Monday, April 29, 2019

GALLERY: 50th Anniversary of sinking of destroyer USS Frank Evans off coast of Vietnam

USS Frank E. Evans (DD-754), an Allen M. Sumner-class destroyer, was named in honor of Brigadier General Frank Evans, USMC, a leader of the American Expeditionary Force in France during World War I. She served in late World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War before being cut in half in a collision with HMAS Melbourne in 1969.
During the Tet Offensive, on 3 February 1968, Frank E. Evans provided naval gunfire support to the 101st Airborne Division near Phan Thiết against the 840th VC Battalion. Evans also spent an additional 14 days in 1969 in the Vietnam war zone.
At around 3 a.m. on 3 June 1969, between Vietnam and Spratly Island, Frank E. Evans was operating with the Royal Navy, Royal Australian Navy and Royal New Zealand Navy in company with Melbourne which was in the process of going to flying stations and all ships in the formation were running without lights. Melbourne radioed Evans, then to port of the carrier, to take up the rescue destroyer position. The logical movement would be to turn to port and make a circle taking up station on the carrier's port quarter. However, since the conning officer on Evans misunderstood the formation's base course and believed they were starboard of Melbourne, they turned to starboard, cutting across the carrier's bow twice in the process. Frank E. Evans was struck at a point around 92 feet from her bow on her port side and was cut in two. Her bow drifted off to the port side of Melbourne and sank in less than five minutes taking 73 of her crew with it. One body was recovered from the water, making a total of 74 dead. The stern scraped along the starboard side of Melbourne and lines were able to be attached by the crew of Melbourne. Around 60-100 men were also rescued from the water.

At the time of the collision the commanding officer of Frank E. Evans was asleep in his quarters having left instructions to be awakened if there were to be any changes in the formation. Neither the officer of the deck nor the junior officer of the deck notified him when the station change was ordered. The bridge crew also did not contact the combat information center to request clarification of the positions and movements of the surrounding ships. The collision occurred at Coordinates: 8°59.2′N 110°47.7′E.
USS Frank E. Evans was decommissioned at Subic Bay and stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on 1 July 1969. The stern section was sunk as a target in Subic Bay on 10 October 1969.

Burial held for Navy petty officer who was MIA in Vietnam for decades

A Navy petty officer who was MIA after he was killed in a plane crash in Vietnam 52 years ago has been laid to rest in California with full military honors.
Raul Guerra's remains were found in 2007 but the Pentagon needed 12 more years to positively identify them--a wait that consumed a friend who grew up with Guerra and who earned a Purple Heart in the Marines in Vietnam five months before Guerra was killed.
"It was not just a friendship, it was a brotherhood,” Randy Valencia told KTLA-TV. “We were brothers and I think any brother would go look for his brother. This was my brother."
A large crowd attended Guerra’s burial Thursday in Whittier following a memorial service. Attendees included members of the Montebello Police Department, which issued a news release afterward with the headline, "Petty Officer Raul Guerra Comes Home."

Glyphosate found in pregnant women

Carey Gillam in her book, "White Wash, The Story of a Weed Killer, Cancer, and the Corruption of Science," writes that "It is undeniable that we've allowed our food, our water, our soil, our very selves to become dangerously doused with chemicals."
Her work focuses on the Monsanto Company. Monsanto gave us DDT, PCB's and Agent Orange. All three products were promoted and defended by Monsanto and U.S. government agencies. All three products were eventually banned because of their damage to human life and the environment. They now offer us a range of weed poison products known as Roundup, with its chief ingredient glyphosate.
In the Northshire, it's used on our lawns and gardens. Perhaps it's used on our town parks and school playgrounds.
In the year 2000, Monsanto introduced glyphosate-tolerant soybean, corn, canola, beet, alfalfa and other crop seeds. These seeds contain the weed poison. The plants that grow from these seeds contain the weed poison. Monsanto acknowledges this and maintains that the levels found in food products are safe. The question is how much residue is found in the breakfast cornflakes our children eat or the corn chips adults eat. We don't know. For the past 20 years the Federal Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture have "steadfastly avoided testing for glyphosate residues in the American food supply." The U.S. Government Accountability Office in 2014 sharply rebuked the FDA for not telling the public of their skipping over glyphosate testing. It further criticizes FDA's capability to do any accurate pesticide testing, "FDA's ability to reliably identify specific commodities that may be at high risk of violating pesticide residue tolerances is limited."
Focusing on pregnant women, fetuses and infants: What do we know? Multiple studies suggest pesticides are harming children's brains and bodies. Research shows that children of pregnant women with pesticides in their urine and blood samples suffer IQ and neurobehavioral development issues as well as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder diagnoses.

