On September 28, 2012, one of our own, Tom Clary suffered a devastating house fire that burned their house to the ground and destroyed everything that he and his wife, Nancy owned … except the clothes on their backs.
This is an appeal for all of you to reach into your pockets and, if you are able, to send donation to Tom’s bank to help him and his wife get back on their feet.
Please make your donation check payable to:
Tom and Nancy Clary
Be sure to write on the note line:
Mail to: TD Bank
7075 SW Highway 27
Fort White, FL 32038
John Wear, President
You can submit a request for a copy of your DD-214
FRAUD AND IDENTITY THEFT
Disclaimer: The following are some of the ways in which the author and his wife attempt to protect their financial safety, prevent the exposure of sensitive personal information and avoid having their identities stolen. This information in no way is intended to advise addressees in legal matters.
Fraud and identity theft are said to be two fastest growing types of crime. These are some of the ways we have attempted to prevent fraud and identity theft. Add any other ways you use or hear about and please forward them to me.
1. We use our initials and last name printed on our checks, not our full names.
2. We do not sign the back of credit cards. Instead, we put “PHOTO ID REQUIRED.” One of our credit cards has our photos on the cards.
3. When paying credit card bills by check, we put only the last four numbers of our card in the “FOR” or “MEMO” line on the check.
4. We do not print our phone number on our checks, and if asked for one, we use our work number. We use a PO Box number instead of our street address. We do not have our social security or driver’s license numbers printed on our checks.
5. We have photocopied the contents of our wallets and keep the copies in a safe place, along with the telephone numbers where we can report a theft of our cards and the credit reporting organizations below. We carry this (not in our wallets) when traveling. We also carry a photocopy of our passports when we are traveling, and leave a photocopy of the passport with a family member or friend at home.
6. We take all mail containing checks or sensitive personal and/or financial information to the post office rather than putting in our mail box.
7. We check our credit and debit cards when they are returned to make sure it is our own card. And we pay attention to what the clerk is doing with our cards.
8. If our wallet(s) are stolen or missing, or credit/debit cards are missing, we will immediately call our credit card company and/or bank to report the theft. We will then call the three credit reporting organizations and the social security administration right away to place a fraud alert on our names and social security numbers.
– Equifax 1-800-525-6285
- Experian 1-888-397-3742
- Trans Union 1-800-680-7289
- Social Security Administration Fraud Line 1-800-269-0271.
9. North Carolina has a law that makes it possible for NC residents to put a ‘freeze’ on their credit. Other states may have similar laws. The freeze prevents anyone from getting a credit report from those bureaus unless we give them a PIN and other identifying information that is on file in the bureau. So someone wanting to buy a new Mercedes using our name(s), SSAN(s) and other info cannot do so because no merchant is going to sell anything of significant value without getting a credit report, and they can’t get one. To install the freeze, we called the 3 credit reporting bureaus and asked them to freeze both our credit. We followed their instructions, which may have included using snail mail (can’t remember now), but believe me, doing this was necessary for our peace of mind and financial security. If we want to buy something that needs a credit report, we use the info arranged with the credit bureau(s) to unfreeze our credit for a specified time (like a day or a week) so that merchant/bank can get a credit report. We just ask which credit agency(s) they use and call to unfreeze our credit at that or those bureaus for that vendor for that short time. As an example of how this works, we wanted to switch from cable to satellite TV. The satellite company refused to hook us up because they couldn’t get a credit report. I had to call to make arrangements to allow them to do so. I had no idea that a satellite TV company would need a credit check! That let me know the process works.
10. We will file a police report immediately in the jurisdiction where a theft or other crime occurs, and insist on a hard copy of that report. Without a police report, we may be out of luck!
11. We never give personal information to someone unknown to us who calls or e-mails. This includes telephone companies (checking account information or checking our line or [you can fill in the excuse here]), credit card companies, banks, or official looking mail, e-mail or web sites or anyone else asking to give them information. When we encounter that kind of trash we report it to the security section of the bank, credit union, or the state Attorney General’s consumer protection section. And we politely refuse to talk to door-knocking solicitors (driveway pavers, sellers of vacuum cleaner, magazine and the like, students asking for money to (fill in the blank) and so on. And we are on the alert for people who have an ‘emergency’ and need to use our phone, especially at night. If fact, we don’t open the door until we identify the person(s) ringing our doorbell.
12. We do not put documents with personal information in the trash whole. We shred (or burn) them. We use an inexpensive shredder that cuts the long strips of shredded paper into confetti.
