ROSE NOLEN: Veterans' medical needs underserved

Tuesday, March 26, 2013 | 6:00 a.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — Some Americans believe that we should go to war whenever anyone feels that we are threatened. They feel that the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marines are standing by 24 hours a day to defend us.

I don’t like it when we have to send young men and women into harm’s way. I especially don’t like it when we don’t fulfill our promises to them when they have served. So what’s up with the Veterans Administration’s failure to keep up with the military’s list of veterans who need medical services? Why aren’t the veterans hospitals open to take care of them?

So, the government is in heavy debt. Well, the time to think about that is before we go into wars that we can’t afford. We can’t allow our wounded children to sit round and suffer, waiting until we get the money to treat them. Most of these old congressmen who are so anxious to go to war are people who have never been there. Many of them were deferred for one reason or another.

More and more countries are getting into developing nuclear weapons. We are not going to be able to stop them. We are not the only country in the world that can determine what countries can have weapons.

Today, we are a divided country. This is not unknown to the rest of the world. If we had to go to war today, I’m not sure the country could assemble a majority. Apparently, we cannot even get our gun situation under control, much less decide to go to war.

How many of our veterans have counted more than 500 days since they have had medical attention? How many of them are suffering from post traumatic stress disorder? How many of them are killing themselves every day? And how many people are sitting in Congress pretending not to notice.

And while so many civil servants claim to dislike the president, why are the veterans being persuaded to call on him for help? Is it because he is the only person willing to help them out in their time of need? What happened to all of the big-mouths so willing to go to war?

As Americans, we really need to get ourselves together. We need to decide whether we are going to be a world power or not. At the rate we are going we are not worthy of being viewed as an authority among nations. Nowadays, all we do is sit on the stage complaining like pitiful weaklings, unable to govern ourselves much less anyone else.

At the moment, we seem to be incapable of caring for our own wounded. While we criticize every move the president makes, the Congress behaves as if it is paralyzed. As hard as times are, Congress insists on laying off people from their jobs and trying its best to recreate the recession.

It seems to me, the least the Congress can do is to see that the promises they made to our service men and women are fulfilled. They work so little. They serve only four days a week. They could at least devote that time to the veterans.

Undoubtedly, the military will be expected to act without fail when they are called on. Congresspeople should be unable to look at themselves in the mirror.

Or maybe they are.

You can join the conversation with Rose M. Nolen by calling her at 882-5734 or emailing her at

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Ellis Smith March 26, 2013 | 6:55 a.m.

"Today we are a divided country."

Definitely stating the obvious, and I believe it should be stated - a lot.

But, Rose, WHY is that?

I'll give you my answer, Rose: as a nation and as groups and individuals we have become incredibly self-centered and self-serving, and it's no use pretending that ANY of us are exceptions to that. "The other guy" is you and it's also me.

"For all have sinned and fallen short of God's glory." - Saint Paul [Romans 3:23]

(Report Comment)
Richard Saunders March 26, 2013 | 11:59 a.m.

The country is so divided because the Not-Federal, Not-Reserve "banking" system allows for basically unlimited issuance of currency, which has completely hollowed out the economy, not only here, but world-wide. When a population cannot keep their heads above water, but rather, are drowning in a sea of debt, then the issuance in the form of "bail-outs" only further increases the pain to ALL OTHERS who were not so fortunate to be on the receiving end of Uncle Sugar's free money.

Look around you. EVERYTHING you see is ultimately owned by a bank, and is used to leverage further wealth transfer to them.

Only a society with sound money can expect to be able to afford such luxuries like veteran health care. Of course, without the banksters starting wars everywhere (pretty much ALL of them), we wouldn't have all of these vets requiring our care.

The banksters murdered America way back in 1913 when they finally convinced enough congress critters to vote in favor of their scam, replacing the Republic with a Wall St. coup.

Meanwhile, 100 years later, the destructive power of currency depreciation is obvious, as the dollar of 2013 is only worth roughly $.03 as compared to a 1913 dollar (as measured in purchasing power). This represents a theft of 97%, yet nary a soul is in jail for this crime, as it was all legalized after the fact.

Yep, our nation is divided all right. The ruling class vs. the 99%. As long as parasitism is the law of the land, it will only grow worse. Don't worry though, the banksters are busying ushering in WWIII to take your attention away from their crimes.

