How Red Flag Laws Can Be Misused

The American Thinker posted an article today about a move during the Obama administration to deny gun rights to veterans and senior citizens.

The article reports:

The Obama administration’s idea of keeping guns out of the hands of the mentally ill was based on a bizarre and discriminatory definition of who might be mentally unstable. In 2013 it was reported that the Veterans Administration was sending letters to vets warning them that they might be declared mentally incompetent and denied their Second Amendment rights unless they could prove otherwise:

The contempt by the Obama administration for our Constitution and our rights has reached a new low with news the Veterans Administration has begun sending letters to veterans telling them they will be declared mentally incompetent and stripped of the Second Amendment rights unless they can prove to unnamed bureaucrats to the contrary…

“A determination of incompetency will prohibit you from purchasing, possessing, receiving, or transporting a firearm or ammunition. If you knowingly violate any of these prohibitions, you may be fined, imprisoned, or both pursuant to the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, Pub.L.No. 103-159, as implemented at 18, United States Code 924(a)(2),” the letter reads…

While mental health is a factor in the current gun control debate and recent mass shootings in Newtown, Conn., and Aurora, Colo., and elsewhere have in common the questionable mental state of the shooters, to single out returning vets from Iraq and Afghanistan this way is unconscionable and unconstitutional.

As the Los Angeles Times has reported, the Obama administration would have liked like to make our Social Security records part of the background check system. The move would have stripped some four million Americans who receive payments though a “representative payee” of their gun rights. It would be the largest gun grab in U.S. history.

A potentially large group within Social Security are people who, in the language of federal gun laws, are unable to manage their own affairs due to “marked subnormal intelligence, or mental illness, incompetency, condition, or disease.”

There is no simple way to identify that group, but a strategy used by the Department of Veterans Affairs since the creation of the background check system is reporting anyone who has been declared incompetent to manage pension or disability payments and assigned a fiduciary.

The article concludes:

Keeping guns out of the hands of the truly mentally unstable is a worthy goal, but it should not be used as a cause for disarming veterans who carried a weapon in defense of their country or seniors who might need some assistance in paying their bills.

They deserve the presumption of innocence, and sanity, every bit as much as Vester Flanagan. Stripping away their Second Amendment rights in the name of mental health would be a gross injustice that would not make us safer, but would merely create millions of unarmed victims for the next shooter with an agenda.

We need to make sure that American citizens understand our Constitution and Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights is there to limit the rights of government–not the rights of citizens. If we want to preserve our republic, we have to continue to fight to protect those rights our Founding Fathers codified in the Constitution and The Bill of Rights.

A Common Sense Approach To Saving Taxpayer Money

Welfare was meant to be a safety net–not a career choice. Unfortunately we have lost the war on poverty started by President Lyndon Johnson in the 1960’s. According to the social work degree center website, in the 1960’s, 22 percent of Americans lived below the poverty line. In 2014, 14.8 percent of Americans lived below the poverty line. In January 2016, The Daily Signal reported:

First, the War on Poverty has failed to achieve Johnson’s goal: to “strike at the causes, not just the consequences of poverty.” Since he declared “unconditional war,” poverty has thumbed its nose at its would-be conquerors.

The official poverty rate has hovered between ten and fifteen percent for 50 years. But that is only a part of the story. Since the 1960s, the institutions that contribute to self-sufficiency—namely, marriage and work—have declined. Today, more than 40 percent of children are born outside marriage; in 1964, only 7 percent were.

…Robert Rector, senior research fellow in domestic policy studies at the Heritage Foundation, writes that “taxpayers have spent $22 trillion on Johnson’s war. Adjusted for inflation, that’s three times the cost of all military wars since the American Revolution.” It’s time to change course. We need a new strategy against poverty.

The changes in our culture are part of the problem, but there is another increasing problem–people who come to this country to take advantage of our generous welfare system.

Breitbart posted an article today stating:

President Trump is set to save American taxpayers billions of dollars as his administration announces a new rule on Monday that will essentially ban welfare-dependent legal immigrants from permanently resettling in the United States.

