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Tag Archives: Joining Forces

Michelle Continues Her Excellent Work for Veterans

I don’t know if the program was started to burnish Michelle’s image, but it’s the fourth anniversary of Mrs. Obama’s and Dr. Jill Biden’s Joining Forces initiative, which aids veterans and their families with struggles at home, and she’s proven beyond a reasonable doubt her genuine commitment to the cause.

If there’s one function of government I can get behind, it’s to serve those who have served all of us. And Michelle, and well as Dr. Biden, is to be commended for her vigorous and consistent commitment to helping veterans, long after any PR benefit might have worn off.

From their White House schedule:

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The White House – First Lady Michelle Obama delivered remarks on a call with Mayors participating in the Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Washington, DC – First Lady Michelle Obama will deliver remarks to celebrate the fourth anniversary of Joining Forces at the Congressional Club’s annual Congressional Spouses Luncheon.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Montgomery County, MD – First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden will visit a Vet Center in Montgomery County, MD to highlight and amplify how Vet Centers are resources for veterans and their families. Vet Centers offer a range of resources including mental health counseling, outreach, and referrals to veterans, service members and their families.

Monday, April 20, 2015

New Orleans, LA – First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden will travel to New Orleans, LA and join Mayor Mitch Landrieu to highlight the Mayor’s Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness.

Monday, April 27, 2015

The Vice President’s Residence, Washington, DC – Dr. Jill Biden will announce new commitments made to the National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI), enabling greater access to AP College Readiness Programs among children of service members and veterans.

She is promoting the initiative with an interview in Glamour magazine, where she said:

Think about the amount of training the average veteran has received through the military—physical training, project management training, public relations work. Think of an average tour of duty in a foreign land, the money we put into developing that, and then they’re discharged, and what, we let that investment go? Absolutely not. These are some of the best-trained people in our society.

That’s very nicely put. And with their service, our veterans have also invested in America. And America owes them a return on their investment, which Michelle is helping us provide.

Michelle Shows Graciousness Toward Kids, Troops

First Lady Michelle Obama gets plenty of grief around here for her various indulgences and policies, but when she does great things, I’m happy to point it out.

Instead of canceling in a huff and feeling slighted because graduating high school seniors and their parents in Topeka, Kansas didn’t want the first lady to soak up all the attention – and force limited seating – at their upcoming graduation ceremony, Michelle agreed to speak to them the day before at a separate event.

From the Associated Press:

Michelle Obama is rearranging plans for a speech before graduating high school seniors in Kansas in the face of protests that her appearance at a combined graduation ceremony for five schools would limit seating for families and friends . . . 

Under a new plan worked out by the district, the first lady will speak on May 16 at a “senior recognition day” ceremony at the same 8,000-seat arena where the combined ceremony was to be held. The combined ceremony is being scrapped, and the five schools will hold separate graduation exercises instead.

The compromise, announced while President Barack Obama was traveling in Asia, pleased Topeka students and parents who were concerned about being limited to six tickets for family members and the first lady’s remarks taking away from the occasion.

Classy move.

Meanwhile, Michelle Wednesday announced a new website, ebenefits.va.gov, designed to help members of the military and veterans find jobs in the private sector.

The website is part of her noble “Joining Forces” initiative, which seeks to assist military families with employment, education and health.

This is not some big government program, or a statist scheme to distort the private sector. It’s an effort to pay back our servicemen and women for their sacrifice and their dedication to defending the nation. That’s something government should be doing.

It’s a great idea, and one to which Michelle has shown a sustained commitment, even after her husband’s reelection.

Mrs. Obama and Jill Biden, who also leads Joining Forces, held a “jobs summit” for troops at Fort Campbell, Kentucky Wednesday.

Michelle’s Sublime Commitment to the Troops

First Lady Michelle Obama is demonstrating a sustained commitment to an extremely valuable pet project that she runs with Dr. Jill Biden, the Joining Forces initiative to support military service members and their families.

When it was launched, the effort seemed to me, as much as anything, a project to recast Mrs. Obama’s image from the woman who had suggested she had never been proud of her country into a first lady who honors the troops. It certainly was partially that. But now, even with Election Day over and done with, Michelle is rededicating herself to the cause and showing that her personal commitment to the men and women of the armed forces is genuine and abiding.

Michelle joining forcesJoining Forces is a wonderful idea that describes itself as “a comprehensive national initiative to mobilize all sectors of society to give our service members and their families the opportunities and support they have earned.”