(Report Comment)
Richard Saunders March 26, 2013 | 12:05 p.m.

BTW, if it took you 30 seconds to read my above comment, the Fed has increased by money supply by $1M (loaned at near zero rates to member banks and DC so they can steal more assets with it).

Another fun fact to consider... with the exception of the rare days you received a pay raise, each and every day when you go to work, you are receiving less money than the day before. Now, does anyone think they're actually worth less than the day before?

Counterfeiting is theft, plain and simple.

(Report Comment)
Jack Hamm March 26, 2013 | 1:45 p.m.

For those that want the whole picture instead of the Ron Paul version that Richard presented...

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams March 26, 2013 | 3:54 p.m.

Jack: First, if all you can do is link and not put thoughts into your own words, then you don't understand it either. You become someone else's parrot whom you happen to "believe" but don't know why.

Second, Richard quoted a loss of 98% based upon gold. Your first link quoted a loss of 95% based upon a different metric. Are you REALLY gonna quibble over that?

Third, gold is quoted in dollars. If you want gold, you have to pay in dollars. To say the Fed does not control the price of gold is just plain silly. It is true there is a "fear" factor associated with gold, but since gold is quoted in dollars, the Fed indeed does control most of the price of gold because IT is the entity that determines how many dollars are out there. Have you watched to see what happens to the price of gold EVERY TIME the Fed announces a new QE? EVERY TIME it prints more money?????

How could you NOT notice?

Fourth, all that increase in income is BECAUSE THERE ARE MORE DOLLARS TO RECEIVE! Who prints those dollars, anyway?

Fifth, let's pretend that in 1998 I purchased gold eagles at $305 per ounce. Note the purchase would have been made in US dollars, not any other coinage. Remember, we're just pretending. Let's also pretend I sold some gold eagles in 2011 for $1450 per ounce, a 475% profit in 13 years (It's now at $1600/oz).

Now....still well do you think that 475% profit would have weathered all this economic crap created by a housing bubble blasted all to hell by a bunch of folks who did not pay their mortgage? And the morons who misgraded the bonds? And the liberal morons who said "Everyone can own a house, even if you can't pay!" And this unending QE??????

Which, of course, brings us to the topic of most folks not knowing their asset from a hole in the ground.

(Report Comment)
Jack Hamm March 26, 2013 | 4:01 p.m.


"First, if all you can do is link and not put thoughts into your own words, then you don't understand it either. You become someone else's parrot whom you happen to "believe" but don't know why."

That makes no logical sense and is a weak attempt at an insult (something I have noticed you doing more and more often these days).

As for the rest, either actually read the articles or work on your reading comprehension skills.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams March 26, 2013 | 4:11 p.m.

This whole notion of "increased REAL income" also needs discussion.

How do you increase your real income, anyway? I know of only very few is to increase your own value either to yourself or to your employer. The latter means you have to position yourself and get promoted to more responsibility, thus increasing your salary well above the rate of inflation. Increased real income does not grow on trees, even gov't ones, that you can pluck at will. You have to do it yourself.

Here's an example: Everyone has 401Ks or SS or some sort of retirement. Unless you are managing these accounts yourself, you are paying SOMEONE ELSE to manage them for you. Let's pretend (not much of a "pretend", tho) that you are hoping your retirement grows at a gross 4%/year. Well, what are the fees you are paying? 0.75%? 1%? 1.25%? Of your TOTAL portfolio?

Well, start subtracting, because those fees eat into your gross profit (and don't forget individual stock sale brokerage fees!). How do you like it when fund managers take 15-20% of YOUR profits even when they perform poorly? Who's getting rich here: The manager that bundles millions of dollars and takes a nice 1% fee....or you? Whose "real income" is increasing, anyway? Personally, I wish I had never started ANY kind of IRA. I also wish I could have used all that SS money for my OWN investment in myself and my employees.

Another way you can increase "real income" is if those who make products find a way to sell at a lower price. Technology comes to mind, and so does shipping jobs abroad. Your money goes farther and buys more things....a stupid way to increase real income, but hey it does the job.

Like I've said before.....anyone who is 55 and doesn't have at least $750K socked away in a GOOD asset is about to get a real rude financial awakening. That's a polite way of saying "Your screwed!"

Growth in "real income", my rear end.........

