that James Carville is insisting that ObamaCare going under will be a gift for Democrats:
“You know what the Democrats are going to say - and it is completely justified: ‘We tried, we did something, go see a 5-4 Supreme Court majority,’” Carville added. “The public has these guys figured out. Our polls show that half think this whole thing is political.”
Actually, that's not true. But I will wait for a verdict before weighing in. C.I. and I have been talking about this. ObamaCare goes under, it's bad news for Barack.
I told C.I. about Carville's remarks (C.I. knows Carville) and she said, "Actually, he's right. Think about it. ObamaCare is not what its supporters think it is. It will be very unpopular if it is implemented. So James is right that the best thing for Barack would be for ObamaCare to fail at the Supreme Court."
(Yes, she knows that's not what he was saying.)
"Would you pay to support sexism? (Ava and C.I.)" (Ava and C.I., The Third Estate Sunday Review):
At their website, they have a little faux Platonic dialogue
going on, asking why anyone should donate money to KXT and then
answering, "KXT 91.7 is listener-supported public radio. 100% of the
station’s financial support comes from listeners and businesses who
pledge their support and make a tax-free donation to keep the station
on the air. Make your contribution today to support the musical
diversity and discovery that KXT 91.7 provides every day."
diversity? There's no diversity in the solo artists or front men they
play -- mainly men. And we question the notion of diversity as much as
we do their claim (see illustration at the top) that donating to KXT is
a way to "SUPPORT INDEPENDENT MUSIC." Bruce Springsteen's new album and
his back catalogue are heavily featured on KXT and he's not an
independent artist. He's a big money maker for the Sony corporation.
Other staples of the station's programming -- Eric Clapton, Van
Morrison, U2, Coldplay and Adele -- aren't exactly selling CDs out of a
trailer they pull from show to show behind their Chevy Aveo.
mentioned creepy Paul Slavens earlier. He deserves special notice for
claiming on air to be playing requested songs. No, he's playing the
requested songs he likes. He ignores the rest. Especially true if
you're suggesting a woman be played. Slavens doesn't like the ladies.
And seems to take it as a point of pride that he's never played Carly Simon
on KXT (he's been heard on KXT since November 2009). He'll play the
Monkees, he'll play Porter Wagoner, he just won't play Carly. He
doesn't play many women. It's not uncommon to hear one each hour or
just one for both hours. Again, this is commercial free radio. They
should have plenty of airtime.
As 1999 was winding down, Elysa Gardner (Billboard,
December 18, 1999) would speak with radio consultant Dennis Constantine
who explained "that as recently as the mid-90s, radio programmers would
generally aim not to play two songs by female artists consecutively"
and how, "Of course, they never had the same rule for men. Only in the
past few years has that barried broken down, so that now you hear women
back to back on radio stations. I think a lot of that has to do with Lilith [Fair]."
That was commercial radio. And the problem there wasn't one woman an
hour, but dee jays afraid of playing two women in a row. And
Constantine and Billboard were thrilled that fear had been put to rest.
over a decade later, KXT wants to bring it back and then some. Their
playlist isn't just pre-Lillith Fair, it's pre-1960s. That should cause
them embarrassment and shame but instead they think they've earned the
right to your money. It's 2012 and there's no excuse for the
programming KXT has been offering.
In honor of Women's History Month (and to wipe the stench of KXT off your bodies), you can check out WOS Radio (Women of Substance Radio)
which broadcasts online and explains, "We broadcast 24/7 on the Live365
Network and iTunes Radio garnering fans from all over the world.
WOSRadio plays the BEST female artists, both label and Indie, in all
genres. We hand-pick all of our music starting with icons of the past
like Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon, Fleetwood Mac, Heart,
Tracy Chapman, Mariah Carey, No Doubt, Tori Amos, Sarah McLachlan,
Jewel, Michelle Branch, Kelly Clarkson, Sara Bareilles, Colbie Caillat,
Adele, Carrie Underwood, Amy Winehouse, Feist, Christina Perri and so
many more." And you can check out Girls Rock Radio (you can also stream it here if you have plug-in problems).
There is a public radio station in Dallas, Texas. It plays nothing but music. And can barely manage to play one woman an hour most hours. Still it begs people for money. What's wrong with this picture?
