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unhappycamper

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Member since: Wed Mar 16, 2005, 10:12 AM
Number of posts: 60,364

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Two top Veterans Affairs officials leaving jobs

http://hamptonroads.com/2014/06/two-top-veterans-affairs-officials-leaving-jobs

Two top Veterans Affairs officials leaving jobs
By Alan Fram
The Associated Press
© June 25, 2014

WASHINGTON

Two top Department of Veterans Affairs officials are stepping down, the beleaguered agency announced Wednesday as it continued reeling from complaints that thousands of veterans across the country have endured long waits for appointments and allegations of poor medical care.

The agency said in a written statement that Will A. Gunn is resigning as general counsel. Also leaving a top post is Dr. Robert L. Jesse, who has been acting undersecretary for health.

The statement said the changes were "aimed at accelerating veterans' access to quality health care and rebuilding the trust of America's veterans."

Acting VA Secretary Sloan Gibson made the moves less than a month after he replaced Eric Shinseki as head of the agency. Shinseki resigned May 30 after apologizing for the agency's problems.
Posted by unhappycamper | Thu Jun 26, 2014, 08:37 AM (0 replies)

Veterans' health bill stumbling block is budget

http://hamptonroads.com/2014/06/veterans-health-bill-stumbling-block-budget

Veterans' health bill stumbling block is budget
By Derek Wallbank and James Rowley, Bloomberg News
© June 26, 2014

WASHINGTON

House and Senate lawmakers began negotiations Tuesday on the central question holding up legislation to reduce waiting times at U.S. Veterans Affairs hospitals — how to pay for it.

Republicans say they want increased spending to be offset by reductions elsewhere in the budget, while the Democratic- controlled Senate's bill provides emergency funds that don't have to be financed with other cuts. Lawmakers also are having sticker shock following estimates that the measures would cost $35 billion to $44 billion over the next five years.

"War, as everyone here knows, is a very expensive proposition — in terms of human life, human suffering and in financial terms," Senate Veterans Affairs Chairman Bernie Sanders said as the conferees met.

"If we are not prepared to take care of those men and women who went to war, then we shouldn't send them to war in the first place," said Sanders, a Vermont independent. "Taking care of veterans is a cost of war, period."
Posted by unhappycamper | Thu Jun 26, 2014, 08:35 AM (2 replies)

(WA) Insurance regulator Kreidler wants health policies to stop excluding treatments for transgender

http://www.thenewstribune.com/2014/06/25/3261305/insurance-regulator-kreidlder.html?sp=/99/296/



Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler

Insurance regulator Kreidler wants health policies to stop excluding treatments for transgender people
By Brad Shannon
Staff writer
June 25, 2014

State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler sent a letter to Washington health insurers Wednesday urging them to cover medical services needed by transgender people. In a news release, he said that insurers covering medically necessary services cannot deny those services based on a patient’s gender status or identity.

The independently elected commissioner indicated that future regulations could be drawn up if insurers do not comply. The letter addresses transition services for transgender people that are availaeble to others - such as hormone therapy, counseling, mastectomies, breast augmentation and breast reconstruction.

“Transgender people are entitled to the same access to health care as everyone else,” Kreidler said in the release. “Whether specific services are considered medically necessary should be up to the provider to decide on behalf of their patient.”

The move follows efforts by the state Health Care Authority to ensure coverage for transgender state employees needing treatments by 2016. Medicare also acted last month to end a practice of automatically denying coverage of gender reassignment surgery and other services, and HCA is also reviewing requirements in the Medicaid program it manages for those who are poor. Kreidler said that decisions to deny coverage based on gender identity alone violate the state’s 2006 non-discrimination law as well as the federal Affordable Care Act.
Posted by unhappycamper | Thu Jun 26, 2014, 07:03 AM (0 replies)

Oklahoma residents seek answers on quakes

http://www.thenewstribune.com/2014/06/25/3262119/oklahoma-residents-seek-answers.html?sp=/99/261/



Signs on a locked gate show the number of operating wells at an XTO Energy Inc site, Saturday, June 21, 2014, in Azle, Texas. Earthquakes used to be unheard of on the vast stretches of prairie that unroll across Texas and Oklahoma. But in recent years, temblors have become commonplace. Oklahoma recorded 145 of them just between January and the start of May.

Oklahoma residents seek answers on quakes
By EMILY SCHMALL and KRISTI EATON
The Associated Press
June 25, 2014 Updated 15 minutes ago

OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma residents whose homes and nerves have been shaken by an upsurge in earthquakes want know what's causing the temblors — and what can be done to stop them.

