The Senate and Congressional races in Missouri are too close to call. At a time when one would think the Republicans would lose in landslides across the nation.
In our own backyard, Claire McCaskill is fighting for a Senate seat against the incumbent rubber stamp of Jim Talent. Duane Burghard against Kenny Hulshof in the northern part of Missouri is also in a tight race. We should be sending a message across the nation that Missourians have had enough. With a little over 50 days until the mid term elections, the polls here should be indicating clear, decisive victories ahead for democratic candidates across the Show Me State. Yet the races remain too close to call.
I am puzzled by those still undecided. What even astonishes me more is: where are the veterans of Missouri? We of all citizens should be able to see the things we were willing to lay our lives down for have disintegrating right before our eyes. We watch in disbelief as our sons and daughters continue to die and become maimed for life in a War of Choice, based on manufactured intelligence, lies, deceit, and the quest of profit and oil. Only to return home to slashed benefits, long waits for treatment, and a life of emotional trauma that will sever family and friends. Many will end up homeless, committing suicide. These things are already happening. The very administration that sent them into harm's way has abandoned them upon their return.
We can read the records of Talent and Hulshof and find reason enough to vote them out.
Jim Talent has consistently (94% of the time) voted with George Bush. That includes the 23 times he has voted to cut or under-fund veteran benefits, voted against mandatory health care (as recently as March of 2006), supported the tripling of fees veterans must pay for Tricare health care, rejected a request for $47 billion to repair and improve military equipment for our troops to fight this illegal war, and rubber stamped the slashing of the Bush administration's funding for our Veteran Nursing Homes.
This was all done at the same time he voted to protect tax breaks for the wealthiest among us. He has voted to maintain the ridiculously low minimum wage of $5.15 and hour, while voting to give himself $31,000.00 in raises. The hundreds of thousands of American citizens suffering from disease and injury that could someday benefit from Stem Cell research are told by Mr. Talent to continue your suffering, I would rather see the cells thrown it the trash. These examples and so many others provide more than enough reason to oust him.
So what does Claire offer?
Claire McCaskill has developed her Veteran's Bill of Rights. After reading it, I thought, "This is just common sense, this is the least we can do if we ask our youngest and bravest to go into harms way." So I came to the conclusion that supporting Claire McCaskill just makes common sense. She wants to simply do the right thing for those we ask so much of.
If we ask our troops to go into battle on our behalf, we must supply them with adequate equipment and resources to get the job done and return home safely to a grateful nation. This means identifying a clear and present danger to our nation and allies. And that all alternative means of achieving our desired objective have been used and failed before involving the military might of the United States.
No military family should ever have to worry that service to their country could adversely impact their means to provide for their homes, their health care or their future. No family should have their home foreclosed on, their possessions repossessed or their families denied adequate health care while they are being asked to make the ultimate sacrifice.
Therefore, we need to:
Provide for their future by committing to enhance the G. I. Bill through educational opportunities and job training programs. This is already in place of employees who lose their jobs due to companies moving their jobs overseas through the Trade Readjustment Act. The G.I. Bill should not provide less for those who are sent into harms way.
Provide access to affordable and exemplary health care, including mental health services for veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Currently under the Bush administration's directive, the Department of Veterans Affairs are ordered by Secretary Nicholson to provide no outreach services to seek out and identify emotionally disturbed veterans traumatized by what they encountered in Iraq and Afghanistan. The failure to seek out and treat these veterans has resulted in an alarming rate of divorce, homelessness and suicide of returning veterans.
We must repeal the Disabled Veterans Tax, which forces disabled military retirees to give up on a dollar for dollar basis their disability compensation from their retirement benefits. As it stands, the military retiree is the only entity in this nation required to sacrifice payments from two entirely different resources.
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