Category Archives: Robert O’Dowd

Disabled Veterans Benefits Saved for Now

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The Trump Administration targeted disabled veterans in 2017. Regardless of the ‘lip service’ from the White House, it’s clear that disabled Veterans’ benefits are a target of opportunity.

Robert O’Dowd

(WASHINGTON, DC) – Last year the Trump Administration’s budget proposal attempted to reduce federal spending on the backs of disabled veterans who were unemployable.

The money cut from the benefit would’ve gone to an updated version of the VA Choice program that VA Secretary David Shulkin intended to have passed through Congress by the end of fiscal year 2017 on Sept. 30. The program allows veterans to seek health care outside the department.

In May 2017, the Administration’s budget proposal contained a proposal that would have eliminated eligibility for VA’s Individual Unemployability (IU) program for thousands of disabled veterans.

As usual, it’s about money. The budget proposed to remove veterans from the program who are eligible for Social Security payments and reached the minimum age to receive Social Security. Approximately 225,000 veterans aged 60 or older could’ve been affected by the proposal. Of those veterans, 7,000 are 80 years old or older.

If enacted, it would have terminated existing IU ratings for veterans when they reach the age of 62-the minimum retirement age for Social Security benefits–as well as cut off IU benefits for any veteran already in receipt of Social Security retirement benefits.

In the face of staunch opposition from DAV and other VSOs, the Administration subsequently backed away from this measure; however, the threat remains that this proposal or something like it could resurface in the future.

IU is a part of VA’s disability compensation program that allows the VA to pay certain Veterans disability compensation at the 100% rate, even though VA has not rated their service-connected disabilities at the total level. The eligibility requirements are (1) You must be a Veteran; (2) You must have at least one service connected disability rated at least at 60%, OR (3) Two or more service connected disabilities at least one disability ratable at 40 percent or more with a combined rating of 70 percent or more (4) You must be unable to maintain substantially gainful employment as a result of service-connected disabilities (marginal employment, such as odd jobs, is not considered substantial gainful).

There is more than enough fat from the VA’s budget to cut than to go after the benefits paid to disabled veterans. Veterans signed an IOU to the government to give their lives, if necessary, to protect the freedoms that all Americans enjoy. Those who were disabled from military service deserve not only a “Thanks for your service,” but the VA benefits they earned with their sweat and blood.

In the FY 2019 Budget, President Trump proposes a total of $198.6 billion for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). This request, an increase of $12.1 billion over 2018.

In the face of mounting pressure from veterans and Congressman, the VA Secretary David Shulkin backed-off the proposal to terminate the IU program for older Veterans.

The only way to ensure that IU benefits are protected is to codify them into law. On November 9, 2017, Representative Maxine Waters (CA), introduced H.R. 4369, the Protecting Benefits for Disabled Veterans Act of 2017. The bill would codify regulations on IU into federal law.

H.R. 4369 would provide additional protections for IU and prohibit the VA from considering the age of the veteran or their eligibility to any retirement benefit, including Social Security, in making such determinations.

Fifty-seven Congressman signed a letter to VA Secretary objecting to the Trump proposal. Yet, when if came to co-sponsoring H.R. 4369, most of them were AWOL.

As of this date, there are nine Democratic co-sponsors to H.R. 4369: Rep. Evans, Dwight [D-PA-2], Rep. Beatty, Joyce [D-OH-3], Rep. Maloney, Sean Patrick [D-NY-18], Rep. Payne, Donald M., Jr. [D-NJ-10], Rep. Norton, Eleanor Holmes [D-DC-At Large], Rep. Ryan, Tim [D-OH-13], Rep. Bordallo, Madeleine Z. [D-GU-At Large], Rep. DeFazio, Peter A. [D-OR-4], and Rep. Lofgren, Zoe [D-CA-19].

There are 192 Democrats in the House of Representatives. There is no excuse for many more Democrats to be co-sponsors of H.R. 4369. If your Democratic representative is not on the list of co-sponsors, this is the time to urge him/her to do so.

There are no Republicans co-sponsored for H.R. 4369. There is no comparable bill introduced in the U.S. Senate.

All 435 seats in the United States House of Representatives and 33 of the 100 seats in the United States Senate will be contested in 2018.

There are about 22 million Veterans in the country. Veterans need to let their voices be heard. If your Representative is not a co-sponsor of H.R. 4369, this is the time to let him/her know how you feel about throwing your brothers under the bus.

The termination of IU would have eliminated 225,000 senior disabled veterans from the IU benefit.

The Disabled American Veterans (DAV) is vehemently opposed to limiting disability compensation benefits, including IU, due to a veteran’s age. Many disabled veterans may not have income replacement available-especially those who have been on IU for an extended period in advance of reaching retirement age. Cutting off IU eligibility for veterans who turn 62 would compel many disabled veterans to take Social Security benefits early which significantly reduces the value of the benefit. The disabled veterans affected could thus be “doubly” penalized because they cannot work and save for retirement as do many peers of their age. Eliminating their eligibility for IU would be grossly unfair.

The DAV is calling on all members and supporters to contact their Representatives and urge them to co-sponsor and support H.R. 4369 to protect veterans and their families now and in the future, from these harmful proposals.

