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Improve and Strengthen Medicare by Expanding it to All

The following text is the testimony that Dr. Margaret Flowers presented to the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform at its June 30 hearing in Washington. Dr. Flowers is congressional fellow for Physicians for a National Health Program.

I am Dr. Margaret Flowers and I am here today on behalf of Physicians for a National Health Program, the leading physician research, education and advocacy organization in support of a truly universal single-payer health system in the United States. I will speak specifically about the contribution of health care costs to our national deficit and the evidence-based remedy to control these costs.

When compared to health care in other advanced nations, the United States excels in only one area – the amount of money spent per capita per year. Despite our high spending, the U.S. leaves a third of the population either uncovered or underinsured and thus vulnerable to financial ruin.

Agent Orange - Graves' Disease

Agent Orange Exposure Linked to Graves' Disease in Vietnam Veterans, UB Study Finds

June 28, 2010 Vietnam War-era veterans exposed to Agent Orange appear to have significantly more Graves' disease, a thyroid disorder, than veterans with no exposure, a new study by endocrinologists at the University at Buffalo has shown.

Ajay Varanasi, MD, an endocrinology fellow in the UB Department of Medicine and first author on the study, garnered first prize in the oral presentation category for this research at the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists annual meeting held in Boston in April.

"Our findings show that Vietnam veterans who came in contact with Agent Orange are more likely to develop Graves' disease than those who avoided exposure," says Varanasi.

Navy & Coast Guard Ships Affected by Agent Orange

VA Lists Navy Ships that Qualify for Presumptive Agent Orange Exposure

6/10 – The Department of Veterans Affairs Compensation and Pension Service has issued 2 lists of naval vessels it has verified conducted operations on the inland “brown water” rivers and delta areas of Vietnam. The lists also identify certain vessel types that operated primarily on the inland waterways. If a veteran’s service aboard one of these ships can be confirmed through military records during the time frames specified, then exposure to herbicide agents (e.g., Agent Orange) can be presumed. The lists include all vessels of Inshore Fire Support (IFS) Division 93; all vessels with the designation LST, LCVP, PCF (“Swift Boats”), and PBR during their entire Vietnam tour; all Coast Guard WPBs and WHECs during their Vietnam tours. Several other vessels and time frames of operations are included in these lists. See list issued 1/10, and list issued 6/10 (below).

Agent Orange Exposure Linked to Graves' Disease in Vietnam Veterans, Study Finds

ScienceDaily (June 28, 2010) — Vietnam War-era veterans exposed to Agent Orange appear to have significantly more Graves' disease, a thyroid disorder, than veterans with no exposure, a new study by endocrinologists at the University at Buffalo has shown.

Ajay Varanasi, MD, an endocrinology fellow in the UB Department of Medicine and first author on the study, garnered first prize in the oral presentation category for this research at the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists annual meeting held in Boston in April.

"Our findings show that Vietnam veterans who came in contact with Agent Orange are more likely to develop Graves' disease than those who avoided exposure," says Varanasi.

Do Spending Cuts Cost Lives?

ScienceDaily (June 28, 2010) — Radical cuts to social welfare spending to reduce budget deficits could cause not just economic pain but cost lives, warn experts in a study published online in the British Medical Journal.

While there is a major debate under way about the potential economic impacts of radical budget cuts in Europe, David Stuckler from the University of Oxford and his colleagues dissect the effect of public spending on people's health.

Their analysis shows that levels of social spending in Europe are "strongly associated" with risks of death, especially from diseases relating to social circumstances, such as heart attacks and alcohol-induced illness.

As such, they argue that, although governments may feel they are protecting health by safeguarding healthcare budgets, social welfare spending is as important, if not moreso, for population health.

BMA council chairman condemns privatisation of the NHS

Call to ditch market ideology

British Medical Association
News
28 June 2010

By Anita Wilkinson

The government needs to overturn incoherent and divisive market-based policies in healthcare, BMA council chairman Hamish Meldrum has insisted.

