Another Veteran Victimized By The VA

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The trauma experienced by so many veterans at the Veterans Administration becomes at once more poignant and more outrageous when it blindsides someone you know. Raphael fought in Afghanistan and was twice injured. He made me promise to disguise his identity before giving permission to tell his story; his benefits could be eliminated by a vengeful bureaucrat. He knows others who complained and paid.

Raphael’s story contains classified information. Among other things, he needs psychotherapy for his PTSD – post traumatic stress disorder. Each time he requests therapy, he is assigned a doctor who is not cleared to hear classified material. The VA explains that it cannot afford enough docs with the requisite clearance to hear his story; if he talks to someone without clearance, he risks life in prison.

Raphael is 90% medically retired from the Service because of the injuries he sustained. He worries that he is losing whatever muscle tone he still has; but if he works out – and is caught by VA authorities – he can lose all medical and financial benefits. It is okay for him to be employed – as long as he does not work out or do anything else to put himself into physical condition for work and play. His VA doc prescribes weekly chiropractic care because of the injuries to his back. VA policy is one trip to the chiropractor every three months. It is called Catch 22.

He lives about two hours from the nearest VA clinic; yet he can only get his medication at such a facility. That means by the time he drives two hours, waits in line for two hours – picking up meds is not considered urgent – and drives home another two hours, his day – whether working or off – is shot. And sometimes, the ordered meds have not yet arrived; and he must return another day. This is the price he pays for risking his life for his country on a foreign battlefield. His country talks of honoring his sacrifice; plenty of Americans want to shake his hand and thank him for his service. But this is the reality with which he and hundreds of thousands of vets live every day.

Promises were made when the scandal broke months ago; vets would be given vouchers for care VA clinics could not provide. Despite launching of the “new” VA on Veterans’ Day, not one vet has received a card. Nothing in the re-organization mentions changing the policies that penalize Raphael.

I could blame the Administration. There is no question things have gotten worse on Obama’s watch; his disdain for the military of which he is commander in chief is legendary. But this dysfunction for which Raphael and his brothers and sisters pay every day goes back a long way. I know a clinic director who was hounded from his job during the Bush Administration in retaliation for his constant complaints to higher ups in Washington. And the nature of his belly aching? He wanted adequate medical supplies – in stock – to serve those who depended on him and on his staff, and a mobile clinic for vets living in the rural areas of his region. George Bush loved the members of our armed forces, and they loved him. But he did not love them enough to crack down on the incompetent and the bean counters – and not enough to carry the horrific truth to the American public.

It is not too late. What if we demanded of leaders a workable plan to overhaul the VA – beginning with the termination of every employee who has been part of the problem from the top down? What if we demanded that plan include sufficient funding to pay the debt we owe our vets – from all wars? What if we said “Nuts!” to promises made by the leaders who break promises already made to vets? And what if we voted only for leaders who are honest enough to admit there is not enough money for all things (and that the illegals who want drivers’ licenses and a college degree can go to the back of the line)? What if we hound those we place in office until they deliver – even if they did not promise? The vets were here first, and they deserve whatever they need.

Jesus said there are none more blessed than those who lay down their lives for their friends. He refers literally to those who die in sacrifice; but every vet has sacrificed health and wealth, and many have damaged hearts and minds. Americans have an opportunity to right a great injustice and bless as Jesus blesses. Let’s stand tall and do it now.

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The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

Is The 4th Great Awakening In American History Underway?

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The 4th Great Awakening in American history is underway. There have been a number of words from recognized prophetic voices published in the past few weeks, and there is a compelling coincidence to their witness. We got the word ourselves when our prayer team made its monthly visit to the California State Capitol July 3. One of our members reported a vision in which the Lord showed him two piles of dry bones on the floor – reminiscent of the famous passage in Ezekiel 37 – and while he watched, the bones rose to form two skeletal bodies, one of them a man and the other a lion. Putting aside the natural skepticism of many of our readers about revelations from God in capitol hearing rooms – or anywhere else – let’s track with the internal logic of the vision. That too is supplied by God, but it is subject to rational critique.

The interpretation came to me instantaneously as the vision was described. The man represented Jesus Himself and the Lion of Judah. Their rise to incarnation was clearly about the promised Awakening, but the caveat is at least as important. Attention was drawn to the skeletal nature of these bodies–that is, to their lack of flesh, skin, hair, and organs. Clearly, the Awakening is in its most fragile infancy. The present outpouring of signs and wonders has been with us for some time; it does not constitute an Awakening by itself. And there is much more at stake here than whether a bunch of charismatic Christians get to raise hands and shout glory to the Lord. The call to the people of God to practice ongoing repentance – re-focus of our attention on God – is even more urgent than it has been the past several years.