13. And we don’t believe that poor widow of the Minister of Finance of Nigeria who wants our help to retrieve $63 million of unclaimed cash so her children can get the expensive operations they need. And she is willing to split with us 50/50! Lolol
Lots of trouble? Not for us. When we got into the habit of doing these things, they came naturally and easily. And thus far we have had no problems.
DD FORM 214 — EXTRA SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFIT for those with active duty between January 1957 and December 31, 2001
You may qualify for a higher social security payment because of your military service, for active duty any time from 1957 to 2001…(the program was done away with 1 January 2002). You could get up to $1,200 per year of earnings credit credited at time of application – which can make a substantial difference in social security monthly payments upon your retirement. You must bring your DD-214 to the Social Security Office and you must ask for this benefit to receive it!
Soc Sec website: http://www.ssa.gov/retire2/military.htm
The National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) has provided the following web site for veterans to gain access to their DD-214′sonline:http://vetrecs.archives.gov/This may be particularly helpful when a veteran needs a copy of his DD-214 for employment purposes. NPRC is working to make it easier for veterans with computers and Internet access to obtain copies of documents from their military files.
Military veterans and the next of kin of deceased former military members may now use a new online military personnel records system to request documents.
Other individuals with a need for documents must still complete the Standard Form 180, which can be downloaded from the online web site. Because the requester will be asked to supply all information essential for NPRC to process the request, delays that normally occur when NPRC has to ask veterans for additional information will be minimized. The new web-based application was designed to provide better service on these requests by eliminating the records center mailroom and processing time.
02/23/2011 A New Book Out On The Market:
CON THIEN: The Hill of Angels, Written by James P. Coan
“The strength of this book lies in the way that Coan weaves his own combat experience and the official unit documents and histories together with… personal combat narratives to form a cohesive whole. He gives a realistic portrayal of miserable living conditions, the monsoons, the heat during the dry seasons, and finally the futility of the fighting over the same pieces of terrain in the eastern DMZ…It is ironic perhaps apt that the measure of the war in Vietnam was not the capture of terrain, but body count.” – Jack Shulimson, author of Phase Line Green: The Battle for Hue, 1968
Check it out at http://www.hillofangels.com
Below are web-sites that provide information on Veterans benefits and how to file/ask for them. Accordingly, there are many sites that explain how to obtain books, military/medical records, information and how to appeal a denied claim with the VA. Please pass this information on to every Veteran you know. Nearly 100% of this information is free and available for all veterans, the only catch is: you have to ask for it, because they won’t tell you about a specific benefit unless you ask for it. You need to know what questions to ask so the right doors open for you and then be ready to have an advocate who is willing to work with and for you, stay in the process, and press for your rights and your best interests.
Board of Veteran’s Appeals http://www.va.gov/vbs/bva/
CARES Commission http://www.va.gov/vbs/bva/
CARES Draft National Plan http://www1.va.gov/cares/page.cfm?pg=105
Center for Minority Veterans http://www1.va.gov/centerforminorityveterans/
Center for Veterans Enterprise http://www.vetbiz.gov/default2.htm
Center for Women Veterans http://www1.va.gov/womenvet/
Clarification on the changes in VA healthcare for Gulf War Veterans http://www.gulfwarvets.com/ubb/Forum1/HTML/000016.html
Classified Records – American Gulf War Veterans Assoc http://www.gulfwarvets.com/ubb/Forum18/HTML/000011.html
Compensation for Disabilities Associated with the Gulf War Service http://www.warms.vba.va.gov/admin21/m21_1/part6%20/ch07.doc
Compensation Rate Tables, 12-1-03 http://www.vba.va.gov/bln/21/Rates/comp01.htm
Department of Veterans Affairs Home Page http://www.va.gov/
Directory of Veterans Service Organizations http://www1.va.gov/vso/index.cfm?template=view
Disability Examination Worksheets Index, Comphttp://www.vba.va.gov/bln/21/Benefits/exams/index.htm
