Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Logic and the DVA

Well, the title is both telling and misleading, as there seems to be something askew in the logic of almost every decision and policy issued by the DVA. Come along with us on a little ride into the past and we'll illustrate what we mean.

Back in the late 1980s, Admiral Elmo Zumwalt, or "Zum" as we called him when he was Chief of Naval Operations, wrote a detailed report about the use and effects of herbicides [Agent Orange, or AO for our purposes here]. Zum's report was was done for the Department of Veterans Affairs, and was used to help frame the Agent Orange Act of 1991. After that, the DVA classified it and locked it up for ten years until someone leaked it.

After reviewing the history of the herbicide issue, Zum made his recommendations on compensation for Veterans who were exposed. He offered these two options:

COMPENSATION FOR SERVICE RELATED ILLNESSES

Alternative 1:
Any Vietnam Veteran, or Vietnam Veteran’s child who has a birth defect, should be presumed to have a service—connected health effect if that person suffers from the type of health effects consistent with dioxin exposure and the Veteran’ s health or service record establishes 1) abnormally high TCDD in blood tests; or 2) the veteran’s presence within 20 kilometers and 30 days of a known sprayed area (as shown by HERBs tapes and corresponding company records); or 3) the Veteran’ s presence at fire base perimeters or brown water operations where there is reason believe Agent Orange have- occurred.

Under this alternative compensation would not be provided for those veterans whose exposure came from TCDD by way of the food chain; silt runoff from sprayed areas into unsprayed waterways; some unrecorded U.S. or allied Agent Orange sprayings; inaccurately recorded sprayings; or sprayings whose wind drift was greater than 20 kilometers. Predictably, problems generated by the foregoing oversights, the mass of data to be analyzed as claims were filed, and the known loss of many service records would invalidate many veterans’ legitimate claims

Alternative 2:
Any Vietnam Veteran or child of a Vietnam Veteran who experiences a TCDD—like health effect shall be presumed to have a service—connected disability. This alternative is admittedly broader than the first, and would provide benefits for some veterans who were not exposed to Agent Orange and whose disabilities are not presumably truly service—connected. Nevertheless, it is the only alternative that will not unfairly preclude receipt of benefits by a TCDD exposed Vietnam Veteran.

Furthermore, this alternative is consistent with the Secretary’s decision regarding the Service—connection of non— Hodgkin’s lymphoma, as well as legal precedent with respect to other diseases presumed by the Department of Veterans Affairs to be connected to one or more factors related to military service (i.e. veterans exposed to atomic radiation and POW’s with spastic colon).
This is crystal clear, and Congress opted for Alternative 2 when it enacted the Agent Orange Act of 1991.

Immediately, the DVA began shifting the policy from Alternative 2 to Alternative 1. It barred Veterans from Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia [TLC] from qualifying for Agent Orange benefits. Two years later they kicked the Blue Sky Air Force out of the Agent Orange Act. Ten years after the Air Force lost their benefits, the DVA issued a policy banning Blue Water Navy Veterans from receiving benefits.

Clearly, Zum's Alternative 2 would encompass all three Veterans groups. Clearly, the use of the Vietnam Service Medal as the establishing criteria, along with a qualifying disease, for presumptive exposure to herbicides, was how the AO Act of 1991 was administered from the start, and clearly that was the will and intent of Congress.

Zumwalt also talks in his report of how hard the DVA [and its predecessor, the VA] worked to fight off Herbicide benefits -- so hard that they falsified their own studies on contamination health issues, and did so to such a heinous extent that Congress ordered the CDC to take over the scientific studies.

Even then, the DVA interfered, just as they do today in quashing any attempt by the Institute of Medicine, the committee established to review fresh science with a view to expanding herbicide benefits, to do just that.

The motivation, we suspect, was money, and protection of both the chemical company manufacturers of the herbicides and the Federal Government from litigation for liability. Indeed, with the way Europe views the modern day USA, it could have conceivably brought charges in the World Court for Crimes Against Humanity. That possibility still exists [note the recent indictment of Bush Administration officials by a Spanish Court over post 9/11 policies overseas.]

