Sunday, February 25, 2007

Do you know what it means?


Pastor Guillomettre said, "In Creole there is a proverb which says 'Sak vide pa kanpe.' It means 'An empty sack cannot stand up.' The workers want to live. They are staggering after life, but life flees before them. Hope gives life. When they are working, the workers have hope even if the work doesn't bring them anything."

North American people can play a crucial role in supporting the Haitian people, Guillomettre added. "We need to eat, drink and work -- but solidarity is even more important." CPT teams and delegations are an important way to help North Americans identify with the suffering in Haiti.

"You have to know the Calvary of Haiti to help it pass from Golgotha to the Ascension," he concluded.

Members of the three person investigative team were Nancy Frey (Elkhart, IN), Joshua Yoder (Chicago, IL), and Pierre Gingerich (Ithaca, NY)
Christian Peacemaker Teams is an initiative among Mennonite and Church of the Brethren congregations and Friends Meetings that supports violence reduction efforts around the world. CPT P. O. Box 6508 Chicago, IL 60680 tel: 312-455-1199 FAX 312-666-2677 WEB

SNL Rocks!

Chaney's plane was diverted, mechanical problems, great protest while he was in Sydney, via my clg news.

"Just because we volunteered for the military doesn't mean we volunteered to put our lives in unnecessary harm and to carry out missions that are illogical and immoral," Madden says. Appeal for Redress watch 60 minutes Sunday and that would be on CBS, hopefully.

This report argues that carbon offsets place disproportionate emphasis on individual lifestyles and carbon footprints, distracting attention from the wider, systemic changes and collective political action that needs to be taken to tackle climate change. Promoting more effective and empowering approaches involves moving away from the marketing gimmicks, celebrity endorsements, technological quick fixes, and the North/South exploitation that the carbon offsets industry embodies. carbon neutral myth.pdf (4363 Kb)

America has deliberately driven hundreds, perhaps thousands, of prisoners insane. Now it is being held to account in a Miami court, The Guardian. And you thought all the news people were there to watch a judge cry, they're good.

“The overarching principle of fundamental justice that applies here is this: before the state can detain people for significant periods of time, it must accord them a fair judicial process,” Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin wrote in the ruling. As Canadian Court Limits Detention in Terror Cases.

While the ACLU is supporting the “Restoring the Constitution Act of 2007” (S.576).

Democrats Propose Bill to Withdraw Troops Starting in 120 Days. Brushing aside criticism from the White House, Senate Democrats said Friday their next challenge to President Bush's Iraq war policy would require the gradual withdrawal of US combat troops beginning within 120 days.

Rising temperatures are redistributing bacteria, insects and plants, exposing people to diseases they'd never encountered before. LA Times

While Conservative Christians struggle over, who, just who will they support in the Republican party. “There is great anxiety,” said Paul Weyrich, chairman of the Free Congress Foundation. “There is no outstanding conservative, and they are all looking for that.” NY Times

Good Sunday morn to ya

update: Arcade Fire Neon Bible link the lyrics and more

pih org

@ tonge-tied lightening

Wonder with more

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Saturday, February 24, 2007


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Friday, February 23, 2007

Metaphysically speaking

Some rumors across the metaphysical world wide web, referring to the 'new age' and some UFO and conspiracy sites have linked to some weird news about men in black visiting churches in north Carolina speaking Hebrew. Leaving a community to wonder, and clearly confused. I say confused because the police are asking for information, suspecting something, I wonder what is so wrong in what they did. I am posting the story here for my metaphysical and religious friends who keep me as a friend despite our sometimes heated debates. Oh, and you know who you are, some we have never met, some know me very well. A Jeff Wells has this and more compiled, although I do not understand why he has to be on the defensive but the situation has caused him to close the comments on the subject. He must be cool with that fig leaf and all ;)
Kannapolis churches abuzz about 'disruptions'
By Nicole Konkal

Kannapolis Police say something very bizarre happened at several churches this past Sunday. It was a disruption, they say, that left some church goers fearful and others saying "it's a God thing." Nearly a dozen churches reported the same thing to police: three men walked into their church during Sunday morning's service. They walked right up to the pulpit and began speaking Hebrew. David Lewkowicz is the pastor at West Point Baptist Church and understood what they were saying."They said things like, 'God is peace, God is love, God is comfort, God is joy.' That is all they said to me," Lewkowicz said.The men stayed at the churches for about two or three minutes, then left."They didn't say anything bad about God or offend the church in anyway. They came in peace and left in peace," Lewkowicz said.Still some other congregations are concerned about exactly what the men may have been up to. One church reported the men dropping to their knees as they entered the door, then they got up and left.Lewkowicz said it comes with the territory of being a pastor – he has to be ready for just about anything on Sunday mornings."We have to be open minded to anyone that may walk through those doors. Some people thought it was cool that some Hebrew guys came in and I understood them. They think it was a 'God thing.' We will have to wait and see," Lewkowicz said.Police said these men didn't commit a crime. If they had refused to leave, it would have been a misdemeanor offense. But the church pastors said they were peaceful and posed no threat at the time.Nevertheless, police want to know who these men are and what their intentions were. If you have any information you are asked to contact the Kannapolis police department, 704-920-4000.

Someone should call the number in Kannapolis, and read this to them.

