America: February 2017

2006-2017  Gay Military Signal

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Soldiers' Mothers

The dictatorship by Executive Order has begun, with idiotic mean-spirited life-destroying edicts that only a fascist monster could be proud of.  The selective banning of 'nationalities' and religions was gleefully and intentionally imposed without warning, resulting in desperate families with children caught 'in-transit' with no place to go despite having spent years carefully collecting all the proper paperwork to come here.  They had been screened and interrogated and investigated and had valid visas with photos and crying children.  They had endured bombings, living in rubble, abandoned everything, moved through their home airports terrified of being stopped; and then America, the country of Dreams, slammed the door shut and told them to drop dead and get lost.  If you are a billionaire, you cannot possibly imagine what its like to be stranded at a foreign airport surrounded by your luggage, three dead-tired crying children who are hungry and have to poop, holding your sheaf of valid entry papers in shaking hands and trying to explain to some uniformed unsmiling bureaucratic bully who does not understand you, that you were told that you would be welcome here.  "What, what? But but....The children need to use the toilet!  Please, why are you doing this?  For God's sake!"

The unspeakable cruelty is not what this country is all about, until now.

The morning after the signing, families were separated, grandmothers were held in handcuffs for hours, and the mother of a United States Army active duty sergeant was denied entry and deported despite having all the proper papers and a visa.  This nation's Acting Attorney General, who pointed out that this chaos was unconstitutional, was 'fired,' effective immediately, as if the federal government of the United States of America was some stupid third rate reality TV show.

I'm sitting here writing this at home in America where I was born, a 70 year old proud patriotic American military veteran of ten years service, because some Immigration Agent on Ellis Island in 1938 let my mother in despite her having arrived as a humble Refugee.  She got here after a horrible terrifying months-long escape from the heart of Nazi Germany, with the shirt on her back and a tiny cardboard suitcase.  It makes me sick to tears, to know that now an American president is viciously turning back people just like my own mother, who only want freedom.

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AAFES to open up online to Vets

What with everything else going on, it was easy to almost miss this minor public relations announcement about a new benefit for veterans.  There are some of us Grumpy Old Vets who've waited some seventy years for this little perk.  AAFES, the Army Air Force Exchange Service, will open its online shop to all honorably discharged vets starting on this coming Veterans Day in November.  I'd almost forgotten what AAFES was.  Only a government agency (DoD) could come up with an abbreviation that vaguely sounds like something unmentionable.  But, never mind that, later this year we'll be able to browse the online aisles for almost anything, tax free.

I remember, when I was on active duty decades ago, how I'd run to the Exchange to buy fresh underwear or uniform parts for an upcoming sudden inspection.  Apparently, they carry much more now; and some of it might actually be made in America.  Maybe I could buy a uniform to wear in Pride parades that actually fits my fat old butt.  TransVets will be able to buy uniforms reflective of who they are.

So, how will it work?  I was told that there will be a website where you can register, prove that you're an honorably discharged veteran, get a password, and then you're in.  The operative word here is 'honorable,'  I heard that.  I know a lot of Honorable Veterans who have less than honorable discharges simply because of who they are.  I asked about that.  The AAFES folks deferred to DoD which now is open to openly LGBT patriotic Americans.  So, what's with the denial of this benefit?  No answer.  It may be worth making some noise about when the time comes.

So what are their prices like?  No clue.  Do they charge for shipping?  Yes, with a discount depending on how much you spend on an order, just like regular online shops.  So, is this benefit worth anything? At least its something and something is better than nothing, I think.  But, its not going to happen until November, which is a long time from now, unless they shut it down first before it even starts.  If I need a new toaster, I'm not going to wait.

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