|OFFE LATEST NEWS|
I am very concerned and disappointed with you Mr. Bailey. You currently hold the position as the President, Chairman or Director of the Gathering of Eagles (GOE), yet you did not directly contact my office with your negative comments concerning our objectives and motives. As the national chairman of OFFE, I need to know if there are any concerns or questions that you may have about my staff, our national committee, or our labor union supporters, in the future direct your questions of concern to me - do we understand this request my friend? I would give you the same courtesy; you are free to call my office any time. I would also suggest you direct all questions and comments about the Firebase Network directly to Rick Townsend, National Director, Firebase Network.
I find it very disturbing that leading up to GOE on the 17th of March, our support of GOE was welcome and appreciated. We all chipped in to help raise funds and promote the effort. I encouraged all of my associates to support and promote the GOE concept. But, now that you have experienced a mild success and raised a few bucks, you wish to distance yourself from OFFE and Firebase. I really don’t think this was a wise move. But, time will be the judge of that.
While I am on the subject of money, since OFFE was actively involved in fund raising for GOE, and GOE has used OFFE to promote their agenda, I expect a full accounting of funds collected and expended up until March 17th. I have been unable to find this information on the GOE web site. It was my understanding that ALL surplus donations would be forwarded to non-profit organizations devoted to assisting our men and women in uniform. How much money was left over and which organizations received these funds? Since OFFE was directly involved in GOE fund raising, I expect a full accounting as soon as possible. If I don’t receive this requested information within the next 10 days, I will assume you have made other arrangements for the surplus money collected and I will advise my associates and supporters to contact you directly.
Allow me to qualify this demand. OFFE has grown dramatically in the past two years, and now has the support of well over 10 million signatories on our Mandatory Funding Resolution, and that number is growing every day. These supporters expect me and OFFE volunteers to act in their best interest. They count on us to protect their donations of time and money. When I ask them to give money to a cause – they trust my judgment and integrity. I have heard from many OFFE supporters that they donated to GOE and they all want to know where their donations went. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Firebase Network didn’t make the very same demand of accountability.
On one other note, your claims that OFFE is aligned with a group that is openly discouraging enlistment in the military is false, nothing could be farther from the truth. Currently, OFFE is conducting an enlistment drive in the New York area and encouraging enlistment in the U.S. Military. I am very aware of statements made by the Firebase Network and [Name Omitted] prior to 9/11/2001. I am also aware that Firebase Network’s current position doesn’t support your Anti-American sounding spin. I can’t speak for Firebase Network, but I can tell you the members of the FBN I have met are as Pro-Troops, Pro- Veterans, Pro-America as they come. Your comments are unfounded and very distasteful.
Awaiting your reply,
Your immediate attention and cooperation is appreciated.
Gene D. Simes, National
From the desk Veteran’s Rights Advocate
Letter from Veterans Advocate [Name Omitted] Berry
To: Larry Bailey
April 7, 2007,
I regret to inform you that I will no longer support the GOE under your leadership. Although I was extremely proud to attend the March 17th rally in DC, certain issues have come to light that I personally find deplorable.
It is very obvious from your email below that you harbor a great deal of contempt and resentment for the Department of Veterans Affairs, American labor union members, and even your fellow veterans.
When processing PTSD disability claims, the VA has a policy of giving the veteran the benefit of the doubt when a case is border line. This means that in some cases less severe cases of PTSD are approved for disability compensation payments. This also means that claims are paid that might not be paid otherwise. The logic behind this practice is to insure no veteran suffering from PTSD is denied. According to your email, this has caused an incredible number of phony veterans receiving undeserved benefits. Apparently, if you had your way you would shake down the veteran community and weed out these veterans. Unlike the imposters that falsely claim military awards they did not earn, or people falsely claiming to be a POW, PTSD is a medical condition which is better left to the professionals to evaluate. Would you please tell me what medical education you have that qualifies you to make such determinations? You have no right to second guess VA awards in a quest to expose phonies. Are you aware by making such a broad statement about the large number of veterans ripping off the system you are suggesting that a large number of the 30,000 veterans that attended the GOE rally are phonies? Personally, I would rather see 3 veterans acquire questionable disability claims than one legitimately ill veteran do without. Your suggested ‘which hunt’ will only cause unnecessary grief within the veteran community and require the veterans to prove themselves yet once more. I’m afraid I cannot stand by and allow you to do this.