He called on health secretary Andrew Lansley to reverse the market reforms that pit trusts against one another, secondary against primary care, increase costs and duplicate services

Dr Meldrum was applauded by doctors at the BMA annual representative meeting when he said: ‘We can’t go on promoting a failed market philosophy, with its burgeoning bureaucracy, competitive fragmentation and increasingly perverse incentives. It’s time for change.

National PTSD Awareness Day Arrives

This is going to be short.

Meant to inform of this day, to send you to one extremely dedicated individuals own post, to hopefully send some to search out even more {if you haven't followed the real issues}, for the trolls who won't see these issues on conservative blogs or news? sites, and we probably won't hear a peep on any of the Sunday Morning empty blab shows or news outlets.

30 Years in the Making, National PTSD Awareness Day Arrives

Rapidly Expanding Veterans Care Needs, Finally!

And many more related, long needed but ignored, other area's as to Veterans Issues!

VA secretary visits project

 

Jun. 24, 2010 Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki said he wants veterans to know there is a safe place for them to heal after war.

{LEIGH COLEMAN/SPECIAL TO THE SUN HERALD Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki, left, stopped to talk to local veterans during his tour of the construction site at the VA Gulf Coast Veterans facilities on Thursday. Chris Levelle, right, was working at the site when Shinseki visited.}

Shinseki spent Thursday touring the $310 million construction project at the Biloxi VA.

Prosecutors Perpetuate Prejudice in Jury Selection

Linn Washington Jr.

After spending more than ten years in jail without a formal sentence, Curtis Flowers now can point to another unenviable distinction – he’s the first person in U.S. history subjected to six murder trials for the same crime.

Two of the five previous trials of this Mississippi man charged with the 1996 murder of four people in a rural town ended in jury deadlocks. State courts voided Flowers’ three convictions, each time citing outrageous misconduct by prosecutors.

One instance of prosecutorial error in the tortured Flowers trial saga involved biased jury selection procedure so egregious that Mississippi’s Supreme Court tagged it the worst case of “racial discrimination we have ever seen…” – an extraordinary declaration considering that state’s history of over-the-top racism.

Lejeune Marine or Family Member, 1950's to .........

This has been another, drag it out for as long as one can so the Country doesn't pony up or even admit their culpability, ongoing and information now growing, long term Military and Veteran's of issues that finally is seeing the light of day, Way to Late for Many who've already passed on, soldiers and their family members!

Documents: Tanks leaked fuel near Camp Lejeune well

 

June 24, 2010 Federal scientists studying the history of water contamination at Camp Lejeune, N.C., have learned of another source of leaking fuel — this one less than a football field away from a drinking well that once served thousands of Marines and their families.

The well was closed in December 1984 after benzene was found in the water.

The Nation Is At War, Not Just The Military

Ask yourselves why Veterans have to continue seeking Private Funding and not only about the obvious needs of Veterans but also the Memorials to!! A Draft for Military Service isn't needed, what is needed is to Demand Sacrifice, paying for the Results of our Wars, Huge Sacrifice, they will end almost instantly and the Nation will think more then twice as to Wars of Choice!

 

June 24: Rachel Maddow emphasizes the importance of civilian leadership demonstrating to the military as well as the country as a whole that the nation is united in the war effort in Afghanistan.

 

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: How the Performance of the U.S. Health Care System Compares Internationally, 2010 Update


Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: How the Performance of the U.S. Health Care System Compares Internationally, 2010 Update
By Karen Davis, Ph.D., Cathy Schoen, M.S., and Kristof Stremikis, M.P.P. | Commonwealth Fund

The U.S. health system is the most expensive in the world, but comparative analyses consistently show the United States underperforms relative to other countries on most dimensions of performance. This report, which includes information from the most recent three Commonwealth Fund surveys of patients and primary care physicians about medical practices and views of their countries' health systems (2007–2009), confirms findings discussed in previous editions of Mirror, Mirror. It also includes information on health care outcomes that were featured in the most recent (2008) U.S. health system scorecard issued by the Commonwealth Fund Commission on a High Performance Health System.

