Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Abortion Issue

The question of how a woman is allowed, or not allowed, control over her body has no place in politics. The word “allowed” shouldn’t enter the conversation either; it denotes control and/or manipulation. The fact that this issue gets tossed around our political forums is sad commentary on the state of our government. When it comes to the issues surrounding and including  abortion, there are only two participants in the decision; the woman and her doctor….period, end of story. The absolute last person who needs to chime in on this subject is a fat, lazy, ego-maniacal bureaucrat from Washington, D.C. I firmly believe that there are many things our government does well; this is not one of them. Although I don’t feel that the “abortion” issue has any place being discussed in National politics, the fact that it is deserves some reasonable, logical sense in a determination as to when a life begins. I would tend to view defining “life” as a form of self sufficiency; some form of being aware of surroundings, or environment. I tried to come up with some words, and definitions, that would accurately describe the attributes of a human fetus as it develops in the womb. It is attached to its host female by an umbilical cord; relying on this for all life support. How would you reasonably and logically describe this general condition in any other type of situation outside a biological realm?

1] Definition of PARASITE

1: a person who exploits the hospitality of the rich and earns welcome by flattery
2: an organism living in, with, or on another organism in parasitism
3: something that resembles a biological parasite in dependence on something else for existence or support without making a useful or adequate return

2] Definition of CODEPENDENCY

: a psychological condition or a relationship in which a person is controlled or manipulated by another who is affected with a pathological condition (as an addiction to alcohol or heroin); broadly: dependence on the needs of or control by another

3] Definition of SUBSISTENCE

1a (1): real being : existence (2): the condition of remaining in existence : continuation, persistence b: an essential characteristic quality of something that exists c: the character possessed by whatever is logically conceivable
2: means of subsisting: as a: the minimum (as of food and shelter) necessary to support life b: a source or means of obtaining the necessities of life

These terms (adjectives) are not meant to be in any way derogatory of the creation of life. This is simply an attempt to use our language to define a subject of great debate and controversy. Take, for example, the third listed item under “PARASITE”; the entire item listed under “CODEPENDENCY”; and, the second item under “SUBSISTENCE”. Merge these together, and you might very well come up with a time frame within the normal gestation period of human development. Hence, the question: “When does human life ‘start’?” Could, in fact, these words, in their current order, be considered as the division of tri-mesters over the length of a pregnancy?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Noticeable Rise of Racism and Bigotry in the U.S.

A brief history and conclusion:

A while back, Americans fought amongst themselves to determine the the fate of indentured servitude (slavery). One Hundred and fifty years later we seem to still be fighting that conflict. The rise of Blacks across the full spectrum of politics, business, and Society has brought to the surface all the racism and bigotry that was lying just below that surface for decades. Since the end of our Civil War, a surprisingly large amount of citizens feel that the United States of America is a “white supremacy” Country. I continue to be angry, frustrated, and disillusioned that we are still having a debate about racism, bigotry, and segregation. I firmly believe that “” will be our second American Revolution, and this time we had better get it right.

“What Is ""? exists to strengthen Black America's political voice. Our goal is to empower our members - Black Americans and our allies - to make government more responsive to the concerns of Black Americans and to bring about positive political and social change for everyone.

We were heart-broken and outraged by the catastrophe that followed Hurricane Katrina. And we were devastated to realize that no African-American organization or coalition had the capacity to respond on the necessary scale.

Hurricane Katrina made it clear that our lack of a political voice has life-and-death consequences. With no one to speak for them, hundreds of thousands of people - largely Black, poor, and elderly - were left behind to die. But it wasn't just Black folks. Poor, sick, and elderly people of every color were abandoned too. We are not alone, and when we work to protect Black lives and interests, we do the same for all who have been left behind in political silence. is comprised of Black folks from every economic class, as well as those of every color who seek to help our voices be heard. Our members are united behind a simple, powerful pledge: we will do all we can to make sure all Americans are represented, served, and protected - regardless of race or class.”

“Welcome to the new blog! Today's launch is part of our ongoing effort to provide the ColorOfChange community with opportunities to be in conversation with our staff and each other. We have a six-year track record of engaging you in rapid response online campaigns that have lasting impact, and we see this blog as yet another path to advancing political power for Black America and our allies.”

