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Veterans Day 2014

My heart break of the morning this just happened and I admit I’m still a bit shaken, but proud.

My son, 9, is into all things military. He’s excited for Veterans Day since his school is having an assembly. He’s picked out red, white, & Blue to wear.

O:”My great grandpa was in WWII right?”
Me: “Yes he was, your other Great Grandpa was a Merchant Marine.”
O: “What’s a Merchant Marine?”
Me: “I’ll tell you later, you come from a long line of people who’ve served in the military including the Civil War and Revolutionary War.”
O: “My grandpa was a Vietnam Veteran…” he trails off…
O pauses at the door adjusts his camo hat and OD ruck sack he carries everyday and says,

“I sure wish your Dad could be at the assembly today,” and walks out….

I burst into tears sobbing feeling sorry for myself, for all of us who have lost a Vietnam Veteran prematurely. Then it occurred to me, that little boy is the embodiment of all those men who have come before him. They will all be there with him inside him.
We never know when grief will hit us even in the innocent words of a child. Thank the veterans you see today. Welcome Vietnam Veterans Home.
We’ll all have a beer for you today Dad.  Plus we will celebrate the men and women who have and are currently serving among us!

Veterans Day 2014
© Children of Vietnam Veterans Health Alliance


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Remembering LeAnne: Another Life Claimed By Agent Orange

Today, Children of Vietnam Veterans Health Alliance is celebrating the life of LeAnne Jordan. LeAnne, the daughter of a deceased Vietnam Veteran passed away November 6th, 2014. Born with multiple birth defects, LeAnne spent 43 years living with the consequences of the U.S. Military’s decision to dump 18 million gallons of dioxin laden herbicide on South Vietnam. LeAnne became a member of Children of Vietnam Veterans Health Alliance in 2013.
Her first post caught the attention of all of us.

AO has claimed another life. This time, it is my own.”

She went on to describe a recent stay in ICU for bleeding on her brain and her decision to come home with the aid of home hospice care.

“I’ve signed all the paperwork, have spoken with my family and we all had a meeting with a social worker, my doctors, and a psych doctor. My life has been leading up to this decision for a very long time, and it feels freeing.”

The following months included cards and flowers being sent to LeAnne from other members who are also Children of Vietnam Veterans from our group. The small gestures were to encourage her, to wish her devoted mother well, and to let her know she was not walking this journey alone; instead she had a whole extended group of peers who cared about her and her family.

I personally was drawn to LeAnne because of her strong words, bravery and her compassion towards her mother, sister, and brother. I am the co-founder of Children of Vietnam Veterans Health Alliance and also a transgenerational victim of Agent Orange. I messaged with her  and discovered she had been born with multiple birth defects and endured a lifetime of medical problems. She also disclosed her siblings have auto immune disorders; her sister has multiple sclerosis and her brother celiacs disease.

“I was born with kidney disease, a blood clotting disorder and heart condition. I have had 3 kidney transplants, 3 heart attacks, spontaneous bleeding on the brain twice and three strokes. I did 6 years of dialysis between transplants and have had more than 50 surgeries. I’m tired. I have struggled for a long time and I really am at peace with my decision.”

LeAnne disclosed her Father was a Vietnam Veteran who had been stationed in Da Nang, 1967-1968 and had been exposed to Agent Orange. He developed myelodysplastic syndrome then Leukemia. He passed away in 2011. Her parents were high school sweethearts. Her family believes her birth defects and her sibling’s auto immune disorders were caused by her father’s exposure to Agent Orange, the war time herbicide, produced by Monsanto, Dow and others. The dioxin contaminated plant killer was used by the United States Military from 1961-1971 all over South Vietnam.

Off and on, I would check in with her to see how she was doing. If she was awake and able, she would reply with a quick message. The things she would share on her social media page or with our group would always teach me something. This post for example stuck with me:

Different ways people react in the face of a loved one dying.

  1. There is the helper. This person will do it all for you, whatever you need. Paperwork. Hand holding. Making sure you are getting all you need. The helper is a God send, a blessing to behold.
  2. The true griever. This is the one who loves you most. Who wishes this wasn’t happening and they could runaway. But they won’t run. They will be right there, even if they don’t always know what to say. They let their anxiety build inside. You might find this person at 5am reorganization everything in every closet in the house.
  3. The “I can’t handle it”. You were my rock. I tell you I’m dying and get a couple of words regarding how it makes you feel and then it’s over. To you, I’m already gone and you “can’t handle it” so you just move on.
  4. The ancient acquaintances. People you knew in High school or worked with but were never really friends but suddenly have great praise to reap on you. “Oh I knew her in 1988. She’s a great girl!” At first this one kind of aggravated me. But now I realize people grieve in different ways. At 42, when you find out someone you once knew in HS (meaning YOUR age) is dying, you feel the need to say something, anything. I’ve actually come to love this quiet, personal messages.
  5. True Friends. Lifelong friends who will come to you and you will feel the sadness just overwhelming them, but you will see the understanding as well. They’ve been there through your fight and they know this choice is yours.
  6. The angry ones. These people can’t understand why the doctor can’t fix you. They want to know why no one called them sooner. They can’t understand letting go and think there must be a doctor somewhere who can fix you.

and finally….

  1. The Fred. (My Pug) He knows. He doesn’t like it, but he knows. He won’t let you near me without checking you out first. If you get too close, he will get closer to me and let you know I’m his…hands off.

    agent orange children

Some people are a combination of two or more of these things, but it’s what it is. I accept people grieve differently.

LeAnne was not married and did not have children, however, she had nieces and nephews.

“I am sad when I think of what I will miss, my nieces & nephews growing up…but I think I’m most sad for my mom.”

When she was physically able she was educating everyone she knew about death and dying to prepare others for her departure, like this post:

Things I need you to know.

  1. I’m not sad. I’m tired. I feel a huge sense of relief.
  2. I wish things could’ve been different, there was always a lot of things I wanted to try or do an just wasn’t healthy enough.
  3. I remember all the times people asked me to go places and I made some lame excuse and sad no, then hung up the phone and cried. I WANTED to go. I just couldn’t.
  4. I’m sorry I missed your birthday party, graduation, wedding, bbq etc…I truly am. I wanted to be there. From now on I won’t miss a single one.
  5. I know there were people who thought I was weird or maybe even just lazy, but I knew how it could look from the outside looking in.
  6. I loved with my whole heart. My family means the world to me. There are flaws, but everyone has flaws. No one on earth has ever loved a flawless person, except those who have loved Jesus.
  7. I wish I could’ve done more for my mother. She is my angel. She put up with a hell of a lot and she would never complain to me. She would get anxious and irritable but she never said I was the cause.
  8. There are some people in your life who don’t deserve to be there, and that is a sad fact. Being a blood relative does not mean they get an automatic pass to instill drama into your life and into the lives of those you love. It doesn’t mean you don’t love them (maybe it does) it just means they can’t be part of your life. God Bless ‘em if they ever find true happiness.
  9. It really is all about how you make others feel. Help people, make people smile, just little things every day like helping someone with their groceries or putting a 5 or 10 in someone’s mailbox just to brighten their day. Love really isn’t about how you feel about a person, it’s more about how that person makes you feel.

When posts from LeAnne slowed, we all knew her passing was inevitable. On the morning of November 6th, 2014 LeAnne’s sister posted the news to the membership. Our sister through similar circumstances had slipped this world. LeAnne is now free from the body that tried to destroy her spirit without success since the day she was born.

“It’s going to be much harder on those I leave behind. I have the easy part from here on out. I want to thank-you all for your support. I wish you all the very best. It could be 5 days, or it could be 5 months…but it won’t be in the hospital, and it will be on my own terms.”- LeAnne Jordan (1971-2014)


Other Posts From LeAnne and Her Anger Towards The Government For Killing Her and Her Father 

Agent Orange Death


This picture was taken when my dad left for Viet Nam. That’s my mom reaching for him. I’m 42. My dad served in Da Nang, Vietnam in 67/68. My dad had MDS which developed into Leukemia. He passed away May, 2011. My parents were high school sweethearts. Mom is a tough lady, but it is wearing her down. I was born with kidney disease, a blood clotting disorder and heart condition. I have had 3 kidney transplants, 3 heart attacks, spontaneous bleeding on the brain twice & 3 strokes. I did 6 years of dialysis between transplants and have had more than 50 surgeries. I’m tired. I have struggled for a long time and I really am at peace with my decision. I don’t have children or a husband. I have a sister, a brother and my mom. We are close, but they all understand. Both my sister and my brother were also born with autoimmune disorders. She has MS and he has Celiac. They both have families.


Agent Orange


This is me in my senior picture. I haven’t had my photo taken in a long time. I changed so much with every surgery and every prescription. But this is who I was..

LeAnne Jordan August 3

I wonder how many places I’ve visited for the last time. How many people I’ve seen or talked to. The only thing I know for certain is that I’ll be the last person to die in my lifetime.

LeAnne Jordan May 24

Agent Orange killed my father. Dad had myodysplastic syndrome which developed into Leukemia. He was in Vietnam and died in 2011. A lot of these men AND THEIR CHILDREN) are still fighting a battle some have long ago forgotten. They were forgotten when they came home and they are still lost now. “The link between Agent Orange and multiple myeloma is well established, so much so that even the US Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) states on its website: “Veterans who develop multiple myeloma and were exposed to Agent Orange and other herbicides during military service do not have to prove a connection between their disease and service to be eligible to receive VA health care and disability compensation.” So now the Govt is trying to limit the known locations of the contamination. You screwed the when they came home and you’re still screwing them now. You’re damned right I’m pissed. Sucks to by dying at 42 from a condition/conditions that are still be denied. Ask any of the Children Of Vietnam Veterans Health Alliance and they will tell you the same. The war isn’t over, people. War is NEVER over.

“That’s all for now- LeAnne”

A celebration of life for LeAnne will be this Sunday Nov 9, 2014 @ 4pm.
It will be held at the VFW Hall
50 Peary Terrace

South Portland, Me 04106


Written by Heather Bowser,Co Founder, Children of Vietnam Veterans Health Alliance

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Blue Water Navy Agent Orange Lawsuit

We have been notified that Blue Water Navy lawsuit in regards to Agent Orange benefits
will take place in December in D.C.

The government has moved to dismiss our case based on lack of standing. That means they are questioning whether the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Association is empowered to represent blue water veterans. Having a large turnout of veterans sends a messages.

CMDR John Wells is the attorney on this case. Please attend if you are in the D.C. area or contact your fellow shipmates, veterans, family members who may be able go if you cannot.

Please note the court room for the Blue Water Navy hearing is located at:
Federal Courthouse, 333 Constitution NW, Washington DC, Courtroom #2 on
December 4 at 10:00 A.M.

Attendees should dress conservatively. NO shorts, halters, flip flops or hats allowed. Everyone in the gallery should be quiet during the proceedings and not try to overtly influence anything by applause, laughing, booing or anything of that nature. It is a federal court and they are serious about decorum.

Susie Belanger
Special Projects Director
Blue Water Navy Association
Deputy Chief of Staff
Military-Veterans Advocacy, Inc.

agent orange blue watre navy

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*******URGENT CALL TO ACTION****************

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, ignoring more than 60 members of Congress and a half a million citizens, has officially approved a deadly new herbicide, Dow’s Enlist Duo, made from a combination of Monsanto’s Roundup and Dow’s “Agent Orange” 2,4-D.


