Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Help Support Protecting Military Rape Victims' Human Rights

Or cover it up!!

 Since advocating against military workplace abuse, I’ve questioned, “Why haven't any of the military rape victims challenged the Secretary of Defense or President Obama for violation of their Civil Rights, much less their human rights?!   They are members of a "Protective Class!"

For several years now, the media has reported compelling evidence of military sex crimes; involving hazing, bullying; even murder.   Remember Lavena Johnson’s story. http://www.militarycorruption.com/lavenajohnson-blast.htm

 Unfortunately veterans are not receiving much help from Congress!

A few years ago I blogged about the Civil Rights act, stating:
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 outlawed major forms of discrimination against African Americans and women, including racial segregation the act was later amended prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, or age, it also prohibits sex discrimination in the workplace.

Title VII of the CRA created the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to implement the law, which is managed by the Secretary of Labor.

Unfortunately for military personnel, the Secretary of Defense was granted executive authority to establish and manage the military’s Equal Employment Opportunity program, which is independent of the Secretary of Labor.

After the passage of the 1964 CRA, President Johnson issued: EXECUTIVE ORDER No. 11246; September 28, 1965, 30 F.R. 12319 - EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY

Which states:


Section 101. It is the policy of the Government of the United States to provide equal opportunity in Federal employment for all qualified persons, to prohibit discrimination in employment because of race, creed, color, or national origin, and to promote the full realization of equal employment opportunity through a positive, continuing program in each executive department and agency. The policy of equal opportunity applies to every aspect of Federal employment policy and practice.

Sec. 102. The head of each executive department and agency shall establish and maintain a positive program of equal employment opportunity for all civilian employees and applicants for employment within his jurisdiction in accordance with the policy set forth in Section 101.

This law continues to grant senior military officials executive authority to investigate themselves.  Furthermore, the 1950s Feres Doctrine prohibits military veterans from being able to sue the federal government on the grounds of negligence or  medical malpractice; unless the victim's injury/harm occurred while in prison; similar to my case.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Ending Retaliation Against Victims of Sexual Assault in the Military

Human Rights Watch (HRW) is seeking individuals with first-hand experience as part of an in-depth investigation into retaliation against sexual assault survivors in the US military. HRW plans to publish a report on its findings with the goal of improving military response to retaliation complaints and wrongful discharges.

As part of our investigation, we are interested in speaking with:

• Survivors who have experienced reprisals in any form after Military Sexual Trauma (including retaliation through discharge for mental health reasons such as personality disorder or adjustment disorder, harassment by peers or supervisors, non-judicial punishments, negative evaluation reports or demotions, collateral charges, etc.), and

• Survivors who have attempted—successfully or not—to report retaliation or remedy their discharge (such as through Boards of Correction of Military Records or Discharge Review Boards or Inspectors General).

We will not publish the names of survivors unless otherwise requested. We take our commitment to respecting confidentiality very seriously, as our work depends on earning and keeping the trust of those who share their stories with us. If you are willing to share your personal account, please send us a private message. 

Human Rights Watch does not provide payment, legal services or advice, or any other benefits to its sources, nor does it accept funds from any government. Communications are not protected by an attorney-client privilege.

For more info contact http://www.hrw.org/.

Thought for the day...

This poem was inspired by my young niece, she's 15 and chooses to embrace her sexual orientation.  Two years ago she confessed her attraction to other girls and I've been her advocate and supporter since.  As her aunt it is my duty and responsibility to love and protect her, no matter what.  It was a tough pill to swallow at first, but after extensive research on teenage sexual orientation and advocating for gay veterans, I say, "Live life, be happy and when the time comes, always practice safe sex!"

