Phoenix VA where 18 veterans died lists top five employees with combined salaries of over $1.6 million

A doctor who works at a VA Clinic in Sarasota, FL was asked: “What is it like working for the Veterans Administration?” The doctor answered, “Its like working the the post office. I deliver medicine, I don’t practice medicine.” The latest scandal involving the Veterans Administration is an indicator of how this single-payer healthcare system is working. The scandal started at the VA in Phoenix, AZ.

Acting Secretary of Veterans Affairs Sloan Gibson on Thursday, June 5, 2014, said 18 veterans died while waiting for appointments with the Phoenix VA Health Care System the Arizona Republic reported. A contrary Gibson was shocked and dismayed at this tragic loss of life.

Dennis Wagner of USA Today reports, “During a news conference Thursday at the Carl T. Hayden Medical Center in Phoenix, where the VA medical scandal erupted, Gibson also disclosed that at least 18 Arizona veterans died while awaiting doctor appointments, though it remains unclear whether the delayed care is to blame for those fatalities.”

The question is did Acting Secretary Gibson know that the doctors and staff at the Phoenix VA Health Care System are among the highest paid? OpenTheBooks.com lists salaries for all employees of the Phoenix VA Health Care System. The top five salaries at the Phoenix VA Health Care System are: George J. Swartz  $357,258, Harold G. Dossett $350,504, Raymond J. Joehl $331,534, Richard A. Lopchinsky $316,939 and Danny B. Kilpatrick $313,325. The total of the top five salaries at the Phoenix VA is $1,669,560.

OpenTheBooks.com also lists the bonuses awarded to employees. For the Phoenix VA Health Care System the 2013 bonuses totaled $337,885.

Wagner writes, “Investigators have determined that more than 100,000 veterans nationwide were kept off waiting lists for medical appointments, and Acting Veterans Affairs Secretary Sloan Gibson said the nation will learn Monday how many patients were relegated to ‘secret lists’… Gibson emphasized the embattled agency is working to mend the ‘massive erosion of trust’ among veterans due to the failures exposed in the nationwide VA health care scandal. He said the VA would take important steps next week to ‘improve communication, openness and transparency’…”

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Sharyl Attkisson: How the Government Violated Its Own Ethics Rules, Then Covered It Up

Sharyl Attkisson, a senior independent contributor to The Daily Signal, talks about her story on premature babies, the National Institutes of Health and accusations of unethical human experimentation.

Sharyl grew up in Sarasota, Florida where I live and publish this online magazine. I envy The Daily Signal for recruiting such a principled journalist.

To demonstrate just how principled Sharyl is Nolan Peterson, from YourObserver.com writes, “When Sharyl Attkisson was a junior at Riverview High School [in Sarasota, FL], she wrote a letter to the editor of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune [then owned by the New York Times Company]. She complained the newspaper was being unfair, slanting its high school sports coverage in favor of Riverview’s archrival, Sarasota High School. The newspaper even went so far, Attkisson claimed in her letter, as to poke fun of Riverview’s cheerleading squad (Attkisson was a cheerleader at the time). It was a bold move for the then 15-year-old, but Attkisson felt like an injustice had been committed, and she was compelled to correct it…”

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ABOUT SHARYL ATTKISSON / @SharylAttkisson

Sharyl Attkisson, an Emmy award-winning investigative journalist, is a senior independent contributor to The Daily Signal. She is the author of the forthcoming book, “Stonewalled.”

Veterans Groups Urge Immediate Passage Of Rubio VA Reform Legislation

Ten Senate Democrats now back bill.

Concerned Veterans for America’s Darin Selnick: “Members of Congress who have asserted more oversight of the flailing department should continue to demand change. A good place to start would be with demanding an up-or-down vote on Senator Marco Rubio’s VA Management Accountability Act in the Senate.” (Darin Selnick, “After Shinseki’s misrule, VA needs accountability: Column,” USA Today, 5/30/2014)

  • Selnick: “This bill, which already passed the House of Representatives by a large bipartisan majority, would empower the next VA secretary to remove and replace executives who fail to perform. It’s a critical and common sense reform that would go a long way toward starting the VA on the road to repair.” (Darin Selnick, “After Shinseki’s misrule, VA needs accountability: Column,” USA Today, 5/30/2014)

Concerned Veterans for America’s Pete Hegseth: “[V]eterans, their families and taxpayers who care about government accountability should take up the cause and contact Harry Reid and Bernie Sanders. Demand that the Senate give the VA Management Accountability Act (sponsored by Sen. Marco Rubio) and up-or-down vote. Demand that senators go on record as either being for the bureaucrats or for our veterans.” (Pete Hegseth, “Vets died. VA lied. Heads must roll. Congress must act,” FoxNews.com, 5/29/2014)

  • Hegseth: “Let’s not allow Senator Sanders, Senator Reid and the Obama administration to get away with burying this scandal. It’s time to send a clear message: veterans are the ones who are ‘mad as hell’ and we will accept nothing less than action.” (Pete Hegseth, “Vets died. VA lied. Heads must roll. Congress must act,” FoxNews.com, 5/29/2014)

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America: “The Senate must act now to pass the VA Management Accountability Act. The bill (endorsed by Secretary Shinseki in his final public remarks) gives the Secretary of the VA the authority to remove under-performing Senior Executive Service employees from their jobs. Without the ability to fire poor-performing managers, the next VA Secretary will struggle to restore a culture of accountability throughout the VA.” (“IAVA’s 8 Steps to Restore Confidence in the VA,” Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America Blog, 6/2/2014)

Fleet Reserve Association: “The House has recently passed the ‘Department of Veterans Affairs Management Accountability Act’ (H.R. 4031), that authorizes the VA Secretary to remove any agency senior executive if the individual’s performance warrants removal. … Members are urged to use the Action Center to ask their senators to support this legislation.” (“FRA Outraged by VA Improprieties,” Fleet Reserve Association, 5/30/2014)

The drug Ambien Is Killing Our Troops: VA Continues to Prescribe

For as long as nations have come and gone we have had war after war after war. The public does not always get the true information pertaining to war related matters.  This has been especially true about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I know because I was one of the people on the ground responsible for writing reports that were only half truths (disinformation) in order to placate the American people and others.