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams March 26, 2013 | 4:18 p.m.

No Jack....every teacher knows that if you can't say it in your own words, chances are you don't understand it.

That's what testing is all about.

And it applies in this place, too.

So which part of this excerpt from your first link did I not comprehend?

"...seen another way, the value of the dollar versus gold has fallen 98.5 percent".

and then:

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Consumer Price Index inflation calculator, a dollar in 1913 had the same buying power as $22.09 today, about a 95 percent decline.

(Report Comment)
Jack Hamm March 26, 2013 | 4:33 p.m.

Mike you're being daft on your first point.

Your second point ignores half the issue as pointed out before.

On a third issue, gold is a speculative commodity and currently a bubble that is prime to burst. We might as well measure things in baseball card values.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz March 26, 2013 | 4:41 p.m.

Jack, I find it interesting that the first link you posted talks about the purchasing power of a dollar in 1913 compared to today, but doesn't put the average $400 1913 salary in context with the $33,000 salary of today. How do those numbers compare? I'm betting it's a lot closer than Politi"fact" lets on.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams March 26, 2013 | 4:43 p.m.

As far as those nice stock returns noted in your second link:

(1) I have YET to see one single portfolio match those graphs. Not even once. Those graphs are theoretical and NOT real. People are simply not faithful with their savings. Crap happens in life.

(2) Going into the future, one has to remember that a whole bunch of baby boomers are either in the process of retiring or are about to do so (they hope). When SS doesn't cut the financial mustard, where will they get their cash?

Well....they're gonna sell retirement stocks. Lots and lots and lots of retirement stocks. To see how much, just check out how many dollars are in boomer retirement accounts today. What will be the effect on stock prices? Oh, they'll continue somewhat up, but at a slower rate than if the glut was not there simply because more money will be in circulation and it has to go somewhere (Low interest rates FORCE folks into stocks....ever stop to think that might be intentional? Ask a fixed-income elderly person how they feel about that). And who'll buy those stocks? Joe Doaks with a tiny IRA, crappy salary, and stuggling at the ripe old age of 35? Or those with money?

All of this was predicted in Rich Dad Poor Dad several years ago, and we're about to see it happen for real.

Boomers screwed up...bigtime. They had the power to stop this in its tracks, long ago. But, me-first-I-want-it-now ruined their retirement and probably their kids and grandkids, too, who mimicked everything dad and granddad did.

Irresponsibility-R-Us. The fable of the grasshopper and ant was written for a reason.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams March 26, 2013 | 4:46 p.m.

Jack: Gold WILL adjust, but do you REALLY think it's headed back to $300 or less?

Nope. Not with all THESE dollars in circulation. So long as the fed prints, gold will match it.

(Report Comment)
Jack Hamm March 26, 2013 | 4:53 p.m.

"Boomers screwed up...big-time"

That's an understatement


I don't think it will get back to $300 because it will remain over valued after the bubble bursts just like home prices did.

Too many people have bought into the gold scam for the government to let it sort itself out unfortunately. I wish it would though, allowing free market failure is one of the issues I see eye to eye with libertarians (big L or little l? I always forget) on. Without failure as an incentive success loses its value as an incentive.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams March 26, 2013 | 4:55 p.m.

Finally this: "We might as well measure things in baseball card values."

That's exactly what we are doing today...placing "values" on things willy-nilly. Even your first link says, ""Economists generally think of purchasing power as the amount of goods that a person can buy with a dollar."

"Amount of goods" means "measure things in baseball cards" or whatever "thing" you can think of. All the gov't has to do is make you think the dollar is just a piece of paper that can be manipulated into whatever value a particular generation wishes. Value of a cell phone? Value of a computer? Value of a baseball card?

You name it.

And, once a gov't convinces you of the wisdom of that, you are manipulated.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams March 26, 2013 | 5:04 p.m.

Too many people have bought into the gold scam for the government to let it sort itself out unfortunately.

Jack, you post as if you think this is limited to the hoi polloi.

Why in the world do you think various gov't Central Banks hold gold? Why do you think various gov'ts are BUYING gold? Why do you think some countries are trying to repatriate their gold from storage in other places?

Do you doubt this?

