~A Veteran~

A veteran - whether active duty, retired, national guard or reserve - is someone who, at one point in his life, wrote a blank check made payable to The United States of America, for an amount of "Up to and including my life". That is honor, and there are far too many people in this country who no longer understand it. - Author Unknown

Monday, November 12, 2007


The Holidays are approaching, and so are the Scams…..


This morning I was on cup of coffee number 5, elbows deep in PTSD research and statistics for the upcoming week; when a phone call came in from one of those "weird" numbers. I always answer those weird numbers, because it is usually one of my guys. The numbers can look ordinary, with my prefix which means its routed through a DSN line then locally through a DSN switching area close by, or it can have 5 short numbers, or it can be 15 numbers long. It is always odd looking nonetheless. This morning was 15 numbers long and odd. I answered it with the HAPPY voice, just knowing it was one of the guys. WRONG.

It was some guy alright, purporting he was from the Government Internal Revenue Service to inform me that my number had been selected to "award" me $3000 for being such a "gem" as of late. Immediate red flags go up. SCAM SCAM SCAM. I can hear the babbling of telemarketers types in the background. This guy is partially scripted, and he has just disturbed hours of research, and he is NOT calling from AMERICA…he shall now PAY for his insolence.

He asks if I have filed bankruptcy in the last 3 months, and I say no. He asks if my zip code is "X" and I say yes. He asks if my phone number is "X" and I say yes. He asks if my name is "X" and I say yes. Now granted at this point I am getting worried and pissed off, because he has PRIVATE information, however, I want to know the extent of his information. He tells me that because I pay taxes, and I have not filed bankruptcy in this past 3 month "magical" period, or in the past year, I have been selected to receive this GRANT from the IRS for good "Country Behavior".

However, upon receiving this monetary prize of excellence, I may NOT use it for drugs or alcohol. Well damn that takes the joy out of being a drunken drug abusing American now doesn't it! (Who is this idiot?) I am thinking to myself, exactly how would they know…..but never mind, he continues, and asks me which bank would I like this Grant deposited into? Here is where I turned into "stupid don't know nuffin American and said "well shit fire man, into my account at ma bank!" He laughed, and said "ok ma'am, which bank is that? Your Banker will give you papers in black and white describing the transaction after the deposit is made, giving you details."

I said, "Wow, I ain't never seen ma banker afor…that'll be purty neat." Just put them monies in the bank down the road a piece, mmm k?" He says he needs the Bank's name.
I had to think on this for two seconds, because at this point, I am done playing with this person, and I heard in the background what I thought I would never hear, and my blood pressure shot up through my eyes! "PRAISES BE --- We have 4 more!"

Excuse the hell out me praise be to who???? I didn't catch that part?? So the guy says again, which bank ma'am? Now, I am red hot, I have just decided I don't give a flying rats ass if this is profiling or not, I have decided that this idiot is NOT American, he is from SOME damn country outside the United States, and he is scamming AMERICANS.

His accent is typical of "Hashibibble," which could be anything in the Middle East or OTHER. I give a damn; the phone number is 011-91-000-000-0000. (call comes from India-according to the international country coding index) Ultimately though, who knows exactly WHO they are working for, and for what purpose; other than to STEAL.

He asked ONCE more which bank, and I asked him where his building was located? Could I find it on a global security map? I would like to send some friends to come shake his hand personally. They have a gift of their own to present to him. The phone was quiet then. He didn't hang up, he just didn't say anything. I told him he was on speaker phone, and a room full of 100 Marines and 75 Army Infantry Soldiers had been listening to him. Could he please repeat that location? He hung up.

I am calling the IRS Criminal Investigation Department in the morning.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Congressional BOHICA for Soldiers 101