There is a dark side to this season that also grows exponentially. Jesus said the last days – whatever their duration – would feature worldwide wars and rumors of wars, and we have armed conflict on the five heavily populated continents. We would see men calling evil good and good evil; look no further than the outpouring of sympathy for Hamas as it shoves women and children in front of its own missile batteries as human shielding. And we would see Christians hated by all for no other reason that that we bear the name of Christ; the legal assaults on American and European Christians in the name of political correctness pale next to the slaughter of the faithful in the Middle East, but the source is the same and the escalation as certain.

Yet most of these so-called revelatory words are steeped in triumphalism. There is no acknowledgement of ongoing need for repentance. There is a childish obsession with the healings and the other goodies that are indeed part and parcel of any move of God in our midst, but which are anything but the whole package. Jesus was quite clear that as history winds down, there is going to be hell to pay as much as heaven to gain; nobody gets a free pass. Any alleged prophet who claims it is all coming up like roses for people of prayer is just as much a false prophet as the people who keep running up and down California claiming the drought is over (despite the reality that reservoirs are less than half full and snowpack almost non-existent.) So what is the reasonable (and at the same time faithful) approach? Just what it has always been.

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The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

Ministry Saves Lives By Following Call Of Christ

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America is more pro-life now than at any time in the last half century. Close to sixty percent of us believe human life begins at conception, and close to eighty percent believe it’s just plain wrong for taxpayers to fund the termination of unborn children. This attitude squares nicely with the Christian scriptures, although it is squarely out of step with most governmental leaders. (More on that later.) This pro-life majority came about as the fruit of thousands fighting the culture wars God’s way instead of their way.

In Luke 10, Jesus sends seventy apostles out to share His revelation throughout Israel and Judea. His instructions were explicit: bless everyone they could, hang out with them and enjoy their company, meet their needs as the Holy Spirit provided, and share their stories of encounter with the Living God. The world thinks this is a silly way to fight a war, but that depends on the war and the objective of winning. I praise God for our military people who stand ready to protect me and my family from violent invasion, but I don’t want to be protected against the lost. I want to be able to reach out to them as I was reached out to forty-five years ago. Most people who want abortions are lost beneath the pressure of their circumstances. Forty Days for Life has one of the best track records for relieving people in crisis of that pressure. They are one of the principal reasons for the current pro-life majority in America.

Founded by David Bereit and Shawn Carney in 2004, they gathered volunteers to stand in front of abortion clinics and do what Jesus told His seventy friends to do — in that order, nothing more and nothing less. Mareza is one of the people who got blessed in that first campaign which saw a near thirty percent reduction in abortions in Bryan College Station, Texas. She encountered a lone volunteer standing on a wintery morning in front of the clinic she and her friend entered to abort her baby. The man said, “God bless you. God bless both of you. Actually, God bless all three of you.” Through her tears – even now – Mareza says she marched into the clinic, turned around, and marched back out – still carrying the child inside her womb. Fueled by word of mouth, the movement went national in 2007 and was soon an international phenomenon. Today, six hundred twenty-five thousand volunteers conduct semi-annual campaigns in five hundred forty cities in twenty-four nations.

Forty Days has never wavered from their basic strategy of blessing. They count nine thousand unborn lives saved, not to mention the physical and spiritual trauma to moms they avert. (Abortion is not the safe procedure it is advertised to be.) More than one hundred workers have left their clinic jobs and nearly sixty centers have closed in the wake of the peaceful and loving witness of these humble people. Appointments for abortions tend to decline by seventy-five percent on days the volunteers are on duty. Their ministry addresses the number one cause of death in the world today – abortion – and gives people involved an opportunity to choose life.

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The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

So Much For ‘No Man Left Behind’…

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I believe the Navy Seals started it; but by now, every branch of the US military service declares and reflects the spirit of the slogan “No man left behind.” Indeed, it reflects the spirit of the services themselves.

Unfortunately, the government under whom they serve does not reflect this spirit.

United States Marine Sergeant Andrew Tahmooressi has been a captive of the Mexican Government. His crime? The Afghanistan war vet went to San Diego seeking treatment for his battlefield related Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. He had three guns in his truck – legal in the States but not permitted in Mexico. He made a wrong turn and ended up in a border crossing lane with no U turns. The law abiding Marine found himself unintentionally in Mexico and went to a parked police vehicle. He asked help re-crossing the border and volunteered that he had guns in the vehicle and no intention of violating Mexican law – or even being in Mexico. He was promptly arrested, thrown in prison, and has spent the last few months in solitary confinement.

