Showing posts with label Senate. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Senate. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

U.S. Senate 86 voted for veterans 11 voted against them

The Senate passes help for veterans exposed to toxins, after a reversal drew fury

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) looks on Tuesday as Susan Zeier, mother-in-law of the late Sgt. First Class Heath Robinson, hugs Rosie Torres, wife of veteran Le Roy Torres, who suffers from illnesses related to his exposure to burn pits in Iraq, after the Senate passed the PACT Act at the U.S. Capitol in Washington. Drew Angerer/Getty Images


The U.S. Senate, in a bipartisan 86-11 vote, approved a measure to provide health care and benefits for millions of veterans injured by exposure to toxins, from Agent Orange in Vietnam to burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Known as the PACT Act, the bill no longer would force generations of veterans to prove that their illness was caused by toxic exposures suffered in the military in order to get VA coverage. It had been hailed as the largest expansion of care in VA history, and was expected to cost $280 billion over a decade.

The House passed the measure in July. President Biden, who supports the PACT Act, is expected to sign it into law.

read more here 


You may be wondering who were the eleven Senators voting against taking care of the veterans. You can stop wondering, This list is from Yahoo News


On Tuesday, the 11 no votes included:

  • Mitt Romney of Utah

  • Rand Paul of Kentucky

  • Mike Crapo of Idaho

  • James Lankford of Oklahoma

  • Mike Lee of Utah

  • Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming

  • James Risch of Idaho

  • Richard Shelby of Alabama

  • Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania

  • Tommy Tuberville of Alabama

  • Thom Tillis of North Carolina

All 11 senators also voted against the bill in June.



Monday, August 1, 2022

Read the Burn Pit bill yourself and know what else was in it, they voted against!

Veterans have been camping out on the Capitol steps after GOP blocks burn pit bill



NBC"
By Scott Wong, Ali Vitali and Frank Thorp V
August 1, 2022

WASHINGTON — Jen Burch, 35, a retired staff sergeant in the Air Force, looks strong and healthy from the outside. She says that inside, however, she’s suffering from ailments that she believes are related to her service during the Afghanistan war more than a decade ago.

While they were in Kandahar, Burch and her fellow service members were exposed to “burn pits, incinerators and poo ponds,” she said. When she left, she battled pneumonia and bronchitis. And in the years since then, she has been “in and out of ERs” and has struggled with intense migraine headaches and shortness of breath whenever she climbs a flight of stairs.

“I actually ended up trying to take my life because I just can’t handle it anymore. I just go crazy in my head,” Burch said at a rally Monday outside the U.S. Capitol.
read more here

This is the link to the PACT ACT
Among the things that are in the bill are provisions for those who served at Fort McClellan
(Sec. 801) The VA must conduct an epidemiological study on the health trends of veterans who served at Fort McClellan at any time between January 1, 1935, and May 20, 1999.

Veterans that served in Palomares, Spain and hule Air Force Base, Greenland
(Sec. 402) This section includes veterans who participated in the cleanup of radioactive materials at Palomares, Spain, or in the response effort following the on-board fire and crash of a U.S. Air Force B-52 bomber in the vicinity of Thule Air Force Base, Greenland, as radiation-exposed veterans for purposes of the presumption of service-connection for specified cancers.

Vietnam veterans
Veterans Agent Orange Exposure Equity Act of 2022
(Sec. 403) This section expands the presumption of service-connection for diseases associated with exposure to certain herbicide agents for veterans who served in Vietnam between January 9, 1962, and May 7, 1975. Specifically, the bill expands the presumption to cover veterans who served during specified time frames in Thailand at any U.S. or Royal Thai bases, Laos, Cambodia, Guam or American Samoa or the waters thereof, or on Johnson Atoll. Under the bill, such veterans are eligible for VA hospital care, medical services, and nursing home care.

Read the bill yourself and know that those that voted against this, are lying about the bill.

Saturday, July 30, 2022

Jon Stewart stood up for veterans Ted Cruz stomped on

The Repubicans voting against taking care of veterans proved one thing. They don't really care about veterans. Jon Stewart stood up for all of you after Ted Cruz stomped on you!

and here is the video!


Thursday, July 14, 2022

88 GOP Members of House Voted Against Veterans Burn Pit Bill



U.S. House passes bill expanding health care, benefits for veterans exposed to burn pits

IOWA Dispatch

WASHINGTON — The U.S. House overwhelmingly approved a bipartisan bill Wednesday to expand health care and benefits for veterans exposed to burn pits overseas, sending the package back to the U.S. Senate after making a minor change.

Senators, who broadly support the landmark package, are expected to quickly clear the measure for President Joe Biden’s signature. The House vote was 342-88. (updated)

Biden, who has linked his son Beau’s death from a brain tumor in 2015 to exposure to burn pits, has repeatedly called on Congress to address the illnesses and deaths linked to toxic exposure. 

“What I found with my son, what I found with my friends, what I found with the generation of Vietnam: There’s this notion that you shouldn’t ask for anything,” Biden said in March while at a resource center in Fort Worth, Texas.

“You should be asking. You should be letting us know. You should let us know what is bothering you, what is the problem because we owe it to you,” Biden continued.

(read it here)


There were 12 Senators that voted against the Senate version sent to the House.

The American Independent
Despite the Senate's broad bipartisan support for the bill, 12 Republicans voted against advancing it:
Sens. Richard Burr (NC),
Bill Cassidy (LA),
John Kennedy (LA),
James Lankford (OK),
Mike Lee (UT),
Cynthia Lummis (WY)
Rand Paul (KY),
Mitt Romney (UT),
Dan Sullivan (AK),
Thom Tillis (NC),
Pat Toomey (PA),
and Todd Young (IN).