EPA Takes Important Step Under PFAS Action Plan

Agency Asks for Public Input on Draft Interim Recommendations for Addressing Groundwater
Contaminated with PFOA and PFOS
WASHINGTON – (April 25, 2019)Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released draft interim guidance for addressing groundwater contaminated with perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and/or perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) for public review and comment.
This is a key component of the agency’s PFAS Action Plan. These draft recommendations will help protect human health in communities across the country by providing clear and consistent guidance on addressing PFOA and PFOS in groundwater under federal cleanup programs. This information has been requested by other federal agencies and the states and could be used by other federal, state and tribal cleanup programs.
 “Today, we are delivering on one of our most important commitments under the PFAS Action Plan,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “This interim guidance will support actions to protect the health of communities impacted by groundwater that contains PFOA and PFOS above the 70 parts per trillion level and is a potential source of drinking water. This is a critical tool for our state, tribal, and local partners to use to address these chemicals.”
EPA developed this guidance based on the agency’s current scientific understanding of PFAS toxicity, including the agency’s PFOA and PFOS health advisories. The recommendations may be revised as new information becomes available.
EPA has opened a docket for a 45-day public comment period. The draft guidance describes EPA’s interim recommendations for screening levels and preliminary remediation goals (PRGs) to inform final cleanup levels for PFOA and/or PFOS contamination of groundwater that is a current or potential source of drinking water.
To view the draft guidance and to learn how to submit comments, visit:

Ask the VA: Should I be screened for lung cancer?

LUNG CANCER is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States. It begins when abnormal cells in the lung grow out of control. Unfortunately, many times lung cancer does not show symptoms until it has spread to other parts of the body.
However, the most common type — non-small cell lung cancer — can sometimes be cured if it is found early enough.
The more you smoke and the longer you smoke, the higher your risk for lung cancer. You should consider being screened for lung cancer if you have all three of these risk factors:
• You are 55–80 years old
• You are a current smoker or a former smoker who quit less than 15 years ago
• You have a smoking history of at least 30 pack-years (this means 1 pack per day for 30 years or 2 packs a day for 15 years, etc.).
Exposure to Agent Orange is also identified as a risk for lung cancer.
What is screening?
• Screening is looking for a disease before a person shows any symptoms. It helps find lung cancer in an early, more treatable stage.
• Based on the Patient and Physician NLST Study Guide published on the website at, if a group of 1,000 people were screened once a year for three years, three fewer people in 1,000 would die of lung cancer after six years. This means that, instead of 21 people, 18 people per 1,000 would die of lung cancer.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

VA ensures Veterans have same-day access to emergency mental health care

VA ensures Veterans have same-day access to emergency mental health care

WASHINGTON — As part of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) efforts to provide the best mental health care access possible, VA is reminding Veterans that it offers all Veterans same-day access to emergency mental health care at any VA health care facility across the country.

 “Providing same-day 24/7 access to mental health crisis intervention and support for Veterans, service members and their families is our top clinical priority,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “It’s important that all Veterans, their family and friends know that help is easily available.”

VA’s Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention is the national leader in making high-quality mental health care and suicide prevention resources available to Veterans through a full spectrum of outpatient, inpatient and telemental health services.

Additionally, VA has developed the National Strategy for Preventing Veteran Suicide, which reflects the department’s vision for a coordinated effort to prevent suicide among all service members and Veterans. This strategy maintains VA’s focus on high-risk individuals in health care settings, while also adopting a broad public health approach to suicide prevention.

VA has supported numerous Veterans and has the capacity to assist more. In fiscal year (FY) 2018, 1.7 million Veterans received Veterans Health Administration (VHA) mental health services. These patients received more than 84,000 psychiatric hospital stays, about 41,700 residential stays and more than 21 million outpatient encounters.

Nationally, in the first quarter of FY 2019, 90% of new patients completed an appointment in a mental health clinic within 30 days of scheduling an appointment, and 96.8% of established patients completed a mental health appointment within 30 days of the day they requested. For FY 2018, 48% of initial, in-person Primary Care — Mental Health Integration (PC-MHI) encounters were on the same day as the patient’s PC encounter. During the first quarter of FY 2019, 51% of initial, in-person PC-MHI encounters were on the same day as the patient’s PC encounter.