The History of Church Electioneering
Houses of worship have been involved in America's political process since our nation's birth, and they will continue to play an important and increasing role in our society's evolution. The nation's courts and laws have upheld the rights of religious entities--and all charitable organizations--to participate in the political process, while simultaneously upholding the separation of Church and State. However, organizations and the courts continue to wrangle with questions regarding the exact nature and scope of political activity in which houses of worship may participate. Attention to this issue has increased greatly through introduction of H.R. 235, the Houses of Worship Political Speech Protection Act, sponsored by U.S. Representative Walter B. Jones (R-NC). The legislation would allow
tax-exempt houses of worship to intervene directly in partisan political campaigns by endorsing and opposing candidates for public office.
Jones and other proponents of the bill argue that the free speech of clergy is stifled by the absolute prohibition on partisan electioneering. However, the IRS already permits churches and other nonprofit organizations to engage in issue advocacy on any issue they wish. Church and state must remain separate from one another to ensure religious freedom and societal plurism.
History of the 501(c)(3) Political Activity Prohibition Senator Lyndon Baines Johnson Amendment

(For a more detailed analysis of HR235 click here.)

. . . .
It makes sense to me, but when will it dawn on 'them' and they awaken with the reasoning, maybe when the cloud clears. From Michael Rectenwald, Ph.D., founder and chair of Citizens for Legitimate Government

Surge, Or the Failure of God

Since the Surge splashes in the face of conventional wisdom, military expertise, the public will, and the international community, and yet it has become policy in spite of these, a very strong impulse must be behind it.

The surge, I argue, is the 'natural' extension of a religious conviction.

A cessation in force may signal lack of Power to the enemy. In Milton's Paradise Lost, this is the impression taken of God by Satan after his Fall:

But see the angry Victor has recall'd
His Ministers of vengeance and pursuit
Back to the Gates of Heav'n: the Sulphurous Hail
Shot after us in storm, o'erblown hath laid
The Fiery Surge, that from the Precipice
Of Heav'n received us falling, and the Thunder,
Wing'd with red Lightning and impetuous rage,
Perhaps has spent his shafts, and ceases now
To bellow through the vast and boundless Deep.
Let us not slip th'occasion, whether scorn,
Or satiate fury yield it from our Foe (I, 170-76, emphasis added).

continue you'll get it . . . and furthermore 2/25/07

Happy Birthday Wild Willie ;) drive safe

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Some good news, and it don't leave Britany out

Investigations Urged as Army Moves to Make Repairs, Improve Staffing

At the White House, press secretary Tony Snow said that he spoke with President Bush yesterday about Walter Reed and that the president told him: "Find out what the problem is and fix it."

Snow said Bush "first learned of the troubling allegations regarding Walter Reed from the stories this weekend in The Washington Post. He is deeply concerned and wants any problems identified and fixed." The spokesman said he did not know why the president, who has visited the facility many times in the past five years, had not heard about these problems before.

. . .

Harvey said he was surprised and disappointed by the conditions and the bureaucratic delays. "In the warrior ethos, the last line says you should never leave a fallen comrade, and from that facility point of view we didn't live up to it . . . and it looks to me we may have not lived up to it from a process side," he said, adding that conditions at the building are "inexcusable."

"It's a failure . . . in the garrison leadership . . . that should have never happened, and we are quickly going to rectify that situation," he said.

"We had some NCOs [noncommissioned officers] who weren't doing their job, period," Harvey said. He said he and Cody will report regularly to Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates on a plan to fix the conditions.

A very coherent look at the state of our public interest in or news, focus of 'the network news' . . . .

Matt Taibbi | Maybe We Deserve to Be Ripped Off By Bush's Billionaires
"Now, after she shaved her head in a bizarre episode that culminates a months-long saga of controversial behavior, it's the question being asked by her fans, her foes and the general public: What was she thinking?"-- Bald and Broken: Inside Britney's Shaved Head, Sheila Marikar,, Feb. 19. What was she thinking? How about nothing? How about who gives a shit?
[Read more] [Low bandwidth link]
Posted Feb 21 2007 - 9:46am

Till tomorrow, continue to wonder . .

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Iraq 101: The Iraq Effect- Mother Jones

"The Iraq Effect" is a crucial matter for U.S. national security, we have found no statistical documentation of its existence and gravity, at least in the public domain. In this report, we have undertaken what we believe to be the first such study, using information from the world’s premier database on global terrorism. The results are being published for the first time by Mother Jones, the news and investigative magazine, as part of a broader "Iraq 101" package in the magazine’s March/April 2007 issue.

Read part 1

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A Focus on 'Focus on the Family'


Soulforce Launches Ongoing Civil Disobedience Campaign at Focus on the Family Headquarters

At approximately 1:30 p.m. on February 19, 2007, Dotti Berry and Robynne Sapp of Blaine, Washington were arrested and removed from Focus on the Family headquarters in police custody. The couple entered the building earlier in the day and refused to leave until the organization's founder, James Dobson, takes a step toward reconciliation with lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) communities by ceasing his misleading statements about research on lesbian and gay parents.

"I am here today because I believed Dr. Dobson's teachings for many years, and it almost led to my suicide. My healing came from my acceptance of myself and my acceptance that God loves me exactly as I am," said Sapp. Sapp and Berry have toured Focus on the Family twice before to dialogue with visitors and staff about LGBT individuals and families.

Dobson has consistently misrepresented LGBT families with misleading references to social science research. In recent months, several social scientists -- including Dr. Carol Gilligan of New York University and Dr. Kyle Pruett of Yale -- have publicly rebuked him for mischaracterizing their research conclusions. (For a video of Dr. Judith Stacey claiming Focus on the Family distorted her research, click here.)

. . . .

The Focus on the Facts campaign is coordinated by Soulforce, a national LGBT social justice organization founded on principles of nonviolence. For more than a decade, members and allies of Soulforce have confronted Focus on the Family's anti-gay rhetoric and publicized its harmful impact on the lives of individuals, parents, and children.

