Showing posts with label White House. Show all posts
Showing posts with label White House. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

West Point cadets have tested positive for COVID-19 after forced ceremony

16 West Point cadets test positive for COVID-19 upon returning to campus for Trump's commencement speech

Task and Purpose
David Roza
June 1, 2020
According to the campus newspaper, The Pointer View, the 1,100 cadets of the class of 2020 started returning to campus last week.
(U.S. Army/Matthew Moeller)
At least sixteen West Point cadets have tested positive for novel coronavirus (COVID-19) upon returning to the New York campus President Donald Trump's upcoming speech at the school’s commencement ceremony on June 13.

USA Today first reported the infections. A West Point spokesman confirmed the article’s findings for Task and Purpose.

The 16 cadets are receiving treatment but are not showing symptoms of the disease, Lt. Gen. Darryl Williams, West Point’s superintendent, told USA Today.

Of the 16 affected cadets, 14 tested positive for the antibody which indicates they contracted the virus and subsequently recovered, USA Today reported.

The number is a small fraction of the 850 cadets who have returned to campus since spring break in March.
read it here

Sunday, August 25, 2019

POTUS drained swamp of intelligent life

Veterans are paying attention 

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
August 24, 2019

The President drained the swamp, like he said he would. He did not warn us he meant he would drain it of intelligent life!

Most of us are turning off the TV whenever President Trump makes another stump speech, or attempts to hit and run the country with Tweets. The problem with that is, if we are not paying attention, we're going to wake up one day and discover that there are no longer any more veterans in the country. They will be called something else to avoid any connection to the sickening way they have been treated since the Revolutionary War.

If you do not know the history of betraying they have endured, begin with the mutiny in Pennsylvania.

So far, we have heard that President Trump thought it was a good idea to take away "unemployable" from older veterans. He had been advised that since they are too old to work, they should not depend on what "permanent and total" compensation they budgeted their lives with. 

This message sent veterans into panic mode. It meant thousands a month from their disability awards, loss of covered medical care for them and their families, loss of property tax benefits...and the list goes on.

Never an apology for what veterans were needlessly subjected to, he just moved on. Now we read from the White House that everything is wonderful for veterans in his eyes.


"My administration is committed to taking care of every warrior that returns home as a veteran." 

Does that mean the veterans already here will not be taken care of? It may seem like a silly question, but given what we have already seen, it is a fair question.

At least that is what the headline is from the White House. Like every other administration, it all depends on what they know and who they have advising them.

WASHINGTON — They were called the “Mar-a-Lago Crowd” by people inside the government. A damning exposé dubbed them the “shadow rulers of the VA.”

In the early days of the Trump administration, a trio of businessmen — one of whom was a member of the president’s private Mar-a-Lago club — worked behind the scenes to shape policy at the Department of Veterans Affairs, the $200-billion federal agency that provides healthcare to nearly 9 million vets. As ProPublica and other news organizations documented, Marvel Entertainment Chairman Ike Perlmutter, a doctor in West Palm Beach named Bruce Moskowitz, and a D.C. lawyer named Marc Sherman formed a triumvirate of outside advisers, vetting VA personnel decisions, corresponding with the agency’s leader, and proposing their own ideas for reforming the VA. Rolling Stone

Add to that the latest on "suicide prevention efforts" that have been slammed by experts, but praised by FOX along with using the ear worm of "22 a day" committing suicide, instead of actually reporting facts on that one too!
But even the VA isn’t sure about the drug, named Spravato. Its medical advisory panel voted in June to classify the drug, known in its generic form as esketamine, as “non-formulary,” meaning it was not included on a list of VA-approved medications that are covered by the agency’s pharmacy benefits. The Center for Public Integrity was the first to report on the June vote. McClatchy
There is a list of things claimed, but apparently, the White House must not be aware of closely we do pay attention to what is going on. No President can possibly know everything that goes into making a country work right. He/she, has to depend on experts in their fields to intelligently advise, instead of just agreeing. If you have not been a long time reader, there is not one single President or party that has not been subjected to accountability. I have done it on various sites since I got online in 1993.