Duty to Assist http://www.warms.vba.va.gov/admin21/m21_1/mr/part1/ch01.doc
Electronic Code of Federal Regulations http://www.gpoaccess.gov/ecfr/
Emergency, Non-emergency, and Fee Basis Care http://www1.va.gov/opa/vadocs/fedben.pdf
Environmental Agents http://www1.va.gov/environagents/
Environmental Agents M10 http://www1.va.gov/vhapublications/ViewPublication.asp?pub_ID=1002
Establishing Combat Veteran Eligibility http://www1.va.gov/vhapublications/ViewPublication.asp?pub_ID=315
EXPOSURE TO DEPLETED URANIUM (DU
See also, Depleted Uranium Fact Sheethttp://www1.va.gov/gulfwar/docs/DepletedUraniumFAQSheet.doc
EVALUATION PROTOCOL FOR NON-GULF WAR VETERANS WITH POTENTIAL EXPOSURE TO
DEPLETED URANIUM (DU)http://www1.va.gov/gulfwar/docs/DUHANDBOOKNONGW130340304.DOC
Fee Basis, PRIORITY FOR OUTPATIENT MEDICAL SERVICES AND INPATIENT HOSPITAL CARE http://www1.va..gov/vhapublications/ViewPublication.asp?pub_ID=206 Federal Benefits for Veterans
and Dependants 2005 http://www1.va.gov/opa/vadocs/fedben.pdf OR,http://www1.va..gov/opa/vadocs/current_benefits.htm
Forms and Records Request http://www.va.gov/vaforms/
General Compensation Provisions http://www.access.gpo.gov/uscode/title38/partii_chapter11_subchaptervi_.html
Geriatrics and Extended Care http://www1.va.gov/geriatricsshg/
Guideline for Chronic Pain and Fatigue MUS-CPGhttp://www.oqp.med.va.gov/cpg/cpgn/mus/mus_base.htm
Guide to Gulf War Veteran’s Health http://www1.va.gov/gulfwar/docs/VHIgulfwar.pdf
Gulf War Subject Index http://www1.va.gov/GulfWar/page.cfm?pg=7&template=main&letter=A
Gulf War Veteran’s Illnesses Q&As http://www1.va.gov/gulfwar/docs/GWIllnessesQandAsIB1041.pdf
Homeless Veterans http://www1.va.gov/homeless/
HSR&D Home http://www.hsrd.research.va.gov/
Index to Disability Examination Worksheets C&P exams http://www.vba.va.gov/bln/21/benefits/exams/index.htm
Ionizing Radiation http://www1.va.gov/irad/
Iraqi Freedom/Enduring Freedom Veterans VBA http://www.vba.va.gov/EFIF/
M 10 for spouses and children < http://www1..va.gov/vhapublications/ViewPublication.asp?pub_ID=1007
M10 Part III Change 1 http://www1.va.gov/vhapublications/ViewPublication.asp?pub_ID=1008
M21-1 Table of Contents http://www.warms.vba.va.gov/M21_1.html
Mental Disorders, Schedule of Ratings http://www.warms.vba.va.gov/regs/38CFR/BOOKC/PART4/S4_130.DOC
Mental Health Program Guidelines http://www1.va.gov/vhapublications/ViewPublication.asp?pub_ID=1094
Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Centers http://www.mirecc.med.va.gov/
MS (Multiple Sclerosis) Centers of Excellence http://www.va.gov/ms/about.asp
My Health e Vet http://www.myhealth.va.gov/
National Association of State Directors http://www.nasdva.com/
National Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention http://www.nchpdp.med.va.gov/postdeploymentlinks.asp
Neurological Conditions and Convulsive Disorders, Schedule of Ratings http://www.warms.vba.va.gov/regs/38cfr/bookc/part4/s4%5F124a.doc
OMI (Office of Medical Inspector) http://www.omi.cio.med.va.gov/
Online VA Form 10-10EZ https://www.1010ez..med.va.gov/sec/vha/1010ez/
Parkinson’s Disease and Related Neurodegenerative Disorders http://www1.va.gov/resdev/funding/solicitations/docs/parkinsons.pdf
Pension for Non-Service-Connected Disability or Death http://www.access.gpo.gov/uscode/title38/partii_chapter15_subchapteri_.html and,http://www.access.gpo.gov/uscode/title38/partii_chapter15_subchapterii_.html
Persian Gulf Registry http://www1.va.gov/vhapublications/ViewPublication.asp?pub_ID=1003
Persian Gulf Registry Referral Centers http://www1.va.gov/vhapublications/ViewPublication.asp?pub_ID=1006
Persian Gulf Veterans’ Illnesses Research 1999, Annual Report To Congresshttp://www1.va.gov/resdev/1999_Gulf_War_Veterans’_Illnesses_Appendices.doc
Persian Gulf Veterans’ Illnesses Research 2002, Annual Report To Congresshttp://www1.va.gov/resdev/prt/gulf_war_2002/GulfWarRpt02.pdf
Policy Manual Index http://www.va.gov/publ/direc/eds/edsmps.htm
Power of Attorney http://www.warms.vba..va.gov/admin21/m21_1/mr/part1/ch03.doc Project 112 (Including
Project SHAD) http://www1.va.gov/shad/
Prosthetics Eligibility http://www1.va.gov/vhapublications/ViewPublication.asp?pub_ID=337
Public Health and Environmental Hazards Home Page http://www.vethealth.cio.med.va.gov/
Public Health/SARS http://www..publichealth.va.gov/SARS/
Publications Manuals http://www1.va.gov/vhapublications/publications.cfm?Pub=4
Publications and Reports http://www1.va.gov/resdev/prt/pubs_individual.cfm?webpage=gulf_war.htm
Records Center and Vault Homepage http://www.aac.va.gov/vault/default.html
Records Center and Vault Site Map http://www.aac.va.gov/vault/sitemap.html
