Monthly Archives: June 2014

Joe Geoghagan is a 31 Year-Old Veteran and He’s Begging the VA Not to Let Him Starve to Death

Monday, June 30th, 2014 by Jim Hoft

Guest post by John Hawkins

Let me repeat that.

Joe Geoghagan is a 31 year old veteran and he’s BEGGING the VA not to let him starve to death.

iraq vet va

Joe first came to my attention because he wrote the Right Wing News Facebook page asking for help. Imagine that: a veteran who did three tours in Iraq and Afghanistan reduced to writing the owner of a Facebook page because he doesn’t know where else to turn to get basic medical attention.

After doing some basic research to confirm Joe’s story, I reached out to him. It was difficult to discuss the case on the phone because after years of being mistreated and ignored, Joe’s story pours out of him like a flood now that he has someone listening. Almost without taking a breath, Joe produced countless details about the snubs, red tape, and frustration of dealing with the VA for the last few years. Although you’d expect anger — even red hot fury — there was more of a sense of desperation in Joe’s voice.

Yet all the while, my mind kept turning back to the central, almost inconceivable reality Joe is being forced to deal with: The VA is allowing him to starve to death.

This saga began for Joe back in 2008 when he left the service after spending four and a half years in the Navy. Joe developed Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during his service, although he didn’t know what to label it at the time. He just knew he was anxious, depressed, and aggressive towards friendly people who didn’t deserve it. Joe reached out to the VA at that point, but was told he was perfectly fine and didn’t need any treatment after a cursory ten minute interview with a doctor.

Joe’s problems with PTSD continued and although he managed to get a job as a military contractor, more physical symptoms started to plague him as well. He began experiencing a lot of nausea and semi-regularly throwing up his food. Eventually, his increasingly frequent vomiting made him too sick to work and he was fired from his job. His fiancée didn’t like the changes she had seen in Joe’s behavior and left him before he was ever diagnosed with PTSD. Money was hard to come by as well and Joe’s depression worsened. He even tried to kill himself at one point.

Then, Joe had his first glimmer of hope in a long while: in late 2012, he realized he was still eligible for treatment at the VA. Initially, Joe was treated by the VA in Washington State and perhaps surprisingly, given the beating that the VA has taken in the press lately, he had nothing but good things to say about his treatment in that state. After a long, dark period, things were finally starting to look up.

Read the rest here.

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School Employee Claims Co-Workers Vandalized Her Office with Feces, Urine After She Reported Their Sex Romp

Monday, June 30th, 2014 by Kyle Olson

counselor
(nydailynews.com)

One would think that a school employee would be rewarded for reporting steamy behavior happening on school property between co-workers.

Apparently this is not always the case, unless you could a steaming pile as a reward.

EAGnews.org reports:

A former New York public school employee says a pair of co-workers smeared fecal matter and spilled urine in her office, defaced her personal pictures and slashed her car tires after she reported their in-school hook-ups to the principal.

The allegations are part of a lawsuit that was filed by former elementary school counselor Deborah Berger late last week, NYDailyNews.com reports.

In her lawsuit, Berger claims her life became a living hell in 2010 after she told Public School 009 Principal Robert Wojnarowski that two of her fellow guidance counselors were using counseling rooms for their steamy encounters.

According to Berger’s suit, principal Wojnarowski knew of the ongoing affair and chose not punish the illicit lovers. Instead, he told the couple that Berger had complained about their behavior.

And that’s when the vicious reprisals allegedly began.

Berger claims the pair vandalized her office with human waste, while Wojnarowski allegedly did nothing to punish them. She even claims that Wojnarowski joined in with the retaliation by giving her bad job reviews, NYDailyNews.com reports.

Things reached a breaking point for Berger last June when she found her car tires slashed. Berger claims she became ill from all the stress and needed to take an unpaid leave of absence from her job to receive psychological treatment.

Read more here.

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Keith Ellison Amendment Requires Military Bases to Pay Fast Food Workers $15/Hour

Monday, June 30th, 2014 by Kyle Olson

payyourfairshare
(ellison.house.gov)

U.S. Rep. has figured out how to push $15/hour for fast food workers: by politicizing funding for military bases and commissaries.

People’s World hails Ellison’s action:

Repeating a win he first gained several weeks ago, Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., and the Congressional Progressive Caucus tacked a ban on federal contracts to firms that engage in wage theft onto yet another money bill. But this was a big one: The $500 billion-plus Defense Department spending plan for the year starting Oct. 1.

If Ellison’s move survives the rest of the congressional gauntlet, it could aid tens of thousands of fast food workers at commissaries and in mini-malls on defense bases who now see their employers – McDonald’s, KFC, Domino’s Pizza and the like – underpay them.

Labor-backed Good Jobs Nation has been in the forefront of the drive to raise fast food workers’ wages, especially at federal sites. The workers also demand decent benefits, regular hours and the right to organize without employer interference.

