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New York City Mayor Reverses Opposition On Veterans Department Bill
On Nov. 4, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio reversed his opposition to City Council Bill 314, which would permanently establish a Department of Veteran Services in New York. The bill’s passage, spearheaded by Councilman Eric Ulrich and the veteran service organization Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, will allot greater resources to New York City’s 230,000 veterans.
Ulrich and de Blasio met this week to discuss the bill, which has been hotly contested since it was introduced in 2014 and has the backing of 45 city council members. Those close to the negotiation confirmed the bill will be brought to a vote on Nov. 10, reports Politico New York.
"Agreement on this bill emphasizes what can happen when the veterans community is united," said Paul Rieckhoff, IAVA’s CEO and founder in a press release. "Veterans need to keep up the fight and contact their city council members and urge them to pass this bill before Veterans Day.”
In October 2014, IAVA provided de Blasio and the New York City commissioner of Veterans Affairs, Loree Sutton, with a list of policy recommendations to develop comprehensive plans for New York City veterans, in particular, the establishment of a department for New York City veterans.
If passed, the newly created department will replace the current mayor’s Office of Veterans Affairs and will increase the budget for veterans programs. The current budget is $600,000 annually, which amounts to $2.50 per veteran. It relies heavily on coordinating with other agencies to address issues of homelessness, mental health, and unemployment among the city’s veteran population. The new department would move those resources under one roof.
"This is a tremendous victory for the veterans movement," said Rieckhoff. "The passage of this bill next week will be truly a historic Veterans Day gift for veteran activists across New York City-and nationwide. … The establishment of a dedicated city department for veterans services will be a groundbreaking victory for our community that will save and change countless lives for decades and generations to come.”
'What happens after that is out of their control' — Former military leaders and lawyers react to Trump's war crimes pardons
On Friday, President Donald Trump intervened in the cases of three U.S. service members accused of war crimes, granting pardons to two Army soldiers accused of murder in Afghanistan and restoring the rank of a Navy SEAL found guilty of wrongdoing in Iraq.
While the statements coming out of the Pentagon regarding Trump's actions have been understandably measured, comments from former military leaders and other knowledgable veterans help paint a picture as to why the president's Friday actions are so controversial.
Raccoon infestations and extreme rust didn’t stop an anonymous buyer from nabbing this Soviet-era submarine
A former Soviet submarine that became a tourist attraction docked adjacent to the Queen Mary in Long Beach is expected to be sold soon to an anonymous buyer, with plans to remove the rusting sub by mid-May.
The 48-year-old Russian Foxtrot-class submarine, known as the Scorpion, had hosted paying visitors for 17 years before it fell into such disrepair that it became infested with raccoons and was closed to the public in 2015.
Former Army 1st Lt. Clint Lorance, whom President Donald Trump recently pardoned of his 2013 murder conviction, claims he was nothing more than a pawn whom generals sacrificed for political expediency.
The infantry officer had been sentenced to 19 years in prison for ordering his soldiers to open fire on three unarmed Afghan men in 2012. Two of the men were killed.
During a Monday interview on Fox & Friends, Lorance accused his superiors of betraying him.
"A service member who knows that their commanders love them will go to the gates of hell for their country and knock them down," Lorance said. "I think that's extremely important. Anybody who is not part of the senior Pentagon brass will tell you the same thing."
"I think folks that start putting stars on their collar — anybody that has got to be confirmed by the Senate for a promotion — they are no longer a soldier, they are a politician," he continued. "And so I think they lose some of their values — and they certainly lose a lot of their respect from their subordinates — when they do what they did to me, which was throw me under the bus."
Fifteen years after the U.S. military toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein, the Army's massive two-volume study of the Iraq War closed with a sobering assessment of the campaign's outcome: With nearly 3,500 U.S. service members killed in action and trillions of dollars spent, "an emboldened and expansionist Iran appears to be the only victor.
Thanks to roughly 700 pages of newly-publicized secret Iranian intelligence cables, we now have a good idea as to why.
A U.S. Air Force combat controller will receive the nation's third highest award for valor this week for playing an essential role in two intense firefight missions against the Taliban in Afghanistan last year.
Tech. Sgt. Cody Smith, an airman with the 26th Special Tactics Squadron, 24th Special Operations Wing at Air Force Special Operations Command, will receive the Silver Star at Cannon Air Force Base, New Mexico on Nov. 22, the service announced Monday.