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Saturday, August 22, 2009

VA Officials Stole Your Tax Money

While I appreciate and value the Veteran's Administration medical care I do not like it when government employees steal my tax payments. I must admit, several members of my family gave decades of their lives in service to the military and some still serve in the armed forces. They get excellent health care at military hospitals, VA clinics, and even occasionally from medics in battle zones. Today The New York Times reports that officials at the VA stole millions of tax dollars. An organization called VA Watchdog provided the Times with the specifics.

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Over the past three years when many of us were either laid-off or suffered bonus or pay cuts, the VA officials doled out cash and jobs to friends, family, and lovers. As long as you went along with the scheme, VA officials all the way to the top positions received unearned largess, unusual transfers to sunny beaches, and bonus amounts completely out of line with government requirements. I realize our elected leaders will probably do nothing about the $24 million stolen by current or former VA staff. I would prefer to see them required to pay back all the money, with fines, lose their jobs and go directly to jail, without stopping at GO. That will likely never happen but at least you and other readers now know that you cannot trust some government employees to do the right thing.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Rich Officially Permitted to Evade Taxes

Switzerland won a major victory in efforts to keep laundering money for the world's wealthiest criminals.
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The U.S. government basically agreed to overlook the money laundering operations of major Swiss banks. This agreement was made in order to keep the uber-wealthy from paying their fair share of taxes owed on multi-million dollar incomes. The U.S. and Swiss governments essentially agreed to allow the world's richest people to get away without paying the taxes they owe. The leaders determined it would be easier to just rely on the payroll taxes of the less fortunate than to risk the wrath of oil sheiks, investment bankers, and corrupt politicians. The settlement came as no surprise to those same political leaders that benefited from the agreement.

New York Time article

Thursday, August 06, 2009

A black president and a Puerto Rican judge

Hi Friend,

You could not have reached me this afternoon even if my phone had been working. I was too busy punching the air celebrating the appointment of Judge Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court. 2009 will be forever noted in U.S. history for the 1st black president and the first Latina Supreme Court judge. Que bueno. Muy bueno. May many more follow in their footsteps.

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The racist Republicans that voted blindly against Judge Sotomayor's appointment let everyone know exactly who in the Senate are meaningless old bigots. 91 year-old Bob Byrd, dying and feeble, even crawled into the Senate chamber to cast a vote for Sonya. It is in fact possible to be a truly reformed racist, Byrd's vote proved that without a doubt. Fox News, the only news channel in the weird company lunchroom where I sometimes work, failed to cover this historic moment altogether. They were too busy questioning Obama's birth certificate at the time. I'm actually glad the birthers are lost in their own private sauce. This moment must feel like torture to them. How ironic. This gives everyone else more time to revel in reality. You may not grasp this just yet but when you add a Puerto Rican to any gathering the event changes drastically. They do make their points eloquently when actually given the opportunity to be heard.

I'm still in awe of this incredible turn of events. Today I am truly shocked, pleased, and proud to be a resident of America; north, south or middle. Even the Brazilians must be feeling the moment. It has taken 8 years for me to feel so damn good to be a U.S. citizen again. I've loved Puerto Ricans dearly since the day I moved there in '79. Now our nation has given incredible amounts of hope to two massive groups of citizens that have been trampled down for centuries. I can only hope that all little Hispanic and African American children will now be taught by their parents that they can accomplish anything if they try hard enough. Anything. Anything at all.

What a day in history. I'm in tears over it, it offers so much hope after the devastation caused by those old backward, southern SOBs soon to be forgotten. So much hope.