Archive for Department of Veterans Affairs

White House Releases Summary of Trump’s First Week of Action

I have to say, from a business perspective, we are getting a lot for our money.  Trump, to date, has proved to be the hardest working president in a generation…like him or not.  Further, the man has so far done exactly what he promised to do.  Even more amazing is that he is getting it done in hours and days not months and years.  For a man of his age, you have to respect his level of energy and dedication.  It also appears he doesn’t take weekends off.  Sorry bureaucrats…you have to work like the rest of us…and should.  The question is whether he can keep this schedule up.  The news agencies are literally physically breaking down trying to keep up with covering him.  It truly is unprecedented.  Here is the release in its raw form:

THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 27, 2017

PRESIDENT TRUMP’S FIRST WEEK OF ACTION

·         15: Presidential Actions to begin fulfilling his promises to Make America Great Again.

·         11: Diplomatic conversations with foreign leaders to promote an America First foreign policy.

·         4: Members of President Trump’s cabinet sworn into office.

·         3: Stakeholder meetings to get input from both workers and business leaders on jumpstarting job creation.

·         3: Engagements with members of Congress to discuss his agenda.

·         3: Visits to federal agencies committed to protecting our homeland and ensuring our national security.

·         1: Official White House visit by a foreign head of state.

·         1: Reception to honor law enforcement and first responders.

·         1: Proclamation supporting National School Choice week.

·         The President’s team followed through on his commitment to action, by:

o   collaborating with 28 federal agencies and departments on a near daily basis.

o   discussing legislative items with at least 75 House members or their staffs and 35 Senators or their staffs.

o   making initial contact with governors in each state and territory, and having in-depth discussions with 32 governors or their staff.

o   discussing issues with 22 state attorneys general.

o   beginning outreach to our nation’s largest municipalities and tribes.

President Trump Used The Power Of His Office To Follow Through On His Promises To The American People

WITHIN HOURS OF HIS INAUGURATION: President Trump moved to protect Americans from ObamaCare, government regulations, and future bailouts.

·         On the evening of his Inauguration, President Trump sought relief for Americans from the cost burdens of ObamaCare.

·         Through a memorandum issued by the Chief of Staff, all new regulations were frozen to protect job creators from the crush of new government rules on their businesses.

·         President Trump put a stop to a reckless action that would have reduced funding for the Federal Housing Authority after it was bailed out by the taxpayers as recently as 2013.

MONDAY: President Trump fulfilled his promise to immediately address trade and jobs by withdrawing from the harmful Trans-Pacific Partnership, put in place a hiring freeze, and protected taxpayer money from funding abortions overseas.

·         President Trump protected American workers by withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

·         To stem the tide of an ever growing government, President Trump put in place a hiring freeze on federal civilian employees.

·         After years of taxpayer money being spent to promote abortions abroad, President Trump reinstated the “Mexico City Policy” to ban such usage.

TUESDAY: President Trump promoted job creation by jumpstarting the construction of two new energy pipelines, requiring the use of American-made materials and equipment in building those pipelines, and reduced the regulatory burden on America’s manufacturing and construction industry.

·         President Trump began the process to finish construction on the Dakota Access Pipeline after a series of delays.

·         After years of delays, President Trump signed a presidential memorandum to revive the Keystone XL pipeline.

·         To make sure Americans benefit from infrastructure projects, the President signed an executive memorandum requiring all new construction and repair of pipelines to use American materials and equipment.

·         President Trump ordered the Commerce Department to streamline and reduce regulations affecting U.S. manufacturing to help bring factories back to America.

·         To jumpstart much needed infrastructure projects, President Trump signed an executive order to speed up the environmental impact review of projects.

WEDNESDAY: President Trump followed through on his pledge to protect America’s borders and end the lack of compliance with immigration laws.

·         Following through on his commitment to protecting the American people, President Trump signed an executive order to improve border security, particularly through the construction of a physical barrier on the southern border.

