Friday, September 29, 2017

Just keep talking that crap about Russia

Because it's helping right?

61% of Americans believe Democrats/Republicans have failed & we need a 3rd major party. A new high. A supermajority.


We need a new party.

And as long as the Cult of Hillary keeps talking their crazy conspiracy theories about Russia, it just drives that home and makes it clear that the Democratic Party is not a functioning party today.

Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Friday, September 29, 2017.  Chaos and violence continue as do threats to the KRG and we look at the issue of women veterans and suicide.

Yesterday, we focused on the first panel of this week's hearing on veterans suicides by the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.  Today, we'll look at the second panel.  The Committee Chair is Senator Johnny Isakson, the Ranking Member is Senator Jon Tester.  The witness for the second panel was VA Secretary David J. Shulkin (Dr. Shulkin).

Senator Patty Murray did a great job providing leadership when she was the Committee Chair and she continues to do important work on the Committee.

It we report on a committee in more than one snapshot, I usually look at the press after the first snapshot to see what was covered and what wasn't and I'm not seeing a lot on women veterans.

The first part of the exchange we're highlighting?

It's outrageous.

It's more of the same from the VA.

Senator Patty Murray:  But I do remain deeply troubled by the IG's findings from May 2017 that VA is not complying with a number of policies including 18% of facilities not meeting the requirement for five outreach activities each month, 11% of high risk medical patients did not have a suicide safety prevention plan, and for 20% of inpatients and 10% of outpatients no documentation that the patient was provided a copy of the  safety plan.  There were several shortcomings in the use of patient record flags, coordination of care for patients at high risk of suicide and critical improvements for patients, after discharge.  16% of non-clinical employees did not receive suicide prevention training and more than 45% clinicians did not complete suicide risk management training within the first 90 days.  So when it comes to suicide prevention policy, anything less than 100% isn't acceptable.  So when will all the IG's recommendations be fully implemented?

Secretary David Shulkin: Well, so, first of all, this is exactly why the IG is valuable -- pointing this out.  I have no other mechanism to get data that comprehensive.  So we have committed to addressing the IG concerns.  The reason why we have made suicide prevention our number one priority and made all our leadership this month sign off on the declaration is to fix those issues.  We've committed to training.  So over this year -- Look, 100% is the right goal, but I can't tell you exactly what date we're going to reach that.  But we're going to be working really hard to get as close to that as possible as quickly as possible.

Senator Patty Murray: Well Senator Moran alluded to it.  At the veteran suicide hearing at the appropriation committee back in April, I asked for monthly updates until all of the problems at the crisis line are resolved.  VA has not done that and that is really unacceptable.  So I want a commitment from you today -- to all of us -- that we will get those updates starting right now.

Secretary David Shulkin: I think you have that committment, yes.

Senator Patty Murray:  Okay, well we intend to see that happen. 

Again, more of the same.

How does VA give their word to provide the Senate with updates in April and now, in September, it's still not being done.

Do VA officials need to be handed paperwork in hearings to sign in order to get them to comply with the verbal promises they repeatedly make to Congress but somehow fail to follow up on?

There is no excuse for giving your word to Congress in April and failing to deliver five months later.

It's outrageous and so typical of the VA's repeated interaction with the VA -- Allison Hickey was infamous for this nonsense.

Now let's move to women veterans.

Senator Patty Murray:  Let me ask about women veterans -- this is something I've asked about many times.  I am really disturbed in the increase in suicide rate among our women veterans.  Between 2001 and  14, the rate of suicide for women veterans who do not use VA care increased by 98%.  Now I've heard from women veterans many times that they don't think of themselves as veterans and  I hear far too often from women who don't feel welcome at VA facilities, don't feel that that is their place.  It is a significant problem actually that the RAND Corporation testified in April as well.  But this increase in suicide is the most important reason yet that I believe  VA has to redouble its efforts to reach out to women  and get them into care.  So I wanted to ask you what are we doing to address that?

Secretary David Shulkin: Well, you gave a really important statistic -- which is that those   over the last 15 years between 2001 and 2014 -- those women that did not receive care in the VA that the rate of suicide went up by an extraordinary number.  You said 98%.  Those that did use the VA, we actually saw a decrease -- a decrease in suicide rates over that 15 year period of  2.6%  So we know that particularly in this situation, but for all veterans -- getting care makes a difference and saves lives.  The issue about making the VA more welcoming to women is a critical issue.  It's a cultural issue.  And we have worked hard to create women centers and to chance the culture and environment.  I speak about this, so does our center for women veterans, all the time.  But, of course, we are absolutely -- at this is our number one priority -- committed to doing much more and to be more progressive and to put more resources into this.