Gold has been a standard of value for at least 5000 years and probably longer. There's good reasons for SOMETHING being a standard of value and I'm not about to be told by folks with another agenda to buck such a human and very-long-term historical trend. That would be utterly foolishness accompanied by extraordinary hubris.

(Report Comment)
Jack Hamm March 26, 2013 | 5:16 p.m.

Slavery was a standard for thousands of years too; does not make it a good idea. Gold has little to no intrinsic value. The idea that an ounce of gold should be worth 15x or more than a barrel of crude oil (not only the most valuable natural resource in the history of man but one with a diminishing supply and exploding demand) is mind boggling ridiculous. The fact that the average person has been conditioned to not recognize this is even more ridiculous and insanely dangerous.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams March 26, 2013 | 5:24 p.m.

JohnS: $400 in 1913 vs $33000 today.

If I understand your question, here's the equation:

33000/400 = X^100 power

Where the 100 power reflects 100 years from 1913 to 2013.

Taking the log of both sides and dividing by 100....then take the antilog of the result, yields 1.04512.

That means if you take $400 and multiply it by 1.04512 one hundred times (compounded), you will arrive at $33000.

Meaning that the 100 year rate of income return is 4.512%...compounded.

One HELLUVA increase in real income (sarcasm off). And people REALLY think a 4.512% rate of return (i.e., salary raise) is a GOOD thing!

It's no wonder folks are poor!

Increased real income, my rear end.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams March 26, 2013 | 5:27 p.m.

"The fact that the average person has been conditioned to not recognize this is even more ridiculous and insanely dangerous."

Yeah, all those central banks are utter morons......

You are "ivory tower" wrong, Jack. Your sentiments fly in the face of being human.

(Report Comment)
Jack Hamm March 26, 2013 | 5:35 p.m.

Keep drinking kool aide Mike!

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams March 26, 2013 | 5:36 p.m.

Hell, I just wish folks understood the "Rule of 72".

Want to double your income in 10 years?

Then you need to figure out how to get a 7.2% rate of salary increase............

PS: 72 divided by 10....or whatever number of years you choose. Apply this to your own career and see why you are so far behind that you think you are ahead. Then DO something about it!

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams March 26, 2013 | 5:39 p.m.

Fine, Jack. You don't believe the math in my 5:24 pm and 5:36 pm posts, there's nothing I can do except pass the Kool-Aid cup to you.

Because I won't be the one getting screwed. You will.

By mathematics.........

(Report Comment)
Jack Hamm March 26, 2013 | 5:48 p.m.

"Because I won't be the one getting screwed. You will.

By mathematics........."

No, as you pointed out earlier I'll be being screwed by baby boomers like yourself who continue to buy into all of the propaganda.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams March 26, 2013 | 5:54 p.m.

Like I said, Jack.

It's math.

Pure and simple math.

You either believe the math....or you don't.

But, the best I can hope for is that some 18-40 year old will look at that very simple math, do some calculating on his/her own, and go "hmmmmmmmm."

That's all I'm after.

My hoped-for audience does not include those over 40. Their fate is a done deal.

(Report Comment)
Jack Hamm March 26, 2013 | 6:16 p.m.

The math matters but you have to stop excluding certain variables. You have bought so far into the propaganda that there is no turning around. My hope is that the 18-40 crowd sees the huge errors that you and your generation made (and continue to make) and avoids those errors.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams March 26, 2013 | 10:18 p.m.

Point out the ignored variables in my 5:24 pm and 5:36 pm posts, Jack.

Anyone who does not understand these basic financial facts (eg., pure math of assets) is in trouble. Without such understanding of these and other principles, people have no foundation for goals and no idea how to accumulate wealth and get on the road to financial security. They are simply moo cows believing the liberal pablum that fiscal health will come to them via the largess...or taking...from others. It's a cruel strategy.

Propaganda? If that's true, there's one helluva lot of folks in these United States who should have bought into it. You can easily tell the ones who didn't.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams March 26, 2013 | 10:31 p.m.

Oh, BTW. I used to be a McGovern democrat. Once I got off that "helpless" track and starting following a sane strategy-of-life, I realized there were a whole lot of folks who wanted what I had without doing what I did to get it. This learning curve took place over 41 years.

I learned my own "propaganda". I learned it by "doing" and by watching those following a variety of life's paths. It wasn't hard to make my choices once I saw the utter futility and helplessness of liberal thought and strategies.

