Donald and the Veterans: Presumptive Republican Presidential Nominee Donald Trump has come under fire in recent days for his commitment to veterans. First, a group of 50 veterans, including numerous elected representatives, pointed-out that despite claims of having raised $6 million for veterans during a fundraiser earlier this year, there is no sign of where more than half of that money has gone. Then, Senator John McCain of Arizona called on Trump to make amends for hurtful comments made about veterans, especially former prisoners of war. McCain’s comments referred to a statement made by Trump last year in which he questioned McCain’s heroism and said that he preferred “people who weren’t captured.” Although Trump often claims to support veterans, many veteran groups have grown tired of his overtures, and feel as if Trump is using the men and women who served as political pawns in a cynical attempt to get votes.
A Sad Oath: This past weekend hundreds of sick and injured veterans took an unusual oath: they pledged not to end their own lives without reaching-out for help. Suicide among veterans is significantly higher than the general population, with some estimates saying that 22 veterans take their own lives each day. Veterans who find themselves in these emotional crises often feel isolated and alone, and that is why Iraq veteran Boone Cutler says he organized the event. “It’s about the brotherhood,” Cutler says. The pledge is designed as a way to remind veterans that, despite their feelings, there are always people, especially other veterans, who support them. (Veteran or not, if you or anyone you know has thoughts of suicide, we encourage you reach out for help by calling (800) 273-8255. If you prefer, you can always visit the nearest medical facility, police station, or simply call 911. Please remember: you are not alone.)
- McCain Speaks-Out: Senator John McCain of Arizona spoke-out against the bipartisan omnibus veterans legislation pending in the Senate, saying that it does not do enough to improve accountability for VA employees.
- Invictus Games: This weekend in Orlando, veterans from fourteen nations gathered for the Invictus Games, an event founded by Prince Harry of England to serve as the Olympics for men and woman disabled through war.
- Chief Whistle-Blower: Brandon Coleman, a whistle-blower who has been rallying against the VA in Phoenix for the past 18 months, has finally gone back to work after being placed on administrative leave when the scandals first started rolling in.
- One Year In: David Shulkin became the head of the Veterans Health Administration last June. After nearly of trying to turn the VA healthcare system around, the Philadelphia Inquirer checks in with Shulkin to see how things are going.
- New Inspector General: Michael Missal started work one week ago, and he is pledging to repair the image of the office of the VA Office of the Inspector General, which has been tarnished somewhat in recent years for what some say are shoddy investigations.
- Fiduciary Battle: A New York woman says that the VA is stripping control of her disabled husband’s finances from her because she has taken the agency to court several times in the past decade to solve issues involving her husband and father.
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