The goal is to assist military families with their employment prospects outside of the military, the education of their children who are jerked from town to town, and the health and well being of families and fighting heroes under enormous stress.

Last month, with the nation’s governors a captive audience at their annual White House meeting, Mrs. Obama and Dr. Biden urged them to help veterans by making it easier to apply the skills they already have toward licensing for certain types of jobs. She and Dr. Biden have already helped convince many states – the total stands at 23 – to ease the licensing of military spouses for the jobs they hold when they move from state to state – an obviously common occurrence for military families.

Why, the logic goes, should people who are already trained have to spend hours in the classroom relearning what they already know?

And Wednesday, Michelle headed off to the Business Roundtable to pitch to the assembled CEOs the idea of hiring the “hundreds of thousands” of veterans and military spouses looking for work – and the thousands more who will be searching in the years to come when “over one million more will be hanging up their uniforms and transitioning back to civilian life,” according to Mrs. Obama.

She spoke movingly and persuasively about the benefits of hiring veterans:

These men and women will be returning to their families, rejoining their communities, and figuring out what’s next in their lives.  And as they do all of that, the one thing that they’re going to be thinking about is a job . . .

So these men and women, our veterans and military spouses, have seen it all.  And in the process, they have gained the types of qualities and values that you simply can’t teach anywhere else –- a relentless commitment to excellence, the ability to juggle multiple priorities, the wherewithal to meet deadlines under every circumstance imaginable.

They know how to develop and execute complex strategic plans, and they don’t give up until their mission is complete.  And when the pressure is highest, that’s when our veterans and military spouses are at their best.

These men and women are exactly the kinds of employees you all are looking for to help you compete in today’s global marketplace, and they’re proving that every single day with their achievements in the private sector.

We certainly knock Mrs. Obama around plenty here at WHD when she does outlandish, offensive or hypocritical things.

But this is a noble effort and a noble cause, it speaks well of her, and she gets little credit for it from the press. She deserves applause, and her effort – which can really help the people risking their lives to ensure our freedom – merits more attention.

Michelle’s Military Outreach Reaps Big Political Benefit

A year ago, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden launched their “Joining Forces” initiative, an effort to give thanks to military service members and their families.

It’s a nice gesture, and I’m sure there is sincerity in it. But the political element of what is portrayed as a selfless effort to show appreciation is becoming clearer, and the benefits are numerous.

Michelle has been ramping up her campaigning for her husband’s reelection, traversing the country with increasing regularity to thank campaign workers and hold fundraisers.

The fundraising trips, which in the end will cost taxpayers millions of dollars, are almost always given an official cast by White House aides who throw in a “first lady” event related either to military families or Michelle’s “Let’s Move” kids health initiative. Sometimes, the events amount to no more than a meet-and-greet at the airport where Mrs. Obama lands.

Tuesday, for example, Michelle will arrive at the Albuquerque International Airport at 2 pm Mountain Time and be greeted by service members and their families from New Mexico’s Kirtland Air Force Base. The event is so brief that she will have time to make it to a fundraiser scheduled to start a half hour later.

What’s more, Michelle’s devotion to military families fits in with an Obama 2012 campaign determination to mine the military for votes.

The Washington Post reported Friday that the Obama campaign feels it has a genuine shot at making inroads among a population usually considered pro-Republican.

Obama’s effort to win a bigger share of the veterans’ vote than he did in 2008 could make a difference in swing states with large military populations, such as Virginia and North Carolina . . .

The reelection team in Chicago made clear Thursday that it plans to tout Obama’s policy accomplishments and his efforts to improve and promote services for veterans and their families.

“The president and the campaign believe that this is one of the most important issues out there as we bring more than 2 million men and women home from serving in Iraq and Afghanistan and deal with the issues they face as returning veterans,” said Rob Diamond, who served in Iraq and is the Obama campaign’s vote director for veterans and military families. “We are out there talking about that, engaging veterans, educating them, making sure they understand how much has been done.”

Michelle’s devotion to the military has also helped refurbish the image of a woman who said during the 2008 campaign that with voters rallying to her husband, it was the first time she had really been proud of her country.

Michelle to Hold Four Fundraisers in Two Days

First Lady Michelle Obama will host four fundraisers today and tomorrow along with an event with service members that could ensure taxpayers pick up a significant amount of her travel costs.

Michelle’s first fundraiser is today in Washington. Tuesday she travels to Nashville for a single money event and then on to Pittsburgh for two more. But included in her excursion to collect cash is an small event in Pittsburgh that is part of her “Joining Forces” initiative to aid veterans and military families.

By throwing in what appears to be an “official” first lady event, the White House may be ensuring that many of the costs of the trip will be paid for by taxpayers instead of the Obama campaign. This event appears particularly skimpy, amounting to little more than a “greeting” by local service members and their families.

Michelle’s “Joining Forces”  campaign not only assists military families, but it has helped remake the image of a first lady who  famously remarked as her husband’s campaign picked up steam in early 2008 that “for the first time in my adult life I am proud of my country.”

What’s also clear is that by having official roles such as Joining Forces and her “Let’s Move” kids’ health campaign, the White House will be able to include official events on her schedule that end up defraying the cost to the campaign, as it does when President Obama travels to raise money.

The tactic was also used extensively by George W. Bush during his 2004 reelection campaign.

The first lady’s office did not respond to a request for clarification of the nature of the event with service members.

Michelle Obama to Appear on Colbert Report

Michelle Obama will appear next Wednesday on the Colbert Report, the White House said today. The appearance will be part of a two-day she is taking with Dr. Jill Biden to celebrate the first anniversary of their “Joining Forces” initiative to benefit military families.

Following an event Wednesday at the White House that will feature remarks by Tom Brokaw, Michelle and Dr. Biden will travel to Philadelphia to appear at the University of Pennsylvania, and then Michelle will be in New York City to appear on Colbert.

Thursday the first lady and Dr. Biden will be in Shreveport, Louisiana for an event and them move on to Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Florida for the last appearance of the tour.

White House Assails Military Benefits

The White House is proposing to force retired and active duty military families to pay drastically more for health care as part of a plan to reduce costs and potentially force service members into the Obamacare health system, according to the Washington Free Beacon.

This while Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden traverse their country to promote their “Joining Forces” campaign to assist military families, an effort that has helped Michelle remake her image into that of a red-white-and-blue backer of the military.

From the article.

The plan calls for increases between 30 percent to 78 percent in Tricare annual premiums for the first year. After that, the plan will impose five-year increases ranging from 94 percent to 345 percent—more than 3 times current levels

According to congressional assessments, a retired Army colonel with a family currently paying $460 a year for health care will pay $2,048.

The new plan hits active duty personnel by increasing co-payments for pharmaceuticals and eliminating incentives for using generic drugs.

The changes are worrying some in the Pentagon who fear it will severely impact efforts to recruit and maintain a high-quality all-volunteer military force . . . .

The administration is asking troops to get by without the equipment and force levels needed for global missions. “And now they are going to them again and asking them to pay more for their health care when you’ve held the civilian workforce at DoD and across the federal government virtually harmless in all of these cuts. And it just doesn’t seem fair,” the second aide said.

While proposing to cut military benefits, the White House publicity machine is putting out videos like this.

Please, call her back and tell her she will have to pay more for her health insurance.

H/T to Shofar, one of our readers, who pointed this out to me. He blogs at throughthenet.

Veterans, Sacrifice, and the Obamas

As Veterans’ Day approaches, I wanted to share this story with you of a child and her father learning to cope since the girl’s mother was killed in Afghanistan.

The woman, a patriot from a military family who signed up to serve in the days after September 11, was murdered along with another service member in 2009 by an Afghan soldier who shot them before killing himself.

Somehow, as I read this, I was reminded of Mrs. Obama’s statement that the first time she had really been proud of her country was during the campaign, in 2008, when voters were rallying to her husband.

I’ve never been able to forget her remark, or that she and President Obama had listened for so many years to the hateful rantings of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

Nor have I been able to fully believe the rebranding of her that has occurred since she entered the White House, where she now leads something called “Joining Forces,” a program to help war fighters and their families. I don’t see how you go from Trinity United Church of Christ to advocacy for military families. I wonder how committed to this good cause she’ll be after the election – win or lose.

And of course Monday, Obama appeared in the Rose Garden with a group of veterans, using them as props for the latest stunt in his ongoing political effort to stick it to Republicans for failing to pass his “jobs” proposals. I hadn’t known Republicans were opposed to veterans, but then I hadn’t consulted Mr. Obama on the matter.

Anyway, take a look at this story – here’s the link again – one of indescribable sacrifice and love for country. It puts a wonderfully human, if achingly sad, face on Veterans’ Day.

Maybe if this pitiful tale had happened before the election, Michelle would have been proud then.