Last year it was reported that many disabled veterans had to pay income taxes for their student loans to be forgiven.

Disabled no longer face big tax hit when student loans are forgiven The bad news is that the change, part of a massive overhaul of the tax code spelled out by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, is not retroactive.

Borrowers whose student loans are forgiven on or after Jan. 1, 2018, due to “total and permanent disability” no longer have to pay federal income taxes on those forgiven loans."

We know we cannot trust politicians. They do one thing after saying they were going to do something the opposite way. We cannot trust reporters to make sure what they say has been verified or not. We sure as hell cannot trust them to actually look into the archives to discover what the historical record has to reveal. We have to do those jobs for them! After all, considering that this is our lives on the line, it is all too personal to us.
PROVIDING THE SUPPORT OUR HEROES DESERVE: President Trump will continue to ensure our veterans receive quality healthcare and have access to the resources they need to succeed.

This Administration is working tirelessly to ensure that veterans receive the highest quality of care and support possible.

The President signed the VA MISSION Act, providing more healthcare options for veterans by consolidating existing programs and expanding access to care in veterans’ own communities.

President Trump is also committed to ending the tragedy of veterans’ suicide, securing $8.6 billion in funding for VA mental health services.

President Trump’s PREVENTS Initiative executive order established a task force to help better understand and prevent suicide.

Since the President’s election, veteran unemployment was reduced to the lowest level ever recorded.

Seriously? With the results we have been living with? Instead of waiting in line at the VA for an appointment, they have to wait in line for private doctors to be taking new patients. Then they have to wait for a referral once they finally find one. Top that off with a lot of doctors do not want to accept VA payments since they take too long to pay.

Spending up for privatizing efforts.(I blame both on this one including all the members of congress who were no longer ashamed of how they failed our veterans.)

Trump said he passed a private-sector health care program, Veterans Choice, after failed attempts by past presidents for the last “45 years.” That’s not true. The Choice program, which allows veterans to see doctors outside the government-run VA system at taxpayer expense, was first passed in 2014 under President Barack Obama.

The part that gets me is, as much as members of Congress belonging to the Republican Party complain about how lousy civilian healthcare is, they think it is a good thing to subject veterans to it! Thank them for this one even though Obama signed it. He should have known better because before he took over the oval chair, he was on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.

The Veteran Unemployment Rate Dropped To Lowest Level In 20 Years In 2017

A fascinating report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics has more on this.

Military suicides reached an all-time high in 2018, Pentagon says

Increase in homeless veterans. You can find this by a simple Google search in your state.

More veterans committing suicide in public, and at VA facilities. They are also facing off with police officers more often.

If there is any wonder as to why 68% of Americans disapprove of the "job" he is doing, ask a disabled veteran who has had to suffer after doing their jobs because politicians don't do theirs.

UPDATE Add this to all of that.
Internal VA emails critical of unofficial Trump 'advisors'
By: Zachary Cohen
Posted: Aug 25, 2019

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Career officials at the Department of Veterans Affairs expressed deep frustrations over having to entertain "ridiculous" policy recommendations from a trio of influential Mar-a-Lago club members during President Donald Trump's time in office, according to documents released by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics.

A series of internal emails spanning from November 2017 to June 2018, show that VA officials wrote to senior staffers with concerns about how this group of three, known within the department as "the Mar-a-Lago crowd," was given the authority to influence policy despite having no government experience or expertise in veterans issues.
read it here

Saturday, June 1, 2019

White House wanted to keep McCain away from POTUS...the ship that is

update Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney said on the Sunday TV talk shows that a junior staffer made the request to the military to hide the destroyer McCain from President Donald Trump's view "That's not an unreasonable thing to ask" that the president be spared having to see a warship with late Sen. John McCain's name on it, given the enmity between them, both personally and politically, Mulvaney said on NBC-TV's "Meet The Press" program. read more here


Navy acknowledges request was made to hide USS John S. McCain during Trump visit

NBC News
By Max Burman and Courtney Kube
June 1, 2019

The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that it had reviewed an email to Navy and Air Force officials dated May 15 that included the direction "USS John McCain needs to be out of sight" for Trump's Japan visit. CNBC has also obtained the email. NBC News has not reviewed the email.
The USS John S. McCain, an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, operates off the Korean Peninsula during exercises on March 2013.Declan Barnes / U.S. Navy via AFP - Getty Images file

The U.S. Navy has acknowledged that a request was made to hide the USS John S. McCain during President Donald Trump's recent state visit to Japan.

