Monday, September 26, 2016

America Has Gone to Hell

Can't a girl spend a couple of days in the hospital without all hell breaking loose in the world? I guess not. Before I get to my personal update, let me first review the nonsense that has occurred in America in my absence.

A shooting in Charlotte (a black cop shooting a black person) has resulted in riots and at least one innocent person being killed. Congratulations, Black Lives Matter. Who cares who dies, so long as you get to loot, riot, and run America the way you see fit? But, nah, there is no resemblance between you and the Islamic State. Not much.

Another shooting, this time in Tulsa. A young white female police officer shoots a black man who not only disobeyed police orders but who reached into his vehicle for God-only-knows-what. I see pundits on Twitter, talking about how cops are taught to shoot first, ask questions later. The investigation is ongoing, and there will be a trial, but let me ask all of the arm chair police officers in this country: If you tell someone to be still, and instead he turns around, heads for his car, and reaches through the door for something, do you send out for donuts and coffee and wait to see if he is giving you an early birthday present?

Back to Charlotte. This seems to have been a case of mistaken identity, but why in God's name did he pull out a gun? Was that supposed to prove to officers they had the wrong man? Do people think anymore?

And then there is Washington. An “Hispanic” man kills five people. “Hispanic”. How do we know this man is not Muslim? Because the media does not want to believe it? Because we know his religious affiliation? I am quite certain the FBI still cannot find its way to Facebook, so we have zero facts on which to base anything.

So much for arm chair police work.

Maybe people should stop trying to judge from the sidelines and wait for something those in law enforcement call “evidence”.

As I am writing this, I just heard the latest news conference out of Charlotte, and with it one of the dumbest questions I have heard since a reporter asked Donald Rumsfeld “When will this war be over?” five minutes after we began bombing Tora Bora. The question was, “Why is it that police are taught to shoot-to-kill?” I have watched police procedures evolve over the years, and here is the brief of it. Most street cops are not trained snipers. I urge this reporter to shoot a target in the knee (not that this would not enrage others who would think that was “cruel”). We are taught to shoot at body mass. It is the largest and easiest target to hit. Would the reporter prefer officers fire off a barrage of bullets in an attempt to wound the suspect, possibly killing a woman and/or her baby behind him? How about a “warning shot”? Well, those were outlawed decades ago due to something called “gravity”. You know, what goes up must come down? This is about public safety, people. Pure and simple. If and when an officer has the need to pull his gun the goal is not to shoot an apple off the man's head. The goal is to put him down. Safely, and quickly.

Again, more arm chair law enforcement. Maybe more people should undergo police training and spend some time on a “beat” before they jump to these Rambo conclusions.

P.S. After I wrote this, the Charlotte video was released. Lost in all of the “Did he have a gun, or was he standing there minding his own business?” is the cop calling for a medical bag afterward. Regardless of whether this turns out to be a “bad shoot” or not, one thing is clear: This was not murder-by-cop, or the officer would have stood there and watched the suspect bleed out.

One other thing: Now, according to the family lawyer, the suspect had a TBI. So now we want our law enforcement offices to do psychological assessments on everyone they encounter? “Excuse me, Sir, but would you put the gun/book/cell phone/whatever-that-is down so we can call in the duty shrink?” Gimmie a break.

* * * * *

Two controversial issues. The first: Gennifer Flowers. She had an affair with Bill Clinton for ten years. Now she complains. Maybe I am a heartless bitch. But she did it, and she did it willingly. Now this is Hillary's fault? No, I have no use for Miss Thing (Hillary), but you play, you pay. Sorry you did not get what you wanted out of it, but obviously you got something out of it or you would not have done it. Sorry, but that was your moral decision.

Second. Juanita Broderick. I have never heard where Bill Clinton held her down at gunpoint, but even if he did, having been raped myself I am always put off by people who still cry over something that happened over thirty years ago. Maybe I am heartless, but having been there I learned when I was nineteen-years-old...when I woke up screaming in the middle of the night...that the only reason my perpetrator was still victimizing me from 3,000 miles away was because I was allowing him to do so. He has since died. Should I dig him up out of his grave and beat the shit out of him? Would that solve something? Unless you were held down at knife-point, and even then, there is a point where you are allowing your attacker to continue attacking you.