We need every person who sees this post to take to the phones and call Dow, the EPA and the White House.

Dow Chemical: (800) 258-2436
Gina McCarthy, EPA Director: (202) 564-4700
EPA Pesticide Hotline: (800) 258-7378
White House Switchboard: (202) 456-1111 or (202) 456-1414

Suggested comments:

Simply put, Enlist Duo is a very bad idea. This will drive a massive increase in pesticide use that threatens to destroy vulnerable crops, while placing the burden of both increased costs and health risks on farmers and rural communities.

2,4-D is a very toxic herbicide. It is a suspected endocrine disruptor and has been linked to cancer and reproductive harm. Children are particularly susceptible to its effects.

2,4-D is much more harmful to plant life than RoundUp (glyphosate). Specialty crops (like grapes, tomatoes, beans and sweet corn) and non-GE soy and cotton are extremely sensitive to 2,4-D.

2,4-D does and will drift off of target crops. Both spray drift and volatilization drift can devastate adjacent ecosystems and entire landscapes. Such damage poses a very real threat to rural economies and farmers growing non-2,4-D-resistant crops.

Conventional farmers will lose crops, while organic farmers will lose both crops and certification, resulting in an economic unraveling of already-stressed rural communities.

2,4-D-resistant “superweeds” will arise and spread. RoundUp-tolerant “superweeds” have taken over farms and countryside in the Midwest and Southeast, and widespread use of 2,4-D will spur more of the same.


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World Leaders Promote GMOs While They Eat Organic!

If world leaders are promoting genetic but eating organic it means they are aware of the health dangers of processed foods in general and genetically modified foods in particular. The question is why have their knowledge of these dangers not trickled to their conscious minds in agreeing to sign detrimental policies to the foods that ordinary people end up eating.

⇒President Obama eats organic and the First Lady Michelle Obama makes sure all vegetables are grown inhouse or bought from suppliers who grow organic. President Obama overrode the USA Supreme Court to allow GM alfalfa and sugar beets.

⇒President George Bush and family eats ONLY organic

⇒President Bill Clinton insists on an organic diet with grass-fed beef (Walter Scheib, executive chef White House personal honor of serving two unique and interesting first families, but the professional challenge of fulfilling Hillary Clinton’s mandate of bringing contemporary American cuisine and nutritionally responsible food to the White House.”)

⇒Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney eats only organic.

⇒The British Prime Minister David Cameron’s food his wife Samantha ensures comes from Daylesford Farm Shop, a resolutely organic store that proudly never stocks GM foods and sells organic vegetables, meat, baked goods and dairy products produced on the farm.

⇒China’s top brass is fed by an exclusive, gated organic garden while the rest of the population consumes GM food – The political elite in China enjoy the safest of food — organic produce, grass-fed beef from Inner Mongolia, rice free of pesticides, chemicals or genetically modified organisms.

⇒Genetically modified foods are banned from the British Parliament.

⇒Even Monsanto’s own employee’s command non-genetically modified food in their canteen

There is a saying that what is not good for the goose cannot be good for the gander. In other words, why are all those promoting genetically modified foods for the rest of the world not eating GMOs but eating organic? There is a list of politicians that support and promote GE foods as being ‘safe’ and ‘natural’ but privately they and their families eat ONLY organic. If GE Foods are So Great, Why Won’t the Elite Eat Them?

In 2012, food and seed corporations in the US had spent $46million to lobby and defeat Proposition 37 that would have required food companies to list genetically modified ingredients on the labels of its products sold in retail stores. What the labeling would have done was to ensure that GMOs would not be passed as ‘natural’ foods. Though the law would have only affected California that makes up 12% of the US population, food labels would have affected other states too. Food companies only list ingredients, calorie, nutritional value and peanut content. If Europe, Russia, China, Japan, Mexico, Australia etc are also labeling GMOs why doesn’t the US?

The most startling this is to know the companies that have lobbied NOT TO LABEL GMOs. The list is given with the amount they have spent for lobbying against labeling.

BASF, Bayer and Syngenta are subsidiaries of foreign pesticide companies.
Monsanto = $7,100,000.
DuPont = $5,200,000.
PepsiCo Inc. = $2,500,000.
BASF Plant Science = $2,000,000.
Bayer CropScience = $2,000,000.
Dow Agrosciences = $2,000,000.
Syngenta Corp = $2,000,000.
Kraft Foods = $2,000,000.
Coca-Cola = $1,700,000.
Nestle USA = $1,315,400.
ConAgra Foods = $1,200,000.
General Mills = $1,200,000.
Del Monte = $674,000.
Kellogg Co. = $790,700.
Smithfield = $671,000.
Council for Biotechnology Information = $625,000.
Heinz = $500,000.
Hershey Company = $493,900.
J.M. Smucker Co. = $555,000.
Grocery Manufacturers Association = $375,000.
Hormel Foods Corp. = $374,300.
Unilever = $ 460,000.
Mars Food North America = $370,280.
Bimbo Bakeries USA = $422,900.
Ocean Spray Cranberries = $326,500.
Campbell Soup Co. = $320,455.
Pinnacle Foods Group LLC = $266,100.
Dean Foods Co. = $253,950.
Biotech Industry Organization = $250,000.
McCormick & Co. Inc. = $248,200.
Abbott Nutrition (Infant Formulas / Similac) = $230,900.
Rich Products Corp. = $225,500.
Cargill Inc. = $226,800.
Welch’s = $167,000.
Knouse Foods Cooperative = $160,300.
W.M. Wrigley Jr. Co. = $116,900.
Sunny Delight Beverages Co. = $114,500.
Tree Top = $110,300.
Bumble Bee Foods = $98,000.
Sara Lee Corp. = $96,800.
Hillshire Brands (Ball Park, Jimmy Dean) = $86,000.
McCain Foods USA = $50,600.
Dole Packaged Foods Co. = $45,580.
Goya = $ 56,100.
Clorox = $33,000.
S & W = $21,100.

The amount of literature made available in the public domain is sufficient for people to themselves read up and educate themselves. There are scores of alternative ways that people can follow. Home gardening organic food is one good way to start and share what one learns with one’s neighbors and family and start spreading some good news. We need to reharvest the world and we cannot expect greedy politicians or profit making companies to do that.

We must all chip in to protect our planet.


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Vietnam Veterans Exposed to Agent Orange Reach the End of the Line

September 9, 2014

Many Agent Orange exposed, Vietnam Veterans have heard a Veterans Service Officer say,  “Your illness is not on the presumptive illness list, therefore your claim will be denied. Your only hope is to apply, and maybe your illness will be added to the list in the future.”

Today these very veterans are closer to never being acknowledged. The Agent Orange community and Veteran Service Organizations are asleep at the wheel.

Twenty three years ago, Congress passed Public Law 102-4, the Agent Orange Act of 1991.

The Agent Orange Act of 1991, directed Veterans Affairs to engage the National Academy of Sciences to study scientific and medical information regarding the health effects of exposure to herbicides, including Agent Orange used in Vietnam during the Vietnam War.

It also required the National Academy of Science to complete this review every two years, for ten years. When the ten year mark was closing in, the Veterans Education and Benefits act of 2001 was passed. The Veterans Education and benefits act of 2001, extended the period for these biennial reports to 2014.

Through the years, the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine (IOM) have had a significant impact on Vietnam Veterans getting benefits for Agent Orange exposure. The list has grown to fourteen debilitating, often fatal illnesses; including Hodgkin’s Disease, Ischemic Heart disease, Type II diabetes, soft tissue sarcomas, Multiple Myeloma, among others.

For new illnesses to be added to the presumptive list, the IOM committee must show through their review of data, a correlation between herbicide exposure and the presenting illness. Once causation is shown, the IOM gives the data to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs. If the Secretary concludes that a presumption of service connection is warranted, he or she must issue regulations within 60 days of the determination. This process is how illnesses are recognized and veterans are compensated.

If there are no more biennial scientific reviews, there will be no new illnesses added to the presumptive list. The Veterans Education and Benefits Act of 2001 expires in just a few weeks, in October. If something is not done to extend the legislation it is the proverbial, “end of the line,” for many ill, but still hopeful Vietnam Veterans, their families, and their Veterans Service Officers.

Mary Paxton, the study director at the Institute of Medicine, confirmed by telephone Tuesday, the mandate ends in October. She stated there will be one more, Veterans and Agent Orange Update. It will review research that has been completed between 2012 and 2014. As the law stands now, there is just one more opportunity for illnesses to be added to the presumptive list.

The research that will be considered has been completed, now the committee will start its review. Many people will be waiting on the final word from the IOM and the Secretary of Veterans Affairs. What will be added if anything?

This is just another punch to the gut, for Vietnam Veterans who have endured so much uncertainty about their herbicide exposure. Too many unanswered questions remain regarding the long lasting effects of herbicide exposure to give up. The only hope for these Vietnam Veterans is if the studies are extended. It won’t be easy as a legal court challenge in 2007 that sought to extend the studies was defeated.

Veterans and their families need to contact their State Representatives and Veteran service organizations and implore them to fight against letting these studies go away. If this important mandate falls to the way side it will be yet another tragedy in the lives of Vietnam Veterans suffering from Agent Orange exposure.

Heather Bowser, Co Founder and National Coordinator of Children of Vietnam Veterans Health Alliance,, is the daughter of a deceased Vietnam Veteran who died young as a result of his Agent Orange exposure while serving in the Armed Services. Contact Heather at

Vietnam Veterans Betrayed

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The Vietnam War Goes On, Stories From The New Front Line

My dad was and will always be my hero.

He was a kind and generous man, who helped anyone in need. He sacrificed so much of himself so that his children could have a better life than he had growing up. He grew up very poor, with ten siblings total. I have heard some of his remaining siblings speak of my dad as the “gentle and kind” one. My favorite story I learned later in life about my dad as a boy was even though they had very little food, he would always keep some back so that he could go outside an feed a little alley cat whose ribs were sticking out but had a gorgeous purr when he saw my dad, the boy. Being an animal rescuer myself and knowing how my pets reacted towards him when he came to visit me as an adult, it was evident that my pets had a sixth sense about him loving them, too.

My dad growing up:

My dad played board games with me in the back of his rusty old pick up truck that had a cab on top when it was a rainy day and I begged to go outside. He found a way to make “playing outside” happen. He took me regularly to the local school playground (which we called the park) and we always stopped for whippy-dip ice cream. Dad would make up pretend stories about meeting the “Duke Boys” from the Dukes of Hazard and always do all the “voices” for each character as he spoke. We sang together; “How much is that doggie in the window,” and “Yellow Polka Dot Bikini,” and most importantly we laughed a lot. He interacted with my brother in the same way. And when there were absent fathers of other boys in the neighborhood, he became the neighborhood “dad” that would play baseball in our backyard with all of them.

Dad’s Work Life:

He worked 37 years as a mechanic doing hard labor work, but I never heard him complain. He did it to make sure my brother and I never wanted for anything. He came home sometimes with gashes on his hands and smelling of oil and gasoline; oddly enough a smell I love to this very day. His hands were always black and until he stopped working, I had never seen his hands any other way.

