Where are the candidates statements about Friday's HUGE win in federal court as shown by our own http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2008/1/11/172421/698".
Melissa Kasnitz, a DRA lawyer on the case her and the other lawyers on this case show real support for the troops, instead of photo ops, they are doing the hard work to get them help. Which the Department of Veterans Affairs has failed to do, under the Bush administration and all previous administrations. This has been business as usual since the end of WW2, George W Bush did not create this mess, but he has done nothing to fix it either.
We are in a "change election", which is fine as a disabled veteran. I want to hear what the leading contenders for the office of the President, the next Commander in Chief are going to do to fix the problems articulated by U.S. District Judge Samuel Conti, a conservative jurist and a World War II veteran, who rejected Bush administration arguments that civil courts have no authority over the Department of Veterans Affairs' medical decisions or how it handles grievances and claims. If the plaintiffs can prove their allegations, Conti said, they would show that "thousands of veterans, if not more, are suffering grievous injuries as the result of their inability to procure desperately needed and obviously deserved health care."
He said federal courts are competent to decide whether those injuries were caused by flaws in the health care system and the VA's grievance procedures.
Conti did not rule on the adequacy of the treatment system, which will be addressed in future proceedings. But he decided one disputed issue, finding that veterans are legally entitled to two years of health care after leaving the service. The government had argued that it was required to provide only as much care as the VA's budget allowed in a given year.
SF">http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2008/01/11/BAKDUDEB5.DTL">SF Gate article
Judge Conti also took issue with the governments contentions that veterans claims process was non-adversarial he seems to think it is anything but:
Conti also said the VA system, originally intended as an informal procedure to help veterans resolve their claims, has morphed into an adversarial process in which claimants have to comply with formal legal rules, often without a lawyer.
"It is within the court's power to insist that veterans be granted a level of due process that is commensurate with the adjudication procedures with which they are confronted," Conti said. Efforts to reach the Justice Department were unsuccessful.
Our own Ilona wrote this http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2007/7/23/145135/199/688/361358">excellent diary on July 23, 2007 right after the lawsuit was filed.
Now my questions to all of the Presidential Candidates, Senators, Clinton, Obama, Edwards, McCain, Governor Romney, Hiz Honor da Mayor 911, and Preacher Mike, are the following:
Do you really need this Judge to rule on what the VA should be doing to help this nations veterans, or will you move to make immediate changes during your first month in office?
Will help for PTSD be made available to veterans for their entire lives or only in the first few years after discharge? Many veterans never admit to PTSD symptoms until as much as 30-40 years later, ask Senator Max Cleland. He just sought help for the first time for PTSD last year, more than 40 years after he left Vietnam.
What help are you going to give to the families of veterans suffering from PTSD, as those of us who deal with PTSD realize it is not only the veteran affected by it, but the entire family, spouses, kids, parents, brothers and sisters, how is the government going to help them?
What changes are you going to make to help veterans and their families? Or is everything going to be driven by a budget that must be contained to with a few percentage points year in and year out? Fully funded health care for this nations veterans is not to much to ask for, they all put their lives on the line to serve this nation, the least the nation can do it to keep the PROMISE
The promise is for you that do not know, is if anything happens to you while on active duty, injury, death etc the "grateful nation" will take care of you and your family medically and financially for the rest of your lives. A small price to pay for one who has given their greatest gift to a fellow citizen, their life, or even their quality of life, the price military members and their families pay is extreme, and the promises should be kept.
What will you Presidential contenders do for this nations veterans and their families?
We have read your "position papers" we would prefer to hear real responses from you, I personally plan on attending all the town hall meetings in South Carolina in the next few weeks and asking you all in person about your feelings about this lawsuit, and was it really necessary for this nations veterans to have to sue the agency to provide them the care and compensation they have earned. The Department of Veteran Affairs is a strange Cabinet agency it answers only to the President, the Secretary has the power to make illnesses and other categories presumptive to military service as Secretary Principi did a few years ago, when he made brain tumors presumptive for Gulf War One veterans. Lou Gehrig disease is another one that comes to mind.
For the large part the agency does it's best to ignore Congress, and uses the CFR 38 to rewrite rules by posting them in the Congressional Record and thus denying thousands if not millions of veterans service connection for various medical problems, like exposure to Agent Orange as was recently done in regards to "Blue Water sailors" unless they set foot in Vietnam they will not be covered for Diabetes type 2 if they did not file a claim before Dec 2007, any claim after that date will automiatically be denied.
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