Friday, December 26, 2008

VA: Surviving Spouses will receive lump sum $$

Old Soldier Tom's Journal.

Please forgive me if I send anything that you may have already seen as I took a break to spend time with family.
Hugz, Shelia
Nearly 11,000 Survivors to Receive Retroactive Payments by New Years
Search for Other Eligible Survivors Continues

WASHINGTON (Dec. 24, 2008) -- The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)
has identified nearly 11,000 surviving spouses of deceased veterans who
will receive a lump-sum payment before the New Year to correct an error
in their VA benefits. Also documented were more than 73,000 who had
been previously paid. VA officials are still tracking down eligible

"I am pleased that our task force working to correct this problem has
been able to identify this first group this week," said Secretary of
Veterans Affairs Dr. James B. Peake. "We understand the difference these
funds can make for these surviving spouses, especially during the
holiday season."

Payments will be released to these survivors on Dec. 29. The total
value of the payments is about $24 million.

At issue is a 1996 federal law that makes a surviving spouse eligible to
receive the veteran's VA compensation or pension benefit for the month
of the veteran's death. VA failed to properly implement that law in all

Most likely to have been affected by this problem are surviving spouses
who never applied for VA survivors' benefits following the death of a
veteran. Eligible for the payment are surviving spouses of veterans who
died after Dec. 31, 1996. The Department doesn't have current addresses
for many of them, which makes the process of contacting them difficult.

VA has established a special Survivor Call Center (1-800-749-8387) for
spouses who believe they may be eligible for this retroactive benefit.
The Call Center is open Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00
p.m., Central Standard Time. Inquiries may also be submitted through
the Internet at

One site keeps yo

Whiskey and --article.

Old Soldier Tom's Journal.

I know that this is not Gospel and only one man's opinion -- but I find it not only logical, but also entertaining. I want to get YOUR opinions, please.

Gary’s Note: The American public begins to see that fraud can crop up anywhere…including governments and currencies. Jim Kunstler is on the case. Send your questions and comments to …or post to our website

Whiskey & Gunpowder
December 26, 2008
By James Howard Kunstler
Saratoga Springs, New York, U.S.A.

Legitimacy Dwindles

Zounds! Public sentiment toward the accelerating economic fiasco has shifted, seemingly overnight, from a mood of nauseated amazement to one of panicked grievance as the United States moves closer to an apparent comprehensive collapse — and so ill-timed, wouldn’t you know it, to coincide with the annual rigors of Santa Claus. The tipping point seems to be the Bernie Madoff $50 billion Ponzi scandal, which represents the grossest failure of authority and hence legitimacy in finance to date in as much as Mr. Madoff was a former chairman of the NASDAQ, for godsake. It’s like discovering that Ben Bernanke is running a meth lab inside the Federal Reserve. And out in the heartland, of course, there is the spectacle of Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich trying to desperately dodge a racketeering rap behind an implausible hairdo.


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What seems to spook people now is the possibility that everybody in charge of everything is a fraud or a crook. Legitimacy has left the system. Not even the the legions of Obama are immune as his reliance on Wall Street capos Robert Rubin, Tim Geithner, and Larry Summers seem tainted by the same reckless thinking that brought on the fiasco. His pick last week for chief of the SEC, Mary Shapiro, is already being dissed as a shill for the Big Bank status quo. In a few days we’ll discover what kind of bonuses are being ladled out by the remaining Wall Street banks with TARP money and a new chorus of howls will ring out.

This is very dangerous territory. In dollar terms, the numbers being applied to the various problems are so colossal — trillions! — that the death of our currency seems assured. And in defiance of Congress’s express intentions, none of the TARP “money” has been applied to its targeted purpose of buying up “toxic” (i.e. fraudulent) securities hidden in the vaults of banks, pension funds, and municipal portfolios.

George W. Bush’s personal bailout of General Motors and Chrysler is designed solely to postpone their bankruptcy and mass job layoffs until after the holidays. Otherwise, the $17.4 billion will probably be used by the companies to underwrite the extensive legal work required for the moment they must declare bankruptcy — when Mr. Obama is in the White House. Meanwhile, the President-elect has ramped up his job-creation target overnight from two to three million, and some observers are catching a whiff of Soviet-style economic engineering (“...we pretend to work and they pretend to pay us....”).


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The years since Jimmy Carter have produced an astoundingly flaccid public, sunk in various addictions and distractions, but this is about to change. The darkling mood of political protest and violent activism that saturated my own young adult years is scudding up again on the horizon. Mr. Obama’s pick for attorney general, the mild-looking Eric Holder, may be the key figure in the early months of the new government. If he doesn’t commence some aggressive investigations and prosecutions — beginning with Henry Paulson for insider trading when he was in charge of Goldman Sachs and shorting his own company’s mortgage-backed securities — then the whole Obama enterprise could fall under suspicion of illegitimacy. The bums who ran the U.S. banking sector into a ditch have to account for their turpitudes. They can’t be allowed to hide under a TARP.

Unfortunately, the legal system, and probably the legislative system, will be so buried in procedural B.S. from the unwind of countless enterprises and institutions, and the sorting out of the remnants, that it remains to be seen whether this generation of people-in-charge can even embark on a fresh start of anything connected to real everyday life in America. All this is starting to alarm the tattered residue of the middle classes, and from here it’s a very short path to them being really pissed off.

