Sunday, November 8, 2015

For our Veteran and Military Friends: Who Really Supports You?



    For our Veteran and Military Friends: Some Interesting Background - Who really supports you?   (and there's a personal story I'll share of my experience with my friend Beverly's VA visits).
 The following info has been meticulously sourced from trustworthy news sources about how different conservative candidates supported or didn't support veterans or active military. We were prompted to research this when a veteran recently blamed Democrats for not being supportive of active military or veterans. 
  You may be surprised by what you read. We were.  
  Typically, the Republican party has been pro-military. However, not when it comes to pay raises or Veterans benefits as you'll read here.  
This includes LINKS to the actual news sources, so you can investigate yourselves. 

  This doesn't mean that all democrats have  been much better, but they have been better at trying to get more benefits to Veterans (and yes, the Dept. of Veteran affairs is screwed up- hopefully - things are being fixed. )We learned that  the
VA operates the nation's largest integrated health care system, with more than 1,700 hospitals, clinics, community living centers, domiciliaries, readjustment counseling centers, and other facilities. GO TO: http://www.va.gov/

PERSONAL STORY- I (Rob) used to bring my elderly friend Beverly to the VA Hospital for visits, and sometimes she had to wait a month for a visit. Other times they'd take her in for emergencies.
  HOWEVER- As a NON-member of the military, when I try to get doctor appointments I always have to wait a month or two. In fact, I have to wait 2 MONTHS to get a physical. So, it's not just veterans that have to wait for health care appointments, it's everyone.

BTW President Obama did ask for a military pay raise on Aug. 28, 2015.
  Some of the non-partisan political sites to get ACCURATE news include: www.Politico.com and http://www.factcheck.org/.
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The Run down: 





Marco Rubio and VA Funding
Marco Rubio voted against providing $27 million for the Veterans Health Administration, as part of a $50.5 billion Superstorm Sandy recovery package. In January 2013, Rubio voted against a bill that, according to Congressional Quarterly, included provisions that “appropriate[d] the following amounts: […] Department of Veterans Affairs —$27 million through fiscal 2014 for the Veterans Health Administration, including $21 million for medical services and $6 million for medical facilities expenses. —$1.1 million for the National Cemetery Administration. —$531,000 for information technology systems. —$207 million for major construction projects through fiscal 2017.” The provisions were part of a larger bill that, according to Congressional Quarterly, “provide[d] about $50.5 billion for communities hit by Superstorm Sandy. Nearly all funding [was] designated as emergency spending exempt from discretionary caps, except for $5.4 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Disaster Relief Fund.” The Senate passed the bill by a vote of 62 to 36; and, because the House had already approved the bill, it was then sent to the president, who signed it into law. [Senate roll call vote 4, 1/28/13; Congressional Quarterly, 1/28/13; Congressional Actions, H.R. 152; Congressional Quarterly, 1/30/13]
Marco Rubio effectively voted against considering the $142 billion FY 2012 Veterans Affairs, Military Construction, Military Housing and Related Programs appropriations bill. In July 2011, Rubio effectively voted against considering a bill that, according to the Congressional Quarterly Today, “would provide $142 billion in fiscal 2012 for the Department of Veterans Affairs, military construction, military housing and related operations. The bill also includes $52.5 billion in advance fiscal 2013 appropriations for VA medical programs.” The vote was on a motion to end debate on the motion to proceed to consider the bill; the Senate agreed to end debate by a vote of 89 to 11. The bill later passed the Senate, and after the House agreed nearly five months later, the bill was committed to a conference committee. The resulting conference report passed both the House and Senate and was signed into law by the president on December 23, 2011. [Senate roll call vote 109, 7/13/11; Congressional Quarterly Today, All Congressional Actions, H.R. 2055; H.R. 2055, 5/31/11]
Jeb Bush   VA Funding
Jeb Bush attempted to privatize portions of the VA health care system while Governor of Florida. According to CNN, “Jeb Bush’s effort as governor to partially privatize veterans health care services in Florida went so poorly it was ended shortly after Bush left office. That hasn’t stopped the former Republican governor, now in the early stages of running for president, from arguing veterans should be given the choice to see a public or private doctor, with either visit being paid for by the government. ‘All of these government programs should shift to the person who’s receiving the benefit and they should be empowered to have more choices, rather than be told what line you get into,’ Bush said recently in New Hampshire. […] But Bush’s experience outsourcing veterans’ nursing homes in Florida was a case study in privatization’s pitfalls. By the time it was over, Florida officials determined the state could provide higher-quality care at a better price for taxpayers.” [CNN, 5/1/15] 
Ben Carson VA Funding
Ben Carson questioned whether “we even need” the VA system. “World-famous neurosurgeon Ben Carson told WMAL’s ‘Drive at Five Show’ in Washington, D.C. Friday afternoon following VA Secretary Shinseki’s resignation that the greatest problem with the VA system is ‘too many layers of bureaucrats.’ […] ‘The real issue is that you got to get all that bureaucracy out of there and quite frankly, do we even need that system for most of our veterans? Why can they not be served at the local hospitals where they live and not have to drive 50 or a 100 miles to get a to a veterans facility? These are honored people in our society. They should be welcomed at any of our facilities and we should be honored to take care of them.’” [Daily Caller, 5/30/14]

