Monday, December 30, 2013

Woman allegedly cuts man’s genitals with box knife for allegedly molesting her 2-year-old son


FRANKLIN, Ind. – Police have arrested an Indiana woman accused of cutting a man’s genitals with a box knife; she believes the man molested her 2-year-old son.
Indiana’s Fox 59 reported police were called to a trailer where the 18-year-old man in question said his girlfriend’s mother, Bonita Lynn Vela, held him captive until she cut his penis.
The man said Vela and two others held him captive for more than three hours.
He said Vela told him that “she wanted to scar him so that he would have to look at it every time that he had sex in the future,” Fox 59 reported.
Police said Vela told them she went to a friend’s house where she smoked marijuana but she wasn’t sure if that was the only drug she had taken.
Vela told officers she confronted the man at about 3 a.m.
Fox 59 reported the man told officers he never touched the boy but Vela would not listen.
According to the police report, the man said Vela was “going to take him out, shoot him in the head and tie him to a tree so the animals (would) eat him.”
He said she then told him to drop his pants so she could “cut his (expletive).”
If he didn’t comply, “she was going to have people hold him down and she would cut (his penis) all the way off,” the report stated.
According to officials, Vela said she was holding the box cutter but the man knocked it out of her hand and that is how his penis was cut.
Vela told investigators she never intended to hurt him, she just wanted to scare him.
She is now facing assault charges.
Police said the investigation into the molestation claims is ongoing.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Rampant sexism in the US military


As women in America continue to evolve into the 21st century workplace, millions of women; young and old, are continuing to rightfully earn and maintain our right to advance up the ladder of success.  In certain organizations, only a few will manage to survive and break through the proverbial glass ceiling.  Those who manage to succeed are usually too scarred, broken-down, reprogrammed or afraid to reach down to help mentor and guide her fellow “sister” up the ladder of success.  It’s not until there is either a media scandal or growing epidemic will we come together to provide support to move our plight forward.  In some cases, jealousy, greed, power and control will keep us torn apart, or men!

This is the case in the U.S. military.

Behind the iron curtain of the U.S. military, standing in ranks side by side her aggressor are women who have been the target of ongoing sexist and disparate treatment, long before the Post 9/11 war. 

Since increasing its quotas to allow for more women to join and serve the military in both: officer and enlisted ranks, women have now become the targets for: “unwelcomed sexual harassment, assault, rape, bullying, discrimination, selective prosecution and even murder."  

Meanwhile, President Obama has decided to give the Pentagon one more year to “get a handle” on their abuse towards women and it appears that the military justice improvement act will be tabled, for now.  If you ask me, the bill was too weak to begin with!

Yesterday morning I received an alarming phone call from the mother of a young female veteran who was recently (wrongfully) discharged from the Navy after making complaints of sexual assault, harassment and command negligence. Her horrific experience had taken place at the Marine Corps barracks at Quantico. 

The victim’s name is Arial Bowman.

Similar to my case, Lt. Dana Street’s case (Arial’s fellow co-worker at Naval Health Clinic Quantico) and countless victims of military workplace abuse, Arial’s complaints landed on deaf ears.  Yet we are all too familiar with how her story ends. 

Immediately after she reported the sexual assault incident (which occurred on multiple occasions), she was reprised against by her immediate chain of command, she was brought up on bogus charges, relieved of her duties and was forced to undergo an involuntarily mental health evaluation for 3-weeks at Ft. Belvoir.  During her stay she was “overly” medicated with at least 7 different counter active prescription medications. 

I’ve had a chance to speak with Arial on numerous occasions and she shared her horrific experience with me first hand.  She also spoke about how she and other veterans are being held against their will at the Navy’s psych ward at Ft. Belvoir.  And they are being “forced” to take high doses of counter active prescription medication in a concerted effort to “erase” their memory.  My July 17th blog discusses Dana’s experience at Ft. Belvoir's psych ward.

Arial now suffers from bi-polar disorder, insomnia, PTSD, migraines, obsessive compulsive disorder and is experiencing other symptoms of mental health disorders.  