"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
March 28, 2012. Chaos and violence continue, Congress hears excuses
from VA and DoD, Baghdad continues on lockdown, Nouri goes after
another political rival, and more.
House Rep Jerry McNerney: I think the goal is to make it seemless for
the service member to go from -- obviously, that's the goal. Are there
technical issues like communication between computers or any of that a
problem at all? Or can we just put that one to bed now or do we need to
talk about that for a little while?
Medve: [. . . Microhphone not on at the start of remarks] the question,
we're working on that. You're familiar that we're trying to develop or
have on the boards developing an integrated lifetime health record
which once that comes into fruition will be, I think, a great asset for
us. In terms of the Integrated Disability Evaluation System and moving
people through that process, we have one system called the Veterans
Tracking Information that we use to manage where people are in the
process so that we have the metrics and understand where they're at.
We monitor those things every two weeks at the VA. The VA chief of
staff holds a bi-weekly performance, uh, meeting with every single
executive that manages a part of that process down to the local level.
As part of those discussions, if there are issues that we're having in
terms of transmissions of data or any of that, he immediately calls our
office of information technology to bore in on the problem and to fix
Member Jerry McNerney: Well that sounds good. Is there a -- except for
-- I want to get an idea of when these medical records are going to be
standardized so that we can get this transition, that part of it, out
of the way. So do you have an idea about when that can be expected to
Medve: Sir, I know the two Secretaries, as Mr. Neabors alluded to,
meet every quarter. At the last meeting, at the end of February 27th,
one of the marks on the wall is that we're putting the integrated
health record at the James A. Lovell Federal Level Health Care Center,
that's the pilot site for it. They have required that there be two
additional sites be in place by 2014 in order to build this and so it's
going to be a growing development over the next several years.
Ranking Member Jerry McNerney: That's -- that's not good enough. That's not even good enough.
was question the VA's John Medve (Office of VA-DoD Collaboration) this
morning. The House veterans Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and
Memorial Affairs was addressing a number of issues. Subcommittee Chair
Jon Runyan noted at the start of the hearing, "This is my hope that
this oversight hearing will shed some light on some of the problems
that we have encountered in the implementation of IDES so we may work
together to find the best solution possible."
have been too many problems for service members and veterans in the
system.This includes the transition of a service member to a veteran.
Congress has been asking for this to be fixed, Congress has generously
funded all techonology requests on this issue and Congress has
repeatedly asked both DoD and VA if additional funding was needed. One
of the most basic problems was that DoD used one computer system and VA
another and the two couldn't communicate. This was eye rolling -- some
might say typical -- six years ago when we first started hearing about
it in hearings we attended (and it may have been addressed prior to
2006). It's no longer excusable. Too much money has been spent, too
many years have passed. This issue should have been completely dealt
with some time ago. Two years from now, VA testified, there will be a
pilot site to test these things that were identified over six years
ago? Eight years after identification and after all the funds Congress
has provided to fix this issue, a pilot program will take place. ("At
least eight years" -- again, we've only been attending the veterans
committee hearings since 2006.)
the section we were quoting at the start, Ranking Member Jerry McNerney
was informing the first panel that it wasn't good enough. That
describes the first panel: Not good enough. They would go on and
attempt to mislead as McNerney's questioning continued.
Neighbors: Sir, if I could chime in -- thank you for your question.
DoD and VA are actually sharing more information right now than any two
organizations in the nation. Now if I could just give you some
statistics, please, on what that sharing is. Service members' data,
again, that has been shared with VA is over a million times already and
what that turns into as far as laboratory results is we've shared 23
million of them to date and this is in IT form, this is machine
readable, things we've pushed for. So they're not paper. Radiology 3.6
million reports, pharmacy 24 million records and patients have engaged
on their medication and allergy recommendation from what was about
27,000 to now 1.2 million which is significantly improving patient
safety. Those are just some areas, it's not an entire IDE chart. So
between our organizations, we are actually are doing some of the
sharing already. And, if I could, there are actually four locations
pilot wise, which we're including private providers such as Kaiser
Permanente or something. Where we would bring them into the fold here
too. So between government entitites, we have that actually going on
right now. So you're right. We're not where we need to be. We're not
completely there. Absolutely. But there is stuff going on that is
servicing our veterans. And the second thing I'd like to say, sir, if
I could please, that's entity to entity. As far as giving of VA --
excuse me, a veteran or service member their records, we can do that
right now. We're working very closely with VA to enroll our service
members as they come in the door into a platform, an IT platform,
called the E-Benefits Platform. That will then allow -- or that allows
-- and we've got 1.4 million of them already signed up now. But then
at any point in time after that, from anywhere in the world, 24-7, they
can actually download their medical records and hand them off to a
private provider or anybody that they are involved with through that
continuum right now. And that's called the Blue Button Capability.