Hundreds of people are expected to turn out in Edmond, Oklahoma, on Thursday night for a town hall meeting on the issue.

Earthquakes used to be almost unheard of on the vast stretches of prairie that unfold across Texas, Kansas and Oklahoma, but they've become common in recent years.

Oklahoma recorded nearly 150 between January and the start of May. Though most have been too weak to cause serious damage or endanger lives, they've raised suspicions that the shaking might be connected to the oil and gas drilling method known as hydraulic fracturing, especially the wells in which the industry disposes of its wastewater.
Posted by unhappycamper | Thu Jun 26, 2014, 06:54 AM (4 replies)

Warning: The virtues of the egalitarian internet are standing in the way of higher corporate profits

http://www.opednews.com/articles/Warning-The-virtues-of-th-by-Jim-Hightower-Comcast_Corporate-Crime_Corporate-Profits_Internet-Cybercrimes-140625-501.html



Telecom giants aim to dictate what can go through their wires and on what terms

Warning: The virtues of the egalitarian internet are standing in the way of higher corporate profits!
By Jim Hightower
OpEdNews Op Eds 6/25/2014 at 21:15:30

Imagine my surprise when Robert Marcus, COO of Time Warner Cable, reached out to me in March. I don't get a lot of personal communiques from Fortune 500 chieftains, so I perked up when Bob indicated he had a piece of hot, inside-the-corporation news that he felt I should know about. "Dear Valued Customer," his letter began, reflecting that corporate warmth and camaraderie I feel when I phone TWC's service center and am told -- again and again... and again--to please hold, for "Your call is important to us."

Bob's big news was this: "Time Warner) plans to merge with Comcast, forming an industry-leading technology and media company dedicated to delivering great customer experiences." And, of course, I was totally stoked when he added this punch line: "Above all, this merger will benefit you, our customers."

Only then did I notice that my monthly bill was attached to Bob's joyous missive. It showed, with no explanation, that he had chosen that very month to hike my cable payment by $4.92! How great is that for a customer experience?

Marcus concluded with a line meant to be reassuring, but it struck me as ominous: "We are very excited about the promise of this combination for you, our customers." Sure they're excited, for they know that this deal promises to put us high-speed internet and cable TV customers at their mercy. They're erecting a colossal telecom combo that will have overbearing power to gouge us on prices and short us on services.
Posted by unhappycamper | Thu Jun 26, 2014, 06:25 AM (1 replies)

New York sues Barclays for fraud over ‘dark pool’ trading

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/06/25/new-york-sues-barclays-for-fraud-over-dark-pool-trading/



New York sues Barclays for fraud over ‘dark pool’ trading
By Agence France-Presse
Wednesday, June 25, 2014 19:30 EDT

New York (AFP) – New York prosecutors sued British bank Barclays for fraud Wednesday, saying it ran a “dark pool” securities trading operation to the benefit of “predatory” high-frequency traders.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said Barclays promised clients that it would protect them from aggressive high-speed trading firms in the dark pools but at the same time took steps that benefited these firms.

“The facts alleged in our complaint show that Barclays demonstrated a disturbing disregard for its investors in a systematic pattern of fraud and deceit,” said Schneiderman.

“Barclays grew its dark pool by telling investors they were diving into safe waters. According to the lawsuit, Barclays’ dark pool was full of predators — there at Barclays’ invitation.”

--

This is right out of "Flash Boys".
Posted by unhappycamper | Thu Jun 26, 2014, 04:24 AM (0 replies)

Asiana Airlines flight 214 crash caused by Boeing planes being 'overly complicated'

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/asiana-airlines-flight-214-crash-caused-by-boeing-planes-being-overly-complicated-9562331.html



Safety board calls for Boeing to 'develop and evaluate' the way its fleet's control systems are automated

Asiana Airlines flight 214 crash caused by Boeing planes being 'overly complicated'
Adam Withnall
Wednesday 25 June 2014

The probe into the fatal crash of Asiana Airlines flight 214 on its landing in San Francisco last year has concluded that the Boeing 777’s overly complex control systems were partially to blame.

US investigators called on the manufacturer to make changes to the increasingly complicated automated controls which, they claimed, pilots no longer “fully understand”.

The inquiry into the crash, which killed three Chinese teenagers and injured nearly 200 people, was concluded yesterday by the US National Transportation Safety Board.

But the board was far from exonerating the Asiana pilots over their involvement in the accident.