How many rapists tell their victims, “You will always remember me”? For God's sake, you let them control you? The best thing you can do is say, “Fine. You took my body for a minute. But it has always been mine, and you have zero control over it now.” THAT is winning, ladies. THAT is how you conquer this. NOT by crying over it decades later.

* * * * *

So, now to my current situation. As readers will recall, The Shade Tree told me my stay was over. The VA failed me (big surprise). Clark County Social Services failed me (another big surprise). So, I found myself sitting on a street corner for the day, not feeling well at all. Finally the pain got the better of me and I called an ambulance. I ended up spending a couple of days in the hospital from lactic acid, which occurs when the body does not receive enough fluids. After umpteen IV's (both saline and antibiotic) I was released.

The problem was I had already spent what little money I had on a motel room, so I spent the day panhandling. It was a good day, but not enough to get another motel room. So I decided to stop for a hot dog and go back out (sometimes late at night someone will drop by if they see you sitting by yourself on a street corner). While I was there, someone hit a jackpot. He had no ID (I know; he should not have been in there in the first place). I did not know the guy at all, but he promised me a cut if I would cash it in for him. I have no idea what, if any, gaming laws I may have broken, but being in need of money I agreed and he paid me. So I went to find a motel room. Well, there is some stupid music festival in Las Vegas this weekend (as if concerts are only available here), and the only room I could find after much walking was a place called the Chalet Motel, which advertised Wifi and low rates. Well, I got a decent rate, but no Wifi. When I complained that they needed to reset the access point, the clerk shrugged and said he knew nothing about it. When I complained the following morning, the new clerk shrugged and said she knew nothing about it. Meanwhile, their marquee advertises Wifi.

Did I mention that this room, for which I paid $64, not only had no Wifi but had no ash tray...and apparently was bring-your-own-trash-can? That's right. No trash can. And I do not even know how to describe the “drapes”. They look like a huge tarp into which hooks were inserted and nailed into the wall. The air conditioner? Thankfully, it works, but there is no adjusting the temperature. In fact, there are no knobs. Yet, the marquee says the rooms have been “newly remodeled”. By whom? A drunk ninety-five-year-old former interior designer?

Yes, at least it does have a bed, and a television. But $64? Maybe $34. Maybe. Especially since the bathtub looks like it was brought here from a tornado zone and there is a glaring gap in the tile that brings sunshine into the room.

Don't get me wrong. It is better than sleeping in an alley. But, then again, an alley does not cost me $64 a night.

I wonder what the BBB will think about all of this when I report it? Not to mention the Chamber of Commerce? Booking.com? All the other websites that book for this motel? We shall find out.
Thankfully, my disability comes through in a few days, but unless I get lucky some more I will be sleeping in an alley somewhere until then. (No, I am not delusional enough to think there will be a repeat of what happened the other night. It does make for a great story, though.)

As a footnote, false advertising means nothing to the Chalet Motel. Their marquee advertises $249 per week. Nope. Try $300. This morning I renewed my room for one last night because I am not feeling well again. Despite it being Sunday (which is an off-night in Vegas), I was charged another $65. Again, the marquee says $35. So, who cares what you advertise? Apparently in Las Vegas ads are mere suggestions. In my next life I want to own a motel here. I could make a fortune stealing people blind.


