"No matter how paranoid or conspiracy-minded you are, what the government is actually doing is worse than you imagine." - - - William Blum

January 03, 2007

"Critical Issues"

With the Democrats taking control of congress, Veterans issues that have been ignored or side-stepped by republi-cons have come up recently. I know Veterans can't fight all the battles, but we can put a few hot pokers where they matter! Larry Scott once again puts forth the essential information:

This will mark the 21st year that the Independent Budget Veterans' Service Organizations take their message to Capitol Hill.

The Independent Budget VSOs are the American Veterans (AMVETS), the Disabled American Veterans (DAV), the Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) and the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW)...

Prior to the release of the Independent Budget, the VSOs publish their Critical Issues Report.

This Report should be read by every veteran. It details problems the VA is facing and offers viable solutions. Now, the question is: Will Congress and the VA listen?
Will Congress and the VA listen? Maybe Larry was already counting bu$h out of the equation. I doubt that bu$h will approve or address the proposed 'Critical Issues':

CRITICAL ISSUE 1: Adequate Funding Needed for VA Health Care

VA must receive adequate funds to meet the ever-increasing demands of veterans seeking health care.

CRITICAL ISSUE 2: Mental Health Services for Veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury

The Department of Defense (DOD) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) share a unique obligation to meet the health-care (including the mental health care) and rehabilitation needs of veterans experiencing readjustment difficulties as a result of combat service or traumatic brain injury (TBI).

CRITICAL ISSUE 3: VA Needs a Sufficient Construction Budget

The Independent Budget veterans service organizations (IBVSOs) believe that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) needs more resources for major medical facilities construction to support the implementation phase of the Capital Asset Realignment for Enhanced Services (CARES) plan, and to make up for a manifest lack of resources dedicated to recapitalization and maintenance of its aging physical plant.

CRITICAL ISSUE 4: Claims Backlogs Remain High

To overcome the persistent and longstanding problem of disability claims backlogs and the resulting delays in delivery of crucial disability benefits to veterans and their families, the Administration must invest adequate resources and commit to a new strategy to improve quality, proficiency, and efficiency within the Veterans Benefits Administration.

CRITICAL ISSUE 5: Seamless Transition from the DOD to VA

The DOD and VA must ensure that all service men and women separating from active duty have a seamless transition from military to civilian life.

CRITICAL ISSUE 6: Homeland Security: Funding for the Fourth Mission

The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) is playing a major role in HomelandSecurity and bioterrorism prevention without additional funding to support this vitalstatutory fourth mission.

CRITICAL ISSUE 7: The National Cemetery Administration

The National Cemetery Administration must ensure that burial in a national or state veterans cemetery is an available option for all veterans and their family members and must provide a dignified setting with perpetual care that honors veterans and exhibits evidence of the nation's gratitude for their military service.
Granted, people thought these "Critical Issues" were already addressed and they are the most important. However, I propose a couple more:

Some of these VSO's need new leadership. No disrespect to former Vets, and God bless them, but we cannot have the same 'good old boy network' representing younger Veterans. Our Veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan face new challenges in a new era. VSO's have to realize if they want new membership and funding they have to be the driving force in representing the Veterans true needs.
The days of smiling and getting your picture taken with politicians are over. Unite the Veteran's vote. Tell the politicians the only way to be guaranteed the Veteran's vote is to meet the needs of the Veteran...NOW!

Additionally, the President has to stop loading the hierarchy of the Veterans Administration with people who are going to use the VA for financial gain or do his bidding for him. Former VA chief Principi has used insider information in supplying his former company, QTC Managemant, with multi-million dollar contracts. In addition, he also issued a "Dear Manufacturer" letter to big pharma to help;

Control the price of prescription drugs for the TRICARE program administered by the VA...Then, in early 2005, Principi went to work for Pfizer Pharmaceuticals as Senior Vice President of Government Relations. He still holds that position today.

It is without a doubt the most critical time for our Veteran's in this Nation's history. Do we really need more "incompetent" bu$h-bots working for Veterans?

It really is time to ask the question: Can Jim Nicholson, Secretary of the Department of Veterans' Affairs, do anything right?
How can the man charged with the care of our veterans NOT spend the money budgeted for mental health care while that care is "virtually inaccessible?"...that story here...
Nicholson has misled Congress...that story here...
Nicholson has cooked the VA's books...that story here...
There have been calls for Nicholson's resignation. Now, there is a very good reason for him to resign.
We don't even have to discuss the stolen laptop controversy. Just being bu$h'$ lackey should be enough to be thrown out of office. This is Katrina waiting to happen all over again, except with our young, injured returning troops. It's unacceptable, Nicholson must go!

These are "Critical Issues!"

Crossposted at Low and Left

Seven of Six

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