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Author: TriSec    Date: 10/03/2017 09:35:22

Good Morning.

It's a horrifying morning on the Veteran's Front. I was skimming my usual sources, and the top of the feed had a large number of stories that I find disturbing. In no particular order, I'll run with the headlines...

VA chief took in Wimbledon, river cruise, on European work trip; wife's expenses covered

Nearly three days into a trip to Europe this past July, Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin had attended a Wimbledon championship tennis match, toured Westminster Abbey and taken a cruise on the Thames.

The 10-day trip was not entirely a vacation. Shulkin was in Europe for meetings with Danish and British officials about veterans' health issues, so taxpayers picked up part of the tab.

Yet he and his wife spent about half their time sightseeing, including shopping and touring historic sites, according to an itinerary obtained by The Washington Post and confirmed by a U.S. official familiar with their activities.

The federal government paid for the flights for Shulkin and his wife, Merle Bari, and provided a per-diem reimbursement for their meals and other expenses, VA said Friday. An agency spokesman did not respond to questions about why Bari qualified for the reimbursements and taxpayer-funded airfare, other than to say she was traveling on "approved invitational orders" and had "temporary duty" travel expenses.

The agency also did not respond to questions about the cost of the flights and the total reimbursement. If Bari took the full per diem every day of the trip, she could have been reimbursed as much as $3,600 under federal guidelines.

Department of Veteran's Affairs says money for private healthcare could run out by year's end

WASHINGTON — Weeks after a veterans’ health initiative received $2.1 billion in emergency funding, the Trump administration says the private-sector Veterans Choice health care program may need additional money as early as December to avoid a disruption of care for hundreds of thousands of veterans.

The Department of Veterans Affairs said in a statement Tuesday that it hoped to move quickly on a proposed long-term legislative fix that would give veterans even wider access to private doctors. The proposal, under review by the White House Office of Management and Budget, would seek money to keep Choice running for much of next year as VA implements wider changes.

On Capitol Hill, the House Veterans Affairs Committee was already anticipating that the emergency funding approved in August may not last the full six months, according to spokespeople for both Republican and Democratic members on the panel. They cited the VA’s past problems in estimating Choice program cost. That committee and the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee said they were closely monitoring the situation.

“It’s disheartening,” said Carlos Fuentes, legislative director of Veterans of Foreign Wars, citing his group’s continuing conversations with VA about Choice funding. “Imagine if a veteran has to cease chemotherapy treatment during Christmas.”

Maine veterans told it's too late to sue for substandard care

Six veterans who years later learned they received poor care from a podiatrist say Veterans Affairs concealed those findings to limit the veterans' ability to sue.

The Maine Sunday Telegram reports (http://bit.ly/2yQg3qZ) a federal district judge will decide whether their lawsuits against the federal government can move forward.

Federal lawyers moved to dismiss the cases and argued veterans waited too long to file the suits. The VA has acknowledged it took years to notify the veterans about problems with treatment they received from podiatrist Thomas Franchini at the Togus VA hospital.

VA officials deny they concealed such findings to avoid lawsuits.

A VA spokesman said Franchini resigned from the VA after the agency told him to step down or face being fired in 2010. Franchini declined comment on the suits.

Despite all this, certain persons within the V.A. have found the time to weigh in on the significant issues of the day:

State Department of Veteran's Affairs defends confederate monuments


Veteran's Affairs demotes Brockton man for 'offensive' NFL comments

It's all about priorities, isn't it?


11 comments (Latest Comment: 10/03/2017 22:00:43 by BobR)
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Comment by Will in Chicago on 10/03/2017 12:26:24
Good morning, bloggers!!!

I fear that the stories on the blog today show that we are indeed living in Gilded Age, 2.0 -- better toys, but less interesting tycoons.

At times, I wonder if I can become more cynical about the current leadership of our country. Sometimes, I wonder how we will get through this. I am trying to have faith in our country and humanity, but it is a trial at times.

Sadly, something that many of us feared last night has happened: Tom Petty has died at the age of 66. May his memory be for a blessing and may his music live on long after him.

Comment by wickedpam on 10/03/2017 13:17:04

Comment by Raine on 10/03/2017 13:28:30

Good morning, my dear friends.

Comment by Scoopster on 10/03/2017 13:46:42
Mornin' all..

About to go into the monthly meeting, and I've got a nice headache. Not a good combo.

Comment by Scoopster on 10/03/2017 13:50:36
These fucking propaganda artists... right when the SCOTUS is about to hear a big public sector union case, someone is spreading total BS about unionized truckers in Puerto Rico not helping recovery because they're on strike.

Comment by Raine on 10/03/2017 14:05:29
I case you missed it yesterday, this FB video is going around. I JUST found out that one of the kids is a family member in this video. It's a School project and they are trying to get 5 million FB views!

Comment by Raine on 10/03/2017 15:17:44
Please I hope this is true.

Comment by Raine on 10/03/2017 16:01:22
Holy crap:

Comment by Raine on 10/03/2017 19:57:06
He's a global disgrace.

Comment by Scoopster on 10/03/2017 20:14:19
This is disgusting.. our President is tossing rolls of paper towels into a crowd of displaced people who've lost most of their earthly possessions and homes as if they were some mob of groupies.

Comment by BobR on 10/03/2017 22:00:43
Quote by Scoopster:
This is disgusting.. our President is tossing rolls of paper towels into a crowd of displaced people who've lost most of their earthly possessions and homes as if they were some mob of groupies.

A shame no one tossed one back at him