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January 27, 2005

Annals of the ownership society
Posted by Teresa at 06:12 PM *

Apparently some of the wounded soldiers at Walter Reed Hospital are now going to be charged for their meals. Julia of Sisyphus Shrugged pointed me to the writeup of this at No More Mr. Nice Blog, which got the story from Salon.

Maybe they could get a cut of the take on all those “Support Our Troops” ribbon decals I’ve been seeing?

Comments on Annals of the ownership society:
#1 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2005, 06:33 PM:

The "Support Our Troops" ribbons and decals are all made in China.

#2 ::: ElizabethVomMarlowe ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2005, 06:49 PM:

It's just maddening. Food...what's next? Charging for field dressings?

You might enjoy: I haven't gotten one, but it did make me laugh.

#3 ::: Philip F Ripper ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2005, 07:30 PM:

"Richard Fuller, legislative director for Paralyzed Veterans of America, said the move is a major disappointment and 'sets a very bad signal' that 'if you step out of line and work to improve veteransí healthcare and other programs, you get whacked.'"

#4 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2005, 08:36 PM:

If This Continues...

Bush administration reduces tax on water that is hurting giant agrobusiness corporations, makes up for that by instituting a tax on oxygen for individuals.

Question for Bush: do draft dodgers have to pay for their meals and drinks? If a National Guardsman goes AWOL, should he hand in his meal receipts when he gets back?

#5 ::: Jeff ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2005, 09:26 PM:

Being charged for meals during long term medical care is not a new practice. During long term hospital care, a soldier or sailor will typically be placed on med-hold status and sent TAD (temporary assignment of duty) to the medical treatment facility. During TAD status we are given COMRATS (commuted rations) which is a daily allotment for meals normally covered by base facilities. This works great for single guys; who typically make out with a little more extra pay while under TAD status, for married servicemembers we receive COMRATS already, which is used to offset food living expenses for having a spouse, kids etc...
Commissioned Officers ALWAYS pay for meals. Even on deploying units. This is an archaic system harkening to some old tradition from back when Noah was in charge.
It makes me sad to know that military families are still in the same boat as they were 20 years ago even with annual congressional raises and tenure pay raises and rank pay raises. It is simply not enough. One of the sayings we have is that the Navy gives you just enough money to hang yourself with.
The average soldier or sailor coming in on active duty receives a net take home salary BELOW the poverty line. One might argue that we get free housing; while efforts have been made to improve housing conditions, the majority of military housing was built during WWII and has ALREADY been condemned.
Free medical care, yes we get that too...but it's not free; TRICARE takes out a small amount of my paycheck and I have to stand in long lines at military hospitals being treated by people who are just as disgruntled as I am. Facilities are understaffed and technology is not always up to par with civilian medical centers. And I've always questioned someone who's been hiding out as a doctor in the Navy making a third of what they could be doing the same job on the outside. P.S. You can't sue for malpractice in military; they screw up, oh-well.
And then there are taxes, while some of my minor allowances are not taxed, I still take it in the shorts as a married man by paying 28% of my gross to federal. How in the hell can I be payed with tax payer money then big brother tax tax-payer-money?---I know it's for representation, you mean that absentee ballot that didn't make it time to be counted.
First amendment rights? Pardon me while I roll around on the floor in hysterical laughter. Yeah we have them, to a certain extent. How many soldiers and sailors do you see voicing there open opinion about the state of things? Would you believe that this post here could be misconstrued as a violation of the UCMJ; it's a mast-able offense.
Why do I continue to serve? Hell if I know anymore. I report back for submarine duty in May. I'd love to give big brother the extra $9.99 a day I receive for spending 70-80% of each year I spend under the water and away from my wife and have him buy a Happy Meal.

#6 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2005, 09:54 PM:

Thirty years ago we were saying "Nothing's too good for our boys in uniform, but Congress hasn't yet figured out how to give us less than nothing."