Veterans in crisis – or those concerned about one – should call the Veterans Crisis Line at 800-273-8255 and press 1, send a text message to 838255 or chat online at

Supreme Court delays final ruing on ‘blue water’ Vietnam veterans benefits

The Supreme Court this week granted a 30-day extension to Department of Justice officials contemplating an appeal of a lower court ruling in January which extended presumptive benefits to tens of thousands of Navy veterans who have claimed exposure to toxic chemical defoliants during the Vietnam War.
But advocates say they are not concerned by the move, calling it a typical legal maneuver and not a serious threat to getting benefits to the group of so-called “blue water” veterans.
 “This just seems to be going through the motions,” said John Wells, retired Navy commander and the executive director Military-Veterans Advocacy, which has lobbied on the issue for years. “It’s not a setback for us. Veterans Affairs Secretary (Robert) Wilkie has told us this was not initiated by his department.”
Will the benefits for ‘blue water’ Vietnam veterans be settled soon?
Lawmakers are planning a flurry of moves to address the issue of the Vietnam veterans benefits in coming weeks.
In January, a federal court ruled that VA officials for years has used faulty reasoning to deny disability benefits to veterans who served in ships off the waters of Vietnam.
VA officials had argued that for years that existing law established only that troops who served on the ground on on ships close to shore were entitled to the presumption of exposure to chemical defoliants like Agent Orange, speeding the process for their disability benefits.

Costs of Expanding Agent Orange Vet Benefits Perplexing Congress

Lawmakers and veterans advocates are split on how much to worry about the costs of expanding eligibility for disability benefits for some Vietnam-era veterans in the wake of a recent federal court decision.
The trigger was a U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit decision (Procopio v. Wilkie, Fed. Cir., 913 F.3d 1371, 1/29/19) in January that said veterans who served on deep water ships off the coast of Vietnam are entitled to a presumption of benefits under the Agent Orange Act of 1991 (Public Law 102-4). The decision gave a win to the former members of the Navy who had fought for years to rectify a Department of Veterans Affairs decision limiting the presumption standard to those who had “boots on the ground.”
The Justice Department has until the end of this month to a make final decision about whether to seek a review of Procopio v. Wilkie by the U.S. Supreme Court, but it appears increasingly likely the decision will stand after VA Secretary Robert Wilkie recommended to DOJ to not challenge it.
The decision will have implications for lawmakers who have been trying to resolve the issue for the veterans, often referred to as the Blue Water Navy for their service aboard coastal water ships as opposed to murky, inland water ways. While the court ruled the veterans had been wrongly denied benefits due them, funding the expansion of services needed to include about 95,000 newly eligible vets could be expensive and could also affect the chances of other exposed veterans being made eligible for similar treatment.
Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie has recommended the government not challenge a federal court decision expanding eligibility for Agent Orange-related benefits to Vietnam-era service members who served on coastal ships.
“They are going to need some funding,” Sen. John Boozman (R-Ark.), Chairman of the Senate Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Subcommittee, said in an interview.

USAID launches latest clean-up for Vietnam War-era

The US launched on Saturday a $183 million clean-up at a former Vietnam storage site for Agent Orange, a toxic defoliant used in their bitter war which years later is still blamed for severe birth defects, cancers and disabilities.
Located outside Ho Chi Minh City, Bien Hoa airbase — the latest site scheduled for rehabilitation after Danang airbase’s clean-up last year — was one of the main storage grounds for Agent Orange and only hastily cleared by soldiers near the war’s end more than four decades ago.
US forces sprayed 80 million litres (21 million gallons) of Agent Orange over South Vietnam between 1962 and 1971 in a desperate bid to flush out Viet Cong communist guerrillas by depriving them of tree cover and food.
The spillover from the clearing operation is believed to have seeped beyond the base and into ground water and rivers, and is linked to severe mental and physical disabilities across generations of Vietnamese — from enlarged heads to deformed limbs.
At Bien Hoa, more than 500,000 cubic metres of dioxin had contaminated the soil and sediment, making it the “largest remaining hotspot” in Vietnam, said a statement from the US development agency USAID, which kicked off a 10-year remediation effort on Saturday.
The dioxin amounts in Bien Hoa are four times more than the volume cleaned up at Danang airport, a six-year $110 million effort which was completed in November.
 “The fact that two former foes are now partnering on such a complex task is nothing short of historic,” said the US ambassador to Vietnam, Daniel Kritenbrink, at Saturday morning’s launch attended by Vietnamese military officials and US senators.

