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Monday, December 07, 2015

How do you end an endless war?

[youtube video: 1:07:07]

Published on Oct 13, 2015: Watch the full version of the Meet the Author program featuring Andrew Bacevich at the Marines' Memorial Club on October 9, 2015.

Mr. Bacevich is Professor of International Relations and History at Boston University.

He is the author of, "Breach of Trust : How Americans Failed Their Soldiers and Their Country", among other works. His latest book to be released in June 2016 is, "America's War for the Greater Middle East". read more


Saturday, November 28, 2015

America Is Too Dumb for TV News: Trump and others are proving it: we can't handle the truth.

Al Gore for instance never really recovered from saying, "I took the initiative in creating the Internet." True, he never said he invented the Internet, as is popularly believed, but what he did say was clumsy enough that the line followed him around like an STD for the rest of his (largely unsuccessful) political life.

That dynamic has broken down this election season. Politicians are quickly learning that they can say just about anything and get away with it. Along with vindication, apology and suffering, there now exists a fourth way forward for the politician spewing whoppers: Blame the backlash on media bias and walk away a hero. read more


Tuesday, November 24, 2015

A little-noticed report by a trio of leading research groups found the Veterans Health Administration outperforms private sector health providers on several key measures.

A little-noticed recent report by three leading research groups found that on critical measures, the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) consistently performs as well as and often better than private sector health-care providers.

The VHA does this with patients who are sicker, older, and poorer than many of their counterparts seen in the private sector. read more


Right-Wing Wreckage and Pack Journalism: In 2007, journalist Phillip Longman wrote a book on the VHA entitled Best Care Anywhere. In it, he demonstrated that our health-care delivery system for veterans (at least those who qualify for VHA services) is far better than Medicare and way better than private insurance -- and a better, more-comprehensive model for broader health-care reform than even a single-payer system.

But most readers of the daily press would find Longman's picture at odds with the story of the VHA recently depicted in the media.

That's because of one recent overblown scandal combined with the Republican scapegoating of a fine public system that they underfund -- and would love to privatize.

The real VHA story is ideological opposition by the right -- and clinical excellence despite chronic under-funding.


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Unfriendly Fire: Despite ideological attacks and under-funding, the Veterans Health Administration is a model public system

prospect.org

Right-Wing Wreckage and Pack Journalism

In 2007, journalist Phillip Longman wrote a book on the VHA entitled Best Care Anywhere. In it, he demonstrated that our health-care delivery system for veterans (at least those who qualify for VHA services) is far better than Medicare and way better than private insurance -- and a better, more-comprehensive model for broader health-care reform than even a single-payer system.

But most readers of the daily press would find Longman's picture at odds with the story of the VHA recently depicted in the media.

That's because of one recent overblown scandal combined with the Republican scapegoating of a fine public system that they underfund -- and would love to privatize.

Despite the VHA's vigorous efforts to root out a localized management scam and, with far greater difficulty, to remedy a shortage of primary-care providers that is nationwide in scope, congressional Republicans and many in the mainstream media continue to depict the VHA as being in a state of ongoing, almost terminal crisis.

The Times, for example, has published article after article depicting the VHA as a "troubled health system, especially in rural or out-of-the-way posts." According to the publication's multiple reports, sources are quoted over and over again attesting to the VHA's "corrosive culture," and the fact that it has lost the "trust" and "confidence" of its patients, and has been rendered a "demoralized and dysfunctional agency."

The resulting pack journalism has had its negative effect.

The real VHA story is ideological opposition by the right -- and clinical excellence despite chronic under-funding. The main opponents of the Veterans Health Administration are congressional Republicans.

This Republican opposition is odd, since Republicans go to great lengths to demonstrate their support for Americans in uniform. But when vets return home and are hidden from view, the right short-changes their care and then blames the VHA.

The long-term Republican goal is to privatize the VHA, a policy that would cap costs, increase middleman profits, reduce the efficiencies of a fully integrated system, and drastically cut care.


Why would someone who who claims to "support the troops" want to continue voting for these Republican bastards?

Well, it has everything to do billionaires like the Koch brothers, and their Congressional lackeys whose campaigns are funded by them, to do their bidding ...

And rank-and-file Republicans (many veterans themselves) are simply duped into believing the false narrative.

"There is, right now, as we speak, a concerted effort to undermine the V.A.," Mr. Sanders said two weeks after the story was picked up by national news organizations. "You have folks out there now -- Koch brothers and others -- who want to radically change the nature of society, and either make major cuts in all of these institutions, or maybe do away with them entirely."

prospect.org

Republican members of Congress determined to privatize the VHA have similarly ignored its actual overall performance. At a November 18 hearing, House Committee on Veteran's Affairs Chairman Chairman Jeff Miller, a Republican from Florida, declared that the VHA's future success would not depend on continuing a record of significant accomplishment, but on "non VA providers."

Indeed Miller warned of "difficult conversations" ahead about "the purpose of the VA health-care system and what it should and feasibly can achieve."

That has the stench of the Koch brothers allover it ... it stinks like horse shit.

Why do people like the Koch Brothers want to target the VA and strong arm those in Congress whose campaigns they fund? Because every third healthcare dollar spent EVERY YEAR is waste. Well over a half-trillion dollars that are not needed ANNUALLY that line the pockets of corporations, big pharma, etc...

I have yet to meet anyone who says they want veterans to get substandard healthcare, yet study after study shows VA healthcare is as good, and more often better, than what veterans can get in the private sector.

Americans need to pull their heads out of their effing asses before people like the Koch Brothers wreck the VA.

Report: VA Outperforms Private Sector on Key Measures

prospect.org

SUZANNE GORDON NOVEMBER 20, 2015

A little-noticed recent report by three leading research groups found that on critical measures, the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) consistently performs as well as and often better than private sector health-care providers. The VHA does this with patients who are sicker, older, and poorer than many of their counterparts seen in the private sector.

Despite recent public criticism of the VA for long patient wait times, the study found the VA is actually performing well on this measure.

To wit: "VA's reported wait times for new patient primary and specialty care are shorter than wait times reported in focused studies in the private sector."

For those who live in rural areas short on VA facilities, the report added that "expanding access to non-VA providers may help with routine or emergency room care, but not with advanced or specialized care." Nor would veterans living in these areas have better access to teaching or academic facilities.

Significantly, most of the clinical research studies summarized in the report were conducted before Congress allocated additional funds last year to hire more doctors and nurses and other staff, thereby improving access to and quality of VHA care...

Unfortunately, the VHA's better-than-average standard of care has received little notice in the news media and Capitol Hill.


VA Healthcare, while not perfect, seems to be doing not only as well as expected, but better than expected.

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