"A request was made to the U.S. Navy to minimize the visibility of USS John S. McCain, however, all ships remained in their normal configuration during the President's visit," Rear Admiral Charlie Brown, chief of information, said in a statement to NBC News.

"There were also no intentional efforts to explicitly exclude Sailors assigned to USS John S. McCain," the statement said.

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said Friday he’d asked his chief of staff to “look into” the reported request from the White House to move the ship "out of sight" during Trump's visit.

“Our business is to run military operations and not become politicized,” Shanahan told reporters during a news conference in Singapore. “I would not have moved the ship," he added.
read more here

Monday, April 15, 2019

POTUS wants snooping on disabled vets who look too happy?

Disability Advocate Slams White House’s Veteran Surveillance Plan

The Hill
April 15, 2019

Republicans have long presented themselves as the unquestioned pro-military political party. In the last few months, however, conservatives have been targeting veteran benefits. Fox News hosts, Brian Kilmeade and Pete Hegseth, got in on the act recently, taking aim at vets who they believe to be claiming too many benefits.

The White House has recently taken aim at former troops as well, creating a new social media surveillance policy. According to the New York Times, the Social Security administration is on the look out for disabled vets who look too happy.

Lawyer, Robert Crowe, says, “There is a little bitty chance that Social Security may be snooping on your Facebook or your Twitter account. You don’t want anything on there that shows you out playing Frisbee.”
read more here

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Empower Veterans and End a National Tragedy of Suicide

The new plan to prevent veteran suicides: new grants, better research, more community focus
Military Times

Military Times
By: Leo Shane III
March 4, 2019
Officials from the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee are scheduled to hold a roundtable with administration experts on the issue later this week. Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee ranking member Jon Tester, D-Mont., introduced new legislation on the issue last week.

WASHINGTON — The White House is creating a new high-level task force on preventing veterans suicide which will include new community outreach grants aimed at former service members and expanded projects across a host of government agencies to coordinate research and prevention efforts.

President Donald Trump will sign a new executive order on the initiative — dubbed the President’s Roadmap to Empower Veterans and End a National Tragedy of Suicide, or PREVENTS — on Tuesday afternoon at the White House.

It’s the latest in a series of steps by his administration to address the problem, which claims an estimated 20 veterans lives every day. Last year, the president signed a separate executive order providing more counseling and mental health care for recently separated service members, who face a significantly higher risk of suicide than other military groups.

According to senior administration officials, the new order will give agency officials a year to develop plans for a more aggressive approach to suicide prevention, with a goal of more state and local community engagement.

The task force will look to develop a new grant system for mental health support and outreach similar to the Housing and Urban Development-VA Supportive Housing program, which provides funding directly to local charities and city programs to help individualize assistance plans for veterans.
The research work will also include pushing the Centers for Disease Control to provide more up-to-date information on veterans suicide research. Currently, the latest available data on the problem typically trails at least two years behind current efforts. Senior administration officials are hoping to cut that wait down to no more than six months.
read more here

Gee, where did I hear this one before?

Roadmap to Empower Veterans and End a National Tragedy of Suicide

Trump reads staggering veteran suicide statistics 
President Trump signed an executive order aimed at creating a federal task force that will tackle how agencies can help prevent veteran suicides.

"Hard to believe an average of 20 veterans and servicemembers take their lives everyday..."

And that President Trump, is because it is NOT 20 A DAY but is much higher when the facts are actually put together!

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

White House VA "Advisor" had nothing to do?