US-Vietnam Relations in the Headlines with First Indo-Pacific Commander Visit

Last week, Philip Davidson, the commander of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, embarked on his first visit to Vietnam in his current capacity. Though the headlines focused on the development itself, its significance should be understood in the
broader context of U.S.-Vietnam defense ties, which have continued to deepen during the Trump administration despite lingering concerns.
As I have observed before in these pages, over the decades, U.S.-Vietnam defense cooperation has slowly grown to encompass areas including maritime security, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, and peacekeeping. This realm of the relationship has deepened further across the board under the Trump administration, even amid some lingering concerns about wider aspects of the administration’s Asia policy and some challenges Vietnam has been facing in terms of its own domestic and foreign policy.
That has continued on into 2019 as well. Despite some lingering challenges and limitations in the defense relationship, there have been developments to reinforce this aspect of ties, with one recent example on the capacity-building side being the delivery of another six Metal Shark patrol vessels to the Vietnamese Coast Guard publicly announced earlier this month. Both sides are also  considering initiatives to boost defense ties still further, including another U.S. aircraft carrier visit to Vietnam and high-level visits by Vietnamese officials to the United States.

Scientists Find Hidden Dioxins In African E-Waste Hubs

Electronic waste (e-waste) is a source of harmful dioxins in Africa, according to research by Japanese scientists. They published their results in the journal Environmental Science & Technology. E-waste refers to end-of-life products such as communication devices, consumer electronics and home appliances. Due to the presence of toxic substances such as heavy metals and many various plastic additives in e-waste, the discarded materials are considered hazardous and must be handled properly. Yet, a large volume of e-waste has been recycled inappropriately and treated informally in Asian and African developing countries. Primitive methods such as circuit board heating and open burning of wires have thus led to serious environmental pollution, caused by the emission of not only contaminants contained in e-waste, but also unintentionally-formed secondary toxic chemicals. In this study, researchers led by Professor Tatsuya Kunisue of Ehime University, Japan, found dioxins—a toxic substance generated during informal processing of e-waste—in soils from the Agbogbloshie e-waste site in Ghana. The researchers used analytical methods based on two-dimensional gas chromatography and time-of-flight mass spectrometry to profile halogenated contaminants in the soils collected near e-waste burning and dismantling areas. They identified polybrominated and mixed halogenated dibenzofurans (PBDFs and PXDFs) as the major dioxin. PBDFs were generated from a group of flame retardants commonly found in e-waste plastics. On the other hand, PXDFs were mainly produced from PBDFs through successive bromine-to-chlorine exchange, said the researchers. High concentrations of PXDFs in e-waste burning areas indicate that these ‘hidden’ dioxins may contribute substantially to the total toxicity of the e-waste-derived dioxin mixture, and need to be included in future environmental and human exposure risk assessment. 
Read more from Asian Scientist Magazine at:

Monday, April 22, 2019


We update our meetings regularly on the Town Hall Meeting Calendar:

April 26- 27, 2019
Deadwood, South Dakota
Contact: Jack Dean 605-393-0444
Martin Anderson 605-645-0055
Maynard Kaderlik 507-581-6402

May 6, 2019
Bismarck, North Dakota
Contact: Larry Larson 701-220-5096
Maynard Kaderlik 507-581-6402

May 7, 2019
Pewaukee, Wisconsin
Contact: Pat Furno

May 10, 2019
London, Kentucky
Contact: David Cowherd

June 1, 2019
Billings, Montana
 (406) 272-578

June 8, 2019
Tucson, Arizona
Contact: George Ross

Thursday, April 18, 2019

New legislation would recognize nine more diseases caused by Agent Orange

WASHINGTON — A group of lawmakers introduced legislation that would add nine more diseases to a list of conditions presumed to be caused by the chemical herbicide Agent Orange, giving veterans who suffer from them a fast-track to
Department of Veterans Affairs disability compensation and health care.
The Keeping Our Promises Act, introduced last week, adds prostate cancer, bladder cancer, hypothyroidism, hypertension, stroke, early-onset peripheral neuropathy, AL amyoloidosis, ischemic heart disease and Parkinson-like syndromes to a list of diseases presumed to be caused by Agent Orange exposure during the Vietnam War.
Researchers with the National Academy of Medicine released findings in November that there was “suggestive” evidence that eight of the diseases could be caused by Agent Orange. For hypertension, researchers found that “sufficient” evidence exists.
 “American heroes affected by Agent Orange deserve the peace of mind knowing that the federal government recognizes the existing link between their exposure and illness,” said Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Penn., one of eight lawmakers who banded together to introduce the legislation.
VA experts have begun a “formal, deliberative review” of the National Academy of Medicine’s latest report, VA Press Secretary Curt Cashour said Tuesday. The review is expected to be complete in the summer, at which time the agency will make recommendations about presumptive conditions, he said.
During a Senate hearing March 26, Richard Stone, the executive in charge of the Veterans Health Administration, guessed the review would be complete within 90 days.
 “We’re working our way through that right now,” Stone said of the national academy report.

