Afghan ‘policeman’ kills six ISAF soldiers

November 29, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

A man dressed in an Afghan Border Police uniform killed six ISAF soldiers during training in the east before being killed himself, the International Security Assistance Force reported today.

“An individual in an Afghan Border Police uniform turned his weapon against International Security Assistance Forces during a training mission today, killing six service members in eastern Afghanistan,” ISAF stated in a press release. The identities and nationalities of the ISAF soldiers were not disclosed, nor was the exact location of the attack.

It is unclear if the attacker was a Taliban fighter who infiltrated the training, an Afghan police recruit planted or turned by the Taliban, or a disgruntled policeman. ISAF has begun an investigation into the deaths of the soldiers.

The Taliban have not released a statement claiming credit for the attack at this time.

The Taliban have killed several ISAF trainers and soldiers in similar attacks over the years. In July, Taliban fighters who infiltrated the police and Afghan Army killed three British soldiers, two US civilian trainers, and an Afghan soldier in separate attacks in Helmand and Balkh. In August, a police trainee opened fire on and killed two Spanish troops and their interpreter in western Afghanistan. The Taliban took credit for the attack.

Today’s attack takes place just two days after two Taliban suicide bombers dressed as Afghan police officers penetrated security at a police headquarters and training facility in Paktika province, also in the east. The suicide bombers killed 12 Afghan policemen in the attack. It is unclear if the suicide bombers were actual policemen or if they penetrated security.

ISAF has stepped up its training of Afghan soldiers and police in an effort to rapidly grow the Afghan National Security Forces. NATO has pledged to begin the handover of security responsibilities to the ANSF in 2014. The rapid growth of the ANSF has given the Taliban opportunity to more easily infiltrate security forces.

1 The Long War Journal

The Reality of 24/7 Home Care of a Loved One With Alzheimer’s: The Family Caregivers who are front line soldiers doing all the work, are seen by government as only ‘informal support…’

November 24, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

During this holiday, we can be thankful for those who labor 24/7 to care for our elderly and our broken mind ones. This is a Guest Contributor on The Reality of 24/7 Home Care of a Loved One With Alzheimer’s: The Family Caregivers who are front line soldiers doing all the work, are seen by government as only ‘informal support…’

by Carol Wright
Far from the purple banners of the recent “Alzheimer’s awareness” events sit an estimated 6.6 million family caregivers for an estimated 5.5 Alzheimer’s sufferers (nobody really knows the exact figures for either group.) Compare that with 300 million people in the US total +/-. It’s a lot of disabled people, a lot of caregivers who cannot work outside the home while caregiving in the home.

Some of these caregivers include supportive extended family, but all too many caregivers are toiling alone and unpaid, caring for a frail senior suffering from dementia. This often means, an aging woman caring for her elderly parents, a senior spouse struggling to keep their loved one home, out of the nursing home just one more month.

The recent “Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Takes on Alzheimer’s,” emphasizes that it’s the women who overwhelmingly take on caregiving duties.

But some light should fall in the corners too: More than a few families have forsaken their own. Often just a single brave, compassionate soul steps forward for that end of life walk with the afflicted one. Their other relatives, their own children, their own sisters, brothers, former friends, even spouses, turn away or come around only once in a very long while for a very few minutes.

“Informal support.” This is what we 24/7 caregivers are most recently called by government and parroted by media, we who tend to our loved ones day in and day out.

“Informal.” Inferring not serious work, when in fact each day caring at home for an Alzheimer’s patient is deadly serious work of lifting, hauling, hefting, guiding, feeding, issues of urine, feces, medicine, cooking, cleaning, bathing, laundry and so much more.

Sole caregivers are especially brutalized by this burden, and they catch the flack, the very bulldozing brunt impact of frontline dementia care. The hours can be 24 on and zero off. Days are seven on and on and on.