‘There were times I didn’t have a lot to do.’ Trump loyalist at VA forced out after collecting pay but doing little work

Washington Post
By Lisa Rein and
Josh Dawsey
December 11, 2018

The Trump administration has forced out a senior White House political appointee at the Department of Veterans Affairs who spent months on the federal payroll doing little to no work.
Peter O'Rourke, who served as VA’s acting secretary for several months this year, was asked to resign from the administration last week. (Jacquelyn Martin/AP)
Peter O’Rourke’s departure marks an unceremonious fall for a Trump loyalist once seen as a rising star at VA where he nonetheless had a rocky tenure, first leading a high-profile office handling whistleblower complaints, next as chief of staff and then, for two months, as the agency’s acting secretary.

Since August he has held the nebulous role of senior adviser, with an uncertain portfolio and senior executive salary as high as $161,000. VA Secretary Robert Wilkie asked for his resignation Friday.

O’Rourke said in an interview that he remains “very supportive of the president and the agenda of the Trump administration” and would like to rejoin the administration.
read more here

Saturday, October 13, 2018

All female veterans have waited too long

All female veterans have waited too long for equal honor

Combat PTSD Wounded Times

Kathie Costos
October 13, 2018

First the positive 
“The time to act is now” said Paul Rieckhoff, founder and CEO of IAVA in the statement. “The unveiling of the Women Serve monument at Calverton National Cemetery is an important time to recognize and support women veterans.”
And now the negative headline that came with this on Newsweek
In the article there was this
"More than 345,000 women have deployed since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, according to IAVA. The VA reported last month that in 2016, the suicide rate for women veterans was 1.8 percent higher than for civilians."  
Does this mean that older female veterans did not deserve the same from all the other Administrations going back to President Lincoln?
It isn't as if this president came up with the motto, nor did he cause all the problems veterans have been facing since they returned from the Revolutionary War.
Ever hear of Shay's Rebellion?
"Veterans had received little pay during the war and faced added difficulty collecting pay owed them from the State or the Congress of the Confederation, and some soldiers began to organize protests against these oppressive economic conditions. In 1780, Daniel Shays resigned from the army unpaid and went home to find himself in court for non-payment of debts. He soon realized that he was not alone in his inability to pay his debts and began organizing for debt relief."
Female veterans deserve more than we could ever repay but again, the way they were treated goes all the way back to the time they decided to do whatever it took to defend this nation...including, when they had to dress like men to do it!

President Trump has made a lot of bad decisions, including pushing to privatize the VA and forcing veterans into the same healthcare the rest of us have to endure. 

It seems like his advisors have decided they could sell caring for veterans out forgetting they prepaid for all of it. Yet again, the problems our veterans have did not begin with this president.

Do women deserve to be treated like veterans? Hell no! None of our veterans should ever be treated the way they have been treated throughout the history of this nation!

We need to do the right thing but we need to keep the political BS out of it to actually accomplish it!

Sunday, August 19, 2018

When rich guys meet to take over the VA, veterans lose

Bush VA chief: It’s ‘astounding’ that outside advisers are influencing VA from Mar-a-Lago 
The Hill 

A former head of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is expressing concerns over a report that a trio of allies to President Trump who do not hold government positions are affecting hiring at the agency.
Anthony Principi, who served as VA secretary under former President George W. Bush, told Stars and Stripes this week that he found the report of alleged influence by members of Trump's private Mar-a-Lago club "astounding." 

“If these [Mar-a-Lago] assertions are true, I don’t think that’s good governance. It’s not the way the nomination and appointment process should work," Principi said. 

ProbPublica reported earlier this month that three high-profile men — Marvel Entertainment chairman Ike Perlmutter, West Palm Beach doctor Bruce Moskowitz and Washington lawyer Marc Sherman — were interacting with VA officials almost daily and meeting with them at Trump’s Palm Beach, Fla., resort. read more here

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Feed homeless veterans for months or another parade?

We have a lot of parades for veterans all over the country. 

We also have veterans who are homeless and dumpster dive for food. 