To read Dotti and Robynne's report click here.

Update: a comment to this post from Christopher Hubble repeated here;

Video footage of Dotti Berry's and Robynne Sapp's "Sit-In" yesterday in Colorado Springs...

Christopher Hubble
"Focus on the Facts" Campaign Organizer

and I will add a link for his books:

Love provides an affirmation, no room to hate, and a clear view of truth. A very big welcome and thank you Christopher and others in Colorado for what you do, it is the good fight.

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Monday, February 19, 2007

The Hotel Aftermath

Who is blogging this story, and take note of who is not after you read the second part in a special 'concerning' Report . . . The Hotel Aftermath
On the other side, it is said this is just a Marxist tactic sense our urging against a surge, or did they intend to purge seeing the news of the violence despite the surge.

No one with a conscience can agree the soldiers are treated well, as we see most are not. This is not how it should be, nor should we privatize because the government body is a failure.

Doubt it can all be blamed on the principal of responsible self, or a conspiracy to privatize the health care given to veterans, but rather a trait common in all the Bucking Bush supporters, denial.

Even as they prepare their own rebuttals, I doubt they bother to read or even look see what the wounded vets looks like, they couldn't live with themselves.

Rather they choose to state fair treatment would be socialism, Marxism. Smells of 'The Family' stench that holds high the history of Hitler as if even he was a choice player in humanity, or how else would g_d allow such inhumanity. A common creed among the Great White Way Politico, which the Haliban has picked so much sweet fruit from.

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Support Our Troops

As the news rolls in, all over but where you would suspect the outrage to come from ... the troops are called liars

Claimed on bumper stickers across the US, worn like a badge of honor.

Time to...
Support the Troops
By the end of the article, I felt nauseous and furious. Jill's spot-on when she says, "when our troops are wounded, they come home and are put into a facility that is more like the weird hospital scenes in the film Jacob's Ladder than like the kind of state-of-the-art recuperative facility these young men and women deserve." It truly does sound like an inescapable nightmare—a place I wouldn't want to convalesce after a paper cut received at an office job, and a place I can't even fucking imagine being sent to to recover from wounds acquired during a goddamned war.

Why aren't we taking better care of these men and women? ~ Shakespeare's Sister
Support for Troops

Fire Maj. Gen. George W. Weightman

John has all the details. This guy should not only be fired, but also charged with treason. Treating our soldiers, who have gone to fight in this bullshit war, like this is a crime. And where are the "we love the troops and you don't" right-wingers on this? They are silent as usual. They are just as bad as Weightman.

Three words. Slung at anyone who speaks of peace, or diplomacy, honesty, honor . . . or even that 'gd piece of paper' we call the Constitution.

From the Washington Post the story . . . . again

Soldiers Face Neglect, Frustration At Army's Top Medical Facility

By Dana Priest and Anne Hull

Washington Post Staff Writers

Sunday, February 18, 2007; A01

Behind the door of Army Spec. Jeremy Duncan's room, part of the wall is torn and hangs in the air, weighted down with black mold. When the wounded combat engineer stands in his shower and looks up, he can see the bathtub on the floor above through a rotted hole. The entire building, constructed between the world wars, often smells like greasy carry_out. Signs of neglect are everywhere: mouse droppings, belly_up cockroaches, stained carpets, cheap mattresses.

This is the world of Building 18, not the kind of place where Duncan expected to recover when he was evacuated to Walter Reed Army Medical Center from Iraq last February with a broken neck and a shredded left ear, nearly dead from blood loss. But the old lodge, just outside the gates of the hospital and five miles up the road from the White House, has housed hundreds of maimed soldiers recuperating from injuries suffered in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The common perception of Walter Reed is of a surgical hospital that shines as the crown jewel of military medicine. But 5 1/2 years of sustained combat have transformed the venerable 113_acre institution into something else entirely __ a holding ground for physically and psychologically damaged outpatients. Almost 700 of them __ the majority soldiers, with some Marines __ have been released from hospital beds but still need treatment or are awaiting bureaucratic decisions before being discharged or returned to active duty.

They suffer from brain injuries, severed arms and legs, organ and back damage, and various degrees of post_traumatic stress. Their legions have grown so exponentially __ they outnumber hospital patients at Walter Reed 17 to 1 __ that they take up every available bed on post and spill into dozens of nearby hotels and apartments leased by the Army. The average stay is 10 months, but some have been stuck there for as long as two years.

Not all of the quarters are as bleak as Duncan's, but the despair of Building 18 symbolizes a larger problem in Walter Reed's treatment of the wounded, according to dozens of soldiers, family members, veterans aid groups, and current and former Walter Reed staff members interviewed by two Washington Post reporters, who spent more than four months visiting the outpatient world without the knowledge or permission of Walter Reed officials. Many agreed to be quoted by name; others said they feared Army retribution if they complained publicly.

While the hospital is a place of scrubbed_down order and daily miracles, with medical advances saving more soldiers than ever, the outpatients in the Other Walter Reed encounter a messy bureaucratic battlefield nearly as chaotic as the real battlefields they faced overseas.

On the worst days, soldiers say they feel like they are living a chapter of "Catch_22." The wounded manage other wounded. Soldiers dealing with psychological disorders of their own have been put in charge of others at risk of suicide.

Disengaged clerks, unqualified platoon sergeants and overworked case managers fumble with simple needs: feeding soldiers' families who are close to poverty, replacing a uniform ripped off by medics in the desert sand or helping a brain_damaged soldier remember his next appointment.