Anyone who has ever worked as a Federal Agent in any acronym agency has been involved in providing false information in order to steer the enemy away from reality. In addition disinformation campaigns are often meant to steer the American public from the actual truth. Disinformation campaigns are approved and directed by the senior leaders of our government. The Commander in Chief is the person ultimately responsible for the campaigns.

There is a huge difference in the way disinformation has been used for the last 200 plus years and during Obama’s reign. When the President of the United States directs U.S. officers to initiate a disinformation campaign it was largely done in the best interest of our country. The current administration conducts disinformation tactics to distract the American people from knowing how bad our President has hurt our country intentionally. They are not conducted in the best interest of America.

“Disinformation is intentionally false or inaccurate information that is spread deliberately. It is an act of deception and false statements to convince someone of untruth. Disinformation should not be confused with misinformation, information that is unintentionally false.

Unlike traditional propaganda techniques designed to engage emotional support, disinformation is designed to manipulate the audience at the rational level by either discrediting conflicting information or supporting false conclusions. A common disinformation tactic is to mix some truth and observation with false conclusions and lies, or to reveal part of the truth while presenting it as the whole (a limited hangout).

Another technique of concealing facts, or censorship, is also used if the group can affect such control. When channels of information cannot be completely closed, they can be rendered useless by filling them with disinformation, effectively lowering their signal-to-noise ratio and discrediting the opposition by association with many easily disproved false claims”.

I will provide a couple examples of disinformation used during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

1.  It has been said we lost over 7000 brave men and women during these wars. It has also been reported that only a handful of the troops killed was by friendly fire. This is false information.  While in Iraq it was estimated that up to 20% of all combat deaths were caused by ‘Friendly Fire’.  This high number was never reported to the American public.  Disinformation reports stated that 2% or less were caused by ‘Friendly Fire’.  Why disinformation?  If the American public and our allies knew that for every 100 deaths that 20 of the deaths were by ‘Friendly Fire’  there is little doubt it would be an embarrassment  to our political leaders. It is much easier to tell a family member their son or daughter was killed by the enemy than to tell them they were killed by their own friends.

Most ‘Friendly Fire’ deaths are accidents, but during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars there have been numerous troops killed intentionally by their fellow troops. I have been to numerous mosques and have been told by the Imams and other Islamic leaders that it is the duty for a Muslim to kill non Muslims regardless of which side the Muslim is fighting for. A Muslim can’t fight in favor of the U.S. Constitution and Shariah law at the same time. Imams have informed me that in Iraq and Afghanistan many of the reported ‘Friendly Fire Deaths’ were actually Muslims killing their own troops.

2.  Recently I interviewed a Doctor who works within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).  This Doctor said he had been to Iraq and Afghanistan for six tours.  He said many U.S. troops (to include pilots) were provided Ambien to help them sleep at night and be ready the next day to work 15 plus hours.  If anyone has been prescribed Ambien you are fully aware that the side affects can be dangerous. There have been reports that Ambien can cause people to conduct activities such as driving, eating, assaults, and even murder without realizing what they had done.

Disinformation campaigns have been conducted about the use of Ambien in Iraq and Afghanistan.  The Doctor I interviewed stated he was called many times to the barracks of our troops to help prevent suicides and murders by military personnel using Ambien.  He advised there were several times he went to the barracks and a troop had their M-16 barrels in their mouth.  These incidents did not stop the Doctors from prescribing Ambien to additional troops.  The reasoning was that 18 year old American men and women will come and go, and it is better for a troop to die or kill others and work 15 hour days, than it is to provide an adequate number of troops who can work 10 hours and be strong the next day without any narcotics usage.

Many will recall the U.S. Army Sergeant who left his post in Afghanistan and killed 16 innocent people. Was he prescribed Ambien? There is a very high probability he was, but no one in a leadership position will admit this.

From Reuters:

“Staff Sergeant Robert Bales, a decorated veteran of four combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, admitted to roaming off his Army post in the Afghan province of Kandahar last March to gun down and set fire to unarmed villagers, mostly women and children, in attacks on their family compounds.

“As far as why, I’ve asked that question a million times since then,” Bales said, in a calm, steady voice, when asked by the judge for an explanation. “There is not a good reason in this world for why I did the horrible things that I did.”

Colin Powell had reported that he and other senior politicians used Ambien during the war.  I encourage everyone to research the number of cases in which a person using Ambien has committed a crime and once the Ambien wore off they woke up in a jail cell unaware of why they were there.

The Veterans Administration has been aware of the dangers of Ambien yet continue to prescribe this narcotic to U.S. troops.  They know the troops could commit suicide or murder one of their own. The VA will never admit to prescribing Ambien to a troop who is carrying an M-16.

Many will ask how I am aware of the dangers of Ambien.  I was one of the military personnel prescribed Ambien by the VA and one of the Federal Agents who was ordered to never link any death in Iraq or Afghanistan to Ambien.  I witnessed one of my fellow Special Agents grab his M-16, point it at himself, and threaten to kill himself.  We reported this incident immediately to our Headquarters and to senior medical staff.  We were told to never file a written report and to allow the Special Agent to continue in his duties and carry weapons.

SOURCES:

“Medicating Our Troops Into Oblivion”: Prescription Drugs Said To Be Endangering U.S. Soldiers
Sources: ‘Friendly fire’ cases actually are murder
Sleep Aid Ambien Linked To Bizarre Behavior – And Public Figures

Illegal Aliens Get Better Health Care than Vets

Fox News host Sean Hannity sat down with former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin at the Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans where she was asked about the unfolding scandal surrounding the Department of Veterans Affairs. Palin blasted the VA for failing veterans and said that “illegal aliens” in the United States often have access to better care than American servicemen and women.

“Is the VA a death panel for many?” Hannity asked Palin.

“That is what government-run health care will result in,” Palin replied.

Palin then states, “Isn’t it ironic that those who are willing to sacrifice all, to put their life on the line, to allow the freedom of choices in healthcare and economic decisions and everything else, our soldiers, airmen, marines — they are the ones getting screwed by the VA! And our commander-in-chief is in charge of this, ultimately.”

