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  • Supporting Our Veterans: President Trump Signs VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act

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    By Neil A. Carousso

    President Donald J. Trump​ signed the Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017 on Friday morning in The White House East Room. It’s a long-overdue promise kept by a Commander-In-Chief who truly has the heart and respect for all those who serve bravely and proudly so that we, U.S. citizens can enjoy the benefits of freedom.

    The law repairs the Department of Veterans Affairs government agency that provides health care and other services to millions of U.S. veterans. The bill was prompted by a scandal at the Phoenix VA medical center where some veterans died waiting for care while on secret wait lists and some were prescribed the wrong medications.

    A VA accountability measure passed the House in 2014 but it met its fate in the Senate while former-President Barack Obama threatened to veto the bill if it went to his desk, siding with the unions that represent VA employees.

    Pete Hegseth, a U.S. Army veteran and co-host of Fox News Channel’s top-rated morning show “Fox & Friends,” collaborated on the VA accountability bill over several years to ensure veterans receive the care they deserve without lengthy weight times and poor health care caused by government bureaucracy.

    What’s In the Law:

    The legislation would cut the 30-day advance notice to 10 days. It advances the appeals process that employees use to appeal any disciplinary action against them. It also reduces the evidentiary standards required to terminate an employee and it allows the VA secretary to recoup bonuses and relocation expenses in certain situations.

    “Under the current disciplinary process, it takes an average 51 days to remove an employee, largely due to a 30-day notice period,” said VA Secretary Dr. David J. Shulkin.

    It also allows the VA secretary to directly appoint directors to lead VA hospitals and integrated service networks, instead of going through lengthy hiring processes. There are approximately 350,000 employees in the Department of Veterans Affairs.

    True to the law’s name, it will give protection to employees who disclose poor practices and criminal activity at VA hospitals.

    U.S AIR FORCE VETERAN AND RAPE SURVIVOR KYUNG JONES SHARES HER EMOTIONAL STORY AND EXPLAINS WHY SHE SUPPORTS DONALD TRUMP

    On March 30, Fox News reported on retaliation at the Missouri VA in which Dr. Dale Klein was punished for speaking out about long wait times at the VA hospital. Dr. Klein, a highly rated pain management specialist at the Southeast Missouri John J. Pershing VA, is being paid $250,000 a year to sit in his office and do nothing. The government prevented him from seeing veteran patients in need after serving our country because the doctor revealed sinful practices at the Missouri VA.

    Stars and Stripes​ published a story on June 21 about U.S. Army​ Veteran Mike Verardo who lost a leg and an arm in an IED blast in Afghanistan in 2010. After receiving treatment at military hospitals, which included over 100 surgeries, he returned home in 2013, but “waited 57 days for his prosthetic to be repaired, with no backup, and even longer for a neurological appointment.”

    VA Secretary David Shulkin and U.S. Army Veteran Sgt. Mike Verado discuss the newly-signed VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act at The White House Courtesy: Sara Cook, NHK News)
    VA Secretary David Shulkin and U.S. Army Veteran Sgt. Mike Verardo discuss the newly-signed VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act at The White House (Courtesy: Sara Cook, NHK News)

    Sergeant Verardo and his wife, Sarah, were present for Friday’s signing at The White House and was introduced by Secretary Shulkin. Verardo shared his emotional story at the East Room podium and thanked President Trump for his leadership in listening and acting on veterans’ needs. Verardo criticized the Obama Administration for turning a blind eye to soldiers who returned to the U.S.

    President Trump gave Mr. Verardo the pen he used to sign the bill into law.

    The Verardos sat in Mr. Trump’s VIP box with the Trump family during the Republican National Convention in Cleveland last July. The New York Times featured Verardo in a story about vets who supported Trump for president.

    President Trump shakes hands with retired U.S. Army Sgt. Michael Verardo, during the President's remarks in the East Room of the White House, prior to signing the Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017. (Courtesy: The White House)
    President Trump shakes hands with retired U.S. Army Sgt. Michael Verardo, during the President’s remarks in the East Room of the White House, prior to signing the Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017. (Courtesy: The White House)
    President Trump signs the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act into law in the East Room of The White House. U.S. Army Veteran Sgt. Mike Verado and his wife, Sarah, stand behind Mr. Trump. Courtesy: The White House)
    President Trump signs the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act into law in the East Room of The White House. U.S. Army Veteran Sgt. Mike Verardo and his wife, Sarah, (far left) stand behind Mr. Trump. (Courtesy: The White House)

    The Verardos also stood beside Trump at The White House in April when the Commander-In-Chief signed an executive order creating a new office at the VA to find and remove incompetent and immoral workers.