We have military families on food stamps. 

How about we dump the Trump parade and actually do some good with the money?
News Week

Based on a new estimate reported Thursday projecting President Donald Trump’s military parade will cost $92 million to $80 million more than originally projected, every homeless veteran in the country could be fed three meals per day for almost nine months.
The military showcase is set to take place through the streets of Washington, D.C., on November 10 and will include about eight tanks, helicopters, fighter jets, other armored vehicles and troops. 

The Department of Defense will provide $50 million and other agencies like the Department of Homeland Security will cover the remaining $42 million, a U.S. defense official with knowledge of the assessment told CNBC. The total price tag is $80 more than the original $12 million the Pentagon estimated it would cost last month.
read more here

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Now we know why disabled veterans still suffer

The Shadow Rulers of the VA
By Isaac Arnsdorf
8 Aug 2018
At times, Perlmutter, Moskowitz and Sherman have created headaches for VA officials because of their failure to follow government rules and processes. In other cases, they used their influence in ways that could benefit their private interests. 

A June 21, 2013 file photo of the Veterans Affairs Department in Washington. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)
Last February, shortly after Peter O’Rourke became chief of staff for the Department of Veterans Affairs, he received an email from Bruce Moskowitz with his input on a new mental health initiative for the VA. “Received,” O’Rourke replied. “I will begin a project plan and develop a timeline for action.”

O’Rourke treated the email as an order, but Moskowitz is not his boss. In fact, he is not even a government official. Moskowitz is a Palm Beach doctor who helps wealthy people obtain high-service “concierge” medical care.

More to the point, he is one-third of an informal council that is exerting sweeping influence on the VA from Mar-a-Lago, President Donald Trump’s private club in Palm Beach, Florida. The troika is led by Ike Perlmutter, the reclusive chairman of Marvel Entertainment, who is a longtime acquaintance of President Trump’s. The third member is a lawyer named Marc Sherman. None of them has ever served in the U.S. military or government.

Yet from a thousand miles away, they have leaned on VA officials and steered policies affecting millions of Americans. They have remained hidden except to a few VA insiders, who have come to call them “the Mar-a-Lago Crowd.”

“On any veterans issue, the first person the president calls is Ike,” another former official said. Former administration officials say that VA leaders who were at odds with the Mar-A-Lago Crowd were pushed out or passed over. Included, those officials say, were the secretary (whose ethical lapses also played a role), deputy secretary, chief of staff, acting under secretary for health, deputy under secretary for health, chief information officer, and the director of electronic health records modernization.
Moskowitz and Sherman helped Perlmutter convene a council of health care executives on the day of the Trump-Perlmutter photograph, Dec. 28, 2016. Offering more private healthcare to vets was a signature promise of Trump’s campaign, but at that point he hadn’t decided who should lead an effort that would reverse the VA’s longstanding practices.
read more here

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Bigger problems that claims against Ronny Jackson

Trump's VA secretary nominee Ronny Jackson withdraws

That is the update, but doubt will ever get any answers. (4/26/18)

Question is, who got fired for not doing anything about this guy who was supposed to be keeping 3 presidents healthy if this was going on?

Did the Secret Service do anything to warn President Obama of the stunt in the hallway?
Did the people who saw him giving out drugs like "candy" do anything to warn anyone about him and what he was supposed to be doing?

I don't think he is right for the job, but looks like there are a lot of other people not right for their jobs either! Where are the hearings on who failed 3 Presidents if all of this is true?

White House defends Ronny Jackson against "candy man" accusations
CBS News
Last Updated Apr 25, 2018

Jackson also faces allegations of drinking on the job. Tester told NPR that "in the previous administration, we were told stories where he was repeatedly drunk while on duty." 

The White House continues to defend President Trump's pick to be the next Veterans Affairs secretary, Ronny Jackson, despite mounting questions over Jackson's tenure as White House physician. While Mr. Trump suggested on Tuesday that Jackson would be better off withdrawing his name from nomination, he said the decision was "totally his," and he "would stand behind him."