A new regulation set to be published by the Trump administration will ensure that legal immigrants would be less likely to secure a permanent residency in the U.S. if they have used any forms of welfare in the past, including using subsidized healthcare services, food stamps, and public housing.

Below is a chart of current welfare expenditures:

I have no problem with having a safety net, but it seems that our priorities are out of order. The first group of people that we should be helping are our veterans. Too many of them come home and need help to get on their feet when they separate from the military. I would like to see that as our first priority in welfare spending.

The article at Breitbart concludes:

Currently, there is an estimated record high of 44.5 million foreign-born residents living in the U.S. This is nearly quadruple the immigrant population in 2000. The vast majority of those arriving in the country every year are low-skilled legal immigrants who compete against working and middle-class Americans for jobs.

If we don’t get a handle on immigration, we are going to bankrupt America.

The Professionally Offended Often Have No Idea What They Are Talking About

Yesterday The Daily Wire posted an article about a recent dust-up over a shirt worn by Chris Pratt. The shirt depicted the Gadsden Flag, a Revolutionary War flag.

An article at Yahoo News reported:

The Marvel star’s top shows the American flag with a coiled snake over the top and a message underneath which reads “Don’t Tread On Me.”

The writing and snake combo on its own is depicted on the Gadsden flag; a symbol created by Christopher Gadsden, a Charleston-born brigadier general in the Continental Army.

It came to prominence during the Revolutionary War of the US by colonists who wanted independence from Great Britain.

Although it is one of the symbols and flags used by the U.S. Men’s Soccer Team, over the years the flag has been adopted by Far Right political groups like the Tea Party, as well as gun-toting supporters of the Second Amendment.

It has therefore become a symbol of more conservative and far right individuals and, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission of the US, it also is “sometimes interpreted to convey racially-tinged messages in some contexts.”

Wait a minute. Since when is it far right to support the U.S. Constitution and want smaller government? Note the subtle criticism of those who support the Second Amendment. Also, there is nothing racial about the Gadsden flag. Race was not part of the equation at the time it was designed. The Yahoo News story is injecting opinion into its reporting, giving some basic facts, but misleading the reader.

Aside from the fact that the professionally offended are again trying to put a negative spin on a symbol of our history, Chris Pratt was wearing the shirt to support a pro-veteran nonprofit called the Brain Treatment Foundation.

The article at The Daily Wire reports:

On Facebook, Brain Treatment Foundation posted a photo of Pratt in the T-shirt and said that they were “honored” by the support.

“We are honored to work with the silent warriors who sacrifice greatly so that others may live free, who defend our freedom, who live with honor and by the word of God. These warriors hunt evil to protect our peace, while those who disparage their sacrifices and our nation from behind a computer screen, pretend it doesn’t exist,” the organization said. “We are proud of the American flag and all symbols that represent the freedom brave men and women have shed blood for since the inception of our great country.”

This is another example of the political left criticizing something they know nothing about. Hopefully fewer people are falling for the antics of the professionally offended.

‘Merit’ Under Attack

Merriam-Webster defines merit as follows:

a obsolete : reward or punishment due

b : the qualities or actions that constitute the basis of one’s deserts Opinions of his merit vary.

c : a praiseworthy quality : virtue but originality, as it is one of the highest, is also one of the rarest, of merits— E. A. Poe

d : character or conduct deserving reward, honor, or esteem also : achievement composed a number of works of merit — H. E. Starr

The concept behind the definition is that something is earned. A person’s conduct, character, or actions deserve either a positive or negative response–generally today it implies a positive response.

The following quote is from an ABC News article posted yesterday:

“I want to just say something about the word that they use ‘merit.’ It is really a condescending word,” Pelosi said. “Are they saying family is without merit? Are they saying most of the people who have ever come to the United States in the history of our country are without merit because they don’t have an engineering degree? Certainly we want to attract the best to our country and that includes many people from many parts of society.”

I would like to point out that the most of the people who came to the United States came before the existence of the welfare state. Their ‘merit’ was their willingness to work to build America. Unfortunately many of the people now arriving lack that ‘merit.’ Many are coming here looking for a free lunch.