When legitimacy erodes, anything goes. Nothing is respected including rules and personalities. The center doesn’t hold and the new vacuum there is a tumultuous place. The same crisis of authority and legitimacy is spreading from nation to nation now. Soon, China will contend with a discontented army of the unemployed. Greece has been in an uproar for two weeks. Belgium’s government just collapsed. Trade barriers are going up. Exports are falling away. The world’s energy markets are not immune to these disorders. I would expect problems with the currently seamless supply lines that bring America two-thirds of the oil we use. Even a mild disruption of oil supplies could attach an anvil to the ankle of an economy already falling off a cliff.


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Right now, the overwhelming sentiment is to get this country back to where we were, say, ten years ago, when everything was humming nicely: Clinton nostalgia. We’re definitely not gong back there, though. It’s an idle wish. And any set of policies designed to lead in that direction will prove very disappointing. Our destination is a land of much smaller-scaled local economies. We could retain our federal ties if the federal government can scale back appropriately from the bloated, feckless enterprise it has become. Otherwise, it might only get in the way and make matters worse, and the public in one region or another of North America might reach a decision that they are better off without it. That would be what’s called a revolution.

Jim Kunstler

Parting Shot...

A recent letter from a reader accuses me of dithering…


“I assume that a ‘Commercial’ is a Commercial Bank. Your inside-the-game shorthand is not helpful. And, since you do not respect your readers’ time by being brief, it would be nice if you would try to explain such terms to your readers.”

So today I’ll be brief.

Jim Kunstler: “…and the public in one region or another of North America might reach a decision that they are better off without [the federal government]. That would be what’s called a revolution.”


Have a good weekend,
Gary Gibson
Managing Editor, Whiskey & Gunpowder

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Reasons for blogging.

Old Soldier Tom's Journal.

I was just thinking about Blogging in general and all the different kinds of subject matter, titles, crusades, objectives, missions or just good old fashion therapy. All kinds of motives, pure, honest, selfish, flamboyant, kind, helpful and boastful. My friend, Carolyn and I are into Bible prophesy, true Christianity and Witnessing, in my opinion-- and that is NOT a popular subject now days... lol. I know that we are both witty and talented enough to be able to write 'popular themes' that would garner many more readers and followers, if that is what drove our hearts. For my part, I inject much about combat Veterans, corruption of the VA system, Gov't and finance, history, because I feel qualified to speak about those subjects too. Also, my favorite mission of connecting with other combat and disabled military Vets because I am one and I enjoy the comraderie! The end game is focusing on the most important thing that I know that is GOOD FOR ALL HUMANKIND-- God's Will and the bible. Hey! I love my super dog, 'Deuce' the Rottweiler, our trained "service animal" and number one joker and and entertainer, and othe3r varied subjects, hobbies, like my woord carving and small knife collection. But I just don't know for sure if 'Deuce' is going to heaven.. LOL.[just kidding..] One thing I DO know-- we are all here for eternity and 70-90 years on a ruined planet filled with wicked, greedy, selfish, corrupt, immoral people doesn't come close to the rest of all eternity in either heaven or hell !

Of course there are different ways to live on earth--- being rich is nice-- being poor is much harder. I have actually been in both situations. At one time I lived for a while in Arvada [a Denver suburb], CO, where my wife and I collectively had about $9K of spendable cash, and we bought a quarter of a million dollar beautiful house, but she was emotionally unstable and her son and daughter controlled her and sabotaged our short relationship so that she left me within months of the wedding. It's very hard for me to finally put this in print. I loved her very much. She claimed to be a 'Christian' but didn't know the bible at all and attended a "feel good" church that just tickled her ears. And I had trouble breathing the thin, dry air near the beautiful mountains. Yes, I learn so much stuff the hard way, and I have a soft heart like a Teddy bear that over rules the logic of my brain... too often, and gets me into trouble. Long distance relationships seldom last! And the term "Christian" is nothing but a 'buzz word' now days, and few people take their wedding vows seriously! I lost tons of money in that adventure and was cut to the heart. I think that I should have just stayed single after that, but I got lonely and duped again. A slow learner is poor old Tom.

And before we know it, old age is upon us and we look back on our former life to see the real meaning of life and what we think we accomplished... The Book of Ecclesiastes [written by wise old King Solomon] used to be my FAVORITE book of the Bible for all it's Wisdom and Understanding. There, Solomon, was a rich man who also had to learn the hard way... lol. At least I can get a good laugh at the truth of his words, like: Eccl. 10:3, "Even when the fool walks along the road, his sense is lacking and he demonstrates to everyone that he is a fool." HO-HO-HO !! But the last two verses of the last chapter sums is all up in Eccl. Chapter 12: 13, 14,
"The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear GOD and keep His commandments, because this applies to EVERY person. (14) For God will being every act to judgement, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil."

I feel that this advice should be my main priority in life, especially as I turn age 60 on Feb. 20th, Woo Woo!

Now I am in a mental debate as to whether I should haul my fat body to the Kenosha YMCA Gym to PUMP IRON and then get in the hot whirl pool and Sauna, or jsut stay home to help clean the messy house.

I bid you peace and safety.