Letters to the Editor for October 3, 2020
Veterans beware of laws
I am hoping to bring attention to 38 U.S.C 5304(c) and 10 U.S.C. 12316 and the impact these federal laws have on disabled veterans serving in the National Guard and Reserves. These laws prohibit prior Active Duty soldiers from receiving Veteran Administration (VA) disability, pension, or retirement pay during periods of service in the National Guard and Reserve. Furthermore, these laws are never disclosed to veterans as they enlist and continue their service.
After seven years of Active Duty, I recently transitioned to the National Guard. I discovered soon after that I was not eligible to receive my VA disability compensation for days that I attended National Guard drills or other training. My family and I were surprised when we received a letter from the VA demanding the return of disability payments that were issued to me while attending drill. Fortunately this did not cause too much of a hardship for my family; however, my concern is for other veterans who are unaware of these laws and could find themselves in financial trouble in the future.
In speaking with numerous other veterans and Active Duty soldiers, it is alarming how many soldiers are unaware of how these laws can affect a disabled veteran who enlists into the National Guard or Reserves. Although I am working with state and federal legislators to review these laws, in the meantime, I ask the community to look out for veterans who are leaving Active Duty by informing them that they are not able to collect VA disability, pensions, or retirements while on duty in the National Guard or Reserves.
Bad cops and bad citizens
There are good cops and bad cops and there are good citizens and bad citizens. Unfortunately, there are more bad citizens than bad cops. The acts of bad citizens include DUI, thievery, drugs, counterfeiting, excessive speeding, etc. In most cases the police have been called to address the lawless acts. Many of these unlawful acts have led to incidents of resisting arrest resulting in the death of individuals, rioting, looting and the death of others. While some of the perpetrators of the lawlessness have had prior incidents, these incidents seem to be overlooked. In some cases the lawlessness of others has unfortunately led to the death of others.
A major problem is most of these incidents have led to claims of racism and police brutality rather than the true fact that the incidents start with lawlessness. This has led to further unlawful acts of violence, looting and deaths and a division within our society. In many cases legislative acts have led to resistance on law enforcement rather than reducing the lawlessness.
It is time for Congress to forget their political differences and jointly address this issue. They should review the past incidents to determine the actual facts as to the cause, reactions and final results. This has become more than a state issue, it is a national problem and the failure of Congress to address it will only led to more incidents, rioting, looting and deaths.
What determines well-being?
Ursula Carlson’s recent column titled “America: We’re Number What?” addresses a significant problem with the United States. That problem is the almost total emphasis on GDP as a measure of our well-being. The result is that the United States is less well-off in many respects compared to many other countries.
An article in the August issue of Scientific American magazine titled “Measuring What Matters” also addresses this problem. The author argues that what is needed to measure well-being is a dashboard of metrics that would include such things as health, education, equality, environment, leisure, governance, political voice, social connectedness, and security.
My thinking is that if GDP is included as one of the well-being metrics it should be realized that GDP is essentially just a convenient proxy for well-being and not a good one at that. It includes some goods and services of questionable value and excludes some valuable goods and services which do not have or cannot have a monetary value attached to them.
In my opinion we are mortgaging our future well-being to the extent that the growth in domestic output has been driven by increasing the national debt. That debt now amounts to nearly $27 trillion and is going up by tens of thousands of dollars every second. The current debt amounts to over $81,000 for every person in the United States.
Vote with pride
In February 2020 President Trump told Bob Woodward that the coronavirus was very contagious, an airborne contagion far more deadly than any flu. The next week he told the American people that the epidemic was a hoax. It was like the flu. It would magically disappear on its own. He openly disparaged the use of masks. All of his contradictory statements and misinformation are on tape and video so he cannot deny he lied to all of us, Democrats, Republicans, Independents, men, women and children. Now, over 200,000 Americans are dead! If you could, would you go back and change things in February somehow to save those who were about to die so unnecessarily?
In the past few days, Trump has called the upcoming election a hoax; without evidence he insists it will be fraudulent (sound familiar?); he says get rid of the ballots; when asked directly, he refused to say he would support a peaceful transfer of power if election results favored Joe Biden.
It is February for America, now! Will the fate of our democracy follow those of 200,000 Americans due to this man’s lies? You are voting for nothing less than the survival of our republic. If asked, will you be able to tell your children and grandchildren how you voted in 2020 with pride and a clear conscience? Or will you look down at your shoes and mumble something unintelligible?
Trump isn’t most qualified
Well I’ve tried to stay out of this but just can’t seem to. Maybe I should stop reading the paper and lower my blood pressure. Regarding Robert Hellen’s letter in about who is most qualified to be president, Sir, are you serious. At 83 years young (you brought it up, not me) yes, you should know better (and I’m 65 so not that far behind you). You think Trump is the most qualified to be president? Let’s examine your list: his/her real background (we don’t really know, he won’t even share his tax returns), accomplishments (yes, he’s declared bankruptcy many times and sued others constantly to keep from having to pay them), years of experience (he has none as regards domestic politics, foreign policy, and diplomatic credentials), education (two colleges, had other people take his tests, dubious degree), integrity (been caught in over 2,000 lies during his tenure and fired or “turned” on numerous friends and colleagues), moral attitude (been married multiple times, bragged about fondling women in public, paid off porn stars to hide extra-marital affairs), ability to exercise control over his emotions one way or another (just one example needs to be listed here, his venal and nasty comments about war heroes and veterans like John McCain and his sniping and racist name-calling at anyone who disagrees with him). OK, like I said, your list not mine. I am simply amazed at how Trump supporters are able to ignore facts and reality and simply suspend their disbelief indefinitely for this man-child and whatever pours out of his mouth. So yes, I am voting for the most qualified candidate… and it ain’t Trump.
All just my personal opinions, of course…
COVID: Hindsight is usually 100%. There are tons of different opinions on what should be done to fight and kill this virus. Truth is, nobody knows 100% what to do. Comparing the number of infected by area (e.g. Toronto vs. Washoe County) is comparing apples to oranges.
WHITE SUPREMACY: If the Indians or Africans were equal or greater in power would we not be possibly talking “Indian or Black supremacy today.” Both groups are equal in physical and mental capability to whites; unfortunately however, all being human, “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” has to be achieved. Always has been and always will be until we turn into Martians or some other race.
TRUMP ENTHUSIAST: Let’s talk “Biden enthusiast”… Accusatory, shallow thinking, ignores facts, Yea Party not country, incredible claims like “20,000 false or misleading claims”; really? Who counted them? … Not enough room here to continue on.
BIDEN: Biden obtained several degrees and so is sharp of mind. I have two degrees, one from an Ivy League university back East and just 8 credits shy of a third one. I am 83 and I can tell you my mind is not as sharp as it once was back then. Even if I could, it would be irresponsible to try running this great country of ours.
SOLDIERS: President Trump has shown nothing but huge respect for our military! Slandering him on this issue is just more lowlife innuendo.
Robert M. Hellen Sr.