Showing posts with label Senate Armed Services Committee. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Senate Armed Services Committee. Show all posts

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Senators outraged over military sexual assaults....again

Today in Washington, yet again, Senators expressed outrage over the rise in military sexual assaults. While they can act as if this is a "new" problem...their problem is very little was done over all these years. This hearing happened in 2013!

Female Senators Express Outrage Towards Male Military Commanders at Sexual Assault Hearing
11,082 views •Jun 5, 2013

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Senate Armed Services Committee turning their backs on sexual assault victims...still

Senate committee advances senior general’s nomination despite sexual assault accusations

Military Times
By: Leo Shane III and Joe Gould
July 31, 2019
Hyten’s accuser — Army Col. Kathryn Spletstoser — attended the hearing and told reporters afterwards that both the Senate and military officials were turning their backs on sexual assault victims. “You just had a four-star general get up in front of the American people and in testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee and make false statements under oath,” she said. “He lied. He lied about sexually assaulting me.”

Senate Armed Services Committee members on Wednesday advanced the nomination of an Air Force general accused of sexually harassing and assaulting an aide, but a full floor vote on his confirmation likely won’t take place for several more weeks.
The Senate Armed Services Committee has advanced the nomination of Air Force Gen. John Hyten to be Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. (Andrew Harnik/AP)

Committee Chairman Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., said his panel members comfortably backed Gen. John Hyten, 20-7, to become the next vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs, the second-highest uniformed military post.

“I have no concerns (about Hyten) at all,” he told reporters after the committee vote. “You’re talking about five classified briefings, where every member had every chance to ask every question.”

The nomination of Hyten, the current head of U.S. Strategic Command, has been stalled for weeks as senators wrestled with the allegations of sexual assault. On Tuesday, Hyten spoke publicly about the accusations for the first time during his confirmation hearing, denying any inappropriate behavior.
read it here

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Housing privatization initiative, put military families in squalor

Families living with military housing horrors plea for reforms

Published: February 13, 2019
Several witnesses and lawmakers agreed Wednesday that the residential horror stories can be traced back to the 1996 military housing privatization initiative that let contractors take over management of the residences. Previously, the military managed these properties.
Military spouse Janna Driver testifies Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019, during a Senate Armed Services subcommittee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, as fellow military spouses Crystal Cornwall, left, and Jana Wanner look on. CARLOS BONGIOANNI/STARS AND STRIPES
WASHINGTON — Termites falling from light fixtures. Toxic mold sickening families. Rodent infestations of residences. Asbestos and lead paint exposures.

This is the alarming world of dilapidated military housing today.

On Wednesday, some families who have suffered with these residential nightmares told their stories on Capitol Hill.

“Our military families do not deserve this after all the sacrifices they make,” Janna Driver, the wife of an active-duty Air Force servicemember and mother of five children, told lawmakers during an extensive Senate hearing on military housing problems. “It is criminal. It is unbelievable the extent of this cover up.”

Driver joined two other military spouses during the more than three-hour hearing to plead for help as they detailed years of battles with deteriorating housing conditions, subsequent illnesses and extensive bills.
Private military housing executives and top military officials also testified before the joint subpanel hearing for the Senate Armed Services Committee. They said they are now addressing the concerns.
read more here

Saturday, July 14, 2018

DOD report on military family member suicides 4 years late!

It is not "22 a day" veterans committing suicide. It is not even "20" because too many are not even counted.

They do not count when the veteran lives in other countries.

They do not count when the veteran has not been given an honorable discharge.

They do not count in far too many cases. The truth is, they needed to be able to count on us, but too many are too busy reducing them down to numbers, while families knew their names.

We do not even mention the fact that the average suicides within the military are about 500 a year.

We sure do not mention the fact that family members commit suicide too. So for all the awareness not being raised, add this to what else you are now aware of! 

Senators: Where's the Military Family Suicide Data?
By Amy Bushatz
13 Jul 2018
The new policy had been due no later than Dec. 19, 2014. But no official report or update on the results of the family member portion of policy has been released.
Two senators want to know the status of information on the suicide rate for military family members, data the Pentagon was ordered to start collecting in 2014.

Defense officials were ordered to standardize and collect that data as part of a larger measure on military suicide included in a 2014 law. And while the Pentagon has fulfilled the request for service member suicide data, it seems to have ignored the order to include military dependents, according to a letter sent by the senators to the Defense Department.

The letter, signed by Democratic Sens. Patty Murray of Washington and Tim Kaine of Virginia, was sent July 12 to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.
read more here

The most important thing veterans and families need to know IS THEY CAN HEAL AND IT CAN GET BETTER!

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Marine's 6 year old daughter sexually assaulted by Colonel?

Mother of sexually abused child: The military is failing victims
Army Times
By: Karen Jowers
March 9, 2018

"The investigators did not investigate Wilson’s past, she said, adding that the Marine Corps didn’t follow through to address previous reports of a sexual nature against Wilson. If they had, she said, 'Wilson would never have been able to take our child’s innocence from her.'"
Adrian Perry testifies before the personnel panel of the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee during Thursday's hearing on domestic violence and child abuse in the military. (SASC video screen shot)

Marine wife whose 6-year-old daughter was sexually abused by a Marine Corps colonel told lawmakers the military is failing victims.