Perhaps a neighbor comes for a few hours to seniorsit so the caregiver can get a break that is not a break. It’s scramble to shop for groceries, medicines. To rake up the leaves so the grass doesn’t die. Take dying cat to the vet and have put to sleep. Get back before patience of friend wears thin, or person with dementia gets out of control. Hope for no sudden feces situation, or friend will not return again.

“Informal support.” Caregiverscannot snag a full night’s sleep. Often their charges are up half the night, pulling out drawers and emptying on the floor. There is assistance needed always with trips to the commode and changing protective pads on the bed. Start first load of laundry for the day at 3 am. In our house, my mother wakes up screaming about something “out there…out THERE!…oh gawd gawd!” Last night it was a fire she saw, which was really a shiny birthday hat. I spent hours extinguishing a birthday hat, reassuring my mother, and even after removing such and other items from environs, my mother continues to no longer be able to tell the real from the imagined.

“Informal support.” Communicating with someone who has dementia is often like herding cats, and one has to, in order to help with the most simple actions, give repetitive instructions for every phase of aid. “Put foot through here, no through …. the pant leg…this here. Put your foot through here. Your FOOT. Point your TOE, now foot…”

“Informal support.” Often the day comes when the outbursts need more meds (some will say). This happened to my mother. She had unexplained nausea after a fall, and I took her for many tests in the ER. No answers, and not better. Finally a four-day stay in the hospital. She had a few delusional/puzzled episodes while there, and she pushed away prodding, hurtful hands. She was labeled “combative; they said, We’ll try Seroquel.”

Two months later, my mother slumped to the side her chair so much I had to tie her in to keep her from falling. I stood guard so she wouldn’t be hurt while she thrashed in bed, now padded everywhere. Sometimes she stiffened, slid from her chair like a 2×6 board. Now on the floor, face contorted, tongue choking, eyes rolling.

I see a Seroquel TV ad with voice-over droning “Not for use by elderly dementia patients.” I see Mom writhing on floor. Is this advancing Alzheimer’s demanding a larger dose or ?? Who will tell us? I plead. Doctors don’t know. Or different docs give different answers. I research online. So many of the bad side effects -she has them! Her doctors have made my mother straightjacket insane. We stop the Seroquel, but Mom is switched then to Ativan to stop paranoia. The Ativan leads to chilling paranoia as Mom channels cold eyes up from the DeadZone.

“Informal support.” Each family caregiver is front line to strong daily challenges like these, often complicated by illnesses anyone might come down with. Deafness and dementia. Leukemia and diabetes…and dementia. Colon cancer…and dementia. Congested nasal passages and dementia.
“Informal support.” Caregivers carry the brunt of the work at great personal sacrifice on every level, their health and dental go downhill, they are not able to earn income, a certain amount of sanity that one has charge of one’s own life goes out the window. A social life; there is none. An eroded future occurs because a dedicated caregiver has no idea when this vigil might draw to a close, and can only plan to remain in situ.

For caregivers, there is little outside direct assistance available. We’re not even in the system noted as having a need. No cash grants, no benefits, no medical or dental coverage for us in any quarter; there are no unemployment checks. Some benefits overshoot the caregiver; the patient is qualified (vets qualify for some home caregiving hours) but payments go to licensed caregivers only, not to family members. Government sees the home caregiver as a resource until worn out, then tossed aside when parent dies or is placed in a nursing home. The governments, state, local, federal…the corporations… call it “informal support.”
I cannot quite tell you what it is like to be surrounded on almost all sides by government ‘officials,’ people who say do this or that with what meagher resources are left to us, medical personnel of many different and often opposing ideas, deadbeat relatives, drug companies… too often many wear a smug face of impunity. Something goes wrong, say a bad drug reaction, or financial abuse by a government employee who is supposed to have squeaky clean and timely oversight… it is only the sole caregiver who is cornered, totally responsible for others’ errors, lateness, underperformance. It’s the caretaker who has to scrounge, beg, step up threadbare. Everyone else walks free.

