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14 January, 2019 07:09 | Arizona Dept. |

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Good morning Legionnaires and veterans advocates, immediately is Monday, January 14, 2019 Caesarean Part Day, Feast of the Ass, Worldwide Kite Day and Nationwide Clear Off Your Desk Day.
Yesterday in Historical past:
On January 13, 1982, throughout a unprecedented interval of freezing climate, Air Florida Flight 90 took off from Washington Nationwide Airport, failed to realize altitude, and crashed into the 14th Road Bridge, the place it hit six automobiles and a truck on the bridge, killing 4 motorists. After the crash on the bridge, the aircraft then continued ahead and plunged into the freezing Potomac River. Quickly solely the tail part which had damaged off remained afloat. Solely six of the airliner’s 79 occupants (74 passengers and 5 crew members) survived the preliminary crash and have been capable of escape the sinking aircraft in the midst of the ice-choked river.
In accordance with the opposite 5 survivors, one passenger continued to assist the others attain the rescue ropes being dropped by the hovering helicopter, repeatedly passing the road to others as an alternative of utilizing it himself. Whereas the opposite 5 have been being taken to shore by the helicopter, the tail part of the wrecked Boeing 737 shifted and sank additional into the water, dragging [the man in the water] beneath the water with it.
From the Washington Submit:
He was about 50 years previous, one among half a dozen survivors clinging to twisted wreckage bobbing within the icy Potomac when the primary helicopter arrived. To the copter’s two-man Park Police crew he appeared probably the most alert. Life vests have been dropped, then a flotation ball. The person handed them to the others. On two events, the crew recalled final night time, he handed away a life line from the hovering machine that would have dragged him to security. The helicopter crew – who rescued 5 individuals, the one individuals who survived from the jetliner – lifted a lady to the riverbank, then dragged three extra individuals throughout the ice to security. Then the life line saved a lady who was making an attempt to swim away from the sinking wreckage, and the helicopter pilot, Donald W. Usher, returned to the scene, however the man was gone.
— ”A Hero – Passenger Aids Others, Then Dies”
From Time:
So the person within the water had his personal pure powers. He couldn’t make ice storms, or freeze the water till it froze the blood. However he might hand life over to a stranger, and that may be a energy of nature too. The person within the water pitted himself towards an implacable, impersonal enemy; he fought it with charity; and he held it to a standoff. He was the perfect we will do.
— Rosenblatt, R.

The “man in the water” who died 37 years in the past yesterday was Arland Dean Williams Jr., a 46 yr previous veteran and graduate of The Citadel.

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NYT: V.A. Seeks to Redirect Billions of Dollars Into Personal Care
By Jennifer Steinhauer and Dave Philipps
Jan. 12, 2019

