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Veterans Protest Noem Budget Vote, Miss Real Threat of Corporate-Military Control

Richard Hilgemann of Aberdeen has organized an open letter of protest to Congresswoman Kristi Noem. Hilgemann and some fellow veterans are unhappy with her support for the Ryan-Murray budget deal:

We are very concerned by your recent vote for the Ryan budget. As veterans we don’t mind leading by example and can understand that the federal government has been bloated to disastrous proportions therefore programs need cutting. But we do not want to see our own left to die in the gutters while programs for non essential activities and non Americans are allowed to continue to grow. Senator Thune voted against cloture and the budget; which means he didn’t even want the bill brought up for a vote in the Senate and opposed it once brought up. We are used to being dropped off in some foreign land to fend for ourselves but we surely aren’t prepared to be abandoned in our own country [Richard Hilgemann, open letter to Rep. Kristi Noem, published by Ken Santema, SoDakLiberty, 2013.12.21].

Signing Hilgemann's accusation that Rep. Noem is leaving veterans to die in the gutter are Republican Reps. Dan Kaiser and Stace Nelson, showing a remarkable bit of open intra-party criticism for two GOP guys who might like to win another election. Also signing are veterans and conservative activists Dan Willard and my crazy cousin Aaron Heidelberger.

It's easy blog-pickins for me to point that we have conservative, anti-government Republicans complaining about a conservative budget for their preferred government programs. But their real enemy here isn't liberals; it's what Counterpunch calls the Party of Corporate America and its fealty to the military industrial complex that chews up veterans and everyone else for profit:

The budget deal just concluded fundamentally represents a continuation of deficit cutting for the rest of us, while letting defense corporations and spending off the sequester hook. The budget deal ‘narrowly defined’, at $63 billion restoration of sequester cuts, is misleading at best. While defense spending is restored in the budget deal, Republican and Democrat claims that domestic program spending is also restored is a cynical lie. The $31 billion in domestic spending does not include parallel cuts of $25 billion to unemployment benefits and an additional minimum of $8 billion to food stamps. And when the $26 billion in ‘fees’ are factored in—impacting retirees, vets, government workers, and consumers—the net effect is further spending reductions and continued austerity for the rest, while the Pentagon and corporate military contractors are now exempt [Jack Rasmus, "The Budget Deal of December 2013," Counterpunch, 2013.12.17].

Rich, Dan, Stace, I've been trying to tell you: the greatest threat to your liberty and mine is not big government; it's big corporations that co-opt the government.


  1. Rorschach 2013.12.23

    Jonathan Ellis put this in perspective in the Sunday Argus Leader. The compromise bill that passed simply cut the rate of increase on military pensions. It did not cut pensions.

    "[W]e do not want to see our own left to die in the gutters". I didn't know big tough Marines were such exaggerators and whiners. Anybody on a military pension who is dying in a gutter is not there because of this bill.

    But yes, the military industrial complex has congress bought and paid for. Do we really need to spend 5 times more on military than China, and 13 times more on military than Russia?

    Is there something wrong with our B1 bombers that Sen. Thune wants to develop a whole new bomber, borrowing the money from China, our grandkids, and poor Americans who need food and medical care of course?

  2. Jerry 2013.12.23

    You are correct CAH about corporate America. During the shutdown of the government, I called the DAV in Rapid City to ask what was going to be done as a protest to that. The commander got all upset and just said that he would do nothing and that Obama should be impeached because of it. I say clowns like this should go. So until we all unite to rid ourselves of this corporate coup that has been going on, we get crumbs if we are lucky. By the way, some of those affected by not having the Medicaid expansion are veterans, so not only are food stamps cut, but healthcare as well. The sooner we realize that fakes like NOem, The Thune Bird, and the rest of the corporate whores who masquerade as caring politicos are given the boot, the better we shall be. The first litmus test for all potential elected officials is what will you do about the working poor and how will you address the needs of the people your represent. For every corporate dollar you collect from outside interests, you must match into a fund for those you choose to ignore. That money collected will then go to fund needed human infrastructure for those in need. Shame on the lot.

  3. John Tsitrian 2013.12.23

    Speaking as a USMC vet with a Vietnam-connected disability, I'd say the wording of the petition is over-the-top. However, letting veterans' COLA adjustments lag 1% behind the actual increase in cost-of-living is even more over-the-top. In the short-run of a year or two it doesn't amount to much, but stretch that lag out over a period of a decade or so, and compounding will make a serious dent in benefit payments. Again, speaking as a vet, I think most of us could deal with downside adjustments if we weren't the group being singled out for them. Teamwork is the essence of our military training and culture. The team called The United States of America should collectively participate in all such budget- and deficit-reducing endeavors, not just a small segment of it, i.e., veterans.

  4. Joseph g Thompson 2013.12.23

    Sat down for a minute this morning and looked at the Madville times. Gonna have to post here one time. Any GI or verteran who thinks any politician or political party has their best interests at heart is not working with a full deck. Both parties have messed with military members when it was in their best interests. I tell my friends who are retired or on active duty, be happy that you have had 14 or 15 years when everybody put you at the top of the list cause its gonna end, and it has.
    Rudyard Kipling wrote "Tommy" many years ago but it has proven to be true over the 50 years I have been a part of the military, "Oh, making mock of uniforms that guard you while you sleep, is five time better business than parading in full kit.", is my favorite. Politicians say to go to the rear of the line when the politician feels they are safe "but its please to walk in front sir, when theres trouble in the wind." I don't even get upset with politicians anymore, nor do most of my military friends and that I think is kind of scary. Now I am taking my Grandkids to the mall for their Santa picture. One is 15 and one is 13 and they are not happy, but their mother insists, so we go, so we go.

