Archive for May, 2007

Memorial Day Thoughts and Losses

Thursday, May 31st, 2007

Memorial Day is a solemn occasion around my house as my family considers the people who lost their lives serving in Vietnam with my husband. Our prayers are with those people and our hearts go out to their loved ones, as well as the other soldiers who have served their country and given their lives over the years.

Another great loss was announced the day after memorial day, on May 28, which is also the birthday of deceased American soldier Casey Sheehan. His mother, Cindy Sheehan, said she was done being the public face of the anti-war movement.

Sheehan became famous when she protested the war for 26 days in August, 2005, outside George Bush’s ranch. She is now returning to her native California to spend more time with her other three children and to “try to be normal”. She significantly states, “I have been wondering why I’m killing myself and wondering why the Democrats caved in to George Bush. Good-bye America…you are not the country that I love and I finally realized no matter how much I sacrifice, I can’t make you that country unless you want it. It’s up to you now.”

It’s sad to think such a strong leader of a grass roots movement is so discouraged with the lack of political support for a cause that is clearly a priority for many of us “regular folk”. Cindy’s son, Army Spc. Casey Sheehan was only 24 years old when he was killing during a 2004 ambush in Baghdad.

We also know that anyone who doesn’t support the “good old boys” network of secret-society attending deviants is harassed and abused until they are weak from the fight. Sheehan further goes on to say, “I have endured a lot of smear and hatred since Casey was killed and especially since I became the so-called “Face”of the American anti-war movement.”

Clearly she has to get out of town. Cindy purchased 4 acres nears downtown Crawford, Texas with insurance money received after the death of her son. She set up Camp Casey as an anti-war hub but now feels, “Camp Casey has served its purpose. It’s for sale. Anyone want to buy five beautiful acres in Crawford, Texas?”

Cindy has not just had to give up her precious son Casey and Camp Casey over the past couple of years. She also sacrificed her marriage of 29 years and held up to threats about her trying to stop the war. Sheehan, formerly the apple of the liberal leftist’s eye, said, “…when I started to hold the Democratic party to the same standards that I held the Republican Party, support for my cause started to erode and the ‘left’ started labeling me with the same slurs the right used.” The war machine is obviously a very large one.

Sheehan even underwent surgery last summer. Since then, she has considered giving up the important movement for peace. Clearly tired and spent, Cindy has apparently lost any positive hope about the entire experience as well. Her conclusion about her tragic loss of a son was, “that Casey did indeed die for nothing…killed by his own country which is beholden to and run by a war machine that controls what we think.”

Our thoughts are thankfully our own but how long will that last in a country that dictates to its own people and other nations through dictatorship and violence? An alleged democracy that clearly is not listening to the wants and needs of its people while exacerbating a stressful international arena? This democracy allows immigrants to illegally barge over our borders and now want to give away the money people have given into the system for years to these folks rather than punish them for their behavior. Why have immigration laws at all – as a farce to the public? Clearly wealthy people don’t want to give up inexpensive labor at the expense of everyone else who is paying their salary through taxes, including the truly hard-working immigrants who made the time and effort to honestly attain citizenship. This democracy allows children, veterans, single mothers and senior citizens to go to bed hungry, homeless and without proper medical care every night while we spend lives and money on a war machine that feeds the pockets of government officials.

Cindy Sheehan’s final conclusion was, “We’ve accomplished as much here as we’re going to. When we come back, it definitely won’t be with the peace movement with marches, with rallies and with protests. It will be more humanitarian efforts.”

Let there be peace on earth…and let it begin with me.

Carter Gets Bush-Whacked by Administration for Accuracy

Monday, May 21st, 2007

I have had a momentary diversion from my veteran husband’s medical concerns today as I read the statements made by former United States President, Jimmy Carter, regarding the current President, George Bush, Jr. Carter stated about Bush, quite accurately, that, “I think as far as the adverse impact on the nation around the world, this administration has been the worst in history.” Carter’s response was in response to a question that compared the Bush administration to Nixon’s foreign policy. The Carter statement was published in the Arkansas Democrat Gazette and it didn’t take Bush long to catch wind of it.

