My Black Friday

Hi y’all. I’m off today looking for podcast equipment and maybe a projector this Black Friday with family.

I already cheated a bit and bought the Rode Podcaster, and I’m pumped to finally be jumping into that arena after being on a ton of radio shows. That mic is going to work well with my Scarlet 6i6 Focusrite and 12-Core Mac Pro (that VocRehab bought :-)).

Overcoming Your Fears

Many of you may not know that I worked hard this year to overcome a fear of speaking in public about what I do. Doing interviews with reporters is no problem, but being in front of a crowd really freaked me out since I’m rather recluse and private.

So, starting this year, I committed to taking every opportunity to become better at speaking starting with teaching a room of attorneys about traumatic brain injury at the National Organization of Veterans’ Advocates in Las Vegas last Spring.

The next opportunity was teaching more attorneys about the nuances of Military Sexual Trauma and discharge issues at Mitchell Hamline School of Law in St. Paul, Minn.

And the next was the scariest. Some veterans, including me, were selected to learn MOTH story tellings, which is basically learning to present a major life experience in the same way people present TED Talks.

In the fall, I was asked to present at the Minnesota County Veteran Service Officers annual training in northern Minnesota about traumatic brain injury. That seemingly went well, and I had a chance to learn from CVSO’s regarding what problems veterans are facing locally.

The icing on the cake was a later invitation to participate in a Veterans Voices forum at the Board of Veterans’ Appeals in Washington DC. There, a panel of 4 veterans had an opportunity to teach a room full of attorneys and staffers about the veteran perspective when working through an appeal. Carol Dibattiste was instrumental in getting me included, and I appreciate the opportunity.

Next Steps

Now that I’m feeling less anxious about public speaking, I’m going to push for more opportunities to speak to VA employees directly about veterans. Steps have been taken to move that ball forward.

For the past 6 years, I have traveled to Washington DC on my own dime to meet with VA executives and offer my services to help improve the agency. And for the past 6 years, I have been rejected either directly or by VA employees undercutting me when I’m not in the room.

The latter is the biggest tool VA obstructionists use to evade outside input they know might be unfavorable. They literally defame the veteran trying to get something done. Shameful.

But now, given the change of tide, my hope is that we will see more openness to break down persistent roadblocks that insulate VA leadership like Diana Rubens and Kim Graves from accountability.

The podcast will help get the word out and my readers with visual impairments will be more able to enjoy the message. And the training I received this year will hopefully make it better then it could have been otherwise.

New Guides

We are working on new guides for veterans, and I’d appreciate your feedback on each of these if you have time. The guides will help veterans become better self-advocates and better advocates helping other veterans. (Like teach the teacher).

Proceeds from the guides will help fund a video operation and auditing tools that are in development, the latter of which I plan to call MyVA Audit. I have a full listing of the VA employees who are veteran facing like in VocRehab or at the VA hospitals. The auditing tool will list them all and allow veterans to rate their user experience. It’s time to bring the agency into the light. But those tools cost money to develop, hence the need to sell guides and garner further support from the community.

Here are the guide topics that are near completion:

  • Employee rights – how to document bad managers who are harassing you
  • Get VocRehab to pay for your law school or advanced degree
  • Same – VocRehab approval for self-employment
  • Get non-VA care approval and learn How to appeal denials for healthcare
  • Disability compensation guide to win your sinusitis / sleep apnea claims
  • Win your TBI residuals claim
  • Understanding college testing accommodations

It may be important to note that the guides I write are all based on personal experience and representation of other veterans as an attorney. I only tend to write about what I know from personal experience.

These guides will be presented using a new online Learning Management Platform on this website. It will present the materials in the guides in more of a course platform rather than just eBooks.

There will also be new forums for readers on certain topics.

Bad VA Art

I just picked out some new software platforms to help create not just pictures but cartoon videos where I can poke fun at certain VA leaders and certain common experiences.

sueVA.com

I also picked up a new URL this year called sueVA.com. I will let you imagine what I’ll be doing with that over the next 12 months.

Well, that is all for now. More is going on but I can’t write about it just yet.

Rick Lipary

Good luck on holding the V.A. accountable, Ben! But AGAIN, regarding Secretary Of Veteran’s Affairs, I regrettably have to say NONE OF THE ABOVE! No more corrupt “business as usual” mofos!