Our Nations Congressional Leaders are not known for their fairness. Nor are they known for their ability to empathize with the regular people of our Nation. Those in power positions often forget from whence they came. When it comes to earnings, income, benefits, and pay increases, they are the first to award themselves these luxuries, and fail miserably for others.
In this case, lets talk about the Military and Congress. We all know it really doesn't matter if our Congress consists of a majority of one party or another. At the end of the day, it is how our Congress performs and responds to the needs of the military that really matters. For some time now, inflation causes a general 2-4% raise for the military annually. Sometimes Congress will put up a mighty argument as to whether or not it is necessary. When Congress is divided this way, it only takes a few speakers to remind them that many in the Military are on welfare or have some types of State/Federal benefits programs. Some soldiers and their families barely scrape by, and live by meager means along with food benefits from their state. Others have their military income, and get a small addition of financial support from the system.
When this information and the numbers are given to our Congress, they usually vote for the pay rate increase.
Then we have the Guard and Reserve components of our Military. Some call them Weekend Warriors. Some call them Part-time Poges. Some do not even like to acknowledge them unless there is a National Disaster or State Disaster. Whatever you call them, they are mainly civilians who stand ready to help and defend if the State or Government deems it necessary. Many Guard and Reserve soldier's have great jobs, make a pretty good living, and enjoy drills once a month to keep them ready for whatever comes about.
Prior to OIF and the Global War on Terrorism, Guard and Reserve members were never called to Active Duty unless it was a State emergency or the Federal Government needed a small group for a particular mission. These were usually no more than two months in length.
However in light of OIF, our Guard and Reserve have been activated more rapidly, almost depleted our Nations security relief forces at any given time.
Guard and Reserve soldiers mostly still volunteer for OIF deployments, but a few are simply mandated to go.
When OIF began, there was a first wave of units that participated in vital missions in Iraq. Soon their training changed to include this need for combat, and Guard and Reserve Units were experiencing a heavier hand in being sent to Iraq. Congress noticed this event for what is was, and soon found out the main complaint for Guard and Reserve soldier's was that leaving their civilian jobs for Active Duty missions often caused a financial hardship. This is because they normally had a larger income in the Civilian world, and their families had to adjust rapidly to the lessor income. It didn't take long before the wives left behind to manage the home front learned how to downsize quickly, and maintain the home front with ease. Sometimes however, it would take others a little longer to get to a calm financial plateau.
Soon soldiers were told that if they volunteered for more than one mission, they would be awarded a stipend each additional month over 12 months just for volunteering to repeat active duty service. Considering the former pay decreases, many soldiers opted to volunteer for another rotation, simply because it was the right thing to do, and also because they extra pay incentive would enable them to get back to a place of financial security by the end of the call to duty.
This was called a Co-Tab. After 18 months of this program, the Co-Tab, then being $750.00 extra a month increased to $1000.00 as more troops rotated for second or third tours of duty. Naturally this was mainly still individually voluntary on the soldiers part. Another 6 months or so past, and the Co-Tab was given a new acronym name. It was now the AIP. The amount remained the same, but the avenue to which a soldier was awarded this started with paperwork, and the company commander signing off on the forms that declared a soldier has indeed previously served a tour of duty, how long his tour was, (boots on the ground) and that he once again was volunteering for another rotation. Then the rotations became increasingly larger. More units were tapped to deploy, and many soldiers were on their second, third or fourth tour of duty. Some soldiers went back because they felt they needed to complete missions they previously performed. Some soldiers went back because life at home was difficult and they needed to feel vital doing something they enjoyed and had the proper training for. Some soldiers returned out of loyalty, some to protect the new young deploying soldiers. Whatever the reason, soldiers still volunteered, and were told that for their loyalty and valor, the extra income would be available.
Then Congress decided that paying a soldier a decent wage was paying them too much. The AIP stopped suddenly, which caused great confusion with Finance and Accounting, and all ranges of Unit Chain of Command. No one really had a straight answer for the soldiers who knew it was a pay incentive to re-deploy multiple times. Congress didn't broadcast their financial decision. A person was hard pressed to find answers.
When the smoke cleared, the end result was that AIP is discontinued, and in its stead, a fashion of "leave" would take is place. This leave isn't the standard accrued leave a soldier gets monthly, much like a civilian accrues with each pay cycle. This leave is the type that you cant cash in, its almost mandatory you accept it, or you lose it. It equals to about a months standard pay, minus taxes.
I am not a rocket scientist or grand mathematician, but those qualities do not prevent me from doing the simple math. If a soldier is on average an E-4, Specialist, he nets about $2500.00 a month for 6 years or less of service. If he is deployed 12 months, and is eligible for the prior AIP, that means he is likely to receive a total of $11,000.00 for a second, third, or fourth deployment at $1000.00 monthly tax free. If he puts his life on the line for freedom and terrorist prevention, is he not worth this small amount annually? Naturally Congress does not think so. So it has been discontinued.
My question is why was this not made known to soldiers? Why was this information not put out to those who make the sacrifice of home, family, and civilian life for a War on Terrorism and fighting the good fight so we here at home can continue to enjoy our liberties and luxuries?
The answer is simple. Soldier's would more than likely not volunteer to rotate and deploy more than the one time required. Numbers of troops would decrease, and the earmarks would not be met for security measures in Iraq. The Military would have to deploy more active duty soldiers, which would decrease the amount of soldiers doing regular tours of duty assignments given to them every three years. They would be locked into Iraq rotations.
If Congress doesn't divulge the cut in incentive pay for soldiers, they can basically get the chain of command to LIE to the soldiers until such a time that the soldier has his boots on the ground and finds out after the fact when its too late to change their minds about their voluntary status. Besides, once a soldier commits to a mission, they do not back down or "quit" because something went poorly. They suck it up and drive on. Simple military mindset. And what about Congress? Well they get away with cutting military spending, they get to continue to ask soldiers to give their lives or bleed for the War on Terrorism, and continue to bleed the families at home dry who are forced to live meagerly because of a technicality.
This is called BOHICA 101 for Soldiers. (Bend Over Here It Comes Again)
To date, Congress has not reversed their plan to cut a soldiers incentive pay, but instead offers them a small "cookie" for taking shrapnel to the body, losing sight, hearing, or limbs, because they continue to care less about our Nations soldiers. It looks good on paper when they say they support the troops, but reality shows a different side of the written text.