Apparently Bush’s good old boys didn’t take too long to retort. Though they didn’t have anything to say on Saturday, by Sunday they were ready. The White House spokesman, Tony Fratto, stated, “I think it’s sad that President Carter’s reckless personal criticism is out there. And I think he is proving to be increasingly irrelevant with these kinds of comments.”

Of course, I bristled immediately at this response from the White House. Obviously anyone that disagrees with these idiots is deemed to be “irrelevant”. Apparently the majority of this county, as well as other countries internationally, are basically unimportant to Bush and his boys because they don’t agree with his self-centered reign of terror. Our country has made no progress with regard to homelessness, Social Security reform, proper care of veterans or establishing a functional national health policy that actually cares for people. Instead, Bush intends to offers Social Security benefits paid by working class Americans to illegal – key term ILLEGAL- aliens. But then again, when did the actual laws or the people they are supposed to protect ever really matter to these renegade leaders anyway? Frankly, we shouldn’t be worried about Iraq when we consider the sad state of our own nation today compared to where it was a decade ago.

Clearly, people must feel threatened by the Bush boys because it then seems that Carter backed off his statements a bit, saying, “Well, I don’t claim to have any relevancy. I have a completely unofficial capacity. The only thing I lead is the Carter Center.” He went on to state that his remarks were “careless or misinterpreted” and that his comment was reserved to the comparison of Bush foreign policy with Nixon foreign policy. Jimmy did uphold that, “I think this administration’s foreign policy compared to President Nixon’s was much worse.”

However, this has not been the first time Carter was a critic of Bush. The former president had said that the Bush administration had a “radical departure from all previous administration policies” with the Iraq war, going on that, “We now have endorsed the concept of pre-emptive war where we go to war with another nation militarily, even though our own security is not directly threatened, if we want to change the regime there or if we fear that some time in the future our security might be endangered.”

Jimmy Carter also denounced the relationship between Bush and Tony Blair, British Prime Minister, in during a BBC interview. When he describes Blair’s relationship with George, he calls it, “Abominable. Loyal, blind, apparently subservient. I think that the almost undeviating support by Great Britain for the ill-advised policies of President Bush in Iraq have been a major tragedy for the world.

I find it interesting to note that Jimmy Carter, who was president from 1977-1981, won a Nobel Peace Prize for his charitable work and has been in opposition to invading Iran prior to the launch in 2003. It is even more notable to consider that I didn’t see Jimmy Carter’s name on the list of world power people who attended secret societies described in this blog. Frankly, I’m glad there’s a person in power who doesn’t dance with these deviants and actually wants to address the real issues – there’s nothing irrelevant about that to the rest of the world – just a small group who wants us to believe they are the final word.

Ongoing Medical Indifference to Veterans

Tuesday, May 15th, 2007

 

My husband, a former Marine and Vietnam veteran, was recently sent to the emergency room on his way to the VA hospital. After stopping at a local clinic on his way to the VA because he was dizzy, the clinic called me and let me know they were transporting him by ambulance to the local hospital emergency room because they were not equipped to perform all the necessary tests. The VA hospital in our community is over 50 miles from our residence and located in a town with houses that are impossible for disabled veterans to even dream of affording. Thus, the clinic stated my husband had to be sent to the local emergency room, despite the fact my husband and I let them know he was best sent to a VA hospital because of his special circumstances and medical history.

I offered to drive my husband to the VA but was told not to bother because the ambulance had already arrived. Concerned about my husband’s condition and torn by the fact my children were on their way to catch the school bus and come home at this point, I decided the best way to spend that transitional hour was to contact our family for help and let the VA and the emergency room know about my husband’s situation.

After calling the VA hospital several times and being transferred to numbers that rang without a response, answering machines with no people to talk to and once getting hung up on after lingering in telephone orbit, I called for a fourth time to demand to speak to a doctor on my husband’s team. At this point it was after 4 in the afternoon, my children had just arrived home and no one was around anymore. I persisted that there had to be a doctor on staff because it was a 24 hour hospital and the operator reluctantly transferred me to an intern.

The intern was actually helpful and understanding and even offered me their name, unlike many other employees I have dealt with in the past. However, the intern really had no pertinent information about sharing records with the emergency room or insurance procedures to follow to ensure coverage of the hospital stay but stated he was on call to discuss my husband’s condition with the emergency room. I thanked him and called the toll free number on the back of my husband’s VA card for more information.

The toll free number gave me a list of sensible directions, such as informing the emergency room of their number so that could call for authorization of the visit and conveying to the emergency room the the nature of my husband’s disabilities and condition. The VA employee at this toll free number assured me that the emergency room should be well aware of all these procedures and I should simply verify they had followed them. After an hour and a half, I had finally contacted all the people necessary to make sure my husband received proper care and that we were following the proper procedure to avoid getting a bill we cannot afford.

I then went to the emergency room at the local hospital and attempted to discuss my husband’s situation with the head nurse and the physician on duty. Both were quite abrupt and told me to speak to his attending nurse. I went to the nurse and told her about my husband’s neurological disability, his intolerance for certain medications and that there was a team member available at the VA to discuss these issues with. She balked at the mere thought and curtly told me it would not be necessary. I then let her know that there was a toll free number on the back of my husband’s VA treatment card and inquired if they had called it to ensure coverage for the visit. She told me she didn’t know what to do with that and went back to doing paperwork, ignoring me. I asked if she would call and she said she wasn’t sure if she should and again went back to doing paperwork. I finally asked if there was someone else that calls insurance companies at the hospital that knows about making such calls and if I could speak to that person. The nurse begrudgingly got up and asked the attending physician if she should call about the insurance. He told her to go ahead and call and then reassured me he would be checking on my husband and discussing his condition with me.

After waiting for hours, I saw the attending physician walking toward the exit with a backpack. Although my husband was on an IV and oxygen, he had not returned to check him or discuss his condition with me as promised. I ran after the doctor and he told me he thought he had emphysema and another doctor would be on duty to check him out shortly.

I returned to my husband, who looked clearly distressed. He was very excited and the nurse came over and said it was best to give him something to calm down and an antibiotic. I watched her administer three pills to him and asked her what they were. She told me an antibiotic and something to relax him down because he needed rest. Ten minutes later, the nurse told me the sedatives should be working and my husband should be sleeping in just a few minutes and advised me to leave so he could get sleep. I asked about his condition and if other medications were given to him and she assured me that he was fine and after he got some sleep, the doctor on duty would review everything and contact me.

I asked my husband if I should return home and he told me he needed his rest, his brother would stay with him and he wanted me to get his truck, which was left in a questionable neighborhood near the clinic. I went to get his truck and within ten minutes of arriving home, I got a telephone call from my husband from a telephone booth. He told me he had been released from the hospital because he was deemed to be a problem by security.

As dad went to get my husband from the side of the road, I contacted the hospital to find out what happened and why my disabled husband was wandering the streets full of traffic under the influence of a sedative. I was alarmed when the chief nurse declined that sedatives were administered to my husband, although I watched them do it, and stated it was not on his record. I also found out they gave my husband medications before I arrived that were completely unsuitable for his condition. When I informed the chief nurse that I had told his staff about my husband’s condition and even had a doctor at the VA on call to discuss treatment and suitable medications, he again lied to me by stating I had not done so and that it was not on the record.

My point of telling this tale of woe is the mistreatment veterans are victims of not only in VA hospitals, but at other hospitals as well. It is even more scary to consider the lies and misrepresentations noted on a veteran’s record to cover up the inability of the staff to deal with a specialized situation. If my husband was excited, it was because the medication they gave him was clearly inappropriate to administer because of his neurological problems due to Agent Orange Exposure, which is noted on his VA card. If this is the best treatment our veterans can hope to get, why are we sending more people to war – obviously, our country is not equipped to take proper care of these soldiers when they return. I fear for my husband’s safety and well-being, as well as the health of other veterans all over the country in this system filled with people collecting salaries but making very little effort to accomplish anything meaningful and who are even willing to be dishonest to cover up their inadequacy. I

The Dirt About Earth Day

Tuesday, May 1st, 2007

Okay, I will admit I have been a distracted blogger over the past couple of weeks because I got involved with some community Earth Day activities to clean up our neighborhood and a little piece of the world. With all the Earth Day hype starting to calm down a week later, I had a chance to think a bit more about the day and asked myself – what’s it really all about and when did it actually start?

Although I thought answering this question would be relatively simple, it wasn’t – perhaps I should have known?! Anyway, although my community creates a lot of action about April 22 being Earth Day, there are actually two Earth Days that are celebrated. The other Earth Day is actually internationally celebrated, through the United Nations, on the day of the March equinox, which usually happens around March 21 or March 22, a month prior to the Earth Day publicized in the United States.

Earth Day was actually introduced in 1969 by John McConnell at a UNESCO conference during the same year that he designed the Earth flag. Joseph Alioto, San Francisco Mayer, proclaimed the first Earth Day on March 21, 1970. On February 26, 1971, UN Secretary General U Thant signed a proclamation stating, “May there only be peaceful and cheerful Earth Days to come for our beautiful Spaceship Earth as it continues to spin and circle in frigid space with its warm and fragile cargo of animate life.”

Another Earth Day was introduced on April 22, 1970 and was intended to be an environmental “teach-in” much like the “sit-in” that was used to protest the Vietnam War. A U.S. Senator and environmental activist from Wisconsin named Gaylord Nelson took the leading role in organizing the April 22 celebration and over 20 million people participated that first year. The National Coordinator of activities for Earth Day was Denis Hayes, a graduate student from Harvard that was chosen by Senator Nelson. Hayes said that his mission was for Earth Day to “bypass the traditional political process” and the Vietnam War was protesting during the first Earth Day celebration. My husband, a Vietnam veteran, remembered this and it did have an impact on the soldiers, although not necessarily a positive one because they did not feel supported by some of those protesting the War. In fact, some of the protesters blamed the veterans, rather than the government who sent them, and greeted them by spitting at them and throwing things.

The bottom line seems to be that McConnell was interested in space exploration, Earth’s equinox on the first day of spring and Earth’s place in the universe, while Nelson was a environmentalist and politician who sought to teach as many people as possible about the saddened condition of the Earth. McConnell stated about the two days, “…there is a the problem of power. Most of us are media made. Our opinions and conduct are influenced by the paper we read and the TV or web programs we view. In all of this, big money or corporate and government power in a large measure decides what happens.” So the question is, whose intentions were pure and who was trying to influence the masses and it appears rather self-explanatory.

At the Earth Day Peace Bell Ceremony held at the United Nations on March 21, 1977, Margaret Mead stated, “Earth Day is the first completely international and universal holiday that the world has ever known. Every other holiday was tied to one place, or some political or special event. This Day is tied to Earth itself, and to the place of Earth in the whole solar system. At this moment, when I climb the steps and ring the Peace Bell, it will be the Equinox in every part of the world and we can celebrate it at once on behalf of every part of the world.”

Regardless of the day Earth Day is celebrated, it is certainly a successful way of bringing people together internationally for a singular purpose. Earth Day is now observed in at least 175 countries and the Earth Day Network says Earth Day is, “the largest secular holiday in the world, celebrated by more than a half billion people everyday.” I find it interesting that a day designated to the Earth, peace and togetherness has to be in dispute. I can only assume that because opposing Earth Day would have made any politician appear to be an inconsiderate ass (not that they don’t look that way anyway), they had to make it on a different day to cause some type of controversy around an otherwise pleasant concept.

I also want to note some of the relevant events that occurred on the “second” Earth Day, designated by a politician to be April 22, especially in light of the conspiracy theories discussed on this blog. On April 22, 1915, Germans first introduced poison gas. Then, on April 22, 1945, Hitler admitted to defeat from his underground bunker. Finally, on April 22, 1993, the dedication of the Holocaust National Museum took place in Washington, D.C. Interesting coincidences occurred on April 22 – which makes it piques additional thought about why this second date was chosen.

Either way, I intend to keep on celebrating the Earth and trying to be a conscientious member of the planet every day.