I am not opposed to family immigration, but we need to look at the consequences of having family immigration as the majority of our immigration. Uncle Fred might have been a successful farmer in his younger years, but his best years are behind him. His medical needs have increased and his ability to work has decreased. It may be the humane thing to do to reunite Uncle Fred with his family and give him the medical care he needs, but it is the humane thing to do while our veterans are waiting years for medical care that they have earned?

Can we afford to have an immigration system not based on what will help our country remain prosperous? Again, I am not opposed to family immigration, but we need to be certain that the people we bring into America will help build America and not be a burden on the people already here.

Merit doesn’t necessarily mean an engineering degree, but it does mean an ability to assimilate into America, work hard, and be an asset to themselves and to their community.

The Dangers Of Not Closely Monitoring Immigration

On Tuesday The Daily Wire posted an article about some recent information from the Department of Homeland Security.

The article reports:

The Department of Homeland Security revealed Tuesday that the threat of “fake families” declaring asylum together at the United States’ southern border is no joke; more than 150 illegal immigrant “families” have used non-familial children or adults to attempt to convince border patrol agents to allow them to remain in the country.

The Daily Caller reports that “there has been a 110 percent increase in male adults showing up at the border with children. Further, DHS separated 507 illegal immigrants between April 19 and September 30 because they fraudulently claimed they were part of a family unit.”

The thing to remember here is that there are people in various countries in South American coaching people on how to break into America. If that is a harsh word, I’m sorry–it is what is happening. I will admit that our immigration system needs serious reform, but that is no excuse for people thinking they can simply come here illegally and stay. Right now America is severely in debt. We have neglected our veterans and are not doing a good job of taking care of anyone. We cannot afford to be overrun with non-citizens who want to be taken care of.

When evaluating what is happening at our border, it might be wise to consider the Cloward-Piven strategy from the 1960’s. Cloward-Piven was a strategy to convert America to a socialist state (taken from Discover the Networks):

Inspired by the August 1965 riots in the black district of Watts in Los Angeles (which erupted after police had used batons to subdue a black man suspected of drunk driving), Cloward and Piven published an article titled “The Weight of the Poor: A Strategy to End Poverty” in the May 2, 1966 issue of The Nation. Following its publication, The Nation sold an unprecedented 30,000 reprints. Activists were abuzz over the so-called “crisis strategy” or “Cloward-Piven Strategy,” as it came to be called. Many were eager to put it into effect.

In their 1966 article, Cloward and Piven charged that the ruling classes used welfare to weaken the poor; that by providing a social safety net, the rich doused the fires of rebellion. Poor people can advance only when “the rest of society is afraid of them,” Cloward told The New York Times on September 27, 1970. Rather than placating the poor with government hand-outs, wrote Cloward and Piven, activists should work to sabotage and destroy the welfare system; the collapse of the welfare state would ignite a political and financial crisis that would rock the nation; poor people would rise in revolt; only then would “the rest of society” accept their demands. 

The key to sparking this rebellion would be to expose the inadequacy of the welfare state. Cloward-Piven’s early promoters cited radical organizer Saul Alinsky as their inspiration. “Make the enemy live up to their (sic) own book of rules,” Alinsky wrote in his 1971 book Rules for Radicals. When pressed to honor every word of every law and statute, every Judaeo-Christian moral tenet, and every implicit promise of the liberal social contract, human agencies inevitably fall short. The system’s failure to “live up” to its rule book can then be used to discredit it altogether, and to replace the capitalist “rule book” with a socialist one. 

This may well be what the caravans are actually about. If this theory is too wild for you, step back and look at the movement toward socialism in the recent election.

Putting Money Toward A Good Cause

The Hill is reporting today that President Trump will donate his quarterly salary to the Small Business Administration to fund a program that provides assistance to veterans who are interested in starting their own companies.

The article reports:

She (Administrator Linda McMahon) said the money will be used for the SBA’s “Emerging Leaders” program, which offers seven months of training to veterans transitioning from military life into the private sector.

Trump has donated each of his quarterly salaries to different areas of the government since taking office. The president donated his salary from the first quarter of 2018 to the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Last year, Trump gave his salary to the Transportation Department, the Health and Human Services Department for the opioid epidemic, the National Park Service and the Education Department.

