ARE VETERANS TARGETED FOR TRIAGE?
Eugene Narrett, Ph.D
March 4, 2008
While the economy implodes, the President pledges $30 billion to Africa for its AIDS epidemic. The Blue Team’s frontrunner, Mr. Obama is lubricating through the Senate a “Global Poverty Relief” act that should gladden Communists and batter Americans to the tune of $70 billion/year for twelve years. Foreigners in America illegally send about $50 billion generated by our economy out of the nation each year. The GAO estimates that the actual national debt runs into the trillions of dollars; social security and Medicare are held up tenuously by income taxes that fall hardest on middle income Americans who are watching their costs rise, benefits fall and jobs leave for the East. The price of Medical insurance (not health care) skyrockets while covered benefits shrink, Big Pharma and the insurance industry swagger while ordinary people are crushed.
The administration takes our taxes to subsidize farmers to grow corn for ethanol rather than sweet corn, animal feed or to grow wheat. Thus the prices of staples like beef, milk, butter, cheese, poultry and eggs skyrocket as America becomes a hostage nation, -- one that must import food, much of it toxic, from China (under Reagan’s watch, Germany and Japan factory-fished and depleted the Grand Banks). Meanwhile, so-called environmentalists relentlessly demand that more land be put off limits to human use.
It appears that the advocates of major population reduction (usually disguised as “zero population growth”) are winning. Overworked and sick people don’t live to collect “benefits” that were taken from them in the first place.
When you hear “benefits” it means more taxes (theft) from which you may live to receive from beneficent government a “fraction.” Repeat: you may live…
Thus, government on both sides of the aisle looks to cut benefits wherever it can: raise the age for collecting social security, eligible health care cutbacks, disability benefits of veterans pillaged by ex-wives and courts or retroactively canceled for an array of diseases linked to the herbicide, agent orange. It is of these people that we speak today. Numerous articles, testimony and court records relevant to the matter may be found at bluewaternavy.org which all citizens should visit and study.
It is interesting that amidst the flag-waving after the 9/11 attacks the Bush administration removed presumptive disability ratings for naval personnel stationed in or near Vietnam from 1962 to May 1975. That is, the Bush administration changed the terms of the Agent Orange Act of 1991 that provided benefits for veterans who were symptomatic for the host of severe illnesses linked to exposure to AO. In February 2002, the administration promulgated rules requiring that navy veterans had to prove that they had been on land at some point or in port. Having the Veterans’ Service Medal for Vietnam, and the symptoms, no longer was adequate.
Blue Water Navy notes that short trips ashore often were undocumented, that Naval, Marine, or Coast Guard personnel often used contaminated freshwater for showers and/or drinking; that they often anchored in or at the mouths of rivers swollen with runoff from areas hosed down with Agent Orange, an oil-based herbicide made by Dow Chemical and Monsanto. Water from sprayed areas was used for drinking and the desalination for the estuary waters has been shown in Australian studies to increase the level of dioxin. Sometimes the planes spraying the toxin, circling their targets would over fly ships providing close support with spray still trailing. Nevertheless, as BWN explains, “the VA has been denying compensation for medical conditions identical to those of ‘boots on the ground’ personnel” and even canceling compensation already approved. This “has denied an entire class of combat veterans equal status as regards compensation for service connected illness and disability and has created undue financial hardship to veterans and their families by retroactive removal of an earned military veteran disability benefit while leaving them with the medical problems of the related disease”; sounds like time to raise medical insurance premiums again. The Blue Team will run with this issue.
These veterans have been and are suffering many grave medical problems from the conditions of their service: a short list of the cancers alone fills almost two pages. The diseases include chronic lymphocyte leukemia, multiple myeloma, prostate cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, tendon sheath tumors, congenital and infantile fibro sarcoma and Type II Diabetes. These symptoms of exposure to Agent Orange have been verified by foreign and CDC studies available on the web site. Could our veteran be the victims of an overall effort to cut benefits to Americans or to triage those who have earned social security, Medicare and other benefits for which government policy makes it inexpedient to pay?