Monday, March 7, 2022

Who voted to acquit Trump over what he did to Ukraine?

Aa friend of mine has finally woken up to the fact that Congress tried to hold Trump accountable for what he did to Ukraine in defense of what Putin was doing for him. Now we know that the Republican senators are just as responsible for what Putin did to Ukraine, as Putin is. They had the chance to convict him after the House impeached him. They decided to defend Trump no matter what price would come to Ukraine and the rest of the world, including this country.

Trump must think Russia's invasion of Ukraine is a joke

CNN
According to a recording of the speech obtained by The Washington Post, Trump told the audience of GOP donors that the United States should "put the Chinese flag" on F-22 fighter jets and "bomb the s**t" out of Russia. He quipped, "And then we say, China did it. Then they start fighting with each other, and we sit back and watch."

Politico

President Trump acquitted on both impeachment charges, avoids removal

USA TODAY
Bart Jansen
Christal Hayes
Savannah Behrmann
Nicholas Wu
February 5, 2020

WASHINGTON - The Senate acquitted President Donald Trump for his dealings with Ukraine on Wednesday, culminating months of bitter partisan clashes over accusations he tried to cheat in the 2020 election by pressuring the U.S. ally to investigate political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden.

The Republican-led Senate voted to acquit Trump on two articles of impeachment - abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, was the only senator to cross party lines by voting to convict for abuse of power.

McConnell said impeachment is net win for GOP
“Having been dragged into something she instinctively felt was a mistake, then the second impulse was to get it over with as quickly as possible,” McConnell said of what he called an “abbreviated, truncated, rush job over in the House.”

McConnell then guessed that House Democrats would make the case a fight over witnesses in the Senate. But his staff counted 60 times when House managers had declared during the trial that they had already proved their case.

“I’m proud of my colleagues for seeing through that,” McConnell said of the nearly party-line votes to reject additional witnesses in the trial.

He also said it was right to avoid having Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts resolve a tie over witnesses, if a vote had come to that.

“It’s pretty clear that would have dragged the Supreme Court into the maelstrom,” McConnell said.

He concluded that impeachment was a political loser for Democrats because Trump enjoyed the highest approval ratings of his presidency.
read more here

Who voted to acquit Trump

Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL)
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)
Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-AK)
Sen. Martha McSally (R-AZ)
Sen. John Boozman (R-AK)
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AK)
Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO)
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)
Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL)
Sen. David Perdue (R-GA)
Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA)
Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID)
Sen. Jim Risch (R-ID)
Sen. Todd Young (R-IN)
Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN)
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA)
Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA)
Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS)
Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS)
Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)
Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA)
Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA)
Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME)
Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS)
Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS)
Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO)
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO)
Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT)
Sen. Deb Fischer (R-NE)
Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE)
Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC)
Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC)
Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND)
Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND)
Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH)
Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK)
Sen. James Lankford (R-OK)
Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA)
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC)
Sen. John Thune (R-SD)
Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD)
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN)
Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)
Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX)
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)
Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT)
Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV)
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI)
Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY)
Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY)

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Veterans benefits won't suffer if government shuts down

DoD, VA officials prep for a possible government shutdown later this week

Military Times
By Leo Shane III
September 27, 2021
Last week, Veterans Affairs officials released their shutdown contingency plan, which will be less severe than other department’s because of advance appropriations approved by Congress in last year’s budget agreement.

As a result, 96 percent of VA employees will not have to worry about furloughs if a shutdown occurs, and most VA programs — including medical care, benefits processing and burials at department cemeteries — will continue uninterrupted.
In this Oct. 1, 2013, photo, National Parks Service staff stand by the barricaded Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. because of a partial government shutdown caused by a partisan budget fight in Congress. (Carolyn Kaster/AP)
In anticipation of a possible government shutdown later this week, leaders from the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs have begun warning employees of possible office closures, program interruptions and potential furloughs that will result from a budget lapse. The moves won’t mean any work stoppage for active-duty service members, but it could mean a disruption in their pay until the federal financial issues are resolved.
read more here

On a personal note: SHAME ON THE GOP MEMBERS OF THE SENATE! read it here

Sunday, July 25, 2021

It is up to all of us to keep them from trying to steal further elections!

Kathie Costos
July 25, 2021

When we listen to reporters talking about the election they don't seem to get it. How could they miss the biggest part of all these allegations over the right for people to vote in this country? This was a stolen election! Not the one from 2020 because Trump lost that one over and over again, as you'll read below, but this was the beginning of stealing elections to come.


Trump supporters clash with police and security forces as they push barricades to storm the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C on Jan. 6, 2021. Demonstrators breeched security and entered the Capitol as Congress debated the a 2020 presidential election Electoral Vote certification. (Photo by ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP via Getty Images) SOURCE: ROBERTO SCHMIDT (KMBC News)
We watched in horror as the US Capitol was attacked by fellow Americans screaming about "stopping the steal" when they were in fact attempting to do exactly that. They didn't like the results, so they tried to stop it from being accepted by Congress.

Trump set the stage for all of this by claiming if he lost, it meant the election was stolen. That was all he had to do to set things in motion.

Fact Check took a look at the claims made by the previous president. Point by point, they showed how the claims were false. 

Courts rejected the claims of a stolen election.

