Why the hell is it that C.I.'s the only one who can report on the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing? Why the hell can't Democracy Now? And what the f**k is wrong with Antiwar.com?
It's disgusting. You expect crap from Tom Hayden. But how very telling that our so-called 'independent' media can't and won't report on anything that might make their precious Barack look like the liar he is. "Enduring" bases, C.I. reports today. And that's not her term, that's the term of the Joint-Chiefs of Staff.
Why can she report it when all these alleged 'professional journalists' can't?
I'm so damn sick of it. And there's no excuse for the garbage Antiwar.com posted today.
Let's move over to another topic or I'll just start cursing. Patrick Martin (WSWS) reports:
The scandal currently enveloping Pennsylvania State University’s football program, involving alleged child abuse by a former coach at the school, has dominated the American media for the past week.
The episode has led to the arrest of the individual charged with sexually abusing eight young boys, Jerry Sandusky, as well as two university officials for allegedly failing to report—and subsequently lying about—incidents of abuse, and the firing of the university’s president, Graham B. Spanier, and legendary football coach Joe Paterno.
Paterno, 84, had been head football coach at Penn State since 1966. He holds the record for most victories in Division I college football, 409, and won two national championships, in 1982 and 1986.
There is no cheerful side to this story. For the individuals most intimately involved, it is a tale of psychological torment and personal tragedy. The media in the US—geared toward simplifying reality, stupefying the public and whipping up the worst in its audience—is singularly ill-equipped to deal with the complexities of such a situation, as of course are the authorities at every level.
The American sports and popular cultural scene presents itself as a series of Frankenstein monsters. The media celebrates and blows up sports and entertainment figures and organizations out of all proportion, coining a fortune in the process, and then, at the appropriate and almost inevitable moment, revels in their self- or other form of destruction, again seeking to make a profit, this time out of the sensational denouement.
I'm just not in the mood tonight. Sorry. I'm so f**king pissed at our 'independent' press. They're war whores -- Amy Goodman and all the rest. The Senate Armed Services Committee hearing mattered. They ignored the realities and instead went with trivia (McCain and Panetta had words!). I'm sick of them. Want some truth? Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
Senator Joe Lieberman: Right.
Senator Kay Hagan: But I wanted to talk about our Special Operations Forces. And, as you know, our Special Operations Forces have engaged with their Iraqi counter-parts in counter-terrorism and in training and advising activities. And what will things look like in Iraq from a Special Operations Forces stand point going forward. And what type of engagement would our Special Operation Forces have in Iraq?
General Martin Dempsy: Yes, senator the size of the Iraqi operating Special Forces is about 4,500. They're organized into a counter-terrorism section commanded by an Iraqi general by the name of Kanani. We partnered with him at the head quarters level and will remain so. We're in discussions with Iarq about training -- trainers -- that would stay inside the wire of their places where this counter-terrorism force is located, not go with them on missions but rather train them to continue to go on missions. And-and as I mentioned earlier, the gap is actually in their ability to kind of identify the network and target it. We call it the find-fix-finish-asses-and-exploit cycle. They're very capable of fixing and finishing, not so capable as yet in finding, assessing and exploiting so that you continue to keep pressure on a network. But I will tell you, they are extraordinaryly competent individual soldiers. What we've got to do is keep raising the bar with them on their ability to do things at eschelons above tactics.
Senator Kay Hagan: Well with the drawdown taking place in less than two months, what is your outlook for the ability to continue this training process to enable them to continue to do this on their own?
General Martin Dempsey: Well they will be limited. They don't have the airlift to deliver them to the target that we might have been able to provide. They don't have the ISR target to keep persistant surveillance over the top of the target. So they'll be limited to ground movement and they'll be limited to human intelligence and we'll keep -- But part of the Office of Security Cooperation provides the trainers to keep the training to develop those other areas, but we're some time off in reaching that point.
Senator Kay Hagan: We'll, as we continue this drawdown of our military personnel from Iraq, I really remain concerned about their force protection -- the individuals that will be remaining in Iraq. So what are the remaining challenges for our military personnel in Iraq in terms of managing their vulnerabilities, managing their exposures during the drawdown?
General Martin Dempsey: Senator, are you talking about getting from 24,000, the existing force now and having it retrograde through Kuwait?
Senator Kay Hagan: The ones that will remain over there.
General Martin Dempsey: The ones that will remain --
Senator Kay Hagan: Their protection.