Illness Begins in the Family:

It devastated my dad that my brother got leukemia in the spring of 1994. He blamed himself and his agent orange exposure. Everyone told him that a link between the leukemia and Agent Orange could not be proven, (at that time) but he was never the same after my brother’s illness. The guilt and worry took its toll on dad. In September 1994 I was my brother’s bone marrow donor (even though the hospital board said I wasn’t a ‘good enough’ match.) The oncologist went through with the procedure anyway, secretly, lost his license and risked everything– and thank God he did. My brother has been in remission now for 20 years this upcoming September.

Both my brother and I have experienced a myriad of medical issues that I am just now connecting to dad’s agent orange exposure. I am thankful that he is not here to know the extent to which AO has impacted us, and will impact the next 6 generations after my brother and I, medically.

When my dad was unable to work any longer due to severe disintegrating disks in his back, he was deeply saddened. He had been loyal to his company all these years and felt they just “let him go” without a second thought. My dad was loyal, when he said something, he meant it. He always kept his word.

Sometimes things in life happen the way they are supposed to (despite the ailments that come along with AO exposure.) I am a school teacher, and when my dad was no longer working he would come over and “hang out” with me all day long in the summer months. I love to garden, and he would help me plant flowers, spread mulch, cut back tree limbs, among other things. The best part about this was not the help I got with gardening, it was that I finally got to know my dad as an adult; as a person– not just as my dad. This was before his dementia had progressed. Dad and I would sit on the glider on my back porch after working in the hot sun and drink lemonade. He would admire my yard and smile. And he would unexpectedly open up to me about his childhood, his time in Vietnam and the nightmares that still plagued him, and he would tell me stories from later in life when he was working as a mechanic. I didn’t know it at the time, but I got the privileged to really KNOW my dad, the man. He trusted me, he opened up to me, and I will carry his memories, both the happy and sad, the joyous and the horrifying, forever.

His health declined slowly at first, beginning with back pain and bulging and disintegrating disk. Surgery only made him going into a state of delirium, of which the first time he did overcome with time. But the doctors could help him no further with the pain (they refused further surgeries) except for prescribing unbelievable
amounts of pain killers, that did not put a dent into the pain he felt on a daily basis.

In January 2014, we had a joint birthday party. Dad turned 65 on the 16th and I 36 on the 12th. It was a regular family gathering with food and laughter. Little did I know my dad was hiding a medical secret that was worsening by the day.

My dad was urinating blood. And, he had a bulging tumor in his abdominal region. Over the next few months it was determined that he had bladder cancer, and there was little they could do to stop its quick progression. His ureter and and his urethra were both blocked by the cancer. The doctor came out of surgery (surgery they had no other choice but to perform) looking like he had seen a ghost. The doctor had put in 1 stint to his “good” kidney, directly through the tumor. The doctor also said the stint would need to be changed surgically every three months. And like I said before, surgeries threw dad into a state of dementia. I’m sure the surgeon knew when he had my dad opened up on the table that this was terminal and dad would not make it three months to worry about changing his stint.) Dad’s other kidney was found to simply not be functioning at all. The cancer was spreading fast.

By March 2014, my dad was hallucinating. He would see birds flying in his hospital room, among other silly things that we would just agree and tell him, yes, we saw it too. This calmed him. On one occasion towards the end of his life, he was lying in his VA hospital bed, and the nurses had just given him some sedating medication. He did not want to get into bed and was fighting the sleepiness. Instead he got down on the floor and started talking about fixing this “car” which was actually his hospital bed, and he kept asking me to pass him tools, so I pretended to do so. We eventually got him into bed to rest, and with tears of fear in his eyes he whispered to me, “Laura, there is a monster in the window.” I can’t count the number of times he chased “monsters” out of my closet and from underneath of my bed, or carrying me soothingly up and down the hallway to ease my fears of monsters in the middle of the night when I was a child. That day I looked my dad straight in the eyes and said, “Don’t worry dad. The monster is on the outside of the window, OK? And you left me your weapon, so I will go outside and kill that monster for you. OK dad? You just rest. I will make sure that the monster will not get in. You trust me dad, right?” He finally closed his eyes and whispered “yes…”

Soon after this incident, he was released to go home under the care of hospice. I stayed at my mom’s almost nonstop during this period of time. I didn’t want to leave dad. I knew it was nearing the end. On April 1st, 2014, he was laying in his hospital bed in his own family room, and had been asleep for a while (a week maybe?) My mom and I both told him we were going to be ok. He didn’t have to stay on Earth to take care of us anymore. We were ok, and it was ok for him to let go. A half and hour later, he took his last breath and was gone. I laid in his hospital bed with him after he had passed for a long while, crying and holding his lifeless body. The hospice nurse came and declared time of death, and then the funeral directors came to take his body away to “prepare.” Even though my dad’s essence was gone, and I knew it, I didn’t want to let him go or get out of that hospital bed were his dead body laid still and quiet. But I had to.

I made sure that he had the most beautiful military funeral, with a 21 gun salute, the folding of the flag and so forth. It was not easy to get organized, but I was determined to pull it together for my dad. Although the day of his funeral was foggy to me, I remember many people whose lives he had touched over the years showed up to pay respects, including at least one of those little boys without a father growing up, that my dad played baseball with in the backyard. Another young man who worked with my dad told us my dad had trained him and equipped him with all the mechanic knowledge he needed to make a living. He spoke of my dad’s humor as well as his patience. I wish my dad knew how much those people respected and loved him.

My dad left a mark in this world, but has left a giant hole in my heart. That is the man I want to honor. My dad, and the Marine.


In Vietnam my dad worked on helicopters and flew with the active soldiers on occasions. He remembered everything being drenched in AO, although they didn’t know what it was at the time. He was a First Marine Aircraft Wing- the wing is the air arm of the third marine amphibious force in the I CORPS Tactical Zone of Vietnam. This was the first section by the DMZ.

My dad served as an active Marine in Vietnam for 4 years, and spent 2 years in reserves. The medals he earned that we are aware of are:
-National Defense Service Medal
-Vietnam Service Medal
-Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm
-At least two Good Conduct Medals

Dad spent a little time in Okinawa, but was mostly in Vietnam. At one point he was actually left unknowingly behind by his troop while they were trying to escape an attack by the Viet-Cong, and so dad hid in a fox hole with rats the size of a small dachshund hound biting him repeatedly. His troop did return for him, but dad was left with some mental scars that haunted him the remainder of his life.

Agent Orange Vietnam Veteran

Walking Me Down The Aisle 11 Years Ago

I am attaching a picture of my dad. Thank you for honoring my dad, and the other fathers of the children of Vietnam veterans. This has been therapeutic to write out, and feel free to share this story with anyone you feel it would help to know they are not alone. I am sure others have similar stories to tell. This is just about one man; one of the many brave men that served our country during Vietnam, only to return home to face bitterness and disrespect by some protesting Americans. I hope we have learned from my dad’s war and now treat our troops with respect as they return home. I hope that even though we may hate war, we can still simultaneously love, appreciate, and respect the soldier who serves and fights for his country.

Laura Kaminski Barlage © 2014 Children Of Vietnam Veterans Health Alliance All Rights Reserved

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Monsanto's War On Beauty

Monsanto’s War on Beauty
Death Of The Monarch

Now, just because I maintain a level of manliness that involves things like badger wrestling, punching bull sharks and an extensive collection of beard maintenance supplies; doesn’t mean that I can’t appreciate natural beauty. Our planet is gorgeous. Read More….


The life surrounding us is inspiring and wonderful. Which is why I am a little miffed that our buddies over at Monsanto have apparently decided to kill off the Monarch butterfly. Why? To make more money, of course.


If you really want to get ahead in the evolution game, selecting a food source that is abundant and hearty is the key. For instance, scientists have found that 20,000 years ago or so there was a special species of monkey that existed solely on Snackwell’s 100-calorie chocolate chip cookies. Considering that Snackwell’s cookies were not released for sale until the 1990’s, this species of monkey quickly became extinct. The Monarch butterfly, on the other hand, has adapted to laying its eggs in milkweed, which the larva immediately start feeding on. Now, according to its name, milkweed, is in fact, a weed. Normally weeds grow everywhere; they are stubborn, resourceful and cunning. Good choice of larva food, Monarch. Well, it was a good choice until the world decided that corn wasn’t just yellow – it was gold. As agriculture numbers have skyrocketed, milkweed numbers have diminished. Therefore without milkweed, we have no baby Monarch butterflies. No babies equal no adults.

Now it’s easy to look at what has been labeled “the most hated company in the world” and blame them for everything from feline leukemia to male pattern baldness. The truth is that the anti-Monsanto groups are responsible for as much spin as anyone. But in this case there is a clear correlation between the increase of Monsanto’s Roundup Ready corn and soybean usage and the loss of milkweed plants; a decline of more than 80% to be exact. As the milkweed died, the amount of Monarch butterfly egg production dropped. Karen Oberhauser, a conservation biologist with the University of Minnesota said, “We have this smoking gun. This is the only thing that we’ve actually been able to correlate with decreasing Monarch numbers.”

Fortunately there are people out there in the universe that aren’t concerned with just how much chemical saturated corn they can produce. Chip Taylor is one such advocate for the Monarchs who has started Monarch Watch, an organization that monitors Monarch populations. Last year Taylor sold over 20,000 milkweed seedlings, and expects to double that this year. Despite its regal name, the Monarch butterfly has no legal department. They have no one to stand up for their cause, which is just to flutter around and lay eggs in milkweeds. Is that so bad? I think it sounds like the American dream to me, and that’s why I, for one, will be planting milkweed seedlings everywhere I possibly can. Not because I like milkweeds … But because I am protecting the butterflies. Like a man.

From the Author: I’ve met some people in my life that quite simply refuse to be happy. These aren’t your average “the glass is half empty” types, but the “throw the glass on the floor because I don’t even want a glass – no matter what or how much is in it” types. I’m sure if you think about it, you have one of these people in your life. I’ll give you a hint; it’s probably a relative, because why would you be friends with someone like that? If you can’t figure out who the person in your life is; chances are, it’s you.
Republished with permission from Source:

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“Its been all over the news and frankly, pretty confusing. Here’s the real story about Monsanto and The Ebola Virus. Simply put, It’s time to raise hell or hide in a corner. Either way, fear is now a very legitimate feeling.”

It seems that Monsanto and the DOD have teamed up to invest in an Ebola virus treatment company. Monsanto, the company that has given us Agent Orange, Roundup pesticide, and GMO food, is now working to give us an Ebola vaccine. What is Monsanto’s gain one must ask. The deal is, the seed money Monsanto will contribute begins at $1.5 million. The value of the deal has the potential to grow to an estimated $86 million dollars.

Read More….
Monday, Fox news reported that “The experimental drug used to treat two American aid workers who have been infected with the Ebola virus has never been tested on humans before and was only identified earlier this year as part of an ongoing research program backed by the U.S. government and military.”

Fox also said, “The Defense Department has long had a hand in researching infectious diseases, including Ebola. During much of the Cold War period this served two purposes: to keep abreast of diseases that could limit the effectiveness of troops deployed abroad and to be prepared if biological agents were used as weapons.” It was also stated that the U.S. military currently has no biological weapons program.