Fact check: Courts have dismissed multiple lawsuits of alleged electoral fraud presented by Trump campaign
In the early morning of Jan. 7, hours after Trump supporters stormed the Capitol, the U.S. Congress certified enough Electoral College votes for President Biden to declare him winner of the election ( here ).  

As reported by Reuters here , state and federal judges - some appointed by Trump - dismissed more than 50 lawsuits brought by Trump or his allies alleging election fraud and other irregularities.
So many claims were made about absentee ballots it was impossible to keep track of. What was missed, among many, was they were also claiming military votes were stolen because Trump couldn't believe so many members of the military were not supporting him. Facts proved he was wrong, no matter what his ego would not allow him to even contemplate.

Members of the military rely on absentee voting
According to the Federal Voting Assistance Program's 2018 post-election report to Congress, the Defense Department sent 655,409 absentee ballots to personnel serving abroad, and more than half, or 344,392, were returned, a rate comparable to the overall percentage of Americans who voted in the midterm elections.
Georgia military votes were not stolen but over and over again, he and his supporters, pushed that rumor with no evidence to prove anything they claimed. Over and over again, in each state, they attacked mail in ballots during a pandemic setting the stage for all other elections to be jeopardized.

There are members of the Senate who refused to see that Republicans Senators will never support voter integrity legislation to protect the rights of voters when they can easily take over the results. 

There was a time when people wanted their votes to be earned by politicians. After all, the funds they spend come from what taxpayers pay for. Now they want to use our tax dollars to prevent us from using our voice to vote for who we believe will do the best job for us.

Now in state after state, they are passing laws that will take away our voice by vote, using rumors started by Trump and his supporters to cover up for what they wanted to do all along. It doesn't matter how many citizens served in the military to protect and defend the Constitution, including the right to vote, as long as they win. 

It was appalling to hear people were pleased the Capitol was attacked. It is appalling to hear the lies about what we saw with our own eyes. It is repulsive to know so many of our elected officials are standing in the way of holding people accountable for all of this. If they stand in the way, we need to wonder if it is because they were part of all of this and do not want their participation proven. The innocent would want the evidence to come out to prove they were wrongly accused. The guilty want to prevent evidence from proving their guilt!

It is time for members of the Senate to remove the obstacle of the filibuster and defend the rights so many generations of American fought for.

Editorial: Senate Republicans won’t even consider voting rights. The filibuster must go
"...Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said that Democrats were aiming to “tilt every election in America permanently in their favor.” That was an unfair, even outrageous, characterization of the Democrats’ proposal, the ambitious For the People Act, not to mention an exercise in projection.

The For the People Act in its Senate and House versions was arguably too large and complicated a piece of legislation, stitching together a multitude of proposals including disclosure requirement for political contributions, public financing of congressional elections and even an ethics code for the Supreme Court."
The 19th Amendment was hard fought for to allow women the right to vote. This was when elected officials fought to expand voting rights, not prevent them! Notice how many "Red" States were among the first to do it?
Between 1910 and 1918, the Alaska Territory, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota and Washington extended voting rights to women.

Also during this time, through the Equality League of Self-Supporting Women (later, the Women’s Political Union), Stanton’s daughter Harriot Stanton Blatch introduced parades, pickets and marches as means of calling attention to the cause. These tactics succeeded in raising awareness and led to unrest in Washington, D.C.

Did you know? Wyoming, the first state to grant voting rights to women, was also the first state to elect a female governor. Nellie Tayloe Ross (1876-1977) was elected governor of the Equality State—Wyoming's official nickname—in 1924. And from 1933 to 1953, she served as the first woman director of the U.S. Mint.
The article goes on to point out how long this was fought for.
In 1918, President Wilson switched his stand on women’s voting rights from objection to support through the influence of Catt, who had a less-combative style than Paul. Wilson also tied the proposed suffrage amendment to America’s involvement in World War I and the increased role women had played in the war efforts.

When the amendment came up for vote, Wilson addressed the Senate in favor of suffrage. As reported in The New York Times on October 1, 1918, Wilson said, “I regard the extension of suffrage to women as vitally essential to the successful prosecution of the great war of humanity in which we are engaged.”
The Bill failed in the Senate by 2 votes.

Rep. James Mann brought it up again. This time, it passed.
On May 21, 1919, U.S. Representative James R. Mann, a Republican from Illinois and chairman of the Suffrage Committee, proposed the House resolution to approve the Susan Anthony Amendment granting women the right to vote. The measure passed the House 304 to 89—a full 42 votes above the required two-thirds majority.

Two weeks later, on June 4, 1919, the U.S. Senate passed the 19th Amendment by two votes over its two-thirds required majority, 56-25. The amendment was then sent to the states for ratification.

How could we have gone from elected officials fighting for the rights of citizens to vote, into what we have now when so many of them are fighting to take away the right to vote? It is up to all of us to keep them from trying to steal further elections!

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Military children should not have problem joining after seeking help

Military children shouldn’t be penalized for seeking mental health care, senators say

Military Times
Karen Jowers
June 2, 2020
The proposal would require the service surgeons general to give “liberal consideration” to children raised in a military family, because of the potential challenges of military family life, when deciding whether to grant a waiver allowing them to join the military despite prior mental health conditions. It the waiver is denied, a mental health provider would have to review the request.
Army Lt. Col. Rudy De La Rosa with his daughter Samantha, who graduated from Air Force basic military training in May, 2019. She successfully fought to overcome notations in her dependent medical record that initially kept her out of the military. (Photo courtesy of De La Rosa family)
Senators are seeking to end “undue discrimination” against military dependents and civilians with prior mental health conditions who seek to enter the military.