During the 45 days I spent in the brig , I also encountered dozens of inmates who were drugged up like zombies, as a means to help them “cope” with being caged like wild animals.  This is how they behaved once their medications started to wear off, which was every 4 hours. My spirit couldn’t believe what I was witnessing!!

Since I’ve been blogging, I’ve been speaking out against the dangers our veterans are facing while in uniform, and this danger isn’t at the hand of the so- called “enemy”. 

For over a decade, the military has been at constant conflict with foreign countries, to prove their strength and POWER over the world.  Unfortunately this “abuse of world power” has trickled down to the lowest ranks of our military, and our service members are now preying on themselves.  I know this because I'm a survived victim of their ruthless atrocities. 

Yet President Obama’s decision to delay his intervention will give the military another year to continue to victimize, traumatize, rape, and even murder fellow service members. Haven’t we learned anything from history?!  This sets our country back a number of decades.  Not only are these good ole boys good at lying to the Commander in Chief, they have perfected the art of lying to the American public. 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Thought for the day...


Help me spread the word!!

West Point cadet arrested on child porn charges-- Ricky Patrick Hester alleged to have possessed and downloaded sick images -- "I'm into 4 to 10 year olds", he says in e-mail -- Released on $50K bond


Militarycorrupton.com reports -- He almost made it to the finish line.

West Point Senior Cadet Ricky Patrick Hester would have graduated from USMA this coming June.

Now, he faces up to 30 years in prison for possessing and distributing child porn.

WATCHED AND SHARED SICKO IMAGES

The 23 year-old Indiana native allegedly wrote a fellow pervert on e-mail: "I'm into 4 to 10 year olds - hardcore with sound." Does he mean he likes audio so he can hear the screams of terrified tots who are violated and scared forever by sicko predators like him?

Hester admitted his dark obsessions when questioned in his dorm room at West Point by agents of Homeland Security.

He's been released on $50K bail. Hester was arrested Dec. 19th. His next court appearance is Jan. 15 in White Plains Federal Court, New York.

Read more related stories here:  http://www.militarycorruption.com/hester.htm

Monday, December 23, 2013

This day in history, December 23, 1867--Madame C.J. Walker, America’s first self-made female millionaire was born.


She was an entrepreneur, a contributor to the NAACP and activist.  She spoke at many NAACP fundraisers for the anti-lynching campaign. Walker also encouraged her sales associates to become activists. Her convention of associates sent a telegram to President Woodrow Wilson condemning lynching and race riots in the U.S. She was also a part of a delegation that hand-delivered a petition to the White House for anti-lynching laws. It is noted by the New York Times that she spent $10,000 every year ($250,000 in today’s currency) to educate African American students at colleges in the South.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Senate approves US defence budget plan with sexual assault reforms


The Guardian reports – “The Senate approved a $630bn measure authorizing next year’s Pentagon budget that aims to crack down on military sexual assault and eases restrictions on transferring detainees from Guantánamo Bay.

The bill, approved on an 84-15 vote late Thursday, provides about $80bn for the Afghanistan war, but stopped short of a sweeping measure that would have removed commanders from the military justice system on sexual assault cases.

But the new overhaul mandated in the Senate bill, and unopposed by the Pentagon, would make it harder for commanders to override or unduly influence the military justice system.

Under the bill, commanders can no longer overturn sexual assault convictions, as happened in March when the Third Air Force commander unilaterally threw out a conviction for a favored lieutenant colonel found guilty of groping a sleeping woman.

That case prompted the now-defeated call to remove sexual assault cases from the uniform code of military justice altogether.

But the new measures that passed, sponsored by Missouri Democrat Claire McCaskill, would give sexual-assault survivors new and independent legal counsel; force a dishonorable discharge for sexual-assault convicts; institute a civilian review for cases that a military prosecutor opts not to bring; and adds criminal measures for retaliating against service members who report their assault.

An estimated 26,000 service members experienced rape or other sexual assault in 2012, according to Pentagon statistics released in May, a significant rise from the previous report in 2010, yet only 3,374 cases were reported to authorities. A Pentagon study last year found widespread fear, particularly amongst mid-career officers, that reporting sexual assault would lead to reprisal.

