Voices from Russia

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Veteran’s Last Wish Granted by Anonymous Donor

00 flowers on grave. 18.11.12

______________________________

Editor:

If you can send a fin or two to help in a good cause, attend to the phone number listed at the bottom of the article. This is on the up and square.

BMD

******

This old soldier didn’t quite make it to Veterans Day. Jim Ayers’ failing heart gave its final beat on 7 August. He was 91. Ayers left the world penniless and with no relatives around to pick up the tab for the cost of his send-off. Of course, those who served can always receive free burial in a national VA cemetery. However, one of Ayers’ last wishes was that he be laid to rest in the neatly groomed graveyard that’s just a short walk from where he worshipped with those he called his family… St John The Baptist Antiochian Orthodox Church in Post Falls. Thanks to an anonymous donor who paid 2,650 USD (123,000 Roubles. 16,200 Renminbi. 163,000 INR. 3,000 CAD. 3,030 AUD. 2,120 Euros. 1,680 UK Pounds) for mortuary and gravesite costs, Ayers’ got his wish. Since then, people raised about half that figure to repay the generous donor. Though important, getting the rest of the bill settled was only part of the reason they invited me to St John’s last week.

Those who knew the retired insurance salesman best believe that we should remember his service to our country and the positive way that he lived his later years. Jenny Dancy, a spokesman for St Johns, said, “Jim was a happy, good-natured guy. He was easy to make friends with and you could tell that he wanted to make the rest of his time on Earth as meaningful as he could”. Dancy met Ayers in 2007, just after she landed a job driving a bus for the independent living home where he lived. She was also working on her University of Idaho undergraduate degree in psychology with a specialty in gerontology. In simple English, Dancy has a real heart for the elderly. It didn’t take long for her to become fast pals with this aged guy addicted to Lifesavers and the raw oysters served at a nearby restaurant. It also didn’t take long for Dancy to become aware of Ayers’ service during World War II.

One giveaway was the large black-and-white photograph that Ayers hung outside his room. It showed that Ayers was a proud member of the 604 Field Artillery Battalion, which fought and bled in support of the élite 10 Mountain Division. It also didn’t take long for Ayers to tell Dancy about the nickname they had for the mules that hauled shells and artillery pieces up and down the steep and primitive terrain that was impassable for motor vehicles. They called them “Jennies”. Laughing heartily, Dancy said, “He loved telling me that one”. Dancy related that Ayers told her, “The conditions were brutal. Brotherhood and camaraderie were necessary just for sheer survival. Italy was a war-torn country and terrain made troop and supplies movement very difficult”. The army drafted Ayers in 1943; he trained in the Rockies where conditions sometimes reached 30 below zero Fahrenheit (-34.5 degrees).

She said that his medals included the European African Middle Eastern Service Medal, the Good Conduct Medal, the World War II Victory Medal, the American Service Medal, and the Bronze Star. By the way, they buried the medals along with the old soldier. Dancy said of her friend, “You could tell that in his younger days he’d been quite a strong man, but he also had a tender heart and really cared about his fellow man”.

Anyone wishing to help can call Dancy at (208) 640-8596

11 November 2014

Doug Clark

The Spokesman-Review (Spokane WA)

http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2014/nov/11/doug-clark-veterans-last-wish-granted-by/

Thursday, 6 November 2014

6 November 2014. Here’s Another Thing that the Pundits are Overlooking… Initiative 594

00 Political Cartoon. 05.12. Guns

______________________________

Firstly, read this. Note the author… David Frum. You heard me right… David Frum. Yes… an anti-NRA piece written by DAVID FRUM. Note well that the rightwing punditocracy isn’t trumpeting about this… for it goes against their narrative for this election. Here is first major victory against the NRA… a political earthquake, really. Look at what happened Tuesday… the Greens emerged as a political force in New York State (and maybe the nation, as well)… Personhood failed in Colorado… the Dems handily won in PA… Al Franken beat the Koch Dollars… and the NRA received its first major setback in decades. That is, the “Republican Sweep” not only didn’t occur… it only resulted in control of the US Senate, which is bootless, as the Prez will veto all their lunacy. Congress already has an approval rating FAR below that of the Prez. His is 42 percent… theirs is 13 PERCENT. Let me repeat that… 13 PERCENT! If it goes much lower, it’ll be in single digits. The GOP has two equally distasteful options open to it. The first is to cooperate with the Prez… loons like Rubio and Cruz will scupper that. The second is to be obstructionist. Obstructionism led to the present abysmal approval ratings for the Congress… more of the same will shove their numbers truly into the shitter.

