Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Veterans Administration Ending Hepatitis C Treatments

There is something going on at the Veterans Hospital that is making me angry. It should damn well make you angry too! The Republican driven budget cuts to the warriors of our nation are having deadly effect NOW!  It is a betrayal of our citizen soldiers. Let me explain.

Hepatitis C (HCV) is a dangerous illness that kills many people by attacking the cells of their liver. After a number of years, and with no symptoms, HCV can cause cirrhosis and cancer of the liver, leading to an untimely and painful death. This is a blood born illness, and can only be transmitted by blood to blood contact. Being such, our military have a higher incidence of HCV than the general population. Also it is suspected that many thousands of troops were inadvertently infected with HCV as a result of the use of Jet Guns for inoculations.

Jet Gun Injection
I had hepatitis C. The Veterans Hospital helped me rid my body of that horrible virus. It wasn't easy either. I had to take a combination of antiviral drugs called Ribavirin and Interferon. The side effects were hell on Earth, but it did cure me after a grueling 48 week treatment. People have it much better now a days. There is a new drug that is way more effective, takes less time, and with less side effects to cure people of HCV. That miracle drug is Sovaldi.

There seems to be a big problem with this drug even with its amazing effectiveness. It has a super high cost. In the United States, Sovaldi costs $1,000 a pill, or $84,000 for a typical 12-week course of treatment. Our government was able to pull off a deal with the makers of this drug, Gilead Sciences. They are only charging the VA $540 per pill. That still translates to $45,360 for one drug to treat one veteran for hepatitis C. That doesn't even account for the other drugs that must be taken along with Sovaldi, or the other services that must be rendered.

Now we have Republicans, who don't care one iota for veterans except as a tool to secure oil, cutting money to care for them. Then while leaving our Vets hanging, they offer huge tax cuts to the richest people in our civilization. The very people, who the Vets helped to get all those billions of dollars, paid super-Pacs to influence congress to do this despicable thing. This is a slap in the face of the veterans, and now the effects are becoming evident.

I met with a friend who wanted to tell me something yesterday. It had to do with this issue. This person, who asked not to be identified, is directly involved with the Veterans Administration Hepatitis C program. I was told by them that the VA is cutting the Hepatitis C program because it can no longer be afforded. So my big question is, why is it that Gilead Sciences, for the very same drug, sells it for less than $1,800 for a 24-week course of treatment in India? I don't want anyone in India to suffer, but they aren't any more deserving than our Veterans. They didn't put their lives on the line so companies like Gilead Sciences can be free to operate. So why do they get special treatment, and our Veterans get a boot in the ass?

This isn't a freaken game here! People, our warriors, are going to die from liver cancer and/or other complications of HCV because of the Republican zeal to serve their corporate masters. I'll tell you as a Veteran. I would rather a bomb hit me point blank in battle, than to be taken by some minuscule speck. To be taken by some viral agent years after the battle has ended is like sweet revenge for the enemy. That enrages me. It should you too!

A lot of the time when I am at the VA, I meet homeless Veterans. I met one yesterday that struck a cord in me. He was sitting there on the bench looking like he had been homeless for a while. I doubt he was any older than 25. He had a bottle of hot sauce it looked like, and was putting some in his hand and licking it. After a few minutes he asked me if I could spare some change so he could get some chips. I emptied all I had in my pockets of change for him. We talked for a bit too.

I asked him about himself, and also asked if he had ever heard of Bernie Sanders. When I meet a homeless person, and especially when a Vet I tell them of Bernie Sanders. I ask them to register to vote and vote for our man Bernie because it is these very same people who need the help the most. Getting those jobs back from China and Vietnam and the other places, along with the other things we'll do with Bernie Sanders will help get homeless people back the jobs they deserve to have as Americans. There is a vast ocean of voters out there in the homeless and dispossessed. Don't ignore them. Embrace them as the brothers and sisters they are. As American as any one of you, and just as deserving of a fair break.

The young, homeless Veteran I talked to told me he has hepatitis C. He found out when he was donating blood plasma for money, as so many homeless people do. Now that he is a known carrier of HCV he will never be able to give plasma, therefore he loses a vital, and maybe last stream of cash available to him. I know this stuff is true because the same thing happened to me. If it wasn't for food stamps I would of starved, but that is another issue, but still connected.

I don't know how the young Veteran became homeless, and I didn't ask. All I knew was that there was a young citizen warrior on the ropes. Someone who just like me only a few years ago, desperately needed help. I got the impression he wasn't informed as to the help he can get, so I told him to get in there and see the doctor. I told him of how they cured me of HCV, and the other things the VA did to help me survive. While telling him of the things he could take advantage of, I seen something that was wonderful. I seen hope.

Damn it guys! If one of our fellows is sitting there homeless on a bench, eating hot sauce because that is all he has left, Veteran or not we have a moral obligation to help them. It is not a choice to make. It is a requirement.