US delegation visits dioxin detoxification project in Da Nang

Da Nang (VNA) – A delegation of the United States legislative assistants led by Terra Lynn Sabag, Deputy Chief of Staff for US Congressman Rick Larsen, visited the location of a dioxin remediation project in Da Nang airport in the central city of the same name on April 17.
Major General Bui Anh Chung, Deputy Commander of the Air Defence-Air Force Command, informed his guests on the results of the project.
The project was launched in June 2011, with core activities comprising of clearing of bombs and explosives.
The six-year project to remediate the environmental pollution at the airport was jointly implemented by the Vietnamese Ministry of National Defence and the US International Development Agency (USAID) with a non-refundable aid of 110 million USD funded by the US Government.
After the second phase wrapped up in November last year, it successfully detoxified over 90,000 cubic metres of toxic sediments by the thermal treatment method, while isolating other 50,000 cubic metres of low-contaminated sediments.

Will the benefits for ‘blue water’ Vietnam veterans be settled soon?

The fate of disability benefits for “blue water” Vietnam veterans will be among the key topics lawmakers tackle when they return from their district break at the end of the month.
In January, a federal court ruled that the Department of Veterans Affairs for years has used faulty reasoning to deny disability benefits to veterans who served in ships off the waters of Vietnam. VA officials had argued that extending the benefits to an additional 90,000 veterans would cost as much as $5 billion over 10 years, a figure that advocates have disputed.
This week, Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., and Steve Daines, R-Mont., announced plans to reinforce that ruling and establish a permanent fix for those veterans, who claim exposure to cancer-causing chemical defoliants has caused a host of rare cancers and respirator illnesses.
Already the chairman and ranking member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee have introduced similar plans, and that House panel is preparing for an expansive hearing on the topic early next month.
The decision could affect up to 90,000 veterans who have been petitioning VA officials for disability payouts for years.
The Department of Justice has until the end of the month to appeal the ruling, but VA Secretary Robert Wilkie has advised against doing so.
“Even though the court has ruled that the VA must provide these benefits, there is no guarantee it will happen,” Gillibrand said in a statement. “Congress must create a permanent legislative fix.”

VA releases mental health and suicide prevention toolkit for former Guard and Reserve members

Improving care and support for former Guard and Reserve members who were never federally activated is a critical part of VA’s suicide prevention efforts.
According to VA’s most recent analysis of Veteran suicide, there were 7,298 suicide deaths among current and former service members in 2016. Former Guard and Reserve members who were never federally activated accounted for 902 suicides, or about 10 percent of the total number of suicides among current and former service members. To support former Guard and Reserve members, their families, and their health care providers, VA has developed a toolkit that presents a variety of mental health and suicide prevention resources that are available through VA and in the community. These resources include online suicide prevention training, mobile apps that help manage daily stressors, and supportive services for family members who are seeking care for former service members.
 “Extending support to former Guard and Reserve members at the community level is an important aspect of VA’s public health approach to preventing suicide,” said Dr. Keita Franklin, executive director for suicide prevention in VA’s Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention. “We hope that you will take advantage of the resources included in this toolkit, which are here to support you and your families in times of need.”
The health and well-being of our nation’s Veterans and former service members is VA’s highest priority. Guided by data and research, VA is working with partners, Veterans’ family members and friends, and the community to ensure that Veterans and former service members get the right care whenever they need it. To learn about the resources available for Veterans and how you can #BeThere as a VA employee, family member, friend, community partner, or clinician, visit
If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, contact the Veterans Crisis Line to receive free, confidential support and crisis intervention, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1, text to 838255 or chat online at

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Vietnam Bans Glyphosate Imports

Vietnam’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development banned the import of glyphosate on Wednesday after a series of legal defeats for Bayer in U.S. civil lawsuits alleging the weed killer caused cancer.
Vietnam Director of Plant Protection Hoang Trung said during a news conference on Wednesday the action was taken because glyphosate affects the environment and is harmful to human health.
At the end of March, a California jury awarded $80 million to a man with non-Hodgkin lymphoma who had used glyphosate at an animal refuge for nearly 30 years. Last year, another jury in the state awarded $287 million to a groundskeeper with cancer who used the chemical. In all, there are 11,200 lawsuits aimed at glyphosate.
Charla Lord, media communications, corporate engagement and preparedness for Bayer, said Vietnam’s decision is likely to hurt both farmers and consumers.
 “Unfortunately, today’s decision banning glyphosate will not help to improve food security, safety or sustainability in the country,” she said. “Importantly, Bayer is not aware of any new scientific assessment undertaken by the government of Vietnam on which the decision is based. Reportedly, it was driven by developments in litigation taking place in the United States.
“This litigation does not change the overwhelming weight of over four decades of extensive science and the conclusions of regulators worldwide that support the safety of glyphosate-based herbicide products.”
Lord said EPA, the European Food Safety Authority, as well as regulatory agencies in Canada, Japan, Australia, Korea, Brazil and other countries, “routinely review all approved pesticide products and have consistently reaffirmed” that glyphosate is not carcinogenic.
 “We have seen the unfortunate impact of denying farmers access to such an essential tool,” she said.
Sri Lanka, for example, imposed a glyphosate ban in 2015. The ban was reversed in 2018 after local farmers became vocal about the economic effects to their businesses.

