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Veterans Day is November 11. That means many Republicans or various Right Wingers, whatever corner of wingersphere market they claim, will be circulating syrupy e-mails, Facebook posts, blog entries, etc., thanking servicemembers and veterans for their "service." Meanwhile, Republicans in Congress will continue to pursue policies that undermine veterans and their families even while grandstanding at faux (and partisan) "rallies" designed to deflect attention, shell game-style, toward the White House while Republicans (and too many Democrats) push, or allow to move forward, policies that directly hurt vast segments of the poor and working poor population, including those same veterans.

Once again, here come the Chickenhawks.

Chickenhawk membership in the Tea Party and Republican Party as a whole, has always been strong.
Republicans like Ted Cruz, Eric Cantor, Rand Paul, (the list is very long) represent to me, in fact, exactly those personalities we chanted about as "Jodie" in marching songs during Basic Training.
"Ain't no use in goin' home, Jodie's got your girl (or boy) and gone. Ain't no use in goin' back, Jodie's got your Cadillac."
In between those verses, there's a lengthy, mournful howl that can be truly affecting when you hear a bunch of GI voices echoing in the predawn. "Whoa oh, ohah, oh; whoa oh, ohah, oh; woah, oho oho oh; Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa; Whoa, ohah, oh ho oh."

On November 1, Jonathan Capehart at WAPO had some choice words regarding the bizarre performances of Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-Tex), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex), and Sarah Palin during the vaudevillian hijack of the alleged "Million [minus 999,800] Veteran March." Follow below to see what the pseudo-patriots attempt to keep hidden behind the curtain or under one of those shells.

Neugebauer, most recall, verbally assaulted a female (of course) Park Service Ranger for doing her job at the closed World War II Memorial. At this same Theater of the Absurd,

Cruz and Palin railed against President Obama for the cuts to veterans’ benefits that resulted from the Cruz-caused shutdown?

“Our veterans should be above political games,” Cruz said at the Million Vets March on Oct. 13. “Veterans have proven they are not timid. And we will not be timid in calling out anybody that uses the military as pawns,” Palin said at the same event. “We can only be America, home of the free, if we are America, home of the brave.”

So, pardon the forthcoming blue language, where the hell are they now that a $5 billion cut to the food-stamp program has hit thousands of veterans squarely in their wallets?

According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), “in any given month, a total of 900,000 veterans nationwide lived in households that relied on SNAP [Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program] to provide food for their families in 2011, a previous analysis of Census data estimated.” The cuts to that benefit result from the expiration of a temporary increase in the food-stamp program through the Recovery Act of 2009. CBPP translated the economic impact of the benefit reduction into jaw-dropping dollars and cents.

A trip to the CBPP Web site provides interesting insights ("SNAP Benefit Cuts Will Affect Thousands of Veterans in Every State," by Brynne Keith-Jennings and Arloc Sherman). According to Keith-Jennings and Sherman,
[f]or low-income veterans, who may be unemployed, working in low-wage jobs, or disabled, SNAP provides an essential support that enables them to purchase nutritious food for their families. Nationwide, SNAP is a powerful anti-hunger and anti-poverty tool:  in 2011, it kept 4.7 million people above the poverty line, including 2.1 million children. SNAP has been shown to reduce hardship and to allow struggling households greater access to food.[3]

Many veterans returning from service face challenges in finding work.  While the overall unemployment rate for veterans is lower than the national average, the unemployment rate for recent veterans (serving in September 2001 to the present) remains high, at 10.1 percent in September 2013.  About one-quarter of recent veterans reported service-connected disabilities in 2011,[4] which can impact their ability to provide for their families:  households with a veteran with a disability that prevents them from working are about twice as likely to lack access to adequate food than households without a disabled member.[5]

As you peruse the chart that accompanies the article, it's interesting to note that Texas comes in second among states with veterans in households using SNAP (105,700) between 2009 and 2011, during their transition from military service to an often stagnant job market and economy, which requires great preparation and retraining prior to re-entry into the workforce.

Elsewhere at the CBPP site, Dottie Rosenbaum offered these views on the SNAP cuts back in September:

Some Republicans point to the recent growth in SNAP to justify such harsh cuts.  But SNAP enrollment — which has leveled off in recent months — remains high because the job market remains weak.  The economy continues to produce too few jobs, especially ones that pay wages high enough to meet people’s basic needs.  Veterans are as vulnerable as anyone else to that reality — many of them more so given the hurdles they face in translating military experience into civilian jobs and, for some, in dealing with the injuries they bring home.

Throughout our nation’s history, Congress has recognized the special needs of veterans and created targeted programs to address them, from pensions for disabled Revolutionary War soldiers to the G.I. Bill.  But we shouldn’t forget that numerous other services help veterans as well, including those that keep low-income Americans afloat.  We should be shoring up that safety net for veterans and other Americans who need it, not cutting holes in it for them to fall through.

This November 11, brother and sister veterans who rejoin us here, "back home," I will be thinking about you, along with all of our struggling fellow-citizens. I will deliver more food to food pantries, which I already did during the furlough that further interrupted the flow of benefits to which you (and all of our fellow-citizens) are due, since those pantries will become hard-pressed to meet hunger needs this fall and winter. At work, when you call frustrated, I will listen and not lose patience with you, as so many of your government representatives are selling you out, uttering platitudinous lines in a hypocritical drama in which they play lead characters. They are not public servants. They are not our friends. They do NOT love this country.

Originally posted to DKos Military Veterans on Wed Nov 06, 2013 at 05:08 AM PST.

Also republished by Military Community Members of Daily Kos.

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