Friday, September 21, 2018

Taking advantage of veterans is a crime

Denver Veterans Affairs Official Charged With Taking Bribes
By Jean Lotus, Patch Staff
Sep 20, 2018
A small business official and two vendors were accused of attempted bid-rigging on federal contracts with the VA.
DENVER, CO – A Denver-based U.S. Veterans Administration official and two business owners were arrested Wednesday as part of an investigation into bribes and bid-rigging at the VA's Colorado Network Contracting Office in Glendale.

VA official Dwane Nevins, 54, of Denver, and business associates Robert Revis, 59, and Anthony Bueno, 43, were indicted by a grand jury for allegedly paying and receiving bribes to manipulate federal contracts between September of 2014 through April of 2016, the U.S. Attorney's Office said. Nevins was also charged with trying to extort $10,000 from an undercover FBI agent posing as the owner of a service-disabled-veteran-owned small business.

The indictment alleges that Revis and Bueno, through a partnership with Nevins, created a company called Auxilious allegedly to help service-disabled veteran business owners navigate the VA's federal procurement set-aside system. Prosecutors allege the three conspired to alter and manipulate federal contracts for two medical procurements: A contract for LC bead particle embolization products for a Salt Lake City VA hospital and a contract for other medical products for VA hospitals throughout the region.
read more here

Veterans charity collects $6.5 million, still MIA
By: Steve Andrews
Posted: Sep 20, 2018
According to Campbell's own admission, VetMade Industries hasn't helped any veterans in at least 5 years, yet it's collected millions and kept its doors closed.
TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) - Tax records obtained by 8 On Your Side reveal a local charity collected more than $6.5 million to help veterans, but kept its doors closed, helping no one.

VetMade Industries received the money from generous people donating their cars to help train unemployed and disabled vets.

VetMade paid most of the money from those donations to a professional fundraiser.

Earlier this month, we disclosed that according to its tax records, VetMade Industries took in $5.5 million from 2014-2016.

IRS records from 2010 to 2013 show it took in another $1.07 million and veterans got nothing.

The sign on its door still says, "VetMade Industries is closed."

The charity's mission is to put unemployed, disabled veterans back to work.

"We do partner and have partnered with the Veterans Administration, the Office of Compensated Work Therapy Program. They're out of James Haley," VetMade founder John Campbell said.

Not according to an email from Haley Public Affairs Specialist Karen Collins, who wrote, "We don't have an existing partnership."
read more here

OMG! Virtual "reality" is they still do not get it~

A couple of things to point out here. The first one is that for most veterans, they already have the movie playing in their head while in a "safe place." Not sure how pretending they are back there again would help. There were only 75 in the research. Pretty small to be given this kind of attention, plus, not a "new" effort.

2007 Terror by degree in PTSD2008 Virtual Iraq in the New Yorker and then how only 50 patients in 3 years used it. It was also called a "boondoggle." By 2010 it turned out that Sally Satel, yes, the witchy woman, was promoting it. There are more but you get the idea now.

The thing that really jumped out at me was the part where a veteran talks about his buddy committing suicide, before he tried to do it too. He was robbed of hope with the awareness his buddy couldn't make it. He then figured he could not make it either.
Tomah VA therapists use Fort McCoy combat simulator to help veterans with PTSD
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Meg Jones
Sept. 21, 2018
The 65-day program includes nine sessions in the combat simulator as well as other group and individual therapy. Tomah VA therapists work with Fort McCoy to tailor scenarios, which can feature desert, jungle and city landscapes. Veterans are placed in four-person teams and a therapist is always with them in the simulator.

FORT McCOY – Zach Nelson texted his mother and brother goodbye in March and then swallowed what he hoped was a lethal amount of pills.

A friend of Nelson’s had recently committed suicide and the 30-year-old Iraq veteran figured “if he can’t make it, neither can I.” But his family notified police in New Auburn, where Nelson lived, and they found him before it was too late.

Nelson ended up at the Tomah VA Medical Center where, as part of his mental health therapy, he returned to the dangerous sands of Iraq on foot patrols and route clearance missions, just like the ones he experienced overseas.

This time, though, instead of battling real roadside bombs and terrorists, Nelson confronted his memories through the wonders of technology. The same technique is being practiced on other veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder as well.

Tomah VA mental health therapists are treating veterans with PTSD, depression and anxiety in a state-of-the-art combat simulator at nearby Fort McCoy. The multimillion dollar simulator features full size Humvees and weapons surrounded by a 360-degree video and audio system.
read more here

Thursday, September 20, 2018

“Heart of the LAPD Walk: We Stand Together"

'Nobody fights alone'
Angelus News
R.W. Dellinger
Sept. 20, 2018

At an LAPD event marking Suicide Prevention Month, new police chief Michel Moore opens up about the deadly threat facing officers away from the streets
LAPD Chief Michel Moore hugs Melissa Swailes, whose husband David committed suicide in 2016 after nearly 10 years on the force. (VICTOR ALEMÁN/ANGELUS)

“We pride ourselves at the Los Angeles Police Department in being a family, but sometimes we don’t take care of each other like a family,” Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michel Moore told fellow officers, civilian support staffers, and their families.

It was a little after 9 a.m., the cloudy haze almost burnt off on this September 9 Sunday morning at the department’s police academy in Elysian Park.

The city’s new chief of police and other speakers were on a raised black stage on the track ringing a grassy infield. And they were speaking before the start of “Heart of the LAPD Walk: We Stand Together,” a 5K walk in the name of suicide awareness and prevention.
“And yet we know we don’t. We train, act, and live as a team. No one fights alone. But yet why has it been in the last 20 years we’ve lost 16 officers in the line of duty but 36 to suicide?

“We have such an aversion at times asking for a backup because of what we just saw or something we’re experiencing here in the department or at home. We’ve got to talk about this as uncomfortable as some may feel. But we can do better. And I know we can,” he said.

Being a police officer in the U.S. is indeed a dangerous occupation. Last year, 129 died in the line of duty. Many more were seriously injured and disabled for life.
read more here

Same message being delivered on this site and PTSD Patrol

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Another Navy death on flight line?

Navy: Sailor was struck by propeller on carrier flight deck
KVOA 4 News Tucson
September 19, 2018

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — The U.S. Navy says a sailor who died aboard an aircraft carrier was struck by the turning propeller of a plane.

The Navy said in a statement on Wednesday that Airman Apprentice Joseph Min Naglak had just secured an E-2C Hawkeye radar plane to the flight deck. Naglak’s death occurred Monday aboard the USS George H. W. Bush while it was in the Atlantic Ocean.
read more here

And this happened in June
NORFOLK, Va. — U.S. Navy officials say a sailor who died on a helicopter flight line at a base in Virginia died by suicide.

Florida Vietnam Veteran saved by other brother

2 Vietnam veterans forever connected by life-saving kidney donation from one to the other
FOX New York
By: Bob Barnard
POSTED: SEP 18 2018
"Our blood and tissue type match is good," said Coffman. "And to me, it just is living proof that we're all part of one human family. The chances of our match -- I don't know what the odds were, but we beat them."

WASHINGTON - Two men who served in the Air Force almost 50 years ago trained together in California. After they served our country, they returned home and parted ways.

Jim McGee and Doug Coffman didn't reconnect until a recent reunion of their training class at a memorial service for one of their fellow Vietnam veterans. It was the first time the men had seen each other since 1971. That's when one of them learned the other was in urgent need of a new kidney. The operation happened Tuesday at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital.

McGee, a retired foreign service officer and former U.S. ambassador to Zimbabwe and Madagascar from Sarasota, Florida, was undergoing dialysis three times a week while waiting for a kidney donation.
read more here

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Veterans' lives depend on it

Save the VA. Veterans' lives depend on it | Opinion
By Joesph Hirsch
Jersey Journal Guest Columnist
September 18, 2018

In May of 1968 I was sent to Vietnam, where I translated intercepted communiques during the war. The horrors of war I witnessed changed me forever. Since I returned home, I have worked to end war and for social justice.
Former Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin speaks at a news conference at the Washington Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Washington last March. (AP Photo)

In Vietnam, I, like millions of Vietnamese and many other American soldiers, was exposed to Agent Orange. Decades later, the VA linked that exposure to my diabetes.

Right now there is a push to get vets out of the VA system and into the private sector medical industry. But the private sector is not prepared to care for vets. Private sector doctors do not understand the unique medical needs of vets, including war trauma, battle induced hearing loss or toxin exposure such as Agent Orange.