Pat, its time for you to go.

There is an ongoing, concerted effort to force MSNBC News to end Pat Buchanan’s run as a commentator on several of their news segments; essentially firing him. The meat and potatoes issue is whether, or not, Mr. Buchanan is a racist and a bigot. If you have any doubts on this subject, pleas refer to the excerpts from two of his books (see below). Click on the accompanying links, and you can more thoroughly understand why this movement exists. In this electronic age, it is fast and painless to join this outcry by simply sending a short, to-the-point e-mail to MSNBC News Dept.: or
Why, in this day and age, a major cable news outlet thinks it needs to resurrect the John Birch Society is beyond me. Please join me in calling for MSNBC News for the removal of Pat Buchanan from their airways.
And, please support The Color Of Change (.org) on Facebook, or any other Social Medium you use. Thanks…..

The End of White America?
Patrick J. Buchanan a-d-2041-end-of-white-america.html
.. ..The Census Bureau has now fixed at 2041 the year when whites become a minority in a country where the Founding Fathers had restricted citizenship to "free white persons" of "good moral character." With publication today of "Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025?" this writer takes up what this portends .. ..What is happening to America is happening across the West. Can Western civilization survive the passing of the European peoples whose ancestors created it and their replacement by Third World immigrants? Probably not, for the new arrivals seem uninterested in preserving the old culture they have found.

New Book by Pat Buchanan Warns of End of The West
Drudge Report
.. .Pat Buchanan in his hardcore work, "Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025?" Buchanan, set for maximum controversy, launches all rockets at introduction "Disintegrating Nation" - and does not let up for 400-plus pages. "America is disintegrating. The centrifugal forces pulling us apart are growing inexorably. What unites us is dissolving. And this is true of Western Civilization .. ..Meanwhile, the state is failing in its most fundamental duties. It is no longer able to defend our borders, balance our budgets, or win our wars." .. .."We are trying to create a nation that has never before existed, of all the races, tribes, cultures and creeds of Earth, where all are equal. In this utopian drive for the perfect society of our dreams we are killing the real country we inherited - the best and greatest country on earth."

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Fred Shuttlesworth - R.I.P.

                                   Fred Shuttlesworth                              
                           [By John Lewis Monday, Oct. 24, 2011, Time Magazine]
“From about 1948 to 1964, there were at least 80 unsolved bombings of black churches, homes and businesses in Birmingham, Ala. Segregationists targeted the black community so frequently that the city was nicknamed Bombingham. When others were terrified to stand up and speak out, Fred Shuttlesworth, who died Oct. 5 at 89, put his body on the line to end segregation in Birmingham and the state of Alabama. He was fearless. Shuttlesworth was beaten with chains, his home and church were bombed, and he lived under constant threat of violence and murder. But he never, ever lost faith in the power of love to overcome hate. He was doggedly determined on the one hand but a modest, gentle spirit on the other. He never tried to shine. He just wanted to make a difference. And he did. The Birmingham movement was so effective, Shuttlesworth once commented, that we made a steer out of commissioner of public safety Eugene "Bull" Connor, our prime adversary. Shuttlesworth must be looked upon as one of the founders of the new America. Through his courage and sacrifice, he helped liberate not just a people but an entire nation from the burden of hate.

Fred Shuttlesworth put everything he had to give behind the Civil Rights Movement. He was a quiet, behind the scenes type of guy who felt he was simply standing up for this thing we call “freedom”; after all, it said so in our Constitution. And now, upon his passing, the folks at Time Magazine would have you believe that we are truly “liberated” from our burden of hate through the unwavering acts of Mr. Shuttlesworth.

