Category Archives: Veterans

Disabled Veterans Benefits Saved for Now


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:

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.

Veterans lament ousting of Red Warriors at Standing Rock

20161204_125202Standing Rock was a hard-earned victory and while the support of veterans was brief, it was effective and proves to the US government that people will no longer stand for the abuse of our Native population.

Tim King Global News Centre

(CANNON BALL, ND)  The only word to describe the government of North Dakota and the police and soldiers associated with harming Native people who stand in objection to the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), is disgusting.  Foul has a place as well.  These cretins, including John Stewart “Jack” Dalrymple, are the remaining vestiges of a while world of treaty violating terror that is bound to be strongly reinforced with the presidency of Donald Trump.

But they are going to learn that the people of this nation are done with it.  The veterans I met while attending the “Veterans Stand for Standing Rock” movement are the best people I have ever met in my life, on a level only with the Native tribal populations fighting to save the earth for all of us.  The average American, loaded with credit card debt and mortgage obligations are of little help, they are in the trap like a hamster on a wheel running hard to keep up and keep what they have.

But throughout the United States and beyond, are countless people who are willing to resist and fight back and we scared the hell out of Dalrymple and company when thousands and thousands of us descended on Standing Rock, showing our deep and sincere support and respect for people who have been fighting for months and months in the face of Nazi-like abuse to make DAPL die, and it is dead.

The latest development, unsurprisingly, is a tribal request for the Red Warrior Society to leave Standing Rock.

They ARE Standing Rock.

No group has held the line more or taken more abuse than the Red Warriors, and its eviction has a lot to do with the rumor mill. The rumor was that Red Warriors were arming themselves, this was absolutely untrue and a detailed search of their camp yielded nothing close to a weapon.  Still, they were asked to leave.  Many Standing Rock participants were angered that Red Warriors asked them to get up early and participate in direct actions.  Many say they were roused before they had a chance to eat breakfast.  Red Warriors were demanding of time but their intentions were always true.

Native people have long dealt with division dissent.

From the earliest days when Native people were coerced into working with the US Cavalry which was in the direct process of conducting a Genocide of indigenous population, to today’s more mellow Native leaders who still believe treaties and laws will help Native people, the more edgy groups like Red Warrior Society are scary.  But what is more scary than black blood being pumped beneath the Missouri River?  The catastrophic damage the pipeline represents is untenable, and just outright stupid.  What good is anything if our water is polluted beyond repair?

Another tragic consideration is the naivety and abject ignorance of Americans who have not a clue how badly their water supplies have already been contaminated.  The book I co-authored with Robert O’Dowd, “Betrayal”, details how the Marine Corps has horribly contaminated all of its military reservations, most of which were constructed during WWII.  In only a few decades, underground water supplies were ruined.

Fracking is another major issue that plagues our country today.

Red Warriors and caring veterans are all parts to the puzzle of resolution and I hope that any means necessary are used to end the vast mistreatment of our planet.

Mni Wiconi – “Water is Life”



Tim King: Salem Insider Editor and Writer



With almost 25 years of experience on the west coast and worldwide as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor, Tim King is’s Executive News Editor. His background includes covering the war in Afghanistan in 2006 and 2007, and reporting from the Iraq war in 2008. Tim is a former U.S. Marine who follows stories of Marines and Marine Veterans; he’s covered British Royal Marines and in Iraq, Tim embedded with the same unit he served with in the 1980′s.

Tim holds awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing from traditional mainstream news agencies like The Associated Press and Electronic Media Association; he also holds awards from the National Coalition of Motorcyclists, the Oregon Confederation of Motorcycle Clubs; and was presented with a ‘Good Neighbor Award’ for his reporting, by The Red Cross.


Tim’s years as a Human Rights reporter have taken on many dimensions; he has rallied for a long list of cultures and populations and continues to every day, with a strong and direct concentration on the 2009 Genocide of Tamil Hindus and Christians in Sri Lanka. As a result of his long list of reports exposing war crimes against Tamil people, Tim was invited to be the keynote speaker at the FeTNA (Federation of Tamil Sangams of North America) Conference in Baltimore, in July 2012. This is the largest annual gathering of North American Tamils; Tim addressed more than 3000 people and was presented with a traditional Sri Lanka ‘blessed garland’ and a shawl as per the tradition and custom of Tamil Nadu.

Tim specializes in writing about political and military developments worldwide; and maintains that the label ‘terrorist’ is ill placed in many cases; specifically with the LTTE Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka, where it was used as an excuse to slaughter people by the tens of thousands; and in Gaza, where a trapped population lives at the mercy of Israel’s destructive military war crime grinder. At the center of all of this, Tim pays extremely close attention to the safety and welfare of journalists worldwide.


Noted Author Gives Medical Marijuana Dispensary Two Thumbs Up



Tim King Global News Centre

It was my first time in a medical  marijuana dispensary and it was quite an experience. I was pleasantly surprised by the atmosphere and the friendliness of the staff.

100% satisfaction implemented by team NETA! —Ace Knight 

Lament for humanity: a 50 year reflection

burrowes-folksHuman activity drives 200 species of life (birds, animals, fish, insects, reptiles, amphibians, plants) to extinction each day and 80% of the world’s forests and over 90% of the large fish in the ocean are already gone.

Robert J. Burrowes Global News Centre

(TASMANIA)  Deeply affected by the death of my two uncles in World War II, on 1 July 1966, the 24th anniversary of the ‘USS Sturgeon’ sinking of the Japanese prisoner-of-war ship ‘Montevideo Maru’ which killed the man after whom I am named, I decided that I would devote my life to working out why human beings are violent and then developing a strategy to end it.

Letter to Jeb Bush: torture is never justifiable

Remember what went on at Abu Ghraib, at the Guantánamo Bay detention camp and our extraordinary rendition program (secret abductions and transfers of prisoners to other countries where torture was used)?

Republican candidate for president, Jeb Bush. Photo via Wikipedia  by Michael Vadon.

Republican candidate for president, Jeb Bush. Photo via Wikipedia
by Michael Vadon.

d animals for sport.  

Ralph E. Stone Global News Centre

(SAN FRANCISCO)   Mr. Bush — or Jeb if you don’t mind — I was greatly disturbed to hear that if you became president you won’t rule out the resumption of the use of torture arguing that brutal questioning methods might be justifiable and necessary in some circumstances.  Jeb, torture is never justifiable.

President Obama banned CIA torture by executive order in January 2009.  I urge you to reconsider your statement concerning torture and agree to leave President Obama’s executive order in place.  I don’t want a president who would use torture.

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