According to two senior administration sources directly involved in the process, during an Oval Office meeting Tuesday, Mr. Trump also promised Jackson his support. Jackson says he wants a chance to defend himself in public.

Sen. Jon Tester, D-Montana, the top Democrat on the Veterans' Affairs Committee, has been talking to reporters about the allegations, among them, that Jackson loosely dispensed sleep-related prescription medications ambien and provigil. "In the White House," Tester told CNN's Anderson Cooper Tuesday, "they call him the 'candy man.'"
read more here

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Veterans are not worth keeping promises to?

 POTUS giant "F" you to veterans
Combat PTSD Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
April 4, 2018

I was actually terrified of Donald Trump becoming President. Not for the reasons most people had. It was for the same reason I was terrified that John McCain would become elected to the office. 

When I was growing up, my Mom asked me how many battles I was fighting. Then she asked me how many I was winning. When I said I lost all of them, she gave me a wise piece of advice. "Pick on and stick with it!" My battle has been for veterans. After all, I am the daughter of a Korean War veteran, niece of WWII veterans and wife of Vietnam veteran.

The VA has been part of my life, all my life. I have seen the best it can do and the problems that come because Congress has consistently failed to live up to their end of the deal on men and women risking their lives in the military. Yes, I blame Congress. That is why when I hear someone wanting to hold the office of Commander-in-Chief utter the words "privatization of the VA" my heart stops!

Think about it. Who the hell would proudly say they regard veterans just like every other civilian? After all, isn't that what they are actually saying? 

I guess it is suddenly nothing to be ashamed of. The same folks we elected, managed to screw up our healthcare, and now these same folks, who allowed the VA to be trashed, have the audacity to even suggest veterans should be treated like everyone else?

Members of Congress have had the authority over how are veterans are treated since 1946! Any problems veterans still have are directly THEIR FAULT~ but they fail to offer a single apology for what they have done. 

Did he forget they got disabled serving this country in the military?

"Dubbed the Caring for Our Veterans Act, the bill eliminates requirements that veterans must have waited longer than 30 days for an appointment or live farther than 40 miles from a VA facility to seek private care. Instead, it opens that door directly if veterans and their providers decide together that community care is the best option."
And now you will know why!
"So why hasn't the measure become law? The bill lacks backing from the Koch-backed group Concerned Veterans for America — which has lobbied hard against it — and, perhaps for similar reasons, the White House. Advocates had hoped to get the bill included in the massive spending measure Congress passed last month, but in the end didn't succeed."
That came from the Washington Post!

The VA is a government operation and has plenty of money. I guess these folks think it is OK to kill off the VA no matter how many veterans get hurt in the process. It must be OK to slap them in the face and then expect them to say "thank you" instead of another word that starts with "F" you! Sorry but I'm thinking "forget" and not the other word...hmm, on second thought.

Now maybe you'll know why I am so angry in a show that was recorded last week before the Secretary of the VA was dumped on Twitter. You can hear it on KLRN Remember the Fallen with one of my buddies Sgt. Dave. We had a lot to cover but, well, lets just say I was not in a good mood about any of this. It is on at 8:00 Thursday.

In a way I am glad it was recorded before this happened. I think I'd get bleeped out way too much if we recorded it this week.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

VA David Shulkin Fired--Rear Adm. Ronny L. Jackson Replacement

Shulkin is fired; White House physician Jackson will take over at VA
Stars and Stripes
Published: March 28, 2018

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Wednesday fired David Shulkin as secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs and replaced him with Rear Adm. Ronny L. Jackson, the president's White House physician.

After weeks of speculation that Shulkin would lose his job, Trump finally announced his decision to dismiss him through the president’s preferred mode of communication — a tweet.

Now Jackson, 50, will be responsible for the second-largest federal agency, with more than 350,000 employees. It operates on a nearly $200 billion budget and includes a health care system serving nine million veterans nationwide.

Jackson was selected as White House physician in 2006, while he was still serving in Iraq as an emergency doctor. He served as a physician for former presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Jackson appeared before the White House press corps earlier this year, when he reported he examined Trump and found the president to be in "excellent health.”

