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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Coming Back for More

I’ve been ridiculously busy these last few weeks between a Russian language publication, a few little freelance jobs, and my normal social and professional obligations. I’m pretty sure I wasn’t missed. Which won’t stop me from jumping back into the pool because, frankly, I need to get a few thoughts off my chest.

Like, who the hell thinks it’s a good idea to question the tax free pension a Vietnam vet gets from the many injuries that he sustained in service to our country? Most especially when those injuries came when he was tortured as a POW?

Apparently the LA Times thinks its a good idea when the vet in question is running for President of the United States. They think it’s a good idea to insinuate that either he doesn’t deserve it because he’s really not all that disabled or, if he was wounded so severely, then he might not be physically capable of serving as president.

The fact that he is legally designated with a disability pension may raise further questions.

“It is a legitimate question to ask about the commander in chief: Is he fit to serve,” said Robert Schriebman, a senior Pentagon tax advisor and tax attorney who recently retired as a judge advocate for a unit of the California National Guard.

If McCain can hike across the Grand Canyon, then why should he be getting disability payments from the government that are tax-exempt, Schriebman asked.

McCain shattered his knee and broke both arms when he was shot down over North Vietnam in 1967.

In his autobiographies, McCain said that his knee still bothered him in cold weather and that he was unable to raise his hands above his shoulders.

See? Big fucking pool of stupid.

Firstly, he earned every penny of that pension in service to his country and I doubt very seriously that most Americans (we try to treat our vets well) will take the LA Times’ lead on this issue. I do not personally know the full extent of McCain’s injuries, but I do know that the military doesn’t just hand out 100%, tax free disabilities to everyone who gets a splinter. The injuries that he sustained had to have been severe.

Secondly, the office of the presidency is physically demanding--but not in the way that requires a guy who can run marathons in the morning before breakfast. As an example, and regardless of what anyone who thinks of FDR, he was exceptionally effective in acting as president with serious physical handicaps. I think McCain, even at his admittedly advanced age, can handle the stress.

And you know what else I don’t care about? His temper. I like that he gets pissed. I like that he isn’t always calm and level--there are things worth getting a little riled about.

As this political season continues (and, good Lord, can they possibly draw out the campaigning any longer? Will the next presidential campaign start before this one has even ended?) I find myself growing angrier. I’m tired of all the promises, the empty rhetoric, and the fact that none of the candidates will do the one thing that I really, really want: leave me the hell alone.

You know what else is making me cranky right now? Douglas Bruce is an ass, of that there is no doubt; but that doesn’t mean that he didn’t have the right to finish his statements about immigrants and a guest worker program being debated. To be sure, a guest worker program designed to bring in agricultural workers from our neighbor to the south isn’t a program designed to bring in college educated, highly skilled workers with literary ambitions. Our need for a guest worker program, whichever side of the argument you might take, is well worth debating, and, regardless of his insensitive statements, Bruce has a right to take part in that debate.

State Representative Douglas Bruce made the remark during a debate on the Statehouse floor. Lawmakers had been discussing a bill designed to ease a shortage of farm workers in Colorado.

Bruce was ordered to leave the podium immediately after the remark. But he says he knew exactly what he was saying.

And, anyway, adult literacy rates in Mexico are quite high, though, so “illiterate peasants” may have been factually wrong.

It would appear that he won’t be censured for his words--which is as it should be. I understand why so many people are upset, but he didn’t do anything illegal or unethical. He was merely being a bit of a jerk. Voters have ways of dealing with bad, non-criminal behavior in their elected representatives. That is also as it should be.

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