“Had my husband and I stayed silent, our case would never have been brought,” said Adrian Perry, who testified before the Senate Armed Services personnel subcommittee hearing Thursday examining child abuse and intimate partner violence in the military.

Witnesses testified about problems with investigations, cumbersome processes, lack of proper resources for victims, and communication issues between military and civilian authorities.
read more here

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Careful John McCain, Your Lousy Record is Showing

John McCain's op ed seems to show that either he does not remember all his years in the Senate along with all the years on Armed Services Committee. If he remembered any of it, then he would not have written such a ridiculous article touting his actions.
McCain: New Suicide prevention initiative for veterans can be model for nationwide effort By: Sen. John McCain August 17, 2016

Recently, the Department of Veterans Affairs released a sobering reminder of an epidemic that plagues our veterans: the suicide rate among military veterans has increased nearly 32 percent since 2001. Our youngest veterans (ages 18-29) have been hit the hardest and are nearly twice as likely to take their own lives than any other age group. The rate of suicide among veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is approximately 50 percent higher than the rate among the general public, and on average, we lose more than 20 military veterans to suicide each more here

Let's think about that for a second.

Take a look at how long he has been in Washington.
John was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from the First District of Arizona on an agenda of limited government and strong foreign policy. After two terms in the House, John was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1986, succeeding legendary Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater.

John McCain actually blocked a bill calling it overreach adding it was not needed in Arizona.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy
This was going on at the same time McCain was blocking the bill.
In September of 2013 this report came out "Veterans committing suicide at twice the rate of civilians" and Arizona was in the news. "The rate of suicide among military veterans in Arizona is more than double the civilian rate Advocates say veterans need more than benefits when returning from war. The average veteran suicide rate in Arizona from 2005 through 2011 is almost 43 deaths per 100,000 people. That’s according to data compiled by News21, a national reporting project based out of Arizona State University. And the rate should increase as more veterans return home."
But he would should have known better considering he was on the Armed Services Committee in charge of the "prevention" training troops received while still in the military. In 2006 when Congress was working on addressing suicides, there were 99 the entire year.  The numbers went up even while the number of enlisted went down. Does McCain have to explain any of that? Does he have to explain why Congress spends billions on prevention while suicides increase and so does spending?

You can read more on his actual record here. It gets worse.
"These numbers are unacceptable. That’s why in 2014, I worked to help veterans at risk of suicide due to combat-related psychological trauma by championing legislation named in the honor of Clay Hunt. That bill was signed into law in 2015."

Does McCain have to explain that the Clay Hunt bill was a repeat of the Joshua Omvig Suicide Prevention Act?
"Arizona will be the first state in the country to organize this level of collaboration and training so that the VA and the community are working together to combat suicide among veterans."
Again, does he have to explain how the numbers in Arizona went up instead of down? How many more years does he get to fail veterans while they are dying for him to get educated?
For far too long, our sons and daughters who selflessly served the nation in wartime have ended their lives prematurely after they returned home. Through the combined and coordinated suicide prevention efforts of VA hospitals, veterans, and mental health providers, Arizona – and hopefully other states across the country – can work together to bring an end to the tragedy of veteran suicides.
Yes, for far too long and it is because politicians just like him want to get away with pretending they had nothing to do with the outcomes yet everything to do with trying? At least most in the Veterans Community are fully aware of McCains record and it has been disgraceful.
The Disabled Veterans of America gives him a 20 percent rating, compared with an 80 percent rating for Sen. Obama. The Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans for America gives Sen. McCain a D and Sen. Obama a B+. The Vietnam Veterans of America say Sen. McCain has voted against them on 15 issues.
One of the most vocal and fastest-growing veterans groups to oppose the McCain campaign is Formed in 2006, the organization claims a membership of roughly 100,000, with a political action committee devoted to electing congressional candidates who oppose the handling of the Iraq war.
Especially galling to is Sen. McCain's opposition to the new, bipartisan GI Bill that increases education benefits for Iraq and Afghanistan vets. Sen. Obama voted for the bill when it passed 75-22 in May; Sen. McCain was on the campaign trail and did not vote. 

The military trains them then releases them.  They are no longer accountable for veteran suicides nor have they been held accountable for suicides committed while in the military. Veteran suicides went up, just as the number of living veterans went down, but it seems as if Congress does not see all the damage they did.  

How gave them the right to not be held accountable when they are in charge of all of it?

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

McCain Fights for His Job After Not Bothering To Do It?

John McCain is fighting for his job and seems to blame the GOP instead of himself? Veterans get how bad he has been on taking care of them and military gets how he has not taken care of the troops as Chairman of the Armed Services Committee. We've seen him walk out of hearings, thanks to coverage from CSPAN, as many times as we've seen him turn his back on seeking justice for the deplorable attempts to prevent suicides.  

How is it that members of the House and Senate forget the positions they hold on all of the committees put them in control over those departments? McCain forgets a lot but veterans and families remember all the decades of suffering while politicians like him take no responsibility for what they failed to do.  Now he wants to blame anyone but himself so he won't have to face the fact he didn't do his job?
The GOP changed around John McCain -- and now he's fighting to get re-elected CNN
CNN Digital Expansion DC Manu RajuAlex Lee
Story by Manu Raju and video by Alex Lee
May 10, 2016

McCain isn't trying to be president any more. He's just trying to keep his job in the Senate.
Story highlights
McCain is running for reelection and it'd be his 5th term
The party has changed a lot in 30 years
Phoenix (CNN)Sen. John McCain is under siege: Navigating the cross-currents of Donald Trump at the top of the ticket, facing a challenger pushed by the Democratic establishment and being a Washington veteran of more than three decades in a year dominated by outsiders.

