There appears to be a serious security flaw in the ID cards currently issued by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. According to several reports, anyone with a smartphone and bar code reader app can read the owner’s Social Security number.!/PogoWasRight/status/401860468060348416 reports:

Anyone with a smartphone and a bar code app can scan any VA identification card issued since 2004 and the cardholder’s Social Security number immediately pops up on the screen.

No one from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs would go on camera to answer questions.

A VA spokesperson did respond, saying they’ve begun work on the next-generation ID card, which will not contain a Social Security number.

However, it’s not being rolled out until next year.!/BruceDemarest/status/402500392116056064!/Doctrine_Man/status/406426784142745601

Until a fix is in place, TCPalm recommends that veterans “treat their current ID cards as they do their Social Security card and leave home without it, unless it is needed for a day-of appointment.”

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“Someone needed help and they felt privileged to be given the opportunity.” UPDATE: The VA also sent Michael Sulsona a brand new wheelchair.

1. Michael Sulsona is a Vietnam veteran who has been waiting for a new wheelchair for the last two years. He says the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA) has denied his requests for a replacement.

Michael Sulsona is a Vietnam veteran who has been waiting for a new wheelchair for the last two years. He says the U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs (VA) has denied his requests for a replacement.

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Michael Sulsona / Via

2. Last week, his wheelchair finally fell apart as he was shopping at Lowe’s. A few employees saw what happened and Sulsona was shocked at how quickly they were ready to help. He wrote a beautiful letter to his local paper about the experience:

“In 1971, I stepped on a land mine in Vietnam and lost both legs above the knee.

For the past two years, I have been waiting to receive a new wheelchair from the Veterans Administration. In addition, I have been told that I am not entitled to a spare wheelchair.

On the evening of July 7, my wheelchair fell apart again, while shopping at Lowe’s Home Improvement Center in on Forest Avenue in Mariners Harbor.

Three employees, David, Marcus and Souleyman jumped to my assistance immediately. They placed me in another chair while they went to work. They took the wheelchair apart and replaced the broken parts and told me, “We’re going to make this chair like new.”

I left 45 minutes after closing hours in my wheelchair that was like new.

I kept thanking them and all they could say was, “It was our honor.”

The actions of these three employees at Lowe’s showed me there are some who still believe in stepping to the plate.

They didn’t ask any questions, didn’t feel the need to fill out any forms or make phone calls. Someone needed help and they felt privileged to be given the opportunity.”


According to VA Spokesperson, VA New York/New Jersey Healthcare Network, Sulsona received a custom wheelchair and have pledged to service his chair when he needs it:

“We were very sorry to hear about the reported circumstances surrounding Mr. Sulsona’s request for a new wheelchair. We quickly investigated and can report the Veteran’s new custom wheelchair was delivered to him today and it along with his back up will be serviced by the VA as needed.

Too many Veterans wait too long to receive their care and benefits, and this has never been acceptable. Providing Veterans like Mr. Sulsona the quality care and benefits they have earned through their service is our most important mission at the Department of Veterans Affairs.”


Chris DiMaria, the store manager at the Lowe’s wear Sulsona’s chair was rebuilt, told BuzzFeed via a Lowe’s spokesperson that he was incredibly proud to have helped the veteran.

“Whether a customer needs assistance repairing their home or a wheelchair, our employees are ready to spring into action to help,” DiMaria said. “Marcus, David and Souleymane are a perfect example of the culture we embody here at Lowe’s, and I could not be more proud of my team or our company.”

