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The Common Ills


Thursday, November 20, 2014
Iraq snapshot

Iraq snapshot

Thursday, November 20, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, the Kurdish government is too eager to please the US government, VA officials attended a Senate hearing on veteran suicides without even bothering to brush up on basic figures (figures they should already know to perform their jobs), and much more.


AFP notes, "A suicide bomber driving a car packed with explosives blew himself up in the capital of Iraq’s Kurdistan region on Wednesday, killing at least five people in the first big attack there in more than a year."

While Baghdad, the capital of central Iraq, and surrounding areas have been plagued with violence, the same has not been true of northern Iraq and the provinces making up the semi-autonomous Kurdish Regional Governments and especially not true of the city of Erbil.

The attack in the KRG capital on Wednesday should have caused some soul searching on the part of the government.


The Peshmerga are an elite Kurdish fighting force that's done a strong job protecting the KRG.

The attack yesterday should make the KRG re-evaluate the decision to send the KRG here, there, everywhere outside the KRG.

The attack should have the KRG questioning the decision to send the Peshmerga to Kobani.

Not only is that not a city bordering the KRG, it's not even in Iraq.

Why is the Peshmerga being deployed to Syria, to an area bordering Turkey?

This started at the beginning of the month.

The Peshmerga should be used to protect the KRG and any areas that immediately border the KRG.

Kobani is a Syrian border town -- it borders Turkey.  It's not even remotely near a Kurdish border.

Seems the Kurdish government's a little too eager to assist the US -- so much so that it's leaving their own region in danger.

Maybe it's the hope that, yet again, if they just try a little harder, the US will be a loyal partner?

That pathetic need has never accomplished anything for the Kurds.

And this week, they've been slamming the US government for not supplying them with weapons.

Press TV reports:

Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has blamed the West for failing to meet its promises about arming Kurdish fighters with sophisticated weaponry, Press TV reports.
KRG Masoud Barzani President criticized the West and the US-led coalition fighting the Takfiri ISIL group for not providing Kurdish Peshmerga forces with heavy weapons to help them counter the ISIL.


There has been an effort from some member of the US Congress to send arms to the Kurds.  Julian Pecquet (Al-Monitor) reports:


Foreign Affairs Chairman Ed Royce, R-Calif., and ranking member Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., introduced temporary legislation to arm the Peshmerga forces in their fight against the Islamic State (IS). Doing so would mark a reversal of current US policy, which has sought to reinforce the central government in a bid to stop the country from splintering along ethnic and sectarian lines.
"We thought a long time ago that our appeals to Baghdad to do the right thing would be heard and [former Prime Minister Nouri al-] Maliki's government turned a deaf ear month after month. We've reached the point where we have allies to our cause of defeating [IS] fighting in the field, without adequate equipment, and we are determined to see that they obtain it," Royce told Al-Monitor. "We want the weapons in the hands of the Peshmerga that are on the front line, now."
The bill comes in the wake of an international public relations push by the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). Top Kurdish officials — including Minister Falah Mustafa Bakir, Head of the Department of Foreign Relations, and presidential Chief of Staff Fuad Hussein — were in Washington this week handing out a list of demands to lawmakers and administration officials, while President Massoud Barzani berated western powers for not providing his forces enough weapons during an interview on French television Nov. 19.

 


They've gotten no weapons from the US.  All Iraq News notes the US government did issue a statement condemning the bombing, as did the United Nations and the United Kingdom.

None of those statements will provide protection to the KRG.

And there was one more important statement issued.

India TV reports the Islamic State issued a statement claiming credit for the bombing in Erbil -- claiming credit for the bombing All Iraq News notes is the worst Erbil's seen "since September 29, 2013." Mitchell Prothero (McClatchy Newspapers) adds, "The city has remained largely untouched by Iraq’s violence, even after the Islamic State seized nearby Mosul in June and pushed the front lines to within about 30 miles. Kurdish security officials, however, have feared a campaign of terror, noting that hundreds of thousands of refugees have pressed into Kurdish areas from regions now dominated by the Islamic State."



The issue of arming the Kurds was raised in today's State Dept press briefing moderated by spokesperson Jeff Rathke:


QUESTION: Okay. Last night, I ran into the chief of staff of the Kurdistan president’s – Barzani, he’s the chief of staff of Barzani. And he talks about perhaps 100,000 – upward of 100,000 ISIL members in Iraq and Syria. Do you have any comment on that?


MR. RATHKE: I don’t have any update on numbers that --


QUESTION: Okay.


MR. RATHKE: We’ve spoken to numbers in the past --


QUESTION: Right.


MR. RATHKE: -- and the general estimates, but I don’t have an updated number to share.


QUESTION: Do you think these kind of figures that are staggering, I mean, would they, let’s say, influence U.S. policy in terms of having boots on the ground or having forces on the ground, at least in Iraq or in the near future?


MR. RATHKE: Well, again, I’m not going to comment on that particular number. I’m just not familiar with it. And I think also, the President and the entire Administration have been quite clear about our policy with respect to troops in combat roles.


QUESTION: Okay. I mean – okay. In view of the additions that took place last week – we’re talking about maybe an additional 1,500 whatever, advisors, military advisors and so on, and perhaps a discussion, as was done with General Dempsey last week, there is an indication that these forces might be involved in combat. Is there a likelihood that these forces might be involved in combat, if not directly, in an advisory kind of capacity?


MR. RATHKE: Again, I think the President has spoken to this quite clearly in just recent days. I don’t have anything to add to his words. There’s – we do not envision U.S. forces in combat roles.


QUESTION: Now, also, there are reports that the Iraqi forces, with American advisors, are getting ready to recapture Heet. It’s a town, a township called Heet or a city that’s called Heet. Do you have any comment on that?


MR. RATHKE: I don’t have a specific comment on that particular location. I did comment at the start about the success of Iraqi forces in breaking the siege at Baiji refinery, but I don’t have operational comments on every particular location.
Anything staying – wait, staying with Iraq?


QUESTION: Yeah.


MR. RATHKE: Okay. Go ahead.


QUESTION: Chairman Royce today introduced legislation that would provide the President with authority to give arms directly to the Kurds. Do you have any comment or reaction on that?


MR. RATHKE: I’m not familiar with the legislation that you have referred to, so I don’t want to comment on that. But we have spoken on several occasions about the matter of arms for Kurdish security forces and overall to the Iraqi Security Forces. Our position on that hasn’t changed. We continue to be supporters of Iraq’s Security Forces, of the Kurdish security forces as well.
And it’s our understanding that there was some discussion yesterday, which you may recall, about whether there were delays in shipments. I’d just like to point out, to kind of close that loop from yesterday, that the Government of Iraq has cleared and inspected incoming aircraft carrying weapons deliveries, but we are not aware that it has constrained or delayed the emergency supply of weapons to the Kurdistan Regional Government. That was a point made or a question raised yesterday.
And as well, the Government of Iraq itself has delivered over 300 tons of supplies in Iraqi air force aircraft to the KRG. We are committed to helping the Iraqi Security Forces and the Kurdish security forces. Also, many of our coalition partners have been very supportive of Iraqi Kurdish forces. So we plan to continue that kind of support going forward.

QUESTION: Okay. So I guess the question is: Are you happy with the way things are currently going, with the current state of affairs, and thus do you not see any need for a change, any need for what’s contained in this legislation as a general proposition?


MR. RATHKE: Well, it remains the U.S. Government policy that all arms transfers should be coordinated through the sovereign, central Government of Iraq. We have no plans that I’m aware of to change that.


QUESTION: Yeah, but the legislation calls for direct supplies to the Kurds without the --


MR. RATHKE: I understand that question, but again, I’m not familiar with that legislation, so I don’t want to comment on it. But I simply want to indicate that our policy remains the same. Now, are we happy with the overall situation in Iraq? Of course not. That’s why we are leading a global coalition to disrupt and defeat ISIL. But that’s – we are very supportive of Iraqi and Kurdish security forces in that effort.


So  that was -- Uh, wait.  What was that about Heet?

QUESTION: Now, also, there are reports that the Iraqi forces, with American advisors, are getting ready to recapture Heet. It’s a town, a township called Heet or a city that’s called Heet. Do you have any comment on that?


MR. RATHKE: I don’t have a specific comment on that particular location. I did comment at the start about the success of Iraqi forces in breaking the siege at Baiji refinery, but I don’t have operational comments on every particular location.
Anything staying – wait, staying with Iraq?


Earlier today Iraqi Spring MC shared this on Tweet:







: اغتنام نحو (15) عجلة نوع همر تركتها القوات الحكومية بعد هروبها من معارك منطقة الدولاب في قضاء هيت .
0 replies32 retweets20 favorites





That's the Islamic State taking over the vehicles of Iraqi forces -- after Iraqi forces fled Heet to avoid combat with the Islamic State.  They fled, leaving behind 15 Hummers.



So much for the US government's propaganda effort -- amplified by the US press -- insisting the Islamic State is on the run.

As that propaganda effort falls apart, Johnlee Varghese (IBT) reports:

The US-led coalition against the ISIS seems to be crumbling as there have been reports on social media that several "Saudi pilots" have allegedly refused to fly missions to bomb ISIS targets.
The report, which was confirmed by an Iraqi journalist and political analyst, is bound to have severe repercussions not only on the coalition, but it may also spread the seeds of rebellion among other branches of the Saudi armed forces.


Violence continued throughout Iraq today.  Margaret Griffis (Antiwar.com) reports, "At least 142 people were killed across Iraq, and another six were wounded. Almost all the casualties belonged to militants; however, there is a report that several children died from exposure after being forced to flee their homes in Anbar province."


