Thousands of California soldiers forced to repay enlistment bonuses

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by David S. Cloud, LA Times, Oct. 22, 2016

Short of troops to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan a decade ago, the California National Guard enticed thousands of soldiers with bonuses of $15,000 or more to reenlist and go to war. Now the Pentagon is demanding the money back. Nearly 10,000 soldiers, many of whom served multiple combat tours, have been ordered to repay large enlistment bonuses — and slapped with interest charges, wage garnishments and tax liens if they refuse — after audits revealed widespread overpayments by the California Guard at the height of the wars last decade.

Investigations have determined that lack of oversight allowed for widespread fraud and mismanagement by California Guard officials under pressure to meet enlistment targets. But soldiers say the military is reneging on 10-year-old agreements and imposing severe financial hardship on veterans whose only mistake was to accept bonuses offered when the Pentagon needed to fill the ranks.

“These bonuses were used to keep people in,” said Christopher Van Meter, a 42-year-old former Army captain and Iraq veteran from Manteca, Calif., who says he refinanced his home mortgage to repay $25,000 in reenlistment bonuses and $21,000 in student loan repayments that the Army says he should not have received. “People like me just got screwed.”

In Iraq, Van Meter was thrown from an armored vehicle turret — and later awarded a Purple Heart for his combat injuries — after the vehicle detonated a buried roadside bomb. “I feel totally betrayed,” said Haley, 47, who served 26 years in the Army along with her husband and oldest son, a medic who lost a leg in combat in Afghanistan. Haley, who now lives in Kempner, Texas, worries they may have to sell their house to repay the bonuses. “They’ll get their money, but I want those years back,” she said, referring to her six-year reenlistment.

The problem offers a dark perspective on the Pentagon’s use of hefty cash incentives to fill its all-volunteer force during the longest era of warfare in the nation’s history. Even Guard officials concede that taking back the money from military veterans is distasteful. “At the end of the day, the soldiers ended up paying the largest price,” said Maj. Gen. Matthew Beevers, deputy commander of the California Guard.

“We’d be more than happy to absolve these people of their debts. We just can’t do it. We’d be breaking the law.” Facing enlistment shortfalls and two major wars with no end in sight, the Pentagon began offering the most generous incentives in its history to retain soldiers in the mid-2000s.  READ it HERE. 

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Trump's 'Gettysburg address' makes closing argument for choosing him

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By David Martosko, US Political Editor for DAILYMAIL.COM in Gettysburg, PA  22 October 2016

Donald Trump planted a flag on hallowed ground Saturday morning by laying out near the Gettysburg National Battlefield what he would do in his first 100 days as President of the United States. Touting 'the kind of change that only arrives once in a lifetime,' Trump told an audience of about 300 invited guests that he will 'drain the swamp' in Washington, replacing the current government 'with a new government of, by and for the people.' The symbolism factor was high, with a campaign aide telling reporters Friday night that the Civil War battle in Gettysburg memorialized by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863 'was the moment when the war turned.'

The Republican nominee left the podium and made a beeline in his motorcade for the National Military Park – the battlefield memorial – spending about as much time there as it took Lincoln to speak his 272 words. Trump's own war – a two-front clash against both Hillary Clinton and the mass media – will come to a climax on November 8 when most Americans will choose a leader for the next four years.

He summed up the substance of his campaign in a 'Contract With The American Voter' – a point-by-point set of initiatives that track with the themes he has focused on for 16 months.  READ it HERE

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America’s Most Honorable Men Stand with Trump

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By Karin McQuillan and Carol Greenwald, The American Thinker, October 18, 2016

When Hillary Clinton’s media tried to make Trump’s crude sexual banter the centerpiece of the last debate, Trump pivoted to national security and once again said how proud he is to be backed by 200 generals and admirals.   

These are among America’s finest, bravest, most admirable men.   Seventeen medal of honor winners endorsed Trump.  So did fifteen brigadier generals, thirty-four major generals, eighteen lieutenant generals, forty-one rear admirals, six vice-admirals, and three 4 star generals and admirals.

Such men do not put their names down for a candidate and a cause without serious thought.  READ it HERE.

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THE LEFT IN POWER: CLINTON TO OBAMA

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by Elizabeth Ruiz on October 14, 2016

Below is David Horowitz's introduction to his new book, The Left in Power: Clinton to Obama, which is volume 7 of The Black Book of the American Left, a multi-volume collection of David Horowitz's conservative writings that will, when completed, be the most ambitious effort ever undertaken to define the Left and its agenda.

This seventh volume of the Black Book of the American Left reviews the administrations of three presidents and the transformation of the Democratic Party from a party of the American center into a party of the political left. The magnitude of this change can be measured in the distance Democrats have traveled since the presidency of John F. Kennedy, once a liberal icon. The Kennedy policies—militant anti-Communism, hawkish defense, a capital gains tax cut and balanced budget—are now firmly identified with the Republican right. At the same time, Barack Obama’s Democrats are committed to the agendas of the left: income redistribution, socialized health schemes, and military retreat abroad. READ the rest here.