Documents needed for Agent Orange claims filing

Guam EPA: Andersen Air Force Base violates Guam environmental law

The Guam Environmental Protection Agency issued a violation notice to Andersen Air Force Base Northwest Field Facility after finding non-approved chemicals used for treating water.
According to the notice, Guam EPA charged with the responsibility of implementing the Guam Pesticides Act, found there was a possible misuse of a product to disinfect water for distribution.
On Dec. 28, 2018, a routine sanitary survey inspection was conducted on a water storage tank on Northwest Field and Guam EPA staff discovered a different form of chlorination from what was approved by Guam EPA was installed, the notice stated.
A review by Guam EPA's Pesticides Enforcement Program found the product is a pesticide and is used only for swimming pools, per the product labeling. Guam EPA imposed a $750 administrative penalty.
Andersen responds
Andersen in a release said it used Pool Time chlorination tabs to sanitize a half-million-gallon drinking water tank that serviced the facilities on Northwest Field; however, Guam EPA classifies the tablets as a pesticide and when this became known, the use of the tablets was immediately ceased.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Veteran loses part of leg after home-care scheduling mix-up at Indianapolis VA hospital

A botched change in the way home-care visits were scheduled for patients released from the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Indianapolis resulted in a veteran losing part of his leg, according to a copy of an investigative report and letter to the president.
The letter to President Donald Trump said a Department of Veterans Affairs investigation prompted by three whistle-blower complaints revealed "a system breakdown because leadership attempted to implement the change without collaborating with key services or allowing time for coordination and education." The letter is from Henry J. Kerner of the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, an independent federal agency that looks at whistleblower disclosures and helps protect them from retaliation.
That breakdown resulted in delays in the care of veterans, the investigation found, including one man discharged from the Indianapolis medical center in 2017 after receiving treatment for diabetic ketoacidosis and an ulcerated foot abscess. Because of delays attributed to the new process, the letter said, "the veteran did not receive the necessary home health care."
The letter explained the VA investigation determined the man's wound "became infected and required below-the knee amputation due to the delay in receiving dressing changes" from a home health care provider.
 “It is unconscionable that after serving his country, a veteran lost his limb not on the battlefield, but because of mistakes made by the agency entrusted to take care of him," said Special Counsel Kerner. "While I commend the VA for taking the necessary steps to prevent similar problems from occurring in the future, this situation should never have happened.”


We update our meetings regularly on the Town Hall Meeting Calendar:

April 13, 2019
Waverly, Iowa
Contacts: Lyman and Cindy Campbell 319-230-4375
Maynard Kaderlik 507-581-6402

April 26- 27, 2019
Deadwood, South Dakota
Contact: Jack Dean 605-393-0444
Martin Anderson 605-645-0055
Maynard Kaderlik 507-581-6402