The DVA and its respective successive Adminstrations is not alone in this conspiracy. Add Congress for knowingly ignoring the situation for almost 18 years. Add the Federal Court system that has rebuffed not only new Agent Orange civil cases, but benefit cases - repeatedly. When given an opportunity to set things right, they dodged the issue. The entire Federal Government has dirty hands on this.

But later, the Clinton and Bush administrations saw opportunities to use money appropriated for the Agent Orange benefits for the three disenfranchized groups, to embark on an enormous expansion of government. Thus the Rural Health Care Centers.

Consider, the DVA must locate a facility, or a property on which to construct a facility, supposedly situated in areas with Veterans needing health care from existing treatment facilities that are considered too far away to get to over a reasonable distance. Sounds like a great plan. They then construct or modify existing structures they acquire by rent or purchase. Then they equip them as medical clinics, and finally staff them with medical professionals. Imagine the costs.

Consider the alternative. The DVA issues the Veterans with a medical insurance card which is paid to any provider on the basis of the payment schedule for Medicare and Medicaid. No additional charges may be billed to the Veteran. The Veteran gets to be treated at any facility, no matter where it is. He can go to his family doctor for treatment. It would be covered. Levels of co-pays would vary according to disability rating and/or income levels or non-service-xonnected disabilities.

Which of those alternatives is less expensive?

So why the Rural Health Centers? We suspect there is a system of rewards and perhaps kickbacks with the contracts the DVA signs for property acquisition, and facilities modification or construction. And we think this also goes on at a grand scale, as is evidenced by the astonishing fleecing of the taxpayers to build the new VA hospital in Denver. It was set in place by Secretary Jim Nicholson, who resigned shortly afterwards to return to his "developer" career in the Denver area. The odor of that deal still reeks as far east as DC, where there must be other participants.

But this grew as more and more people needed to be "fed" as part of the system. So the DVA kicked out the Air Force, and later the Navy from AO benefits in order to hijack their appropriations to pay for more and more Rural Health Centers. And they used official intimidation to control employees, and others, such as the Institute of Medicine, to prevent having to give the benefits back to the Veterans.

When and if this alleged system is finally exposed, they can point to the fact that the money went to Veterans. But they will be hard pressed to justify the level of spending on an expensive expansion of government, that needlessly sidetracked funds that should have gone directly to Veterans who are sick and dying, and spent them on the expensive rural health centers. Developers, realtors, contractors and investors get very rich, and Veterans are dying all the while.

And the hands of many in Congress, the Executive Branch, and the Federal Court system will have dirt under their nails from this one.

That is a prediction.

The DVA requires proof to complete a successful claim for exposure to Agent Orange. Thankfully, their own court has now instructed them to provide evidence to deny. So, there are those in the Federal Government who have a clear understanding of what is right.

To date, the performance of the new administration and the new Secretary of Veterans Affairs shows the only difference from their predecessors is an even more virulent stand against the Vietnam Veterans. Two of the first memos issued by the Secretary changed the VA's policy on boots on the ground by putting a 24 hour minimum time limit on it where none existed before, and declare the South China Sea ports of Vietnam are not "Brown Water".

Never mind the question that comes up asking "how long must exposure last to contaminate and eventually kill a human being? Never mind the fact that while anchored in those coastal ports, bays, and harbors, US Navy ships were required to make fresh water out of the water in which they sat, which contained runoff loaded with dioxins.

We ask, then, "What science is behind these two memos?" The answer is: "NONE". Therefore, the motivation is further denial of benefits to the Blue Water Navy, Blue Sky Air Force, and TLC Veterans.

The motivation is money.

The motivation is greed, at the expense of hundreds of thousands of Veterans of the United States of America, Veterans who went to war, Veterans who almost entirely, were voluntary enlistments in the Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and Air Force.