Well, what he fought for was, and still is, one of our Nation’s most noble causes. Did he “liberate” us? Have any of our passionate civil rights activists “liberated” us? The answer to that is all around you. I would argue that in 2011 we are as embroiled in hatred, racism, and bigotry as we have ever been. I would also ask, “Why are we even having this discussion in the year 2011?” Fred Shuttlesworth is truly one of unheralded heroes of this Nation that very few people knew of. He will be sorely missed, and I salute him for standing up and making a difference.
John Lewis is the U.S. Representative for Georgia's 5th Congressional District

The List

I’m trying to think of people who have been in the public spotlight and may be good medicine for our Nation’s ills. The following come to mind, immediately. I’m sure there are many more who might not get turned off by the intense media scrutiny of running for public office, especially on a National basis.
list of interesting  folks who either are, were, or could be  politicians:
Corey Booker, is                        [Mayor of Newark, NJ]
Gavin Newsome, was              [Mayor of San Fransico, Ca.]
Andrew Cuomo, is                    [Governor of New York]
Kirsten Gillibrand, is                 [Senator from New York]
Bill Richardson,  was                [Governor of New Mexico]
Elizabeth Warren, will be        [Senator from Massatwoshits]
Hillary Clinton, is                       [Secretary of State]
Fran Townsend, could be        [was National Security Advisor}
Mellissa  Harris, could be        [is Prof., Poli-Sci. @ Tulane University]
Ed Rendel, was                       [Governor of Pennsylvania]

Additions welcome……@  
                                                 Hutch Dubosque @

Monday, October 31, 2011

The Second American Revolution

The Second “Shot Heard ‘Round The World”

In all my living days, I never thought I would be singing the praises of anything  that resides inside the borders of the State of California. I am hereby admitting my mistake. I have just fallen in love with the City of Oakland, California! They have just made all my clamoring about a Second American Revolution become a reality.

Tonight I have learned that the “Occupy” protest movement in Oakland has proposed a general strike for one day this week. If, indeed, they can rally enough support to pull this off, the good people of Oakland will have launched the Second American Revolution. No shots will be fired in this Revolution, no cities will be burnt to the ground, no hordes of hooligans will be rampaging throughout the countryside; no, this will be a peaceful, orderly reclamation project brought to you by the “99%”.

If you ever do anything to support democracy in this Nation, now is the time to stand for what is just and fair. We are a just and fair people, aren’t we? Let’s prove it to the rest of World how democracy can be a good thing, and do it by example. It won’t hurt us one bit to lay down our weapons of mass destruction for a while. We can use the break to get the United States of America back on track and in line with our collective hopes and dreams. The hopes and dreams that say, “ we want to leave a better World for our children and their children, and for generations to come.”

This is a Broadway play that demands audience participation,
This is a Hollywood movie that has no “extras; we all have a starring roles.
This is a movement whose outcome you are thoroughly going to enjoy!

Beyond The Battlefield: The VA Medical System

Almost daily, I receive reprints of articles via e-mail from family and friends. All get read; most get commented on in my blog; and, some hit home, tweak a nerve, and spur me to feature the article in its entirety. The later usually stand on their own merit and need no further comment from this writer. Were I not a consumer of the product described in this article, I would be happy letting it stand alone. It so happens that I have become involved and passionate about the role of one of the largest Medical systems in this Country. As we have not found a way to avoid getting into shooting wars, this system is, by necessity, large and cumbersome. From time to time you have to draw on all your learning, experience, and patience in dealing with the VA Medical system.

This article does point out that the VA often lags in its response to certain types of battlefield injuries. This is understandable as they often have no advance knowledge as to what types of injuries are going to be presented to them. Couple that with the fact that the VA simply can’t be present in each, and every, community in the Country, and you can understand how many Veterans feel neglected by the VA. The system also presents a myriad of obstacles stemming from the huge bureurcracy necessary to deliver the broad range of care to the even broader range of customers. You are bound to hear stories about Veterans who fell through the cracks; and there are many.

The feeling of honor, duty, and pride in fighting for one’s Country is definitely diminished when you attempt to navigate a government bureaucracy of this size. There is a learning curve, so you have to aggressive simply to get “in” the system. But, once “in” the system, it works fairly efficiently. From my first-hand knowledge, I can say, without hesitation, that they are working hard on correcting their deficiencies, and they are usually very successful.

Beyond The Battlefield: Unprepared For Wave
Of Severely Wounded, Bureaucracy Still Catching Up
"Beyond The Battlefield" is a 10-part series exploring the challenges that severely wounded veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan face after they return home, as well as what those struggles mean for those close to them. Learn how you can help here. Other stories in the series can be found here. Listen to reporter David Wood discuss "Beyond The Battlefield" with NPR's Terry Gross here. Wood and wounded veteran Bobby Henline will hold a live video chat this Friday. See more details and send them questions.