Thank you, President Trump.

Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act

One America News is reporting today that President Trump signed the Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act after speaking at the American Legion’s National Convention in Reno.

The wtkr website explains one of the provisions of  the bill:

…makes it easier for veterans to appeal decisions on disability claims through the Department of Veterans Affairs. A White House spokesman said there are currently 470,000 veterans waiting to hear a decision on their appeal claims.

The article at One America News reminds us:

The President mentioned several bills he has signed as a part of his ten point VA Reform Plan, including the Accountability Bill, the Veteran’s Choice Bill, and the Forever GI Bill.

Because so few American families have a family member serving in the military, we sometimes overlook the sacrifices these men and women and their families make. The people serving in our military are often overlooked in the budgeting process. We need to be sure that we fully support them as they protect our freedom. I believe that this bill and the previous bills signed by President Trump are a step in the right direction.

 

Time For New Management

Yesterday The Washington Examiner posted a story yesterday that illustrates the poor management of the Veteran’s Administration.

The story reports:

The Department of Veterans Affairs’ Office of Inspector General (OIG) on Wednesday confirmed that more than one-third of the people thought to be seeking eligibility for VA benefits are deceased, and said many of them have been dead for more than four years.

The OIG report confirms the worst fears of members of Congress, whosaid in July that they would investigate unsubstantiated claims that thousands of veterans died before they ever became eligible for VA benefits.

Scott Davis, a VA employee and whistleblower, has dismissed the findings of the OIG. He claims that the independent investigator has no way of knowing how many veterans died seeking care. That may be, but if the number is one veteran, that is one too many.

The article states:

“We can’t say what’s what because of flaws in the enrollment system, and the flaws exist basically because the people responsible for fixing it haven’t,” he (Scott Davis) said.

Davis said the main official responsible for the VA’s Health Eligibility Center, Stephanie Mardon, should be fired for keeping such poor records, which even the OIG said is hurting efforts to get care to veterans. “Overstated pending enrollment records create unnecessary difficulty and confusion in identifying and assisting veterans with the most urgent need for health care enrollment,” it said.

But Davis also said the OIG report gives the VA, and the Obama administration, the tools it needs to start fixing the problem.

In July of 2014, Robert A. McDonald became Secretary of Veterans Affairs. It seems to me that there needs to be a way of mapping whatever progress he is making in fixing the problems the Veterans Administration has had in recent years. If things have not changed by July 2016, it is time to consider either replacing Secretary McDonald or disbanding the Veterans Administration and allowing veterans to seek medical care outside of the Veterans Administration at the same cost.

Does Integrity Matter?

Should a government official lose his job for doing something that is routinely done in bars all over America every night of the week? That is one way to look at the situation surrounding Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald. This is actually a really sad story. In an effort to relate to a homeless veteran, Secretary McDonald stated that he had served in the Special Forces. Unfortunately the moment was caught on camera. The sad part of this story is that Secretary McDonald is a military veteran (despite the fact that he was not in the Special Forces) and obviously has compassion for military veterans. The fact is that he lied. The question is, “How significant is that?” Actually, I think it is rather significant–if I were in the Special Forces and had seen action, I would resent someone who hadn’t served there claiming he had.

Yesterday The Washington Examiner posted an article noting the news coverage of this incident.

The article states:

A majority of headlines this week have characterized Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald’s claim that he served in the Army’s Special Forces as a “misstatement” and a “false claim.” Very few have referred to his admitted fabrication as a “lie.”

McDonald, who qualified but never served as a Ranger and did not serve in Special Forces, apologized this week for the falsehood.

Headlines from the Huffington Post, the Washington Free Beacon, the Washington Examiner, the Hill and Military Times have used variations of “falsely claimed” in headlines regarding McDonald’s fabrication.

I hate to be difficult, but I can’t help but wonder if this event would have been reported differently if a Republican were in the White House.

This Is Just Wrong

The Congressional Budget Office website has posted a suggestion for cutting our military spending. As usual, it is a suggestion that does nothing to solve the bureaucracy problem–it just takes money away from people who were actually promised benefits.

