Wounded Times

Where Veterans Get Their News

Friday, October 31, 2008

8 hurt in crash with ambulance on Northwest Side

8 hurt in crash with ambulance on Northwest Side
October 31, 2008 at 1:30
Eight people were hurt in a traffic crash involving three cars and a fire department ambulance near Our Lady of Resurrection Medical Center on the Northwest Side.

The crash happened about 9:10 a.m. at Addison Street and Menard Avenue, according to Chicago Fire Department Cmdr. Will Knight. None of the injuries was believed to be life-threatening, police said after assessing initial reports.
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I approved of this ad because I don't approve of the way they're treating our country

From coast to coast we hear the attack ads over and over and over again. It seems as if everyone has something nasty to say about the people they are running against. What else can they really do? When one tries to be positive and the other goes after them, if they just fight back but don't fight even, they are viewed as not wanting the job badly enough. We've seen Obama take the high road but after all these stupid attacks against him that really have nothing to do with him, he's ready to attack McCain again according to reports, only this time, addressing his age and I hope how if anything happens to McCain health wise, we'll have to address Palin as President, which is something that no spooky creature would even be able to tolerate. Happy Halloween by the way.

What I want to hear from Obama is a simple statement that could sum it all up. In the end of his commercial when he says that he approved of "this message" he should add in, "because I don't approve of the way this country has been run" or "the way the American people have been treated" along those lines. After all, isn't that what an election is all about? No one wants to keep doing the same thing when nothing seems to be working, except McCain that is. So why not just tell it like it is as simple as it is so that when people go to vote, they have that thought in their mind? Do they approve of the way things are? If they do, then vote for McCain. If not, then vote for Obama and show how much they don't approve either. It will set the tone for the next four years and keep it in the minds of the rest of people running this country, this isn't the way you like it. kc

Maine Gunman Held Fifth-Graders Hostage

Maine Gunman Held Fifth-Graders Hostage
55-Year-Old Man Arrested By State Troopers; No Students Were Hurt
Comments 141
STOCKTON SPRINGS, Maine, Oct. 31, 2008


(CBS/ AP) A gunman who had been on the lam for a week held 11 fifth-graders hostage at a school Friday but was tackled outside a classroom without any harm to the children, police said.

Randall Hofland, 55, had released all the students and had turned over a gun to one of the former hostages before he was arrested at Stockton Springs Elementary School, authorities said.

He was taken to jail and all of the school's pupils, about 80, were taken by bus to an elementary school in neighboring Searsport, where witnesses were being questioned by police.

"These children are very brave. They did a tremendous job," Gov. John Baldacci said.

The gunman walked into a fifth-grade classroom around the start of the day. The teacher escaped to call the police, leaving the students alone with the gunman, according to reporter Amy Erickson of CBS affiliate WABI in Bangor.
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War, not voting, focus of soldiers in Iraq

A few things bother me with this. The first is, if the military does not know how they vote, then why do they keep saying that the majority vote Republican? Next, the percentage. "In the last federal election, only about 30 percent of overseas military ballots were tallied" which seems really, really low considering they make the claim the military votes Republican. Up until this election, there was the assumption that the vast majority of the US troops overseas were voting Republican but now that I think of it, they really have no way of knowing how anyone voted. All this means is that for all these years we've been told the troops vote GOP, we've been had.

It also makes sense that the bulk of contributions from members of the military have gone to Obama and Paul, not McCain. As you read down, you'll see that one of the complaints the troops have is that McCain has been tied to Bush and they see Bush for what he did to Iraq and to the country. This also shows that the statistical data is right and troops are a reflection of the nation as a whole. They are Democrats and Republicans and Independents along with the minor parties just like the rest of us. The biggest difference is, they the ones risking their lives doing what the nation sent them to do without having the benefit of deciding who takes over next. The soldiers who do want to vote are not getting what they need as fast as they need it to do it. I wonder if they know how badly McCain has done on his votes for when they become veterans?

War, not voting, focus of soldiers in Iraq
Antiquated, flawed process impedes voting for some combat troops

MOSUL, Iraq - Car bombs rather than Obama, making it home rather than McCain dominate the talk among many U.S. soldiers in Iraq's deadliest city during the final countdown to America's presidential election.

Dangers, distance from home and the dawn-to-dark effort in an alien environment push U.S. politics into a corner for many soldiers — especially in combat outposts where television and the Internet are not readily available.

"Regardless of who wins the election, we are going to be here 15 months. And our mission is not going to be fundamentally affected, at least in the short term," said Capt. Justin Davis Harper after returning from a patrol into the northern city of Mosul's most violent zone.


No public voting data
How soldiers in Iraq or anywhere else vote will not be accurately known since government agencies do not make such data public.

"My guess is that the military will continue to vote Republican but less so in that direction because this time there are conflicting impulses at work," said Richard H. Kohn at the University of North Carolina.

McCain, a former Navy pilot and Vietnam War POW, is attractive to service members and "adept at its language," Kohn said. "But at the same time, I detect a disappointment and even anger at the way Bush has managed, ranging from treatment of the wounded to gross errors in waging the war in Iraq."

go here for more

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/27476586/

Mentally ill deserve voting rights, advocates say

Mentally ill deserve voting rights, advocates say
Story Highlights
State advocates help those with mental disabilities register, vote

Critics say that allowing outsiders to help could influence votes

All but 11 states have laws limiting voting rights based on competence

Expert says mentally ill have more at stake because they rely on government



RICHMOND, Virginia (AP) -- Clyde Hoy has missed only one election. It was 2002, and the manic depression he had battled for nearly 20 years had taken hold again, landing him in a state psychiatric hospital.

"I wanted to vote, but I felt that I didn't have any right at all," said the 48-year-old. "I asked, and nobody gave me an answer. There wasn't an option."

Advocates are working to change that with a nationwide effort to make sure those with mental disabilities know their rights and exercise them on Election Day.
go here for more
http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/10/31/mentally.ill.voting.ap/index.html

Non-combat death in Iraq



DoD Identifies Army Casualty


The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Sgt. Scott J. Metcalf, 36, of Framingham, Mass., died Oct. 29, in Balad, Iraq, of injuries sustained from a non-combat related incident. He was assigned to the 1st Squadron, 32nd Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, Fort Campbell, Ky.

The incident is under investigation

.

Did Louisiana forget what McCain did when New Orleans was suffering?

CNN Electoral Map update: McCain loses ground
Posted: 05:51 PM ET

From CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand



Check out CNN's Electoral Map

(CNN) — Some tough news for John McCain in his own backyard, as his home state of Arizona moves from “safe McCain” to “lean McCain” in the latest CNN poll of polls.

And the Republican nominee continues to lose ground in reliably-red areas, as North Dakota moves from “lean McCain” to “toss-up” – meaning three electoral votes that had been counted for McCain are now considered up for grabs.

But there’s some good news for McCain down south: Louisiana has moved from “lean McCain” to “safe McCain.” And the movement on the map is far from done.

go here for more



Here's a few pictures to remind them that when it came to their own people drowning in New Orleans, this is what Bush and McCain were doing instead of taking care of the people who needed them.



While New Orleans was under water, people were dying,,,,,

this is what was more important to both of them.

Political Storm Finds a Columbia Professor

Political Storm Finds a Columbia Professor
By MARC SANTORA and ELISSA GOOTMAN
Rashid Khalidi, a passionate defender of Palestinian rights, has found himself portrayed as part of a rogues’ gallery of Barack Obama associates.

He was an adviser to the Palestinian delegation during Middle East peace talks from 1991 to 1993. From 1987 until 2003, he was a professor at the University of Chicago, where he became friends with Mr. Obama.

At Mr. Khalidi’s farewell party in 2003, according to the Los Angeles Times article, Mr. Obama fondly recalled their many conversations, saying they provided “consistent reminders to me of my own blind spots and my own biases.” But Mr. Khalidi told Harper’s Magazine that a report in National Review Online that he had baby-sat for Mr. Obama’s children was nonsense

click link for more but I have a feeling if you're reading this blog, you won't feel any need to. It's a lot more of nothing from McCain and Palin. You could ask McCain why the same man received a boat load of money from the board McCain is the chair of, but I doubt you would get an answer.

University of Washington students tried to save man who set himself on fire


Former UW staffer dies after setting fire to self
A former University of Washington staff member died Thursday after dousing himself with gasoline and setting himself on fire in Red Square.

By Will Mari and Nick Perry

Seattle Times staff reporters


A former University of Washington staff member died Thursday after dousing himself with gasoline and setting himself on fire in Red Square.