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Marijuana Legalization: Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid

Kevin Sabet, author of “Reefer Sanity: Seven Great Myths About Marijuana,” sat down with The Foundry to discuss the dangers of marijuana use, why the drug is more potent than ever, and that it is considered by medical professionals to be as addicting as alcohol.

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In “Why You Should Be Alarmed About Marijuana Legalization, According to a Former Obama Drug Adviser” Rob Bluey writes:

Marijuana legalization poses a significant health risk to America’s youth—and many parents have no clue about the consequences, says a former Obama administration drug policy adviser.

“Today’s marijuana is not the marijuana of the ‘60s, ‘70s or ‘80s. It’s five to 15 times stronger,” Kevin Sabet said in an exclusive interview with The Foundry. “I think a lot of Baby Boomers’ experience with pot—a couple of times in the dorm room—they don’t correspond to what kids are experiencing today.”

Sabet, a former senior adviser at the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, wrote the book “Reefer Sanity: Seven Great Myths About Marijuana” to shed light on the marijuana legalization movement.

He pointed to Colorado, which has operated with de-facto legalization for five years, as a case study. By 2011, Denver had more medical marijuana shops than Starbucks or McDonalds.

The state has more kids using marijuana, he said, resulting in more kids in treatment and higher rate of car crashes. There have even been two deaths tied to marijuana use, including one involving domestic violence.

“Legalization in practice is a lot scarier than legalization in theory,” Sabet said. “It means a pot shop in your backyard, mass advertising and commercialization and greater health harms.”

In the book, Sabet takes on the myth that marijuana isn’t addictive. He said one in six kids who try marijuana will become addicted—the same as alcohol. That’s because young people are vulnerable than adults.

“There are more kids in treatment for marijuana today than all other drugs, including alcohol, combined,” Sabet said.

He worries that as other states and the District of Columbia consider legalization, more people will be hurt by the drug.

Do Terminally Ill Americans have the Unalienable “Right to Try”?

“States should enact ‘Right to Try‘ measures to protect the fundamental right of people to try to save their own lives. Designed by the Goldwater Institute, this initiative would allow terminal patients access to investigational drugs that have completed basic safety testing, thereby dramatically reducing paperwork, wait times and bureaucracy, and, most importantly, potentially saving lives,” according to the Goldwater Institute .

Christina Corieri in “Everyone Deserves the Right to Try: Empowering the Terminally Ill to Take Control of their Treatment” writes:

In 2002, Kianna Karnes, a 41-year-old mother of four children, was diagnosed with kidney cancer. She was treated with Interleukin-2, the only medication approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) at the time to treat her disease. When that treatment failed, her father began researching investigational medications, learning in 2004 that both Pfizer and Bayer were conducting clinical trials for new investigational medications to treat kidney cancer. Karnes was ineligible for the clinical trial because her cancer had previously spread to her brain.

Although her brain tumors had been removed, she was still disqualified from joining the clinical trial, so her father sought expanded access for his daughter. Months passed before he was able to secure access for his daughter. He contacted Congressman Dan Burton’s (R-IN) office for assistance, and drew media coverage of Karnes’ struggle in the Wall Street Journal. On March 24, 2005, the FDA notified the family that it had approved a single-patient IND for Karnes.

Tragically, it was too late—Kianna Karnes died the same day access was approved. Less than a year later, both drugs were given final FDA approval to treat advanced kidney cancer.

Speaking after his daughter’s death, her father said, “I don’t know that either of these drugs would have saved Kianna’s life, but wouldn’t it be nice to give her a chance?”

Read the proposed legislation by clicking here.

The Goldwater Institute notes, “It takes a decade and a billion dollars to bring a new medicine to market—that’s time our sickest loved ones don’t have to wait.”

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Lorraine’s Story

Lorraine Heidke-McCartin loves to run. She is currently training to run a 5K with her daughters this spring. A 5K isn’t much for most runners, but for her it’s the finishing stretch on a marathon that began in 2006. That was the year she was first diagnosed as a Stage IV (the most lethal and final stage) of an aggressive strain of breast cancer, HER 2. She immediately began a regimen of treatment with her doctor, undergoing rounds of chemo that sapped her energy, took her hair and gave her a great deal of pain. As her treatments progressed, so did her disease, until she had finally exhausted all of her available treatment options. She and her husband, Philip, began looking for another way to save Lorraine’s life.

In 2009, their doctor returned from a conference where she had heard about an experimental treatment that could be a life saver for Lorraine, T-DM1. They reached out to the drug company conducting the trials for T-DM1 and found the closest trial to their home in Boston was in Fairfax, Va. Lorraine and Phil jumped on the opportunity and got to Virginia as soon as possible. Lorraine would end up making over 16 trips back and forth in the course of her treatment before finally being allowed by the FDA to take the drug in Boston, thanks in large part to her incredible recovery. She has been cancer free since December 2011, thanks to an experimental drug and her ability to make the regular trips to a distant trial site.

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The Goldwater Institute asks those who care to “call state lawmakers and tell them everyone deserves the right to try.”

Learn more here.

Obamacare Will Kill Far More Than the Veterans Administration

The news that some forty veterans died while waiting to receive care from a Phoenix Veterans Affairs hospital—care that was denied because of bureaucratic chicanery—will seem small in comparison to the numbers of Americans who will die from the implications of Obamacare.

At this point, some nineteen VA hospitals are under suspicion of engaging in similar practices, but as large as the VA bureaucracy is, it will be small in comparison to what Obamacare requires. The original legislation that combined the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act with the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act represented nearly 2,700 pages.

The regulations that are being created to implement it will run to several volumes. By late 2013, the Obama administration had published 11,588,500 words of final Obamacare regulations. If looks can kill, that many words will surely kill. Too many people will be unble to get the care they need because there will be a regulation to prevent it.

What is making headlines now has long been known in other nations with national healthcare systems. It is about rationing, not dispensing care; if for no other reason that is why healthcare should remain in the private sector.

Unless a future Congress repeals Obamacare, the death toll will mount. There have been some forty or more pieces of legislation to repeal it passed in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives. No Republican voted for Obamacare when it was introduced.

What we know is that, while serving on the oversight committee, then-Senator Obama was aware of the VA problems before he ran for President. In 2009, as President, he promised veterans to fix the problems. How concerned is he in 2014? There has been a noticeable lack of public comment from a President famed for having something to say about everything that makes headlines.