#7 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2005, 10:02 PM:

"The government, which was designed for the people, has got into the hands of the bosses and their employers, the special interests. An invisible empire has been set up above the forms of democracy."

--- Woodrow Wilson

#8 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2005, 12:45 AM:

That blows. I recall the one time I was told I'd gotten too much food, because we had a cap of something like $7.00, and I'd taken a bit more juice than that (I was feeling under the weather, or some such).

Other than that, no problems. When I was an inpatient I not only got to order my meals, I could go to the cafeteria and get a meal. This was a good thing, as I was on Prednisone and eating about 6,000 calories a day (the middle of the night walks to buy a Dove bar from the vending machines were typical).

But I didn't get seperate rats. I got base pay, and my $2.00 per day allowance for being deployed stateside. That's it. And I can pretty much guarantee that if they are entitled to separate rats, they aren't seeing it right away. The nearest grocery to Walter Reed is about a mile away. There are a couple of them (a Safeway, and a Whole Foods) a bit further, in the other direction, but nothing nearby. The rooms in Mologne House have a microwave, and a small fridge, so real cooking is out.

The formations, well I agree with them. Otherwise troops take off for a week, or two, at a time and no one knows where they are. They also skip appointments, fall into depression, lose track of things, and generally do less well than when they have some outside structure. Being in hopsital, and cut off from unit, home, friends, sense of normalcy they need some contact with both the Army, and with people.

I know the staff there, I know the case managers bust their ass to make it easier. I know the hopsital staff do the same (I was bumped up three weeks on the MRI schedule) so it isn't the hospital's fault (IMO) but Christ on a crutch, who's brain dead idea is this?


#9 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2005, 12:52 AM:

Yesterday, driving through a relatively red-neckey section of Redmond, WA, I saw an older Jeep Cherokee with neat stick-on lettering on the rear window reading, "Support and love our warriors."

Two thoughts. Fist, I really fear for my country. It's as if we're turning into some Heinlein-inspired version of Rome. Second, I think that if the "support and love" cretins could actually be educated about how our military is being treated, they'd turn them out of office. Unfortunately, they've mostly been educated post-Reagan.

A little source of hope would be a good thing right about now.

#10 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2005, 12:56 AM:

Oy. Bad editing. The "them" to be turned out of office above are, of course, the Bushies and the GOP.

#11 ::: carsonfire ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2005, 01:17 AM:

Related item (not tryin' to cause trouble!): Walter Reed is overflowing with so much bulky, non-monetary gift items for soldiers that they're running out of storage space.

People are being asked to send monetary donations to the soldiers instead of food, electronics, and other items, because the soldiers and their families have far more expenses than simply the hospital meals.

Here's the story:

And a website which has information on various help organizations for the troops:

Wonderful blog! Found you through a friend and via Neil Gaiman's journal. I'll sit back down over here and be quiet, now.

#12 ::: Will "scifantasy" Frank ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2005, 10:30 AM:

I'll sit back down over here and be quiet, now.

What would be the point of that?

#13 ::: Jo Walton ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2005, 11:05 AM:

Larry -- I suppose Heinlein might have approved of the war in Iraq, he approved of Vietnam and he didn't like the UN, I can imagine him maybe supporting the invasion on reflex patriotism and belief in lies about WMD.

But I really can't believe he would ever have supported the climate of fear and the loss of civil rights at home, the "free speech zones" and the outsourcing of torture.

"Support and Love Our Warriors" does however strike me as is yet another one of those slogans that seems to come from a distopian novel. I think it's the word "warriors" that does it. You can ask for "troops" to be brought home, to be treated properly, to get their meals in hospital, but "warriors"? It's hard to imagine supporting them in any other way than with more ammunition.