The 61-year-old man, who was not named by officials pending notification of his next of kin, was a recent employee, according to UW assistant police Chief Ralph Robinson.

UW spokesman Norm Arkans said the man separated from the university over the summer, but declined to elaborate on the circumstances.

"We don't know why he did this," said Robinson. "There were no protests or demonstrations going on, so we don't think it was political. He wasn't in a fight as far as we know. We just don't know what drove him."
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Officers shaken after finding a mom killed herself along with three small children

When we read stories like this, it is easy to understand the pain the family has, neighbors have and friends have, but too often we forget about what the members of the law enforcement community go through. If you pray for the family, which I'm sure you will, please add in the sheriff's department as well as the other first responders.




The grandparents weren't the only ones shaken. Dawsey said that first responders were greeted by the "horrific sight" of "young children, snuffed out."

"I know our deputies ... are pretty broken up about the whole scene," said sheriff's spokeswoman Gail Tierney.


October 31, 2008
Mother kills self, three young sons in Citrus County
FLORAL CITY -- Tragedy has struck Citrus County hard yet again: a mother appears to have taken the lives of her three young boys with a gun that she then turned on herself, according to the Citrus County Sheriff's Office.

The oldest boy was almost 4. The youngest was just 15-months-old.

The mother was identified this afternoon as 23-year-old Alicia Chomic of Pasco County. Her children were identified as Thomas Goldsmith Jr., almost 4; Damian Lietz, 2 1/2-years-old; and 15-month-old Anthony Lietz Jr.

The apparent murder-suicide took place at the home of the maternal grandmother, Vickie Maslowski, at 4983 E. Stoer Lane. Sheriff's officials said the 23-year-old mother and children left Pasco County about a week ago to move in with the grandmother and Chomic's stepfather in their Floral City mobile home.

go here for more

http://blogs.tampabay.com/breakingnews/2008/10/mom-three-sons.html

Blue Angels remove 2 for inappropriate relationship; only 5 jets to fly rest of season


Blue Angels remove 2 for inappropriate relationship; only 5 jets to fly rest of season
By Associated Press
11:06 PM EDT, October 30, 2008
PENSACOLA, Fla. (AP) _ A spokesman for the U.S. Navy Blue Angels says the stunt-flying team will be down one jet the rest of its season after removing two members from duty for having an inappropriate relationship.

Capt. Tyson Dunkelberger, a spokesman for the team based at Naval Air Station Pensacola, said Thursday the squadron will finish its last three air shows next month with five jets.

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I wonder how much this will change the show at the Kennedy Space Center coming up?

Marine motorcycle deaths top their Iraq combat fatalities


picture from Sportbike.net


Marine motorcycle deaths top their Iraq combat fatalities
Story Highlights
25 Marines killed on motorcycles in past 12 months, compared with 20 killed in Iraq

Top Marine official: "The Marines are very serious about" addressing problem

All but one of the deaths have involved super-fast sport bikes

Marines have recently implemented a mandatory sport-bike course

From Larry Shaughnessy
CNN Pentagon Producer

About 18,000 of the nearly 200,000 Marines are believed to own motorcycles, Amos said.


QUANTICO, Virginia (CNN) -- Motorcycle accidents have killed more Marines in the past 12 months than enemy fire in Iraq, a rate that's so alarming it has prompted top brass to call a meeting to address the issue, officials say. Twenty-five Marines have died in motorcycle crashes since last November -- all but one of them involving sport bikes that can reach speeds of well over 100 mph, according to Marine officials. In that same period, 20 Marines have been killed in action in Iraq.

The 25 deaths are the highest motorcycle death toll ever for the Marine Corps.

Gen. James Amos, the assistant commandant of the Marine Corps, told CNN that commanders are trying to drill down on what "we need to do to help our Marines survive on these sport bikes."

"The Marines are very serious about it," he said.
Watch these aren't your father's Harleys »
Marine Gunnery Sgt. Art Tucker knows all too well about the dangers of sport bikes. An owner of a Kawasaki Ninja, Tucker has had two crashes, and the second one nearly killed him.
go here for more
http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/10/30/marine.motorcycles/index.html

Why haven't we heard about sailors deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan?


If you keep track of the reports on the deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan, you would know that it is not just the Army and Marines, along with the National Guards and Reservists, but the Navy as well as the Air Force. What I didn't know was that so little was being done for the sailors who deploy into other units. This is sad and this is wrong.

You'd think that the DOD would be doing everything possible for the Navy and their families. Something needs to be done about this.

Sailors go solo on stressful Army, USMC tours

By Melissa Nelson - The Associated Press
Posted : Friday Oct 31, 2008 14:52:28 EDT

PENSACOLA NAVAL AIR STATION, Fla. — Chief Warrant Officer Bob Turner spent most of the last year at an Army base in Afghanistan, far from his fellow sailors and the sea. The 28-year veteran was one of thousands of sailors attached by themselves to Army and Marine units, groups that trained together stateside — without them.

These solo sailors and their families lack the usual support groups for deployed personnel, and the costs of that can be considerable.

The stress for “individual augmentees,” as they’re called, can be greater than shipboard assignments because sailors deploy alone for six months to a year and are doing entirely different jobs than they’ve had throughout their careers, said Cmdr. Tracy Skipton, a psychiatrist at Pensacola Naval Hospital. Turner, for instance, was providing electronics support for a special operations team working outside the base.

“It was a whole new life for me,” Turner said.

It wasn’t easy working his way into the unit, either. Even though Turner wore an Army uniform and worked closely with soldiers, it took him months to feel that he was part of the team.

“You definitely know you are an IA because you see a group of Army come in together and they’ve trained in the states together and made plans to get ready for this,” he said.
go here for more
http://www.armytimes.com/news/2008/10/ap_navyia_103108/

Alaska Veterans not being taken care of properly

Alaska Native veterans dissatisfied with health services
By JILL FANKHAUSER
Alaska Star
Alaska Native veteran Walter Sampson wants to know why the U.S. government, and Veterans Affairs specifically, have not kept their promise to care for him and his veteran friends.

“For the last 38 years I have been trying to cut the red tape,” Sampson said. “And until this point, I've been unable to.”

Sampson, a Vietnam veteran, spoke to a panel of leaders from the National Guard, VA, Indian Health Services, Alaska Federation of Natives and the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corp. at the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention Oct.23. The panel discussed what each group is doing to increase quality and access to health care in rural Alaska, and what the future may look like.

Barriers to health care are often caused by geographical and financial challenges, as well as access to medical specialists or community health aides, said panelist Chris Mandregan, Alaska director of the federal Indian Health Service.
go here for more
http://www.alaskastar.com/stories/103008/mil_20081030034.shtml

Capt. Alex Houston Shows Warrior Ethos

Commander Shows Warrior Ethos

Army.com - Huntsville,Al,USA


“He walks the walk, and talks the talk,” she said. “He and his family are committed to the unit and soldiers. His injury has not been an impediment at all. He’s a true testament to the Warrior Ethos — a testament to what the folks at Walter Reed and he have done.”

Oct. 30, 2008
By Sarah Maxwell

FORT DETRICK, Md. ( American Forces Press Service) – In most ways, Army Capt. Alex Houston is like any other Army commander.

He comes to work here every day ready to lead and set the standard for the soldiers who work for him. He diligently performs all of his administrative duties as the 21st Signal Brigade Headquarters and Headquarters Company commander, and he gets down and dirty with the unit during company physical training. He jokes with his staff, and even has been known to sing off-key for them.

And he does this all as a wounded warrior. As a platoon leader in Iraq, Houston lost his left hand when his convoy was attacked during a night mission.

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Halloween pardon sought for executed British witches

When we talk about trauma it's easy to understand what it must have been like to be accused of being a witch just because someone decided to say you were one. That is what all of this was about. Someone saying something against you without having to prove one bit of it. How would you defend yourself when no one was asking for the claim to be proven and people you thought you knew were condemning you?

That is what is happening right here and now in this country. People are making all kinds of claims against others without offering any evidence. People are begin held by this country in other nations, like Iraq and Afghanistan without trials, without evidence, but some in this country see nothing wrong with that. People are making all kinds of false claims against Senator Obama without any evidence to prove it is true. How many times do you have to hear a McCain supporter repeating what they heard without any proof? This is the selection of the next president of the United States of America and some people have taken it so lightly they will believe rumors without evidence?