Chris Christie
Chris Christie conditionally vetoed a bill setting aside 3% of all state contracts for veteran-owned businesses. “A bill that would have set aside 3 percent of all state contracts for veteran-owned businesses was conditionally vetoed Tuesday by Gov. Chris Christie. The governor objected to the establishment of fixed percentage of contracts earmarked for veteran-owned businesses, according to his veto statement. In his suggested revisions, Christie deleted the section mandating that contracting agencies set aside 3 percent of their contracts for veteran-owned businesses and replaced it with language directing them to ‘give due consideration to veteran-owned businesses in awarding contracts.’’ [Asbury Park Press, 2/22/11]

Ted Cruz - VA BENEFITS
Ted Cruz voted to block further action on a bill that would have enhanced benefits for veterans including guaranteeing in-state tuition rates at all public universities for post-9/11 veterans. “Senate Republicans derailed efforts to move forward with a $21 billion bill to enhance health care, education and job benefits for veterans. Republicans stopped the veterans bill from moving on a procedural vote, which needed 60 votes. The final tally was 56-41. Republicans and Democrats normally agree on the need to enhance benefits for the nation’s 22 million veterans and their families, but Republican senators wanted to lower the amount of spending in the bill… The bill would have improved benefits for veterans, including better health care and dental services provided by the VA. It also would have guaranteed post-9/11 veterans access to in-state tuition rates at public colleges and universities in any state.” [ABC News, 2/27/14; S. 1928, 2/3/14]

Spousal Benefits

Ted Cruz voted against legislation that would ensure that “all legally married same-sex spouses have equal access to the Social Security and veterans benefits they have earned.” In 2015, Paul voted against an amendment that would “establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund relating to ensuring all legally married same-sex spouses have equal access to the Social Security and veterans benefits they have earned and receive equal treatment under the law pursuant to the Constitution of the United States.” The Senate adopted the proposed amendment to the Senate’s FY 2016 budget resolution by a vote of 57 to 43, and later passed the amended resolution. [Senate roll call vote 121, 3/26/15; S. Amdt. 1063 to S. Con. Res. 11, 3/26/15]

VA Funding

Lindsey Graham voted against providing $27 million for the Veterans Health Administration, as part of a $50.5 billion Superstorm Sandy recovery package. In January 2013, Graham voted against a bill that, according to Congressional Quarterly, included provisions that “appropriate[d] the following amounts: […] Department of Veterans Affairs —$27 million through fiscal 2014 for the Veterans Health Administration, including $21 million for medical services and $6 million for medical facilities expenses. —$1.1 million for the National Cemetery Administration. —$531,000 for information technology systems. —$207 million for major construction projects through fiscal 2017.” The provisions were part of a larger bill that, according to Congressional Quarterly, “provide[d] about $50.5 billion for communities hit by Superstorm Sandy. Nearly all funding [was] designated as emergency spending exempt from discretionary caps, except for $5.4 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Disaster Relief Fund.” The Senate passed the bill by a vote of 62 to 36; and, because the House had already approved the bill, it was then sent to the president, who signed it into law. [Senate roll call vote 4, 1/28/13; Congressional Quarterly, 1/28/13; Congressional Actions, H.R. 152; Congressional Quarterly, 1/30/13]