#14 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2005, 11:46 AM:

Larry, Jo, et al.:

"Support and Love Our Warriors" instantly brought these two corollaries to mind:

(1) "Love the Warriors but Not the War"


(2) "Support and Love Our Torturers"

(1) is structurally from a Christian saying about sinners. As a son and grandson of veterans, and as someone who has worked as a civilian for Army, Navy, and Air Force, I have great respect for our armed services and the wonderful men and women who serve. But I hate this war. I have yet to see a good frame for bifurcating these two feelings, which are not innately antithetical.

(2) is a reductio ad absurdum of the original slogan, maybe with a whiff of Wolfe, mixed with a "my country, right or wrong" attitude as seems prevalent with the Reagan Democrats who helped elect and especially reelect Emperor Bush II.

#15 ::: Scorpio ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2005, 12:55 PM:

As far as I'm concerned, each magnetic "ribbon" means that som wounded man doesn't have the 5.00 phone card that the trinket represents.

It also indicates that the bearer is more interested in strutting than in really supporting the people who doing the dirty work.

#16 ::: anonymous coward ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2005, 09:53 PM:

They say in the marine corps the pay is mighty fine, the give you a hundred dollars and take back ninety-nine. ooh ay I want to go... but they won't let me go... Ooh ay I want to go hooo... oooo... oo-OO-o-O-O-o-ome Hey!

Ah, I love the corps. Every day a vacation, every paycheck a fortune, every meal a feast. God I love the corps!

#17 ::: Gigi Rose ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2005, 12:04 PM:

I knew anonymous coward's e-mail was too funny to be true. My brother is a now jarhead who left the Navy and found that civilian life was not working out for him. (Of course this is the same kid who at age 6 took a hammer to my fanfriends who were visiting.) I almost went into the Airforce myself. Some people are just suited to the military and some just end up there due to nothing better, like my little brother. Personally I think our country would benefit from mandatory service for everyone, but non-combatants should have an option for something pacifistic. As a teacher in an alternative school I see recruiters on a regular basis. They seem to recruit the desperate and the clueless most often. The few people who really want to be there for patriotic/moral reasons donít need recruiters and those seem to be few and far between. People arenít lined up to fight in this war as they were in WWII.

Oh and carsonfire about your comment I'll sit back down over here and be quiet, now. I said that too but is easier said than done because the people are so nice here.

#18 ::: Ray Radlein ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2005, 01:04 PM:

Speaking of Carson, let me put in a wholly unsolicited plug here for his web comic, Elf Life. It's currently on semi-hiatus due to Real Life®, but it has a deep enough archive to keep anyone busy in the meantime.

#19 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2005, 06:43 PM:

Jo (coming in a bit late here) -- Spider Robinson points out in THE CRAZY YEARS that Heinlein's predictions for the future (in EXPANDED UNIVERSE, for one place) included his belief that the United States would never engage in an aggressive war. And I certainly don't think he could have accepted the euphemism "pre-emptive" at all.

I do not believe Heinlein would have supported the war in Iraq.

#20 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2005, 12:12 PM:

Tom Whitmore:

"I do not believe Heinlein would have supported the war in Iraq."

It is sad that we can't know that to be true.

Remember how SFWA was split over the War in Vietnam (phase 3 of World War III), with full-page ads in the New York Times by prominent Science Fiction authors in favor of the Administration position; and an opposing ad by equally prominent SF authors against the war? That happened again over "Star Wars" [the military system, not the film]. There was the split between Heinlein and Clarke over SDI, after they'd finally healed the wounds of their disagreement over Vietnam.

The interesting point to me is that Heinlein MIGHT have supported the war in Iraq (part of World War V, if Emperor Bush I's war was WW IV). That is, if he believed the WMD lies that Bush, Condi, Powell, and Rummy told us. Then what would Heinlein have done when he found out he'd been lied to?

That is, for those who deeply respect and were ethically shaped by Heinlein (which includes me):
WWRAHD? What Would Robert Anson Heinlein Do?

#21 ::: Jessica Lopez ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2005, 01:37 PM:

Agree with anonymous coward - "I love the corps!" ;)

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