But he seems to be reveling in it all.

After being peppered last week with Trump questions at a news conference in Phoenix, McCain said it was time to wrap up: "Surely, there's one more question about Trump?" At an event with freshmen GOP senators, McCain rattled off one-by-one the long list of Arizona politicians who failed to become president - everyone from Republican Barry Goldwater to Democrat Mo Udall and including himself. "Arizona may be the only state in America where mothers don't tell their children that someday they could be president of the United States."
read more here

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Does John McCain Ever Have to Explain Anything?

How is it that politicians never have to explain anything about what they do ending up with such poor results? When we think about suicides tied to military service, we think about the DOD as well as the VA because they would not be disabled veterans had they not served in the military in the first place. Politicians however don't seem to be able to make that connection.

Veterans expected results after all the hearings however, deplorable results did not come with any explanations or even apologies.

President Obama served on the Veterans Affairs Committee but not the Armed Forces Committee. John McCain served on that one but didn't serve on the VA Committee. It seems like neither one was paying much attention to their own Committees.

Way back in 2007 then Senator Obama was demanding answers from the Pentagon on what they were doing about PTSD rates and suicides.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Barack Obama (D-IL) and Christopher Bond (R-MO) sent the following letter to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, requesting a full accounting of service members’ psychological injuries, including Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), since October 2001. The senators also requested a detailed report on how the military monitors other psychological injuries. Recent media accounts indicate that the number of service members seeking care for PTSD from the Veterans Administration (VA) increased 70% over a 12-month period, or an increase of some 20,000 cases. In addition, reports of the total number of cases of PTSD treatment at the VA since 2001 – 50,000 cases – far exceed the number of wounded documented by the Pentagon.
We see the results of that demand and it hasn't been good at all. As for the VA, well, they responded in 2007 by opening VA Clinics to fill the demand of the already overloaded system that was never increased with two wars adding to the number of disabled veterans.

Just an example of this came when the Minneapolis VA opened two clinics, then shut them down due to lack of funding the company contracted to run them.
Two recently opened Minneapolis VA clinics in western Wisconsin were abruptly shut down this week by the company under contract to run them. Kentucky-based Corporate Health and Wellness says it lost hundreds of thousands of dollars opening the clinics. It blames the closings on a lack of additional funding from the VA.

St. Paul, Minn. — The two clinics that sit idle now opened to much fanfare this summer and fall. The VA said, and local veterans agreed, the facilities in Hayward and in Rice Lake would make it much easier for area vets to get basic health care. No longer would they have to travel long distances to VA facilities in places like Duluth-Superior or the Twin Cities.

But without warning, the clinics closed this week.

Yes, you read "contracted" right. In other words, the cost of caring for the disabled veterans was increased simply because contractors make more money than VA employees. The House Committee on Veterans Affairs was looking for answers on veterans committing suicide as well after a CBS report showed,
The hearing was prompted in part by a CBS news story in November on suicides in the veteran population that put last year’s number of veteran suicides at over 6,000. VA officials refuted that number, questioning its validity. But a VA Inspector General report released in May of 2007 found that as many as 5,000 veterans commit suicide a year—nearly 1,000 of whom are receiving VA care at the time.
There were investigations on veterans dying due to substandard care way back then as well but those investigations were followed by even more of them with more veterans in graves.

President Bush was being slammed for being $3 billion short on the VA budget in 2008 but it had happened before his presidency and after it.

Veterans have always had to fight wars and then come home to fight for benefits after getting disabled because politicians never had to explain what they didn't fix.

A report in 2008 took a look at VA claims ratings going back to 1945.
VA argued that it is already doing the right thing and has been updating the rating schedule, though officials acknowledged they could do better. From 1990 through 2007, VA had updated 47 percent of the ratings schedule, but 35 percent of the codes had not been touched since 1945. However, VA said it updated the codes for TBI in January and is working on an update for PTSD.

VA spokesman Ralph Heussner says the locked doors are an unexpected disappointment. 
McCain's answer for all of this was to privatize the VA back in 2008 just like now. VA Update: Senator McCain's Plan to Privatize Veterans' Healthcare
On the campaign trail, the Republican's presumptive nominee has talked of a new mission for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and argued that veterans with non-combat medical problems should be given vouchers to receive care at private, for-profit hospitals -- in other words, an end to the kind of universal health care the government has guaranteed veterans for generations.

"We need to relieve the burden on the VA from routine health care," McCain told the National Forum on Disability Issues last month. "If you have a routine health care need, take it wherever you want, whatever doctor or health care provider and get the treatment you need, while we at the VA focus our attention, our care, our love, on these grievous wounds of war."

And for John McCain on the DOD, he's been on the wrong side of taking care of the service members in the first place.

While McCain's voting record has never been good for veterans he continually managed to bring up the fact he was one of them.

Take the GI Bill for example. This is what he thought of it before President Bush gave him credit for passing it.
McCain says the legislation is too expensive and has proposed his own version, which would increase the monthly benefit available to most veterans to $1,500 from $1,100. It would not offer the equivalent of a full scholarship.

The ad by Action Fund, features Iraq and Afghanistan veterans noting that both McCain and President Bush oppose the bill.

"McCain thinks covering a fraction of our education is enough," one veteran says. Another one, pictured recovering from head wounds, adds in a voiceover: "We didn't give a fraction in Iraq. We gave 100 percent."

While McCain called "suicide prevention overreach and blocked prevention bill" Reuters reported in 2010 about the failures in preventing suicides.
Efforts to prevent suicides among U.S. war veterans are failing, in part because distressed troops do not trust the military to help them, top military officials said on Thursday.

Poor training, a lack of coordination and an overstretched military are also factors, but a new 76-point plan lays out ways to improve this,Colonel John Bradley, chief of psychiatry at Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington.
"They tell us again and again that we are failing," Bradley told a symposium on military medicine sponsored by the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences and the Henry M. Jackson Foundation.

Each branch of the services -- the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marines -- rushed to create a suicide prevention program, but there was no coordination. The report recommends that the defense secretary's office take over coordination of suicide prevention efforts.

On-the-ground prevention training often failed because those running the sessions did not understand their importance, Bradley said.

"They are mocked and they are probably harmful," he said.
Not much has changed other than there are higher numbers of suicides and a lot more money spent on bills that are simply repeats of what already failed. So while we remember all that has gone on while politicians have been accountable to no one, McCain now wants credit for "progress" after all these years of abysmal failures?
John McCain, Jeff Flake: Some progress on Pentagon, VA reform; a lot more to do
The Republic
Dan Nowicki
January 2, 2016
McCain touted his work on the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans (SAV) Act, which became law in February.
Sen. Jeff Flake (left) and Sen. John McCain, both Arizona Republicans, in November said the Pentagon paid professional sports franchises for marketing events that included full-field displays of the American flag, enlistment and re-enlistment ceremonies and reunions between service members and their families. They called the productions "paid patriotism."
(Photo: Bill Theobald/The Republic)
Arizona's U.S. Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake have wrapped up their first year as part of the Senate's current Republican majority and can look back on a 2015 that included incremental progress in reforming the embattled Department of Veterans Affairs and battling the sprawling Defense Department waste as well as challenges and disappointments.

"We've been reforming the military this last year," McCain said in a recent meeting with Arizona Republic editors and reporters. "According to the (conservative think tank) Heritage Foundation, the biggest reforms in the last 30 years. But we have a heck of a lot more to do, a lot more reforms to do."

As Senate Armed Services Committee chairman, McCain was a driving force behind the National Defense Authorization Act, which reflected his Pentagon reform agenda. The legislation, among other highlights, redirects billions of dollars in spending on administrative overhead and troubled weapons programs to improving military capabilities and other priorities, revamps the defense-acquisition process and updates the military's 70-year-old retirement system.
read more here

Friday, October 16, 2015

Stunning Lack of Accountability Out of the Senate

The headline reads Donnelly puts military suicide prevention above party politics but nowhere in the entire article does it mention the fact that this is not the first time, second, third or even 50th bill claimed to be about reducing suicides in the military. Considering the military itself has been reduced, the numbers show a significant increase after all these bills have been written and paid for.
"The suicide rate among servicemembers and vets is not just a tragedy, but a crisis for our country that we have to get down to zero," said Donnelly, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
They love to leave out the fact the OEF and OIF veterans were created and trained to stop committing suicide. Suicide in the veterans community have gone up as well. Then there is John McCain. He loves to say he is a veteran yet from where he sits, he sees no connection to his amazing lack of accountability on any of the issues veterans face and he's been in the Senate all along.
"The president wants to take a stand for greater domestic spending, and he wants to use the vital authorities and support for men and women in uniform as leverage," said U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., chairman of the Armed Services Committee. "At a time of increasing threat to our nation, this is foolish, misguided, cynical and dangerous."
Now everyone is talking about troops staying longer in Afghanistan yet McCain doesn't seem to understand that Congress is supposed get involved in war decisions as well. That is why they are supposed to hold hearings and hold folks accountable. No plans things get worse, no accountability nothing gets fixed but they still get to complain and pretend they're doing something.

Friday, August 14, 2015

McCain Defends His Claims About Record, History Unmovable

I needed a good laugh this morning and actually got one. "McCain defends record on vets from Trump" "As Ronald Reagan used to say, 'facts are stubborn things,'
and Senator McCain’s long history of working on behalf of his fellow veterans is clear" and it sure is. McCain's record on veterans is well known and shows that he has not been a friend to veterans in the Senate. His votes against them screamed how much he does not support them.

As for the other part of this article on veterans getting medical treatment from private doctors, he's been pushing for that for decades instead of making sure the VA was able to take care of them. It isn't a recent thing at all. Plus, if he really cared, then why didn't he ever serve on the Veterans Affairs Committee?

This is from August 2008

Does McCain know what he says is taped?
Stars and Stripes' interview with Sen. John McCain
By Leo Shane III, Stars and Stripes
Stars and Stripes online edition, Monday, August 11, 2008

Q: The backlog in the VA system is still very sizeable and a concern to even many of the younger guys. I don’t know how you’re looking at the issue, and how you fix something that the current administration has really struggled with.

