Category: Veterans issues
US Veterans Rally After Trump’s Remarks on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
18:50 04.10.2016Get short URL130902
US military veterans are protesting outside Trump’s Tower in New York City on Tuesday after the remarks the Republican presidential nominee made about veterans a day earlier, a Sputnik correspondent reported from the scene.

NEW YORK (Sputnik) — During a campaign event in Virginia on Monday night, Donald Trump suggested that veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are not strong enough and “can’t handle it” unlike other people. Members of the US military gathered on the sidewalk outside the Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue to voice their criticism and talk about their experiences with PTSD. They told Sputnik that Trump’s comments were “outrageous” and “insulting.” “Veterans are not props for hate” and “Vets Against Trump” were among the signs carried by the protesters. The controversial comments have summoned a quick response from Vice President Joe Biden, speaking at a separate Clinton campaign event in Florida on Monday. Remembering his own son’s combat experience, Biden condemned Trump’s remarks as ignorant, stating that the Republican nominee was “not mean, just misinformed.”

Read more: https://sputniknews.com/us/20161004/1045993376/veterans-us-trump-rally.html

Dilma Testifies: ‘I am Afraid for the Death of Democracy’
07:04 30.08.2016(updated 14:05 30.08.2016)
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On today’s episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker is joined by Brazilian journalist Pepe Escobar to discuss the speech of Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff at her impeachment trial. Dilma struck a combative tone as she addressed the Senate, speaking of proceedings against her as a coup and questioning the rationale for putting her on trial when so many members of the House are implicated in a corruption scandal. Was her speech her last address as President, or can she overcome the slow motion coup against her government? The former chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee faces a primary challenge today, but will the DNC email scandal continue to follow Debbie Wasserman Schultz whether she wins or loses? Becker is joined by YahNe Ndgo of Revolt Against Plutocracy to talk about the struggle within the Democratic Party and if the progressive spirit of the Bernie Sanders campaign is to be found in Schutz’s challenger Tim Canova. John McCain is embroiled in a bitter primary fight as voters go to the polls in the Republican primary in Arizona today. McCain is hailed in the mainstream press as a moderate, but his record as an extreme war monger suggests otherwise. Becker is joined by Margaret Stevens, who is on the advisory board of Veterans for Peace and a history professor at Essex County College, and by Ben Becker, co-editor of Liberation News.

Read more: http://sputniknews.com/radio_loud_and_clear/20160830/1044758964/brazil-coup-democrats-john-mccain.html

US Presidential Election 2016: Winners and Losers

By James Thompson

 

The handwriting is on the wall. Both the Democratic and Republican party conventions have concluded. The working class has a lot of information to digest and from which to draw conclusions. It is definitely not too early to project the winners and losers in the upcoming election.

 

After a chaotic electoral struggle with a great deal of bombastic buffoonery on both sides, the two| bourgeois political parties have made their nominations for POTUS. The Democratic Party has nominated Big Sister. The Republican Party has nominated Big Brother. Who are these people and who do they represent?

 

The answer is easy. Both candidates represent the most reactionary sector of the bourgeois class. Both candidates will uphold the interests of the bourgeoisie “by any means necessary.” Both are authoritarian and the US public can be assured that a major assault on the civil rights of citizens in the US will occur in the near future.

 

So who are the winners and losers? Again, the answer is clear.

 

The winners will be the bourgeoisie and their hangers on. The winners will be the 1%. The winners will be the owners of the means of production. The winners will be the hyper militaristic Hawks. The winners will be the military-industrial complex and all of its parasites. The winners will be reactionaries and fascists. The winners will be the advocates of nuclear war. The winners will be racists, xenophobes, misogynists, anti-communists and pro-war lunatics. The winners will be people who want less democracy.

 

The losers will be the working class, first and foremost. The losers will be trade unionists, progressives, and peace lovers. The losers will be the 99%. The losers will be children who need to be educated. The losers will be people who need healthcare. The losers will be elders who need Social Security benefits and a stable social network. The losers will be veterans who need healthcare benefits. The losers will be people who need mental health care. The losers will be people seeking to get a college education. The losers will be people who need jobs. The losers will be people who want more democracy. The losers will be people who want to fight racism, xenophobia, and misogyny as well as anti-communism.

 

There is only one way that working people can avoid a catastrophe for the working class. That is to unite now to oppose the draconian policies to come. That is to unite to oppose nuclear war. That is to unite to oppose war with Russia and China. That is to unite to oppose imperialism. That is to unite to demand the expansion of Social Security. That is to unite to demand free education and healthcare for all. That is to unite to demand a roll back of the vast amounts of money spent on the military. That is to unite to demand fair treatment of veterans. That is to unite to fight racism, sexism, xenophobia and boundless authoritarianism. That is to unite to fight for the rights of working people and their children.

 

US Veteran Petitions to Send Trump into Combat to Follow His ‘Dreams’

 

http://sputniknews.com/us/20160809/1044075265/trump-purple-heart-petition.html

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06:03 09.08.2016(updated 06:04 09.08.2016) Get short URL

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A US veteran, insulted by Donald Trump’s comments after the latter received a Purple Heart medal as a gift, has launched a petition to send the Republican presidential candidate to war, to earn what he was given.

Trump recently received a Purple Heart medal from Lieutenant Colonel Louis Dorfman. The soldier stated that he had “so much confidence” in the candidate that he was willing to give him his decoration, earned for being injured in combat. Trump seemed touched by the gesture, but his subsequent remarks made one veteran angry enough to start a GoFundMe petition.

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“I’ve always wanted to get a Purple Heart. This was much easier,” Mr Trump said to the crowd.

The offhand remark came a few days after the Republican candidate was accused of verbally attacking the family of a fallen Muslim soldier. Trump was criticized for being disrespectful to those of the Islamic faith as well as being callous toward the sacrifice of the deceased soldier and his parents.

Decorated Army veteran Cameron Kerr, who was seriously injured in the Afghanistan War, judged that a few days in a war zone would help the real estate speculator understand the price of military honour and the reality behind it.

“As with seemingly everything else in his life, Mr Trump got one handed to him instead of earning it,” Kerr wrote.

“That being said, as a Purple Heart recipient who earned one the old-fashioned way by returning from Afghanistan one leg lighter, I fully endorse his desire to earn one and would happily oblige his interest in doing so, by being one of the first to chip in to fly him to the conflict zone of his choosing. After all, you’re never too old to follow your dreams.”

Although tens of thousands dollars have been collected through the petition, Kerr is fully aware that the move is unlikely to cause Trump to understand the realities and consequences of combat. Nevertheless, he hopes to turn Trump’s “bigotry into something positive.”

Trump: ‘A Vote for Clinton is Also a Vote for TPP Betrayal’

According to Kerr, all money raised will be given to organizations working directly with refugees from Syria, “who were unfortunate enough to be in one of these regions when everything around them collapsed, and whom Trump has broadly categorized as likely terrorists unworthy of resettlement.”

The International Rescue Committee, the Syrian American Medical Society and Refugees Welcome International were listed among organizations that will benefit from the effort.

Social network users immediately took to their favorite platforms to support the initiative, using the #PurpleTrumpsOrange hashtag.

​Dorfman, however, insisted that Trump’s comments were taken out of context and noted that the mogul acknowledged the honor backstage.

“I think he would make a good commander in chief,” Dorfman said, cited by Fox News. “I was very proud to give him that medal, not just for myself… this is about all the veterans that are carrying the wounds of these wars that we’re in and past wars.

US Veterans’ Hospital Hit With Patient Deaths from Opiate Abuse
Hospital ward.

US Veterans’ Hospital Hit With Patient Deaths from Opiate Abuse

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Two US Veterans have died and a staff member committed suicide at a Veterans Administration hospital in the state of Wisconsin, where opiate prescriptions were so easy to obtain that the facility became known as candy land, according to a report by the US Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The report noted that two doctors were fired for attempting to report over-prescription of opiate painkillers to the Veterans Administration’s Office of Inspector General.

“The report presents the findings of the committee’s extensive 16 month long investigation into how the problems that plagued the Tomah VAMC [Veterans Administration Medical Center] were allowed to fester for so long, thereby resulting in multiple tragedies,” Committee Chairman Ron Johnson said in a press release accompanying the 359 page document on Tuesday.

From at least 2007 to 2015, serious problems of over-prescription and abuse of authority existed at the Tomah VAMC, resulting in at least two veterans’ deaths and the suicide of a staff psychologist, the report noted.In recent years, the Veterans Administration has been wracked by scandal over doctored records and retaliation against whistleblowers in the agency’s network of hospitals, which hid abuses that reportedly resulted in patient deaths.

Read more: http://sputniknews.com/us/20160601/1040575914/usa-veterans-hospital-opiate-abuse.html#ixzz4AHaxLtzA

Timely: 20 US Senators Say Better to Give Veterans Pot Than Pills
Former US Marine Sgt. Ryan Begin smokes medical marijuana at his home in Belfast, Maine. Begin had his right elbow blown off by a roadside bomb in 2004 and suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Timely: 20 US Senators Say Better to Give Veterans Pot Than Pills

© AP Photo/ Robert F. Bukaty
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An amendment was added to the Veterans Affairs appropriations bill that would allow America’s disabled soldiers to be prescribed marijuana, but it’s an uphill battle for this commonsense measure to become law.

On Thursday, the US Senate Appropriations Committee approved an amendment that would allow Veterans Affairs (VA) doctors to recommend, in states where it is legal, medical marijuana as a treatment option. The bipartisan amendment, adopted 20-10, would allow VA doctors to operate under the same rules as civilian physicians in medical marijuana states.