Add the VA scandal to the long list of Obama administration scandals from the IRS to Benghazi, but it is Obamacare that has already been a monumental failure and, as we begin to receive news of those who will die as because a local hospital closed or because they lost the care of a personal physician familiar with their problem, it will emerge as the greatest scandal of his presidency.

On March 23, 2010 Congress passed the Affordable Care Act. By October, the Obama administration abandoned the long-term-care insurance program that was in the law. It was later formally repealed by Congress, but the changes that President has initiated since then ignore the fact that only Congress, as the legislative branch, has the power to make such changes.

December 2012 was the deadline for states to decide on running their own insurance exchanges; 36 states left all or part of the job to the federal government. In the lead up to the October 2013 launch of HealthCare.gov more delays were announced by the White House and the website turned out to be a complete disaster. That same month insurers notified thousands of policy holders that their health plans were not compliant with Obamacare and would be cancelled.

In effect, Obamacare caused hundreds of thousands of people with healthcare plans they liked to lose them, thus artificially increasing the number of “uninsured”. In April the White House announced that seven million had signed up for Obamacare. Kathleen Sibelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services, gave notice she was resigning. The figure cited by the White House is likely dubious.

In May, an article in The Fiscal Times reported that “A handful of state-run exchange websites—which cost nearly a half a billion dollars to build—still don’t work, nearly seven months after they first went live.” The Fiscal Times estimated that Obamacare websites had cost $5 billion and so many were not functional that the original plan to transition signups to them from HealthCare.gov was likely to be abandoned.

To mark the anniversary of Obamacare’s enactment, in March 2014 the American Action Forum released a report that the law’s regulatory burdens are twice as great as its alleged benefits. “From a regulatory perspective, the law has imposed more than $27.2 billion in total private sector costs, $8 billion in unfunded state burdens, and more than 159 million paperwork hours on local governments and affected entities.”

Obamacare Agent BadgeIt’s rarely mentioned or reported, but the implementation of Obamacare will also require an increase in the number of people either full-time or under contract with the federal government. The highest estimate for new Internal Revenue Service hires is around 16,000 as the IRS has been put in charge of enforcing Obamacare. It already employs about 100,000 people nationwide which means there is one IRS employee for every 3,000 Americans.

In an April 4 Forbes magazine article, “Obamacare Shows America Suffers from a President Dangerously Disconnected From Reality”, Peter Ferrera, a Heartland Institute Senior Fellow specializing in entitlement and budget policy, concluded that the numbers of those insured by Obamacare were largely a fabrication or invalidated in some cases by data that the Health and Human Services Department released.

“Obamacare,” wrote Ferrera, “has been a major drag on the economy, preventing full recovery from the recession. Employers trying to avoid the costs of the employer mandate have reduced many full time jobs to part time jobs. Or that have frozen hiring, and the associated costs due to Obamacare. This is contributing to income stagnation and decline for the middle class, the working class, and the poor.”

L. Brent Bozell of the Media Research Center asked “How do we know Obamacare is failing? They’re burying the story. They aren’t in denial. They know the truth. They’re just choosing to ignore it.”

A Center analysis of the three network evening news broadcasts from January through March found only twelve full stories about Obamacare. “None of the networks dared to report the ongoing opposition of the American people to Obamacare” over that period of time, even when they were the ones doing the polling!

The real story of Obamacare, however, isn’t about who signed up or not. The real story of Obamacare that is not being reported is about those who have died and will die as the result of this horrendous experiment in socialized medicine.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

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5 steps for fixing the VA problems — if I were in charge

As I watch the events unfold regarding the Veterans Administration scandal — certainly not a phony one – I’m waiting to hear a concrete plan of action and solutions.

We do not need any more studies, assessments and reports. We certainly don’t need another agency within the Obama administration investigating itself.

I’m also concerned about the number of retired military officers circling the wagons around, it seems, one of their own — retired former Chief of Staff, now Secretary of Veterans Administration, General Eric Shinseki.

What amazes me is that, in uniform, this type of abject and systematic failure over the past six years would have resulted in relief of command. However, it now seems there are different standards and measures of effectiveness in the quagmire we call government bureaucracy — I would have hoped the code of honor and integrity transcends the day one takes off the uniform.

In any event, here are five steps the administration should be taking (not holding my breath):

1. Change of management – I didn’t say leadership because it seems no one is leading and they are certainly mismanaging. But it begins at the top with the Secretary and must go to the senior levels where these issues are being raised.

Some will say leave Secretary Shinseki in place to fix the VA problems, it’s been almost six years and the problem has been exacerbated. Some believe (or hope) once there are resignations, the media will move on and this won’t be a hot topic anymore – that may apply to the fawning Obama liberal media but not the rest of us.

In that vein, we should be listening to our Veterans Service Organizations such as the VFW, American Legion, ROA, NAUS, AMVETS and MOAA as they are the true “voices of our veterans.”

General Shinseki and senior levels of the VA have lost the confidence of the veteran community. As a matter of fact, it seems he’s completely turned his back on it and become just another “Beltway Bandit” — forgetting his oath of office as a commissioned officer in exchange for political loyalties. We thank him for his countless years of service to our nation in uniform, but this is inexcusable.

2. Provide immediate relief with vouchers to civilian hospitals for proper care – of course this process will need scrutiny and tracking to ensure good stewardship of the taxpayer dollar — which we all would humbly want to see go to caring for those who have borne such a burden for this Republic. But the voucher program is not the panacea to solve the greater problem.

3. Develop regional “Centers of Excellence” – five to be exact: North, South, East, Midwest, and West, based upon veteran population concentration, focus resources for staffing and look at relationships with local private hospitals. As well, outpatient clinics should be part of these COEs and we should develop best practices for better automation as part of this initiative. I would say these would be our Tier IA Veteran care facilities and there should be a determination as to their coverage areas.

4. Provide local alternatives for remote areas – we need to assess the remote areas where our veterans need care and coverage and look at developing a process and a system whereby their first line of healthcare can come from a local private hospital. Again, there would need to be a system in place to track these individuals. Along with this comes a very well-trained and responsive system of “Help Centers” that can address issues and resolve them for our vets, and I don’t mean “we will get back to you.”