I think the best thing we could possibly do is focus military medical care and the VA on treating the wounds directly related to combat: PTSD, combat wounds which they are uniquely qualified, through years of experience, to address.

I think in the case of veterans that have ordinary health care needs, routine health care needs, we should do everything we can to give them a card that they can take to the health care provider or doctor of their choice to get health care immediately.

Q: I know there has been a push by the current administration to take those healthier veterans and have them pay to help support the system, even a small, nominal fee. I don’t know if that’s something that you’d support.

First I think we’ve got to make sure that veterans receive the care, and then we have to worry about if there’s any necessary changes. I’m unalterably opposed to telling future generations of Americans that we’re not going to give them the health care they need in service for our country.

That means that I would be very reluctant, I would be opposed to imposing more financial costs.

Here's a few more reminders.

This is from the Detroit News January 15, 2008
"At every stop since he began his Michigan blitz on Saturday, McCain recognized the veterans in the audience. He's promised to provide better medical care to veterans in the early days of his administration."

And he kept saying that for all these years of sitting in the Senate. Yet all these years we've seen the results. There is something in the Bible about making claims like McCain has,
Matthew 7:16-20 King James Version (KJV)
16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

McCain wouldn't support the Merchant Marines
Now all these years later, the few Merchant Marine war veterans still alive would like to see Senate Bill S961 passed. The House of Representatives passed the bill in 2007. Our two Arizona senators, Jon Kyl and John McCain, have not signed on even though 57 other senators have.
The bill is known as the "Belated Thank You to the Merchant Mariners of World War II."

McCain wouldn't support the GI Bill
VA: $94 billion for 2009 and still $3.3 billion short
Vet care spending is at record level
USA Today By Gregg Zoroya Posted : Wednesday Jul 23, 2008 12:38:35 EDT

The federal government is spending more money on veterans than at any time in modern history, surpassing the tidal wave of spending following World War II and the demilitarizing of millions of troops.

Expenditures hit $82 billion in 2007 because of the rising cost of health care, the expense of caring for an aging population of mostly Vietnam veterans and a new crop of severely wounded troops from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

That exceeds the $80 billion in inflation-adjusted dollars spent in 1947 after most of the 16.1 million Americans serving in World War II left the service, according to a Congressional Research Service report submitted to Congress last month.

An 11 percent hike in spending is slated for this fiscal year to $91 billion and the Veterans Affairs Department has proposed $94 billion for 2009. And still more is needed, said Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., who is seeking another $3.3 billion for the 2009 budget proposal.

“While we are spending more than in previous years, we are still not meeting many of the health care and benefits needs of our veterans,” Murray said.

Last month’s passage of a new GI Bill will add $100 billion in education benefits for veterans over the next 10 years, the Congressional Budget Office said.

Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain and his Democratic opponent Sen. Barack Obama clashed over the bill last month.
McCain opposed it, saying its increased education benefits might encourage troops to leave the military.

Yet, President Bush decided to give McCain credit for passing the GI Bill,
"I would like to again express my appreciation to the veterans' service organizations, many of whom communicated their support of this bill directly to a skeptical White House, and to the 58 Senate and 302 House cosponsors of this landmark legislation. This bipartisan coalition consistently rejected the allegations of this Administration, and of Senators McCain, Burr and Graham, among others, who claimed that the bill was too generous to our veterans, too difficult to administer and would hurt retention.

By the way in case anyone forgot, the GI Bill was by Jim Webb and he was shocked that McCain felt the way he did.

This could keep going and going but as bad as his record was on veterans it was just as bad for the troops. When suicides kept going up, he just ignored them and did nothing to hold anyone accountable. As a matter of fact during more of the hearings for the Senate Armed Services Committee, he usually walked out and those videos are all over CSPAN.

McCain also called Suicide Prevention "overreach" and fought against passing it.
McCain calls suicide prevention an "overreach" and blocks bill! If all the parents out there visiting the cemetery this year for Christmas instead of sitting down with their veteran son/daughter watched this video about McCain, they would line up in front of his house and demand he resign from the Senate.

McCain told Representative Rush Holt "Don't give me a lecture" as Holt tried to explain this crisis.

McCain can say whatever he wants and hope as hard as he can that no one looks up his record. Well at least he got half his wish since members of the press forgot how to do a simple Google search to find out what the truth really is.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Pentagon Isn't Buying What Congress Is Saying?

Do reporters read what they write? The title of the article is that the Pentagon is saying it doesn't want congress buying stuff the military doesn't need yet the part about John McCain is about saying the Pentagon needs to be stopped from doing it. WFT?
Yet one more reason,,,,
"Lawmakers asked many questions, but no one offered a plan to prevent sequestration cuts from happening as it has in past years minus last year when the military received a reprieve from the across-the-board cuts."
Pentagon Tells Congress to Stop Buying Equipment it Doesn't Need
Matthew Cox
January 28, 2015

The chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee said Wednesday he wants the U.S. Military's service chiefs to have more power to prevent the Pentagon from buying weapons it doesn't need.

Sen. John McCain, SASC's new chairman in the new Republican-run Senate, said one his top priorities for this session is to ensure that the service chiefs have more input into the acquisition and procurement process.

