Tuesday, May 31, 2005

The Hypocrisy Continues

The hypocrisy from this administration continues to boggle the mind. One hardly knows where to begin there is so much “new speak” and outright lies that one could do a blog a day just on the lies, let alone the distortions of the truth that has become a hall mark of this administration. The latest outrage and one that cuts to the very heart of Bush’s supporters is the contrast between the glowing words in support of our military from our Commander in Chief while he simultaneously cuts military benefits and even proposes to reduce funding to care for those who were wounded in the service of their country. Appearing yesterday at the Arlington National Cemetery to honor generations of sacrifices by American servicemen and women, President Bush said, "At our national cemetery, we take comfort from knowing that the men and women who are serving freedom's cause understand their purpose and its price.

Yes, Bush certainly understands its price: here are just some of the funding cuts that he and his henchmen are proposing for the 2006 budget that will affect veterans:
President Bush's 2006 budget proposal included legislation that would raise veterans' premiums more than 100 percent on prescription drugs and add an annual $250 enrollment fee for veterans who want care for conditions not directly caused by military service and who generally earn more than $25,000 a year. The administration has recommended these same proposals in each of the past few years, only to have them beaten back by Congress each time. The user fee would increase costs for nearly 2 million veterans nationwide.
Conservatives in Congress rebuffed an effort to include $2 billion in emergency money for veterans' health care in the recently passed $82 billion Iraq war supplemental. The president's request increased the VA budget a mere 2.7 percent (including the increased co-pays and enrollment fees), hardly sufficient to deal with an expected influx of Afghanistan and Iraq war veterans in the coming years. Nearly 28,000 soldiers who served in Iraq and were discharged have already sought care at a VA facility. Of the nearly 245,000 veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan already discharged from service, 12,422 have been in VA counseling centers for readjustment problems and symptoms associated with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. VA Secretary Jim Nicholson has said the budget circumstances are not "dire," yet Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Larry Craig (R-ID) was forced to increase the 2006 budget request by $1 billion. Dave Autry, a spokesman for the Disabled American Veterans, said, "Vets are owed a debt and the government has said they are eligible for health care. The government needs to pay for it. It's a continuing cost of our national defense."
Veterans in Bush's backyard, near his ranch in Crawford, Texas, are protesting his administration's decision to close a VA hospital in their town. "It would be, in my opinion, a tragic mistake to shut down our hospital, especially during a time of war when tomorrow's veterans are in harm's way today," said U.S. Rep. Chet Edwards (D-Waco). In May 2004, then-VA Secretary Anthony Principi announced he would be closing three veterans hospitals nationwide and partially closing eight others. For his work, Principi was rewarded with an appointment to the chairmanship of the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) commission.
More than 300,000 veterans' claims are pending before the VA, according to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, and the number of claims pending for more than six months rose from 47,000 in 2003 to 75,000 at the end of March 2005. The deteriorating condition of VA health care has elicited plenty of criticism. The American Legion called Bush's budget "the wrong message at the wrong time to the wrong constituency." The Vietnam Veterans of America said the budget did a "disservice to those of us who donned the uniform to defend the rights, principles, and freedoms that we hold dear." And the Veterans of Foreign Wars decried Bush's decision as "especially shameful during a time of war."
In this Orwellian Administration, neither words nor deeds have any reality. Yes is no and black is white. An Administration spokesman was recently quoted as saying,” We create our own reality.” One can only hope that as that reality moves further and further from the main stream of American thought, support for the Administration will dwindle down to the pathetic band of true believers. Recent polls continue to show eroding support for the Administration; a hopeful sign that their “reality” is nothing more than a figment of their tortured imaginations.