Battling the Storm Within

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Pot & Vets: America’s Shame

Photo by Mike Whiter

Our first president probably wasn’t aware of the many medicinal properties of cannabis. He probably never smoked the stuff either. Nonetheless, George Washington was an enthusiastic hemp farmer. But if he’d known how important cannabis would be to the well-being of future military veterans—and how the US government would one day outlaw the plant entirely—the Bill of Rights might very well have included a few clauses about the right to grow, as well as the right to share.


Neurological Symptoms of Gulf War Illness Linked to Intestinal Disturbances, Study Suggests


Neurological Symptoms of Gulf War Illness Linked to Intestinal Disturbances, Study Suggests 

Gulf War Illness (GWI) has many symptoms, and now a link between changes in the gut microbiome (bacteria living in the intestines) and neuroinflammation (inflammation of the brain) has been identified, according to a new study. These findings may result in new treatment approaches for people with GWI gastrointestinal disturbances and symptoms of brain impairment.


Vanishing drugs afflicting VA med centers: AP

WASHINGTON -- Federal authorities are stepping up investigations at Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers due to a sharp increase in opioid theft, missing prescriptions or unauthorized drug use by VA employees since 2009, according to government data obtained by The Associated Press.

Doctors, nurses or pharmacy staff at federal hospitals - the vast majority within the VA system - siphoned away controlled substances for their own use or street sales, or drugs intended for patients simply disappeared.


Pass the VA Accountability First Act of 2017

It's been nearly 3 years since the Phoenix wait list scandal broke, but veterans are STILL receiving substandard health care nationwide. And despite regularly documented cases of egregious misconduct and abuse, it's nearly impossible to fire bad employees at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)!

The VA Accountability First Act of 2017 would change this by making it easier to fire these bad VA employees by shortening the termination process, which currently can take YEARS. The bill would also give Secretary Shulkin the ability to take back bonuses awarded to employees who have engaged in misconduct or committed crimes. 

Until VA employees understand that there will be consequences for their actions, it will be impossible to fix the toxic culture there. Contact your Senators TODAY and tell them to support the VA Accountability First Act of 2017!


Sen. Gregory Introduces Bill to Create Women Veterans License Plate

Profits from specialty license plate to be donated to state Michigan Veterans Trust Fund
LANSING, Mich. – Today Sen. Vincent Gregory (D–Lathrup Village), a U.S. Marine Corps. Corporal and Vietnam War veteran, introduced a bill that would create a fundraising license plate recognizing the sacrifice that servicewomen have made in the line of duty.

“Michigan boasts a growing number of female veterans,” Sen. Gregory said. “More than 46,000 women vets already call our state home, and that number is continuing to multiply as women now comprise nearly 20 percent of new military recruits.”


Study: Military service narrows racial wage gap among women

Serving in the military can boost women’s future earnings and quash significant racial and ethnic disparities in pay, a new study has found.

While white women traditionally make thousands more each year than their black, Hispanic and Native American peers, a recent report out of Florida State University shows that veteran women of color out-earn same-race nonveterans and also make more than white women who have not served in the military. Veteran women of all races earn about 8 percent more than nonveteran women.  


Ongoing Discrimination- Sexist Marine Scandal Prompts Pentagon Investigation


Sexism and Racism in Today's Army

​"Sexism has many similarities to racism because it's based on an attitude of superiority, or rather inferiority because of gender differences."                    Sgt.Shannon in Battling the Storm Within


Suicide among female veterans up 85% - VA - Video

RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Since 9/11 it’s not uncommon to see women in conflict areas around the world. Their numbers in the military have increased, and a new study shows their problems associated with war, too, have increased.
A comprehensive study from the Department of Veterans Affairs shows the suicide rate among women vets has increased 85 percent over the last 25 years.

Watch Video and

Women taught at boot camp to endure sexual harassment from male Marines, veteran says

As a Marine recruit at Parris Island, Erika Butner learned from her drill instructors that her supposed brothers in arms would treat her as one of three stereotypes: “A bitch; you’re a whore or you’re a lesbian,” she told lawmakers on Wednesday. 
“I’m not blaming the drill instructors,” she said at a Democratic Women’s Working Group hearing. “They were preparing us to have thick skin because it is so ingrained in this culture that they don’t know how to change it, so they go with the grain.”


Advocates see more work ahead for integrating women in combat, military roles

WASHINGTON — Former Marine Corps Capt. Greg Jacob says when women entered his company, everyone’s training scores went up.

“The men didn’t want to get beat by the women,” he said. “So they started lifting more weights, pushing harder. The entire standard of the unit was raised.”