People’s World reports Ellison’s similar amendments to other department funding bills passed by voice vote.

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‘Undocumented and Unafraid!’ – Milwaukee Amnesty Activists Shut Down ICE Office

Monday, June 30th, 2014 by Kyle Olson

YES-Photo

Milwaukee has long been a hotbed for student activists assisted by teachers union leaders – mainly Milwaukee Public Schools teacher Bob Peterson.

Now with the major influx of immigrants from Central America, those student activists are escalating their tactics.

Workers World reports:

Activists led by “Youth Empowered in the Struggle” shut down the Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in downtown here, June 19. At 6 a.m., 10 activists chained their arms together through PVC piping and sat in front of the building’s garage doors to block ICE vehicles from leaving to arrest more people.

Recently, the immigration raids have started somewhere between 5 a.m. and 7 a.m. About 100 people rallied in support of the chained-together activists, in front of the garage doors.

This action was primarily in response to a large-scale sweep conducted by ICE in partnership with the Milwaukee Police Department on May 27, which resulted in the arrest of 22 people from their homes and workplaces. Over the last month a total of 49 people have been arrested in Milwaukee for being undocumented.

“We will defend our community as long as ICE keeps attacking us and until [President Barack] Obama grants deferred action for all,” said Oscar Hernandez, who was one of the 10 activists chained together.

Two of the activists were family members of one of the men arrested on May 27. The 11-year-old girl saw her father being taken away by ICE agents as he had been preparing the car to take her and her two sisters to school.

Activists chanted, “Undocumented and unafraid!” and “MPD shame on you, immigrants are people too!” as morning traffic began to flow through downtown. Though police threatened to arrest the chained activists, they backed off and watched the rally, which lasted over three hours.

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SHOCK: 50 VA Employees Seeking Whistleblower Protections

Monday, June 30th, 2014 by Kyle Olson

VA_resized

As the VA scandal continues to come into full view, employees are seeking whistleblower protections so they can tell their stories without fear of retribution.

The Washington Times reports:

When Valerie Riviello, a nurse at a Veterans Affairs facility in New York, saw the clinic restrain a sexual assault survivor to a bed for seven consecutive hours, she released the woman.

The next day, Ms. Riviello said, she was removed from her post as senior nurse manager and given a full-time desk job that prohibited her from contact with patients. She eventually was reprimanded and is facing a 30-day unpaid suspension for releasing the woman.

Now, Ms. Riviello is one of more than 50 whistleblowers who say the Veterans Affairs Department retaliated against them for trying to do their jobs.

The complaints got backing last week from the Justice Department’s office of special counsel, which issued a stern warning for the VA to shape up.

Ms. Riviello said her reprimand for the November incident has cowed other nurses at the Albany Stratton VA Medical Center in New York.

Continue reading here.

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CTU Boss Karen Lewis: ‘Do We Want Presidential Libraries, or Librarians for Every Child?’

Monday, June 30th, 2014 by Kyle Olson

Karen Lewis
(EAGnews.org)

It looks like the president of the Chicago Teachers Union doesn’t think much of her state’s attempt to assist with the building of the Barack Obama presidential library. Instead, they need to secure jobs for government school librarians.

EAGnews.org reports:

Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis apparently doesn’t care very much for the Obama Presidential Library.

Preserving the jobs of educational support personnel and others the city doesn’t need should be the top priority, Lewis said in a rambling union statement issued yesterday.

In her screed against layoffs, school turnaround plans, and charter schools that are outperforming the city’s unionized public schools, Lewis implied the presidential library is an unnecessary waste, and the money would be much better spent on public school librarians.

“With this latest round of layoffs— the fourth time in the past five years in which we have seen summer layoffs in excess of 1,000—and the hundreds of positions lost at the three schools slated for turnaround this year, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his Board continue their war on our educators by doing nothing to salvage school budgets other than forcing principals to terminate valued teachers and staff,” Lewis said.

“This decision further demonstrates the disdain for public education and the lack of leadership and vision for the city from our mayor and his handpicked Board. Do we want ‘Star Wars’ museums or public, neighborhood schools? Do we want presidential libraries or librarians for every child?”

Read more here.

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Suit: Benjamin Moore Paint Names are ‘Racially Insensitive’!

Monday, June 30th, 2014 by Kyle Olson

clinton brown
(dailymail.co.uk)

A former Benjamin Moore employee named Clinton Tucker is claiming the paint colors “clinton brown” and “tucker chocolate” are named after him and since he’s black, they’re racially insensitive.”

NJ.com has the story:

Tucker, who identifies himself as an African-American man in the lawsuit filed in Essex County court in Newark, said he was hired in June 2011 in the digital marketing department but quickly found himself being discriminated against, according to a write-up of the filing on CourthouseNews.com.