    Alarming Veterans Statistics:

    In 2013, the Department of Veterans Affairs released a study that covered suicides from 1999 to 2010, which showed that roughly 22 veterans were dying by suicide per day, or one every 65 minutes. Some sources suggest that this rate may be undercounting suicides.

    WALKING IN AN ARMY VETERAN’S SHOES

    In 2014, an average of 20 veterans died from suicide each day. 6 of the 20 were users of VA services, according to Veterans Affairs. Vets accounted for 18 percent of all deaths from suicide among U.S. adults in 2014, while veterans constituted 8.5 percent of the U.S. population. In 2010, Veterans accounted for 22 percent of all deaths from suicide and 9.7 percent of the population.

    There is continued evidence of high burden of suicide among middle-aged and older adult veterans. In 2014, approximately 65 percent of all vets who died from suicide were aged 50 years or older. There’s also a correlation between age of veterans and homelessness that is on the rise.

    The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs releases statistics on homelessness among the veterans population.
    The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs releases statistics on homelessness among the veteran population.

    President Trump Keeps His Promise:

    As a candidate, Mr. Trump promised to fire VA employees “who let our veterans down.” Secretary Shulkin has touted the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act bill.

    “So to every veteran who is here with us today, I just want to say two very simple words:  Thank you.  Thank you. Thank you.  You are the warriors and heroes who have won our freedom and we will never forget what you have done for all of us, ever.” – President Donald J. Trump, The White House, June 23, 2017 

    The bill cleared the House last week by a vote of 368-55, and passed the Senate unanimously by a voice vote.

    U.S. ARMY COMBAT VET SHARES HIS EMOTIONAL STORY OF SERVICE

    President Trump hugs Christian Jacobs, 6, at the grave of his father in Section 60 of Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA on May 29. Christian joins his mother, Brittany, every year for Memorial Day. (U.S. Army photo by Elizabeth Fraser/Arlington National Cemetery/released)
    6-year-old Christian Jacobs hugs President Trump at his father’s grave in Section 60 of Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA on May 29. Christian joins his mother, Brittany, every year for Memorial Day. (U.S. Army photo by Elizabeth Fraser/Arlington National Cemetery/released)

    In April, President Trump signed bipartisan legislation, eliminating an expiration measure enacted by the 2014 Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act. It ensures that veterans do not have to travel long distances to receive care at VA hospitals, and it expands the private-sector health program for vets. It also authorizes the sharing of certain medical records across the governmental and private sector health care systems. Mr. Trump promised that those who serve our country would be able to receive health care at any U.S. hospital – private or public – at the government’s expense and by signing this executive order, President Trump kept that campaign promise.

    In June, President Trump approved a measure giving priority for federal grants to those federal and state law enforcement agencies that hire and train veterans.

    According to CNN exit polls, veterans voted at a 2-1 ratio for Mr. Trump over Democrat opponent Hillary Clinton. In Ohio, North Carolina and Florida, battleground states rich with military history, several counties voted for Trump at higher numbers than GOP candidates John McCain and Mitt Romney had over former-President Obama in 2008 and 2012.

     

    Featured Image: U.S. President Donald Trump holds up the bill after signing the Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017, on June 23, 2017, in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC. (Mandel Ngan—AFP/Getty Images)

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  • U.S. Air Force Veteran and Rape Survivor Kyung Jones Shares Her Emotional Story and Explains Why She Supports Donald Trump

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    By Neil A. Carousso

    Kyung “Grace” Jones was sexually assaulted by her father at 18-years-old, and recently, alleges was drugged and raped at a Texas bar. A strong-willed American patriot, Grace is determined to get justice and help other sexual assault and rape victims through personal mentoring and Congressional legislation.

    Kyung Jones in her U.S. Air Force uniform
    Kyung Jones in her U.S. Air Force uniform (Instagram/Kyung Jones)

    On episode 59 of “The Neil A. Carousso Show Podcast,” Grace chats with this host for an emotional interview.