Wives & Hierarchy

The day has ended with a lesson in military wives and the levels of hierarchy. Although I thought perhaps this system was not relevant within our unit I am seeing more on a daily basis that it is. At first I dismissed it, the little signs really; excusing the constant reminders from other wives that somehow their husbands were "better" because of rank. However in light of the lessons learned this evening, it is not possible to dismiss the subtle hints any longer. Once again the lesson has a duality of hierarchy and betrayal. One would think I would learn my lessons sooner, and alienate myself from the constant turmoil and upheaval of emotions associated with it. Eventually I hear my husbands sweet voice not whispering in my thoughts, but stomping through them instead repeating to me to stop trusting others, change my thinking patterns, and above all remove myself from situations where I may be tempted even slightly to trust another Army wife. I keep saying that "this is it, no more, I am through"; and then the temptation presents itself again, and I once again ignore the signs my husband tries so desperately to remind me of.
This evening I had the distinct non-pleasure of listening to a ranting wife explain repeatedly how she just so happen to be the wife of a leader. Within this conversation she stated she would appreciate it if I didn't give any information to others until it was confirmed, double checked, given out to the "higher" ends, and let it finally trickle down the line.
It made me realize that old tangent that rank has it's privileges, and one should not step on the toes of the hierarchy by knowing information prior to those in "position". The privileges of rank means the upper echelon of wives want the ego boost that they are privy to vital or mundane information before the lower classes. They want to hold onto it, caress it, absorb it, smell it and taste it, until they ooze the stench of it. At that point, after it has been exhausted, they want to deliver said information to all of the bottom feeders at their leisure.
Is there an Officer's Wives School of Pompousness one must attend prior to becoming an upper echelon? It seems that they are all taught virtually the same degree of arrogance. Never refer to them as Mrs So-n-So, but instead always as Mrs (insert Rank) So-n-So.
It happens among the lower ranks as well. A soldier can have just as many years in service, called Time and Grade, as another. Usually soldiers are promoted parallel to each other. However due to circumstances beyond their control, there are instances where one soldier can be promoted while the other one waits to have files, awards, school, and other issues resolved because of human/administrative error. This same administration can also withhold promotion out of spite as well. Interesting to note though, the views, attitudes, and mannerisms of the wife who's husband is promoted changes quite rapidly.
I have been noticing this as well too. It's just one rank higher, but when you slap the title of Non Commissioned Officer (NCO) on the lapel, attitudes adjust, arrogance emerges. No longer are you equals, no longer are you pals, and by all means you will be continually reminded that so-n-so's husband is now an "X" rank, thus he doesn't conform to the lower class of soldiers. Rank now has it's privileges.
This arrogance dissolves many a friendships. It is a sad day, when the one's you use to call friend, friendly waiting spouses, and equal, turn to the hierarchy group.
I call this a day of falsehood.
Welcome to the year of BOHICA.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Errors of Trust and the Path of Betrayal