A decade of fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq has left thousands of young Americans suffering with severe pain from amputated limbs, burned flesh, lacerations, shrapnel punctures and traumatic brain damage, injuries that kept them in intensive care for months or years.
Yet military doctors and nurses felt they were "ill prepared" to manage their patients' pain, an Army task force reported in May 2010.
The scope and ferocity of the wars caught the medical system serving the U.S. military and its veterans flat-footed. No one was ready for IEDs and the distinctive pattern of terrible wounds they would cause. No one was ready for the war to extend beyond a decade. No one was ready for the massive numbers of wounded, the severity of their wounds or the resulting strain on the broader system.
"The upside is the survival rate," says Army Col. Kevin T. Galloway, chief of staff for the pain management task force study, referring to the high percentage of battlefield casualties who are being saved from near-certain death -- a dramatic increase from previous conflicts.
The challenge for the medical system, he notes, is that the wounded "survive with such complex, serious injuries and pain management challenges that we didn't have to deal with in the past."
Over a decade of war, the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs have been scrambling to catch up with the care that the severely wounded need, and with some notable exceptions and scandals, they have largely succeeded. Years of hard work have produced what many regard as the best combat trauma and rehabilitation system in the world. Military medicine, under the pressure of successive waves of the severely wounded, has created breakthroughs in prosthetics, surgical techniques and regenerative medicine, among others.
As a result, 16,000 or more badly wounded young Americans like Tyler Southern are coming home alive.
"I just want everyone to know what wonderful people took care of him,” says Southern’s mother, Patti. “They all went above and beyond, they do such wonderful work and they are so compassionate and took such good care of all of us, not just Tyler."

Yet despite all of their compassion, hard work and medical innovations, the huge bureaucracies of the Defense and Veterans Affairs departments still pose significant problems for the severely wounded. Veterans report difficulties in getting appointments, getting their disability ratings and payments, and getting access to mental health services. Wounded veterans, and especially their spouses, complain of having to spend hours and weeks on the telephone with what they view as the VA's bewildering bureaucracy.

Ted Wade is a case in point. A sergeant with the 82nd Airborne, Wade fought in Afghanistan and then Iraq, where an IED struck his convoy in 2004. The blast severed his right arm above the elbow and left him in a coma with severe traumatic brain injury. When his fiancée Sarah Dent flew to the military hospital in Landstuhl, Germany, to be with him, the first issue she dealt with was whether she and the staff should simply let him die. Doctors were dubious about his chances of survival.
But Sarah and Ted fought for his life, and won. Sarah says the intervening years, however, have been a nightmare. "Ted has incredible resolve and determination and has always been very motivated," she says. "But he had to learn to talk and walk again, and to continue to fight is demoralizing and exhausting."

Having to fight the Defense Department and the VA as well, she said, "has been really hurtful." For instance: Ted was treated at the former Walter Reed Army Medical Center, where he received excellent orthopedic care, but no help was available there for his brain injury. Sarah found a private facility in Washington that specialized in such injuries, but the Army refused to pay for it. Instead, Ted was sent home to North Carolina for treatment at the Durham VA Medical Center.
The Durham center had no experience with combat brain injuries either, so doctors put him in the geriatric ward. His roommates were veterans of World War II and Korea. It wasn't until Sarah convinced his former doctors at Walter Reed that Ted badly needed help that they arranged to have him treated at a private clinic in North Carolina, where he is still an outpatient today. But Ted still needs a close supervisor to enable him to get out and into the community, a role Sarah can't fill while trying to earn a living. "With the VA over the years, it has been a constant battle," Sarah says. "Six months after we got home they wanted to discontinue his care, the second he wasn't under the eyes of Walter Reed. It's been difficult to get them to pay for what the doctors recommended. I really had a challenge to get the VA to provide appropriate long-term care for him, a battle that continues to this day."
Sarah also fought, loudly and publicly, to get the VA to train, certify and pay full-time caregivers like herself who have given up their jobs and career to take care of their severely wounded spouses or sons. When the VA balked, Congress passed legislation demanding it establish such a program, and President Barack Obama signed the bill into law in May 2010, with Sarah there to witness it. The president lauded her "passionate and very effective voice on behalf of wounded warriors and their families." It still took the VA another year before it actually put the caregiver program into action, and even now it doesn't cover the kind of long-term care and supervision that Ted and other young veterans feel they need to be active in their communities. "What I have not seen, over more than seven years, is anybody admit that there is a problem," Sarah says.