5. Improve record-keeping – if the Obama administration was so adept at contacting voters they should be able to develop a better automation system for records and caring of our veterans. It is imperative that we are able to quickly and seamlessly transition health records of those who have served in uniform, regardless of Active Duty or Reserve Component, into the VA system. No more drop-offs into the abyss.

You might have thought this would have been what President Obama would have articulated last week, instead of more faux outrage and lecturing about others taking responsibility.

And yes, something criminal has occurred within the Veterans Administration and the US Attorney General, Eric Holder, should conduct an independent investigation — or is it just not that important?

I always taught my young officers that any issues you bring to me must have at least once recommendation for a solution — above are just a few off the top of my head. And I don’t have an entire policy staff.

But I must ask, if the Obama administration, indeed government itself, is having a problem handling veterans healthcare, which is less than two percent of our American population, how do you think they’ll handle trying to manage the entire country’s healthcare?

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on AllenBWest.com.

RELATED ARTICLE: America’s Veterans Deserve Better: 5 Priorities to Fix VA

FL District 9 Congressional Candidate Jorge Bonilla Calls for VA IG Investigation and vouchers for veterans

Florida District 9 Republican Congressional candidate Jorge Bonilla released the following statement calling for an Inspector General investigation of the Department of Veterans Affairs and vouchers for veterans to obtain healthcare outside the single-payer VA system:

The unfolding scandal surrounding the Department of Veterans’ Affairs has revealed many ugly truths about the executive competence of this administration and about the disastrous practical application of single-payer healthcare in the United States. But worst of all, this scandal has revealed the extent to which we have reneged on our solemn debt of honor towards our returning heroes.

I recently called on Secretary Eric Shinseki to step down from the VA. However, we continue to receive new reports of clandestine wait lists, with no concrete action yet taken.

It is now time for our Commander in Chief to lead from the front, and relieve Secretary Shinseki of his duties at the VA. Rather than send a deputy chief of staff to review a single clinic, I call on the White House to appoint an independent Inspector General to conduct a system wide review of the manner in which our Veterans are cared for.

A proper investigation of the wait list scandal also calls for the appointment of a special independent prosecutor. A thorough, unimpeded investigation of the facts at hand will determine whether or not these are indeed isolated incidents, and if not, whether there is probable cause for prosecution of those responsible under federal RICO statutes.

Make no mistake; if the deaths of over 40 Veterans and the needless suffering of countless others are the result of denied care as part of a systemic effort to enforce wait list metrics, then we have broken faith with our Wounded Warriors, and there is no other option except to pursue swift justice.

Finally, I join Congressional Republicans who have called for enactment of a Veterans’ voucher system. Our Veterans are at the short end of the sort of bureaucratic entanglements and critical staffing shortages that are endemic to the single-payer healthcare system, and this is unacceptable.

Veterans (or all Americans, actually) should be able to see a doctor of their choice at a time of their choice. A voucher system could break the logjam at the VA, and allow those who need specialized VA care to receive it in a timely manner.

This is the very least we could do for those to whom we owe a debt of honor

FL Governor Rick Scott Suing Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Shinseki

Governor Rick Scott, a veteran himself with a son in the U.S. Army, announced plans to file a lawsuit establishing the state’s Agency for Health Care Administration’s (AHCA) authority to inspect federal VA hospitals in Florida, and to stop the federal veterans affairs agency from obstructing state actions.

Governor Scott said, “As the chief health policy and planning entity for the state that licenses, inspects, and investigates consumer complaints, AHCA should be allowed access to federal VA hospitals to inspect their processes and their facilities. On seven separate occasions at six federal VA hospitals, however, state inspectors have been blocked by federal officials from carrying out their mission of ensuring facilities in Florida meet the healthcare needs of our veterans. I have asked AHCA to sue the federal veterans affairs agency to shine a light on their activities and protect the lives of our heroes who have earned nothing short of access to the best care possible.”

The complaint will be filed in federal court against U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki to establish AHCA’s right to inspect and regulate health facilities in Florida. The suit will stop the federal government from obstructing AHCA’s inspections of these facilities.

Governor Scott said, “With 1.5 million veterans that call Florida home, we’re committed to being the most veteran-friendly state in the nation – and reports of deaths, neglect, poor conditions and a secret waiting list in federal VA hospitals in Florida are unacceptable. To date, Sec. Shinseki has refused to step down, our inspectors continue to be turned away, and none of the information we’ve asked for has been provided. Transparency and accountability are critical to supporting our veterans, and this suit will fight the federal VA’s continued practice of stonewalling our inspectors.”

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VA Bottleneck: Scandal or Norm? by D.W. Mackenzie

Problems with the VA go deeper than recent episodes.

The revelation of inefficiency in the VA hospital system has caused strong reactions. Critics of the Obama administration regard this as another scandal, evidence of gross incompetence, and some are calling for measures to fix the VA system. Fatal delays in treatment in VA hospitals are tragic. The Obama administration was aware of these problems, but failed to apply solutions. However, there is no reason to simply blame VA inefficiency on the incompetence of one administration.

Bureaucratic organizations are inherently prone to the types of inefficiency seen at the VA. Ludwig von Mises explained bureaucratic rigidity in 1944. What are the key problems with bureaucratic management of economic activity? Government bureaucracies always lack the incentives and coordinating mechanisms of profit-driven entrepreneurship and market prices. Bureaucratization of an industry substitutes either bureaucratic rules or bureaucratic discretion for entrepreneurship.

How do bureaucracies function? If bureaucrats have discretion to act, they may attempt to serve the public. Mises assumed that bureaucrats would at least try to serve the public, and some modern surveys suggest that people in bureaucracies want to serve the public (at least at the outset of their careers), but these attempts fail. Bureaucratic discretion requires a removal of set limits on the ability of each bureaucrat to draw on public funds. If each bureaucrat can spend money (or regulate) based on what they perceive to be “needed,” how will they each decide when costs are excessive? The point here is that benefits are far more obvious than opportunity costs. A well-intentioned bureaucrat faced with an ill veteran sees a need for costly medical treatment. Decisions of one bureaucrat to approve more and more treatments come at the costs of either treatment to other veterans in other facilities (who are seen by other bureaucrats), or at a cost to taxpayers (who perceive the results of losing more of their income). Since benefits are obvious and costs are obscure, well-intentioned bureaucrats will overspend; they need to be reined in with bureaucratic rules or by high authorities.

