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Veterans' Day Freebies & a Broken Government

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Veterans' News

Last month I took a vacation from my usual topics and reported on a reunion I attended in Milwaukee, Wisc. Well, this month I’m going to return to my normal style. So, to borrow the punch line from a very old joke, “Okay, break is over—back on your heads!” Some of you may know the joke and understand. Others won’t have a clue but may get a glimmer after I get into the piece. Please bear with me. 

First, with Veterans Day close upon us I’d like to make mention of some freebies that are out there for those of us who have served. Below are some national chains that annually thank us for our service.  

Applebee’s - All veterans and active duty military eat free from a limited menu at Applebee’s on Veterans Day. 

Chili’s — Veterans and active duty dine for free from a special limited six item menu on Veterans Day. 

Golden Corral — Golden Corral Restaurants’ Military Appreciation Monday free dinner will be available on November 15, from 5 pm to 9 pm. Military retirees, veterans, active duty, National Guard and Reserves are all welcome. 

Hooters — All Veterans and active duty eat free. The free entrees must be selected from a special Veterans Day menu. 

Krispy Kreme – All active-duty, retirees and veterans get a free doughnut on Veterans Day. Be sure to call ahead to verify your local Krispy Kreme is participating. 

Outback Steakhouse — Veterans and active-duty military get a complimentary Bloomin’ Onion and non-alcoholic beverage on Veterans Day. 

Texas Roadhouse – Free meal from opening until 4 pm on Veterans Day. Call ahead to your local restaurant for more information. 

T.G.I. Friday’s – Veterans and service members buy one get one free from November 11 through 14. Contact your nearest location for more details on their Veterans Day BOGO offer. 

On the local front The Sub Shoppe in Kootenai on Hwy 200 is going all out this year. Since November 10 is the 236th birthday of the formation of the U.S. Marine Corps the Sub Shoppe will be giving all veterans their choice of sandwich and beverage for three days this year. The hours are: Thursday, 11/10, from 8 am to 4 pm; Friday, 11/11 from 8 am to 4 pm also; and, on Saturday, 11/12 from 8 am to 3 pm. These good folks – Barb and LeAnna Porath, Dave and Laurie Wall and Jim and Marti Ashford – deserve our heartfelt thanks and year around support for all they do for area veterans. 

Not to be outdone, Stacy’s Restaurant on Hwy. 95 south of the Long Bridge in Sagle is also showing their support for our servicemen and women by giving all veterans a free breakfast, lunch or dinner on November 11 from 6 am to 9 pm. And, don’t forget Papa Murphy’s in Ponderay. They give a discount to every service member or veteran—with proper ID—all year round. There are many patriotic businesses in our area that support our veterans and I will try to recognize them all as I learn of them.

I’m assuming that all the regular events will be held on the 11th but, as of this writing, I do not have a complete schedule nor calendar of the when and where. Check with the local veteran’s organization and also watch the daily newspapers.

The Bird Aviation Museum and Invention Center in Sagle will be hosting The Spirit of Freedom on November 11 beginning at 9:30 am. A complimentary lunch will be provided to all active duty military and veterans. Guest speakers include Voyager pilot and Medal of Honor winner Dick Rutan, along with Director of Idaho Homeland Security Brigadier Gen. William Shawver Jr. A surprise event will be held at 11:11 am on this special day of 11/11/11. Visit www.BirdAviationMuseum.com for more information.

Now, I’ll get back to my regular targets—the 112th Congress and Washington, DC. But first I have to take a passing swipe at the Bonner County Commissioners. They have given me two areas of concern over the past month or so. First, they created an ‘advisory council’ to find ‘free market solutions’ to conflicts with regulatory agencies (whatever that means?). After I attended a meeting of this PRC (Property Rights Council) I ascertained that their intent was to advise Bonner County residents who have had conflicts with state and federal regulatory agencies. So, the PRC is to be a sort of Ombudsman with a specific agenda? The question that comes immediately to mind is: “Who’s paying for this?” The answer, as I see it, is the taxpayers. The Commissioners have hired—at approximately $22K for a 19-hours-per-week job—a non-county resident to head this ‘advisory council’. 

The second thing is the necessity of the Board of Commissioners having to hire a ‘mediator’ because two of the commissioners can’t play well together. One would think that with nothing but Republicans on the Board they’d be able to make the compromises required to govern. Is it possible that one of the three is so intent on having his own way that he won’t compromise? Sounds like Representative Eric Cantor of Virginia to me. Regardless of the final outcome in these events there is one thing that is certain—the taxpayers of Bonner County will be the losers.

Meanwhile, inside the ‘Beltway’ things seem to have gone from bad to worse. Not only will the House not even consider any portion of the President’s plans or proposals, the Senate—with its Democratic majority—has been unable to move anything forward due to the GOP’s continual use of the filibuster. Actually, all it takes is for the GOP to ‘threaten’ a filibuster. Once again the arcane rules of the Senate have thwarted the desire and will of a majority. 

Is it any wonder that the majority—75 percent at last count—of American people feel that the system is broken? I’ve almost given up trying to find any successes in the area of legislative action in support of veterans. Of the 3,163 House and 1,681 Senate bills introduced in the 112th Congress as of 12 October I have found ONE that does anything for veterans that has been passed by both houses and signed into law by the President and that is a ‘temporary’ fix. I, as a citizen and voter, find this to be entirely unacceptable. We have well over 50 million Americans either underemployed or looking for work and those jerks inside the Beltway are more focused on politics than governance. We are paying them at least $154K annually to do NOTHING of benefit for the American people. This has to stop! Any elected representative who fails to listen to his or her constituents needs to be replaced at the earliest opportunity. 

The American people were sold a bill of goods in November of 2010. A protest movement was underhandedly co-opted by the Far Right—aided and abetted by a deluge of Karl Rove and Koch brothers’ money—resulting in ‘Astroturf’ candidates being elected. Hopefully, the average voter now sees the error of their ways and will do a better job in November of 2012. One can but hope.

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Gil  Beyer Gil Beyer A 21 year Navy veteran, lived in Bonner County for over 30 years, Past Commander of the Priest River DAV Chapter and admitted news junkie.

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