Monday, July 20, 2015

When Do Veterans Get An Apology from McCain?

Looks like AP fact checker on McCain's record didn't get it right.

FACT CHECK: Trump shortchanges McCain's record on veterans
Associated Press July 21, 2015
THE FACTS: McCain has a long record of supporting veterans' issues in Congress. He was instrumental in a landmark law approved last year to overhaul the scandal-plagued Department of Veterans Affairs. McCain worked with the chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, independent Bernie Sanders of Vermont, as well as Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., chairman of the House veterans panel, to help win passage of the law, which aims to alleviate long delays veterans faced in getting medical care.

The VA says it has completed 7 million more appointments for care in the past year, compared with the previous year, but veterans still face increased wait times in Phoenix, Las Vegas and other places. "As we improve access, even more veterans are coming to VA for their care," Deputy VA Secretary Sloan Gibson told Congress last month. As a result, waiting times for appointments longer than 30 days are up 50 percent from a year ago, he said.

McCain pushed for a provision in the law allowing veterans who live more than 40 miles away from a VA health care site to get government-paid care from a local doctor. McCain and Miller also pushed to make it easier to fire senior VA employees for poor performance.

McCain also was central in a law enacted this year aimed at reducing a suicide epidemic among military veterans that claims the lives of an estimated 22 every day. The law is named for Clay Hunt, an Iraq and Afghanistan veteran who killed himself in 2011. It requires the VA and the Pentagon to submit to independent reviews of their suicide prevention programs and offers financial incentives to psychiatrists and other mental health professionals who agree to work for the VA.
read more here and then try to contain your laughter.

Now back to reality from yesterday.
I am furious over what Trump said on so many different levels. The first reason is that Trump did end up insulting all POWs when he tried to talk about being captured did not make McCain a hero. Poor choice of words? Ok, that is possible.
Donald Trump Says He Does Not Owe John McCain Apology
ABC News
Jul 19, 2015

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said he does not owe John McCain an apology for saying the Arizona senator is only a war hero “because he was captured.”

Trump told Martha Raddatz on ABC's "This Week" that he won't be pulling out of the presidential race over his comments, which he made Saturday during a campaign event in Iowa. Trump said he left to a "standing ovation" after speaking at the Family Leadership Council summit.

"When I left the room, it was a total standing ovation," said Trump. "It was wonderful to see. Nobody was insulted."
read more here

ABC US News | World News
The trouble is the rest of what Trump said was lost after he said that. It turns out that McCain thinks he is not owed an apology
John McCain: Donald Trump Owes Vets an Apology, Not Me
July 20, 2015

Sen. John McCain said Monday that he does not view himself as a hero but that Donald Trump owes an apology to veterans for his comments about soldiers captured in war.

Asked on MSNBC's Morning Joe if Trump owes him an apology, McCain responded: "No, I don't think so. But I think he may owe an apology to the families of those who have sacrificed in conflict and those who have undergone the prison experience in serving their country."

"There are so many men, and some women, who served and sacrificed and happened to be held prisoner and somehow to denigrate that, in any way, their service I think is offensive," he added.
read more here

The trouble is that McCain has never apologized to veterans on his voting record after using them for their votes. He has never served on the Veterans Affairs Committee and no one ever asked him to explain why he is only interested in the Senate Armed Service Committee.
Trump: I don't need to be lectured
USA Today
Donald Trump
July 19, 2015
McCain has abandoned our veterans. I will fight for them. During my entire business career, I have always made supporting veterans a top priority because our heroes deserve the very best for defending our freedom. Our Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals are outdated dumps. I will build the finest and most modern veterans hospitals in the world. The current medical assistance to our veterans is a disaster. A Trump administration will provide the finest universal access health care for our veterans. They will be able to get the best care anytime and anywhere.

Thanks to McCain and his Senate colleague Bernie Sanders, their legislation to cover up the VA scandal, in which 1,000+ veterans died waiting for medical care, made sure no one has been punished, charged, jailed, fined or held responsible. McCain has abandoned our veterans. I will fight for them.

The reality is that John McCain the politician has made America less safe, sent our brave soldiers into wrong-headed foreign adventures, covered up for President Obama with the VA scandal and has spent most of his time in the Senate pushing amnesty. He would rather protect the Iraqi border than Arizona’s. He even voted for the Iran Nuclear Review Act of 2015, which allows Obama, who McCain lost to in a record defeat, to push his dangerous Iran nuclear agreement through the Senate without a supermajority of votes.
read more here

If you read Wounded Times, then you know what McCain's record has been and on that, Trump got part of it right because it has been bad for veterans but then again, it has gotten substantially worse since McCain went into the Senate.

