New VA Health Chief Gives Veterans The Heisman

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VA Health Chief David Shulkin

Benjamin KrauseCustomer service for the new VA health chief will reportedly include metaphorically giving veterans the Heisman instead of working with grieved veterans harmed by agency health care.

Activist Ron Nesler, founder of the revolutionary VA accountability group VAisLying, reports that the new chief of the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), Dr. David Shulkin, will not speak directly with grieved veterans and family members. This serves as a complete deviation from the path taken by previous VHA chief Carolyn Clancy, MD. For those missing the football reference, the Heisman trophy shows a football playing giving opponents the stiff arm — which is what Shulkin will reportedly do when veterans seek help from him directly.

Previously, when contacted, Dr. Clancy would reach out to grieved veterans to try to help them navigate various bureaucratic mazes that tend to serve as roadblocks. The practice of engaging with veterans directly started when Secretary Robert McDonald assumed control of the agency. The direct contact helped many veterans access health care and benefits they desperately needed.

Now, Under Secretary Shulkin will return agency engagement back to the previously ineffective and insulting model of ignoring veterans’ complaints. Activists like Nesler hope the change will be short lived. Nesler plans to speak out against the obstructionist positioning until Shulkin decides to engage with the veterans he was hired to serve. For the past six months, Nesler successfully referred veterans from his Facebook group directly to both Under Secretaries. The plan was very effective for many veterans, which helped them get access to health care or benefits more quickly by cutting through bureaucratic red tape and unnecessary appeals processes. Nesler asked senior leadership if Shulkin will continue the practice, but he was informed that Shulkin did not intend to engage with veterans directly and they refused to provide Shulkin’s contact information to the activist.

Just last month, Under Secretary Shulkin was confirmed to the position of Under Secretary for Health. Previously, he managed numerous health care systems and served as an entrepreneur who created DoctorQuality, Inc. The system is a rating tool for rating quality and safety in healthcare systems.

For now, veterans will need to sit and wait when it comes to reaching out to VA leadership for health care. But how long should we wait?

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40 Comments

  1. I think I am going to stop following this website because Ben does not respond to individuals. I am going to go to the news medial with my problems and speak to them and I thought with Ben being a relatively new lawyer compared to my 40 plus years that he might want to get involved an I sent him and invitation and not a word or response and spare me the he is to busy. I thought he had something going but all I see is reporting things well we can all read the things the VA puts on and Ben only adds his slant on that. I thought he was going to be an Activist and word the media. I have seen nothing. Well you do keep the vets wound up but suggest nothing or work with them to get on radio or TV or newspapers which will bring this to the attention of the country as a whole. Great website but useless

    • @ John – Did I somehow agree to work for you without ever actually speaking with you? I guess I am a little lost here. Also, your critique of my investigations is ironic since the story above is clearly an original piece based on an interview with Mr. Nesler that no one else is reporting on.

      As for talking to you directly, you obviously missed my response to your message on Facebook. The reality with the size of my readership and law practice is that I am too busy helping harmed veterans with immediate legal problems day in and day out to catch every comment on Facebook or here. I provided you with my email, but Facebook filed it into your ‘other’ folder last week… but you assumed I ignored you…

      Well, you know what they say about people who assume…?

      I respond to numerous individuals on a regular basis, but I do not get to everyone, and my decision to respond sometimes is influenced by whether the person needs individual help or just wants to chat. I do not have a ton of time for chatting and generally reserve that time for people with whom I have a preexisting professional relationship.

  2. Well, since I do not and will not use Facebook, and that’s the only way to view what today’s article is based upon, VAisLying Facebook Group, could someone qualify what evidence they have that the new VHA Undersecretary Dr. Shulkin will not “talk to Veterans”?
    Realistically, he’s been only on job, what, no more than a week? Can someone share their first-hand experience of being “put off” by the new VHA Undersecretary?

    I do not mean to be crass, just not everyone actually uses Facebook and then you have to take into consideration those of us with serious social anxiety and PTSD, whom by very conditions, do not feel comfortable nor trusting using such media. Just asking for what exactly transpired in a week’s time to determine unequivocally that VHA Undersecretary flat-out will not communicate with Veterans?

    Seems to be rather quick to come to such a conclusion. Please provide info to support this statement.