Talk with combat-wounded veterans and you find a mix of high admiration for individual surgeons, therapists, nurses and other care providers -- sometimes mixed with frustration or contempt for the medical bureaucracy that constrains them. Many of the severely wounded feel that they should receive the best care available. After all, they reason, they’ve put their lives at risk serving their country and top-notch care is what most politicians promise anyway.
Triple amputee Southern, a Marine corporal blown up last year by an IED in Afghanistan, says flat-out that medics, surgeons and other trauma specialists saved his life. Still, he said, life at Walter Reed, where he is in his second year of rehab, “isn’t the greatest."
"Overall, they take good care of us," says Bobby Henline, a former staff sergeant with the 82nd Airborne who was badly burned in an IED blast in Iraq. "They weren't ready for this many people coming in at once. We got that fixed. There's always room for improvement, but we're getting good medical care, what we need and then some."
While acknowledging the strengths of the system, however, Henline is also fighting to get the VA to pay for modifying his house in San Antonio, with extra-strength air conditioning. Burn patients, he pointed out, have skin grafts that don't sweat and they have trouble controlling their body temperature. The VA pays to modify the homes of amputees for wheelchair access. Why not help out burn patients, too? Eric Shinseki, a retired general and former Army chief of staff who lost a foot in combat in Vietnam, is secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs. He did not respond to numerous requests for an interview to discuss the VA's care of the severely wounded. But I asked the VA's undersecretary for health, who is responsible for all VA medical and mental health care, about these kinds of difficulties for wounded veterans and their families. Robert Petzel, a soft-spoken avuncular physician, told me that whatever problems veterans have encountered with VA medical care are in the past.The problems have been fixed, he asserts -- including what had been a chronic problem with VA care: losing track of patients. To counteract that problem, veterans getting VA care are now each assigned at least one case manager, Petzel says.
I mentioned the difficulty that Cheryl Gansner had in getting help from the case manager assigned to her husband, former Army Staff Sgt. Bryan Gansner, badly wounded by an IED in Iraq. Cheryl had told me that their case manager was so busy with 5,000 cases that Cheryl told her not to bother trying to keep track of Bryan's traumatic brain injury treatments because she was useless. "Everybody who enters traumatic brain injury care gets intensive case management," Petzel insists. "A tremendous amount of VA assets are directed at providing case management and support. That's quite remarkable, because it's so extensive. It's not something we have done in the past."

Other veterans also have had difficulty getting mental health therapists. Zac Hershley, an Air National Guardsman, came back from multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan with post traumatic stress disorder. The VA eventually assigned him a psychologist in private practice, several hours' drive away from his home. When Hershley showed up for his first appointment, he found his therapist wearing a traditional Middle East headscarf, the hijab. He recoiled. "I could never talk to her about what I experienced over there," he later said. "I probably killed her brother." Hershley says he eventually found a good therapist who helped, but she was transferred, and he hasn't found another therapist reasonably nearby who had the time to see him and the experience to understand his problems.

While some veterans and even therapists say there are insufficient mental health resources, Petzel says that problem has been fixed. The VA alone has hired 7,500 mental health therapists since 2005, he says. "We do not have any evidence that we're not able to provide mental health services. So there isn't a shortage -- there just isn't," he says.