Conservative thoughts and actions do have their problems. But those problems pale in comparison to the dependency and irresponsibility foisted upon others by liberalism, especially the liberalism of today.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith March 27, 2013 | 6:00 a.m.

Michael says, "Oh, BTW, I used to be a McGovern Democrat."


During my "formative" years I went around spouting a bunch of silly, socialist-oriented garbage, to the dismay and occasional anger of my college classmates and professors (at a campus that was then and is still politically conservative, as are most American technically-oriented campuses, public or private).

We all, it seems, commit indiscretions during our youth. I've ceased being embarrassed about mine, and at least SOME of my family, friends and business associates say they've long since forgiven me.

My above revelation begs the question as to what caused my attitude to change. There wasn't any specific event. I was not on the road to Damascas (currently, just about any road leading to Damascas, Syria would be a dangerous place); I didn't experience a blinding light, and no voice spoke to me. Later, after my epiphany, scales didn't fall from my eyes.

Maybe it was a gradual realization that as a husband and father my responsibility was to my family and to those who employed me - they could have employed someone else, you know - and not to abstract utopian concepts.

The batting average for abstract utopian concepts, whether based on economic theory or on supposed racial superiority, during the 20th Century wasn't all that good. But there's always some snake oil salesman who claims his version will be different.


Didn't Rose begin this as something to do with war veterans?

(Report Comment)
J Karl Miller March 27, 2013 | 12:35 p.m.

Yes Ellis, the column began as something to do with war veterans---and, as is the current norm, was bolstered with rumor, innuendo and misinformation--all drawn together by someone with no institutional knowledge nor apparent exercise of research. As a rule, I make it a point not to critique my fellow columnists (seldom are they found on the same page as mine); however, this one requires a response.

It is more and more fashionable, almost trendy, to bash the Veteran's Administration as a bumbling, uncaring bureaucracy which provides substandard care as a matter of course. I take umbrage at that attitude---I have found the HST Veteran's Hospital and others to provide the care that veterans like myself need and have earned. I am aware of some inconvenience in obtaining docuentation and of the oft seemingly inordinate time to complete a claim. It has been my experience that timely claim service is not possible without initially accurate information provided by the claimant. Failure is a two way street.

Accordingly, demonizing the Veteran's Administration because one's wife's first cousin's son could not get disability for a finger cut on a C-Ration can is not helpful.

By the way Ellis, you and I can recall the "good old days" when gold was sixteen dollars an ounce

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith March 27, 2013 | 1:40 p.m.

J. Karl:

My father was a WWI vet who served in France. He never asked anything of the VA, but when he suffered a stroke late in his life (he never fully recovered from the effects), faced with a long recuperative stay in civilian facilities or a VA hospital, I went to the VA. No delays, no red tape. He was hospitalized at the Knoxville, IA hospital. We felt he received excellent care until he was well enough to be moved to private elder care, paid for by our family.

Isn't it phenomenal that some of the same folks who extol the benefits of ever larger and more intrusive federal government so enjoy bashing this particular agency of that same government? Hypocrites.

When gold was at that price it was illegal to privately own it. Gee! Nobody ever broke THAT law. :) Do you think otherwise law-abiding citizens will break the law if firearms ownership is outlawed? In the proverbial New York minute.

(Report Comment)
J Karl Miller March 27, 2013 | 7:59 p.m.


The current efforts to "reform" our gun rights to render us a kinder gentler nation by reducing violence is a farce-- violent crime has dropped by almost 50 percent since the 1970's. And, the proposed new laws are unenforceable--think prohibition and the "war on drugs."

By the way, how many of our drive-by shooters will be affected by mandatory background checks?

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith March 28, 2013 | 12:05 a.m.

Damn it, Karl, there you go again: destroying fantasies with facts. Have you no shame?

(Report Comment)
Darrell Wyatt March 29, 2013 | 5:43 p.m.

"Didn't Rose begin this as something to do with war veterans?"

Yes she did, "something to do with war veterans" and the way they are not being treated. And the points of the article can not be denied or dismissed by changing the subject. There was no part of what she wrote that made me think it deserved to be high jacked by at least two flailing egos. Bet you can figure that out also!

The article, author and subject deserves more respect than what followed.

(Report Comment)

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