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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.

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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.

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.”

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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.

“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 wishes ‘Happy Birthday to the US Navy’ — with a picture of a Russian battlecruiser

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Adding to President Donald Trump's Russia obsession was an awkward misfire in a simple happy birthday message.

Sunday morning, before Trump set out on another day of golf, he tweeted a celebratory message to the U.S. Navy, which was officially established in 1775. Instead of showing photos of historic Navy ships or courageous sailors or decorated admiral, Trump posted a battleship, that isn't even an American ship.

According to Politico defense editor Dave Brown, the photo used in the graphic was Russian battlecruiser, the Pyotr Velikiy.

Democrats have alleged that Trump has an unnaturally close relationship to Russia, giving President Vladimir Putin whatever foreign policy demands he has.

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Former George W. Bush aide reveals why Republican talking points on Syria are complete crap

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During the weekend news shows, President Donald Trump's aides and allies took to televisions to justify the United States allowing Turkey to kill U.S. Kurdish allies.

"New Trumpist talking point," former George W. Bush speechwriter David Frum began. "The only way to stop Turkey['s] massacre of Kurds is to go to war against Turkey."

That's an inaccurate framing, Frum explained.

"Turkey never believed that: that's why they asked Trump's permission to invade," he said. "All he had to do was say No. He said, Yes. Why? All the plausible answers are corrupt."

https://twitter.com/davidfrum/status/1183446682492637184

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John Dean laments Trump probably should be registered as a foreign agent

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While many of President Donald Trump's campaign staffers, advisers or friends have been outed for doing foreign work while being an unregistered foreign agent, one former White House counsel thinks Trump should also probably register.

"In addition to other impeachable offenses, Trump should be charged with failing to register as a foreign agent under FARA," said Twitter user Connie Gruen.

Dean noticed the tweet and retweeted with his own note that it's "sadly" probably true.

"Sadly, this is probably true," agreed Dean. "Mueller did not investigate if Trump is, in fact, a Russian agent. Barr does not believe a POTUS can be investigated for anything, so the FBI is not. Because he acts like a RU agent Congress should be investigating his consistently pro-RU behavior!"

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