I think it's fair to say, that most of us don't think we're going to be screwed by our own government, until it happens! And, when it happens, it's a lonely feeling of desparation...like climbing the mountain all by yourself! The feeling of helplessness, and a battle you're probably not destined to win! Even if you get a nice letter from your Congress-person, tokenism is probably all you'll get.
"Maturity is knowing when to be immature." Randall Hall
The bone I have to pick with the VA Medical Center, here in Albuquerque, New Mexico (where I live) goes back a couple of years. I worked and lived at the VA Medical Center, and I put together a 60+ page booklet describing my situation and what happened to me, so I will have to summarize here in the interest of brevity.
1) Hate crime: FIVE job layoffs for me in a decade or so, and after the 5th job loss, I couldn't pay the rent, was evicted and became homeless for the first time in my life! Being a veteran, I learned about a work program at the VA, which is designed to help veterans get back on their feet. I enrolled in the program, and over the next four months, I saved my pennies, moved from the VA grounds, and got an apartment of my own. I continued to work in the program after I moved from the VA, and was given a three month extension by my vocational counselor.
I continued to search for a regular job in the community. About a week after I was given the work expension, I was slashed from the work program by my own vocational counselor, in a hostile and abusive manner! Everything I had worked for in the last four months, was now gone in 5 minutes! With perfect attendance in six months, this is the way I was treated. Veterans are usually given 30 days notice when their time is up...I was given five minutes. (no reason was given) (I suspect it was a racial thing...a hate crime)
This is the worst thing that anybody has ever done to me! I was betrayed big-time! Because of all the job layoffs I had suffered, I was already in a depressed state when I arrived at the VA...and now this...by my own vocational counselor! When this happened, I went right over the edge, and sunk into a dark hole of depression...a dark hole I would not get out of!
At 60 years of age, I couldn't find a job during the next three months...couldn't pay the rent, and for the second time in a year...I was evicted and became homeless! Calls, letters to the VA all fell on deaf ears...as everyone "looked the other way." What happened...didn't happen...stone-walling...and all the covering for each other, etc. For the second time in a year, I faced the same judge in the eviction process, and I knew then, that I was not going to make it! A suicide attempt, brought me back to the VA Medical Center (ambulance), and this time I would spend the next three months in a lock-down psychiatric ward! When I was brought in, I was not able to make arrangements to get my possessions out of my apartment, and I suffered my own personal "Katrina," that is, I lost everything!
2) Possible experimentation/guinea-pigging: All of us have to have enormous trust in our doctors and medical people who take care of us when we are hospitalized. During the last six weeks of my stay in the hospital, I was sick as a dog with nausea, and I felt they were giving me something that was making me sick! (experimentation) I suffered from nausea everyday from 2-8 hours a day, and there were times, I could not even get out of bed, until late afternoon and missing breakfast and lunch, etc.
During this six weeks, I lost about 16 pounds, and I pleaded with the medical staff, to let me go to the G.I. Clinic, to find out what was wrong with me! I was denied on several requests! As time went on, I kept getting sicker and losing weight! I threw up three hours before my discharge, and when I was discharged, I went across the patio, and checked into the emergency room to get the care I didn't get in the ward! Have you ever heard of anything like this before? That was in September, 2005 and in 2006, I had heart failure, and a pace-maker was implanted in June, 2006.
Because of this, so much of this matter was placed on the back-burner, as the last thing I needed in me life was more stress, anxiety and depression in my life! After the operation in June, and to the end of 2006, I didn't have much inspiration, motivation or anything else to, get back to fight for what was right! The months slipped away, and the only way I would get back into the fight, was to get something concrete to tell my story.
Then one day in January, 2007, I learned I could get my own medical record, and I lit up like a Christmas tree! If I could find that ER document, I could get back in this thing and put up a fight, etc. My medical record was about 750 pages (about 3 telephone books), and I would have to sift through this and find a needle in a hay stack! Amazingly, I found the document in the first 20 pages, and now I had something to work with. I was on Cloud 9! The process of putting a booklet together, telling my story now began, and it took about 2 months and the booklet was about 60+ pages. If anyone suspects "experimentation," and/or guinea-pigging,
I think that information belongs in a judges chambers and the FBI office, and that's where this booklet was headed. The booklet also went to the VA Director and the VA Chief of Staff, and you would not believe how long it took for someone at the VA Director's office called me for an appointment. FAST! The next day, after I mailed the booklets, I got the call from the VA. And, that's because they saw that the letter to the federal judge and to the FBI. I ignored the appointment. The only place I was going to meet with someone from the VA, is in front of a federal judge!
3) Tempering with the mail, perhaps? All of us rely on the mail everyday, whether it be by snail mail or e-mail or a combination of the two. Receiving our mail is essential in our lives! Before I moved from the VA grounds and into my own apartment, I went to the post office and filled out the paperwork to transfer my mail. Everybody does that when they move.
During the time I live at the VA, I received mail on a regular basis...bills and especially respones from potential employers, as my job search continued in the community. About six weeks went by and no mail. I went back to the post office and filed a written complaint with the VA Patient Relations office...still no mail,etc. Another month went by, and no mail, and I filed a follow-up complaint, with copies to the work Director and the social worker in the program...NOTHING!