Some time has past since I posted last. It is not because I have nothing to say, but more truthfully because as my Papa always told me, "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all."
I regard my Papa's words of wisdom carefully before posting this blog of insight into trust and betrayal, but I also couple it with honesty and information that needs to be put out.
During December 2004-January 2007 I was in a voluntary position to be a chairperson and leader of sorts for a Family Support Group for our Military Unit. At the onset, we as a group established an equality among members. This cohesion carried through the entire time of my voluntary position. Everyone had an equal say in all aspects of the groups activities. No one person was more important than the next. Many members did well above what was expected of them or asked of them. Those members put their heart, soul, and time into everything from the grand to typical. They were godsends, and we as a whole made sure to the best of our ability that these selfless individuals knew of our gratitude.
Something changed however, when the unit returned from War. It wasn't the soldiers themselves, but it was more of an attitude adjustment within the ranks of soldiers who had been "in the rear" with our group while the others served overseas. It almost felt like something was going on behind the scenes, but I was not quite able to quantify exactly what it was until later.
It turned out to be dissension in the ranks, backbiting, and a general betrayal that still holds it grip firmly today.
I was not aware that a particular administrative soldier disliked me personally so much that he was going to make sure he never had to have dealings with me again. I had never gotten that complete vibe from him, simply because he was a good politician, able to smile and joke with you, while plotting behind you.
This particular person is the largest reason why I have had the experience of betrayal and distrust within the capacity of my husbands unit. His complete animosity towards me is a direct reason why my husbands file is incomplete with awards, paperwork, and the lack of promotion in rank. Naturally being the perfect politician and member of the "Good Ole Boys" club, he can cover his tracks with 100% accuracy, so this issue becomes one of hearsay more than fact.
Recently in this continually unfolding drama, I have given this soldier the nickname of Grima Wormtongue. He whispers poison to the commanders, constantly bringing his opinion to the forefront, always standing ready to extinguish any possibility of something positive happening where my husband is concerned. It actually feels like a personal vendetta is at play.
The latest event of sorts, has sealed my decision to completely sever my ties with the Support Group at large. After sending an information gathering, question and idea email to the present leader of the support group, it was resent to a particular soldier who took offense to the simplicity of the ideas suggested, and went further up the chain. When it arrived at its final destination, the commander remembered the whisperings of Grima Wormtongue, and shot back with fever and insult towards my husband. My husband was given an option to "silence" his spouse, or have action taken against him and his removal from the current operations.
Naturally being a strong honorable man, he called the bluff laid before him and opted for his removal. After some stammerers and back stepping, that option was removed.
This entire occurrence showed several things. First, command is blowing hot air most of the time. The "do as I say, not as I do" cycle is in full play. Lying to your men is acceptable and can be revoked at one's discretion. And finally, the lines of betrayal run long and wide within the company, support group intertwined.
It was my own error to put faith and trust in the leadership I was given as a family member. It was the error on my husbands side to put CONFIDENCE in a leader who ultimately lied to him from the beginning and continues to do so. It was the Error on the leaderships portion to put forth an ultimatum which was fraught with lies, and expect a fair outcome. Instead it showed the true colors, which do not consist of red,white, & blue, but rather a dingy yellow streak.
It is the opinion of several outsiders, that my husbands career serving his country is at a stagnant section of life. As long as Grima Wormtongue remains, he will never see a promotion to the rank he has EARNED and deserves. His zest for being a soldier is a light within him that has but a tiny flicker left. The winds of lies and the cover of betrayal within the company blows out the once vibrant flame he carried with pride and honor.
It is a sad day when a soldier who loves his position and country has to make a decision about standing firm in his loyalty to a unit even in times as this. Typically loyalty is as common as breathing air. However with all of the backbiting and betrayal, it is now coming down to a decision verses instinct.
There is no "I" in team, and there is no team in a unit where command is only concerned with doing the minimum, so their own self-serving ideals can be reached. True command does not sacrifice the honor of his men, to achieve personal gains.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Big Business & Funding & Philanthropists

Recently I have had a new lesson in the world of Philanthropist giving. I am probably the most truthful individual many of these philanthropists have had to deal with, and more importantly the most naive.

When I started this project two years ago, the approach was simple. Figure out what is broken, and then figure out how to fix it. Then do both of these to the 100%.

What began with research soon turned into development of programs, and in the natural progression it blossomed with networking and other businesses or individuals wanting to be involved to assist with the final stages of development and implementation.

I have worked for two years, in a voluntary status; basically I never receive the typical salary for anything I have done to this point. My husband is my source of capital to travel and meet with businesses, attend seminars, and set up programs in rural areas away from my home base.

