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Ask a Vet
Author: TriSec    Date: 11/01/2016 01:04:25

Good Evening. Posting this Monday night - I need to be up and out early Tuesday and won't have time.

Next week, also. I have just confirmed my polling station, so I will offer up the election day blog for the taking.

In any case, on to the matters at hand.

Since it is the last Tuesday before the election, we'll be taking a look at some positions today.

We'll start with the opposition. I have rather bravely waded into the official Trump for President page to find out what he has to say about our veterans.

Ensure our veterans get the care they need wherever and whenever they need it. No more long drives. No more waiting backlogs. No more excessive red tape. Just the care and support they earned with their service to our country.

Support the whole veteran, not just their physical health care, but also by addressing their invisible wounds, investing in our service members' post-active duty success, transforming the VA to meet the needs of 21st century service members, and better meeting the needs of our female veterans.

Make the VA great again by firing the corrupt and incompetent VA executives who let our veterans down, by modernizing the VA, and by empowering the doctors and nurses to ensure our veterans receive the best care available in a timely manner.

[That doesn't actually sound so bad. Surprisingly enough, he even has a plan to get there. - Ed.]

Donald J. Trump's 10 Point Plan to Reform The Department of Veterans Affairs

1. Appoint a VA Secretary whose sole purpose will be to serve veterans. Under a Trump Administration, the needs of D.C. bureaucrats will no longer be placed above those of our veterans.

2. Use the powers of the presidency to remove and discipline the federal employees and managers who have violated the public's trust and failed to carry out the duties on behalf of our veterans.

3. Ask that Congress pass legislation that empowers the Secretary of the VA to discipline or terminate any employee who has jeopardized the health, safety or well-being of a veteran.

4. Create a commission to investigate all the fraud, cover-ups, and wrong-doing that has taken place in the VA, and present these findings to Congress to spur legislative reform.

5. Protect and promote honest employees at the VA who highlight wrongdoing, and guarantee their jobs will be protected.

6. Create a private White House hotline, which will be active 24 hours a day answered by a real person. It will be devoted to answering veteran's complaints of wrongdoing at the VA and ensure no complaints fall through the cracks.

7. Stop giving bonuses to any VA employees who are wasting money, and start rewarding employees who seek to improve the VA's service, cut waste, and save lives.

8. Reform the visa system to ensure veterans are at the front of the line for health services, not the back.

9. Increase the number of mental health care professionals, and allow veteran's to be able to seek mental health care outside of the VA.

10. Ensure every veteran has the choice to seek care at the VA or at a private service provider of their own choice. Under a Trump Administration, no veteran will die waiting for service.

Sounds compelling, but whether or not any of these things would actually come to fruition under a Trump Presidency is a question without an answer at the moment. Crossing the aisle, we now head for the official Hilary for President page for actual 'fair and balanced' coverage.

Fundamentally reform veterans’ health care to ensure access to timely and high quality care and block efforts to privatize the VA—including improving health care for women at the VHA, ending the veteran suicide epidemic, and continuing efforts to identify and treat invisible, latent, and toxic wounds of war that affect veterans, family members, and caregivers after their service.

Build a 21st-century Department of Veterans Affairs to deliver world-class care. Hillary was outraged by the recent scandals at the VA, and as president, she will demand accountability and performance from VA leadership. Many veterans have to wait an unacceptably long time to see a doctor or to process disability claims and appeals. Hillary will make the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) a seamless partner in health care. She does not believe that privatization will solve the problems that the VHA is facing—this department must deliver high-quality care while acting as an integrated payer-purchaser and facilitating a full range of services for all veterans, regardless of where they live.

Empower veterans and strengthen our economy and communities by connecting their unique skills to the jobs of the future. Hillary will make the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill a lasting part of our social contract with those who serve, expand tax credits for veterans’ employment, improve certification and credentialing programs, strengthen veteran entrepreneurship programs, and create pathways for servicemembers to enter growing career fields. She will also protect veterans from discrimination and predatory companies and work to end veteran homelessness.