Gordon Tullock and William Niskanen assumed that bureaucrats are self-interested. Selfish bureaucrats cannot be trusted with discretion. The inability of taxpayers to effectively monitor most bureaucratic activities means that these officials will tend to use public funds and state regulatory powers to benefit themselves, most of the time. Since benefits to bureaucratic malfeasance are real and costs of detecting this malfeasance are high, selfish bureaucrats do misuse authority; again, they need to be reined in with bureaucratic rules or by high authorities.

Can high authorities direct bureaucratic activities? This might be possible in small local bureaucracies. Central direction of a large national bureaucracy is clearly impossible. A bureaucracy such as the VA is far too large for effective central direction. Well-intentioned bureaucrats tend to overspend specifically because they each have local knowledge of the medical needs of specific veterans. The central officials of the VA might have a better idea of the financial costs in the VA generally, but they do not understand the vast trade-offs involved in the direction of these funds to specific needs, so they cannot understand opportunity costs.

Friedrich Hayek explained the importance of prices in communicating knowledge of opportunity costs: Rising prices signal increased relative need and higher costs, while falling prices signal falling relative need. Can relative demands be signaled in a bureaucracy? Tullock explained how bureaucratic reporting distorts knowledge transmitted through a bureaucracy. The bottom line here is that central authorities cannot direct the activities of a large bureaucracy efficiently.

The Obama administration cannot be held directly responsible for specific problems in the VA system. Attempting to prevent inefficiency and rigidity in a large federal bureaucracy is like trying to prevent earthquakes or monsoons. Large federal bureaucracies are necessarily slow, rigid, and inefficient. While it is impossible to make a large bureaucracy efficient, it is quite possible to deconstruct bureaucracies. Deconstruction of bureaucracies means greater reliance on entrepreneurship and private enterprise. It is, of course, obvious that Obama believes in the bureaucratization and regulation of industry and objects to private enterprise. This is the real scandal. The failure here is not that the VA continues to be inefficient. The failure is that Obama and his supporters continue to believe in the fool’s errand of bureaucratizing healthcare. It is scandalous that so many people persist in believing in a type of organization that never has worked and never can work.

Nobody should be shocked or surprised by failures of the VA to provide timely and effective medical treatment of veterans. Nobody should be shocked or surprised by the efforts of officials and politicians to cover up their failing: This is all just bureaucracy as usual. It is shocking only to see people cling to a belief in bureaucracy when private enterprise has proven, time and again, to work better.

ABOUT D.W. MACKENZIE

D. W. MacKenzie is an assistant professor of economics at Carroll College in Helena, Montana.

Returning Jihadi Fighters from Syria are a Clear Threat to Public Health

Dr. Jill Bellamy van Aalst is an international renowned Bio-warfare expert whom we have interviewed and published articles by her in both the NER and The Iconoclast blog.  Recently we posted on a Dutch intelligence report concerning the threat of returning  home grown Jihadis from the Syrian civil war.  In this article, republished from Dr. Bellamy’s The Biowarfare Blog, Black Six, she assesses the potential bio-warfare threat posed by these returning Dutch jihadis.

Cover photo

Returning Jihadi Fighters from Syria: The threat to European Public Health Security

“The tendency in our planning is to confuse the unfamiliar with the improbable. The contingency we have not considered seriously looks strange; what looks strange is thought improbable; what is improbable need not be considered seriously.” — Thomas C. Shelling

blogs.discovermagazine.com

European security services are quietly monitoring radicalized groups and returning jihadi fighters from Syria. The Netherlands has instituted new laws designed to criminalize travelling to war zones to fight jihad or commit acts of murder and terrorism. While the Dutch should be applauded in their efforts, it may ultimately prove irrelevant. According to French sources, “As things are now, it’s easy enough identifying just who is in Syria-or returned  and are urging others to join the fight. But that’s bound to change when jihadi leaders in Syria and elsewhere decide to internationalize their fight, and order recruits to mask their identities and movements even before they leave to join Syrian militias.” “According to the French official, security forces across Europe anticipate jihadi leaders will instruct European fighters to take their holy war beyond the borders of Syria, once they return home from fighting Assad.” “Under most scenarios, they have little to lose by unleashing terror operative in Europe and would tend to view such activity as logical within their wider worldview,” That’s the one very bad way we don’t expect Syria to be much different from Afghanistan–except in possibly being an even bigger threat.” See: http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2014/0422/Europe-keeps-wary-eye-on-jihadists-traveling-to-fight-in-Syria.

The problem however and the threat to Europe is multi-dimensional, particularly where biological weapons may be the next coveted and possibly preferred weapon of use in Europe by returning and trained jihadi fights and operatives; mainly due to deniability. While the current focus both of returning jihadi fighters and the services which monitor them, appears centered on conventional threats, the risk such fighters may be trained on chemical and biological weapons or deployment tactics suitable to releasing weaponized biological agents cannot be ignored; particularly in light of continued statements by Al Qaeda to use biological weapons against said targets. It may be naive to consider Al Qaeda would task inexperienced radicalized youth with deploying biological warfare agents in European cities, it is possible such Europeans may have been trained in deployment tactics, suitable to releasing weaponized biological agents and not the weapons itself. Such training could be undertaken at a later date and in different locations. Recalling too that “The use of biological weapons against population centers is allowed and is strongly recommended,” U.S. born Anwar-al Awlaki is quoted as saying in one of two issues of the Inspire Magazine. Awlaki was killed in a drone strike in September 2011.” See: http://www.homelandsecuritynewswire.com/dr20120503-alawlaki-posthumously-urges-biological-chemical-attacks-on-u-s