Let's move over to the US Congress.  David Swanson Tweets:



  • Details
  • " data-item-id="535642817557979137" data-name="CatoTheYounger" data-screen-name="catoletters" data-tweet-id="535642817557979137" data-user-id="15063486" data-you-block="false" data-you-follow="false">


  • " data-has-cards="true" data-item-id="535640959447752704" data-name="David Swanson" data-screen-name="davidcnswanson" data-tweet-id="535640959447752704" data-user-id="19884044" data-you-block="false" data-you-follow="false">
    Iraq War III's "opponents" in Congress are fine with it lasting a few years or more







    In other news, Katherine Skiba (Chicago Tribune) reports US House Rep Tammy Duckworth gave birth this week to a baby girl Abigail O'kalani Bowlsbey.  Duckworth was in the news last week and this week because House Democrats voted on various leadership positions this week and Tammy had requested to vote by proxy because she was unable to fly to DC per doctor's orders.

    That didn't matter for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi who led the "no" against Tammy's request.  Tammy Duckworth is also an Iraq War veteran who lost both legs while serving in Iraq.  That didn't matter to Nancy either.

    Craven liar and plastic surgery victim Nancy Pelosi went on to Tweet this crap:





    No, the picture doesn't reflect the nation's diversity.


    Our nation has many returning veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars -- where are they in the photo?

    They're not there.

    And this week, the liar Nancy used weasel nonsense to weasel out of supporting veterans.


    US House Rep Tim Walz was running to be Ranking Member of the House Veterans Affairs Committee.

    He had the support of veterans groups and he himself had over 20 years in the Army National Guard.

    He was clearly qualified.

    Nancy Pelosi's pet US House Rep Corrine Brown is clearly not qualified.

    To ensure that the deeply ignorant Brown get the post, Nancy and her cronies insisted Tim Walz did not serve on the House Veterans Affairs Committee.

    Huh?

    Well, he had a waiver.  You can only serve on two Committees.  Tim served on the House Veterans Affairs Committee under a waiver.


    Because he served under a waiver, Nance and her goons argued, Tim didn't serve.

    No, that's not how it's supposed to work.

    But that is how whorish and crooked and unethical Nancy Pelosi is.

    She Tweeted the following earlier this month:




    As she proved by spitting on Tammy Duckwork and Tim Walz and on the publicly expressed wishes of veterans groups, her so-called claims to "salute" those who served are nothing but more lies from Nancy's mouth.

    She's an embarrassment to the country and she's lethal to the Democratic Party.

    Her disrespect of veterans will not be forgotten but will be her legacy, what the elderly woman will be remembered for.


    The House Veterans Affairs Committee needs real leadership.

    The VA has had one scandal after another in the last six years.

    When Corrine Brown managed to haul herself to a HVAC hearing, she didn't serve veterans.  She made excuses for the VA, she offered non-stop praise for the VA, she went out of her way to blame the VA's problems and scandals on veterans.

    And now this idiot -- thanks to Nancy Pelosi -- is a vote away from being the Democratic leader on the House Veterans Affairs Committee.


    If you don't get what liars the VA officials are, let's drop back to yesterday's Senate Veterans Affairs Committee hearing.

    The first panel was the VA's Dr. Harold Kudler (Chief Consultant for Mental Health Service), Dr. Caitlin Thompson (Deputy Director, Suicide Prevention) and Dr. Dean Krahn (Deputy Director in the Office of Mental Health Operations).

    The topic was veterans suicides.

    This topic wasn't a surprise.

    This wasn't the Senate's attempt to spring a pop quiz on the VA.

    The topic was announced.

    The witnesses knew what it was.

    They offered written statements ahead of the hearing.

    Remember that as we go through this exchange.



    Senator Richard Blumenthal:  I want to pursue the line of questioning that Senator Johans began because I think it is absolutely critical. I've held meetings around my state with veterans. Some of them have occurred at what are called oasis which are basically college and school based centers. They're not medical, they're just meeting rooms.  They are literally a room where veterans can come together and call that place their own.  And they put up their posters, they have a coffee machine, they have doughnuts and they just come together "without medication" -- in quotes.  I met with a group just a week or so ago and they talked to me about -- in very graphic, moving terms -- about what it meant just to be with each other.  So I know that peer support specialists are part of this program.  With all due respect to the peer support specialist, I would respectfully suggest that this kind of resource may not always require a trained specialist but may just require a veteran -- and I have in mind the kind of veteran who got involved in part because I reached out to him at the suggestion of another veteran -- just made a call to him out of the blue.  And he came to one of these meetings.  So I don't think it involves necessarily a doctor, a nurse, a medical person but just a veteran who is empowered and enabled to perform this function.  So I don't want to use too much of my time with a statement about the importance of this topic but I would like to know -- and maybe you could provide this in writing -- specifically what the current peer support program embodies and how it could be expanded to fund meeting rooms on state campuses -- state schools which already which already should be a part of this program, private colleges and universities.  But then beyond the college or school setting, in communities, how that outreach function could be expanded and I -- I know this is a topic you are thinking about so I would appreciate your expanding on the testimony that you've given already.  I do want to ask you about your testimony because I do think that there are some very important questions about the age group that you don't cover.  We're talking about middle aged veterans which, as I understand it, are the 35 to 64-year-old group?  And in that group, rates of suicide have come down by 16% for those adults who use VHS services.  In the population as a whole, the rates have remained stable.  Correct?

    Dr. Dean Krahn:  [witness off mike]

    Senator Richard Blumenthal:  Well they've gone up for the -- Exactly, they've gone up from 35.5 to 37.5 percent. Right?  So the rates are coming down for middle aged adults who use VA services.  Rates have gone up a little bit for the overall group.  But they seem fairly stable -- 35 to 37%

    Dr. Dean Krahn:  Uh -- authenticate the time with numbers -- uh, yeah, go ahead.

    Senator Richard Blumenthal:   Well here's where I'm going, what that says to me is that among other age groups, suicide rates have risen dramatically for veterans who use your services. 

    Dr. Dean Krahn:  Yes.

    Senator Richard Blumenthal:  Not just women but men.

    Dr. Dean Krahn:  Yes.

    Senator Richard Blumenthal:  Can you tell me how much they've risen, for example, for -- and this is, so far as I can see, no where in your testimony for the age group 18 to 25 for 20 to 29, for the younger population of veterans because after all most of the veterans who are leaving the service right now are in that younger age group, right?  So what's the rate there 

    Dr. Caitlin Thompson:  Yeah, we are -- we are extremely concerned about this population --

    Senator Richard Blumenthal:  Yes, I know you're concerned but --

    Dr. Caitlin Thompson:  I don't have the actual -- I believe it's up to 70 -- uh -- and this is, uh, over time.  The rates -- uh . . . I'd have to find the exact number.

    Senator Richard Blumenthal:  I think that is a -- I think that is the elephant in the room.


    Dr. Caitlin Thompson:   Is . . what's . . .

    Senator Richard Blumenthal:  The elephant in this room.   That younger group.  You're giving us middle aged veterans 

    Dr. Caitlin Thompson:  No --

    Senator Richard Blumenthal:  -- who use your services .

    Dr. Caitlin Thompson:  We do -- I mean, we certainly do acknowledge that that rate is increasing and so what-what are we doing about this?  We need to provide and we are providing very, very specific outreach to those youngest veterans that --

    Senator Richard Blumenthal:  Well we're talking about more than just outreach with all due respect.  We're talking about -- and this is the really critical point here -- we're talking about a group here that uses your services.

    Dr. Caitlin Thompson:  Absolutely.

    Senator Richard Blumenthal:  We've reached out to them.

    Dr. Caitlin Thompson:  Yep.

    Senator Richard Blumenthal:  They're in your doors, they're using your services -- 

    Dr. Caitlin Thompson: Yep.

    Senator Richard Blumenthal:  And they're committing suicide at a higher rate.

    Dr. Caitlin Thompson:  Yes.  So we're -- Yes.  We're trying to understand why is this?  We are -- We are at a loss as much -- as much as a lot of people are.  We --



    Senator Richard Blumenthal: This is -- with all of the publicity surrounding wait time, people dying -- are they dying because of the wait time, are they not?  People are dying at a higher rate --

    Dr. Caitlin Thompson:  Yes.

    Senator Richard Blumenthal:  -- who use your services.


    Dr. Caitlin Thompson:  Yes.  Yes, in this youngest age group.  Aboslutely.  We are very, very focused on this.

    Senator Richard Blumenthal:  I don't know what more to say because my time has expired.  I apologize Mr. Chairman --

    Dr. Caitlin Thompson:  We hear you.

    Senator Richard Blumenthal:  -- but,--  okay, thank you. 



    They came to talk about suicides but they didn't have the basic figures?

    I don't believe "we hear you" from the VA.

    Not when the officials can't -- or more likely won't -- provide answers to basic questions like the suicide rate for young veterans.

    This was such a basic detail that if the VA officials really didn't have that figure handy at the hearing, that may be an even more damning example of how unprepared the VA is and how little thought and effort they put into addressing issues.

    Her job, Caitlin Thompson's job, is to know that figure.

    Forget that she should have prepared for the hearing by having that and other figures handy.

    Doing her day-to-day job requires her to know that figure.  Her failure to do so goes to her failure at the job.

    Senator Blumenthal questioned the VA.

    Corrine Brown only compliments and sees her role as to excuse its actions and blame VA problems on veterans.

























    Posted at 11:11 pm by thecommonills
     

    Mom of Marine Lost to Suicide Calls On Congress to Pass Critical Legislation (IAVA)

    Mom of Marine Lost to Suicide Calls On Congress to Pass Critical Legislation (IAVA)

    Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America issued the following Wednesday:



    Washington D.C. (November 19, 2014) – This afternoon before the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee (SVAC), Susan Selke, mother of Clay Hunt, a Marine veteran who died by suicide in 2011, urged Congress to take swift action in passing the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention Bill of 2014. The bill (S.2930), introduced Monday and spearheaded by IAVA, is sponsored by Senators John McCain (R-Ariz.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Ala.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.).


    Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) calls on Congress for urgent passage of the bill before the end of the year. IAVA members attended the SVAC hearing and held 22 flags – to represent the 22 veterans who die by suicide each day – as attendees entered the room.


    “Not one more veteran should have to go through what Clay went through with the VA after returning home from war. Not one more parent should have to testify before a congressional committee to compel the VA to fulfill its responsibilities to those who served and sacrificed,” said Selke during her testimony. “The reforms, evaluations, and programs directed by this legislation will be critical to helping the VA better serve and treat veterans suffering from mental injuries from war. Had the VA been doing these things all along, it very well may have saved Clay’s life. We know that time is short in this Congress, but we hope that Majority Leader Reid will prioritize getting this done for our veterans before you all leave for the holidays.”


    Learn more about Clay’s story and the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention bill here. You can read Susan Selke’s testimony here. Valerie Pallotta, mother of Joshua Pallotta, Vermont National Guard combat veteran who died by suicide in September, also joined Susan Selke at the hearing.


    According to IAVA’s 2014 Member Survey, 47 percent of respondents know at least one Iraq or Afghanistan veteran who has attempted suicide, while 40 percent of respondents know someone who has died by suicide, up three points from 2013.


    “Holding hearings is great, but veterans and their families need comprehensive support – they need mental health care resources now. A week after Veterans Day when lawmakers rallied around the veterans community, we are holding them accountable,” said IAVA CEO and Founder Paul Rieckhoff. “IAVA urges members of Congress to step up and pass the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention Bill before the end of the year. We call on Majority Leader Reid and Speaker Boehner to get together and bring this to the floor for a vote now. It’s long past time to put our veterans above partisan politics. Combating suicide is not just an issue that the veterans community should be concerned about. Mental health care for veterans concerns all Americans, especially as our country continues to send troops to the Middle East. Twenty-two veterans die by suicide each day. Veterans need immediate passage now.”


    IAVA urges supporters to visit iava.org and click take action to sign the petition to support the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention bill. To date, more than 44,000 people have signed the petition.
    IAVA connects veterans to mental health services, including partnering with the VA’s Veterans Crisis Line to ensure that every servicemember, veteran, family member and provider knows that there is free and confidential help available 24 hours a day through phone, text and online. Veterans, or those concerned about veterans, can call 800-273-8255 and press 1 to be directly connected to qualified responders.




    Note to media: Email press@iava.org or call 212-982-9699 to speak with IAVA CEO and Founder Paul Rieckhoff or IAVA leadership.


    Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (www.IAVA.org) is the nation's first and largest nonpartisan, nonprofit organization representing veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan and has nearly 300,000 Member Veterans and civilian supporters nationwide. Celebrating its 10th year anniversary, IAVA recently received the highest rating - four-stars - from Charity Navigator, America's largest charity evaluator.






    Posted at 11:10 pm by thecommonills
     

    VETERANS—MENTAL HEALTH: Murray Concerned That VA and Local Communities Unprepared to Help Veterans in Crisis

    VETERANS—MENTAL HEALTH: Murray Concerned That VA and Local Communities Unprepared to Help Veterans in Crisis

    Senator Patty Murray


    Senator Patty Murray is the Chair of the Senate Budget Committee and serves on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee (which she formerly Chaired).  Her office issued the following:





    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                      CONTACT: Murray Press Office
    Wednesday, November 19, 2014                                                        (202) 224-2834
    VETERANS—MENTAL HEALTH: Murray Concerned That VA and Local Communities Unprepared to Help Veterans in Crisis
     
     
    (Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray, a senior member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, attended a hearing to examine mental health and suicide among veterans. According to recent data, suicide rates have continued to increase among female veterans who use VA care and among male veterans ages 18-24 who use VA, the rate has skyrocketed to 79 per 100,000.
    “There is no issue as pressing as providing quality, timely mental health care and suicide prevention programs to our nation’s heroes. The problem is familiar to all of us, but the solutions still seem elusive,” Senator Murray said at the hearing. “Just one suicide, just one veteran in crisis, or just one family struggling to make it through is just one too much.”
     
    Senator Murray’s full remarks as prepared:
    “Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for holding this hearing today. There is no issue as pressing as providing quality, timely mental health care and suicide prevention programs to our nation’s heroes. The problem is familiar to all of us, but the solutions still seem elusive.
     
    “Twenty-two veterans per day die by suicide. Rates have continued to increase among female veterans who use VA care. Among male veterans age 18 to 24 who use VA, the rate has skyrocketed to 79 per 100,000. And finally, according to VA’s access data, wait times for new mental health patients are virtually unchanged -- at 36 days -- over the five months that VA has provided this data.
     
    “Mr. Chairman, I am very concerned about whether VA and local communities are prepared with the resources, policies, and training to help veterans in serious crisis. When our men and women in uniform have the courage to come forward and ask for help, VA must be there with not only high quality and timely care, but also the right type of care to best meet the veteran’s needs. We must demand progress on each of these areas.
     
    “Mr. Chairman, a few months ago we passed a VA reform bill to help veterans get into care.  It included a temporary authority to improve access to community providers for veterans having trouble accessing VA care.  However, a recent report by the RAND Corporation raises serious concerns about whether private sector providers are ready to give high quality care to veterans. It suggests we need to do more to expand use of evidence-based treatments - and much more to help providers understand the unique needs and culture of servicemembers and veterans. The reform bill also included critically needed funds to build and strengthen the VA for the long-term. 
     
    “But there will be more needs going forward. VA must start planning and requesting the necessary resources now, so it will be prepared to meet the growing demand for mental health care far into the future. There is clearly much, much more work to be done. 
     
    “Just one suicide, just one veteran in crisis, or just one family struggling to make it through is just one too much. So I want to take a moment to thank Mrs. Selke, Mrs. Pallotta and Mr. and Mrs. Vanata for being here today. It’s incredibly difficult to talk about these issues. We admire your courage and your strength for being willing to share your stories with us.
     
    “Thank you, and your family, for your service and sacrifice to our nation.
     
    “Mr. Chairman, I hope as we head into a new Congress that stories like theirs will continue to be told as we work together to fulfill the promises we have made to those who have served. Thank you.”
    ###
    ---
    Meghan Roh
    Press Secretary
    Office of U.S. Senator Patty Murray
    Mobile: (202) 365-1235
    Office: (202) 224-2834











    Posted at 11:10 pm by thecommonills
     

    Despite the press' best propaganda efforts, IS is not on the ropes

    Despite the press' best propaganda efforts, IS is not on the ropes

    It's now a week since the press began proclaiming Iraqi forces had 'secured' Iraq by reclaiming an oil refinery.  Of course it was Tuesday this week that they were still proclaiming it had finally happened and, by then, people had lost interest in the propaganda.

    Oil refineries weren't on the rescue list of most Iraqis or, for that matter, the global community.

    And the propaganda of the western press just demonstrated (a) how out of touch they were, (b) how easily they bent to the will of the US government and (c) how they weren't embarrassed to whore.  There was no, "Woops! We were wrong."  Not last Friday.  Not last Saturday.  Not last Sunday. . . . They just kept repeating the lie that the refinery was out of the hands of the Islamic State and it really didn't matter too much to them that what they were repeating hadn't happened, what they were repeating was a lie.

    As they did a chorus of lies, a new one emerged, first floated on CNN (Barbara Starr really knows how to disgrace herself) that the Islamic State was on the run.


    : اغتنام نحو (15) عجلة نوع همر تركتها القوات الحكومية بعد هروبها من معارك منطقة الدولاب في قضاء هيت .
    0 replies32 retweets20 favorites




    I'm sorry, who's on the run?

    Because in that Tweet, from three hours ago, by the Iraqi Spring MC, that's the Islamic State taking over the vehicles of Iraqi forces -- after Iraqi forces fled Heet to avoid combat with the Islamic State.  They fled, leaving behind 15 Hummers.

    But let's all ignore that so we can go along with the US government's propaganda efforts to label Barack Obama's 'plan' a success.

    We'll need to ignore more than just what took place in Heet this morning.


    Johnlee Varghese (IBT) reports:

    The US-led coalition against the ISIS seems to be crumbling as there have been reports on social media that several "Saudi pilots" have allegedly refused to fly missions to bomb ISIS targets.
    The report, which was confirmed by an Iraqi journalist and political analyst, is bound to have severe repercussions not only on the coalition, but it may also spread the seeds of rebellion among other branches of the Saudi armed forces.


    IBT is the only western outlet noting that.  Maybe the others think if they ignore it, the facts will just go away?

    Meanwhile Rudaw reports Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has a lackey going around to the press insisting that al-Abadi is working on creating a national guard.  Really?  Because the Sunni tribe leaders aren't seeing any efforts and no one's speaking to them.  So it appears this is more spin from al-Abadi.

    The new prime minister is probably most infamous for announcing, September 13th, that he had ended the bombings of Falluja's residential neighborhoods when, in fact, the Iraqi military continues to bomb these neighborhoods daily.

    The following community sites -- plus Black Agenda Report, Z on TV,  the Guardian and Foreign Policy In Focus --  updated:










  • The e-mail address for this site is common_ills@yahoo.com.










     


    Posted at 11:05 pm by thecommonills
     

    Wednesday, November 19, 2014
    Iraq snapshot

    Iraq snapshot

    Wednesday, November 19, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, the US Democratic Party in the House yet again spits on a veteran, despite objections from veterans groups Nancy Pelosi moves to make Corrine Brown Ranking Member on the House Veterans Affairs Committee, this is how The Nancy Pelosi story begins its final chapter, as it does she's called out by Jon Stewart,  US senators explore the suicide rate among veterans, and much more.




