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Bernie Sanders blasts Trump for ‘insulting’ talk of privatizing the Veterans Administration

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Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) called out President-elect Donald Trump Friday after he suggested a “public-private option” for veterans seeking healthcare.

“Privatizing the VA would be an insult to the more than 22 million veterans who risked their lives to defend our country and it would significantly lower the quality of health care they receive,” Sanders said in a statement, The Hill reported. “Our goal, shared by The American Legion and other major veterans’ organizations, must be to improve the VA, not destroy it.”

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Earlier this week, a senior transition official told reporters that the president-elect was searching for a way to privatize the VA.

“We think we have to have kind of a … public-private option, because some vets love the VA … some vets want to go to the VA,” the senior official said. “So, the idea is to come up with a solution that solves the problem. And it’s not the easiest thing in the world because you’ve got all these little kingdoms out there, which is hard.”

No details were given on how the privatization would work and how much doctors would be paid for their services. The official refused to elaborate.

After veterans faced long waits for far away VA facilities, Congressional Republicans began looking for other options. Currently, veterans can get private care through the Choice Card program Congress created in 2014. Both of Trump’s expected VA secretary options reportedly want to expand that program to all veterans, however.

Opponents of the privatization idea believe that funding other programs will pull money from the existing VA making programs even worse. Other critics note that VA doctors are experts in things like PTSD and treating health problems known for impacting veterans the most. One example is a rare liver cancer that was discovered by VA doctors that was isolated to Vietnam veterans stationed in certain areas known for serving a specific type of fish. In an NPR report, a VA doctor explained that a personal doctor wouldn’t have been informed about this type of cancer and the cause.

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Sanders, who serves on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, pointed out that veterans groups are against the option the Trump transition is advocating.

“The veterans’ organizations are right,” he said. “We must protect the VA, not destroy it.”

American Legion Executive Director Verna Jones explained that “dollar-for-dollar, there is no better care or value available anywhere in the United States – period.” She urged Trump to look into the information on the issue.

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“When men and women put their lives on the line to defend us, the president must listen to them, not to the Koch brothers and their extreme right-wing, anti-government ideology,” Sanders went on to say. “We will vigorously oppose any and all efforts to privatize the VA.”


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Trump supporter complains about being socially toxic: ‘People unfriend you’

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Fox News anchor Jeanine Pirro on Saturday complained about being judged by the content of her character.

"People unfriend you!' Pirro complained. "They don't want you to be a -- they don't want to communicate with you."

"People I've had at my wedding don't talk -- my children's weddings actually, they don't talk to me anymore," she explained.

"It's not usually the right or the left, I mean, the intolerance is on the left," she argued.

The longtime Trump friend was harshly criticized for her complaints. Here's some of what people were saying:

https://twitter.com/joshtpm/status/1282132522332282880

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Trump disappointed conservative media isn’t praising him enough for letting Roger Stone walk: report

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President Donald Trump has been disappointed in right-wing media for not giving him more credit for pardoning longtime advisor Roger Stone.

"A senior administration official said there were serious divisions among Trump’s aides and allies over Stone’s case, with some cautioning that keeping him out of prison could be politically risky. Among those opposed was Attorney General William P. Barr, who called the prosecution 'righteous' in an interview Wednesday with ABC News, the official said, adding that those pushing Trump to show loyalty to Stone included Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), who is close to the president," The Washington Post reported Saturday.

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2020 Election

Lincoln Project takes on the ‘Trump crime spree’ in new ad: ‘It’s a billion-dollar criminal enterprise’

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Disgruntled former top Republican strategists took on President Donald Trump's "law and order" message in a new 2020 video posted on Saturday.

The ad, by the Lincoln Project, recounts how many top former Trump officials have been convicted of felonies.

"It's not a campaign, it's a billion-dollar criminal enterprise," the narrator begins.

The ad noted the criminal convictions of Paul Manafort, Rick Gates, Mike Flynn, George Papadopoulos, Michael Cohen and Roger Stone.

"Nixon was bad, Trump is worse," the narrator declares.

"Trump is the most corrupt president in U.S. history. There's only one way to end the Trump crime spree -- throw him and his crooks out of office," the ad concludes.

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