·         President Trump signed an executive order to ensure that immigration laws are enforced throughout the United States, including halting federal funding for sanctuary cities.

FRIDAY: President Trump followed through on his top priority to keep America safe.

·         President Trump signed an executive order protecting the United States from foreign nationals entering from countries compromised by terrorism, and ensuring a more rigorous vetting process.

·         President Trump issued a presidential memorandum to direct the Secretary of Defense to review our readiness and create plans to rebuild the U.S. military.

President Trump Has Held or Scheduled 11 Conversations With Foreign Leaders To Promote American Interests Around The Globe

·         On Saturday, President Trump spoke with President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico and discussed respect for the sovereignty of both nations.

·         On Saturday, President Trump also spoke with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on the importance of strong U.S.-Canada ties.

·         On Sunday, President Trump spoke with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel to discuss opportunities to strengthen relations.

·         On Monday, President Trump spoke with President Abdel Fattah Al-Sissi of Egypt, expressing his commitment for a new push in bilateral relations.

·         On Tuesday, President Trump spoke with Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India to strengthen relations and cooperation.

·         Today, President Trump spoke again with President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico to discuss bilateral relations, border security and trade.

·         Tomorrow, President Trump is scheduled to speak Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of with Japan

·         Tomorrow, President Trump is scheduled to speak with Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany.

·         Tomorrow, President Trump is scheduled to speak with President Vladimir Putin of Russia.

·         Tomorrow, President Trump is scheduled to speak with President François Hollande of France.

·         Tomorrow, President Trump is scheduled to speak with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull of Australia.

Four Of President Trump’s Nominees Were Confirmed By The Senate And Sworn Into Office

·         Last Friday, retired General John Kelly was sworn in as Secretary of Homeland Security.

·         Also last Friday, retired General James Mattis was sworn in as Secretary of Defense.

·         On Monday, former Congressman Mike Pompeo was sworn in as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

·         On Wednesday, former Governor Nikki Haley was sworn in as Ambassador to the United Nations.

Following Through On His Commitment To Job Creation, President Trump Held Stakeholder Meetings With Business And Labor Leaders

·         On Monday, President Trump met with labor leaders to discuss his plans to renegotiate trade deals and put Americans back to work.

·         Later on Monday, President Trump met with manufacturing leaders to discuss how to bring factories and manufacturing jobs back to America.

·         On Tuesday, President Trump met with key industry leaders to discuss how the auto industry can bring back American jobs.

President Trump Held Meetings Or Spoke With Congressional Leaders To Discuss His Agenda

·         On Monday, President Trump hosted Republican and Democrat congressional leaders and chiefs of staff at the White House to discuss the upcoming legislative agenda.

·         On Tuesday, President Trump met with key Senate leaders to discuss his upcoming choice to fill the Supreme Court vacancy.

·         On Thursday, President Trump spoke at the Republican congressional retreat in Philadelphia.

President Trump Spoke At The Headquarters Of The CIA, The Department Of Homeland Security, And The Department Of Defense

·         On Saturday, President Trump spoke at CIA headquarters and told a raucous crowd that he’d have their back as he thanked them for their service to the country.

·         On Wednesday, President Trump visited the Department of Homeland Security to reinforce his strong belief in protecting America’s borders.

·         On Wednesday, President Trump visited the Department of Defense to highlight his commitment to rebuild our military.

President Trump Hosted U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May

·         In hosting his first foreign head of state at the White House, President Trump welcomed Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Theresa May.

As One Of His First Actions After Inauguration Day, President Trump Thanked American Law Enforcement And First Responders

·         On Sunday, President Trump held a White House Reception to honor and thank law enforcement and first responders who helped make his Inauguration safe and successful.

President Trump Proclaimed National School Choice Week

·         On Thursday, President Trump renewed his commitment to expand school choice for Americans by proclaiming January 22 through January 28, 2017, as National School Choice Week.