Maybe you've heard that or not.
I can jump in, DoD and VA were sharing information -- as he's decribing
-- some time ago. This isn't expected progress, this is more of the
same. And to be even more clear on this, DoD and VA were always
supposed to be 'sharing.' That's transporting the medical records from
DoD to VA as the service members switches to the status of veteran.
Neighbors repeatedly misleads. We could fill three more snapshots with
examples. Instead, we'll just note two here.
Member Jerry McNerney: I haven't heard that. One of the things that
Mr. Medve was saying is that you can track an individual through the
process. But is there an advocate for that individual? Or does that
get passed on and the individual finds himself or herself calling in
and getting the run around? I mean, what we need is an advocate.
Whether it's DoD or VA or the joint-effort, Mr. McDonnell, sort of
going into that, an ombudsman, an advocate or some coordinator that
that person can go to when they are in trouble from start to finish.
Medve: Sir, yes, thank you for the question again, Congressman, in
IDES, when someone is enrolled in it, there's the PEBLO, Physical
Evaluation Board Liason Officer, that when that invidual is referred is
who greets them at the entrance to that process. That is the single
point of contact that will shepherd them through IDES -- as they are in
each different stage, they are briefed by that person where they stand,
where their medical evaluation schedules are done when they're supposed
to appear before any boards and all that. Once we get to a point where
they are going to be determined to be separated, we the VA sitting with
the DoD PEBLO have what we call Military Service Coordinators that then
sit down with the individual as a team and explain to that individual
what their VA benefits. So that's what happens inside the IDES. Now
Member Jerry McNerney: Does the service member of former service member
get to check off on that and say that they're okay with that transition
at that point?
John Medve: I'll defer to Mr. Neighbor since that gets into the military administrative process.
Neighbors: Absolutely, sir. At any point in time when an evaluation
takes place, that service member has reclima capabilities at a number
of venues. Each one of the services has a number of boards that does
the exactly what we're talking about here which is the evaluation of
their disability and the rating. They can then take that to a
department wide -- Excuse me, let me say that again the service wide
board that is more of a formal activity where they make sure that the
rulings have been applied equally across from the local board itself.
If the service member doesn't believe that is equitable, they actually
can go to another level and they can actually go to what's called the
Board of Correction for Military Records level also. So there are a
number of points where the person can say, "You know what? This wasn't
fair. I need another look." And they can be reversed or they can be
upheld as any board can do. But, yes, sir, there is.
now Neighbors misleads again. The question was about an advocate
originally -- does the service member have an advocate with him or her
throughout the process and then they were asked what about if the
service member didn't feel ready for the switch: "Does the service
member of former service member get to check off on that and say that
they're okay with that transition at that point?"
did not answer that question. He deliberately misled about an appeal
process that was in place prior to the need for a seemless transition
becoming a talking point of DoD. You are a service member. You have a
PEBLO assisting you throughout your various processes. Now you're
being informed you're about to discharge and transition from service
member to veteran and you're not ready -- this was McNerney's question,
remember? -- are you able to speak to someone or slow the process or
get additional assistance with the change? That's never answered. (So
the answer is probably no.) Instead, Neighbors attempts to distract by
going into great detail about the appeals process that's been in place
for decades and has nothing to do with seemless transition or efforts
in the last six years (or even the last decade) to improve and simplify
the process for today's service members and veterans.
But before we get to that, we're going to note the strong objection US House Rep Timothy Walz registerd.