Lets start with a little history lesson for the Chairman of the Senate Armed Service Committee
Women in combat if you look at the link, you can read what he must have not known about. In the 1991 debate over women pilots, McCain took a traditionalist stance. "This nation has existed for over 215 years," McCain said. "At no time in the history of our nation have women been in combat roles."
Hmm. Guess he forgot that women have in fact received every combat medal including the Medal of Honor during the Civil war.
The Medal of Honor - the nation's highest award.
Dr Mary Walker, a surgeon in the Civil War, was awarded the nation's highest honor by President Andrew Johnson. The citation reads, in part: "Whereas it appears from official reports that Dr. Mary E. Walker, a graduate of medicine, has rendered valuable service to the government, and her efforts have been earnest and untiring in a variety of ways, and that she was assigned to duty and served as an assistant surgeon in charge of female prisoners at Louisville, KY., under the recommendation of Major-Generals Sherman and Thomas, and faithfully served as contract surgeon in the service of the United states, and has devoted herself with much patriotic zeal to the sick and wounded soldiers, both in the field and hospitals, to the detriment of her own health, and has endured hardships as a prisoner of war four months in a southern prison while acting as contract surgeon...."

Dr. Walker's Medal of Honor was rescinded in 1917, along with some 900 others. Some believed her medal was rescinded because of her involvement as a suffragette. Others discredit that opinion as 909 other medals rescinded were awarded to men. The stated reason was to ". . . increase the prestige of the grant."

For whatever reason, she refused to return the Medal of Honor and wore it until her death in 1919. Fifty-eight years later, the U.S. Congress posthumously reinstated her medal, and it was restored by President Carter on June 10, 1977.
Women who received the Distinguished Service Cross - WWI

Jane Jeffery: A nurse serving with the American Red Cross: severely wounded during an air raid, refused to leave her post and continued to help others.

Beatrice M. MacDonald: wounded in Belgium during an air raid at a casualty clearing station and lost sight in her right eye.

Helen Grace McClelland: also on duty with the surgical team at the British casualty clearing station and cared for Beatrice MacDonald during the air raid.

Eva Jean Parmelee: although wounded in air raid she continued to serve throughout the emergency.

Isabelle Stambaugh: seriously wounded in an air raid at a British casualty clearing station in Amiens, while working in the operating room with a surgical team.

Reconstruction Aide Emma S. Sloan
If you want to know more like the names of heroic military women during combat with the Navy Cross, Silver Star, Air Medal, Bronze Star and Purple Heart, they are listed here.

The man should know something about military women considering how long he's been on the committee overseeing them! But hey, what do we expect from a man consistently wrong?

Stars and Stripes' interview with Sen. John McCain
By Leo Shane III, Stars and Stripes
Stars and Stripes online edition, Monday, August 11, 2008

Q: The backlog in the VA system is still very sizeable and a concern to even many of the younger guys. I don’t know how you’re looking at the issue, and how you fix something that the current administration has really struggled with.

I think the best thing we could possibly do is focus military medical care and the VA on treating the wounds directly related to combat: PTSD, combat wounds which they are uniquely qualified, through years of experience, to address.

I think in the case of veterans that have ordinary health care needs, routine health care needs, we should do everything we can to give them a card that they can take to the health care provider or doctor of their choice to get health care immediately.

Q: I know there has been a push by the current administration to take those healthier veterans and have them pay to help support the system, even a small, nominal fee. I don’t know if that’s something that you’d support.

First I think we’ve got to make sure that veterans receive the care, and then we have to worry about if there’s any necessary changes. I’m unalterably opposed to telling future generations of Americans that we’re not going to give them the health care they need in service for our country.

That means that I would be very reluctant, I would be opposed to imposing more financial costs.

McCain targets message to vets
At every stop since he began his Michigan blitz on Saturday, McCain recognized the veterans in the audience. He's promised to provide better medical care to veterans in the early days of his administration.

Merchant Marine Bill not signed by John McCain
Now all these years later, the few Merchant Marine war veterans still alive would like to see Senate Bill S961 passed. The House of Representatives passed the bill in 2007. Our two Arizona senators, Jon Kyl and John McCain, have not signed on even though 57 other senators have.

