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Outgoing VA director rips GOP lawmakers for trying to privatize veteran care to pay off wealthy allies

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In an op-ed published late Wednesday night , outgoing Veteran’s Affairs Secretary David Shulkin ripped into the “toxic” politicized nature of Washington, D.C., saying the atmosphere in the nation’s capitol makes it near impossible to get anything done, and that he was forced out because he opposed privatization of veterans’ services.

Following President Donald Trump’s dismissal of Shulkin — to be replaced by the president’s personal physician, Rear Adm. Ronny L. Jackson —  the outgoing administrator wrote in the New York Times that it had “been my greatest professional honor to serve our country’s more than 20 million veterans,” before touting his accomplishments.

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He then turned to why it was difficult for him to fulfill the mission of the V.A., blaming the political culture in the U.S. , as well as members of Congress who want to privatize services for veterans.

“It seems that these successes within the department have intensified the ambitions of people who want to put V.A. health care in the hands of the private sector,” Shulkin wrote. “I believe differences in philosophy deserve robust debate, and solutions should be determined based on the merits of the arguments. The advocates within the administration for privatizing V.A. health services, however, reject this approach.”

“They saw me as an obstacle to privatization who had to be removed. That is because I am convinced that privatization is a political issue aimed at rewarding select people and companies with profits, even if it undermines care for veterans,” he added.

“I have fought to stand up for this great department and all that it embodies,” Shulkin wrote. “In recent months, though, the environment in Washington has turned so toxic, chaotic, disrespectful and subversive that it became impossible for me to accomplish the important work that our veterans need and deserve. I can assure you that I will continue to speak out against those who seek to harm the V.A. by putting their personal agendas in front of the well-being of our veterans.”

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“I came to government with an understanding that Washington can be ugly, but I assumed that I could avoid all of the ugliness by staying true to my values. I have been falsely accused of things by people who wanted me out of the way. But despite these politically-based attacks on me and my family’s character, I am proud of my record and know that I acted with the utmost integrity. Unfortunately, none of that mattered,” he wrote before concluding, “As I prepare to leave government, I am struck by a recurring thought: It should not be this hard to serve your country.”

You can read the whole piece here.

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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Is Trump’s love affair with Fox News fading?

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Last month after Donald Trump watched Fox News lob what he called "softball questions" at a Democratic lawmaker, the US president delivered a crisp smackdown of his favorite network: "Fox sure ain't what it used to be."

After years of often fawning coverage by Fox, particularly from its pro-Trump anchors like Sean Hannity, the commander in chief appears to be tilting his media gaze toward a younger, more right-wing rival, cable outfit One America News Network (OANN).

The small upstart broadcaster was launched only recently, in 2013, by technology millionaire Robert Herring, who sought a more conservative alternative to mainstream media behemoths like CNN.

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Workers were ordered not to protest or show any ‘resistance’ at Trump rally in Pennsylvania

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Workers in attendance at President Donald Trump's rally at a Shell plant in Pennsylvania on Tuesday were ordered not to protest or do "anything viewed as resistance" during the event.

That's according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, which reported late Friday on the strict instructions employees were given by their bosses ahead of the event.

"No yelling, shouting, protesting, or anything viewed as resistance will be tolerated at the event," read orders from one contractor. "An underlying theme of the event is to promote good will from the unions. Your building trades leaders and jobs stewards have agreed to this."

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Donald Trump and the Republican Party hate America: It’s time to say it out loud

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For most of modern political history, the Republican Party has used patriotism — an odd and obfuscating sentimentality — as a weapon to shame critics of American foreign policy, and turn the general public against dissidents who reject the folly of Empire maintenance through violence. Samuel Johnson’s excoriation — made famous by Bob Dylan — that “patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels” always seemed accurate in both its denunciation of the manipulative emotion itself, and also of those who take advantage of it for political expediency.

America has collapsed into a prone position, however, where the scoundrels are so brazen in their inhumanity, so bold in their indifference to suffering, and so barbaric in their refusal to compromise for the sake of their own country that only their own language can aptly describe them.

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