House Rep Tim Walz: But I'm going to highlight this issue of the
discharges from DoD on personality disorder. I'm truly troubled about
this. If this is truly about honoring the commitment to care, this is
the third hearing I've sat here where we've talked about something like
this. In 2007 we were going to get this fixed, we were going to get it
fixed in 2010, September 15th. And there's a report today, my friends over at the Vietnam Veterans of American,
through a Freedom of Information Act, we're at it again. So we've got
soldiers, they go to war, they come back and they're being diagnosed
with adjustment disorder or personality disorder. It gets stamped on
their discharge papers "Discharged for Personality Disorder," they're
denied VA benefits and that's on their permanent record to follow them
for employment. So, Mr. Neighbors, I know this is not your area of
expertise, if I could say, I'm not putting you on the spot for the
entire Department of Defense, but I would like you to . . . What do you
think when you hear this again? Because all the issues you're talking
about -- and I don't want to distract us from this very broader issue,
but I do feel like I need to speak up for these 31,000. I do need to
try and figure out how we right this wrong. Because the idea that you
would be diagnosed with an adjustment disorder after being in
Afghanistan? I don't know. If I could just turn it over, I know it's
very general but --
Neighbors: I really appreciate the question and it is an important
issue. I'm going to go out on a limb here and try to narrow it a
little bit. I think what you're referring to is the reports of what's
happening at Madigan and out on the West Coast? Am I correct on that or
House Rep Tim Walz: Well there was a new, I had the thing. We just had
a new Freedom of Information request and the study was put together on
this from Vietnam Veterans of America, I'll make sure we get a copy to
you to make sure you see that.
And I'm stopping Walz there.
it's not the same thing. Walz didn't say it was. But there's no
excuse for a VA or DoD official going before the Congress this morning
not to know what VVA released. Madigan is about PTSD diagnoses being
changed for active duty service members (it may be happening to other
groups as well but that's what is known about Madigan at
present). What Walz was asking about was service members returning to
the US and being discharged. And their discharge is a PD (personality
disorder) and it is done that way not to deny PTSD benefits but to deny
all benefits. A PD discharge leaves a service member with the news
that he or she will be paying out of their own pocket for all health
care they may need. Just from what Walz described, Neighbors should
have known this wasn't the same issue. And if Neighbors honestly
doesn't know the difference between a PTSD diagnosis and a PD
diagnosis, that's really scary. More likely, this was yet another
attempt to distract and mislead.
-- and I use that word intentionally and after careful consideration --
from DoD was called up by Jim Neighbors and began talking.
Subcommittee Chair Jon Runyun instructed to speak into the microphone
at which point he decided he was a race with his tongue and the losers
were the listeners. Whatever his name was, he began talking about PTSD
as well and continued doing so. As Walz was trying to get across, a PD
discharge is based upon the belief that these service members came into
the service with a mental issue or problem and it wasn't discovered
until late in the service. That's how you do a personality discharge.
We've covered War Criminal Steven D. Green repeatedly here. He got a
personality disorder discharge and deserved it. It was a mistake to
let him into the military (and he was one of those recruits who had a
choice between doing time or joining the military -- had he not joined,
the judge would have sentenced him to time behind bars).
Green was a good case. What Vietnam Veterans of America is
highlighting is using citizens to fight your wars and then, after
you've used them (and often as they're ready to leave the military),
'discovering' a personality disorder that makes them unfit to serve and
allows you to give them a PD discharge which means that they have no
medical benefits which, for the government, means they don't have to
pay out money for treatment. VVA's argument is that once again PD
discharges are being used to deny those who have the benefits they have
Here's VVA's press release in full:
D.C.)– Since 2008, the Department of Defense (DoD) has illegally
discharged hundreds of veterans on the alleged basis of personality
disorder (PD), denying them veterans' benefits, according to a Vietnam
Veterans of America (VVA) analysis of newly disclosed records released
today. The analysis further concludes that since Fiscal Year (FY) 2002,
the Navy has discharged the most service members on this basis in
absolute terms (7735), and in FY 2006 the Air Force set a military
record for the Afghanistan and Iraq era when PD discharges accounted
for 3.7 percent of all airmen being discharged (1114 of 29,498 service
The VVA report, Casting Troops
Aside: The United States Military's Illegal Personality Disorder
Discharge Problem, is based on records obtained by VVA in federal
Freedom of Information Act litigation. The report found that, since
2008, internal DoD reviews discovered hundreds of illegal PD
discharges, and since FY 2001, the military has discharged over 31,000
service members on the alleged basis of PD.