After a long history of institutional denial, Pentagon officials in recent years have acknowledged that sexual assault is a full-blown crisis. A series of high-profile commanders, including the deputy commander of the army’s storied 82nd Airborne and the air force sexual-assault prevention chief himself, faced criminal charges for sexual abuse. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel now holds a weekly meeting at the Pentagon to receive updates about turning the tide of sexual assault in the ranks.

“Today represents a huge win for victims of sexual assault, and for justice in America’s armed forces, but this is no finish line,” McCaskill said.”


Food for thought:  It looks like Congress is a day late and a dollar short.  Military commanders will never give up their power and will continue to punish victims (whistle blowers), no matter how much money Congress pours into trying to make sexual assault and rape victims feel safer in the military. 

Wow, go figure. Those who are paid to provide “security” for our country are getting away with raping and assaulting our young sons and daughters.  And Congress or President Obama has yet to put an end to it!  Money is not going to fix the problem, better legislation will!!  Wasn’t it President Johnson who created this problem, when he granted military commanders (in the 60s) authorization to manage its own, “race relation issues”, at the time it was considered “equal employment opportunities”. 

I joined the Navy in the late 80s at the age of eighteen and experienced both racial and sexual discrimination throughout my 20-year military career. Instead of the military improving its racial, gender and sexual orientation “issues”, it’s obviously gotten worse!

 Instead of meeting one of its primary missions, which is to foster a working environment “free of discrimination, sexual harassment, assault or rape”, top brass chooses to turn a blind eye and/or cover it up.  But isn’t this what MEN do?, when they “look out for themselves?!   I had to learn this the hard way after they punished me for being a whistle blower. 

As many times that I would witness them cheating on their wives, frequenting “red light districts” overseas (and at home), having affairs with co-workers (of both the same and opposite sex), I still remain the only “single” person charged, fined and sent to prison for “adultery”.  Now this is one of the most hypocritical laws in the military’s uniform code of military justice (UCMJ).  Their laws are so outdated that the entire military justice system needs to be overhauled!    This is probably one of the reasons why there are almost a million veterans locked away in prison.  One hand washes the other.  Imagine how much money is being paid into the federal prison system to house our veterans?  I spent 45 days in one and trust me, I witnessed more than enough!!!  

The other half of their bargaining chip is to “clean up” their mess at Guantanamo.  Now that’s a beast I don’t want to get close too!!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

XO and CMC fired over toilet hazing

Cmdr. Kenneth Rice, left, executive officer of the destroyer Jason Dunham, and Command Master Chief (SW/AW) Stephen Vandergrifft were relieved of their duties Friday after a hazing incident. (Navy)

Navy Times reports -- An East Coast-based chief hazed his female shipmates by forcing them to march in formation to the end of a pier carting plastic bags of their own feces, a Navy investigation has found.

The Navy removed the executive officer and top sailor aboard the destroyer Jason Dunham on Friday after the investigation concluded they failed to examine or report the hazing of 13 female sailors. Each was forced to carry a bag of feces down the pier Oct. 15 at Naval Station Norfolk, Va., a case of collective punishment gone too far after a few sailors used inoperable toilets.

This demeaning march was observed by many, but Cmdr. Kenneth Rice and Command Master Chief (SW/AW) Stephen Vandergrifft failed to report or investigate the incident. They were fired by Capt. John Wade, the commodore of Destroyer Squadron 28, Fleet Forces Command said Friday.

Cmdr. Michael Meredith, the ship’s skipper, was not disciplined because he was unaware of the hazing until DESRON 28 started its investigation Oct. 21, explained FFC spokeswoman Lt. Cmdr. Reann Mommsen. “We’re holding the CMC and the XO accountable because, hey, they didn’t even tell [Meredith] about it. So he didn’t even know.”

Mommsen said the chief and a number of other enlisted and officers aboard the destroyer were disciplined for failing to prevent or report the hazing, but said she was unable to say how many were punished or the nature of their punishments for privacy reasons.