He has had access to Mexican attorneys, but the administration of Barack Obama has been deafeningly silent. There has been no trial; but two judicial hearings have resulted in his being sent back to solitary, a punishment reserved in all nations for particularly troublesome prisoners–the kind who turn themselves in while asking for help, apparently.

While the sergeant is abandoned by his national government, the governor of California flies to Mexico City to negotiate trade agreements for California with Mexico’s President Nieto. Governor Brown utters not a word on behalf of the war hero held in solitary, but he does a victory dance over the success of his trade missions. He is negotiating with the nation that floods our land with illegal drugs and illegal people.

Mexico is known for her harsh treatment of illegals within her own borders, but she nevertheless gives safe passage to the Central Americans now crossing Mexico on their way here. Many of these illegals are children and families, but many are notorious gangsters; still others are members of Mexico’s own drug cartels. Should not Governor Brown say “President Nieto, I will trust you enough to treat with you when you return the American citizen you hold without trial.”? Instead, he invites Nieto to Sacramento for a grand celebration planned for August 26.

Assembly Member Tim Donnelly has planned a demonstration in front of the governor’s mansion at 11:15 AM on Tuesday, August 26. The mansion is located at 800 N Street in Sacramento. Donnelly – readers will remember – ran a wildly successful primary campaign for the Republican gubernatorial nomination; he led all the polls until carpetbagger Neil Kashkari ingratiated himself with Republican money men and came in second in the primary solely through funding. Donnelly plans to make a public demand for the release of Sergeant Tahmooressi. My prayer is that thousands of Californians will join him in front of the mansion; I most certainly will be there with him.

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The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

Will Americans Ever Fall In Love With Freedom Again?

Tea Party Activists Hold Tax Day Rally In Washington

On our Monday conference calls with the California Governor’s Prayer Team we always ask the Lord to cause our elected and appointed leaders to fall in love with the limitations placed on them in law and constitution. Clearly we have not prayed enough. The lawlessness of government itself becomes more brazen and more frequent with every passing month. It may even be that we need to pray for ordinary citizens to fall in love with the limitations placed on our freedom. By that I mean citizens need to re-discover the price of freedom – which is not just vigilance, but action to maintain and reclaim it.

In local matters a candidate for office in Escondido, California, placed a campaign sign in his own yard and was ordered by officials to remove it. He claimed his right to free speech was violated but liberal and conservative leaders alike told him he must obey the rules of the city even if they were unconstitutional. In the meantime, the music group Live Nation planned a concert in Los Angeles and – after they arranged the venue – were told by city officials they could hold their concert only if it were deemed a “good fit” for the neighborhood in which they would hold it. Since when are Americans required to pass a culture test administered by bureaucrats before we can play music? And where does it say in law or constitution we should obey rules that violate that constitution? Is it not the responsibility of lawmakers to make their laws consistent with the constitution and the responsibility of citizens to defy laws that are not?

The 2010 Citizens United decision of the U.S. Supreme Court held that arbitrary limits on campaign contributions by corporations begged the question that corporations are governed and funded by U.S. citizens, covered by the First Amendment. In the follow-up McCutcheon case – decided this year – the Court said restricting citizens to $2600.00 in total campaign contributions – per the McCain-Feingold Act – is an unconstitutional restriction of free speech. Yet, that same Court was perfectly comfortable saying a citizen may contribute a maximum $2600.00 each to as many candidates as they like. Can only dissenting Justice Thomas see this is still an unconstitutional restriction of free speech?

Now Californians are denied our right to a referendum on unjust laws – a right enshrined in the California Constitution. The legislature passed AB 1266 in late 2013 – the so-called Bathroom Bill – to mandate boys using girls’ restroom and shower facilities and vice versa. Outraged parents and citizens mounted an effort to place this issue on the November ballot, something we have a right to do in California, and vote it down if they could. When the petition drive began, Secretary of State Debra Bowen falsely claimed the law was in effect during the drive – state law states clearly that it is not. She refused to accept signatures from at least two counties until ordered by a judge to do so. She then asserted the petitions were 130,000 valid signatures short. When Pacific Justice Institute attempted to do an independent count – as is their right under state law – Bowen refused to turn the petitions over because – as she put it – there were privacy concerns for the signers of the petitions.

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The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom