Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Posts Tagged ‘burn pits’

Light at the end of the Biden tunnel

Posted by M. C. on December 2, 2020

Biden didn’t realize that he had killed his own son, Beau, until Sergeant Hickman wrote a book about it. The burn pits in Iraq caused brain cancer in vets. Hickman included a whole chapter about Beau.

Biden pushed for the Iraq war, which got his son killed.

Biden, and others responsible for starting the war in Iraq, are now taking back power. Scott and Stephen Zunes recently discussed the details.

But there is hope.

It’s possible that the death of his son has softened Biden on the wars.

And most importantly, Biden has promised to end U.S. support for the war in Yemen, which is currently the world’s worst human rights disaster. Trump, for all of his anti-war talk, has failed to end any wars.
  When did you first become anti-war? There are many like you, who would be anti-war if they heard the right message.

You can meet others like you in Scott’s private Reddit group. Make memes and share them. Get the word out. Join by donating $5 or more a month.
Join Scott’s Reddit Group Here’s a meme from Scott’s interview with Stephen Zunes

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The Pentagon Took Money for Covid-19 Relief and Bought… More Weapons – Original

Posted by M. C. on October 3, 2020

The military says that the “health” of the defense industry is crucial to national security. But the CARES Act money was specifically allocated to protect the health of the people of this country – not the companies that build weapons.

Burn pits, agent orange and sacking a carrier captain for putting the health of his crew over government PR should tell you what the pentagram thinks of soldiers health.

by Phyllis Bennis

As the pandemic continues to claim lives across the country, new information keeps coming out about how the Trump administration has made it harder for Americans to protect themselves.

We now know, for example, that early in the pandemic the U.S. Postal Service had planned to deliver five face masks to every US household. It could have made mask-wearing a lot more common a lot earlier – and maybe saved a lot of lives. But the White House scrapped the idea.

Now we also know that the Trump administration took $1 billion in stimulus funds that were supposed to go towards making masks and other protective equipment for the pandemic – and gave most of it to weapons manufacturers.

Those funds were part of $10.6 billion in CARES Act money allocated to the Pentagon – a staggering sum, especially since the bloated military budget already claims 53 cents of every discretionary federal dollar available to Congress.

The Pentagon’s CARES money was supposed to help military employees and military families survive the pandemic.

The $1 billion in question was granted under a special law that lets the Pentagon require companies to manufacture urgently needed goods in case of a national emergency. This time, it was to make sure companies producing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), like N-95 masks, ventilators, and more, were making all they could.

But most of that money didn’t go to making PPE at all. Trump’s defense department gave it to corporations that make jet engines, drone flight controllers, and dress uniforms for the military. Two-thirds of it was distributed in big contracts worth more than $5 million each.

The military says that the “health” of the defense industry is crucial to national security. But the CARES Act money was specifically allocated to protect the health of the people of this country – not the companies that build weapons.

This comes at a moment when US military spending is already near all-time highs – and when military contractors are doing better than lots of other companies.

“Major defense contractors such as Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, and Northrop Grumman,” the Washington Post reports, “have remained financially healthy despite some pandemic-related disruption, and have continued to pay stock dividends to investors.”

Indeed, the CEOs of those companies rank among the highest paid corporate executives in the country. Last year General Dynamics’s CEO raked in $18 million, Northrup Grumman’s made $20 million, and Lockheed-Martin’s pulled in a whopping $31 million.

Still, many of those same military corporations paid out of the $1 billion Pentagon slush fund also applied for – and received – funds from the federal Paycheck Protection Program that Congress designated specifically to prevent COVID-related layoffs. These extra Pentagon grants came on top of that, except without any requirements to protect jobs. Those companies could take the money and still fire as many employees as they want.

An additional $1 billion would have made a huge difference in the fight against COVID-19. My colleagues created a federal budget calculator. It shows that $1 billion could have funded nearly 28 million COVID-19 tests or purchased over 294 million N-95 respirator masks.

What makes us safer in the pandemic – access to more testing and a lot more face masks, or helping military corporations and their CEOs make a killing on our tax money?

Add that to the canceled Postal Service plan to distribute hundreds of millions more masks, and the record keeps getting more appalling. Make no mistake: The Trump administration’s heartlessness and militarism are costing lives.

Phyllis Bennis directs the New Internationalism Project at the Institute for Policy Studies. She’s the author of Understanding ISIS and the New Global War on Terror: A Primer. Reprinted with permission from OtherWords.

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Landmark Bill Would Designate 12 Illnesses as Connected to Burn Pits |

Posted by M. C. on September 16, 2020

“This is a moral outrage. It’s also a looming crisis that must be addressed. Burn pits are so dangerous that they are outlawed on U.S. soil, but they were used all over the world. … Many of our veterans have no time to spare,” Gillibrand said during a press conference in front of the U.S. Capitol.

We have met the enemy and he is us – Pogo

By Patricia Kime

Lawmakers introduced legislation Tuesday that would streamline the process for veterans to receive disability benefits for diseases that may be related to exposure to burn pits and other battlefield pollutants.

Bolstered by the support of advocate and comedian Jon Stewart, who successfully led the effort to continue financial support for victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., and Rep. Raul Ruiz, D-Calif., announced a bill to remove a Department of Veterans Affairs requirement that veterans prove a link between a dozen diseases and exposure to burn pits and other toxins.


Read Next: Court Argument Seeks Reversal of HIV Policies

Instead, former service members would only have to provide documentation to the VA that they served at least 15 days in one of 33 countries listed in the proposed legislation.

“This is a moral outrage. It’s also a looming crisis that must be addressed. Burn pits are so dangerous that they are outlawed on U.S. soil, but they were used all over the world. … Many of our veterans have no time to spare,” Gillibrand said during a press conference in front of the U.S. Capitol.


“Service members are coming home from the battlefield only to become delayed casualties of war … drawing parallels to Agent Orange and 9/11 exposures,” said Ruiz, who serves as co-chair of the Congressional Burn Pit Caucus.

The monumental proposal could have an impact on more than 3 million veterans who have served since Aug. 2, 1990, in one of the countries and have a listed illness, similar to the landmark Agent Orange Act of 1991, which designated more than a dozen diseases as presumed to be caused by exposure to toxic herbicides used in Vietnam.

The illnesses include: asthma diagnosed after deployment to a listed country or territory; any type of cancer; chronic bronchitis; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; constrictive bronchiolitis; emphysema; granulomatous disease; interstitial lung disease; lymphoma; pleuritis; pulmonary fibrosis; and sarcoidosis.

The countries and territories listed include Afghanistan, Bahrain, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Diego Garcia, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Libya, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan and Yemen.

Danielle Robinson’s husband, Army Sgt. 1st Class Heath Robinson, deployed with the Ohio National Guard to Iraq in 2006, where he worked at Camp Liberty, nicknamed “Camp Trashcan” for its large burn pit. Robinson later developed a rare type of lung cancer that his doctor said “could only be due to toxic exposure.”

He died in May.

Robinson said she was denied by the VA caregiver program even though she needed to quit her job as a physical therapist to care for her husband as he struggled with his illnesses.

“My husband is dead because America has poisoned its soldiers,” Robinson said during the press conference.

More than 250 burn pits operated at U.S. military bases in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, used to dispose of all types of garbage, including plastics, batteries, tires, computers, office equipment, animal carcasses, household trash and hospital waste.

Concern over the health threat they posed initially arose in 2006, when Air Force Lt. Col. Darrin Curtis, a bioenvironmental flight commander for Joint Base Balad, Iraq, noted that the 10-acre-wide burn pit there posed a “acute health hazard for individuals” and the “possibility for chronic health hazards associated with the smoke.”

But troops and military contractors weren’t made aware of the potential hazard until Army Times journalist Kelly Kennedy first began reporting on the issue in 2008.

In addition to respiratory illnesses, young service members have developed cancers and other illnesses not usually seen in people their age. After years of silence on the issue of his son Beau Biden’s death from glioblastoma, a brain cancer, presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden told PBS reporter Judy Woodruff in 2018 that burn pits may have a “carcinogenic impact on the body.”

The National Academy of Sciences released a report Friday concluding that, while there is scientific evidence to link chronic respiratory symptoms like wheezing and coughing to burn pits, few studies exist that could conclusively connect exposure to burn pits and other airborne pollutants to diseases seen in veterans.

An 11-member advisory panel said their conclusions did not mean there is no link, only that the research or data did not exist to prove one.

The VA also has consistently cited a 2011 report by the same scientific advisory body that there is insufficient evidence to draw conclusions on the long-term health effects of burn pits.

Stewart called the arguments “bull—-.”

“The only difference between the first responders at Ground Zero who are dying of toxic exposures is that was caused as a result of a terrorist attack. … Veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan are suffering from the same illnesses and same exposures as the result of the actions of our own government,” Stewart said.

More than 212,000 veterans have enrolled in VA’s Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry, a congressionally mandated database for veterans to self-report their deployments and any health-related consequences.

In addition to airborne exposures, the bill would cover former service members affected by contact to chemical weapons, nerve agents or other battlefield toxins, such as those encountered by troops assigned to Karshi-Khanabad Air Base in Uzbekistan, according to Gillibrand.

The bill, the Presumptive Benefits for War Fighters Exposed to Burn Pits and Other Toxins Act, has little chance of passing in the last 24 days of the legislative year. But Stewart said that he, along with advocate John Feal and numerous veterans service organizations, will continue fighting.

“We always have money for the war. We never have money for the warfighter,” Stewart said. “Today, we plant the flag, and we are going to exhibit the relentlessness of the warfighter.”

— Patricia Kime can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @patriciakime.

Related: Lawmakers Call for Action on Burn Pit Exposure

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Warparty Whores

Posted by M. C. on January 12, 2020


WASHINGTON — Here’s how area members of Congress voted on major issues during the legislative week ending Jan. 10.


Asserting congressional control over war with Iran:

The House on Thursday voted 224-194 to require the administration to obtain advance congressional approval for military actions against Iran or its proxy forces except when there is an imminent threat to the United States, its armed forces or territories. The measure invoked the 1973 War Powers Resolution, which asserts the power of Congress to declare war under Article I of the Constitution. The war-powers law has never been successfully used to end hostilities abroad.

Last year, the House and Senate invoked it to end America’s military involvement in Yemen’s civil war, but President Trump vetoed the measure. U.S.

Rep. Mike Kelly, R-16th Dist.: No. U.S. Rep. Glenn Thompson, R-15th Dist. :


Kelly and Thompson are warparty water carriers. The funny part is “an imminent threat to the United States, its armed forces“. We have military bases covering the entire planet. Anything that happens can be contorted to represent a threat to armed forces or embassies.

Regulating cancer-linked “PFAS” chemicals: Voting 247-159, the House on Friday passed a bill (HR 535) that would give the Environmental Protection Agency one year to designate a class of chemicals known as “PFAS” for coverage by the federal Superfund law, which requires abandoned toxic sites to be cleaned up and imposes retroactive liability on those responsible for the pollution. The designation would require cleanup actions near scores of military bases and manufacturing sites throughout the United States where PFAS compounds have leached into groundwater and drinking water. The bill also would require the EPA to set standards for PFAS air emissions and levels in drinking water. PFAS are perfluoroalkyl and polyfl uoroalkyl substances included in firefighting foam used at airports and military installations and in nonstick cookware and some personal care and household products. The compounds have been linked to kidney, liver, testicular and pancreatic cancers; infertility; weakened immune systems and impaired childhood development. Kelly: No.

Thompson: No.

would require cleanup actions near scores of military bases

Kelly and Thompson are warparty water carriers. The US government is one of the worst polluters. Think US groundwater, cancer rates in Subic Bay or Middle East burn pits. It cares not for innocents nor it’s own soldiers.

— Voterama in Congress

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Like Agent Orange before, burn pits sicken new generation of veterans | Tampa Bay Times

Posted by M. C. on October 18, 2017

Government as killing machine. It doesn’t care who.

Thinks of what the hundreds of bases in the US and overseas do to the local citizens.

The new agent orange.

TAMPA — D.J. Reyes served as a top Army intelligence officer in combat zones across Iraq and Afghanistan.

“Those were long days, long nights, a lot of stress, a horrible environment,” Reyes said. “But I had a mission to do.”

When he retired, a doctor found scar tissue on his lungs, evidence of long-term respiratory problems.

Now Reyes is one of nearly 120,000 people who have registered with the Department of Veterans Affairs because of health problems they blame on their exposure to burn pits — the military’s crude, low-tech method for disposing of trash in war zones. Read the rest of this entry »

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