Man’s best friend? Yep, and a hero to boot
While it’s still early to judge the Army’s new sidearm, it seems the Navy and Air Force don’t want to be left behind.
The US Navy and Air Force have confirmed their adoption of the compact variant of the US Army’s new pistol, the Modular Handgun System.
Last month the US Navy confirmed the procurement of 60,000 XM18 MHS pistols, the compact variant of the SIG pistol. The Navy will replace its Beretta M9s and SIG Sauer M11 pistols with the new sidearm. Navy spokesman Ben Anderson confirmed to Military.com that the “money has been allocated for contracting this year, with delivery to the Navy to commence in FY19.”
At the same time the US Air Force has also confirmed that it will adopt the XM17 / XM18 Modular Handgun System to replace its existing inventory of ageing Beretta M9 pistols. An Air Force spokesperson, Laura McAndrews explained that the Air Force has “started the procurement process and plan to buy approximately 130,000 weapons.”
Needless to say, this is great news for Sig.
Whatever the amount, understand that people will die because of this horrendously stupid administration and its morally bankrupt actions
Iran may have received an additional $33.6 billion in secret cash and gold payments facilitated by the Obama administration between 2014 and 2016, according to testimony provided before Congress by an expert on last summer’s nuclear agreement with Iran.
Between January 2014 and July 2015, when the Obama administration was hammering out the final details of the nuclear accord, Iran was paid $700 million every month from funds that had previously been frozen by U.S. sanctions.
A total of $11.9 billion was ultimately paid to Iran, but the details surrounding these payments remain shrouded in mystery, according to Mark Dubowitz, executive director at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
In total, “Iran may have received as much as $33.6 billion in cash or in gold and other precious metals,” Dubowitz disclosed.
Most or all of this money will be spent on terrorism and Iran’s nuclear weapons program.
As I said, yes, people will be killed by terrorist acts funded with this money! Yes, Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, and yes, many Muslims as well. The victims, frankly, will come from every possible demographic, regardless of age, gender, sexual orientation, or race. But, I must suppose that those lives are worth it to Dear Leader somehow
[T]he International Atomic Energy Agency said in a review issued Thursday that Iran had begun manufacturing rotor tubes for centrifuges, the spinning machines used to enrich uranium. …
The agency needs to keep a close eye on how many rotor tubes are being made and for what models of centrifuges to make sure they are being produced only in quantities and for machines allowed under the 2015 nuclear agreement that sets a schedule for when and how many advanced centrifuges can be tested. …
A senior diplomat familiar with the nuclear deal … said he could not verify reports that the six powers exempted some amounts of low-enriched uranium and facilities from the deal’s scope to allow Iran to be in compliance with the pact from the beginning of implementation in January.
So, we have paid billions, yes billions, most of it if not all in untraceable cash, which will be given to terrorists, who will slaughter innocents. The rest will be used to allow Iran to build, and eventually use nuclear weapons. So, this venture will not avoid war, or deter war. Instead it will lead to a much bigger, and more costly war. Fools, it seems never learn from history.
We must also remember that Iran has been allowed to threaten our Naval vessels, and on one occasion to seize one and hold our sailors. Let me say that would never happen if we had a president who put our country first. If I were Commander in Chief, every one of my commanders, in every branch, would have standing orders. They would have my permission and blessing to meet every threat with whatever force they deemed necessary to protect those under their command. And they would also know that I, as the Commander in Chief would have their back! And every nation on earth would know any military that sought to threaten our forces would be responsible for the results.
In short, my foreign policy in regards to our security would be Speak softly, carry the biggest stick, and to use that stick with no uncertainty, no reservations, and with such overwhelming force that every nation would look at us with respect, and would know never to threaten us or our closest allies. They would know never to confuse our inherent kindness with weakness or vacillation. They would know that we are not only capable, but willing to put down any threat to our people.
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton will participate in their first joint event as presidential candidates Wednesday night.
NBC News and MSNBC – along with the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America – will host the the Commander-in-Chief Forum in New York City. It will be a one-hour forum where Clinton and Trump will answer questions about national security, military affairs and veterans issues in front of an audience mainly made up of 300 or so members of the military.
Matt Lauer – who is listed as a “notable past member” on the Clinton Global Initiative’s website – is moderating the forum. During an interview on MSNBC Wednesday, Lauer said he will not ask Trump and Clinton the same questions.
“I’m not going to be repeating the same questions, though some will overlap,” Lauer said. “The veterans will get a chance to ask these candidates their own questions.”
Lauer said that when he takes questions from the audience, he expects most of them to revolve around the system-wide failure of the Veterans Affairs program.
“Lack of treatment – that’s where I think they will focus their questions.”
Clinton will be asked questions first for approximately 30 minutes, then Trump will go on stage next.
I’ve got a lot of #NeverTrump friends. Heck, I bet most of my friends are #NeverTrump. Hell, my wife is #NeverTrump. I like #NeverTrump people, even though I think they’re wrong. We share the same goals. We just have really crappy choices and are making different ones.
I assume they all think I’m wrong too, and I’m not going to argue with them. For one thing, they’re my friends. I don’t want to argue with my friends. I want to mock stupid libs with my friends while consuming red meat and redder wine. The second reason is that I’m not going to change their minds, nor are they going to change mine (although Donald Trump himself still retains that power should he become sufficiently annoying).
So we should just sit down, have some beers, and talk about something else until November because we’re not going to change and fighting each other redirects the fire away from our real enemy.
That’s Hillary Clinton. She’s the real enemy.
So these aren’t arguments. These are reasons. Why am I giving my general election vote to somebody who is often demonstrably unconservative, can be dreadfully immature, and who has a past that’s absolutely bloodcurdling to any conservative? Well, I’ll tell you.
Hillary is worse.
It’s that simple.
Hillary is worse…
Homeowner Fills Yard With Memorial Day Flags, Crosses Honoring Fallen Heroes – Fox News
A Central California homeowner is turning his front yard into a fallen heroes memorial for Memorial Day.
Dan Joseph tells tells Fox40 the display in the front yard of his home in Modesto is dedicated to those from the Central Valley who died in Iraq and Afghanistan. He says it is the least he can do to honor their memory.
“I feel saddened, you know for the loss, but I also feel very grateful because it’s because of their sacrifice that we are free today,” Joseph told Fox40.
There are 55 flags and crosses on display, one for each Central Valley service member who was killed. There’s also a big sign that says “Here We Remember the Cost of Freedom.”…
Vietnamese Communist Leader Says U.S. Anti-War Activists Helped Their Victory – Daily Caller
In the weeks leading up to Memorial Day and President Barack Obama’s scheduled trip to Vietnam, a prominent Vietcong communist leader privately thanked American anti-war activists for helping defeat the U.S.-allied government in Vietnam in the 1970s, saying protest demonstrations throughout the United States were “extremely important in contributing to Vietnam’s victory.”
For Vietnamese guerrilla leader Madam Nguyen Thi Binh, who sent the private letter from Hanoi dated April 20, “victory” meant the communist takeover of South Vietnam. The letter addressed veteran American anti-war activists who gathered in Washington, D.C., at a May 3 reunion of radical “May Day” anti-war leaders.
The Daily Caller News Foundation obtained a copy of the letter at the meeting.
Binh, now age 90, originally served as the highest ranking Vietnamese delegate to the Paris Peace Talks that imposed a ceasefire in the country in 1973.
The “Vietcong” was a ragtag group of communist guerrillas who were allied with the official communist government in North Vietnam. The country was cut in two in 1954, with the south seeking to build a democratic state allied to the West.
Binh’s frank admission highlights a secret side of the communist’s effective lobbying influence in the United States. Rather than live in the southern part of the country, which for decades she represented as a diplomat, it appears after the war Binh was living in Hanoi, the original capital of North Vietnam…
Trump Exposes California Drought As Man-Made, Caused By Over-Protecting A 2-Inch Fish – TruthFeed
Friday, during a rally in Fresno, California Trump asked farmers “Is there a drought?” he then exposed a little known truth “No, we have plenty of water. We shove it out to see.”
You see, radical environmentalists have been starving California farmers of water in order to protect a 2-3 inch fish called the “delta smelt.” The slithery fish is said to smell like cucumbers and is only found in the San Francisco Bay area.
In order to protect this little fish, California officials have been shutting down massive water pumps, depriving farmers of the ability to create food and choosing the fish over humans.
This problem has been ongoing for years. March 2014, the Committee on Natural Resources held an oversight field hearing in Fresno, CA on “California Water Crisis and Its Impacts: The Need for Immediate and Long-Term Solutions.”…
Why The “Scar Tissue” Excuse For Hillary’s Document Destruction Fails – Paul Mirengoff
Ruth Marcus of the Washington Post offers a familiar excuse for Hillary Clinton’s insistence on using a private email server. According to Marcus, “the scar tissue built up over years of politically motivated attacks and endless investigations reinforced Clinton’s instinct for the protective crouch.”
Marcus’ explanation sounds plausible, but it happens to be false (except for the part about “instinct for the protective crouch”).
We know the explanation is false because Clinton engaged in similar behavior before she came to Washington as First Lady. I’m referring to her handling of her law firm’s billing records in the Castle Grande matter, which I discussed at length here,” in a post based mainly on the evidence developed by the Office of Independent Counsel that investigated “Whitewater.”
Clinton stole and/or caused to be destroyed the records that established her role as the attorney for participants in the fraudulent Castle Grande scheme. She did so to avoid the political price she feared would be exacted if, with candidate Bill Clinton decrying the “decade of greed” that had brought on the S&L scandals, she was exposed as having been the lawyer for a crooked S&L.
For this purpose, Clinton, working with Webster Hubbell and Vince Foster, stole hard copies of the billing records of the Rose law firm where they were partners. They erased the electronic version of these records. One set of the documents was later found in the White House, just outside Hillary’s private office, by an employee. Another set was found in Foster’s attic by his widow, some years after he committed suicide. Clinton’s time sheets (handwritten, as was the practice back in the day) were never found…
Louisiana Lawmaker Labels Declaration Of Independence Racist In Debate – Fox News
The Declaration of Independence came under attack from an unlikely quarter – a state legislator.
Louisiana lawmaker Barbara Norton (D-Shreveport), argued that America’s founding document was racist during debate on a bill requiring public school students in the state to recite the Declaration of Independence daily, Fox & Friends reported Saturday.
“For the Declaration of Independence only Caucasians (were) free,” Norton, who is black, said Wednesday during the debate on the floor of the Louisiana House of Representatives. “And for you to bring a bill to require that our children will recite the Declaration of Independence I think it’s a little bit unfair.”
Rep. Valarie Hodges (R-Denham Springs) shelved the bill before lawmakers could vote on the proposal, which she sponsored…
27-Year-Old Thug Arrested For Intentionally Driving Vehicle Over Memorial Day Cross Display – 100PercentFedUp
A Henderson, Ky. man has been arrested after he allegedly damaged more than 150 crosses in the city’s Memorial Day cross display with his vehicle early Saturday, according to officials.
According to Henderson Police Public Information Officer Jennifer Richmond, Anthony Burrus, 27, was arrested in connection with the incident that took place in Central Park at around 6 a.m. Roughly 160 crosses were knocked down and about 20 were destroyed.
The vehicle Burrus was driving, a 1979 Ford Thunderbird, was found with pieces of a cross and ground stake embedded in the tires after he left it at the McDonald’s restaurant on South Green Street. Richmond said Burrus denied causing the damage in the park, but confirmed he was driving the vehicle earlier this morning and left it after it stopped working.
Henderson police officers and deputies from the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office investigated the incident.
Burrus was found and arrested at his sister’s apartment complex on Zion Road, and is being held at the Henderson County Detention Center. He is charged with first degree criminal mischief and leaving the scene of an accident.
Richmond said a large number of tips, Facebook posts, and vehicle searches helped officers make the connection and arrest Burrus…
Trump Vows To Undo Paris Climate Agreement – Daily Insider
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has unveiled his energy policy, calling for stripping back Environmental Protection Agency protections, reigniting the coal industry, increasing fossil fuel drilling and withdrawing from the 2015 Paris climate agreement.
On May 26, Trump delivered a speech outlining his energy plan in Bismarck, North Dakota. The policy proposals seemed to be a complete reversal of President Barack Obama’s energy achievements, The New York Times reports.
“We’re going to deal with real environmental challenges, not the phoney ones we’ve been hearing about,” Trump said.
The business mogul vowed to rescind the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, an ambitious effort to curb U.S. emissions of greenhouse gas emissions by 28 percent by 2025…
As Charters Grow, Public Schools See Sharp Enrollment Drop – Associated Press
Standing before the Los Angeles Unified School Board, Susan Zoller delivered a startling assessment: More than 100,000 students in the nation’s second-largest district were now enrolled in charters, draining more than $500 million from the budget in a single academic year.
“The financial future of Los Angeles is difficult,” said Zoller, a consultant hired by the district’s union. Board member Richard Vladovic leaned anxiously toward his mic.
“We are bleeding,” he said.
If current trends continue, the district could be significantly diminished in another 10 years – at least a third smaller than at the start of the century.
In financially struggling urban districts from LA to Philadelphia – and most notoriously, Detroit – the increasing popularity of charter schools, combined with family flight to the suburbs and declining birth rates, have caused enrollment to plummet. The changes have unfolded slowly for years and recently accelerated in some places.
“It’s come to a tipping point for many of these districts like Detroit,” said Ron Zimmer, an education professor at Vanderbilt University…
Thanks Obama! William Teach lays out what this means
(The Hill) The United States on Saturday lifted sanctions against Iran and announced that four Americans held prisoner in the country will be returning home, in a whirlwind day of diplomacy that cements President Obama’s engagement with Iran as a pillar of his legacy.
The United Nations’ nuclear watchdog certified Iran has fulfilled its promises to prevent it from building a nuclear weapon, after decades of tensions, years of negotiations and months of work to implement the international nuclear deal reached six months ago.
The State Department confirmed moments later that the nuclear deal is now implemented, thereby lifting a slate of sanctions.
In Vienna, Secretary of State John Kerry touted the step as a vindication of diplomacy in the face of doubters.
“I think we have also proven once again why diplomacy must be our first choice and war a last resort,” Kerry said.