"We've done our duty. We fought the war. We came home wounded. Fine. But whoever the people are back here who are supposed to give us the easy transition should be doing it," said Marine Sgt. Ryan Groves, 26, an amputee who lived at Walter Reed for 16 months. "We don't know what to do. The people who are supposed to know don't have the answers. It's a nonstop process of stalling."

Soldiers, family members, volunteers and caregivers who have tried to fix the system say each mishap seems trivial by itself, but the cumulative effect wears down the spirits of the wounded and can stall their recovery.

"It creates resentment and disenfranchisement," said Joe Wilson, a clinical social worker at Walter Reed. "These soldiers will withdraw and stay in their rooms. They will actively avoid the very treatment and services that are meant to be helpful."

Danny Soto, a national service officer for Disabled American Veterans who helps dozens of wounded service members each week at Walter Reed, said soldiers "get awesome medical care and their lives are being saved," but, "Then they get into the administrative part of it and they are like, 'You saved me for what?' The soldiers feel like they are not getting proper respect. This leads to anger."

This world is invisible to outsiders. Walter Reed occasionally showcases the heroism of these wounded soldiers and emphasizes that all is well under the circumstances. President Bush, former defense secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and members of Congress have promised the best care during their regular visits to the hospital's spit_polished amputee unit, Ward 57.

"We owe them all we can give them," Bush said during his last visit, a few days before Christmas. "Not only for when they're in harm's way, but when they come home to help them adjust if they have wounds, or help them adjust after their time in service."

Along with the government promises, the American public, determined not to repeat the divisive Vietnam experience, has embraced the soldiers even as the war grows more controversial at home. Walter Reed is awash in the generosity of volunteers, businesses and celebrities who donate money, plane tickets, telephone cards and steak dinners.

Yet at a deeper level, the soldiers say they feel alone and frustrated. Seventy_five percent of the troops polled by Walter Reed last March said their experience was "stressful." Suicide attempts and unintentional overdoses from prescription drugs and alcohol, which is sold on post, are part of the narrative here.

Vera Heron spent 15 frustrating months living on post to help care for her son. "It just absolutely took forever to get anything done," Heron said. "They do the paperwork, they lose the paperwork. Then they have to redo the paperwork. You are talking about guys and girls whose lives are disrupted for the rest of their lives, and they don't put any priority on it."

Family members who speak only Spanish have had to rely on Salvadoran housekeepers, a Cuban bus driver, the Panamanian bartender and a Mexican floor cleaner for help. Walter Reed maintains a list of bilingual staffers, but they are rarely called on, according to soldiers and families and Walter Reed staff members.

Evis Morales's severely wounded son was transferred to the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda for surgery shortly after she arrived at Walter Reed. She had checked into her government_paid room on post, but she slept in the lobby of the Bethesda hospital for two weeks because no one told her there is a free shuttle between the two facilities. "They just let me off the bus and said 'Bye_bye,' " recalled Morales, a Puerto Rico resident.

Morales found help after she ran out of money, when she called a hotline number and a Spanish_speaking operator happened to answer.

"If they can have Spanish_speaking recruits to convince my son to go into the Army, why can't they have Spanish_speaking translators when he's injured?" Morales asked. "It's so confusing, so disorienting."

Soldiers, wives, mothers, social workers and the heads of volunteer organizations have complained repeatedly to the military command about what one called "The Handbook No One Gets" that would explain life as an outpatient. Most soldiers polled in the March survey said they got their information from friends. Only 12 percent said any Army literature had been helpful.

"They've been behind from Day One," said Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (R_Va.), who headed the House Government Reform Committee, which investigated problems at Walter Reed and other Army facilities. "Even the stuff they've fixed has only been patched."

Among the public, Davis said, "there's vast appreciation for soldiers, but there's a lack of focus on what happens to them" when they return. "It's awful."

Maj. Gen. George W. Weightman, commander at Walter Reed, said in an interview last week that a major reason outpatients stay so long, a change from the days when injured soldiers were discharged as quickly as possible, is that the Army wants to be able to hang on to as many soldiers as it can, "because this is the first time this country has fought a war for so long with an all_volunteer force since the Revolution."

Acknowledging the problems with outpatient care, Weightman said Walter Reed has taken steps over the past year to improve conditions for the outpatient army, which at its peak in summer 2005 numbered nearly 900, not to mention the hundreds of family members who come to care for them. One platoon sergeant used to be in charge of 125 patients; now each one manages 30. Platoon sergeants with psychological problems are more carefully screened. And officials have increased the numbers of case managers and patient advocates to help with the complex disability benefit process, which Weightman called "one of the biggest sources of delay."

And to help steer the wounded and their families through the complicated bureaucracy, Weightman said, Walter Reed has recently begun holding twice_weekly informational meetings. "We felt we were pushing information out before, but the reality is, it was overwhelming," he said. "Is it fail_proof? No. But we've put more resources on it."

He said a 21,500_troop increase in Iraq has Walter Reed bracing for "potentially a lot more" casualties.

Bureaucratic Battles

The best known of the Army's medical centers, Walter Reed opened in 1909 with 10 patients. It has treated the wounded from every war since, and nearly one of every four service members injured in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The outpatients are assigned to one of five buildings attached to the post, including Building 18, just across from the front gates on Georgia Avenue. To accommodate the overflow, some are sent to nearby hotels and apartments. Living conditions range from the disrepair of Building 18 to the relative elegance of Mologne House, a hotel that opened on the post in 1998, when the typical guest was a visiting family member or a retiree on vacation.