That’s why Jacob, a longtime advocate of integrating women into military combat posts, is frustrated with slow progress on the issue in recent years. He thinks the issue isn’t one of political correctness and quotas, but instead one of re-examining ways to make the military stronger.


Marine recruit’s death shows “torture, abuse and suffering;” drill sergeant faces court martial

Raheel Siddiqui, a Pakistani-American Muslim from Taylor, was 11 days into his basic training with the United States Marine Corps on Parris Island in South Carolina when he died.

“The physical evidence in this case tells the story of torture, abuse and suffering.”
That's the assertion of the lawyer representing the family of Raheel Siddiqui, a 20-year-old from Taylor who died while attending boot camp in South Carolina in March of 2016. According to the Marines, Siddiqui committed suicide by jumping 40 feet down a stairwell.

Read & Listen to Audio more...

How to maintain self-care during Sexual Assault Awareness Month

How to maintain self-care during Sexual Assault Awareness Month

  April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). Nationwide, activists and advocates are taking action to counteract and raise awareness for sexual violence. This month, while amazingly informative and impactful, can be challenging for advocates, survivors and allies. As a person who works on these issues, I know the month can be emotionally and physically taxing. Wellness is necessary for our sustainable activism.

           Here are some tips for self-care during SAAM:


Trump will allow immigrants to obtain citizenship through military service - VIDEO

   A Defense Department official says that the U.S. military will continue to welcome noncitizen recruits and that the Trump administration also will continue a long-standing policy that allows members of the military and their families a pathway to citizenship for their service.


Frustrated with misogyny, hundreds of female Marines have joined a group pressuring male colleagues to change

Hundreds of female Marines and Marine veterans have launched a new group to press for an end to misogyny in the Marine Corps, saying the recent scandal in which nude photographs of some women in the service were distributed by their male colleagues is unacceptable.

Read more....

In War on Child Porn, US Turns Wounded Soldiers Into Hunters

A group of military veterans take the oath at a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) ceremony, swearing them in to serve as analysts on child exploitation cases, at ICE headquarters in Washington, March 31, 2017. (B. Hamdard/VOA)


Veteran patients in imminent danger at VA hospital in D.C., investigation finds- VIDEO

WASHINGTON — Conditions are so dangerous at the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Washington, D.C., that the agency's chief watchdog issued a rare preliminary report Wednesday to alert patients and other members of the public.


Report says troops wouldn't recommend military service to their own kids

A new report from military family support organization Blue Star Families shows more than half of service members would not recommend military service to their own children. Additionally, slightly less than half of the respondents would not recommend it to other young adults who aren’t related to them.
Blue Star Families has compiled the so called “Annual Military Family Lifestyle Survey” reports since 2009, which are widely used by government officials from the White House, Congress, the Department of Defense, and state and local officials to help understand the unique needs and challenges of military families. Data collected from the annual survey often impacts legislation.


Down for the Count: Women Veterans Likely Underestimated in Federal Homelessness Figures


Veterans Affairs Launches New Suicide Prediction Tool

Magic 8 Ball VA Suicide Prediction
The Department of Veterans Affairs just announced the launch of a new suicide prevention data analysis tool to help detect and treat veterans at risk of suicide.

In a press release, VA announced release of its newest suicide initiative called Recovery Engagement and Coordination for Health – Veterans Enhanced Treatment (REACH VET).

What VA is talking about is the use of predictive behavioral analytics from a pilot program the agency started last October. The aim is to provide pre-emptive care.

The program uses software to sift through veteran health data to find veterans who are statistically at risk of suicide. The software will then ping the veteran’s doctor or mental health provider to have them call the veteran to check in.


Stop lumping servicewomen and military wives in same category

At a recent event she hosted to honor servicewomen, Second Lady Karen Pence remarked that “highlighting military women and families [is] one of her main platforms,” and that her role with regard to military women is “one of encouragement, it’s one of gratitude.”

As the mother of a newly married male Marine, Ms. Pence has admirable intentions. However, lumping military women and military spouses and families into the same category diminishes the service of women who have sworn an oath to defend the Constitution of the United States.


Michigan Women Veterans Empowerment - Homeless Veteran Advocacy Services

This should NOT be happening in 2017, another homeless veteran begging for money and support! This is why we do what we do, never to busy to help my brothers and sisters in arms that are in need. He's now empowered with the money and resources to get back on his feet. #veteransadvocate #Iammybrotherskeeper #loveavet #doyourpart 🙏🏾❤️

Published by Author Stephanie ShannonYesterday at 2:24pm