  5. owen reitzel 2013.12.23

    I'm not for this as well. Veterans shouldn't have to go through this. However these same people who "do not want to see our own left to die in the gutters" are for cutting long-term unemployment benefits. Guess it's ok for these people to die in the gutters.

  6. Les 2013.12.23

    ""Rich, Dan, Stace, I've been trying to tell you: the greatest threat to your liberty and mine is not big government; it's big corporations that co-opt the government."" Generally this statement means both parties are part and parcel to the problem. Commenting as much, will generally get you a sucker punch at a Maddville.

  7. interested party 2013.12.23

    Sysco just sucked up US Foodservice and is now poised monopolize sales to the feds: the VA and Ellsworth are major customers.

  8. Lanny V Stricherz 2013.12.23

    Hey folks, you missed what our Congresswoman voted to increase along with 398 other members of the House, both Repubs and Dems. They tripled the request that President Obama made in his budget request for funding of a rocket shield for Israel. As it has shown many times in the past, Congress is way more concerned with doing the bidding for Israel than for our own veterans.

  9. Rorschach 2013.12.23

    I see you didn't click on the "party of corporate America" link in Cory's article, Les. If you had you would see that the said "party" is one with two wings - the Democratic wing and the Republican wing. Both wings are overly beholden to big money from special interests to get them elected.

  10. Jerry 2013.12.23

    Lanny, the fundies have to get the borders just right in Israel so they can promote Armageddon to annihilate the Jews. That is why we don't have comprehensive renewable energy programs. We gotta keep going backwards to accommodate certain wording in the Old Testament. Until we can separate church and state, this is the kind of silly things that we will continue seeing.

  11. Les 2013.12.23

    My statement is one of acknowledgement to Cory's post if you re read it with an open mind Ror. A little sarcasm, due to the similar political bent being traditionally smacked down at Maddville. It is interesting to watch the morphing of Maddville as the Sibmeister brew is consumed. Of course you new Dems have nowhere else to turn. Thanks Grud!

  12. Deb Geelsdottir 2013.12.23

    Lanny, I think you're right that the Israeli shield is in part a sop to the uber religious teabaggers, but I doubt that's all. Someone is going to be paid those triple appropriations to build and install it all. That's the Military-Industrial complex. They love war. Big, big money for the sociopaths.

  13. Jerry 2013.12.23

    What is a new Dem Les? I know what a mo Dem is and use it daily. Morphing that detail to me would be kind of special.

  14. Les 2013.12.23

    LOL, better ask Grud for the official on new Dem, Jer. I have a feeling it fits bout like the new Pub, loosely. What's a mo Dem?

  15. Les 2013.12.23

    Deb, you are on the money with the Mil/Industrial Complex. All powerful with unilateral controls profiting from all sides in most wars. The story I was told.
    It has been for several hundred years, when proof displayed as they gained control of most of the wealth of England in one day, after Napoleon met his Waterloo. With the fastest couriers in Europe, Rothschilds heralded the news of Napoleon defeating the Brits. The financial markets went berserk and the Rothschilds stepped up and owned the markets for pennies on the dollar. Or pound.
    One can only imagine the love this created as the news of Waterloo straggled in.

  16. Les 2013.12.23

    LOL, Marry Christmas, Jer.

  17. John 2013.12.23

    John T nailed it: once again our unscrupulous politicians beat up on the soldier, sailor, airman, marine, coastie, - who gave up their youth for a promise. Now their backs are bent and they are less marketable opportunistic congress and the president think it wise to pull tens of thousands from their retirement. What a country. Who, with the benefit of hindsight, would fight for this? Paraphrasing McCann, when asked, would you want your kid to volunteer? No.

    MOAA lays out the damage in one graph.

  18. John Tsitrian 2013.12.24

    Thanks for providing that graphic, John. It surprises me that people who craft some of these crazy ideas don't understand the longer-term implications of them. I remember when the "chained" CPI came into the conversation and got slapped down. I dunno, maybe they do understand the longer-term effects and figure we're all too stupid to figure it out and and too meek to respond.

  19. Jerry 2013.12.24

    Agreed John T. about the consequences of these cuts on a long term basis. The question to NOem would be how can you be so proud of cutting food from the mouths of the needy? What kind of proud moment can that possibly be?

  20. John Tsitrian 2013.12.24

    Precisely why I'll probably support any competent Democrat against Noem. I'm not sure the Congresswoman has the intellect to understand the long term consequences of this cut. That she takes pride in this "achievement" only dims her intellectual standing in my eyes.

  21. John Tsitrian 2013.12.24

    Post above is directed at Jerry.

  22. Lanny V Stricherz 2013.12.24

    Jerry, Deb and Les, with all credence given to your allegations regarding the Military Industrial Complex, while I have a problem with the Complex getting so much of our tax dollars, I have a lot more trouble with what I see as the crux of the problem, AIPAC. I see the influence they have on Congress and the President, as almost treasonous. Whatever Netanyahu wants Netanyahu gets. Members of both parties are floating a bill which would commit the US in advance to an Israeli attack on Iran, should Israel not like the way Iran's nuclear program looks to Israel.

    So guess where Mike Rounds made one of his first campaign trips. That's right to Israel for meetings with Netanyahu and then the Knesset. Came back and shortly had a large donation from AIPAC to his campaign. So guess who is bought and paid for even before the primary of his own party?

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