On: TBI - PTSD - No Bids & War Profiteering - Obstructionism and the VA
Let me start out with some Good News, but that still have many of us puzzled as to why it took so long to get to the 'Good' and much needed, no answers.
On 'Obstructionism' and the VA, Plus:
I'm saving this cut of the Rachel Maddow show, on the evening of 4.07.09, to show how those we hire to represent us don't.
Not only was Sen. Richard Burr placing a hold on the nomination of Tammy Duckworth an OIF Veteran for the VA, much needed placement of this nominee as two theaters of occupation are still at hand and much has been surfacing as to the incompetent way the Veterans Administration was Administered under the previous Executive Branch, but this also shows how he and his staff conduct their job of representation, they don't.
If trying to get answers from them or just writing them on concerns they tend do as a previous Senator, Sen Dole, did they don't respond. Send an e-mail, regular or fax, no e-mail, et.el, response comes back even acknowledgment of receiving your correspondence, and instead every once in a great while one gets a regular mail response, and these are extremely rare unless an election is coming up than they fly into your mailbox in bulk.
There's another example as well. We found out he had stopped his, no excuse for, hold on Tammy's nomination on the afternoon of the seventh, yet in doing a search after hearing that and into the next day there is no Press Release either publicly or at his Senate website saying the nomination is no longer on hold nor his reasons for that hold, Nothing. We find out in the evening on the Rachel Maddow Show, and she's not hired by us to Represent, her job is Journalism and reporting the facts.
Now the reason for leading off with that cut of last nights show leads into some very recent reports, which add on to the many that have been followed, as we still have our military in two ongoing occupations with soldiers and innocents dying and being maimed daily.
There has been a showing of almost total incompetence that existed under the previous administration and a certain political party that held the power for much of the previous recent past, some of that incompetence has been finally coming into public view these last two plus years. This has been across the board in almost every government agency, but these that follow have more to do with the Military and especially the Veterans Administration. One wonders how much more we'll find out.
Dr. Michael Kussman, undersecretary for health at the Veterans Health Administration, has resigned, effective in 30 days, well-placed sources have told me.
Last month, Kussman wrote a memo detailing the near collapse of an eight-year, $167 million effort known as the Replacement Scheduling Application Development Program.
When VA Secretary Eric Shinseki learned of the problems with the program, he told staffers to give him a comprehensive review by Thursday, April 9, and planned a congressional briefing for Friday, according to internal memos.
Now on the heels of the above report comes the announcement from the VA on his upcoming retirement:
April 7, 2009
WASHINGTON – Dr. Michael J. Kussman, the Under Secretary for Health for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), today announced his intention to retire from federal service by May 9, ending a 37-year government career. Dr. Kussman, who attained the rank of brigadier general while in the U.S. Army, has been with VA since 2000.
As Under Secretary for Health since 2007, Dr. Kussman has directed a health care system with an annual budget of approximately $40.2 billion, overseeing the delivery of care to more than 5.6 million Veterans.
Can the problems with the above seemingly wasteful spending and time be attributed all to Dr. Kussman, No, but it can led into the Political Appointee to head the Agency, as any agency, and those they bring along with them to work in the Administration of these Government Agencies, Dr Kussman is taking the political fall.
One of the many problems that keep coming up has been the obstruction of fully diagnosing what the returning soldiers and veterans of the two occupations, OIF and OEF, have been experiencing, or actually misdiagnosing to save on the benefits due them and the government cost of their care and support. This is nothing new it's happened since at least Korea and especially to our brothers of Vietnam right up to the present. But it once again, as during and after 'Nam, been very blatant.
A secret recording reveals the Army may be pushing its medical staff not to diagnose post-traumatic stress disorder. The Army and Senate have ignored the implications.
Editor's note: Last June, during a medical appointment, a patient named "Sgt. X" recorded an Army psychologist at Fort Carson, Colo., saying that he was under pressure not to diagnose combat veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder. Listen to a segment of the tape here:
UpDate to above Salon report 4.09.09:
After a soldier taped a psychologist saying he'd been pressured not to diagnose PTSD, the Army launched an investigation. Read the details of how the Army declared itself innocent.
Editor's note: Read about Sgt. X's tape -- and listen to a segment of it -- in the first story in this series, "I Am Under a Lot of Pressure to Not Diagnose PTSD." Read a summary of the Army's internal investigation, in which it determined that it was not exerting such pressure, here.
Now the report above, with this Video, isn't long so I won't do a blockquote as it has a number of links embedded within for further study. But I will place those links here. Like this one TBI in the Military, and this one on the three million civilians who suffer from TBI in the U.S.. They have a link to Hines VA Hospital in Chicago and what they offer in care with high-tech devices. In the video they talk with Brian Sweeney who wrote of his experiences with TBI in Every 21 Seconds
Almost all of those who had mild brain injury, blast exposure are affected, study says
Headaches have become a common complaint among soldiers who suffered mild head trauma while serving in Iraq or Afghanistan.
These headaches tend to be debilitating, mirroring migraines in intensity, according to research released Monday that is to be presented next month at the American Academy of Neurology's annual meeting in Seattle.
About 15 percent of soldiers deployed to Iraq experience mild traumatic brain injury (TBI), according to background information from the researchers, who are based at Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma, Wash.
But not much has been known about the headaches that can occur as a result.
And this on the continuing discovery of the Blatant War Profiteering, especially from the wide open no bid contracts dished out by the previous administration, and rubber stamped by those in Congress under the same political banner, to their friends and supporters:
A military team sent to evaluate electrical problems at U.S. facilities in Iraq determined there was a high risk that flawed wiring could cause further "catastrophic results" namely, the electrocutions of U.S. soldiers.
Now into just a few things good to report on. Some followed In Their Boots last year. It's an online series of extremely important video reports that aired weekly on a number of issues facing the soldiers and their families as they returned from these wars. It ran every week and some, like myself, passed on that weeks show in posts. They have now started the second year, with a new site look and a new format, instead of weekly the shows are now every month with showings in different cities around the country.
You can visit the site to view last years shows as well as the first one for this second season "Broken Promises"
Or view the "Broken Promises" here:
They've sent out an e-alert for this months documentary to be shown in Huston Texas area on April 22 called "Fractured Minds" with a message that it should be widely available on the 24th of April. I missed the debut show last month until after it showed, but I believe you can catch this months on their site on the 22nd but it will take to the 24th to be able to link to or embed anywhere.
This is the Trailer for "Fractured Minds"
There also seems to be some real good news for a 'Gold Star Mom' Nadia McCaffrey and her sons, Patrick McCaffrey who was killed in the Iraq War, Wife and Child's hard work on a memorial to her son to help the returning OIF and OEF veterans readjust back to society and help them with any problems some may have.
Nadia's dream was the Veterans Village, which has been growing slowly but surely over these years since her sons death in Iraq. You can visit the link to find out more.
Well it looks like that dream may be speeding up and taking on the direction intended all along:
New leaders focus in on Washington
Coulthard, 64, a Vietnam veteran who has made a name for himself by securing government dollars for veteran housing for the past two decades, is optimistic about turning the Oak Ridge property into "Valley Forge Village," a 400-unit retreat for veterans and their families where they may stay as long as they wish in a self-sustaining common interest community that offers training and reintegration strategies.
He, along with Oak Ridge property owner Jim Jauss, and Nadia McCaffrey, the mother of Patrick McCaffrey, who was killed in the Iraq War, are slated for a visit to Washington April 19-21.
Any Vets in the DC area, especially OIF and OEF Veterans, may want to contact Jimmie Coulthard or Nadia McCaffery to give a hand with the Pols and the Administration, Stimulate this Dream!!