Let this be my freedom
© 2013  Syneeda Penland

Let's this be my freedom,
the way I wear my hair,
don't care if they stop and stare;

Let's this be my freedom,
the way I wear my clothes,
don’t care if they're knock-offs or
bought from designer stores;

Let's this be my freedom,
the way I pronounce my words,
whether I choose to speak Ebonics
or use run on verbs;

Let this be my freedom,
the way I act in school,
whether I'm popular, stuck up
or chose to break all the rules;

Let this be my freedom,
whether my skin color is
black, brown, red, yellow or white,
Who I am, how I chose to behave,
is MY GOD’s way of saying "It's All Right!"
So, Let this be my freedom!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

SHARE this and help wake people up to what is happening!

While everyone is busy distracting themselves with sports, superstars, political scandals and war, the Pacific Ocean is becoming more and more toxic by the minute. The ghastly nightmare of Fukushima is worsening, and it will take an international coalition and direct, focused action to fully resolve this crisis, or it will only expand and cause major damage to earth and its inhabitants for centuries to come.  By collectively focusing our attention and energies on preemptive measures to preserve our planet, marine life and humanity, together, we can educate the public and develop solutions for a non-toxic tomorrow!

28 SIGNS THAT THE WEST COAST IS BEING ABSOLUTELY FRIED WITH RADIATION FROM FUKUSHIMA: http://www.globalresearch.ca/28-signs-that-the-west-coast-is-being-absolutely-fried-with-nuclear-radiation-from-fukushima

FUEL REMOVAL FROM FUKUSHIMA'S REACTOR 4 THREATENS ‘APOCALYPTIC’ SCENARIO. RADIATION FUEL RODS MATCHES FALLOUT OF 14,000 HIROSHIMA BOMBS: http://www.globalresearch.ca/fuel-removal-from-fukushimas-reactor-4-threatens-apocalyptic-scenario-radiation-fuel-rods-matches-fallout-of-14000-hiroshima-bombs/5355508

1. Polar bears, seals and walruses along the Alaska coastline are suffering from fur loss and open sores.

2. There is an epidemic of sea lion deaths along the California coastline.

3. Along the Pacific coast of Canada and the Alaska coastline, the population of sockeye salmon is at a historic low. Many are blaming Fukushima.

4. Something is causing fish all along the west coast of Canada to bleed from their gills, bellies and eyeballs.

5. A vast field of radioactive debris from Fukushima that is approximately the size of California has crossed the Pacific Ocean and is starting to collide with the west coast.

6. It is being projected that the radioactivity of coastal waters off the U.S. west coast could double over the next five to six years.

 7. Experts have found very high levels of cesium-137 in plankton living in the waters of the Pacific Ocean between Hawaii and the west coast.

8. One test in California found that 15 out of 15 bluefin tuna were contaminated with radiation from Fukushima.

9. Back in 2012, the Vancouver Sun reported that cesium-137 was being found in a very high percentage of the fish that Japan was selling to Canada.

10. Canadian authorities are finding extremely high levels of nuclear radiation in certain fish samples.

11. Some experts believe that we could see very high levels of cancer along the west coast just from people eating contaminated fish.

12. BBC News recently reported that radiation levels around Fukushima are “18 times higher” than previously believed.

13. An EU-funded study concluded that Fukushima released up to 210 quadrillion becquerels of cesium-137 into the atmosphere.

14. Atmospheric radiation from Fukushima reached the west coast of the United States within a few days back in 2011.

15. At this point, 300 tons of contaminated water is pouring into the Pacific Ocean from Fukushima every single day.

16. A senior researcher of marine chemistry at the Japan Meteorological Agency’s Meteorological Research Institute says that “30 billion becquerels of radioactive cesium and 30 billion becquerels of radioactive strontium” are being released into the Pacific Ocean from Fukushima every single day.

17. According to Tepco, a total of somewhere between 20 trillion and 40 trillion becquerels of radioactive tritium have gotten into the Pacific Ocean since the Fukushima disaster first began.

18. According to a professor at Tokyo University, 3 gigabecquerels of cesium-137 are flowing into the port at Fukushima Daiichi every single day.

19. It has been estimated that up to 100 times as much nuclear radiation has been released into the ocean from Fukushima than was released during the entire Chernobyl disaster.