“Children who face the stress of parents being deployed, moving frequently and other sacrifices should never be penalized for seeking mental health care,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., who introduced legislation in May, along with Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis.

Monday, April 13, 2020

We failed to hold them accountable for any of this

Now is the time for accountability from the Senate


Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
April 13, 2020

No matter what side you are on politically, the Senate Intelligence Committee did not do their job and too many citizens paid the price for it!
Intelligence report warned of coronavirus crisis as early as November: Sources
"Analysts concluded it could be a cataclysmic event," a source said.
As far back as late November, U.S. intelligence officials were warning that a contagion was sweeping through China’s Wuhan region, changing the patterns of life and business and posing a threat to the population, according to four sources briefed on the secret reporting. (ABC News)
There were already reports about how the President did not read the daily Intelligence briefings.
President Donald Trump on Tuesday said he never read or considered reading a memorandum in which his top trade adviser warned of the need to implement an "aggressive containment" strategy to prevent a massive loss of life and economic damage from the COVID-19 pandemic.

So who did? The larger question should be, knowing the President did not read the reports, what did the Senate know and when did they know it?
CNN reported the head of the Senate Intel Committee sold stocks ahead of the pandemic hitting here. (CNN) Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr is asking the Senate Ethics Committee to review his sale of up to $1.7 million in stocks last month ahead of the sharp market decline that's resulted from the novel coronavirus global pandemic, according to Senate documents."

The problem goes way beyond making a buck off of this. As we have learned recently, the President was given reports ahead of time about the global pandemic hitting the US. In tern, the Senate Intelligence Committee would have been informed as well. They did nothing for us knowing the President was not getting the country ready.

Instead of doing whatever they could to get the information out to the Governors to take action ahead of time, they used it to make money.

This is what the Senate Intelligence Committee is responsible for....
"Access: While all Senators have access to classified intelligence assessments, access to intelligence sources and methods, programs, and budgets is generally limited to Intelligence Committee members (and to members of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee). By law, the President is required to ensure that the Committee is kept “fully and currently informed” of intelligence activities—meaning that intelligence agencies are required, generally in writing, to notify the Committee of its activities and analysis. This includes keeping the Committee informed of covert actions and any significant intelligence failure."

The question is, what are we going to do about this? Here is what else they are supposed to do

But every branch of the government has Senate committees that are supposed to be making sure those branches are doing their jobs, considering that is why they were placed on those committees.

Why didn't the members who were advised what was coming, not make sure the other committees were also aware and prepared?

We have troops stationed all over the world, yet they did not have what they needed to protect themselves. They are making masks from t-shirts.
Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Tyler Fraser demonstrates do it yourself facemask options per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance highlighted in NAVADMIN 100/20 onboard Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka (CFAY) April 6. (Screen grab of U.S. Navy video/Taylor Curry)
Military.com
By Oriana Pawlyk
6 Apr 2020

The military branches are requiring troops to make their own cloth face masks after the Pentagon's latest policy directed face coverings for all personnel during the novel coronavirus outbreak.

The Defense Department announced Sunday that troops, DoD civilian employees, contractors and family members are encouraged to make simple coverings out of clean T-shirts and other household materials. The do-it-yourself face coverings are mandatory whenever people cannot maintain six feet of social distance in public areas or places of work, according to the policy, signed by Defense Secretary Mark Esper.
read it here

We can simply remain deluded into thinking that those we elect to represent us are doing their jobs, or we can assume none of them are. The most frightening part is, we failed to hold them accountable for any of this.
UPDATE
Add this to all of that!
Number of troops diagnosed with COVID-19 jumped nearly 50 percent over the weekend

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Tyler Reeb: "his courage and strength should inspire us to do better"

How many veterans do we have to lose before we actually do better?


Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
February 4, 2020

Why do I still believe we will do the right thing to stop men and women, who risked their lives to save others, will finally risk their pride to save themselves? Because I have seen it happen too often to dismiss what is possible.

Air Force Suicides went up last year. "The U.S. Air Force says 137 airmen across the active duty, Guard and Reserve died by suicide in 2019, a 33% increase over the previous year." The annual report released last year for 2018, showed that suicides have gone up to the highest on record.
Col. Michael A. Miller, commander of the 2nd Bomb Wing at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana, reportedly commented that "killing yourself is a chickenshit way to go" during a 1.2 mile "resiliency day" run with personnel...
The problem is, leaders like him are part of the problem itself! "Marine colonel calls suicide ‘shameful,' cites ‘godless age’ and calls on Marines to ‘read some scripture’"
Since the start of Gen. Robert Neller’s tenure as commandant in 2015, nearly 224 Marines have ended their own lives. That’s more Marines than an entire rifle company, he noted in a recent two-page letter on mental wellness.

In 2018, 354 active and reserve Marines attempted suicide, and 77 Marines died, numbers that are greater, Neller wrote “than any previous year recorded."

In his letter to the entire Corps, posted via Twitter in May, Neller called on Marines to address “collective mental wellness," spiritual fitness and to seek help to combat the suicide epidemic across the Corps.
Those messages have been delivered at the same time the Department of Defense has been publicly saying the troops need to seek help without fear.... and kicking out far too many who needed help, the wrong message has gotten through.

But they are not alone with that type of thinking. It has been happening for decades because "leaders" refuse to learn about what PTSD is and what it does. They cannot accept that the men and women they command valued the lives of others so much so, they were willing to die for their sake, but could not risk their pride to admit they needed help to stay alive. These "leaders" cannot even recognized they have supported silence instead of encouraging service members to #BreakTheSilence so they can heal the wound of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

We should know the end of this month how many were discharged without honoring their service.
Now, according to court documents, the timeline for the documents to again be visible is clear: at least 90 percent of the pre-April 2019 Air Force, Navy and Coast Guard decisions will be reposted on the website by Jan. 31, as will all Army decisions from 2009 to April 2019. By Feb. 14, the remaining Air Force, Navy and Coast Guard decisions will be reposted, and by Feb. 28, all Army decisions prior to 2009 will be reposted.

And by March 31, the services, including the Coast Guard, will repost all decisions through Dec. 31, 2019.

But I do still believe that one day, we will arrive at a time and place where no one will ever be ashamed of PTSD, especially when it was caused by their heroism. I believe because of these leaders.

Commandant Gen. Robert Neller
"Marines are in a fight to save their fellow comrades, and they must approach that fight with the same intensity they apply to other battles," he added. In the nearly four years Commandant Gen. Robert Neller has led the Marine Corps, the service has lost a rifle company-worth of Marines to suicide, and he says it's time to have a frank conversation about what's causing that.
"Let me be clear up front, there is zero shame in admitting one's struggles in life -- trauma, shame, guilt or uncertainty about the future -- and asking for help," he said in a two-page letter about mental illness addressed to Marines, sailors and their families.

Blumenthal to bring uncle of Marine who committed suicide to State of the Union


The Day
By Julia Bergman Day staff writer
February 03. 2020
"Our nation has abjectly failed to provide the care our heroes need to fight these invisible wounds — mental health services to diagnose and treat them effectively. The loss of Tyler Reeb as well as his courage and strength should inspire us to do better." U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal
The uncle of a Marine Staff Sergeant Tyler Reeb, who died by suicide last fall October following multiple tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, will be the guest of U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., at the State of the Union address on Tuesday.

Tyler Reeb, a decorated Marine Corps sniper who grew up in New Canaan, died in October. He led more than 100 combat missions against the Taliban, according to a news release from Blumenthal's office. His uncle, Christopher Reeb of Weston, will represent the family at the State of the Union.

"Our nation has abjectly failed to provide the care our heroes need to fight these invisible wounds — mental health services to diagnose and treat them effectively," Blumenthal said in a statement. "The loss of Tyler Reeb as well as his courage and strength should inspire us to do better."

Last week, the U.S. Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee approved legislation, authored by Blumenthal, that would establish targets to evaluate the efficacy of the VA's mental health and suicide prevention outreach campaigns and would create a process to oversee these campaigns.

The proposal adopts several recommendations from a Government Accountability Office report publicly released in December 2018, which found the VA's suicide prevention outreach activities had "dropped off in 2017 and 2018, and the office responsible for these activities lacked consistent leadership."
read it here



When you read about Tyler Reeb in days to come, think about what you just learned and then ask yourself what you can do to deliver the message to others, that Tyler Reeb should have heard.

Sunday, February 2, 2020

IMPROVE Well-being for Veterans Act not well researched on facts

IMPROVE Well-being for Veterans Act should have required facts

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
February 2, 2020


"Senate VA Committee boosts veteran suicide prevention efforts" written by Senator John Boozman made a lot of claims, that are simply not true. This part sounds great.
That’s why I joined Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) to introduce the IMPROVE Well-being for Veterans Act. This legislation would create a VA grant program to leverage veteran-serving non-profits and other community networks and create a common tool to measure the effectiveness of programs in order to reduce veteran suicides and save lives
But it only sounds great until you get to the part where with all the groups out there, no one seems to be doing much to hold any of them accountable. What is worse, is when members of the House and Senate, write bills, they do not seem too interested in what was done before.

They also do not seem to interested in what they say is true...or not. What U.S. Sen. John Boozman claimed
The Annual Suicide Report released by the Department of Defense (DoD) four months ago shows an increase in suicide among active-duty personnel in 2018. The National Guard experienced the highest rate of suicides among active duty and reserve members.
What the truth is.
The Department of Defense released the suicide report for 2018 in August...not 4 months ago.
What U.S. Sen. John Boozman claimed
Suicide prevention has become a priority at DoD and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in recent years.
What the truth is.

Back in 2008
The VA said it has hired more than 3,000 mental healthcare professionals over the past two years to deal with the increasing number of PTSD cases, but the problems persist. In response to the federal lawsuit, the VA set up a suicide prevention hotline. The VA said it has received more than 43,000 calls, 1,000 of which were from veterans who were on the verge of suicide and were rescued.

What U.S. Sen. John Boozman claimed
From Fiscal Year 2010 to 2020, the mental health and suicide prevention budget at the VA increased by 83%. During that same period, the suicide prevention outreach budget alone increased by 233%.
What the truth is.
This will explain a lot of that increase in the budget, but also think about how much more money was given to private providers instead of into the VA itself.
What U.S. Sen. John Boozman claimed
Despite the $222 million in funding for suicide prevention, the VA estimates that around 20 veterans commit suicide each day. That number has unfortunately remained roughly unchanged even with this dramatic infusion of resources.
What the truth is.
Actually the latest report from the VA is the "number" is 17. But that is not really true either. Read it and you'll see what I mean.
What U.S. Sen. John Boozman claimed
There are more than 50,000 organizations that provide suicide prevention services for veterans. Allowing the VA to tap into this network is a commonsense approach to ensuring improvements that have the potential to make a difference.
What the truth is.
Donors who want to make contributions towards charitable programs that serve the military and veterans face an almost overwhelming volume of choices with, by some accounts, the existence of over 40,000 nonprofit organizations dedicated to serving the military and veterans and an estimated 400,000 service organizations that in some way touch veterans or service members.