We anxiously await the introduction of the Agent Orange Act of 2009 in great hopes that this cycle of greed might be broken and justice be served on those Veterans who are still alive, while the DVA has dallied away the lives of so many others by making a few people wealthy.

VNVets

”It is a stain on this nation's honor that the Department of Veterans Affairs has become a deadlier and more difficult adversary to the American veteran than any they have ever faced on a battlefield."-- VNVets

"The concept that Agent Orange, and its effects, stopped dead in its tracks at the shoreline is simply too illogical, and too ludicrous to accept. What does that say about the Bush Administration and his Department of Veterans Affairs?"--VNVets

"With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan--to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations." --President Abraham Lincoln

"It follows then as certain as that night succeeds the day, that without a decisive naval force we can do nothing definitive, and with it, everything honorable and glorious."--President George Washington

Copyright © 2005-2009: VNVets Blog -- Now in our Fifth Year of Service to Veterans; All Rights Reserved.


Thursday, March 26, 2009

Thank you folks!

Just a short note that in a bit over 24 hours, the American Airlines "boycott" seems to have had some effect. American has restored 15 of the missing 25 seats. Thus, the boycott is off for now. Tune in next year, however, to see what develops!

That means 40% of the funds still must be raised. So please, click on the Wounded Warrior Bike Ride logo on the right sidebar and help as much as you can.

Thanks!

There's none better than those who read this blog.

VNVets

”It is a stain on this nation's honor that the Department of Veterans Affairs has become a deadlier and more difficult adversary to the American veteran than any they have ever faced on a battlefield."-- VNVets

"The concept that Agent Orange, and its effects, stopped dead in its tracks at the shoreline is simply too illogical, and too ludicrous to accept. What does that say about the Bush Administration and his Department of Veterans Affairs?"--VNVets

"With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan--to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations." --President Abraham Lincoln

"It follows then as certain as that night succeeds the day, that without a decisive naval force we can do nothing definitive, and with it, everything honorable and glorious."--President George Washington

Copyright © 2005-2009: VNVets Blog -- Now in our Fifth Year of Service to Veterans; All Rights Reserved.


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Urgent Call for Help for Wounded Warriors

Folks, we have a bit of an emergency here. April 25 and 26, the Annual Wounded Warrior Bike Ride from Bethesda Naval Hospital to Gettysburg is scheduled to occur. Plans have been in the making for almost a year, and you cannot imagine the logistical effort to put something like this together. One of the plans for this year was a donation from American Airlines to foot the $7,500 cost to fly 25 of these wonderful men and women from Texas to Washington, D.C., and back again, just for this race.
Here is the emergency.

American Airlines has reneged on its deal.

Besides Boycotting American Airlines, we need to find $7,500 ASAP.

Here is the info on this year's race.








Please join our team - Gettysburg Grateful Citizens - in supporting the 2009 Face of America Bike Ride. This ride honors and actively includes service members who have been severely injured in Iraq and Afghanistan. World T.E.A.M. Sports (The Exceptional Athlete Matters) works with the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, The Semper Fi Foundation, Soldiers Angels Foundation and others in reaching out to and helping these severely injured service members participate in this life-changing ride. We will be riding 110 miles from Washington, DC to Gettysburg, PA on April 25th and 26th. If you would like more information regarding this project, please go to http://www.worldteamsports.org/ .

All costs for all service members, including able-bodied service members, are paid for by World T.E.A.M Sports, including outreach, handcycles, ride support, transportation, food, beverages, and medical support. The ride is open to ALL, including civilians and service members both with and without disabilities.

I invite you to join my TEAM and ride along with us, but if that is not an option for you, your donation to the TEAM will be greatly appreciated.

The link below will take you to our page where you can either join us or make a donation.

http://www.active.com/donate/2009FOA/SHartma109

Please forward this information to as many people as you can to encourage them to donate as well!

Thank you,

R. Scott Hartman
email: Scott Hartman
Coldwell Banker Bigham, REALTORS
121 Buford Avenue
Gettysburg, PA 17325
USA

Thank you Scott, for your service to this country, and to its Veterans.

Folks, please consider this: your emergency donation of a few dollars will help make a few days in the life of a Wounded Warrior become something special, and perhaps life changing, a positive step in their comeback and rehabilitation from combat related amputations and paralyzations. These men and women gave their all for all of us. Let's spare them a little something in return.

Thank you.

VNVets

”It is a stain on this nation's honor that the Department of Veterans Affairs has become a deadlier and more difficult adversary to the American veteran than any they have ever faced on a battlefield."--VNVets

"The concept that Agent Orange, and its effects, stopped dead in its tracks at the shoreline is simply too illogical, and too ludicrous to accept. What does that say about the Bush Administration and his Department of Veterans Affairs?"--VNVets

"With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan--to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations."--President Abraham Lincoln

"It follows then as certain as that night succeeds the day, that without a decisive naval force we can do nothing definitive, and with it, everything honorable and glorious."--President George Washington

Copyright © 2005-2009: VNVets Blog -- Now in our Fifth Year of Service to Veterans; All Rights Reserved.

Monday, March 23, 2009

A Bill is Coming Due

We mourn the passing of shipmate Steve F. Boody, US Navy Veteran, who went to war in Vietnam on board the USS Koiner, DER 331, a casualty of that war. Shipmate Boody passed away last evening in a New York Hospice, attended to by his wife Ruth.

"No man is an island, entire of itself. Every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main -- if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friends or of thine own were. Any man's death diminishes me because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls -- it tolls for thee."
--John Donne
Steve Boody was a casualty of war, a victim of "friendly fire." No, he was not hit by gunfire, but just as assuredly as if he had been, the application of herbicides laced with dioxins and produced at ten times the lethal human dosage by Department of Defense fiat, hit Steve somehow, and cost him his life yesterday.

"Is there some principal of nature which states that we never know the quality of what we have until it is gone?”
--Herman Melville
The herbicides were used to save American lives. They worked. Many US and Allied lives were saved by the clearing of fields of fire in the jungle and along riverbanks, and hiding spots for the enemy were reduced by its application. But now, it has taken and continues to take more lives than it could possibly have saved.

"Full fathom five thy father lies;
Of his bones are coral made;
Those are pearls that were his eyes;
Nothing of him that doth fade,
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.
Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell:
Ding-dong.
Hark! now I hear them — Ding-dong, bell."
--William Shakespeare [Tempest]
We pray for the departed, and wish his soul well. He ultimately gave his life for his country, wounded about forty years ago, and at least had those four or so decades before the bill came due.

And so, the bell tolls for thee, and thee, and thee, and even those responsible those decades back, and those who still today deny it happened to those who went down to the sea in ships. For them, they've yet to pay the bill, but they surely will, as sure as the tides turn, and the waters ebb and flow, they will pay.

Listen to them, now...

"...Ding-dong.
Hark! now I hear them — Ding-dong, bell."

They toll for thee!

And now, our shipmate Steve Boody has saluted the watch, and saluted the colors one last time. "Permission granted to leave the ship!"

VNVets

”It is a stain on this nation's honor that the Department of Veterans Affairs has become a deadlier and more difficult adversary to the American veteran than any they have ever faced on a battlefield."-- VNVets

"The concept that Agent Orange, and its effects, stopped dead in its tracks at the shoreline is simply too illogical, and too ludicrous to accept. What does that say about the Bush Administration and his Department of Veterans Affairs?"--VNVets

"With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan--to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations." --President Abraham Lincoln

"It follows then as certain as that night succeeds the day, that without a decisive naval force we can do nothing definitive, and with it, everything honorable and glorious."--President George Washington

Copyright © 2005-2009: VNVets Blog -- Now in our Fifth Year of Service to Veterans; All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Haas Case Resurfaces

In a March 10th Decision, the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims [CAVC] remanded the Haas case back to the Board of Veterans Appeals [BVA]. With instructions. And with a message.

In refusing to hear the Haas case, the Supreme Court essentially let stand the rather narrow decision from the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit [CAFC]. That essentially throws the ball back to the CAVC.

The justices of the CAVC have taken a different tack in then remanding the case back to the BVA.

They have essentially exposed the fact that the Department of Veterans Affairs has simply no scientific evidence to back its assertion that those who served at sea but not on land could not have been exposed to Herbicides. They took the BVA to task for not providing any evidence at all to back up their denial of Commander Haas' claim of direct exposure via drifting clouds of spray. Drifting clouds of spray are documented in the Zumwalt Report, a report commissioned by the DVA produced by the former Chief of Naval Operations, as potentially drifting as far as 27-30 kilometers, and also becoming airborne by tropical winds lifting the vapors off the top layers of the jungle canopy. You'll remember that Zumwalt lost his son, a Riverine Force Sailor, to AO related cancers, and that Zumwalt himself, as area commander of Naval Forces at the time of Vietnam [before becoming CNO] was the man who ordered the use of Agent Orange and other rainbow herbicides in the area. The DVA was so exposed by this document that they kept it under classified lock and key for ten years before it somehow was leaked out to the public.

So do not look for a precedent in the remand of the Haas case. Rather look at what the CAVC has said to the BVA. In essence, they affirmed the requirement that the DVA must provide sufficient evidence to disprove a Veteran's claim, or otherwise approve it, accepting even a claimant's statement. And the DVA does not possess that kind of evidence.

All their decisions against the TLC Veterans, the Blue Sky Air Force Veterans, and the Blue Water Navy Veterans have been "legal opinions" and "precedents" issued by their own Office of General Counsel -- legal dicta that should have been issued by a court, but instead are "findings" issued by Department Attorneys to suit a particular view or philosophy by the Secretary or the President. There is no proof or science that they are correct in this view. Because the Veteran is supposed to get the benefit of the doubt, the CAVC instructed the BVA of that fact in their remand decision.

Sooner or later some court will recognize that Agent Orange did not stop at the beach like the Center for Disease Control stated in their cancer studies, "the Navy sailors [high incidence of Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma] could not have been caused by Agent Orange because they served at sea." This is not science, even though it was produced in a scientific document [the CDC Cancer Studies of the 1980s], it is merely an assertion with no science to back it up.

This is not going to be much help to those who served on Aircraft Carriers which normally operated out at sea a great distance, or those service ships which operated with them away from the coast. But at least those inside a roughly 18 mile perimeter off shore should be able to cite spray drift or the Australian Based water study in support of their claims, and have the Regional Office [ROs] deny them, but the BVA reverse those decisions.

That is what SHOULD happen. With the DVA, however, experience has taught us that their deviousness is not to be underestimated.

It is a Cabinet Department run amok, and consumed with its own power past the point where it effectively serves those for whom it was chartered -- the American Veteran. At least one part of their chain, the CAVC is trying to put them legally back on course.

God bless them for that.

Read the Haas Remand pdf file at VNVets Files. Click on the button that says Haas Remand 03102009.

VNVets

”It is a stain on this nation's honor that the Department of Veterans Affairs has become a deadlier and more difficult adversary to the American veteran than any they have ever faced on a battlefield."-- VNVets

"The concept that Agent Orange, and its effects, stopped dead in its tracks at the shoreline is simply too illogical, and too ludicrous to accept. What does that say about the Bush Administration and his Department of Veterans Affairs?"--VNVets

"With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan--to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations." --President Abraham Lincoln

"It follows then as certain as that night succeeds the day, that without a decisive naval force we can do nothing definitive, and with it, everything honorable and glorious."--President George Washington

Copyright © 2005-2009: VNVets Blog -- Now in our Fifth Year of Service to Veterans; All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Stolen Honor

All of us have a stake in this fight, a personal one. I do this for myself, and for my nephew who returns to his permanent station in Germany tonight after being forward deployed to Iraq, and I do it for my brothers and sisters here who inspire me with their focus and hard work, and I do it for all Veterans. To me it is VERY personal for all those reasons.

I hate injustice and the DVA has been the source of hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of injustices since the Vietnam War. The American Government perpetrated injustice on us to fight that war when they lied [Johnson and McNamara] to force Congress into it, and kept lying to keep it going - no matter which party was in power.

The American media/press perpetrated injustice on us when they turned the American Public against us, rather than the true villains of the war, Johnson and McNamara...we were targets that were far too easy. And the once vocal press that railed against us and had us spit upon, has never made things right with us, never apologized, and even worse, never taken up our cause.

And the DVA and the Government in general have been doing us injustice ever since.

So today we continue to be made to pay for a war we didn't want, had no part in making, a war we fought because politicians lied, and continue to lie about today.

John Kerry found out you can't run as a Vietnam Vet [especially with a questionable record like his, and the dishonorable actions he took while still an active serving officer of the US Navy, as part of Operation Winter Soldier], and John McCain found out you can't run as a war hero from the Vietnam War, and he was a very honorable man. The public doesn't care about us, didn't then, and don't now.

We have seen that the courts don't care about us, they'd rather see a corrupt and mismanaged, disorganized cabinet department run amok than to protect this nation's Veterans.

Collectively,, they have all stolen our honor, and our legacy.

So the deck is stacked against us, and we have no option left but to each do a superhuman effort and do our part to ensure that Congress, at least, does the right thing.

The only way to do that is to get their pledges now, and hold them to those pledges when the Agent Orange Equity Act of 2009 is introduced and later comes out of committee and hits the floor of each house for a vote. Unless we get the target numbers, 291 in the House, 67 in the Senate, you can all fold your tents and go home, all the poorer for failure.

No one will help us in this fight. It is all up to us to provide Congress with the clear path to enactment. Don't bother with the press, they are too busy looking for scandal, and political gotchas.

This is why we push for membership drives for VASVW. The more we have, the louder our voice, and statistically, the more CongressCritters we reach and gain support from.

We live or die over the next few months, based on how successful our individual efforts are at obtaining full support from Congress. It is that simple. Get your family and friends involved. Brief them thoroughly. Have them reach out to their Representatives and Senators. Stop in at your local Legion Hall, or VFW Post and enlist the old geezers at the bar [you guys ARE pretty much the old geezers at the bar now], and get them off the bar stools and away from the pool tables and poker tables and the wide screen TVs showing NASCAR, and go up the street to your Representative's office in a steady stream to walk in and obtain a pledge of the Congressman, or Congresswoman's support. If he or she won't commit, get the local scout troop, and the wives and Ladies Auxilliary [thank you Dale!] to picket his office.

It is time for us to pull out all the stops. Literally. If it fails, don't blame Congress. Don't blame the press. It is totally within our grasp, and totally within our power.

One final note to all those out there who are detractors of Bob Filner. Chairman Filner is the only person with any power to take up our cause since the 1991 Agent Orange act was enacted. Chairman Filner introduced a law last summer that would make right most of our problems with the DVA. He is on the verge of giving it another shot, a real shot. Give credit where credit is due. While more than a few Veterans Service Organizations have at time provided funding for legal cases like the Haas case, of particular note are the Vietnam Veterans of America and the Fleet Reserve Association. Whatever the outcome, we owe these two organization a debt of gratitude, and Chairman Bob Filner, too.

Please make sure as you gain your pledges from Congress that you register them in the two polls at the top of the right sidebar here.

VNVets

”It is a stain on this nation's honor that the Department of Veterans Affairs has become a deadlier and more difficult adversary to the American veteran than any they have ever faced on a battlefield."-- VNVets

"The concept that Agent Orange, and its effects, stopped dead in its tracks at the shoreline is simply too illogical, and too ludicrous to accept. What does that say about the Bush Administration and his Department of Veterans Affairs?"--VNVets

"With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan--to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations." --President Abraham Lincoln

"It follows then as certain as that night succeeds the day, that without a decisive naval force we can do nothing definitive, and with it, everything honorable and glorious."--President George Washington

Copyright © 2005-2009: VNVets Blog -- Now in our Fifth Year of Service to Veterans; All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Crunch Time News!

Okay folks it is now crunch time. Come on out of hibernation and let's get busy with your Representatives and Senators. We got news Thursday that he Agent Orange Equity Act of 2009 will likely be introduced in April.

That's correct, the Agent Orange Act of 2009 will likely be introduced in the House in April.

So, time to renew those old contacts with your Senators and Representatives and get them on board! We need cosponsor pledges, and we need them ASAP.

Make sure you record your responses in the polls at the top right of the page. There are two, one for Representatives and one for Senators.

Your hard work now will pay off if you get enough co-sponsors, especially in the Senate, to overcome a Presidential Veto. That will take more than 2/3 of the votes in both Houses, meaning 67 Senators, and 291 members of the house.

We need to see the poll numbers reach those figures to ensure quick passage of the legislation, and a veto-proof enactment.

Hold their feet to the fire.

Turn to!

VNVets

”It is a stain on this nation's honor that the Department of Veterans Affairs has become a deadlier and more difficult adversary to the American veteran than any they have ever faced on a battlefield."-- VNVets

"The concept that Agent Orange, and its effects, stopped dead in its tracks at the shoreline is simply too illogical, and too ludicrous to accept. What does that say about the Bush Administration and his Department of Veterans Affairs?"--VNVets

"With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan--to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations." --President Abraham Lincoln

"It follows then as certain as that night succeeds the day, that without a decisive naval force we can do nothing definitive, and with it, everything honorable and glorious."--President George Washington

Copyright © 2005-2009: VNVets Blog -- Now in our Fifth Year of Service to Veterans; All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Important Message about Asbestos

I don't know about you, but one of my less fond memories was having to sweep out my rack before getting into it. I never slept so well as I did when we were at sea, but that top bunk, under all the pipes and conduits, many wrapped with asbestos jacketing for insulation purposes, were prime sources of dirt in the bunk.

I always wondered why about six years after getting home, I could not pass a Red Cross Life Saving course because I could not complete the swimming requirement...it was too far. And playing softball, or football, I could still run for speed, but at the end, I'd be doubled over, gasping for breath.

Now, when I look back on it, the presence of asbestos, [and fiberglass particles from other insulating situations], could certainly have had an effect on my breathing on exertion.

Please take note of the new logo at the top right of the page. Asbestos.com is a major resource for anyone who served in the Navy back when asbestos was used on the ships, or who may have been exposed since then. The site has some great resources, including lists of older ships that have apparently been verified to have had asbestos in sufficient quantities to have affected some who served on them. It wasn't just used in Engineering spaces, either, despite what the DVA claims.

My ship was a FRAM Mk I Gearing Class destroyer, which I joined at the end of the FRAM project. When we came home from Vietnam two years later, we still had asbestos insulation on pipes in the overheads throughout the ship.

If you have asbestosis, mesothelioma, or undiagnosed lung/breathing trouble, please do your self and your loved ones a huge favor and visit Asbestos.com. Click on the logo at the top right of the page and explore their site.

VNVets

”It is a stain on this nation's honor that the Department of Veterans Affairs has become a deadlier and more difficult adversary to the American veteran than any they have ever faced on a battlefield."-- VNVets

"The concept that Agent Orange, and its effects, stopped dead in its tracks at the shoreline is simply too illogical, and too ludicrous to accept. What does that say about the Bush Administration and his Department of Veterans Affairs?"--VNVets

"With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan--to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations." --President Abraham Lincoln

"It follows then as certain as that night succeeds the day, that without a decisive naval force we can do nothing definitive, and with it, everything honorable and glorious."--President George Washington

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