When the claims are proven false by some in the media, McCain and Palin just go on repeating the lie no matter what the truth is and they break the Commandment about bearing false witness, yet their supporters find nothing wrong with any of this? It would be one thing if they said something they thought was true then stopped saying it when it was proven false, but they just keep repeating the lie. Didn't they understand what happened in our own history with the Salem Witchcraft Trials? I often wonder how traumatic it will be for the people who have believed McCain and Palin when they find out they were lied to. Fear is a powerful thing but a lie is only powerful when no one is asking for evidence.


picture from About.com
Halloween pardon sought for executed British witches
Story Highlights
Petition seeks pardon for UK witches hundreds of years after their deaths

Around 400 people were executed in England for alleged witchcraft

The Witchcraft Act of 1735 put an end to trials of accused witches


LONDON, England (CNN) -- Campaigners in London planned to petition the British government Friday for a posthumous pardon for the hundreds of people executed for witchcraft between the 16th and 18th centuries.



They said Halloween is a good time to highlight the "grave miscarriage of justice" suffered by the men and women falsely accused of being witches.

Their petition asks Justice Minister Jack Straw to recommend that Queen Elizabeth issue a pardon.

"We felt that it was time that the sinister associations held by a minority of people regarding witches and Halloween were tackled head-on," said Emma Angel, head of Angels, a large costume supplier in London.

"We were gobsmacked to discover that though the law was changed hundreds of years ago and society had moved on, the victims were never officially pardoned."
go here for more
http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/europe/10/31/britain.witches/index.html

Military interest in memory manipulation as means of treating PTSD

Great the mice can forget but one thing I doubt the researchers are thinking about is the soul and emotions. Do mice have souls? Do they love and regret? Do they have a conscience? Do they pray to God? If the memory is erased after the trauma, after the trauma touches the soul, what happens then? Do they no longer remember the event and thus find no reason for feeling the way they do? What do they do when this happens? How do you heal something when you can't remember it? For all the talk about the troops and faith, it really is strange they wouldn't think of any of this and understand that this could be a very bad thing to do.

Military investigates amnesia beams

Military interest in memory manipulation as means of treating PTSD.


By David Hambling
A team of scientists from the United States and China announced last week that, for the first time, they had found a means of selectively and safely erasing memories in mice, using the signaling molecule ╬▒CaMKII. It's a big step forward, and one that will be of considerable interest to the military, which has devoted efforts to memory manipulation as a means of treating post-traumatic stress disorder. But some military research has moved in another direction entirely.

In the 1980s, researchers found that even low-level exposure to a beam of electrons caused rats to forget what had just happened to them (an effect known as retrograde amnesia — the other version, anteretrograde amnesia, is when you can't form new memories). The same effect was also achieved with X-rays. The time factor was not large — it only caused memory loss about the previous four seconds — but the effect was intriguing.
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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Deployed soldiers are paying attention to election, but wish someone paid attention to them

Is the economy important in this election? Absolutely! But imagine being in Iraq or Afghanistan right now and noticing how little coverage there is in either place. Would you feel as if anyone cared anymore? It keeps getting forgotten that everything that happens here affects them just as much as it does us because they have family here dealing with it and know they will have to return to it as well. They just have the extra burden on their shoulders trying to do their duty and stay alive. Why have the politicians forgotten them?

McCain, well he still wants to use them to sell his "I know how to win wars" but never addresses the simple fact the surge of troops had little to do with it and it was the rest that went on to reduce the violence and our troops dying as well as the Iraqis. Obama is focused on the economy and says that he wants to bring the troops home from Iraq and build up forces in Afghanistan. Aside from that, they are hardly mentioned.

One other missing subject in this election is the veterans, especially the wounded veterans needing care. McCain says he cares about them but his votes have proven he really doesn't. Obama serves on the Veterans Affairs Committee and has been part of the changes for the better in the VA, but we are left to wonder why it is Obama never really brings any of this up. Why wouldn't he be proud of his record on veterans issues compared to McCain? While they will say there are only so many hours in the day, it would be a wonderful thing if some reporter interviewing them would at least bring the subject of the troops deployed and the veterans who have been wounded at least once in a while. They noticed.

Soldiers see wars, economy as key election concerns
European edition, Friday, October 31, 2008



For Staff Sgt. Derek Detherow, based in Baghdad’s Sadr City district, the Iraq war is by far the biggest issue in the upcoming U.S. elections.

After all, the decisions that the future president will make on the war will directly affect him.

"The biggest thing in my life is here in Iraq," Detherow, who is with 1st Battalion, 35th Armor Regiment, said recently. "I can’t see too much beyond that."


Detherow said he doesn’t like how little attention is paid to his soldiers who are out working every single day. Yet he also acknowledged that there was some good in not being such a hot topic this year.



"The way I look at it, there are pros and cons of both the Republicans and the Democrats, and I don’t really favor either side," said Pvt. Gabriel Esquero, 25, of Alamogordo, N.M. "I’m just for whatever presidential candidate is ready to build the economy back up."

Esquero added that he believed both candidates had failed to talk enough to voters about what is at stake in Afghanistan.

"I think a lot of people fail to know what the issues are here," he said. "A lot of people think this is a wasted effort here."
click link for more

Military covenant to those who serve


This is from the UK but it should apply here as well.


Military covenant

The annual Remembrance Sunday, organised by the Royal British Legion, honours British troops

Britain has a 'duty of care' to its armed forces. This began as an unspoken pact between society and the military, possibly originating as far back as Henry VIII's reign. The pact was formally codified as a 'covenant' in 2000. It is not a law but is reinforced by custom and convention.

The covenant only officially applies to the army, but its core principles are taken to extend to the air force and navy too.

Soldiers will be called upon to make personal sacrifices - including the ultimate sacrifice - in the service of the Nation. In putting the needs of the Nation and the Army before their own, they forego some of the rights enjoyed by those outside the Armed Forces.

In return, British soldiers must always be able to expect fair treatment, to be valued and respected as individuals, and that they (and their families) will be sustained and rewarded by commensurate terms and conditions of service.

In the same way the unique nature of military land operations means that the Army differs from all other institutions, and must be sustained and provided for accordingly by the Nation.

This mutual obligation forms the Military Covenant between the Nation, the Army and each individual soldier; an unbreakable common bond of identity, loyalty and responsibility which has sustained the Army throughout its history. It has perhaps its greatest manifestation in the annual commemoration of Armistice Day, when the Nation keeps covenant with those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, giving their lives in action.


Army Doctrine Publication Volume 5
The 'duty of c are' to troops includes paying towards healthcare, which can be physical care for injuries or mental support for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and other problems. The Ministry of Defence also provides support for bereaved families.

The law gives the government 'combat immunity', which prevents soldiers from claiming compensation for injuries they received in combat except under official compensation schemes. Because soldiers cannot take the Crown to a civil court, the covenant is viewed as important in protecting soldiers' rights to compensation.


go here for more


http://www.bbc.co.uk/ethics/war/overview/covenant.shtml

Using poetry to tackle Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Using poetry to tackle Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
When Peter Southern from Corby returned from duty in The Falklands, he buried all he'd seen and experienced, deep inside himself.

For years he carried those feelings and didn't even tell his wife what he'd witnessed during the conflict.

It was only a chance incident at work that brought out the tide of emotions that Peter had kept hidden away for years.

Peter was diagnosed as having Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. He'd served in the army during the Northern Ireland conflicts and The Falklands War.

During his army career Peter said he was taught to blot out all the bad and horrific experiences and keep the British 'stiff upper lip'.

This often resulted in nightmares, bouts of depression and Peter even considered taking his own life.

But Peter is fighting back and helping others in the process. He's started writing poetry and pouring his feelings and emotions onto paper.

He says its part of a healing process and his poems have also helped others suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

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CIA officers could face trial in Britain over torture allegations

CIA officers could face trial in Britain over torture allegations

Attorney General to investigate abuse claims

By Robert Verkaik, Law Editor
Friday, 31 October 2008
Senior CIA officers could be put on trial in Britain after it emerged last night that the Attorney General is to investigate allegations that a British resident held in Guantanamo Bay was brutally tortured, after being arrested and questioned by American forces following the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington in 2001.


The Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has asked Baroness Scotland to consider bringing criminal proceedings against Americans allegedly responsible for the rendition and abuse of Binyam Mohamed, when he was held in prisons in Morocco and Afghanistan.