20. One recent study concluded that a very large plume of cesium-137 from the Fukushima disaster will start flowing into U.S. coastal waters early next year.

21. It is being projected that significant levels of cesium-137 will reach every corner of the Pacific Ocean by the year 2020.

22. It is being projected that the entire Pacific Ocean will soon “have cesium levels 5 to 10 times higher” than what we witnessed during the era of heavy atomic bomb testing in the Pacific many decades ago.

23. The immense amounts of nuclear radiation getting into the water in the Pacific Ocean has caused environmental activist Joe Martino to issue the following warning… “Your days of eating Pacific Ocean fish are over.”

 24. The Iodine-131, Cesium-137 and Strontium-90 that are constantly coming from Fukushima are going to affect the health of those living the the northern hemisphere for a very, very long time. Just consider what Harvey Wasserman had to say about this.

25. According to a recent Planet Infowars report, the California coastline is being transformed into “a dead zone”.

26. A study conducted last year came to the conclusion that radiation from the Fukushima nuclear disaster could negatively affect human life along the west coast of North America from Mexico to Alaska “for decades”.

27. According to the Wall Street Journal, it is being projected that the cleanup of Fukushima could take up to 40 years to complete. 28. Yale Professor Charles Perrow is warning that if the cleanup of Fukushima is not handled with 100% precision that humanity could be threatened “for thousands of years”.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Sen. Sanders: 'Global Warming a Far More Serious Problem Than Al Qaeda'

Sanders speaking about the government shutdown's impacts. 

Commondreams.org reports. -- In new interview with Playboy, the Vermont senator laments the collapsed middle class, corporate power

In a newly published interview, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) blasts the "unfettered capitalism" that has collapsed the middle class, and the corporate power fueling climate change, which poses a "far more serious problem than Al Qaeda."

Speaking with economics writer Jonathan Tasini for the interview with Playboythe 72-year-old Independent senator said that "one of the untold stories of our time is the collapse of the American middle class." It's due, in part, to "the decline of trade unions," which means that workers "have less power to negotiate contracts and less political clout."

It's a system that has brought immense inequality, he says.

"We are in the midst of intense class warfare, where the wealthiest people and the largest corporations are at war with the middle class and working families of this country, and it is obvious the big-money interests are winning that war."

It's a "hypercapitalist society," where there are even efforts to "privatize water, for God’s sake," and the function of the current health care system is "to make as much money out of it as possible," he told Tasini.

When Tasini told Sanders, "You make the U.S. sound like a banana republic in which a handful of families control all the economic and political power," Sanders responded simply, "Yes, it is. In more technical economic terms I would call it an oligarchy."

It's a system that has put corporate interests above people—and the planet.

"You have the entire scientific community saying we have to be very aggressive in cutting greenhouse gas emissions," Sanders told Playboy. "Yet you’re seeing the heads of coal companies and oil companies willing to sacrifice the well-being of the entire planet for their short-term profits. And these folks are funding phony organizations to try to create doubt about the reality of global warming."

It's "incomprehensible," he said, that "[b]ig business is willing to destroy the planet for short-term profits."

"And because of their power over the political process, you hear a deafening silence in the U.S. Congress and in other bodies around the world about the severity of the problem. Global warming is a far more serious problem than Al Qaeda."

As for any hopes Sanders supporters have that the senator will make a bid for the White House, he told Tasini, "I am at least 99 percent sure I won’t."

Full article:http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/10/18-4

When man finds his soul, he will begin to care about something other than himself.

Instead of perpetuating global war and chaos, mankind needs to focus his energies on preserving humanity, not destroying it!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Anonymous survey asks sailors about sex assault experiences


Navy Times reports -- "The Navy and Marine Corps are teaming up reduce sexual assault within their services, and getting input from sailors and Marines is a top priority.

A voluntary anonymous survey went live online today, and Navy Secretary Ray Mabus hopes it will help leaders identify trends.

The survey is online at www.donsapro.navy.mil/donsas.html . The password is "2013 Survey" and it will be open until Jan. 6, 2014.