Click the link below to log in and send your message to your Congressional representative to support H.R. 4369:
https://www.votervoice.net/BroadcastLinks/Imefs73H8IxbUhG9qnbtwA

bob-o-dowdBob O’Dowd is a former U.S. Marine with thirty years of experience on the east coast as an auditor, accountant, and financial manager with the Federal government, half of that time with the Defense Logistics Agency in Philadelphia. Originally from Pennsylvania, he enlisted in the Marine Corps at age 19, served in the 1st, 3rd, and 4th Marine Aircraft Wings in 52 months of active duty in the 1960s. He went on to graduate from Temple University. Robert O’Dowd and Tim King co-authored BETRAYAL: Toxic Exposure of U.S. Marines, Murder and Government Cover-Up. This book stands with the best works of New Journalism. It tells the story of the thousands of Veterans and their families, once stationed at these hazardous military installations, who have continued to be ignored by the U.S. government by denial of the effects of exposure to environmental hazards, including the highest incidence of occurrence of male breast cancer in any other demographic in the U.S. Legislation to provide health care and compensation for Camp Lejeune Veterans and their dependents was introduced during the 111th Congress.

Army attempts to squash Jade Helm anger

image002Texans voice anger over Jade Helm Special Operations Exercise. 

Robert O’Dowd Global News Centre

(SALEM)  The good people of Bastrop, TX, fired some tough questions to the Army spokesman about the Jade Helm exercise in their county, but if the Army intended to use this this meeting to dispel the ‘hoax of Jade Helm’ to millions of Americans, they failed.

Jade Helm 15 is scheduled to run from July 15th through September 15th in seven or more states.

Obama’s Jade Helm 15 formula for disaster?

jade-helm-7654Jade Helm should make every American pay attention and feel uneasy, especially since President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) on December 31, 2011, codifying indefinite military detention without charge or trial into law for the first time in American history.

Tim King and Robert O’Dowd Global News Centre

(SALEM)  The Jade Helm 15 exercise announced by the military for July 15th through September 15th is an unconventional warfare operation in nine states, involving Special Operations and 82nd Airborne troops, operating off of military reservations in U.S. cities and towns with federal, state and local police involvement.

Marine veteran, journalist Robert O’Dowd: murder, corruption CIA drug running

richie-allen-showEnvironmental contamination, cocaine trafficking and murder in the Marines...

Global News Centre

(SALEM)   Richie Allen is a London journalist and broadcaster with a background in commercial radio, alternative media TV and now a fast-emerging global radio show exposing the truth about world events and reality that you will not get in the corporate-controlled mainstream media.

Richie Allen interviewed Robert O’Dowd, former El Toro Marine earlier in 2014 on the murder, corruption & CIA drug running at former Marine Corps Air Station El Toro US military bases as written about in BETRAYAL:  Toxic Exposure of US Marines, Murder and Government Cover-up.

Fifty years after Berkeley’s Free Speech Movement—speech Is increasingly endangered

Mario Savio

Mario Savio

Today at Berkeley, political protests are allowed, but only in two designated places.  A speech code in the student housing guide warns against “verbal abuse” and “hate speech.” 

Allan Brownfeld Global News Centre

(WASHINGTON DC)  October marks the 50th anniversary of the Free Speech Movement (FSM) at the University of California-Berkeley.   To commemorate this student rebellion of the 1960s, the University of California hosted special classes, sing-ins, and a host of other celebratory events.  At Berkeley, the steps of Sproul Hall are named after radical student leader Mario Savio.  A campus dining hall is called the Free Speech Movement Cafe.  

Confessions of a Marine Corps Mutineer

Tim King about two months before being sentenced to 30 days at the Correctional Custody Unit at the Camp Pendleton Marine Base in California. Photo: U.S. Marine Corps

Tim King about two months before being sentenced to 30 days at the Correctional Custody Unit at the Camp Pendleton Marine Base in California. Photo: U.S. Marine Corps

Definition of MUTINY – forcible or passive resistance to lawful authority; especially: concerted revolt (as of a naval crew) against discipline or a superior officer.

(SALEM)  I became a bit of an expert on the military legal system during my time as a U.S. Marine. I don’t know if it was half me and half the Marine Corps, or just how it all came to be the mess that it was; but I do feel that I became a qualified expert of sorts at being a Marine troublemaker. In Marine Corps jargon I was a ‘Shitbird’ and believe me, it was more like a club than just a word used to belittle us.

BETRAYAL: Book Review by Bradford I. Brunson, Ph.D.

BetrayalThere are numerous former Marines, their dependents/families, and civilians that have been unduly affected in a negative way by their affiliation with MCAS El Toro.

Global News Centre 

(WASHINGTON DC)  I have known Robert O’Dowd [Bob] for the past two years. We became acquainted through his writings, research and publications pertaining to MCAS, El Toro. I am a former U.S. Marine, previously stationed at MCAS, El Toro between 1969 and 1971. I am also a practicing, licensed psychologist in the State of Texas for the past 30 years. I was assigned twice to the Nuclear, Biological & Chemical Warfare School training command. I also served nearby at the Marine Barracks, Seal Beach Naval Weapons Station. I was exposed to numerous chemical contaminants during NBC Warfare School training [including Dioxin, TCE’s, Mustard Gas, various CS Gas compounds, and possibly nerve gas [Sarin] – which I have yet to fully document. Robert O’Dowd has done an extremely thorough, professional and objective recording of the history of MCAS, El Toro; and, the military incidents leading up to the base’s closure in the late 1990’s. 

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