Military Service

Lindsey Graham claimed to be “an Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm veteran, although he never got closer to the war than McEntire Air National Guard Base near Columbia where he was a military lawyer.” “U.S. Rep. Lindsey Graham’s military service record has been called into question because the Republican congressman, who never went overseas, calls himself as a Gulf War veteran. Graham’s Internet web site biography lists him as an Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm veteran, although he never got closer to the war than McEntire Air National Guard Base near Columbia where he was a military lawyer. Graham, who said Wednesday he never intended to mislead people, processed wills for soldiers deploying to the Gulf and helped their family members with legal issues.” [Associated Press, 2/19/98]

Bobby Jindal

Education

Bobby Jindal was “one of the most vocal supporters of for-profit schools.” “Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has been one of the most vocal supporters of for-profit schools, opposing the president’s ‘gainful employment’ rule. He wrote in a column for the Washington Examiner, ‘The first programs to disappear under the ‘gainful employment’ regulations will be the ones that try to give Americans their first rung on the higher education and career ladders … It is tantamount to redlining educational opportunities for low-income and minority youths.’ His brother, Nikesh Jindal, is an attorney at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLC, represents the schools’ association, The Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities.” [Think Progress, 4/30/15]
  • For-profit colleges sought to enroll military members “often in ways that are not in the best interests of veterans and service members.” “As a beefier post-9/11 GI Bill has kicked in, a surge of service members has left the ranks armed with benefits that will cover the full cost of attending public college. In 2009, the for-profits took in almost as much military money as public colleges, even though they enrolled about one-third the number of vets. Spending on military education benefits has shot up to $10 billion; for-profit schools’ share of that money has gone up 600 percent, as revealed in a recent PBS Frontline exposé. For example, at Kaplan—owned by the Washington Post Co.—military revenues grew to an estimated $48.9 million last year, up from $2.6 million in 2006. The result has been a bonanza for schools’ executives and shareholders. ‘We didn’t foresee that the for-profit sector, eager to please Wall Street investors, would go after this new funding aggressively, often in ways that are not in the best interests of veterans and service members,’ stated Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) after leading an investigation into 30 major for-profits earlier this year. Or as one University of Phoenix alum put it on RipoffReport.com, the school ‘treats military students like cash piñatas.’” [Mother Jones, September/October 2011]

RAND PAUL

Education

Rand Paul voted to block further action on a bill that would have enhanced benefits for veterans including guaranteeing in-state tuition rates at all public universities for post-9/11 veterans. “Senate Republicans derailed efforts to move forward with a $21 billion bill to enhance health care, education and job benefits for veterans. Republicans stopped the veterans bill from moving on a procedural vote, which needed 60 votes. The final tally was 56-41. Republicans and Democrats normally agree on the need to enhance benefits for the nation’s 22 million veterans and their families, but Republican senators wanted to lower the amount of spending in the bill… The bill would have improved benefits for veterans, including better health care and dental services provided by the VA. It also would have guaranteed post-9/11 veterans access to in-state tuition rates at public colleges and universities in any state.” [ABC News, 2/27/14; S. 1928, 2/3/14]

Spousal Benefits

Rand Paul voted against legislation that would ensure that “all legally married same-sex spouses have equal access to the Social Security and veterans benefits they have earned.” In 2015, Paul voted against an amendment that would “establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund relating to ensuring all legally married same-sex spouses have equal access to the Social Security and veterans benefits they have earned and receive equal treatment under the law pursuant to the Constitution of the United States.” The Senate adopted the proposed amendment to the Senate’s FY 2016 budget resolution by a vote of 57 to 43, and later passed the amended resolution. [Senate roll call vote 121, 3/26/15; S. Amdt. 1063 to S. Con. Res. 11, 3/26/15]