On Oct. 15, the ship’s sewage system was undergoing maintenance and some of the toilets were tagged out, with warnings not to use them. In two female berthings, those warnings went unheeded. A shipboard leader discovered human waste in two heads and ordered all 19 female sailors who live in the berthings to clean them out. Then 13 of them were ordered to take the loaded plastic bags to the pier.

“After cleaning the toilets they took the waste — which was solid waste, basically — and made them march in formation down the pier to dispose of it in a portable toilet at the end of the pier,” Mommsen said, adding: “The real hazing is them being marched down the pier in formation.”

The investigation found that some female sailors were ordered to clean the toilets without all the proper safety equipment, which includes rubber gloves and boots, hair coverings and face shields. But after the incident was reported, five days after the fact, the sailors were screened and got a clean bill of health, Mommsen said.

“The risk of infection is fairly low. It’s pretty much the same as if you use the restroom, you know — you have to to wash your hands,” Mommsen said. “The second thing on this — and I don’t know if this is something that you care to know or not — but as far as our vaccinations, being in the Navy, we’re vaccinated to a higher-degree than the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] recommends for sewage workers.”

Mommsen said the investigation’s findings were clear: The march constituted hazing and “some of the senior crew members witnessed this or knew about it and failed to prevent it or report it.”



Food for thought:  Having been on the receiving end of blatant sexual discrimination in the Navy, all throughout my 20 year Navy career, this is yet another example of SEXISM in the Navy.  

When I served as the only female (senior officer) aboard a destroyer for an entire year, I was constantly reminded by the senior enlisted personnel and the XO, that women don’t belong on a warship; they belong at home, barefoot and in the kitchen.  This was in 2005, and the Navy isn’t getting any better!  I was also referred to as "a nigger, a stupid black bitch--in-charge of a department of niggers."  Although I reported their abusive behavior to the CO, no one was fired or punished for the offensive remarks or sexual harassment. I was forced to live and work in fear for another year.   

It will take another decade, more females to be promoted to flag rank and “supervised” sensitivity training to rid the military of sexual and racial discrimination, or more intervention from Congress or President Obama.  

BTW, the CO should have been fired.  I don’t believe for a minute that he was not aware of this incident!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Senate confirms Navy's first female 4-star, VCNO


Navy Times reports -- Senators confirmed Vice Adm. Michelle Howard for the service’s No. 2 post on Friday, making her the first female four-star admiral in the Navy’s 238-year history.
Her promotion to vice chief of naval operations, expected for early 2014, will also make her the first African-American woman to attain four-star rank in Pentagon history.

The 1982 Naval Academy graduate and surface warfare officer has set many firsts in her career. She was the first black woman to command a ship — the dock landing ship Rushmore in 1999 — and went on to command Amphibious Squadron 7 and later Expeditionary Strike Group 2.

A few days after she took charge of the counterpiracy Combined Task Force 151 in 2009, Somali pirates overran the cargo ship Maersk Alabama, setting off a hostage crisis followed around the world. Howard’s voice was depicted in “Captain Phillips” — a 2013 film dramatizing the crisis — when she speaks over the radiotelephone to the commanding officer of the destroyer Bainbridge. Howard attended a Washington, D.C., screening of the film.

Howard has earned a number of distinctions from outside organizations over her 31-year career, including receiving the Chairman’s Award from the NAACP in February.

Howard, 53, currently serves as the deputy CNO for operations, plans and strategy at the Pentagon.



Roseanne Breaks the Set on the Vatican, 9/11, House of Saud & Geriatric ...

Thought for the day...