“According to counter-terrorism officials and independent experts, the number of newly radicalized European Muslims flocking to fight with jihadi militias in Syria more than doubled in 2013, as the war ground toward its fourth year.Though figures vary significantly, specialists’ estimates indicate between 2,000 and 3,000 Europeans are currently acquiring combat and explosives skills as part of their anti-Assad fighting. Virtually all are considered a formidable potential terror threat whose eventual return home is just a question of time.” See: http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2014/0422/Europe-keeps-wary-eye-on-jihadists-traveling-to-fight-in-Syria

disease spreading via airplanes In Silico Study of Role of Airports During Disease Epidemics (video)

photo: medgadget

“MIT researchers have been studying how US international airports would affect a rapidly spreading disease epidemic to maybe one day help in dealing with a real situation. A number of relevant factors have been used in the simulation including how many planes come in and out of airports, their intersecting times, the patterns of passengers coming through and the geographic variety of the people int he airports. ” See: http://www.medgadget.com/2012/07/in-silico-study-of-role-of-airports-during-disease-epidemics-video.html

The use of biological agents in a multi-state attack would surely give Al Qaeda the spectacular type of attack it has been calling for since 911. Perhaps concern should be raised as well that the networking of such radicals and operatives (I draw a distinction, with the later being professionally trained and instructed in intelligence operations), increases the risk that unconventional weapons will be selected for use in Europe; and that such networking increases the potential for a well orchestrated multi-state attack. Biological weapons are well suited for enclosed mass transit infrastructures which run unimpeded across Europe i.e. trains, subway systems, air transport.

France-tgv-dup-paris-nice

www.seat61.com

A well orchestrated multi-state attack which introduced disease into a number of commuting infrastructures could exponentially increase the attack and give Al Qaeda more bang for their buck. Health surveillance systems which are fairly robust in some European countries are almost non-existent in others. Such inconsistencies are known by Al Qaeda and would certainly be exploitable. Selected points of release which included rapid transit in countries with minimal bio-defence capabilities would likely succeed. Even a small train station or a line which runs to a major train station could be quite vulnerable to this type of deployment. Additionally, as is usually incorporated into war-games and scenarios (see Atlantic Storm: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1369238/) , staged releases of BW, weeks apart using different locations and transit veins throughout Europe, perhaps with a focus on the Balkan states, would be likely to produce higher numbers of casualties.

While a number of suspected AQ terrorist attacks involving trains has been a major concern in Europe, the threat appears to be a conventional one. See: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/germany/10251941/Al-Qaeda-planning-attacks-on-Europe-rail-lines.html

The risk of radicalized European fighters returning from Syria, fighters who know their local transport infrastructures and who may have networked with operational AQ members, exists that they might become involved in wider and complex plots involving unconventional weapons using, conventional means. European transportation infrastructures are highly vulnerable to this type of attack.

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EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on The New English Review.

Democrat launches “Obamacare Hurts Seniors” website

woodrow wilcox

Woodrow Wilcox

Woodrow Wilcox a longtime Democrat, Party precinct committeeman and elected delegate to the state convention of Democrats has launched a new website which explains how Obamacare hurts seniors on Medicare.

Wilcox states, “Since the passage of Obamacare, the rules of Medicare have been changing to the harm of millions of senior citizens.  If the current Democratic Party leaders won’t change direction and change the Obamacare law to stop harming seniors, then I am one Democrat who wants to change the leaders of the Democratic Party.”

Wilcox states on his website, “The articles on this website fall into three main groups: Articles that explain why Obamacare is bad for seniors. Articles that criticize Senators and Congressmen for voting for Obamacare. Articles that demonstrate my background in helping seniors with Medicare related medical bill problems. (I’ve done that work for over a decade.)” Wilcox has written a book through book titled “Solving Medicare Problems.”

One of the articles by Wilcox is titled “Three Kinds of Democrats Revealed.” In the column Wilcox notes:

The vote on the Obamacare law in March 2010 revealed three kinds of Democrats holding elected federal office in Washington, D.C.

The first group of Democrats were those who voted against Obamacare. Over thirty Democrats in the House of Representatives joined the Republicans to vote against Obamacare.

[ … ]

The second group of Democrats were in an inner circle who knew that there were things in the final version of the Obamacare bill that had not been in previous versions of the bill. These were the Democrats like Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid who pushed for a vote without allowing enough time for senators and representatives to read and check the final version before casting a vote.

[ … ]

The third group of Democrats were those who voted for the Obamacare bill without even bothering to insist that the final version be read. That was simply “blind” voting. That was totally irresponsible.

“Some people may consider me a “turn-coat” because I am against Obamacare. That is not so. I care about senior citizens more than I care about any political party, any political candidate, or any political agenda. If anyone is a “turn-coat”, it is the Democrats who support Obamacare,” writes Wilcox.

Wilcox has written extensively and authoritatively on the impact of Obamacare on seniors. To read all of his columns on Obamacare and its impact on senior citizens visit ObamacareHurtsSeniors.com

RELATED VIDEO: Dr. Ben Carson on ‘The View’ discusses Obamacare and health savings accounts:

[youtube]http://youtu.be/Z-V6VMIy5Hc[/youtube]

 

RELATED STORY: Yes, Some People Will Have to Pay Back Their Obamacare Subsidies

Is All Love ‘Equal’?

The following is adapted from a one-page flier passed out by AFTAH President Peter LaBarbera at an April 14, 2014 protest at the University of Regina in Saskatchewan, Canada [see this excellent video commentary by Canadian pundit Brian Lilley]. At the protest, led by Canadian pro-family/pro-life activist Bill Whatcott, both he and LaBarbera were arrested on the charge of “mischief” for not abandoning their peaceful sign protest against homosexuality and abortion. In explaining why the university felt the need to eject Whatcott and the three other protesters, U of R provost and vice-president Thomas Chase said, “The materials were graphic and the materials were disturbing,” he told the Regina Leader-Post. “The materials, we felt, could harm members of this campus community who we have a duty to protect and support.”

hrc-equal-sign-logo-adapted

Is All Love ‘Equal’?

“Love is Love,” same-sex “marriage” advocates are fond of saying. At a recent protest in Weyburan, Saskatchewan, Canada, a pro-“gay” activist said, “It doesn’t matter who you love, it just matters that you love.” The implication is that homosexual sex and relationships are equivalent—morally, practically and health-wise—to natural sex and relationships (i.e., marriage) between a man and a woman. But is that true?

Capacity to Produce Life

Sex between men or between women alone can never produce children.  “Gay parenting” requires a previous heterosexual relationship by one or both of the same-sex partners, or adoption or artificial means to acquire a child.  That child will then intentionally be denied a father or a mother.  In contrast, heterosexuality and natural marriage produce children, families and future generations.