McCain won't back GI bill for veterans

Bush's speech on Webb's GI Bill was a load of lies "The bill being sent to the President contains every provision in S. 22, which has received meticulous scrutiny and the full support of every major veterans' organization. It will pay for a veteran's tuition, books, and a monthly stipend, along the lines of the benefits given to those who returned from World War II. As such, it fulfills the pledge I made on my first day of office to provide today's veterans with the opportunity to move forward into an absolutely first-class future.

"I would like to again express my appreciation to the veterans' service organizations, many of whom communicated their support of this bill directly to a skeptical White House, and to the 58 Senate and 302 House cosponsors of this landmark legislation. This bipartisan coalition consistently rejected the allegations of this Administration, and of Senators McCain, Burr and Graham, among others, who claimed that the bill was too generous to our veterans, too difficult to administer and would hurt retention.

In 2008 VA Watchdog posted McCain's record on veterans issues

John Sidney McCain
Current Office: U.S. Senate
Party: Republican
Status: Announced

Veterans Issues

2006 Senator McCain supported the interests of the Disabled American Veterans 20 percent in 2006.

2006 In 2006 Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America gave Senator McCain a grade of D.

2006 Senator McCain sponsored or co-sponsored 18 percent of the legislation favored by the The Retired Enlisted Association in 2006.

2005 Senator McCain supported the interests of the Disabled American Veterans 25 percent in 2005.

2004 Senator McCain supported the interests of the Disabled American Veterans 50 percent in 2004.

2004 Senator McCain supported the interests of the The Retired Enlisted Association 0 percent in 2004.

2003-2004 Senator McCain supported the interests of the Vietnam Veterans of America 100 percent in 2003-2004.

2003 Senator McCain supported the interests of the The American Legion 50 percent in 2003.

2001 Senator McCain supported the interests of the Vietnam Veterans of America 46 percent in 2001.

1999 Senator McCain supported the interests of the Disabled American Veterans 66 percent in 1999.

1997-1998 Senator McCain supported the interests of the Vietnam Veterans of America 0 percent in 1997-1998.

1989-1990 On the votes that the Vietnam Veterans of America considered to be the most important in 1989-1990 , Senator McCain voted their preferred position 50 percent of the time.

Veterans Issues
Date Bill Title Vote
10/01/2007 National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008 NV
02/02/2006 Tax Rate Extension Amendment N
11/17/2005 Additional Funding For Veterans Amendment N
10/05/2005 Health Care for Veterans Amendment N

Just one more notch on the doesn't give a damn list as after all these years veterans are still waiting for an apology from McCain and the rest of the politicians using them instead of taking care of them.

In 2010:
John McCain blocks troop suicide prevention program
Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
From MSNBC's The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell blog:

Arizona Republican Senator John McCain, who admitted in his memoir to attempting suicide while held captive as a P.O.W. in Vietnam for 5 1/2 years, is responsible for blocking funding for a suicide prevention program aimed at military reserve troops returning home from combat.

In 2011:
Senator John McCain blocking effort to bring fallen sailors home from Libya Amanda Terkel

WASHINGTON -- Thirteen U.S. sailors who died in 1804 during the First Barbary War and were buried in Tripoli, Libya, may finally be coming home, if the American Legion gets its way.

Since the uprising in Libya broke out six months ago, the veterans organization has been lobbying Congress to bring home the remains of the U.S. servicemen. The crew, led by Master Commandant Richard Somers and Lt. Henry Wadsworth (uncle of the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow), died when their explosives-packed ship blew up prematurely during a mission to Tripoli.
The Senate, however, has not followed suit. According to Tetz, one stumbling block may be Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who served in the U.S. Navy.

(I could keep going on this but I'd need something to keep going and it is too early in the day to start drinking. I already had to make a phone call to calm down since my head was sending shrapnel to the other side of Orlando hitting Gunny's roof.)
The thing is, what this boils down to is so many folks seem to want to defend McCain over what Trump said about him instead of actually talking about how McCain has used his past service to cover up what he has managed to pull off when he had a chance to actually do something for veterans.

Trump does owe other POWs a huge apology for his comment and from what I understand, he will give it, humbly to them. The question is, when will someone demand an apology from McCain on behalf of all the veterans Trump tried to talk about?

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