But not to worry, a new player has entered the ring. It seems that Monsanto and the DOD have teamed up to invest in an Ebola virus treatment company. Monsanto, the company that has given us Agent Orange, Roundup pesticide, and GMO food, is now working to give us an Ebola vaccine. What is Monsanto’s gain one must ask. The deal is, the seed money Monsanto will contribute begins at $1.5 million. The value of the deal has the potential to grow to an estimated $86 million dollars. The company’s name is Tekmira Pharmaceuticals Corporation (TKMR) (TKM.TO), a leading developer of RNA interference (RNAi) therapeutics. “TKM-Ebola, an anti-Ebola virus RNAi therapeutic, is being developed under a $140 million contract with the U.S. Department of Defense’s Medical Countermeasure Systems BioDefense Therapeutics (MCS-BDTX) Joint Product Management Office”. That’s a pretty sweet deal by anyone’s calculations.

Another interesting fact is that U.S. Centers for Disease Control owns a patent on a particular strain of Ebola known as “EboBun.” It’s patent No. CA2741523A1 and it was awarded in 2010. A patent is a form of intellectual property that allows the patent holder to control the use of a product or method of doing something. That control includes the ability to charge royalties for its use. According to Canadian patent lawyer David Schwartz, “‘You can’t patent a disease condition per se, such as cancer or influenza. But if you’re talking about patenting a life form like a bacteria or virus, if altered by man, the answer there is yes.”

If you take David Schwartz at his word, that means that the virus has to be altered or modified from it’s original chemical composition in order to be patented. That means that the strain of the virus that is currently patented was essentially created or man-made. Who better to aid in the creation of a Frankenstein vaccine for the created Ebola virus than Monsanto?

Make no mistake that billions of dollars in profits for Monsanto are at stake in all this. Shares of Tekmira surged over 11% last Friday as pressure was placed on the FDA to fast-track Ebola vaccine trials the company has set up. “Health campaigners have started a petition which has already been signed by approximately 15,500 people on pressurizing FDA to approve the drug in the minimum possible time frame,” reports
To borrow a play from the president’s playbook, the FDA can be circumvented. Once a public health emergency is declared by WHO, untested experimental vaccines can be given to populations. There’s just something wrong with this whole picture.


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When we founded COVVHA, we felt it imperative to begin a database of illnesses and birth defects that we, the second generation, have been living with. To date, the list has grown to nearly 800 illnesses that many of our members are suffering from. Most have no prior family history. Additionally, we have a database tracking the illnesses for the grandchildren (third generation) as well.Other reports indicate that there are up to 30 years of illnesses and conditions being collected that we suffer from as the second generation. While many of us are born with these problems, our members that participated in this list are generally between the ages of 20-45 both male and female, often with no prior family history. It’s past time for the United States Government to pay attention!  Use this POPVOX ACTION LINK  that COVVHA has set up for you to contact your state representative directly by email.


Agent Orange Study For Vietnam Vets Children Needs Your Support

U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) has introduced legislation to research the health conditions of descendants of veterans who were exposed to toxins during their military service. The Toxic Exposure Research Act of 2014, which is supported by the Vietnam Veterans of America and AMVETS, would establish a national center for research on the diagnosis and treatment of health conditions stemming from exposure to toxins such as Agent Orange in Vietnam, Gulf War neurotoxins, burn pits in Iraq and other chemicals from recent overseas conflicts. U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) joined Sen. Moran in introducing the legislation.

“The Toxic Exposure Research Act is about addressing the painful, residual wounds of war that may impact a service member’s family long after the military operation is over – wounds that may not be evident until decades later when passed on to children and generations to follow,” Sen. Moran said. “The Toxic Exposure Research Act is a necessary step toward making certain our military men and women and their descendants will be properly cared for in the future. We must keep our promise to our veterans and their families, who have made great sacrifices for the sake of our country’s security and our freedom.”

The Toxic Exposure Research Act of 2014 would also authorize the Department of Defense to declassify certain incidents of exposure of members of the armed forces to toxic substances. Additionally the bill would create a national outreach campaign on potential long-term health effects of exposure to toxic substances by members of the Armed Forces and their descendants.

Many of the symptoms from toxic exposure are frequently misdiagnosed in descendants of veterans due to a lack of understanding and scientific proof. However, veterans have observed increased levels of cancers, birth defects and other conditions in their subsequent generations. The evidence of these wounds of war afflicting the children and grandchildren of service members exposed to toxins is growing and research is warranted to collect data and study this issue. The goal of this medical research is to determine the conditions that result from debilitating toxins and hopefully lead to the appropriate support and benefits veterans and family members deserve.


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March Against Monsanto World Food Day Events October 2014

Like last year October, we are working with Dr. Vandana Shiva’s Navdanya network, but unlike last year, there is no one-day event. MAM organizers who want to organize in October as MAM, can do so as part of the “Call To Action for Seed, Food and Earth Democracy”. This event represents a network of global movements, and by cooperating, we are part of the joint action, and not a division doing something on its own, with only a small turnout.

Seed Freedom has extended their “Fortnight of Action” to MAM organizers starting 29 September to include Mexico’s World Day of Corn, in many towns and cities across the country. Many cities have chosen to have events on 11 and 18 October, but you can choose any date between 20 September and 20 October, to eliminate the stress of having to get a permit for a one-day coordinated event for a second time this year.

Activities can include organic and seed markets, a public picnic to spread information, guerrilla gardening, community gardening, the start of cooperative food gardening, a march, etc. You decide, collaborate with other local organizations in the area to not make it a headache, and ensure that it is a lasting and growing impact. You can navigate the Seed Freedom site to get more ideas for the type of event you want, or decide among yourselves locally in your city.

Just as we celebrate goals achieved since the last march in May each year, each October we can celebrate how we brought the practical alternative into effect.

The calendar of events will be hosted here

Event details can be added here

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World Food Day

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Monsanto and the FDA: Trillion Dollar Hustle

An in depth “expose” of Monsanto and the FDA working together. And finally, proof that the main stream media is under their control.

Sell enough GMO seeds, plant enough GMO crops, and you flood the world’s food crops with Monsanto genes.
Back in the 1990s, the prince of darkness, Michael Taylor, who has moved through the revolving door between the FDA and Monsanto several times, and is now the czar of food safety at the FDA—Taylor said, with great conviction, that the GMO revolution was unstoppable; within a decade or two, an overwhelming percentage of food grown on planet Earth would be GMO.

Underneath the Monsanto-FDA buck-passing act, there was a conscious deal to give a free pass to GMO crops. This had nothing to do with science or health or “feeding the world.” It was about profits. It was also about establishing a new monopoly on food.

“The propagandists who actually decide the content of mainstream news have done a bang-up job on Monsanto. They’ve made it seem that the science for and against GMO crops is a swamp of uncertainty no one can decipher. Therefore, leave it alone. Don’t step into it. This omits one stunning circumstance: exactly how GMO crops were permitted into the US food supply in the first place.” (The Underground, Jon Rappoport)

Perhaps you remember the Just-Label-It campaign. A number of activist groups petitioned the FDA for a federal regulation that would make labeling GMO food mandatory all across America.

The petition amassed over a million signatures. But the FDA decided only 394 of these were legitimate, because all the others were electronically submitted in one document.

Infuriating? Of course. But that was nothing.

Imagine this. A killer is put on trial, and the jury, in a surprise verdict, finds him not guilty. Afterwards, reporters interview this killer. He says, “The jury freed me. It’s up to them. They decide. That’s what justice is all about.”

Then the press moves along to members of the jury, who say: Well, we had to take the defendant’s word. He said he was innocent, so that’s what we ruled.

That’s an exact description of the FDA and Monsanto partnership.
When you cut through the verbiage that surrounded the introduction of GMO food into America, you arrive at two key statements. One from Monsanto and one from the FDA, the agency responsible for overseeing, licensing, and certifying new food varieties as safe.

Quoted in the New York Times Magazine (October 25, 1998, “Playing God in the Garden”), Philip Angell, Monsanto’s director of corporate communications, famously stated: “Monsanto shouldn’t have to vouchsafe the safety of biotech food. Our interest is in selling as much of it as possible. Assuring its safety is the FDA’s job.”

From the Federal Register, Volume 57, No.104, “Statement of [FDA] Policy: Foods Derived from New Plant Varieties,” here is what the FDA had to say on this matter: “Ultimately, it is the food producer who is responsible for assuring safety.”

The direct and irreconcilable clash of these two statements is no accident. It’s not a sign of incompetence or sloppy work or a mistake or a miscommunication. It’s a clear signal that the fix was in.
No real science. No deep investigation. No convincing evidence of safety. Passing the buck back and forth was the chilling and arrogant strategy through which Pandora’s Box was pried opened and GMO food was let into the US food supply.

In order for this titanic scam to work, the media had to cooperate. Reporters had to be a) idiots and b) sell-outs.

With few exceptions, reporters and their editors let the story rest there, as a “he said-he said” issue. No sane principled journalist would have cut bait at that point, but who said mainstream reporters are sane or principled?

Underneath the Monsanto-FDA buck-passing act, there was a conscious deal to give a free pass to GMO crops. This had nothing to do with science or health or “feeding the world.” It was about profits. It was also about establishing a new monopoly on food.

Not only would big agribusiness dominate the planet’s food supply as never before, it would strengthen its stranglehold through patents on novel types of seeds which were technologically engineered.

It’s very much like saying, “A cob of corn is not a plant, it’s a machine, and we own the rights to every one of those yellow machines.”

How was Monsanto able to gather so much clout?

There was one reason and one reason only. Putting the world’s food supply into fewer hands was, and is, a major item on the Globalist agenda. If it weren’t, the FDA-Monsanto scam would have been exposed in a matter of weeks or months.

Major newspapers and television networks would have attacked the obvious con job like packs of wild dogs and torn it to pieces.
But once the scam had been given a free pass, the primary corporate-government tactic was to accomplish a fait accompli, a series of events that was irreversible.
In this case, it was about gene drift. From the beginning, it was well known that GMO plants release genes that blow in the wind and spread from plant to plant, crop to crop, and field to field. There is no stopping it.

Along with convincing enough farmers to lock themselves into GMO-seed contracts, Monsanto bought up food-seed companies in order to engineer the seeds…and the gene-drift factor was the ace in the hole.

Sell enough GMO seeds, plant enough GMO crops, and you flood the world’s food crops with Monsanto genes.
Back in the 1990s, the prince of darkness, Michael Taylor, who has moved through the revolving door between the FDA and Monsanto several times, and is now the czar of food safety at the FDA—Taylor said, with great conviction, that the GMO revolution was unstoppable; within a decade or two, an overwhelming percentage of food grown on planet Earth would be GMO.

Taylor and others knew. They knew about gene drift, and they also knew that ownership of the world’s food, by a few companies, was a prime focus for Globalist kings who intended to feed the population through Central Planning and Distribution.

–“We feed these people; we hold back food from those people; we send food there; we don’t send food here.”–

Control food and water, and you hold the world in your hand.

Here is evidence that, even in earlier days, Monsanto knew about and pushed for the Globalist agenda. Quoted by J. Flint, in his 1998 “Agricultural Giants Moving Towards Genetic Monopolism,” Robert Fraley, head of Monsanto’s agri-division, stated: “What you are seeing is not just a consolidation of [Monsanto-purchased] seed companies. It’s really a consolidation of the entire food chain.”

And as for the power of the propaganda in that time period, I can think of no better statement than the one made on January 25th, 2001, by the outgoing US Secretary of Agriculture, Dan Glickman. As reported by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Glickman said:
“What I saw generically on the pro-biotech [GMO] side was the attitude that the technology was good and that it was almost immoral to say that it wasn’t good, because it was going to solve the problems of the human race and feed the hungry and clothe the naked. And there was a lot of money that had been invested in this, and if you’re against it, you’re Luddites, you’re stupid. There was rhetoric like that even here in this department [USDA]. You felt like you were almost an alien, disloyal, by trying to present an open-minded view on some of these issues being raised. So I pretty much spouted the rhetoric that everybody else around here spouted; it was written into my speeches.”

Glickman reveals several things in these remarks: he was spineless; people at the Dept. of Agriculture were madly buying into the Monsanto cover story about feeding the world; and there had to be a significant degree of infiltration at his Agency.

The last point is key. This wasn’t left to chance. You don’t get a vocal majority of Dept. of Agriculture personnel spouting the Monsanto propaganda merely because the fairy tale about feeding the world sounds so good. No, there are people working on the inside to promote the “social cause” and make pariahs out of dissenters.
You need special background and training to pull that off. It isn’t an automatic walk in the park. This is professional psyop and intelligence work.

I’ve done some investigation of various groups on both the left and the right, and I’ve seen some pros in action. They’re good. They know how to leverage ideas and slogans and ideals. They know how to defame opponents and find the right words to sink them. They know how to turn high-flying but vague words about “humanity” into moral imperatives.

This isn’t rinky-dink stuff. To tune up bureaucrats and scientists, you have to have a background in manipulation. You have to know what you’re doing. You have to be able to build and sustain support, without giving your game away.
Truth be told, governments are full of these pros, who will take any number of causes and turn them into what falsely sounds like good science, good government, good morality, all the while knowing that, on the far shore, sits the real prize: control.

These psyop specialists are hired to help make overarching and planet-wide agendas come true, as populations are brought under sophisticated and pathological elites who care, for example, about feeding the world as much as a collector cares about paralyzing and pinning butterflies on a panel in a glass case.

Here is David Rockefeller, writing in his 2003 Memoirs:
“Some even believe we are part of a secret cabal working against the best interests of the United States, characterizing my family and me as ‘internationalists’ and of conspiring with others around the world to build a more integrated global political and economic structure—one world, if you will. If that is the charge, I stand guilty, and I am proud of it.”

The Globalists play for keeps.
Owning the food of the world is part of their strike-force action plan, and Monsanto is the technocratic arm of that plan.
Meanwhile, the controlled press treats the whole sordid Monsanto/FDA story with its time-honored policy of “he said-he said.” This policy dictates that stories merely present both sides of a conflict without drawing conclusions.
It applies across the board—except when it doesn’t. For example, for reasons too complex to go into here, the Washington Post decided to suspend its policy in the Watergate case. Woodward and Bernstein were assigned to investigate what was going on behind White House denials and obfuscations.
The same thing could be done with Monsanto, and it would be far easier. The lies and crimes and cover-ups are everywhere. You could wear sunglasses and find them in the dark.

The NY Times and the Washington Post could sell millions more papers on the back of the Monsanto story alone. It would be a bonanza for them. But no. They don’t care. They’d rather keep declining and losing readers. They’d rather die.
Normally, a business doesn’t commit suicide, especially when it sees exactly how to resuscitate itself. But here we are dealing with an agenda which can’t be disturbed. Globalism, and its agri-techno partner, Monsanto, are creating a planetary future. Major media are part and parcel of that op. They are selling it.

Even as their bottom lines erode, these newspapers and television networks have to stay on their present course. By pretending they’re reporting the real news, they’re giving the impression that Monsanto and the FDA are home free.

Again, we aren’t talking about sloppy reporting or accidental omissions of fact or boggling incompetence or ignorance about science. We are talking about conscious intent to deceive.
Yes, now and then the controlled media will release a troubling piece about Monsanto. But placement and frequency are everything. How often do these stories run? Do they run as the lead or do we find them on page 7? Are reporters assigned to keep pounding on a basic story and reveal more and more crimes? Does the basic story gather steam over the course of weeks and months?
These are the decisions that make or break a story. In the case of Monsanto and the FDA, the decisions were made a long time ago.

This post originally appeared at [1]

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COVVHA Delegates Going to Vietnam

Four members of Children of Vietnam Veterans Health Alliance will be departing on a ten day delegation to Vietnam at the end of July. The delegates will spend time learning about the continuing environmental and human toll caused by the Vietnam War era herbicide, Agent Orange. Approximately, 20 million gallons of Agent Orange was dispersed in Southern Vietnam by the United States Government from 1961-1971.

All four travelers have a family connection to the Vietnam War by a loved one that served. All four has lost the Vietnam Veteran to death. The delegates want to have a deeper understanding of how a war that was fought before their existence still affects them and others. Delegates include Josh Kelley, Rachel Harting, Heather Bowser, and Luke Bowser.

Delegate Josh Kelley           
Josh Kelley is a delegate from Arkansas. Josh’s father, Daniel Kelley, enlisted in 1967. He arrived in Da Nang Air Base in 1969 and spent time at Chu Lai Air Base. During his time in Vietnam his father was exposed to Agent Orange.

Josh Kelley over comes his birth defects by focusing on what he can accomplish not what others think he can't.

Josh Kelley over comes his birth defects by focusing on what he can accomplish not what others think he can’t.

Josh and his parents in the 1980's. Josh Kelley born in 1975, has multiple birth defects. He was born without both arms below the elbow and his left leg below the knee.

Josh and his parents in the 1980’s. Josh Kelley born in 1975, has multiple birth defects. He was born without both arms below the elbow and his left leg below the knee.


Shortly after his discharge in 1971, Daniel married, Pam. They welcomed their son, Josh in 1975. He was born missing his leftleg from just below the knee and both arms from just below the elbows. The doctors and his parents were shocked. He spent several months hospitalized after his birth. Doctors told the young parents he would not function. Josh shared, “My dad didn’t give up on me. He taught me how to do things I never thought I could. He taught me to never give up.” Josh is looking forward to meeting other children in Vietnam. I’d like to take the knowledge he passed on to me, to help some of the children in Vietnam who were also born disfigured from Agent Orange. I’m sure I’ll learn from them as well. This trip will also help me to understand some of the unanswered questions about my father, who passed away from suicide on Father’s Day, 1997.”


What is Agent Orange?

Agent Orange, named for the orange stripe around the barrel, was a deadly herbicide used by the United States Department of Defense to destroy broad leaf plants, thus killing crops and denying the enemy cover. The chemical manufactured by Monsanto, Dow, and five other chemical companies was a fifty/fifty recipe of two herbicides, 2, 4, 5-T, trichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4,5-T) and, 2, 4-dichlorophenoxyacetic (2,4,D). Today, 2,4, D continues to be manufactured and sold as weed killer. Monsanto’s own Round-Up is the most popular weed control brand on the market. It’s used widely by home owners, landscapers and in Agriculture

Agent Orange became contaminated in the manufacturing process with 2, 3, 7, 8-tetrachlorodibenzo (TCCD Dioxin) when incomplete combustion occurred. Some say this was a result of the manufactures rushing to meet the supply demands of the Department of Defense. TCDD dioxin is known to be a Human Carcinogen. The TCCD from Agent Orange has caused devastation in the environment and humankind in Vietnam as well as taken a deathly toll on the American, and Australian Vietnam Veterans.

Delegate Rachel Harting                                                                 

Rachel’s father, Sergeant Louis Neal Hagenow was part of the U. S. military’s 173rd Airborne Brigade from March 1966 -1968. Her father’s areas of operation included War Zone C and D, ICOR 1, Pleiku and Dak To. According to Louis, he received the most exposure to Agent Orange in War Zone C. Louis never directly handled Agent Orange, but knew that he had been ingesting it on a regular basis by drinking the rainwater off of the leaves. He recalled walking through jungle areas one time, and then the next time through, the plant life was dying.

Rachel and her father on her wedding day. Her father passed away from Agent Orange related cancer on November, 30, 2012

Rachel and her father on her wedding day. Her father passed away from Agent Orange related cancer on November, 30, 2012.

Rachel's father, Sergeant Louis Neal Hagenow, 173rd Airborne Brigade from March 1966 -1968.

Rachel’s father, Sergeant Louis Neal Hagenow, 173rd Airborne Brigade from March 1966 -1968.

Louis lost his right arm in the Battle of Hill 875 on July 10, 1968. Due to his injury, he was honorably discharged from the U.S. Army in September 1968. Louis had remained healthy for many years. For a long time, the only thing that happened that was strange was that his PSA blood tests came back high every year. He had several prostate biopsies done and they would all come back negative for cancer until August of 2012. The doctors continued his yearly physical exam only to find out that he had a large cancerous tumor on his kidney and stage 4 lung cancer. On November 30, 2012, he died. The oncologist concluded that the cancers had not metastasized and that Louis’ exposure to Agent Orange played a large role in the speed of which the cancers killed him.

Rachel, currently of Indiana, was born with a hip and a knee turned outward. Her mother, Kathi, tried to get it corrected but the pediatrician felt that Rachel would outgrow the issue. The doctor was wrong.

As Rachel got older, she was diagnosed with hypothyroidism and psoriatic arthritis. She has been unable to carry a pregnancy to term, even with the assistance of in-vitro fertilization. At the time of trying to conceive, Rachel found out that her egg quality was extremely poor. No one, not even Rachel’s younger sister, has had any of these medical issues in her family.

The Struggle Continues in Vietnam

Currently, there are twenty eight known highly contaminated places or “hot spots” in Vietnam. Most of these contaminated places are in areas where Operation Ranch Hand, the U.S. Military operation responsible for the herbicide spraying program, stored Agent Orange, filled planes with agent Orange, or cleaned equipment. In 2009, a Statement to the House Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific and Global Environment, researchers revealed dioxin levels of up to 365,000 ppt at Da Nang, 262,000 ppt on the Bien Hoa base and 236,000 ppt in former storage areas on the Phu Cat base.

The toll on Vietnam from dioxin has been substantial. The people who were directly exposed to Agent Orange, like American and Australian Vietnam Veterans, have all the same illnesses our Vietnam Veterans have. There are high instances of diabetes and cancers. Those who were directly exposed have also reported high instances of birth defects in their children and grandchildren.

394536_3163937216246_1944234097_nThe people of Vietnam have been harmed by eating from a contaminated food chain during the years of the spraying. Others were or continue to be exposed to the dioxin at one of the existing hotspots in southern Vietnam. The trans-generational affects of this exposure continues today.



Delegates Heather Bowser & Luke Bowser

Heather’s father, Bill Morris, served in the U.S. Military from 1968-1970. He was stationed at Long Binh Base near Bein Hoa from 1968-1969. On his first day in country, he was made to help fight a chemical fire without any protection. That may have been his first exposure. However, as his time continued, equipment used for spraying was cleaned near the building he worked. There were also almost daily aerial and perimeter spraying on the base itself. When he left Vietnam he was stationed at Fort Lewis in Washington State where he worked in an area that would receive equipment that was used in Vietnam that had a high probability of Agent Orange residue.1099845_1398547953.2762

When he came home, he developed hypertension very quickly. At age 38, he had emergency bypass surgery on five blocked arteries. They gave him a 50/50 chance of survival. He survived, but developed diabetes at age 40, at age 48 he had a stroke and at age 50 he died of a massive heart attack.

Heather's mother Sharon Morris carries Heather as an infant.

Heather’s mother Sharon Morris carries Heather as an infant.

Heather’s mother had two miscarriages then Heather was born in 1972, two months premature. She is missing her right leg below the knee, several of her fingers and her big toe on her left foot. Heather’s mother had an additional miscarriage and her brother was born without birth defects in 1978. Heather, currently of Ohio, is the co-founder and national coordinator of Children of Vietnam Veterans Health Alliance. This is her fourth trip to Vietnam.

Luke is Heather’s oldest son and the grandson of Bill Morris.
Luke is 13 years old and has grown up learning about how Agent Orange has affected his mother. He was born two years after his grandfather died from Agent Orange. He doesn’t have birth defects, but has a hard time processing any artificial sweeteners. Luke also has hyper-flexibility in his joints. He is traveling to Vietnam to learn more about those affected by Agent Orange like his mother. Luke’s younger brother suffers from Asthma, and has some minor toe deformities. He wants to understand more about the war that affected his family’s life.


The Trip 

The delegates will travel through Vietnam meeting many Adult Children of former Vietnamese soldiers affected by Agent Orange. They will also meet many young children affected by Agent Orange either from environmental exposures or trans-generationally. Several centers for the care of Agent Orange youth will visited. The delegates hope is to learn about the issues in Vietnam and also educate about the ways Agent Orange still affects generations of offspring of American Vietnam Veterans. Some places the delegation will travel to include  Da Nang, Ho Chi Minh City, Bein Hoa, Dong Nai and other places of  historical importance during the war. The delegates will be hosted in Vietnam by Vietnam Association of Victims of Agent Orange (VAVA). VAVA is a Vietnamese non government organization that was organized in 2010 to achieve justice for Vietnamese Victims of Agent Orange.

Currently, there are two legislative matters regarding justice for offspring related to Agent Orange. The Agent Orange Relief Act of 2013, H.R. 2519, seeks health care for Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange in Vietnam, plus Ameriasian citizens in the United States, it also aims to replace “female veterans” with gender neutral “veterans,” thus qualifying the children of male  American Vietnam Veterans for the same benefits children of female Vietnam Veterans are currently eligible for. The Toxic Exposure and Military Family Support Act,  H.R. 4816, seeks to create a research hospital for veteran’s offspring who believe they have been affected by a family member’s exposure during military service.

The children and grand children of Vietnam Veterans are suffering from rare illnesses, cancers, skeletal issues, endocrine problems, autoimmune diseases, fertility issues and early death. These problems continue to be ignored by the United States Government. Australian offspring of Vietnam Veterans receive more care than their U.S. Counterparts. Children of Vietnam Veterans Health Alliance, Inc. is working to create change through education across generations and across the miles.

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© 2014 Children Of Vietnam Veterans Health Alliance All Rights Reserved

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Veteran’s health issues are an important concern for Americans. Veterans, their families and the communities they call home share a major health concern. Type 2 diabetes mellitus is on the rise in our country! It has been documented that some veterans are linked to Type 2 diabetes mellitus from their exposure to a chemical agent called “Agent Orange.” Other veterans are entering the “high-risk” age group for the onset Type 2 diabetes mellitus.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) veterans who develop Type 2 diabetes mellitus and were exposed to Agent Orange or other herbicides during military service do not have to prove a connection between their diabetes and service to be eligible to receive VA health care and disability compensation.

According to Department of Veterans Affairs; records obtained by The Associated Press through the Freedom of Information Act, diabetes is now the top claim for Vietnam Veterans.  

Diabetes risk factors of an aging veteran population

Type 2 diabetes is more common in older people, especially in people who are overweight. Health factors such as age, genetics and heredity, lifestyle and overall health management are reflected in the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

As of July 2014, the United States Census Bureau records show that there are 21.8 million U.S. veterans; 20.2 million males and 1.6 million females.

Overall the average age of a U.S. veteran is 58-years-old, with the largest group of veterans between the ages of 45 and 64. More specifically, 21.1 percent of the veteran population is under the age of 45, 41.2 percent are between the ages of 45 and 64 and 37.1 percent of the population is 65-years or older.

The average age today for Vietnam veterans would be around 60-65. The youngest Vietnam War vet might be around 52 years old (this age group is among the highest for the onset of diabetes in the “at risk” group). Age 60 years or older: 12.2 million, or 23.1 percent, of all people in this age group have diabetes.

Signs, symptoms & risk factors of Type 2 diabetes:

  • Type 2 diabetes mellitus is a chronic disease that affects the body’s ability to use blood sugar for energy. In Type 2 diabetes mellitus, the body does not produce enough insulin or the body’s cells ignore the insulin.
  • Signs of diabetes type 2 (untreated) are: Blurry vision, excessive thirst, fatigue, hunger, frequent urination and weight loss.
  • Risk factors for diabetes Type 2 include: Over age 45, family history and genetics, sedentary lifestyle, unhealthy eating habits, obesity and gestational diabetes.

By understanding the chronic health conditions prevalent among all veterans we can then build a support system offering health services and programming while assessing needs and offering support.

If you are a veteran and you have questions about your exposure to Agent Orange, contact your local VA office. Helpful online resources can be found at:

For more tips on chronic illness and diabetes visit Michigan State University Extension at

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Agent Orange, Monsanto, GMO

Agent Orange Slow Burn Genocide

More and more, we are seeing these news clips being reported by the main stream media. You can help by leaving your comments on these reports. Let everyone know that (COVVHA) Children Of Vietnam Veterans Health Alliance is fighting for justice! The slow burn genocide of Agent Orange, Monsanto, and GMO foods WILL NOT continue!!!

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Truth Teller

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As veterans complain of health impacts from toxic fumes, advocates warn that burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan might come back to haunt the administration.

The Obama administration prides itself on righting the sins of past regimes, including expanding access to health care for Vietnam veterans who suffered from exposure to the herbicide Agent Orange.

But veterans groups worry the administration is on track to repeat past mistakes by refusing thousands of disability claims that Iraq and Afghanistan veterans say are related to breathing toxic fumes from open burn pits—which were used for years to discard everything from trash and human waste to vehicles and batteries.

The Veterans Affairs Department finally opened a congressionally mandated online registry for burn-pit victims late last month, and lawmakers are starting to look at how to move forward on helping veterans who believe their illnesses—ranging from bronchitis to cancer—are tied to exposure to the fumes.

Democratic Sen. Tom Udall of New Mexico is working on legislation that requires the VA to establish a research network to study the impact of open burn pits on soldiers and veterans. And Sen. Bob Corker—who previously worked with Udall to spearhead burn-pit legislation in the Senate—said that “the VA must ensure this law is implemented effectively and fix any remaining problems with the online Open Burn Pit Registry.”

Corker notes that with the ongoing health care scandal, the “credibility of the Veterans Affairs [is] already on the line.”

On the other side of the Hill, legislation introduced last year has stalled. Democratic Rep. Tim Bishop of New York wants the Defense Department to create three “centers of excellence” where ailments from burn-pit exposure would be studied, diagnosed, and treated.

“I’m trying to build cosponsors for that, so that we can show the leadership that this is an issue that has pretty strong bipartisan support,” Bishop said. He calls measures to boost the ability to study and treat illnesses tied to exposure “the next logical step.” But with the clock running down on the 113th Congress, Bishop acknowledged that the proposal might have to be reintroduced next year.

In the meantime, veterans can use the VA’s online registry—if they can get access to it—to document their exposure to burn pits and other airborne hazards, including health concerns that they have.

And though using the registry won’t help veterans in their current battles to get disability pay from the VA, the administration is hoping to use the voluntary sign-ups to help document and track exposure.

“When we have things like metal showing up in people’s lungs, and acute respiratory problems … it’s worth asking questions now to figure that out,” said Tom Tarantino, the policy director at Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America and a former Army captain.

Bishop and Tarantino worry that without proper attention, exposure to burn pits could turn into this generation’s Agent Orange. Veterans of the Vietnam War, where Agent Orange was frequently used as an herbicide, waited decades for the VA to recognize that their illnesses were caused by the chemical.

Advocates are hoping the VA will learn from its past mistakes and take a more proactive approach to trying to figure out the potential health impact of burn pits.

“Sort of my mantra is that we don’t want burn-pit exposure to become the Agent Orange of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars,” Bishop said. “One of the reasons that I and a couple of other members of Congress jumped on this when we did is to try to forestall that from happening.”

Research on burn-pits exposure is lagging, and the findings have been mixed.

The VA, for its part, believes that most illnesses that could be tied to burn-pit exposure are temporary and tend to go away once a soldier gets away from them.

“Research does not show evidence of long-term health problems from exposure to burn pits at this time,” the VA says on its website.

And a 2011 study by the Institute of Medicine—which the VA relies heavily upon to determine what illnesses it considers service-related—found “insufficient evidence” to make a hard link between burn-pit exposure and long-term health effects. But the institute recommended a longer study “to determine their incidence of chronic diseases, including cancers, that tend to not show up for decades.”

A study by Anthony Szema, an assistant professor at Stony Brook School of Medicine, found that the type of material being burned has been linked to a whole host of diseases. For example, Szema told lawmakers as early as 2009 that burning cardboard has been linked to neurological disorders, plastic bottles to deficiencies in the immune system, and particle boards or plywood to certain types of cancers.

The Defense Department publicly falls in line with the VA. The Pentagon backs further research but doesn’t think that burn pits have long-term health impacts. A leaked 2011 Army memo, however, paints a different picture.

Studying exposure to air pollution at an air base in Afghanistan, the internal memo found that “there is a potential that long-term exposure … may increase the risk for developing chronic health conditions such as reduced lung function or exacerbated chronic bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, atherosclerosis, or other cardiopulmonary diseases.”

The main cause of the pollution at the base? A burn pit, according to the report.

“I have been disappointed that the official position of the Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs is that there is no conclusive evidence to link burn-pit exposure with the ailments that so many who have been exposed to burn pits are now presenting,” Bishop said. He added that there is a “pretty good body of evidence” that suggests there is a link between exposure and certain illnesses.

And it’s the contradiction between the government’s public stance and anecdotal evidence from veterans—including stories collected on the Burn Pits 360 website—that Tarantino said is a sign that more research needs to be done.

A key focus is trying to determine if metals—which have been linked to cancers—found in the lungs of soldiers returning from Iraq, in particular, are linked to burn pits or dust or both.

“We’re kind of dragging them in kicking and screaming into this,” Tarantino said of the administration. “But we are dragging them.”

This article appears in the July 11, 2014 edition of NJ Daily.

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congressCongress: Act Now

Congress must act now for our veterans. The Veterans Affairs recent scandal has excited Veterans Organizations all across the Country demanding resolve of the atrocities noted in that scandal for poor leadership and mismanagement of VA medical centers nationwide. Investigative reports continue to show there is more then meets the eye. Deaths of veterans waiting for medical attention for months on end. Illness’s that that have worsened due to lack of attention. Our Congress and Senate and President Obama are on the band wagon wanting answers. Why did they not take action many years ago when they received complaints from veterans? It was known well over a decade ago about mistreatment. Those complaints fell upon unhearing ears, now we have needless deaths that could have been prevented and illnesses that could have been better treated. America has some of the finest medical resources in the world, but to put those resources to work for our veterans cost dollars, is it cheaper to bury a veteran then to provide proper medical care for those who fought for our Freedom?

There is an active House Bill HR-543, The Blue Water Navy Vietnam Agent Orange Act. There are 210 co-sponsors, we need 218 co-sponsors to get this Bill out of committee to the House Floor. This Bill will become a milestone toward providing equitable VA benefits for thousands of veterans, saving lives and provide better quality of life. I urge all Americans contact their members of Congress, those who have not done so to become co-sponsors of this important legislation, it will also lead to other legislation for veterans.
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By: John J. Bury, U.S. Navy, retired, advocate for veterans
Media, Pa.

For immediate press release

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Published with permission of Justin Gammill from

So if you are keeping score, at this point it’s Justin: 1, Monsanto: 0.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote an article where I not only compared the mega-corporation to Nazis, but I also called them evil geniuses who: “took a break from counting their money to poison you.” For anyone who just thought: “Gee, that’s harsh,” you might want to strap in for what is going to be a fun-filled super-slam festival of epic proportions …

Now in my first article I talked specifically about the GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) situation that Monsanto is perpetrating against humanity and the planet. Long story short, back in the 80s Monsanto started developing seeds that were genetically modified to be resistant to things like pesticides and herbicides as a way to, according to their multi-million advertising campaign: “End World Hunger.” So basically, they claimed that unless you get over your aversion to eating something cooked up in a lab and sprayed with some of the most toxic stuff known to man, kids in Third World countries will die.

So if ending hunger is at the heart of their intentions, they must give the seeds away for free right? Nope. In fact, they went a couple of steps further. First they made the plants sterile, so that farmers have to buy them again the next year, instead of planting natural seed from the previously harvested crops. Then they found a way to make the plants basically “grow themselves to death.” According to Emma Must from the World Development Movement, “by peddling suicide seeds, the biotechnology multinationals will lock the world’s poorest farmers into a new form of genetic serfdom.” Another fun little side effect of GMOs is a cool trick called “drift”, where the run-off from their herbicide-resistant seeds makes its way to a natural crop and kills it. Like in 2012, herbicide sprayed in the San Joaquin Valley of California drifted and damaged cotton fields as far as 100 miles away.

That’s part of the reason why on May 24th, I will be joining the March Against Monsanto.

MAM is “a global call to action aimed at informing the public, calling into question long-term health risks of genetically modified foods and demanding that GMO products be labeled so that consumers can make informed decisions.” The movement is aimed at:

-Protecting our food supply, local farms and environment
-Promoting organic solutions
-Exposing cronyism between big business and the government

The fight against GMOs is going global, and if you want to find out what you can do to get involved, please check out the March Against Monsanto website.

Now the last time I talked about Monsanto and GMOs, an employee from Monsanto showed up to comment on my claims, and made a 3-4 hour attempt at discrediting what I had to say. So, to be fair, So, to be fair, I’ll quote One of March Against Monsanto’s International Directors  about the whole situation:

“If we continue to think that the fight against Monsanto is only about GMOs, we have already lost.”

-Kelly L. Derricks, president and co-founder of the Children of Vietnam Veterans Health Alliance, and March against Monsanto’s Agent Orange Education Director

Guess what? She’s got a point. When it comes to harming humans, Monsanto has been at it for over 100 years …

Let’s fire up the Monsanto Poison Train and head back down the track to 1901 when they created Saccharin. Originally it was sold as an artificial sweetener for the Coca-Cola company and the canned food industry. So what’s the big deal with Saccharin? It’s made from coal tar. The FDA questioned the effects of Saccharin since 1907 and the FDA’s very first director said “He thought he was eating sugar, when in point of fact he was eating a coal tar product totally devoid of food value and extremely injurious to health.” Remember, that was 107 years ago. In the 70s any product with Saccharin was required to have a warning label, but with deep, deep pockets, 30 or so years later, Monsanto managed to get the requirement for the label removed. Apparently, letting people know that your product was made from coal tar and caused cancer in lab rats was bad for sales.

Next stop on board the Monsanto Poison Train is the 1940s, where having apparently gotten bored with the coal-tar additive business, Monsanto switched to the oil-based plastics game. Thanks to their efforts, we now have polystyrene, or as it is lovingly known: Styrofoam. Harming people wasn’t bad enough; they had to give us a good old-fashioned environmental disaster made from non-renewable resources that is basically indestructible. Thanks, guys!

Moving forward on the Poison Train, we come to a nice combination of devastating environmental impact and human health decline. The 1960s and the war in Vietnam brought us Agent Orange, which was at one time called “perhaps the most toxic molecule ever synthesized by man,” by Yale biologist Arthur Galston. The U.S. military used and estimated 18 -20 million gallons of Agent Orange over 9 years in an attempt to kill the dense jungle that apparently made fighting a political war a little too much to handle. Even after admitting that they were aware of the lethality of the toxic cocktail which included the deadly dioxin, Dr. James R. Clary, a former government scientist with the Chemical Weapons Branch said,” … because the material was to be used on the ‘enemy,’ none of us were overly concerned.” Considering that 4.8 million people were exposed to Agent Orange, resulting in 400,000 deaths and disfigurements, and 500,000 babies born with birth defects, not to mention the American soldiers that were exposed, which is still to this day, an unknown number, a little concern would have gone a long way.

Take GMOs out of the equation, and there is still a legacy of destruction and greed on a scale that rivals a James Bond super-villain. A legacy that spans a century. Again, I encourage you to check out the March Against Monsanto and COVVHA websites and get involved in your community’s events. It’s time that people realize that these companies almost never have your interests at heart, or the planet’s for that matter. Your wallet however is always at the forefront of their intentions. It’s time that, through education and activism, we take it back out of their hands.

Justin: 2
Monsanto: 0
The World:?

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On May 24, the eyes of the world, save for the mainstream media, will be on the grassroots revolution that is known as March Against Monsanto. Their semi-annual event will take place on this day, and the world will be responding with peaceful protests.

In St. Louis, eyes may finally see the world of March Against Monsanto from behind a lens, as this is Monsanto’s headquarters, and peaceful doesn’t play out both ways. Law enforcement in St. Louis is bound and determined that the rights of those protesting are stripped away, and the cops are often known to become belligerent and use force to intimidate the protesters.Among those protesters, throughout the world, will be members of Children of Vietnam Veterans Health Alliance. They are there to ensure the world understands that the March Against Monsanto is about much more than a “food revolution.”

Most people do not realize that the start, and hopefully end of Monsanto, was food based, but includes much, much more. Saccharin was the poison that started it all in 1901, and GMOs were started in the 1980′s, although not finding widespread use immediately. Monsanto also made many other poisonous chemicals, including DDT, PCB, Agent Orange, and more. For those of us that have been adversely affected by the multilateral poisoning of Agent Orange, we are in this against Monsanto due to the fact we are taking a stand against a mass murder who’s been allowed to kill for 113 years.

We, as children of Vietnam Veterans, implore you not to just head to March Against Monsanto for a food revolution, but also to stand against legal serial killings and genocide.

Monsanto must be stopped before more innocent babies are born dying from their poisons, before more lives are lost by their next “miracle” toxin. Stand with us or die with them!

“If we fail to realize that March Against Monsanto is not about GMOs alone, then we have already lost the battle.” Kelly L. Derricks

© Heather Pontruff - 2014 Children Of Vietnam Veterans Health Alliance All Rights Reserved

Find A March Against Monsanto Event Near You!

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On October 12, 2013 COVVHA joined MAM for the second global March Against Monsanto. Several cities that participated in the day’s events hosted guest speakers from COVVHA’s own private membership base to rise up and publicly share their personal experiences about Agent Orange.

Kelly L. Derricks, President and Co-Founder, of COVVHA and March Against Monsanto’s Agent Orange Awareness Program Director talks about the progress the movement has made in this video.

Join March Against Monsanto, on May 24, 2014, around the globe for the one year anniversary of the movements first event.  To find a city hosting an event near you, click here. Many COVVHA speakers will be attending events again to educate about Agent Orange and the struggles faced by the children of Vietnam Veterans.  Kelly will be the Agent Orange guest speaker at the Lancaster Pa. event location.

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COVVHA member, Dawn Piercy, speaks out and shares her story about her family’s battle with Agent Orange. 

*Please note: Event Has Already Taken Place

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Kelly L Derricks, President Of COVVHA, Sharing Tears With Vietnam Veteran, Steve Moore.

Kelly L Derricks, President Of COVVHA, Sharing Tears With Vietnam Veteran, Steve Moore.

On October 2, 2013, COVVHA President and Co-Founder, Kelly L. Derricks, attended VVA’s national Town Hall Meeting Held at West Chester University in Pennsylvania. The video below is Kelly’s Finale Speech.

“If we continue to think that the fight against Monsanto is only about GMO’s, we have already lost.” ~ KLD

If You would like to watch Kelly’s Family Panel Speech, Click Here

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The impact of health issues on the nation’s veterans will in time confront our children and grandchildren in the form of genetically modified organisms (GMO).

The greatest threat to public health is genetically modified organism (GMO) plant production by Monsanto Company (Agent Orange and Bt cotton) and Pfizer, Inc. (Zyklon B. Holocaust gas). Both have research facilities in the Yazoo-Mississippi Delta to produce GMO’s.

Our nation’s veterans suffered from the impact of Agent Orange for years before the Veterans Administration acknowledged causation of toxic exposure to dioxin, a defoliant used in Vietnam to kill the jungle like conditions that provided cover for the enemy. The herbicide utilized two chemicals–2, 4-D and 2, 4, 5-T that was linked to a variety of health disorders: headaches, liver and blood disorders, nerve damage, cancer.

Now we know that veterans, who served in Vietnam and were exposed to Agent Orange, had their DNA mutated by exposure to herbicides, and unknowingly passed on genetic mutations to their unborn. Interesting enough the male and female veterans may have children born with spina bifida, but the woman veteran exposed to dioxin may have child with a whole host of different medical conditions supporting genetic mutation.

With this history now well defined the Agent Orange Benefits Act, was passed in 1996 to provide benefits for Vietnam veterans’ children who were born with spina bifida, as a result of Agent Orange exposure.

These benefits include lifetime health care services for children with spina bifida

and “any disability associated” with spina bifida, a monthly monetary allowance ranging from $200.00-$1,200.00, and Veterans Affairs (VA) vocational training/rehabilitation services.

Read More: Veterans health today, our children and grandchildren tomorrow?

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The “NEW” Lessons from an Old War, do not Include Agent Orange, According to University of Pittsburgh’s Honors College Panelists

When something is just to good to be true and it usually is. The University of Pittsburgh held a college honors program, March 4th, called Vietnam: New Lessons  from an Old War, a Half Century On. The speakers were Senator Bob Kerrey, Vietnam Veteran and former governor of Nebraska, Peter Arnett, from New Zealand, he won a Pulitzer prize for his journalism during the war, Thomas Vallely, the former director of Harvard’s Vietnam Project and Vietnam Veteran. Laura Palmer, reporter during the Vietnam War and author, and lastly,  historian Edward Miller, an expert on Vietnam and an associate professor at Dartmouth College.

I was interested in how those who were in the thick of the Vietnam War have processed what they went through as a young adult. I was also very interested in hearing panel members talk about the chemical defoliant the U.S. used in Vietnam to kill the jungle and decimate crops. The D.O.D. sprayed over 19 million gallons of herbicide  on south Vietnam. The herbicide manufactured by seven different chemical companies were contaminated with dioxin. The dioxin in the herbicide, poisoned drinking water, and food.

Agent Orange has left a permanent mark on Vietnam Veterans and their families.  It has also destroyed the environment and people’s lives in Vietnam. Vietnam Veterans are dying quickly. Their children and grandchildren have been begging the government to take seriously their claims of devastating chronic illnesses and birth defects they say have been caused by their father’s exposure. Even with the explosion of epigenetics their cries for help falls on deaf ears.

The second floor ballroom was packed with well over two hundred people. Thirty people were milling about in the standing room only section. I pushed through the crowd and slid down along the back wall just before the event began.  As my Vietnam Veteran father taught me, not through words, but through action, whenever I’m in the crowd, I have to be aware of my surroundings. I scanned the crowd, lots of college kids who were probably forced by some professor to come, who wouldn’t even bother attending themselves, a few journalists, many baby boomers, some academic types, and several Vietnam Veterans. I have Vietnam Veteran vision; they do not have to wear their Vietnam Veteran ball cap (though many were) for me to spot them. They are usually the sixty something men who look a bit haggard, even sickly, who are maybe walking with a cane, or have a Parkinson’s tremor, they look wise beyond their years and tonight, they looked hopeful. I also checked for my escape route “just in case.”

Even though Agent Orange took my Father’s life sixteen years ago it is his actions that I learned from. My father genuinely cared for others who were veterans in need. He would drive Vets to V.A. to get care. He served as Commander in the D.A.V. several times in his town’s chapter. He became an agent Orange Activist after I was born with multiple birth defects. While his  desire to be there for others drove him out of his PTSD symptoms at times, ultimately he became very sick. My father had emergency bypass surgery on his heart at age 38, five arteries were clogged at the time was a fit laborer in a steel mill. He had a 50/50 shot of surviving the surgery. He did. He went on to develop diabetes at age 40, at 48, he had a stroke, and at age 50 he died of a massive heart attack.

A Vietnam veteran in the row in front of me offered me his chair since I was standing; I declined and thanked him as the program began. The first go around through the panel was to be a three to four minute response to quickly introduce themselves and their connection to the Vietnam War. Peter Arnett was first to respond. He relayed the fact he was an Associated Press Journalist from 1962 to 1975. He then launched into a prepared diatribe beginning with the biggest downfall of the American Military during the Vietnam War. In Mr. Arnett’s opinion, American Military didn’t know their adversary. Rule number one, “Know your Adversary.” He went on to explain, the US believed by shear military force and by reputation, America thought they would be successful in Vietnam. The downfall being, the U.S. did not have any allies in the war who understood Vietnam, Australia was our only true allies and they had little or no understanding of Vietnam either. No one knew who the enemy truly was, Arnett explained. He suggested if the U.S. would have gone to the French for advice they could have done a better job. From my vantage point, I started to see Vietnam Veterans shift uncomfortably in their seats.

Senator Bob Kerrey was next to speak, he downplayed his military service stating he took a free physical and ended up volunteering for the Navy. What he failed to mention was he wasn’t just any other sailor, he was a Navy Seal.  There was no mention of his swift boat patrol which he led into a village in Thanh Phong, where his platoon killed innocents because they believed they were Viet Cong. He didn’t explain, he was brought up on having committed war crimes in 2002 by the Vietnamese. He didn’t talk about the controversy that swirled as these charges were brought up. People  were outraged a suspected war criminal held a position as College President at The New School, in New York. He didn’t talk about how he lost part of his leg later in combat.  Unless the young college students in the crowd had done some research, there is no way they would have known the extent of his Vietnam War history.

What Senator Kerrey did share was after he was home; he worked to oppose the war. He stated it is not easy to make peace happen.  He credited the U.S. for normalizing relations with Vietnam in the 1990’s when it would have been just as easy to forget about Vietnam.  I believe there were a lot of Vietnam Veterans who were there to see Senator Kerrey.

The Vietnam Veterans in the crowd were disappointed. There is so much he could have shared about the lessons he personally learned from his time in Vietnam. So much real life angst and trauma he endured and afflicted. There was such an opportunity for him to connect with other veterans who were there because he was there, to help them move on, and move through. They wanted to know someone understood their own anguish.

I would never expect a man of his stature to break down in front of a crowd, or to totally bear his soul, but SOMETHING. There were zero attempts to connect with the Veterans in the crowd. At one point later in the program, a question was asked about whether the draft should be reinstated.  Senator Kerrey quickly responded “No.” He stated the all volunteer military has moved us into professional soldiers. He summarized, while their tours are long, and not as many civilians feel a connection with the military, we need to respect them, but also not glorify them too much.

The next panelist that interested me was Laura Palmer. Laura shared how in a twisted set of events, she ended up in Vietnam as one of the youngest female reporters reporting in Vietnam. She focused a lot on journalism and how she ended up leaving Vietnam the Day Saigon fell. She was very nostalgic for her time in Vietnam. I felt she tried to connect with the audience more than the others. She gave a riveting tale of her last moments in Saigon. Her notoriety came from her account of evacuating Saigon by helicopter.

Laura, plugged her book about the Vietnam Wall, but did mention to the audience war not only affects the Veteran but the families as well. I thought things were looking up. When asked about the parallels between the current military conflicts and Vietnam she responded that she just doesn’t understand why the public isn’t outraged by the epidemic of suicides of our veterans. She also stated that we need to do more to recognize all the Vietnam veterans who ended their lives prematurely by suicide while the V.A. made veterans go it alone, unlike today’s efforts to protect our emotionally wounded warriors. She stated so many Vietnam Veterans have died of suicide, if the National Park service were to add their names to the Wall; the Wall would stretch to Virginia.

I have say I have done my own research over the years, “Twenty two veterans die every day from  suicide,”  is a popular quote, but according to the VA’s 2010 report 68% of the Veteran’s completed suicide are committed by males with an average age of fifty or older. Another opportunity was missed by a panelist. She could have connected the past to the present. A strong lesson in proper mental health care for ALL VETERANS no matter the era in which a veteran served could have been stressed. A plea for Vietnam Veterans, who are still struggling with the aftermath of their service, to get the free mental health services they are eligible for through the V.A. could have been made.  Instead she mourned her time in Saigon, her “hometown” as she put it.

Between speakers Vietnam veterans, started leaving. I saw it. They tried to not show their frustration, but for someone like me who was watching, it was very sad. It started in trickles but more and more would leave as the question and answer session continued.

Audience members were asked to submit questions for the panel. I had written two in hopes one would be answered. Neither of mine were chosen by the moderator. Most of the questions asked dealt specifically with Vietnam as a country, is Vietnam now more capitalist then communist?  Was Ho Chi Minh a communist or a Nationalist? Lots of questions in regards to journalism were asked, not surprising, as the moderator is himself the executive editor of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette.  More Vietnam Veterans escaped.

Mr.  Arnett escaped himself, into two other prepared ten minute diatribes, and the historian Edward Miller, plugged his research, himself, and his book. Mr. Vallely did not speak much at all.  I held out hope my questions would be asked right until the very end. I looked around in disgust, as I knew; the program was drawing to a close. The veteran who had offered me a seat was gone.

Could this really still happen? Could the “New” Lessons from an old War, not include the irresponsible use of herbicide, also known as Agent Orange? A two and a half hour forum such as this and not a single mention of the ill that is killing Vietnam Veterans quicker than any other Veteran era has faced? The issue that is on the minds of Vietnam Veterans and their families was not even alluded to. Not a single utterance of herbicide, or Agent Orange. Surprisingly, not even the Vietnamese struggle with the aftermath of herbicide was mentioned. It was as if it didn’t exist, just like Senator Kerrey’s admittance that he was a Navy Seal. The panel closed and the moderator thanked everyone. He mentioned folks could still make it home to see the Arizona game on TV, and that was the end.

As the crowd filed out, I decided to go and talk to some of the panelist.  I spoke with Senator Kerrey, I gave him my card and quickly told him about our organization, Children of Vietnam Veterans Health Alliance.  I told him about my dad and my birth defects and how many kids of male vets are suffering and are not recognized for the same birth defects that are covered in the children of women Vietnam Veterans. His response, “I didn’t know so many were out there. “ My response, “Now you do, please put us on your radar. “

Journalism college students were no match for me, I maneuvered my way around and was assertive, until I was able to speak with Laura Palmer. I had the most hope for my conversation with her. After all, during the panel she mentioned children, wives and families. I basically wanted to introduce myself and say “thank you,” for mentioning the struggles of military families. I gave her my card and introduced myself, told her briefly about my story.

She stopped me mid sentence and said, “I am not reporting anymore.”

Shocked I said,” I just wanted to thank you for mentioning families.”

She replied, “There are a lot of journalists here, like people from the Post Gazette. I am no longer reporting.”

I said,” I don’t need a reporter, I just wanted to introduce myself, thank you for mentioning the families.”

“Oh, Ok, you’re welcome,” she said, nervously.

With that, I left. I felt numb. I wanted to scream, but there is no energy to scream anymore. I wanted to cry, but there are definitely, no tears.

The “NEW” Lessons from and Old War, taught tonight were (don’t get excited they aren’t new):

  • Vietnam was an unpopular war.
  • If we pretend Vietnam Veterans don’t exist we can rewrite history the way we want it viewed.
  • War is violent and people don’t like to admit their involvement.
  • We can try as hard as we can to do “good” in the country we engaged in war with, it doesn’t change the fact we were at war with them and they with us.
  • Some people had exciting adventures during the Vietnam War. They built their careers while soldiers and civilians died.
  • We don’t want to glorify the soldier, because then you are promoting war (Total B.S.).
  • Agent Orange? What is that? Huh? Never heard of it.

One thing I will take away from this evening is Peter Arnett’s, quip, “Know your adversary. Tonight I watched our Vietnam Veterans shrink away slowly from the familiar pain of disapproval. How many more times do the lessons from an “Old” war have to repeat and be reinforced in their lives by people who should know to do things differently?

Heather A. Bowser © 2014 (COVVHA) Children Of Vietnam Veterans Health Alliance INC. All rights reserved.

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On October 2, 2013, COVVHA President and Co-Founder, Kelly L. Derricks, attended VVA’s national Town Hall Meeting Held at West Chester University in Pennsylvania. The video below is Kelly’s Family Panel speech.  The evening panel video with Kelly will be released next week.

“If we continue to think that the fight against Monsanto is only about GMO’s, we have already lost.” ~ KLD

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© 2014 ‎(COVVHA) Children Of Vietnam Veterans Health Alliance INC

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