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Monthly Archives: September 2008

Family Told Obama NOT To Wear Soldier Son’s Bracelet… Where is Media?

Barack Obama played the “me too” game during the Friday debates on September 26 after Senator John McCain mentioned that he was wearing a bracelet with the name of Cpl. Matthew Stanley, a resident of New Hampshire and a soldier that lost his life in Iraq in 2006. Obama said that he too had a bracelet. After fumbling and straining to remember the name, he revealed that his had the name of Sergeant Ryan David Jopek of Merrill, Wisconsin.

Shockingly, however, Madison resident Brian Jopek, the father of Ryan Jopek, the young soldier who tragically lost his life to a roadside bomb in 2006, recently said on a Wisconsin Public Radio show that his family had asked Barack Obama to stop wearing the bracelet with his son’s name on it. Yet Obama continues to do so despite the wishes of the family.

Radio host Glenn Moberg of the show “Route 51” asked Mr. Jopek, a man who believes in the efforts in Iraq and is not in favor of Obama’s positions on the war, what he and his ex-wife think of Obama continually using their son’s name on the campaign trail.

Jopek began by saying that his ex-wife was taken aback, even upset, that Obama has made the death of her son a campaign issue. Jopek says his wife gave Obama the bracelet because “she just wanted Mr. Obama to know Ryan’s name.” Jopek went on to say that “she wasn’t looking to turn it into a big media event” and “just wanted it to be something between Barack Obama and herself.” Apparently, they were all shocked it became such a big deal.

But, he also said that his ex-wife has refused further interviews on the matter and that she wanted Obama to stop wearing the reminder of her son’s sacrifice that he keeps turning into a campaign soundbyte. This begins at about 10 minutes into the radio program.

To download radio show or to read the transcripts: Click Here



This from a creative thinker, T. J. Birkenmeier. Whoever T. J. Birkenmeier is, I sincerely salute him.


I’m against the $85,000,000, 000.00 bailout of AIG.

Instead, I’m in favor of giving $85,000,000, 000 to America in a We Deserve It Dividend.

To make the math simple, let’s assume there are 200,000,000 bonafide U.S. Citizens 18+.

Our population is about 301,000,000 +/- counting every man, woman and child. So 200,000,000 might be a fair stab at adults 18 and up..

So divide 200 million adults 18+ into $85 billon that equals $425,000.00.

My plan is to give $425,000 to every person 18+ as a We Deserve It Dividend.

Of course, it would NOT be tax free.

So let’s assume a tax rate of 30%. Every individual 18+ has to pay $127,500.00 in taxes. That sends $25,500,000, 000 right back to Uncle SamBut it means that every adult 18+ has $297,500.00 in their pocket.

A husband and wife has $595,000.00. What would you do with $297,500.00 to $595,000.00 in your family?

Pay off your mortgage – housing crisis solved.

Repay college loans – what a great boost to new grads

Put away money for college – it’ll be there

Save in a bank – create money to loan to entrepreneurs.

Buy a new car – create jobs

Invest in the market – capital drives growth

Pay for your parent’s medical insurance – health care improves

Enable Deadbeat Dads to come clean – or else

Remember this is for every adult U S Citizen 18+ including the folks who lost their jobs at Lehman Brothers and every other company that is cutting back. And of course, for those serving in our Armed Forces.

If we’re going to re-distribute wealth let’s really do it…instead of trickling out a puny $1000.00 ( “vote buy” ) economic incentive that is being proposed by one of our candidates for President. If we’re going to do an $85 billion bailout, let’s bail out every adult U S Citizen 18+!

As for AIG – liquidate it.

Sell off its parts. Let American General go back to being American General. Sell off the real estate.

Let the private sector bargain hunters cut it up and clean it up.

Here’s my rationale. We deserve it and AIG doesn’t.

Sure it’s a crazy idea that can “never work.” But can you imagine the Coast-To-Coast Block Party! How do you spell Economic Boom?

I trust my fellow adult Americans to know how to use the $85 Billion

We Deserve It Dividend among the people, more than the geniuses at AIG or in Washington DC. And remember, The Birk plan only really costs $59.5 Billion because $25.5 Billion is returned instantly in taxes to Uncle Sam.

Ahhh..I feel so much better getting that off my chest.

T. J. Birkenmeier, A Creative Guy & Citizen of the Republic

PS: Feel free to pass this along to your pals as it’s either good for a laugh or a tear or a very sobering thought on how to best use $85 Billion!!


British Cold War Veterans Organize and Call for Cold War Veterans to be Recognized

Presidential Medal of Freedom awarded to UK politicians for their service during the cold war but our troops get nothing.

The call for a Cold War Medal has now reached global proportions with former service men and women in countries across the world calling for official recognition through the issue of a medal.

