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Something Different: Three Not Commented On Topics In The News

Written by veterans  |  01. October 2007

This Week's Not Commented on Topics: One VETERAN PROMOTES DATABASE FOR MILITARY HONORS -- Doug Sterner has been working for the past few years on building a database of military decorations, a job he thinks the federal government should be doing. He has compiled a database on Medal of Honor, Navy Cross, Distinguished Service Cross and Air Force Cross, recipients. Sterner's wife, Pam, wrote a college term paper that became the Stolen Valor Act of 2006, which makes it a federal crime to falsely claim to have received military decorations. His project, which Sterner guesses would cost about $8 million to create, would quickly pay for itself in stopping fraud in the Veterans Administration. Sterner pointed to five recent arrests in the Seattle area where military imposters were caught, several of whom had received a total of $1.4 million in unearned veterans benefits. "We need to get some congressional hearings on this and then the public would recognize the extent of the problem and the benefits of correcting it." This Week's Not Commented on Topics: Two GOVERNMENT ASKS COURT TO THROW OUT CLASS-ACTION SUIT AGAINST VA -- Says groups filing suit have no standing and that their claims are barred by sovereign immunity. Ignoring the long litany of charges about the defects in the VA system and statutes and abuses of veterans, the government argues that all claims by anyone about the treatment of our veterans must be "channeled" through that same system, however flawed. Ironically, the government's motion to dismiss addresses the very same veterans' complaint... that the laws and procedures applied by the VA are constitutionally inadequate, that veterans have no rights at all, no forum to raise their complaints, and no access to our district courts. Relying instead on the archaic principle that "the King can do no wrong," the government argues that all claims by veterans against the government are barred by sovereign immunity. "What the VA is essentially saying is that the VA could decide to put all veterans claims on ice for ten years and then just flip a coin, and that there would be nothing a veteran could do about it. This continues its shameful attacks on veterans, reinforcing the view held by many that the government considers veterans to be second class citizens. Every veteran and every citizen in our country should be appalled by this betrayal. We will never give up our fight for justice for the defenders of our liberty." "Just last week, the GAO caught the VA lying to Congress about how much time it takes for a wounded veteran to see a VA doctor. Over 600,000 veterans are still waiting in line for the VA to decide their claims. This Week's Not Commented on Topics: Three GORDON MANSFIELD TAKES OVER AS ACTING VA SECRETARY -- Deputy Secretary steps up until new Secretary is nominated. Of course, this begs the question, why wasn't Mansfield nominated? Or, was he, and he declined the nomination? What powers does an Acting Secretary have? The same power as the Secretary. So, we wait for a nomination. Mansfield will serve as Acting Secretary until the next nominee of the President is confirmed by the United States Senate. However, some say the White House will wait until the next recess to just appoint a Secretary so there will be no Senate confirmation process. --- Regards, Walt Schmidt

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