Among the seven nations studied—Australia, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States—the U.S. ranks last overall, as it did in the 2007, 2006, and 2004 editions of Mirror, Mirror. Most troubling, the U.S. fails to achieve better health outcomes than the other countries, and as shown in the earlier editions, the U.S. is last on dimensions of access, patient safety, coordination, efficiency, and equity. The Netherlands ranks first, followed closely by the U.K. and Australia. The 2010 edition includes data from the seven countries and incorporates patients' and physicians' survey results on care experiences and ratings on various dimensions of care. The most notable way the U.S. differs from other countries is the absence of universal health insurance coverage. Read more.

“LOST ANGELS” at LAFilm Festival, Friday 6/25: Director Thomas Napper Illuminates Skid Row

by Linda Milazzo

lost_angels_poster
Sometimes you just know when something's not right. You see it, or hear it, and you know instinctively there's something missing. You sense a faint beat where there should be a strong heart. You see a short phrase where there should be a full story. That happened to me just over a year ago in the early afternoon of April 24, 2009, when I saw the Los Angeles screening of THE SOLOIST, helmed by British director Joe Wright. The film just wasn't right.

Campaign for Liberty Crafts Declaration of Support

The Obama Administration has unleashed its Federal Election Commission attacks dogs on Campaign for Liberty. They know our efforts to fight back against their statist power-grabs are succeeding and they want to shut us down.

By filling out the Declaration of Support below, you are sending a clear message to the Washington power structure that you will not be silenced. Go directly to Campaign for Liberty website. Or, read on

Email excerpt:

This battle is over a very fundamental idea - that Campaign for Liberty and our members should have a voice in lobbying their legislators and exposing the radical views of candidates for office.

Exposing what they're up to - that's what the powers that be can't stand. That's because they don't want Americans to know:

  • Congress is spending at a record pace and has now left us over 13 TRILLION dollars in debt, with no end in sight.
  • The out of control FED has not accounted for nearly 2 trillion dollars and has doubled our monetary base, risking our entire economy.
  • The federal government has imposed a mandate that every American either purchase a health care product the Feds approve of, costing tens of thousands of dollars, or risk fines and jail time.
  • The federal government has attempted to take away your 1st, 2nd and 4th Amendment rights, all in the past year, with more certainly to come.

We're exposing them - and holding them accountable as they come back home to seek reelection.

Of course, this may not sound like the end of the world. But just think: the FEC has an ARMY of lawyers and a budget of nearly $70 MILLION dollars. That's a lot of lawyers. Go to "Declaration of Support."

Kindra Arnesen Venice LA Local At The Gulf Emergency Summit

Hear the horrors of the front lines and behind scenes workings of the BP Gulf Oil Spill Catastrophe.

Congress Questions Military Leaders on Suicides, Traumatic Brain Injury

Congress Questions Military Leaders on Suicides, Traumatic Brain Injury
by T. Christian Miller, ProPublica, and Daniel Zwerdling, NPR | ProPublica

Senators pressed senior military leaders today to improve their efforts to address traumatic brain injuries, suicide and other wounds suffered by soldiers returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Responding to what he called "disconcerting" reports by NPR and ProPublica, Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., said at a hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee that the military needed to better address the wide range of medical and behavioral problems affecting troops.

Earlier this month, we reported [1] that the military was failing to diagnose and adequately treat troops with brain injuries. Since 2002, official military figures show more than 115,000 soldiers have suffered mild traumatic brain injuries, also called concussions, which leave no visible scars but can cause lasting problems with memory, concentration and other cognitive functions.

But the unpublished studies that we obtained and the experts that we talked to said that military screens were missing tens of thousands of additional cases. We also talked to soldiers at one of the military's largest bases [2], who complained of trouble getting treatment. Read more.

