MILITARY AND VETERANS AFFAIRS

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44.

Augment the G.I. Bill: to require enhanced oversight of the Veteran's Administration bureaucracy to expedite medical services, increase opportunities for rehabilitation, and temporarily increase the government's down payment for veterans purchasing homes to fifty percent of the purchase price. 

AUGMENTING THE G.I. BILL FOR VETERANS OF ARMED SERVICES 

Congress continues to receive reports of extreme deficiencies in the treatment of our soldiers returning from duty. Continual, aggressive oversight must be implemented to expand further interactive tools to expedite medical treatment and disability evaluations, and to research and correct issues regarding the condition of facilities, staffing at hospitals, and future physical and mental healthcare. 

It reminds me about TO HELL AND BACK, the story of World War II hero Audie Murphy. Bill Norton, who wrote and directed TOUR OF DUTY wants to remake the movie, but from a different perspective. Murphy came back to the states a war hero, and turned that into a successful movie career. But Bill told me that Murphy came home suffering from shell shock and survivor's guilt, and that Murphy had to relive his heroic exploits, with the explosions and all of it, for the movies. I didn't know that part of the story, and how it ultimately drove him nuts. 

Today I mentioned it to someone, and they informed me that a similar thing had happened to Sergeant Alvin York, the World War I hero, and recipient of the United States Medal of Honor, Italian Croce di Guerra, French Legion of Honor and the Croix de Guerre. Later, my 12 year old boy John asked me if I knew who the biggest hero of World War II was. I told him that the most famous ones I knew about were Audie Murphy and Commando Kelly. Kelly was the first enlisted man to be decorated with the Medal of Honor for action on the European continent. My son looked up Kelly on the internet, and we discovered that Kelly had suffered a similar fate as Murphy and York. 

Kelly came home to America and made enough money from Hollywood to open a gas station, but his wife was diagnosed with cancer, his insurance would not cover the costs, and the medical bills resulted in Kelly losing his home in foreclosure. He had a tough life, eventually dying of liver failure due to alcoholism. 

America needs to improve the benefits and the physical and mental health care provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs. It needs an honest single payer healthcare option to safeguard veterans from going bankrupt due to medical bills and catastrophic illness. 

We need to step up and make sure that those who enlist in our armed forces, and thereby show their gratitude an allegiance to our country for the opportunities that democracy can afford, are not forgotten but instead rewarded. 

We need to make sure not one more of our veterans is lost because they couldn't receive treatment in time. 

We need to get homeless veterans off the streets by using the underutilized Veteran's Administration facility on Wilshire Boulevard to support them in their struggles, and to house them in a manner that will be more attractive than living off the street. 

Now, people are wondering what to do with the America's glut of empty housing, the millions of empty homes in America, seized from families, including the families of veterans, that are still being quietly gobbled up by the financial trading enterprise. Out of the millions of homes in foreclosure due to bank sleight of hand, the international financial trading enterprise known to us as Bank of America, Inc. for instance, and contrary to their well disseminated rhetoric, has made only a token amount of permanent loan modifications in California. I am stunned and outraged that there has been nothing tangible done to make those families whole, other than government funding for increased bureaucracy and counseling. 

Therefore, as a temporary measure, to reduce the glut in bank owned housing, the G.I. Bill should be augmented to increase the government's down payment for veterans purchasing homes, to fifty percent of the purchase price, and if elected I am prepared to author such a bill. 

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