The Pentagon has announced plans to close Walter Reed by 2011, but that hasn't stopped the flow of casualties. Three times a week, school buses painted white and fitted with stretchers and blackened windows stream down Georgia Avenue. Sirens blaring, they deliver soldiers groggy from a pain_relief cocktail at the end of their long trip from Iraq via Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany and Andrews Air Force Base.

Staff Sgt. John Daniel Shannon, 43, came in on one of those buses in November 2004 and spent several weeks on the fifth floor of Walter Reed's hospital. His eye and skull were shattered by an AK_47 round. His odyssey in the Other Walter Reed has lasted more than two years, but it began when someone handed him a map of the grounds and told him to find his room across post.

A reconnaissance and land_navigation expert, Shannon was so disoriented that he couldn't even find north. Holding the map, he stumbled around outside the hospital, sliding against walls and trying to keep himself upright, he said. He asked anyone he found for directions.

Shannon had led the 2nd Infantry Division's Ghost Recon Platoon until he was felled in a gun battle in Ramadi. He liked the solitary work of a sniper; "Lone Wolf" was his call name. But he did not expect to be left alone by the Army after such serious surgery and a diagnosis of post_traumatic stress disorder. He had appointments during his first two weeks as an outpatient, then nothing.

"I thought, 'Shouldn't they contact me?' " he said. "I didn't understand the paperwork. I'd start calling phone numbers, asking if I had appointments. I finally ran across someone who said: 'I'm your case manager. Where have you been?'

"Well, I've been here! Jeez Louise, people, I'm your hospital patient!"

Like Shannon, many soldiers with impaired memory from brain injuries sat for weeks with no appointments and no help from the staff to arrange them. Many disappeared even longer. Some simply left for home.

One outpatient, a 57_year_old staff sergeant who had a heart attack in Afghanistan, was given 200 rooms to supervise at the end of 2005. He quickly discovered that some outpatients had left the post months earlier and would check in by phone. "We called them 'call_in patients,' " said Staff Sgt. Mike McCauley, whose dormant PTSD from Vietnam was triggered by what he saw on the job: so many young and wounded, and three bodies being carried from the hospital.

Life beyond the hospital bed is a frustrating mountain of paperwork. The typical soldier is required to file 22 documents with eight different commands __ most of them off_post __ to enter and exit the medical processing world, according to government investigators. Sixteen different information systems are used to process the forms, but few of them can communicate with one another. The Army's three personnel databases cannot read each other's files and can't interact with the separate pay system or the medical recordkeeping databases.

The disappearance of necessary forms and records is the most common reason soldiers languish at Walter Reed longer than they should, according to soldiers, family members and staffers. Sometimes the Army has no record that a soldier even served in Iraq. A combat medic who did three tours had to bring in letters and photos of herself in Iraq to show she that had been there, after a clerk couldn't find a record of her service.

Shannon, who wears an eye patch and a visible skull implant, said he had to prove he had served in Iraq when he tried to get a free uniform to replace the bloody one left behind on a medic's stretcher. When he finally tracked down the supply clerk, he discovered the problem: His name was mistakenly left off the "GWOT list" __ the list of "Global War on Terrorism" patients with priority funding from the Defense Department.

He brought his Purple Heart to the clerk to prove he was in Iraq.

Lost paperwork for new uniforms has forced some soldiers to attend their own Purple Heart ceremonies and the official birthday party for the Army in gym clothes, only to be chewed out by superiors.

The Army has tried to re_create the organization of a typical military unit at Walter Reed. Soldiers are assigned to one of two companies while they are outpatients __ the Medical Holding Company (Medhold) for active_duty soldiers and the Medical Holdover Company for Reserve and National Guard soldiers. The companies are broken into platoons that are led by platoon sergeants, the Army equivalent of a parent.

Under normal circumstances, good sergeants know everything about the soldiers under their charge: vices and talents, moods and bad habits, even family stresses.

At Walter Reed, however, outpatients have been drafted to serve as platoon sergeants and have struggled with their responsibilities. Sgt. David Thomas, a 42_year_old amputee with the Tennessee National Guard, said his platoon sergeant couldn't remember his name. "We wondered if he had mental problems," Thomas said. "Sometimes I'd wear my leg, other times I'd take my wheelchair. He would think I was a different person. We thought, 'My God, has this man lost it?' "

Civilian care coordinators and case managers are supposed to track injured soldiers and help them with appointments, but government investigators and soldiers complain that they are poorly trained and often do not understand the system.

One amputee, a senior enlisted man who asked not to be identified because he is back on active duty, said he received orders to report to a base in Germany as he sat drooling in his wheelchair in a haze of medication. "I went to Medhold many times in my wheelchair to fix it, but no one there could help me," he said.

Finally, his wife met an aide to then_Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz, who got the erroneous paperwork corrected with one phone call. When the aide called with the news, he told the soldier, "They don't even know you exist."

"They didn't know who I was or where I was," the soldier said. "And I was in contact with my platoon sergeant every day."

The lack of accountability weighed on Shannon. He hated the isolation of the younger troops. The Army's failure to account for them each day wore on him. When a 19_year_old soldier down the hall died, Shannon knew he had to take action.

The soldier, Cpl. Jeremy Harper, returned from Iraq with PTSD after seeing three buddies die. He kept his room dark, refused his combat medals and always seemed heavily medicated, said people who knew him. According to his mother, Harper was drunkenly wandering the lobby of the Mologne House on New Year's Eve 2004, looking for a ride home to West Virginia. The next morning he was found dead in his room. An autopsy showed alcohol poisoning, she said.

"I can't understand how they could have let kids under the age of 21 have liquor," said Victoria Harper, crying. "He was supposed to be right there at Walter Reed hospital. . . . I feel that they didn't take care of him or watch him as close as they should have."