can be used as the illegal basis for incorrectly discharging veterans
suffering from Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic
Brain Injury (TBI). The DoD considers PD a preexisting condition, and a
PD diagnosis renders veterans ineligible for several benefits.
a veteran's discharge paperwork it states clearly, 'discharged for
personality disorder,' and not only does it keep veterans from benefits
they may have earned, but it is one of the first things that
prospective employers see. Anyone who sees the veteran's DD-214 can
determine the reason for discharge. " said Paul Barry, President of VVA
Chapter 120, Hartford, Connecticut.
on the Department of Defense," said Dr. Thomas J. Berger, VVA Executive
Director for the Veterans Health Council. "It acknowledged the
widespread illegality of these discharges and changed its rules going
forward but has left 31,000 wounded warriors alone to fend for
themselves, denied even basic medical care for their injuries."
2008, Congress directed the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to
investigate illegal personality discharges. The Congressional pressure
prompted new DoD regulations, but VVA has found that illegal
personality disorders continued through FY 2010, and that since 2007,
the total number of PD discharges has increased at least 20 percent,
according to documents released under one of two pending VVA Freedom of
Information Act (FOIA) lawsuits.
document obtained by the FOIA lawsuit, a Navy report on 2008-2009 PD
discharges noted that only "8.9 percent [of PD discharges] were
processed properly. …This does not paint a pretty picture."
VVA analysis of DoD documents uncovered a two-fold rise in Adjustment
Disorder (AD) discharges in the United States Air Force from FY 2008 to
FY 2010 that may signal that AD discharges have now become a surrogate
for PD discharges.
"Everyone agrees that
illegal personality disorder discharges occurred," said Robert
Cuthbert, Jr., a student intern with the Veterans Legal Services Clinic
at Yale Law School representing VVA in the FOIA litigation. "Some of
these veterans may suffer from undiagnosed PSTD or TBI. The Department
of Defense must act justly, responsibly, and promptly to help them
Veterans of America (VVA) is the nation's only congressionally
chartered veterans service organization dedicated to the needs of
Vietnam-era veterans and their families. VVA's founding principle is
"Never again will one generation of veterans abandon another." The
report was prepared for VVA by Melissa Ader, Robert Cuthbert Jr.,
Kendall Hoechst, Eliza H. Simon, Zachary Strassburger, and Prof.
Michael Wishnie of the Veterans Legal Services Clinic at Yale Law
Let's go to the Madigan issue
now. The Madigan Army Medical Center on Joint Base Lewis-McChor is in
the state of Washington. One of their two US Senators is Patty Murray
who is also the Chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.
Madigan raised flags when it was learned (a) the costs of PTSD
treatment had been discussed/lamented at an administration level and
that (b) after this discussion/lament, service members diagnosed with
PTSD had their diagnoses changed. This morning at the Defnese
Appropriations Subcommittee hearing, Senator Murray questioned the Army
Surgeon General Lt General Patricia Horoho. I was at the House
attended this hearing and took notes on it.
Patty Murray: General Horoho, you and I have had a number of
discussions about the invisible wounds of war and the challenges
soldiers are facing seeking behavioral health care and, as you well
know, Madigan Army Medical Center in my home state of Washington is
dealing now with how to handle these wounds and provide our soldiers
quality consistent care -- especially for our soldiers who are going
through the Integrated Disability Evaluation System. Now I think that
some of the issues that have been raised at Madigan are unique to that
facility but I do continue to have a number of concerns not only about
the situation at Madigan today but the implication for our soldiers
really across the Army who may have also struggled to get a proper
diagnosis, adequate care and an honest evaluation during the Integrated
Disability Evaluation System process. I wanted to ask you today, prior
to 2007, Madigan did not use the forensic psychiatry to evalate
soldiers in the medical evaluation process. And wanted to ask you
today, why was that system changed in 2007.
Surgeon Gen Lt Gen Patricia Horoho: Thank you, Senator, for the
question. The first thing I'd like to do is just pick up on the word,
when you said "invisible wounds." I know it has been said during this
war that the signature wound is an invisble wound, I would submit that
it is not invisible to the family nor is it invisible to the soldier
that's undergoing that -- those, uhm, challenges, behavioral health
challenges. The reason -- and I'm-I'm guessing on this, ma'am, because
I wasn't there prior to -- but, uh, prior to 2007, we were a nation
that entered into war in about 2001 when we were attacked in 2002
timeframe. And we had a very old system. That was the Methold -- a
methold system, which was two separate systems, how we managed those
service members, active and reserve component, and that was a system
which has been in place for many, many years. And what we've found with
the large number of deployments and service members that were exposed
to physical wounds as well as behavioral health wounds is that we found
that the Army system was overwhelmed. And that really is what was
found in the 2007 timeframe -- is that we didn't have the
administrative capability as well as the logistical support that needed
to be there and that's why we stood up our Warrior Transition Units.
