Archive for the 'News' 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’

08
Dec
08

184. Foreclosures “Bail Out” Homeless

 

Foreclosure Squatting

 

 (Max Rameau stands in front of foreclosed property:Source AP)

 

 

At the heart of the issue of homelessness is the scarity of resources available to help the growing numbers of homeless Americans.  The homeless population in America has never been as diverse as it is in our current time.  Due to the recent economic climate we are seeing an unprecedented rise in homelessness that includes a diverse group of veterans, the middle class,women& children and people who are employed but who cannot afford housing. The causes behind each story of homelessness  is varied but all our homeless citizens share one common theme: they face grim prospects for finding shelter and supportive services on a daily basis during the current economic recession.


Where do people go when they loose their homes or are unable to pay for rent? 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.  Viewed another way…on any given night only 4 out of 10 people without a place to call home  will gain entrance to community shelters that  provide a heated space, safety from the streets and a basic meal.  As the numbers of our homeless citizens continue to rise due to the economic trends , emergency & transition shelters continues to fall behind needs.

 

 

Where Do People Go When They Loose Their Home: Source

                                           California

Florida

Kentucky

            Minnesota

Texas

 

Family/friends

23%

29%

38%

                    38%

16%

 

Emergency shelter

15%

25%

19%

                    29%

16%

 

Transition shelter

16%

12%

0%

                    8%

5%

 

On the streets

16%

17%

13%

17%

16%

 

Rental home

18%

13%

25%

4%

5%

 

Don’t know

3%

0%

0%

4%

37%

 

Other

9%

4%

6%

0%

5%

 

 

Source: National Coalition for the Homeless e-mail survey of 117 local and state homeless coalitions conducted Jan. 22-March 15. Note: May not equal 100% due to rounding.

 

Continue reading ‘184. Foreclosures “Bail Out” Homeless’

17
Jul
08

166. Mystery Caller and the VA Helpline

Dear Friends:

Sometimes my inbox receives some incredible articles. Here is one for Veterans that I feel is important to share that was sent to me courtesy of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. A full copy of the article is attached below. One can also receive the wrong information from the VA showing up in person as well. Articles like this make one need to learn more and know your veterans rights.

Mystery caller and VA help line

MARTIN SCHRAM

The mystery caller dialed the Department of Veterans Affairs help line 1,089 times in 2002. And it created quite a problem. Continue reading ‘166. Mystery Caller and the VA Helpline’

23
May
08

149.“A fool with a plan can outsmart a genius with no plan.”

Homeless Man sleeping on a bench in North Seattle…Photo by Wanderingvet
homelessnseattle

Dear Friends and Wanderingvets:

I know it has been a while since I have written to you but admit to the fact that the numbers of Homeless and Homeless Veterans that I have been meeting of late have taken their toll on my spirit. Everyday it seems that while walking carrying the items donated by the “Friends of Wanderingvet” I see new faces along my traveled routes. Unfortunately as I see new faces, adding to those I see on my rounds… and it is disheartening.

“A fool with a plan can outsmart a genius with no plan.”

– T. Boone Pickens Continue reading ‘149.“A fool with a plan can outsmart a genius with no plan.”’




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Wanderingvet@wanderingvets.com AnAmerican@wanderingvets.com

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