General Martin Dempsey: Yes, Senator. Well, they will have -- First and foremost, we've got ten Offices of Security Cooperation in Iraq bases. And their activities will largely be conducted on these bases because their activities are fundamentally oriented on delivering the foreign military sales. So F-16s get delivered, there's a team there to help new equipment training and-and helping Iraq understand how to use them to establish air sovereignty. Or there's a 141 M1 Tanks right now, generally located at a tank gunnery range in Besmaya, east of Baghdad and the team supporting that training stays on Besmaya so this isn't about us moving around the country very much at all. This is about our exposure being limited to 10 enduring, if you will, Offices of Security Cooperation base camps. And doing the job of educating and training and equipping on those ten bases. Host nation is always responsible for the outer parameter. We'll have contracted security on the inner parameter. And these young men and women will always have responsibility for their own self-defense.
Senator Kay Hagan: So we'll have contracted security on the inner-paramenter?
General Martin Dempsey: That's right.
Counter-Terrorism forces can "lock on" with an identified target?
When you know who the target is, who can't?
We'll note the topic of oil -- the root of the war -- and the current struggle for control of it in Iraq. Forbes reported this morning that oil giant Chevron is demonstrating interest in oil exploration in the KRG. This comes on the heels of Exxon's deal with the KRG over the developing the West Qurna oil field last week which outraged the centeral-government out of Baghdad. Chevron would be the second oil giant dealing with the KRG and the Forbes article notes rumors that Italy's Eni may also be in talks with the KRG. Meanwhile Reuters reports that the Baghdad government is attempting to cancel the Exxon contract. Suadad al-Salhy (Reuters) quotes the (Iraq) Ministry of Oil's director of contracts, Abdul-Mahdy al-Ameedi, stating, "Exxon has violated the ministry directions and instructions concerning the companies working in Kurdistan. It's a violation of the contract and th e law. As a consequence the oil ministry will take steps to end the contract."
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Murray Press Office
Wednesday, November 16, 2011 (202) 224-2834
VETERANS: Chairman Murray Urges VA to Take Immediate Steps in Addressing Disability Claims Backlog
(Washington, D.C.) -- Today, Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee Chairman Patty Murray sent a letter to Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Eric Shinseki about the critical need to improve the efficiency of the claims processing system by eliminating unnecessary tests and procedures that are contributing to the claims backlog at the Department.
"I have heard time and time again from veterans who are frustrated with having to wait months, years and even decades for resolution of their claims and appeals," said Chairman Murray. "I am writing to bring to your attention a practice that may not be medically supported and may be unnecessarily delaying the processing of some claims."
Chairman Murray was alerted to this issue after a number of "errors" were identified at the Seattle Regional Office during an Inspector General review. She shares veterans' frustrations with the disability claims system and continues to take targeted action to address the backlog and to improve the timeliness and accuracy of claims decisions.
The full text of Chairman Murray's letter is below:
The Honorable Eric K. Shinseki
Secretary of Veterans Affairs
810 Vermont Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20420
Dear Secretary Shinseki:
The disability claims system is under enormous pressure as the number and complexity of claims continue to increase. I have heard time and time again from veterans who are frustrated with having to wait months, years and even decades for resolution of their claims and appeals. I am writing to bring to your attention a practice that may not be medically supported and may be unnecessarily delaying the processing of some claims. I request that you put an end to this practice, if there is no strong medical basis for it.
This issue was brought to my attention by a number of "errors" identified at the Seattle Regional Office during a recent Inspector General review. In some disability cases, veterans exhibit "overlapping symptoms" meaning they have symptoms that may be attributable to more than one claimed disability. Currently, medical providers are being asked whether they can differentiate what portion of the symptom is caused by each diagnosis and to provide an opinion as to which overlapping symptom is attributable to each disability. In cases where a medical provider fails to address this question, regional offices are required to return examinations to the provider delaying a final decision on the claim. The "errors" identified in Seattle were the result of a failure to return examination reports that did not address this question.
Based on staff discussions with VA physicians, it appears that a medical provider cannot scientifically, with a high degree of certainty, attribute an overlapping symptom to one disability or another. If a provider cannot say with a level of certainty greater than fifty percent that a particular symptom is due to only one of the overlapping symptoms, it calls into question the practice of asking a medical professional to answer this question.
I hope you would agree that if procedures are being used that are not necessary for the proper resolution of the claim they should be eliminated. Returning an examination for failure to address a question that is not supported by medical science delays the final resolution of a claim and unnecessarily contributes to the claims backlog.
I am therefore requesting that you ask the Veterans Health Administration and VA's General Counsel to answer the two questions attached to this letter. Thank you for your service to our nation's veterans and your consideration of this request.
Deputy Press Secretary
Office of U.S. Senator Patty Murray