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Report: Half of vets with PTSD got treatment


Report: Half of vets with PTSD got treatment
Associated Press
June 20, 2014 Updated 19 hours ago

WASHINGTON — Only about half of the veterans diagnosed with PTSD last year after serving in Iraq and Afghanistan received the recommended therapy despite efforts by the Department of Veterans Affairs to beef up its mental health staffing, the Institute of Medicine said in a report released Friday.

About 53 percent of the veterans whose primary diagnosis was PTSD got at least eight psychotherapy sessions within a 14-week period in 2013. But that is significantly short of the department's target of 67 percent, according to the report.

The Institute of Medicine also found issues with the way active members of the military dealing with PTSD are treated. It described the Department of Defense's treatment programs as "ad hoc, incremental, and crisis-driven, with little planning devoted to the development of a long-range approach to obtaining desired outcomes."

Together, the two departments spent nearly $3.3 billion in 2012 to treat patients with PTSD. And while both are making strides to identify and treat people with PTSD, many obstacles remain before they will have an "integrated and higher-performing" system, the report said.
Posted by unhappycamper | Sat Jun 21, 2014, 08:21 AM (1 replies)

Army strips Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair of two ranks, reducing retirement benefits


Army strips Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair of two ranks, reducing retirement benefits
Posted: Friday, June 20, 2014 11:54 am | Updated: 3:54 pm, Fri Jun 20, 2014.
By Drew Brooks Military editor

The Army has stripped former Brig. Gen. Jeffery Sinclair of two ranks, which reduces his retirement benefits.

Sinclair will now be retired at the rank of lieutenant colonel, according to the Army.

Secretary of the Army John McHugh announced the decision today. It is the first time in a decade that the Army has demoted a general officer by two ranks.

Sinclair was convicted earlier this year after pleading guilty to adultery and 13 other violations of military law in exchange for the dismissal of charges that he sexually assaulted a female captain who served under his command.

Posted by unhappycamper | Sat Jun 21, 2014, 07:11 AM (1 replies)

Reviving the Myth of the "Successful Surge"


Reviving the Myth of the "Successful Surge"
by Robert Parry | June 20, 2014 - 8:59am

A beloved myth of Official Washington – especially among Republicans, neocons and other supporters of the Iraq War – is the fable of the “successful surge,” how President George W. Bush’s heroic escalation of 30,000 troops in 2007 supposedly “won” that war; it then follows that the current Iraq disaster must be President Barack Obama’s fault.

The appeal of this myth should be obvious. Nearly every “important” person in the U.S. foreign policy establishment and the mainstream media endorsed the illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003 — and such well-placed and well-paid people do not like to admit that their judgment was so bad that they should be disqualified from holding any responsible position forever.

Further, since almost no one who promoted this criminal and bloody enterprise was held accountable after Mission Accomplished wasn’t, these opinion leaders were still around in 2007 at the time of the “surge” and thus in a position to cite any positive trends as proof of “success.” Many are still around voicing their august opinions – the likes of Sen. John McCain, former Vice President Dick Cheney and neocon theorist Robert Kagan – so they still get to tell the rest of us how really great their judgment was.

On Wednesday, McCain fulminated from the Senate floor, accusing Obama of squandering the “surge,” the success of which he deemed a “fact.” Cheney – along with his daughter Liz – accused the President of “securing his legacy as the man who betrayed our past and squandered our freedom.”
Posted by unhappycamper | Sat Jun 21, 2014, 07:00 AM (2 replies)

Flood of PTSD cases coming, scientists warn


Flood of PTSD cases coming, scientists warn
Gregg Zoroya, USA TODAY 2:35 p.m. EDT June 20, 2014

The Pentagon and VA are not ready for a potential flood of war-related post-traumatic stress disorder among troops and veterans, particularly from the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, a panel of leading scientists report in a study released Friday.

"We are at the cusp of a wave of PTSD," says Sandro Galea, a physician, epidemiologist and professor at Columbia University who chaired the committee of 16 experts for the Institute of Medicine, the health arm of the National Academy of Sciences.

The committee, directed by Congress, spent four years producing a 300-page report on how the Defense Department and the Department of Veterans Affairs handle PTSD.

"We greatly appreciate and respect the extensive scientific review and insights of the Institute of Medicine committee," says Robert Jesse, the VA acting undersecretary for health. "We will address these recommendations."
Posted by unhappycamper | Sat Jun 21, 2014, 06:16 AM (0 replies)

VA: 80 percent of senior executives got bonuses


Acting Veterans Affairs Secretary Sloan Gibson speaks during a news conference at the VA Medical Center in Washington, Wednesday, June 18, 2014. The Veterans Affairs Department (VA) release the results from its Nationwide Access Audit, along with facility level patient access data for all Veterans health facilities.

VA: 80 percent of senior executives got bonuses
9 hours ago • MATTHEW DALY Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Nearly 80 percent of senior executives at the Department of Veterans Affairs got performance bonuses last year despite widespread treatment delays and preventable deaths at VA hospitals and clinics, a top official said Friday.

More than 350 VA executives were paid a total of $2.7 million in bonuses last year, said Gina Farrisee, assistant VA secretary for human resources and administration. That amount is down from about $3.4 million in bonuses paid in 2012, Farrisee said.

Farrisee defended the bonus system, telling the House Veterans Affairs Committee that the VA needs to pay bonuses to keep executives who are paid up to $181,000 per year.

"We are competing in tough labor markets for skilled personnel," Farrisee said. "To remain competitive in recruiting and retaining the best personnel to serve our veterans, we must rely on tools such as incentives and awards that recognize superior performance."
Posted by unhappycamper | Sat Jun 21, 2014, 06:09 AM (1 replies)

Fiji to Rich Carbon-Spewing Nations: History will Judge you for Sinking Us!


Fiji to Rich Carbon-Spewing Nations: History will Judge you for Sinking Us!
By contributors | Jun. 21, 2014
By Jon Queally

The interim prime minister of Fiji on Thursday condemned the international community for its continued failure to address the crisis of climate change, saying Pacific island nations like his have been left "to sink beneath the waves" as the planet warms and the oceans rise.

Fiji’s interim Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama told those gathered at the Pacific Islands Development Forum on Thursday that ‘history will judge harshly’ those who fail to act as nations drown. Speaking as host at the opening session of the Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF), Fiji's interim prime minister Frank Bainimarama chastised world leadership across the world, saying "the collective will to adequately address the crisis is receding at a time when the very existence of some Pacific Island nations is threatened by rising sea levels."

Bainimarama said the very existence of numerous island nations – including Kiribati, Tuvalu and the Marshall Islands – are already experiencing the swamping of coastal areas, unprecedented storm surges, and other threats.

He also pointed a finger at major countries—including the U.S., Canada, China, and Australia—who contribute a disproportionate majority of the world's carbon pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, saying, "History will judge you harshly if you abandon us to our apparent fate of sinking below the waves because you don't want to make the necessary adjustment to your domestic policies."
Posted by unhappycamper | Sat Jun 21, 2014, 05:49 AM (1 replies)

How America Is Bringing Peace and Democracy to the World


How America Is Bringing Peace and Democracy to the World
by Eric Zuesse | June 19, 2014 - 8:45am

We brought peace and democracy to Iraq by our invading and occupying it in order to get rid of Al Qaeda and “Saddam’s WMD” (that war cost the U.S. $3 trillion):

And we brought peace and democracy to Ukraine by our overthrowing their corrupt but democratically elected pro-Russian President and installing a corrupt regime that on May 2nd massacred hundreds of civilians who opposed the coup and thus caused a civil war that now has our people bombing the residents of southeastern Ukraine whom we call “terrorists” while terrorizing them, into hoped-for submission to the regime that we have imposed upon them (those people refused to vote in the election that we held for them):

And, shortly after Obama had become President, he and Hillary Clinton brought peace and democracy to Honduras by our being the only government in the Western Hemisphere to back the junta that overthrew that country’s democratically elected progressive President and by replacing him with a string of fascist ones producing the world’s highest murder-rate in that country:

We are being lied to, again and again, without our holding to account the people (George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and the aristocrats who own and control our “news” media) who have lied to us, again and again.
Posted by unhappycamper | Fri Jun 20, 2014, 07:43 AM (1 replies)

Steve Scalise’s Network of Fossil Fuel Lobbyists Stand To Gain


Steve Scalise’s Network of Fossil Fuel Lobbyists Stand To Gain
June 18, 2014
Posted at 3:23 pm by Lee Fang

Eric Cantor’s surprise defeat in the Republican primary, and subsequent decision to step down as Majority Leader, has set off a scramble within his party. Current Whip Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is widely perceived as the next majority leader, while Reps. Peter Roskam (R-IL), Marlin Stutzman (R-IN) and Steve Scalise (R-LA) are rounding up votes to take McCarthy’s place as whip.

Though there are negligible policy differences between the candidates, particularly on energy issues, one candidate is particularly close to the fossil fuel lobby: Steve Scalise, the chairman of the Republican Study Committee, a caucus of likeminded conservative members, who represents an area of the Gulf Coast with a large concentration of offshore oil jobs.

A number of former Scalise staffers are now employed as lobbyists for the fossil fuel industry. Megan Bel, Scalise’s former legislative director, now works for the National Ocean Industries Association, a trade group for offshore oil drilling companies. Stephen Bell, Scalise’s longtime spokesperson, joined the National Rural Electric Cooperatives Association — a group that represents largely coal-fire power plants and has lobbied aggressively against the EPA’s new carbon rules — in April.

Scalise has cultivated political support from Koch Industries, the American Petroleum Institute, and Halliburton as part of the Republican Study Committee’s business outreach effort, according to a report in Politico. Notably, a Republican Study Committee outreach meeting with lobbyists occurred in the office of Shockey Scofield Solutions, Koch’s lobbying firm registered to defeat new carbon tax proposals.
Posted by unhappycamper | Fri Jun 20, 2014, 07:31 AM (0 replies)

GOP Policy: Kill the Poor


What do patriot movement shooters in Las Vegas have in common with Virginia Republicans and Virginia Democrat Phillip Puckett?

GOP Policy: Kill the Poor
By William Boardman
General News 6/19/2014 at 15:26:42

They kill people.


The Millers, Amanda, 22, and Jerad , 31, the husband and wife team that murdered three, two of them police officers, were using their constitutionally protected guns to kill people on June 8. Then they had the decency to kill themselves, too (to be precise, Mrs. Miller shot Mr. Miller before shooting herself, although now police claim credit for killing him). They appear to be over, even though they left a note expressing the hope that this was "the beginning of a revolution."

The Millers are fundamentally crazed, grandiose, uninteresting, suicidal, young people, pretty ordinary except for their lethality. But that violence is enough to get them disproportionate news coverage in our if-it-bleeds-it-leads media culture.

Whether or not the Millers have touched off a revolution remains to be seen, of course, but it hardly seems likely. And the killing they've done doesn't come close to the scale of the deeper, much more lethal, continuing revolution led by Republicans since 2009. That revolution doesn't use guns to kill people. That's so Bush-era. Post-Bush Republicans prefer to kill people quietly, as in Virginia, by denying them medical care.

Posted by unhappycamper | Fri Jun 20, 2014, 07:17 AM (1 replies)

Spending Spree: Anger with Greek Shipowners on the Rise


The Greek economy continues to suffer, but the country's shipowners are spending as though there were no crisis. Once popular, Greece's shipping companies are now widely reviled.

Spending Spree: Anger with Greek Shipowners on the Rise
By Manfred Ertel
June 19, 2014 – 04:49 PM

There was a time when Greece's shipowners adorned the covers of gossip magazines and ran football clubs, secure in the affection of millions of fans. But these days, men like Theodoros Veniamis, one of the richest shippers in the country, need personal protection. Many don't leave home without it.

On the list of Greeks hated by their countrymen, shipowners have almost reached the top; only politicians are more reviled. They are threatened by radical leftist groups and even physically attacked. There have also been attempted kidnappings. In at least one case, a family of a shipowner paid millions in ransom.

Shipping magnates in Greece are considered greedy and unscrupulous. According to international analyses, at least €140 billion of shipping industry money has gone untaxed since 2002, a sum that would reduce the critically indebted country's financial obligations by almost half. In Switzerland alone, there is thought to be up to €60 billion in Greek funds, mostly belonging to shipping companies. They were partly accumulated legally, thanks to a web of special regulations allowing tax exemptions for ship owners, and partly illegally, through outright tax evasion. In the past year, Viktor Restis, a shipping company owner, was arrested under suspicion of money laundering.

'We Follow Our Own Metabolism'

But that's not all. Greece remains a country in crisis. Unemployment stands at 27 percent, tax revenues are stagnant and Athens is haggling with international lenders over a potential new debt cut. Meanwhile, shipping companies are expanding their fleets as if money were no object.
Posted by unhappycamper | Fri Jun 20, 2014, 05:36 AM (0 replies)
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