Category: Veterans
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.”

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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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Brian Becker137210
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.

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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’


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


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.

Not Welcome! Philippines Considers Permanent Ban on Donald Trump

“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.

Activists demonstrate against ‘warmongering’ Hillary Clinton at DNC

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Though she’s almost certain to be her party’s nominee, Clinton hasn’t received a warm welcome at the Democratic Convention, with protesters in the streets of Philadelphia criticizing her role in US foreign policy and hawkish policy positions.

Since the convention began on Monday, former Clinton rival Bernie Sanders has been urging Hillary Clinton’s left-wing critics to unify behind the candidate, if only to beat Donald Trump, whom he deems a greater evil.

However, this plea hasn’t swayed protesters outside of the Wells Fargo Center where the DNC is being held from criticizing the former secretary of state.

“Neither candidate – neither Trump nor Clinton – will stop these wars. It’s up to us,” one demonstrator, who was standing in front of a depiction of civilians killed in drone strikes, told RT America as she handed out flyers titled “No more endless war.”

“We know what Clinton represents. We know the crimes that her party has committed, we know the crimes that she herself has committed and advocated for, that she promises us only more of,” she continued.

An “Anti-War Truth Displays” exhibit surrounded by activists featured scale models of drones, maps of US military bases around the world, and pictures of children bloodied in the aftermath of US strikes.

“Absent a mass resistance movement to stop these wars, to stop the US policy of drone strikes and killing civilians with impunity, none of this is going to end,” the activist said. “We’re advocating the people be in the streets resisting the crimes of this government.”

Led by an activist with a megaphone, other protesters associated with the group St. Pete for Peace could be heard chanting, “A vote for Hillary is a vote for war!”

They stood before a banner saying: “Hey Hillary: First rule of ‘all lives matter’ is don’t bomb people. So shut up.”

Protesters were present in large numbers as early as Sunday, when multiple vehicles, including a full-size motor home, could be seen painted entirely with pro-Bernie Sanders slogans.

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.

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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.

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