But above that, we should also notice that while all of these groups popped up, the numbers got worse.

Monday, December 30, 2019

Joint Chiefs Senate confirmation shows they do not take military sexual assaults seriously

Why This Veteran Is Suing One of the Joint Chiefs for Sexual Assault


The Daily Beast
Molly Jong-Fast
Dec. 30, 2019

Twenty-eight-year veteran Kathryn Spletstoser couldn’t get the military to take her claims against a decorated Air Force general seriously. Now she’s making those claims in court.


Carolyn Van Houten/The Washington Post via Getty
Army Lt. Col. Kathryn Spletstoser just wanted to fade into retirement. She’d served 28 years in various posts and had done four combat deployments: two in Iraq, and two in Afghanistan. She’d been a White House fellow. She had earned three master’s degrees. She was one of the most accomplished officers of her generation. She was ready to go into private sector work, spend time with her aging mother, and go back to her native Wisconsin.

But in April 2019, when President Trump nominated Air Force Gen. John Hyten, then the commander of the U.S. Strategic Air Command and her boss, to serve as vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff—the second highest ranking military officer in the United States and the second most powerful position in the U.S. armed forces—she put those plans aside.

She claims that Hyten sexually assaulted her numerous times throughout 2017. For two years, she had said nothing about the alleged incidents, but when the oft-decorated Hyten stood to be elevated to such a high position, she went public, reporting him in April.
Trisha Guillebeau, the public affairs adviser to the Joint Chiefs, said: “In response to your request for comment I’d like to state that all investigations found the allegations against Gen. Hyten to be unsubstantiated. All allegations provided to the Department of Defense were subject to comprehensive investigation and unsubstantiated. In addition, the Senate conducted its own exhaustive, comprehensive review of the matter during Gen. Hyten’s confirmation process to be vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Gen. Hyten’s confirmation by the Senate as vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff validates the trust that has been placed in him by our nation, our department’s leadership, and Congress.”
read it here

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

We have to hold all of them accountable for veterans suffering

Holding people accountable for veterans in misery!


Wounded Times
Kathis Costos
December 18, 2019

Another case of someone reporting somethings that are wrong. There is no mention of the "contributor" who wrote ‘Parking lot suicides’ at VA hospitals prompt calls for better training, prevention efforts All it has is "Denton Staff Contributor" with a mention of "The Washington Post’s Julie Tate contributed to this report."

The article starts off with this.
ST. PAUL, Minn. – Alissa Harrington took an audible breath as she slid open a closet door deep in her home office. This is where she displays what’s too painful, too raw to keep out in the open.

Framed photos of her younger brother, Justin Miller, a 33-year-old Marine Corps trumpet player and Iraq veteran. Blood-spattered safety glasses recovered from the snow-covered Nissan Frontier truck where his body was found. A phone filled with the last text messages from his father: “We love you. We miss you. Come home.”

Miller was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and suicidal thoughts when he checked into the Minneapolis Department of Veterans Affairs hospital in February 2018. After spending four days in the mental-health unit, Miller walked to his truck in VA‘s parking lot and shot himself in the very place he went to find help.

“The fact that my brother, Justin, never left the VA parking lot – it‘s infuriating,” said Harrington, 37. “He did the right thing; he went in for help. I just can‘t get my head around it.”

At this point, one would assume it would be an important enough report to have been well researched, however it apparently did not deserve careful research.
The most recent parking lot suicide occurred weeks before Christmas in St. Petersburg, Florida. Marine Col. Jim Turner, 55, dressed in his uniform blues and medals, sat on top of his military and VA records and killed himself with a rifle outside the Bay Pines Department of Veterans Affairs.

“I bet if you look at the 22 suicides a day you will see VA screwed up in 90%,” Turner wrote in a note investigators found near his body.
Yet this was not the "most recent" suicide at the VA.

March 14, 2019, again in Florida, Brieux Dash committed suicide at West Palm Beach VA. He hung himself on the grounds.

In April of 2019, two veterans committed suicide in Georgia in two days.

In August of 2019, it happened in North Carolina when a veteran committed suicide in the parking lot.

There were more, but it depends on who is doing the counting because veterans cannot count on anyone to get this right for them. You would think that with all the news reports focusing on this topic, things would change, but no one is ever held accountable for their broken promises.
With more than 50,000 community organizations nationwide also committed to preventing veteran suicide, bill sponsors said their proposed legislation also would allow the VA to work more closely with those groups to reach more veterans and to make sure veterans know about all available resources.
The "contributor to Denton" also got this wrong.
Sixty-two percent of veterans, or 9 million people, depend on VA‘s vast hospital system, but accessing it can require navigating a frustrating bureaucracy. Veterans sometimes must prove that their injuries are connected to their service, which can require a lot of paperwork and appeals.
While it is true that there are around 9 million veterans in the VA system, they are not depending on VA hospitals for their healthcare. The VA released a data sheet for all the veterans collecting disability compensation by states and counties. This chart released in 2017 gives you a better idea of how the 9 million veterans are using their benefits but also a good time to remind people that there are about 20 million veterans in this country, so less than half use the VA.
We no longer have the luxury of trusting what reporters tell us. We should no longer have the patience to wait for someone to be held accountable for all of this.