I called the Postal Inspector's office, and they told me that they couldn't do anything for me, that the VA handled their own mail. This was the toughest time for me, because I was looking for a job at the time, and I had received no mail from the time I lived at the VA. By the end of 2005, I had given up all hope of seeing my mail...and all of 2006...NOTHING...no mail! FINALLY...on March 10, 2007...28 months after I transferred my mail in November, 2004...I received a letter from the VA, with my name and address on it!
Somebody at the VA covered part of the address and there was no date stamp on it, so I knew nothing about when it was mailed or received, etc. Talk about being on Cloud 9...now I had two documents to work with...the ER document and now this letter, in my battle with the VA! (GODZILLA) With my booklet complete, and a three page letter, all this went to the local F.B.I office, with copies to the Postal Inspector in Dallas, Tx, and of course copies to the VA Director and the VA Chief of Staff.
Over this long period of time, both of New Mexico's Senator's had been helping me on this case, etc. Congresswoman Heather Wilson has been helping me all year long with the VA mess and Social Security, etc.
"You're only young once...but you can always be immature." Phillys McGinley
And, that's how important the two documents are...that is...the letter and the ER document...it has all made me more credibel with the higher-ups! Now, they'll believe the rest of my story! 1) Hate crime; 2) Possible "experimentation; 3) Tampering with the mail * * * This story will not be complete unless I tell you a few other ways the government intrudes in our lives! Here, in Albuquerque, the fireman and the police officers had been putting on a boxing match, to raise funds for under privledged kids. Last year, they raised over $75,000 for the cause.
They were boxing matches between the fireman and the police! Well...well...well...here comes the Mayor of Albuquerque (an educated man), and doesn't like what he sees in all this. So, he makes a threat to the police and firemen, that anyone participating in this event, could lose their job with the city, etc.
The Mayor said that boxing was bad for the image of the City and young people! That may be true , but the police and fireman were not doing anything illegal. Well...guess who else got involved in the boxing match...and turned out to be the referee...the ACLU! It didn't take long for the Mayor to back down, and he got a little "egg on his face," in doing so!
The government has NO business...NO BUSINESS in our personal lives and what we do in our off-duty time. A person may not like boxing, and I don't like it either, but it's perfectly legal. By the way, the police and fireman, raised another $75,000 for the kids! YAHOO!
* * *
Another big stink here in New Mexico recently, was the case of the Army National Guard unit, that had been deployed in the Middle East. While there, the unit, mostly composed of Hispanics, were ordered to strip and were told that the Army was tooking for gang tatoos; markings of some sort. None were found! This is a clear case of racism and profiling by the U.S. Army! Unbelievable!
Both Senator's and the Govenor have gotten in on this one, and the Letters to the Editor, have been blasting the Army! There are sure to be law suits filed by the various Hispanic organizations! UPDATE: The headline in the June 12, 2007, Albuquerque Journal reads: "Tattoo Search Draws Apology" From article: "The apology to officers and soldiers of the Rio Rancho-based Task Force Cobra, came from Brig Gen. Rodney Johnson, provost marshall of the Army and commanding general of the Army's Criminal Investigation Command.
Johnson said in a 3 paragraph letter, that the investigation of the unit, 'had been gravely mishandled.' He also said, 'I appreciate your bringing this matter to the attention of the senior Army leaders and apologize sincerely for the manner in which this investigation was conducted and the loss of trust that resulted.'"
MY TWO CENTS: We're now living in the year 2008, and it amazes me, that we all still have to deal with the people who work in the US government and the military who stil deal with hate; racism and bigotry! There's a lot of growing up to do in the government!
"Basically, my wife was immature! I'd be at home taking a bath, and she'd come in and sink all my boats!" Woody Allen
* * *
As I write this piece on May 1, 2007, I am 62 years young, and I've lived through the 60's and 70's, when there was so much violence and change in this country!
Today, America is a better place because of what happened in the 60's and 70's! The 60's was not just about the Viet Nam war! It was about change in America...there was all to often intrusion from the government in all our lives, etc. It was a time of rebellion; protest; and the "long hot summers," as cities burned all across America! Some protesters carried signs; others threw gasoline bombs; and others got injured by police and National Guardsmen and many died during the unrest in the country!
At that time, the government of the United States just didn't get it! The United States doesn't belong to the White House; or the Congress; the Democrats; the Republicans...the United StateS of America belongs to the PEOPLE of the United States. And, in a democracy, it will be the People of America who will have a say-so on their futures! It was the People of America, who won in the battle, when all the Nixon thugs were thrown out of office or jailed...it was the American People who won out in the Watergate scandal!
* * *
In my ordeal with the VA (aka GODZILLA), I joined the Civil Liberties Union and filed my complaints, etc. And, in doing so, I was amazed just how much the government (at all levels) intrudes in all of our lives! You may remember during Katrina, the people in New Orleans, who were running for their lives to higher grounds, and they tried to cross a bridge out of danger, and police from a little town, stopped them from coming over!
A clear violition of people's civil rights! Having lived through the 60's and 70's, and watching American's protest for years, I think American's today in 2007, are too complacent...I think apathy has set in...maybe...maybe not! People have different ways to protest. I do my share of bitching, moaning, and whining!
LET'S GET READY TO RUMBLE...Ding-Ding-Ding... The fireman and police have now left the boxing ring, and it's time for the main event. The match between: David vs. GODZILLA(VA). I'll keep this article updated from time to time, and let you know how things turn out between me and GODZILLA!
SITEMAP; 350+ Links For Your Convenience;
Copyright; 2009; Jerry Aragon/The Humor Doctor
Website name; humordoctormd