The development follows criticism of US prosecutors by British judges who have seen secret evidence of torture committed against Mr Mohamed, including allegations his torturers used a razor blade to repeatedly cut his penis. The Attorney's investigation is expected to include allegations that MI5 colluded in Mr Mohamed's rendition. Mr Mohamed, 30, an Ethiopian national and British resident, was arrested in Pakistan in 2002, when he was questioned by an MI5 officer.
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70 percent of employers won't hire active Guards and Reservists


The burden on private companies is causing them to discriminate against reservists and guardsmen, says Ted Daywalt, president of Vet Jobs.com. Such discrimination would be illegal and it is hard to prove, but "You can prove it to a point," says Daywalt. "There are surveys done that show that upwards of 70 percent of the employers won't hire a person who's active in the Guard and Reserve," he tells Stahl.

Reservists Face Rocky Return In Job Market
60 Minutes Report Also Examines Costs Borne By Employers Of Deployed Citizen Soldiers

Oct. 30, 2008
(CBS) Lesley Stahl could only talk to some of the thousands of reservists and guardsmen who have returned from active duty to find problems with their employers over their jobs.

The rest can call the assistant secretary of defense directly to complain after he broadcasts his phone number during her 60 Minutes report this Sunday, Nov. 2, at 7 p.m. ET/PT.
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Man sets self on fire at University of Washington

Man sets self on fire at Univ. of Washington

Thursday, October 30, 2008
A 61-year-old man poured gasoline over himself and set himself on fire Thursday at the University of Washington in an apparent suicide attempt, police said.

The man was taken to a hospital with second- and third-degree burns, said Ralph H. Robinson, assistant campus police chief. There was no immediate word on his condition.
click link for more

John McCain, Where is the evidence?

Dear Senator McCain and Gov. Palin,
Both of you have made a lot of claims while you are trying to get people to support you. While both of you claim to be Christian, how is it neither of you have remembered this commandment?

Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.



Yet this both of you have done against Senator Obama. You say he "pals around with terrorists" but if that was the truth, he would be in jail since it is illegal to be a "terrorists" and there are many held in prison who have been accused of being terrorists without anyone ever putting them on trial and proving the case against them. Where is the evidence that Senator Obama has ever had more than a casual relationship with someone who has turned his life around and is respected in Chicago? Redemption is also in the Bible in case you have forgotten that as well.


Both of you have allowed your supporters to make false claims against Senator Obama saying that he is a "Muslim" even though he is a Christian but in the next breath you attack the pastor from his church, which is a Christian Church. Not that a Muslim would not be able to be President of this nation because there is no "faith" clause in the Constitution nor is there any law in this nation preventing anyone of any faith from obtaining office.


Senator McCain, you claim you know how to fix the economy, yet provide no evidence while millions of Americans are suffering.

You claim you know how to capture Osama yet provide no evidence and have not shared your plan to capture him 7 years after he attacked and thousands of soldier have died trying. There are more who are still dying today.


Now you are trying to make something out of a dinner that Obama attended for the same man you thought was worth receiving money?

Khalidi is a professor of Middle East Studies at Columbia University and a longtime friend of Obama's. Khalidi has publicly criticized Israel, but he and Obama have both said they hold very different opinions on Israeli issues.
McCain also has ties to Khalidi through a group Khalidi helped found 15 years ago. The Center for Palestine Research and Studies received at least $448,000 from an organization McCain chairs.

http://news.aol.com/elections/article/los-angeles-
times-obama-khalidi-tape/230765?icid=200100397x1212447352x1200793185


This is something that not many Americans would have known about you, but while trying to say that Obama again has done something he has not done, you raised the issue against yourself.

You claim to support veterans but your votes have been against veterans. Again, where is the evidence? kc

Veterans do not owe McCain anything

I've read a lot of blog posts and letters to the editor from newspapers across this nation. The oddest thing crops up when veterans are saying why they support John McCain. It's because, as they put it, "he's one of us" but that is a false claim when you think about it. The veterans supporting McCain, I doubt they used the same logic when it came to John Kerry running against Bush. Back then, they said it was because of what he did after Vietnam, protesting the war, that made them feel betrayed. It didn't seem to enter into their minds that Kerry had been a big supporter of veterans issues all the time he was in the Senate. They would not forgive him. The problem is they are not thinking about what McCain did after Vietnam either.

McCain was not a hero any more than any other Vietnam veteran. If you doubt that then read the acts of heroism that earned many the Bronze Star for Valor, the Silver Star and the Medal of Honor. When he came home he was afforded the distinction earned as a POW, but there were hundreds more who returned from being a POW as well. McCain's record on voting on veterans issues has been a disgrace but the veterans supporting him never bother to notice that he is not supporting them. His record is not something that has been discussed while he's been interviewed enough and when it is, he says, he has without being challenged. The record is what it is. His votes speak from his heart and his heart is not with the veterans.

How can it be that the veterans say today they feel they owe McCain their support as a veteran but didn't use the same logic with Kerry? Most of the people writing the posts I read were the first to come out against Kerry. Doesn't it matter to them if a veteran supports them or not? Doesn't it matter to them that when McCain actually had the chances to prove if he supports them or not, he failed the test? If these veteran did not automatically support Kerry as one of them then their excuse for supporting McCain now does not hold up to common sense. I really believe that they don't care if McCain is a veteran or not as much as they support him because he's a Republican and Kerry is a Democrat. It's a very sad statement to make because it is not the Republican Party supporting the veterans.

History has shown it's been the Democrats. All the changes to make the lives better for veterans serving in Iraq and Afghanistan have happened after 2007 when the Democrats took back control over the House and a tiny bit of control over the Senate. If you don't believe me, look it up for yourself. Know who voted with veterans and who turned their backs on veterans. kc

Children beg for aid as Pakistan's quake survivors shiver in mountain cold

Children beg for aid as Pakistan's quake survivors shiver in mountain cold
By ASHRAF KHAN | Associated Press Writer
12:47 PM EDT, October 30, 2008

WAM, Pakistan (AP) _ Children begged for food from trucks passing through Pakistan's quake zone Thursday as the death toll rose to 215 and survivors prepared for another frigid night camped out amid wrecked mountain villages.

Provincial government minister Zamrak Khan said 215 people died and hospitals were still treating dozens of people who were seriously injured in the 6.4-magnitude quake that struck before dawn Wednesday.

Soldiers and foreign aid groups distributed blankets, warm clothes and tents, in Baluchistan province, near the Afghan border, but many among the estimated 15,000 homeless complained of receiving little help.

"The earthquake destroyed our houses, but now the government's slow response is killing us," said Moosa Kaleem, sitting with his wife and four children in the town of Ziarat. "We cannot spend another night in this chilling weather, especially the kids."
click post title for more

3 More Charged In Homeless Milwaukee Man's Killing





3 More Charged In Homeless Milwaukee Man's Killing
Man Found On Trail

UPDATED: 10:25 pm CDT October 29, 2008
MILWAUKEE -- Three more people, two from Milwaukee and one from Okauchee, are facing murder charges in the killing of a homeless man on a trail near the Zablocki Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Milwaukee.

According to criminal complaints, the killing happened early last Thursday after a group of people went to the tent where Kelly Graf, 29, was sleeping to confront him about naked pictures of a girl that he had been showing on his cell phone.

The complaint quotes witnesses as saying they took Graf from the tent, beat him and took him to the trail where Matthew McAfee, 26, shot him in the head and cut his throat.


go here for more


Veterans and Military Families for Progress Endorses Barack Obama

Veterans and Military Families for Progress Endorses Barack Obama ...
MarketWatch - USA
WASHINGTON, Oct 29, 2008 /PRNewswire-USNewswire via COMTEX/ -- By vote of the Board of Directors, Veterans and Military Families for Progress ( http://www.vmfp.org/) proudly endorses Senator Barack Obama in the upcoming United States presidential election. Founded in 2005, VMFP is dedicated to ensuring that the rights and needs of veterans, those currently serving (including national guard and reservists), and their families are understood by the American public, endorsed by our elected officials, and protected by legislation, regulation, and public policy initiatives.

As the grandson of a veteran of World War II, his appreciation of veterans' issues is underscored not by words but by actions. He serves on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, has shown leadership by introducing several non-partisan bills, some of which have been enacted into law, for the benefit of veterans. He shares the values of our military forces, and fights to ensure our forces are well-rested and properly equipped. Of particular interest to VMFP, Senator Obama shows superior support for veterans' "coming home" issues such as accessible physical and mental health care, expanded educational benefits and job opportunities, and reduction of homelessness and suicide within the ranks of America's veterans.

From his days as head of Harvard's Law Review to the moment he entered the Senate, Obama's leadership to our country has been recognized. His superior commitment to the issues that are critical to veterans, those serving, and their families is unsurpassed by other candidates in this election. His public support for full funding of the Veterans Administration and his declared determination to provide for the establishment of a national veterans and military family policy give veterans and their families hope -- hope that at long last a president will support veterans in such a way as to honor the sacred trust of those who have served and sacrificed.
click link for more

Suicide in the military is an "emerging mental health crisis."