When I put the project out to big Corporations, the reaction was reminiscent of the commercials we have all seen where the little guy is standing on the CEO’s desk at the Bank, and giving his pitch. The CEO looks at him through a magnifying glass, the little guy catches on fire (like an ant) and falls into the trash can beside the CEO’s desk.

I learned last year, that if you have nothing to offer in the way of venture to big Corporations, they look the other way. It is not about the excellence of the project, or the compassion of the one’s who want to implement the project, it is about the bottom line, what the Corporations gain from donating to the cause you present.

I turned my attention to Foundations and Philanthropists at that point last year. My impression was and still is, that if a Millionaire wants to donate to a project, and they make a deal, it is as simple as sending a cashier’s check overnight to get things going.
Apparently I was wrong, because this does not happen without miles of red tape, paperwork, and a long extended “wait” time; often several months of waiting.

For the life of me, I can not figure out why that is. I have tried to put myself in the shoes of a millionaire, and I still see a very simple avenue to get things done, just write the check or call the bank and get the cashier’s check. It takes 5 minutes either way. If you truly believe in a project, if you truly believe in the mission, write the check and prove it.

If your a multi-millionaire, you obviously have a close relationship with your bank(s). It is YOUR money after all, and they will be more than happy to do anything you ask of them at a moments notice. So why is it so difficult to pick up the phone, call the bank, tell your representative to cut a cashier's check for "X" amount, and notify them that FedEx will be around within the hour to pick it up. Give your representative the address to go on the envelope package so it can be filled out when FedEx arrives, and you'll be around that afternoon or in the morning to sign the form for the transaction. You send an email to the recipient telling them that FedEx is arriving the following day with a donation to get your project started. After the recipient faints and regains composure, you inform them that you want a receipt within 24 hours, and a quarterly update thereafter.

The only thing I can deduce from this process taking exorbitant amounts of time is that millionaires are scared of simplicity. They run with their tails between their legs at the slightest hint of a simple solution to a problem. Showing a “softer” side by calling the people they have pledge funding to is not allowed either, so this extends the wait time.

So today the time bomb ticks away. The bomb that will blow and feel like Hiroshima to me personally is set to detonate. Why? First, because the company who has been a blessing for three months while holding onto my contract, with an extended discount for services, has to terminate the contract if funds are not received. More than that, the outstanding additional contracts just so happen to have the very same expiration date and time as well.

People tell me “get a loan!” and “oh you can raise that much!” etc ad nauseum. I find these statements to be true actually, but I am thinking that less than 24 hours to do so is not realistic. Had I KNOWN the two millionaires I have been discussing this project with would take such an extended amount of time to send the donations, I would have taken alternative routes before now. Last week when asking for an “update” from the both of them, I was told I will have the donations by end of month AUGUST. That’s fabulous of course, but it does NOTHING for me right now.

I went outside this morning to see if the leaves on the trees turned into dollar bills and it has not. I checked several sites afterwards to see if there was ANYONE out there with enough “motzee” to take a leap of faith, just as I have actually, and say, “YES! I believe this needs to happen, and here! Let me send you the starter funds ASAP! How would you like them? I only need a receipt for charitable donation, and quarterly progress reports! Lets get this thing going!” (I would probably faint, but I would be quick to offer the routing number and account number for an immediate drop!)

I laugh though, verses shedding tears, because I doubt there is ANYONE in the world of business that has the guts to go WITH their instinct anymore. Now I know for future reference, exactly what I will NOT allow myself to become as a person in business. So I am thankful for the insight.

I continue to wait on the funding faerie of goodness at this point.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Army Wives verses Hollywood