WASHINGTON — The Division of Veterans Affairs is getting ready to shift billions of dollars from government-run veterans’ hospitals to non-public well being care suppliers, setting the stage for the most important transformation of the veterans’ medical system in a era.
Underneath proposed tips, it might be simpler for veterans to obtain care in privately run hospitals and have the federal government pay for it. Veterans would even be allowed entry to a system of proposed walk-in clinics, which might function a bridge between V.A. emergency rooms and personal suppliers, and would require co-pays for remedy.
Veterans’ hospitals, which deal with seven million sufferers yearly, have struggled to see sufferers on time in recent times, hit by a double crush of returning Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and ageing Vietnam veterans. A scandal over hidden ready lists in 2014 despatched Congress looking for fixes, and within the years since, Republicans have pushed to ship veterans to the personal sector, whereas Democrats have favored growing the variety of docs within the V.A.
If enforce, the proposed guidelines — lots of whose particulars stay unclear as they’re negotiated inside the Trump administration — can be a win for the once-obscure Involved Veterans for America, an advocacy group funded by the community based by the billionaire industrialists Charles G. and David H. Koch, which has lengthy championed growing using personal sector well being look after veterans.
For particular person veterans, personal care might imply shorter waits, extra decisions and fewer necessities for co-pays — and will show fashionable. However some well being care specialists and veterans’ teams say the change, which has no separate supply of funding, would redirect cash that the present veterans’ well being care system — the most important within the nation — makes use of to offer specialty care.
Critics have additionally warned that switching huge numbers of veterans to non-public hospitals would pressure care within the personal sector and that prices for taxpayers might skyrocket. As well as, they are saying it might threaten the way forward for conventional veterans’ hospitals, a few of that are already underneath evaluation for consolidation or closing.
President Trump, who made reforming veterans’ well being care a serious level of his marketing campaign, might reveal particulars of the plan in his State of the Union handle later this month, in accordance with a number of individuals within the administration and others outdoors it who’ve been briefed on the plan.
The proposed modifications have grown out of well being care laws, generally known as the Mission Act, handed by the final Congress. Supporters, who’ve been influential in administration coverage, argue that the brand new guidelines would streamline care obtainable to veterans, whose well being issues are many however whose numbers are shrinking, and in addition prod the veterans’ hospital system to compete for sufferers, making it extra environment friendly.
“Most veterans chose to serve their country, so they should have the choice to access care in the community with their V.A. benefits — especially if the V.A. can’t serve them in a timely and convenient manner,” stated Dan Caldwell, government director of Involved Veterans for America.
One of many group’s former senior advisers, Darin Selnick, performed a key position in drafting the Mission Act as a veterans’ affairs adviser on the White Home’s Home Coverage Council, and is now a senior adviser to the secretary of Veterans Affairs in command of drafting the brand new guidelines. Mr. Selnick clashed with David J. Shulkin, who was the top of the V.A. for a yr underneath Mr. Trump, and is extensively seen as being instrumental in ending Mr. Shulkin’s tenure.
Mr. Selnick declined to remark.
Critics, which embrace almost all the main veterans’ organizations, say that paying for care within the personal sector would starve the 153-year-old veterans’ well being care system, inflicting many hospitals to shut.
“We don’t like it,” stated Rick Weidman, government director of Vietnam Veterans of America. “This thing was initially sold as to supplement the V.A., and some people want to try and use it to supplant.”
Members of Congress from each events have been essential of the administration’s inconsistency and lack of particulars in briefings. At a listening to final month, Senator John Boozman, Republican of Arkansas, informed Robert L. Wilkie, the present secretary of Veterans Affairs, that his employees had typically come to Capitol Hill “without their act together.”
Though the Trump administration has stored particulars quiet, officers inside and out of doors the division say the plan intently resembles the army’s insurance coverage plan, Tricare Prime, which units a decrease bar than the Division of Veterans Affairs with regards to getting personal care.
Tricare mechanically permits sufferers to see a personal physician in the event that they need to journey greater than 30 minutes for an appointment with a army physician, or if they’ve to attend greater than seven days for a routine go to or 24 hours for pressing care. Underneath present regulation, veterans qualify for personal care provided that they’ve waited 30 days, and typically they should journey tons of of miles. The administration might suggest for veterans a time-frame someplace between the seven- and 30-day durations.
Mr. Wilkie has repeatedly stated his aim is to not privatize veterans’ well being care, however wouldn’t present particulars of his proposal when requested at a listening to earlier than Congress in December.
In remarks at a joint listening to with members of the Home and Senate veterans’ committees in December, Mr. Wilkie stated veterans largely favored utilizing the division’s hospitals.
“My experience is veterans are happy with the service they get at the Department of Veterans Affairs,” he stated. Veterans usually are not “chomping at the bit” to get providers elsewhere, he stated, including, “They want to go places where people speak the language and understand the culture.”
Well being care specialists say that, regardless of the bigger results, permitting extra entry to non-public care will show pricey. A 2016 report ordered by Congress, from a panel referred to as the Fee on Care, analyzed the price of sending extra veterans into the group for remedy and warned that unfettered entry might value nicely over $100 billion annually.
Tricare prices have climbed steadily, and the Tricare inhabitants is youthful and more healthy than the overall inhabitants, whereas Veterans Affairs sufferers are usually older and sicker.
Although the principles would place some restrictions on veterans, early estimates by the Workplace of Administration and Finances discovered that a Tricare-style system would value about $60 billion annually, in response to a former Veterans Affairs official who labored on the undertaking. Congress is unlikely to approve extra funding, so the prices are more likely to be carved out of present funds for veterans’ hospitals.
On the similar time, Tricare has been in style amongst recipients — so in style that the share of army households utilizing it has almost doubled since 2001, as personal insurance coverage turned costlier, in accordance with the Harvard lecturer Linda Bilmes.
“People will naturally gravitate toward the better deal, that’s economics,” she stated. “It has meant a tremendous increase in costs for the government.”
A spokesman for the Division of Veterans Affairs, Curt Cashour, declined to touch upon the specifics of the brand new guidelines.
“The Mission Act, which sailed through Congress with overwhelming bipartisan support and the strong backing of veterans service organizations, gives the V.A. secretary the authority to set access standards that provide veterans the best and most timely care possible, whether at V.A. or with community providers, and the department is committed to doing just that,” he stated in an e mail.
Veterans’ providers organizations have largely opposed large-scale modifications to the well being program, involved that the rising prices of out of doors docs’ payments would cannibalize the veterans’ hospital system.
Dr. Shulkin, the previous secretary, shared that concern. Although he stated he supported growing using personal well being care, he favored a system that may let division docs determine when sufferers have been despatched outdoors for personal care.
The price of the brand new guidelines, he stated, might be greater than anticipated, as a result of most veterans use a mixture of personal insurance coverage, Medicare and veterans’ advantages, selecting to make use of the advantages that provide the most effective deal. Many might select to forgo Medicare, which requires a considerable co-pay, if Veterans Affairs gives personal care at no cost. And if sufficient veterans depart the veterans’ system, he stated, it might collapse.
“The belief is as costs grow, resources are going to shift from V.A. to the private sector,” he stated. “If that happens on a large scale, it will be extremely difficult to maintain a V.A. system.”