"While no tool is perfect, confidential and anonymous surveys provide a valuable different mechanism to learn about the perspectives and experiences of individual sailors and Marines," Mabus wrote in the recent servicewide message, ALNAV 070/13.

The department believes a recent uptick in sexual assault reporting is the result of sailors and Marines becoming more familiar with what qualifies as a sexual assault, as well as more comfortable with the services' Sexual Assault Prevention and Response programs.

"Our simultaneous goals are to prevent, if not eliminate, sexual assaults involving sailors and Marines; to ensure effective support for sexual assault victims; and to hold offenders appropriately accountable," he wrote. "Unfortunately, there is no proven road map for achieving success."

The survey gauges not only the frequency of sexual assaults, but the circumstances surrounding them and the factors affecting whether a sailor or Marine reports them.

"The success of this survey, just like our larger efforts to combat sexual assault, depends on the support and contribution of sailors and Marines worldwide," Mabus wrote. "I encourage every sailor and Marine to participate."

He added that commanders and leaders at all levels are expected to encourage their troops to participate as well.

Food for thought:  So this is how the Pentagon chooses to manage the Navy's systemic epidemic of military rape and sexual assault.  By encouraging sailors to "admit" to unlawful exposure to a hostile working environment, which condoms sexual violence against the brave men and women who are already willing to risk their lives in service to our country.  

As a survived victim of military sexual discrimination, former legal advisor and inspector general, there are far better solutions on how to effectively manage the military's equal employment program.  With an advanced degree in management and human resource management, in my view, our veteran's civil rights and humans rights are being violated and not a single member of Congress seems to give a damn!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

VA secretary: If shutdown lasts until Nov. 1, benefits cease for 5.2 million veterans

Stars and Stripes reports--The government shutdown has been painful, Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki said, but the worst is yet to come.

On Nov. 1, if the ongoing budget battle isn’t resolved, the department won’t be able to send out benefits checks to nearly 5.2 million veterans and family members, Shinseki told members of the House Veterans Affairs Committee on Wednesday. Veterans depending on disability benefits, living stipends and tuition payments will all be affected.

The claims backlog has already jumped sharply in the first full week since the shutdown — up about 2,000 cases, after a steady six-month downward trend — and the problem will only worsen.

And thousands of VA employees face furloughs as funding dries up, which will restrict program offerings for the department.

“All of the effects of the shutdown are negative,” Shinseki told lawmakers. “We’re asking (Congress) to help us get back to work full-time.”

Lawmakers appear no closer to that. Negotiations on a budget fix have stalled since the start of the month, as Republicans and Democrats argue whether to include changes to the Affordable Care Act and deficit reduction proposals in a measure to fund government operations.

Committee Chairman Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., acknowledged that “there is plenty of blame to go around as to why we’re in this position,” but also chastised the VA for providing incomplete and sometimes confusing information over the effects of the shutdown on veterans.

He also criticized VA for failing to lobby the Senate to pass a House-backed appropriations bill that would have fully funded the department a year in advance, regardless of shutdown threats. Department officials have not offered support for the measure.
But committee ranking member Rep. Mike Michaud, D-Maine, said VA leaders and workers aren’t to blame for the ongoing shutdown mess.

“I know that VA employees do not work solely for a paycheck,” he said. “They work because they believe in helping veterans. You have done your job, now it is time for Congress to do its job.”

Earlier this week, the department furloughed about 10,500 more employees, all of whom are involved with benefits work and information technology projects.

In September, officials initially indicated the impact of a government shutdown could be minimal on department operations, since much of the department’s health care is funded a full year in advance.

But department leaders warned that if the shutdown stretched into late October, the consequences would quickly worsen. More than $6 billion in benefits checks are due at the start of next month, many to families in financial distress because of lingering military injuries.
Shinseki could not give a precise date when VA appropriations accounts would run out. But he noted that unless the situation is resolved soon, “I will not be sending checks out.”