    Senator Bernie Sanders declared this morning, ". . . it's a very difficult hearing because what we are going to be touching on today is what happens to the men and women who come home from war, who have served us with great courage and what happens to them when they return to civilian life."

    He is the Chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee and they were talking about issues like military suicide.

    But let's use Sanders' words as a starting point -- and let's note that Senate Democrats actually do work to improve the lives of veterans.  The same cannot be said for the Democratic leadership in the House.

    How bad are things there?

    Last week, US House Rep Nancy Pelosi was in the news for denying US House Rep Tammy Duckworth the right to vote by proxy on party positions in the House:



    Tammy Duckworth is not only a member of Congress, she's also a veteran of the Iraq War.  Nancy Pelosi chose to 'honor' veterans this week by announcing that a veteran who lost both legs in combat would not be allowed to vote by proxy on the issue of who would hold what office -- for example, who would be the next Ranking Member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
    Duckworth is at home in Illinois.  Why doesn't she just fly to DC?
    CBS News notes Duckworth "was told by doctor that it was unsafe for her to fly at this stage in her pregnancy."



    Last night on Comedy Central Jon Stewart was rightly mocking the disgraceful US House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi in a segment of The Daily Show entitled "Petty Woman" which ended with Jon observing, "And that's how the precedent was set that a woman leader can be every bit as craven as her political male counterparts.  Let me say this, You go, girl.  Seriously, you should go."






    Erik Wemple (Washington Post) explains:

    His takedown of Pelosi’s denial of a pregnant woman’s vote in House Democratic elections proceeds in merciless fashion. Availing himself of Pelosi’s trail of accomplishments over the years, he documented how she has established herself on key issues that bear on the Duckworth situation. For instance: The National Partnership for Women and Families, noted Stewart, celebrated Pelosi’s advocacy for “working women.” Also highlighted by Stewart: Pelosi said at an event for the Voting Rights Act, “The right to vote must be the cornerstone of our democracy.”
    Stewart: “You’re a recognized champion of working women and voting rights.”
    From there, the rip was easy: “You rejected, you’re suppressing the vote of a minority pregnant woman who is a wounded war veteran. She is everything you supposedly stand for stuffed into one individual. She is a Democratic demographic tur-Duckworth,” said the host.

    Jaime Fuller (Washington Post) notes:

    She denied Rep. Tammy Duckworth's request to cast a proxy vote in the Democratic leadership elections. Duckworth was advised by her doctor not to fly to Washington in her eighth month of pregnancy. Duckworth (D-Ill.) also is a double-amputee Iraq War veteran, or, as Stewart put it, a Democratic demographic Turduckworth. The reason for denying the proxy vote? Pelosi said it would set a precedent ... and Duckworth happened to be supporting someone other than Pelosi's chosen candidate for a committee position.


    Poor Nancy, it's week two and it's not going away.

    Even worse for Nance, it's now her.

    This is her to America.

    It's as though she tripped at a party and knocked a table over and now every time she waivers a little when she walks, people will giggle.

    It's the New Nancy.  Somewhere lower on the evolution scale than Billy Carter or Dan Quayle.

    Not a good position to be in when over a third of Democratic members of the House want you gone.

    Not a good position to be in when Dems are gearing up for the 2016 elections and can't afford to have a leader be a laughingstock.

    And now she has an image as a person who trashes veterans.

    Senator Sanders today puzzled about "what happens to the men and women who come home from war, who have served us with great courage and what happens to them when they return to civilian life."

    What does happen to them?

    Last week, Nancy Pelosi made clear that they will not receive fair treatment, that the work environment will not change to meet their medical needs.

    Today, she demonstrated something else:  Their experience means nothing.

    Maybe you know of Senator Patty Murray's work on veterans employment?  The Hire A Hero campaign and other programs she's steered and implemented.

    Murray and others have worked very hard to stress that veterans have important skills they can offer employers.  In the House, US House Rep Gerry Connolly has stressed the skills veterans have and the need for these skills to be translated into the civilian workforce.

    Nancy Pelosi doesn't believe veterans have any skills or insight.

    Which is why she used an arcane rule to force US House Rep Tim Walz out of seeking the Ranking Member post on the House Veterans Affairs Committee in favor of Pelosi pet Corrine Brown.

    Native-born Corrine Brown struggles with the English language, attacks veterans in hearings (when she shows up for the Veterans Affairs Committee hearings), attacks witnesses, attacks the Office of the Inspector General and so much more.

    This is not a new development.

    Dona moderated a "Congress and Veterans" roundtable May 13, 2012 about a House Veterans Affairs Committee hearing the previous week that we had covered in the community:

    Kat, Wally, Ava and C.I. attended the hearing.   Kat reported on it with  "Congress Member Gone Wild" and C.I. reported on it with "Iraq snapshot," "Iraq snapshot," "Congress is supposed to provide oversight"  and "Iraq snapshot." 


    From the roundtable:

    Dona: Thank you, Kat.  That perfectly set up a point I wanted to get to with Ava.  Kat and C.I. reported on US House Rep. Corrine Brown.  Ava, what was your take?

    Ava: Brown's an embarrassment.  I can't believe the crap she pulled.  She didn't give a damn about the veterans and made excuses for the VA and lied and misled.  She's an embarrassment, I hope to hell her sorry ass is voted out of Congress.

    Dona: She attacked a witness, what was that about?

    Ava: Another reason her sorry ass needs to be pulled out of Congress.  The second panel was people who worked outside of the government including Dr. Nicole Sawyer who is a psychologist.  Corrine Brown wanted to show that her bad wigs weren't the trashiest things about her.  She went off on Dr. Sawyer because Chair Miller asked about the comments Shinskeki made.  Corrine Brown cut off the doctor started screaming her head and acting like a crazy woman when usually she just sounds like an uneducated one.

    Dona: What set her off?

    Ava: The reality was that Shinseki was being critiqued and she wasn't going to have that.  She lied and stated it wasn't fair for the doctor to critique Shinseki.  But, in the first round, when Shinseki was asked about Dr. Sawyer's written remarks, Shinseki offered a critique and Corrine Browne didn't say one damn word.

    Dona:  Wally, your take?

    Wally: The same as Ava's.  I'll pick up where she left off.  So Corrine Brown cuts off the witness who is answering Miller's questions --

    Dona: Brown doesn't even have the floor.  She just barged in while the witness was speaking?

    Wally: Correct.  And then after she has her rant, Jeff Miller, the Chair, sort of gives this look like, "Now that the crazy lady is done . . ."  He goes back to asking Dr. Sawyer a question.  Dr. Sawyer is sort of stunned and she replies to Miller's question, starts to, and tries to explain she wasn't trying to offend anyone when Brown cuts her off again and starts screaming her head off about how Miller needs to tell the witness to address her remarks to the Chair.  And it was just embarrassing.  I'm from Florida, Corrine Brown is the Congressional joke of our state.

    Dona: So, let's --

    Ava: Sorry.  It's not over, Dona.  Miller is attempting to calm down Crazy Corrine.  The hearing's at a complete standstill.  And the crazy woman is insulting Dr. Sawyer, stating she won't listen to Dr. Sawyer because Dr. Sawyer isn't a "doctor."  She calls the woman an "educator."  As an insult.  Miller notes that remark's not going to please educators and Brown doesn't care.  She was just so rude.  If you'd been in that hearing, you would have been shocked that a member of Congress would act the way she did.

    Dona: Okay, thanks for that.  C.I., is this typical Corrine Brown?

    C.I.: Since January 2009, it has been.  She makes excuses for the VA and rushes to excuse Eric Shinseki's many problems.  I remember an October 15, 2009 hearing on the VA's inability to get checks to veterans -- the GI Bill checks -- for the fall semester and how Corrine Brown was offering excuses for the VA in that hearing too.  That's just one example.  She's disgraced herself.  I have no use for her.

    Dona: Kat, closing thoughts?

    Kat: The hearing's not going to accomplish anything, the Committe's not going to, until everyone can agree that the veterans are the most important thing.  Corrine Brown was not serving veterans, she's usually not.  When a Republican is in office, there's the pretense that she's tough and will ask questions to protect the veterans.  But when a Democrat's in office, she reveals she's just a partisan and doesn't give a damn about veterans.



    And that was 2012.  It's only gotten worse.

    The Concerned Veterans of America issued the following open letter today:



    Open Letter to Leader Pelosi Regarding Representative Corrine Brown

    Dear Leader Pelosi,
    I am writing you on behalf of Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) to ask that you reconsider your decision to support Representative Corrine Brown (D-FL) for the position of Ranking Member of the House Veterans Affairs Committee (HVAC). Representative Brown in her public statements has consistently minimized and dismissed the deep cultural and structural problems at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) despite the overwhelming evidence that the VA is failing in its core mission to deliver health care and benefits to our nation’s veterans in a timely manner. Representative Brown even claimed at one point that there were no problems with the VA in Florida, in spite of the fact that the Gainesville VA Hospital that serves veterans in her district had some of the worst wait times in the nation. Clearly, Representative Brown is detached from the reality of delayed and denied health care that veterans around the country face, including many of those in her own congressional district.
    Despite the recent VA scandal and comprehensive VA reform bill, hundreds of thousands of veterans are still waiting more than a month for healthcare appointments and hundreds of thousands more are waiting over a year for disability benefits. Additionally, the VA has been slow to fire and discipline employees who are found to have engaged in misconduct and has left in place senior leaders who helped create the toxic culture within the VA. It is therefore essential that the House VA Committee has a Ranking Member who is committed to working to reform and fix the VA and not someone like Representative Brown who is an apologist for the status quo.
    CVA highly recommends that the House Democrat leadership considers appointing a reform-minded Democrat to serve as Ranking Member of the House VA Committee. Democrats like Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX), Rep. David Scott (D-GA), and Rep. Tim Walz (D-MN) have all shown a willingness to question the status quo at the VA and support reforms that begin to address the structural and cultural issues within the VA. While CVA does not agree with them on everything, we consider these individuals far better candidates for the position of Ranking Member than Representative Brown and they should be taken into consideration when determining who will serve in leadership positions for the minority on the House VA committee.
    For the health and well-being of our nation’s veterans, it is absolutely essential that Congress continue to hold the VA accountable for its misconduct and failures. Placing strong, reform-minded leaders on the House VA Committee is essential to accomplishing that mission.
    Sincerely,
    Pete Hegseth
    CEO, Concerned Veterans for America
    Army Veteran of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Guantanamo Bay  

    Concerned Veterans for America is a non-partisan, non-profit, 501(c)(4) organization that advocates for policies that will preserve the freedom and liberty we and our families so proudly fought and sacrificed to defend.