Senator Patty Murray: Okay, well this is something we have to keep working on because if a woman doesn't consider herself as a veteran she doesn't think about going to the VA.

Secretary David Shulkin: Right.

Senator Patty Murray: This is something we have to keep working on because if a woman doesn't consider herself as a veteran, she doesn't think about going to the VA.

Secretary David Shulkin: Right.

Senator Patty Murray:  If she is not welcome at the VA or doesn't feel that veterans facility is welcoming to her, she won't go.   If she has other issues -- child care, work -- it's doubly hard.  This is not an easy problem to solve but we really have to put  hearts, minds and resources and -- as a country -- really recognize women veterans.

Senator Murray has been working on this issue for years.  I can remember back to 2006 and it probably pre-dates my memory.  (John Hall, when he was in the House, also worked hard on this issue.  His book STILL THE ONE, came out last year.)

Why might women not feel welcomed?

There are many cultural reasons.  But to cite some of the issues that Murray and Hall raised -- a lack of changing tables in the restrooms, either no doors on the examining rooms or the doors to the examining room being left open during an exam.

There are many issues that thought seems to have stopped at the VA on.

Murray, Hall and others have led the VA into the 21st century.  But more still needs to be done.

And while there are things that valuable members of Congress like Patty Murray can lead on, there are also things we can lead on outside of Congress in our every day lives.

Chief among them?


It can easily be she.

Grasp that veterans (and service members) can be men or be women.

Grasp that, despite policies, women have been in combat.

Iraq, for example, was a war zone -- not a part of Iraq, not a section, the entire country.


Women have been serving at record numbers. In fact, women make up an unprecedented eight percent of all U.S. veterans. That is close to two million women. The situation has become so dire that the Department of Veterans Affairs had to take action. They formed a Women Veterans Task Force to address these unique issues.
According to the task force, there are six critical areas facing women veterans today.

Women Veterans Issue #1 – Health Care

Neither the Department of Veterans Affairs nor The Department of Defence can handle the specific health issues that women veterans face. Hospitals and medical centers are too understaffed to deal with the volume of patients. Especially in the areas of gynecology and obstetrics. In fact, one-third of the VA’s medical centers do not have a gynecologist on staff. Even though the demand for such care continues to increase.
Regardless of the staffing issues the VA and DoD face, they still lack the facilities and specialty equipment needed. Research conducted by the VA shows a staggering lack of care. Almost one in five women veterans have delayed or gone without needed care in the prior 12 months.

Where and how to get help – VA Health Care for Women Veterans

At each VA medical center nationwide, a Women Veterans Program Manager (WVPM)is available. The WVPM is an individual designated to advise and advocate for women Veterans. The WVPM can help coordinate all the services you may need. From primary care to specialized care for chronic conditions to reproductive health.
Women Veterans interested in receiving care at the VA should contact the nearest VA Medical Center and ask for the WVPM.
Learn more about the VA Health Care for Women Veterans.

Physical Mental Emotional

Women Veterans Issue #2 – Military Sexual Trauma

Sexual abuse, harassment, and even rape are reaching epidemic proportions in the military. In fact, 20% of women enrolled in VA health care screen positive for MST (military sexual trauma.) Yet, over 31% of VA centers say they can’t provide adequate services. Often times the chain-of-command is part of the problem. As a result, neither active duty women service members nor veterans know who to turn to for help.

Where and how to get help – Military Sexual Trauma Coordinator

Every VA facility has a designated MST Coordinator who serves as a contact person for MST-related issues. This person is your advocate. They can help you find and access VA services and programs. Additionally, they can help you sign up for state and federal benefits, and access to community resources. This includes free, confidential counseling and treatment. Even if you don’t qualify for other VA care, you can still get the help you need. You don’t even have to have reported the incident or have documentation that it occurred. Just contact your local area coordinator and get the help you need.
Learn more about MST and other violence and abuse from the “Make the connection” website.

wvcc logo small

Women Veterans Issue #3 – Mental Health

The VA and DoD have difficulty providing gender-specific care. In particular, a lack of specialized inpatient mental health care designed to meet the needs and preferences of women. This includes peer support and group therapy.
Where and how to get help – Mental Health
As mentioned above, each VA medical center nationwide offers a Women Veterans Program Manager (WVPM). The WVPM is available to help you. Women Veterans interested in receiving care should contact the nearest VA Medical Center and ask for the WVPM.
Learn more about the VA Health Care for Women Veterans.

