Archive for the ‘Government’ Category

5 Weeks of Civilian Life

Posted: November 19, 2014 in Government

After leaving the center of the military universe just a few weeks ago for a life as a dirty nasty civilian, I was fortunate enough to jump right back into the job market.  I was able to charm my way in to not one, but two jobs, a part-time gig at a National Historic Landmark and the main job as a Loss Prevention manager for the local store of a national brand.  Two jobs at opposite ends of the security field.  It has been extremely busy and not a whole lot of time of for the moment, I had absolutely no idea how bad the retail world is during the holidays.  I think I actually had more time off the last year in the Army than I do right now, even though I know post-holidays it will slow down.

It has been an interesting adventure and I have learned quite a lot in my new field in just a few short weeks.  I am getting a handle on the business side of the retail world.  I never expected to need to read a Profit and Loss statement, but as I have found out you cannot protect assets if you do not know what they are, or where you are hurting the most.  I found that I have quite a knack for investigation, and when it comes to retail you have to look just as hard, if not harder, at the employees than who comes walking through the door.  The cool thing is that I will get to head out to more and more training on interviewing and investigating as time goes on.  These are industry standard courses that I would have never been exposed to otherwise.  So far it has been a pretty cool journey.

There have been plenty of things to write about over the last few weeks but, honestly, I have been too tired to do so.  And, it has felt great to go to sleep each night because I am tired.  It has been a new adventure, and given how much I am enjoying what I am doing right now, it was definitely time to move on from the last one.  While the last 10 years in particular have been among the best years of my life, I never realized until I stepped away how much it had been wearing on me, and my family.

So that is about all for now, don’t want to eat up too much of my one precious day off this week.  As the holidays wind down and I can work a more humane schedule, I should be able to give some more updates.  Thanks for following along.

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Okay, we have covered some of this ground before in various other postings, but maybe given the current state of the “leadership” in D.C., and, the blaring ignorance of the most basic principles and the unrivaled gullibility of sheeple to ignorantly comment on and perpetuate the endless streams of stupidity run rampant on social media sites, it is time we break some of these key points of American Civics.

1.  We are NOT a democracy.  I know hard to believe after all these years of the blind following the blind for the truth to come out, but what we are as a nation is a CONSTITUTIONAL REPUBLIC which uses the democratic process.  Now that you have that term readily available, feel free to do something you have probably never done before; research something for yourself, and, in this case, Wikipedia will probably suffice as a somewhat accurate means of getting an answer.

2.  Impeaching the President will not actually remove him from office.  I know, I know, you have read three words from a really cool meme or skimmed an article from a less than reputable website that included the words: Impeachment; President; and, Obama, and think that is the end all be all of the current administration, but, before we go on remember that it would be the Vice-President who would replace him.  That would be Joe Biden for those of you who are not quite read up on current events.

So on with the act of impeachment.  What that really means is to bring charges against, and the sole responsibility for that rests in the hand of the House of Representatives.  Today, for those of you so inclined to hope for the process to begin chances are in our Republican majority House, it is quite possible that this may happen since bringing charges only requires a simple majority at this phase.  This however, is only step one of an intentionally difficult process created by our Founding Fathers.  So, on to phase two.  Charges are preferred and the defendant is now tried in front of the Senate with the trial presided over by the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.  Here is where it gets difficult folks, each individual charge requires a 2/3 majority of the voting members of the Senate.

***BREAKOUT SESSION*** Just a little simple math before we go on.  There are 50 states in our Union with two (2) Senators per state. 50 (states) x 2 (Senators per state) = 100.  2/3 of 100 is 66% or a minimum of 66 to 34 YEA votes per charge of guilty  ***END BREAKOUT SESSION***

At the start of the 113th Congress this year the political party breakout is as follows: 52 Democrats, 2 Independents, and 46 Republicans.  So, now, refer back to the previous breakout session and math and factor in the fact that there has not been a partisan decision in either house of Congress for years and what do you think would be the likelihood of a 2/3 majority vote in favor of any of the charges preferred by the House?  Do I even at this point need to go on with the process should there be a miraculous vote of YEA for any of the charges?  I think not.