A recent RAND study of New York doctors showed only 16 percent asked about occupational or military exposures such as Agent Orange. The same report found just 20 percent of doctors even asked their patients if they had spent time in the military.

While I may suffer from chronic diabetes because of Agent Orange, I am one of the luckier ones. Many people exposed to Agent Orange ended with Parkinson's disease, devastating cancers or they saw their children born with birth defects.
read more here

And here are even more reasons why!

Robotic therapy moving arms again

New equipment helps people regain arm movement 
Helps veterans regain movement to disabled arms 
Our Quad Cities
By: Yukare Nakayama 
Posted: Sep 18, 2018 

DAVENPORT, Iowa - A breakthrough in robotic therapy. The Myomo orthosis is now helping those suffering from paralyzed or weakened arms and hands gain back motion.
"I just really see the excitement and hope it brings patients," says Myomo business manager, Kim Smith. The device reads nerve signals from the surface of the skin. It then activates small motors to move the arm and hand. The brace amps up the weak muscle signal to move the limb.

This device is for those who've suffered from strokes or similar disabilities. Myomo's business manager says repetition of these movements can really do wonders. "We have some patients who are able to return to work. 

It's basically the future and the hope that there is a way to restore that arm," says Smith. Myomo is targeting a specific audience, veterans. About 3.8 million veterans in the U.S are disabled. 

This device not only helps them gain function back to their elbow or their arms but also their independence. And that is something the Veteran Outreach Center in Davenport is looking forward to. read more here

Spirituality May Protect Their Mental Health

Something bigger for mind-body-spirit
Combat PTSD Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
September 18, 2018

On Forbes there is a very interesting article about mental health and spirituality. Raising Kids With Religion Or Spirituality May Protect Their Mental Health: Study
"It turned out that those who attended religious services at least once a week as children or teens were about 18% more likely to report being happier in their 20s than those who never attended services. They were also almost 30% more likely to do volunteer work and 33% less likely to use drugs in their 20s as well."
In other words, you are happier if you believe in something outside of yourself. Yep, and you are more likely to care about others too.
"But what was interesting was that it wasn’t just about how much a person went to services, but it was at least as much about how much they prayed or meditated in their own time. Those who prayed or meditated every day also had more life satisfaction, were better able to process emotions, and were more forgiving compared to those who never prayed/meditated. They were also less likely to have sex at an earlier age and to have a sexually transmitted infection."
 You are also more likely to be happier, less likely to hang onto bad feelings and anger. Notice that also stated that you do not need to be in a building to be in a place of prayer or meditation? In other words, you can do it where you are for free!
"One drawback of the new study was that although it tried to control for socioeconomic status and other confounding variables, most people in the study were white, female, and of higher socioeconomic status. The study would need to be repeated in a more diverse population to see whether the phenomenon holds for other demographics."
Some may want to point out that if you have more money and security, then you are happier and more giving. I know plenty of people with the means to do a lot of good in this world, but they are more interested in themselves than others.

This is from 2014

Don't take your life, take it back
Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
March 22, 2014

The Department of Veterans Affairs puts it this way
After a trauma or life-threatening event, it is common to have reactions such as upsetting memories of the event, increased jumpiness, or trouble sleeping. If these reactions do not go away or if they get worse, you may have Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Sometimes you may feel like a victim but you just didn't notice that you are a survivor. You are not weak. You were so strong that you were willing to risk your life for your friends and that came from the strength within you.

PTSD means you survived an event that was so traumatic your life was on the line. Anyone can change after that. When it is caused by combat, it means it wasn't just your life on the line but the lives of your friends as well.

While the events changed you, that does not mean you cannot change again. It doesn't mean you are stuck feeling lousy inside. You are not condemned to suffer, feeling sad, angry, bitter or hopeless. Help is out there the same way you were there to help your buddies survive combat.

Don't even think about taking your own life now when you can take your life back!

Every part of a warfighter went. Your body was conditioned to react to stressful situations. Your mind was trained to react in a new way. Your spirit was pushed and often crushed by what you had to see and do. Every part of you changed because of combat.

Life is full of challenges and changes because of them. Challenge yourself to discover that you have the ability to change again. Your buddies watched over you just as you watched over them when someone was trying to kill you. There is still an enemy to fight back home trying to claim victory over you and them. You used weapons in war and you need weapons now to fight PTSD. You were not alone in combat and you are not alone now.