Sojourner Truth (1797-1883):   Ain't I A Woman?
Delivered 1851
Women's Rights Convention, Akron, Ohio

Well, children, where there is so much racket there must be something out of kilter. I think that 'twixt the negroes of the South and the women at the North, all talking about rights, the white men will be in a fix pretty soon. But what's all this here talking about?
That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or gives me any best place! And ain't I a woman? Look at me! Look at my arm! I have ploughed and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! And ain't I a woman? I could work as much and eat as much as a man - when I could get it - and bear the lash as well! And ain't I a woman? I have borne thirteen children, and seen most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother's grief, none but Jesus heard me! And ain't I a woman?
Then they talk about this thing in the head; what's this they call it? [member of audience whispers, "intellect"] That's it, honey. What's that got to do with women's rights or negroes' rights? If my cup won't hold but a pint, and yours holds a quart, wouldn't you be mean not to let me have my little half measure full?
Then that little man in black there, he says women can't have as much rights as men, 'cause Christ wasn't a woman! Where did your Christ come from? Where did your Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothing to do with Him.
If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back, and get it right side up again! And now they is asking to do it, the men better let them.
Obliged to you for hearing me, and now old Sojourner ain't got nothing more to say.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

VA AND DEFENSE CHIEFS CONFRONT REALITY OF 700,000 INCARCERATED VETERANS


Army vet Donald Belts in 2012 in his cell in Aberdeen, Wash.
Nextgov.com reports -- The 700,000 veterans cosigned to the dustbins of society—prisons and jails—won some top level attention this week at the first national Vet Court Conference in Washington, which brings together 1,000 judges, mental health and substance abuse professionals and the leadership of the Veterans Affairs and Defense Departments.

The conference, sponsored by the Justice for Vets division of the National Association of Drug Court Professionals, focuses on veterans involved in the criminal justice system as a result of substance abuse and mental health problems. There are some grim statistics behind this issue:  One in sex returning veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan suffers from a substance abuse disorder; since 2004, the number of veterans treated for mental illness and substance abuse has increased 38 percent, and 81 percent of arrested veterans had a substance abuse problem.

The first veterans treatment court in the country was established in 2008 by Judge Robert Russell in Buffalo, N.Y. The goal was to divert veterans charged with felony or misdemeanor nonviolent criminal offenses to a specialized criminal court that emphasizes treatment and rehabilitation guided by veteran health care professionals, veteran peer mentors and mental health professionals.

Since then, the number of veteran courts has grown to 130.  Melissa Fitzgerald, senior director of Justice for Vets, said the specialized courts “have gained national prominence as the most innovative solution for veterans entering the criminal justice system.  Veterans treatment courts stand between the veteran and a felony conviction, incarceration or worse, ensuring that when returning service members are arrested because of a substance abuse and/or mental health disorder, they receive the structure, treatment and mentoring they need to get their lives back on track.”

VA Secretary Eric Shinseki, in his keynote speech at a conference Monday, said that homelessness also stands out as another key factor for incarceration.  He said, “nearly 58,000 [veterans] are estimated to be homeless on any given night.  I am told that incarceration is the No. 1 predictor of homelessness.

“If we are going to break the cycle between incarceration and homelessness, we will have to raise our level of collaboration and leverage all our assets to address these factors, which seem so pervasive when dealing with troubled Veterans—depression, insomnia, substance use disorder, pain, failed relationships.”

Shinseki said this includes VA taking a sharp look at its own use – some critics say abuse – of addictive, prescription pain killers, such as Oxycontin.



Sunday, December 15, 2013

51 Sailors from USS Ronald Reagan Suffering Thyroid Cancer, Leukemia, Brain Tumors After Participating in Fukushima Nuclear Rescue Efforts"


December 12, 2013 -- (TRN http://www.TurnerRadioNetwork.com ) -- Crew members in their mid-20's from the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan are coming down with all sorts of radiation-related illnesses after being deployed less than 3 years ago to assist with earthquake rescue operations off the coast of Japan in 2011.  It looks as though the onboard desalinization systems that take salt out of seawater to make it drinkable, were taking-in radioactive water from the ocean for the crew to drink, cook with and bath-in, before anyone realized there was a massive radiation spill into the ocean.

Charles Bonner, attorney representing sailors from the USS Ronald Reagan said "the crew members were not only going to the rescue by jumping into the water and rescuing people out of the water, but they were drinking desalinated sea water, bathing in it, until finally the captain of the USS Ronald Reagan alarmed people that they were encountering high levels of radiation." 