Commander Jonathan L. Haas (Retired), diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes has been pressing a case for years which shows government agencies struggling against each other and against America’s own disabled Vets even as politicians promote utopian and Communist-type plans to “eliminate Global poverty” and create “universal health care.” Archived at bluewaternavy, the claim of Commander Haas was denied in March 2004. After an appeal by the National Veterans Legal Service Program (NVLSP), in August 2006 the U.S. Court of Veterans Appeals agreed with CDR Haas and reversed the VA's 2002 unilateral change to the rules of adjudication, once again granting Blue Water Navy veterans the ‘presumption of exposure’ granted to other Vietnam War veterans. The reasoning was that just as the Veterans in Vietnam, land or waters were exposed to enemy fire, so too were they exposed to related herbicide toxicities.
But “the Department of Veterans Affairs refused to comply with the Court Order to process Blue Water Navy claims and circulated an internal memo instructing all claim adjudicators from the 57 Regional Offices and the Board of Veterans Appeals to ‘hold off’ ("stay") adjudication of any claims of this nature until the VA informed them to do otherwise... The VA continued the denial of benefits to all Blue Water Navy veterans even when there was additional documentation that the claimant actually had set foot on the soil of Vietnam in addition to serving under a Blue Water Navy command.” There was a large number of such cases from the US 7th Fleet.
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To make the DVA relese its “stay” of Naval Veterans’ claims pertaining to Agent Orange related diseases, the NVLSP filed a suit in the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims on behalf of Nicholas Ribaudo and the American Legion…The pleading was a request to advance the Ribaudo claim to the front of the long queue of backlogs in the docket of the BVA based on undue hardship Mr. Ribaudo was facing. This filing also requested the Court to order the VA to resume processing of Blue Water Navy claims per the Haas Ruling of August 16, 2006 and to strike down the instructions of the internal VA memo imposing the illegal “stay.’” On January 9, 2007 the Court of Appeals ruled that the DVA resume processing the claims but also suggested a way for the VA to tailor their method for putting a halt to payments. In sports this is called a two-on-one.
These legal games have continued while Veterans suffer and die and the government economizes via “color of law.” Meanwhile the Democratic Party horse race of insult and “identity politics” raises $100 million per month; the media and GOP both say they’re delighted and think it’s great Americans are so involved in the distraction machine. For this spiritual illness in the body politic there may be no better cure than to re-focus on attempts to marginalize and crush Veterans and others who sacrifice to make this country prosperous and free, or to retain the freedoms in the Constitution which politicians used to swear to preserve, protect and defend. But they’ve been too busy telling us that “Islam is a religion of peace” and pretending the Koran can substitute for the Bible, at least as regards taking an oath of office.
The postscript, writes a Blue Water Navy citizen is that the government’s actions “once again dispel the myth that the Department of Veteran Affairs is an advocate of the military veteran.” He adds that “in a macabre twist of reason and logic, the George W. Bush Whitehouse requested, through Senator Akaka, the introduction of a bill Senate Bill S-2026 to specifically eliminate all Blue Water Navy veterans from qualifying for presumptive exposure to Agent Orange also see this. It ought to shock and enrage that our troops are serving as “nation builders” in areas where there never has been and never will be a genuine nation, in “Iraq” and “Palestine” while destroying an ally and wasting treasure. But after all, this deceit and ruin is consistent with the contempt being shown to Vets in the Agent Orange matter. As VNVets notes, Veterans “are dying by the dozens every day.” Is this what the administration wants? For “a veteran’s claim for benefits dies with him.” As to campaign contributions and lobbying, politicians tend to grasp the suasion of Corporate Collectives like Dow more than the people in whose name they serve, and upon whose money they live, occasionally tossing back a fraction termed a “benefit.”
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Visit bluewaternavy to hear an audio of oral arguments in the matter from November 07, 2007, Case # 2007-7037. Additional Information can be found on the web site of the National Veterans Legal Service Program which led these monumental legal battles: Tell your elected representatives, especially those in congress seeking re-election what you think of the government’s treatment of naval veterans and its priorities and what you demand they do about it.