Army suicide: Preventable deaths
Florida Times-Union - Jacksonville,FL,USA
Army suicide: Preventable deaths
Click-2-Listen

By The Times-Union
Suicide in the military is an "emerging mental health crisis."
The numbers bear that out, as reported by The Associated Press.

Thousands deployed: Over 1.6 million troops have been deployed in Afghanistan, Iraq and the Persian Gulf since Sept. 11, 2001. Nearly 550,000 of these troops have been deployed more than once.

Mental issues: About 300,000 who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan have anxiety or post-traumatic stress, reported a Rand study released in April.

The Army surgeon general reports a 46 percent increase last year in cases of post-traumatic stress disorder.

click link for more

Hero marine who threw himself on grenade to receive George Cross medal

Hero marine who threw himself on grenade to receive George Cross medal from Queen
A Royal Marine who threw himself on a hand grenade to save his comrades is to receive the George Cross medal at Buckingham Palace.

By Chris Irvine
Last Updated: 6:56AM GMT 30 Oct 2008


Lance Corporal Matthew Croucher, pictured holding the backpack he was wearing when he jumped on the grenade, will receive the George Cross from the Queen. Photo: PA



L/Cpl Matthew Croucher is only one of a select group of 20 living recipients of the medal, awarded for acts showing the same degree of heroism as the Victoria Cross.

He will receive his award from the Queen on Thursday morning.

L/Cpl Croucher, 24, was part of a company of 40 Commando sent to investigate a suspected Taliban bomb-making factory near the town of Sangin when he set off the trip-wire that unleashed the grenade.

He jumped on the hand grenade, part of a Taliban booby trap, during an operation in Afghanistan earlier this year.

He had less than seven seconds to make up his mind about whether to risk sacrificing his own life to save his friends, and chose to save his colleagues.

Speaking after the incident in February in Helmand province, he said: "It was a case of either having four of us as fatalities or badly wounded or one."

click post title for more

Veteran's Day memories of Vietnam new video



VIETNAM WAR STATISTICSIN UNIFORM AND IN COUNTRY...
Vietnam Vets: 9.7% of their generation.
9,087,000 military personnel served on active duty during the Vietnam Era (Aug. 5, 1964-May 7, 1975).
8,744,000 GIs were on active duty during the war (Aug 5, 1964 - March 28, 1973).
3,403,100 (Including 514,300 offshore) personnel served in the Southeast Asia Theater (Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, flight crews based in Thailand, and sailors in adjacent South China Sea waters).
2,594,000 personnel served within the borders of South Vietnam (Jan. 1, 1965 - March 28, 1973)
Another 50,000 men served in Vietnam between 1960 and 1964.
Of the 2.6 million, between 1 - 1.6 million (40 - 60%) either fought in combat, provided close support or were at least fairly regularly exposed to enemy attack.
7,484 women (6,250 or 83.5% were nurses) served in Vietnam.
Peak troop strength in Vietnam: 543,482 (April 30, 1968)
CASUALTIES...
Hostile deaths: 47,378
Non-hostile deaths: 10,800
Total: 58,202 (Includes men formerly classified as MIA and Mayaguez casualties). Men who have subsequently died of wounds account for the changing total.
8 nurses died -- 1 was KIA.
Married men killed: 17,539
61% of the men killed were 21 or younger.
Highest state death rate: West Virginia - 84.1% (national average 58.9% for every 100,000 males in 1970).
Wounded: 303,704 -- 153,329 hospitalized + 150,375 injured requiring no hospital care.
Severely disabled: 75,000 -- 23,214 - 100% disabled; 5,283 lost limbs; 1,081 sustained multiple amputations.
Amputation or crippling wounds to the lower extremities were 300% higher than in WWII and 70% higher than Korea. Multiple amputations occurred at the rate of 18.4% compared to 5.7% in WWII.
Missing in Action: 2,338
POWs: 766 (114 died in captivity)
go here for more
http://history-world.org/vietnam_war_statistics.htm



1.7 million have served in Afghanistan and Iraq so far. 1.6 million were in what was considered combat areas of Vietnam. When you think about the military operations going on today, it is stunning to know the amounts Vietnam produced and how long it went on.

The new video I did has pictures of Bringing Home The Wall built by Tom Twigg and his wife Dee, loving reconstructed in Lakeland Florida in 2006 by member of Rolling Thunder. The songs came from God Bless the USA cd, Some Gave All by Billy Ray Cyrus and 8th of November by Big & Rich. The video is not about PTSD or the wounds they carry but about how they live as veterans everyday, still caring and still grieving the loss of friends. Look to the top of the side bar from this video. It will stay at the top until after Veteran's Day.

To me, the Vietnam veterans are the greatest generation because they did not do what other veterans had done. They did not settle for excuses from the VA when it came to the wounds of combat. They fought to have their chemical exposures treated and are still fighting to have all veterans exposed to dangerous chemicals treated properly. They fought to have PTSD treated and compensated, a wound all mankind has suffered from since the beginning of time. The advances in the diagnosis and treatment of PTSD are there for the new veterans because they fought for it. They have a motto that never again will one generation leave behind another. This, they have lived up to.

We forget about the price they paid for serving the country and we forget about how many still do. What Vietnam produced was stunning and very telling about what today's veterans will experience. By 1976 when the DAV produced a study, there were 500,000 with PTSD and the rate was expected to increase, which it did. By 1986, 117,000 had committed suicide, more followed. Over 300,000 ended up homeless. Many ended up in prison because of undiagnosed and untreated PTSD, self-medicating with drugs and alcohol as well as domestic violence, all characteristic of PTSD. The newer veterans will not have to go through years of being treated like criminals for this wound because of them.

We have a lot more work to do to take care of all our veterans but we are as far as we've come because of them. One more glaring fact is that the Vietnam veterans taught this country a lesson on how we view those who serve it. Never again will the people of this nation take out their anger at what politicians decide to do on the men and women who serve. We all acknowledge that the men and women serving this country were willing to lay down their lives for the sake of this nation and we respect that and honor them. We will never all agree on where they are sent but we all agree that they are not a political issue but an obligation.

So this video is a tribute to them. They captured my heart 26 years ago and have tugged at my soul ever since I fell in love with one of them and adopted all of them.

Happy Veteran's Day to all veterans, old and young, especially the Vietnam veterans.

Senior Chaplain Kathie Costos

International Fellowship of Chaplains

Namguardianangel@aol.com

http://www.namguardianangel.org/

http://www.woundedtimes.blogspot.com/

"The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive veterans of early wars were treated and appreciated by our nation." - George Washington


Nam Nights Of PTSD Still from Kathleen "Costos" DiCesare on Vimeo.


Cabbie's cry jolts comrades after being shot

Cabbie's cry jolts comrades
By Eileen Kelley • ekelley@enquirer.com • October 28, 2008


The phone call first jolted Jay Austin from his bed.

"Richard’s been shot,” the caller blurted.

Austin then heard it for himself, when he heard the cries of a veteran cabbie come over the radio.

“I need help. I need help. I’ve been shot,” Austin heard Richard Reynolds plead over his cab’s radio.

Reynolds generally works the day hours – a shift that, by all accounts, tends to be safer. But wanting to pull in some extra cash, he picked up a Saturday evening shift.

At about 1 a.m. he was flagged down outside Newport on the Levee. His fare asked to be taken to Bond Hill.

Reynolds called in the ride, but after arriving in Bond Hill he was shot three to four times, said Austin.

The 37-year-old Covington man, who has been driving a cab for nearly as long as he’s had a driver’s license, was listed in critical condition Tuesday at University Hospital. He underwent six hours of surgery and is hooked up to a ventilator. He was shot in the chest and right arm.

“A cab driver is an easy mark,” said Reynolds, owner of Hilltop, a Florence-based cab company.

The small company of about 40 drivers is doing what it can to help the Reynolds family out. He did not have insurance and as a subcontractor, he doesn’t qualify for worker’s compensation.

Austin said the drivers have decided to kick in $5 a week, each week to help the family get by without Reynolds’ income. Austin said he will match their contributions.
go here for more
http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20081028/NEWS0107/310280028

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

New rule on PTSD claims, not enough of a change

It's a good start but leaves to many out of this. While it will reduce the number of claims in the backlog, it will not help enough of the veterans while they have already waited and suffered for years. Sorry but, not happy on this one at all. Why not get it right in the first place to include the veterans who have been misdiagnosed, dishonorably discharge with personality disorders, or use the presumption of stressor to all who have been deployed and diagnosed with PTSD but have still been unable to "prove" their case?
Why not include the women who have been sexually assaulted/raped and diagnosed with PTSD who have been unable to prove their legal case against their attackers?
What about the chemical exposures of depleted uranium along with other toxins still being reported from Iraq? What about the older veterans from the Gulf war and Vietnam who are still dealing with delays on their cases when the military has already documented what areas were exposed and when the exposures occurred?
Telling a veteran that if the DOD does the right thing then they don't have to reprove it all to the VA is really not that much of a benefit considering it has already been assumed this would be the case. This rule change does nothing to address the claims being denied and trapped in the appeal process. How many claims have been approved by the DOD that have been turned down by the VA? I doubt we're talking about very many.
Now, how many claims have been denied by the DOD and the VA only to be trapped on appeal? Seems to me that addressing those claims pronto would be a greater benefit to the veterans than doing something they thought was already being done. kc


[Federal Register: October 29, 2008 (Volume 73, Number 210)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Page 64208-64210]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr29oc08-12]
=======================================================================

DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS
38 CFR Part 3
RIN 2900-AN04

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

AGENCY: Department of Veterans Affairs.

ACTION: Interim final rule.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
SUMMARY: The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is amending its adjudication regulations regarding service connection for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) by eliminating the requirement of evidence corroborating occurrence of the claimed in-service stressor in claims in which PTSD is diagnosed in service. This amendment is necessary to facilitate the proof of service connection in such claims. By this amendment, we intend to reduce claim-processing time for such claims.

DATES: Effective Date: This interim final rule is effective October 29, 2008. Comments must be received by VA on or before November 28, 2008.

Applicability Date: VA will apply this interim final rule to claims pending before VA on the effective date of this rule, as well as to claims filed after that date.

ADDRESSES: Written comments may be submitted through www.Regulations.gov; by mail or hand-delivery to the Director, Regulations Management (02REG), Office of the General Counsel, Department of Veterans Affairs, 810 Vermont Ave., NW., Room 1068, Washington, DC 20420; or by fax to (202) 273-9026. Comments should indicate that they are submitted in response to ``RIN 2900-AN04--Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.'' Copies of comments received will be available for public inspection in the Office of Regulation Policy and Management, Room 1063B, between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday (except holidays). Please call (202) 461-4902 for an appointment. (This is not a toll-free number.) In addition, during the comment period, comments may be viewed online through the Federal Docket Management System (FDMS) at www.Regulations.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Maya Ferrandino, Regulations Staff (211D), Compensation and Pension Service, Veterans Benefits Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs, 810 Vermont Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20420, (727) 319-5847. (This is not a toll-free number.)

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Secretary of Veterans Affairs has the authority to prescribe regulations governing the nature and extent of proof and evidence required to establish entitlement to benefits. 38 U.S.C. 501(a)(1). Under 38 CFR 3.303(a), one of the ways that service connection of a disability may be established is by affirmatively showing inception or aggravation during service of a disease or injury that resulted in that disability. However, in order to establish
service connection for PTSD in cases in which a veteran did not engage in combat with the enemy or was not a prisoner of war, current 38 CFR 3.304(f) requires: (1) Medical evidence diagnosing PTSD; (2) medical evidence establishing a link between a veteran's current symptoms and an in-service stressor; and (3) credible supporting evidence that the claimed in-service stressor occurred.

The longstanding requirement in Sec. 3.304(f) of credible supporting evidence that the claimed in-service stressor occurred is based on the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (1994) (DSM-IV), to which a diagnosis of a mental disorder must conform. 38 CFR 3.304(f) and 4.125(a). According to DSM-IV at 427, the first diagnostic criterion for PTSD is:

The person has been exposed to a traumatic event in which both of the following were present:

(1) The person experienced, witnessed, or was confronted with an event or events that involved actual or threatened death or serious injury, or a threat to the physical integrity of self or others

(2) The person's response involved intense fear, helplessness, or horror.

The symptoms of PTSD ``usually begin within the first 3 months after the trauma, although there may be a delay of months, or even years, before symptoms appear.'' DSM-IV at 426. Given the delay that may occur between the occurrence of a stressor and the onset of PTSD and the subjective nature of a person's response to an event, VA concluded, when it first promulgated Sec. 3.304(f) in 1993, that it is reasonable to require corroboration of the in-service stressor, a conclusion with which the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit agreed. 58 FR 29109 (1993); Nat'l Org. of Veterans' Advocates, Inc. v. Sec'y of Veterans Affairs, 330 F.3d 1345, 1351-52 (Fed. Cir. 2003). Also, according to DSM-IV at 424-25, a ``person commonly makes deliberate efforts to avoid thoughts, feelings, or conversations about the traumatic event * * * and to avoid activities, situations, or people who arouse recollections of it. * * * This avoidance of reminders may include amnesia for an important aspect of the traumatic event.'' We believed that it was reasonable for Sec. 3.304(f) to require corroboration of the occurrence of the stressor in order to substantiate aspects of the event that a veteran may not remember.

However, VA has found, based on claims submitted since September 11, 2001, that service members are increasingly being diagnosed with PTSD while still in service, rather than after discharge from service. The increased incidence of in-service diagnoses of PTSD is attributable to advances in medicine and increased monitoring of service members' mental health by the service departments. Given the ability to more quickly diagnose PTSD and the proximity between an in-service diagnosis of PTSD and the claimed occurrence of the stressor, VA no longer believes it is necessary to require evidence corroborating occurrence of the stressor in claims based on an in-service diagnosis.

We are therefore amending Sec. 3.304(f) to relax the requirements for establishing service connection for PTSD that was diagnosed in service. We are adding a new paragraph, which provides that, if the evidence shows that the veteran's PTSD was diagnosed during service and the claimed stressor is related to that service, in the absence of clear and convincing evidence to the contrary, and provided that the claimed stressor is consistent with the circumstances, conditions, or hardships of the veteran's service, the veteran's lay testimony alone may establish the occurrence of the claimed in-service stressor. We believe that this change will contribute to faster processing of PTSD claims by eliminating the need for VA to develop evidence of occurrence of the in-service stressor in claims in which the veteran's PTSD was diagnosed during service.

For claims based on a postservice diagnosis of PTSD, we will continue to require credible supporting evidence of the occurrence of the claimed in-service stressor. The U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC) has held that VA is ``not bound to accept [the claimant's] uncorroborated account'' of a stressor or a ``social worker's and psychiatrist's unsubstantiated * * * opinions that the alleged PTSD had its origins in appellant's [military service].'' Wood v. Derwinski, 1 Vet. App. 190, 192 (1991). Further, the CAVC stated that VA ``is not required to accept doctors' opinions that are based upon the appellant's recitation of medical history.'' Godfrey v. Brown, 8 Vet. App. 113, 121 (1995). A post-service diagnosis of PTSD is often based on a claimant's personal account of a stressful event that may have occurred many years before the doctor's examination. In order to ensure a competent and credible diagnosis of PTSD, there must be corroboration of the claimed in-service stressor. This standard is the same as that generally applied by VA when a post-service diagnosis of a disability is allegedly due to an injury incurred or disease contracted during service.

Also, we are eliminating the hyphen in the term ``post-traumatic stress disorder'' in Sec. 3.304(f) to reflect current medical terminology.

Administrative Procedure Act
In accordance with 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(3)(B), the Secretary of Veterans Affairs finds that there is good cause to dispense with the opportunity for prior comment with respect to this rule, which eliminates the need for evidence to corroborate the occurrence of a stressor in claims in which a veteran was diagnosed with PTSD during service. The Secretary finds that it is impracticable, unnecessary, and contrary to the public interest to delay this regulation, which will speed up processing of PTSD claims, for the purpose of soliciting prior public comment because the regulation relieves an unnecessary proof requirement for certain veterans disabled by service-connected PTSD who need VA benefits as soon as possible to compensate for loss in wage-earning capacity. For the foregoing reasons, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs is issuing this rule as an interim final rule. The Secretary of Veterans Affairs will consider and address comments that are received within 30 days of the date this interim final rule is published in the Federal Register.

Paperwork Reduction Act
This document contains no provisions constituting a collection of information under the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. 3501-3521).

Regulatory Flexibility Act
The Secretary hereby certifies that this interim final rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities as they are defined in the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 601-612. This interim final rule will not affect any small entities. Only VA beneficiaries could be directly affected. Therefore, pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 605(b), this interim final rule is exempt from the initial and final regulatory flexibility analysis requirements of sections 603 and 604.