You also seem to harbor a great deal of bitterness towards labor unions and their members. Once again, are you aware that a very large number of veterans groups like Rolling Thunder members are also labor union members? Does ‘Made in the USA’ mean anything to you?
I suggest instead of picking up the book ‘Stolen Valor’ for guidance, you pick up the Bible instead. Your current attitude does nothing to unite this country’s former military personnel. If fact, your approach reminds me more of the Salem Witch Hunts. Attacking the veteran and blaming them for the problems within the VA is a very divisive and harmful act.
As for my personal and current position on recruiting and enlistment, I have been working with Operation Firing For Effect for over a year now on finding ways to improve enlistment. Our objective is to save the all volunteer military and avoid the Draft. We are also promoting a voter’s registration drive and encouraging veterans to get involved in politics. Your accusation that I have recently publicly discouraged young people from enlisting in the U.S. Military is nothing short of a lie. However, many families are doing just that and I don’t blame them one bit.
Mr. Bailey, I have been actively involved in veterans’ affairs for over 20 years now. Before me, my father worked for the VA in Jacksonville Florida. I possess knowledge and experience the far surpasses that of most employees that work for the VA. Your definition of Mandatory Funding is inaccurate and very misleading. I suggest you read up on what mandating full funding for the VA would mean.
Now, I’m certain you are a Patriot that really loves our country. And I am aware of your outstanding service in the Navy. But, with a single email you have discouraged many GOE supporters and severely damaged the future of GOE. I strongly suggest you step aside and allow someone with some sort of realistic vision and compassion for our veterans take over GOE. Otherwise, I foresee the movement that was powerful in the beginning rapidly become an impotent group elitists and veteran supremacists incapable of promoting positive change for our veterans. You simply cannot hate everyone and expect good things to come from that.
I have read your most recent GOE newsletter and once again – no mention of what was done with the surplus funds raised. In your newsletter you didn’t address any issues of importance to our veterans, and you gave no direction for the GOE. You did however encourage everyone to ‘buy’ a GOE banner. What exactly would that banner stand for? Trashing American labor union members? Shaking down fellow veterans? Or just to show hatred towards the VA healthcare system and everything it stands for?
As it stands now, I am withdrawing my support of your vision for GOE’s future. I personally think you are a danger to efforts to unite this country’s veterans. Under new leadership I might reconsider joining the GOE again. But, for now, I have far more important issues to address.
The sad part of this entire situation is, many fine people were hoping that the GOE was the beginning of something far bigger and valuable. The GOE gave many people hope. I’m afraid they all are going to be extremely disappointed with your direction and goals.
Letter from Rick Townsend Firebase Network
April 7, 2007
MR. LARRY BAILEY,
Here is the Firebase Network's current statement in regards to enlistment in the U.S. military.
Because of the failure of Congress to fully fund
Veterans’ health care. Because of the adversarial attitude of the Department of Veterans Affairs.
And because of the inability of the VA to safeguard the
Personal records of our Veterans: The Firebase Network advises anyone considering enlisting in the military to be
Fully aware of the risks and the hardships involved not only in serving your country, but afterwards trying to acquirebenefits earned as a Veteran.
At one time there was a "Quote" from [Name Omitted] on the Firebase web site recommending our sons and daughters not to enlist. There is also a recruitment brochure from 1992 promising "FREE health care for life" if you serve long enough to earn a Federal pension. Col. Bud Day won a lawsuit about this, but the Politician that ran on "A promise made is a promise kept" had it overturned in the Appeals Court. Weather you realize it or not, Mr. Bailey, a large number of fathers and grand fathers in this country are giving their children the very same advice. It saddens me to think that this ‘truth’ disqualifies me and the Firebase Network members from participating as a future sponsor of GOES, but apparently our ‘methodology’ is undesirable, and just what "Methodology" are you referring to?