May 7, 2019
Pewaukee, Wisconsin
Contact: Pat Furno 920-474-4017

May 10, 2019
London, Kentucky
Contact: David Cowherd 270-312-0463

June 8, 2019
Tucson, Arizona
Contact: George Ross

RoundUp, The Latest Good, Bad, and Ugly

 We have been talking, sharing and writing about RoundUp’s active ingredient, glyphosate, for several years. So what is the latest on RoundUp and glyphosate-based herbicides? Is glyphosate use diminishing? Are we finding less of it in our water, soil and food? There are some good, bad and ugly things happening with glyphosate and we want to continue to keep you up-to-date and informed until we get this poison banned.
I believe glyphosate is greatly responsible for the declining health in this country and there is so much evidence to prove this.
Good News
The first Roundup cancer trial resulted in a jury verdict of $289 million in damages against Monsanto, though a judge later lowered that to $78 million. The second such trial ended last month with a jury verdict of $80.2 million against Monsanto. The third trial is now underway. There are over 11,000 people suing Monsanto alleging glyphosate-based herbicides such as Roundup cause non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and Monsanto has hidden the risks and manipulated the scientific record. These victories have created an onslaught of bad news for Monsanto, now Bayer, and has caused Bayer’s stock to go down and raised more questions about the safety of this herbicide. To find out more about lawsuits against Monsanto, you can go to Consumer Safety.
After the news of the latest trial, Vietnam acts to ban the cancer-causing herbicide. They are not unfamiliar with Monsanto’s tactics of covering up the evidence about its products like they did with Agent Orange and are making this bold move to ban glyphosate’s use in their country.
Several cities are banning or have restrictive use of glyphosate near parks, schools and playgrounds and that list is growing! To find out more about how you can get RoundUp banned in your city, go here. The City of Portland’s pesticide ordinance that bans synthetic pesticides use on lawns, gardens, landscaped areas, patios, sidewalks, driveways, parks and playing fields has gone into effect. Only organic treatments can be used to beat back weeds and insects such as grubs. Now that is some great news!!
Thirty nine (39) countries worldwide have officially banned the cultivation of GM crops and only 28 actually grow GM crops (most of which grow under 500 thousand hectares). The picture painted by the Biotech industry and the U.S. government that GM crops and their associated herbicide, glyphosate, have been accepted by the majority of countries worldwide is therefore not true!

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Blue Water Navy veterans and surviving spouses: Act now to claim presumptive conditions

On Jan. 29, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit extended the presumption of exposure to herbicides to cover veterans who served in the territorial sea of the Republic of Vietnam. The definition of “served in the Republic of Vietnam” now extends to 12 nautical miles off the coast of Vietnam. On March 26, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs decided not to appeal the ruling and took action to begin processing claims within this mandate, according to a press release sent out by the York County public information office.
There could be as many as 3,000 veterans and surviving spouses in York County who could be affected by this landmark court ruling. The presumptive conditions for exposure to herbicides used in Vietnam are:
Diabetes mellitus type 2
Prostate cancer
Respiratory cancers
Hodgkin disease
Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
Ischemic heart disease including coronary artery disease
Chronic b-cell leukemia
AL amyloidosis
Multiple myeloma
Parkinson’s disease
Peripheral neuropathy (early onset)
Soft tissue sarcoma
If you are a Navy or Marine veteran who served at sea in the territorial waters of Vietnam during the Vietnam War and have one or more of these presumptive conditions, or if you are a surviving spouse of a Navy or Marine veteran who died with one of these conditions as a primary or contributing cause of death, please call your County Department of Veterans Affairs officer.

You can't blame the military for your fat ass, according to a new VA ruling

Obesity cannot be considered a service-connected disability, according to a new ruling by the Department of Veterans Affairs General Counsel expected to be published in the April 8, 2019, edition of the Federal Register.
The new ruling, among several precedent opinions set to be included, reinforces the VA's long-standing opinion that obesity isn't a disease or injury according to the law for wartime or peacetime compensation and can't be considered directly related to military service for compensation purposes.
So why does the VA reject obesity as a service-connected disability if Medicare covers obesity treatment and the Centers for Disease Control and National Institutes of Health both say obesity is a disease?
While the VA treats obesity as a disease for which treatment is warranted, the distinction is in the words "service-connected." The VA simply does not see it as a condition that was a result of military service, and therefore for which compensation is payable.
The VA estimates that 78% of veterans are obese, and it does offer several treatment programs for obese vets.

Friday, April 5, 2019

How Ex-congressman Jeff Miller is Single-handedly Shaping the Push to Privatize VA Healthcare

