In an attempt to clear up a backlog of links hanging around my inbox, I forwarded the whole thing to Allan . . . who put together this grab-bag of links. Maybe you will find something useful or interesting among them. - L.
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Three Things To Remember When The US Government Says "Support The Troops".
1. In March 2008, the military changed its definition of combat-related disabilities - meaning that many injured veterans will not be eligible for benefits. Here are two examples of what the Pentagon says are non-combat-related injuries:
Marine Cpl. James Dixon was wounded twice in Iraq - by a roadside bomb and a land mine. He suffered a traumatic brain injury, a concussion, a dislocated hip and hearing loss. He was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Army Sgt. Lori Meshell shattered a hip and crushed her back and knees while diving for cover during a mortar attack in Iraq. She has undergone a hip replacement and knee reconstruction and needs at least three more surgeries.
2. Chris Rodda, Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF):
[W]e get countless complaints about religiously based mental health and counseling programs, which, over the past few years, have been systematically replacing proven psychological and medical approaches to a multitude of issues faced by military personnel. I've seen so many truly insane, not to mention blatantly unconstitutional, ways that the military is playing with the mental well being of our troops since I began working for MRFF that I really didn't think it was possible for me to be surprised by anything anymore. Then I was sent a PowerPoint presentation by an airman at RAF Lakenheath, the largest U.S. Air Force base in England.
According to Rodda, this presentation "promot[es] creationism as a means of preventing suicide".
3. Joshua Eller, a former technician for KBR in Iraq, has filed a class-action lawsuit against the company (and its parent, Halliburton). Among his many claims is that KBR shipped ice in mortuary trucks that "still had traces of body fluids and putrefied remains in them when they were loaded with ice. This ice was served to U.S. forces."
Speaking of companies with unbreakable financial ties to the Pentagon, here is more information on
the corrupt relationship between Pentagon officials, defense contractors, cable networks, and retired generals. ... the gist of it was that the generals who you'd see on TV acting as nominally independent "analysts" were not, in fact, independent at all. They were getting their talking points straight from the Pentagon. And the coordination was motivated, in part, by the fact that they were also on the payrolls of various firms profiting from lucrative contracts with the Pentagon.
The U.S. government is prepared to lend more than $7.4 trillion on behalf of American taxpayers, or half the value of everything produced in the nation last year, to rescue the financial system ... as regulators commit far more money while refusing to disclose loan recipients or reveal the collateral they are taking in return...
And as the clock ticks down on the Bush administration, it is trying to do as much damage to the country as possible.
Evidence suggests the CIA funded experiments on patients at Vermont's state hospital in Waterbury. [L note: a very disturbing article, and remind me to reference it the next time someone says, "But they wouldn't do that...".]
Because of our trip to Peru in 2006, we were fascinated by this story about a fortified citadel discovered deep in the Amazon rainforest that belonged to the Chachapoya, a white-skinned, blonde-haired civilization that was wiped out by disease and war in around 1475.
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Speaking of "wiped out by disease in 1475," I am trying to find an opportunity to blog about 1491. To be honest, I am trying to find opportunities to continue reading 1491. I'm finding it very difficult, both to carve out reading time, and, when I do, to concentrate. I love the book, though, so eventually I'll finish it and write about it.
Many thanks to Allan for putting this together, and to James for sending so many important links.