The President’s Team Is Following Through On His Commitment To Action

President Trump’s team has worked to ensure his team is in place at various departments and agencies and working to implement his agenda:

·         The White House Office of Cabinet Affairs made 140 calls to 28 separate federal departments and agencies to collaborate on various issues.

·         Cabinet Affairs personally met with 10 Cabinet nominees.

·         Cabinet Affairs coordinated the swearing in of four cabinet members this week by the Vice President.

President Trump’s team has worked to ensure his legislative agenda is well-received in Congress:

·         The White House Office of Legislative Affairs met or spoke with 110 congressional offices or elected representatives in 75 House and 35 Senate offices.

·         Vice President Pence had several in-person meetings this week on Capitol Hill.

President Trump’s team began outreach to our nation’s states, municipalities, and tribes:

·         The White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs made initial contact with the governor’s offices in all of the states and territories.

·         Intergovernmental Affairs held detailed discussions with the governors or their staff in 32 separate states.

·         Intergovernmental Affairs made initial contact with 22 of the 50 state attorneys general.

·         Intergovernmental Affairs has begun outreach to America’s largest municipalities, such as Los Angeles County and met with the president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

·         Intergovernmental Affairs made contact with the largest tribes in the country and has begun outreach with many leaders.

 

 

Memorial Day Weekend Message: How to truly help veterans according to veterans

I hit my saturation point with the Memorial Day weekend lip service and memorials to those who died “fighting for our freedoms.”  We can argue about previous generations, but the US has not fought a war for “our freedoms” in my lifetime.  The nebulous “War on Terror” has certainly not been about expanding or protecting freedoms and would have been better described as a “War on American Freedoms and Liberties.”  Not a single freedom has been expanded or “protected” by this war.  However, nearly every “right” provided by the Constitution of the United States has been in one form or another attacked, eroded, or outright ignored and flagrantly violated.  As such, today I am going to briefly discuss how you can honor your veterans and how to really help them if you are so inclined.

I am a multi-tour combat veteran and I have had friends wounded and killed in both Iraq and Afghanistan.  Telling the truth, identifying the real enemies, and not parroting patriotic feel good nonsense does not diminish their personal sacrifices or honor.  In fact, I speak for many veterans when I say that we are sick of the rhetoric and would much rather hear substantive discussions about issues that matter.  For example, why after a decade and a half can’t we get decent care at a veterans’ hospital and why can’t all of NATO to include the US, not win a war against some Pashtun villagers.  The military service members I served with are appalled by the political lies and deceit and want justice for those killed and wounded, not lip service.  Stop talking about the ridiculous notion we somehow “liberated” Iraq and brought democracy to the people.  Everyone with even the most basic knowledge of foreign affairs now knows the invasion of Iraq was completely illegal.  The true culprits behind 9/11 and the Iraq War were hiding in the Saudi and US governments and in every lobbying firm and think tank in between.  We want to know why not one of these enemies and traitors respectively were held accountable.  Further, we want to know why general officers were not resigning in mass protest of an obviously flawed and unsalvageable war strategy.  If the “strategy” was so good, why hasn’t it worked?  If it is a viable strategy, then why haven’t we fired the generals that have completely failed to achieve a decisive victory?  If you want to help veterans, demand the truth and accountability while dispensing with the patriotic rhetoric.    Read more

Gun Owners: Critical knowledge to protect yourself from gun confiscation

We Will Not Be Disarmed

We Will Not Be Disarmed

If you own a short-barreled rifle (SBR) or other controlled device such as a suppressor or have any registered firearm, this article has critical information for you.  As you should be well aware, more and more states are beginning to confiscate firearms for the smallest of infractions.  In fact, one may only need to say the wrong thing during a doctor’s visit or have you child play with a water pistol in public to trigger the police visiting your house with a warrant to confiscate your firearms.  Furthermore, if you own an SBR or Class III firearm/component, you can be inspected at any time.  To protect yourself and your firearms, every gun owner should follow the practices listed below.  Read more

