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“Commander” Zinke Cannot Help Himself from Screwing Over Veterans

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Perhaps it is long since time to be surprised that Ryan Zinke has again done something to stab veterans in the back. Still, this always remains remarkable since Zinke so famously advertises and showcases his past a U.S. Navy SEAL. But time and time again Zinke has shown how much of a Blue Falcon (a highly technical military term) he is now that he can use his military service for personal gain.

On Tuesday, now as President Donald Trump’s Interior Secretary, Zinke told a Congressional committee that “veteran and disabled” visitors to national parks cause a huge deficit in funding for the parks. Zinke said he wants to increase the fees on VETERANS, KIDS, THE ELDERLY, AND DISABLED to access our NATIONAL PARKS. Just keep in mind that President Theodore Roosevelt, a veteran, created most of these parks and Zinke loves to compare himself to Roosevelt. Also important to remember is that Zinke received compensation as a so-called DISABLED VETERAN for his military … time. Even more amazing than all of that is how he claims 80 percent disability because of back pain, a common hearing problem, and (gallingly) athlete’s foot. Yet he “still can run” unlike say Senator Tammy Duckworth. For his “injuries” Zinke receives nearly $2,000 a month in benefits. Add onto that the six or seven thousand dollars a month he receives in military retirement for two decades of … showing up. Plus whatever remaining congressional benefits and pay as Secretary of the Interior. That is not even counting what kickbacks and favors he has received by starting his own Political Action Committees and selling us out to corporate interests.

Maybe the department and national parks are having budgetary issues because Zinke wants to take taxpayer-funded vacations to the Caribbean or spend $139,000 for a balcony door. Or maybe that could be the problem and not the veteran who lost a leg in Afghanistan and cannot work for the rest of his life. Or the construction worker who fell from a roof and also cannot work the rest of his life but gets a lifeline from Social Security disability. Maybe on the paltry amount they receive a month, less than Zinke’s disability for athlete’s foot, they need a lighter fee to go see the wonder of Glacier or Yellowstone National Parks. Now that the Trump mafia controls the levers of power it is way too much to ask that people who have sacrificed the most are also the least likely to get any assistance.

Zinke has sold out Montana’s and America’s veterans, conservationists, disabled, children, and elderly (well most everyone) because he is beholden to a corrupt administration that reflects his values. Shame on everyone who got him to where he is.

 

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About the author

Josh Manning

Josh Manning is a combat veteran who lives in Helena. His writing has appeared in Newsweek and Foreign Policy and he has appeared on MSNBC and CNN. He is part of a growing movement of progressive military veterans working to affect political change You can follow him on Twitter @joshuamanning23

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