Wisconsin Veterans Home Director Reassigned Amidst Investigation

Daniel Zimmerman, Secretary of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, has announced that the director of a care facility in Wisconsin has been reassigned in the middle of an investigation. The announcement was made on Friday and was reported by the Wisconsin State Journal.


The facility in question is the King veterans home, and the director had been working in that capacity since March 2013. The Secretary’s office added that an investigation being followed by the Wisconsin State Journal is not related to the reassignment; however, an employee who handles records maintained by the Department tried to withhold an email that was sent to the Governor’s Office.


The King home for veterans has been investigated by the Wisconsin newspaper due to several complaints about the quality of care being provided. As a result, the facility was subject to a legislative audit. Although Veterans Affairs is a federal agency, certain matters are handled at the state level.


According to the Wisconsin State Journal, journalists investigating a report of a liquid oxygen leak at the aforementioned veterans home claim that the employee in charge of releasing email communications about this matter, whose name has been revealed as Reid Aaron, may have omitted certain messages that would later be turned over by the Governor’s Office.


A former Veterans Affairs state administrator attempted to investigate matters related to the complaints about deficient care as well as the purported leak of liquid oxygen, which is potentially dangerous. The administrator eventually lost his job after filing hundreds of public records requests, which journalists believe may have been obfuscated instead of honored.


The results of the investigation into the King facility thus far show a troubling lack of transparency by the VA, and the sudden reassignment of the director comes at a troubling time for the federal agency.



George W. Bush Releases Book Related to Veterans

A familiar face has been making the talk show rounds recently. Former POTUS George W. Bush has been seen more in the past few weeks than he has in perhaps the last eight years. And it’s for a great cause. Portraits of Courage is a book of Bush’s paintings of some of the veterans who served in missions related to his administration.


Bush paints the portraits from photographs, and the book consists of 64 single portraits, as well as a mural containing panels with even more veterans. Proceeds from the book will go to the George W. Bush Presidential Center, which helps to get veterans from the era after 9/11 settled back into civilian life.


So far, the book has been doing very well on Amazon, and Bush has been promoting it with intensity. At a promotional appearance on Jimmy Kimmel’s show, Bush even brought along some of the men featured in the book. One of the veterans’ mothers commented on the fact that she believed Bush had painted a very close likeness of her son.


Over the years, the former POTUS has actually spent a great deal of time with these veterans. Not only has he gone biking with some of them, but he’s also hosted many events for these brave people. Bush has also spoken out on the need to address ailments that aren’t expressed physically, such as PTSD. Books like these aim to change the fact that a whopping 71 percent of Americans say they do not understand the kinds of issues that veterans face. Considering the fact that these people give up so much for their country, it only makes sense to honor them in the manner that they deserve.


Army Veteran Completes Post Traumatic Stress Disorder School

Donald Zuzula is an army veteran who recently completed a post-traumatic stress disorder program. He completed the program along with Harbaugh, who is now his pet. The name of the program is K9s for Warriors. It is located in Ponte Verda, Florida. It pairs people who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder with service animals. Donald was in the program for three weeks.


Donald was not only able to get the help that he needed, but he also received equipment and home-cooked meals for free. Harbaugh also received free vet care. Donald has returned home and is looking forward to his new life. He stated that the reason he joined the program was because he knew that getting a service dog would change his life.


Donald is hoping that he will eventually be able to do normal things with his family again. It is estimated that 29 percent of veterans suffer from post traumatic stress disorder. Shari Duval started K9s for Warriors back in 2011.


Shari is very familiar with post-traumatic stress disorder. Her own son developed it after he returned home from Iraq. Shari stated that this program has been very effective for helping people recover from the horrors of war. However, she also stated that there needs to be more done in order to help the veterans in this country. Shari is hoping that she will be able to expand her program in order to help more women and men who are in the military and suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.


US Muslim Veterans to Defend Jewish Centers

The recent bomb threats and destruction of Jewish cemeteries have triggered raw emotions among Muslim veterans in the US. According to a report published by The Huffing Post, the veterans have vowed to protect the Jewish centers from the current onslaught anytime and anywhere. Through their Twitter accounts, they promised to use their experience to provide enough security if the need arises.


The Twitter responses came a few days after a series of bomb threats against the JCC places were reported. Just two weeks ago, a Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia was destroyed by unknown bandits at night. Similar incidences also happened in California, Arizona, Washington, Missouri and Nevada. According to the Department of Homeland Security, more than five threats and attacks have been reported in the last two months.


