Sunday, August 25, 2019

Deaths at Clarskburg VA Hospital investigated as homicides

UPDATE: Death of veteran at Clarksburg VA ruled a homicide; Claim alleges there could be up to 10 more cases

August 23, 2019

A claim filed by Tiano O'Dell law firm says that retired Army Sergeant Felix McDermott received a fatal dose of insulin while a patient at the Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center.

According to the claim obtained by 5 News, first reported by the Clarksburg Exponent-Telegram, McDermott was admitted to the VAMC on April 6, 2018. He died of hypoglycemia, or severe low blood sugar, on April 9, 2018. He was 82.

The claim states that employees never told McDermott's family how he died. He was buried 4 days later.

On Oct. 23, 2018, McDermott's remains were exhumed and sent to the Dover Air Force Base for an autopsy and investigation.
read it here

Missing Fort Hood Soldier month away from discharge listed as AWOL

Family and friends searching for missing Fort Hood soldier

By Brandon Hamilton
Aug 24, 2019

FORT HOOD, Texas (KWTX) Family and friends of a missing Fort Hood soldier are actively searching, hoping for his safe return.

Gregory Wedel-Morales, according to his family, was last seen Monday night.

His family says they have filed missing persons reports with Fort Hood and the Killeen Police Department.

Fort Hood confirmed to News 10 that Morales has been placed on Absent Without Leave status since Aug. 20.

"His chain of command is in touch with his family seeking his whereabouts," officials said.

His mother, Kim Wedel, posted on Facebook that he just purchased a black 2018 Kia Rio.

"He is scheduled to process out of the military in September so going AWOL just doesn’t make sense," she said.

Anyone with information is asked to contact local authorities.
get updates here

POTUS drained swamp of intelligent life

Veterans are paying attention 

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
August 24, 2019

The President drained the swamp, like he said he would. He did not warn us he meant he would drain it of intelligent life!

Most of us are turning off the TV whenever President Trump makes another stump speech, or attempts to hit and run the country with Tweets. The problem with that is, if we are not paying attention, we're going to wake up one day and discover that there are no longer any more veterans in the country. They will be called something else to avoid any connection to the sickening way they have been treated since the Revolutionary War.

If you do not know the history of betraying they have endured, begin with the mutiny in Pennsylvania.

So far, we have heard that President Trump thought it was a good idea to take away "unemployable" from older veterans. He had been advised that since they are too old to work, they should not depend on what "permanent and total" compensation they budgeted their lives with. 

This message sent veterans into panic mode. It meant thousands a month from their disability awards, loss of covered medical care for them and their families, loss of property tax benefits...and the list goes on.

Never an apology for what veterans were needlessly subjected to, he just moved on. Now we read from the White House that everything is wonderful for veterans in his eyes.


"My administration is committed to taking care of every warrior that returns home as a veteran." 

Does that mean the veterans already here will not be taken care of? It may seem like a silly question, but given what we have already seen, it is a fair question.

At least that is what the headline is from the White House. Like every other administration, it all depends on what they know and who they have advising them.

WASHINGTON — They were called the “Mar-a-Lago Crowd” by people inside the government. A damning exposé dubbed them the “shadow rulers of the VA.”

In the early days of the Trump administration, a trio of businessmen — one of whom was a member of the president’s private Mar-a-Lago club — worked behind the scenes to shape policy at the Department of Veterans Affairs, the $200-billion federal agency that provides healthcare to nearly 9 million vets. As ProPublica and other news organizations documented, Marvel Entertainment Chairman Ike Perlmutter, a doctor in West Palm Beach named Bruce Moskowitz, and a D.C. lawyer named Marc Sherman formed a triumvirate of outside advisers, vetting VA personnel decisions, corresponding with the agency’s leader, and proposing their own ideas for reforming the VA. Rolling Stone