Wednesday's hearing's focus was to hear testimony on the next round of mandatory defense spending cuts under sequestration scheduled to occur in fiscal 2016.

The Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps have already suffered massive cuts to end-strength, modernization and readiness under sequestration that began in 2012. And just like in past hearings, the heads of each service predicted a grim outlook if more sequestration cuts come in 2016.

All the services agreed that they would not be able to continue to meet mandatory missions under the National Defense Strategy – win a major war, deter the threats of a second, major enemy and protect the homeland at the same time.

Lawmakers asked many questions, but no one offered a plan to prevent sequestration cuts from happening as it has in past years minus last year when the military received a reprieve from the across-the-board cuts. read more here

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Senator Barbara Boxer Swan Song Still Tone Deaf

This is from Barbara Boxer's website as a press release without any corrections done.

How important is this to her if she sends out a press release with all those errors? Lord knows I make a lot of mistakes too but since I am by myself and usually have my head exploding with frustration, it is a lot different than having staff to check.
Boxer Introduces 'Homeless Veterans Welcome Home Act' to Provide Suupport For Veterans Transitioning Intro Permanant Housing

Bill is Based on Successful California Program that Provides Homeless Veterans with Critical Household Items and Assistance to Help in Transition to Permanent Housing
Wednesday, January 21st 2015
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) today introduced the Homeless Veterans Welcome Home Act of 2015, legislation that would establish a national pilot program to provide furniture, household items, and other assistance to help homeless veterans as they transition into permanent housing.

“When many homeless veterans finally obtain permanent housing, they arrive with few or no possessions,” Senator Boxer said. “This grant program will assist veterans by providing them with basic household items – such as a bed or utensils– to help them successfully make the transition to civilian life.”

According to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), approximately 40,000 homeless veteran families receive permanent housing through VA housing assistance programs each year. However, most veterans who receive housing do not have the means to pay for critical household items and typically move into empty apartments. These veterans often have no means to cook or enjoy the basic comforts of a furnished home.

In 2012, the non-profit California Department of AMVETS partnered with the West Los Angeles VA to create an innovative “Welcome Home” program that provides homeless veterans transitioning into permanent housing with furniture, appliances, and other necessary household items. The program has since expanded to serve Long Beach, San Diego, Orange County and Fresno communities and has provided household items to over 1,450 formerly homeless veterans.

The Homeless Veterans Welcome Home Act of 2015 is modeled on this successful public-private partnership, and will help fill an important gap in our assistance to homeless veterans by addressing their immediate move-in needs.

Specifically, the Boxer-Feinstein bill would:
Establish a 3-year pilot program to award grants to eligible organizations to facilitate the delivery of furniture, household items and other assistance to homeless veterans who qualify for housing under the VA’s housing assistance programs.
Require the VA to prioritize communities with the greatest need of homeless services and fair geographic distribution when awarding grants.
Cap the maximum amount awarded per grant at $500,000, and the maximum amount of assistance provided to an eligible veteran at $2,500.
Authorize $5 million for 3 years to be appropriated for the program.

This bill is endorsed by the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans (NCHV), National Alliance to End Homelessness (NAEH), Disabled American Veterans (DAV), Swords to Plowshares, and the California Department of AMVETS.

Far from the first time Senator Boxer has introduced bills and far from the first time it has included errors as well as omissions.

In 2008 military suicides had her attention.

Bill Addresses Military Suicides
By Susan Jones Senior Editor
March 27, 2008

( - Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) recently introduced legislation requiring the Defense Department to establish a detailed database on suicides and attempted suicides among U.S. troops.

Last year, 121 soldiers committed suicide and another 2,100 attempted suicide, Boxer said on her Web site. She noted that the 2,100 attempted suicides represents a six-fold increase since 2002 (when the U.S. was not at war).

In addition to requiring a comprehensive database, the Boxer-Lieberman legislation (formally, The Armed Forces Suicide Prevention Act of 2008) would require the individual investigation of all suicides across the Armed Forces, and it would require the Pentagon to provide Congress with regular updates on military suicides.

A second bill, The Armed Forces Mental Health Professionals Recruitment and Retention Enhancement Act of 2008, would increase the number of uniformed mental health providers serving service members and their families. (Lieberman noted that the troops have a strong preference for uniformed, rather than civilian, providers.)

"This legislation will help ensure that the Defense Department and Congress are getting an adequate picture of the state of mental health within our Armed Forces," Boxer said in a news release.

Earlier that month she had this to say
We have a big problem ... that is only going to get worse if we don’t do something big now,” Boxer said as she and military medical officials testified before the Senate Armed Services personnel subcommittee.

“We need to ensure we have adequate numbers of uniformed mental health providers who can train and deploy with our troops and be there when they are needed,” she said, noting that treatment does no good if it is not available quickly.

“When we do this right, it is going to help our military in the long run,” Boxer said.

And when will that be? After all the bills done the "big problem" became worse because the "something" they did right away and often repeated did not work and they just did it all again!

What kind of a game are they playing with the lives of our veterans and troops? We've heard it all so long now that the swan songs of members of congress have proven they are still tone deaf!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

40 Members of Congress Don't Want Cuts to Army?

Odierno: More troops in Afghanistan may get pink slips
Stars and Stripes
By Jon Harper
Published: September 20, 2014
(Here are the highlights)
Rep. Tom Cotton, R-Ariz., said in a written statement in July. “It’s deplorable the Obama administration would treat them this way.”