The last 4 presidents, including the current one, need to be held accountable.  The 100 Senators serving right now need to be held accountable, along with all the others who have been voted out of office. The over 400 in the House of Representatives need to be held accountable, along with all the ones voted out of office. The State representatives, also passing bills and using tax payer funds to pay for services on the local level, need to be held accountable. The 50,000 groups need to be held accountable for all the money they have been getting from Americans pockets. None of that will happen until we hold the media accountable for deceiving the public!

Find something that was reported and is wrong, call the out on it! Nothing will ever change until we demand it!

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Senator McConnell just made the case for his own expulsion

It seems that Senator McConnell is prepared to protect and defend the President over the duty of the Senate to protect and defend the Constitution.
McConnell, then the chairman of the Senate Rules Committee, made it clear he thought the Constitution required the Senate to hold a full trial on the articles of impeachment Clinton was facing for perjury and obstruction of justice, culminating in a vote on whether to convict or acquit the president.
Why should the rules and laws of this nation matter to him now?
McConnell told NBC’s Tim Russert in December 1998 that the Senate had a “constitutional obligation to commence the trial” but that the trial should be short.
Listen to his own words


It seems as if most Americans find McConnell's attitude toward holding this president accountable very troubling.

Fox News Poll: Trump job approval ticks up, views on impeachment steady
The poll, conducted Sunday through Wednesday, also finds 50 percent want Trump impeached and removed from office, 4 percent say impeached but not removed, and 41 percent oppose impeaching him altogether.
You read that right. Half of the American people not only want President Trump impeached...they want him gone from office.

I listened to a lot of the hearings but while the Democrats arrived with facts and experts, the Republicans arrived ready to do battle loaded with BS and insulted the intelligence of the American people.

Defending the President is one thing if he bothered to participate, or even show the process enough respect to turn over evidence that was required. So far, he has denied the American people the right to know the evidence against him, as much as he has denied us the right to see what would support his claims.

It is however, worse that McConnell is OK with all of that now! President Trump has been accused of terrible things and justice demands a fair trial, not someone like McConnell in opposition to what the Founding Fathers put in place so that no one would ever assume the office of the President allows them to be above the law!
The United States Constitution gives the Senate the power to expel any member by a two-thirds vote. This is distinct from the power over impeachment trials and convictions that the Senate has over executive and judicial federal officials. The Senate concluded in 1798 that senators could not be impeached, but only expelled, while conducting the impeachment trial of William Blount, who had already been expelled.
I stayed out of this for too long because I believed that Trump would get a fair trail but when the ones putting him on trial are already saying they are "coordinating with the President" it is time for all of us to speak up!

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Veteran Navy Corpsman lost Tricare and told Bernie Sanders he would kill himself

UPDATE Veteran who contemplated suicide reunites with Bernie Sanders The Naval Air Force veteran said he was buried in medical debt.

Ailing Navy veteran tells Bernie Sanders at Nevada town hall: "I'm gonna kill myself"


CBS NEWS
SEPTEMBER 15, 2019

In a dramatic moment caught on video, an ailing Navy veteran struggling to pay off his medical bills said he was contemplating suicide while speaking at a Bernie Sanders town hall in Carson City, Nevada. The veteran, named John, said Friday his Tricare was taken away, leaving him with more than $130,000 worth of medical bills.

"How are you going to pay it off?" Sanders asked the veteran.

"I can't, I can't. I'm gonna kill myself!" John responded.
In a video clip captured by CBS News' Cara Korte that has now gone viral, John told Sanders that he served 20 years in the Navy, including tours in Kuwait and Somalia.

"I saved lives. I was a Navy corpsman," he said. "We take care of our own except now. My Tricare is not acceptable anymore, they took it away."

The veteran said he suffers from Huntington's disease, a genetic disorder that causes the breakdown of nerve cells in the brain. According to the National Institutes of Health, there is no treatment for the disease.
read it here

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Senator Harris announced plans for veterans...three years after it happened?

Harris releases plan to give VA benefits to veterans with less-than-honorable discharges and reverse military transgender ban
Harris pointed to a 2017 Government Accountability Office report that found that 62% of service members who were separated for misconduct over a four-year period had been diagnosed two years prior to their separation with PTSD, TBI or other conditions — and about a quarter of them received less-than-honorable discharges, making them possibly ineligible for VA benefits.
But she is a little late on that one. 
The same year she was elected to the Senate...
Kamala D. Harris is a lifelong public safety and civil rights leader. Elected in 2016, she is the second African American woman in history to be elected to the U.S. Senate, and the first African American and first woman to serve as Attorney General of the state of California.
"Pentagon review could help veterans shed ‘bad paper’ discharges linked to trauma" was the headline on Stars and Stripes December 2016


The Defense Department announced Friday that it is reviewing and potentially upgrading the discharge status of veterans who might have been improperly discharged for reasons related to post-traumatic stress syndrome, sexual orientation, sexual assault and other circumstances.
“With today’s announcement, the department is reaffirming its intention to review and potentially upgrade the discharge status of all individuals that are eligible and that apply,” a Pentagon news release said.

The announcement comes a week after President Barack Obama signed the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act, which included a bipartisan provision to help veterans who may have been erroneously given a less-than-honorable discharge due to bad behavior arising from mental trauma, such as PTSD or traumatic brain injury.

