US Vietnam war Agent Orange brain cancer and Senator McCain


This video from the USA says about itself:

Sheree Evans Releases Book About Agent Orange and Glioblastoma

14 February 2015

I spent the summer of 2013 riding my motorcycle coast to coast, giving talks about serious health issues that face American veterans. The ride, called “Operation Red Dragonfly,” was organized by a widow in Missouri named Sheree Evans, who goes by the nickname of Tiger.

As I covered more than 11,000 miles in roughly two and a half months, Tiger helped me gain access to many vets who live in the dark with regard to serious [diseases]. I spoke to veteran-oriented audiences all over the US about health hazards they face from serving in uniform. These include contamination from cancer-causing military base toxins, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, and Agent Orange, a chemical defoilant sprayed over the jungles of Vietnam during the US war there.

When I first met Sheree Evans, I knew I was dealing with a special person, who was experiencing a bittersweet victory. Sheree’s husband, Tommy Evans, served in the Vietnam War as a Marine. His body was contaminated with dioxins from Agent Orange, a toxic chemical sprayed over the jungles of Vietnam that has claimed more than a million innocent lives.

In February 2011, i wrote an article about Sheree’s tireless efforts to push Tommy’s illness, a rare brain cancer called Glioblastoma, onto the record… so the Veterans Administration would in part, be forced to accept and admit that Agent Orange had a direct relationship to “Glio” as the disease is often referred.

Dedicated and unwilling to take no for an answer, Sheree Evans made history as her husband did, and I wrote about it in an article called, “Wounded by the Vietnamese, Killed by Monsanto.”

Now Sheree has written her first book, which recalls the story of her husband Tommy, and many other vets and their families, all impacted by Glioblastoma and similar illnesses that the U.S. government has fought to avoid responsibility for.

No words can properly underscore the immense value of Sheree Evans‘s new book, “By the Grace of God – A Promise Kept,” it is an extremely important addition to any veteran’s library, the information is vital and potentially life saving.

Even more importantly, the book is created to give hope to others who, like Sheree, are faced with the most difficult hardships because of U.S. government policy and a company called Monsanto, that prospers from the death its products inflict on human beings, there is no excuse for what Monsanto has done.

By Charles Ornstein / ProPublica and Mike Hixenbaugh / the Houston Chronicle in the USA:

McCain’s Brain Cancer Draws Renewed Attention to Possible Agent Orange Connection

For years, Vietnam vets and their widows have been pushing the VA to extend benefits to those exposed to the toxic herbicide and later stricken with glioblastoma. The VA has said no, but advocates hope the agency will now revisit the issue.

When Amy Jones’ dad, Paul, was diagnosed with glioblastoma last month, she wondered whether it might be tied to his time in Vietnam.

Then, last week, when Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., also a Vietnam veteran, was diagnosed with the same aggressive brain cancer, Jones searched online for glioblastoma and Vietnam vets.

She soon learned the disease is one of a growing list of ailments that some Vietnam veterans and their relatives believe is caused by exposure to Agent Orange, the toxic herbicide sprayed during the war.

“Honestly, it’s not easy to even admit that this is happening, let alone to even talk about it,” said Jones, whose 68-year-old father has had surgery to remove a brain tumor and now is receiving radiation treatments. “It’s only been six weeks. It’s such a devastating diagnosis.”

McCain’s diagnosis comes as the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is under increased pressure to broaden who’s eligible for Agent Orange-related compensation. During the war, the military sprayed millions of gallons of the herbicide in Vietnam to kill enemy-covering jungle brush, and in the process, may have exposed as many as 2.6 million U.S. service members — including McCain.

News of his illness has prompted Amy Jones and others to call on the VA to study a possible connection between their loved ones’ Agent Orange exposure and glioblastoma.

Under current policy, the agency makes disability payments to veterans who develop one of 14 health conditions, but only if they can prove they served on the ground in Vietnam, where the chemicals were sprayed. Veterans who served off the coast in the Navy and those with other diseases not on the list — such as brain cancer — are left to fight the agency for compensation on a case-by-case basis.

Those with glioblastoma — or widows seeking survivor benefits — must prove the disease was “at least as likely as not” caused by Agent Orange, a cumbersome process that often takes years and more times than not results in denial.

Although McCain primarily served at sea from the deck of an aircraft carrier — and survived more than five years in a prison camp after his plane was shot down over North Vietnam — the VA would presume he was exposed to Agent Orange because he also spent time on the ground in Saigon.

Still, McCain never has sought to connect any of his health troubles, including prior bouts with skin cancer, with Agent Orange exposure and has a mixed record when it comes to compensating fellow veterans for wartime exposures. His office did not respond to emailed questions about a possible link between glioblastoma and the chemical.

As a senator, McCain voted to approve the original 1991 law that directed the VA to presume every veteran who served in Vietnam was exposed and to begin compensating those with illnesses scientifically linked to it.

McCain’s diagnosis comes as the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is under increased pressure to broaden who’s eligible for Agent Orange-related compensation. During the war, the military sprayed millions of gallons of the herbicide in Vietnam to kill enemy-covering jungle brush, and in the process, may have exposed as many as 2.6 million U.S. service members — including McCain.

News of his illness has prompted Amy Jones and others to call on the VA to study a possible connection between their loved ones’ Agent Orange exposure and glioblastoma.

Under current policy, the agency makes disability payments to veterans who develop one of 14 health conditions, but only if they can prove they served on the ground in Vietnam, where the chemicals were sprayed. Veterans who served off the coast in the Navy and those with other diseases not on the list — such as brain cancer — are left to fight the agency for compensation on a case-by-case basis.

Those with glioblastoma — or widows seeking survivor benefits — must prove the disease was “at least as likely as not” caused by Agent Orange, a cumbersome process that often takes years and more times than not results in denial.

Although McCain primarily served at sea from the deck of an aircraft carrier — and survived more than five years in a prison camp after his plane was shot down over North Vietnam — the VA would presume he was exposed to Agent Orange because he also spent time on the ground in Saigon.

Still, McCain never has sought to connect any of his health troubles, including prior bouts with skin cancer, with Agent Orange exposure and has a mixed record when it comes to compensating fellow veterans for wartime exposures. His office did not respond to emailed questions about a possible link between glioblastoma and the chemical.

As a senator, McCain voted to approve the original 1991 law that directed the VA to presume every veteran who served in Vietnam was exposed and to begin compensating those with illnesses scientifically linked to it.

In 2011, however, as many Vietnam veterans aged into their 60s and 70s and annual disability payments to them swelled to more than $17 billion, McCain spoke in favor of an amendment that would have required a higher standard of scientific proof before any new illnesses would be covered.

The goal, McCain said in a floor speech, was to ensure that veterans who actually deserved compensation received it, “but at the same time not have a situation where it is an open-ended expenditure of taxpayers’ dollars.” The amendment was defeated — and since then, Vietnam vet disability payments have grown to $24 billion a year — and the episode damaged McCain’s reputation with veterans groups.

In a statement, a VA spokesman said the agency currently does not recognize a connection between Agent Orange exposure and brain cancer but is examining the topic anew in light of the questions that have been raised. In March, the VA asked a National Academy of Medicine panel studying the effects of Agent Orange to focus special attention on glioblastoma. (Previous reports by the group have not found a connection.) The VA also is asking about brain cancer in a sweeping survey of Vietnam veterans now underway.

VA data provided to ProPublica last fall shows that more than 500 Vietnam-era veterans have been diagnosed with glioblastoma at VA health facilities since 2000. That doesn’t include the unknown number diagnosed at private facilities.

ProPublica and The Virginian-Pilot reported last year how widows of Vietnam vets were banding together to push the VA to add glioblastoma to its list of diseases linked to Agent Orange. Through a Facebook group, they support one another and offer advice on navigating the VA’s labyrinthian process for seeking disability and survivor benefits.

Since news of McCain’s illness broke last week, dozens like Jones have joined the group, whose members mostly include widows and surviving relatives, but also some veterans living with the disease. “Every one of us, our phones were blowing up the day it came out” that McCain had glioblastoma, said Kathy Carroll-Josenhans, one of the group’s leaders.

The group now has some 450 members, about double its size in December.

One of their challenges is that the VA’s handling of claims related to glioblastoma has been somewhat inconsistent. Between 2009 and last fall, the Board of Veterans’ Appeals, the VA’s in-house tribunal for adjudicating benefit denials, issued more than 100 decisions in cases in which widows have appealed benefits denials related to their husbands’ brain cancer, according to a ProPublica analysis of board decisions. About two dozen won. (Here are two additional approvals from this year.)

Brad Riddell, a 35-year-old communications specialist living in Austin, Texas, is not a member of the Facebook group but immediately thought of his father when he heard about McCain’s illness. His dad, Jerry Riddell, served in a Navy construction battalion in Da Nang during the war and routinely came in contact with Agent Orange, which was used to clear brush before paving roads and runways.

Riddell was in high school when his father had a seizure while driving from work one day. A brain scan later that day revealed a tumor the size of a grapefruit and a medical term that still makes Riddell shudder: glioblastoma.

His father endured three surgeries — including two at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston — before doctors told him there was nothing more they could do. He entered hospice and died in February 1999, just 14 months after the diagnosis.

“I absolutely thought about dad when I heard about McCain,” Riddell said. “Anytime I hear that diagnosis, it just feels like, ‘Man, that person is a goner.’ It’s terrible.”

After his father’s death, Riddell’s mother gave him a bag of his military records and told him to hold onto them: “She said, ‘You need to have all these records in case there‘s ever a connection made between your dad’s cancer and Agent Orange.’”

In the wake of the McCain news, Riddell wonders if it’s time to pull the records out.

Heidi Spencer had a similar revelation a year ago. Her father, Jack Niedermeyer, died of glioblastoma at age 58 in June 2004. Her mother didn’t think to apply for benefits until last year when someone at the local Veterans of Foreign Wars post where she works suggested it. Spencer helped her mom fill out the application and the VA approved it in March.

“He never knew his cancer came from Agent Orange. He never talked about his service,” she said of her dad, who worked in a steel mill in Pittsburgh and had six kids.

Spencer, 42, found her dad’s commanding officer in the Marine Corps, who wrote a letter saying her dad had been sprayed by Agent Orange.

“The more you research it, the more it comes into light,” she said. “The VA needs to look at this, they need to link it and they need to look at his [McCain’s] diagnosis and whether or not the Vietnam War played a role in him getting his disease.”

In approving her mom’s claim, the VA wrote that glioblastoma was not recognized as a disease that automatically warranted benefits linked to Agent Orange but that “current medical research has shown a causal relationship between herbicide exposure and glioblastoma multiforme.” This is contrary to the VA’s official policy.

Regardless of McCain’s position on the matter, advocates hope his diagnosis will spark a conversation.

In a statement last week, John Rowan, the president of Vietnam Veterans of America, said he was saddened to learn “yet another Vietnam veteran” had been diagnosed with glioblastoma.

“Unfortunately, brain cancer is not on the presumptive list for exposure to Agent Orange,” Rowan said in a statement, “despite the efforts of our fellow veterans and their family members.”

ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom.

‘US Democrats, stop supporting John McCain militarism’


This video from the USA says about itself:

Congressman to Democrats: Stop Sounding Like John McCain on Foreign Policy

10 June 2017

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) says U.S. foreign policy is making things worse in the world, that we must learn from our past strategic blunders, support the Iranian nuclear deal and stop funding Saudi Arabia.

In an attack on free speech and democratic rights, Jonathan Graubart, a Professor in Political Science at San Diego State University (SDSU), has been targeted by a media campaign following a Facebook post he made on July 21. Responding to the torrent of hagiographical news stories surrounding Republican Senator John McCain in recent days Graubart posted a short comment on his personal Facebook page, which was followed by a media campaign that not only misrepresented his views but also used empty moralistic cancer sympathy to glorify the war monger McCain while inspiring violent threats against the professor: here.

Syria war threatens, Senator McCain plays poker


Senator John McCain plays poker on his IPhone during a U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations hearing where Secretary of State JohnKerry, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey testify concerning the use of force in Syria, on Capitol Hill in Washington DC, Tuesday, September 3, 2013. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post)

The Washington Post in the USA writes about this photo, made while the United States Senate discussed whether or not there would be a United States war on Syria, which might well escalate into a catastrophic wider war:

McCain playing poker on his iPhone

As the hearing continues, our ace photographer Melina Mara reports she spotted Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) “passing the time by playing poker on his iPhone during the hearing.”

Republican Senator John McCain is not interested in hearing arguments for, and especially not against, war on Syria. He has already said that even the administration’s war plans are not war-like enough, as he wants an official still bloodier war for regime change. Comedian Will Rogers famously said that he never met anyone he did not like. John McCain never met a war he did not like. Including the bloody war for regime change in Libya; when McCain flip-flopped from Gaddafi buddy to buddy of Gaddafi’s al-Qaedaish enemies.

The resolution passed by the Senate committee explodes the White House’s lying pretense that it is preparing only a “limited” and “narrowly targeted” intervention: here.

John McCain, from war hawk to peacenik?


United States ex-Republican party presidential candidate John McCain has done quite some political flip-flops in his life.

Like his flip-flop from crony of Gadaffi to 2011 Libyan war hawk and crony of the anti-Gadaffi Benghazi kind of people who recently murdered the United States ambassador to Libya.

However, the latest news seems to be about a McCain flip-flop which, if true, would be a lot more welcome than the other ones.

From Peace Action West in the USA:

John McCain joins the antiwar camp?

by Rebecca Griffin

September 19th, 2012

It was surprising enough to hear this week that Republican C.W. Bill Young of Florida made a u-turn and called for an immediate withdrawal from Afghanistan. But Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), Republican foreign policy leader, former presidential candidate, and hawk extraordinaire takes the cake.

“I think all options ought to be considered, including whether we have to just withdraw early, rather than have a continued bloodletting that won’t succeed,” McCain said.

I’ll leave the commentary to Joey:

This video from the USA is called JOEY SAYS “WHOA!” (complete version).