Tag Archives: Coburn

Support The Troops Is Just A Sound Bite?


“Veterans groups and military associations are blasting a move by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Oklahoma, intended to scuttle a veterans’ suicide prevention bill that has already passed in the House with strong bipartisan support.

The GOP lawmaker put a hold on the $22 million bill, which he opposes on grounds it has no offsets in spending elsewhere and would duplicate programs already offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs, he said.” [MilitaryNews]

H.R. 5059 would have allocated $22 million to assist veterans with PTSD or traumatic brain injuries… it was supposed to help reduce the suicide rate, a rate that the military admitted was underestimated in the past:

Beginning in 2005, suicide within the military — particularly for the Army — steadily began increasing to record levels every year, and may have peaked in 2012. Among full-time soldiers, the suicide rate soared to 29.7 deaths per 100,000 in 2012, well above a 25.1-per-100,000 rate for civilians of a similar age group during 2010, the latest year available, according to a Pentagon report. Among male soldiers, the rate was 31.8-per-100,000. There were a record 164 soldier-suicides that year.

The overall national civilian suicide rate was 12.1-per-100,000 in 2010 and 19.9-per-100,000 for men in 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control.The Army National Guard rate for 2012 reached 30.8 deaths per 100,000 with 110 suicides. The suicide rate for men in the Army National Guard was 34.2-per-100,000,Pentagon data shows.

For full-time troops across the U.S. military, the suicide rate peaked at 22.7-per-100,000 in 2012 and fell to 19.1-per-100,000 last year, according to the Pentagon. [USAT]

Might we remind members of the Senate that the U.S. supported the expenditures to fight in Afghanistan and Iraq, and seemed perfectly pleased to put these costs on the national credit card – with no “offset” required? However, when it comes to assisting veterans who fought in those wars “we don’t have the money,” and “we have to see an offset?”

Here’s a news flash… the only casualties of war aren’t the destroyed munitions!  There’s something very very wrong about a country which will spend gazillions – few questions asked – on munitions and weapons systems, but when the needs of the military personnel are obvious the politicians can’t see their way clear to address them.

Those who aren’t supporting H.R. 5059 are cordially invited to take those yellow ribbon magnets off their bumpers!

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Filed under Defense Department, Defense spending, Veterans

Boo Birds, No Thanks For Your Service

Bergdahl CriticsIt seems the GOP has graduated from the Swift Boater Era in which it was considered seemly to disparage a person’s military service. Now it appears that soldiers held captive are undeserving of release, or their value is measured against some form of scale in which their lives are to be measured against an arbitrary standard of national safety — in other words, it has become acceptable in their quarters to disparage a person’s service while that individual is still in  harm’s way.  [Time]

Not that any of the critics involved actually ever served, much less got in harm’s way.

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Filed under Politics

Senator Heller’s Nostalgia for the Good Old Days of 1896

Child LaborWho knew Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) was so nostalgic for the Good Old Days?  Senator Heller is one of the co-sponsors of The Tea Party Darlins’ shiny new bill to bring back the Glorious Early Days of the Industrial Revolution.   Senators Coburn and Paul have  introduced the Enumerated Powers Act of 2013. This bill gives members of Congress the procedural tools necessary to stop unconstitutional legislation. And what is “unnecessary?” [TP]

The third part of this truly unbelievable bill is a gateway to the past — “3)      Prohibits the use of the Commerce Clause, except for “the regulation of the buying and selling of goods or services, or the transporting for those purposes, across boundaries with foreign nations, across State lines, or with Indian tribes…” [Coburn]

So, let’s declare unconstitutional some of those little irritants that so burden the Titans of Industry, things like:

Child Labor Laws

8 hour days


Overtime Pay

We should all be so grateful to our corporate masters that we should revert to sub-menial jobs with 12 hour shifts for 75 cents an hour instead of participating in a pension plan.

Liability for Industrial Accidents

Sweatshop regulation

Strikes and job actions

Master contracts

Sexual harassment and discrimination statutes

Minimum wages

In Senator Heller’s Ideal World if your boss wants to institute 12 hour shifts with no overtime pay — that’s perfectly all right.  If your daughter’s boss harasses her in the work place — she’ll just have to quit to be rid of him.  If your son’s employer wants him to drive his big-rig long into the day and night — so be it.

If your wife’s minimum wage job pays $1.25/hr. she should be grateful to have any job at all.  If you are injured on the job and are unable to work — that’s your problem.

If you’ve not read Otto Bettmann’s “The Good Old Days, They Were Terrible,” run — don’t walk to your nearest library or bookstore and get your copy today — it will explain just exactly the working conditions Senator Heller thinks are appropriate for the 21st century American worker.

Now, are there any questions about who Senator Heller represents in the U.S. Senate?

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Filed under Heller, labor