563 – Agent Orange report from Washington and the Institute of Medicine


vietnam veteran newsIn this episode I will be reporting on my recent trip to Washington DC where I learned firsthand the status of the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Agent Orange situation. John B. Wells, the Executive Director of the Military Veterans Advocacy, Inc. invited me to accompany him and others working on this situation to join them in DC. We attended a hearing on a law suit brought up to force the VA to provide medical services and compensation for Agent Orange illnesses to the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans. After the hearing we participated in a presentation by the Institute of Medicine where the final report on the Effects of Agent Orange on Vietnam Veterans was announced.

The Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veteran Association headed by John Rossie, who was in attendance, is attacking the challenge of getting Agent Orange medical services equity for its members on a two pronged front – legally and legislatively. Wells is pursuing the legal approach with the law suits he is processing through the system. There are also proposed bills in both the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Proponents of helping the Blue Water Navy are using the belt and suspender theory in their approach. If one method fails they have a fallback position. The hearing on Wells’ lawsuit took place in the Federal Court of Appeals of the DC Circuit. That is the same court where Ruth Bader Ginsburg served for 13 years before joining the Supreme Court. She is notoriously on the liberal side when she makes her rulings in the Supreme Court. I found this little historical note about her very interesting: during her tenure on the D.C. Circuit, she made 57 hires for law clerk, intern, and secretary positions. At her Supreme Court confirmation hearing, it was revealed that none of those hired had been African-American. Wonder is that makes her a “closet racist.”


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