An outside view comes from Nancy Berglass, director of the Iraq Afghanistan Deployment Impact Fund at the California Community Foundation in Los Angeles. The foundation provides grants to non-VA community-based services for veterans who often are waiting for overcrowded VA programs. Dozens of these nonprofit service organizations are filling the gaps between the growing demand of veterans for mental health services, and the ability of the VA to meet the demand.
"Many Iraq-era veterans who have enrolled with the VA are receiving the care and benefits they need, and under Secretary Shinseki's leadership, the VA has begun to address some of its shortcomings more aggressively," Berglass wrote in an email. "Nevertheless, veterans don't come home to federal agencies; they come home to communities and families. It is there, at the community level, that nongovernmental service providers, with grants from the Iraq Afghanistan Deployment Impact Fund and other support, address unmet deployment-related needs and integrate veterans back into their families and communities as civilians.” A psychologist in private practice, who treats veterans under contract to the VA, says the demand for mental health services is so great "the VA is simply overwhelmed.'' He asked not to be identified by name.
VA officials, in response to criticism, like to cite surveys that they say show that most veterans are highly satisfied with VA care. "Our satisfaction rates are phenomenally high with the people who use the system," Petzel says. According to the VA, 414,761 veterans accessed VA health care during 2010. Of those, only 1,057 complaints were registered by Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans about the coordination of their care. An independent assessment of how satisfied all veterans are with VA services was recently completed by the American Customer Satisfaction Index, which measures across industry and government agencies. It found that in 2010, 85 percent of veterans treated as in-patients at VA hospitals were satisfied with their care; these veterans -- of whom only a small portion served in Iraq or Afghanistan -- rated the VA's customer service most highly, with 93 percent satisfaction. Across the civilian hospital industry the satisfaction rating was 74 percent, according to the study.
"The public outside the VA, outside of people who use the VA, don't understand what we're about," Petzel says. "I think sometimes they tend to believe these things they read which we think don't actually reflect what's going on." The 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco challenged that view in a decision that took the unprecedented step of finding that the VA, because of inadequate mental health care and other medical lapses, had violated veterans’ constitutional rights. It found the "influx of injured troops returning from deployment in Iraq and Afghanistan has placed an unprecedented strain on the VA and has overwhelmed the system..." As a consequence, the court determined, veterans were forced to endure lengthy delays for treatment, especially for mental health care. Some, it found, have committed suicide. "The VA's unchecked incompetence has gone on long enough," the court declared. "No more veterans should be compelled to agonize or perish while the government fails to perform its obligations."

While Justice Department lawyers wrangle over a possible appeal, I asked Petzel, in view of the flood of complaints from veterans and families -- and the courts -- whether he and others at the VA felt misunderstood. "I guess the short answer is yes," he says. "But there's great satisfaction in knowing that we have this incredible system, particularly in terms of mental health and outreach. We know what we can do." "It would be very nice," he adds, sadly, "if there was a better understanding in some quarters of what we do."

In the meantime, medical officials have tackled the problem of pain with a vengeance. An electronic database was established that tracks the pain treatments a patient has received from the battlefield to retirement. The VA adopted a new policy for patients transferring from active duty to VA care, requiring that if the VA facility doesn't have the same pain medication the patient had been receiving, he or she will get that medication while the VA figures out what to do -- rather than denying him or her the medication, as had been done until now. The Army is reorganizing the way it trains its medical personnel to deal with pain, focusing on interdisciplinary care to ensure that traumatic brain injury patients, for instance, benefit from the latest pain treatments. The Army also is working with acupuncture, aromatherapy, yoga, movement therapy, massage and other nontraditional pain treatments as they prove successful.

Galloway, the chief of staff for the pain management task force study, described the Army's new work on pain management as a culture shift toward more innovative, collaborative work. "Combat accelerates this kind of change," he told me. "Weaknesses in our system have been highlighted to the max," he said, and the reforms will spread to civilian health care as well. From this experience, he said, "there's going to be long-term gains for the entire country." The struggles that the wounded and their families have with the health care systems that serve the military and its veterans likely will go on. Both systems, which manage tens of thousands of people, are inherently monolithic and bureaucratic. Both health care systems, often when scandal or Congress prods them, have moved to address glaring problems. The Pentagon invented Warrior Transition Units to keep better track of the wounded; the Marines have similar detachments. The VA has added patient care coordinators and mental health advocates.

Large gaps remain, however, in the services and care the systems can provide, as the nonprofit veterans' service organizations that have grown rapidly in the past decade can attest to. Taking care of the wounded "is a large problem and they need some help with it,'' Bill Lawson, president of Paralyzed Veterans of America, says of the Defense Department and the VA. "They do the best they can with the funding they have,'' he notes. "Unfortunately, when you have a big bureaucracy such as the VA, it comes with a lot of red tape. So it takes organizations such as ours to step in and help out.''