    • @ namnibor – Ron runs a Facebook group where he also refers veterans directly to senior VA leadership when there is a problem. He is also a friend of mine. We have worked together in the past using social media to shame VA into action. Anyway, he asked for the new Under Secretary’s contact info to continue the practice. VA said Shulkin would not continue the practice of being available to veterans like Under Secretaries Clancy and Hickey.

      • What do you think about this. The VA says veterans are getting in before the 30 days. WRONG. I just made an appointment, about 25 minutes ago, to see an Optometrist in Lake Baldwin, Orlando, Florida. “The earliest we can get you in is November 5th.” That’s a Quote. That’s over 90 days out. When I asked to go outside, I was given the same runaround. You know, call the “Choice Card people!” They will tell me to call the ‘clinic’ for permission. And then back and forth, back and forth. Until I give up. Only if a vet does get permission, it’s almost impossible to get a civilian doctor to accept a patient, because the VA doesn’t pay them on time. Or at all….
        What a FUBAR!!!!!

      • Thanks, Ben. Well, this calls to immediate question of what about that Mission Statement and PROMISE of VA Sec. McDonald of “complete Transparency within in the VA…”?????

        About as transparent as actually knowing the whereabouts at any given time of our VA Secretary when ‘Rome is Burning’, right?

        Too bad Trump had to pull the insult to Sen. McCain because Trump at least has been talking about the atrocious state of affairs of the VA…we need to make sure Veteran Issues remain in the limelight of all these bags of hot blowing air…even the crazy ones, until they finally narrow it down from the two dozen or more now running…and the Debates absolutely NEED to have Veteran issues front and center!

  3. I read on a ‘website’, “concerning the VA”, where a Congressman stated; (I’m paraphrasing), “It’s a waiting game!” “We…, meaning all ‘elected officials’, “will be gone…” BEFORE anything is done to correct the corrosive and corrupt VA culture.
    I do believe this is true. I believe, because the Union(s) are so deeply imbedded within VA, nothing will, or can, be done until they are dismantled. Believe it or not, there are veterans out there who believe “VA has no union(s)!” They are under the impression “No government agency is allowed to be represented by a union.” It’s like talking to a brick wall.
    As far as this Dr. Shulkin goes. What does anyone really know about him? All we know is what was said by the government. Example, what did we truly know about Bob McDonald? Same B/S. What was the “true story” of ‘Why did he stepped down as CEO of P&G? Only people who live and work in Hamilton County, Cincinnati, Ohio ,(or the neighboring Butler County, Hamilton, Ohio), would be privy to that information….Maybe some ‘Big Business’ employees of other companies which had business dealings with P&G might know also.
    We veterans need answers as to the “who, what, why, when, where and how” things are going to change in VA!?
    I have, in the previous blogs, given websites to visit concerning the VA Vulture Culture! Some very recent.
    Congress, men and women, and Senators have yet to “Step up to the plate” and put VA employees in management positions in jail. I believe IF that were to happen, the VA would change course and do right by veterans! I’m not sure, but it seems to me, that would be a great place to start. When someone of high office, in VA were to come in front of any committee and lie, take them to jail immediately. We all know they do this. It’s time for action NOW……

  4. The “headman trophy” The artwork continues to be epic! lol This one is fargone hilarious! (Johnny Dangerously voice) It is kind of hard to decipher this new guy but, from what it looks like is that if he is going to bring something positive, it really should focus on us veterans being able to have a voice.
    In due time with all of the new appointments, it is hard for us to take a stance because I believe that these new appointments are a detraction from the accountability process where the responsible people have literally disappeared and VA is using these new appointments as a cover.
    Naturally , VA cites the Privacy Act as a tool to withold information. I would suggest that legislation should be crafted where pseudo names are given to the public for disciplinary actions against those responsible employees that can be verified by either their professional license. It is done in other public institutions such as the Offices of Disciplinary Counsel, Nursing,Medical and other professional Boards.

    I continue to praise the artwork alone on tis website and look forward to more masterpieces! EL OH EL aka LOL!

  5. Each time a new appointee gets a job with the VA, week vets should all get together and start a petition to send to Congress demanding all veterans have the opportunity to communicate with those individuals. After all, they are civil servants. Not CEO. If they want to be unavailable for the very people they get paid to serve, then why do they have the job?