Seek help for your mind even if that means medication. If the medication doesn't work or you are having problems with it, talk to your doctors so that they can change them until they find the right ones for you.

Seek help to teach your body how to live calmly again. It had to be trained to push on and now it needs to be trained to relax again.

Seek help to heal your spirit. After all you went through it is often hard to feel the good emotions because the bad ones are so strong. All that was good inside of you before is still in there.

PTSD can be defeated and you can take your life back.

And this is why I use Combat PTSD....

Combat PTSD Acronyms To Heal By
Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
December 14, 2013

PTSD does not mean FUBAR (short for "Fucked Up Beyond All Repair" or "Recognition." To describe impossible situations, equipment, or persons as in, "It is (or they are) totally Fubar!") even though most of what the DOD has been doing has been.

If it worked then suicides wouldn't have gone up. If it worked then we wouldn't be talking about so much suffering back home. (Hell, this blog would be pretty happy and light on posts so I could get back to working for a paycheck all the time again instead of taking temp jobs.)

What we talk about all the time isn't what everyone else sees on the news so we'll keep cutting thru the BS (bull shit) living back here in the WORLD (USA)

Start with the acronym of PTSD itself "Post Traumatic Stress Disorder" meaning "after trauma" which is actually "after wound" since trauma is Greek for "wound" and it was something that was done to you or you were exposed to. There should be no issue with this term if it was understood correctly. Replacing "disorder" as some want to do would put PTSD into something temporary instead of a lifetime disability. Changing it to I for injury would imply it will heal and go away but while you can heal PTSD, it never really goes away. With the right help you can actually come out on the other side better than the way you went into the military. What you can't heal you can learn how to adapt with.

So for them, CPTC would be the best acronym to use.

COMBAT POST TRAUMATIC CHANGE is a term I've been trying to come up with for over 30 years. (Plain and simple so if you see that term used from now on, you know where it came from.) Trauma changes everyone no matter what the cause was but hacks want to lump everyone in together as if there is no difference between a survivor of a car accident and a veteran surviving combat. A true PTSD guru not only points out the differences but the different levels as well. All PTSD are not the same! Veterans need the distinction to appropriately address what they survived and the fact they knowingly put themselves in danger for the sake of someone else. (Cops are the closest to veterans because they also deal with trauma and weapons used to do what they do but we're not talking about them on this one.) 

If you have issues with PTSD then start to use CPTC if it helps. Consider it this way. Combat changed you but that doesn't mean you cannot change again. There is nothing to be ashamed of and as a matter of fact, you are supposed to talk about it and not try to forget that part of your life.

Vietnam War Medal of Honor Hero Sammy Davis has been talking about this for years. He nailed it in this video from last year when I sat down with him and his wife Dixie. While I've known him for years, it was the first time we talked so much.
MOH Sammy Davis and Kathie Costos
Vietnam Medal of Honor Sammy Davis has a message to all the troops coming home. Talk about it! Don't try to forget it but you can make peace with it. Dixie Davis has a message for the spouses too. Help them to talk about it with you or with someone else.

 Now that you got the idea out of your head that you are supposed to just get over it, we can move onto the next part. MBS, mind-body-spirit.

Mind means talking to a shrink to be figured out. They test to see what is happening but if they are a hack and not trained for trauma, you can get a list of different diagnosis to explain what is going on. You need them for medications and they do have to play around with the meds to find what works for you. You need to talk to them and tell them if the meds are not working. The stuff hits your stomach and the chemicals shoot to your brain and your brain shoots the stuff out to the rest of your body. Meds are not the same as self-medicating and that is why drinking your 12th beer didn't work to get your adrenalin to adapt back to your civvies again.

This is only part of healing. The next part is taking care of your body. You have to train your body to become a veteran as much as you had to train it to become a flyboy, Sailor, Soldier or Marine. Well, as for Marines, they never really learn to walk right again. They keep the way they walk for the rest of their lives.

If you are physically able, martial arts, yoga, walking, swimming and a long list help teach your body to live more calmly. Make sure you do it at the same time everyday no matter how long you do it. Your body has an internal clock and will get used to what it does one day to the next and basically relearns. Just makes sure you can shut your head off when you are doing any of these. If your thoughts tend to run away, put in a pair of earbuds (unless you are swimming) and listen to calming music. It is fine to listen to whatever kind of music you like any other time of the day but this time has to be set aside for calming. Same with computer games. Don't play Call of Duty and think it is calming you down.