Thursday, September 15, 2016

The Homeless, Veterans, and The Shade Tree

Things have gone from bad to worse at The Shade Tree since I last posted on this subject. After having meetings with four different people in the wake of my articles, I was assured that changes would be made. I am not sure exactly what changes they meant, but we have certainly seen the situation deteriorate.
Did I mention the man who was admitted to the second floor late last week? Yes, you read that right. I saw him at dinner, asked some people on the second floor about it, and then went straight to Erika (readers remember her from last week). The man was standing just outside the advocate's office in the dining room, and I pointed at him saying, “Is that supposed to be a woman?” Erika looked me straight in the eye and replied, “Yes.” I said, “You mean the one with the goatee and the biceps?” She looked me straight in the eye and replied again, “Yes.” Just how stupid does she think we are?! How hard would it be for an abuser to walk in here, posing (not very well) as a woman, and blow his wife away (along with a few residents who are in the wrong place at the wrong time)? It is one thing if advocates think their job is a joke, but they are compromising security at The Shade Tree.
On the third floor (where I am), the family bathroom has been broken for over two weeks now. Rumor has it maintenance is waiting for tiles to come in, while other rumors say there is some main pipe that is broken. Regardless, 102 women and children are now sharing six toilets, six sinks (when two of them are not clogged), and three showers. Those without children are now limited to showering between the hours of 8:00 p.m. and midnight, but almost nightly the families are in the bathroom well after nine o'clock. Tensions are even higher than what I described last week. With women having to trip over strollers just to use the basic bathroom facility, mothers who insist on turning the bathroom into a beauty salon, children who scream like they are being killed when their mothers try to take them to the toilet and/or the shower, and advocates (remember these are the “floor monitors”) who allow the children to stay up past their eight o'clock bedtimes watching television, readers can imagine how easily tempers are flaring.
Additionally, attempts to find housing are a complete waste of time. The Army veteran I wrote about and I both have exit dates next week. Our time at The Shade Tree is up. Yet, we have no place to go. The Veteran's Administration no longer works with The Shade Tree because of all of its problems, and the VA has problems of its own. They claim to be out of money and the only housing available through them is a place called WestCare, which is a drug rehabilitation facility (transitional housing is full, and contrary to what our case manager told us VASH/HUD does not take people who do not have income, which the Army veteran does not). The Army veteran was told the VA would try to find her a bed at WestCare, but for obvious reasons she is not interested. As for me, I found a place last week at Veteran's Village. The catch is I need to put down a deposit, first month's rent, and then wait for a room to come available. I do not have enough money to put everything down and then wait indefinitely for availability, and they will not allow me to put down a partial payment to hold the next opening. So, I went to Clark County Social Services to see about getting a $400 voucher through their program so that I could combine it with what I have to get a room reserved. I waited for four hours just to be told they are not taking appointments until next month; they are backlogged. So, I am looking at buying a $20 sleeping bag and finding a new street corner on which to sleep.
Let me tell readers a little more about my Army friend. If you recall, she is sixty-years-old, her ID is expired, she has obtained a job but is unable to start until she gets current identification. She went to a place called “Hero School”, which is led by a former homeless man who now tries to help the homeless get on their feet. They paid to get her most recent marriage license, but when she went to the DMV they wanted all three of her marriage licenses. In addition, Hero School misplaced her original birth certificate, so now she needs that as well. When she went back, the secretary (or whatever her title is) informed her that “at some point you have to help yourself”. With what money?! These things are not free, and frankly I have never been in another state that has so many hoops through which a woman must jump in order to obtain a state ID. Never. And I have been all over the country. Nevada DMV wants to be able to trace your last name from birth to the current day, regardless of whether or not your social security card is in your current name. It is much easier just to obtain a passport (but not less expensive)!
But the two of us are not the only ones experiencing problems. I do not know what The Shade Tree is doing with their donations, but one thing they are not providing is food. Yes, they make a stab at it; cookies and/or muffins for breakfast, a child-sized sloppy joe for dinner. One day we had a half a scoop of Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup and a salad too small even for a child as our lunch. Yet, if readers look up The Shade Tree on a charity rating site online, they will find that 93% of their funds go to the residents. I do not know where the referenced residents live, but it certainly is not The Shade Tree. Some very creative accounting is going on.
I fail to see how a shelter receiving federal funds to feed children can send those children to school lacking in sleep and hyped up on sugar-filled breakfasts. Meanwhile, there was one brief bright spot in all of this. Her name is Angela, and she is the head of case management. She is extremely down-to-earth, and last week she assured me I would not be paying $90, I would not be moving to the second floor, and that she had no problem extending my stay for several days if need be. However, I found out yesterday she has resigned and is leaving at the end of this month. Meanwhile, one of the residents filed a complaint yesterday because one of the women threatened to beat up another woman. The latter woman had confronted the first, who was watching movies on her laptop after lights-out (the light was keeping people awake). When the resident turned in the complaint to Erika, she immediately called a meeting of all the advocates and at least one of the case managers, where they spent two hours in a huddle laughing and carrying on. Meanwhile, one of the residents had a medical emergency and was forced to call 911 because there was no advocate on the floor (she is now in the hospital); I found a child screaming in the bathroom like his mother was trying to kill him (imagine walking in to find a woman and a boy in a stall with him shrieking "Mommy, NOOOOOO! STOOOOOOOOOOP! MOMMY, PLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEASE!"); several children were in the day room throwing full water bottles around like they were footballs; one boy rammed the laundry cart into me (he just started pushing it around and could not see that I was there); in other words, we had total mayhem.
And then, this morning the advocate failed to wake everyone at 5:45 (there are women who work, and with school now in session some have to get their children ready for the bus). When they woke up late a couple of the moms went looking for the advocate, whom they found...asleep.
Frankly, if I were a federal investigator, I would pose as an abused woman, get myself admitted to this place, and record all of this before shutting The Shade Tree down permanently.
The bottom line is, there is no help for people in this shelter. The Shade Tree does just enough to scrape by; other than that, we are all on our own. And veterans cannot even get help from the very agency that exists in order to help them. So, next week I will be blogging from a yet-to-be-determined street corner (well, the nearest fast-food place with WiFi, anyway), and who knows what is going to happen to the Army veteran.
ATTENTION ALL HOMELESS WOMEN IN LAS VEGAS: If you are pinning your hopes on The Shade Tree, you have no hope.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Mahmoud Abbas, KGB (Revisited)

