Washington, D.C. – In a show of solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux, U.S. Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, a Hawaii Democrat who served two tours of duty in the Middle East, and who continues to serve as a Major in the Army National Guard, announced that she will be joining thousands of veterans coming from across the country to protest the building of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) near the Standing Rock Reservation.
“If my participation in this protest helps send one message, it is this: We must protect our fragile water resources for current and future generations,” said Gabbard, who has been involved in environmental activism since her youth. Continue reading »
As protesters continue to stand against the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota, facing off against heavily militarized police and their water cannons, rubber bullets, tear gas, and tasers, they have gained broad support. Celebrities and millions of social media users have raised awareness about the situation in North Dakota, and now, the “water protectors” have earned support from another group: veterans.
According to an article published by Business Insider that first appeared in Task and Purpose, a military-oriented news and culture site, two veterans are leading the charge in a show of dissent against the increasingly aggressive police. In the last several months, tensions have escalated as Natives and their allies have blocked the pipeline’s construction, citing fears surrounding water will be endangered and sacred burial sites will be destroyed (not to mention the fact their lands were forcibly stolen by the U.S. government over a century ago). Continue reading »
H/t reader squodgy:
“Can you believe this hypocrisy?
The man (a moron in anyone’s language) shows no shame.”
This Veterans Day, former president George W. Bush revealed one of his favorite hobbies and talents, painting portraits. However, there was an extremely disturbing twist.
This week, Bush posted a photo to his official Instagram account, showing himself in an art room painting portraits of the veterans who were injured carrying out his orders. He was even brazen enough to describe the situation in those exact words.
In the caption below the photo, Bush said,
Over the past several months, I’ve painted the portraits of 98 wounded warriors I’ve gotten to know – remarkable men and women who were injured carrying out my orders. I think about them on #VeteransDay and every day. Their paintings and stories will be featured in PORTRAITS OF COURAGE – a book and special exhibit – next spring, and I am donating all my proceeds to @thebushcenter and our Military Service Initiative’s work to honor and support them. Click link in bio for more info.
Is this a slap in the face to the veterans who Bush sent to be injured and die in senseless wars, or does he actually have remorse for the part he played in the conflicts?
The portraits will also be featured in a book that will be released by the former president and will tell the stories of the veterans depicted in the paintings.
For some reason, despite the fact that Bush said he painted 98 veterans, the official “portraits of courage” series consists of a total of 66 images, according to the website.
66 is a bit of a strange number for them to select, don’t you think?
The paintings in the book will be the subject of a special exhibit at the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas on the campus of SMU that will be open to the public from March 2, 2017 through October 1, 2017.
* * *
H/t reader squodgy:
“Cannon Fodder. Here’s to the dumb kids with no job prospects who are picked carefully by shopping mall Army recruiters to partake in becoming Kissinger’s CANNON FODDER. Let’s hope they or their parents wake up before they fall for the false “Glory for your Country” utter Bullshit and sign their death warrant/Vets disability/suicide end game which is never for the country and ALWAYS for the Banksters & Global Corporatocracy.”
* * *
A 76-year-old military veteran killed himself outside a Long Island Veteran Affairs facility Sunday after being denied treatment. He was reportedly seeking help for mental health issues at the Northport Veterans Affairs Medical Center but was turned away, an unfortunately common experience plaguing veterans seeking healthcare in recent years.
According to the New York Times, two people connected to the hospital spoke about the incident on the condition of anonymity. They explained “he had been frustrated that he was unable to see an emergency-room physician for reasons related to his mental health,” the Times reported.
“He went to the E.R. and was denied service,” one anonymous source said. “And then he went to his car and shot himself.” Continue reading »
A former Marine and Army National Guardsmen killed himself after being denied admittance to a VA facility in Iowa City, despite telling doctors that he was having “serious mental issues.”