Add to that the latest on "suicide prevention efforts" that have been slammed by experts, but praised by FOX along with using the ear worm of "22 a day" committing suicide, instead of actually reporting facts on that one too!
But even the VA isn’t sure about the drug, named Spravato. Its medical advisory panel voted in June to classify the drug, known in its generic form as esketamine, as “non-formulary,” meaning it was not included on a list of VA-approved medications that are covered by the agency’s pharmacy benefits. The Center for Public Integrity was the first to report on the June vote. McClatchy
There is a list of things claimed, but apparently, the White House must not be aware of closely we do pay attention to what is going on. No President can possibly know everything that goes into making a country work right. He/she, has to depend on experts in their fields to intelligently advise, instead of just agreeing. If you have not been a long time reader, there is not one single President or party that has not been subjected to accountability. I have done it on various sites since I got online in 1993.

Last year it was reported that many disabled veterans had to pay income taxes for their student loans to be forgiven.

Disabled no longer face big tax hit when student loans are forgiven The bad news is that the change, part of a massive overhaul of the tax code spelled out by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, is not retroactive.

Borrowers whose student loans are forgiven on or after Jan. 1, 2018, due to “total and permanent disability” no longer have to pay federal income taxes on those forgiven loans."

We know we cannot trust politicians. They do one thing after saying they were going to do something the opposite way. We cannot trust reporters to make sure what they say has been verified or not. We sure as hell cannot trust them to actually look into the archives to discover what the historical record has to reveal. We have to do those jobs for them! After all, considering that this is our lives on the line, it is all too personal to us.
PROVIDING THE SUPPORT OUR HEROES DESERVE: President Trump will continue to ensure our veterans receive quality healthcare and have access to the resources they need to succeed.

This Administration is working tirelessly to ensure that veterans receive the highest quality of care and support possible.

The President signed the VA MISSION Act, providing more healthcare options for veterans by consolidating existing programs and expanding access to care in veterans’ own communities.

President Trump is also committed to ending the tragedy of veterans’ suicide, securing $8.6 billion in funding for VA mental health services.

President Trump’s PREVENTS Initiative executive order established a task force to help better understand and prevent suicide.

Since the President’s election, veteran unemployment was reduced to the lowest level ever recorded.

Seriously? With the results we have been living with? Instead of waiting in line at the VA for an appointment, they have to wait in line for private doctors to be taking new patients. Then they have to wait for a referral once they finally find one. Top that off with a lot of doctors do not want to accept VA payments since they take too long to pay.

Spending up for privatizing efforts.(I blame both on this one including all the members of congress who were no longer ashamed of how they failed our veterans.)

Trump said he passed a private-sector health care program, Veterans Choice, after failed attempts by past presidents for the last “45 years.” That’s not true. The Choice program, which allows veterans to see doctors outside the government-run VA system at taxpayer expense, was first passed in 2014 under President Barack Obama.

The part that gets me is, as much as members of Congress belonging to the Republican Party complain about how lousy civilian healthcare is, they think it is a good thing to subject veterans to it! Thank them for this one even though Obama signed it. He should have known better because before he took over the oval chair, he was on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.

The Veteran Unemployment Rate Dropped To Lowest Level In 20 Years In 2017

A fascinating report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics has more on this.

Military suicides reached an all-time high in 2018, Pentagon says

Increase in homeless veterans. You can find this by a simple Google search in your state.

More veterans committing suicide in public, and at VA facilities. They are also facing off with police officers more often.

If there is any wonder as to why 68% of Americans disapprove of the "job" he is doing, ask a disabled veteran who has had to suffer after doing their jobs because politicians don't do theirs.

UPDATE Add this to all of that.
Internal VA emails critical of unofficial Trump 'advisors'
By: Zachary Cohen
Posted: Aug 25, 2019

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Career officials at the Department of Veterans Affairs expressed deep frustrations over having to entertain "ridiculous" policy recommendations from a trio of influential Mar-a-Lago club members during President Donald Trump's time in office, according to documents released by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics.