Cold War Medals For Our Leaders

Mikhail Gorbachev USSR Liberty Medal from the U.S
For his role in ending the Cold War, Gorbachev took a tremendous risk in bringing what we knew as the Soviet Union to the point where it is today. It was a dangerous time and it’s hard for a lot of people today to remember what those times were like, how threatening it all was.

Lord Robertson UK Presidential Medal of Freedom
For his pursuit of the defence of freedom during the period of the cold war and in the establishing of the Russian-NATO Council.

Lady Thatcher UK Presidential Medal of Freedom
For her resolute defence of the unity of the west and overcoming post war division in Europe – in other words the ‘Cold War’

Ronald Reagan USA Honorary Knighthood
For his leadership during the cold war and services to the UK.

Nicolae Ceaucescu Romania Honorary Knighthood
The former Romanian dictator was given an honorary Knighthood by the British government for standing up to the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Nobody looked too deeply at his domestic record, or cared, it seems.

Vaclav Havel Czech US Medal of Freedom
Czech President Vaclav Havel received the US Medal of Freedom for his stance on democracy in his homeland during the Cold War.

Helmut Kohl West Germany US Medal of Freedom
West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl received the US Medal of Freedom as the leader of a democratic Germany during the Cold War in which he visited the Soviet Union to seek assurances from Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev that would eventually enable German reunification.

Tony Blair UK Presidential Medal of Freedom (Pending)
former Prime Minister Tony Blair is named to be a recipient of the Medal as well.

It has also been widely reported that the end of the Cold War saw a flurry of awards from the UK and US Governments to one another, close ideological friends seemed to be the criteria, with many top officials and civil servants being the beneficiaries (No surprises there then).

Cold War Veterans around the world know all too well how threatening it all was. They were the ones ready and willing to do the fighting (without recognition of any kind), not the ones sat securely in protected bunkers!

A Poignant Reminder From The Era

I SERVED as a Cold War warrior from 1972-84, including six years in Germany, where the invasion of West Berlin was taken as a real threat. When the Russians invaded Afghanistan, everything on wheels, tracks and jet powered was mobilised.

For nine months of the year we perfected our craft in the art of radio communications; all traffic was done in real time in all weathers under all conditions, and if you haven’t experienced a German winter at 2am on the Deiester Ridge you do not know what cold is.

All elements of the British Army of the Rhine were ready and willing to repel the Russian bear. When not on exercise we were putting out forest fires and patrolling the inner German border, guarding atomic rocket and warhead sites.

Living in field conditions, eating field rations, burdened with weapons and back packs month after month took its toll, but we did it with a will and solid determination.

Now I’m a civilian I have nothing to show that I served my country. That is why I will stand on the sidelines and applaud the be-medalled warriors who were able to prove themselves under fire – something I never had a chance to do.

The veterans’ badge I wear on my lapel is no substitute for a more tangible symbol of time served as a soldier, defending what’s left of Great Britain. A medal would suffice. –

Tony Levy, Served 1972-84

Let Ohio Troops and Vets Vote!


IT IS UNTHINKABLE that anyone from any political party would try to block our servicemembers and wounded veterans from voting, but a new lawsuit in Ohio is threatening to do just that.

Ohioans are allowed by law to register to vote and cast an absentee ballot on the same day as long as they do so before the Oct. 6th registration deadline, but a lawsuit filed in the Ohio State Supreme Court is trying to upend that law. If the groups bringing the suit have their way, it would potentially void thousands of ballots already cast by hospitalized veterans and deployed servicemembers, and make voting extraordinarily difficult for those who haven’t yet.

This isn’t about protecting one side or the other’s chances in the election – it’s about protecting the rights of those who fight to protect ours. We have asked limitless courage, honor and sacrifice from our troops, and they have given us all of it. We owe it to them to not make them jump through hoops to practice their basic rights as citizens.

Join Veterans for America in stopping this threat to our democracy. Please sign our petition asking the court to honor our troops and veterans, and throw out this ridiculous lawsuit.


Bobby Muller, Veterans for America


“I looked into Putin’s eyes and saw three letters a K a G and a B.”

John McCain

American Cold War Veterans Forum

We are The American Cold War Veterans. A Veterans Organization As a group we are dedicated to all of our Brother and Sister Veterans, with special dedication to those who served during the Cold War era September 1945 to December 1991.

Could The Economic Crises effect Veteran Benefits?

VA under fire over delays in new GI Bill

By Leo Shane III, Stars and Stripes
Mideast edition, Friday, September 26, 2008

WASHINGTON — Lawmakers angrily criticized Veterans Affairs officials Wednesday for possible delays in implementing the new GI Bill benefits by the August 2009 deadline, calling for more urgency and ingenuity by department leaders.

Keith Pedigo, assistant deputy undersecretary for veterans benefits administration, told members of the House that the VA does not have the technical expertise or manpower to handle the transition from the old education benefits system to a larger, more complex formula.