Brandon Ketchum, 33, killed himself only a few hours after being turned down at the Iowa City VA Medical Center on July 7th. He made an emergency appointment with the facility and spoke to doctors about his struggle.
Ketchum had been struggling with PTSD and substance abuse after returning home from his three tours overseas. He had deployed twice to Iraq as a Marine combat engineer where his job was to clear roadside explosives. He also served once in Afghanistan in the Army National Guard.
After getting turned away, Ketchum created a post on social media.
“I requested that I get admitted to 9W (psychiatric ward) and get things straightened out,” he wrote on Facebook. “I truly felt my safety and health were in jeopardy, as I discussed with the doc. Not only did I get a ‘NO’, but three reasons of no based on me being not f***** up enough. At this point I say, ‘why even try anymore?’ They gave up on me, so why shouldn’t I give up on myself? Right now, that is the only viable option given my circumstances and frame of mind.” Continue reading »
Written By Constitutional Attorney Michael Connelly, J.D.
How would you feel if you received a letter from the U.S. Government informing you that because of a physical or mental condition that the government says you have it is proposing to rule that you are incompetent to handle your own financial affairs? Suppose that letter also stated that the government is going to appoint a stranger to handle your affairs for you at your expense? That would certainly be scary enough but it gets worse.
What if that letter also stated: “A determination of incompetency will prohibit you from purchasing, possessing, receiving, or transporting a firearm or ammunition. If you knowingly violate any of these prohibitions, you may be fined, imprisoned, or both pursuant to the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, Pub.L.No. 103-159, as implemented at 18, United States Code 924(a)(2).”?
That makes is sound like something right from a documentary on a tyrannical dictatorship somewhere in the world. Yet, as I write this I have a copy of such a letter right in front of me. It is being sent by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to hundreds, perhaps thousands, of America’s heroes. In my capacity as Executive Director of the United States Justice Foundation (USJF) I have been contacted by some of these veterans and the stories I am getting are appalling. Continue reading »
As the nation struggles over which restroom to use when you’re ‘undecided’, the Department of Veterans Affairs has decided to chime in on the issue of gender dysphoria as it plans to lift a ban on sex reassignment surgeries for transgender veterans.
The VA says the surgical procedures were not deemed to be “medically necessary” in the past and there were questions over their safety and effectiveness. However, as the military prepares to allow transgender troops to serve openly and President Barack Obama’s administration wrangles with states over the rights of transgender people to use the restrooms of the their choice, it appears, as Military.com reports, that transition-related surgeries may soon be covered… Continue reading »
Tens of thousands of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans with less-than-honorable discharges, many with physical and mental injuries, were being denied care by the Department of Veterans Affairs, claims a new report by a veterans’ advocacy group.
A leaked document shows nearly one-third of the 847,000 veterans in the Department of Veteran Affairs’ backlog died while waiting for treatment, amounting to more than 238,000 patients, according to documents obtained by the Huffington Post.
The VA maintains that the number is so large because it has no mechanism to purge the list of dead applicants, and that some of the veterans may have died years ago. VA spokeswoman Walinda West told the Huffington Post that some people on the list may never have completed an application, or could be using other insurance. Continue reading »
The Department of Veterans Affairs doled out more than $142 million in bonuses to executives and employees for performance in 2014 even as scandals over veterans’ health care and other issues racked the agency.
The agency paid more than $380,000 in 2013 performance bonuses to top officials at hospitals where veterans faced long delays in receiving treatment, including those under investigation for wait-time manipulation.
In Tomah, Wis., the former chief of staff of the VA medical center there, Dr. David Houlihan — whom veterans nicknamed the “Candy Man” because of his prolific prescribing of narcotics — received a $4,000 bonus in December. That was nine months after an inspector general investigation report concluded he was prescribing alarmingly high amounts of opiates. And it was four months after Marine Corps veteran Jason Simcakoski, 35, died of “mixed-drug toxicity” as an inpatient at Tomah after he was prescribed a fatal cocktail of medications, including opiates. The inpatient pharmacist supervisor also received a $1,050 bonus in December. A spokesman for the Tomah VA declined to comment. The VA moved last month to fire Houlihan. A lawyer who represented him did not respond to a message Tuesday seeking comment.
