MMQB: With Shinseki Resignation, VA evades ‘Feet to Fire’ Treatment

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Shinseki Resignation

Last week saw the resignation of Secretary Eric Shinseki while he simultaneously admitted to being lied to. Now we will never know the names of the liars. Fallout from the scandal in VA is far reaching and the quest for truth may be a victim here.

Hi and welcome to Monday Morning Quarterback for Veterans. I am your host, Benjamin Krause, Veterans Law attorney, investigative reporter, and creator of DisabledVeterans.org. This is the number one source of authentic and nonpartisan news affecting veterans across the country.

DisabledVeterans.org was founded with one purpose in mind, to give veterans the information they need to make educated choices about their benefits and about politics. Political parties and VA are well adept at manipulating the mass public, and this is where we cut through their manipulations to get our Square Deal after military service.

I did a data pull of various conversations about the resignation and wanted to offer my own comments to various outlets over the week. Here is what we will cover here:

  • My interview on Shinseki resignation
  • Banker Sloan Gibson, the next VA Secretary
  • Radio Interview with Will Roberts Weekly Telegram
  • Statement of Shinseki from Hawaii Governor

 

Pioneer Press interviews DisabledVeterans.org Founder on Shinseki

Columnist Ruben Rosario called last week. He wanted to know what the nonpartisan picture is on Secretary Erik Shinseki and his resignation.

In his article, Veteran has fought the VA, but he’d rather help fix it, Rosario covered my take on the Shinseki resignation.

In a nutshell, I think the Shinseki resignation untimely. As he resigned, he intimated that another VA employee(s) lied to him about the scope of the Wait List Scandal.

Now that he is gone, we will likely never know what happened behind closed doors. And if we never get to know, I have to call into question the point of the investigation moving forward – not that it is not important – but we need to know what really happened. My fear is that the truth may have left with Shinseki.

I personally think Shinseki was about to roll a lot of heads. However, this head rolling may have uncovered some long-term operatives who have made a career out of harming veterans. Thus, Shinseki “had to go” just like he was canned by DoD after revealing how we were harming our military in the Middle East by not providing adequate resources. Now one in DC wants a truth seeker.

Here, what should have happened is Shinseki should have had his feet held to the fire. We should have waited for all the heads to roll and all the criminals to be charged. Only then, should Shinseki have gone down with the ship like any good captain and resigned.

Instead, now that Shinseki has stepped down, we will see institutional amnesia. This kind of amnesia happens whenever an organization has a deep seeded scandal and switches leadership just before the real investigation dives deep. The new leader, with guided precision, will always respond, “I am new and can only speak to what we will do to fix the problem moving forward…”

A recent example of this is General Motors and the investigation into its cover-up of the ignition recall where at least 13 Americans were killed over 10 years. During the Senate hearing on the subject, the new CEO refused to answer questions directly because she claimed she did not know specifics since she was new.

Here is the excerpt from Rosario’s coverage of my input:

HOW TO FIX THE MESS

Krause was stunned by last week’s House hearings into a blistering report from the VAOIG, which found that 1,700 veterans waiting for appointments at the Phoenix clinic were never added to the electronic waiting lists.

“The VA redefined ‘wait list’ and called it ‘interim work product,’ which is an obscene use of legalese to validate illegal behavior when they destroyed the lists,” he wrote. “That kind of legal advice (wordsmith use) from VA general counsel made me embarrassed to be an attorney. Veterans concerns are clearly being put behind VA’s own interests.”

I asked Krause what he would do to help fix the problems if he was given the reins of the beleaguered agency. He was not shy about recommendations.

He would work to repeal a law that gives the VA secretary final say and immunity from judicial review on claims and benefits and care cases.

“When taken to the extreme, this could mean that a medical examiner could harm a veteran physically during an evaluation but will claim sovereign immunity if the veteran seeks recourse,” he said.

Krause would streamline the VA’s ability to fire union employees and middle managers who are underperforming and “restrict access to veteran data and its use by (the pharmaceutical industry) and medical HMOs.”

“(The) VA should stop the longtime practice of conducting pharmaceutical and related medical experiments on veterans in exchange for donations from for-profit companies,” he wrote.

‘A HOUSE OF CARDS’

Krause would curtail farming out costly government contracts for tasks the agency used to do on its own.

For example, it paid an outside contractor “$60,000 to develop branding strategy for its Office of Tribal Government Relations,” he noted. “VA pays another company over $200,000 to track the influence of members of Congress, VA officials and journalists in the media. Why?

“It is a house of cards,” he added. “Of its $160 billion budget, over $100 billion went to contractors last year. The special interests of government contractors and union employees have been placed ahead of the needs of veterans. This needs to stop.”

Maybe it’s a good idea to send Mr. Krause and other like-minded vets to Washington.

Read More: https://www.twincities.com/localnews/ci_25868226/ruben-rosario-veteran-has-fought-va-but-hed

 

Get to know the new VA Secretary Sloan Gibson

Career banker and former West Point alumni Sloan Gibson will serve as acting VA Secretary until a replacement is found. Do not hold your breath that a great VA Secretary will be found. Most career politicians would not touch VA with a ten-foot pole. In light of this scandal, they will probably have to dive 40 picks deep to find someone brave enough to jump into this mess. And they will probably fail. Maybe it is time for a woman to lead?

I will jump into his bio pulled from VA.gov in a second, but here is what you will not see from any other journalist. The following is a list of companies currently listed in various databases as being affiliated with our new Secretary:

  • Alabanc Properties, Inc
  • AMSOUTH Bank of Alabama
  • United Service Organization, Inc
  • Veterans Admin Central Federal Credit Union

While government – private sector contacts are nothing new for career politicians, Mr. Gibson is close to the bottom of the list for affiliations. Erik Shinseki had around 9 affiliations including Honeywell. James Peake is connected with CGI, QTC Management, and others. Anthony Principi is connected with L-3, MPRI, Inc., Pfizer, Lockheed Martin, and the Wounded Warrior Project. I plan on touching on the lucrative business that is being an ex-Secretary later this week.