The Army posthumously awarded Harper a Bronze Star for his actions in Iraq.

Shannon viewed Harper's death as symptomatic of a larger tragedy __ the Army had broken its covenant with its troops. "Somebody didn't take care of him," he would later say. "It makes me want to cry. "

Shannon and another soldier decided to keep tabs on the brain injury ward. "I'm a staff sergeant in the U.S. Army, and I take care of people," he said. The two soldiers walked the ward every day with a list of names. If a name dropped off the large white board at the nurses' station, Shannon would hound the nurses to check their files and figure out where the soldier had gone.

Sometimes the patients had been transferred to another hospital. If they had been released to one of the residences on post, Shannon and his buddy would pester the front desk managers to make sure the new charges were indeed there. "But two out of 10, when I asked where they were, they'd just say, 'They're gone,' " Shannon said.

Even after Weightman and his commanders instituted new measures to keep better track of soldiers, two young men left post one night in November and died in a high_speed car crash in Virginia. The driver was supposed to be restricted to Walter Reed because he had tested positive for illegal drugs, Weightman said.

Part of the tension at Walter Reed comes from a setting that is both military and medical. Marine Sgt. Ryan Groves, the squad leader who lost one leg and the use of his other in a grenade attack, said his recovery was made more difficult by a Marine liaison officer who had never seen combat but dogged him about having his mother in his room on post. The rules allowed her to be there, but the officer said she was taking up valuable bed space.

"When you join the Marine Corps, they tell you, you can forget about your mama. 'You have no mama. We are your mama,' " Groves said. "That training works in combat. It doesn't work when you are wounded."

Frustration at Every Turn

The frustrations of an outpatient's day begin before dawn. On a dark, rain_soaked morning this winter, Sgt. Archie Benware, 53, hobbled over to his National Guard platoon office at Walter Reed. Benware had done two tours in Iraq. His head had been crushed between two 2,100_pound concrete barriers in Ramadi, and now it was dented like a tin can. His legs were stiff from knee surgery. But here he was, trying to take care of business.

At the platoon office, he scanned the white board on the wall. Six soldiers were listed as AWOL. The platoon sergeant was nowhere to be found, leaving several soldiers stranded with their requests.

Benware walked around the corner to arrange a dental appointment __ his teeth were knocked out in the accident. He was told by a case manager that another case worker, not his doctor, would have to approve the procedure.

"Goddamn it, that's unbelievable!" snapped his wife, Barb, who accompanied him because he can no longer remember all of his appointments.

Not as unbelievable as the time he received a manila envelope containing the gynecological report of a young female soldier.

Next came 7 a.m. formation, one way Walter Reed tries to keep track of hundreds of wounded. Formation is also held to maintain some discipline. Soldiers limp to the old Red Cross building in rain, ice and snow. Army regulations say they can't use umbrellas, even here. A triple amputee has mastered the art of putting on his uniform by himself and rolling in just in time. Others are so gorked out on pills that they seem on the verge of nodding off.

"Fall in!" a platoon sergeant shouted at Friday formation. The noisy room of soldiers turned silent.

An Army chaplain opened with a verse from the Bible. "Why are we here?" she asked. She talked about heroes and service to country. "We were injured in many ways."

Someone announced free tickets to hockey games, a Ravens game, a movie screening, a dinner at McCormick and Schmick's, all compliments of local businesses.

Every formation includes a safety briefing. Usually it is a warning about mixing alcohol with meds, or driving too fast, or domestic abuse. "Do not beat your spouse or children. Do not let your spouse or children beat you," a sergeant said, to laughter. This morning's briefing included a warning about black ice, a particular menace to the amputees.

Dress warm, the sergeant said. "I see some guys rolling around in their wheelchairs in 30 degrees in T_shirts."

Soldiers hate formation for its petty condescension. They gutted out a year in the desert, and now they are being treated like children.

"I'm trying to think outside the box here, maybe moving formation to Wagner Gym," the commander said, addressing concerns that formation was too far from soldiers' quarters in the cold weather. "But guess what? Those are nice wood floors. They have to be covered by a tarp. There's a tarp that's got to be rolled out over the wooden floors. Then it has to be cleaned, with 400 soldiers stepping all over it. Then it's got to be rolled up."

"Now, who thinks Wagner Gym is a good idea?"

Explaining this strange world to family members is not easy. At an orientation for new arrivals, a staff sergeant walked them through the idiosyncrasies of Army financing. He said one relative could receive a 15_day advance on the $64 per diem either in cash or as an electronic transfer: "I highly recommend that you take the cash," he said. "There's no guarantee the transfer will get to your bank." The audience yawned.

Actually, he went on, relatives can collect only 80 percent of this advance, which comes to $51.20 a day. "The cashier has no change, so we drop to $50. We give you the rest" __ the $1.20 a day __ "when you leave."

The crowd was anxious, exhausted. A child crawled on the floor. The sergeant plowed on. "You need to figure out how long your loved one is going to be an inpatient," he said, something even the doctors can't accurately predict from day to day. "Because if you sign up for the lodging advance," which is $150 a day, "and they get out the next day, you owe the government the advance back of $150 a day."

A case manager took the floor to remind everyone that soldiers are required to be in uniform most of the time, though some of the wounded are amputees or their legs are pinned together by bulky braces. "We have break_away clothing with Velcro!" she announced with a smile. "Welcome to Walter Reed!"

A Bleak Life in Building 18

"Building 18! There is a rodent infestation issue!" bellowed the commander to his troops one morning at formation. "It doesn't help when you live like a rodent! I can't believe people live like that! I was appalled by some of your rooms!"