Ex va
Ex va

I think guides to benefits, flow charts and breakdown of the process is all good information. The real life experience of what a Veteran has to hurdle to receive benefits is a different reality. I would be interested in reviewing these guides.

MarineSgt
MarineSgt

Ben,

I pray God will bless you as you travel, bringing our stories to light, and dragging the VA, kicking and screaming, to the forefront of everyone’s attention.

I can’t say it clearly enough how thankful I am, that you are using your God given talent, and personal life story to help expose the real VA to the American people.

Semper Fi

Dennis
Dennis
Ben, Your comment that you only tend to write about what you know betrays a total incompetance in your ability to represent ANY government agency! Thank goodness you are on our side, because on this side of the line it is considered an admirable thing to speak truth. USC Title 82, 5005, does require individuals to speak truth, unless the Undersecretary of Health determine such qualified individuals cannot be retained for service. This determination has been confirmed. Not one could… Read more »
namnibor
namnibor
Looking forward to the podcasts, Ben. I sent you a longer email than usual with some helpful links and offers to help. I have been using my synth-based music set-up as a partial replacement for PTSD meds that were simply toxic and making ambient (boring to most) music for calming the nerves and also to help keep my agility in hands and keep my brain muscle memory exercised. Hoping to help other Vets that may have a musical background to… Read more »
Crazy elf
Crazy elf

namnibor,
Maybe Ben could use some of your music?!
I think a lot of us would like to hear something from you! What do you say Ben?!?!

namnibor
namnibor
Eventually, as I am still more of a mad sonic professor finding my own way and also am actively teaching myself via video tutorials to use recording methods. In any case, again, Crazy elf, you and I think alike often, I had already sent Ben an email with an offer for free music snippets or transitional music chords down the road as well as I have some extra equipment he might be able to utilize as a donation to the… Read more »
namnibor
namnibor

Sometimes, of often, what I do are sounds that “drone” and change over time, along with Berlin School style synth music. I am simply a nerd benefiting from my musical background at this point in life with chronic health crap. Some of my drones sound very much like a B-52 Stratosphere’s engines at cruising altitude. (USAF Rules) 🙂

NiteWish
NiteWish
*Namnibor My favorite comes from the youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KNuoGeD9Qeo Cognition Enhancer For Clearer and Faster Thinking – Isochronic Tones by Jason Lewis – MindAmend By listening to this & coloring a Mandela using color pencils I’m able to turn off the internal dialog in my brain which calms me into a trancelike state. A housecats purr promotes healing too which may be why cats don’t get arthritis, purr relieves pain, heals tendons & muscles, respiratory problems, headaches. I’m hoping you find… Read more »
Angela Johnson
Angela Johnson

I agree. There are many alternatives to promote healing in the body.

Crazy elf
Crazy elf
Can’t wait, Ben. It’ll be interesting to see your new “podcast”! ——————– On a side note; It seems we may have jumped to conclusion over President Elect Trump’s not wanting to pursue charges against Hillary Clinton. In reality, he’s doing/saying exactly what he should! It will not be his job, once inaugurated to influence either the FBI or the DOJ. Their job is to investigate, and if charges are warranted, bring to trial perpetrators of criminal activities! There’s an “update”… Read more »
Crazy elf
Crazy elf

Here’s an article from “Personal Liberty”, dated 25 Nov 2016 explaining what a President can and cannot do. Especially when it comes to getting involved in the investigations of Hillary Clinton as Obama may have done!
Titled;

“Is Donald Trump Already Committing Impeachable Offenses”

by Bob Livingston

Again, I’m still 100% behind Trump. Even if his picks for Secretary of Education and Secretary of State is not to my liking. I feel we need to step back and wait. He’s a very shrewd individual.

Dennis
Dennis
Will there be live entertainment during the podcast breaks? Intermission entertaimnent keeps em coming back! I heard Hillary is sponsoring a new swimwear line that she designed and models herself. Maybe some of those short takes during intermission whith her dancing real sexy will stimulate a nationwide cry to for Trump do do SOMETHING! ANYTHING! Plus you could sell popcorn in the lobby at VA procurement prices. Butter on top on approved credit only. Armored cars to ship the cash… Read more »
namnibor
namnibor

Entertainment also provided by the soon-to-be duo baking team, “The Hillary & Obama Baking Show”, where they present daily tutorials on how to ‘cook the books’ and Obama’s special recipe of “Nobel Peace Prize Social Dissent Casserole”. (nothing like an oxymoronic recipe to get your day going) 🙂

namnibor
namnibor

Must not leave out live webcam footage of VA Employees around the nation playing Hungry, Hungry Hippos. Would sell tons of popcorn.

Then there’s the pin the correct toe tag on the body bag before it’s liquefied contents explode in the VA’s experimental labs.

Above all, cannot wait for great interviews and guests Ben has as the podcast evolves.

Crazy elf
Crazy elf
Namnibor, wouldn’t it be something “IF” McDuck were to show up on Ben’s Podcast. Especially right after President (Elect) Trump says, “YOUR FIRED!” I can see it now. Ben, and maybe another guest(s), tearing into McDuck’s abysmal record as Secretary of VA! Asking questions about how he lied so much on how many VA employees were fired. Or, why a sexual deviant was still on the payroll. Or, why an armed robbery suspect was still employed. Or, why a murderer… Read more »
Dennis
Dennis
There is only one thing Bob could do to save face under such duress – he would pin a medal on somebody. I mean it always worked before, right? Or maybe just a nose stud or ear ring this time as a nod to the LGBT without offending the straight community, the vegatarian community, the meat eaters, or the anti-veteran community…. How are you with a nose stud labelled “VA” Ben? Let’s help Bob make ammends….plus the marketing aspect alone… Read more »
Dennis
Dennis

just make sure he washes his hands first….

WyldeChylde
WyldeChylde

congrats on the podcast equipment. Be careful with the focusrite gear. Not a lot of consumer confidence in their equipment, tends to drop signal for a couple seconds here and there.

Lem
Lem
I”d like to help! I’ve been working on your specialty (a little broader, you are TBI and I have been working on Organic Brain Syndromes) See Bray v Brown renamed Bray v Derwinski. Never realized it had been forwarded to the CAVC. Also Bray v Shinseki at the CAFC erroneously first filed at the CAVC which didn’t have jurisdiction. I think you’ll agree pro se petitioners don’t get a fair read. Not really intending to Spam this but I have… Read more »
NiteWish
NiteWish
Lem, maybe this could be useful in your Organic brain syndrome research. My Aunt died in 2015 age 98. We were told she had dementia but after autopsy her cause of death was listed as Encephalitis. Before she stopped writing letters & talking to her children she spoke of maltreatment & abuses in the home she was put in. They didn’t believe her because they were told she had dementia & was delusional. I wonder what the relationship is, if… Read more »
Lem
Lem

Thanks. I wonder if the autopsy showed the route of the encephalitis infection. Possibly sinusitis or ear infections. Like the untreated maggot infestation the septic infection had to get in to the brain.

NiteWish
NiteWish

My cousin told me Auntie told her a man was coming into her room, locking the door & assaulting her sexually. An STD was also found at autopsy, something she should not have had. That may have been the transmission route. I didn’t see the report, I only know what my cousin told me.

Lem
Lem

How long was she in the facility. It would take years for STD to migrate to the brain. Was she in a “Lime Disease” area? Could have missed the early onset and it could have been mistaken as an STD. I don’t know how prevalent syphilis is now.

NiteWish
NiteWish
About 4 yrs. She first entered a Care Home in Jan 2011, was moved to another in March 2013 & with her savings used up they moved her into her third & last home in March 2014 with her death in Aug 2015. I first thought maybe Lime Disease as she lived in Butte County, Paradise CA until the STD came to lite. No STD in the uncle who died in 2008, complications from a broken hip & these people… Read more »
Lem
Lem

Wonder which STD?

NiteWish
NiteWish

I wonder also. I’ll need to send a snail mail letter to NJ & ask her, I know it bothers her, she couldn’t help her mom due to distance & age.

Lem
Lem

Seems most encephalitis (google search) is from tick born viruses. The only STD is syphilis. Also Herpes is a route for secondary encephalitis as well as childhood viruses. And then there is West Nile.

Jo3n

Seems you are spreading yourself out a bit thin. I truly wish you the best in all your endeavors. Although, it does sound like you need a staff. Hopefully there will be a lot of unemployed ex VA employees to choose from.

Combatfoto
Combatfoto
Ben, Bought the book!!! VA in Newark just scheduled me for CP follow up after 10 years of No reviews and letter stating from May 2008 – That Upon review of wartime military Rating of 100 Percent Permanent and total Has been assigned May 29th,2007. When I enquirer …the 3rd day response from the directors office was As quoted ,”I received a copy of the letter you attached in the prior email. I forwarded it this morning to have someone… Read more »
Lem
Lem
May be the result of a law suit. Lot of marines have went down with cystic fibrosis recently. My 75 year old brother in law was one and a high school classmate another. Are you sure it was a C & P exam? Even then it may be a mistake because they were just sending out to everyone who had a lung problem like they did in 2009 for the TBIs. I have an award for hearing that cannot be… Read more »
Combatfoto
Combatfoto

Thank you Lem!
I appreciate your insight!
Happy Thanksgiving for you and yours-
Best
Dave-Combatfoto

Sara
Sara
On the VA guide for “Bad Managers” how about Toxic Leaders get rid of them! Bad moral for VA Employees let alone veterans cant get the proper medical care, even if email call Wash DC VA Executives or utilize ones US Senators or US Congress person. How do we get rid of lying Drs/ PAs/CNPs/ & RNs? as well would be great too! Congrats on moving up into podcasts n having others speak as well on various subjects too! Non-VA… Read more »
Angela Johnson
Angela Johnson
Sarah, I agree with you. The VA providers are not held accountable for their mistakes even if accidental or intentional. How about being almost transported by plane to another facility for a liver transplant? The liver transplant was not supposed to be for me. I had to stand up to them and advocate for myself the facts to them that my condition was not warranting a liver transplant. What had happened was erroneous progress notes were entered in my chart… Read more »
Crazy elf
Crazy elf

Yesterday was a Friday. I wonder what was dumped?!
Will be interesting to find out on Monday!

Dennis
Dennis
My first step as VAAKIC (Veterans Affairs Ass Kicker In Charge), would be to offer $2 for the text of every article held in the archives of every newspaper in the United States that told ANY story about VADB (Veterans Affairs Dead Beats). Two dollars is the going rate for archived articles at our regional newspapaers online and most offer the text for much less even going back sometimes decades. Unlike a gazillion FOIA requests, the newspapers would be eager… Read more »
Ryan
Exciting news with the podcast. This is a great way to reach a new audience. I’ve been doing one for a couple years now and it has had a very positive impact on my audience my business. I’m happy to discuss the tools and software I use to make it as easy as possible to get started (a lot of podcast guide recommendations are overkill). Hopefully that can help you save a lot of time and money. Hit me up… Read more »
Dennis
Dennis
Here is a copy of so,e text from the vets Accountability Act of 2016; `(2) A determination under paragraph (1) that the performance or misconduct of an individual warrants removal or demotion may consist of a determination of any of the following: “(A) The individual neglected a duty of the position in which the individual was employed. “(B) The individual engaged in malfeasance. “(C) The individual failed to accept a directed reassignment or to accompany a position in a transfer… Read more »
Dennis
Dennis

….and want to know why docs at VA arent prescribing needed meds anymore? Because there is no prohibition to under prescribing needed medicine, only over prescribing… what is wrong with THAT picture???

Do you see the folly of government controlled healthcare?

namnibor
namnibor
@Dennis- With that exact same logic, The RAND Corporation recommends that the VA now should measure distance for ‘The Choice Program’ by “As A Buzzard Flies”, since crows are now out of the equation, and the VA OIG concurs because ‘As A Buzzard Flies’ is much more convenient for the VA since buzzards are known to fly in endless circles and are ecologically friendly in that the buzzards will do a better job with deceased Veteran than the VA’s own… Read more »
Dennis
Dennis

Circling buzzards are well known to circle over VA hospitals so as a guiding light maybe it has merit….

T
T
I don’t know much about Podcasting but will figure it out. I guess it would be like listening to a online radio station and having various options to listen in? A little birdie told me about some trouble the Danville, IL VA hospital is having with whistle-blowers. That’s all I know, or heard, from the family member of one. Law suit, I guess, is pending on one or two. Maybe some legal researchers can find out more. WE need, the… Read more »
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