Here is Sloan Gibson’s bio per VA.gov:

Sloan D. Gibson was nominated by President Obama to serve as the Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs, and he was confirmed by the Senate on February 11, 2014. On May 30, 2014, Mr. Gibson was appointed Acting Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Prior to joining VA, Mr. Gibson served as President and Chief Executive Officer of the United Services Organizations (USO), which has been lifting the spirits of American Servicemembers and their families for more than 73 years. During his five years at the USO, net fundraising grew 90 percent, enabling dramatic growth in programs and facilities supporting our forward-deployed men and women, military families, as well as our wounded, ill, and injured Servicemembers, their families, and the families of the fallen.

Before joining the USO, Mr. Gibson spent more than 20 years in banking in Charlotte, NC; Atlanta, GA; Nashville, TN; and Birmingham, AL. In 2004, he retired from AmSouth Bancorporation, a New York Stock Exchange–traded corporation, where he served as vice chairman and chief financial officer. During his tenure as CFO, AmSouth was added to the S&P 500. Mr. Gibson also has a long history of service and leadership with a variety of nonprofit organizations. In 2002, Mr. Gibson chaired the United Way campaign in Central Alabama, which raised more than $30 million.

Mr. Gibson is the son of an Army Air Corpsman who served as a B-17 tail-gunner during World War II, later earning his commission in the U.S. Air Force. He is also the grandson of a World War I Army Infantryman who was wounded while serving in the 3rd Infantry Division at the Second Battle of the Marne.

A 1975 graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, Mr. Gibson earned both Airborne and Ranger qualifications and served as an infantry officer in the U.S. Army. He earned a Masters in Economics from the University of Missouri in Kansas City and a Masters in Public Administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Deputy Secretary Gibson and his wife, Margaret, have been married nearly 32 years. They have two grown daughters, Celia and Laura.

Read More: https://www.va.gov/opa/bios/bio_gibson.asp

 

Will Roberts on Veteran Scandals

We ran an interview last week on Will Roberts show covering veteran scandals including the influence of the Pharmaceutical Industry on veterans.

Will Roberts is a lifetime personality covering problems in America from the middle of the road. He does a great job bringing complex topics into the living room of American’s across the country, and that is why I am a regular guest on his show.

Listen Here: https://soundcloud.com/willrobertsweeklyradio/will-roberts-weekly-telegram-radio-vets-are-we-helping-them-or-drugging-them

 

Hawaii Governor Statement on Shinseki

Governor of Hawaii, Neil Abercrombie, had some comments about the resignation of Hawaii’s own Secretary Eric K. Shinseki. In a press release last week, this is what Governor Abercrombie had to say:

“It comes as no surprise to those of us in Hawaii who know General Eric Shinseki that he would assume responsibility for the reprehensible conduct of those in the VA, whose misconduct has led to unacceptable delays in serving the veterans for whom he has been and is a champion.

“Twice wounded himself, he has had as his chief ambition since becoming secretary, the welfare of veterans and their families. That accounts for his resignation today. A man of General Shinseki’s integrity could not allow focus on him to obscure taking the necessary steps to address the pressing issues involved.

“It is a measure of his values, Hawaii’s values and his lifelong commitment to the men and women of the United States Armed Forces that he wants his resignation to lead to a systematic review of, and the taking of action on, the challenges facing the VA in terms of personnel and program support.

“Eric Shinseki was and is a true son of Hawaii.”

So what do you think about the Shinseki resignation? Good for veterans or bad for truth?

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27 Comments

  1. THERE ARE TWO WAYS TO VIEW THIS RESIGNATION:
    1. THE GENERAL WAS JUST ANOTHER IN THE LONG LINE OF “FIGURE HEADS” IN GOVT
    2. HE SAW THAT HE WAS BEING “SACRIFICED”, SO HE DID THE “HONORABLE” THING
    IF HE WERE THE FORMER, THEN HE KNEW WHAT WAS WHAT; BUT IF HE WAS THE LATTER, THENLET US LEAVE HIM AND FOCUS TOTALLY ON THE VA(RESPECT HIS WISHES)
    GOOD PEOPLE MAKE BAD CAREER MOVES AND I FEEL THAT THIS MIGHT HAVE BEEN ONE.(I CITE THE CONGRESS V. PRESIDENT OBAMA) I HAVE DEALT WITH THE “RED TAPE” OF THIS ORGANIZATION(VA) SINCE 1979, DOING THE BEST I COULD TO SURVIVE. I HAVE BEEN HOMELESS, INCARCERATED, DETOXXED, ETC. AND FINALLY IN 2005 I RECEIVED 50% PTSD RATING. NOW, SURELY THERE ARE OTHER “SERVICE CONNECTED” PROBLEMS IN ME, BUT THE GOVT HAS NOT “CERTIFIED” THEM, YET. SO MAYBE IF I LIVE ANOTHER,SAY, 20-25 YEARS I WILL BE RATED 100%. ONE MAN IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR THAT.
    THE “GROUP” THAT REMAINS, KEEPS ON GOING, “INVESTIGATES(ITSELF), ARE DEFINITELY WORTH WATCHING WITH “ALL” EYES. THESE POLITICIANS SERVE AT OUR BEHEST, IN OUR INTEREST, TO MAKE THINGS BETTER FOR US AND HENCE GREATER FOR THEM. IT DOES NOT WORK THE OTHER WAY.
    IF IT IS ONE THING I HAVE LEARNED IN MY LATTER YEARS, IT’S THAT “RESPONSIBILITY” REQUIRES “SERVICE”AND IS NOT “SELF-CENTERED”
    I EXPECT NEGATIVE RESPONSES TI THIS COMMENT, BUT THAT IS THE WAY I SEE THINGS AND THAT IS WHAT WAS ASKED.