I have been engaged in watching the Lifetime Channel Army wives series. I am noticing that it is a drama written with very few points of reference as to the lives of Army wives in general. First issue, is the wife who decides to be a surrogate for another couple for cash because her family is strapped financially. I have been in the military family for over 25 years and never once knew of a wife who handled financial strains in this manner. There may have been ONE somewhere...but not that I have heard of. So this storyline is bogus in my personal opinion.
Then we have the Post Commanders wife. She is someone I can get behind because she is caring and REAL. Not the typical Officer's wife. The typical officer's wife would be her Nemesis that is played by an older woman with red hair and a snobby attitude. (forgive me if I don't have the character names available)
Then there are the busy-body wives. Lifetime got that part right. Those women are the majority. It pains me to say that, but it is true. If a soldiers wife does not work, or have hobbies to keep her busy, they become local drama queens, always meandering on someone Else's business.
There is the humble simple wife. She is married to a soldier, has a few children, works, and does not care for the drama of the Base and basically ignores the busy-bodies. This is the army wife who knows who she is, knows who her husband is, and remain proud and diligent to stand beside her soldier through all that life throws their way. This is a true rendering of a military wife.
Then there is the battered wife. In this series, the child is the one battering instead of the husband. This does happen, and it is unfortunate. It shows that even though you raise your children respectfully, sometimes they make rotten choices and do horrible things anyway. This wife is quiet, soft spoken, and has a hidden strength that only shows in times of turmoil. Strangely enough, on this program, her husband comes up MIA or KIA, the end results will not be broad casted until next week's episode.
Finally a view from the opposite side of the fence. A female soldier with the husband being the civilian/dependant. If they wanted to play it correctly, he would not be a doctor, but a lessor career. Naturally for hype purposes he is a doctor. It would be more real-to-life if he were a factory worker, machinist, or administrative office type.
Over all, I am watching this program to see if any of it mirrors real life in the military. I am not terribly disappointed, but I am not impressed yet either. Time will tell.

Other program series I have watched include: "Over There". I found this series to be quite interesting, and found myself glued to it every week. However, since I do not know what it is like to be a soldier, it could have been completely incorrect and I would never know it. I can say however, it did touch on several issues soldier have to deal with. It was a good series.

Another series I watched was "American Soldier" on CMT. I only watched it to poke fun at the General who played himself. That arrogant so-n-so was true in facto to what I saw. It was actually a pretty funny comedy, should have been played on Comedy Central instead. The wives were NOT I repeat NOT the norm of a military wife. And thank goodness that General does NOT represent the outstanding GOOD generals of our Military.

Those are my personal opinions. I will finish watching Army Wives, and report back my final conclusions.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Provoking thoughts about our "Financial" Nation

Recently I was discussing the financial woes of our Nation with a special mentor of mine.
She sent me a very thought provoking statement.

"A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always vote for the candidates who promise the most benefits to the public from the treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse, to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship."

"The average age of the world's greatest civilizations from the beginning of history, has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, those nations always progressed through the following sequence:

1. From bondage to spiritual faith;

2. From spiritual faith to great courage;

3. From courage to liberty;

4. From liberty to abundance;

5. From abundance to complacency;

6. From complacency to apathy;

7. From apathy to dependence;

8. From dependence back into bondage

So how far away are we from bondage? If our Nation truly follows the 8-step process here, we are currently at step "7". We are becoming dependant upon others, our government, and the political heads to "provide" for us.

Why do I say that? Well lets put it in current perspective.

How many people can you think of, that are currently on the system of State Welfare? Not the gross national number. People you know personally. Now how many people do you know that have minimum wage jobs? Now how many do you know that are blue-collar workers? How about upper management? How about Military? How about Civilian workers for the Military? How many CEO's do you know? How many upper elites do you know, perhaps in Hollywood, or some sports player, or a multi-millionaire? The numbers decrease don't they. They do for me.

Everyday, I meet more people who are on some type of "hand-out" lifestyle than I ever thought possible! Perhaps it is not welfare, but in a sense it really is. They have no "income" because they are not producing a product or providing a service of any kind. Sure, you can say that eventually a service or product will be provided, but I mean at this very moment. The "cash cow" doesn't happen until later down the road. This will only happen IF there is a steady supple of charity/welfare given to sustain a person.

So take for instance an inventor. I know an inventor. He has an unconventional job. He invents things. However, during the "thinking stages" and development stages he is not getting paid a salary to be an inventor. His "cash cow" only comes after he sells the invention for production by some big company. Until then, he is a "starving artist" who invents neat things.

Then you have artists. This is of course where the "starving artists" phrase comes from. They are truly starving. Some days they eat, sometimes not because that apartment rent has come due. Or perhaps the utility bill. Cash cow! Sold a few paintings and poems. However, this funding is used to further the artistry, and more "charitable donations/welfare" is needed.

Do you realize, if a person is smart enough, they can network with a multitude of businesses and people, and private organizations and basically LIVE off the sweat of others for several years! It is true.