Do my readers recall when I posted the following article in April, 2015, making the statement that Mahmoud Abbas was trained by the KGB?

I followed up that article with a series on the KGB, their tactics, and their past and current activities (see May, 2015, ff). Somewhere in there I posted multiple links where I obtained the information about Abu Mazen.

For a year-and-a-half I have been assaulted on social media relentlessly, being called a relic from the Cold War, a fear-monger, a conspiracy theorist and, my personal favorite, a “paid Zionist troll” because, didn't I know that Mossad is the world sponsor of terrorism? In fact, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is really a Mossad agent. Just ask YouTube.

So I was amused yesterday when I saw the “breaking news” on Twitter that Mahmoud Abbas had been trained by the KGB. Really? We had no idea, did we? This news was “broken” by reporter Oren Nahari of Channel 1 news in Israel, followed closely by Barak Ravid of Haaretz, as well as an astonished tweet by Knesset reporter Lahav Harkov. I just had to laugh.

But the real question is, why is this news “breaking” now? The answer is clear: The “Palestinians” are having an election to determine who will be the next president of the Palestinian Authority. After all, Abu Mazen is now twelve years into his two-year term. Does anyone else smell Eau de Mossad?

You see, while the Arabs have worked with the Russians for many decades, neither one likes nor trusts the other. And while allegations are undoubtedly being hurled that this is yet another “Zionist conspiracy”, the charge alone is enough to make the “Palestinians” squeamish. To what end? Well, personally I see a decided advantage here for Israel, because people are under the insane impression that Fatah is the “peaceful” arm of the PLO (which is a crock). If the “Palestinians” decide Mazen is no longer trustworthy, and choose to elect a Khaled Mashaal or an Ismael Haniyeh to office, no one can doubt that either one is Hamas (the “violent” wing of the PLO), which will then put countries like the United States into one heck of a bind.

It is one thing for us to send “aid” to the Palestinian Authority and then express “outrage” when the money reaches the hands of terrorists. But if a known terrorist is running the PA, then America (and other idiots who cannot see their hands in front of their eyes) can no longer feign ignorance. Not only that, but the United Nations and those members who play “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” will no longer be able to deny that organizations like UNRWA are not donating to the poor, pitiful “Palestinians” but are in fact aiding and abetting a known terrorist organization.

But there is another possible, more dire, consequence to this “news”; it could put a price on Abbas' head. Remember that Russia, while “fighting” the Islamic State, has also been bombing “rebel” positions in Syria. Some of those “rebels” are “Palestinians”and/or Hamas. What will be the reaction to the news that their leader has been consorting with their enemy?