Army Occasions: Plan requires US troop pullout from Syria to take months, bringing a whole lot extra troops in to help
By: Robert Burns, The Related Press 2 days in the past
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WASHINGTON — The U.S. army stated Friday it has began taking steps to satisfy President Donald Trump’s demand for an entire army withdrawal from Syria. The announcement fueled concern about how shortly the U.S. will abandon its Kurdish allies, amid contradictory statements lately by administration officers on an exit timetable.
The withdrawal started with shipments of army gear, U.S. protection officers stated. However in coming weeks, the contingent of about 2,000 troops is predicted to depart even because the White Home vows to maintain strain on the Islamic State group.
The withdrawal plan, whose particulars are categorized, consists of bringing lots of of further troops into Syria briefly to facilitate the pullout. These embrace troops to offer additional safety for many who are getting ready to go away. The complete withdrawal is predicted to take a number of months.
The united statesKearsarge amphibious assault ship is now within the area and will present troops and gear to help the withdrawal.
As soon as the troops are gone, the U.S. may have ended three years of organizing, arming, advising and offering air cowl for Syrian, Kurdish and Arab fighters in an open-ended marketing campaign devised by the Obama administration to deal the IS group an enduring defeat.
Uncertainty over the timing and phrases of the Syria pullout have raised questions concerning the Trump administration’s broader technique for preventing Islamic extremism, together with Trump’s said intention to scale back U.S. forces in Afghanistan this summer time.
U.S. airstrikes towards IS in Syria started in September 2014, and floor troops moved within the following yr in small numbers.
The U.S. army has a restricted community of bases inside Syria. Troops work principally out of small camps in distant elements of the nation’s northeast. Additionally, U.S. troops are amongst 200 to 300 coalition troops at a garrison in southern Syria often known as al-Tanf, the place they practice and accompany native Syrian opposition forces on patrols to counter the IS group. Al-Tanf is on an important street linking Iranian-backed forces from Tehran all the best way to southern Lebanon — and Israel’s doorstep.
Trump’s determination to go away Syria, which he initially stated can be speedy however later slowed down, shocked U.S. allies and angered the Kurds in Syria, who’re weak to assault by Turkey. It additionally prompted the resignation of Protection Secretary Jim Mattis and drew criticism in Congress. Sen. Jack Reed, a Rhode Island Democrat, referred to as the choice a “betrayal of our Kurdish partners.”
The U.S. army command in Baghdad, which is managing the counter-IS marketing campaign in Iraq and Syria, stated Friday that it “has begun the process of our deliberate withdrawal from Syria,” including that, for safety causes, it will not reveal timetables, places or troop actions. Different U.S. officers later made clear that the pullout didn’t but embrace troops.
U.S. troops are nonetheless working with a companion often known as the Syrian Democratic Forces to stamp out the final IS holdouts within the Center Euphrates River Valley close to the Iraqi border. Trump has asserted that the IS group in Syria is defeated, however others have stated a continued U.S. army presence is important to stop a resurgence of the group. Two weeks earlier than Trump introduced he was ordering a pullout, Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Employees, stated the U.S. nonetheless had an extended solution to go in coaching native Syrian forces to stabilize areas ridden of the IS group. He stated it might take 35,000 to 40,000 native forces in northeastern Syria to take care of safety, however solely about 20 % had been educated.
One other complication is the destiny of tons of of overseas IS fighters being held in Syria. The U.S. doesn’t need these prisoners to be launched as soon as U.S. forces are gone, since they might rejoin the militant trigger in Syria or elsewhere.
There was confusion over plans to implement Trump’s pullout order amid threats from Turkey to assault the Kurdish fighters, who’re seen by Ankara as terrorists due to their ties to insurgents inside Turkey.
On a go to to Turkish troops stationed close to the Syrian border Friday, Turkey’s protection minister, Hulusi Akar, reiterated that Ankara is “determined” to battle Kurdish militias it considers terrorists and stated army preparations have been ongoing.
“When the time and place comes, the terrorists here will also be buried in the ditches and trenches they have dug,” he stated.
Earlier this week, Trump’s nationwide safety adviser, John Bolton, stated American troops won’t depart northeastern Syria till the IS group is defeated and American-allied Kurdish fighters are protected, signaling a slowdown in Trump’s preliminary order for a speedy withdrawal.