The GOP has a shitty hand to play this turn. Several spectres haunt the GOP… and oil prices are in the dumpster (their Big Oil sugar daddies won’t have the gelt to give them). Gun Control… Personhood… Anti-Fracking… if the trends continue, I wouldn’t want to be the GOP candidate in 2016. They’ll be left as the party of the Evangelical, the ignorant, and the racist… which would give them a permanent 25 percent national minority (but with control of the Southeastern USA). Will they dodge the bullet? I think not…

BMD

Thursday, 21 August 2014

25 Percent of Military Households Rely on Food Banks

01 See no Evil

______________________________

Editor:

Here’s my modest suggestion… in the contemporary USA, two incomes are necessary to raise a family due to the draconian anti-family programme of the US Republican Party (they have the brass balls to call themselves “pro-lifers”). When the economy crashed in 2008 due to the stresses upon it by the unfunded Bush wars and notional giveaways to the Affluent Effluent, many spouses of military personnel lost their jobs. As this situation arose due to the crank policies of the Republican Party, we should raise a special tax on all Republican politicians/lawmakers (including GOP-appointed judges on all levels) and Rightwing pundits… we should levy a 20 percent surcharge on their incomes “to support the troops”… I think that you’d hear some loud yelps. Here’s the Vaseline, Antonin n’ Willy n’ Rush n’ Paul… note well that they enjoy fucking others, but hoo boy, when it hits them… you get my drift…

BMD

******

Recently, an exhaustive hunger report concluded that 25 percent of military members rely on food banks. After compiling four years of data, Feeding America (FA)… the nation’s leading domestic hunger-relief charity… released its largest and most comprehensive study on the topic and found that one in seven people rely on food banks to get their basic nutrition needs. Perhaps one of the most stunning figures was that in 2012, almost 620,000 of the households who relied on FA services had at least one member now in the military. That’s 25 percent of all American military households. These figures included military members serving full or part-time in either the Armed Forces, Reserves, or National Guard.

However, the Pentagon was quick to take issue with the study’s methodology in measuring the number of struggling military members. Military.com reported that officials said that surveying households instead of individuals and using those figures against military data creates an inaccurate picture. Navy Commander Nathan Christensen, a Pentagon spokesman, told the news outlet, “Without performing appropriate statistical adjustments to match the survey sample with the military population, it’s impossible to accurately calculate an estimated percentage of military households served by the Feeding America’s programs based on the survey data”. Christensen also told NPR that military pay and benefits compare favourably with the private sector, and that service members can always seek counselling should they face financial problems.

However, advocates say that troops are often too ashamed to draw such attention to themselves within the confines of the military, which is why getting help from food banks is often more appealing. Joyce Raezer, executive director of the National Military Family Association, told NPR, “The reason they go to the food bank is it’s anonymous” . Back in 2011, the FISH food bank in Lakewood WA, located near Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM), started to see a “surprising” increase in the numbers of military members in need of help. While JBLM offers a housing allowance to families who live off-post and programmes to help struggling families, some say it’s not enough. Frances Anderson, whose husband was on active duty at the time, told KING 5 News, “My husband is embarrassed because he doesn’t feel that we should have to be here. The economy is terrible. I just tell the people on post that I need help and they just look at me like I’m crazy”.

Find out how you can get involved with Feeding America’s efforts here

19 August 2014

Eleanor Goldberg

Huffington Post

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/19/military-families-food-banks_n_5691790.html

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.