Executive Order 12866
Executive Order 12866 directs agencies to assess all costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, when regulation is necessary, to select regulatory approaches that maximize net benefits (including potential economic, environmental, public health and safety, and other advantages; distributive impacts; and equity). The Executive Order classifies a ``significant regulatory action,'' requiring review by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), as any regulatory action that is likely to result in a rule that may: (1) Have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more or adversely affect in a material way the economy, a sector of the economy, productivity, competition, jobs, the environment, public health or safety, or State, local, or tribal governments or communities; (2) create a serious inconsistency or otherwise interfere with an action taken or planned by another agency; (3) materially alter the budgetary impact of entitlements, grants, user fees, or loan programs or the rights and obligations of recipients thereof; or (4) raise novel legal or policy issues arising out of legal mandates, the President's priorities, or the principles set forth in the Executive Order.

The economic, interagency, budgetary, legal, and policy implications of this interim final rule have been examined, and it has been determined not to be a significant regulatory action under the
Executive Order.

Unfunded Mandates
The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 requires, at 2 U.S.C. 1532, that agencies prepare an assessment of anticipated costs and benefits before issuing any rule that may result in the expenditure by State, local, and tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of $100 million or more (adjusted annually for inflation) in any year. This interim final rule would have no such effect on State, local, and tribal governments, or on the private sector.

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Numbers and Titles
The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance program numbers and titles for this rule are 64.109, Veterans Compensation for Service-Connected Disability and 64.110, Veterans Dependency and Indemnity Compensation for Service-Connected Death.

List of Subjects in 38 CFR Part 3
Administrative practice and procedure, Claims, Disability benefits, Health care, Pensions, Radioactive materials, Veterans, Vietnam.

Approved: October 7, 2008.
Gordon H. Mansfield,
Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs.

For the reasons set out in the preamble, VA is amending 38 CFR part 3 as follows:

PART 3--ADJUDICATION
1. The authority citation for part 3, subpart A continues to read as follows:

Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501(a), unless otherwise noted.

2. Amend Sec. 3.304(f) by:

a. Revising the paragraph heading and introductory text.

b. Redesignating paragraphs (1), (2), and (3) as paragraphs (2), (3), and (4), respectively, and by adding new paragraph (1).

c. Removing ``post-traumatic'' each place it appears and add, in its place, ``posttraumatic''.

The revisions and addition read as follows:

Sec. 3.304 Direct service connection; wartime and peacetime.

* * * * *
(f) Posttraumatic stress disorder. Service connection for posttraumatic stress disorder requires medical evidence diagnosing the condition in accordance with Sec. 4.125(a) of this chapter; a link, established by medical evidence, between current symptoms and an in-service stressor; and credible supporting evidence that the claimed in-service stressor occurred. The following provisions apply to claims for service connection of posttraumatic stress disorder diagnosed during service or based on specified in-service stressors:

(1) If the evidence establishes a diagnosis of posttraumatic stress disorder during service and the claimed stressor is related to that service, in the absence of clear and convincing evidence to the contrary, and provided that the claimed stressor is consistent with the circumstances, conditions, or hardships of the veteran's service, the veteran's lay testimony alone may establish the occurrence of the claimed in-service stressor.
* * * * *
[FR Doc. E8-25735 Filed 10-28-08; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 8320-01-P

Florida Veterans for Common Sense wants you to vote with common sense

From Florida Veterans For Common Sense


VOTE EARLY

FLVCS has prepared a comparison on veterans issues between the presidential candidates. It is pasted and attached below. Every vet, active duty service personnel, and their families should be familiar with this information before voting.

SPREAD THE WORD BY RE-CIRCULATING THE CANDIDATES VOTING RECORD

In addition, one candidate has called for a responsible withdrawal from Iraq while the other wants to maintain the occupation indefinitely at a cost of at least $10 billion per month. FLVCS called for withdrawal from Iraq many months ago.

DUES: Please support FLVCS by becoming a dues paying, voting vet member. Although we are a 100% volunteer organization we cannot function without money. Dues are $25 per year. Make checks payable to Florida Veterans for Common Sense and mail to Treasurer Julian Koss, 4180 Via Mirada, Sarasota, FL 34238.

All vets and our non-vet friends are encouraged to donate. Donations are not tax deductible for federal income tax purposes.
_______________________________________________________________________
I destroy my enemies when I make them my friends.~Abraham Lincoln

PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES VOTING RECORD VETERAN ISSUES

27 million American military veterans and the 2.6 million men and women currently serving in the United States military and their families hold an important role in the election of the next president. Florida Veterans for Common Sense believes being an informed voter is of vital importance in the selection of president. Here is the record of the two major 2008 presidential candidates on veteran issues.

RATINGS OF VARIOUS VETERANS ORGANIZATIONS:

Disabled American Veterans (DAV):

http://dav.capwiz.com/dav/scorecard.xc?chamber=S&session=1092&votescorecard=true

JOHN MCCAIN supported their interests 2006 20% 2005- 25% BARACK OBAMA supported their interest 2006 80% 2005-92%

Disabled American Veterans for America scorecard notes that JOHN MCCAIN has voted for veterans funding bills 30% of the time (though his history in senate is longer) and BARACK OBAMA has a 90% rating.

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America

http://www.iava.org/full-ratings-list

JOHN MCCAIN 2006 DBARACK OBAMA 2006 B+

Vietnam Veterans of America

http://politicsandhypocrisy.com/index.php?s=veteran+votes

JOHN MCCAIN Voted against them 17 out of their last 26 scored votes BARACK OBAMA Voted with them all but 1 time


VOTING RECORD ON VETERANS' ISSUES

Compiled from Project Vote Smart: http://www.votesmart.org/index.htm

5/22/2008 NEW GI Bill and other Domestic Provisions, Senate Amendment 4803 (This bill was supported by American Legion and VFW)

Project Vote Smart's Synopsis:Vote to adopt an amendment to HR 2642 that provides education funding for eligible members of the Armed Forces, extends unemployment compensation, establishes moratoria on certain actions regarding Medicaid, and appropriates a total of $28.67 billion for various domestic and international purposes.

JOHN MCCAIN NAY

BARACK OBAMA YEA



2/2/2006 Tax Extension Amendment HR 4297Project Vote Smart's Synopsis:Vote on a motion to waive the Budget Act in order to adopt an amendment that authorizes $21.9 billion for the Department of Veterans Affairs and offsets the cost through changes made to tax rates on capital gains and dividends.

JOHN MCCAIN NAY

BARACK OBAMA YEA

1/17/2005 Additional Funding for Veterans Amendment S2020Project Vote Smart's Synopsis:Vote on a motion to waive the Budget Act in order to adopt an amendment that appropriates $500 million annually from 2006-2010 for counseling, mental health, and rehabilitation services for veterans diagnosed with mental illness, post-traumatic stress disorder, or substance abuse.

JOHN MCCAIN NAY

BARACK OBAMA YEA

10/5/2005 Health Care for Veterans Amendment HR 2863Project Vote Smart's Synopsis:Vote on a motion to waive the Budget Act to allow for adoption of an amendment that increases funding for the Veterans Health Administration in order to account for inflation and changes in the number of veterans using the health services.

JOHN MCCAIN NAY

BARACK OBAMA YEA

Information compiled from sited sources by Florida Veterans for Common Sense, Inc. 100 Wallace Ave. Suite 255, Sarasota, FL 34237 Flveterans@aol.com

The publication is not approved or authorized by any political candidate or campaign. Florida Veterans for Common Sense, Inc. is a non-profit, non-partisan veteran’s organization.

Vietnam Veterans should have been the warning for what we have now

With over 14,000 posts between two blogs, I have a hard time remembering what I already posted about. (26 years worth of information trapped in my brain does leave it a bit crowded in there.) Most of the time I'll find something I did while searching for information for a new video. That's how I came across this from 2006.

I had a rather lengthy rant this morning about how some people have avoided my work no matter what I know or what I have to back up what I post as much as they avoid passing on my videos. It's almost as if they give me any credit as a non-Republican, they will be giving aid and comfort to their enemy, instead of helping veterans. That's how ridiculous this division has become in this country. I do not make this claim without knowing what they themselves have admitted to, at least the honest ones anyway.