NEXT: While the military's health care system was caught flat-footed by the human costs of a decade in Afghanistan and Iraq, the U.S. government hasn't prepared for the long-term financial costs, either.

Huffington Post Impact has compiled a list of organizations that seek to help veterans like the ones featured in "Beyond The Battlefield." You can read more about those groups, and ways you can help, here. Other stories in this series can be found here.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Spread the word!
This initiative is totally legitimate and growing. If this can be melded with “Occupy Wall Street” and other similar movements, the People of this Country may, indeed, be able to reclaim the voice that has been stolen from them.The letter blow came to me via a good “Facebook” friend from Florida and, because I’m a little bit passionate about this subject, I am forwarding it you. My hope is that you will consider joining this Cause by simply signing their petitions from time to time. Of course, any further involvement will be a good thing, also.

-----Original Message-----
From: Jimmy Williams < >
Sent: Fri, Oct 21, 2011 4:55 pm
Subject: A Letter from the Executive Director,

Karen --
Sharing our own moments in history is real.  It’s humbling. I remember a moment I had back in late July when I was sitting in my spacious office down on K Street.  I had just taken a call from yet another Member of Congress, asking me to raise him $25,000. My initial reaction was to smile and reflect on simpler but poorer times when I was a Senate staffer; $25,000 a year!

I spent almost seven years, the best years of my life by the way, doing policy in the Senate and I take great pride in my public service. Back then I did what was natural: I became a lobbyist, with the hopes of continuing my economic policy expertise from the outside. Key word here: policy.
But here's the rub: lobbyists today rarely get to use the policy they learned in the halls of Congress.  Instead they are forced to spend a majority of their time raising money and shuffling from cocktail reception to cocktail reception.
The "fundraising circuit" is deafening.  It's sick and it makes me nauseous to think of having to write check after check after check to a Senator or Representative just so I can get a meeting with him or her later.  Anyone that tells you that's not true is flat out lying to you.

So, back to my "moment in history." It began at my desk.   A physical chill came over my body. The smile of "making it" as one of the top lobbyists (apparently the Wall Street Journal thought so!) in Washington turned into something different.

That's when it hit me.  That's when I knew I had to stop.  I had two choices, be a cog in the wheel or destroy the wheel. I literally shuttered at the thought of losing everything I'd ever worked for: my home, my ability to travel, to live a life of luxury, to provide for my family, etc. I left my lobbying firm and bunkered down on an island for the month of August and did some major soul searching.

Skip a couple of months forward and a new door opened: my friend Dylan Ratigan approached me to lead the Get Money Out Foundation.  Great offer but I needed a sounding board, so I picked up the phone and called my brother Robert down in South Carolina.  What I heard in my brother's voice was this theme that Washington, DC isn’t just broken but corrupt. He confirmed what I suspected: that the country at worst hates its capitol and at best thinks our politicians have no clue about what it means to live outside the echo chamber known as the Beltway.

My brother and I couldn't be more different; He's a Republican, I’m a democrat.  He's straight, I’m gay, he's reserved and more cautious, yet I was the kid in the family that threw it all out there.  But there’s not a single person in this world whom I love or trust more than my brother, and when he tells me the country's pissed off at Washington, I knew I had to do this.

Robert asked me how I was going to make Washington wake up and give up its power; what's the strategy, he said.  Here's what I told him:

First, Get Money Out will debate openly and with the public's input. We’ll write the best Constitutional Amendment possible and put it forward to the people.  We wont always agree but if you have something to say, I’ll listen.

Second, we will take the best amendment language to Congress and find allies to introduce it for debate.  Do I expect Congress to debate this immediately? I’m not that naive but that’s where you come in.

Third, I need a wave.  As I write this, we know we have nearly 220,000 followers who believe in this mission.  We need more.  We need MANY more.   I wont be satisfied until we reach 2 million or more.  Why? Because Congress won’t listen unless the wave overtakes them.  I've said it before: Congress doesn't pro-act, Congress only reacts.  This is where you come in. We need your help (and your friends and family’s help) to get Congress to react.  Lets build a wave so big they can’t ignore by exposing the auction for this "government to the highest bidder" mentality for what it is: corruption through and through.