    Corrine's lousy behavior is known by few (her ethical problems have been covered only slightly better).  She's been helped by the fact that very few reporters attend these hearings and those who do often 'report' using the written statements submitted for the record.  They generally miss Corrine Brown's antics.

    Veterans groups don't have that luxury.

    And they know they can't trust her.

    Which is why a number of them publicly backed Walz.  Jacqueline Klimas (Washington Times) notes,  "Mr. Walz’s bid for the ranking member’s post had the backing of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, the National Guard Association of the United States, and the current ranking member, Rep. Michael Michaud, Maine Democrat.


    Corrine Brown isn't qualified to work the counter at Jack In The Box, let alone to be the Ranking Member on the House Veterans Affairs Committee.


    Again, Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Chair Bernie Sanders declared this morning, ". . . it's a very difficult hearing because what we are going to be touching on today is what happens to the men and women who come home from war, who have served us with great courage and what happens to them when they return to civilian life."

    What does happen to them?

    Too often, they don't get the jobs they deserve, the jobs they're experts at.

    I don't believe veterans are asking for special treatment, they just want their skills to be recognized.  That's valid.  If you have a degree in something -- veteran or not -- and that goes to a job opening, you expect that degree to count for something.  If you have a work history in a certain field, you expect that to count for something if you're applying for a job in the same or a related field.

    These are basic beliefs that most Americans support.

    So let's be really clear that it's not just that Corrine Brown is unqualified, it's also that Tim Walz is qualified.

    24.

    That's the number of years he served in the Army National Guard.

    24 years.

    And that doesn't count for anything with Nancy Pelosi.

    She didn't want him to have the job so the fact that he was more than qualified, had the background and was a veteran, didn't matter at all to her.

    When the Democratic leadership in the House of Representatives acts that way, it makes all the harder for veterans throughout America to get hired.


    24 years of service and Nancy doesn't think he's qualified to be the Democratic head of the Committee.

    If Democrats in Congress aren't going to hire veterans, they need to stop giving lip service pretending others need to.

    Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America Paul Rieckhoff Tweeted today:





    Pressure does work.

    Pressure should be placed on Pelosi.

    Pressure already is being placed on her from Dems in Congress.


    Nancy's made the whole party look like a hypocrite.

    The good news is Nancy realizes she went too far.

    She thinks a few good words about Walz will end it.

    It won't.

    But she's sent out spokespeople to assure everyone that Walz will be on the Committee and she values his work.

    No, she doesn't.

    If she valued his work -- or his experience -- she wouldn't have prevented him from running for the post.

    If she valued veterans, she wouldn't be pushing Corrine Brown for the post.

    Nancy is now the member of Congress who hates veterans.

    She was desperately hanging on to her leadership role and now she's just ensured that these will be her last two years.

    She's now harming the Democratic Party.  And high ranking members in both houses are saying she's going to have to go.

    Congratulations, Nancy, you've managed to do what your foes have been unable to do.  She's destroyed herself.  She is now toxic in a way she never was before.  "San Francisco Democrat" doesn't terrify most Americans.  But about 30% would oppose her because of that label.

    Now that she's established herself as the biggest Congressional obstacle for veterans, life's about to get a lot lonelier.

    She is a text book study in how power corrupts.  The Nancy first elected to Congress, even the Nancy of 2002, would never have made the decision to deny Tammy Duckworth a proxy vote or to prevent Tim Walz from running to be the Ranking Member on the House Veterans Affairs Committee.

    But that Nancy still had ethics.

    By 2006, they were gone.  She spent the first years as House Majority Leader threatening US House Rep John Conyers, bullying him, to prevent him from exploring impeachment against Bully Boy Bush.

    From there, it was a long slide into hypocrisy.

    And when she had no ethics left, when she had nothing left to stand for, the only thing that mattered to her was holding onto power.

    That desire, that corruption, is how The Nancy Pelosi Story ends.


    From disgraceful to courageous . . .

    Chair Bernie Sanders:  We have two very, very brave women who are with us.  And I cannot express to you my respect enough for their courage because both of these women -- Susan Selke Valerie Pallotta -- have experienced tragedies that are nightmarish for what they've gone through. But what they have chosen to do is to come forward and give us their best ideas in terms of how we can prevent the tragedies that they have experienced from happening to other families.  And we so much appreciate their courage and their willingness to come forward.


    He was speaking at this morning's Senate Veterans Affairs Committee hearing.


    Susan Selke's son Clay Hunt and Valerie Pallotta's son Joshua Pallotta were not given the help they needed after they returned to the United States and both men felt there was no hope left and took their own lives.

    Clay was deployed in both the Iraq War and the Afghanistan War and he suffered from Post Traumatic Stress.  We say PTS, not the other more popular term.  This is a condition developed in combat zones and under intense pressure which is in fact a coping skill -- a heightened awareness -- that becomes a hindrance in civilian life if treatment or coping methods are not introduced to assist the veteran in recognizing and handling moments which trigger this learned condition.  You can see it as a super power that can be an aid and a benefit -- like Superman's X-ray vision.  But if Superman can't turn off the X-ray vision, then he needs assistance in learning how to.  The stigma needs to be removed from this condition to (a) let veterans know this is a condition, it's not a sickness, it's not a weakness and (b) to encourage them to explore treatments or methods to manage this condition or even skill.

    Clay attempted to get assistance from the VA.  But even when he was finally rated 100% on PTS, his mother noted today, the VA just wanted to drug him, "He received counseling only as far as a brief discussion regarding whether the medication he was prescribed was working or not.  If it was not, he would be given a new medication. Clay used to say, 'I'm a guinea pig for drugs.  They'll put me on one thing, I'll have side effects, and then they put me on something else'."

    And then Clay moved to a different state.  Which meant a new VA and suddenly a refusal to prescribe medication.  Though he moved in 2010, it would be March of 2011 when he "was finally able to see a psychiatrist."  That's the lengthy delay -- the one US House Rep Corrine Brown has denied and blamed on veterans -- in action.

    "We cannot have someone call to get an appointment and be told that they can get one in five weeks when they have a problem," Senator Patty Murray stressed to the VA's Dr. Harold Kudler.

    Senator John Boozman noted that 22 veterans a day commit suicide in the United States.  Clay Hunt  and Joshua Pallotta are examples of two veterans who did not receive the needed help and assistance they had been promised.

    Valerie Pallotta explained two police officers came to her home at 3:37 a.m., September 23, 2014 and how she hoped they were there with the bad news that her son had been arrested but they were instead there to tell her that her son Joshua was dead.  The suicide has left her and her husband in a constant state of grief:

    Our minds are at the funeral home, crying on our son's body as it lays cold.  We are kissing him and hugging him and trying to wake ourselves up from this awful, horrible nightmare.  Our minds are at the Veterans Cemetery in Randolph, Vermont -- the place our son was laid to rest, a place we haven't yet been able to visit.  Our minds are in Afghanistan wishing we could have been there to protect him, to shelter him from the pain he endured for years 
    .
    The two women made up the second panel.  The first panel was the VA's Dr. Harold Kudler (Chief Consultant for Mental Health Service), Dr. Caitlin Thompson (Deputy Director, Suicide Prevention) and Dr. Dean Krahn (Deputy Director in the Office of Mental Health Operations).  We'll note this exchange from the first panel.


    Senator Patty Murray: I wanted to ask you, we are seeing the suicide rate of middle-aged veterans who use the VA decrease -- you mentioned that.  But [the suicide rate for] female veterans who use the VA has increased by 31%.  What is happening?

    Caitlin Thompson: Yeah, thank you so much for asking that, Senator. We are as concerned as you are and trying to better understand that, why that is.  Why the rates of -- rates of suicide among women are increasing as well as that youngest male population.  One thing that I just also want to say is that we also know that veterans use firearms more than non-veterans during -- when they are feeling suicidal.  And we know that women veterans are using firearms at an increased rate than non -- than non-women veterans.  And we know that, uhm, firearms in fact -- If you use a firearm when you're suicidal, there's a 90% chance that you will die.  If you use prescriptions, medications, which is what most women non-veterans tend to use, there's a 3 to 4% chance that you will die because there's that opportunity to reach them before they die --

    Senator Patty Murray:  I --

    Caitlin Thompson (Con't): -- and so -- I'm sorry, go ahead.

    Senator Patty Murray:  I appreciate that response but I think we also have to look at if the VA is meeting women's specific needs --

    Caitlin Thompson: Absolutely.

    Senator Patty Murray (Con't):  -- and why are they increasing dramatically?  Are the programs not effective? Are they not feeling that they should ask about it?  Is it something else?  This is really concerning to me and it's something I'll be following very closely as well. 


    The suicide rate of women veterans has gotten a bit of attention from the press, not that much.  (Probably homeless women veterans are the only group of women veterans that the press has focused serious attention on.)


    We're not done with this hearing.