Jackson must still be confirmed as VA secretary by the Senate. In the interim, Trump announced Robert Wilkie would serve as the acting secretary. Wilkie serves now at the Defense Department as undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness.
read more here

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

POTUS parade will stomp on honors earned and dignity denied

As I pointed out very early this morning on Google+
OK, so we have troops and their families on food stamps but POTUS wants a parade? "Still, the official said Trump is determined to have a parade. "The president wants to do something that highlights the service and sacrifice of the military and have a unifying moment for the country," the official said."
But as the morning went on, it got even worse as it turns out that POTUS does not want to treat all veterans and families as equal. Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin doesn't seem to get it. When older veterans are the majority of veterans committing suicide and families have waited longer, struggled longer and have been forgotten about by all the new groups, who don't care about us, this is yet one more backhanded slap!
This is from Stars and StripesOfficials with President Donald Trump’s administration told Congress last month that the White House couldn’t support an extension because of fiscal restraints, but Shulkin said Tuesday that new eligibility criteria would allow for an expansion without the cost.
So, they raised Tricare fees and lowered the money to go toward housing at the same time they gave troops a raise that still leaves McDonalds employees making more money than they do. 

They managed to funnel millions to private healthcare providers under "Choice" instead of fixing the VA, which is, in fact, the choice of veterans. They tried to cut funds for homeless veterans and cut benefits to senior veterans. But we're supposed to believe that POTUS cares because he wants to give a parade?

For who? I mean, Vietnam veterans have had enough parades and pins to "honor" them but what would really show they do in fact matter, IS TO BE TREATED AS IF THEY DID!

Trump wants a grand military parade. Some veterans say that won’t fix their problems
Washington Post
Eugene Scott
February 7, 2018
But the president's critics have called his support for the military shallow, noting that Trump has never served in uniform (he was approved of multiple deferments for bone spurs during the Vietnam War), and he has attempted to fill his administration with generals for the purpose of optics.

President Trump is receiving quite a bit of pushback for his plan for a grand military parade down Pennsylvania Avenue.

The Washington Post's Greg Jaffe and Philip Rucker reported:

Surrounded by the military’s highest-ranking officials, including Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., Trump’s seemingly abstract desire for a parade was suddenly heard as a presidential directive, the officials said.

“The marching orders were: I want a parade like the one in France,” said a military official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the planning discussions are supposed to remain confidential. “This is being worked at the highest levels of the military.”

Even the hosts of Trump's beloved “Fox and Friends” expressed reservations about the spectacle that could cost millions.

“I don’t know,” co-host Brian Kilmeade said Wednesday. “It seems like a waste of money.”
read more here
Navy SEAL who says he killed Osama bin Laden calls President Trump's military parade 'third world BS'
Dan Mangan Jeff Daniels
Published 2:26 PM ET Thu, 8 Feb 2018

The former Navy SEAL who says he killed terrorist leader Osama bin Laden called President Donald Trump's idea for a military parade in Washington "third world bulls---."
Rob O'Neill's criticisms echoed others who say such a parade is more suited to countries like North Korea, Russia and China, and would be expensive.
The Pentagon said the parade is in the initial planning stage, with no firm details yet.
The former Navy SEAL who claims to have killed terror mastermind Osama bin Laden is calling President Donald Trump's idea for a military parade in Washington "third world bulls---."

Robert O'Neill's scathing dismissal Thursday of Trump's desired parade featuring soldiers, tanks and other military hardware came as a Pentagon spokeswoman said that march is still in the initial planning stage.