  2. Ben, what you are missing is this in you GM to VA analogy: GM does not have the American Legion, it only has government oversight that is corrupt, and consumer advocate groups that are apathetic and weak. And, it does not have anything even roughly or distantly equivalent to the tens of millions of veterans that are in fact going to demand that a real investigation continues. This involves criminal charges, yes, similar to the 13 GM deaths, but very significantly different in that it has affected countless thousands more veterans than car buyers. This is not just about a defective product, it’s about a deliberately defective, deliberately corrupt, deliberately criminal, and deliberately destructive government agency. Ben, out of all due respect to your hard work and deep thinking, please get back on the “investigative reporter” and “attorney” track. I am sorry, but your analogy is heavily flawed, it is weak, it is self-defeating to your own cause and the cause of veterans. A wise judge is able to reverse himself, and that is the challenge before you now. I would sincerely hope that you won’t take this out on me, not get angry at me, but it just is way off point to fall into the hopeless apathy kind of trap that corporate giants like GM like to create for profit and greed. The reason we have things like law school classes, passing the Bar exam with essay questions that show knowledge of law and fact situations, and other things like military training that approximates real world missions, is that we are supposed to fall back on this training, pull out our law books and military field manuals, and go to our peers, while looking deep into ourselves to find the right answer. Throwing your hands up, throwing in the towel, running the white flag up the pole, this is not what you learned in moot court or warfare tactical instruction. Instead of leading a subtle retreat, re-group, even fall back, but don’t surrender. Your MMQB comment today is in fact dangerously close to outright surrender and so please heavily reconsider where you are leading your leaders and those veterans who look up to you as their staunch defender and advocate. Instead of taking a call from a news source that will publish GM analogies of no-win scenario traps, please push your own reset button. Start by getting on the phone to the guy that called you and did the story on you and telling him that you have re-thought the whole thing, everything you said. Tell him you realize that you were being lulled into complacency but it was only temporary. Tell him you realize that where you went with this on the GM thing was EXACTLY WHERE THAT PIECE OF SHIT SHINSEKI AND HIS LOYAL LIEUTENANTS SET YOU UP TO GO! Ben, demand action, especially from yourself. After you call that guy back, make a few new outbound calls to Congressman and news agencies and reporters. Be a vital part of the solution, and please don’t let yourself slip any further into the enemy’s camp. Shinseki needs to face criminal charges along with everyone else at the top, along with literally hundreds of low to mid level VA staff who gleefully played the roll of his chess pieces. Ben, get it right. Get back on track. Please. Respectfully submitted, Bruce Wallace, former US Marine, former US Army

  3. Shinseki finally admits what we in the veteran’s legal advocates field told him for a long time: Do not trust the VA Central Office (VACO) SES management executives. They perpetrate fraud by Lying about nearly everything. We told him that in 2009. But Shinseki ignored the voices of men much wiser than him who knew better. Nice to know he admits that — he Finally knows we told him the truth.
    .
    The only thing honorable for Shinseki to do amid the escalating scandals was impose the fear of consequence on the VA SES & other VA management criminals by saying he “would” use the VAMAA, H.R. 4031 to clean house. The VA SES & CSEA termination program could be named: Fire The Liars or FTL. Another could be named Prosecute & Punish The Liars or PPTL.

    Shinseki disregarded the voices of the veterans and the electorate through Congress and said he would be “reluctant” to use VAMAA to clean house at VA. (His boss does that too on a routine basis). But why leave before ousting the corrupt bureaucrats he surely knows lied to him?

    We wish he had weathered the scandals long enough for the Senate to pass the bill, and then begin rolling heads at VA Before deciding to resign. By resigning, he lost the power to fire any but the few who are clearly guilty. Far Too little, Much too late, Mr. Shinseki.
    Shinseki’s apology has little value. He allowed many veterans to die, suffer serious complications and even lifelong disabilities by trusting his executive managers at VACO, the 21 VA VISN offices, and the 700+ VA medical facilities and clinics. Shinseki managed VA through some 63 group meetings per year, or every 5.7 days. No one in VA management stepped forward and he trusted all that they told him in spite of outcry by veterans’ legal advocacy groups. He should have apologized long before now. He now admits he allowed himself to be deceived by his senior VA staff.

    Shinseki failed to do what he promised: That millions of veterans would get better treatment under his watch. He did not do the very things he promised, but instead chose to believe the SES LIARS who fooled him by saying they were “helping” him run the VA. Shinseki refused to listen to the many veterans groups that that warned him the VACO senior staff were LIARS.

    He Only admits that now — when horrors are uncovered.
    That’s not leadership. Its foolishness and super-nonsense.
    He was warned, but got suckered anyways.
    He’s Very Naïve for a man of his track record.
    And now we can say: We told you so!

  4. Vernon, if you expect negative responses to your comment, then maybe you won’t feel so bad to know that I expect worse responses to mine that is now next to yours. I really think we need to re-group here, and that Ben as our leader needs to look carefully at what you have written. But, you need to look at it too. You have been sucked into the CBS line that this has been going on for decades, long before Shinseki. Well, sure it has. But, just because Sadam Hussein or Osama Bin Laden come along does not mean Hitler can be written off. The Jews went after Nazi war criminals with a vengeance that continues in some form to this very day. Just because Hitler died does not mean the war tribunals should have thrown up their hands and said it’s over. It was not over, and this ABSOLUTE SHIT led by an ABSOLUTE PIECE OF SHIT LIKE SHINSEKI AND HIS TOP ASSISTANTS AND MANY FOLLOWERS AT ALL LEVELS OF THE VA ARE NOT, NOT, NOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! GOING TO GET BY WITH DOING THE SHIT THEY HAVE DONE TO VETERANS. Yes, I am livid about this. It is too similar to the shit I went up against in the service, especially during the end of the Nam. Your comment gives good advice, that our politicians serve at our leisure, and for our interests, not the other way around. I don’t care if every VA secretary before Shinseki, and every VA staff member or Assistant Secretary before his time were a thousand times more corrupt, or just equally corrupt, or if it can all sort of just flow together. These fuckers will be held accountable. The American Legion needs to file suit against Shinseki themselves if they have to, with civil damage chargers, along with similar charges against dozens of others in the VA staffing as well as top tier leadership system. Shitseki needs to spend the rest of his life in depositions and courtrooms, with the final product being prison, for his deliberate role in this whole thing. If anyone is stupid enough to think he did not know, and if anyone is stupid enough to think he did not give the orders from the very top to pull all the shit that the VA has pulled under his leadership, and I mean giving bonuses to deny and delay treatment that HE FLAT OUT KNEW WOULD KILL MANY VETERANS, AND FRAUDULENTLY DENY HONORABLY EARNED BENEFITS, AND COUNTLESS OTHER BAD/CRIMINAL PRACTICES, that is simply naïve and infantile. He was the outright ringleader. Go back and watch his testimony to Congress and tell me that you can’t see he was lying and spinning his words. He had that piece of shit Patel? next to him, only because he knew people would automatically hate him and thereby make himself look better. I still want to hear from someone that screwed over by Shinseki in the Nam, and I am sure there are plenty who did. The guy is not normal, he is a manipulator, plain and simple. He played his criminal gambit all those years at the VA and now he has to answer for it, along with his pals, whether he resigned or not.