REQUEST FOR AND CONSENT TO RELEASE OF INFORMATION FROM CLAIMANT’S RECORDShttp://www.forms.va.gov/va/Internet/VARF/getformharness.asp?formName=3288-form.xft
Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans Illnesses April 11, 2002 http://www1.va.gov/rac-gwvi/docs/Minutes_April112002.doc
Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans Illnesses
Research and Development http://www.appc1.va.gov/resdev/programs/all_programs.cfm
Survivor’s and Dependents’ Educational
Title 38 Part 3 Adjudication Subpart A “Pension, Compensation, and Dependency and Indemnity Compensation http://ecfr.gpoaccess.gov/cgi/t/text/text-idx?c=ecfr&sid=1b0c269b510d3157fbf8f8801bc9b3dc&tpl=/ecfrbrowse/Title38/38cfr3_main_02.tpl
Title 38 Pensions, Bonuses & Veterans Relief (also テつァ 3.317 Compensation for certain disabilities due to undiagnosed illnesses found here) http://ecfr.gpoaccess.gov/cgi/t/text/text-idx?c=ecfr&sid=1b0c269b510d3157fbf8f8801bc9b3dc&tpl=/ecfrbrowse/Title38/38cfr3_main_02.tpl
Title 38 PART 4–SCHEDULE FOR RATING DISABILITIES Subpart B–DISABILITY RATINGS
Title 38ツァ 4.16 Total disability ratings for compensation based on unemployability of the individual. PART A “SCHEDULE FOR RATING DISABILITIES Subpart テ “General Policy in Ratinghttp://ecfr.gpoaccess.gov/cgi/t/text/text-idx?c=ecfr&sid=1b0c269b510d3157fbf8f8801bc9b3dc&rgn=div8&view=text&node=38:18.104.22.168.5.1..96.11&idno=38
U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims http://www.vetapp.gov/
VA Best Practice Manual for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)http://www.avapl.org/pub/PTSD%20Manual%20final%206.pdf
VA Fact Sheet http://www1.va.gov/opa/fact/gwfs.html
VA Health Care Eligibility http://www.va.gov/healtheligibility/home/hecmain.asp
VA INSTITUTING GLOBAL ASSESSMENT OF FUNCTION (GAF)http://www.avapl.org/gaf/gaf.html
VA Life Insurance Handbook https://www.insurancequotes.org/2013/04/26/how-serving-in-the-military-affects-life-insurance/
VA Loan Lending Limits and Jumbo Loans http://valoans.com/va_facts_limits.cfm
VA MS Research http://www.va.gov/ms/about.asp
VA National Hepatitis C Program http://www.hepatitis.va.gov/
VA Office of Research and Development http://www1.va.gov/resdev/
VA Trainee Pocket Card on Gulf War http://www.va.gov/OAA/pocketcard/gulfwar.asp
VA WMD EMSHG http://www1.va.gov/emshg/
VA WRIISC-DC http://www.va.gov/WRIISC-DC/
VAOIG Hotline Telephone Number and Address http://www.va.gov/oig/hotline/hotline3.htm
Vet Center Eligibility – Readjustment Counseling Service http://www.va.gov/rcs/Eligibility.htm
Veterans Benefits Administration Main Web Page http://www.vba.va.gov/
Veterans Legal and Benefits Information http://valaw.org/
VHA Forms, Publications, Manuals http://www1.va.gov/vhapublications/
VHA Programs – Clinical Programs & Initiatives http://www1.va.gov/health_benefits/page.cfm?pg=13 http://webmaila.juno.com/webmail/new/UrlBlockedError.aspx>
VHA Public Health Strategic Health Care Group Home Page http: // www.publichealth.va.gov/
VHI Guide to Gulf War Veterans ツャ(tm) Healthhttp://www1.va.gov/vhi_ind_study/gulfwar/istudy/index.asp
Vocational Rehabilitation http://www.vba.va.gov/bln/vre/
Vocational Rehabilitation Subsistence http://www.vba.va.gov/bln/vre/InterSubsistencefy04.doc
VONAPP online http://vabenefits.vba.va.gov/vonapp/main.asp
WARMS – 38 CFR Book C http://www.warms.vba.va.gov/bookc.html
Wartime Disability Compensation http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=browse_usc&docid=Cite:+38USC1110
War-Related Illness and Injury Study Center – New Jersey http://www.wri.med.va.gov/
Welcome to the GI Bill Web Site http://www.gibill.va.gov/
What VA Social Workers Do http://www1.va.gov/socialwork/page.cfm?pg=3
WRIISC Patient Eligibility http://www.illegion.org/va1.html
02/07/2011 Veteran E-mail Scam
An old e-mail scam has reappeared and is targeting veterans. Recently forwarded throughout the Army community and titled “Warning To Veterans,” the current version of the e-mail advises against using the services of an organization called Veterans Affairs Services. An earlier version of this e-mail, purportedly from Michael G. Daugherty, staff attorney with the Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of General Counsel, contains a Facebook link that may be an attempt to upload a virus according to Better Business Bureau (BBB) Military Line officials. The BBB advises anyone receiving this e-mail not click on the link. Also, the VA advises veterans seeking assistance to use a VA-recognized service organization in order to submit a claim for benefits. [Source: Military.com Veterans Report article 17 Jan 2011 ++]