    We will cover it tomorrow (hopefully) and Friday (for sure).  But the whole point of covering these hearings is holding them accountable -- the VA officials, the Congress, etc.  And we have followed US House Rep Corrine Brown's repugnant behavior for years now so we do need to weigh in -- and do so at length -- when she is on the verge of being named Ranking Member of the House Veterans Affairs Committee.

    Equally true, I think people should hold their own accountable.  We mock the (former) Australian blogger who blogged daily trashing Bully Boy Bush but never could blog about Australia's Prime Minister John Howard who also sent troops into Iraq.  Nancy Pelosi is my Congressional rep.  It's my duty to hold her accountable.

    Back to today's hearing,  Senator Patty Murray is the Chair of the Senate Finance Committee and the former Chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.  Her office issued the following today:




    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                      CONTACT: Murray Press Office
    Wednesday, November 19, 2014                                                        (202) 224-2834

    VETERANS—MENTAL HEALTH: Murray Concerned That VA and Local Communities Unprepared to Help Veterans in Crisis
     
     
    (Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray, a senior member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, attended a hearing to examine mental health and suicide among veterans. According to recent data, suicide rates have continued to increase among female veterans who use VA care and among male veterans ages 18-24 who use VA, the rate has skyrocketed to 79 per 100,000.
    “There is no issue as pressing as providing quality, timely mental health care and suicide prevention programs to our nation’s heroes. The problem is familiar to all of us, but the solutions still seem elusive,” Senator Murray said at the hearing. “Just one suicide, just one veteran in crisis, or just one family struggling to make it through is just one too much.”
     
    Senator Murray’s full remarks as prepared:
    “Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for holding this hearing today. There is no issue as pressing as providing quality, timely mental health care and suicide prevention programs to our nation’s heroes. The problem is familiar to all of us, but the solutions still seem elusive.
     
    “Twenty-two veterans per day die by suicide. Rates have continued to increase among female veterans who use VA care. Among male veterans age 18 to 24 who use VA, the rate has skyrocketed to 79 per 100,000. And finally, according to VA’s access data, wait times for new mental health patients are virtually unchanged -- at 36 days -- over the five months that VA has provided this data.
     
    “Mr. Chairman, I am very concerned about whether VA and local communities are prepared with the resources, policies, and training to help veterans in serious crisis. When our men and women in uniform have the courage to come forward and ask for help, VA must be there with not only high quality and timely care, but also the right type of care to best meet the veteran’s needs. We must demand progress on each of these areas.
     
    “Mr. Chairman, a few months ago we passed a VA reform bill to help veterans get into care.  It included a temporary authority to improve access to community providers for veterans having trouble accessing VA care.  However, a recent report by the RAND Corporation raises serious concerns about whether private sector providers are ready to give high quality care to veterans. It suggests we need to do more to expand use of evidence-based treatments - and much more to help providers understand the unique needs and culture of servicemembers and veterans. The reform bill also included critically needed funds to build and strengthen the VA for the long-term. 
     
    “But there will be more needs going forward. VA must start planning and requesting the necessary resources now, so it will be prepared to meet the growing demand for mental health care far into the future. There is clearly much, much more work to be done. 
     
    “Just one suicide, just one veteran in crisis, or just one family struggling to make it through is just one too much. So I want to take a moment to thank Mrs. Selke, Mrs. Pallotta and Mr. and Mrs. Vanata for being here today. It’s incredibly difficult to talk about these issues. We admire your courage and your strength for being willing to share your stories with us.
     
    “Thank you, and your family, for your service and sacrifice to our nation.
     
    “Mr. Chairman, I hope as we head into a new Congress that stories like theirs will continue to be told as we work together to fulfill the promises we have made to those who have served. Thank you.”
    ###
    ---
    Meghan Roh
    Press Secretary
    Office of U.S. Senator Patty Murray
    Mobile: (202) 365-1235
    Office: (202) 224-2834



    In Iraq, the Kurds should have learned a hard lesson today.  I don't think their leadership did.  We'll cover it tomorrow.

    Margaret Griffis (Antiwar.com) reports, "A rare bombing took place in the Kurdistan capital of Arbil today. Islamic State militants are suspected to be behind it. At least 114 people were killed there and elsewhere. Another 53 were wounded."















    Posted at 10:50 pm by thecommonills
     

    Nancy Pelosi lost her brains on the plastic surgeon's table

    Nancy Pelosi lost her brains on the plastic surgeon's table

    Forget leaving your heart in San Francisco . . .

    House Minority Failure Nancy Pelosi and her minions better enjoy their small moment while they have it.

    Pelosi's already on veterans' radar for her failure to advance their interests.

    Then last week, she refused to allow a veteran -- who lost both legs in the Iraq War -- to vote by proxy on leadership assignments.

    That's Tammy Duckworth who is pregnant and, in her final weeks, her doctor has ordered her not to travel by plane.

    Nancy NO Friend of Veterans refused to allow Tammy to vote.

    Because Nancy's petty bulls**t moves were more important than accommodating the medical needs of a veteran who lost both legs in a war that her government sent her into.

    Because Nancy's petty bulls**t moves are more important than meeting the medical needs of a pregnant woman.

    Nancy's seen to it that hideous Corrine Brown is now a vote away from becoming Ranking Member of the House Veterans Affairs Committee.



    For those not up to date on the 'great' Corrine Brown, let's drop back to May of 2012:


    Corrine Brown had a freak-fest over a doctor's testimony.  She was already in the land of outrageous when she attacked the integrity of the Office of the Inspector General.  Her remarks were insulting to the work of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee and the work done by the Chair Patty Murray.  (The IG report resulted from a request Murray made when it was clear that the numbers VA witnesses were providing to Congress were in conflict with what veterans were telling the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.)  She hopped on her soapbox for an impassioned lecture that was factually wrong.  (Regarding the VA's referral system.)  And all of this took place before the afternoon.  The hearing started Tuesday morning.  Due to votes, it was still ongoing at 3:00 in the afternoon.  In fact, the second panel was offering testimony then.

    Dr. Nicole L. Sawyer was not offering partisan testimony.  She was speaking of veterans needs and treatment issues.  She was speaking of concepts of treatments and this is what enraged Corrine Brown who was already on edge.

    She attacked the woman. She was yelling, she was attacking the woman's profession -- attacking all psychologists and insisting that they are not qualified to be witnesses.  [. . .]

    Secondly, Corrine Browne was more than happy to listen to psychologists from the VA.  Or maybe she was too stupid to know who was offering testimony?

    There was nothing partisan in what the doctor was saying.  She was responding to Chair Jeff Miller's questions and Brown attacked her for it.  Interupted the witness testimony to attack her.  When Miller tried to smooth things over and move on, Brown attacked the woman again as soon as she began to testify.  Brown did not have the floor.

    This was appalling behavior and it was apparently motivated by Brown's desire to insist the VA was wonderful and great and there were no problems.  There were her ridiculous remarks that treatment was not about getting well, it was about having X appointments and that's all that the Congress (the body she belongs to) was willing to pay for. 



    That's who Nancy is trying to put in charge.

    Nancy used to have a brain but that was long, long ago.  (We first noted its absence when junior House member Rahm Emanuel had to rescue a press conference Nancy was supposed to be leading.  She seriously has attention and memory issues that are getting worse as she ages.)

    On the heels of her outrageous behavior towards Tammy Duckworth, Nancy has yet again spat on veterans.

    Veterans wanted veteran Tim Walz to be the Democratic leader on the House Veterans Affairs Committee.  Walz was recommended by outgoing Ranking Member Mike Michaud who is retiring.

    But Nancy's decided to go with Congressional disgrace Corrine Brown -- despite Brown's non-stop attack on veterans throughout the last six years.

    She has repeatedly scapegoated them for any problem the administration had and then, as it emerged it was the administration's fault, The Wig Hatter has refused to apologize or correct the record -- or back off from her constant attacks.

    Jeff Miller is the Chair of the House Veterans Affairs Committee.  He's a Republican (Republicans control the House -- in January, they'll control both houses of Congress).

    Rachel Maddow and other MSNBC 'lovelies' attempted to slam Miller mere months ago.  Remember their line of attack?

    Miller hasn't served in the military!

    Well Bernie Sanders -- the outgoing Chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee hadn't either.

    As that was repeatedly pointed out here and elsewhere, they dropped that line of attack on Miller.

    You'd think Nancy could see symbolic value in the Ranking Member being a veteran.

    But that would require a brain and too many botched surgeries left Nancy with no brain at all.

    And on that, Nancy's always playing the woman card.

    Sexism exits, it is real.

    But it's also true that if you have repeated plastic surgery, you will be made fun of -- Mickey Rourke and Michael Jackson are examples of two men who found that out.

    Nancy's problems are not due to sexism.

    She's a failure who should have stepped down after the disaster that was the 2010 mid-terms (stepped down from leadership -- and Nancy's my member of Congress -- lucky me -- so I will hold her accountable).

    She wants to whine that she's mistreated by the press -- including not getting magazine covers! the horror! -- when the reality is that she made herself a freak show and that was long, long ago.

    And I defended her -- and stand by that defense -- when SNL went to town on her.  That was sexism.  (Wiig dressed up in an S&M outfit to portray Pelosi.)

    But mocking anyone who had bad plastic surgery?  That's a reality she should have considered somewhere around her fourth face lift.


    If I had a face lift and it went badly?  I damn well know people would make fun of me.

    Sorry, Nancy, those are the chances you take.

    She has been a lousy leader and now she's attacking veterans yet again.


    When veterans have made their preference known (Walz) and when they are opposed to a member who has repeatedly disrespected them, insulted them and trashed them?

    Only an idiot refuses to listen.

    Nancy Pelosi is now an idiot and she needs to be shown the door -- shown it because she clearly can't find it on her own.

    Get ready for the Committee to be a laughingstock with Corrine as a leader.

    Chair Miller has been very nice to crazy Corrine.