Prior to this amendment, US soldiers seeking access through the VA to marijuana for pain management following a debilitating war-time injury, or to manage anxiety that so often triggers PTSD, or for any other applicable purpose, were instead prescribed highly-addictive opiate-based narcotics.

The amendment, added to the FY2017 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies appropriations bill, was sponsored by Senators Steve Daines (R-MT) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR). The measure, however, may not survive the bill-making process. An identical provision was added to last year’s VA appropriations bill but was removed on the floor of the Senate, prior to a vote for adoption.

Incomprehensibly, the measure does not extend additional marijuana use rights to disabled US veterans vis-à-vis their civilian counterparts, but simply prevents the VA from using funds “to interfere with the ability of veterans to participate in medicinal marijuana programs approved by states or deny services to such veterans.”

At present, Veterans Affairs medical staff cannot legally speak to patients about the possibility of medical marijuana, even in states where marijuana has been legalized. This antiquated policy means that the US government trails behind 23 states and Washington DC, which have legalized medical marijuana.

Until and unless this measure is passed, American Veterans continue to be forced to break the law, often self-treating bouts of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression and pain by buying marijuana illegally, despite regular reporting by veterans that the drug relieves their symptoms.

The VA requires that physicians use practices that have been scientifically proven to treat an underlying condition, but officials argue that there is insufficient historical data on the use of marijuana for a scientific consensus on its efficacy.

Read more: http://sputniknews.com/us/20160415/1038101219/weed-marijuana-merkley-bernie-veterans.html#ixzz45wFMklQR

Pentagon Hooked Vietnam Soldiers on Amphetamines, Painkillers, Steroids
Vietnam War

Pentagon Hooked Vietnam Soldiers on Amphetamines, Painkillers, Steroids

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The US military pushed drugs on troops ‘like candy,’ contributing to astronomical rates of post-service substance abuse, PTSD, and homelessness while also factoring into many of the war’s worst atrocities.

New research has led historians to consider America’s war in Vietnam as the first “pharmacological war,” with the level of psychoactive substances distributed to military personnel reaching unprecedented, nearly ubiquitous levels. Today, many of the country’s Vietnam-era veterans struggle with addiction, more so than from any preceding war, leading to calls for the government to take steps to right a wrong.

Despite the lack of research at the time on the implications of long-term amphetamine use, “pep pills” were routinely distributed to men leaving for long-range reconnaissance ambush missions. Standard Army use was 20 mg of dextroamphetamine, an amphetamine derivative twice as strong as common ADHD medicine Adderall, to provide 48 hours of combat readiness. However, reports find that the abuse of amphetamines was rampant and often demanded by superior officers.

One veteran said doses of amphetamine were issued to soldiers “like candies,” with no regard to recommended amounts or frequency of administration. Some research existed during the Vietnam era thanks to research by the House Select Committee on Crime which revealed that, between 1966-1969, 225 million tablets of the buffered amphetamines were distributed to soldiers.

One Vietnam-era soldier, Elton Manzione, said that the drugs “gave you a sense of bravado as well as keeping you awake. Every sight and sound was heightened. You were wired into it all and at times you felt really invulnerable.”

Not only was amphetamine use ubiquitous during the Vietnam War, but the US military knowingly pushed opioids on soldiers. Troops infiltrating Laos for a four-day mission each received a “medical kit” containing 12 tablets of Darvon (an opiate), 24 tablets of codeine (an opiate) and six tablets of dextroamphetamine. Furthermore, members of the special forces were administered regular steroid injections prior to long and demanding expeditions.

Research shows that while 3.2 percent of soldiers arriving in Vietnam categorized themselves as heavy amphetamine users, after one year of deployment the rate increased 62.5% — although the researchers expect that the real figure was much higher since the methodology required self-reporting by troops, the Atlantic reported.

The US military’s pushing of narcotics not only exacerbated the struggles of troops coming home, but likely played a significant role in driving otherwise honorable soldiers to commit war crimes and atrocities.

Some troops have reported severe irritation as a side effect once amphetamines wore off to the point that they said they “felt like shooting children in the streets.”

Anti-ISIL airstrikes
© AP Photo/ Senior Airman Matthew Bruch, US Air Force

Finally, the use of pharmaceuticals has been found by researchers to have contributed further to PTSD experienced by Vietnam War soldiers upon returning home. While the pharmaceuticals led to a reduction in combat stress breakdowns by soldiers requiring a medical evacuation in comparison to similar combat situations, the rate of subsequent PTSD among Vietnam-era troops was astronomical. It is estimated that some 1.5 million Vietnam-era troops continue to suffer from PTSD.

Currently, there are estimated to be over 50,000 homeless Vietnam-era veterans. Those veterans have an 108% higher likelihood of substance abuse compared to the baseline civilian population.

Read more: http://sputniknews.com/us/20160409/1037731785/pentagon-vietnam-amphetamines-drugs-homelessness.html#ixzz45HuZYDwe