So eventually the question is "when it enough, enough?" I haven't found an answer to that yet. If you give a person a million dollars to develop the plan, wont they need funds to make the plan a reality? So that means a million dollars is not "enough". Say you offer 3 million.
Now you hear that widgets are needed in addition to complete the plan.
Widgets were not considered, because the plan worked around not having them, but now they are vital. So widgets must be included.
Where is the funding for the widgets? Widgets will cost another million. Not the widgets themselves, but the means to travel to a foreign country where widgets are sold at a cheaper price, so more can be gotten just in case the plan needs extra. So now travel, widgets, and extra widgets are all complete.
Now it is time to sell the plan to a big company so they can have the model, blue-prints, and the right amount of widgets.
However, in order to get the plan out there to big companies, the plan has to have advertising. More money. Add another 2 million for advertising.
Big companies want the plan! Three companies are competing against each other trying to out-bid each other! Your plan is now worth 5 million dollars to the big corps!
CASH COW! You sell, you get 5 million. Good job.
You have managed to live off the generosity of others, other peoples sweat equity from their own earnings, you've considered it "owed" and "your " money, paid your own personal bills, gotten some neat kickbacks and toys, developed and created a plan that sold for 5 million, and you walk to the bank to cash that check, because you earned it! Or did you?

This is one reason why I say, we as a country, are at step-7. Dependency. Dependence on the generosity of others, whoever "others" may be.

In all of this funding gathering, does the inventor ever feel like they are taking advantage of the generosity of the people who donate? Or do they feel like they have done so much for society, that this funding is owed to them somehow? Good questions, but hard to answer.

I refer back to a wonderful quote by Abraham Lincoln, " You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves."
So my views then, because I agree with Mr. Lincoln, is that first you should try everything in your power and ability to provide for your needs yourself. Then, after you have exhausted all means of sweat equity in yourself, you may pursue additional help, but only to the tune of which you make a promise, nothing more. In other terms, if you need exactly "X" to make something happen, do not ask for "X, Y, Z".
This is basic greed and laziness.
It means your not willing to put into your own plans, what you expect others to put into your plans.
Ergo, greed.
Thoughts to ponder....

The Hours before Departure

The media, Hollywood, and movie makers have tried time and time again to invoke with scenes in a movie, how a soldiers spouse feels those last few hours before the soldier leaves on that plane. From my personal point of view, they haven't even gotten close yet. I suppose it would be hard to express with a movie script, the gut-wrenching, whirling mind and thoughts that occurs. Your body stands there, numb, thoughts are difficult to formulate except the ever present "this is it" that runs stomping through your mind. Your sweaty, nervous, sad, angry, extremely upset, and need to hold your soldier as tight as possible. You stand there, listening to his voice, barley able to understand what he is saying, listening to his heart beat, absorbing his breath, trying to "take in" every bit of him.
We do this, because time is the enemy. Time tends to erase the sounds, smells, and remembered touches shared as it presses forward. Usually you have a tee shirt left behind to snuggle with at night, or he will send you one upon request, even though he thinks it's weird. But we NEED this. It helps us cope, while simultaneously making our hearts ache.
Standing there that last hour is the hardest physically as well. Everything aches. Your hands, feet, legs, chest, arms, even your eyelids and eyebrows. The ache stems from the core of your body. This pain has no measure, because its simply to enormous.

Here is an idea, but honestly, unless you have dealt with it, it may mean nothing to you.

The EXACT feelings when you have those LAST hours with your husband, before you watch him board the plane. Standing there on the tarmac, in a crowd of soldiers and families, knowing time is ticking away before you hear a loud voice say "times up please leave the area". You stand there clutching his hand, holding him close, never knowing if that will be the last time you see him face to face, but having to push away that fear, push away all the terrible feelings that crop up, trying to fight back tears and stand strong with him. Sometimes to hide those tears you shove your face deep into his chest so no-one can see, including him, because for his sake and your own, your a "pretender", until you can maintain again and pull back to stare at him, memorizing every inch of his face that is already ingrained in your brain. So if anyone ever wonders what it feels like, or ever asks you what soldier's wives have told you about those defining moments, this is the explanation.

Santana "Hold On"

Don't rush me
just this once
I want to make this moment last
Slow down the pace, there's no hurry
I can't let another pass by me again
Let me be the one to say when I've had enough

Just let me
close my eyes,
memorize The way things are this minute
So when you're gone
I can go on
If memory can hold within it what I'm feeling
Should time try fading or stealing something away

Hold on,
nothings the same
Tell me why I feel this way
Life wouldn't be worth living without you
All along I've been the pretender
But now that's gone forever
Nobody's ever loved me like you do
Nobody's broken through

Got to concentrate,
find a way Every last detail
Don't wanna lose what's going down
I want to remember everything I'm feeling
Should time try fading or stealing something away

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Background Opinions

I am the wife of a United States Infantry Soldier, currently serving with the National Guard for deployment to Iraq for a second tour of duty.