Obama Warns Health Insurers Not To Hike Rates

Obama warns health insurers not to hike rates | Reuters

U.S. President Barack Obama warned insurance firms on Tuesday not to use his healthcare overhaul as an opportunity to enact big rate increases and said the federal government would work with states to monitor them.

"Insurance companies ... shouldn't see it as an opportunity to enact unjustifiable rate increases," Obama said, after meeting with state officials and insurance company executives.

Obama said companies must publicly justify any rate increases on both the federal health Web site and their own sites, adding that there are "genuine cost drivers that are not caused by insurance companies." Read more.

Survey of People Who Purchase Their Own Insurance | Kaiser Family Foundation

While most people in the U.S. get health insurance through their employer, about 14 million people under age 65 have coverage through the non-group or individual market, which has faced scrutiny recently in news reports about some insurers’ steep rate increases and in the market reforms in the new health reform law that will take effect in 2014.

This survey provides insight into the current state of the non-group market and finds policyholders report that their insurers most recently requested premium increases averaging 20 percent. Most say they paid the increase, but some say they switched plans, either buying a less expensive policy from their current insurer or switching companies altogether.

The survey also provides national data on the average premiums and deductibles reported by people who buy their own coverage in the non-group market. It examines policyholders' views and experiences with non-group coverage and a focused look at the issues facing policyholders with pre-existing conditions.

The survey involved a nationally representative random sample of 1,038 people ages 18-64 who purchase their own health coverage, conducted between March 19 and April 2, 2010. Read the report.

Afghan Opiate Use

Thanks to us and NATO now occupying instead of helping them after we drove the Taliban out, once more we walked away from them, and now we expect some sort of victory!!!

Afghan opiate use has doubled in 5 years, UN says

21 June 2010 Drug addicts as young as a month old. Mothers who calm their children by blowing opium smoke in their faces. Whole communities hooked on heroin with few opportunities for treatment.

Use of opiates such as heroin and opium has doubled in Afghanistan in the last five years, the U.N. said Monday, as hundreds of thousands of Afghans turn to drugs to escape the misery of poverty and war.

OIL SPILL RESPONSE AND CLEANUP:

This first is a cut of one I just posted, elsewhere, to show at least a little of what has been going on. But as to this agency I have added just a few, and there's plenty more, links to how the previous administration as well as the republican controlled congresses nearly gutted OSHA, but it isn't only OSHA as we've seen as to regulations and the countries well being, they had eight plus years to nearly destroy everything about this once envied country and it's innovations, workforce and research etc.!

AMA: House of Delegates Backs Ban on Shackling Inmates in Labor

AMA: House of Delegates Backs Ban on Shackling Inmates in Labor
By Emily Walker | ABC News

"Shackling women in labor runs counter to our values," said delegate Dr. Erin Tracy, an Ob/Gyn from Stoneham, Mass. "It's dehumanizing," she commented during a Sunday hearing of the AMA's legislative committee. Female inmates "need to be provided adequate compassionate care."

The American Medical Association (AMA) adopted a resolution to prohibit the shackling of women during labor -- a practice outlawed in seven states but still used in some prisons and hospitals for inmates who are giving birth.

The resolution was introduced by a group of ObGyns along with several state medical societies and adopted by the AMA's full House of Delegates on Tuesday by a voice vote.

California, Illinois, New Mexico, New York, Texas, Vermont, and Colorado all have laws discouraging the practice of shackling female inmates during labor. The AMA's resolution calls on the doctors' group to write draft legislation that other states could use as a model to pass their own antishackling laws. Read more.

Gray Panthers Oppose Nancy Pelosi On Health Care Bill


Gray Panthers Oppose Nancy Pelosi On Health Care Bill
By Joan Wile

The fight for a single payer health care bill is not over, if the Gray Panthers have anything to do with it. In no uncertain terms, they told House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's staff on May 26 that the so-called "reform" health care legislation was not acceptable to their organization. Although there are a few aspects of the bill that they deem adequate, for the most part they cannot support it.