So we had a large volume going through the disability process that was
an old, antiquated process and we had an overwhelming demand on our
army that we needed to restructure to be able to support and sustain.
Senator Patty Murray: But prior to 2007, there wasn't a forensic psychiatry that added an additional level of scrutiny.
Army Surgeon Gen Lt Gen Patricia Horoho: It's --
Senator Patty Murray: Correct? Is that correct?
Surgeon Gen Lt Gen Patricia Horoho: It's -- I honestly will need to
take that for the record because I don't know in 2006 if they had
forensics or not. So I can't answer that question for you. I would
like to give you a correct answer, so if I could take that one for the
Patty Murray: I would appreciate that. And, as I mentioned, I am
really concerned that soldiers, Army wide, have been improperly
diagnosed and treated by the Army. What have you found under your
investigation of soldiers getting incorrect MEPB evaluations at other
Surgeon Gen Lt Gen Patricia Horoho: Ma'am, if I could just, uh, When
soldiers are getting diagnoses of PTS or PTSD, we use the same
diagnostic tool within the Army, Navy and the Air Force which is the
same tool that is used in the civilian sector. So it is one standard
diagnostic tool that is very well delineated on the types of symptoms
that you need to have in order to get a diagnosis of PTS or PTSD. So we
are using that standard across the board and we have been using that
standard across the board so --
Patty Murray: But we do know now at Madigan there were soldiers were
incorrectly diagnosed. And we're going back through. There were
investigations going on to re-evaluate and my question is: There's been
a lot of focus at Madigan, I'm concerned about that system-wide. And
you're doing an investigation system-wide to see if other soldiers have
been incorrectly diagnosed, correct?
Surgeon Gen Lt Gen Patricia Horoho: Yes, ma'am. So if I can just lay
things out and reiterate some of our past conversations. We have one
investigation that is ongoing. Actually, it completed and it's with
the lawers that's being reviewed. The Deputy Surgeon General, General
Stone, initiated that investigation and that was to look into --
Senator Patty Murray: System-wide?
Surgeon Gen Lt Gen Patricia Horoho: No, ma'am, that is the one at
Madigan that's looking at the forensics. Then there's another
investigation that was launched by the Western Region Medical Command
into the command climate at Madigan Army Medical Center. And then what
I initiated was an IG assessment that looked at every single one of our
medical treatment facilites and the provision of care to see whether or
not we had this practice of using forensic psychiatric and
psychological medical evaluation process.
Patty Murray: Okay, well my question was whether you had found other
facilities with incorrect diagnosis and I want you to know that I have
asked my Veterans Affairs staff to begin reviewing cases from
throughout the country of service members involved in this process.
And we are just beginning our review right now but we have already
encountered cases in which a service member was treated for PTSD during
their military service, entered the disability evaluation process and
the military determined that the service member's PTSD was not an
unfitting condition. So my concern is the significant discrepancy now
between the Army's determination and the VA's finding that the soldier
had a much more severe case of PTSD. Now our review on my Committee's
ongoing but besides bringing individual cases to your attention, I
wanted to ask you what specific measures do you look at to evaluate
whether soldiers are receiving the proper diagnoses and care and honest
Surgeon Gen Lt Gen Patricia Horoho: It's, uh, we are within the Army,
our role as the physician is to evaluate the patient not-not to
determine a disability. So they evaluate and identify a diagnoses and
a treatment plan and then once that is done during the treatment and if
they are determined where they need to go into the disability system,
then once they're in the disability system, now because of IDES that
occurred in 2010, they now have that evaluation done by the VA, the
compensation examp, that's the C and P that's done by the VA. And then
they are brought back into the disability systems. But the physical
evaluation board, the PEB, is actually where the determination for
disability is made. That is not a medical, that is an administrative
action that falls under our G1. So I just want to make sure that we
don't mix what we do within the medical community in treating and
evaluating and what gets done in the disability process that's an
administrative process that is reviewing the evaluation from the VA and
then the evaluation from the medical to determine disability.