3.  Only the House of Representatives can provide funding for the government.  That is spelled out plain and simple in the Constitution.  This is regardless of whether or not we actually have a budget.  Appropriated funds, bills of taxation and programmatic funding are the sole responsibility of the House.  Senate approval and Presidential signature are pro forma if the House does not come up with the appropriations to begin with.  The Senate and the President can suggest a budget to the House, but the act must originate there.

4.  The President cannot create law, or, fund a program they create beyond the fiscal year, by Executive Order.

5.  Our current “2 Party” system of government is not the law.  What it is, is the inability of American citizens to give enough of a fuck about the state of affairs to demand better from our elected “leaders” and force them beyond politics and party representation.  We have allowed our President to be the leader of the party as well as the leader of the Nation and not always with the best interests of the country in mind (this is not limited to the current administration, it goes back YEARS).

The Tea Party is not a party.  It is a bunch of extreme right wingers who are further dividing an already out of touch party.  Libertarians are at least making an attempt to represent themselves as a legitimate third party by candidates running for offices as actual Libertarians.  And, let us not forget the Democrats in their entirety, they run the gamut from extremely left wing hippy-dippy give it all away for the greater good liberal to centrist moderation.  Say this for them though, they are good at rallying around a cause, using social media and deflecting attention away from a problem when it is more convenient than doing anything about it.  To sum it all up, we would all be better to vote on actual facts than by party politics and choose the right person to represent us and our needs, regardless of party affiliation.

6.  It is our responsibility as American citizens to insure that those we elect are representing us on the national stage.  Contrary to popular belief this is not representing us as individuals, but as the will of their constituency (that would be the best interests of all those they are elected to represent).  If we are not happy, and it would seem based on the recent satisfaction polls that we are not, then it is up to us to make sure that we are satisfied.

7.  The President is limited to two, four year terms in office with the possibility of an additional two years if they were elevated to the post as a result of the sitting President vacating the office (death, resigning, etc.).  This was done as a result of Congress ratifying the 22nd Amendment of the Constitution in 1951.  This was their means of curtailing the power of the President and the possibility of unlimited power growth after the unprecedented four successful elections of FDR.  In all their forethought in regards to limiting the ability to build a kingdom by the President, they conveniently overlooked limiting themselves and their ability to become career politicians rather than elected people who SERVE at the WILL of the Nation and respect the OATH to the Constitution when they take office.

For those of you who may require a refresher in the Constitution click the word.

And for those of you old enough to remember when they tried to add a little bit of education to our Saturday morning cartoon time, a little School House Rock

After the Supreme Court’s validation of the ability to lie at the expense of my brothers and sisters in arms in striking down the original version of the act and letting the lying piece of dogshit, Xavier Alvarez get away with his false claims of military heroism and bravery.  The USSC determined that the original act of 2005 violated Alvarez’s 1st Amendment rights because it was not specific enough in its intent and therefore it was his right to lie his ass off about his exploits during his election to some small town board or another.

Today President Obama signed into law a revamped version of the Stolen Valor Act.  A version which adds definition to the false wearing of military medals and bragging about your exploits for personal gain.  According to an ABC news write up it is now illegal to lie and profit from it.

This is no small news in this day and age when our wars and military deployments are becoming less and less popular in the public eye and one of the few things us veterans have is what we have earned with the blood, sweat and tears, and occasional nightmares that comes with the service to our country.

So kudos to a government that in the midst of all the infighting and other crap flowing out the beltway to take the time and get something right for a change.  It is the least they can do to throw a little respect to the people who make sure that they can maintain their crappy level of performance on America’s behalf.  Now if they could just figure out a little bit about healthcare, give people the incentive they need to get off their asses and find a job, quit selling us out to the Chinese and do a little something about uniting this country instead of driving a wedge down the middle of it we would be okay.

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2013/06/obama-signs-stolen-valor-act-into-law/

 

 

 

 

Unlike many Facebook letters I can personally attest to knowing this person. We were assigned together a decade ago and I was able to run into him downrange during my last trip to Iraq where he was a DA Civilian. This is a real letter that he wrote to his Congressman to express dissatisfaction with how Congress has handled the current fiscal crisis and the effects of sequestration on our civilian counterparts in the DoD.  I have cut his name out of the signature block out of courtesy.  Please feel free to pass this on, I will pass any requests for proof this was written by a real person and not attributed to some undeserving celebrity on to the writer of this letter.
Enjoy, THIS is what being an American is all about!