Tucker is seeking damages for discrimination, retaliation and a hostile work environment, according to the suit.

He claimed that when working on the online arm of Benjamin Moore’s campaign for their Williamsburg color collection, he learned of the new color “tucker chocolate,” which the suit called “extremely racially offensive.”

The Williamsburg collection also has colors named tucker orange and tucker gray.

Tucker then learned of the existing color “Clinton Brown,” which a co-worker pointed out to him as a joke.

“Despite [Tucker's] repeated complaints and protestations to BM management about these appallingly racial color names, no action was ever taken by Benjamin Moore to change the names of these colors,” according to the suit.

Tucker also claimed that he was demoted while white co-workers were given promotions, and that his request to take off work on Martin Luther King Jr. Day was ignored.

“Tucker orange” isn’t a target of his lawsuit.

http://colorchats.benjaminmoore.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Williamsburg-colors4.jpg

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Officers of Cleveland-Area Firm Sentenced for NBA Players Union Fraud, Cover-Up

Sunday, June 29th, 2014 by Carl Horowitz

NBA players
(USA Today)

Joseph Lombardo may not have stolen funds, but it was the attempt that counted. Last Tuesday, June 10, Lombardo, founder and managing director of the Independence, Ohio-based Prim Capital Corp., was sentenced in Manhattan federal court to 18 months in prison for forging signatures in an attempt to renew a multi-year benefits management contract with the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) worth more than $3 million. Almost three weeks earlier, on May 21, chief compliance officer for the firm, Carolyn Kaufman, was sentenced to six months of home confinement, three years of probation, and 500 hours of community service, and fined $25,000, for helping to conceal the fraud. Lombardo pled guilty in November; Kaufman had been found guilty last December following a trial. The actions follow probes by the Labor Department and the Justice Department.

Union Corruption Update has reported on this case a number of times. About three years ago, Lombardo, founder and managing director of Prim Capital, found himself drawn into a bitter rift between his friend, NBPA Executive Director Billy Hunter, and then-association president and star point guard Derek Fisher. Fearful the players union would not renew its servicing contract with Prim, Lombardo rubber-stamped the signatures of deceased NBPA General Counsel Gary Hall and another union employee to create the appearance of a renewal. The contract would have been good for five years at $602,000 a year.

Fisher and his allies, meanwhile, had hired a New York law firm to conduct a full audit on mismanagement under Hunter. That triggered an investigation by the Labor Department and eventually the Justice Department. Though Kaufman testified before a grand jury that neither she nor Lombardo had forged any signatures, Lombardo, unaware he was being secretly taped, could be heard coaching Kaufman how to avoid questions on the subject. Each eventually was arrested and indicted in the spring of 2013.

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5 Year-Old Bullying VICTIM Forced to Sign ‘Sexual Misconduct’ Confession (Video)

Saturday, June 28th, 2014 by Pat Kane

5 year old bullying victim forced to sign ‘sexual misconduct’ confession
kid abuse 5

After being coerced by a fellow classmate into pulling his pants down at school, kindergartner Eric Lopez was forced to sign a “sexual misconduct” form by school officials. This happened despite the fact that Lopez was told that if he did not pull his pants down, another student would.

AZFamily reported:

This seemingly harmless action sparked an immediate response by Arizona school officials. Lopez was taken directly to the principal’s office where he was made to sign a form incriminating himself for sexual misconduct on school grounds.

What Lopez didn’t know, and was not told to him by school officials, was that he had a right to have his parents present. Eric’s mother would not be informed of her sons’ forced confession until it was too late to prevent or help it.

“I’m just heartbroken,” said Eric’s mother in an interview with her son. “He’s a 5-year old, he does not know right from wrong yet.”

According to Reason, Eric has been labeled as a “sexualized minor” and will have that label scar his transcripts and permanent records for the next 12 years of his life.

Lopez’s mother is actively fighting this label, and has since filed “a bunch of paperwork” in hopes of repealing it.

Follow Patrick on Facebook here or on Twitter @PatVKane

 

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Former LIUNA Local Employee in Nevada Sentenced for Embezzlement

Saturday, June 28th, 2014 by Carl Horowitz

LIUNA
(nlpc.org)

If Las Vegas is the place to get lucky, then Aurora Rios hit the jackpot – sort of. On June 9, Rios, ex-office cashier for Laborers International Union of North America Local 872, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada to 18 months in prison, six months of home confinement, and three years of supervised release for embezzling funds from the Las Vegas union. Though ordered to pay $11,500 in restitution and $2,175 in fines, she could have owed a lot more. Rios had been charged in April 2010 with 21 counts of embezzling $167,500 and three counts of falsifying union records.

She pleaded guilty in April 2012. Rios was one of three persons charged in the case; the two others, Stacy Johnson and Aundrea Valerio, also pleaded guilty. The total theft, originally reported at $225,000, later was estimated at $320,000. The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

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