‘HIV Is a Gay Disease’

Homosexual sex between men is the biggest risk factors for HIV/AIDS. A stunning 94-95 percent of all HIV diagnoses in 2011 among boys and young men were linked to homosexual sex, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports.[1] A 2008 CDC study of “gay” men in 21 major cities found that nearly one in five were HIV positive while 44 percent of those did not know it. [2] Facts like these have led some homosexual activists to admit that, “HIV is a gay disease.”[3] Yet students rarely are educated on the heightened health risks associated with homosexual behaviors.

CDC slide demonstrates the strong correlation between

CDC slide demonstrates the strong correlation between “male-to-male sexual contact” and HIV among adolescent boys and young men. To view the full CDC slide presentation, go HERE; to read the related AFTAH article, go HERE. Yellow highlighting did not appear on original CDC slide.

Viral Hepatitis and High-Risk Homosexual Sex

“Among adults, an estimated 10% of new Hepatitis A cases and 20% of new Hepatitis B cases occur in gay or bisexual men,” the CDC reported in October 2013. The disproportionate risk is linked to high-risk sexual behaviors by “men who have sex with men” (MSM). The CDC reports: “Hepatitis A is usually spread when a person ingests fecal matter—even in microscopic amounts—from an infected person. Among men who have sexual contact with other men, Hepatitis A can be spread through direct anal-oral contact or contact with fingers or objects that have been in or near the anus of an infected person.”[4]

Sex Practices Common Among Homosexual Men Are ‘Highly Efficient Ways of Transmitting Disease,’ Says ‘Gay’ Writer

“Some practices common among gays–especially rimming [mouth-to-anus sex] and anal intercourse–are highly efficient ways of transmitting disease.”–”Gay” writer Jack Hart, Gay Sex: A Manual for Men Who Love Men [5]

CDC-table-Intimate-Partner-VIolence

A 2010 CDC study on “Intimate Partner Violence” among homosexuals and bisexuals found higher rates of “rape, physical violence, and/or stalking” among lesbians and bisexual women compared to heterosexual women–and higher rates of “sexual violence” among homosexual and bisexual men compared to heterosexual men. Go HERE to read CDC report summary.

Domestic Partner Violence Higher for Gays, Lesbians and Bisexuals

“Rates of some form of sexual violence were higher among lesbian women, gay men, and bisexual women and men compared to heterosexual women and men,” the CDC reported in 2010.

“Forty-four percent of lesbian women, 61% of bisexual women, and 35% of heterosexual women experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime…

“Four in 10 gay men (40%), nearly half of bisexual men (47%), and 1 in 5 heterosexual men (21%) have experienced SV [sexual violence] other than rape in their lifetime. This translates into nearly 1.1 million gay men, 903,000 bisexual men, and 21.6 million heterosexual men.” [6]

Anal Cancer

“The incidence of anal cancer in gay men is approximately 80 times that of the general population.” [7]

Syphilis

“In 2012, 75% of the reported primary and secondary syphilis cases were among men who have sex with men (MSM)/” the CDC reported. [8]

Dr. Stephen Goldstone

Anus: ‘Highest Risk Place for STDs,” Says Homosexual Doctor 

“[An] anus is the highest risk place for STDs [sexually transmitted diseases].”–Dr. Stephen Goldstone, The Ins and Outs of Gay Sex: A Medical Handbook for Men [9]

Sources:

1. ”CDC: 94 to 95 Percent of HIV Cases among Boys and Young Men Linked to Homosexual Sex,” AFTAH website, September 11, 2013 [link HERE]; links to CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] presentation, “HIV Surveillance in Adolescents and Young Adults,” National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatisis, STD and & TB Prevention, Div. of HIV/AIDS Prevention: http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/pdf/statistics_surveillance_Adolescents.pdf.

2. CDC Press Release: “1 in 5 men who have sex with men in 21 U.S. cities have HIV; nearly half unaware,” National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention; “The CDC study tested 8,153 MSM in 21 cities participating in the 2008 National HIV Behavioral Surveillance System (NHBS).” [link HERE]

3. Sharon Bernstein, “HIV Ads Embrace, and Stun, Audience,” Los Angeles Times, September 30, 2006: “the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center had embarked on a controversial ad campaign with this stark declaration: ‘HIV is a gay disease,’ with the tag line ‘Own It. End It.’ on billboards and in magazines.” [story link HERE].

4. CDC, “Viral Hepatitis: Information for Gay and Bisexual Men,” October 2013; http://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/Populations/PDFs/HepGay-FactSheet.pdf.

5. Jack Hart, Gay Sex: A Manual for Men who Love Men (Revised & Updated, Second edition, October 1998). Published by [now defunct] Alyson Books (Los Angeles, New York), pages 194, 212-213. [AFTAH link HERE] Full quote by Hart, a homosexual, is below:

“Many sexual transmitted diseases (STDs) occur more often among gay men than in the general population. Several factors contribute to this difference: Gay men have the opportunity to engage in sex with more people than do most heterosexual men, and some practices common among gays–especially rimming [oral-anal perversion*] and anal intercourse–are highly efficient ways of transmitting disease….”

6. NISVS: “An Overview of 2010 Findings on Victimization by Sexual Orientation,” The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS), 2010: http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/cdc_nisvs_victimization_final-a.pdf

7. HIV Essentials 2013 (Sixth Edition), by Paul E. Sax , Calvin J. Cohen, Daniel R. Kuritzkes, (Jones & Bartlett Learning: Burlington, MA, 2013), p. 132. [Amazon book link HERE]

8. CDC, “Syphilis & MSM (Men Who Have Sex With Men) – CDC Fact Sheet; page last updated: January 7, 2014. http://www.cdc.gov/std/syphilis/STDFact-MSM-Syphilis.htm

9. Dr. Stephen Goldstone, The Ins and Outs of Gay Sex: A Medical Handbook for Men, (Dell: 1999), p 16; in the passage, Dr. Goldstone, a homosexual and “gay” advocate, is urging condom use. For more quotations by Goldstone, see this AFTAH article. [Amazon book link HERE]

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