When the Firebase Network logo was added to the GOE web site as a sponsor, there were only 4 other logos posted on the site. Apparently, this enlistment issue was not a problem at that time, and our support was welcomed. When I wrote a letter of endorsement for the GOE project, this issue never came up. Starting some 8 weeks prior to the GOE rally in DC, I mentioned the GOE on every broadcast of our weekly FBN radio program, ‘The Firebase Network's Veterans Hour’. Again, not once did anyone from GOE question FBN policy. You have appeared on the Veterans Hour many times from the "Operation street corner," Vietnam Vets against Kerry," "Boot Murtha" and "Gathering of Eagles" at no time was the Firebase Network's stand on enlistment an issue. When I personally attended the GOE rally in DC on the 17th of March, not one person approached me about the FBN’s position on enlistment. Now, apparently, it’s a big deal.
Mr. Baily, what happened in DC on the 17th was just short of a modern day miracle. The Veterans of this Country came together and did our Country proud The call was sent out and for the first time in decades the Veterans responded in high order. You simply can’t capture that kind of magic in a box, or a jar. Magic like that defies definition and boundaries. That kind of power belongs solely to the people. If the people don’t believe in you, there is no magic. If the Veterans of this Country are ever to get the EARNED benefits they deserve it will only be because of the Veterans standing together and forcing the detached elitist in DC to "KEEP THE PROMISE."
The last thing I want to say is that you have had my e-mail address and phone number since 2004, but I hear about your displeasure with the Firebase Network through forwarded e-mails from other groups.
These letters are written in response to Larry Bailey's letter as
4/4/2007 11:46:11 A.M. Eastern
Sent from the Internet
While I truly support each and every veteran's
receiving the medical care he/she deserves, I DO NOT
subscribe to Firebase's methodology.
In addition to my objection to your encouraging
young men and women not to enlist in the Armed
Forces, it is clear that this is a Big Labor ploy to
make the VA even more dependent on labor unions. It
has long been clear, furthermore, that far too many
veterans and phonies are bilking the VA out of
hundreds of millions of dollars, and Congress will
not allow the VA to do the investigation that is
necessary to stop the fraud. Unless and until the
fraudulent VA claimants are ferreted out and dealt
with, I will not lend ANY support to any effort to
give that corrupt agency another nickel. I am
surprised that you would advocate pumping billions
more down that bureaucratic rathole.
On the other hand, I WILL support any effort that
enables needy and DESERVING veterans the right to
obtain service-related medical care from the private
I ask the following of you:
(1) please refrain from linking your organizations
to Gathering of Eagles;
(2) while I would not forbid you to broadcast from
GOE II on May 26th, please do not do that;
(3) please do not, under any circumstances, imply
that GOE and Firebase/Fire for Effect are part of
the same organization; and
(4) please cancel my upcoming interview two weeks
from now on Stardust.
[Name Omitted], this is not personal, as I believe you to be
an honorable man and deserving veteran. It is just
that I think your methodology is wrong and that I
take exception to the clear attempt by Gene Simes to
link GOE with Firebase. I did not appreciate that.
4/4/2007 11:46:11 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time
[ Name Omitted]
Sent from the Internet (Details)
While I truly support each and every veteran's receiving the medical care he/she deserves, I DO NOT subscribe to Firebase's methodology.
In addition to my objection to your encouraging young men and women not to enlist in the Armed Forces, it is clear that this is a Big Labor ploy to make the VA even more dependent on labor unions. It has long been clear, furthermore, that far too many veterans and phonies are bilking the VA out of hundreds of millions of dollars, and Congress will not allow the VA to do the investigation that is necessary to stop the fraud. Unless and until the fraudulent VA claimants are ferreted out and dealt with, I will not lend ANY support to any effort to give that corrupt agency another nickel. I am surprised that you would advocate pumping billions more down that bureaucratic rathole.
On the other hand, I WILL support any effort that enables needy and DESERVING veterans the right to obtain service-related medical care from the private sector.
I ask the following of you:
(1) please refrain from linking your organizations to Gathering of Eagles;
(2) while I would not forbid you to broadcast from GOE II on May 26th, please do not do that;
(3) please do not, under any circumstances, imply that GOE and Firebase/Fire for Effect are part of the same organization; and
(4) please cancel my upcoming interview two weeks from now on Stardust.
[Name Omitted], this is not personal, as I believe you to be an honorable man and deserving veteran. It is just that I think your methodology is wrong and that I take exception to the clear attempt by Gene Simes to link GOE with Firebase. I did not appreciate that.