    She is a Korean-American United States Air Force Veteran who bravely fought for our country for 9 years, protecting our nation’s security, freedom and core American values.

    Grace discusses how she overcame her adversity, her inspiration to other sexual assault victims, sexual assault legislation, veterans health, the U.S. Military, and why she vehemently supports President Donald Trump and the Commander-In-Chief’s policies.

    Listen to the roughly hour-long interview, part of the 59th episode of “The Neil A. Carousso Show Podcast,” by clicking the “play” button on the embedded SoundCloud player above.

    “The Neil A. Carousso Show Podcast” is recorded and uploaded weekdays. One can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes and listen on this site. 

     

    Featured Image from Kyung Jones’s Instagram page.

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  • Detailing Trump’s First 100 Days in Office

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    By Neil A. Carousso

    President Donald J. Trump’s 100th day in The White House came on Saturday, April 29. While highly scrutinized in a politically divided time in American history, facing much Democratic “resistance,” President Trump has energized his base, fulfilling many campaign promises, although, no major legislation has been passed through Congress.

    Mr. Trump has demonstrated a stark contrast to the past 8 years under 44th President Barack Obama in terms of both domestic and foreign policy. The 45th President has committed to an “America First” agenda to restore blue collar American jobs in the manufacturing sector that have left from the rust belt, renegotiate trade policies to benefit the American worker, cut job-killing regulations and enforce immigration laws, deporting thousands of criminal illegal aliens.

    Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

    Beginning in the first hours of his presidency, Mr. Trump began cutting regulations imposed by the Obama Administration. President Trump’s philosophy, rooted in traditional conservative ideology, is to pull back on restraints on businesses, especially small businesses, that would allow them to dedicate more time to create outputs and hire more workers.

    Under Trump’s pro-business policies, for every new regulation created, two regulations must be repealed.

    The former business mogul also signed a House Joint Resolution to help the coal industry recover after strenuous Environmental Protection Agency regulations were imposed. Eight thousand mining jobs were created in February.

    About 49,000 manufacturing jobs have been created since new year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, with 12,392,000 U.S. manufacturing employees in the labor force. That is the greatest number of people employed in manufacturing in the United States since January 2009, the month that former-President Obama was inaugurated, when there were 12,561,000 people employed in manufacturing.

    Donald Trump in May 2016, as the presumptive GOP nominee. Associated Press Photo)
    Donald Trump in May 2016, as the presumptive GOP nominee. (Associated Press Photo)

    In February 2009, manufacturing employment dropped to 12,380,000, a number it did not exceed until February of this year, when it reached 12,381,000.

    Construction jobs have also increased in the Trump Administration with 58,000 brick and mortar jobs created in February and another 6,000 in March.

    At the same time, according to BLS, the number of people employed in government increased by 9,000 in March, climbing from 22,309,000 in February to 22,318,000.

    Since December 2016, the U.S. has gained 49,000 manufacturing jobs and 19,000 government jobs.

    In an effort to reduce the Washington bureaucratic machine, President Trump signed an executive order to place a hiring freeze on federal workers, excluding the military and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

    The Chief Executive also placed a 5-year lobbying ban on government employees and a lifetime ban for members of a presidential administration to lobby on behalf of a foreign government.

    President Trump signed off on the construction of the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines with the provision to use American-made piping while moving towards energy independence from nations like Saudi Arabia that sponsors terrorism and lives under the oppressive Sharia Law.

    In recent weeks, Mr. Trump took steps to undo the Dodd-Frank financial regulations that have slowed bank loans and put pressure on the financial industry at the expense of small financial brokers.

    The President with the encouragement of First Daughter Ivanka Trump launched a council for the advancement of women entrepreneurs and has continued to meet with American business tycoons to encourage private sector initiatives to promote women leadership in the workforce.

    Since President Trump’s inauguration on January 20, the stock market has grown 12 percent with the Consumer Confidence Index at the highest mark since December 2000. The stock market incline has slowed since House Speaker Paul Ryan, at the direction of the Chief Executive, pulled the American Health Care Act from a House vote on March 24.

    Big League Jobs

    Since Mr. Trump was elected on November 8, 2016, a number of American companies have made major job announcements to create and save American jobs from leaving the U.S., many after personal pleadings by phone or in meetings with the incoming President. Roughly $110.2 billion in U.S. investments has been pledged with approximately 1,883,830 U.S. jobs being created that can be credited to President Trump’s pro-growth, pro-business policies.