Aside from the toll twenty or more years in the military takes on families, it also takes a physical toll on the soldiers. Many of our retiring soldiers also collect disability pay for various injuries suffered in the course of their service. These injuries include war injuries, but they also include more simple (but often painful) injuries acquired in the various physical requirements of service. Under the current program, soldiers with injuries collect disability pay (the amount is based on the severity of the injuries) as well as retirement pay. The Obama Administration is wanting to change that.

The article explains:

Military service members who retire—either following 20 or more years of military service under the longevity-based retirement program or early because of a disability—are eligible for retirement annuities from the Department of Defense (DoD). In addition, veterans with medical conditions or injuries that were incurred or worsened during active-duty military service (excluding those resulting from willful misconduct) are eligible for disability compensation from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

Until 2003, military retirees who were eligible for disability compensation could not receive both their full retirement annuity and their disability compensation. Instead, they had to choose between receiving their full retirement annuity from DoD or receiving their disability benefit from VA and forgoing an equal amount of their DoD retirement annuity; that reduction in the retirement annuity is generally referred to as the VA offset. Because the retirement annuity is taxable and disability compensation is not, most retirees chose the second alternative.

As a result of several laws, starting with the National Defense Authorization Act for 2003, two classes of retired military personnel who receive VA disability compensation (including those who retired before the enactment of those laws) can now receive payments that make up for part or all of the VA offset, benefiting from what is often called concurrent receipt. Specifically, retirees whose disabilities arose from combat are eligible for combat-related special compensation (CRSC), and veterans who retire with 20 or more years of military service and who receive a VA disability rating of 50 percent or more are eligible for what is termed concurrent retirement and disability pay (CRDP). CRSC is exempt from federal taxes, but CRDP is not; some veterans would qualify for both types of payments but must choose between the two.

This option would eliminate concurrent receipt of retirement pay and disability compensation beginning in 2015: Military retirees currently drawing CRSC or CRDP would no longer receive those payments, nor would future retirees. As a result, the option would reduce federal spending by $108 billion between 2015 and 2023, the Congressional Budget Office estimates.

This is not the place to cut government spending. One of the things President Obama has done in office has been to undo the welfare reforms put in place by the Clinton Administration. Going back to those regulations, which actually decreased welfare rolls and put people back to work, would seriously reduce government spending. We need to give money to people who have earned it–not people who have not. When Congress recently did not extend the amount of time people could collect unemployment, unemployment went down. When you reward a behavior, it increases. We need to learn that lesson if we are ever going to cut government spending.

 

Manipulating The Numbers To Disguise Increased Spending

Breitbart.com posted an article today about the budget compromise recently reached by Paul Ryan and Patty Murray. Congressman Ryan continues to defend the proposed cuts to veteran’s retirement pay. Before I continue, I just want to mention that cutting retirement pay for veterans is breaking a contract that was made with them when they agreed to serve in our military for twenty years or more.

Now, back to the actual point–the spending cuts in this budget do not reduce the deficit–they are math gimmicks.

The article reports:

As Breitbart News has reported, Ryan’s and Murray’s budget deal does not reduce the deficit. In fact, the deal raises the deficit by at least $15.5 billion because of a series of gimmicks that Ryan and Murray employed in the accounting of the deal — namely, double counting of savings like the tactic which was employed in Obamacare, and the failure to include an estimate of the interest on the borrowed money for the first couple of years of increased spending. These are only a few among a series of other misleading statements Ryan has made about the deal.

Congressman Ryan claims that the changes in military pensions are simply a ‘small adjustment.’ The facts do not back up that statement.

The article reports:

Ryan characterized the change as a “small adjustment” in the next paragraph, even though he admitted it could affect veterans by as much as $100,000 or more over their lifetimes, depending on when they retire.

That’s a serious broken promise.