In Augusta, Ga., VA financial manager Jed Fillingim was awarded a $900 performance bonus. He drew scrutiny from Congress last year after news reports revealed he admitted drinking and driving a government truck to a VA meeting in 2010 and a co-worker fell from the truck and was killed.
– From the excellent USA Today article: Veterans Affairs Pays $142 Million in Bonuses Amid Scandals
For several months in 2014, one of the biggest stories in America revolved around revelations of incompetence and death at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Specifically, an internal VA investigation admitted at least 23 veterans died while waiting for care, and that 120,000 were being affected by delinquent care. The FBI subsequently launched a criminal probe into the VA, and here’s what the White House had to say about the entire affair: Continue reading »
– Leaked Document: Nearly One-Third Of 847,000 Vets With Pending Applications For VA Health Care Already Died (Huffington Post, July 15, 2015):
WASHINGTON — More than 238,000 of the 847,000 veterans with pending applications for health care through the Department of Veterans Affairs have already died, according to an internal VA document provided to The Huffington Post.
Scott Davis, a program specialist at the VA’s Health Eligibility Center in Atlanta and a past whistleblower on the VA’s failings, provided HuffPost with an April 2015 report titled “Analysis of Death Services,” which reviews the accuracy of the VA’s veteran death records. The report was conducted by staffers in the VA Health Eligibility Center and the VA Office of Analytics.
Flip to page 13 and you’ll see some stark numbers. As of April, there were 847,822 veterans listed as pending for enrollment in VA health care. Of those, 238,657 are now deceased, meaning they died after they applied for, but never got, health care.
– George W. Bush Charged $100,000 to Speak at Charity for Wounded Veterans (Liberty Blitzkrieg, July 9, 2015):
Former President George W. Bush billed a charity for wounded military veterans $100,000 in speaking fees three years ago, a new report says.
The organization also provided Bush with private jet travel to Houston at a cost of $20,000.
Laura Bush, the former president’s wife, additionally pocketed $50,000 after appearing for the group in 2011, ABC reported.
Helping a Hero fundraises for homes that are specifically adapted for military veterans with lost limbs and other severe injuries, it said.
The group specifically helps those who fought in Afghanistan and Iraq.
– From the Hill article: George W. Bush Charged $100K for Speech at Wounded Veterans Event
Only in America could it been seen as acceptable for the man most directly responsible for causing young veterans their wounds, to turn around and charge $100,000 to speak in front of a charity for those same veterans.
While one could argue (though it’s becoming increasingly hard these days with evidence of Saudi Arabia’s role in 9/11), that the invasion of Afghanistan seemed justified at the time, the invasion of Iraq was nothing short of a horrific war crime. Iraq had nothing to do with September 11th, and everyone with half a brain knew that. The Iraq war continues to be a gigantic crime scene. One in which thousands of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis were killed. For absolutely no reason. Continue reading »
– VA turns U.S. military vets into suicidal drug addicts while Big Pharma rakes in profits (Natural News, June 11, 2015):
A year ago, as the summer of 2013 dawned, the Obama Administration was hit with yet another scandal, one that would resonate with Democrat and Republican voters: VA Hospitals around the country were falsifying appointment records in order to satisfy treatment quotas, leaving scores of veterans without care which led to the deaths of perhaps 1,000 men and women who had honorably served their country.
Continue reading »
Reported about this here:
– Cops Asked to Check In on 74 Year Old Man – Break In and Kill Him Instead (Activist Post, Feb 10, 2015):
A North Carolina family asked Gastonia police to check in on a family member who was recovering from surgery. In an ideal world, this would be a wonderful service to be performed by police with a grateful community that would offer them thanks.