The Shriver Report and Alzheimer’s Association step up their action plans. I poked around the Alzheimer’s Association website to see if there was a hint of direct aid to family caregivers. In the report at http://www.alz.org/documents/national/World_Alzheimer_Report_2010_Summary%281%29.pdf
I read the summary report and recommendations. There I could finally see myself. Twice was I, the unpaid family caregiver, mentioned as “informal support.” Unpaid family caregiver. Excuse me, INFORMAL?? Recommendations to help us, even informally? There was nothing written to help us. Nothing. Big report, but nothing’s changed. Things are stable and predictable according to report writers. No support will be given to ‘informal support’ that is, human beings who nearly single-handedly are giving all they’ve got, now, again or it seems ever.
I wondered: Was this moniker “informal support” commonly used in studies, theses, and legislation. I Googled the term, and found this to be true. Basically, it means our caregiving is a “contribution.” Not a life and death necessity to keep a loved one as safe as possible, clean and fed and helped in whatever way we can… and without leave.
And as Maria Shriver points out in “The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Takes on Alzheimer’s,” three-fifths of the US caregivers are women. “The truth is,” she writes, “it’s women who are the ones who generally do the hands-on grunt work of caregiving—cleaning their parents or spouses and changing their diapers, feeding them, babysitting them, dispensing medicine to them. While men do represent about a third of family caregivers, they tend to arrange or supervise outside services.”

http://www.shriverreport.com/shriver.html

The time is now for direct support for the family caregiver.
Researching the cause and treatments for Alzheimer’s or other diseases tends to draw the most attention and official funding.
But please, it is now time to actively support the real FORMAL caregivers on the front lines of eldercare, the family caregiver. Caregivers need assistance with respite care (typically the only aid offered), and though there is now some protection for caregivers to some day, perhaps, return to a job they may have left to take on caregiving duties… that assumes a short duration and no pay throughout. But, Alzheimers disease, is not a killer like cancer per se. It is a disorder that makes a person eventually as helpless to care for themselves as a new born infant, though often combative as well but with the body of an adult. And a person with dementia and no other illness can live to be in their nineties, as my mother is presently, and beyond.
What about people like me with so far over eight years sacrificed of sole caregiving? We need help with medical and dental, and with reentry into the work force.
I suggest a few simple approaches to help the formal family caregiver continue in their important duties and caregiving. One idea is to give the family caregiver payments in a “like amount” in a kind of disability pay. If their loved one is fully disabled from dementia, then the caregiver is also “disabled from being able to earn a living”—which is so true—anyone who has ever cared for a person with dementia, in home, knows one has to stop even a home business, for the loved one needs constant aid and supervision.
Another solution is to make the family caregiver eligible for welfare, full Medicare and Social Security benefits while care giving. If the caregiver returns to the workforce, then benefits are stopped until normally eligible at x age. This kind of approach does not add a whole layer of bureaucracy, no new programs; it just extends eligibility to a new level, to a new recipient.
But, how to replace the phrase “informal support” that so covers over the often desperate reality? I note a visible name change in the daily news is the change from “illegal alien” to “undocumented immigrant.” However, the immigrant issue is always hot news, where family caregiver headlines (until last month’s of Maria Shriver’s media appearances) are nonexistent. The term “Informal support” generally shows up in studies, scholarly theses, and reports; and these reports and studies are often the basis for legislation and grant requests, and carry the profound bias of naming THE essential caregiver as some seeming ‘nice but not necessary’ support. But what an impact this diminuizing term has had on the real front line for PFCG? That’s me, primary female caregiver.)
My next article will deal with what is called the Beers Criteria, a list of medications and protocols for weaning elderly patients off some of their prescription drugs. This drug free approach has resulted in a dramatic improvement in my mother’s mental and physical condition for periods of time. Three months ago, she was slumped over and headed for hospice. Most recently, she is attentively watching a DVD about a Cuban jazz musician while reading “National Enquirer.” This past week, we had to go to the ER, however. It is as they say, a roller coaster ride, of needs and aid to the one who has Alzheimers. It does not have an ending point.
_____________
Guest columnist Carol Wright was 54 when she left her home where she’d lived for the past eighteen years, to travel across three states to care for her mother in her final few months of life. That was 8.5 years ago. Carol has been primary, sole caregiver for her mother all this time, and has had some respite caregiver assistance only for the past year. She recently was honored as Caregiver of the Month by the Caregiver’s Voice here.

You can read and see more about her caregiving experience at her blogs here and here, and at and at YouTube

The Shriver Report’s book, written with the Alzheimer’s Association, is titled “A Woman’s Nation Takes on Alzheimer’s”; it is available in ebook format for $ 9.99. You can read excerpts here.
Government report from 1998 showing expectation that women shoulder the burden and take on the sacrifices of eldercare, and that their growing preference to stay in the workplace will rock the boat. Basically, the government assumes women will/should contribute this service, and their choice to now stay at their careers is a troublesome trend. Read more here.
There are a few programs to help pay family caregivers, and resources will vary from state to state. Read this article from the Alzheimer’s Association website.


The Moderate Voice

Israeli Court Gives Soldiers Who Used Palestinian Boy As Human Shield Three Month Suspended Sentence

November 22, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Last year, South African Judge Richard Goldstone released his report to the UN Human Rights Council documenting what he believed to be war crimes committed by both the Israeli military and Hamas forces during the 22-day long “Operation Cast Lead” conflict in Gaza in 2008.

One of the charges that Goldstone made was that Israeli troops used Palestinian civilians as human shields during operation, and last October, an Israeli court convicted two Israeli soldiers “of using a Palestinian boy as a human shield” during the 2008 offensive. The court’s “ruling said the two soldiers inappropriately ordered a 9-year-old boy to open bags they thought might contain explosive material.”

Today, the Israeli military court that convicted the two soldiers handed out its sentencing. It decided to give both soldiers a three-month suspended sentence and to demote both of them, who were staff sergeants, to the rank of sergeant:

Two Israeli soldiers have each received a three-month suspended sentence for forcing a nine-year- old Palestinian boy to open bags during the Gaza war in January 2009. The military court in the south of Israel also demoted the two staff sergeants, who were from the Givati infantry brigade, to the rank of sergeant. It also ruled that the offence will be noted in the men’s criminal records.

The soldiers, together with relatives and supporters, celebrated after the sentence was passed down, relieved that they were free and would be able to serve in the military reserves as commanders.

”Now all we want is to get plane tickets and to join our friends, who are waiting for us abroad. We’ve gone through something terrible and we just want to forget about it all,” said one of the two convicted soldiers after the sentencing was handed down. ”We were worried it would all end with jail time, but now we can relax.” Meanwhile, Israeli President Shimon Peres will reportedly “consider a request to pardon two soldiers,” removing any sort of mark on their records.

“If an Israeli child was exposed to the same thing, the whole world would have turned against us, but when it’s a Palestinian child, nothing happens,” said Majed Rabah, the boy who was taken captive by the soldiers. “Do the Israeli authorities think that a three-month suspended sentence is an appropriate punishment for two heavily-armed soldiers treating a nine-year-old boy as a human shield?” replied Gerard Horton, “a spokesman in the West Bank for Geneva-based rights group Defence for Children International,” in response to the sentencing.

ThinkProgress

Wrong priorities: Bureaucrats’ pay skyrockets, soldiers may face a pay freeze

November 21, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

The inimitable Doug Ross reports that in the last five years, the number of federal employees earning more than $ 150,000 has increased by over 1,300 percent. And those making more than $ 180,000 have gone up by 2,100 percent.

But President Obama’s commission on reducing the deficit has recommended that the pay and housing allowances for members of our military be frozen for three years, beginning in 2011.

We live in an upside-down world.

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Marathon Pundit

BREAKING NEWS: ISRAELI MILITARY CONDEMNS WEBSITE FOR LISTING NAMES, PHOTOS OF SOLDIERS WHO FOUGHT IN GAZA

November 21, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Israel’s military has condemned the publication of names and photographs of 200 Israeli soldiers on a website that called them ‘war criminals.’

Link to Publication: http://s242816488.onlinehome.us/criminals/

The website also published the home addresses and ID numbers of many of the Israelis.

The military is investigating the possibility that the information was leaked by a soldier, according to a report in the daily Maariv.

‘The people listed here held positions of command at the time of the attack,’ the website said, ‘therefore, not only did they perform on behalf of a murderous state mechanism but actively encouraged other people to do the same.’

It also included what appeared to be an implied threat to harm the soldiers, urging readers, to ‘do your bit so that this virtual list may come to bear upon the physical.’

Israel began its Gaza offensive in December 2008, after years of intense rocket fire from the coastal strip ruled by the Iran-backed militant group Hamas.

Israeli soldiers fire tear gas to disperse demonstrators. The publication of details of 200 Israeli soldiers has been condemned

In Britain and elsewhere in Europe, anti-Israeli activists have sought to use the principle of universal jurisdiction to pursue past and current Israeli officials linked to military operations that killed civilians.

No cases have gone ahead, but Israeli officials have canceled trips abroad over concerns they could be arrested.

The matter was discussed during a visit to Israel by Britain’s foreign secretary, William Hague, earlier this month. The Gaza offensive sharply reduced the rocket fire but did not end it entirely.


Intifada Palestine

American “Family” Association Wants Soldiers To “Kill People And Break Things”

November 19, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

The hate group that is the extremely anti-gay American Family Association is headed by the infamous Bryan Fischer, and Bryan Fisher says, “We have feminized the Medal of Honor.” I’d imagine that Medal of Honor winners all around the country might be up in arms if they heard him say this, but sadly, most of them are dead, and awarded the medal posthumously for risking “his or her life above and beyond the call of duty while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States.” I guess Bryan Fischer thinks dying for one’s country is a “feminine” thing to do.

(Before we go any further, I think it’s disgusting that the American Family Association thinks being “feminine” is a bad thing, and uses it as a slur.)

Fischer writes, “when are we going to start awarding the Medal of Honor once again for soldiers who kill people and break things so our families can sleep safely at night?”

I don’t know about you, but I don’t know any families who are losing sleep over there being too few killings by America’s military. I think they’re losing sleep because they don’t have jobs.

“I would suggest our culture has become so feminized that we have become squeamish at the thought of the valor that is expressed in killing enemy soldiers through acts of bravery. We know instinctively that we should honor courage, but shy away from honoring courage if it results in the taking of life rather than in just the saving of life. So we find it safe to honor those who throw themselves on a grenade to save their buddies.”

Andrew Sullivan takes a few shots at Fischer.

Part I: Sullivan says that Fischer’s rant is “what happens when you work for the American Family Association for too long.”

Part II: A Sullivan reader points out, Fischer is dead wrong:

“I agree with everything you say about Bryan Fischer, but there is one thing you have left out: His premise is false. He alludes to a secondary source, and then builds his crass, immoral argument on his interpretation of an incidental comment there. He didn’t bother to look at the record to see if, in fact, “every Medal of Honor awarded during these two conflicts has been awarded for saving life. Not one has been awarded for inflicting casualties on the enemy. Not one.” Checking the facts would have ruined his rant; several Medals of Honor were awarded for actions that included strong offensive elements.”

Quick reminder about the AFA:

Upon the news that Elena Kagan might become a Supreme Court Justice, Fischer wrote,

“If we elevate an open homosexual to the Supreme Court, we will be elevating someone who freely admits that he (generic use) engages routinely in behavior that was still a felony in every state in the Union as recently as 1962 and a felony in the other 49 states until 1972.

Sodomy is still a felony in the criminal code of about a dozen states. The Lawrence decision of 2003, an egregious act of judicial activism, prohibited enforcement of these laws, but the fact remains that 25% of the states in the Union still regard it as criminal behavior.

