Friday, May 30, 2014

Shinseki resigns in the wake of VA health care scandal

Eric Shinseki.
A veteran of the U.S. Air Force, I was a newcomer to the VA Health Care System when I underwent knee replacement surgery in November 2012. My introduction to the system became increasingly complicated. On one occasion, I mentioned to an orthopedic surgeon my frustrations with what I already realized was a massive bureaucracy. She replied, "It's as frustrating for us as it for you."

I believed her.

Recent headlines have borne out the truth of  my observation with my attending physician that day. And just minutes ago, I learned that Eric Shinseki, the secretary of Veterans Affairs, has resigned. I'm not sure how much good replacing Shinseki will do - a bureaucracy after all is a bureaucracy, but we'll see.

Jonathan Topaz reports at Politico on Shinseki's resignation:

President Barack Obama said Friday that with “considerable regret” he had accepted the resignation of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki.

“I want to reiterate: he is a very good man,” Obama said, but the secretary came to believe that “he could not carry out the next stages of reform without being a distraction…
“I regret that he has to resign under these circumstances.”

The statement came immediately after what Obama had earlier described as a “serious conversation” he had planned to have with Shinseki about the secretary’s “capacity” to adequately handle the problems in the department.

(Also on POLITICO: Dems help upend Obama’s scandal playbook)

“I’ll have a serious conversation with him about whether he thinks he’s prepared and has the capacity to take on the job of fixing it, because I don’t want any veteran to not be getting the kind of services they deserve,” the president said during the excerpt of an interview with Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan that was taped on Thursday and aired on Friday.

Shinseki on Friday had been expected to deliver to the president an internal audit on the situation at the VA.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Santa Barbara and the War on Women

Hi Friends,

Watch Elliot Rodgers on YouTube and then sign the petition below.

Thanks, Virginia


Heidi Hess, CREDO Action Wed, May 28, 2014 at 9:53 AM
Santa Barbara and the War on Women
Tell pro-NRA senators:
"Stop selling out women to the NRA. Support the Protecting Domestic Violence and Stalking Victims Act."
Automatically add your name:
Sign the petition ►
Dear Virginia,

Stop the NRA
Mix the NRA’s pro-gun-at-any-cost advocacy, the Republican War on Women, and a broken mental health care system and what we just saw in Santa Barbara is the shocking but not unsurprising result.

In the wake of last week’s misogyny-fueled mass shooting, legislation is gathering momentum that would strengthen our nation's domestic violence laws and help save women's lives. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Mazie Hirono have introduced the Protecting Domestic Violence and Stalking Victims Act to make it harder for people with a history of domestic violence and stalking to buy a gun.

What happened in Santa Barbara was not an isolated incident. In fact, the majority of mass shootings in this country are domestic violence incidents that target women.1 Think of them as the War on Women, weaponized. And if the NRA gets its way and defeats this bill, we can be sure of more anti-woman rampages to come.

Tell pro-NRA senators who cravenly voted to block an up-or-down vote on background checks in the wake of Newtown to say no to the NRA and support the Protecting Domestic Violence and Stalking Victims Act. Click here to automatically sign the petition.
There are a lot of common sense reforms we need -- like universal background checks, a ban on semi-automatic assault weapons, and limits on high capacity ammunition magazines.2 But nothing will change for everyday Americans unless we break the NRA’s chokehold on Congress. Klobuchar’s legislation to protect women won’t even get an up-or-down vote in the Senate, let alone pass, if politicians who are in the pocket of the NRA filibuster the bill. There’s no reason to expect that pro-NRA senators will act differently now than they did after Newtown unless they feel enormous pressure from their constituents.3

The fact is, women are the target of far too many shootings in America. Driven by misogyny and enabled by lax or non-existent gun laws, gunmen channel their rage into shooting women. The presence of a gun in domestic violence situation makes it five times more likely that a women will be killed.4
The Protecting Domestic Violence and Stalking Victims Act works in two key ways:
  • It would add criminals convicted of stalking crimes to the group of people prohibited from buying guns, which already includes felons and the severely mentally ill.
  • It would prohibit people who abuse their dating partners from buying guns – rather than just those who abuse their spouses.
The bill only represents a small step towards the reform we need to see. Right now it’s easier for domestic abusers and the mentally ill to obtain semi-automatic weapons than to access treatment. At a minimum we should be able to pass mandatory background checks, but the NRA has blocked this commonsense reform at every turn. What is possible in this moment -- when a mass shooting has highlighted the deadly War on Women in our culture -- is to pass a bill that would make it more difficult for domestic violence perpetrators and stalkers to obtain the weapons that make it much more likely that the targets of their abuse will be murdered.
Senators who put the NRA’s agenda above the will and needs of their constituents are, to use the words of Richard Martinez, the father of one of last week’s victims, “craven and irresponsible.” Senators who have folded to the NRA before need to hear from concerned Americans today. Click the link below to automatically sign the petition:
Heidi Hess, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets
Automatically add your name:
Sign the petition ►
  1. Analysis of Recent Mass Shootings.” Everytown for Gun Safety, September, 2013.
  2. NRA Members Agree: More Gun Regulation Makes Sense." Zack Beauchamp, Think Progress, July 24, 2012.
  3. "On the Amendment (Manchin Amdt. No. 715 )." United States Senate, April 17, 2013.
  4. Domestic Violence & Firearms Policy Summary.” Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, May 11, 2014.