As a result, the department expects to contract out the work. But he said the 11-month window left to get that work done will create challenges for the program.

House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Bob Filner, D-Calif., charged that officials aren’t working hard enough to find solutions.

“I could find a geek to do this stuff for $1 million,” he said.

“We’ve got kids all over the country that could do this work. Maybe it’s a little more complicated than your normal computer work … but it’s not that conceptually difficult.”

The new GI Bill benefits, passed by Congress in June, mandate a $1,000 monthly housing stipend and four years of tuition at any state university for all veterans who served at least three years on active duty since Sept. 11, 2001.

Under the old system, veterans received a flat rate for their education based on their contributions into the system. Veterans Affairs officials said the new system will be much more complicated, calculating different rates for every recipient based on how long they served, what school they attend and where they live.

“The difference between the concept and getting it so payments arrive on time is huge,” said Stephen Warren, principal deputy assistant secretary for the Department’s information and technology office.

“It’s extremely complicated.”

Representatives on the committee raised concerns about contracting out the work to a private company, asking what safeguards and contingency plans are in place if the new system is not ready in time.

Meanwhile, Defense Department officials said they’re confident the computer systems designed to share personnel records with Veterans Affairs will be ready by March of next year.

“Right now it’s just a question of format. We don’t know how the contractor or the VA is going to want the data,” said Curtis Gilroy, director of accession policy for the DOD personnel office.

“Once that is determined, it will not be difficult.”

Veterans groups told lawmakers they want assurances that if a contractor takes over the check-issuing responsibilities, Veterans Affairs officials will still be the final arbiters for questions surrounding benefits.

But most importantly, they want the system to be ready by the fall semester next year.

Patrick Campbell, chief legislative counsel for the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, said he worries that thousands of veterans could enroll for classes next summer only to discover a few months later their government-promised reimbursement isn’t coming.

“I don’t care how they do it,” he said. “Veterans must get these benefits on time.”

A Veterans Plea to Senate Armed Services Committee

I was recently contacted by Chris Williams he served in the 70th Ord Co.which was part of the same Artillery Group I was in Turkey back in 1990-91. We worked with DU there. He is having some health problems as have I. He sent me this letter he sent to SASC. If there is anyone who can help or has resources you might have or advice for him in filing his VA me and I will forward it to him.

Dear Sir,

I regret to inform you that my hands shake as I write this letter.




Let’s see…..OK my pain killers are still working. I just don’t understand.


Symptoms could be construed as the same.


Somehow take care of the Soldier or Take care of the Soldier and his family?


I don’t recall a unexpected consequence clause in my contract!

Sir, those soldiers who served still bleed for our Country. Just as the new Soldiers bleed for this Country today. My packet left the DAV for the VA on Sept. 16, 2008. You tell me which one it is because shuffling of doctors and hundreds of doctors visits have proved nothing.


Week of September 22, 2008

Hundreds of thousands of veterans would have widespread and direct access to voter registration services through Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offices under a landmark bill that was passed by the House of Representatives yesterday, the Veterans Voting Support Act (H.R. 6625), introduced by Rep. Robert Brady. A companion bill sponsored by Senators Diane Feinstein and John Kerry (S. 3308) may be acted on by the Senate in coming days. The House and Senate bills would create new opportunities for the nation’s 25 million veterans to register to vote at facilities of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

How do you feel about this action? Let your public officials know how you feel!

VA Announces $36 Million in Grants for Homeless Programs

WASHINGTON (Sept. 23, 2008) – Homeless veterans in 35 states, the
District of Columbia and Puerto Rico will get more assistance, thanks to
Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) grants providing $36.7 million to
community groups to create 1,526 beds for homeless veterans this year.

“These grants provide a helping hand to veterans who have served our
nation in uniform,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Dr. James B.
Peake. “Our partnerships with community-based organizations provide
safe, temporary housing while these veterans return to productive

VA has identified public and community non-profit groups eligible to
receive payments for housing and supportive services to homeless
veterans, including 49 grants for vans that will transport homeless
veterans to health care and training programs.

The grants are part of VA’s continuing efforts to reduce homelessness
among veterans. VA has the largest integrated network of homeless
assistance programs in the country. In many cities and rural areas, VA
social workers and other clinicians working with community and
faith-based partners conduct extensive outreach programs, clinical
assessments, medical treatments, alcohol and drug abuse counseling and
employment assistance.

VA’s Grant and Per Diem program helped reduce the number of veterans who
are homeless on a typical night last year by 21 percent to about 154,000
veterans. VA also provides health care to about 100,000 homeless
veterans, compensation and assistance in obtaining foreclosed homes and
excess federal property, including clothes, footwear, blankets and other

More information about VA’s homeless programs is available on the
Internet at