    Now that she's the leader?

    I doubt all members will be as kind and I'm sure the laughter aimed at her by members on the Committee -- Democrats and Republicans -- will no longer just take place in their offices (there's a Democrat who does a wonderful impression of Corrine in his office) but will begin to emerge in the hearings.

    Why not?

    She's never knows what she's talking about.

    She can't speak properly and stars offering grunts at the end of any long winded statement.

    She's a joke.

    She's an embarrassment.

    She's no friend to veterans.

    And this is who Nancy -- through trickery and deceit -- has just made *next in line to be* Ranking Member of the House Veterans Affairs Committee.


    I feel very sorry for veterans who have just been disrespected and betrayed.

    But, on the bright spot, Corrine's now going to provide lots of entertainment for the country.  A friend at SNL just called to insist Corrine is "a comic goldmine."  Let's hope so.

    Better yet, let's hope even stupid Corrine can see that her future as a laughingstock is not a legacy she wants and she'll announce she's no longer seeking the post -- barring that, maybe she'll fail the up and down vote.






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    Posted at 10:48 pm by thecommonills
     

    Corrine Brown is not fit to serve

    Corrine Brown is not fit to serve

    If Democrats want to hand Republicans the 2016 elections, there's no better way to do that than making the ridiculous US House Rep Corrine Brown the Chair of the House Veterans Affairs Committee.

    Brown is not just a joke, she is an embarrassment for the party.

    That doesn't start -- or end -- with her ugly wigs -- which are dirty and smell when you're close to her.  That smell's not a surprise, they usually look like rats nests.  They're often turned the wrong way as well.

    A little while ago, an outlet rightly made fun of her ridiculous wigs and there was this effort to stop the criticism by whining "sexism."

    Sexism is real and it exists.

    You're wearing 30 different wigs in public in 9 months and wearing trashy wigs at that will result in people talking.  And it has nothing to do with your gender.

    People of made fun of Donald Trump's equally ridiculous wigs for years.  Donald Trump, newsflash, is not a woman.

    If she just wore one bad wig throughout, people would probably feel sorry for her.  But she's basically ordered the entire Eva Gabor catalog and with all that wig purchasing, she should have been able to get one decent wig.

    More to the point, how about one age appropriate wig?

    Corrine's not going on tour with Rufus.

    Everyone laughs at her wigs.

    No one laughs at her speaking.

    A member of Congress should conduct themselves as a professional.  Corrine's been in Congress for two decades.

    That's more than enough time to learn the English language.

    Corrine is a special kind of stupid -- the kind where you could get by if you stuck to very simple words but Corrine wants to show off what she thinks she knows so she uses "words" that aren't words.  The more syllables in a word, the greater chance Corrine's going to re-invent the word.

    And when she's on a tear -- against Bully Boy Bush or whoring for Barack -- she starts speaking so fast and constants go from slurred to completely absent with her voice rising to a level that only certain dogs can hear but you know she's finally done speaking because she's got that moronic grin on her face like she made a contribution and an important point.

    Veterans that stupid grin.

    They see it a lot in the last years as she repeatedly blames veterans in public hearings.

    That's why veterans hate her.

    I'm writing this piece because veterans can't stand her.  I'll be at a veterans hearing later and I was comparing notes last night with veterans from three different VSOs and the issue of Brown was brought up.

    I couldn't believe it because it seems like just yesterday we were all fighting to get Mike Michaud appointed as the Democratic leader on the House Veterans Affairs Committee -- Mike over Corrine.

    And now we've got to do it again?

    (Mike's retiring.  Veterans support Tim Walz -- himself a veteran -- for the post.)

    Corrine is infamous for flaunting her stupidity for the greater whoring.

    So when veterans weren't getting their checks for college in the fall of 2009, to whore for the VA -- and Barack, let's not forget that's the only reason she whored -- Corrine blamed not the VA, she blamed veterans and then she tried to blame universities.

    It was the VA.

    And this would come out in a House hearing and Brown wouldn't bat an eye.

    But grasp that when the government was screwing over the veterans (then-VA Secretary Eric Shinseki was told in February 2009 that his problem was going to happen and he refused to inform Congress or the American people, that's screwing over veterans -- when you know months ahead of time that this is going to happen and you say nothing and you do nothing, that's screwing over veterans), Corrine wanted to 'share' that the problem wasn't the VA, it was veterans.

    I don't know if she's out clubbing or what, but she gets her 'information' at two and three in the morning while flipping through cable channels -- she brags about this repeatedly in Congressional hearings which doesn't make her look smart at all.  As a member of Congress she should have better intelligence available to her but she drops basic cable the way some other members work in shout outs to the Washington Post or the New York Times.

    She's an uninformed idiot and a member of Congress who needs to take speech classes but thinks so little of her position that she's okay with being a public joke.

    If her district's okay with it, that's their business.  Up until she tries to become the Democratic leader of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, that's her business.

    But this member of Congress has spent the last six years, as the VA has been rocked by one scandal after another, covering the administration and blaming veterans.

    We've called her out here for that repeatedly and sometimes an e-mail comes in from someone saying, "I read what she said, you are wrong."

    No, you did not read what she said.

    You read her prepared written remarks.

    Corinne has difficulty reading them and often veers away from them.

    In addition, because we have called her out repeatedly, in the last three years she's had these pro-veteran written statements that go completely against what she says in her so-called questioning.

    They aren't questions.

    They're attacks on veterans and lengthy defenses of the VA and the White House.

    Veterans know this and that's why they oppose her.

    Until she started attacking veterans, I didn't spend any time mocking her wigs or noting her inability to speak accurately (forget properly -- she uses words she doesn't know the meaning of and uses them wrongly).  But when she began attacking veterans in public hearings, we called her out.

    Even so, I still try to avoid her as much as possible and just ignore her when I'm reporting on hearings here.

    If the Dems are stupid enough to make her their leader on the House Veterans Affairs Committee, I will be doing two reports on every HVAC hearing I attend -- the basic report and then the one chronicling the embarrassment that is Corrine.

    And while the right may or may not join in, I will be the one doing the takedown because I've been at the hearings since 2006, all but the field hearings.  And I have notes and I will easily point to how, for example, an issue mattered to her in 2006 (when a Republican occupied the White House) but with a Democrat in the White House, the issue doesn't just fail to matter to her, she now attacks veterans for it.

    Corrine Brown has betrayed veterans repeatedly over the last six years which is why she does not have support from the veterans community.

    In addition, she's an embarrassment to Congress with her inability to dress in a professional manner or to speak the English language.  The party puts her in that chair and they become the laughing stock.

    And she shoots off her idiotic mouth against veterans in the middle of a hearing as Ranking Member?  You better believe the news media will have to cover it and the train wreck that's been largely hidden for two decades becomes very public with Americans wondering why the Democratic Party hates veterans?

    That's already a possible them for the GOP to run with thanks to the nonsense Nancy Pelosi just pulled on Tammy Duckworth.

    Tim Walz is the choice of veterans, not Corrine Brown.

    Brown has done nothing to earn a leadership role and she's done nothing for veterans in the last six years.  Or actually ever.  She's never led on a veterans issue her entire time in Congress.

    To now put her in leadership of the Veterans Affairs Committee would be a slap in the face to veterans.

    Again, I wasn't aware this was an issue until last night.  A number of us lobbied last time around and knowing what her peers think of her, I thought it would never come up again.  But she wants the spot and if the Democratic party's stupid enough to give it to her, everyone's going to suffer.


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    Posted at 10:44 pm by thecommonills
     

    Tuesday, November 18, 2014
    Iraq snapshot

    Iraq snapshot

    Tuesday, November 18, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, Tony Blair gets cheat sheets from the Iraq Inquiry, the bombing of Falluja's residential neighborhood continues, the persecution of Iraqi Christians continue, and much more.



    Shocking news out of England where the  Iraq Inquiry appears to have come to some conclusions (finally).  The Inquiry kicked off with Chair John Chilcot declaring:


    This is an Inquiry by a committee of Privy Counsellors.  It will consider the period from the summer of 2001 to the end of July 2009, embracing the run-up to the conflict in Iraq, the military action and its aftermath.  We will therefore be considering the UK's involvement in Iraq, including the way decisions were made and actions taken, to establish, as accurately as possible, what happened and to identify the lessons that can be learned. Those lessons will help ensure that, if we face similar situations in future, the government of the day is best equipped to respond to those situations in the most effective manner in the best interests of the country.

    The Inquiry held public hearings starting in November 2009 and concluding in February 2011.

    That was nearly four years ago and still people wait for the Inquiry to issue its findings.


    Well . . .

    It turns out only some people wait.

    Some people already know the findings.

    RT reports:

    Letters containing in-depth conclusions of a public inquiry into Britain’s 2003 Iraq War have been dispatched to the probe’s primary participants. Critics charge that the brutal eight-year war divided Britain and blackened Tony Blair’s legacy.
    Under UK law, any individual that faces criticism in a public inquiry must be issued with an official letter warning them of allegations in its findings. They are subsequently then permitted to rebut and counter unsavory or unsatisfactory findings. 


    The Daily Mail adds:


    In May [UK Prime Minister] David Cameron said he expected the report to be published ‘before the end of the year’.
    He added: ‘The public wants to see the answers of the inquiry and I think we shouldn’t have to wait too much longer.’
    But just four weeks of the Parliamentary term remain – making it unlikely that it will be published before MPs recess for Christmas.

    The big fear politically about the report has been Labour's fear that anchor around the neck Tony Blair will sink them all, that the report -- even if it's a whitewash -- has to hold the War Criminal accountable for his actions and words.

    If the report doesn't come out by the end of the year, however, Labour could score points by painting Cameron (of the Conservative Party) as an obstructionist refusing to allow the British people to know the truth.