A series of internal emails spanning from November 2017 to June 2018, show that VA officials wrote to senior staffers with concerns about how this group of three, known within the department as "the Mar-a-Lago crowd," was given the authority to influence policy despite having no government experience or expertise in veterans issues.
read it here

"Thank You For My Service" by veteran Army Ranger

Review: ‘Thank You For My Service’

The Washington Free Becon
Jeffrey Cimmino
AUGUST 25, 2019

From Balad to Black Rifle
He doesn't discount the reality of PTSD or survivor's guilt among some veterans, but he takes issue with the media-made notion that every veteran story is an "endless parade of horribles" and veterans are "ticking time bombs waiting to explode." 
Mat Best is an American man's man, someone who loves "man s—t like beards and whiskey and guns and hot chicks in American flag bikinis." Beneath layers of playful, irreverent humor, Best’s memoir Thank You For My Service is a serious book about a former Army Ranger navigating his way back into civilian life, overcoming an addiction to war, and trying to support his fellow veterans.

Best's book covers everything—his decision to join the military out of high school, his deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, and more than a modest portion of his sex life. After serving multiple deployments in Iraq, he wrestled with the question of whether to stay in the military.

"Was I going to age too rapidly and burn myself out over here and miss all of my twenties if I stayed? Probably. Would it be more rewarding to stay? Maybe. Would I regret not giving the carefree twenties a shot? I didn’t know," Best writes.

Yet the transition proved challenging. College initially seemed compelling, but an afternoon on a campus listening to students' conversations—and their "fundamental lack of understanding of how the world works"—dissuaded him from that path.

He then opted for a job in private security that ended in a booze-filled sex-fest during a party at the home of a Gatsby-esque Los Angeles billionaire. Best blasts Los Angeles for its "selfishness, rudeness, and disrespect," observing that "it's incredibly mind-blowing how quickly that town can break you down."
read it here

Saturday, August 24, 2019

After search suspended for missing firefighters, community joined in prayer service

Prayer service held for missing firefighters in Vero Beach

CBS 12 News
by Luli Ortiz
August 23rd 2019

VERO BEACH, Fla. (CBS12) — It’s been a week since two firefighters went on a fishing trip off the coast of Florida and never came home.

Nearly 150 people gathered at Jaycee Beach Park Friday afternoon to pray Brian McCluney and Justin Walker.

“We believe Justin in on that boat. We believe that he is surviving, and we believe he’s coming home,” said Sheila Walker, Justin’s mother.

After the prayer service, strangers embraced her.

Walker described her son, a Vero Beach native, "beautiful young man, big heart, everybody that meets him, loves him. He’s just got the best smile. He’s the life of the party when he shows up."

She said her son and McCluney went to EMT school together and have been inseparable ever since.

“I know he loves my son. [He’s] a good family man. He’s got two children, so we’re just trying to get back to his children and my son back to his wife and us,” she said.
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VA Medical Records of PTSD Veteran Released to Public

Ojeda says his VA medical records were stolen, wants answers from government

West Virginia Record
By Chris Dickerson
Aug 23, 2019

HUNTINGTON – A former state Senator and U.S. House candidate says his medical records were stolen from a Veterans Affairs office and used against him in his 2018 congressional campaign.

Richard Ojeda filed a complaint Aug. 22 in federal court asking to have a Department of Veterans Affairs investigation into the matter released. Federal prosecutors said Jeffrey S. Miller, a claims assistant at the Veterans Benefits Administration’s Huntington office, took a photograph of medical records of a public figure on May 17 and sent the photo to someone.

The incident occurred days after Ojeda won the Democratic primary for the open Third District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. That fall, Ojeda lost to Republican Carol Miller in the general election.

In his federal lawsuit, Ojeda says he is the anonymous public figure. He says Jeffrey Miller accessed his medical records for more than two months “without authorization and without any legitimate work-related purpose.”

read it here