A Vet Speaks Out Against the Useless Insanity of Government “Jobs” Programs

President Obama’s much publicized “you didn’t build that” comment reveals much about the misguided and ill-informed logic of our senior political leaders.  Implied in the statement is the notion that your job or business would have been impossible to obtain without direct government assistance.  As a small business owner, combat veteran, and self-made man, I tend to take a bit of offense.  I would go on to say the real point should be that it is amazing anyone is still able to build a thing in spite of the government, which from oppressive regulation and endless taxation, to not enforcing fair trading practices with foreign nations and cronyism, seems to have done everything in its power to prevent one from succeeding.

When it comes to business, nothing is better for a strong economy than developing and growing actual profitable businesses.  This profoundly obvious reality is completely foreign to the career bureaucrats that believe only through social programs and endless website links can businesses be built.  Perhaps if we just taxed you a few percentage points more and paid for thousands more government bureaucrats to teach you how to do a web search for “job seeking” we would all be better off?  Not likely, unless you consider endless and unsustainable growth paid for by the private sector a healthy economic trend.

If one actually takes the time to really look at the massive number of loosely categorized government “jobs” programs and agencies, one will find no real programs that produce jobs.  Mainly, the money being spent goes to big businesses or local and state governments that will then hand the money off again (after taking a cut) to other useless entities such as centers for helping someone look for a job that doesn’t exist.  I am particularly fond of my tax dollars going to fund ever growing armies of social workers to repeatedly attempt and fail to provide job training to felons on welfare that never had a job nor intend to since they are already collecting unemployment, Medicaid, Social Security, and various other forms of welfare and food stamps when not living in publicly funded prisons or housing.  In fact, a detailed review of government “jobs” programs reveals the only thing you will find is an endless chain of bureaucrats creating more bureaucratic positions at the taxpayers’ expense.  What is really occurring, it appears, is that you are taxed at incredibly high rates so that the government can fund an infinite number of useless, feel good programs that purportedly are there to help you.  When these don’t work, the answer is to tax you more and create even more useless and bureaucratic programs that “talk” about job creation, but never actually accomplish it.

The game is rigged people!   First, the government takes your money by force via the IRS.  If you don’t believe the money is being taken by force, try not paying your taxes and let me know how that goes.  Next, the money stolen from you is used to fund hundreds of useless bureaus, agencies, and boards that claim to “help” you find a job or build a business.  These agencies then demand mountains of paperwork and approvals that all combine to employ thousands more useless bureaucrats so that you can apply to have them give you your money back with interest in what they call a “business loan.”  Of course if you have somehow managed to acquire any real property by this point in life, the government will make you risk it as collateral so that it can minimize its risk when loaning your “your money” back.  This is big money for the government and it actually profits from loaning you your own money.  This is why when it comes to jobs programs, be it the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Small Business Bureau, the Department of Labor, or your state and local economic development boards, they all seem to want to give you loans.

The fact is, that whenever money is directly provided for economic development, it is not provided for starting a business, but rather, it is used to fund more government programs designed to sound good.  However, these programs fail to create a single non-government job.  Sometimes though, the money will be earmarked for a big utility to cover the costs of renovating its facilities all while still billing the consumer for “needed upgrades.”  Other times it is earmarked for local governments and small businesses to purchase obsolete, inefficient, or overpriced services and equipment no one would ever purchase if subjected to a true fair market.  This is the essence of crony capitalism.  The point is that none of this money is actually going to create businesses.  Say what you may about communist China, but at least when the government gets involved, it funds actual hard industry and businesses that do employ people!