    • Bruce, we are all entitled to our opinions as to how this will shake down. I am hopeful but will not hold my breath. Institutional amnesia is a ploy many large organizations use to evade direct questions. DOJ has already said it does not plan on bringing criminal charges. Mr. Holder might change his mind, but I will not hold my breath on that one, either.

      • Ben, this is by any standards a thousand times worse than the Lois Lerner IRS scandal. It is not just up to Holder. Any judge, in any court, civil or criminal, as you know, may hear a case against any of these people. Congress itself can itself still bring Shinseki before them, just as they have done to private citizens in the past. Boehner recently acted like a man with testosterone still in his brain when he blasted the President immediately after Shinseki resigned. Don’t make the mistake of thinking Congress is done with Shinseki, or they don’t have some serious plans that will in fact work that will go after him with criminal and civil charges. I really think your attitude is on the wrong side of the issue, Ben. The Dems are going to lose the Senate for sure if they don’t go after Shinseki with a vengeance, and they do NOT want to risk that. It’s is not just Shinseki they have to worry about, it’s their already negative association with the President’s horrible approval rating, now tied to the VA scandal. The Repubs and Independents are going to beat the VA scandal like a dead horse. The smell of that dead horse is strong enough to snap everyone out of the amnesia distraction.

  5. Ben, I agree with a lot of your analysis. However, I take great exception to your term “Wasp-ville.” I find it just as offensive as if you said Shenseki was from “Jap-ville.” Do you really have to identify people in that manner?

    • Now that we have Shitseki out let’s be careful not to start fighting amongst ourselves. This often happens in a power shift or power vacuum when the top leader is eliminated. Dan, WASP-ville, just to be clear, is an obvious anti-white elitist remark which could only amount to reverse discrimination against Whites, as in White Anglo-Saxon Protestant. Jap-Ville does not fit in this discussion though I see what you are driving at. Ben of course said nothing like that, again, he said the exact opposite; he made a possibly disparaging remark against Whites, his own ethnic group. If it is possible to piss someone off in a legitimate manner, I would say this about the word Jap. It is short for Japanese; my grandparents used the term, my dad did too, it was normal form them to do so, and you, Dan, may even be old enough to remember using it yourself when you were younger, like back in the 70s or 80s before everyone became obsessed with fears of racism and political correctness. The “Japs” as they were called after the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor was negative and dehumanizing for a purpose. It’s like Krauts or Gooks, or Nips, etc. Those terms meant something at the time, it was in fact considered patriotic and totally normal to use those terms then if you were a loyal American, though it is of course wrong to use them now, unless you are referring to definitions and meanings from history. The Germans called Marines “devil dogs”, and that certainly could have become a term considered to be offensive. The Germans had “God is With Us” (in German) engraved on their belt buckles, and they really thought God was with them, just as Hitler did. The Marine immediately got over it and adopted it as something positive, though the Germans and Nazi party meant it to be the ultimate religious-social insult. I didn’t even see the comment, but I think I have it right when I am guessing that Ben was using that term to highlight the drawbacks of too many Whites at the helm.

      • I appreciate your reply. Maybe it is just me, but I also find that black people calling each other the “N” word in my presence is uncalled for. I am not a politically correct nut case. I want what every veteran wants – competent, caring people throughout the VA. I don’t care if they are white, black, yellow, red, purple or green.

  6. Sanders said in a statement issued Sunday that while the people who have lied or manipulated data must be punished, “we also need to get to the root causes of the problems that have been exposed.” This is a quote from today’s news; Sanders is an Independent, he is neutral between Dems and Repubs. I assure you, the investigation into Shinseki and the rest is not going away, and it will soon produce startling new evidence that Shinseki in fact knew about all of this crap at the VA because he and his top assistants sat down together every week dreaming the entire scam up.

  7. Larry, good points. You certainly know, that no one, including Shinseki, rises to the rank of General (that’s four stars!) without knowing what everyone directly underneath him is doing. The only thing that can save Shinseki, in the end, is a Presidential pardon. That may not even come into play because the criminal trial process from start to finish will take so long that we will have a new President by then, and new President’s rarely give anyone a pardon. Pretending you did not know is the same as lying (to Congress and to the world).

    From todays’s news: ” ‘Sanders said in a statement issued Sunday that while the people who have lied or manipulated data must be punished, “we also need to get to the root causes of the problems that have been exposed.’ “

  8. Great analysis in the comments posted today!

    However…

    Please DO NOT FORGET the political angle by Obama!

    Obama has been brutally hammered in the press and the polls recently over the VA scandal because Main Street America was blaming him for his negligence in not fixing the problems we veterans experience every time we use the VA.

    So Obama made the choice to deflect criticism about him by ‘wagging the dog’ with Shinseki’s firing last Friday and then releasing the GI-murdering terrorists from Gitmo on Saturday.

    By politically maneuvering these two events into the press this week, the public is being persuaded that the VA problem is now fixed and that Obama has better things to do by releasing GI-killing terrorists.

    Now the Obama-supporting press is conveniently ignoring the VA scandal and will do so from this day forward.

    Hey! Check out Obama grinning at us as he goes on another fundraiser or golfs another round!

    Obama: VA scandal? What VA scandal?

    Oh, by the way.

    How many more American lives will be lost when these GI-slaughtering terrorists return to the killing fields?

    Obama’s final legacy will be the shame of more blood spilled from troops slain, and veterans used and abused and now forgotten again.

    IF YOU WANT TO CHECK YOUR VETERANS’ PRIVILEGE, GO AHEAD! I REFUSE TO APOLOGIZE FOR BEING A VETERAN!

    The title of US soldier is not a lie of fools!

  9. Great analysis in the comments posted today!

    However…

    Please DO NOT FORGET the political angle by Obama!

    Obama has been brutally hammered in the press and the polls recently over the VA scandal.

    So Obama made the choice to deflect criticism about him by ‘wagging the dog’ with Shinseki’s firing last Friday and then releasing the GI-murdering terrorists from Gitmo on Saturday.