The Indian Treaty Room is a grand two-story meeting space in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building next to the White House, with French and Italian marble wall panels, a pattern of stars on the ceiling and the image of a compass worked into the tiled floor. Over the years, it has hosted signing ceremonies for historic foreign policy pacts such as the Bretton Woods agreement and the United Nations Charter.
On Nov. 16, 2017, it hosted a different kind of gathering: an intimate meeting called by the White House to discuss the future of the Department of Veterans Affairs. In the 10 months since Donald Trump had taken office, his administration had been pushing a bold and controversial agenda to privatize more of the VA’s services.
The Trump administration’s ambitions are well documented. But what has not been publicly revealed until now is the extent to which the VA – a sprawling agency with a $180 billion annual budget that includes the nation’s single largest health care system, a network of cemeteries and a massive bureaucracy that administers the GI Bill and disability compensation for wounded veterans – has become a massive feeding trough for the lobbying industry.  
e-mail obtained through FOIA request
The VA’s then secretary, David Shulkin, was at the previously undisclosed meeting, along with a contingent of conservative thinkers on veterans policy, including current and former members of Concerned Veterans for America, known as CVA, an advocacy network largely backed by conservative donors Charles and David Koch. Also present were “Fox & Friends” host Pete Hegseth, a former CVA executive repeatedly floated to be Trump’s pick for VA secretary, and David Urban, a right-leaning CNN commentator who served as a senior adviser on the Trump campaign.
During an intimate November 2017 meeting called by the White House, attendees drafted a strategy to “echo/amplify” President Donald Trump’s “priorities/initiatives” for accelerating the privatization process at the VA.
According to emails obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, the group drafted a strategy to “echo/amplify” Trump’s “priorities/initiatives” for accelerating the privatization process. According to three people who were there, the participants discussed how best to respond to expected resistance from traditional veterans advocates, who historically have opposed privatizing key agency services. Representatives from “the Big Six” major veterans organizations, including the American Legion and Veterans for Foreign Wars, were not invited.
But it was the presence of the most powerful lobbyist for the companies now trying to get a piece of the VA’s budget – a tan, affable Floridian named Jeff Miller – that would have raised the most eyebrows, had his attendance been known at the time.

Kildee, Stabenow, Peters Introduce Legislation Ensuring Health Care for Veterans Harmed By PFAS Chemicals

April 4, 2019 Press Release
Legislation Requires Department of Veterans’ Affairs to Cover Health Conditions Linked to PFAS Chemical Contamination on Military Bases
Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05), U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), U.S. Senator Gary Peters (D-MI), U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) and members of the PFAS Task Force today introduced legislation to ensure that veterans and their families exposed to toxic per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) chemicals at military installations get the health care services and benefits they need through the U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA).
The Veterans Exposed to Toxic PFAS Act (VET PFAS Act) would require the VA to cover treatment for any health condition found to be associated with exposure to PFAS exposure. Under this bill, illnesses connected to PFAS exposure will also be considered a service-connected disability, making veterans exposed to PFAS eligible for disability payments and medical treatment from the VA.

Vermont Senate approves military burn pit awareness bill

The Vermont Senate approved a measure Thursday to raise awareness about the health hazards military personnel suffer from exposure to open burn pits while serving overseas.
A 30-0 vote came after the bill’s lead sponsor, Sen. Jeanette White, cried and stopped several times as she recounted to senators the emotional testimony her committee had heard.
White spoke haltingly as she recalled the words of June Heston, the widow of Brig. Gen. Mike Heston, who died of cancer last November, and retired Sgt. Wesley Black, a 33-year-old fighting colon cancer who described himself as a “dead man walking.” Both served overseas on deployments where burn pits were used to dispose of a variety of refuse, ignited with jet fuel.
White, D-Windham, the chair of Senate Government Operations, said she didn’t want to get emotional laying out the reasons for S. 111, “but our meetings were anything but.”
 “I do apologize,” White said after stopping her presentation to regroup. “I didn’t think I’d do this.” She was reassured by presiding officer Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman.
The toxins from the fumes, White said, pervade the body.
 “It is in their skin, their lungs, their eyes, their whole body. It has become a part of them,” White said.
She said she was oblivious to the issue until told about Heston in December.
“In my 16 years in the Senate, there have been many issues that have been emotional and passionate. But in all those years, this is the one that makes me really angry and really sad,” White said.

Vietnam on cusp of glyphosate ban

THE WORLD agriculture sector is bracing for Vietnam to implement a full ban on the herbicide glyphosate.
Last month Vietnamese government officials announced a ban on glyphosate imports, which is normally seen as a precursor to a full ban.
There has been speculation a full ban could be announced as early as the next week, however there is furious negotiation from international parties unhappy with the potential ban.
Vietnamese agriculture minister Nguyễn Xuân Cường has been a strong supporter of further regulation of chemical use in the south-east Asian nation.
The Vietnamese chemical regulator has declared glyphosate safe for use, but it does not appear to be swaying the government.
Chemical use is a controversial subject in Vietnam with the memories of the damage caused by Agent Orange, a dioxin-based product, in the Vietnam War still painful for many, with a report from 2017 saying over three million Vietnamese people are still affected by Agent Orange / dioxin.
Official Vietnamese news agencies reported the decision to ban glyphosate imports was made following a US court ruling that glyphosate-based Roundup herbicide was responsible for a man's cancer.
The court ruling was the second to decide there was a link between glyphosate and cancer, but the crop protection sector has argued the decisions should not be taken as a de facto ruling on glyphosate safety as the decision making juries do not have a scientific background.
Australia is keenly monitoring the situation in Vietnam, as it could have major repercussions on trade.