Read more:!/CongHuelskamp/status/471816895763857408

The House Veterans Affairs Committee is grilling officials from the Department of Veterans Affairs about the scandal that has enveloped the VA and the Obama administration.!/HouseVetAffairs/status/471793682023481344

Kansas Republican Rep. Tim Huelskamp, who sits on the committee, is documenting what’s happening at the hearing:!/CongHuelskamp/status/471791839809642497!/CongHuelskamp/status/471798944876752896!/CongHuelskamp/status/471799630674792448!/CongHuelskamp/status/471801733950488576!/CongHuelskamp/status/471803358156951553!/CongHuelskamp/status/471805352754049026!/CongHuelskamp/status/471808958764969984!/CongHuelskamp/status/471810162597302273!/CongHuelskamp/status/471811934254538752!/CongHuelskamp/status/471813596574679040!/CongHuelskamp/status/471814464107728896!/CongHuelskamp/status/471816895763857408!/CongHuelskamp/status/471819345648427008!/CongHuelskamp/status/471823911404199936!/CongHuelskamp/status/471826954816335872!/CongHuelskamp/status/471839423492259841!/CongHuelskamp/status/471840361237991424!/CongHuelskamp/status/471844789546409984!/CongHuelskamp/status/471847771490631682!/CongHuelskamp/status/471849485874634752

Editor’s note: This post has been updated to include additional tweets.

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bigger fish to fry!/Matthops82/status/478549362260185088

In case you had any remaining doubt as to the Department of Veterans Affairs’ commitment to addressing the horrific mistreatment of our nation’s vets, this ought to clear things up:!/DeptVetAffairs/status/478523107440091136

Sorry … what?!/Cameron_Gray/status/478545742219333633

Because what’s mass human slaughter or sick heroes left to languish or die when there are fish on the line?!/Matthops82/status/478548280570175489!/Trent_Hill/status/478546920369971200!/AngelaKG/status/478552413868011520!/betzbella/status/478541255966605313!/Matthops82/status/478547319894204416

Or — dare we say it — bigger fish to fry?!/CuffyMeh/status/478553709455355904



‘You tweet this as Iraq disintegrates’?’ @StateDept is ‘focused like a laser beam on fish’

Iraq crisis? No worries, you guys. John Kerry will … squee! Leonardo DiCaprio!

Twitchy coverage of the VA scandal

Read more:!/DrewGriffinCNN/status/464877224446156800

A “smoking gun” has surfaced in the scandal currently rocking the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. In an email obtained by CBS News, a worker at the VA Medical Center in Cheyenne, Wyo., instructs others on how to game the scheduling system so as not to upset the front office.!/CBSEveningNews/status/464872728429096961

Jennifer Janisch reports:

The email, written by Telehealth Coordinator David Newman, a registered nurse, describes how patients at the Cheyenne VA Medical Center are always listed getting appointments within a 14-day window, no matter when the appointment was first requested, and no matter how long the patient actually waited.

The memo admitted, “Yes, this is gaming the system a bit…” because “when we exceed the 14 day measure, the front office gets very upset, which doesn’t help us.”

The employee further instructs staff on how to “get off the bad boys list” by “cancelling the visit (by clinic) and then rescheduling it with a desired date within that 14 day window.”

Just yesterday, Congress issued a subpoena to VA Secretary Eric Shinseki seeking emails and documents related to delays of medical care for veterans at a Phoenix, Ariz., VA hospital. One retired doctor has alleged that as many as 40 veterans may have died while waiting for treatment.!/nadabakos/status/464885317300801536

Today on CNN, Sen. John McCain said that if the scandal “is what it appears to be, this isn’t just resignations, this is violations of the law, people should go to jail.”!/jaketapper/status/464886025547186176

Gaming the system at the expense of veterans’ health and even lives?!/lightning7876/status/464878179724058624!/combatyid/status/464879737656320002!/yoopermoma/status/464881204651511809!/ctbauza/status/464882627326255105

Fellow veterans,
The next time the enemy is firing at you, just "game the system" and ask them to shoot 14 days from now.
@CBSEveningNews— KerryL (@kerrloud) May 09, 2014!/seanagnew/status/464883106487730177




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Fort Rucker

Exactly 96 years ago today, World War I came to an end. With the signing of the Treaty of Versailles on November 11, 1918, the war was officially over. It culminated on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.

Hence, Veterans Day is observed every year on November 11. It is the day upon which we commemorate the brave individuals who have served our country. Likewise, as President Abraham Lincoln once stated:

Honor to the soldier and sailor everywhere, who bravely bears his country’s cause. Honor, also, to the citizen who cares for his brother in the field and serves, as he best can, the same cause.

Veterans Day is meant to embody these sentiments, and rightfully so.

Yet, the sad truth is that this country has habitually failed its veterans. Thus, while President Lincoln’s words will always be appropriate, the tweet below more accurately encapsulates the current relationship between this country and its veterans.

The United States was born out of conflict, and has been at war throughout much of its existence. It has a strong military tradition. Indeed, we should be proud of the selfless individuals who have risked life and limb to perpetuate our privileges and safety. At the same time, we should be ashamed of the way we have repaid their sacrifice.

Thus, it’s time for this country to be honest about the disgraceful way it treats its veterans. We have no right to call ourselves “the greatest country in the world” when we don’t fight for those who fight for us.

Thousands Of Veterans Are Homeless Or Living In Poverty

On any given night, there are 60,000 homeless veterans. To put this into perspective, around 60,000 Americans lost their lives in the Vietnam War.

Around 12 percent of the adult homeless population are veterans.

According to the National Coalition For Homeless Veterans:

The majority are single; live in urban areas; and suffer from mental illness, alcohol and/or substance abuse, or co-occurring disorders.

Approximately 9% are between the ages of 18 and 30, and 41% are between the ages of 31 and 50.

…America’s homeless veterans have served in World War II, the Korean War, Cold War, Vietnam War, Grenada, Panama, Lebanon, Persian Gulf War, Afghanistan and Iraq (OEF/OIF), and the military’s anti-drug cultivation efforts in South America.

A great deal of homeless veterans are Millennials who served in the War on Terror. The United States has spent over four trillion dollars on this conflict. If you’re going to spend that amount of money to send young people off to war, then you better be ready to take care of them when they come home.

In 2013 alone, 986,000 veterans under the age of 64 reported living in poverty. Correspondingly, millions of veterans are at risk of losing their homes.

Accordingly, it is not surprising that so many veterans are already living on the streets.

The Department for Veterans Affairs (VA) has committed to ending veteran homelessness by 2015. Yet, given the scale of the problem, this seems quite improbable.

The next time you pass by a homeless person on the street, consider the fact that there’s a good chance he or she fought for this country.

America Doesn’t Provide Veterans With Proper Healthcare

A large part of the reason so many veterans are homeless is due to the physical and mental health problems they’ve acquired as a consequence of war. Concurrently, due to the economic constraints that veterans face, they often experience severe mental stress when attempting to adjust back to civilian life.

Imagine coming home from war and having to deal with the trauma of that experience while also struggling to pay the bills. Around 77 percent of veterans have faced unemployment, and more than one out of four have faced job searches that last over a year.

Indeed, economic inequality is a huge factor when it comes to the mental health of veterans. More must be done to ease this burden.

Moreover, many vets are physically disabled and cannot work. Likewise, around 730,000 veterans suffer from a range of mental health issues, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and major depression.

The horrors of war are not easily forgotten.

What’s more, every single day, 22 veterans take their own lives. That means that every 65 minutes, an individual who has stood up in defense of this country commits suicide. Tragically, military suicides outnumber combat deaths two to one.

This is perhaps the most tragic and disheartening statistic surrounding those who have served. Furthermore, the detrimental impact this devastating trend is having on the families of these veterans is often overlooked.

Despite the vast number of veterans facing mental health problems, many aren’t receiving sufficient treatment. A whopping 70 percent of veterans with mental illness either don’t receive mental healthcare whatsoever or receive inadequate treatment.

Veterans are literally dying because of delays in diagnosis and treatment at VA hospitals. In a particularly despicable example earlier this year, CNN discovered that 40 veterans died while waiting for appointments at the Phoenix Veterans Affairs Health Care system.

The worst part of this was the fact that the VA officials at the Phoenix hospital attempted to cover all of this up, leading to a national scandal.

This is simply unacceptable. We can’t send people off to war and then abandon them upon their return.

Many Veterans Are Still Waiting For Benefits

The United States spends more than any other country in the world on defense.

Indeed, the US military is exceptionally impressive, and an extremely formidable force.

Yet, in spite of all the money this country spends on war, nearly 350,000 veterans of the War on Terror still have outstanding appeals on benefits they are entitled to. These benefits include everything from direct compensation, to pensions, to education.

If America is going to spend billions of dollars on the military every year, it goes without saying that a large portion of this money should be allocated to support the nation’s veterans.

This country is currently failing its veterans. There is so much more that we can do.

Firstly, we need to pressure the Department of Veterans Affairs to improve and expand its services. We can do this, in part, by reaching out to politicians and calling on them to continue to address this issue.

Likewise, it’s important that we provide support to the families of veterans within our communities. Additionally, we can volunteer with various veterans programs, such as TAPS and the Jericho Project, to name a few.

Finally, we need to stop labeling veterans as victims. Correspondingly, as Paul Rieckhoff, the executive director of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, recently stated:

Veterans are very often stereotyped into two stock characters: the crying wounded or the guy who jumps the White House fence to get to the president.

Don’t treat us like victims. We’re not broken. We’ve been through a lot, but we’re rising out of it.

It’s true that veterans face a number of serious challenges, but it would be wrong to assume that they don’t possess the grit and optimism to overcome them. After all, many of these individuals have survived combat. If you can live through war, you can accomplish anything.

Thus, on this Veterans Day, remember the sacrifice of the countless men and women who have served this country.

Simultaneously, work toward spreading awareness of the many ways we can improve our treatment and reception of these courageous individuals. Start the conversation, this is the first step toward change.

Read more:!/kerpen/status/482692272522141696

We had expected this Friday night’s news dump to center on the IRS scandal, but instead, it’s the White House’s review of a “blistering assessment” of the Department of Veterans Affairs.!/cnnbrk/status/482658330868199424

The AP reports:

In a scathing appraisal, a review ordered by President Barack Obama of the troubled Veterans Affairs health care system concludes that medical care for veterans is beset by “significant and chronic system failures,” substantially verifying problems raised by whistleblowers and internal and congressional investigators.

A summary of the review by deputy White House chief of staff Rob Nabors says the Veterans Health Administration must be restructured and that a “corrosive culture” has hurt morale and affected the timeliness of health care. The review also found that a 14-day standard for scheduling veterans’ medical appointments is unrealistic and that some employees manipulated the wait times so they would appear to be shorter.!/newsbusters/status/482706739020963841

Just another “phony scandal.”


Read more:!/rorycooper/status/469529380109430787

Yesterday, despite 33 Democrats who voted no, the House passed the Department of Veterans Affairs Management Accountability Act, which “would relax the standard bureaucratic red tape that makes it exceedingly difficult to fire government employees, even those implicated in an embarrassing scandal.”

Unfortunately, Senate Democrats weren’t quite so receptive to the prospect of accountability for VA employees. Today, Marco Rubio requested that the Senate take up and pass the bill. Vermont socialist Bernie Sanders, speaking on behalf of the Dems, agreed to … a hearing:!/GOPLeader/status/469534046025166848!/AndrewStilesUSA/status/469529962484338690!/rorycooper/status/469529706388529152

Followed by a pair of fundraisers. Because priorities, right? Like President Obama, Senate Dems clearly have a firm grasp on what matters. They’ll get to the vets eventually or something. When they’re done caring about the really important things:!/CRENpolitics/status/469569461008076800!/TheBrandonMorse/status/469558418848493569!/RBPundit/status/469566380824875009!/Tark31/status/469567672209141760


Our heroes deserve so much better than this.

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