Hmm, can only guess that he was AWOL when the Congress passed sequestration when they couldn't pass a budget ahead of that.
Active duty Army end strength is slated to drop from 510,000 troops this year to 490,000 in 2015. Defense officials expect it to go down to about 450,000 by 2019. If lawmakers don’t put an end to budget cutbacks known as sequestration, which are scheduled to go back into effect in 2016, the force level could fall to 420,000.

Congress comes up with the Bills and Congress controls the money. When do politicians understand the rest of the country has grown very tired of hearing it isn't their fault?
Odierno blamed lawmakers for soldiers losing their jobs. He told reporters that he recently received about 40 letters from members of Congress asking him not to cut soldiers from bases in their districts.
read more of this here

Monday, September 8, 2014

If you love a veteran, this will tick you off

Several times you'll hear "Wounded Warriors" but they are not talking about the "Project" but the "Program" run by the DOD. Huge difference.
How do I enroll in the wounded warrior program?
Enrollment in the program varies by branch of service.

Army. Soldiers and veterans who meet the eligibility requirements and are not currently enrolled in the program should contact the Army Wounded Warrior Call Center for assistance.
Nationwide (toll-free): 877-393-9058
Overseas DSN: 312-221-9113

Marine Corps. Requests for assignment to a Wounded Warrior Regiment element can be initiated by the parent command, medical officer, medical case manager, WWR Detachment Officer-in-Charge, or the WWR Operations section. For more information on the referral process, you can contact the WWR Call Center.
Nationwide (toll-free): 877-487-6299
Navy. Enrollment in Navy Safe Harbor is voluntary. Sailors and Coast Guardsmen may self-refer to the program or be referred by a family member, their command leadership, or their medical team. For questions on enrollment eligibility, contact Navy Safe Harbor.
Nationwide (toll-free): 877-746-8563

Air Force. Eligible airmen should contact the Air Force Wounded Warrior Program Office. The Air Force has no minimum disability rating requirement for the AFW2 program, as long as the injury/illness is combat/hostile related requiring long-term care that will require an MEB/PEB to determine fitness for duty.
Nationwide (toll-free): 800-581-9437

Couple of reminders folks. The first one is that PTSD isn't new. Research on "shell shock" goes back to WWI and as for PTSD, research was cooking right along in the 70's leading up to this.
In 1980, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) added PTSD to the third edition of its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-III) nosologic classification scheme (2). Although controversial when first introduced, the PTSD diagnosis has filled an important gap in psychiatric theory and practice. From an historical perspective, the significant change ushered in by the PTSD concept was the stipulation that the etiological agent was outside the individual (i.e., a traumatic event) rather than an inherent individual weakness (i.e., a traumatic neurosis). The key to understanding the scientific basis and clinical expression of PTSD is the concept of "trauma."
That was just in case you were led to believe that PTSD was new. They ran out of excuses decades ago. How did they get away with leaving veterans suffer all this time? Here is a great indication of it. This CSPAN video is of our members of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee and the Armed Services Committee going over all the troubles back in 2007. Clue here is, they've been repeating the same old tired speeches claiming to be upset, but the end result has been, well, BOHICA.

APRIL 12, 2007
Veterans' Disability Ratings The Senate Armed Services and Veterans' Affairs Committees held a joint hearing on the Defense and Veterans Affairs Departments' disability rating systems and the transition of service members from the Defense Department to the Veterans Affairs Department. Among the issues they addressed were levels of disability assigned to departing service members, medical costs of long term care, the quality of medical services, and conditions at medical treatment facilities.

If you are a veteran, this is how it all happened. If you are a family member, this is why your family has been trapped in an endless cycle of tribulations. We've all been there. My husband's claim took 6 years and it was filed in the early 90's.

We know how bad it has been but the public thinks it is all new. Short attention span or too many reality TV shows, the truth is the press won't remind them of what we live with all the time.

One more thing to notice is all the Senators talking and still talking. Here are links to some of the things these people were talking about.
Walter Reed
Washington Post article by Dana Priest and Anne Hull
Soldiers Face Neglect, Frustration At Army's Top Medical Facility


(Bradley Commission): Records, 1954-58

Yes, you read the date right.

We keep waiting to hear the problems have been fixed after members of Congress hold hearing after hearing, then we wonder if they ever heard enough to say "enough is enough" and fix it for real.

I know the speeches are hard to get through but unless you've tracked all these reports then you have no way of knowing exactly what they were fixing and when they knew they had to do it. The last question is, "Why didn't they fix all of this back then?" then maybe we can get to why we lost so many to suicide afterwards.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

The video everyone needs to watch on military suicides

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
July 27, 2014

If you want to know why your veteran committed suicide, this is the biggest part of the answer. It wasn't your fault. Everything you faced since this hearing back in 2010 was the responsibility of the DOD and the VA. Nothing that happened afterwards was excusable but no one was ever held accountable for what the DOD and Congress failed to do in the first place.

