Monday, May 28, 2012

Thanks vets, and unlike politicians, our actions should match our words.

Like all decent Americans of all political stripes, I want to wish our great veterans and their families a Happy Memorial Day. I appreciate that you have done things that I probably would not have the guts to do, and often in thankless, no-win situations. Your sacrifice and hard work is not forgotten, and I'll also borrow the same picture that Chris has at Cognitive Dissidence.

But in addition to remembering the fallen, we need to create a world where we respect what our troops have had to do, and work to make sure there aren't many more that we have to memorialize the future. And we need our politicians to reflect those values. In the great words of Einstein,
You cannot simultaneously prevent and prepare for war.
And we have far too many politicians who are constantly preparing for it, and not for reasons of security. They shed crocodile tears over the nation's debt, but then people like Wisconsin's Paul Ryan refuse to consider cuts to our military-industrial complex, nor do they want to tax the corporates and rich stockholders who seem to be the only Americans who benefitted from our adventure in Iraq.

And this also goes back to the actions of Wisconsin's governor and his buddies. Scott Walker was more than willing to be part of TMJ's pro-GOP "Support the Troops" posing for Operation Freedom, but when it came to actually helping and caring for the troops and their families, he did worse than nothing. If you read Page 4 of the criminal complaint against Tim Russell, you'll see how Walker decided to take care of his lackeys first.
Due to alleged financial mismanagement, in about 2009, Operation Freedom donations were entrusted to the Alonzo Cudworth American Legion Post. While by all reports thge Cudworth Post discharged their financial duties in exemplary fashion, in October 2009, then County Executive Scott Walker transferred the Operation Freedom funds - some $19,000 - to HGPS, the corporation controlled by [Walker's then- Deputy Chief of Staff] Tim Russell.

Russell actively operated the HGPS entity for the purpose of raising funds for Operation Freedom during 2010. This included having County Executive employees process donation payments for ultimate deposit in an HGPS account that Russell controlled.

In 2009 and 2010, Russell transferred in excess of $20,000 from the GPS accounts into his personal accounts. These funds were used to pay for Caribbean and Hawaiian vacations, at least in part. They were also used to fund a political trip to Atlanta, Georgia for the organization of a presidential campaign [Herman Cain's, which was run by Mark Block, who was banned from Wisconsin politics for illegal campaign activities for Koch-sponsored groups].
And also, Russell used that money for the families of fallen veterans to buy up the doman name of, which sure makes you wonder what else Walker wanted Russell to use that money for.

Fortunately, Wisconsinites who laid it on the line for this country are seeing through Walker's pose, and are speaking out. Last Friday, Veterans Against Walker presented speeches and gave the real truth about Scott Walker's exploitation and disregard for the lives of veterans. As former Marine and Milwaukee County Supervisor John Weishan put it. Walker "routinely cut funding for Veteran programs, services and for the War Memorial at the Lake Front."

So on this Memorial Day, don't be like a scummy Wisconsin politician. Don't just say that you're happy for what the veterans have done for our country and use Memorial Day as a means to beat your chest and show off your alleged "patriotism". Instead, back it up with actions that truly do show respect to the sacrifice that troops have given, and demand politicians back up their words with serious actions that do more than just use the troops as props, but instead treats them as the valued class of citizens that they are.

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