    Space has already been created between the current Labour leadership and disgraced War Criminal Tony Blair.  Demanding the release of the report and painting the Conservative Party as a barrier to the report's release could actually help Labour improve their numbers in Parliament.

    As for the discarded Tony Blair?


    Dominic Grover (IBT) notes:

    Blair continues to be a deeply divisive figure in Britain, due to his decision to back George W Bush campaign to topple Saddam and the controversial "sexed up" dossier, which critics claim mis-sold the need for war to the British people.
    France's foreign minister recently said Blair was "not best placed" to issue advice on the Middle East, in light of his track record.
    There have even been alleged threats to his life, with terror suspect Erol Incedal accused of plotting an attack on him.
    To cap it all, Mayor of London Boris Johnson has chosen to compare the three-time New Labour leader to tyrant Adolf Hitler in a new book.



    Despite that, War Criminal Tony feels the world needs to listen to him on Iraq.  The criminal doesn't want to confess, please understand, he just laughably believes he has expertise and wisdom to share.


    He has nothing to share.

    Blair fancies himself a Christian yet he's never taken accountability for how the Iraq War has destroyed the Christian communities in Iraq.






  • Details
  • " data-item-id="534842179370627072" data-name="UNOCHA" data-screen-name="UNOCHA" data-tweet-id="534842179370627072" data-user-id="21303235" data-you-block="false" data-you-follow="false">

  • " data-has-cards="true" data-has-native-media="true" data-item-id="534826971294085120" data-name="CitizenGO" data-screen-name="CitizenGO" data-tweet-id="534826971294085120" data-user-id="1264712994" data-you-block="false" data-you-follow="false">
    Baghdad Patriarch: "I will not resign myself to an and a Middle East without Christians"
    0 replies 25 retweets 9 favorites



    He may not want it but it may beyond his control.

    Some people have a hard time giving up control -- even those who consider themselves servants of a God or god.  John Bingham (Telegraph of London) presents the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby explaining that, "I think there is an answer that says we need to do more where there is really no choice but we also need to be deeply committed to enabling solutions to be found enabling communities that have been there for 2,000 years to remain there."

    If Welby's so worried that Christians may vanish, he can always pack a suitcase and go live there.

    The notion that Christian refugees should not be granted asylum outside the region?


    I'm sorry, would you also go back in time and argue that Jews in Germany and surrounding areas not be granted asylum to safety because Jews might vanish from the region?

    Because it sounds sort of like you would.

    Too much time by 'caring' people has already been wasted with faux concerns about how refugees are vanishing from the region when the reality is that refugees want to leave and find safety.  I don't know how this is confusing and I don't believe that this or that religious leader is honestly puzzled.

    I think people are actively looking to look the other way just as they did during the Holocaust.

    The Yazidis swooped in on the wave of outrage the targeting of Christians had created.  I am not accusing the Yazidis of anything.  I am saying that outrage was building and certain members of Congress were calling out the treatment of the Chaldeans which the US press was ignoring and then the religious minority (Yazidis) were trapped on Mount Sinjar and the press glommed on it.

    It was an important story.  (The fact that Yazidis remain trapped on Mount Sinjar is an important story -- even if the US press can't find it.)  But somewhere along the way, the press -- the US press -- completely missed what was happening to Iraq's Christian community in the last months.







    Margaret Griffis (Antiwar.com) reports, "At least 91 people were killed today, mostly militants, and another 24 people were wounded."  In addition, Iraqi Spring MC reports the bombing of Falluja's residential neighborhood by the Iraqi military continues -- despite Prime Minister Haider al-Baidi promising September 13th that these War Crimes would end.  Today, 3 civilians were injured in these bombings.


    Moving over to food, Justin Worland (Time magazine) reports, "Iraq’s agriculture minister on Tuesday accused the extremist group Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) of pilfering more than 1.1 million tons of grain from the country’s northern region and delivering it to militant-controlled cities in Syria."  That news comes as US House Rep Rick Crawford's office issues the following:


    Washington, Nov 18 | Mitchell Nail




    In a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, U.S. Congressman Rick Crawford (AR-1) and U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) today urged protecting American rice producers against unfair business practices in Iraq.

    In early November, the Iraqi Grain Board (IGB) paid $1.4 million more to buy rice from Brazil and Uruguay rather than accept the competitive, lower bid by U.S. rice.

    “Given the considerable investment of resources by the American taxpayer in Iraq, it is critical that the United States be on ‘equal footing’ with its foreign competitors when it comes to the ability to win bids issued by the IGB. Simply deciding to pick winners and losers in bids for Iraqi rice tenders based on arbitrary reasons is not only unfair, it deprives rice farmers in Arkansas — a leader in rice production — and across America of a vital trading partnership with Iraq,” the members wrote.

    A tender to buy 30,000 metric tons of rice closed on Sunday, November 16th. Winning bids are expected to be announced later this week.

    To read the letter in its entirety, click here.     


    We'll close with this from Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America:


    WHAT: Coming off Veterans Day 2014 and a week when politicians and lawmakers touted their support for the veterans community, IAVA urges members of Congress to now step up and take action to pass the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention Bill of 2014. The bill, dropped Monday, was introduced by Senators John McCain (R-Ariz.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Ala.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.).
    IAVA Legislative Director Alex Nicholson and Susan Selke, mother of Clay Hunt, a Marine veteran who died by suicide, will be available for press ahead of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee (SVAC) hearing on Mental Health and Suicide Among Veterans at 10 a.m. outside the hearing room in the Russell Senate Office Building SR-418.
    Susan Selke will then testify before SVAC at 10:30 a.m.

    WHO: Alex Nicholson, IAVA Legislative Director and Susan Selke, mother of Clay Hunt, Marine veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan and died by suicide in 2011

    WHEN: Wednesday, November 19, 2014 at 10 a.m.

    WHERE: Outside Hearing Room- Russell Senate Office Building SR-418

    Note to media: Email press@iava.org or call 212-982-9699 to speak with IAVA CEO and Founder Paul Rieckhoff or IAVA leadership.

    Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (www.IAVA.org) is the nation's first and largest nonpartisan, nonprofit organization representing veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan and has nearly 300,000 Member Veterans and civilian supporters nationwide. Celebrating its 10th year anniversary, IAVA recently received the highest rating - four-stars - from Charity Navigator, America's largest charity evaluator.
















    Posted at 10:36 pm by thecommonills
     

    Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention Bill

    Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention Bill

    Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America issued the following:


    Washington D.C. (November 18, 2014) – Today, Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) met with with Susan and Richard Selke, parents of Iraq and Afghanistan war veteran Clay Hunt, a Marine who died by suicide in 2011. Yesterday, Senators McCain, Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Ala.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) introduced in the Senate the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention Bill of 2014 (S.2930), named after their son and spearheaded by IAVA. If passed, the bill will help combat veteran suicide and improve access to quality mental health care.


    “We thank Senator McCain for meeting with us today and learning more about Clay and his story,” said Susan Selke. “We appreciate Senator McCain’s leadership in addressing mental health care for veterans and his stewardship with the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention Bill of 2014. No veteran should have to go through what Clay experienced. We urge the Senate to take action and show their true support for the veteran community.”



    From left to right: Senator McCain, Susan Selke and Richard Selke
    From left to right: Senator McCain, Susan Selke and Richard Selke



    Susan Selke will be testifying Wednesday morning at the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee (SVAC) hearing on Mental Health and Suicide Among Veterans at 10:30 a.m. in Russell Senate Office Building SR-418.


    To learn more about the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention Bill of 2014, visit iava.org/savact.



    Note to media: Email press@iava.org or call 212-982-9699 to speak with IAVA CEO and Founder Paul Rieckhoff or IAVA leadership.


    Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (www.IAVA.org) is the nation's first and largest nonpartisan, nonprofit organization representing veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan and has nearly 300,000 Member Veterans and civilian supporters nationwide. Celebrating its 10th year anniversary, IAVA recently received the highest rating - four-stars - from Charity Navigator, America's largest charity evaluator.



     

    Posted at 10:34 pm by thecommonills
     

    A wealth of corruption

    A wealth of corruption

    It's hard to know where to start this morning but let's start with a corrupt American.  Doyle McManus, come on down.  In Doyle's world (and bad columns), if you don't support bombing another nation, you're an "isolationist."  And he goes on to note figures on approval of the bombings while never noting that he and the rest of the US media ignored events like the death of 15 civilians (including children) last week when the US-led air bombings fell on the wrong group.

    When did Doyle report on that?

    Never.

    If those truths were known, the polling might be different.

    Doyle never seems as much the blood on his hands whore who helped killed journalist Gary Webb's career as when he lies and whores for war.

    How many kills are you going to have before you retire, Doyle?

    Doyle was a little nobody until he did the CIA's bidding and attacked Gary Webb's expose.

    I'm failing to remember any journalistic effort by Doyle ever to inform the public.

    But when the CIA's stunts were exposed and its reputation muddy, Doyle stepped up to save them by attacking a journalist who had the guts to try to do public service reporting.

    Have they no shame?

    Enter Jawad al-Bolani.  Tasnim News reports he's issuing statements regarding Iran when they should be wondering why he's not in a jail cell?  The corrupt Minister of the Interior only became more so after Jawad took over in 2006.  The death squads?  He gave lip service against them but he didn't stop them, didn't try to and Iraq just saw more and more violence under his 'leadership.'

    His other contributions to 'democracy' are far too numerous to mention in full but we will pause to note that not only did he publicly attack the peaceful protesters in 2013 but he also -- what a prince -- spent the end of March 2010 arguing that the Iraqi people had no right to see the voting totals -- the results -- of the 2010 parliamentary elections.

    And then there's the ridiculous John Bingham (Telegraph of London) who takes stenography.

    Well save a spot for him in the snapshot.

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    Posted at 10:22 pm by thecommonills
     


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