Unfortunately, these notions have nothing to do with the business model of modern day policing, which does not serve those it views as its enemy. Indeed, although it might be the public that helps keep the coffers full by various means, it is a public still viewed as the number one threat by the police who benefit from them – by various means.
Continue reading »
– 1000s Of Veterans Busted For Massive Benefits Fraud (ZeroHedge, Nov 1, 2014):
When work is punished and grift is not, is it any surprise that, as The Washington Times reports, nearly 60,000 triple dipping Veterans picked up $3.5 billion in benefits (collecting their military retirement pay; and disability benefits from both the Veterans Administration and Social Security too). The arrangement is legal, but since everyone else is abusing the system, from crony banks to deadbeat dads to squatting slummers, it was only a matter of time before even veterans decided to dip, then dip again and dip some more. Sen. Tom Coburn, noted it was “hard to understand,” but perhaps the hardest thing to understand is why it took veterans so long to realize we live in a world without consequences.
As The Washington Times reports, tens of thousands of veterans collect their military retirement pay and disability benefits from the Veterans Administration and disability checks from Social Security too, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office. All told, nearly 60,000 triple dippers collected $3.5 billion in benefits. Continue reading »
– Pick for V.A. Is Former Corporate Chief (The New York Times, June 29, 2014):
WASHINGTON — President Obama on Monday intends to nominate Robert A. McDonald, a former chief executive of Procter & Gamble, to be the next secretary of Veterans Affairs, a White House official said Sunday, betting that a global corporate officer can turn around a government health system that has been rocked by allegations of mismanagement and cover-ups of long patient waiting times.
– Dear US Soldiers And Veterans: Avoid The Following Hospitals Like The Plague (ZeroHedge, June 29. 2014):
The VA scandal was just the beginning.
According to Internal documents obtained by New York Times, US military healthcare is “a system in which scrutiny is sporadic and avoidable errors are chronic.” As the NYT reports In Military Care, a Pattern of Errors but Not Scrutiny, “the military system has consistently had higher than expected rates of harm and complications in two central parts of its business — maternity care and surgery.”
Among the findings: Continue reading »
Virtual Suicide Factory
– VA Death Toll Higher Than All Wars (Veterans Today, June 16, 2014):
American military veterans are dying in numbers unimagined. The numbers themselves are hidden from the public just like the waiting lists from the Department of Veterans Affairs. There is a reason for this, the two are related. Waiting lists, weeks or months for treatment for devastating and debilitating illnesses and conditions, destroyed records, “wiped” computers, SWAT teams with automatic weapons prowling the hallways of clinics, these are the real reasons vets kill themselves.
Most veterans who have chosen suicide have been abused and mistreated by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Some have been told that their illnesses or wounds are imaginary, others are shuffled into endless bureaucratic loops and most are subjected to the Kafkaesque disability compensation system where literally anything can happen and does. Continue reading »
People across America are getting arrested for posting non-violent criticisms of Barack Obama. In the case you’re about to see, one Marine veteran was sent to psychiatric training and diagnosed with ODD (Oppositional Defiance Disorder) for his criticism of the way government is being run.
– Texas VA Run Like a “Crime Syndicate” Claims Whistleblower (Liberty Blitzkrieg, May 28, 2014):
“For lack of a better term, you’ve got an organized crime syndicate,” a whistleblower who works in the Texas VA told The Daily Beast. “People up on top are suddenly afraid they may actually be prosecuted and they’re pressuring the little guys down below to cover it all up.”
What’s worse, the documents show the wrongdoing going unpunished for years, even after it was repeatedly reported to local and national VA authorities. That indicates a new troubling angle to the VA scandal: that the much touted investigations may be incapable of finding violations that are hiding in plain sight.
– From the excellent Daily Beast article published yesterday: Exclusive: Texas VA Run Like a ‘Crime Syndicate,’ Whistleblower Says
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past week or so, you are probably well aware of the latest in a consistent stream of scandals that have rocked the Obama Administration since he took office over five years ago. Yes, I am referring to the Veterans Affairs (VA) scandal, and while you might think you have read enough on the topic, the following article is very important.