Bonner says that as a result of this exposure, the 51 sailors have come down with a host of medical problems, "They have testicular cancer, they have thyroid cancers, they have leukemias, they have rectal and gynecological bleeding, a host of problems that they did not have before ... people are going blind, pilots who had perfect eyesight but now have tumors on the brain. And it’s only been 3 years since they went in." Bonner pointed out that these service men and women are young people, ages 21, 22, 23 years old and no one in their family had ever suffered any of these kinds of illnesses before.

At present, 51 sailors from the USS Ronald Reagan are named as Plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) and Bonner says he anticipates adding twenty additional Sailors soon, bringing the total to 70 to 75 because "The Japanese government is in a major conspiracy with TEPCO to hide and conceal the true facts."

Friday, December 13, 2013

Historic VCNO nomination: Howard would be first woman, first African-American to hold post


Navy Times reports -- President Obama has tapped Vice Adm. Michelle Howard to be the Navy’s vice chief of naval operations, a historic nomination that, if confirmed, would make Howard the first woman and first African-American to hold the Navy’s No. 2 post. She would also be the first black woman to attain four-star rank in the Navy.

Congratulations ma'am, job well done!!

Naval Investigator to Plead Guilty in Bribery Plot


The AP reports --The attorney for a naval investigator said his client will plead guilty to bribery charges for accepting pricey vacations and prostitute services in trade for providing information and advice to an Asian defense contractor at the center of a multimillion-dollar fraud probe, the Navy official's lawyer said Thursday.

In the first guilty plea in the case that has rocked the Pentagon, John Beliveau II will admit to bribery and conspiracy to commit bribery next Tuesday in federal court in San Diego, his attorney Jan Ronis said.

The supervisory agent with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service is one of three Navy officials who have been arrested in the case.

Prosecutors allege the Navy officials were in cahoots with Malaysian defense contractor Leonard Glenn Francis, who was arrested in San Diego in September. Authorities say Francis, the 49-year-old CEO of Singapore-based Glenn Defense Marine Asia Ltd., or GDMA, offered bribes to Navy officers in exchange for confidential information — including ship routes — that he used to overbill the Navy for port services in Asia….




Food for thought: 

When I first learned of this bribery scheme, the first question that came to mind was, “Why weren’t Navy auditors more involved?!”  As a former senior Supply Corps officer, (the Navy’s budget officers), I can attest that any spike in fuel cost and port charges would raise a flag, to the Pentagon's level!

 This entire case raises even more suspicions for someone like me.  Why does the Pentagon engage in "selective prosecution" when it comes to prosecuting senior officers for alleged major or minor offenses.  What message does this send to the American taxpayers who are footing the bill for our homeland security.  Instead of taking whistleblowers complaints seriously, they would rather punish us and violate our human rights.

Case in point, in June 2009, I filed a Qui Tam petition with the Antitrust division at the Dept. of Justice, reporting evidence of: contract bid rigging, illegal revolving door practices and a list of other Procurement Integrity Act violations.  The corruption involved my former boss, his buddies at the Pentagon, senior retirees and a Washington D.C. based defense logistic company.   

A month after I filed the petition, I was ordered by the Pentagon to be discharged from the Navy.  I was 6 months shy of my 20 year retirement eligibility.  At the time I’d been diagnosed with blood cancer and began extensive chemotherapy treatment at Naval Medical Center Balboa.    Navy officials were so insistent on punishing me for blowing the whistle that on July 31, 2009, two weeks after I began chemo treatment, I was ordered to be discharged from the Navy without severance pay or my hard earned retirement pension.   

The False Claim Act petition was never investigated by the DoJ and was refiled earlier this year.

Read more about my story story:

Thursday, December 12, 2013

ACLU Letter in Support of the Military Justice Improvement Act of 2013


The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), a national organization with over 400,000 members, has been at the forefront of the fight to secure and protect the rights guaranteed by our Constitution since 1920; has recently shown their support of the Military Justice Improvement Act.