"We prepare. We deter. We fight. Stop this conversation," O'Neill tweeted.
read more here

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Homeless Veterans Increasing in Nation's Capital

Homelessness among veterans rises in D.C.
Resources shift to meet needs as spike opposite to nationwide reduction
Washington Times
By Julia Airey
January 30, 2018

Veteran Affairs Secretary David J. Shulkin has expressed concern that homelessness among former troops in the District has inched higher, even as it has fallen nationwide.
Army veteran Bernin Gibson, 82, leans his pack of donated winter clothes against a bollard near the Washington DC VA Medical Center on Saturday after the Winterhaven service fare. Mr. Gibson has attended Winterhaven since it began 24 years ago. (Julia Airey / The Washington Times)
“We are very committed to ending veteran homelessness,” Mr. Shulkin told The Washington Times during his agency’s recent Winterhaven homelessness services fair at the Washington DC VA Medical Center. “This has been a journey which started in 2010 where we made significant progress across the country — a 46 percent reduction nationally. But last year we actually went backwards with a 2 percent increase.”

According to the annual “Point-in-Time” tally of people sleeping outdoors in winter, the District counted 672 homeless in 2017, up from 350 in 2016. The data from last week’s PIT tally will be available in May.

In addition, 14.1 percent of the District’s 28,400 veterans were reported living in poverty in 2016, up from 10.5 percent in 2015, according to the Census Bureau.

Citing poverty as a leading risk factor for homelessness, federal and local providers of human services have begun shifting resources to address the needs of veterans at risk of becoming homeless.
read more here

Friday, January 12, 2018

Good news tied to not so good news

Just when you think you've read some good news for a change, turns out to be tied to not so good news.

Trump expands mental health benefits to decrease suicide rates among new veterans
Just like in his speech when he signed Executive Orders.

The problem is that when they leave military service, OEF and OIF veterans already received 5 years of free medical care...including mental health.

5 Years Cost Free Health Care
 OEF/OIF/OND combat Veterans can receive cost free medical care for any condition related to their service in the Iraq/Afghanistan theater for five years after the date of their discharge or release.
And that isn't something new.

Recent veterans are entitled to free health care, but many don't sign up (Which came out in September 2009)

The federal VA provides medical care and benefits to all enrolled veterans, with a range of preventive outpatient and inpatient services offered within its health care system. OEF/OIF veterans receive an additional benefit — five years of free health care in the VA system for any issue related to their deployment. As with other veterans, once enrolled in the system, they’re always in, but for issues not related to deployment or after those five free years, they may face co-payments. 
Plus this order does not include older veterans, who also served this country, risked their lives, came home with the same wounds, but waited longer for help.

No one seems to know how they plan on paying for the "Executive order" other than they will be taking money out of other places.

Military Pay Raise sounds good,


2018 military pay raise is the biggest in eight years, but how generous is it?

Included in the massive budget bill, finalized by the Senate Nov. 16 and expected to be signed into law by President Donald Trump in coming days, is a 2.4 percent pay raise for service members starting Jan. 1.
But at the same time we also had this headline,

Housing allowance for Fort Hood soldiers going down this year

For example, a sergeant stationed at Fort Hood with dependents received $1,134 for a housing allowance in 2017. That number has dropped by about 4 percent to $1,086 this year. A private with dependents who received $1,128 in 2017 will see a decrease to $1,083 this year, also about a 4 percent drop. A staff sergeant with dependents will see a drop from $1,200 to $1,107, a decrease of 7.75 percent.
And this one too, but it comes from and they got it all together.

2.1% Pay Raise, BAH Cuts, Tricare Fee Hikes Approved by Senate

As with all the talk about Veterans Choice, but as we know, it isn't something they have not been doing all along when a veteran cannot get to a VA hospital for emergency care. 

We had a reminder of that,


VA to begin paying up to 800,000 non-VA emergency claims

The revised rule says it won’t allow retroactive reimbursements for non-VA emergency care claim decisions that became final before April 8, 2016, the day VA lost a landmark federal court fight with Air Force veteran Richard W. Staab.Staab faced roughly $48,000 in unpaid private hospital bills after emergency heart surgery in December 2010. At the time VA had told Staab, and any other veteran forced to use outside emergency care, that the department would have covered the cost of such care if they had had no other health insurance.
As with everything else, they say always read the fine print, but when it comes to the way reporters have been doing their jobs, read everything and then figure out if it does sound too good to be usually is.