Monday, July 06, 2009

Homeless female veterans

But for most people, the primary source of their information is the mainstream. It is mainly television. Even the internet for all its subversiveness has still a very large component of the mainstream. And that means we’re getting still either its this singular message about wars, about the economy, about all those things that touch our lives. All we are getting is what I would call is a contrived silence, a censorship by a mission. I think this is almost the principal issue of today because without information, we cannot possibly begin to influence government. We cannot possibly begin to end the wars.
All of this, it seams to me, has come together in the presidency of Barack Obama who is almost a creation of this media world. He promised some things, although most of them were more for us, and has delivered virtually the opposite. He started his own war in Pakistan. We see the events in Iran and Honduras in quiet subtlety, but very directly influenced in the time-honored way by the Obama administration. And yet the Obama administration is still given this extraordinary benefit of the doubt by people, who in my view are influenced by the mainstream media. It is a time when I think, where either we are going to begin to understand how the media really works, or we’re going to let that opportunity pass. Its almost a historic opportunity the we understand that the perception of our world is utterly distorted, most of the time through what are seen as credible sources of information.

That's John Pilger on today's Democracy Now!, "John Pilger on Honduras, Iran, Gaza, the Corporate Media, Obama’s Wars and Resisting the American Empire." We're noting Pilger in both entries to signify the importance. Also of importance is Bryan Bender's "More female veterans are winding up homeless" (Boston Globe) notes that the figures have "nearly doubled" this decade while, "unlike their male counterparts, many have the added burden of being single parents." Can someone explain why, in an article on female veterans, only one female veteran is spoken to? Can someone explain why a man is yammering on and on about what it's like for a female veteran? Would it not have been smarter for the man to have said, "Let me put you in touch with ____. She's a member of our organization and can speak to this." Did Bender know of no women who were experts on this issue? Strange because a number of them have appeared before Congress in the last two years. If you're not grasping the problem, a male reporter is allegedly covering homeless female veterans and he does that by speaking to one and then by getting non-stop background from a male VA official and a male with a veterans organization. Neither, for the record, are experts on homeless female veterans. And this is done while the whole reason for the problem is that the VA has not anticipated or grasped the needs of female veterans. Do you not get how this article contributes to that problem by who is sought out to offer 'expertise'?

From the June 3rd snapshot, when US House Rep Bob Finer chaired the House Committee on Veterans Affairs committee for the hearing entitled "A National Commitment to End Veterans' Homelessness:"

The number of women veterans who are homeless is rising. [Vietnam Veterans of America's Marsha] Four observed, "There certainly is a question of course on the actual number of homeless veterans -- it's been flucuating dramatically in the last few years. When it was reported at 250,000 level, two percent were considered females. This was rougly about 5,000. Today, even if we use the very low number VA is supplying us with -- 131,000 -- the number, the percentage, of women in that population has risen up to four to five percent, and in some areas, it's larger. So that even a conservative method of determinng this has left the number as high as [6,550]. And the VA actually is reporting that they are seeing that this is as high as eleven percent for the new homeless women veterans. This is a very vulnerable population, high incidents of past sexual trauma, rape and domestic violence. They have been used, abused and raped. They trust no one. Some of these women have sold themselves for money, been sold for sex as children, they have given away their own children. And they are encased in this total humiliation and guilt the rest of their lives." About half of her testimony was reading and about half just speaking to the committee directly. Click here for her prepared remarks. We'll come back to the issue of homeless women veterans in a moment.
[. . .]
Marsha Four: I believe, sir, that there are very few programs in the country that are set up and designed specifically for homeless women veterans that are seperate. One of the problems that we're run into in a mixed gender setting is sort of two-fold. One the women veterans do not have the opportunity to actually be in a seperate group therapy environment because there are many issues that they simply will not divulge in mixed gender populations so those issues are never attended to. The other is that we believe, in a program, you need to focus on yourself and this is the time and place to do your issue, your deal. In a mixed gender setting, let's say, interfering factors. Relationships are one of them. Many of the veterans too come from the streets so there's a lot of street behavior going on. Some of the women -- and men -- but some of the women have participated in prostitution and so there's a difficult setting for any of them to actually focus on themselves without having all these other stressors come into play. So we feel that's an important issue.

US Senator Patty Murray's office issued the following today, "FT. LEWIS: Murray Includes $2 Million to Build First-of-its-Kind Women and Children's Facility at Madigan Army Medical Center in Critical Spending Bill:"

Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), a member of the Senate Military Construction Appropriations Committee, announced that she has included $2 million to begin planning and design of a Women and Children’s Center at Madigan Army Medical Center. The Women and Children’s Center is necessary to provide health care and services to Fort Lewis’ large and growing population of women and newborns. The facility would be the Army’s first Women and Children’s Center. The funding was included in the Senate Military Construction Appropriations Bill which passed the Military Construction Appropriations Subcommittee today.
“We owe it to our soldiers and their families to ensure that Madigan keeps up with the changing needs of the Fort Lewis community,” said Senator Murray. “And with the number of women and newborns on base growing, it’s time for an expanded facility that meets their unique needs. This funding will begin the process of building a facility that not only provides top-notch maternity and health care to those on base, but also serves as a valuable resource to the surrounding community. This project recognizes that the health and well being of our soldiers is directly connected to the health of their families.”
“Pierce County greatly values its relationship with the military, and I am very pleased to support the creation of a Women and Children’s Center at Madigan Army Hospital,” said Pat McCarthy, Pierce County Executive. “Once completed, this facility will offer greater access to quality healthcare for our soldiers and their families.”
The project will expand access to quality healthcare to the female soldiers and Army families who are stationed at these bases as well as members of the Army National Guard and Reserve and their families in the greater Washington State area. It will serve soldiers through pre- and post- deployment and their families during deployments. Establishing a women and children’s care facility at Madigan Army Medical Center will fulfill the Army’s commitment to families and address the healthcare needs outlined in the Army Family Covenant. The project will also bring 35 to 40 new, full-time, long-term, healthcare related jobs to Piece County.
Facts About Madigan and Fort Lewis Regarding a Women and Children’s Facility
By 2013 the Madigan Army Medical Center will serve the third largest troop population in the country as Fort Lewis and McChord Air Force Base complete the base merger required by the 2005 Defense Base Closure and Realignment.
Fort Lewis enrolls over 126, 000 soldiers and family members and projects over 2,700 births annually.
Fort Lewis has the largest troop population at a base with a teaching medical center.
Fort Lewis is ranked third in the nation among Army Medical Centers in births.
Maternal-fetal medicine, urogynecology, GYN oncology, pediatric surgery, medical genetics, and pediatric subspecialties have an existing and long-term presence at Madigan.
Madigan is home to the only Department of Defense fellowships in developmental pediatrics and maternal-fetal medicine.
The Military Construction Appropriations Bill will be considered by the full Appropriations Committee tomorrow and will then be sent to the full Senate for consideration.

Turning to some of today's reported violence . . .


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Mosul car bombing which injured fourteen and a Baquba roadside bombing which left two police officers injured.


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a traffic police officer was injured in a Mosul shooting, 1 person was shot dead "inside a medical center" (also in Mosul) and assailants attacked two police officers at a Mosul checkpoint (stabbing them to death) and then shot up another Mosul checkpoint.

Beau notes Robert Taylor's "Out of Iraq? Don't Bet On It" (Examiner):

This is part of Obama’s new “grand strategy” to “pull out” from Iraq by December 31, 2011, and until then U.S. forces will remain as night watchmen and have permission to enter cities only when the Iraqi government asks them to. U.S. puppet Prime Minister Malaki is hailing this as a “victory” for the Iraqi people, though there are still going to be 130,000 troops waiting for his call to crush anyone him and his Army can’t handle on their own.
This partial pull-out is nothing more than a metaphorical passing of the emperor-torch to Malaki, who now has the “sole” authority to request American troops. Obama’s new “grand strategy” (the perfect name for a plan coming from the
Egomaniac-in-Chief) in Iraq is a way of making it seem like U.S. troops are being taken out of harm’s way so that he can justify keeping them there as long as possible.
The point of the invasion of Iraq was never to declare “victory” and go home. Empires don’t go home, and the U.S. invaded Iraq to continue its expansion of bases and
Vatican-size embassies, expand its hegemonic influence in the region, and take out one of Israel’s biggest threats. Sen. George Casey, who used to be in charge of all forces in Iraq, has suggested U.S. forces will have to stay in the region for at least ten years. Well, ten more years isn’t really that long of a time compared to the sixty-four years (and counting) that the U.S. has occupied Germany and South Korea.

Beau points out Taylor is a Liberatarian. We do highlight them from time to time on Iraq but we are a site for the left. The above was worth noting regadless of party i.d.

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