Life in Building 18 is the bleakest homecoming for men and women whose government promised them good care in return for their sacrifices.

One case manager was so disgusted, she bought roach bombs for the rooms. Mouse traps are handed out. It doesn't help that soldiers there subsist on carry_out food because the hospital cafeteria is such a hike on cold nights. They make do with microwaves and hot plates.

Army officials say they "started an aggressive campaign to deal with the mice infestation" last October and that the problem is now at a "manageable level." They also say they will "review all outstanding work orders" in the next 30 days.

Soldiers discharged from the psychiatric ward are often assigned to Building 18. Buses and ambulances blare all night. While injured soldiers pull guard duty in the foyer, a broken garage door allows unmonitored entry from the rear. Struggling with schizophrenia, PTSD, paranoid delusional disorder and traumatic brain injury, soldiers feel especially vulnerable in that setting, just outside the post gates, on a street where drug dealers work the corner at night.

"I've been close to mortars. I've held my own pretty good," said Spec. George Romero, 25, who came back from Iraq with a psychological disorder. "But here . . . I think it has affected my ability to get over it . . . dealing with potential threats every day."

After Spec. Jeremy Duncan, 30, got out of the hospital and was assigned to Building 18, he had to navigate across the traffic of Georgia Avenue for appointments. Even after knee surgery, he had to limp back and forth on crutches and in pain. Over time, black mold invaded his room.

But Duncan would rather suffer with the mold than move to another room and share his convalescence in tight quarters with a wounded stranger. "I have mold on the walls, a hole in the shower ceiling, but . . . I don't want someone waking me up coming in."

Wilson, the clinical social worker at Walter Reed, was part of a staff team that recognized Building 18's toll on the wounded. He mapped out a plan and, in September, was given a $30,000 grant from the Commander's Initiative Account for improvements. He ordered some equipment, including a pool table and air hockey table, which have not yet arrived. A Psychiatry Department functionary held up the rest of the money because she feared that buying a lot of recreational equipment close to Christmas would trigger an audit, Wilson said.

In January, Wilson was told that the funds were no longer available and that he would have to submit a new request. "It's absurd," he said. "Seven months of work down the drain. I have nothing to show for this project. It's a great example of what we're up against."

A pool table and two flat_screen TVs were eventually donated from elsewhere.

But Wilson had had enough. Three weeks ago he turned in his resignation. "It's too difficult to get anything done with this broken_down bureaucracy," he said.

At town hall meetings, the soldiers of Building 18 keep pushing commanders to improve conditions. But some things have gotten worse. In December, a contracting dispute held up building repairs.

"I hate it," said Romero, who stays in his room all day. "There are cockroaches. The elevator doesn't work. The garage door doesn't work. Sometimes there's no heat, no water. . . . I told my platoon sergeant I want to leave. I told the town hall meeting. I talked to the doctors and medical staff. They just said you kind of got to get used to the outside world. . . . My platoon sergeant said, 'Suck it up!' "

Staff researcher Julie Tate contributed to this report.

Shame we they Robbed our Troops of armor, now CARE .

now carry on as if I were never here

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Friday, February 16, 2007

The Greenbelt: This is, after all, Now

It is now, a time when the American public should be full aware of the actions of our government, their cohorts, their black ops, and for who's greater good this dark alignment serves.

100 billion

How much to fund the twisted 'flush 'em out' approach, IRA type double-agent bait and switch, guarandamntee 'they' are aware how dirty this war is.

A shock and awe to wake the public to these truths is needed, but doubtful our corporate media will issue such, self damning evaluation. So the truth is there, where we point to with links and stories that shine a light in dark corners of our inter workings of our worlds, hidden and tangled among the pentagonal propaganda.

Chris Floyd wrote on this, Anglo-American dirty war in Iraq, operations like this 'Salvador Option' that are supported by our tax dollars that terrorize communities in order to flush those that would stand up to such manipulations of peace and order then treat revolt as terrorist activities.

another link Carolyn Barker .org.

Wonder conscientiously what will you do when you see the truth?


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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

To Replicate a Goddess such as Amaterasu

Holidays about love , about foundations in life and presidents, reflect considerable differences as practiced in different cultures.

In Japan traditionally the females presents the chocolates to the male, and their National Foundation Day has morphed into Foundation Day or Freedom of Faith Day for the 'Christian' parts of today's Japan.

It took an atomic bomb to kill the Goddess' reign over the people of Japan, the illustrative moan of humiliation this mortal task of excepting the reality of being only human.

The lessons of the shame of prescribing genocide on another nation should never be forgotten. At the same time, to sit in judgment of a part of society and its differences as faults. It took a collective agreement the actions taken, a divine death or replication as his mortal self lived on when the emperor was forced to renounce his claim divinity. Allowing in the new constitution freedom of conscience and religious freedoms, preventing as well as reassuring a clear division from governmental guided by divine entity from two thousand six hundred and some years ago. Amaterasu was dethroned in 1946, it took an atomic bomb, she lived approximately 1500 years from 660 BC to 1946, as some celebrate still her enthroning in honoring Foundation Day or celebrate her dethroning in honoring Freedom of Faith Day.

It illustrates as it should this profound lesson, the tragic ones along with the finer structures this society based its foundations and form of government that lead this long pretense of being of such a being, super naturally powered form a collective of a certain faith in a certain deity, Amaterasu. Just as I wonder why this seems so ironic, the exact same iconic ironic ism that frustrates those who express 'getting nowhere' reaction to the church and state arguments, to highlight one example and my own post Oh yes that always.