    By politically maneuvering these two events into the press this week, the public is being persuaded that the VA problem is now fixed and that Obama has better things to do by releasing GI-killing terrorists.

    While the Obama-supporting press is conveniently ignoring the VA scandal and will do so from this day forward,

    Obama will gleefully grin at his next political fundraiser, and hobnob with his Wall Street bankers as he plays another round of golf.

    Obama: VA scandal? What VA scandal?

    Oh, by the way.

    How many more American lives will be lost when these GI-slaughtering terrorists return to the killing fields?

    Obama’s final legacy will be the shame of more blood spilled from troops slain, and veterans used and abused and now forgotten again.

    IF YOU WANT TO CHECK YOUR VETERANS’ PRIVILEGE, GO AHEAD! I REFUSE TO APOLOGIZE FOR BEING A VETERAN!

    The title of US soldier is not a lie of fools!

    • Ben, as Reagan said, “Here we go again.” Ben, even if your analysis is predictively accurate, it is not helpful to the cause of veterans, including your own. How about, “Attitude is Everything”. Anyone can be negative, anyone can continue to explain why the other side will win the day, anyone can give up and say there is no point in talking strategy for positive change and gain. You are not going to like this, or maybe you just don’t care one way or another, but the next time I see a negative commentary to the extent that you have put here over the past 24 hours I am going to avoid your website indefinitely. You really don’t get it, you have totally fallen into the easy trap of “give up, it’s over, nothing will change, the VA gets a pass, on to our next national crisis, and so on.” It kind of pisses me off that an attorney of your skills and accomplishments is allowing yourself to be used as doomsayer by the VA at this juncture. One of my sisters is an attorney, and it immensely sickens me the way she almost always plays devil’s advocate for the other side when I talk with her about different legal and social issues. You recently got certified as a VA approved attorney of some sort, and now you are acting like the American Legion did when I talked to several of them by phone a couple of weeks ago. All they could do is say that there is no use asking the VA to do anything, nothing will change, and they even slammed the phone down on me. Ben, reassess whose side you are on and what it means to be on one side or the other, and then start acting like it. My guess is you are going to do the same thing my sister does at times like this, i.e., you will double-down on the side of devil’s advocate that nothing will be done. If everyone says that, they have won. I am going to check and see what Lauren Price (veteranwarrior.org) is saying about this crap, and I would bet heavily that it is a hell of a lot more aggressive and positive and moving in the right direction than one what you are saying and doing. Lauren has addressed Congress on related issues to this, she was a convoy driver in Iraq along with her husband who was a Convoy leader. The operative term here is leader. Ben, this is not about my opinion versus yours or anyone else’s opinion. It’s about staying on these bastards, doing your part, as opposed to giving up which is what they want you to do and in fact exactly what you have done. Prove me wrong, come back to the battle with a positive, winning attitude and constructive actions. Hey, no big deal if you lose one reader anyway, right? Get on the right side, Ben!

    • Ben, I misquoted the address of veteranwarrior.org. It is veteranwarriors1.org. Please go there, it will help you get your bearings back. Maybe the pics of the Army convoy in hostile territory in Iraq will help. look at the shit they do. call Lauren, talk to her about the weather, about the VA, or whatever. She has her shit together!

  10. There is no IG at the Medical Center
    level. A patient’s advocate is the
    staffer to which Veterans are referred
    for complaints about unsatisfactory
    care.

    The IG is only at the VA Department
    level. If you wish to report a systemic
    problem or patient neglect you are
    told to report that to the Director of
    the medical center serving you or
    to its patient advocate.

    The IG at the VA Department level will tell you
    that they only deal with fraud, waste,
    and abuse of things related to funds.
    An IG is necessary to the medical
    center level since the discharged soldier
    is familiar with the name and its function.

  11. Obama is an American embarrassment.

    In 2008, when he was running for President, he promised to build a 21st century VA.
    His 7 deadly lies to veterans at that time were:

    #1 – “They deserve the same commitment from our government that our grandfathers received.”

    #2 – “Recovering troops should go to the front of the line and they shouldn’t have to fight to get there.”

    #3 – “No more red tape.”

    #4 – “No more shortfalls.”

    #5 – “No more delays.”

    #6 – “We will stand up against proposals to ration care…”

    #7 – “We will have a simple policy for veterans living on our streets: Zero tolerance.”

    #8 – ““If you like your health plan, you can keep it”

    Oh, wait! That’s 8 broken promises!

    Oh, well. Obama is promising private medical care for us veterans to help resolve the VA scandal.

    However, when Obama was caught lying about #8 above, that same lie will also apply to veterans when they use VA-paid private medical care.

    Now in 2014, I guess all these broken promises make Obama a professional liar…

    …or a President that could care less about us veterans!

    DO NOT LET OBAMA MAKE YOU CHECK YOUR VETERANS’ PRIVILEGE!

    [vid link of Obama’s 7 deadly lies is titled “Obama 7 broken promises to veterans”]

  12. Maybe they are right in one aspect, “it may take a woman to do the job.” I believe that anytime a scandal happens, someone will take the hit and go with a resignation knowing full well, they are the “sacrificial lamb.” My own dealings with the VA in Dallas when I went into the ER for severe back pain, a female not worth being called a Doctor, ( I call it as I see it) had the nerve to say, “WHY ARE YOU HERE IN MY ER WHEN YOU SHOULD MAKE AN APPOINTMENT?” ( male body guard and her witness for empathy and professional standards that they lacked) EXCUSE ME? YOUR ER YOU SAY? She gives a shot, my pain, a 10, no one observed me, trust me, I flip really easy to allergic reactions and my last spine surgery I swore NG tube was a “karma payback!” Now, having had this injection before, and knowing just the general effectiveness time, 1 hour for an I.M. ( intramuscular) ME? Never the normal, nope, the 2% who just have to be unique! But interesting to note, I guess someone filled in the blanks of questions not asked, like pain went from a 10 to a 4, in 20 minutes! A friend stated loudly, “A 4! YOU’VE NEVER BEEN A 4, YOU MANAGE TO COPE WELL!” WOW, DAMN AMAZING! Me?, it takes me 3 to 6 hours to feel any effects. And so noted, it did nothing, it is also something you don’t want to do often either. IS SHE WILLING TO GO UP AGAINST MY DOCTOR OF 18 YEARS AND PARTNER FOR 26 YEARS? I asked, “after the shot was given and the no one observing, but they wished to get me gone, the ER was quiet, gee, wonder if people call to see if she is there? “May I please have an x-ray?” (Oh yes, I did dare her big time, I know how to read them thank you). Well that annoyed her and her “body guard, x-ray tech. She looks at it, as he does as well, “there ain’t nothing wrong with you, as she walks away bitching about l wasting her time in “her ER.” ( just an FYI, I noted, that x-ray isn’t normal, you shouldn’t see so much soft tissue swelling near a fusion site, and funny, the radiologist agreed, but she has to look good and stated I left before results, no, I left as you walked away not knowing how to speak English and you and your buddy stated it was all good!) Never underestimate the degree one has been educated and their level of education. “Watch your lips Doc!” My last choice-different to work the job and a big difference to be the patient/ CUSTOMER/client in an ER. Can we state, Critical Care Tech, above an LVN, medical insurance, billing and coding certified by AHIMA And yes, studying in the psychosocial as well social work, “to advocate on the behalf of veterans and their families.” You see, “NEVER EVER ASSUME” you’re more educated and know it all. Hell, I would fear if I went into A-Fib or V-Tac and she was the doctor? Um yes, I see death with this idiot on her watch! ( reminder, “her ER, her VA.” And we are the Veterans correct?
    The lack and ability to practice medicine with the oath “DO NO HARM” I believe has left “the building at VA Facilities Nationwide.” The VA must take on the rejects from other practices who have a degree. Teach them how to document lies, and hope they don’t get caught. “HEY, IDIOTS, SOME OF KNOW OUR SHIT AND CAN SPOT YOUR LIES BIG TIME!” Because I believe, “question everything,” including the ratings regional office in Waco who can’t understand, “pain-severe, no well rested sleep, call after 3p, and that includes Saturdays!” I am in the land of a few intellectual individuals, many who lack critical thinking, comprehension, ability to listen, so dealing with many village idiots!
    I really think one must look past the “smoke and mirrors” with this scenario that has been presented. Question, “a banker who probably got out of trading and banking before the “depression not a recession” took the money and screw the rest of you. ( having volunteered with a lawyer, who was involved with the industry, saw the signs to get out, took the money he made and ran, puts it in a cousins name and collects SSI for a disability. And no, he wasn’t lying, too many mafia sounding statements of how to manipulate the system, seen it many times with medical boards and those who wish to retire with less taxes removed for retirement.
    Now, you want a woman for the job? I will raise my hand! As my adult children will tell you, ” she has eyes in the back of her head, damn! They are all over!” I am not afraid to get rid of the trash, hire professionals, trust me, I can talk it, and may have to walker it, but I can definitely see through the smoke and mirrors of not only the VA Administration, but the corruption that plagues the whole Constitutional Beliefs and will pull the right cards and let it fall but rise like a Phoenix ( no pun on that one, won’t go on about my experience there) and start fresh. No bonuses, do your job, and remember, you are “PUBLIC SERVANTS FOR VETERANS, IT IS NEVER THE OTHER WAY AROUND AND GET RID OF THESE SO CALLED “INVESTMENTS THAT ARE NOT FOR VETERANS AT ALL!” You bet, I am one seriously pissed off female, and that tiger in the tall grass who will watch her prey, and when you least expect it? You Loose!

    • Denise, I love that story and I love it when you know as much if not more than the one who are supposed to be taking care of you. I disagree and let them know what I think all the time and if I know I am right, I will not stop until it is corrected. My Dr’s don’t like me at times (most of the time) because I will not hesitate to let them know that they are wrong and what they need to fix to make it right. They know if they don’t, I will put it in my record myself to correct it and my version is not as nice as theirs is. More of us vets need to get better educated on our health and the medical system so more of us can be as equal to the ones taking care of us and not be the one who takes the new med. because the Dr. told them it would help and it really has side effects or is for something completely different.
      Way to go,
      Randy

      • Randy. Trust me, I do let them know, but one thing I do so another can be a witness to such actions and remarks? “I BRING A CREDIBLE WITNESS WHO HAPPENS TO BE A WELL DECORATED MARINE, CANT SAY WHAT HE DID, WHERE HE HAS BEEN AND WHERE WE CAN’T GO.” Trust me, he deals with straight up facts, calls you out, and don’t ever think I’ve not stated, “BULL SHIT DR. PETE NOT YOUR REAL NAME I KNOW, SOUNDS LIKE A CALIFORNIA RAISED VIETNANESE AND YOUR ASHAMED OF YOUR FIRST NAME? ( SOMETHING ELSE COMES TO MIND BUT I WON’T SAY BECAUSE I DON’T NEED MAN ATTACKS-MEDICAL PEOPLE WHO HAVE WITNESSED DEATH, HAVE BEEN ON THE SUPPORT TEAM FOR TRANSPLANTS WE HAVE OUR SICK HUMOR AND JOKES, I WILL JUST SAY, “PETE YOU SAY? SO PETE, HOW LONG HAVE YOU FELT THIS WAY ABOUT YOUR “PETE?” (,that I say because he needed to discuss his feelings, did I look like his mom? I mean I know in Hawaii people thought I must have Chinese or Japanese in my blood, I certainly fit the mold, and definitely a “bookend” when placed side to side with my brother, and yes, we would steal each other’s jeans, but Pete, you see, I have two sons, and I just have to say, “this mom is very open minded and swore my revenge of my youngest I call the “son of anarchy” before the show ever came out. So, free minded and believes in sex education starts when they are young, my youngest I gave just a tad more than he really wanted to know, he swears, “great, therapy for another ten years.” But it’s a joke. Sorry Pete, your mom raised you not able to express feelings, made you study “must be doctor” attitude that runs amuck there, but I raised tough ass boys, a girl in the middle who can take them on, all surf “Pete,” did you not get to surf, camp out, play sports and grow a pair and be a man?” Must say, yes my two older kids are christians, a bit too strange as I advocated free thought, learn more, and just to piss them off, ” you know this was during Roman Expansion and Rule and he was against the corruption and just FYI he was “JEWISH AND NOT NAMED JESUS CHRIST!” I think when my daughter sent the youngest a 4 page letter, well written, verses out of context, (,wasn’t taught that crap by my catholic mom or priest in the 1960’s) when he moved out on his own into a 4000 sq ft home made for 4 young alpha geeks you can’t even imagine, Halloween party? He wanted to see if his “Elvis costume fit,'” um, son, you do realize like you got taller and filled out a bit? So, what does he do? He has a Mohawk, a Jesus outfit, and doing the I have that long kiss tongue look along with a middle digit, his girl next to him the same, and if Mary Magdalene dressed like that? Yup, turn on for any man. I think he looked a bit shall we say, “partied California Style?” There is much one has bio clue amongst all the brainiacs of the 1970’s crowd! But I digressed, only brought that up and posed that picture wide screen style and said “YUP DEFINITELY AN SOA!”
        But I listened to Pete story of his “feelings.” And when he was done I stated, now that you have had your “feelings expressed, I hope you feel better. Here though is my one doctors not that states he has been treating me since 1996 Pete, and since I AM THE PATIENT PETE, IT IS HOW I FEEL THAT MATTERS AND YOU ARE MISSING THE MARK BIG TIME THINKING I WANT DAMN PILLS PETE!” I then handed Pete the Paradoxical Commandments and stated, “in the medical profession I found it handy to use these as my staff did as well. And since you seem to think your interns are correct? Your nurse who states, “why are you here again?” ( said this the first time I met her, have a feeling she changed some information regarding drugs that came in the Mali that one was a no no, she said you picked these up, I am not soft spoken, “I stated like hell I did!” – “So Pete, I believe you lack the necessary training to be in the position you are in.” And I left. Trust me, poor Pete, does he think I or my doctor will agree with his assessment of increased drugs in the last 8 years and my doctor treated me in the last two? HEY VA-CAN YOU SAY I SEE A LARGE PAYOUT FOR MY SILENCE OFFERED BUT MONEY AINT A THING TO ME, WATCH OUT, BECAUSE I AM WATCHING YOU!
        Willie Nelson needs to sing MaMa’s don’t raise your boys to be whimp asses that a disabled woman can take you down! ( is it talk loudly and carry a big cane? ) lol- Randy, believe it or not, I have already given the information required to go after those who violate the rules and how to present it. I have a NO FEAR ATTITUDE-my brother and I in his home where talking, he did all these crazy things! Speed boat flipped in the Willamette River in Oregon, ( Marty Vinciguerra-crazy facts) could Scuba at 6 years old, used race type wikis for the Glacier there, and stated, “you have too much fear, you’ve always been cautious, cut loose a bit! I asked, so when you jumped out of the plane what did you think then? He stated, “F that one off the list, no need to jump out of a working plane!” Understand, the bound of two siblings that could be the best of friends, or nightmares for parents. But one thing I knew, call it my sixth sense, he said those words and there may have been a reason why? I don’t know if he knew then? That was our last normal conversation. Because when he came back to California, he had full blown AIDS, and passed away in 1994. The last picture I have is my 3 kids standing next to there uncle, he is pissed off, “DAMN IT NO PICTURES YOU FILL IN THE BLANKS OF MANY WORDS.” But I knew. I knew that weekend that I promised to bring my recipe for chocolate chip cookies, telling him remember, your two other ( half sisters) are coming too. That Saturday I was ready to go, but got a call instead he had passed away that morning. I wrote his Eulogy, as my base home overlooked the Pacific Ocean he loved. Strange how words just flowed. But one thing he played, the drums, ( drove the old lady nuts, but the cops stated. He can do that during the day!) as I was alone with him, needing my own moments, he had a pair of drum sticks in his hands, damn it! I must of hit one some how and hell if I could find it! My mom came him, my face white as a ghost, imagine very vampire white than most in my family, my mothers words, “YOU JUST HAD TO PUT A STICK UP HIS ASS AS YOUR FINAL FIGHT AND SAY I WON!” So, yes, laughter at a hard time, but if you think I didn’t listen to my brother? a OH HELL TO THE PRESIDENTS B.S., SPEECHES AND THE VA CRAP THEY SPEW? BRING IT ON, NO FEAR IS EVER HERE! AND TRULY, I THINK ALL THE VETERANS WHO HAVE BEEN DELAYED CARE AS I HAVE AND MY LEG GROWS DEADER BY THE DAY, THAT EACH OF US SHOULD GET A GOOD LAW FIRM, CARRY A HUGE FLAG POLE WITH THE STARS AND STRIPES WHETHER YOU WERE COMBATANT OR NON COMBATANT, IF YOU HAVE A DOG TAG, BRING IT TOO, AND WHEN WE WIN, WE WILL, WE GET TO RAM THAT POLE UP EVERY RUDE DOCTOR, NURSE OR TECH, SOCIAL WORKER WHO CAN REWRITE YOUR STORY. DAMN BIZARRE, AND LET IT GO UP TO THE INTESTINES.. THEN STATE, “DONT WORRY, YOU HAVE THE FLAG THERE AND REMINDERS OF US ALL, BUT WE SHALL HAVE PLEXIGLASS INSTALLED WITH A WIPER! SO THE NEXT TIME YOU WISH TO LIE, BE RUDE, EXPRESS YOUR FEELINGS THEN WRITE AN ADDENDUM TO A PATIENTS RECORD WHO YOUR NURSE THAT STATED WHY ARE YOU HERE AGAIN DIDNT REPEAT WHAT I STATED, NOT ARGUED, DIFFERENCE, YOUR WIPER WILL TURN ON AND HOPEFULLY YOU CAN LEARN TO SEE THROUGH YOUR OWN “BULL SHIT” YOU WISH TO EVER DARE TO REPEAT THOSE OFFENSES AGAIN!” ( hey, it’s a thought, “one can only hope” a quote by Frida Kahlo, who saw this country for what it truly was a long time ago, and I admire strong women-as I know I will never ever be a weak one again!)
        Blessings Randy, may you have a wonderful weekend, I am going to catch up on the game of Thrones-and I would strongly “suggest” we all learn what a TOR is, AND USE ONE FOR POSTING ANYTHING AT ALL BIG TIME! Just “GOOGLE IT” OR ONION BUT TOR, YUP-WAY TO GO!!! 🙂
        PETTY OFFICER VINCIGUERRA NICKNAMED VINCE-FUN TO SEE FACES GO SAY WHAT A GIRL NAME VINCE? BUT NOT ONE DAMN PERSON CAN SAY IT! And just for fun? Google that one too! (My mom never wanted a weak helpless daughter. When I ended up marrying someone abusive she was stunned, that wasn’t her daughter. A fact she repeated after hospital corpsman school in great mistakes, I came home sick, and my friends who had been out partying thought let’s go mess with her. I guess they learned a lesson, “never wake a sleeping tiger, they will hurt you.” ( DNA, 2 out of 3 are like me!) But, what didn’t kill me, made me stronger, and I can’t say what really could have killed me! Women who come out as survivors tend to become stronger, trust me, I know many. My mom thought since I liked to argue, be a Lawyer, ( no offense Ben, some Lawyers you hire and they charge you to do the job) my field is truly “empathy” and compassion for those who need it-but as stated, the tiger in the tall grass you can’t see, and know, it is the female tiger who has the endurance to wait. Watch out VA we have quite a few willing to share. And that never is good! But as stated to all-copies of records you have, can’t be destroyed or manipulated. Don’t trust a Congressmans helper VA unless they are worthy, nor the VSO who sends you on a chase, he knew what and where, for shame.
        Take Care my Brother and Sister Veterans, know others? Share-it’s their right, and our duty to serve them as our own since our country has failed to serve for years and years!
        So-just D it’s enough! 🙂

      • Okay, damn that auto correct? Where the heck did some of my words go as I wrote them! Okay, we shall blame it on the brain that needs a month nap, in a preferred spot and won’t say, but knows she would survive it! So forgive the misspellings, and I believe there is a site for damn you autocorrect?
        D :-0!

  13. OK this is completely off of the subject but I thought I would put this in here as many of us read this wonderful site. I just received my survey from the VA and it is the most biased survey I have ever seen. The only way that you can answer most of the questions is if you have a positive response on the question you are reading. If you answer no to most, they send you to a certain question later in the survey. If you answer with what they want, then they ask you more questions about that question so it will make the VA look better. This is totally BS. I have made copies of it and I am sending them to my Senators with this similar explanation. I would be more than happy to share them after I take my name and my PCP’s name off of it. They are .jpeg’s so they can’t be messed with (filled out). I thought it was funny that there was no phone number to reach anyone but the VA and these are from a company that the VA has contracted to do the survey. I have not looked into this any further and I am going to as it has the same feeling as the old survey that states how wonderful the VA is and how everyone is so delighted with it. We know better. I don’t know if Ben knows about these but I will send him a copy if he wants. Let me know. I still cannot believe it. If you answer no, don’t you think they would want to know why you answered no instead of just forwarding you to another question?
    Sorry this is way off base from this story I wanted to get this out and see if others thought this way or was it just me. Sorry again.

  14. The VA problems has long been there, in the year 1999, My primary care physician prescribed me a high dosage cholesterol medicine, the results of taking this medicine, I became very ill, fatigue, stomach pain and severe diarrhea, it were a weekend and I went to the VA ER. I arrived at about 1700 hrs. and waited on a Doctor until 0500 hrs. Keep in mine that there were no other patients to be seen, the Doctor were hoping that I leave. In the back I could hear the Doctor flirting with a young nurse, the Receptions grew angry, and ask the Doctor, if he were going to see me. He call me back, and told him I were having severe diarrhea, and other problems from the cholesterol medicine. He state: there isn’t anything I could do for you. He gave me medicine bottle, that would not stop my diarrhea, but increase it. In 2013, I were having lower back, and serve problems with my knee, and could only walk a little bit at the time, without resting. When I got to the VA ER, the reception took my ID care, and told me they could not see me, unless My Primary Care Doctor were absent from work. When I got to my Primary Care Clinic, the reception become very angry and stated sit down over there we will get to you sometime today. In the meantime about every 30 minutes, a Nurse would come over and state we are to full today, after staying about 2 hours I left. You are pretty much on your own if you need Emergency Health Care. When you call your Clinic and don’t have and appointment, the first thing the recording say’s is, don’t come in without an appointment.

    • VA doctors deliberately give you meds that will make you sicker so they can prescribe more and more meds to treat the side-effects of one medication after another. they do this for the same reason that private doctors do, and almost all of them are in fact private doctors to one degree or another. they get a referral fee from the pharmaceutical companies for each and EVERY prescription they write. so, the next time the VA writes you a prescription read the side effects and precautions carefully. they recently tried to do a chemical lobotomy on me, by giving me 2 prescriptions that would permanently cause virtually all long-term memory loss, for reasons I won’t go into but it was totally unjustified and corrupt.

  15. I think the VA and congressional committee need to be reform. Such as qtc, who owns it a past senator. So every veteran they deney or to say no this did not occur within the military is money that goes into their pockets. That include all stock owners and doctors whom they have to assigned to give you a exam. VA pays 100 million a year to who (cotractors) arc and others. So if you are already dianoise by VA physicians why do you need a pre exam for service connect. This is why the VA appeals are backlog. For everyyone they reject it puts money in qtc pockets. So now you got to figure out how to eat and live, because you are on disability. QTC greed. Past VA chief wrote me a not so nice letter because I contacted my congressman OMG!!!! I’m happy he is gone. In 2009, I had a hernia and was told it needed to be repaired it was May 2010 before it got corrected and now I’m disabled and walking with a cane and among others ailments. That’s my VENT,thanks for reading.

    • I like your question about “why do you need another diagnosis when you are already diagnosed?” obviously, it is all a scam. any doctor can do an exam and diagnose a veteran then immediately start treatment. doctors are lazy by nature and it is easier for them to have a redundant process of one diagnosis after another done by a chain of doctors who get credit, pay and bonuses for making it look like they are actually treating the vet. we all need to start finding private doctors who will roll the dice, treat us in anticipation of getting paid later by the VA under the idea that the VA is going to have to pay because they blocked necessary care and you have the right to get care IMMEDIATELY!!!!!!!!!!!! As opposed to wait till you die or deteriorate into permanent damage due to their arsenal of delay ploys that gravely harm many, MANY vets!!!!

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