Such discharges, also called “bad paper” discharges, often arise from minor misconduct — such as being late — and other behaviors that are linked to trauma-related conditions. Veterans with less-than-honorable discharges are ineligible for certain benefits.
read it here

Seth Moulton 'Fearlessly exposed himself to enemy fire' and Washington

'Fearlessly exposed himself to enemy fire': The only 2020 Democrat to experience combat finds it counts for little in political arena


The Washington Examiner
by Emily Larsen
September 07, 2019
But despite having what one Republican strategist described as “the most perfect resume of all time,” Moulton made barely a ripple in the crowded field of presidential hopefuls during his four-month bid. When his campaign ended last month, so too did the possibility that Democrats would nominate an experienced battle leader to be the next commander in chief.

It has been more than three decades since the United States elected as commander in chief a veteran who fought in combat. In 2020, that period will be extended after the only candidate who fought in battle dropped out without making a debate stage or registering above 1% in polls.

Two other Democratic candidates served in uniform in a war zone — Pete Buttigieg in Afghanistan and Tulsi Gabbard in Iraq — but neither fired a weapon or themselves came under fire. President Trump avoided Vietnam service because of bone spurs, Democratic front-runner Joe Biden because of asthma.

By contrast, Seth Moulton, 40, a Massachusetts congressman, served four tours in Iraq during his seven years as a Marine Corps officer from 2001 to 2008, retiring as a captain. He fought in one of the first American units to reach Baghdad in 2003 and led troops in intense battles in which some of his Marines were killed or wounded. He was awarded two medals for valor.

“I felt when I came back from Iraq that I'd seen the consequences of failed leadership in Washington, decisions made by people in Congress and the White House who had no idea what it was like to be a Marine in the infantry on the ground,” Moulton said. “I don't think you can ever fully understand it [combat] unless you've been through it yourself."
read it here

Also
'You remain a frickin' coward': Trump taunting a 2020 Democratic candidate and retired Marine isn't a laughing matter for some veterans
Democratic Rep. Seth Moulton of Massachusetts during the singing of the national anthem. Stephan Savoia/AP

Saturday, August 31, 2019

5 dead, 21 others shot in Texas...will the Senate ever do anything?

update

Odessa news station evacuated mid-broadcast due to shooting Odessa, Texas, CNN affiliate KOSA-TV was forced to evacuate their studio in the middle of a live broadcast due to their proximity to the shooting that left at least five people dead.Source: CNN

update Hero cop shot multiple times in Texas rampage


One of the three law enforcement heroes injured in Saturday’s mass shooting in Texas was identified late Saturday on GoFundMe — Midland Police Officer Zack Owens.

Shooter killed in West Texas after 5 people died, at least 21 injured, police say


CNN
By Ed Lavandera and Ralph Ellis
August 31, 2019
(CNN)A gunman in West Texas who killed five people while firing from his vehicle and then from a hijacked mail truck was fatally shot by police in a gun battle in a movie theater parking lot, authorities said Saturday.

At least 21 people were injured, including some who were wounded by the shooter, Odessa Police Chief Michael Gerke said at a news conference. Gerke said three law enforcement officers were injured: one from the Department of Public Safety, one officer from the Midland Police Department and one officer from Odessa Police Department. Gerke said the shooter was identified as a white male in his 30's. His name and a motive were not given. Midland Mayor Jerry Morales told CNN the chain of events began when a Department of Public Safety officer pulled over a vehicle on an interstate highway Saturday.

"That's when he shot the officer and then took off and started shooting randomly," Morales said. "Everything happened after that."

At one point, the shooter ditched his vehicle and hijacked a US Postal Service truck, authorities said. Law enforcement officers "trapped him in the parking lot of the Cinergy theater, and that's when they were able to engage him," Morales said.
read it here


Mitch McConnell is the head of the Senate and has blocked anything that the people of this country have been begging for! When he took over the Senate, he gleefully stated that the "number one priority was to make Obama a one term president, even if that meant everything else could go to hell.
While McConnell did not achieve that goal, he saw gains with the Republican takeover of the House in 2010. Two years later, despite the Democrats’ push for gun control legislation after the December 2012 Sandy Hook massacre, McConnell voted against a 2013 bill that would have expanded background checks for gun purchases.
So who is Mitch McConnell working for?

Monday, August 26, 2019

Senate finally worked together to protect disabled veterans during bankruptcy

Trump Signs Bill Protecting Disability Payments for Veterans Who Declare Bankruptcy


Military.com
By Patricia Kime
23 Aug 2019

President Donald Trump signed legislation Friday that prevents debt collectors from seizing veterans' disability compensation if they declare bankruptcy.
U.S. President Donald Trump stands with World War II veterans during a ceremony to mark the 75th anniversary of D-Day at the Normandy American Cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer, Normandy, France, Thursday, June 6, 2019. (AP Photo/David Vincent)

The Honoring American Veterans in Extreme Need, or HAVEN, Act extends the same protection for veterans disability payments that's afforded Social Security disability payments: By law, debtors are now not allowed to count these benefits as disposable income subject to seizure during a bankruptcy.

The bipartisan legislation, introduced earlier this year by Rep. Lucy McBath, D-Georgia, in the House and Sens. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisconsin, and John Cornyn, R-Texas, in the Senate, passed by voice vote in both legislative bodies and was widely hailed by veterans groups.

"Our disabled veterans should never be penalized for injuries they sustained in service to our country. They have earned their benefits, and it's our duty to stand up for them if they fall on tough times," McBath said.

"By protecting their disability compensation during bankruptcy, we can help [veterans] and their families regain financial stability," Cornyn said after the Senate passed the measure.
read it here