    1. Carrier: Keeping 1,100 American jobs instead of sending to Mexico
      2. SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son: Investing $50 billion to create 50,000 American jobs
      3. Sprint: Bringing back 5,000 jobs to the U.S. that were sent overseas
      4. OneWeb (new company): Creating 3,000 jobs in the U.S. (associated with Son’s guarantee)
      5. Ford: Cancels $1.6 billion plant in Mexico, saving 3,500 American jobs. Creating new innovative center as an expansion of its Flat Rock, MI plant by investing $700 million in the U.S. and creating 700 American jobs
      6. Qualcomm and Apple will invest in SoftBank’s new technology fund, SoftBank Vision Fund that is being used to create 50,000 American jobs.
      7. Fiat Chrysler announces it would spend $1 billion on U.S. manufacturing, including modernizing plants in Michigan and Ohio, adding 2,000 new American jobs.
      8. Toyota will spend $10 billion in U.S. capital investments and will expand its U.S. plants over the next five years.
      9. Alibaba Chief Executive Jack Ma met with Trump to discuss the creation of 1 million American jobs, specifically focusing on small business growth.
      10. Amazon will create 100,000 jobs in the first year and a half of the Trump Presidency.
      11. Wal-Mart will create 10,000 jobs in the U.S. this year.
      12. General Motors will invest $1 billion in its U.S. factories this year, moving some parts of production from Mexico to the United States that was previously handled by a supplier.
      13. Toyota will add 400 American jobs to build more SUVs at an Indiana assembly plant.
      14. Amgen will add 1,600 jobs.
      15. Intel will invest $7 billion in innovation in an Arizona factory, creating 3,000 specialist positions and 10,000 support jobs.
      16. Delta announces it will hire 25,000 jobs over the next 5 years.
      17. Lockheed Martin will create 1,800 new jobs.
      18. Exxon Mobil will invest $20 billion to create 35,000 temporary construction jobs and 12,000 high-wage permanent jobs.
      19. Charter Communications will invest $25 billion in broadband infrastructure over the next four years to create 20,000 high-paying, highly beneficial American jobs.
      20. Ford will invest $1.2 billion in Michigan, securing 3,700 American jobs and creating 130 jobs.
      21. Toyota will invest $1.3 billion to revamp its Kentucky factory, saving 8,200 American jobs.
    President Trump visited Wisconsin to sign the Buy American, Hire American executive order on April 18 (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)
    President Trump visited Wisconsin to sign the Buy American, Hire American executive order on April 18 (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

    On day 89 of Trump’s presidency, the first businessman to occupy the Oval Office visited Wisconsin, where he was the first Republican since Ronald Reagan’s re-election to win over the Democrat Party nominee. President Trump announced an executive order, “Buy American, Hire American,” a campaign pledge to mandate American companies use American products and higher American workers before high-skilled foreign workers.

    The order targets the H1-B visa program, which permits American companies to employ foreign workers in IT, engineering, mathematics and science industries. Mr. Trump, fulfilling a campaign promise, seeks to end the H1-B lottery system and replace it with a merit-bases system enforcing that foreign workers, hired by U.S. companies, are highly skilled with Americans given priority for jobs.

    Since 2009, 95 million Americans left the labor force, the lowest labor participation rate since the 1970s. Thirteen million more Americans are on food stamps with about 43 million Americans living in poverty at the conclusion of the Obama Administration-era.

    Peace Through Strength

    President Trump plans to seek what he’s calling a “historic” $54 billion increase in defense spending, while pursuing cuts elsewhere in the federal government, as part of his upcoming budget plan. The military has been under a “sequestration,” under the Budget Control Act of 2011, with spending cuts and regulations imposed on the U.S. Armed Forces.

    President Trump calls for the largest defense spending budget on March 2  on the deck of the USS Gerald R. Ford in Newport News, Virginia — a brand new carrier that is expected to be commissioned this summer. Associated Press Photo)
    President Trump calls for the largest defense spending budget on March 2 on the deck of the USS Gerald R. Ford in Newport News, Virginia — a brand new carrier that is expected to be commissioned this summer. (Associated Press Photo)

    President Trump seeks to rebuild the military and the dilapidated military equipment to promote “peace through strength,” an ode to former-President Reagan who had the idea of beefing up the military to discourage other nations from waging war on the U.S.