Transcript of their letter:
https://www.aclu.org/sites/default/files/assets/aclu_letter_in_support_of_military_justice_improvement_act_s._967_11-19-13_final.pdf


Senator Gillibrand continues to lead the crusade in combating military injustice!
http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2013/12/12/gillibrand-defense-bill

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Military’s Rape Epidemic is Real! Yet Gillibrand Vows to Pursue Military Sexual-Assault Bill.

Image from Doonesbury 











































______________________________________________

Bloomberg.com reports, “Gillibrand Vows to Pursure Military Sexual-Assualt Bill”---
“Senator Kirsten Gillibrand said she will push legislation to remove sexual-assault allegations from the military’s chain of command after congressional leaders spurned her approach in crafting a compromise defense measure.

“I have an assurance that we will get a vote, just not when we will get a vote -- before the end of the year or maybe right away in the new year,” Gillibrand, a New York Democrat, told reporters today. Leaders of the House and Senate armed services committees yesterday agreed on a $552.1 billion defense authorization bill for the current fiscal year.

Under the compromise, commanders would be stripped of the ability to dismiss a finding by a court martial and would be barred from reducing guilty findings.
Retaliation against personnel reporting sexual assaults would become a military crime.
President Barack Obama has said the issue of sexual assault is undermining trust and readiness among members of the armed forces, and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has called attacks a “scourge” and a “blight” on the military.

While Hagel and uniformed leaders in the military have backed changes in the handling of such cases, they have resisted Gillibrand’s approach, saying commanding officers must be able to discipline their own troops.

The issue has crossed party and gender lines. Gillibrand has won support from Republicans including Senators Ted Cruz of Texas and Rand Paul of Kentucky, while her proposal has been opposed by such Democrats as Senator Carl Levin of Michigan, who heads the Armed Services Committee, and Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri.”


Thought for the day...



Protector of My Soul
© 2013  Syneeda Penland

Oh Mother Moon,
You’ve come too soon,
Shadowing my heart with your ecstasy;
Igniting my eternal flame
With your illuminating glow,
Oh’ how you long for me.
For centuries I’ve wondered,
Lost in the heavens,
Waiting for you to rescue me;
Lighting my skies,
No more long goodbyes,
As in heaven, on earth,
Shall always be.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Homeless Epidemic in New York City


Last night I experienced yet another episode of insomnia and kept myself awake by reading the New York Times article, “Invisible Child”, which offers incredible insight into one of New York’s homeless shelters, Auburn Family Residence.    The article is centered on 11-year old Dasani, along with her 6 siblings and her mother and father.  The pictures of their cramped, rodent infested living quarters will penetrate through to you soul. 

After reading about the family’s unfortunate situation I began to research more about how America’s current economic status is being compared to the Great Depression, which is far from the truth. 

Needless to say, we can’t blame the economy, Wall Street or the current White House Administration on what starts at home or in the bedroom, “planned parenthood”!

I’ve personally witnessed the emotional and financial impact of the aftermath of unplanned pregnancies.  Unfortunately, either other family members or government agencies are left to foot the bill while the birth parents are seldom held accountable.  I see this as being the root problem for children like Dasani, who are brought into this world as victims of unwarranted poverty.   

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Celebrating the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela


Oh Mother Africa
© 2013 Syneeda Penland 

Oh Mother Africa,
Let me hear your cry,
As we celebrate the life and legacy 
Of your beloved son,
As we long to say good bye.

Standing steadfast in the mist
Of your great divide,
Liberating the souls of your children,
Leading their spirits to freedom,
During the wrath of your apartheid.

Freeing your children
From the bonds of mental slavery,
Inspiring them to believe in you, their heritage, 
Throughout their quest for liberty.

Oh Mother Africa,
How you weep the loss of your beloved son,
Be proud of his immeasurable deeds,
Knowing that his work is never done.

His legacy reached far beyond the shores
Of your magnificent ivory coast,
To the hearts and souls of your
African-American children,
Where you are loved the most.

Oh Mother Africa,
As you lay your son to rest,
Cradle him in your earthly bosom,
Knowing that he has done his best!