During a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, General Peter Chiarelli talked about how PTSD and TBI were being co-diagnosed and how there were many misdiagnosis. It was almost as if he was more angry about the reporting by NPR than the outcome.
Military Still Failing To Diagnose, Treat Brain Injuries In 2007, under enormous public pressure, military leaders pledged to fix problems in diagnosing and treating brain injuries. Yet despite the hundreds of millions of dollars pumped into the effort since then, critical parts of this promise remain unfulfilled.

Over four months, we examined government records, previously undisclosed studies and private correspondence between senior medical officials. We conducted interviews with scores of soldiers, experts and military leaders.

That was all coming out in 2010.

Speeches. Endless speeches year after year on what the military has been doing to reduce suicides have resulted in headlines like this.
Navy sees suicide uptick despite prevention efforts
The Virginian-Pilot
By Corinne Reilly
July 25, 2014

After a drop in 2013, suicides among Navy sailors have increased sharply so far this year.

The Pentagon this week released updated suicide numbers for all of the service branches for 2013. Overall, they show a decline in suicides among active-duty service members compared with 2012. Suicides decreased among Navy sailors, too, from 57 in 2012 to 43 last year.

But so far this year, the Navy has seen a marked increase - 38 confirmed or suspected suicides as of this week, according to the service. That's up roughly 50 percent compared with the same period last year.
read more here

Suicide's toll: Survey says half of vets know someone who has tried it, July 24, 2014 Stars and Stripes. The number of enlisted has decreased but the number of suicides went up. The DOD heads refuse to accept responsibility for this outcome. All of their "efforts" pushing "resiliency" have killed more Soldiers, Marines, Airmen and Sailors then two wars combined. Their efforts have destroyed families. They simply make speeches on what they learned.

This is a video everyone needs to watch. You need to hear their words. You need to hear what they claimed 4 years ago before the numbers went to a historical high in 2012. You need to see the empty chairs where members of the Armed Services Committee should have been sitting. You need to hear the questions asked by the Senators who bothered to show up. Then you need to ask yourself is any of this is acceptable to you.
Senate Armed Services Committee
JUNE 22, 2010
Military Suicides
Military branch vice chiefs and a Veterans Administration official spoke about efforts to prevent military suicides. They also talked about efforts to diagnose and treat brain injuries.

In 2010 the DOD knew they had a shortage of mental health doctors and nurses.

Suicides Alarming: The numbers read by Senator Levin

2007 115 Soldiers, 2008 140, 2009 162.

Army, General Peter Chiarelli, Navy Adm. Jonathan Greenhert, Marine Corps Gen. James F. Amos, and Air Force Gen. Carrol H. "Howie" Chandler talked about building "resiliency" and how there was a great need to get the members of the military to seek help. All of these leaders claimed to be doing "all we can" but that was when the numbers were far lower. Dr. Robert Jesse of the Department of Veterans Affairs also made claims of what the VA was doing.

They claimed the research was new avoiding the fact that other Generals had given similar speeches decades ago. They claimed to be doing so much but none of them have ever accepted responsibility for the failure to live up to what they claimed. None of them have admitted what they had been doing failed so many the number of suicides and attempted suicides went up. The number of veterans committing suicide went up.

The backstory on all of this is the simple fact that "bad paper discharges" also went up. Those discharged were no longer the responsibility of the military to account for. They were not part of the VA accounting since most were not eligible for benefits or treatment.

The GAO Report Mental Health and Traumatic Brain Injury Screening Efforts Implemented, but Consistent Pre-Deployment Medical Record Review Policies Needed" but the Generals admitted that while they were doing pre-deployment screenings, they were not doing post-deployment screenings. The excuse was they did not have enough time or mental health workers. They also stated they were getting too many "false-positive" results.
Automated Neuropsychological Assessment Metrics Pre Deployment, Deployment and Post Deployment Screenings. The Defense Department requires all service members to undergo a pre-deployment baseline neurocognitive assessment within 12 months of deployment. Establishing a neurocognitive baseline on all service members facilitates the ability to measure potential cognitive changes in individuals who are exposed to a concussive event. Automated Neuropsychological Assessment Metrics (ANAM) is one such measure that can be used to assess cognitive changes post-concussion and is the neurocognitive assessment tool the Defense Department is currently employing for use by all services.

General Amos said that only about 2% needed mental health help.

Halfway into the meeting, John McCain's seat was empty. Senator Akaka, Senator Levin and Senator Inhofe, Senator Susan Collins, Senator Clair McCaskill, Senator Mark Udall, Senator Mark Begich, Senator Joe Liberman and Senator Kay Hagan were the only ones left to ask questions and listen to the answers.

General Chiarelli said the cooperation between the DOD and the VA had never been better. When a soldier decided to leave service, they were already in the VA system. Remember, that was back in 2010.

General Amos had the same statement on the cooperation between the Marines and the VA.

Adm. Greenert said the same thing. The cooperation had never been better.

General Chandler also said they had a very comfortable relationship with the VA and transitioning the Airmen.

When you hear what was said, what was claimed, back in 2010, it makes the results all the more troubling. When you see how few members of the Senate Armed Services Committee showed up to take an interest in what was happening, it leaves few questions as to why things have been so bad after they continued to simply fund programs that clearly were not working.

In the end, after all the trainings, they talked about how non-deployed committed suicide after being screened. If they were unable to stop them for committing suicide with the same training they gave to the deployed multiple times, how did they expect a different outcome?