The recent wave of attacks, which were fueled by the divisive presidential campaign and lack of tolerance, has attracted sympathizers from the Muslim community. A Muslim activist helped raise more than $135,000 to restore the damaged Jewish cemetery in St Louis, Missouri some days ago.The activist, who is known as Tarek EL-Messidi, has also embarked on another mission to mobilize other well-wishers to contribute towards the repair of the Mount Carmel Cemetery in Philadelphia.


Following the attack in Philadelphia, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community released an official statement condemning the vandalism. The officials said that they were deeply disappointed with such acts and vowed to stand by the Jewish people in the fight against such hatred and extremism. The organization also promised to help repair more than 100 gravestones destroyed.


Many Jewish people have expressed fear following the bomb threats against their centers. Some have resolved not to attend gatherings until the security agencies take care of the situation. However, most of them have expressed their gratitude following the overwhelming support by Muslim and Christian friends.



Veterans Must Be Educated On All Of Their Options

The military is a unique experience. Most members join at a very young age. High school kids are eager to seek the unknown adventures that come with building a career in the Armed Forces. There are many skills to be learned. Some of them translate back into the civilian world. Yet a lot of them don’t. This makes the transition process from a military life to a civilian life very tricky. Veterans often don’t realize how unprepared they are to conduct themselves with the rest of the community until they are fully separated from their military support system. At this point they must rely on the Department of Veterans Affairs. The VA is an afterthought while serving. However, it is crucial to the survival and advancement of military veterans. Vocational Rehabilitation is one of the many programs that exist to assist prior service members in crossing over into civilian life. Veterans are set up with a counselor who is trained to evaluate their military experience and assist them and finding the necessary education to move forward with a new career. This could mean college or job training. Vocational Rehabilitation not only pays college tuition to major universities, there is also a living allowance. The veteran is compensated monthly. Their allowance rates are based on how involved they are in their training program. Full-time participation renders more funding. There is also counseling for job interview skills. Entrepreneurs are able to benefit from the Vocational Rehabilitation system. Successful business owners are more than willing to to work with veterans. There are some distinct requirements to qualify for the benefits. The prior service member must have a current disability rating by the VA. The rating needs to show that they are not able to do the job that they were trained for by the military.


Veterans Affairs Leader Still Undecided By President-Elect Trump

While president-elect Donald Trump grabbed headlines on the campaign trail by vowing to shake up the Department of Veterans Affairs, he has still not selected a leader for the VA with confirmation hearings for his Cabinet set to begin this week. The VA is one of just two Cabinet positions without a secretary nominee along with the Agriculture Department.


Trump has reportedly considered nearly one dozen candidates to run the government’s second-largest department, but finding the right person remains on of his greatest challenges just two weeks before the inauguration.


Trump had recently met with Leo MacKay Jr., senior vice president at Lockheed Martin who served as deputy VA secretary under George W. Bush, although he is reportedly uninterested in leaving the private sector. Navy Admiral Michell Howard, the first African American and woman to become a four-star admiral, also declined the position. Toby Cosgrove of the Cleveland Clinic, who was rumored to be Trump’s top pick for the job, also turned down the role.


Reince Preibus, the incoming chief of staff, has urged Trump to expand his search to include more minorities and women, an anonymous source told the Washington Post.


The VA has a $180 billion budget and nearly 360,000 employees with 1,7000 medical centers and a complex system of benefits for veterans. It has historically proven to be one of the toughest departments to run.


Trump has said he wants a massive overhaul of the VA, including changing the veterans’ health care system to a voucher program. Major groups advocacy groups such as the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and the American Legion have been outspoken in their criticism of the plan.


As with school voucher programs, a VA voucher system could help veterans who can afford to supplement their care, but it would leave others stuck with an underfunded VA. It would also force veterans into a system motivated by profit. If successful, the plan would lead to mass closures of VA-run care centers and hospitals that are specially qualified to provide the unique care many veterans require.

VA Lobbies to Keep McDonald

Veterans of the united states armed forces are among the most respected individuals in the country. The veterans are represented by the national Veterans Association, which provides healthcare services, financial resources, and a variety of other benefits to veterans. Under the President Obama administration, the Veterans Association was well represented by the veterans secretary Robert McDonald. However, under the new administration set to take office in the next few weeks, there is some concern.


According to a recent news article (http://mobile.nytimes.com/2016/12/12/us/veterans-groups-urge-trump-to-keep-obamas-va-secretary.html?_r=0&referer=https://www.google.com/), many of the top representatives of the VA and other related veteran organizations have voiced their approval of Robert McDonald and desire for him to be retained in his current role. The biggest concern that the VA has cited so far is that they are concerned about losing much of the benefit and progress they have received over the past eight years. Any reduction in benefits to the veterans could be very disadvantageous and create struggles in their personal lives.