"Since 1970, the Gray Panthers have always fought for a single payer system, and we are still committed to that objective," said Susan Murany, Executive Secretary of the group, who attended the meeting in Pelosi's office, along with others representing organizations advocating for seniors.

Ms. Murany explained to the Speaker's staff that the Panthers demand a Single Payer system or, at the very least, a Public Option plan with teeth -- one for EVERYbody only. That is certainly not the case now, inasmuch as there is no public option at all in the current bill.

The other participants at the meeting in the Speaker's office, all leading organizations dedicated to seniors' issues, did not oppose the new legislation openly. Only Ms. Murany objected, expressing the Panthers' dissatisfaction and their resolve to keep struggling for a single payer system.

Mental illness epidemic swamps Iraq facilities

What we brought to the Iraqi People, as we have others, for no reason, and what we'll once again walk away from, as we have others, not just the present mental issues but the present to long lasting physical results, happening to many at any time even those yet born, of occupations!!

100 psychiatrists serve nation of 30 million psychologically shattered by war

 

Military Neglecting Fort Hood Soldiers' Medical Needs

Military Neglecting Fort Hood Soldiers' Medical Needs
By Dahr Jamail | Truthout

At least 50 soldiers from Fort Hood who have medical profiles that should prohibit them from military training have been sent to the National Training Center (NTC) at Fort Irwin, California, regardless of their conditions.

Truthout spoke with some of these soldiers on June 7, before they were to fly back to Fort Hood the next day.

"We were brought out here to NTC after being told we would be given some of the best medical treatment out here," a soldier who is an Iraq war veteran diagnosed with post-traumatic-stress disorder (PTSD), speaking on condition of anonymity because he feared military reprisals, told Truthout. "But when we were here at Ft. Irwin, nobody would see us. It took my wife calling the Chaplain to get my medication refilled. We've gone a month without seeing a psychiatrist. Some of us see them weekly, some twice a week and we haven't been able to receive any of this."

This, despite the soldier having been given his PTSD diagnosis by the military itself. Read more.

Brain Injury Investigation: Army Responds

After the first part of the report by Danny Zwerdling and T. Christian Miller of NPR and ProPublica there was the following, before the second part, that aired on the NPR show 'Talk of the Nation'.

Army Responds To Brain Injury Investigation

 

Guests Danny Zwerdling, NPR national desk correspondent and Gen. Peter Chiarelli, U.S. Army Vice Chief of Staff

June 9, 2010 An NPR investigation found that the U.S. military often fails to diagnose traumatic brain injuries in troops who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. The investigation also revealed that many soldiers receive little or no treatment for lingering health problems after suffering brain injuries.

NPR Player to stream discussion

Support the Nurses and Patients - On Strike

The patients they care for!

I'm not going to add much to this, it explains itself and many nurses around the country know what's going on, I'm not a nurse. I have heard from friends who are as this was building to today, and many of them are unemployed, some for long periods, and get find jobs, in what's been touted as one area of the economy in dire need of, because of what the Hospitals have been doing to those nurses still working and others. Hospital have become, like the rest of the businesses and more, Industries, that which they shouldn't be!

The corporate mindset we've seen develop over the last three decades is well embedded in all the industries and Hospitals, like Schools, All Education, should Not Be Industries!! But we've been watching the mindset these last couple of years as it collapsed, Wall Street, Banks,Auto,Oil.................................you name it!

Combat's Hidden Toll: 1 in 10 Soldiers Report Mental Health Problems

Combat's Hidden Toll: 1 in 10 Soldiers Report Mental Health Problems
Soldiers Report PTSD Symptoms and Other Mental Health Problems
By Kim Carollo | ABC News

 

"A high number of those that had symptoms of PTSD and depression also reported some aspect of impairment," said Jeffrey L. Thomas, one of the study's co-authors. "The range was about 9 to 14 percent." Depression rates ranged from 5 percent to 8.5 percent. But by using a less stringent definition of PTSD, they found between 20 and 30 percent of soldiers showed symptoms of PTSD, while they found between 11.5 to 16 percent of them were depressed.