In addition, lawmakers noted that veterans make up about 30 percent of the federal workforce, many of whom are facing paycheck uncertainty because of the budget fight.

The VA secretary said he did not support a piecemeal fix to the budget impasse, dismissing a bill passed by the House last week to restore his department’s funding without ending the shutdown. The measure has stalled in the Senate, after Democratic leaders there labeled it little more than a political stunt which distracts from real compromise.

Shinseki said that his department’s work depends on coordination with a host of government agencies, so simply funding one part of government won’t fully restore operations.

Along with the ongoing shutdown problem, Congress also faces a decision on increasing the nation’s debt ceiling next week.

Food for thought:  What is our country coming too?!  As if veterans haven't already suffered enough!

Special prayers for Japan and its citizens, as they continue to recover from this devastating nuclear tragedy.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Ex-Soldier Dies After Brief Shootout With Ore. State Trooper

The AP reports – “A clip of a dashboard-camera video released to a newspaper Thursday by the Oregon State Police shows an exchange of gunfire between a motorist and a state trooper that ended with the motorist dead and the trooper wounded.

The motorist had three children in his car when the shooting occurred Aug. 29 on Interstate 84.

The Oregonian obtained the video as part of a public-records request and posted a clip of it online (http://bit.ly/1car6w8).

The video shows Trooper Matthew Zistel pulling over the car on I-84 and ordering a man dressed in camouflage to return to his vehicle. State police say Zistel stopped the vehicle for speeding.

The video shows the man, later identified as John Van Allen (pictured above and below), with a gun in his hand. He assumes a firing stance.

The two exchange shots, and Van Allen is shown running past the camera, then gasping and returning to his car.

He drives away, and his three children — a 10-year-old girl, and two boys ages 13 and 15 — can be seen in the back seat of his vehicle. Van Allen was later found dead inside the car a half-mile from the scene of the shooting. An autopsy showed he died of a gunshot wound to the chest.

Zistel was treated at a hospital for a minor gunshot wound and released.

The Sherman County district attorney ruled in September that the shooting was justified. Van Allen’s three children have been placed in state custody.  Van Allen had previous addresses in South Carolina and Pennsylvania. 

His aunt Deborah Morton-Hamlet told the Oregonian that Van Allen and his children were on the freeway because he had decided to return to South Carolina, where much of his family is from.”

Food for thought:  My prayers go out to all involved in this tragic incident: the children of the victim, the deceased victim and Trooper Zistel, who showed tremendous bravery in the line of duty.  There are so many unanswered questions relating to what could've possibly led Van Allen to open fire on an armed police officer, yet his actions clearly indicated he had no respect for local law enforcement.  Let’s pray that other military veterans returning home from war doesn’t try to take the law into their own hands. 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Tom Clancy, Best-Selling Master of Military Thrillers, Dies at 66

New York Times reports -- Tom Clancy, whose complex, adrenaline-fueled military novels spawned a new genre of thrillers and made him one of the world's best-known and best-selling authors, died on Tuesday in Baltimore.  He was 66.

Full article: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/03/books/tom-clancy-best-selling-novelist-of-military-thrillers-dies-at-66.html?_r=0

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Karen Hudes: We're Running Out of Time! We're Dealing with Whether We Ca...

What has happened to America's core values?!

The Adoption of the U.S. Constitution in Congress at Independence Hall,  Philadelphia,

Sept. 17, 1787 by John H. Froehlich

I usually refrain from watching news reports relating to the senseless back and forth bickering of grown men who obviously have ego issues and fail to see how their lack of bipartisanship and compassion is affecting America as a whole.  People lives (beyond Capitol Hill) are not to be played with like dolls or chess pieces.  If our Congressional officials would rather fulfill the agenda of major corporations who contribute handsomely to their campaign funds, rather than do what is right for the health and welfare of their constituents, they should resign!  We, the American people rely on YOU, our Congress, to be for the people, not your corporate buddies.  We are tired of watching you waste our tax dollars while you showboat in front of the camera stroking your sinister egos!!