Patty Murray: My concern is that every single soldier who has mental
health disability, PTSD, gets the care that they need and that they get
the support that they need and they're adequately cared for whether
they leave the service or are sent back overseas or whatever. So we're
going to continue to look at the system-wide and, as you know, the
problems at Madigan were allowed to go on for years and I'm really
concerned that lack of oversight over the disability evaluation system
is much more broad. And we're going to be following to see what steps
you take to ensure that this process is maintained not just at Madigan
where there's a severe focus right now but nation-wide.
And, again, thank you to Wally
for that. It's interesting that Horoho referred repeatedly to a
concluded study but didn't note the findings. That's probably best
since it's not yet been released; however, it's interesting because, Greg Barnes (Fayetteville Observer) reports
that yesterday John McHugh was at Fort Bragg and discussing the not yet released study at a press conference.
The Council on Foreign Relations Meghan L. O'Sullivan observes
this afternoon, "The meeting offers the Baghdad government its first
real opportunity to demonstrate how it intends to orient itself as a
regional actor. Iraq has understandably been consumed by internal
challenges over the past nine years. This inward focus has led to a
foreign policy focused on alleviating Iraq's debt burden, getting out
from under United Nations Chapter VII sanctions, gathering support for
the fight against terrorism and extremism, and urging greater
acceptance of the new Iraq."
Alsumaria TV reports
Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari declared today that Arab states have
sent 12 Foreign Ministers to Baghdad thus far for the Arab League
Summit. KUNA adds
that Zebari "announced its [Iraq's] full support of the effort exerted
by the joint envoy of the United Nations and Arab League Kofi Annan to
end crisis and violence in Syria, while stressing its opposition to
foreign intervention in the Arab country." The Foreign Ministers are
meeting today. Nouri is supposed to deliver a speech today.
"Iraqi President Jalal Talabani has accepted the credentials of the
first Saudi ambassador to Baghdad since Saddam Hussein's 1990 invasion
of Kuwait, the president's office said on Wednesday." Al Jazeera splashes
some reality by explaining:For
the first time since that conflict, Iraq also officially received an
ambassador from Saudi Arabia, Fahd bin Abdul Mohsen al-Zaid, though he
will function only as a "non-resident" ambassador and is already the
Saudi envoy to Jordan.
The summit was not particularly well
attended. At least five countries sent foreign ministers, including
Bahrain, but both Qatar and Egypt did not send their top diplomats, and
others were absent.
Who's meeting and greeting? AFP's Prashant Rao Tweets:
prashantrao PM has so far met leaders of 6 members for : , , , , ,
Al Rafidayn notes
that Nouri's reps began pressing other leaders yesterday on dropping Iraq's debt. Kurdish MP Mahmoud Othman Tweeted
today: "We hope that the Arab summit will cancel the debts on
Iraq&help it in investments, economic prosperity,as well as
Jane Arraf is a correspondent for Al Jazeera and the Christian Science Monitor. She Tweeted on the summit today:
Also noting obstacles to reporting is AFP's WG Dunlop:
And NPR's Sean Carberry Tweets:
are Tweets on the problems the press has encountered. We'll try to
include some reports on those problems from the Iraqi press in
We'll close by noting
the disturbing news of the day and news that wasn't picked up and front
paged but should have been. Nouri al-Maliki is now going after Iraq's
Communist Party. Al Mada reports
that Nouri's security forces stormed the political party's headquarters
and arrested 12 people who were arrested and questioned about protests.
Ali Hussein (Al Mada) notes
the Communist Party has a long history of fighting for Iraq, not
against it. Hussein reports that Nouri's tanks have been sent to
surround the homes of Communist Party members in Baghdad. Those who
paid attention in December will remember that Nouri ordered tanks to
circle the homes of Iraqiya members right before he demanded that
Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq be stripped of his posts and
ordered the arrest of Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi on charges of
terrorism. Both al-Mutlaq and al-Hashemi are members of Iraqiya as well
as Sunnis. Ali Hussein notes that Nouri also ordered tanks to circle
the homes of Communist Party members last year.
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