Archive for the 'Government' Category

15
Oct
09

208. New Era of Responsibility?

A transformed VA will be a high-performing 21st century department, a different organization from the one that exists today. Beyond the next five years, we’re looking for new ways of thinking and acting. We are asking why, 40 years after Agent Orange was last used in Vietnam, this Secretary had to adjudicate claims for service-connected disabilities that have now been determined presumptive. And why, 20 years after Desert Storm, we are still debating the debilitating effects of whatever causes Gulf War Illness. If we do not stay attuned to the health needs of our returning veterans, 20 or 40 years from now, some future Secretary could be adjudicating presumptive disabilities from our ongoing conflicts. We must do better, and we will.

General Eric Shimseki,

Secretary of Veterans Affairs

Back in January Wanderingvets posted news of retired General Eric Shinseki taking the office as Secretary of Veterans Affairs .(Real Changes Ahead for Veterans Affairs?) With the confirmation of General Shinseki there was great hope that the VA would be revamped to better serve the needs of our growing veteran population. This week General Shinseki addressed Congress with a “State of the VA Message” that is the result of 9 months of assessments within the VA.

Out of my discussions with Veterans, three concerns keep coming through — access, the backlog, and homeless Veterans.

It would seem that General Shimseki has a very accurate pulse on the shortcomings that have been demonstrated with the current VA system.
From medical negligence to a long backlog of disability claims for veterans,the layers of improvements needed for treating our veterans with the services they deserve seems to have been identified.

It’s very encouraging to see the needs of our homeless veterans being acknowledged and addressed by the VA. With 25% of all homeless Americans being veterans this is an area that has been put on the back burner for too long. The current VA system does little to reduce the burden of homelessness for veterans and historically has let community organization bear the burden of providing for homeless veterans. Sadly, in this current economic climate community resources aren’t able to meet the growing needs of all homeless citizens and many of our veterans remain on the streets without shelter.A survey by the National Coalition for The Homeless shows that shelters for the homeless only provide shelter for less than 40% of people in need of basic services.  A previous statistic by the VA estimated 154,000 veterans (male and female) are homeless on any given night and perhaps twice as many experince homelessness at some point during the course of a year. The VA claims this number is being reduced despite the overall rise in the homeless population in the US and the need for expanded VA services due to returning military from Iraq.

Veterans lead the Nation in homelessness, depression, substance abuse, and suicides. We now estimate that 131,000 Veterans live on the streets of this wealthiest and most powerful Nation in the world, down from 195,000 six years ago. Some of those homeless are here in Washington, D.C. — men and women, young and old, fully functioning and disabled, from every war generation, even the current operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. We will invest $3.2 billion next year to prevent and reduce homelessness among Veterans — $2.7 billion on medical services and $500 million on specific homeless housing programs. With 85 percent of homelessness funding going to health care, it means that homelessness is a significant health care issue, heavily burdened with depression and substance abuse. We think we have the right partners, the right plans, and the right programs in place on safe housing. We’ll monitor and adjust the balance as required to continue increasing our gains in eliminating Veteran homelessness. We are moving in the right direction to remove this blot on our consciences, but we have more work to do.

The men and women of the armed forces have been made a promise that if they defend our country in military service, we will provide them with the benefits they have earned. Sadly, the VA has fallen short on this promise to our Veterans on many accounts. Does this recent report to Congress mark a new era of responsibility  to our Veterans or will we continue to have the “blot” of  unkept promises on our consciences? Only time will tell.

29
Jun
09

205.Health Care Reform & The VA System:Here We Go Again?

reformAmerica is on the brink of making some very important decisions as relates to healthcare in this country. Currently, our politicians are bouncing around various proposals for the future of healthcare in America. Most recently Congress reported “trimming” this healthcare bill to $1 trillion .The facts about our current healthcare system support the need for some serious realignment in order to cover the healthcare needs of more Americans.

FACT: One-third of adults (31 percent) and more than half of all children (54 percent) do not have a primary care doctor (National Medical Expenditure Panel Survey) Continue reading ‘205.Health Care Reform & The VA System:Here We Go Again?’

01
Jun
09

203. How to keep a good nation down (or lower)!

AT-Dis_Lib_book

When watching the news on our leading companies such as General Motors, Chrysler, ExxonMobil, our Banks, our former steel and other metals industry… I get damn depressed. I was reading Greg Palast’s Armed Madhouse, and it caused me to research our government’s Department of Labor a bit further…


In 2004 the United States Department of Labor decided that businesses were not making enough money. So being led by the nose by the National Council of Chain Restaurants the US. Dept. of Labor came up with a few whiz bang ideas to help out those keeping restaurant labor costs down as well as then reaching out into all sectors that donate money to political campaigns, In the August 2004 a bunch of idiots in the federal labor department they started implemented the following gems that they started creating around Labor Day 2003.

Continue reading ‘203. How to keep a good nation down (or lower)!’

15
May
09

201. Ten Trillion Dollar Bailout For Business and Zero For You

monopoly-guy

According to the Associated Press:

Social Security and Medicare are fading even faster under the weight of the recession, heading for insolvency years sooner than previously expected, the government warned Tuesday.

Wow! like we did not know this already? That with money going to Bailout companies like AIG (who paid themselves bonuses), GM & Chrysler (who are still filing for Bankruptcy), as well as the other large Fortune 500 companies that are laying off rapidly (See Layoff Tracker).

Ok maybe I missed how saving these companies that are in a natural course of readjustment from mismanagement deserved all of this cash from the U.S. Government, while the Fed, congress and our president has mismanaged our Medicare and Social Security Systems (which we pay into from our earnings).

Our elected officials have now come to the conclusion that it would now be prudent to raise retirement age of everyone born after 1960 to qualify for Social Security – a benefits cut, as well as to deny the cost of living raise for 2010 – 2011 to benefit recipients. Continue reading ‘201. Ten Trillion Dollar Bailout For Business and Zero For You’

13
May
09

200. Health Effects of Unemployment and Poverty

Mental Illness has long been one of the leading tenets in the cause of Homelessness both in the United States as well as world wide. With all of the Bailouts for Big Businesses, the citizens that are most impacted (laid off workers, the unemployed, and those fearing future job cuts) have been totally ignored by the Federal and States governments.

Economic turmoil (e.g., increased unemployment, foreclosures, loss of investments and other financial distress) can result in a whole host of negative health effects – both physical and mental. It can be particularly devastating to your emotional and mental well-being. Although each of us is affected differently by economic troubles, these problems can add tremendous stress, which in turn can substantially increase the risk for developing such problems as:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Compulsive Behaviors (over-eating, excessive gambling, spending, etc.)
  • Substance Abuse

The above quote comes from then Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration as well as showing the normal pattern of the causes for homelessness. Continue reading ‘200. Health Effects of Unemployment and Poverty’

01
May
09

198. Mr. Obama’s Faulty Logic

The All Seeing Eye

The All Seeing Eye

Dear Friends:

The other day I was watching President Obama in a press conference where he stated that he and his administration has created or saved over 150,000 jobs.  I said to myself, Damn that man cannot add or subtract. The next day Chrysler announced they were cutting between 8,500 to 11,ooo jobs in the next few days as well as letting go 13,ooo workers over the next three years. Mr. Obama has a problem with math as you will see…

That is just great since in his first 100 days in office his administration had lost over 2.7 million jobs and had a steady increase of foreclosed homes and increases in homelessness so far under his watch.

From The Bureau of Labor Statistics:

In March (2009), the number of unemployed persons increased by 694,000 to 13.2 million, and the unemployment rate rose to 8.5 percent.  Over the past 12 months, the number of unemployed persons has grown by about 5.3 million, and the unemployment rate has risen by 3.4 percentage points. Half of the increase in both the number of unemployed and the unemployment rate occurred in the last 4 months.

Continue reading ‘198. Mr. Obama’s Faulty Logic’

30
Apr
09

197. Time To Take A Stand

Dear Friends:

As I live and work trying to recoup my life and livelihood I see others sinking into the mire of what happened to me a little while back. Having lost my income and livelihood due to recession and changes in the market I believe gives me a little bit of perspective into other aspects of what is going on in this nation. Continue reading ‘197. Time To Take A Stand’




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