The Republican Party, and billionaires like the Koch brothers, have betrayed our people, and our Veterans. They have purposefully, and for greedy purpose conspired to withhold from the people their birthright as Americans. Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness seems to be something that only a part of our society is allowed. If a poor man like myself can empty out his pockets for a homeless brother sitting on a bench eating hot sauce, billionaires and millionaires can help take care of our fellows too!

Support Bernie Sanders for President. Register to vote if you haven't already, then vote for Democratic Senators and Congresspersons. Write, or call your representatives in government and demand that this Republican caused nightmare for our Veterans be stopped, and that the Veterans Administration's Hepatitis C program, and the others be fully funded. Urge our people in government to use 28 USC 1498 to force Gilead Sciences to stop gouging our nation to care for her Vets. Get angry! Get proactive! 

Friday, June 5, 2015

Washington Post Spreads Misinformation About Bernie Sanders by using Questionable Sources

Okay guys, this is a long one. So please bare with me, and see what we're up against.

George F. Will of the Washington Post writes, "This means three things — heavy government regulation of commercial activities, government provision of a “social safety net” and redistribution of wealth through progressive taxation and entitlement programs."

Senator Bernie Sanders -Vermont
Fish Kill on Milwaukee Beach 1960's
It is statements like this that angers me when I read them. Let me explain why. For one, industry hasn't been very responsible with our environment. Our people have had to fight to keep clean drinking water, and breathable air. I remember when I was 8 years old and looked into the Milwaukee River and seen the scum of pollution and dead fish who were its victims. I remember the stink of it. There was a time when the air in a lot of major cities was a serious health hazard. We fought for a change, and got the EPA. Industry had to be forced to act responsibly. Still we have to keep a weary eye on them every waking moment because a lot of them shirk the rules, and try to dump their toxins into OUR environment. I've personally seen it when I worked for the aircraft industry. I have seen Alodine washed into an unprotected ditch when I worked on the C-130 in Lake City Florida.

Alodine is a highly toxic substance. It is a chromate conversion coating for aluminum, contains chromium(IV) oxide, barium nitrate, sodium silicofluoride and ferricyanide. When I was a young man back in 1983, and not so informed, we took wing sections out to a spot to apply this toxic brew. There was 55 gal. barrels of it with a mop. We would slop the Alodine onto our wing section, then hose it off with water. The runoff went into a unprotected ditch. We did this over and again. I bet the ditch is still contaminated by that hazardous chemical. Check out this MSDS info on it;

 ~Section 3 - Hazards Identification * * *
Emergency Overview: DANGER -- CORROSIVE! Contact with this material will cause burns to the skin, eyes and mucous membranes.

May cause blindness. Contact with broken skin may result in ulcers. Prolonged or repeated breathing may cause ulceration of nasal membranes. Following skin exposure to this product, the sensation of irritation or pain may be delayed. Cancer Hazard. Contains material which can cause cancer.

Eye Contact: This product is severely irritating to the eyes and may cause irreversible damage including burns and blindness.

Skin Contact: Contact with broken skin may lead to formation of firmly marginated "chrome sores". Product contains chromium, which may cause an allergic skin sensitization reaction. Massive over exposures may lead to kidney failure and death. Following skin exposure to this product, the sensation of irritation or pain may be delayed.

Skin Absorption: A component in this product may be absorbed through the skin, especially if skin is damaged.

Ingestion: This product may produce corrosive damage to the gastrointestinal tract if it is swallowed.

Inhalation: Inhalation of mists of this product may cause severe irritation and burns to the respiratory tract.~

Aero Corporation wasn't the only time I seen industry act with a free hand in trashing our environment. So we have to have "heavy government regulation of commercial activities" because they will not police themselves.

Koch Brothers
Then he goes on to talk of the "redistribution of wealth through progressive taxation and entitlement programs." The goons in the Republican party, backed by persons like the billionaire Koch Brothers, who themselves have been fined on more than one occasion for pollution our environment, have been successful at redistributing wealth for many years. With all the tax loopholes, tax breaks and government subsidies the wealth has been redistributed from the middle-class to the top 1%.

We all know what they mean by "entitlement programs". They mean Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. The Republicans and the top 1% act like money is being taken out of their pocket when anyone collects on that social pact. They want to eliminate it entirely. In the mean time the despotic Plutocrats get big tax breaks paid for by everyone else, while they scream that "entitlement programs" are bankrupting America. It is a bald-faced lie, and you should reject their pretzel logic once and for all.

Rush Limbaugh

Don't feel bad when you collect on the promise of Social Security. You paid for it, and earned it through your service to our civilization. When anyone says "entitlement programs" as if it is some kind of curse word, you can rest assured they are another mindless thrall, who allows boneheads like Rush Limbaugh tell them how to think.

So we have a “social safety net”. What is so bad about that? Would the greedy, heartless 1% rather people starve in the streets? "Reduce the surplus population of the Earth" is how Mr. Scrooge put it, and aptly too. This is the mind set of the 1% now days.

I say some more "socialism" is called for. The protection of "socialist" programs we already have is called for. I say it because the people entrusted with the betterment of our civilization have done a piss poor job of it.

Look, it is okay to be a rich person. It is not okay to kick a man when he is down just to get another dollar. It is not okay to eat 1000 times what a person can consume, and begrudge our fellow countrymen and women, children and elderly, the sick and infirm a crumb. That is not what my America looks like.

The Republican party uses deception and misdirection as a favorite tool all the time, and this article is no different. The author of the piece in question, George F. Will wrote, "Sanders, who thinks European social democracies are exemplary, evidently thinks America should be more like Greece."

Not once in all the time I've been reviewing Mr. Sanders speeches and writings have I heard him say he wants America to be like Greece. I could have no other conclusion than that, George F. Will is lying. What else can I think? If I am wrong about that, please show me where Mr. Sanders said he wants our nation to be like Greece.

Furthermore I wouldn't take anything this man has to say to the bank. Look at these notes from the wiki on George F Will;

1980 Ronald Reagan presidential campaign

Main article: Debategate

Will helped Ronald Reagan prepare for his 1980 debate against Jimmy Carter. Immediately after the debate, Will—not yet a member of the ABC News staff—appeared on ABC's Nightline. He was introduced by host Ted Koppel, who said "It's my understanding that you met for some time yesterday with Governor Reagan", and that Will "never made any secret of his affection" for the Republican candidate. Will did not explicitly disclose that he had assisted Reagan's debate preparation, or been present during it. He went on to praise Reagan, saying his "game plan worked well. I don't think he was very surprised".[31]
2009 global sea ice level

In a Washington Post column which expressed doubt over the effects of global warming, Will stated that: "According to the University of Illinois' Arctic Climate Research Center, global sea ice levels now equal those of 1979".[35] This and several other claims attracted the attention of environmentalists, such as British author and activist George Monbiot.[36] Asked to respond, the website of Arctic Climate Research at the University of Illinois states that: "We do not know where George Will is getting his information, but our data shows that on February 15, 1979, global sea ice area was 16.79 million sq. km and on February 15, 2009, global sea ice area was 15.45 million sq. km. Therefore, global sea ice levels are 1.34 million sq. km less in February 2009 than in February 1979".[37] Will responded in a column that he accurately reported the Center's information and the challenge was mistaken.[38] This drew a second response from George Monbiot, who insisted Will had not accurately reported the Center's information.[39] The debate continued in several forums, including a subsequent op-ed by Chris Mooney published in The Washington Post challenging Will's assertions.[40]
Rape victimization comments

Will's 6 June 2014 newspaper column about "the supposed campus epidemic of rape" was widely criticized,[41] with U.S. senators and feminists taking Will to task. Wrote Will, "...when [colleges and universities] make victimhood a coveted status that confers privileges, victims proliferate."[42] Will's column sparked an outcry on Twitter, with rape victims recounting their stories of sexual assault and violence.[43] "It takes a particular kind of ignorance to argue that people who come forward to report being raped in college are afforded benefits of any kind," wrote Jessica Valenti in The Guardian."[44] In an open letter to Will, Senators Richard Blumenthal, Dianne Feinstein, Tammy Baldwin and Bob Casey wrote, "Your column suggests that we — including some of us who have worked on this issue for many years – all have missed a subculture on college campuses where survivors of sexual assault are inducted into a privileged class. The culture you described is so antiquated, so counter-intuitive and so contrary to anything we heard that we hope you will make an effort to hear the stories survivors bravely shared with us about the struggles they face in addressing what has happened to them — often with little meaningful assistance from authorities expected to help them."[45] The St. Louis Post-Dispatch dropped Will's column from its pages as a result of the column. "The column was offensive and inaccurate; we apologize for publishing it," editor Tony Messenger wrote.[46] Will responded to the senators in his blog.[47]
2014 Ebola spread claim

In 2014, Will claimed that Ebola could be spread via sneezing, contrary to settled science which say that Ebola can only be spread by direct contact with infected bodily fluids.[48] The comments occurred in a context of Republican criticism of the Obama administration's handling of the 2014 Ebola virus epidemic in West Africa. Politifact rated Will's claim as "False".[49]

Given all that, I would put him next to the Republican machine as another purveyor of false information designed to fool people into voting against their own best interests. That makes him like Rush Limbaugh, or any of the other big money thralls.

This is what we're up against. I think the American people have had enough of their blatant lies, propaganda and misdirection. It is our task to counter their criminal behavior with the truth. We must bring forth the truth in a manner that shows honor, and dignity. We must research the lies and uncover the truth. Use logic, reason and knowledge to change our world for the better, and to deny them who would selfishly try to take what we and our ancestors fought and died for.

We Will Win this battle. As long as we don't give up, or lose hope, we with strong hearts that beat as one, will win. We just have too!