The spirit part is the most important of all since that is where CPTC hit you.

CSF (Comprehensive Soldier Fitness) is a bunch of BS and has done more harm than it has helped. We know that but the military has lacked the intel to figure that one out. So whatever you took from that training, forget about it. It is FUBAR to the max. Expecting you to train to become mentally stronger than what you already were is moronic. It has filled more body bags than the enemy. When suicides go up after they start something should have been a clue but there is no telling when or if they will ever figure that one out. When it comes to their ability to recon, they are pretty much Dinky Dau.

They trained you to be combat ready. Mentally and physically. What they had no part in was what you went into the military with. You courage and your compassion. It takes both to be willing to risk your life for the sake of someone else so whatever BS they fed you a steady diet of has to be flushed. That strength inside of you also opened the door for you to feel the bad stuff stronger than others did. It is not weakness of anything so telling you that you can train to be what you already were caused the emotional train wreck afterwards. This is a really good video on what is really going on with this crap.

POINT MAN: lead soldier in a unit cutting a path through dense vegetation if needed and constantly exposed to the danger of tripping booby traps or being the first in contact with the enemy.

Point Man leaders figured this out a long time ago. As a matter of fact before most of the new veterans were even born, way back in 1984. They also figured out that the families need to be educated and supported so they can help their veterans. It isn't whack-over-head-you're-going-to-hell type of spiritual healing. It is you are loved and you need to stop thinking you are evil because you are suffering. You don't deserve to suffer no matter what you try to tell yourself or anyone else does. There was no evil in you if you put your life on the line and there is no evil in you if you're grieving.

STAND-DOWN (period of rest and refitting in which all operational activity, except for security, is stopped.)

Time to learn, heal and then do what you do best. Take care of the others in need of help too. You know it all too well and you know what if feels like to be alone. Tomorrow can be better if you keep looking until you find what it is YOU need to heal.

UPDATE Can't help myself and have to say this.

FNG's in the DOD like to pretend PTSD is new but since they learned nothing from the past, nothing has improved but the bank accounts of morticians.

Newly Pinned Chief Petty Officer Found Dead

Jacksonville police suspect foul play after U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer found dead
CBS Action News
Updated: Sep 17, 2018

Loved ones are grieving the death of U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer Andrea Washington as the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office works to figure out how and why she died.
Washington was found dead in a north Jacksonville home on Monday. Police say they got a call for a medical emergency, but they suspect foul play.

A friend says that Washington was a mother of three and a 19-year veteran of the U.S. Navy. She had just been pinned as a Chief Petty Officer last week.
read more here

Monday, September 17, 2018

During tragedy, blessings from Samaritans

Good Samaritans help military Humvee submerged in Florence floodwaters
ABC 11 News
Gary Cooper
September 11, 2018

JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- What happens when the rescuers need rescuing?

That's what happened in Jacksonville, North Carolina, on Saturday after rains from Hurricane Florence flooded the city.

A marine and two first responders from Onslow County tried to get a military Humvee through a very flooded Half Moon Creek.

And when the Humvee didn't make it, several good Samaritans, who were taking supplies from back to the other side of the creek, jumped in to help.
read more here

"Cajun Navy" volunteers help evacuate North Carolina nursing home residents
CBS News
September 17, 2018

A group of volunteers all too familiar with devastating flooding have gone to North Carolina to help in the aftermath of Florence. Cajun Navy Relief and Rescue is a non-profit group of volunteers from across the country. The group was created after flooding hit southern Louisiana in 2016.

CBS News was with the team in Lumberton as they evacuated 40 people from Highland Acres Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. Many of the residents were bedridden.

"Yeah, we are risking our lives, but this is worth it," said Chris Russell, one of the volunteers.

It took five hours to rescue the residents and deliver them to area hospitals.

"I think what we were able to accomplish tonight, was to give these people some dignity, holding their hand, asking them if they would like to somebody to pray with them," said Allen Lenard, another volunteer. "As much as I believe were were a blessing to those people, I know as a matter of fact, that they were a blessing to me tonight."
read more here