The article reminds us:

In his op-ed, Ryan did not address the proposal in the House of Representatives gaining significant attention already from Reps. Martha Roby (R-AL) and Mike Fitzpatrick (R-PA). Roby’s and Fitzpatrick’s plan would restore pensions for all military veterans and offset the savings those cuts create with savings from closing a loophole allowing illegal aliens access to the Refundable Child Tax Credit. Closing that loophole would save $7 billion — more than enough to ensure that the Pentagon gets the money it needs to buy top-notch military equipment.

Why are we taking money away from our military veterans and giving it to illegal aliens? Is this where we want to go?

 

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This Was Posted On Facebook By One Of My Daughters

One of my daughters posted the following on Facebook. It made me very proud:

I am the spouse of an active duty Marine…who will one day be a veteran. I move my children, my household goods, my pets, two cars, a motorcycle and my life every two to four years, whether I want to or not. I leave behind friends that have become my family and family that I never expected would be far from home.
I have no retirement plan. I can never stay in a job long enough to become vested in a 401K or any other plan. I receive no pay from the military for my sacrifices, instead I support a husband so he can stay focused on his job—defending our freedom.
I am forceful, independent, and fiercely loyal. I come on like a rabid dog when I move to a new place, hoping to find that one person who can help me replace those I left behind. I never really replace those I leave behind, I only add, or subtract as life changes, and friendship changes.
I have chosen this life. Do not pity me. Do not cry for me. Do not think that I cannot handle it. I knew what I was getting into on that day I said “I Do.” I knew the pay scale. I knew it would be hard to find a job every few years. I knew I would leave one job making great money to only find the same job making a lot less somewhere else. I clip coupons. I use Groupon. I shop at the end of seasons for the following seasons. I have to say “no” sometimes, even when I don’t want to. I have to sometimes go without so that my children or spouse can have just that much more. But I am happy, happy that the sacrifices my husband makes allows me to make sacrifices for him and our children.
Would I do it again? Yes. Would I have my children do it again? Yes. I have the most temperamental, frustrating, well rounded, worldly children you will ever meet.
Do have compassion for my children. Do have compassion when I am having a bad day. Do have compassion when I have not seen my spouse in months. Yes, I am used to him deploying, going on trips, being gone for a week, a month, a year, but that does not mean that I miss him or love him any less.
Most of all, one day, when he becomes a veteran, remember he started out as a child of 18, fresh in the military, and has now, a veteran, made way for another child to take his place, to lead, to fight for our country, and to have a family that makes sacrifices for us all.
The circle is never ending. Whether you fought way back when, are fighting now, or have yet begun to fight, there are sacrifices that have been made, are being made, and will be made.

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When You Vote, Remember The Government’s Priorities

This is a picture taken from Townhall.com:

View image on Twitter

It is a helicopter hovering over the veterans protesting the barricading of the National Mall. The veterans took down the barricades and carried them to the White House, where they left them outside the gates on the lawn.

The article at Townhall reports:

It costs around $15,000 per hour to keep a helicopter in the air. As a reminder, the government is still shutdown and “non-essential” services are still unavailable. Apparently monitoring veterans with a helicopter is an “essential” function.

The National Mall is an open area. The cost of maintaining the Mall is the cost of picking up the trash and mowing the lawn. Neither of these activities approaches $15,000 a month, much less $15,000 an hour.

The closing of the Mall is an attack on the freedom of Americans. It is only one example of the government doing things to inconvenience Americans for political reasons. While World War II veterans are being denied access to their own monument, Camp David is open to the Vice-President and his family for a vacation. The political class should not be given special treatment while American citizens suffer because of their decisions.

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Something Is Wrong With This Picture

Yesterday the Washington Free Beacon reported that a report by the inspector general of the Department of Energy shows that a top legal official was advising the human resources people at the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) on how to implement hiring practices that put veterans at a disadvantage. When two employees at BPA questioned the hiring practices, the BPA attempted to remove them from service.

The article reports:

The report reinforces criticism of BPA by congressional investigators, who in August held a hearing investigating similar allegations from the department’s IG.

“Today’s report offers shocking new details about the Bonneville Power Administration’s illegal hiring practices that discriminated against veterans and the agency’s culture of intimidation toward whistleblowers,” said Rep. Darrell Issa (R., Calif.), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said in a statement.

