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Author: TriSec    Date: 03/21/2017 10:10:11

Good Morning.

You may have heard that last week Mr. Trump was planning on having a "Veteran's Summit" of sorts last Friday. He's grandstanded on this at least once previously, although at no time have our friends at IAVA ever been invited to any such gathering.

Except of course, the meeting never happened. Mr. Trump announced it with much fanfare, but in the middle of a public appearance on the subject, Veterans Affairs secretary David Shulkin expressed surprise that such a meeting was happening - and stated that he was not planning on attending.

Mr. Trump then immediately gave up and jetted off to Palm Beach to play golf for the weekend.

A "major meeting" on veterans affairs slated for Friday evening that President Donald Trump publicly announced at the White House earlier in the day did not take place, according to pool reports.

Flanked by representatives of veterans groups, Trump said he would be meeting Friday evening at his Mar-a-Lago club with members of his veterans advisory board, including Marvel Entertainment CEO Ike Perlmutter.

Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin, sitting to Trump's left, immediately indicated he would not be attending.

The White House did not respond to a question as to why the meeting did not occur.

A pool report late Friday confirmed that "the veterans meeting is not taking place tonight" and said officials assured that more information would be provided Saturday.

A Saturday pool report indicated Trump would be dining Saturday night with Perlmutter and his wife, with the dinner closed to media.

Perlmutter, an Israeli-American who served in the Israeli army and advises Trump on veterans affairs, has previously met with Trump at Mar-a-Lago.

Moving on, we'll take a look at a longtime problem within the VA. As you're probably aware, approximately 20 veterans per day take their own lives across these United States. The VA has been working on this for years now, but there never really seems to be any success in remedying the situation. A report came out yesterday that they continue to be bad at it - to the tune of approximately 25-30% of calls routed to a national prevention hotline that are never actually resolved, or even answered. Try to imagine that for a minute.

WASHINGTON — More than one-fourth of calls to the Veterans Crisis Line end up being redirected to other emergency response services because of ongoing problems with the services’ operations, according to a new report released Monday.

Those problems persist despite leadership changes and promised reforms at the crisis hotline in the last year, and a years-long emphasis on suicide prevention efforts from Department of Veterans Affairs officials.

“Staff did not respond adequately to a veteran’s urgent needs during multiple calls to the (crisis line) and its backup call centers,” officials from the VA Inspector General’s office said in the report. “Supervisory staff did not identify the deficiencies in their internal review of the matter.”

Last spring, a similar report by the office found at least 23 callers to the crisis line were transferred to voicemail systems instead of reaching emergency help. That revelation prompted harsh criticism from lawmakers, who said the mistakes literally could kill unstable veterans trying to get help.

The new analysis of crisis line operations for the last six months of 2016 found that more than 28 percent of calls to the hotline were redirected to backup centers that might not have the same training and resources to help veterans in crisis.
Calls which go unanswered by the line are mandated to be directed to backup crisis centers, so veterans seeking help aren’t left without help. But the inspector general notes that those backups may not have the same training in military-specific issues and services, limiting some of the assistance they can provide.

In a statement, House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Phil Roe, R-Tenn., called the ongoing problems “unacceptable” and asked for immediate fixes.

“The Veterans Crisis Line is intended to be the first line of defense against veteran suicide, and we must ensure calls are being answered by a trained professional in a timely manner,” he said. “I am extremely frustrated by the findings and will continue to conduct oversight so the men and women who answered the call to serve have their calls answered when they need help the most."

Finally - with today being March 21, that means yesterday was the 14th anniversary of our ill-fated venture into Iraq. Buried in the news about Russia and Wiretapping yesterday was a little-noticed meeting between Mr. Trump and Iraqi Prime Minister al-Abadi. Of course, there was a retrospective in the only way Mr. Trump knows how.

President Donald Trump used a White House meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to criticize both his immediate predecessors’ military strategies in the country.

“Perhaps we shouldn’t have gone in, but certainly we shouldn’t have left, we never ever should have left and the vacuum was created,” Trump said Monday during a photo session with Abadi.

Trump made public comments in support of President George W. Bush’s 2003 invasion of Iraq then later said he opposed the military operation. He criticized President Barack Obama’s withdrawal of combat troops from Iraq after the two countries failed to reach an agreement to continue U.S. troops’ immunity from prosecution in Iraqi courts.

Abadi, the first Arab head of government to meet with Trump since he took office, is in Washington as the U.S. convenes a summit with 68 nations fighting the Islamic State.

Trump praised the “very tough job” Iraqi soldiers are performing as they battle to re-take control of Mosul from the terrorist organization. During the campaign, he called the U.S.-backed offensive “a total disaster.”

Abadi said afterward he was “happy” with the discussion he had at the White House. Trump gave assurances that the U.S. will “accelerate” help for Iraq’s fight to regain territory captured by Islamic State but the U.S. president didn’t share a concrete plan, Abadi said in a speech at the U.S. Institute of Peace.

Trump also had planned to talk with Abadi about relations with Iran, a White House official said before the meeting.

Whatever direction we take from here - it'll be the best direction, I'm sure.


37 comments (Latest Comment: 03/21/2017 22:26:00 by Mondobubba)
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