I wrote to my Congressman (Andy Harris)…. I feel pretty freaking good about it.

“Dear Sir,

As a Veteran of two combat tours as an Active Duty Soldier, AS WELL as two tours in Iraq as an Emergency Essential Department of the Army (DA) Civilian, (October, 2001 – Initial Entry to Afghan Theater, 5th Special Forces Group, K-2 Uzbekistan and Mazar E Shariff Afghanistan; March, 2003 – Initial Entry to Iraqi Theater, 5th Special Forces Group, Al Jaffar Jordan; April 2007 – Subject Matter Expert, Satellite Communications Systems, MNF-Central, Tikrit Iraq; April 2008 – Subject Matter Expert, Satellite Communications, MNF-North, Tal Afar Iraq) I AM DISGUSTED WITH THE MANNER IN WHICH THE CURRENT CONGRESS HAS CONDUCTED ITS BUSINESS REGARDING THE PENDING “BUDGET UNCERTAINTY” AND ITS EFFECTS ON THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE.

I served nearly a decade in the Army. When I became physically unable to meet the standards set for me by the proud traditions of the Corps of Non-Commissioned Officers, I made the painful and difficult decision to leave my life in Uniform. Being one that believes in living a life of service, I started a new career as a Department of the Army Civilian. Since my transition in late 2005, I have transplanted my family 4 times. That’s averages once every two years. We have lived in the Republic of Korea, Washington State, Hawaii, New Jersey and are now residing in Maryland; the place where we intend to put down our “roots.” As I mentioned above, I’ve spent more than a year of my time as a DA Civilian directly in harm’s way as a forward deployed asset of the Department of Defense in Iraq. Combine that time with the other (numerous) Temporary Duty Assignments in support of the Army and my Command, I missed more than half of my son’s first four years on this Earth. That’s time I will not get back, sir. Don’t get me wrong… it’s a sacrifice that I would make again, if called to do so. I merely want to make sure that YOU are aware that it happened. I want this little grain of context to exist in your mind as you consider your position on sequestration.

I am now a resident of your Congressional District. I represent just one of the 28,000 households that Maryland gained as a result of the Base Realignments and Closures (BRAC) of 2005. I write to you representing one of the thousands of households that have taken up residence in Cecil County. I want to let you know that the consensus of opinion in my workplace, in my neighborhood, in my town and amongst the entire DoD Community is that you, sir, are FAILING.

I wonder if you have considered what the effect of a 20% reduction in household income for a newly established core of residents will have on the community you represent. I wonder if you have considered the effect that this will have on your future political career as our representative. I can assure you, if the sequestration is allowed to move forward; if food is taken off my table as a result of mandatory furlough; if I can’t afford to let my son play spring baseball, or use the internet in the safety of my home, or eat an ice cream cone, or go to the doctor; if my wife gets cold because we can no longer afford to heat our house… I want YOU to know that I will invest every ounce of the energy that I have into working within the community to ensure that you get voted out of office as quickly and decisively as possible.

Offer me some perspective, sir. In what way does your sacrifice for this nation match my own? Enlighten me as to why 800,000 people have to take a 20% reduction in pay because you, and the other members of Congress, can’t agree on how to eliminate 2-3% of the Federal Budget? Why is it that I continue to accomplish the missions that are placed before me, while you continue to make a mess out of nearly everything you touch… but I’M the one that’s going to take a pay cut?

Granted, I’m not standing before you and saying that all Government Employees are fantastic. Some of them are leaches that contribute nothing more to the world that a collection of boogers on the under-side of their desks. I am not one of them, sir. I directly support combat operations on a daily basis. I make myself available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, 365 days per year for technical assistance to telecommunications sites around the world. When systems break, I’m the guy that gets called in an emergency to restore vital communications resources around the world. I help design, test and implement the systems that enable commanders to speak to their troops, gathering and distribution timely and accurate intelligence information and give the Soldier/Sailors/Marine the ability to call his/her spouse/mother/child in the middle of the night for what may be his/her last “I love you.”