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American Spectator: ‘Clinton Cash’ Shows How Clintons ‘Enriched’ Themselves from a ‘Human Rights Who’s-who of International Criminals

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R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr., editor-in-chief of the American Spectator, writes in his latest column that the new documentary film “Clinton Cash,” based on Peter Schweizer’s bestselling book of the same name, reveals how the Clintons accumulated wealth from the world’s worst human right’s abusers.

. . . . . Hillary and Bill have since leaving office amassed a fortune last calculated at over $135 million.  The documentary was produced by the conservative, Steve Bannon of Breitbart, but he says it is aimed particularly at environmentalists, progressives, human rights groups, the kind of voters who turn out for Bernie Sanders, and even disgruntled fans of Hillary.

The documentary’s narrator and the book’s author, Peter Schweizer, says that during Hillary’s time at the State Department Bill’s speaking fees grew immensely from a mere $200,000 or so to staggering numbers: $500,000 (ten times) and $700,000 at least twice. The Foundation now is now worth an astounding $2 billion. Moreover, the Foundation’s list of donors and of those funding Bill’s speeches is a human rights who’s-who of international criminals, leaders of Kazakhstan, Nigeria, Rwanda, and Russia to name but a few. Thus the ominous rumbles in the soundtrack. READ the REST here.

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Fantastic Vicki McKenna Post Debate Interview with Glenn Grothman

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Don't miss this great interview that was recorded Oct 10 on Vicki's radio show in Madison, the day following the 2nd presidential debate.  Scroll to 53 minutes and start listening.  Wisconsin US Rep. Glenn Grothman discusses a Trump presidency.  He makes the election logic for the voter crystal clear.  The urgency and clarity of his message is compelling.

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America You Have No Right to Judge Donald Trump

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BY D. C. MCALLISTER OCT. 8, 2016 PJ Media.com

The wizards of smarts in the political arena are telling us Donald Trump's campaign is over because of recently leaked tapes of a private conversation from 2005 that was disparaging to women. The comments are so offensive, they say, he’s not fit for office. From the moment the tapes were made public, the drumbeat to Trump's personal walk of shame began. Politicians who formerly endorsed him fled in terror, not wanting the soiled stain of sexual stigma attached to them. NeverTrumpers descended in holier-than-thou glee as they declared how noble and right they've always been not to support such a despicable man. And the left has been howling like puritanical wolves, condemning him for his immorality and sexist treatment of women.

I find this reaction to Trump's private conversation rather ironic. It's ironic coming from a secular culture that long ago declared objective morality dead. It's ironic coming from politicos and media bottom-feeders who defended the abusive and disgusting behavior of Bill Clinton, not when he was a private citizen but when he was a sitting president.  READ MORE

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Why Ron Johnson’s Re-election Is So Important

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National Review Online

by Jake Curtis October 4, 2016

Senator Johnson is a throwback to a better era of legislator. His defeat would be a loss for Wisconsin and the nation. Wisconsin’s Senate race is ranked by many as one of the most contested in the country and one of the most likely to flip. Two weeks ago, Marquette University released a poll showing Senator Ron Johnson behind former senator Russ Feingold, 47 percent to 41 percent, among likely voters. The result, coming so late in the campaign, was all the more troubling for Johnson given that Donald Trump, who handily lost Wisconsin’s primary to Ted Cruz in April, actually outperformed the senator in Marquette’s poll: Among likely voters, Hillary Clinton led Trump by a mere two points, 44 percent to 42 percent. The reality of a Clinton or Trump presidency makes continued Republican control of the upper chamber all the more important, and a Johnson loss would make it that much more difficult to achieve. It would also be a shame for Wisconsin and the nation.

Anyone who has had the chance to listen to Johnson knows he is a serious legislator who grasps the perilous position the country is in. When he talks about the national debt, one gets the sense he is actually internalizing the rate at which it is in increasing every second.  READ it HERE

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How Poll Bias Obscures Trump's Likely Election

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 Milton Rosenberg, American Spectator, October 7, 2016

Be mindful of secret rejecters and false positives. “Put not your trust in princes” as Psalm 146 advises… nor put such trust in princesses or polls. For “princess,” awaiting a queenly coronation, read Hillary C and for “polls” include any of those focused on the current presidential race. In point of fact, as the Brits would say, the proper way to read the current presidential polls may be with a modicum of cryptographic decoding and guided by a few essential considerations.

The first is the obvious fact that a respondent answering the pollster may not rank toward the top of the ingenuousness scale. That is to say, he (she) may be directly lying about, or incorrectly predicting, his (her) ultimate vote… and that includes, as well, the possibility of not voting at all. The second pertinent fact is that such inauthentic self-reports are not randomly distributed so as to generate mere statistical “noise” of the sort reflected in the reported “error limits” of the particular poll. To the contrary, the majority of those who misinform the interviewer may go in one direction rather than the other, whether the choice is between classical or country music or between Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump.

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