We simply should not elevate to the highest court in the land people who are known for engaging in sexually abnormal behavior which would technically make them felons in a quarter of the states over which they will have jurisdiction.”

Fischer has called for the impeachment of Prop 8 Judge Vaughn Walker.

Bryan Fischer, you are an evil man, devoid of humanity. Shame on you.

Related posts:

  1. Gay SCOTUS Justice?: The AFA Peddles Homophobia
  2. Michelle Malkin: NAACP Is The “National Association for the Advancement of Coddled People”
  3. Poll: 78% Of The American People Want “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Repealed Now




The New Civil Rights Movement

Soldiers’ Angels Operation Patriot Care Package

November 19, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Americans want to make sure our military men and women are remembered year round, but sometimes that can be a challenge when the demands of the Holidays start to pile up.

Wounded hero and Soldiers’ Angel Sean Thomas travelled to Fort Campbell, KY, to work with BAE Systems and volunteers to pack and ship 170,000 packages to our troops in the war zones.  Below is B-roll of the events, sound bites, etc.

You can help by volunteering or donating.

Soldiers Angels is the number one shipper to Iraq and Afghanistan.  Aside from care packages, SA supports medical teams and hospitals, wounded soldiers’ needs, family needs, etc.  With this year’s tepid economy and the surge into Afghanistan, SA’s support of our troops has many more needs than resources.



BLACKFIVE

Bryan Fischer: We’ve ‘Feminized’ Medal Of Honor By Not Giving It To Soldiers Who Kill More People

November 17, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Bryan Fischer, the “Director of Issues Analysis” for the conservative Christian group the American Family Association, was unhappy yesterday that President Obama awarded the Medal of Honor to a soldier for saving lives. This, Fischer wrote on his blog, shows that the Medal of Honor has been “feminized” because “we now award it only for preventing casualties, not for inflicting them.”

Here’s how the AP described Medal of Honor winner Army Sgt. Salvatore Giunta heroics:

Giunta, the first living Medal of Honor winner of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, braved heavy gunfire to pull a fellow soldier to cover and rescued another who was being dragged away by insurgents.

Fischer’s take? “So the question is this: when are we going to start awarding the Medal of Honor once again for soldiers who kill people and break things so our families can sleep safely at night?”

“We have feminized the Medal of Honor,” Fischer wrote. He also quoted General Patton: “Gen. George Patton once famously said, ‘The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other guy die for his.’” (Actually, Patton doesn’t say anything about the other guy: “The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his.”)

Fischer recently argued that it’s time to get rid of the “curse” that is the Grizzly Bear because of the number of humans who have been killed by bears: “One human being is worth more than an infinite number of grizzly bears. Another way to put it is that there is no number of live grizzlies worth one dead human being. If it’s a choice between grizzlies and humans, the grizzlies have to go. And it’s time.”

Fischer is a favorite of social conservative Republicans, and spoke at the Values Voter summit this fall alongside Mitt Romney, Jim DeMint, and other big-shot Republicans.

[TPM SLIDESHOW: Morals, Morals, Morals! Conservatives Gather For Values Voter Summit]









TPMMuckraker

Soldiers And Their Dogs

November 12, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

How a dog can save your life:






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The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan

Gay Soldiers: No Special Treatment, Please

November 12, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

The leak of the DADT report notes how gay servicemembers are utterly uninterested in making grand statements, probably won't come out in any substantive fashion and so not want to be treated differently than anyone else:

The report also concludes that gay troops should not be put into a special class for equal-opportunity or discrimination purposes, the individual said. The recommendation is based on feedback the study group obtained from gay troops and same-sex partners who said they do not want a special classification, according to the source. Gay troops were encouraged to participate in the survey and to submit comments to the anonymous online drop box.

Just allow them to serve their country without the constant threat of blackmail, persecution or being treated as political football. That's all they want; it's the least we owe them for their service.





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