According to the report, a staff attorney at Bonneville “provided guidance that likely facilitated” hiring practices that disadvantaged veterans.

Federal regulations require that veterans receive preferential treatment in federal hiring.

During an investigation into what was happening, employees of BPA were not willing to speak before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee because they were afraid of losing their jobs.

Does anyone see a pattern here?

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We Need An Administration That Respects Our Military Veterans

I have serous doubts as to whether the current administration in Washington respects our military, and I also have serious doubts as to their level of respect for our military veterans. This administration has attempted to cut medical benefits for veterans, and I suspect that sometime in the near future they will attempt to cut retirement benefits. One of the latest executive actions is an example of the lack of respect for veterans and their traditions.

Yesterday the Daily Caller reported that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is altering some of the regulations it puts on the American Legion. The IRS is changing a 13-part section of Part 4, Chapter 76 of the Internal Revenue Manual pertaining to “veterans’ organizations.”

The article in the Daily Caller states:

“The IRS now requires American Legion posts to maintain dates of service and character of service records for all members… The penalty for not having the required proof of eligibility is, apparently, $1,000 per day,” the American Legion stated.

…“On the heels of Americans’ anger over revelations that the IRS intentionally targeted certain groups, it has been brought to my attention that the IRS is now turning their sights toward our nation’s veterans,” Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran said. “The IRS seems to be auditing veteran service organizations by requiring private member military service forms.”

…The American Legion, headquartered in Indianapolis, was founded in 1919 as a social and support group for veterans returning from World War I. It is now one of the leading nonpartisan forces lobbying for veterans rights.

Notice that this new rule was in no way approved of or passed by Congress–it was done in the Executive Branch. I think it is time for Congress to find its spine and begin to rein in the Executive Branch. President Obama and his minions are becoming more like a king and his court than the President of a representative republic.
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Veterans And The Second Amendment

Some members of Congress are leading an attack on the Second Amendment right now.  It is being done in the name of making Americans safer while overlooking the fact that criminals do not obey gun laws. However, there is also an attack on our military veterans‘ ability to own guns. This is very serious, as the group that would be most likely to prevent the government from doing really ugly things (should it come to that) would be armed military veterans. I hope that day never comes, but there is nothing wrong with being prepared and aware.

A website called Redflag posted an article on March 15th regarding some of what is happening in our government regarding the Second Amendment.

The lawyer who writes the Redflag site is offering his service to veterans who are in danger of losing their Second Amendment rights. This is what he has encountered:

Veterans are being declared incompetent not because they have a serious mental illness that makes them a danger to themselves or others, but because they have a physical disability resulting from their service in the armed forces or because they simply let their spouses pay the family bills.

If veterans have minor issues with PTSD, have expressed that they are depressed sometimes, or even in the case of Vietnam veterans admit that they are getting older and sometimes forget to pay their bills on time, the bureaucrats at the VA will seek to declare them incompetent. (I am a 65 year old veteran and often forget where I put my car keys, does that make me incompetent to handle my own financial affairs and even worse mean that I can’t own a firearm?) According to the VA it apparently does.

All of this has resulted in America’s heroes being declared incompetent by a process that blatantly violates their rights to due process under the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution. Then, for reasons that have not been explained these same veterans are also being denied their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.

Many of the veterans I have heard from were initially both scared because of what was happening to them, and hurt because it is their own government that is causing this fear. After all, when they joined the military they signed a blank check to their country to defend it and its Constitution even if it cost them their lives. Yet, now their own government is turning on them and taking from them the very Constitutional rights they fought to preserve.

This needs to be reported in the mainstream media and stopped immediately.

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Please Listen To The Entire Statement From Senator Feinstein

Please listen to the entire statement from Senator Feinstein.  As Senator Cornyn points out, PTSD sufferers are already prohibited from owning weapons by law. It is horribly unfair to accuse all veterans of having PTSD.

The transcript of the video is at C-SPAN:

Our military is well trained and can be trusted with guns. It bothers me that there are people in our government who seem to be trying to undermine the rights of veterans to buy and possess firearms.

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A Backdoor Approach To Limiting The Right Of Veterans To Own Guns ?