11/18/2010 Vietnam War Casualties Listed By Home Of RecordWebsite Brought to you courtesy of The Virtual Wall-Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
10/22/2010 No COLA For Disabled Vets-Again
Officials announced that the 2011 Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for military retirees, disabled veterans, and social security recipients will be zero for the the second year in a row.
10/11/2010 Social Security Reset Option:
A relatively unknown Social Security loophole may soon be eliminated by the Social Security Administration (SSA). This loophole, known as the Social Security “do-over” or “reset” option, allows Social Security recipients to withdraw their original application for benefits and to refile for benefits at later age. The logic behind the “do-over” or “reset” option is that it allows a Social Security recipient who at an earlier age (as early as age 62) started receiving monthly benefits to pay back to the SSA all previously received benefits (with no interest and penalties) in order to refile for benefits at a later age. By re-filing at a later age, the recipient will receive a larger monthly check for life. Current Social Security recipients who are considering the payback option should decide as soon as possible as to whether or not they want to take advantage of this opportunity. This is because the SSA is considering terminating the “do-over” option. If the SSA is successful, the “do-over” option could be eliminated within a few months. Under SSA’s proposed rules to modify the “do-over” option, Social Security recipients would be permitted to withdraw their application for benefits only once during their lifetime and only within 12 months of when they first began receiving benefits. If they change their mind within the first year, they could stop their benefits, pay back what they had received, and then restart their benefits at a later date and at a higher level based on their age at that time. But once the 12 month deadline has passed, they would no longer be eligible to repay benefits in order to receive a higher benefit at a later age.
Not every Social Security recipient will benefit from the “do-over” option, however. Those recipients who are considering it will likely need a large amount of available cash in order to repay their previously received Social Security benefits. To fully understand the issues involved with a “do-over” strategy, it is important to review the rules with respect to individual eligibility requirements and filing options for Social Security retirement benefits. Any individual with at least 40 credits of Social Security is eligible to collect Social Security retirement benefit starting as early as age 62. But claiming monthly benefits at age 62 will reduce one’s benefits by as much as 20 to 30% compared to what the monthly benefit would be if benefits were claimed at full retirement age (FRA) Those individuals deciding to wait past their FRA to start receiving benefits can boost their benefits by as much as 8% for every year they delay the start of benefits until they reach age 70, potentially increasing annual benefits to as much as 132% their base amount. Before deciding to pay back past Social Security monthly retirement benefits, there are some issues that recipients need to consider regarding the consequences of the payback decision, including:
Needless to say, a recipient who wants to repay his or her past benefits will likely need to have access to a hefty sum of cash in order to pay all previously-received benefits. This includes all benefits SSA has previously paid to the recipient and if applicable, to the recipient’s spouse and to other family members. Actuarial research shows that in order to make the Social Security repayment “pay for itself,” a recipient would have to live for at least 12 to 16 years after the higher monthly payments start. Those individuals with a terminal illness and whose life expectancy is short generally will therefore not benefit from the “do-over” option. This is because they will not likely recoup in added monthly benefits the cost of having to repay benefits already received. Also – and perhaps most important – those recipients who want to leave a substantial legacy to heirs should probably avoid the “do-over” option. The reason: the added Social Security monthly benefits cease at the recipient’s or the recipient’s spouse’s death. Adult children will not receive any Social Security survivor benefits at the recipient’s death. On the other hand, any cash remaining at the recipient’s death that would have been used to perform a “do-over” could be left in the form of a legacy to surviving children.
