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Veteran Issues/ Superman's Legacy

Date: 08-13-13
Host: George Noory
Guests: Larry Tye, Dannion Brinkley, Joyce Riley

In the first half of the show, the treatment of US veterans, and their high rate of suicide, was addressed by two guests. First, author Dannion Brinkley talked about how when troops come home they get lost in the maze of bureaucracy, unemployment, and a brew of prescription drugs to treat their PTSD and other disorders. Young soldiers placed on antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs while still in combat get even higher levels of PTSD, he noted. It's important to look at complementary alternative methodologies, like Tai Chi, yoga, hyperbaric chambers, and meditation which is being done at the West Los Angeles VA Hospital, he said. Brinkley also spoke about his work with the Twilight Brigade, a hospice community geared toward veterans.

Nurse and veterans' advocate Joyce Riley said that veterans' situations continue to worsen year after year. The US has created a scenario in which veterans are repeatedly told there's nothing wrong with them, yet their conditions become overwhelming, and they end up committing suicide, she detailed. Taking a look at the troops who served in Desert Storm in 1991, of the over 600,000 soldiers, only 140 of them died in that war. But shockingly, since their return, over the last 10-15 years, probably about 2/3 of them are now dead, succumbing to the effects from various biological and chemical exposures, and experimental drugs and vaccines, Riley asserted. She also talked about how veterans could deal with Agent Orange exposure, suggesting that they study this report.

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On the 75th anniversary of his introduction, Superman remains America's most enduring hero, said author Larry Tye, who in the second half of the show, discussed the history of the character, and how he's influenced U.S. history and pop culture. The inspiration for the character of Superman came to Jerry Siegel as an escape from being bullied at school, and as a reaction to his father dying while fending off a robbery in Cleveland, Ohio, Tye recounted. The character of Clark Kent was in the story from the beginning and was part of the successful formula that made Superman more relatable, he continued.

Tye also touched on the so-called 'Superman Curse' beginning with the suicide of George Reeves, who played the character on the first TV show, and the accident that befell Christopher Reeve, who was the lead in a series of films starting in 1978. On the Superman radio show, they took on such targets as the Ku Klux Klan. Illiterate soldiers learned how to read in WWII from reading the comic books, he noted. Interestingly, Superman's politics have ranged from liberal to conservative, changing with the times. In the 30s, he helped promote the New Deal, in the 40s, his image was used to sell war bonds, in the 50s, he hunted communists. "In every era, he seemed to be precisely what we needed at that moment," Tye commented, adding that the latest wrinkle was that Clark Kent had quit the Daily Planet to become a blogger.

News segment guests: Rosemary Ellen Guiley, Dr. Peter Breggin

Related Material

Superman Costume
Superman Costume
Christopher Reeve's costume from 'Superman' is seen on display at an auction at Christie's auction house in 2003. For more on Superman, check out this vintage 1941 cartoon.

Bumper Music

Bumper music from Tuesday August 13, 2013

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