Overhaul VA governance to create a new veteran-centric model of excellence by creating a culture of accountability, service, and excellence at the VA; providing budgetary certainty; and ensuring our veterans are buried with the honor, distinction, and integrity they deserve.

Realign the demands of a military career to accommodate 21st-century family realities while maintaining a strong force by enabling more flexibility in military careers and giving servicemembers and their families a greater say in their lives. That includes increasing access to child care both on and off the base, maintaining a commitment to to extended leave policies, and more.

Back military spouses as they pursue education, seek jobs, build careers and secure their finances by expanding spousal employment support and training initiatives while in service and during transition.

Ensure military children receive a high-quality education and the resources to succeed by improving military schools, enhancing the experience of military children in public schools, and ensuring key benefits are available for all military families.

Sustain and strengthen the all-volunteer force, including the reserve and National Guard. Hillary will support smart compensation and benefits reform; adopt inclusive personnel policies, including aggressively combating military sexual assault and harassment; welcome women to compete for all military positions; and allow transgender Americans to serve openly in the military.

Of course, fairly typical of the Democrats of our species, there's even more detail available on how we get from Point A to Point B, here, and here.

Finally, longtime readers of this column may remember a companion piece that ran on Saturdays under the banner "Libertarian Saturday" by this same author. We'll also take a look at the Johnson-Weld platform.

For Gov. Johnson, honoring our veterans begins with a pledge that those serving in the military today will only be asked to go into harm’s way for clear, defined and justified reasons. The men and women of our armed forces signed up and swore an oath to protect and defend the United States – and that is precisely the mission they will have with Gary Johnson as Commander-in-Chief.

They will not be sent to risk their lives just because politicians decide to topple a foreign government -- with no clear U.S. interest in doing so or plan for what comes next. Our military will not be asked to engage in nation-building or to somehow resolve conflicts on the other side of the globe that have defied resolution for hundreds of years. The men and women of our military will only be asked to protect and defend the United States – and to do so with a firm understanding of the objective.

For our veterans who have served and returned to civilian life, many with injuries and emotional scars, Gov. Johnson pledges to provide them with the health care, support and transitional assistance they deserve – and rightfully expect.

First, Gary Johnson will put health care choices where they belong: With veterans themselves. While there are many dedicated, caring professionals working in VA facilities, the bureaucracy of the VA is more concerned with its own perpetuation than with providing veterans with the care they need. That must be corrected NOW.

From elder care to PTSD to the specific health challenges of women who have served in uniform, veterans have a wide range of urgent needs. For some, the VA medical system is the best or only option. That system must function efficiently, provide timely care, and meet the standards we would expect for our own family members. For those who need care from private physicians or hospitals, that option must be available. A strong believer in the power of competition and the marketplace, Gary Johnson will bring that power to bear in the provision of care to our veterans.

Likewise, as many veterans’ organizations have asked, Gary Johnson will remove outdated federal obstacles to the testing and use of medical cannabis to treat PTSD and other conditions for which it has shown promise.

Likewise, Gary Johnson understands the challenges faced by many veterans in their transition to civilian life and careers. The discipline and skills earned from military service are of tremendous value to many employers, but Gov. Johnson believes it is part of our moral contract with those who have served to not only maintain the GI Bill, but to enhance public-private partnerships designed to match veterans’ skills with the career choices they wish to make.

Gov. Johnson also understands that family support, counseling and other tools for helping veterans deal with their unique challenges are essential. Homelessness, substance abuse, and yes, suicide are all-too frequent among veterans as they re-enter civilian life – and our obligation to support those who have served does not end when they sign their discharge papers. Behind our veterans are spouses, children and parents who have sacrificed much, and Governor Johnson recognizes and appreciates those sacrifices.

Curious how the Libertarian position seems to be the one full of pithy promises without much meat.

I know Veteran's Issues are not #1 on anyone's radar. But even if you're undecided at this stage in the game (which I trust none of you dear readers are), please consider each of these positions before you enter the voting booth one week hence.

Ask A Vet knows which lever to pull.

33 comments (Latest Comment: 11/01/2016 21:26:56 by wickedpam)
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