"The Senate uses Iran sanctions to bring shafting veterans to a whole new level."

It’s a National Shame

Republicans insist that stealing the pensions of combat veterans and survivors of our war dead is a patriotic thing to do as that money is better spent on the rich because reasons.  They want to remind you that this is what “supporting the troops” is all about.  After all those benefits would help the economy and we can’t have that.  Also, the veterans will just blow their promised benefits on frivolous things like food and shelter.

"Rachel Maddow talks with Paul Rieckhoff, U.S. Army veteran and executive director of the IAVA, about pressuring President Obama to protect veterans’ benefits."

"Hospital pricing is often convoluted, and hospital charges represent about a third of the total United States health care bill."

"A Galveston medical student comes to grips with a healthcare system in which her patients die from treatable conditions."

Ya think?

"Oklahoma now joins Texas, Mississippi and Louisiana as the only states that have publicly said they will limit how and where such couples can register for benefits, despite a recent Pentagon directive."

Republicans hate veterans so much they are denying gay ones the benefits they earned by their service in four states now. 

A judge has given a teacher who raped a fourteen year old girl, who killed herself as a result, only 30 days in jail, since the judge believes the dead girl was equally responsible for her own rape.  He is not stepping down.   The prosecutor didn’t even ask for jail time the first time around.


The Invisible War

After growing up in Compton, California, Barajas served for seven years in the U.S Army’s 82nd Airborne Division. He had a green card, and was proud to serve what he considered to be his country.

Now, Barajas says, he never imagined he’d be banned for life from the United States.

“I was a legal resident when I entered the military in 1995,” he said. “I got out in 2001 with two honorable discharges. I was under the impression that I was a U.S. citizen automatically because of the recruiters.”

That wasn’t the case. Though military service can speed up the process of becoming a citizen, it’s not automatic. Barajas got into trouble after leaving the military, and was convicted for discharging a firearm into a vehicle. He served a 3-year prison sentence. Because he had a green card, the conviction meant that he was subject to mandatory deportation.

If he had been a U.S. citizen, Barajas would have walked free after serving his time. Instead, he was taken into ICE custody, brought across the border, and dropped off in Tijuana.

His family remained behind in California.

Fabian Rebolledo, 36, is a recent arrival to Mexico. He’s a Kosovo combat vet and former Army paratrooper. Rebolledo arrived just four months ago, after spending twenty-four years in Los Angeles.

“My deportation was due to a violation of probation,” he said. “It was due to a insufficient funds check. Seven hundred fifty dollars.”

Like Barajas, Rebolledo thought that military service would protect him.

“I was a legal resident,” he said. “And actually, I joined the military because I wanted to become a citizen. I was going to be the first member of my family to become a citizen”

But before the bad check, Rebolledo had two DUI convictions. Although his crimes were nonviolent, they were still enough to ban him from the U.S. for the rest of his life.

That’s because of a 1996 immigration law that expanded the list of crimes considered to be “aggravated felonies.” The law made some misdemeanor crimes result in permanent, mandatory deportation for non-citizens.

Vets who commit crimes, do time, and are then deported can still be eligible for benefits. However, it’s impossible for them to collect most of those benefits.

Nevertheless, there is one benefit they can collect: burial.

“We had a guy who died about four months ago,” Barajas said. “He was deported, not allowed to go into the U.S. When (he) died, they let his body go. And then they gave him a nice certificate, thank you for serving our country. When I die, I can be buried as an American.”

It’s true. Unless they’ve been dishonorably discharged, the Office of Veteran’s Affairs says that all military veterans are indeed entitled to a burial in a national cemetery.

Immigration law doesn’t restrict the corpses of veterans from coming “home” to American soil.

Only then can deported vets re-enter the country legally, in order to be laid to rest as American service members: with a grave marker and a American flag.

(Source: jhameia, via peterpangal365)

"Meet two women who share their outrage after it’s discovered their rape kits went untested for decades."

Pittsburgh VA Delibrately Infected Veterans with Legionella

The Administrators of the Pittsburgh VA hospital discovered there was legionella in their water supply.  Rather than taking proper steps to, you know, fix that before it killed people less work to use an agent that doesn’t kill legionella to treat the water.  They didn’t even bother to tell staff and patients.  As a result five veterans died and sixteen more got sick.  One of those killed was a WWII veteran only in for dehydration.  How are the people who deliberately poisoned all those people being punished?  Have they been arrested for manslaughter?  Have they at least been fired?  Of course not.  They got huge bonuses for “doing such a good job.”  Have a Great Fucking Memorial Day!  There are six more honored dead who would have been alive if they hadn’t gone to the hospital to remember today.

"The Obama administration’s skill at administering online databases only applies to elections."