VA Funding

Rand Paul voted against providing $27 million for the Veterans Health Administration, as part of a $50.5 billion Superstorm Sandy recovery package. In January 2013, Paul voted against a bill that, according to Congressional Quarterly, included provisions that “appropriate[d] the following amounts: […] Department of Veterans Affairs —$27 million through fiscal 2014 for the Veterans Health Administration, including $21 million for medical services and $6 million for medical facilities expenses. —$1.1 million for the National Cemetery Administration. —$531,000 for information technology systems. —$207 million for major construction projects through fiscal 2017.” The provisions were part of a larger bill that, according to Congressional Quarterly, “provide[d] about $50.5 billion for communities hit by Superstorm Sandy. Nearly all funding [was] designated as emergency spending exempt from discretionary caps, except for $5.4 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Disaster Relief Fund.” The Senate passed the bill by a vote of 62 to 36; and, because the House had already approved the bill, it was then sent to the president, who signed it into law. [Senate roll call vote 4, 1/28/13; Congressional Quarterly, 1/28/13; Congressional Actions, H.R. 152; Congressional Quarterly, 1/30/13]
Rand Paul effectively voted against considering the $142 billion FY 2012 Veterans Affairs, Military Construction, Military Housing and Related Programs appropriations bill. In July 2011, Paul effectively voted against considering a bill that, according to the Congressional Quarterly Today, “would provide $142 billion in fiscal 2012 for the Department of Veterans Affairs, military construction, military housing and related operations. The bill also includes $52.5 billion in advance fiscal 2013 appropriations for VA medical programs.” The vote was on a motion to end debate on the motion to proceed to consider the bill; the Senate agreed to end debate by a vote of 89 to 11. The bill later passed the Senate, and after the House agreed nearly five months later, the bill was committed to a conference committee. The resulting conference report passed both the House and Senate and was signed into law by the president on December 23, 2011. [Senate roll call vote 109, 7/13/11; Congressional Quarterly Today, All Congressional Actions, H.R. 2055; H.R. 2055, 5/31/11
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Bernie Sanders  (Democrat)
Bernie Sanders’ PTSD Statistic
Sometimes politicians are right, but their campaigns can’t prove it. And we do.
That’s what happened when we decided to take a look at Sen. Bernie Sanders’ talking point that 500,000 veterans came back from Iraq and Afghanistan with post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injuries. His campaign pointed us to a 2013 Senate hearing as its source — a hearing in which a Veterans Affairs official told Sanders that the number was less than half that.
But it wasn’t a case of Sanders exaggerating. We discovered more recent VA reports that put the number with PTSD at about 390,000, and that would only include veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan that sought care at VA facilities. Not all veterans use VA care. Other estimates suggest the total number could be around the 500,000 figure Sanders has been using for the past year. http://www.factcheck.org/2015/07/sanders-ptsd-statistic/
 



Gift/Memorial Suggestions

Several of our friends have lost loved ones (human and pets) and we found that one of the best ways to honor their memory is to give to an animal charity.
What better way to recognize a life of love, than by giving another life a chance for love?
We donate to many animal rescues, but because we volunteer with
DC Weimaraner Rescue and Coast-to-Coast Dachshund Rescue, those are our 2 favorites.
Consider giving the chance of life to a dog or cat.

Great Books by our friends

Great Books by our friends
Check out these great books (yeah, Rob's are in there, too)

About us

We're two married guys who enjoy the simple things in life, especially our dogs. We volunteer for dog rescues, enjoy splitting dinners, exercising, blogging, helping friends and neighbors, ghost investigations, coffee and tea, Tudor history, weather, superheroes, comic books, mystery novels, traveling, 70s and 80s music, classic country, piano, gardening, writing books on ghosts and spirits, architecture, keeping a clean house, cooking simply, and keeping in shape. You'll find tidbits of all of these things on this blog and more.

Tom and Rob Thinking Hard!

Tom and Rob Thinking Hard!
Wondering what home project to do next

Podcast of Rob's 50 min. interview on Paranormal Filler Radio 7/13/14