Fourth, if we can get Congress to pass a Constitutional Amendment, then we turn our focus to the states, which have to ratify it to actually make it law.

Campaign finance reform isn't a new idea.  Congress has passed reform measure after reform measure.  Yet, the Supreme Court continues to insist that corporations are people and that money is speech. I just don't agree.  I don't think the Tea Party movement agrees. And I definitely don't think the Occupy Wall Street movement agrees that Exxon is a person.  What we all agree on is the system is broken, that Washington DC is nothing more than an auction house, with the highest bidder always winning.

There are others out there spearheading similar movements, many with good intentions. There are many roads to Rome.  Some want to take the back-roads, some want to take the interstate. In the end, if we all want to reach Rome and agree on the same goal, to Get Money Out of Politics, then I don't care how everyone gets there.  I just care that we all make it to the finish line and pass an amendment banning money in the halls of Congress.

That’s the strategy for the Get Money Out Foundation.  Its simple, its concise, and its honest.  We don’t need to complicate a solution to something so inherently and blatantly wrong.

As the executive director of the Get Money Out Foundation, I give you my word (and my word is all I have in this world) that I will run this movement to ban money in politics as openly, honestly, and transparently as I possibly can.  With your help, we will reach Rome.

Lets get money out and give America its government back.


Blondes just DO have more fun

Two blondes were going to Disneyland . They were driving on the interstate when they saw the sign that said Disneyland LEFT. They started crying and turned around and went home.

Two blondes living in Oklahoma were sitting on a bench talking, and one blonde says to the other, 'Which do you think is farther away... Florida or the moon?' The other blonde turns and says 'Helloooooooooo, can you see Florida ?????'

A blonde pushes her BMW into a gas station. She tells the mechanic it died. After he works on it for a few minutes, it is idling smoothly. She says, 'What's the story?' He replies, 'Just crap in the carburetor' She asks, 'How often do I have to do that?'


A police officer stops a blonde for speeding and asks her very nicely if he could see her license. She replied in a huff, 'I wish you guys would get your act together. Just yesterday you take away my license and then today you expect me to show it to you!'


There's this blonde out for a walk. She comes to a river and sees another blonde on the opposite bank 'Yoo-hoo!' she shouts, 'How can I get to the other side?' The second blonde looks up the river then down the river and shouts back, 'You ARE on the other side.'


A gorgeous young redhead goes into the doctor's office and said that her body hurt wherever she touched it. 'Impossible!' says the doctor. 'Show me.' The redhead took her finger, pushed on her left shoulder and screamed, then she pushed her elbow and screamed even more. She pushed her knee and screamed; likewise she pushed her ankle and screamed. Everywhere she touched made her scream. The doctor said, 'You're not really a redhead, are you? 'Well, no' she said, 'I'm actually a blonde.' 'I thought so,' the doctor said, 'Your finger is broken.'


A highway patrolman pulled alongside a speeding car on the freeway. Glancing at the car, he was astounded to see that the blonde behind the wheel was knitting! Realizing that she was oblivious to his flashing lights and siren, the trooper cranked down his window, turned on his bullhorn and yelled, 'PULL OVER!' 'NO!' the blonde yelled back, 'IT'S A SCARF!'


A Russian, an American, and a Blonde were talking one day. The Russian said, 'We were the first in space!' The American said, 'We were the first on the moon!' The Blonde said, 'So what? We're going to be the first on the sun!' The Russian and the American looked at each other and shook their heads. 'You can't land on the sun, you idiot! You'll burn up!' said the Russian. To which the Blonde replied, 'We're not stupid, you know. We're going at night!'


A blonde was playing Trivial Pursuit one night... It was her turn. She rolled the dice and she landed on Science & Nature. Her question was, 'If you are in a vacuum and someone calls your name, can you hear it?' She thought for a time and then asked, 'Is it on or off?'


A girl was visiting her blonde friend, who had acquired two new dogs, and asked her what their names were. The blonde responded by saying that one was named Rolex and one was named Timex. Her friend said, 'Whoever heard of someone naming dogs like that?''HELLLOOOOOOO......,' answered the blonde. 'They're watch dogs'!