It tells the tale of a VA hospital in Texas that had institutionalized the practice of manipulating hospital wait lists many years ago. For example, all the way back in 2011, the VA’s inspector general investigated the Central Texas health-care system in response to complaints received. Despite finding that such manipulation was rampant, not a single VA official was disciplined. As you might expect, the practice continued and the hospital highlighted in this article actually received an award in the face of an OIG investigation! Continue reading »
– Veterangate: VA ‘cooked the books’ for over six years (RT, May 28, 2014):
It took at least 23 deaths for America to wake up to what’s been known since 2010: Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals have been cooking the books for six years to hide that they were delaying and denying care to the country’s veterans.
The growing scandal began in early May, when a Veterans Affairs (VA) employee alleged that at least 40 patients died waiting for an appointment at a VA hospital in Phoenix, Ariz. US lawmakers then launched an investigation into the Department of Veterans Affairs after multiple whistleblowers came forward to say that veteran’s hospitals systematically manipulate waiting lists, resulting in the deaths of dozens of patients. An agency report linked 23 of the reported 40 deaths in multiple states to delayed treatment. Continue reading »
– Obama Should Apologize For Treating Military Veterans Like Garbage For The Past 5 Years (Economic Collapse, May 25, 2014):
This Memorial Day, Barack Obama and members of Congress will honor our veterans by wearing ribbons and laying wreaths, but what they should really do is apologize to the entire nation for treating them like human trash for the past five years. You see, the truth is that this VA scandal is nothing new. The problems at the VA hospitals have been documented over and over again for years. When Barack Obama was a U.S. senator, he served on the Veterans Affairs Committee. So as he entered the White House, he was supposed to be an expert in this area. And back in 2008, he pledged to “make the VA a leader of national health care reform so that veterans get the best care possible“. But of course that never happened. And now Obama is claiming that he only learned of the “secret waiting lists” at VA hospitals by “watching television“, and his staff says that he is “madder than hell” about it. So now that he has been publicly shamed, will Obama actually do something about it? Because our military veterans deserve far better care than what they have been getting. Continue reading »
– 27% of US veterans from Iraq, Afghan wars going hungry: Study (PressTV, May 9, 2014):
More than a quarter of US veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have difficulty getting enough food, almost double the food insecurity rate in the general population, according to new research.
Researchers from the University of Minnesota and the Minneapolis Department of Veterans Affairs surveyed 922 US veterans and found that 27 percent reported not having access to enough food for three meals a day.
Continue reading »
– Making A Killing: The Untold Story Of Psychotropic Drugging (Full Documentary)
– Fort Hood shooter was Iraq vet being treated for mental health issues (CNN, April 3, 2014):
The man who opened fire at the Fort Hood military post in Texas was a veteran who served four months in Iraq and was undergoing treatment for mental health issues.
Spc. Ivan Lopez, married with children, moved to the post in Killeen in February from another military installation.
Authorities don’t know what prompted the shooting spree Wednesday, where Lopez, 34, killed three people, wounded 16 — before fatally shooting himself.
H/t reader squodgy:
“If news of this filters through to young potential recruits, the poor US may start suffering from mass awols.”
– Commemorating Suicides, Vets Plant 1,892 Flags on National Mall (ABC News, March 27, 2014):
On average, 22 veterans commit suicide each day, according to the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA).To commemorate them and raise awareness, 32 veterans from the group flew to Washington, D.C., to plant 1,892 flags on the National Mall today, one for each of the veterans that the group says took his or her own life in 2014. IAVA extrapolated that number from a 2012 Veterans Administration report finding that 22 veterans took their lives each day in 2009 and 2010, only a slight increase from years past, and a number that includes all veterans, not just those who served in America’s more recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.