Even though he's retired from active military duty, CSM Samuel Rhodes still suffers from deep emotional wounds.

"I had to take this afternoon off from work today because of anxiety," he said. "And sometimes, if I'm going through a really tough time, I think about suicide."

He spent nearly 30 years in the Army and recently spent 30 straight months deployed in Iraq where he, like many soldiers, witnessed some of the horrors of war.

"In April 2005, it started to eat me up because I started losing one soldier after another," Rhodes said. "We lost 37 soldiers that were in my unit." Read more.

Investigative Journalism into Combat Traumatic Brain Injuries

Daniel Zwerdling {link takes you to a page of his reports}, of NPR, has been doing stellar investigative reporting on PTSD and TBI, now for a number of years, as the two occupations we're engaged in continued on. It took the media a few years to finally grasp what was already known as to the results of War on the soldiers we send. Even with the some four decades of many of us Vietnam Veterans, as well as other Veterans, and the Civilians who recognized those results and have been speaking out about. Like everything else the public either ignored or certainly didn't want to hear. We didn't have the present day technology and sadly it's taking two more long occupations for the realities to finally speak of what happens and reach more and more people who now can't ignore.

Baucus 8 One Year Later: A Path to Victory

On May 5, 2009, 8 health advocates stood up to the members of the Senate Finance Committee, chaired by Senator Max Baucus, to expose the exclusion of the health reform favored by the majority of people in America: a single payer/national improved Medicare for All health program. Industry lobbyists were invited to testify before the committee while single payer leaders were excluded despite a request to participate. The advocates, who became known as the Baucus 8, gathered one year later to discuss their motivations for speaking out on that day.

Please view this short video and check out the longer piece linked at the end if you would like to learn more about getting involved in the movement for true health reform:

Speaking Events

2016

 

March 24, Boone, NC.

 

March 25, Asheville, NC
Battery Park Apartments, 1 Battle Square, rooftop room, noon - 2 p.m.
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War Is A Lie: Second Edition
Published April 5, 2016
Tour begins here:

April 11, Washington, DC, 6:30-8:00 p.m. at Busboys and Poets at 5th and K Streets.
Sign up on FB.

 

April 12, Baltimore, MD, 7:30 p.m. at Red Emma's.
Sign up on FB.

 

April 14, Bellingham, WA, 7:00-9:00 p.m. at Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship.
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April 15, Seattle, WA
Town Hall Seattle
1119 Eighth Ave (8th and Seneca) 
Seattle, WA 98101
7:30pm
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April 16 Portland, OR

 

April 24, Oneonta, NY at Unitarian Universalist Society of Oneonta.
5:30 discussion with students.
7:00 talk and Q&A with everyone.
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May 28, San Francisco, CA
11 a.m. to 1 p.m., David Swanson interviewed by Daniel Ellsberg, at San Francisco Main Public Library, 100 Larkin Street.
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May 28, Marin County, CA
4 to 6 p.m., David Swanson in conversation with Norman Solomon, at Book Passage, 51 Tamal Vista Blvd., Corte Madera, CA
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May 29, Oakland, CA
3 to 4 p.m., David Swanson interviewed by Cindy Sheehan, at Diesel: A Bookstore, 5433 College Avenue at Kales (near Manila), Oakland, CA
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May 29, Berkeley, CA
7:30 to 9 p.m., David Swanson and Cindy Sheehan at Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists, sponsored by the Social Justice Committee and Cynthia Papermaster, 1606 Bonita Ave. (at Cedar), Berkeley, CA
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May 30, Fresno, CA
2 to 4 p.m., David Swanson and Cindy Sheehan at a Peace Fresno event

 


June 11 St. Paul, MN, 6 p.m. at Macalester Plymouth Church Social Hall 1658 Lincoln, St. Paul, MN.
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June 12 Minneapolis, MN, 9 and 11 a.m. at St. Joan's 4533 3rd Ave So, Minneapolis, MN, plus peace pole dedication at 2 p.m.
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Other Events Here.

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