In order to perform a “do-over” and to repay past benefits, Form SSA-521, downloadable from the SSA website http://www.ssa.gov, must be filled out and submitted to the SSA. Note that included on Form SSA-521 is a question in which the SSA asks the recipient of benefits for a reason why he or she is withdrawing his or her application. A response such as that “I need higher monthly income” is usually acceptable to the SSA as a valid reason. Once the form is completed and submitted to the SSA, the SSA will notify the recipient when monthly benefits will cease and the amount of benefits to be repaid. [Source: My Federal Retirement Edward A. Zurndorfer article 10 Sep 2010 ++]
09/02/2010 STOLEN VALOR ACT RULED ILLEGAL
This really is an amazing web site. Someone spent a lot of time and effort to create it. I hope that everyone who receives this appreciates what those who served in Vietnam sacrificed for our country.
The link below is a virtual wall of all those lost during the Vietnam war with the names, bio’s and other information on our lost heroes. Those who remember that time frame, or perhaps lost friends or family can look them up on this site. Pass the link on to others, as many knew wonderful people whose names are listed.
DENVER — A law that makes it illegal to lie about being a war hero is unconstitutional because it violates free speech, a federal judge ruled Friday as he dismissed a case against a Colorado man who claimed he received two military medals.
Rick Glen Strandlof claimed he was an ex-Marine who was wounded in Iraq and received the Purple Heart and Silver Star, but the military had no record he ever served. He was charged with violating the Stolen Valor Act, which makes it a crime punishable by up to a year in jail to falsely claim to have won a military medal.
U.S. District Judge Robert Blackburn dismissed the case and said the law is unconstitutional, ruling the government did not show it has a compelling reason to restrict that type of statement.
A spokesman for the U.S. attorney in Denver said prosecutors are reviewing the decision and haven’t decided whether to appeal. The spokesman said that decision would be made by the U.S. Justice Department in Washington and prosecutors in Denver.
Strandlof’s lawyer, Bob Pepin, said he hadn’t spoken to Strandlof since the ruling was issued. Pepin said he would advise Strandlof not to comment publicly because the case might be appealed.
“Obviously, we think this is the right decision, or we wouldn’t have been making the objections to the statute to begin with,” he said. Pepin said Strandlof has been living in a halfway house in Denver while his case is in the courts.
The law has also been challenged in California and in a case now before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Denver attorney Christopher P. Beall, who filed a friend-of-the-court brief for the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado, said the Stolen Valor Act is fatally flawed because it doesn’t require prosecutors to show anyone was harmed or defamed by the lie.
“The government position was that any speech that’s false is not protected by the First Amendment. That proposition is very dangerous,” Beall said.
“It puts the government in a much more powerful position to prosecute people for speaking out on things they believe to be true but turn out not to be true,” he said.
Beall said the ACLU was not defending the actions Strandlof is accused of, but took issue with the principle behind the law.
Rep. John Salazar, D-Colo., who sponsored the Stolen Valor Act in the House, predicted the decision will be overturned on appeal.
“This is an issue of fraud plain and simple,” Salazar said in a written release. “The individuals who violate this law are those who knowingly portray themselves as pillars of the community for personal and monetary gain.”
Pam Sterner, who as a college student wrote a policy analysis that became the basis of Salazar’s bill, said the issue isn’t free speech but misrepresentation. Sterner, a former Coloradan who now lives in Virginia, said authentic medal winners’ credibility suffers when impostors are exposed because the public becomes suspicious of even true stories of heroism.
Note – It should be pointed out that it was the 9th Circuit Court Of Appeals that made this ruling; a notoriously liberal bunch of justices out west.