For the past day of so, a number of ‘facebook friends’ have posted links to articles about veterans being denied the right to own guns. I waited to post this article until I saw the letter involved and was able to see who sent it.

The Blaze posted the story on Friday along with a copy of the relevant letter. The letter was written by the Oregon Department of Veteran’s Affairs.

One paragraph from the letter states:

“A determination of incompetency will prohibit you from purchasing, possessing, receiving, or transporting a firearm or ammunition. If you knowingly violate any of these prohibitions, you may be fined, imprisoned, or both pursuant to the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, Pub.L.No. 103-159, as implemented at 18, United States Code 924(a)(2).”?

An article at Red Flag News states:

The letter provides no specifics on the reasons for the proposed finding of incompetency; just that is based on a determination by someone in the VA. In every state in the United States no one can be declared incompetent to administer their own affairs without due process of law and that usually requires a judicial hearing with evidence being offered to prove to a judge that the person is indeed incompetent. This is a requirement of the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that states that no person shall “… be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law…”.

The writer at Red Flag News further asks:

“If you are receiving a Social Security check will you get one of these letters? Will the government declare that you are incompetent because of your age and therefore banned from firearm ownership?” Connelly wrote. “It certainly fits in with the philosophy and plans of the Obama administration. It is also certain that our military veterans don’t deserve this and neither do any other Americans.”

This bears watching.

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Breakfast With Santa

This past weekend my husband and I were visiting one of our daughters on Long Island. We had the pleasure of attending a Breakfast with Santa sponsored by the Long Island Chapter of US Veterans MC (USVMCLI), a fraternity of motorcycle riders who have all served honorably in one of the branches of the United States military. The USVMCLI was serving breakfast and collecting care packages and food for veterans in the Long Island area. They were also collecting toys and clothes for children of hospitalized veterans.

As the wife of a Vietnam-era veteran, the event was almost overwhelming. The USVMCLI included veterans from Vietnam, the more recent wars, and I suspect that one of the veterans I saw may have served in Korea. It is incredibly encouraging to me that the Vietnam veterans, who were treated so badly when they returned home, have worked hard to make sure that today’s veterans are cared for and helped with some of their basic needs.

The food was great and Santa arrived, but the inspiring part of the breakfast was the sea of motorcycle jackets dedicated to helping their fellow veterans.

Thank you, USVMCLI, for the work that you do.

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An Outrageous Policy Toward Our Military Veterans

Bill Gertz at the Washington Free Beacon is reporting today on changes proposed by the Obama Administration to the medical benefits of our military veterans.

The article reports:

The Obama administration’s proposed defense budget calls for military families and retirees to pay sharply more for their healthcare, while leaving unionized civilian defense workers’ benefits untouched. The proposal is causing a major rift within the Pentagon, according to U.S. officials. Several congressional aides suggested the move is designed to increase the enrollment in Obamacare’s state-run insurance exchanges.

The disparity in treatment between civilian and uniformed personnel is causing a backlash within the military that could undermine recruitment and retention.

I have already posted articles showing the difference between government workers pay and benefits and those of the private sector. (See Congressional Budget Office chart). Needless to say, military salaries are considerably lower than both. Why in the world would the President cut military benefits and not cut civilian defense department employees’ benefits?

The article further reports:

“We shouldn’t ask our military to pay our bills when we aren’t willing to impose a similar hardship on the rest of the population,” Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee and a Republican from California, said in a statement to the Washington Free Beacon. “We can’t keep asking those who have given so much to give that much more.”

Administration officials told Congress that one goal of the increased fees is to force military retirees to reduce their involvement in Tricare and eventually opt out of the program in favor of alternatives established by the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare.

This is an outrage. Additionally the plan calls for large increases in the cost of Tricare for military families.

The article states:

According to congressional assessments, a retired Army colonel with a family currently paying $460 a year for health care will pay $2,048.

This doesn’t sound like much, but consider the sacrifices our servicemen and their families make during their twenty or more years of life in the military. The favoring of civilian union employees over the military is obscene. These changes have to be passed by Congress–any bill proposed needs to be dead on arrival.

 

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