Sometimes it is easiest to define what a government program does by defining what it doesn’t do.  This may be the case for the host of government “jobs” programs.  What you won’t see from a government jobs program is a single government program that will give you a grant to actually start a business.  That is unless you are a friend of the President and operate a completely fraudulent company producing nothing functional, but maintain a catchy eco-friendly name and allegedly produce “green” alternative energy products.  That may not be a totally inclusive statement though so one must also include union bailouts at the expense of taxpayers in right to work states.  That said, this is disastrous for American competitiveness and a healthy free market.  Disagree this is the case?  I urge you to go to the Department of Veterans Affairs website and see for yourself.  In plain English, in their words, on their deceptively named “VetBiz” webpage will tell you:

Grants are a form of funding for specific federal research and social programs. Contrary to popular belief, there are no Federal grants made specifically for the purpose of starting a business.”

I couldn’t have stated the absurd reality and waste of government funds more honestly and to the point.  You can read this under the grants paragraph at http://www.va.gov/osdbu/veteran/vepFunding.asp

If not a big enough waste, the VA also likes to add insult to injury.  Under “Education Benefits” it notes it will only pay for programs offered by government run Small Business Development Centers even if they are absurd, useless, and not at all what one may need to be competitive or gainfully employed in today’s market.  The “excellent” careers veterans can look forward to being trained for are a barber/beautician, HVAC repairman, and a truck driver.  Wow, I wonder if I can also aspire to be a janitor!  This isn’t meant to disparage anyone performing these jobs, but only to point out the degree to which the government believes veterans are capable of performing.  A more reasonable person might suggest that a computer scientist, electronics engineer, or hedge fund manager might be a more challenging and profitable career path for veterans, but apparently the government sees those that served and protected our nation as the few, the proud, the minimum wage workers.

The point ladies and gentlemen is to reiterate that the government cannot and does not produce jobs.  At best, it can only create more bureaucracy that stifles jobs and destroys a healthy economy.  In fact, government should completely remove itself from this farce that by any reasonable estimate is costing taxpayers with actual jobs billions and providing a negative net return.  No Mr. Obama, we did not build this worthless bureaucratic nightmare, you did.  Now please, “Mr. #Ineverhadarealjobinmylife,” stay out of the way and allow those with actual skills, motivation, and experience to get back to what we know best, creating real jobs!

 

Democrats continue to use Department of Veterans Affairs to deny veterans gun rights

Just as Last Minute Survival previously warned in an exclusive report, (http://www.lastminutesurvival.com/tag/gun-bans/), on how the Department of Veterans Affairs was being quietly pushed politically to deny veterans the ability to exercise their Second Amendment “RIGHT” that they so valiantly fought for, more evidence has come to light.  This week, Republican lawmakers justifiably held up “another” defense spending bill when they challenged the VA’s authority to unilaterally declare a veteran unfit to own a firearm without any due process.  Based on the information that came forth during the floor debate, it now appears that as the VA enticed combat veterans to come forward for treatment of common symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder otherwise known as PTSD as well as during routine screenings, the VA simultaneously was using any related diagnosis to unilaterally deem veterans mentally unfit to possess a firearm.

The new evidence demonstrates that the VA has continued to move forward with unconstitutional disarmament of veterans in line with Obama Administration appointee directives.  The Department of Homeland Security has been one of the biggest violators in this regard and has repeatedly released reports that deem veterans as likely terrorists.  Initially, the clinician guide LMS obtained from the VA directly instructed care providers to pass veteran’s information to the police to confiscate any weapons from veterans in the event a veteran came for help related to suicidal tendencies or even mere thoughts.  Of course PTSD and even mild depression, which is treatable and often temporary, can be more than enough for the VA to issue a finding of mentally unfit.  This is then used to disarm the veteran without any due process.  Even if the VA doesn’t take action, the stigma of mental treatment will follow the veteran and disqualify him or her for the purchase of a firearm due to non-legislatively (read: unconstitutional) enacted BATFE background check policies.  Even worse, it appears to be used against veterans during background investigations, court proceedings, and even when negotiating insurance premiums.  Further, once an opinion is rendered by a VA employee, it becomes nearly impossible for a veteran to appeal and remove this stigma even if the condition was mild and temporary, or even wrong!

This is not an accident, but a deliberate clandestine effort to disarm veterans by the government that sent them to war.  This is symptomatic of a paranoid government that fears for its own survival and no longer cares or considers the best interests of the population it is supposed to serve.  Further, the debate over even having a “judge” adjudicate disarmament is a distractor.  The real issue is why are we rubber stamping vets with combat stress and other actually very minor mental issues as incompetent in the first place!  Was it literally not just months prior that many of these veterans had actual assault weapons, grenades, tanks, jets, and artillery and were trusted with security clearances and told to go fight and protect Americans?  Why is it that as soon as veterans want to return to normal society and seek out needed treatment for mental wounds inflicted on them by our own government’s decisions they have to fear a loss of the very Constitutional Rights they fought for?   Why would a veteran have to pay out-of-pocket now to prove they are innocent to maintain a Constitutional Right?   Why is it okay that some political appointee’s “opinion” is now enough to strip our combat veterans of “rights” without any due process or protection?  Everyone knows our vets don’t have the time or money to fight these opinions in court and NOR SHOULD THEY HAVE TOO!

Shame on all of us if we allow this disgrace.  Guilty until you can afford to prove yourself innocent?  Is this the way our Constitutional “RIGHTS” were meant to be exercised?  I think not.  Please write your Congressman and Senators and demand accountability.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/dec/3/change-on-veterans-gun-rights-lights-fire/?page=all#pagebreak

Veterans Administration Acting as Backdoor to Seize Firearms

VA Establishes Back Door to Disarm Veterans

 

In a “Quick reference Guide for Clinicians” obtained by LMS, the Veterans Administration guide instructs clinicians to question veterans on whether or not they have access to firearms.  It then goes further and instructs clinician to restrict the patient’s access to those firearms using the police if necessary.  In fairness to the VA, the guide is for potentially suicidal vets; however, the knowledge that gun confiscation may be a part of the treatment plan will scare off vets in need of and seeking help for a range of issues such as post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  Further, in the event a clinician orders the veteran restricted from access to firearms (whether justifiably or note), this diagnosis will likely plague the veteran and bar any future purchase or possession of firearms.  Once diagnosed, the veteran has few to no resources to undo the damage to their gun rights even if the suicidal tendencies were a temporary, treatable, or curable condition.

Even more chilling is how this practice can be expanded to other issues such as depression or other common symptoms of PTSD that often occur in many returning veterans, but typically subside on their own quickly.  For many of those veterans in transition, the military urges and sometimes mandates psychological screening and treatment.  Any positive diagnosis or even temporary treatment to include routine counseling could be used to justify a psychologically unstable or incompetent verdict being rendered against the veteran.  Under state and federal firearms laws this could again, bar future purchase or possession of a firearm.  Based on studies and threat warnings released by the Department of Homeland Security that have vilified gun owning veterans as terrorists and potential right-wing extremists, it is not a leap to suggest that the current Administration seeks to quietly disarm its returning veterans using this backdoor tactic of forcing treatment and then using the “documented” mental or psychological treatment to permanently disarm them.  Not only would that remove probably the most capable armed segment in this society that this Administration has called potential “terrorists,” but could be done with government paid “experts” in very short order.

Our veterans deserve the very best in care, but what they do not deserve is to be stripped of their constitutional rights for their service.  Veterans dealing with PTSD, which could at times include suicidal thoughts, neither want nor need to be labeled and blacklisted.  They need to be treated and treated in a manner where they are free from legal recriminations that have ranged from biased custody judgements, denial of security clearances, and now even the very rights the fought to preserve!  Please write your local VFW, Foreign Legion, and Congressional representatives and demand this policy be modified to ensure veterans are not banned from possessing firearms and that there is a clear and simple process to reverse cases already processed.