During my husband’s first deployment, I was Coordinator/Chairperson of the Family Support Group (FSG) for our Unit. Our FSG worked diligently to provide supplies for the Unit as well as hygiene, footwear, toys, candies and a much needed wheelchair for a small Iraqi boy who dragged himself upon the ground for life.

During my time as the Coordinator, I learned quickly that many Foundations and supporters of Troops are unfortunately bogged down with red-tape when it comes to donating funds, services, or time. Often times Board Members took months if not longer to make simple decisions, while the FSG and soldiers waited for the outcome. Board members could not agree on standards and methods of delivery. I realized that making decisions by committee results in mediocrity.

When my husband returned from Iraq, he went through a period of what is commonly referred to now as PTSD. Other soldier’s within the Unit also exhibited these signs. Some soldier’s would visit their local family doctor to get assistance. Often time’s civilian doctors do not understand the signs of PTSD for soldiers, and these soldier’s were managed with medications used for standard depression. Other soldier’s veered away from the medication option and found their answers at the bottom of a bottle. Many more decided to do nothing, and still have issues today. A fractional splinter group of soldier’s decided to get together once a week and sit and talk with each other about their experiences.

Over the past two years, I have been digging deep into the needs of our military. We all know what has happened recently with Walter Reed Medical Center. That is but the tip of the iceberg of issues. Soldiers do not want career repercussions when it comes to mental or physical health. They will first and foremost stand strong and say “nothing is wrong”. This is part of their conditioning, but also their pride in being a soldier. The Nation expects them to be ever vigilant and a sign of strength, and they hold themselves to that standard as well. To offer assistance is considered a “stab”, so assistance has to be worked around in a different way. I have the distinct opportunity to be on a personal level to understanding and figuring out how to develop and apply this assistance.

It is now 2007. It has been 4 years since 9/11, and 4 years since the US Military deployed to Iraq to begin ridding the world of terrorist who want nothing more than the complete annihilation of Americans and anyone they view as a threat. Terrorists are not in business to reform Americans. They do not want our opinion, a democracy, or working governments run for the people by the people. That is considered silly westerners philosophy. Dictatorship, regime control, and genocide are really all they know. Changing the status quo is not acceptable.

So our soldier’s make the sacrifice to go stand against terrorists, against regime control, and against the death and destruction of a people who just want to go to bed at night without mortars sounding in the background, or waking up dead. When the American soldier’s return home, they are disheveled, and their thoughts are plagued with atrocities we will never understand because we as Americans do not have to set foot upon foreign soil to see for ourselves.

Soldiers are not in the military for the benefits or income. The health benefits of welfare recipients are far better than that of Tri Care. The income of a regular soldier often times doesn’t even cover monthly expenses. Many soldiers are forced to apply and qualify for state assistance food programs just because of this. Yet the military family will prevail regardless. Survival is paramount, complaining is optional.

Before this deployment developed, I worked diligently for hours a day, in a regular job, regular meetings to attend, and a regular home life filled with normal tasks. Now I find myself able to multi-task daily household issues, while simultaneously talking care of my children’s needs, filing forms, writing proposals, conference calls, and 10 months of reaching out to Corporations and Foundations who support the military, the disabled, the elderly, and the children of our Nation. The only distraction I suffer from is the impending DOOM of my husband’s presence in a War zone. It is a feeling of despair and cool throbbing headaches that ruin an otherwise nice day of “business”. It is the slow creeping feeling of being completely scared for him as well, which tries to invade my working thoughts, and push back progress.

We as a society do not TRUST each other anymore. There is no simple conversation and done deal, or firm handshake, and it’s better than written in stone. We don’t have that willingness to accept that a person will be completely HONEST with us, and offer us a good deal. There is no possibility of a promise that will not be broken, or a promise that will come to fruition. Yet here I am that exact type of person, who still believes in the goodness of man. I still believe.

I have faith that my husband will return home to me this time without “winning” a purple heart again, and I have faith that there really is support for our troops out there somewhere, waiting with their finger on the “yes we can and will” button.