    Across the Armed Forces, the U.S. military equipment has been overused and in many cases part of our fleets and jets have been docked and grounded indefinitely.

    Out of 276 F/A-18 Hornet strike fighters in the Marine Corps inventory, only about 30% are ready to fly, according to statistics provided by the Corps. Similarly, only 42 of 147 heavy-lift CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters are airworthy.

    U.S. military spending has dropped from $691 billion in 2010 to $560 billion in 2015. The cuts came just as the planes were returning from 15 years of war, suffering from overuse and extreme wear and tear. Many highly trained mechanics in the aviation depots left for jobs in the private sector.

    Marine Corps F/A-18 Hornets are supposed to have a shelf life of 6,000 hours, but they are being refurbished to extend the life to 8,000. There is talk that some aircraft might be pushed to 10,000 hours while the Marine Corps waits for the 5th-generation Joint Strike Fighter, which is slated to replace the F-18, but has been plagued by cost overruns.

    President Trump has vowed to invest in American ingenuity to strengthen our military in a time of increased terror threats from radical Islamic terror groups. In terms of the budget, the Commander-In-Chief has been personally negotiating for lower prices of the F-35 fighter jets as well as Air Force One, the presidential plane.

    Eradicating ISIS from the Face of the Earth

    Within weeks of President Trump’s inauguration, he ordered his Defense team including Defense Secretary Gen. James Mattis, and his National Security Council to draw up a plan for defeating the Islamic State that has inspired all-too-frequent terrorist attacks in our country while persecuting and beheading Christians, Jews and journalists overseas and using videos as recruitment propaganda.

    Under the guide of the Islamic faith, ISIS militants seek to destroy freedom and the American way of life.

    On April 13, the U.S. dropped the “Mother of All Bombs,” a 21,000-pound GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast on Islamic State fighters in an area that has been an ISIS stronghold since 2015. According to Afghan officials, the largest non-nuclear bomb with a 1-mile killing radius killed 94 Islamic State militants. While literally destroying ISIS in the region, it sent a message to our adversaries like North Korea that the U.S., under President Trump, will stand-up for American values and will not sit idly by as murderous regimes and extremists murder innocent people.

    Shift in Foreign Policy

    After campaigning on the idea that America shouldn’t be interfering in other countries’ conflicts, like the Syrian civil war, President Trump had an apparent change of heart after Syrian Dictator Bashar al-Assad launched a chemical weapons attack on his own civilians on April 4.

    President Trump announced the Syrian airstrike on March 4 at Mar-A-Lago in Florida. YouTube/White House
    President Trump announced the Syrian airstrike on March 4 at Mar-A-Lago in Florida. (YouTube/White House)

    “My attitude toward Syria and Assad has changed,” said President Trump at a press conference at The White House Rose Garden alongside King Abdullah II of Jordan. Mr. Trump has spent time on the phone or has met with over 30 foreign leaders, making defeating radical Islamic terror a focal point of all foreign policy meetings.

    Trump said, as the leader of the free world, it is imperative for him to remain “flexible” to changing world events.

    About 63 hours after Syria heinously attacked its own people, President Trump ordered 59 Tomahawk missiles to be launched, in unison, on an airstrike on the Shayrat airfield in Western Syria, signaling that America will not be isolationists as Assad and his ally in Russia promote and attempt to conceal a vicious attack on civilians.

    Chemical weapons have been used in Syria approximately 10 times since 2013, with the Syrian regime responsible for at least half of the attacks.

    Former Secretary of State John Kerry and former-President Obama, himself, claimed “100 percent” of chemical weapons were removed from Syria. Since 2013, there have been 10 chemical weapons attacks on Syrian civilians with the Syrian government responsible for at least half of the heinous attacks. Obama infamously drew an unenforced “red line” that would be the Syrian government using chemical weapons.

    Helping Our Heroes

    On day 89, President Trump signed the “Veterans Choice Program Extension and Improvement Act,” an extension, allowing our U.S. veterans to receive private sector health care, paid by the government.

    This will resolve the problematic and outrageous wait times and bureaucracy at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs with too many veterans committing suicide while waiting on line. The suicide rate among veterans has surged 35 percent since 2001, driven in part by sharp increases among those who have served since 2001, according to the largest study of such suicides. Of particular concern is the suicide rate among women, which has increased 85 percent in that time.

    The veterans choice program was enacted amid the 2014 wait-time scandal. As a result, veterans can seek private health care if they live within 40 miles from a VA site. 1.5 million veterans have made 7 million appointments.

    President Trump has promised to reduce the alarming veterans statistics, as an estimated 39,471 veterans are homeless on a given night, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Mr. Trump vowed to allow vets to seek private health care anywhere in the country for full coverage by the federal government.

    Last week, Mr. Trump ordered the opening of a new accountability office of the VA, providing whistleblower protection for Veterans Affairs employees who sound the alarm on inefficiencies and poor treatment of U.S. veterans.

    Law and Order

    President Trump made immigration a core issue of his campaign for president, proposing a physical wall on the southern border to include increased Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers, video surveillance, face recognition and other technological deterrents and border control measures.

    The Trump Administration is receiving hundreds of proposals from American construction companies that are applying to build the wall.

    The Trump Administration is hiring of 5,000 border patrol agents and 10,000 ICE officers. Plus, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has announced the addition of 125 immigration judges to be able to process and arraign criminal illegal aliens with due process, ending the “catch-and-release” and sanctuary city policies that have enabled the harboring of criminal illegal aliens in minority communities. Sessions has also repeatedly threatened to withdraw funding from cities and states that do not enforce federal immigration law.

    Since President Trump’s inauguration, the Department of Justice has published weekly reports of illegal immigrant crime, including detainer requests and deportations that have occurred. The reports reveal that MS-13 gang members from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico and other countries, who economically thrive on the sale of opioids across the border, have been detained and deported. Murderers, rapists, drug dealers and other violent criminals with convictions have also been targeted, detained and deported from the U.S., as the President created a task force to reduce crime.

    President Trump signed an executive order to target drug cartels while there is a violent drug epidemic in the country. Attorney General Sessions has ordered U.S. attorneys to prosecute criminal illegal aliens and drug cartel members to the fullest extent of the law.

    In a shift of rhetoric and a signed order, law enforcement officers are being supported and protected. Some states have even followed with “Blue Lives Matter” legislation, increasing penalties for assaulting police officers that has become a cornerstone of the violent anti-Trump and anti-police riots that have swept the nation. The past administration embraced the radical “Black Lives Matter” movement, even protesters to The White House.

    President Trump signed two travel suspension orders from radical Islamic terror riddled nations – Yemen, Somalia, Syria, Sudan, Iran and Iraq. Iraq was left off the revised order that was a “watered down version” of the first executive order, according to Trump at a post-inauguration rally in Melbourne, FL. Both have been tied up in the courts as activist judges instituted holds based on Trump’s campaign comment about a “Muslim ban.” These orders, though, did not include the most populous Muslim nation, Indonesia, or other Muslim-majority nations. These six countries fail to communicate about traveler to the U.S. and have been recent hotbeds of terror.

    Other Successes

    The November 8 exit polls revealed that the Supreme Court vacancy, left by Justice Antonin Scalia when he passed away last February, was a top issue. Of the nearly 700 counties that voted for Obama twice, one-third states flipped to support Trump. The Republican also won 194 of the 207 counties that voted for Obama either in 2008 or 2012.

    Justice Neil Gorsuch is sworn in as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States at The White House Rose Garden Associated Press Photo
    Justice Neil Gorsuch is sworn in as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States at The White House Rose Garden (Associated Press Photo)

    On April 10, Justice Neil Gorsuch was sworn in as the 113th Associate Justice on the Supreme Court of the United States with his first day on the Court 8 days later.

    Gorsuch is a respected judge who has ruled on a number of religious liberty cases, but not abortion. He is seen as a moderate conservative justice who has ruled under the common Constitutional, originalist philosophy. Justice Gorsuch, 49, is the youngest sitting justice and the youngest to be confirmed since Clarence Thomas at 1991 at the age of 43.

    President Trump has also signed executive orders to reduce business and ObamaCare regulations while cutting burdensome EPA regulations on businesses and reducing government bureaucracy.

    Mr. Trump is also working across party lines, trying to engage with Democrats where appropriate. Trump has met with Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) and pharmaceutical company CEOs in an effort to lower prescription drug prices.

    Mr. Trump is meeting with inner-city leaders, working to implement school choice policies, allowing families to decide where to send their student children to receive an education. The President continues to meet with Congressional Black Caucus members and African American leaders to clean up inner cities after a year of record gang violence and inner-city crime.

    Chicago saw 163 murders in 2016 with 786 shooting incidents in the Windy City. The sanctuary city has already seen numbers inch towards the 2016 levels in the fourth month of the 2017 calendar.

    A show of patriotism, President Trump signed an order investing in NASA’s space exploration programs.

    Challenges and Arguable Shortcomings

    Failure to send the American Health Care Act to a House vote was embarrassing for Republicans who have campaigned on “repeal and replace” of ObamaCare for over 7 years. The GOP and President Trump set an artificial deadline to get a 3-pronged approach repeal and replacement plan through legislation, but conservative members of the Freedom Caucus were not in unison with moderate Republicans who seem to be more generous on benefits that would not reduce premiums and deductibles enough to be a major change from Obama’s signature legislation.

    At first, President Trump suggested that he would move on to tax reform as the first piece of Congressional legislation to tackle, but the Affordable Health Care Act contains taxes that would ideally be cut before true tax reform can be addressed.

    The MacArthur Amendment to the American Health Care Act "The Neil A. Carousso Show")
    The MacArthur Amendment to the American Health Care Act (“The Neil A. Carousso Show”)

    The MacArthur Amendment, proposed last Wednesday, to the American Health Care Act maintains many provisions in the original bill, but it would allow states to request waivers of pre-existing conditions, known as community rating. The amended ObamaCare replacement bill allows states to opt-out of the essential health benefits while protecting people with “continuous coverage.” States may waive a 30 percent surcharge in a bill for people who have a gap in coverage. The House Freedom Caucus, the conservative wing of the Republican Party that refused to endorse the AHCA, because it would not lower premium and deductible costs by large enough margins, has endorsed the MacArthur Amendment.

    President Trumps tax reform proposal "The Neil A. Carousso Show")
    President Trump’s tax reform proposal (“The Neil A. Carousso Show”)

    There has not been comprehensive tax reform since former-President Reagan’s 1986 tax cuts. Mr. Trump has proposed simplifying the 4 million-word tax code, reducing personal tax brackets to 3 and cutting taxes across-the-board. Trump also aims to reduce the corporate tax rate to 15 percent from 35 percent, the highest among developed nations, and offer incentives for companies to repatriate trillions of dollars stored and invested overseas to invest and create jobs in the U.S. The White House has also proposed a doubling to the standard deductions for middle class individuals and families and elimination of tax deductions except mortgage interest and charitable contributions. The Trump Administration is also seeking to end the estate tax, also known as the “death tax,” repeal the alternative minimum tax and ObamaCare taxes.

    Congress, which was only in session 8 days in April, has set an August timetable to have healthcare and/or tax reform passed, but that is looking unlikely at this time, a blow to the ambitious Trump Agenda that requires a fast-moving legislative branch to match Mr. Trump’s unrivaled work ethic.

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    Moving forward, President Trump has about 1,360 days remaining in his first term. While many steps have been made to create change in Washington and implement his ambitious agenda, it will be incumbent upon the Chief Executive to pass legislation through Congress. The President will be ultimately judged on economic results for the market and American workers, keeping the country safe from terror, defeating our enemies, including radical Islam and criminal illegal aliens, and respectably leading the United States in terms of its standing in the world, energy independence, prosperity and peace.

     

    Featured Image Courtesy of Reuters photographer Carlos Barria.

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  • Supporting Our Troops: Adopt-A-Battalion of Long Island Mail Tons of Care Packages to U.S. Soldiers Serving Overseas

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    By Neil A. Carousso

    Volunteers for Adopt-A-Battalion gather weekly at the Knights of Columbus in Massapequa Park, NY to arrange care packages for U.S. military members who are currently serving in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

    Col. Timothy  M. Parker is the Commanding Officer of the Weapons Training Battalion at the U.S. Marines Training Command Center in Quantico, VA. Parker served as the inspiration for Adopt-A-Battalion for which his brother is the vice president.
    Col. Timothy M. Parker is the Commanding Officer of the Weapons Training Battalion at the U.S. Marines Training Command in Quantico, VA. Parker served as the inspiration for Adopt-A-Battalion for which his brother is the vice president. (Photo: United States Marine Corps)

    It was founded in 2004 after now-Col. Timothy Parker wrote home to his parents for basic necessities such as clean underwear when he was serving his first tour in Iraq. Parker’s cohorts asked for similar packages and the Parker family began shipping goods to individual U.S. soldiers who share with their battalions.

    Adopt-A-Battalion has shipped over 40 tons of goods, directly to service men and women over 13 years. Last year, it sent 1,972 boxes to troops stationed overseas. Their goal is to surpass 2,000 boxes in 2017.

    One can donate goods, money or one’s time to Adopt-A-Battalion. Log on to AdoptABattalion.com to learn more about how this grassroots, community organization directly makes a difference by helping those who serve to protect our freedom, American values and our nation’s sovereignty.

    Featured Image: Adopt-A-Battalion President and U.S. Navy Vietnam Veteran Richard Olson poses next to the care packages that volunteers prepared on Saturday, April 22. The goods will be shipped to U.S. military members serving in Afghanistan. 

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  • America is Back: President Trump Puts America’s Interests First to Political Praise, Showing the Commander-In-Chief has Heart

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    By Neil A. Carousso

    As radical Islamic terrorism ravages through the Middle East, persecuting minority Christians in the region, President Donald J. Trump’s foreign policy is shifting in order to increase America’s standing in the world after the previous Obama Administration was”all talk, no action,” drawing a red line in Syria in August 2012 but refusing to act militarily when Syrian President Bashar-al-Assad launched a chemical weapons attack on its citizens. Former National Security Adviser Susan Rice, who is being called to testify under oath by Senate Republicans for allegedly unmasking Trump transition team members names for political purposes while intelligence agencies surveiled Mr. Trump’s campaign, even claimed that the Obama Administration “actually removed the chemical weapons that were known from Syria.”

    The recent chemical weapons attack in Syria killed more than 80 civilians including children and babies. (AP Photo)
    The recent chemical weapons attack in Syria killed more than 80 civilians including children and babies. (AP Photo)

    Former Secretary of State John Kerry and former President Barack Obama, himself, claimed “100 percent” of chemical weapons were removed from Syria. Since 2013, there have been 10 chemical weapons attacks on Syrian civilians with the Syrian government responsible for at least half of the heinous attacks.

    Last Tuesday, Syria and its dictator Bashar al-Assad launched a chemical weapons attack on its people. President Trump responded with a 59 Tomahawk missile strike 63 hours later, sending the message to Syria and the world that the United States will not tolerate human rights violations.

    Watch the “Carousso’s Comments” monologue from Sunday’s “The Neil A. Carousso Show”, below, that led with breaking news after a terror attack in Egypt that killed 44 at two Churches on Palm Sunday. Plus, the heinous Syria terror attack and President Donald Trump’s airstrike response in the context of the Commander-In-Chief’s foreign policy challenges.

    Few politicians from both sides of the aisle have criticized the strike. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky), Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) are among those critical. Rep. Gabbard has received blowback from fellow Democrats for her lack of support for the Syria airstrike. Sen. Warren has claimed that President Trump should welcome Syrian refugees after the deadly sarin gas attack that killed upwards of 80 people including innocent children.

    Ironically, a father of 9-month-old twins killed in the Syrian chemical attack told ABC News that he wants more airstrikes on Syria, asking, “Why did President Trump stop the strikes?”

    CNN and Fox News both interviewed Kassem Eid, a refugee who is thankful for Mr. Trump’s airstrike order and is optimistic that the Commander-in-Chief’s policies will bring down Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad in favor of American values and democracy that will permit him to return to his home country safely.

    On “The Real Deal with Neil” segment, Neil discusses President Trump’s change in heart after the Syrian attack. Plus, Harvard University students interviewed by Campus Reform believe Mr. Trump is more dangerous than ISIS, which does not add value to our country that needs to come together in order to defeat radical ideologies that seek to destroy American values.

    “The Neil A. Carousso Show” airs live on Sundays at 12 Noon ET/9 AM PT on YouTube and NeilACarousso.com.

     

    Featured Image: U.S. Department of Defense.

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