning following the horrible Paris massacre on November 13 by at least seven gunmen, killing 129 and wounding another 352, 99 critically.

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