Acting chairman Chris Hart said that, between them, the three veteran pilots were found to have committed between 20 and 30 errors in their final approach to San Francisco International – varying from minor to highly significant.
Posted by unhappycamper | Wed Jun 25, 2014, 07:46 AM (3 replies)

From the My Lai Massacre to Abu Ghraib Prison!

http://watchingamerica.com/News/241111/from-the-my-lai-massacre-to-abu-ghraib-prison/

The Abu Ghraib scandal, with its ethical, humanitarian and legal symbolism, was the beginning of the end for the American occupation of Iraq.

From the My Lai Massacre to Abu Ghraib Prison!
Sot al-Iraq, Iraq
By Dr. Abdul Hussein Shaaban
Translated By http://www.sotaliraq.com/mobile-item.php?id=160749#axzz33jReu7Dc
4 June 2014
Edited by Kyrstie Lane

Seymour Hersh is one of the most renowned investigative journalists. He exposed the Abu Ghraib prison scandal. The world was shocked by the report he published and the accompanying pictures, which showed naked prisoners being degraded and led around on a rope by a female American soldier. Did Washington learn a lesson from what happened? Did the world wake up and put a stop to this disgraceful phenomenon? Even though the international community decreed in 1948 in Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that “no one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment,” the phenomenon is still occurring. Later, in 1984, the Convention Against Torture determined that perpetrators of the crime of torture can be prosecuted irrespective of the location or history of its occurrence.

On the tenth anniversary of Abu Ghraib, Seymour Hersh, who previously exposed the American army’s My Lai massacre in 1979 and who has won numerous notable prizes, said that “there were naked Iraqi prisoners being sexually degraded, tortured and led around one after another like dogs. Beside them were American soldiers delightedly taking pictures.”*

Those pictures spread around the world on a staggering level, provoking a vigorous debate first over the crime of launching a war against and occupying Iraq without so-called “international legitimacy,” and then over the war crimes perpetrated, including inhumane exterminations (especially of civilians), in contravention of the 1949 Geneva Convention and the protocols added to it in 1977.

The Abu Ghraib scandal, with its ethical, humanitarian and legal symbolism, was the beginning of the end for the American occupation of Iraq. Matters were made worse by the material losses and moral blow sustained by the United States and its reputation: The Pentagon recorded more than 4,800 dead and 26,000 wounded (figures that don’t include the personnel of contracted parties, security companies and mercenaries) and more than $2 trillion spent. These losses, along with the financial crisis in the United States and around the world, amplified and rendered more influential the push in public opinion for withdrawal from Iraq.

--

The My Lai massacre is the reason I NEVER wear my Americal patch.

For those of you younger than 40:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/My_lai

My Lai Massacre
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This article is about the massacre. For the hamlet called Mỹ Lai, see Sơn Mỹ. For the documentary, see My Lai (film).

Coordinates: 15°10′42″N 108°52′10″E
Location: Son My village, Sơn Tịnh District of South Vietnam
Date: March 16, 1968
Target: My Lai 4 and My Khe 4 hamlets
Attack type: Massacre
Deaths: 347 according to the United States Army (not including My Khe killings), others estimate more than 400 killed and injuries are unknown, Vietnamese government lists 504 killed in total from both My Lai and My Khe
Perpetrators: Task force from the United States Army Americal Division

Massacres of the Vietnam War

Châu Đốc
Tây Vinh
Gò Dài
Binh Tai
Tinh Son
Bình Hòa
Đắk Sơn
Huế
Phong Nhị and Phong Nhất
Hà My
My Lai
Thạnh Phong
Duc Duc
Vinh Xuan

The Mỹ Lai Massacre (Vietnamese: thảm sát Mỹ Lai [tʰɐ̃ːm ʂɐ̌ːt mǐˀ lɐːj], [mǐˀlɐːj] ( listen); /ˌmiːˈlaɪ/, /ˌmiːˈleɪ/, or /ˌmaɪˈlaɪ/)[1] was the Vietnam War mass murder of between 347 and 504 unarmed civilians in South Vietnam on March 16, 1968. It was committed by U.S. Army soldiers from the Company C of the 1st Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, 11th Brigade of the 23rd (Americal) Infantry Division. Victims included men, women, children, and infants. Some of the women were gang-raped and their bodies mutilated.[2][3] Twenty six soldiers were charged with criminal offenses, but only Lieutenant William Calley Jr., a platoon leader in C Company, was convicted. Found guilty of killing 22 villagers, he was originally given a life sentence, but served only three and a half years under house arrest.

The massacre, which was later called "the most shocking episode of the Vietnam War",[4] took place in two hamlets of Son My village in Sơn Tịnh District of Quảng Ngãi Province on the South Central Coast of the South China Sea, 100 miles south of Da Nang and several miles north of Quảng Ngãi city east of Highway 1.[5] These hamlets were marked on the U.S. Army topographic maps as My Lai and My Khe.[6] The U.S. military codeword for the alleged Viet Cong stronghold in that area was Pinkville,[7] and the carnage became known as the Pinkville Massacre first.[8][9] Next, when the U.S. Army started its investigation, the media changed it to the Massacre at Songmy.[10] Currently, the event is referred to as the My Lai Massacre in America and called the Son My Massacre in Vietnam.

The incident prompted global outrage when it became public knowledge in November 1969. The My Lai massacre increased to some extent[11] domestic opposition to the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War when the scope of killing and cover-up attempts were exposed. Initially, three U.S. servicemen who had tried to halt the massacre and rescue the hiding civilians were shunned, and even denounced as traitors by several U.S. Congressmen, including Mendel Rivers, Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. Only thirty years later they were recognized and decorated, one posthumously, by the U.S. Army for shielding non-combatants from harm in a war zone.[12]
Posted by unhappycamper | Wed Jun 25, 2014, 06:47 AM (0 replies)

Iraq Crisis: It’s the Oil, Stupid!

http://www.juancole.com/2014/06/iraq-crisis-stupid.html

Iraq Crisis: It’s the Oil, Stupid!
By contributors | Jun. 25, 2014
By Michael Schwartz via Tomdispatch

Events in Iraq are headline news everywhere, and once again, there is no mention of the issue that underlies much of the violence: control of Iraqi oil. Instead, the media is flooded with debate about, horror over, and extensive analysis of a not-exactly-brand-new terrorist threat, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). There are, in addition, elaborate discussions about the possibility of a civil war that threatens both a new round of ethnic cleansing and the collapse of the embattled government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

Underway are, in fact, “a series of urban revolts against the government,” as Middle Eastern expert Juan Cole has called them. They are currently restricted to Sunni areas of the country and have a distinctly sectarian character, which is why groups like ISIS can thrive and even take a leadership role in various locales. These revolts have, however, neither been created nor are they controlled by ISIS and its several thousand fighters. They also involve former Baathists and Saddam Hussein loyalists, tribal militias, and many others. And at least in incipient form they may not, in the end, be restricted to Sunni areas. As the New York Times reported last week, the oil industry is “worried that the unrest could spread” to the southern Shia-dominated city of Basra, where “Iraq’s main oil fields and export facilities are clustered.”

Under the seething ocean of Sunni discontent lies a factor that is being ignored. The insurgents are not only in a struggle against what they see as oppression by a largely Shiite government in Baghdad and its security forces, but also over who will control and benefit from what Maliki — speaking for most of his constituents — told the Wall Street Journal is Iraq’s “national patrimony.”

~snip~

These pluses all flowed from a single source: the 2.5 million barrels of oil that Iraq produced each day. The daily income from the sale of the “national patrimony” undergirded the country’s economic superstructure. In fact, the oil-based government budget was so ample that it supported Hussein with multiple palaces, enriched all his relatives and allies, and financed his various wars, both on other countries and on Iraq’s Kurds and Shiites.
Posted by unhappycamper | Wed Jun 25, 2014, 05:46 AM (0 replies)

Iraq in last Throes as Kurdistan Seeks Independence, Syria & Iran intervene

http://www.juancole.com/2014/06/kurdistan-independence-intervene.html

Iraq in last Throes as Kurdistan Seeks Independence, Syria & Iran intervene
By Juan Cole | Jun. 25, 2014

Former Vice President and unindicted felon Richard Bruce Cheney (they always give the criminals’ names that way, in full) once said that he was sure that the Sunni Arab resistance to the US in Iraq was in its last throes. Nobody in his own administration agreed with him then, and this allegation is one I think we can safely add to the extensive lists of things he has been dead wrong about. ( At the time, I explained what ‘last throes” are, here.

Now, precisely because Iraq’s Sunni Arabs won’t put up with the new order Cheney tried to impose on the, it is the whole country of Iraq that is in its last throes.

Secretary of State John Kerry’s mission to Baghdad and Irbil appears to be a bust. He is alleged to have told the political class in Baghdad that they’d have to dump Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki if they want American aid, and that they’d have to form a government of national unity and make a place at the table for the Sunni Arabs. There is no sign that his jeremiads were taken seriously.

It is even reported that Nouri al-Maliki assured Kerry that he could form a government by the beginning of July.
Posted by unhappycamper | Wed Jun 25, 2014, 05:34 AM (1 replies)
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