DAV Logo

Women Veterans Issue #4 – Disabled Vets

Women who have lost one or more limbs may not receive support and care tailored to their needs. Furthermore, women are less likely to have a prosthetic that fits properly. Unfortunately, the VA has not been able to keep up with the number of women veterans returning with such disabilities.

Where and how to get help – Disabled Vets

The good news is that there a number of civilian organizations who have stepped in to fill the gaps left by the VA health care system.
The Disabled Veterans National Foundation exists to provide critical support to disabled and at-risk vets.  Veterans who leave the military wounded—physically or psychologically—after defending our safety and our freedom.
Also, there is the Disabled American Veterans Organization.  The DAV is a nonprofit charity. They provide a lifetime of support for veterans of all generations – including their families. The DAV helps more than 1 million veterans with positive, life-changing benefits each year.
Of course, you should always start with your Women Veterans Program Manager (WVPM). We cannot overstate this. They have access to the most current information and can point you in the right direction.

Gold Card

Women Veterans Issue #5 – Unemployment

Post-9/11 women veterans have higher unemployment rates than male veterans and non-veteran women. Challenges in the labor market are exacerbated by medical and mental health concerns.

Where and how to get help – Unemployment

Believe it or not, the best place to start with unemployment issues is with the US Department of Labor. The “Gold Card initiative” helps provide post 9/11 veterans with intense services and follow-ups. Something needed to succeed in today’s meager job market. This initiative is a joint effort of the Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA), and the Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS).

Soldier Looking for Job

Women Veterans Issue #6 – Homelessness

Women veterans are at least twice as likely to be homeless as non-veteran females. Furthermore, women veterans are also more likely to be single parents. This makes life extraordinarily difficult for women veterans.

Where and how to get help – Homelessness

No veteran, regardless of gender, should be without a place to call home. As such, the Department of Veterans Affairs has created an entire department designed to help deal with homelessness.
Homeless veterans and those at imminent risk of becoming homeless should call or visit their local VA Medical Center. Additionally, they can reach out to their Community Resource and Referral Center where VA staff are ready to help.

In conclusion:

The good news is that the VA is making progress. In addition to the resources listed above, the Department of Veterans Affairs has created the Center for Women Veterans. Here you can find an entire section dedicated to resources designed to help with the issues listed above and more. There are also Women Veteran Coordinators (WVC’s) located in every regional VA office. They are your primary point of contact.
There are also innumerable private agencies and nonprofit organizations that can help. The best place to start is with the National Resource Directory. The DoD maintains this directory. Here, you can find over 17,000 organizations to help you. Every one of these resources has been thoroughly vetted and approved by the DoD.
If you have an emergency, need assistance, or want more information, the VA has established a Women Veterans hotline: 1-855-VA-WOMEN (829-6636.)

Turning to Iraq . . .

The Kurdish people, small in numbers, now besieged by Turkey, Iran and Iraq (165 million potential enemies). It is our duty to support them.

And yet they are not getting support.

They are getting threats.

Link to headline article

They have militaries -- including the Iraqi military -- on their borders.

They are facing threat after threat.

For what?

For holding a referendum.

Iraq's prime minister Hayder al-Abadi is furious and issuing one threat after another -- over a peaceful vote.

Meanwhile, his corruption shines through.

Iraqi PM Abadi is breaking his vow to keep abusive "Popular Mobilization Forces" away from screening detainees:

That's troubling.

Regardless of what Hayder wants and what the Parliament wants, the constitution of Iraq outlawed the militias.

Maybe he should be addressing that?

Iraqi Govt response to 92% yes in Kurdish referendum - cutting flights, threatening war - totally counterproductive. Peaceful talks needed

It's time for global attention to this issue.

Iraqi retaliation for Kurdish referendum is ‘collective punishment’ that will drive a wedge, says

BBC Newsnight
Like this? Subscribe to BBC Newsnight on YouTube. Like us on Facebook. Catch up on iPlayer - BBC

The following community sites -- plus NPR MUSIC, DISSIDENT VOICE and PACIFICA EVENING NEWS -- updated:

  • iraq iraq iraq iraq iraq Iraq

    No comments: