FADED CELEBRITY IN CHIEF BARRY O IS FUMING MAD AFTER BOSTON RED SOX PLAYER DAVID ORTIZ TOOK A SELFIE WITH BARRY O AND THEN IT TURNED OUT TO BE A SAMSUNG PLOY.
WHITE HOUSE PLUS-SIZE SPOKESMODEL JAY CARNEY EXPLAINED THIS AFTERNOON TO THESE REPORTERS THAT BARRY O WAS FURIOUS WHEN BARRY O CUT HIM OFF.
"HE BETRAYED ME! THAT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE PERSONAL, BETWEEN US!" BARRY O SCREECHED. "IT'S LIKE HE RELEASED A SEX TAPE! HOW DARE HE USE ME! I WAS ONCE THE MOST POPULAR PERSON IN THE WORLD AND WHEN I WAS I USED PEOPLE ALL OF THE TIME! NO ONE USES ME! NO ONE!"
FROM THE TCI WIRE:
Today Aaron Glantz and the Center for Investigative Reporting report the disturbing news of 1,000 veterans who died wrongful deaths (the VA had paid out $200 million for these deaths):
In that time, CIR found the agency made wrongful death payments to nearly 1,000 grieving families, ranging from decorated Iraq War veterans who shot or hanged themselves after being turned away from mental health treatment, to Vietnam veterans whose cancerous tumors were identified but allowed to grow, to missed diagnoses, botched surgeries and fatal neglect of elderly veterans.
On PRI's The Takeaway with John Hockenberry today, Aaron Glantz spoke about his new report. Excerpt.
John Hockenberry: Aaron Glantz, what is it that the VA was doing here by putting up this process instead of treating veterans' symptoms which you would think a medical institution ought to be doing?
Aaron Glantz: This is something that we hear so often talking with veterans coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan and where the VA has some of the best psychologists, doctors, psychiatrists in the country at treating war trauma. But then the agency has this unyielding bureaucracy that makes it difficult for anyone to see any of these clinicians. We always hear about long wait times for necessary care and what we found in our investigation that since 9-11, the VA had paid out over $200 million to nearly a thousand veterans who died under the VA's care -- and many of them died waiting for necessary treatment that might have saved their lives.
John Hockenberry: Now, Aaron, some might look at that $200 million in wrongful death claims and the 1,000 individuals that are involved here and say, "Okay, the system is working. The VA has a huge amount of responsibility. These are some errors that were corrected." How do you view this?
Aaron Glantz: It's true the VA sees more than 6 million veterans every year. Somebody could take a look at the 1,000 deaths that the VA paid out money in a wrongful death settlement and say, "Well some degree of medical error is inevitable dealing with a system this big." The way I look at it is these are people who served their country, who went to war, they did what we told them to do and then they got home with the expectation that the government, which sent them to war, had created a health care system which would take care of them and meet their needs. And it's important that we really assess how often we fail these veterans and whether or not the VA is doing enough to prevent these deaths from occurring.
Matthew M. Burke (Stars and Stripes) reports on efforts to address this and other issues, US House Rep Jeff Miller is the Chair of the House Veterans Affairs Committee:
In February, Miller and Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., introduced the VA Management Accountability Act of 2014 in the House and the Senate, respectively. The legislation by the Florida Republicans would give the VA secretary complete authority to fire or demote VA Senior Executive Service or equivalent employees based on performance — the same authority members of Congress have to fire their own staffers. Congress would then be notified for purposes of oversight.
The legislation was introduced Feb. 11 and the committee heard stakeholder opinions during a March 25 hearing. It has 40 co-sponsors from both parties and the support of the major veterans service organizations. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, joined GOP leaders and representatives of several veterans’ service organizations Thursday in the Capitol to discuss the legislation.
“There are some serious problems over at the VA,” Boehner said during the news conference, and the legislation is “another tool” to hold VA facilities accountable.
“What’s missing from the equation is not money or manpower, it’s accountability,” Miller told Stars and Stripes.
At the Defense Dept website, Erin Wittkop notes retired General Peter Chiarelli continues to advocate on behalf of veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress, "Nobody who's 22-years-old wants to be told they have a disorder, that's why I don't call it PTSD. That's why I call it Post-Traumatic Stress." Eleanor Goldberg (Huffington Post) writes about PTS today:
One solution is "getting rid of the 'D' in PTSD," Sgt. Thomas James Brennan, a Marine who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, said on HuffPost Live. "My diagnosis absolutely broke my heart. It’s not because I didn’t know that I didn’t have problems. The word 'disorder' made me feel as though I was damaged. I was embarrassed."
At the heart of the issue, experts say, is that service members are trained to be tough, stoic and independent warriors who can withstand anything when it comes to defending their country and their brothers.
Being a fighter and also having an illness that impairs mental health in many cases is a dichotomy that veterans can’t accept.
Labeling it a "disorder" has created a stigma and yet we see the government 'struggle' to do the right thing which is start referring to it exclusively as PTS. If Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel gave that order (or President Barack Obama), the Pentagon would immediately begin referring to it as PTS as would the VA. This would have a ripple effect on the Congress and the press. And veterans with PTS would be the ones to benefit. The stigma would be removed. And it wouldn't cost a dime.
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