The next few weeks are going to be extremely entertaining, and I will be posting more articles as new information comes to light.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Homeless in Las Vegas: The Shade Tree, Part Two

Since I posted my last article a few days ago, the situation at The Shade Tree has gotten even more ridiculous. Over the holiday weekend an email went out notifying the advocates that a list of people were to be moved to the second floor. I was one of the people on that list. The person who sent out that email is my case manager, and she has been out sick for days. No one said anything to me about paying the aforementioned $90; I was simply to move downstairs which, if readers recall, means I would be out in thirty days.

There is something I failed to mention in my last post. While the Army veteran I wrote about was never told anything about needing to pay, those who came in after her (I am one of them) were told we had ninety days before we would be required to pay the monthly fee. Last night, a Navy veteran was told she either had to move to the second floor or pay $180! Back "rent" for August and "rent" for the month of September. She has not even been here sixty days yet, and has never been given any kind of a written nor verbal notice saying she was in arrears. No court in the land would enforce her paying for the month of August, but The Shade Tree thinks it has everyone by the short hairs. 

Well, they do not have me by the short hairs, nor will they. Here is what is happening: One of The Shade Tree employees' paycheck bounced. Other employees report their paychecks have been shorted. One Shade Tree employee was seen at EZ Pawn with items donated to The Shade Tree. He told the clerk that they were items that were "just sitting in [his] garage, collecting dust". What he did not realize is a Shade Tree resident witnessed the transaction. I should also note that the question has circulated around the shelter since my arrival as to where the donated items were going since they never make their way to us (the residents). Now it appears we know.

One woman at The Shade Tree has six children (save the political comeback; the facts are what they are). She found temporary work, but must come up with $630 ($90 x 7), or be out. It is clear to me that something very serious has happened to The Shade Tree financially. Maybe someone embezzled the funds. Maybe someone cannot count and simply misspent the funds. (Oh, did I mention that their accountant quit?) Regardless of the cause, the residents are now being harassed for money they either did not know they owed, or were told the money would be due later on after they had stayed for a set period of time.

I should also note that the Veteran's Administration refers homeless veterans to this facility thinking the veterans are being taken care of. The VA is blissfully unaware that veterans are being lied to and hosed financially. I think someone should tell them.

Oh.

Wait.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Homeless in Las Vegas: The Shade Tree

My regular readers know that I am a veteran and have been homeless for over two years now; the circumstances are not important. Two months ago, I was introduced to a shelter called The Shade Tree. I almost did not apply because I did not know if they even had room (they would not reveal that information over the phone), and I had some limited experience with shelters when I lived in D.C. I was not impressed. There is one main shelter in our nation's capitol (though more are opened during the winter months whenever the forecast calls for temperatures below freezing), and it is filled with drug junkies, alcoholics, felons, and the mentally ill. But The Shade Tree purported to be different, so I applied and was accepted.

I was very relieved. I was no longer sleeping on the sidewalk in an alley, waking up at all unknown noises, encountering the random insane person who had no clue who he was nor where he was but was certain he needed to beat me up (or worse). I now have a bunk in a room filled with approximately forty women. There are families in two other dorms on my floor, and more on the floor below me (I am on the third floor). The food is not five-star cuisine, but since I am not staying at the Ritz Carlton I have not complained. I have constantly reminded myself where I was just a few weeks ago and I have chosen to be grateful, ever mindful of God's anger when the Israelites complained about the lack of variety in their diet while they were wandering in the desert.

But the circumstances have changed, and now I must speak out. Not because of myself; I have decided that, unless something changes, I am moving into a motel at the end of September and will go back to panhandling in order to try to keep a roof over my head (my disability will barely cover rent; I am on waiting lists for affordable housing but who knows how long that will take). This is about injustices that are occurring at the Shade Tree which are affecting other women far more drastically than myself.