FB Share on Facebook
Post to your wall
Tw Tweet this
Post to Twitter
© 2014 CREDO. All rights reserved.
To change your email or mailing address, please click here:
To remove yourself from this list, please visit our subscription management page at:

Monday, May 26, 2014

"Thou shall not kill" except in cases of state-sanctioned murder....

Let's pause for a moment in our celebration of the onset of summer this Memorial Day to not only honor those who served, but also to reflect on the significance of state-sanctioned murder:

War, i.e., sending young men and women to other lands to murder those whom we perceive as a threat to our national interests. Keep in mind that it's usually the poor who fight our wars

We've recently learned that those who returned from combat with their lives, although suffering from severe physical and mental disabilities, have too often died on long-term waiting lists.

 Capital punishment, i.e., punishing a convicted murderer by murdering him or her;
The prolonged execution of Ohio inmate Dennis McGuire  earlier this year aroused debate over the method of killing the accused, not the act of murdering him. Capital punishment is now practiced in 32 states.

It's time  to ask whether or not there are better solutions to protecting our national interests and punishing convicted criminals than state-sanctioned murder.

Okay. Let's get  back to our  backyard grilling and other summer activities.


Thursday, May 22, 2014

The ecological web of relationships includes us


Jane Davenport of Defenders of Wildlife is speaking out on behalf of yet another endangered species; we must never forget that what harms any species on this planet has a negative effect on humanity, as we are all part of the ecological web of relationships.

Take Action
Take Action for Endangered Right Whales! 
Right Whale
Right whales got their name from whalers, who dubbed them the “right whale” to hunt. 
Help Protect Right Whales Take Action Button
Dear Virginia,
North Atlantic right whales are among the world’s most endangered whales – yet the federal agency responsible for the species’ recovery is dragging its feet.
Only around 450 of these docile marine mammals survive in the western North Atlantic, along the Eastern Seaboard of the United States. They are protected under the Endangered Species Act, but unless we act soon to expand legal protections for their habitat, these animals could disappear in our lifetime.
Right whales spend much of their time feeding on or near the sea’s surface, which make them especially vulnerable to ship strikes and entanglement in commercial fishing gear. One recent study found that 75 percent or more of surviving right whales bear scars from past encounters with commercial fishing lines.
Even worse, new threats to whales and their habitat are emerging, like the use of powerful sonic blasters for offshore energy exploration and military research.
NMFS has publicly acknowledged that new habitat protections are urgently needed. The agency agreed in 2010 to act, but so far has done nothing.
Right whales got their name from American whalers, who appreciated the fact that right whales swim close to shore and tended to float on the surface after being killed. That made them the “right whale” to hunt.
Commercial whaling killed hundreds of thousands of right whales, nearly wiping out the species before the U.S. banned right whale hunting in 1935. Yet despite nearly 80 years of protection from hunting, right whales face so many threats that they are making little progress towards recovery.
There is no time to waste to give right whales a fighting chance at survival. 
Jane Davenport, Senior Staff Attorney, Conservation Law
Jane Davenport
Senior Staff Attorney, Conservation Law
Defenders of Wildlife

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Karl Rove is brain dead

Public domain image, Hillary Clinton.
Juan Cole at Informed Comment sets the record straight in response to Karl Rove's recent attempt to undermine Hillary Clinton's potential as a presidential candidate in 2016. Karl has reason to fear Hillary's candidacy. No Republican is as well qualified as the former Secretary of State, U S Senator, and First Lady. As Cole points out, it's Rove's mental failings that the country needs to fear; we can trust Hillary Clinton to provide wise leadership:

Karl Rove was reported to have raised questions about Hillary Clinton’s mental well-being because of her fall/a> in late 2012. He later walked back his allegation, but not too much.
It is of course Rove who has careened about deeply harming the US because of some mysterious malady (more likely lack of a heart than anything in the brain). Consider:

1. Karl Rove melted down on election night in November of 2012 and refused to accept even Fox News’ conclusion that Obama had won Ohio: “ROVE: I’m looking at all of these Robert and adding them up. I add up to a Republican Senate and Republican House. You may end up with a different math but you are entitled to your math and I’m entitled to THE math.” A clear sign of brain damage.

2. Rove denies that he lied the US public into his illegal Iraq War and maintains that the only thing wrong with the war is that he did not go on selling it all 8 years.

Read more: