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tv   Washington Journal  CSPAN  May 24, 2015 7:00am-7:46am EDT

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discusses the isis takeover of the iraqis sisi -- city. you can join the conversation on facebook or twitter. ♪ host: good morning on this memorial day weekend. congress is in recess for the week. the senate will reconvene one week from today in what will be a rare sunday session. lawmakers are debating a temporary extension of the patriot act which would allow congress to continue the collection of phone records, yet the extension remains in doubt. and memorial concert will take place tonight to page river to those -- to page review to those who made the ultimate sacrifice. tomorrow, the president will travel to the arlington cemetery.
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some of the headlines this sunday. in ireland, jubilation brains after -- reigns after historic vote on marriage. as we look at the scene of iwo jima here in washington, d.c., one of those iconic memorials that you can visit any time, we want to focus on whether america is doing enough to take care of its veterans. we have divided the form i do little bit differently this morning. if you are a veteran, the number to call is (202) 748-8000. if you are active military (202) 748-8001. for all others, (202) 745-8002. of course, you can join us online. you can send us a tweet at @cspanwj. or at facebook, thank you very much for being with us on this memorial day sunday.
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this headline from cnn, what veterans really think about on memorial day. here is a portion from a hearing. [video clip] >> the g.i. bill is an education program. you need to go back to what college did in 1944. the g.i. bill and compass the whole series of things, not the least of which was getting -- giving people the ability to start a business. you could not have a business if they did not say "veteran" something. saint god they brought back the education part of the g.i. bill but they need to look at some of the other aspects as well.
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>> there is a proposal, you know , that would require all people in military service to go through the g.i. bill education track as part of their program. we think that is really important that they have a initial exposure to the importance of education, and training opportunities that the g.i. bill affords. another aspect of this issue, i believe, is that dod is gradually moving forward with getting service members civilian credentials and licensing in fields that they are getting trained on inactive duty. that is extremely important so that they have more options when they come out the door. if you are an avionics repairman on active duty, you ought to be able to get that civilian lives license before you leave. host: by the way, the full session is available, you can check it out anytime at
7:04 am this headline from "l.a. times" -- line of duty. emerging from serving and more is increasingly distinctive. richard sends us this tweet, keep our soldiers out of the middle east, do not turn them into targets. we will go first to sheridan and columnist, ohio, a veteran. caller: thank you for taking my call. i appreciate c-span. let me tell you, that debacle -- with the v.a. -- happen in phoenix, arizona. senator mccain blew his top of th about that. why wasn't a here where? he is from arizona. here's the problem. i've i'm legally blind, i have been for 10 years. host: how old are you? caller: 86. i am an old bone.
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host: you served in korea, i suspect? caller: yes, sir. another stupid war. read "cry korea," if you can get a copy of it. it was published in the u.k. or "first casualty in war is truth." about the v.a. -- i could have gotten a high dental policy. my wife had one, but sadly, she passed on september 13. this policy with high vision, in order to cover my eyes and
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dental. host: why do you have to wait? caller: you cannot sign up for another one -- don't ask me why these idiots made it that way. you cannot sign up until october 15. then, it will become effective january 1 2016. i do not know who set that up. apparently congress. the v.a. -- i do not know what is wrong there. i do not think they have enough people. i called the v.a., at my insurance's agent suggestion six weeks ago. i left my name and number when i called. and at the end of the message -- they even gave me the name of
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the person in columbus. i have never had a response. the same thing happen several years ago. i do not know what is wrong with the v.a., but my god, somebody ought to get in there and string them up. host: i will say to you and all the veterans calling this morning, thank you for your service, thank you for your service in korea, and all the battles. we are asking you if you think america is doing enough for its veterans. we are dividing the phone lines up a little differently on this memorial day sunday. jody has this point, one when one b veteran is living on the streets, we have failed that veteran.
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we will go to rich next in pittsburgh, pennsylvania. good morning. caller: i was in vietnam -- a vietnam era veteran. i had to stay in nebraska the four years. my complaint is the health situation also. my friends got to pick their plans. i have v.a. health insurance , which is fine. i have been on it for years now and i am on my fifth doctor. my friends laugh at me. they say , when they left they all want to private plans. if they are going to forces into the v.a. health care -- i was told i cannot get into obamacare, i could not get private insurance. since obamacare is in place, i have to go to the v.a., because i am a veteran.
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please, give us a doctor -- give us good doctors. i have only been able to see health practitioners. it is ridiculous. they do not pay well. every doctor leaves. my one dr. told me she went to another plan, another one to a blue cross blue shield plan. she said, people start out here, and when they get the chance to go, they get out. the v.a. cannot pay competitive salaries for doctors. if you say you're going to take care of us, take care of us. host: rich from pittsburgh, thank you for your comment. siki has this comment on her twitter page, only military contractors can go billions over and keep jobs, we need a draft everybody needs to see it.
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on our facebook page, a lot of you already way again. again, the question -- is america taking care of its veterans? robert says, nope. brian says, not adequately. ray says, the government at large is another story. bobby says, no, this administration hates the military. margaret is joining us from leavenworth, kansas, our line all others. good morning. caller: good morning. i am lucky here in the inx of fort leavenworth, and see a little bit more of the soldiers even though the fort has been kind of shut down for security. there is not the flow that there was between the city and the fort. if you listen to stories of
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veterans that have come back every story seems to have the same theme. when people come back and get out, they are at a loss. they do not feel the intensity that they felt as being part of an important group. that happens to a lot of people. whether you have been a nurse a long time, something where you work in intensity, and you are needed. that is the key. we need to need our people. all of our people. why are the veterans let out so early? why can't they be kept paid, and see what they need to fix up -- paid to fix our infrastructure if they are engineers, paid to be teachers. when you lose your sense of being in a group, that is why so many would reenlist to go back.
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you are lost. we do not use that in any of our country to take people and use them. life is important. we have such problems. we need all of our people, and to make them feel the same intensity. go to some of the events. i went to an air force band concert. people from the city went out to it. there are ways to show that you care about the retired military. it is not that hard. thank you very much for your call and comment. by the way a concert will be airing tonight including gloria stuffestevan. this comment from our facebook page i don't know enough about
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the subject to make an informed answer, but according to the media, apparently not. edwards says, no, shame on us. patrick is a vietnam veteran and he says, no. jim has a comment on those statistics that we shared with you about the number of homeless veterans -- any chance the homeless veteran is homeless because of personal choices -- no, it is our fault, it is always our fault. david is next, a veteran. good morning. caller: good morning. thank you for c-span. i am a vietnam air veteran -- vietnam era veteran. the biggest, i found with the v.a. is that it is a top-heavy administration. if there were more citizens that helps veterans get there benefits, instead of denying
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veterans benefits, it would be a lot better. when people get into service you would get better service because people who were there actually care about the veterans . deliver between is what is killing the system. you have all these top-heavy administrators, with no real world experience. when you talk to him about post-traumatic stress, they do not have a clue what you're talking about. they cannot even relate to it. when you get down into the weeds of trying to talk about the programs, that is when you start having a lot of problems. people are out there to the night veterans pause services or benefits, instead of assisting them. of course, being in the army is very different from the marine corps, or any other administration. army has the largest portion of
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veterans. we do not have the individual care support groups like the marines or the navy do. the navy and marines, they follow their people right on through. host: retired colonel derek harvey will be joining us later in the program. he also served as the retired director of the central command. i want to share with you the front page of "the new york times," and read you a portion of what the u.s. and are allies are facing. with two victories isis dispels hope of swift decline.
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again, more on this later in the program. our next call or joining us from minnesota, a veteran. caller: good morning. i have two comments. one, i came from a family that we all serve. my grandfather served in world war i of the hungarian empire. my dad was a veteran of stalingrad -- slovakia was under
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germany. my two brothers served in the czechoslovakia army. i served in the u.s. army. we all survived. number two, i live in minnesota. i have nothing but praise for the v.a. system in minnesota. we are provided with excellent care. some of my friends, one a couple weeks ago, had an operation in the va hospital in minneapolis. i'm sorry to hear a lot of disappointment that people had with the v.a. -- i have to say again, i have nothing but praise. thank you very much for c-span. host: a live look at the capitol on this memorial day weekend. gary is joining us now from florida.
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our line for all others. good morning. caller: i'm not a veteran, i'm not in active military person, but i have a lot of veteran friends and military friends. i certainly believe that the v.a. is an adequate -- inadequate. i do not understand why, with obamacare being a government central program, that they do not have a special option for veterans. the idea that you do not have any options actually sounds like a communist environment. my other concern -- or comment is when a person in the military, who works in a certain area, let's say avionics, leaves the military, they have to get a certificate to work in that same area in a public sector. i think the military, or the
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whole system, should provide training so that they can get that certificate to work in the public sector, so that they can transition faster. host: gary from florida, thank you. rb has this comment on our twitter page, god bless all the veterans who have the dignity to remain strong and make the best of their problems, rather than wind about them. the front page of the "boston sunday globe," a resounding yes to gay marriage in a new island. pitfalls of cop cameras -- following the acquittal of an officer. this from "the des moines register," a look at hillary
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clinton, and also rick perry. my cut to be will join jeb bush and not participating in the straw poll. bob is next from jacksonville, texas. good morning to you. caller: thank you, steve. i never miss your show. i think it is the greatest. i am a veteran of the korean era . i'm 80 years old. the fellow a while ago talked about losing his wife at 62. i have been married 61 years. i married my wife while i was in the service. i have two complaints -- or comments, anyway. i am not real good at expressing myself, so bear with me. one of my complaints is the fact
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that they separate the veterans. as a korean veteran, or vietnam veteran, or -- may have all these different organizations. i thought we were all veterans. i could see it in the clinic that i was going to. the vietnam veterans especially -- and my god, i do not deny anyone that has had disability, to disability -- true disability, some kind of extra care. there was a big joke. they laughed and everything about getting on the disability because you get $2800 per month. i know two or three people personally that draw that money
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that there is nothing wrong with them. that is one of my complaints. i was going to the clinic and palestinian, texas, and unfortunately, -- well, i tried in 2003, they denied me, saying i make too much money. i cannot understand that because my wife and i draw social security and i have a little retirement that is very very small. we do not make -- maybe $25,000 per year between us, and that is not a lot of money. they put me on a means test. first of all, if you are on disability, you do not have to do any kind of means test. in my situation, they made me take a means test every year to see if i qualified for the v.a.
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every year, i had to requalify. then, they made me prove how much i made. i had to send in all kinds of stuff. then, i also had to pay a co-pay for every doctor visit. i broke my arm once, and the closest hospital is waco, or temple, and it is about 170-180 miles. they were going to make me go to temple to have my broken arm fix. -- fixed. that is like a 360 mile round-trip, plus you would have to have a motel. another time, i was going to have to have a colonoscopy. that meant two trips to temple
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maybe three for a follow-up. we are talking about 700-8 hundred miles that i would have to draw. that was the straw that broke the camel's back. i said, well, i will do without the v.a., and get some private insurance, which i did. host: and there was no reimbursement from the v.a. if you travel that distance correct? caller: not one penny. excuse me. you get reimbursed if you are on disability of any kind. i know some guys that are on disability that do not need disability. they have a lot of money their income is good. you know, there needs to be some fairness, is what i am saying. host: thank you for calling from texas. a look at the v.a. headquarters just around the corner from the
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white house here in washington d.c. john in north carolina has the stre this tweet -- a medical program run by bureaucrats is inefficient and broken -- astonishing. officer acquitted in fatal shooting -- more than 120 shots were fired when they gunned down that couple in 2012. next to that, a lengthy piece from "washington post" on those who they call those whose work is never done -- the capital shadow army. we have divided our lines a little differently. andrew is joining us on our line
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for veterans. caller: hello, steve. i'm a veteran -- a combat veteran from vietnam, and i am 100% disabled. i have been in the v.a. system since 1960 eight. i lived in florida, and right now i live in messages. i would like to give a heads up to the v.a. health care system in boston. i belong to the spinal cord clinic, i am wheelchair-bound, and i must say that they take very good care of me. i have been in the system for 14 years in boston. i would also like to give the v.a. educational g.i. bill a heads up also. my education -- they paid for my prep school, junior college, and also my college degree.
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i was a merchant marine officer for 10 years, and it was all paid for through the v.a. health care and health care system. host: bill followed up on an earlier tweet and caller on whether or not there is any sort of reimbursement for travel if you need to get to a facility that is hard from -- far from your home. bill says, actually, the rules change, you do get mileage for traveling. mmr from -- a memoir is reviewed inside the book section of "the washington post." if you check out c-span 2's booktv, 40 hours of programming and this weekend, it extends
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into monday. caller: my husband has a going to the v.a. in johnson city, tennessee. he had:, liver, and look -- colo n, liver, and lung cancer. he passed away april 26, but he got very good care of the v.a. host: thank you. sorry about your loss. thank you for calling in. one of the photographs this morning -- in three towards a vours of battle. michael vincent from ithaca, new york. good morning, sir. caller: good morning, steve.
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thank you very much. thank you again for all the people at c-span behind the cameras and the scenes that make it all possible every day. i am a different kind of venture. -- veteran. we are not taking care of when something goes wrong later on in life. i am a peace corps veteran. i served because my father served in world war ii, where he met my irish mother. he served in korea, or during the crisis by going to germany for 18 months, and then gave up his business, which was a stationary store, right across the tavern where washington did his farewell to the troops.
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my brother served inn vietnam, and i saw what war can do to someone, so i volunteered for a peace corps. i served for 1.5 years, and was wrongly fired when i dug the grave of a woman who had died and gave out materials to midwives. i was wrongly accused of distributing birth control, and six month later, they said, you were right, we were wrong, have a good life. the thing is, with my dad, he got ill, and bob dole was in the senate. my father had been in the reserves for 20 years. he came down with prostate cancer on staten island. we had what was called the marine hospital. he did not get complete care. when he died, instead of 22 years in the reserve -- getting
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insurance that my mother and family could be covered -- bob dole in the senate cut veterans benefits and half. that is one example. i have been a case manager with the monthly hill homeless, and then i became homeless, and i do live with post-traumatic stress from another situation, and when i went to senators both gillibrand who was talked about sexual assault within the military, and i was assaulted she ignored me. there is a program called vash -- veterans a administration supportive housing. during the obama administration, there have been 10,000 or more given every year. that has to be expanded to an
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unlimited number. there is no reason why anyone should be homeless. host: michael vincent from africa, new york, thank you for your call. another comment from a viewer -- how can america take care of veterans when every dime of revenue goes to entitlements? "what does america stand for?" from "u.s. news and world report," construction at denver va hospital to move forward, but millions needed to finish it. the spending cap needs to be raised by $1 million, and congress on the v.a. must find up to $830 million to finish what is being called a vastly overbudget hospital, without taking services away from veterans elsewhere, and possibly scaling back the project.
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next is tom from minnesota. good morning to you. caller: good morning. i wanted to mention that i have nothing but compassion and comprehension for what our veterans have done to protect our way of life. i think we need to extend that compassion to all the victims of these conflicts. there is a tremendous number of young people that have been traumatized by our actions in the middle east. the same occurred in vietnam. the same occurred in korea. not to diminish for a moment what our veterans have contributed. i do think we need to consider everybody who is affected by these debilitating com nflicts. i think we need to mechanize that a lot of these wounds are
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hidden worlds, they are not necessarily physical. we need to honor everything that these good people have tried to do to protect what we think of as -- a true example of democracy. host: thank you. we look at the scene of one of the newer memorials along the mall, paying tribute to those who died in the european conflicts, and also asia. a world war ii memorial, put together in part by the leadership of bob dole. jody has this point on her twitter page -- how long has it been since we celebrated memorial day without being involved in a war? fallout inside the greek crisis -- a story this morning from "the new york times" sunday magazine. from "weekly standard" -- the
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bin laden documents. "time magazine" out this week -- who killed summer vacation? our next caller joining us from new jersey. are we doing enough to take care of our veterans? caller: this is something i've thought about quite a bit. right here in new jersey, we have several condominiums for the disabled and for the income. i thought, wouldn't it be nice if we could have the same kind of condominiums for the homeless and the veterans who are disabled. host: thank you for that, from new jersey. tomorrow, our guest will talk about the high suicide rate. let's put some figures on the screen to show you what we are looking at. approximately 35,000 suicides per year.
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42% increase for suicide among those users of vha services. there are five suicide related deaths per day among those veterans receiving v.a. care. and 1200 suicide deaths. [video clip] >> we have a critical shortage of mental health workers. we have a badly damaged v.a. brand, but folks do not want to work in the v.a.. we have to incentivize them so that they can only work of the v.a., but serve veterans. that has to be a called action that the president makes saying, we have a suicide problem, and
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we need every american to step up. you can step up, work at the v.a. go back to school, and amazingly, in all these areas, i think the undervalued resource is us. the post-9/11 vegans are standing by to help each other. baldessari to interrupt you, by want to make sure i -- >> sorry to interrupt you there is a 100% chance that when you need to see that mental health provider, it will be world class care. there is a trade-off that if you have the flu, diabetes, or something that may not be uniquely connected to service, you will get referred out -- maybe not 100% of the time. what do you think about that? >> this is the age-old false choice that goes to the
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veterans. nobody should wait. that is the bottom line. >> i do not think that will fix it. >> i do not think a lot of these ideas will work that we have heard from congress in the last few years. the bottom line is that supply is growing and demand is flat or falling. we do not have enough qualified people to deal with suicide or ptsd. we have to address these supply problem, and also that -- we have to recognize that private nonprofits, church groups, everyone else is taking up the slack. we have to look at this as more than a be a problem, but a national priority. host: you can watch the full testimony on her website. a tweet -- share a tweet.
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harry is joining us. good morning. caller: good morning. i'm a korean war veteran. i was exposed to asbestos. i have a severe reading problem but i've never got to the v.a. about it. the reason i'm calling is because i private insurance. my son was injured -- he was in the air force and broke his spine. he spent 15 years in a wheelchair before he died. i cannot speak well enough about the via hospitals. they treated him like he was a king. he had the best care. he had it when he wanted it and when he needed it. he was in a lot of pain all the time. i cannot stand these people who complain about it. they do not know what they are complaining about.
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these are dedicated people who work in these hospitals. they are professionals. i just think that america is all about instant pudding. we want instant gratification all the time. host: thank you and i'm sorry about the loss of your son. this is the story this morning -- we talked about yesterday. the senate in session in the early morning hours on friday. they will be back next sunday to work on the extension of the nsa phone collection data. this is a story from "the new york times," pointing out that the administration would not seek to extend the program if the legal authorities expired, aspects could be reactivated if congress acts before the deadline. the senate will reconvene on may 30 12 try again, but any extension is far from certain from the house which is on
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recess until june 1, with at least one member threatening to block it -- representative shift of california. our next caller is joining us from oregon. caller: i appreciate the conversation this morning. v.a. health care, i do get my health care from the v.a., i will tell you why. for the past 25 years, i have been a journey member plumber for take mechanical contractors. i also have the extra licenses which allow meet to go into hospitals and run nighters oxide , medical air, medical vacuum inside hospital situations. i have done work for both the v.a. and the civilian side. what i find with the v.a. is when the v.a. makes a mistake, they put it on the front page of the paper.
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when a civilian hospital makes a mistake, they cover it up, never to be known. what i find really shocking and appalling is the conversation went the v.a. was not doing it up to standard, the whole conversation was on the v.a. side. there was never a comparison between the v.a. and civilian side of the house. host: and from oregon, thank you for the call. debra lee saying, no, america is not taking care of its bhajans because of congress, the top-heavy paper pushers veterans get lost in the system. bob mcdonnell, in this past week's "newsmakers," -- johnny
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isakson in this past week's "newsmakers are." [video clip] >> there has been a culture in the v.a. that is a push by culture. they did not want change or oversight. v.a. health care is the second-largest agency of the federal government. it is almost -- you have heard of too big to fail -- it is almost too big to succeed. it is time that we give them the tools to do the hiring and firing necessary. i think he is the man for the job and hope he will take the initiative. host: we will have another exit coming up. a few more minutes with your phone calls. we will go to sarah, joining us from north carolina. caller: good morning. i just want to say that -- you
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say, is "america" supporting -- i think that americans should support. on the tax form, it should give you the option of supporting the troops. rather than buying yellow ribbons that we stick on the cards, made in china, we could actually support our troops. i think that our troops went to overseas, and did not just fight for v.a. hospitals, they should get a free pass for all hospitals. our government should be able to pay for gas for vegans who have to drive 200 or 300 miles. host: thank you for the call.
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ronald from new hampshire. good morning. caller: good morning. thank you for the opportunity to comment on the veterans care in our country. i have been involved with the v.a. for decades. my father was a world war ii veteran. i'm a vietnam veteran. we used to have arguments about who was the better soldier, who had the toughest time. the fact is that all veterans to one degree or another provide a great service to this country. as for the veterans of menstruation there was a qualification that if you had income greater than $18,000 per year, you could not take advantage of the benefits from the veterans of m


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