At this point it is on clear what Donald Trump will do in regards to picking a new secretary for the VA. Thus far, any positions that he has appointed have been new people to join his administration as cabinet members or advisers. Of all existing cabinet members, most would expect that McDonald has the best chance of being retained due to his immense popularity with members of both political parties.


New Pilot Medical Program Introduced for Veterans

Veterans of the United States armed forces are among the most respected members of our society. While they are highly respected, the country has not always provided veterans with the best level of medical care. However, a recent news article (http://www.cbs46.com/story/34054590/us-senators-introduce-a-new-bill-that-could-benefit-veterans) points out that a new medical bill submitted could provide veterans with the best level of care that they have ever received.


The new bill, which was introduced by two different senators, has requested that more resources be provided to allow for the Veterans Association to establish a new pilot medical care program that would provide innovative care to veterans. The new program, which is called No Heroes Left Untreated Act, will ensure that all veterans are provided with the care that they need.


The new program will be set up in at least four different medical centers located across the country. The VA would like to set up the medical program with at least 50 initial members. Based on the success in providing medical care to these veterans, it could continue to expand and someday be used by all veterans of the armed forces. The program will focus on provide traditional care, but will also provide enhanced support for veterans deal with issues such as PTSD, drug or alcohol abuse, and several other ailments. Beyond the VA, a variety of organizations have already expressed their support of the new bill, which will be formally voted on early next year.


Betsy DeVos: Changing the Face of Politics in Education

Betsy DeVos steps into the national spotlight as the United States Secretary of Education. Though new to the national platform, DeVos has been in the public eye as a businesswoman, politician and philanthropist for decades.

DeVos came under fire by some for her stance on charter schools, school vouchers and what some say is a way to make all public schools private. In the article, “Why not give Betsy DeVos and school vouchers a try” some people stand behind her stating public employee unions that oversee the current school system might not have the children’s best interests at heart. Other say as long as we stand together whether it’s about the public school system or public roads, we are strongest. One person actually went as far to say Democrats should open their arms to this Republican support of Islam which is not usual. Most people agree education is about what is best for the students no matter what system they use to learn. Check this related article from NYPost.com

DeVos comes from a wealthy family in Michigan, an heir to the Amway fortune. She quickly got into politics. DeVos was a delegate for the Michigan Republican Party, a Republican National Committeewoman for Michigan and chairwoman of the Michigan Republican Party. DeVos then became the finance chairperson for the Bush Administration’s National Republican Senatorial Committee. Throughout this time she was a strong supporter or charter schools, school vouchers and education as a whole.

Whether people agree or disagree with Betsy DeVos approach to education, no one can argue she does many philanthropic activities and raises funds for many projects. DeVos and her husband began the Windquest Group in 1989. This company invested in technology, clean energy and manufacturing. The same year DeVos launched the Dick & Betsy DeVos Family Foundation. This foundation supports community, arts, justice, leadership and education. DeVos and the foundation made over $11.6 million in 2015. This catapulted the DeVos family on the Forbes list in the top 24 of the country’s givers. This foundation donated millions to hospitals, Christian schools, missions as well as many other organizations. Her critics shout DeVos has no public education experience; however, her track record with charter schools proves this isn’t true. Millions of dollars from her foundations directly aided charter schools.

Standing behind her love for education, the DeVos foundation gave over five million to charter schools, over eight million to private Christian schools and almost $60,000 to public schools. They don’t stop at schools, but even put money into college students’ education. DeVos also gives a yearly scholarship, the Betsy and Dick DeVos Scholars for Free Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Scholarship, to students at Northwood University earning a BBA or combined BBA/MBA.

Visit Betsy’s website: http://www.betsydevos.com/

Veterans Suggest Solutions to VHA Issues

For a long time, U.S. Veterans have been lamenting about the Department of Veterans of Affairs. The health insurance cover that veterans have with the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) is not sufficient to meet their healthcare needs and they also receive poor services from the VHA. The fact that they only have the option of having a cover with the VHA is also a problem because the VHA knows it has no competition and therefore does very little to address their grievances.


Veterans suggest that the VHA should be privatized and maybe then, the quality of healthcare services they receive will improve. They want the government to increase the pay of soldiers in active duty to enable them to take up insurance covers with private firms of their choice. Veterans also want to be involved in the running and operation in the VHA because that way, they will have no choice but to deliver quality services to their own. The government should also allocate enough funds to the VHA to meet the healthcare needs of the veterans.


Many past presidents have attempted to fix these issues but always fail at doing so because they take the wrong approach. Among President Donald Trump’s promises during his presidency campaign was to fix these issues once and for all and improve the welfare of veterans who so faithfully served the country. However, many are skeptical about the fulfillment of these promises unless the privatization approach is taken.