This post in 2006 was just part of the reason I was screaming for someone with the power to get things up to speed would do it, but they didn't listen and the people who did read what I wrote, did nothing either. For me I think about the veterans who committed suicide, were turned away from the VA because there was not enough time in the day for them, the families that fell apart and all of the veterans who joined the ranks of the homeless when none of it had to happen if someone, somewhere had listened back then. The only thing I had to gain and still have to gain is the knowledge that I did the best I could to help the veterans. I still have to wonder what the people who refused to help me had to gain by not doing it? Perhaps I'll never know but too many will never know either because they are no longer here.


Screaming In An Empty Room: VETERANS SUICIDE STATISTICS
Saturday, February 18, 2006
VETERANS SUICIDE STATISTICS

SUICIDE STATISTICS
According to a study by Tim A. Bullman and Han K. Yang in the Federal Practitioner 12 (3) : 9-13 (March 1995), "...no more than 20,000 Vietnam Veterans died of suicide from the time of discharge through the end of 1993". However there are others that claim that many more veterans have died of suicide since the Vietnam War.


In Chuck Deans' book, Nam Vet., printed in 1990 by Multnomah Press, Portland, Oregon, 97226, the author states that "Fifty-eight thousand plus died in the Vietnam War. Over 150,000 have committed suicide since the war ended". According to this book, Chuck Dean is a Vietnam Veteran who served in the 173rd Airborne, arriving in Vietnam in 1965. At the time the book was written, Mr. Dean was the executive director of Point Man International, a Seattle based, non-profit support organization dedicated to healing the war wounds of Vietnam Veterans.

While doing research for his novel, Suicide Wall, Alexander Paul contacted Point Man International and was given the name of a retired VA doctor, and conducted a phone interview with him. In that interview, the doctor related that his estimate of the number of Vietnam Veteran suicides was 200,000 men, and that the reason the official suicide statistics were so much lower was that in many cases the suicides were documented as accidents, primarily single-car drunk driving accidents and self inflicted gunshot wounds that were not accompanied by a suicide note or statement. According to the doctor, the under reporting of suicides was primarily an act of kindness to the surviving relatives.

If the estimate of over 150,000 veterans of the Vietnam War having committed suicide since returning home is true, the figure would be almost three times the number killed in the war. When these deaths are added to the 50,000 plus Vietnam War casualties, the number approaches the 292,000 American casualties of World War II.



http://www.suicidewall.com/SWStats.html





The stigma of mental illness, a commander's or a soldier's focus on their career, the worry about confidentiality -- all of these can prevent soldiers from getting the mental health counseling and help that they need. Explaining the problems are psychiatrist and author Jonathan Shay; Matthew Friedman, executive director of the VA's National Center for PTSD; VA psychiatrist Andrew Pomerantz; retired Navy psychologist Dennis Reeves; veterans' advocate and former Army Ranger Steve Robinson; Col. Thomas Burke, head of mental health policy for the Dept. of Defense; and Vietnam vet and VA counselor Jim Dooley. These excerpts are from their extended interviews.



http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/heart/themes/



FROM THE DAV STUDY

For approximately 500,000 veterans (Wilson 1978) of the combat in Southeast Asia, this problematic outlook has become a chronic lifestyle (referring to the obsessive connection with combat experiences) affecting not only the veterans but countless millions of persons who are in contact with these veterans. The symptoms described below are experienced by all Vietnam combat veterans to varying degrees. However, for some with the most extensive combat histories and other variables which have yet to be enumerated, Vietnam related problems have persisted in disrupting all areas of life experience. According to Wilson (1978) the number of veterans experiencing these symptoms will climb until 1985 based on his belief of Erickson's psychosocial developmental stages and how far along in these stages most combat veterans will be by 1985. Furthermore, without any intervention, what was once a reaction to a traumatic episode may for many become almost unchangeable personality characteristic.



As you can see the problems facing todays veterans with PTSD it becomes crucial to act as swiftly as possible to begin the healing process. Dismissing the effects on the human mind can, will and does determine the outcome, as we have seen with the number of suicides which have already claimed more lives needlessly.

By 1978 when Wilson conducted his study the number of Vietnam Veterans already diagnosed with PTSD was at 500,000. He stated the number of those who had PTSD would continue to rise. He was right. Today the VA is reporting veterans are presenting themselves for treatment from WWII and Korea, who up until now found that their own illnesses were passed off and excuses instead of treated. Sadly the numbers of Vietnam Veterans who have survived the war and the aftermath have fallen sharply. Jonathan Shay, a renowned psychologist and author has been treating these veterans. He places the number of those with PTSD from Vietnam in the 200,000 range. Suicide and substance abuse has claimed to many lives. When we speak of substance abuse with PTSD veterans, it is logical to think they are simply among the rest of society addicted to these substances. Most will not benefit from treatment programs for addiction because they are not addicted to the chemical itself, they are self medicating themselves. This would be the only reason the figures would drop so far so fast.

This is what our new generation of veterans face today and along with them their families and all those who interact with them on a daily basis. This cannot be allowed to continue.



Well there you have it. The Vietnam veterans should have been a clear warning of what we have now. Think of where we could have gotten if the right people had listened. kc

Frederick Police Officer Bremer died in fiery crash while pursuing driver


Funeral services being held for Frederick officer
Bremer died in fiery crash while pursuing driver
The Associated Press
8:55 AM EDT, October 29, 2008
MIDDLETOWN - A funeral service will be held today in Middletown for Frederick Police Officer Richard Bremer.

The 39-year-old Bremer died Thursday in a fiery crash while pursuing a driver. He was married and the father of three children.

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Economy Issues Leading Veterans Away From McCain


Kevin E. Creed, a retired Army officer and Bronze Star recipient, is co-chairman of Connecticut Veterans for Obama. "John McCain is not going to get the majority of the veterans' vote, not in Connecticut and not nationwide," the Litchfield lawyer and former Connecticut state trooper says. (PATRICK RAYCRAFT / HARTFORD COURANT / October 23, 2008)


Economy Issues Leading Veterans Away From McCain
By RINKER BUCK The Hartford Courant
October 29, 2008

Even though he once voted for Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, Kevin E. Creed is co-chairman of Connecticut Veterans for Obama, an affiliate of Barack Obama's campaign that is dispatching volunteers to swing states and manning phone banks for Obama.

The strategists plotting war hero John McCain's electoral route to the White House have always been confident that they could count on the likes of Kevin E. Creed.

Creed, a Litchfield lawyer and former Connecticut state trooper, spent 17 years as an Army helicopter pilot before retiring from the military in 1996. After Sept. 11, 2001, Creed was one of 33 retired Army aviators who agreed to be recalled to meet the Pentagon's need for specialized officers during a national emergency.

At the age of 51, Creed left his prosperous Connecticut law practice, lost 40 pounds, dug his old logbooks and flight suits out of his attic and returned to duty as an Army major, traveling between Afghanistan, Iraq and Kuwait as the Army's theater aviation maintenance officer. In April 2003, Creed was shot down south of Baghdad and spent the night camping in the desert until he and his crew were rescued.

He retains one particularly strong memory from his service in Iraq.

The Powell endorsement has reverberated throughout the military establishment. For many undecided military voters, Powell's October surprise could legitimize a vote for Obama.

"It's a complete mistake to think that the Republicans will get the military vote," said Kim Brown, 48, of West Haven, an Air Force veteran who said she is planning to vote for Obama.

"Right now, the VA is either overloaded or cutting back on benefits like prescription drugs or physical therapy, and I have seen people coming back from Iraq paralyzed from their injuries, and they can't even get the wheelchair they need. A lot of us blame that on Bush policies — and McCain is very close to Bush."
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This is one of the biggest reasons I am very angry with some of my Republican "friends" who cannot put politics aside when it comes to the way veterans have been treated by their own party. I don't make this stuff up and it's time they all paid attention to what is real and has been a nightmare for the troops and the veterans. kc

Sleeping 9 year old boy dies in north Harris County home invasion


Sleeping boy dies in north Harris County home invasion
By RUTH RENDON Copyright 2008 Houston Chronicle
Oct. 29, 2008, 10:49AM

A 9-year-old boy was killed while sleeping in his north Harris County home early today and his father was wounded when a group of men — who may have targeted the wrong address — fired a fusillade of shots as they fled.

The attack occurred about 1:30 a.m. after the men had broken into a neighboring home, tied up a woman and ransacked her house, Harris County sheriff's deputies said.

Investigators were talking with the boy's mother, father and other relatives as they tried to determine who the attackers are and why they went to that neighborhood, in the 12100 block of East Hardy near Regena.

The boy who died in his bed was Cesar Armendarez, a third-grader at Stephens Elementary School in the Aldine school district, said his 18-year-old brother, Pedro Armendarez Jr
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http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/front/6083554.html