I have sweated for this country. I have bled for this country. I have lost my brothers and sisters in arms, and continue to serve out of respect for the fact that they no longer can. Your reluctance to act in this matter disrespects me, my family and everything I have ever done in service to this nation. I implore you to prevent the coming furloughs.

Thank you for taking the time to read this letter. I appreciate that you are extremely busy. Please take every… single… word… of what I have said, seriously.

Just about eight years ago my very pregnant wife and I were doing some serious work putting together what would be our daughters nursery.  We put in new carpet, a lavender paint and on one wall a very large mural.  We placed a large tree in a garden and throughout the room and on the mural we placed a variety of butterflies.  As my little princess grew, we changed her crib into a bed, but the room essentially stayed the same.

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Until today, that little labor of love stayed in tact.  Even after we moved everyone to our future home, I could not bring myself to do anything with either child’s room.  It has been a bit depressing thinking about doing anything with it despite the fact that I have known for months that I need to get off my ass and start prepping this house for whatever will happen with it in the future.  No matter what though until this weekend the most I could do was clean the room it has just been too much to think about with all the other changes in our lives lately and those that I know are on the horizon.

If everything goes according to plan, next month we will close on what will hopefully be the last house we ever buy.  Our new home, sits about mid-way up a mountain in a beautiful neighborhood.  We will move everyone into it in June, just as the kids finish school for the year.  The one unfortunate thing about the new home is that the kids will have to change schools from the ones we just put them into this year.  It will not be too daunting for them and they are moving into schools that are comparable or better to the ones they are in currently.

The reason I finally got a start on prepping the house is that I picked up a boarder this weekend and while the rooms are clean a princess’ palace garden theme and camouflage room are not really suitable for business.  So it was with a heavy heart that I got myself together and went to purchase the paint and other supplies needed to do what I have know I have needed to do for several months now.

I am normally not what you would call a sentimental fellow, most that know me would attest to that, but the very last thing I first put the primer on was the mural.  That thin white paint did little more than fade the mural and the very colorful butterflies just a little bit.  Once I started putting the first coat of paint on, that little tree of life taunted me as the most prominent pieces of it decided they were going to shine through.  A little while later with the second coat a couple of the butterflies and that damn sign were still giving me fits.  Finally, after I got the third coat on the mural wall, all I could see was the mural in my mind, right where it was supposed to be.  I just closed my eyes before this sentence and I could see it all, in its glory right where it was.  I truly hope that when I get back from work tomorrow, after letting the paint set-up overnight that something does not decide to be stubborn and pop its head through.

So, why was something as simple as painting a room such an endeavor for someone as non-sentimental as me?  This has been the only home that my children have known.  We bought it and have lived in it since before even our son was born.  This coming September will be 18 years.  Up to this point, our entirely too small home has been exactly that, a home.  The only reason we have not fixed it up and sold it so far is that it would cost me more to live in an apartment as I work towards retirement.

So, why the title of a Shinedown song for this post?  Other than the fact that my little girl sings it beautifully, as I was working through the emotions of changing something that has meant so much to both me and my wife, I realized a slightly alternative meaning to the song.  The butterflies are pretty obvious.  Gia-bear has been my butterfly princess since the day she came home from the hospital.  The crow, that is time and all the change that comes along with it.  You cannot stop it and along with it the change just keeps on coming.  My little girl is growing up, she is not much shorter than her mom at this point.  My little man, is just a hair bit shorter than me and I expect by the end of the year to be looking him in the eye without looking down hell, I may even be looking up at them.  Time, she is a fickle bitch, and just like the crow eats up all the scraps, leaving you not much beyond memories.

Now that one room is done, the other will go a bit easier, as will the rest of the work that needs to be done around here.  Time goes on, my kids will continue to grow and me and my wife will continue to get older.  Fortunately, she has some dynamite genetics and looks even more beautiful today than the day I met her.  Here is a full length view of our garden scene.

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And for your listening pleasure the song behind the title: