This is a call to action diary. It is dedicated to HoundDog.
The Pentagon Budget - 22 Veterans Commit Suicide Every Day
HoundDog has chased down an important story this weekend, about the pentagon budget and Republican's shameful failure to adequately fund the Veterans Administration over the past 13 years, here, and here. The House voted this week to continue spending on programs the Pentagon wants to cut, including obsolete jets. Their vote shows that, even in the age of austerity we can afford to increase VA spending.
It's a story that each and every one of use can use this election cycle. There are many provider vacancies in the Veterans Healthcare system all across the country. There are waiting lists of Veterans who need healthcare, especially mental health care. People have died while they waited for their veterans disability claim to be processed. We have an epidemic of suicide among active duty military and military veterans. Their method of choice is a firearm.
- There are veterans awaiting care in every district.
- Any investment in Veterans healthcare is an investment across the country.
- Fund Vets Instead of
Old [New] Jets!
- The GOP just proved we CAN afford it!
Becoming an activist
Does anyone know you're mad about this? Someone needs to know you're mad!
If you don't already know the contact info, for your political leaders, please find rebel ga's excellent links below. Whatever matters to you, whatever gets under your skin, whatever has pleased you the most, use it as motivation to program your representative's phone numbers and email into your address books.
Many of you are old hands at activism. When was the first time in your life when you were mad enough (or glad enough) to contact someone in charge about a political or policy issue?
- What took you over the boundary from concern to action?
- Have you ever crossed over from joy and celebration to actively thanking your representative for their policy position or their vote?
- What prompted you to tell a political candidate what they need to do to win your support?
I was reminded of this again recently; if I don't stand up and articulate my position, there are many others all to eager to assert that they represent my views. There are too many others very willing to claim that when they speak about constitutional rights, that they speak for me. No matter what you care about most, none of us can afford to remain on the sidelines as extremists dominate the news cycle.
UPDATE 8:20 PM PT: Comments from buddabelly and DaNang65 have persuaded me that some of the old jets should be kept, and it's the F-35 that should be curtailed. So the old title, Put Vets Ahead of Old Jets, has been
changed to, Put Vets Ahead of New Jets!, and simplified to Put Vets Ahead of Jets! (h/t comment by WakeUpNew).
UPDATE Sun May 25, 2014 at 5:59 AM PT:
More background on the VA budget shortfall and Congress blocking effective change.
Here are a few diaries I found using this search string:
Former Secretary Robert Gates says that Congress blocks change at the VA because they micromanage it. It takes an Act of Congress to change any of their programs or services.
Why It's So Difficult To Treat Our Vets The Way They Deserve? - Jan 17 (Jon Stewart interviews forme DOD Secretary Robert Gates)
The REAL Scandal At The Veterans Administration - May 15
Veterans Administration - "The Bush White House was so concerned..." - May 20
President Obama's Remarks on Veterans Health Care - May 21
I really hope people pick up on this story with HoundDog and jmstarto. I'm posting these links in all three of HoundDog's recent diaries. Interested readers might want to contact Kosmail jmstaro; he's been covering the VA funding and oversight problems for a long time.