In Cairo on Thursday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated that though Trump has determined to convey troops house, he’ll sustain the struggle towards the IS group extra broadly.
“Let me be clear: America will not retreat until the terror fight is over,” Pompeo stated.
The distinctive function of the U.S. army marketing campaign in Syria is its partnership with the Kurds and Arabs who have been prepared to behave as American proxies by preventing the Islamic State group with out U.S. troops having to take the lead fight position. U.S. forces took an analogous strategy in neighboring Iraq, beginning in 2014, however in that case, that they had a prepared companion within the Iraqi authorities, whereas in Syria, the U.S. is current with out the blessing of President Bashar Assad.
Syria is also difficult by the presence of Russian troops who’re, in impact, propping up the Assad authorities, and by Iranian help for Assad. American and Russian warplanes have shared the skies over Syria, finishing up separate— and in some instances, conflicting — missions towards the IS group and different targets.
The U.S. has about 5,200 troops in Iraq to help its safety forces, and Trump has given no indication he intends to withdraw them any time quickly. He has, nevertheless, asserted that the U.S. should convey an finish to the Mideast wars that started after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror assaults. He has questioned the knowledge of continuous the 17-year struggle in Afghanistan and lately demanded that about half of the 14,000 U.S. troops there be despatched residence.
AP: Pompeo assured of US cope with Turkey to guard Kurds
By: Matthew Lee, The Related Press 17 hours in the past
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ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — Regardless of Turkey’s vows on the contrary, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated Saturday he was assured the 2 nations can agree on a strategy to shield U.S.-allied Kurdish rebels in Syria after American troops withdraw from the nation.
After chatting with Turkish Overseas Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, Pompeo stated an settlement was a piece in progress however might be achieved in a method that permits the Turks to defend their nation whereas leaving alone Kurds who don’t pose a menace.
The highest U.S. diplomat stated he was “optimistic” that Kurds who fought alongside U.S. forces towards the Islamic State group in Syria are usually not threatened by pledges from Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to launch army operations towards what he phrases Kurdish “terrorists.”
“We recognize the Turkish people’s right and President Erdogan’s right to defend their country from terrorists and we also know that those who aren’t terrorists, those who were fighting alongside us all this time, deserve to be protected and we are confident that we can achieve an outcome that achieves both of those: protect the Turks from legitimate terror threats and prevent any substantial risks to folks who don’t present terror risks to Turkey,” Pompeo informed reporters.
“We had this conversation, many details still to be worked out but I am optimistic we can achieve a good outcome,” Pompeo stated of his name with Cavusoglu from Abu Dhabi, the place he was on the fourth leg of a nine-nation Mideast journey.
He provided no particulars, however stated the U.S. particular envoy for Syria and the anti-IS coalition, Jim Jeffrey, had traveled to northern Syria earlier this previous week to work on the matter and can be returning to Turkey to proceed the discussions.
Turkey considers lots of Syria’s Kurdish teams to be terrorists and has pledged to assault them. The threats have intensified in current days because the U.S. begins the withdrawal course of from Syria on President Donald Trump’s orders.
On a go to Friday to Turkish troops stationed close to the Syrian border, Turkey’s protection minister, Hulusi Akar, stated his nation was “determined” to struggle Kurdish militias it considers terrorists. He stated army preparations have been ongoing.
Pompeo and U.S. nationwide safety adviser John Bolton have made comparable assurances to the Kurds, which have been denounced by Erdogan and different Turkish officers.
Feedback by Bolton on the matter drew a fast rejection this previous week from Erdogan, who stated they have been a “serious mistake” and that Turkey “cannot make any concessions in this regard.”
Turkey insists its army actions are aimed toward Kurdish fighters in Syria — the Syrian Kurdish Peoples Safety Models, or YPG — whom it regards as terrorists, and never towards the Kurdish individuals. That has been Turkey’s longtime place. Turkey has rejected any position for Kurdish fighters in restoring peace to the war-torn area.

Federal Occasions: Congress passes assure to pay feds after shutdown
By: Jessie Bur 2 days in the past
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The Home handed laws Jan. 11 that ensures again pay for federal staff after the federal government reopens, which was accepted by the Senate the day earlier than.
President Donald Trump has already indicated that he would signal such laws, making it very possible that feds will no less than see reimbursement for missed paychecks after the shutdown ends.
Jan. 11 marks the primary day that over 800,000 federal staff will miss a full paycheck because of the partial authorities shutdown.
“With lawmakers admitting there is no end in sight to this shutdown, furloughed and unpaid working federal employees can take some comfort in knowing that Congress has passed legislation providing them with back pay once this political nightmare is over,” stated Nationwide Lively and Retired Federal Staff Affiliation Nationwide President Ken Thomas in a press release.
“Yet, even that is not an immediate solution. Federal employees are scrambling to make arrangements for unpaid bills, including tapping their retirement accounts. Evictions are becoming a real possibility, medical issues go untended, local economies are suffering and services to citizens have ceased as workloads pile up.”
The laws doesn’t assist federal contractors, nevertheless, who might by no means obtain compensation for the times they’re unable to work throughout this authorities shutdown.

Stripes: Commandant tells Coast Guard households: ‘You have not, and will not, be forgotten’

By STARS AND STRIPES Revealed: January 14, 2019

Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Karl Schultz drew consideration to ongoing missions across the globe and expressed his help for Coast Guard households because the service ready for about 41,000 members to go with out paychecks on Tuesday as a part of the continued partial authorities shutdown.

“While our Coast Guard workforce is deployed, there are loved ones at home reviewing family finances, researching how to get support, and weighing childcare options—they are holding down the fort,” Schultz wrote on Sunday. “Please know that we are doing everything we can to support and advocate for you while your loved one stands the watch. You have not, and will not, be forgotten.”

The potential for a shutdown started when Congress did not move a finances for parts of the federal authorities earlier than a Dec. 21 deadline, stoked by a disagreement with President Donald Trump to fund his marketing campaign promise of a wall alongside the U.S. border with Mexico.

The opposite army service branches are a part of the Division of Protection, which has been unaffected by the shutdown. However in contrast to the Military, the Air Pressure, the Navy and the Marine Corps, the Coast Guard falls beneath the Division of Homeland Safety, which is affected.

Round 7,400 civilian Coast Guard staff have been furloughed and the disbursement of pay for some 50,000 retired Coast Guard members and staff could possibly be affected, officers stated.

Coast Guard officers have been capable of pull collectively the $150 million wanted to cowl the ultimate checks of 2018, however funds aren’t out there for this week’s scheduled payday.

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