Culture could have no better mirror, but our attention that peace has prescribed for our efforts and time, I beg a moment is all it takes to ponder such as ironic-isms. I followed this examining if I should take also the name Spartacus, the Edwards Bad Girls of the Blogosphere where a mer word, tolerance was so turned and flipped on it's very definition by Donahue. I found history of another, who's claim to divinity may have been it's greatest fault, like a cracked foundation from the start.

This illustrates for those reading the revisionist version of our own national founding in interpretation the arguments that wondered through the authors to our constitution so many fine men before so honored. Those believing as if history of man and history of a deity to be of little difference a reality where quotes are reassigned to fit the myth, and others are forgotten to weaken an opposing opinion.

So am I Spartacus

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Sunday, February 11, 2007

Oh yes that always

Seems this is one constant we should continue, as key.
from Joan Chittister's article "Oh no, not that again", America's approach vs Europe she says of the question "What is the place of religion in U.S. politics?". Continues on very well, reasonable reasons as to why this is and should be treated as an 'Oh no, not again". Or should it?
"Interestingly enough, the country founded to provide freedom of religion for all its citizens, to protect the church from repression by the state, to outlaw the very idea of an establishment church that had been the ruination of so much of Europe, the country that set out to erect a wall between church and state, is the country that today struggles with the issue most of all." read it
Watada mistrial or attempt to stop the military's response if held to the task of weighing the justice in war. Just as individuals build moral compass, more so should a collective, especially an army with the power to protect or destroy. Like a god.
US IS provoking a new nuclear arms race, that statement needs to be read and heard, around our local media. It means jobs, local jobs as it does for other communities as it does for folks around here. The danger in me speaking about it, the dangerous reasons for why it is not worth it. Leaves you to wonder, where's the bigger story, and there is.

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Thursday, February 08, 2007

Going over to shakes' place, there is a battle on

Carry on, the battle is as foreseen and as spoken in prophecy, hold to your principals, moral and ethical selves they so desire to muff. Edwards should keep the brave soldiers of the culture wars, we need more willing to stand up to oppression whatever form it might reveal its scary self as.

Catholics slam bloggers hired by Edwards for pro-gay, pro-choice posts

Two bloggers hired recently by Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards were criticized Tuesday by a Catholic group for posts they had written elsewhere on the Internet. Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, demanded that Edwards fire Amanda Marcotte and Melissa McEwan.

'Civil rights' I suppose free speech, free thought as such is not rights Catholics feel anyone should have. Sense it's ugly face introduced it's self in faith based federal funding, it seems to me it is more the government as what is now-a-days, is holding faith's to their task of providing to the communities they pilfer. Now that feels different as different as awards is to incentives, do churches and religions really want to answer to big brother?

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Friday, February 02, 2007

Carrot's in your view

follow this poll for impeachment, I repeat For Impeachment . . . . and cake you say;
Impeachment by the People
By Howard Zinn
The Progressive, February 2007 Issue
Family Research Council and American Family Association defaming efforts only exposed their miss call, again. AMERICAblog: has it all the entire choral.
In the coming days, The Nation will continue to add entries to this series of tributes to Molly Ivins, a writer of passion and principle and longtime friend of the magazine. guide thegreenbelt

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Pentagon minimizing Iraq casualty rate

Molly Ivans Stand Up Against the Surge

Final column: Iraq

"Every single day, every single one of us needs to step outside and take some action to help stop this war. Raise hell. Think of something to make the ridiculous look ridiculous. Make our troops know we're for them, and that's why we're trying to get them out of there. Hit the streets. Bang pots and pans. Demand, 'Stop it, now!' "

Officially, more than 23,000 U.S. troops have been wounded in combat in Iraq. But more than double that number have fallen ill or been injured in what the Pentagon considers "non-hostile" action, a way of counting that critics say hides the war's full toll. If the Pentagon also counted soldiers who were hurt in crashes or circumstances not directly involving skirmishes with the enemy, and those so sick that they required air transport, the figure would come to about 50,000, the Pentagon's own figures show.

Either figure represents a historically high injury rate for Americans in any war, although both also are testament to the fact that military medical care is better than ever and saves more lives. . . But which figure of the wounded accurately reflects the war's human cost?. . .

Stephen Robinson, a Washington-based veterans advocate and former Army officer, said the Pentagon purposely misleads the public with its counting methods. For example, he said, the Pentagon has not counted some injuries from chain-reaction crashes as combat-related, even when the crashes resulted from an insurgent's attack on another vehicle in a convoy. By counting them as motor-vehicle accidents, Robinson said, the Pentagon avoids adding injuries to the war's combat toll. . .

A Pentagon spokesman, responding via e-mail, provided a list of injury classifications but did not respond to questions about crashes such as those cited by Robinson.

Harvard researcher Linda Bilmes, who with Nobel economics laureate Joseph Stiglitz has done research on the cost of the war, insists the 50,000-wounded figure is the most accurate. That's a ratio of 16 wounded service member for every death. "That's the highest killed-to-wounded ratio in U.S. history," she said in a research paper this month.



October 25, 2006
A small group of active-duty military members opposed to the war have created a Web site intended to collect thousands of signatures of other service members. People can submit their name, rank and duty station if they support statements denouncing the American invasion. "Staying in Iraq will not work and is not worth the price," the Web site,, says. "It is time for U.S. troops to come home." The electronic grievances will be passed along to members of Congress, according to the Web site. Jonathan Hutto, a Navy seaman based in Norfolk, Va., who set up the Web site a month ago, said the group had collected 118 names and was trying to verify that they were legitimate service members.

Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company

Global warning


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