The first woman is an Army veteran who, when she was taken in, was told as a veteran she could stay here rent-free until she was able to save enough money to move out. When her unemployment insurance ran out she was moved to the second floor (which is considered a punishment; women on that floor must be out by 7:30 in the morning and are not allowed to return until 3:45 that afternoon). She had difficulty finding a job because her out-of-state identification had expired and Nevada has insane rules for obtaining ID from the DMV (many women are being forced to hunt down old marriage licenses and divorce certificates to prove the transition from birth names to current names—regardless of whether or not they have a Social Security card in their current name). She is sixty years old, so she has that against her, and her health is bad. She should be on disability but has not obtained it to date. However, she finally found a job, not that it mattered. The Shade Tree is still throwing her out the last week in September, even if she were to agree to pay the $90 they are now asking women to pay.
Another woman (I will call her “Susie”) has been working Monday through Friday since she got here, paying the $90 she was required to pay. But like myself, she has noticed things happening here in the past month that caused her to rethink giving money to the shelter. Let me preface this story by explaining The Shade Tree has lots of rules, some of which are silly but that I tolerated because I was grateful to be off the streets. Some of those rules include a curfew of 6:30, no soda or food above the first floor, no “tenting” (hanging towels, etc., around a bunk for a semblance of privacy), and the like. Yet, when a woman was caught smoking meth in the bathroom and was reported to the advocate (the “floor monitor”, for lack of a better explanation of the job title), the advocate replied that if they searched everyone for drugs half the beds in this facility would be empty. WELL?! So what! Make room for the people who are turned away because you have meth addicts taking up space!

Anyway, Susie decided not to pay on September 1st. Not just because of this incident but because, despite a contract requiring them to do so, The Shade Tree has not been providing sack lunches for those people who work. Additionally, we have been receiving concentration camp rations of food (I have gone out to buy myself a real meal on more than one occasion), and the food that is being served is of even lesser quality than when I first arrived. Meanwhile, The Shade Tree is now forcing everyone to pay rent, regardless of their circumstances, or they are being moved to the second floor (which is also a 30-day stay; anyone there is kicked out at the end of that time). Susie's question is, “On what is that $90 being spent?” They even run out of paper plates, forks, bread, milk, water...basic items for any shelter whether anyone pays rent there or not! Needless to say, Susie is being moved to the second floor as I type this article.

It gets even worse. A mother took her infant to the hospital because he kept tugging on his ear. The doctor poured hydrogen peroxide into his ear...and three bed bugs came out! I have been fortunate; I have not encountered them personally. But I have seen more than one woman with the characteristic tracks on some portion of her body indicating her bunk (indeed, the entire shelter) needs to be fumigated, but no action has been taken. There is also black mold in the walls; as a result many of us have chronic respiratory symptoms.

For myself, the icing on the cake was last Wednesday when the elevator broke for the second time in the past two months. I have had three knee surgeries (among other problems) and negotiating stairs causes great pain. That day, I was out when the elevator was placed out-of-order so I had to climb the stairs to get to my floor. When I arrived, I popped three non-prescription pain pills, which I followed later for a total of ten that day. At dinnertime, one of the women offered to bring my dinner back from downstairs. A half hour later she returned without any food, telling me that one of the advocates, Erika (her real name) had forbidden anyone taking food out of the dining area. Now, I am not the only person here with physical problems; some ladies have walkers, and some are in such bad shape they do not even participate in fire drills. Yet, Erika was so obsessed with a nonsensical rule that circumstances meant nothing to her. If we go hungry, so what? The rules have to be enforced, you know.

Just not for everyone. Two women staying on the third floor are not working, are not veterans, and are not in school; the only thing they do each week is meet with their case managers and attend the three required “Life Skills” classes (each one hour long). Other than that, it is a perpetual vacation for them. The rules are enforced selectively; while some women go out drinking and come back with no problem, others are kicked out if they blow so much as a .001 on the Breathalyzer (which is only given to women randomly, with no clear pattern as to who, when, or why).

Then there are the fights. Some of the women here are young, and have been toughened by jail, prison, and/or the streets, and have no qualms about threatening to kick someone's ass (or actually doing so), throwing chairs, punching doors...and all of this in a place where some of the women are here because they have been physically and/or sexually abused by their significant others. Add to this environment the growing discontent over the food situation, and readers can imagine the results.

If people knew the conditions here at The Shade Tree, not only would donors stop donating but if someone were to notify the federal government (yes, they receive federal funds), that money would be yanked out of here so fast the Director would not know what happened. And I just wonder what the media would make of all this.

Oh.

Wait.