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Episode 19-23

VA Chief Talks Alzheimer’s | Shipping Cluster Bombs To Ukraine

Brains and Brawn

Archived Video & Audio

Guest(s): Dr. Catherine Kelso - Deputy Executive Director of the VA Office of Geriatrics & Extended Care, Norman Solomon - Executive Director of The Institute for Public Accuracy

  • It’s now estimated that around 7 million people 65 and older are living with Alzheimer’s dementia in the United States – a progressive disease that involves the deterioration of nerve cells in the brain, which in turn affects thoughts, memory, and language.  The Department of Veterans Affairs is committed to providing care and support to Veterans and their caregivers impacted by Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. In recognition of Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, Dr. Catherine Kelso, Deputy Executive Director of the VA Office of Geriatrics & Extended Care… of the Veterans Health Administration… joins us to discuss how the VA is paving the way for research and treatment.  *Care for Veterans with Alzheimer’s or dementia is provided throughout the full range of VA health care services. Depending on the Veteran's needs, services may include Home Based Primary Care, Homemaker and Home Health Aide, Respite Care, Adult Day Health Care, outpatient clinic, inpatient hospital, Nursing Home, Palliative Care, or Hospice Care. Caregiver Support is also an essential part of these services. For more information, you can visit

  • Most of us have heard of cluster bombs.  Last year the media extensively covered the Russian use of cluster bombs in Ukraine… condemning them as immoral and illegal.  Chalk it up to incompetence because the same Media generally accepted our use of cluster bombs across various wars.  But after sufficient financial lobbying, several Congress Members are now proposing to send cluster bombs to Ukraine … and the same media is completely silent.


But, let’s break down what these cluster bombs are so you get the issue:  We’ll use the now-silent New York Times description: "Internationally banned cluster munitions” are “a variety of weapons — rockets, bombs, missiles, and artillery projectiles — that disperse lethal bomblets in midair over a wide area, hitting military targets and civilians alike.” And the Times noted that cluster bombs “kill so indiscriminately that they are banned under international law.”  If they’re banned under international law, then why would you send a bunch of them out internationally?  I’m not asking you to think. ‘Cause, If we all started thinking, there might be a big problem with the smoothness of the tennis game at the top.  Yet, by provoking thought, we can help people to understand the complex issues involved.

Let’s look at Democratic Congressman Adam Smith from Washington… who’s the ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee … said he’s “open to” America shipping cluster munitions to Ukraine.  Let me just say, It’s not bad enough with the collapsed Soviet-era dam having flooded a region of Ukraine…. But landmines are also being dislodged by the floodwaters, are now floating loose. The Red Cross's weapon contamination unit… said they’d lost track of where the landmines even are at this point.  And then, there’s one of the world’s largest nuclear power plants… that relied on that dam for coolant to avoid a meltdown.  

Now, the Congressional idea is to ship crates of cluster bombs to add to the floating land mines, a compromised and thirsty nuclear power plant, and a flooded out and helpless population.  No amount of sarcasm or snide commentary can capture the idiocy of it all.

This is why we are lucky to have this next Rethinking Hero who has spent decades unearthing the truth with an uphill bulldozer of facts and intellect… against an avalanche of downhill poltroonery and knuckle-walking mountebankery.  What makes a hero in today’s Orwellian orgasm of media madness? Where Tolstoy is a rube compared to supreme influencers like Kim, Kloe, or Kaitlin Kardashian. Where Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis are the heralded saints in this Brave New World?

Let me introduce acclaimed veteran political analyst, Norman Solomon, the Institute for Public Accuracy’s executive director.  He’s also author of War Made Easy, and the newly-released, War Made Invisible.  This is what a hero looks like:  Mr. Solomon and the IPA have increased dramatically the reach and capacity of grassroots organizations (at no cost to them) the ability to address public policy by getting them and their ideas into the mainstream media, us included here on Rethinking Heroes. So, the IPA gains media access for those whose voices are commonly excluded or drowned out by government or corporate-backed institutions. Everybody loves that!  And For journalists, Mr. Solomon’s detailed set of constantly-updated databases of policy analysts, scholars, and other independent researchers … are truly indispensable.  Via Zoom from San Francisco, Norman Solomon, I want to welcome you to Rethinking Heroes.

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