John Kerry is, perhaps the most glaring example of why idiots should never be given any power. William Teach sums up the stupidity of Kerry and this deal
Again with the strawman argument that we either go to war with Iran or have peace. Of course, said peace breaks down to Iran pinky swearing to not work on developing nuclear weapons for somewhere in the range of 8 to 10 years, at which point they are pretty much free to do whatever they want, leaving a future president to deal with the mess, all while Iran is flush with cash from selling oil, and flush with even more influence over the Middle East. How does this future president reign in Iran at that point? Would they have any standing to get Europe and the United Nations on board when it’s learned that Iran is once again developing nuclear weapons?
Yes, the Leftist Obama has simply ensured a far greater chance of a more costly war in the not too distant future. Frankly, the pacifism of the left has caused more wars than it ever stopped. You cannot successfully pursue peace through weakness and vacillation, yet the left falls into the same trap every time. Teach also links to Marco Rubio, who lays out exactly what this disastrous measure means
As our men and women in uniform were being used as propaganda props by the world’s foremost state sponsor of terrorism, President Obama was preparing to provide their hostage takers with upwards of $100 billion in sanctions relief and endorse an Iranian nuclear capability.
That relief will begin today, the so-called “Implementation Day” of President Obama’s deeply flawed deal with Iran. Iran will receive much-needed funds to expand its regional aggression and its support to terrorist groups like Hezbollah.
By channeling this money to Tehran and giving the mullahs international legitimacy, the Obama administration is fueling the greatest growth in Iranian power since the Islamic Republic was established in 1979. What’s worse, for months Iran has telegraphed in word and deed how it plans to utilize this newfound power—namely, to dominate the Middle East and threaten American security.
When President Obama announced the nuclear deal last July, he expressed hope for a new era of cooperation with Iran. Ever since, Tehran has mocked him. Missiles have been fired near a U.S. aircraft carrier. Iran has violated an international prohibition on tests of ballistic missiles only to have the United States back away from imposing new sanctions for fear of upsetting Iran. Iran continued to take innocent Americans hostage in an effort to eventually free criminals imprisoned in the U.S.
So now the only real questions are when does the bill on this latest Leftist venture into capitulating to tyrants and mad men come due, and how much American blood will it cost to correcting the foolishness of the worst leader in our nations history?
Back in September we noted that the Army had reviewed the case of Bowe Bergdahl and recommended a charge of Misbehavior Before the Enemy. They later released their suggestions for how to handle his prosecution and pushed for no jail time after his lengthy period of capture. It was further determined that the Sergeant should face a Special Court Martial where he would likely get a relatively lenient punishment. As it turns out, those were only suggested proposals and those calls have been rejected by Gen. Robert B. Abrams of Army Forces Command. He’s ordered the case to move forward and Bergdahl will face a full Court Martial on charges of desertion among other things. (New York Times)
A top Army commander on Monday ordered that Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl face a court-martial on charges of desertion and endangering troops stemming from his decision to leave his outpost in 2009, a move that prompted a huge manhunt in the wilds of eastern Afghanistan and landed him in nearly five years of harsh Taliban captivity.
The decision by Gen. Robert B. Abrams, head of Army Forces Command at Fort Bragg, N.C., means that Sergeant Bergdahl, 29, faces a possible life sentence. That is a far more serious penalty than had been recommended by the Army’s investigating officer, who testified at the sergeant’s preliminary hearing in September that prison would be “inappropriate.”
According to Sergeant Bergdahl’s defense lawyers, the Army lawyer who presided over the preliminary hearing also recommended that he face neither jail time nor a punitive discharge and that he go before an intermediate tribunal known as a “special court-martial,” where the most severe penalty possible would be a year of confinement.
This changes the game entirely in terms of Bergdahl’s ultimate fate. The maximum penalty for desertion during time of war is death, though the only soldier to be executed for this in the modern era was Private Eddie Slovik in 1945. Absent a death sentence, Bergdahl could easily face life in prison without the possibility of parole, but that’s still not a given. The officers who sit on the jury and the judge handling the case will make the ultimate determination, and as Doug Mataconis pointed out yesterday, Bowe could still wind up being out of the service (albeit at a lower rank) and back home in fairly short order.
In terms of the case against Bergdahl himself, the maximum charge he faces is life in prison but his ultimately punishment could end up being less severe depending upon both how the jury of officers that ultimately hears Bergdahl’s case views the case and how any subsequent appeals may go assuming that he’s convicted. Given the facts as we know them, acquittal seems unlikely but Bergdahl could ultimately receive a sentence far less than life in a military prison, and indeed could even end up getting off with a sentence as relatively light as loss of rank and a dishonorable discharge. Additionally, his ultimate fate is likely to take years to determine since the process is likely to outlast the Obama Administration itself.
Two points here: first of all, Doug brings up an interesting point in terms of politics. The reality is that this subject is now completely outside the hands of politicians and elected officials, with the singular exception of the President should he choose to extend a pardon. But that doesn’t mean that they won’t be talking about it on the campaign trail, particularly with the country’s renewed focus on terrorist groups and the candidates vying to show how tough they can be. The Court Martial is going to take quite a while if previous history (such as Chelsea Manning) is anything to go by. We’ll likely be well into the general election by the time this show reaches a crescendo and Hillary, along with her eventual GOP opponent, will be asked about it.
As to the final determination, it seems almost impossible that Bergdahl will be found innocent on all charges. Too much of this case has already been tried in the media and the court of public opinion and there seems to be too much evidence for him to get off without a conviction on something. Will it be desertion? That’s actually an open question because no matter how obvious it may seem to outside observers, the definitions are tricky. A good defense team may be able to make a case based on intent and the soldier’s state of mind when he walked off his post which could introduce enough doubt in the jury’s minds to avoid the most serious charge. And even if he is convicted on all or most of the charges, the defense will certainly be reminding the court that Bergdahl has already served a rather severe sentence in captivity for his actions… far worse than he would get in any SuperMax.
In a best case scenario for the defense, he could conceivably still just be busted down to E-1 and given a dishonorable discharge and lose all of his benefits. Would that be justice? I really don’t know. We’ll have to leave it up to the jury.
H/T Truth And Action
A group of 400 U.S. servicemen stationed in Ireland received an unexpected surprise while eating lunch at an airport.
Los Angeles-based philanthropist Shlomo Rechnitz was on his way to Israel with his family when he spotted the servicemen eating standard bagged lunches, while other passengers ate at trendy restaurants. Rechnitz went straight to the commander, insisting he pay for all the servicemen to get lunch wherever they wanted.
The commander asked why.
In a video captured of the event, Rechnitz explained exactly what prompted his generosity.
“The reason is that… you guys risk your lives to protect me and my family,” Rechnitz tells the crowd of servicemembers. “If I get to go out and see a whole bunch of Army soldiers and Marines. That’s something that makes me proud. I’m on my way to Israel actually now. I just wanted to say thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
“I’ll take it off my taxes, don’t worry,” he added.
The servicemen applauded.
Iraq War veteran Joe Leal knows firsthand the difficulties associated with readjusting to domestic life after combat.
“You hear this, ‘We support the troops,’ and there’s commercials out there where troops will be walking down the airport and people will clap, like, ‘Thank you for your service,’” Leal says. “But what happens after they take the uniform off?”
That concern – coupled with a booming Los Angeles homeless veteran population – prompted Leal to launch the Vet Hunters Project, a grassroots movement of veterans helping other ex-servicemen and women.
On this Veterans Day, The Daily Signal takes a closer look at the organization and the lives it’s changing.
Please support this fantastic organization.
The Goals Of Donald J. Trump’s Veterans Plan
The current state of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is absolutely unacceptable. Over 300,000 veterans died waiting for care. Corruption and incompetence were excused. Politicians in Washington have done too little too slowly to fix it. This situation can never happen again, and when Donald J. Trump is president, it will be fixed – fast.
The guiding principle of the Trump plan is ensuring veterans have convenient access to the best quality care. To further this principle, the Trump plan will decrease wait times, improve healthcare outcomes, and facilitate a seamless transition from service into civilian life.
The Trump Plan Will:
1. Ensure our veterans get the care they need wherever and whenever they need it. No more long drives. No more waiting for backlogs. No more excessive red tape. Just the care and support they earned with their service to our country.
2. Support the whole veteran, not just their physical health care, but also by addressing their invisible wounds, investing in our service members’ post-active duty success, transforming the VA to meet the needs of 21st century service members, and better meeting the needs of our female veterans.
3. Make the VA great again by firing the corrupt and incompetent VA executives who let our veterans down, by modernizing the VA, and by empowering the doctors and nurses to ensure our veterans receive the best care available in a timely manner.
The Trump Plan Gives Veterans The Freedom To Choose And Forces The VA To Compete For Their Dollars
Politicians in Washington have tried to fix the VA by holding hearings and blindly throwing money at the problem. None of it has worked. In fact, wait times were 50% higher this summer than they were a year ago. That’s because the VA lacks the right leadership and management. It’s time we stop trusting Washington politicians to fix the problems and empower our veterans to vote with their feet.
Under a Trump Administration, all veterans eligible for VA health care can bring their veteran’s ID card to any doctor or care facility that accepts Medicare to get the care they need immediately. Our veterans have earned the freedom to choose better or more convenient care from the doctor and facility of their choice. The power to choose will stop the wait time backlogs and force the VA to improve and compete if the department wants to keep receiving veterans’ healthcare dollars. The VA will become more responsive to veterans, develop more efficient systems, and improve the quality of care because it will have no other choice.
The Trump Plan Treats The Whole Veteran
We must care for the whole veteran, not just their physical health. We must recognize that today’s veterans have very different needs than those of the Greatest Generation.
The Trump Plan Will:
1. Increase funding for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury and suicide prevention services to address our veterans’ invisible wounds. Service members are five times more likely to develop depression than civilians. They are almost fifteen times more likely to develop PTSD than civilians. This funding will help provide more and better counseling and care. More funding will also support research on best practices and state of the art treatments to keep our veterans alive, healthy and whole. With these steps, the Trump plan will help the veteran community put the unnecessary stigma surrounding mental health behind them and instead encourage acceptance and treatment in our greater society.
2. Increase funding for job training and placement services (including incentives for companies hiring veterans), educational support and business loans. All Americans agree that we must do everything we can to help put our service men and women on a path to success as they leave active duty by collaborating with the many successful non-profit organizations that are already helping. Service members have learned valuable skills in the military but many need help understanding how to apply those skills in civilian life. Others know how to apply those skills but need help connecting with good jobs to support their families. Still others have an entrepreneurial spirit and are ready to start creating jobs and growing the economy. The Trump plan will strengthen existing programs or replace them with more effective ones to address these needs and to get our veterans working.
3. Transform the VA to meet the needs of 21st century service members. Today’s veterans have very different needs than those of the generations that came before them. The VA must adapt to meet the needs of this generation of younger, more diverse veterans. The Trump plan will expand VA services for female veterans and ensure the VA is providing the right support for this new generation of veterans.
4. Better support our women veterans. The fact that many VA hospitals don’t permanently staff OBGYN doctors shows an utter lack of respect for the growing number female veterans. Under the Trump plan, every VA hospital in the country will be fully equipped with OBGYN and other women’s health services. In addition, women veterans can always choose a different OBGYN in their community using their veteran’s ID card.
The Trump Plan Will Make The VA Great Again
The VA health care program is a disaster. Some candidates want to get rid of it, but our veterans need the VA to be there for them and their families. That’s why the Trump plan will:
1. Fire the corrupt and incompetent VA executives that let our veterans down. Under a Trump Administration, there will be no job security for VA executives that enabled or overlooked corruption and incompetence. They’re fired. New leadership will focus the VA staff on delivering timely, top quality care and other services to our nation’s veterans. Under a Trump Administration, exposing and addressing the VA’s inefficiencies and shortcomings will be rewarded, not punished.
2. End waste, fraud and abuse at the VA. The Trump plan will ensure the VA is spending its dollars wisely to provide the greatest impact for veterans and hold administrators accountable for irresponsible spending and abuse. The days of $6.3 million for statues and fountains at VA facilities and $300,000 for a manager to move 140 miles are over. The Trump plan will clean up the VA’s finances so the current VA budget provides more and better care than it does now.
3. Modernize the VA. A VA with 20th century technology cannot serve 21st century service members and their needs. The VA has been promising to modernize for years without real results. The Trump plan will make it happen by accelerating and expanding investments in state of the art technology to deliver best-in-class care quickly and effectively. All veterans should be able to conveniently schedule appointments, communicate with their doctors, and view accurate wait times with the push of a button.
4. Empower the caregivers to ensure our veterans receive quality care quickly. Caregivers should be able to easily streamline treatment plans across departments and utilize telehealth tools to better serve their patients. As we have seen from the private sector, the potential for new, innovative technology is endless. Abandoning the wasteful and archaic mindset of the public sector will give way to tremendously effective veteran healthcare.
5. Hire more veterans to care for veterans. The more veterans we have working at the VA, the better the VA will be. They understand the unique challenges facing their community. To increase the number of veterans hired by the VA, this plan will add an additional 5 points to the qualifying scores of veterans applying for VA jobs.
6. Embed satellite VA clinics in rural and other underserved areas. The Trump Administration will embed satellite VA clinics within hospitals and other care facilities in rural and other underserved areas. This step will ensure veterans have easy access to care and local hospitals and care facilities can handle the influx of patients without backlogs while tapping the specialized knowledge of VA health specialists.
When Joshua Acevedo left the Marine Corps as a sergeant in 2013 following four combat tours, he felt betrayed by the service he once loved. Now the former infantry squad leader will receive the service’s fourth-highest valor award – something he says he hopes will restore his faith in the Corps.
Acevedo joined the Marine Corps with the hope of turning it into a career. The veteran of three combat tours in Iraq, he deployed to Afghanistan’s Helmand province in September 2010, where he was tasked with leading a squad largely seen by his battalion leaders as the unit’s black sheep.
But what his Marines lacked in spit shine and polish, they more than made up for in courage and capability, he said. The members of Echo Company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines began covering the bulk of the company’s combat missions. Their skill would even earn them a reputation among the enemy forces they were annihilating.
“They were bad asses, no doubt about it,” Acevedo said of his squad, which left country without a single injury. “They were the kind of Marines I learned about growing up. They enabled me to do a lot more than I could have done with a bunch of meritorious kids.”
Their camaraderie was most evident in a day-long firefight just north of Durzay. Acevedo’s actions resulted in a Silver Star nomination.
But the honor was soon buried beneath allegations of a battlefield murder.
The once-celebrated squad leader was ostracized, and fighting a battle for which he was ill-equipped. As was his habit in the ‘Stan, Acevedo would emerge victorious – but this time, he would not emerge unscathed. The court battle cost him a career, and caused him to lose faith in his beloved Corps.
Five years after Acevedo and his Marines faced an ambush on the battlefield, the former sergeant will be recognized by one of this generation’s most revered leaders. Retired Gen. Jim Mattis will read a citation for a Bronze Star with combat distinguishing device before Acevedo is pinned with the medal at a Marine Corps birthday ball on Oct. 31.
It’s a moment Acevedo said he hopes will take away some of the bitterness he has felt since leaving the Marine Corps.
From hero to zero
On Nov. 20, 2010, Acevedo and his squad were hours into a firefight when the squad leader ordered his assault element to take an enemy-infested hilltop.
Their individual rushes were soon halted by PKM machine gun fire from the direct front. Simultaneously, the support element got hit by a new attack from the east, and could do little to cover their fellow Marines.
The enemy was gaining fire superiority and the Marines were low on ammunition. The assault element radioed that it was down to one magazine each, 25 Squad Automatic Weapon rounds and a few grenades. The team said they would fix bayonets if Acevedo wanted them to continue the push.
He gave the order: Fix bayonets.
But Acevedo would not let his Marines go it alone. He gathered what ammo he could from the support element. His pockets were soon stuffed with M203 rounds, his kit was full of 5.56 mags, and he held all the SAW ammo he could find. After a quick prayer, he ran the 100 yards that stood between him and his Marines. Not only was it covered by enemy fire, it had not been swept for IEDs.
“The guys said the ground around me got chewed up pretty good, but nobody hit me,” he said. This run through the field of fire would earn him the Bronze Star with V.
Reinforcements arrived after a successful AH-1 Cobra gun-run.
“We had the option to get on the bird,” Acevedo said. “I took a vote: Do you guys want to get out of here or do you want to stay? With big-ass grins they said, ‘Give us some ammo and we’ll stay all day.’”
The hill was soon taken, and the black sheep squad returned to Patrol Base Hernandez under the cover of darkness. It was one of many victories. The squad’s area of operations, which had firefights at least every other day, went silent by the end of their second month on station.
“It didn’t shift elsewhere, it just stopped,” said former Capt. Nicholas Schmitz, who was their platoon commander.
While that battle ceased, another soon raged. A Marine attached to the company claimed he saw Acevedo shoot an unarmed insurgent during a firefight.
Acevedo’s career came to a screeching halt for the next year as he was investigated for murder.
Regaining lost faith
Acevedo doesn’t like to discuss the matter that landed him in an Article 32 hearing.
“I was bitter when I left the Marine Corps,” he said. “I left thinking this brotherhood they talk about doesn’t even exist.”
He was eventually cleared of any wrongdoing. Joseph Low, a Marine veteran who took on Acevedo’s case pro bono, said it was nothing more than a Marine “shooting his mouth off” with an untrue war story that kept getting bigger and bigger. Eventually, someone in an official capacity gets wind of the tale and the Marine Corps is forced to investigate.
Low said Corps officials did the right thing by investigating the claims, but said the service needs to do a better job of helping Marines who are found innocent in these cases “pick up the pieces.”
“There is no rebuild,” he told Marine Corps Times. “We’ll go into some of these towns in Iraq and Afghanistan and pour a lot of money and personnel hours into rebuilding the damage that was caused, but they don’t do that with individual Marines.
“I wish I could spend time with some Marine Corps officials to help them understand that accusations, true or untrue, are like a bullet out of a gun – you’ll never get it back.”
Acevedo’s case was a perfect example of that, Low said. They were able to punch holes in the claims made by the accuser, a corporal who served as a photographer during 2/1’s deployment. But the legal hiatus was also a career killer for Acevedo.
He had served eight years when the yearlong investigation started. During that time, he was unable to complete career requirements necessary to advance to staff sergeant. When ultimately cleared, Acevedo had no fight left in him.
But Low, along with Acevedo’s squad and platoon commander, would not remain quiet. Once the Marine was cleared of the charges, they pushed with vigor to ensure his actions would receive the honor due.
Schmitz, in particular, was determined to see it through. While some Bronze Stars have been turned around in as little as four months, he spent the next four years pushing through bureaucracy and cutting red tape. The former captain, who got out in 2013, admitted that he grew disillusioned and cynical, himself.
“The guy is a combat leader who did some incredible things,” he said. “It seemed like the Marine Corps couldn’t say anything good about the guy.”
“It’s disappointing that what you have done in combat and what you did to save other lives is purposefully erased and buried due to some allegations,” said Low, who joined Schmitz in his campaign.
Acevedo now works in Iraq for Triple Canopy, a provider of integrated security and mission support services. He will receive his Bronze Star with V at the Marine Corps Ball in Sonoma, California. A number of former squad members will be at his side. He would have it no other way.
“It is more of a squad award in my eyes,” he said. “Absolutely nothing could have been done without them.”
Schmitz also reached out to Mattis and asked the former head of U.S. Central Command to take part. He quickly agreed.
“The valor displayed by Sgt. Acevedo stands on its own, unadorned by who is privileged to present the actual award to him,” Mattis told Marine Corps Times. “I’m a guest at the weekend USMC birthday celebration and my role is simply to do what every Marine does when a Marine’s performance is recognized by peers and superiors as valorous – to stand and pay my respects.”
Schmitz asked Acevedo if he wanted Mattis to pin on his medal, which many Marines would consider a great honor.
“Hell no,” he said. “I like Mattis. He is a bad ass. But he wasn’t there. You were. I want you to pin it on.”
Acevedo hopes that moment will help him find closure. For the past five years he has been haunted by unanswered questions: Was he a good leader? Was he a good Marine?
“We used to joke that it is a short fall from hero to zero,” he said. “I left as a zero, and I feel like I’m always chasing it. I feel like this might let me let it go.”
A U.S. military 240-foot long blimp has broken loose from its moorings at Aberdeen Proving Grounds and is drifting northeast above the fall foliage of Pennsylvania.
The Air Force has scrambled two F-16s from the Atlantic City Air National Guard base to track the blimp, which officials say is holding at 16,000 feet. The blimp broke free at 12:20 eastern time. “NORAD officials are working closely with the FAA to ensure air traffic safety, as well as with our other interagency partners to address the safe recovery of the aerostat,” NORAD said in a statement.
The much-maligned Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated netted Sensor System, or JLENS, is not technically a blimp because it it has no propulsion, rather it is a tethered aerostat. Similar but smaller aircraft have been used for overwatch surveillance to protect U.S. bases overseas for years, including in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The JLENS has been in testing since 2009. Raytheon, the manufacturer, has billed the JLENS program as a meant to detect missile and large drones via radar. Raytheon demonstrated that the X-band radar could pick up multiple ballistic missiles back in 2012. The JLENS’s ability to track other other objects like drones is much less clear.
In the Spring, when a Florida man flew a gyrocopter from Pennsylvania to the steps of the U.S. Capital, NORAD declined repeated requests for information as to whether or not the JLENS detected the slow moving helicopter moving toward Washington, D.C. They also have yet to respond to a Defense One Freedom of information Act Request for information about the matter.
Meanwhile, the Dem candidates are yapping about prison reform and Black lives matter.
Via Stars and Stripes:
Senior members of Congress are investigating the case of two Veterans Affairs executives accused of abusing their positions to get plum jobs and perks, part of a pattern of unjustified moving incentives and transfers identified by the agency’s watchdog.
The House Veterans’ Affairs Committee has scheduled a hearing on the alleged abuses for Wednesday.
And earlier this week, the chairman, ranking member and two others on the Senate panel that oversees the Department of Veterans Affairs called on Secretary Bob McDonald to hold the benefits executives accountable for what they called a “shockingly unethical misuse of funds.”
“Our committee confirmed your nomination to fundamentally overhaul and reform this struggling agency,” the senators wrote in a letter released Tuesday, signed by Chairman Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), top Democrat Sen. Richard Blumenthal (Connecticut) and Sens. Patty Murray (D-Washington) and Dean Heller (R-Nev.). “But, unfortunately, it is clear… that your well-intentioned and meaningful efforts to change the culture of VA have not yet taken hold.”
The senators asked McDonald to document “any actions you are taking” to stop the practice of “inappropriate” job relocations and provide them with a plan to overhaul the approval and reimbursement process for relocations – in particular, a program where the government buys employees’ homes.
They also demanded documentation of any federal personnel requirements that prohibit agencies from lowering the salaries of senior executives who are transferred to new jobs that carry less responsibility.
Deputy Inspector General Linda Halliday reported in September that two senior executives gamed VA’s moving-expense system for $400,000 in what she described as questionable reimbursements, with taxpayers paying $300,000 for one of them to relocate 140 miles, from the District to Philadelphia.
Diana Rubens and Kimberly Graves “inappropriately used their positions of authority for personal and financial benefit when they participated personally and substantially in creating opportunities for their own transfers to positions they were interested in filling,” investigators found.
Rubens and Graves kept their salaries of $181,497 and $173,949, respectively, even though the new positions they took as directors of the Philadelphia and St. Paul, Minnesota, regional offices had less responsibility, overseeing a fraction of the employees at lower pay levels. Rubens had been deputy undersecretary for field operations.