    We have to start creating an opportunity for us. This is the way we get their attention. They don’t want petitions getting around showing what they’re truly about.

    We have to form an organization that they will see as a force to be reckon with. Change comes about when we all stand up for our rights and ourselves.

  6. Obama has ignored the massacre of our brave military service members in Chatanooga. McCain has ignored the slaughter of military veterans in VA hospitals. Only a Trump presidency will save veterans now!

    Trump stated this weekend, “During my entire business career, I have always made supporting veterans a top priority because our heroes deserve the very best for defending our freedom. Our Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals are outdated dumps. I will build the finest and most modern veterans hospitals in the world. The current medical assistance to our veterans is a disaster. A Trump administration will provide the finest universal access health care for our veterans. They will be able to get the best care anytime and anywhere.”While we watch in disgust as VA and Congressional snake oil salesmen promise to help veterans and then go break their promise after the media spotlight is off of them, only one person is speaking out for veterans and that is Donald J. Trump.Veterans must resist voting for more of the same, of lying, denying, concealing political candidates that use veterans as political hostages for their convenience!Trump: I don’t need to be lectured

  7. I am an employee of the VA at the Des Moines Hospital.
    The waste and mismanagement is sickening to me and I am leaving the VA due to the turmoil and extreme hostile work environment. The waste, fraud and abuse of taxpayer dollars is unbelievable. They are losing several great employees due to the bad employees and managers.

    Who quits a government job in this questionable environment? That should speak volumes in itself. The VA does not allow the press on the facility property unless it is something to put them in a good light for the public and most employees are too afraid to speak out as the reprisal for speaking out will make you miserable as it has me.

    I only have about three years to get to the point where I could have my health coverage for life, but I’m leaving because it’s too much stress coming from management. To this point in my life I have nothing but great reviews from my supervisors and coworkers, but this has been my first experience with the VA and I regret the day I walked through the doors.

    Believe it or not, I would rather spend another year in a combat zone than to work at the VA for another year. I was assaulted by my supervisor and then reprimanded by the chief of my department for telling him not to do it again! Sound crazy? Yes, it does doesn’t it! This is just a drop in the bucket of turmoil at our VA.

    I won’t entertain you with all of the insanity there, but another employee was accused of trying to murder another because the “other” wanted to get this great employee fired. This is a true story! When it was found out on video evidence that the accuser was lying, nothing happened to him because he is a favorite of the lead supervisor-the same one that attacked me.
    I actually went to a VA psychiatrist to make sure I was not insane and the doctor told me that if everything I told him was the truth that I was perfectly sane and that “This place breeds this kind of behavior” speaking of the troublemakers.

    I ended up seeing another doctor because my workplace was making me physically ill, he told me,” you don’t need a doctor, you need a lawyer.” I told my fellow employees that I was going to go to the whistleblower dept. and they told me not to waste my time. I was foolish not to listen to them, but I had to learn for myself what an outrageously huge waste of time this was. I gave them a huge amount of information with evidence and told them to ask the other employees about it. They did not contact even one employee, but still denied my reports as invalid. If they did contact anyone, it was the management, but they are the problem for the most part. We have some good managers, but they are the minority.

    I’m not one to complain as I’d much rather spend my days working and giving my best to the taxpayers that paid my wages, but this place is like a bad dream they will not allow you to go about your days without injecting turmoil until they push you out or over the edge. I would hope they do at least offer veterans a choice. It’s too bad because the great employees are the ones that pay the price and are brought down by the bad ones. They can’t lift up the bad ones for fear of getting into trouble. There are many great employees there, but I have seen them slump into the dark depths subtle depression and painful obedience when they find out that they too are hopelessly stuck due to job security.

    I have lost over 16 k since leaving the VA for unpaid leave and can’t afford it, but I would rather be unemployed (without unemployment benefits) that stay there. I am in the process of trying to get what little retirement I can after only 5 years of govt. work, and am still afraid that speaking out will harm me even more. Those of you reading this that have never worked for the federal govt. will not believe this, but those of you that have surely will.

    • I believe it. Mainly because I DID work for the government after getting out of my “second military service”! I saw, first hand, how someone would be treated (negatively) when one spoke out over mismanagement, waste and possibly fraud being committed by management.
      The only thing I can recommend is, gather up all your documents, and make MANY COPIES, and hide them. This way, if the VA tries anything, you’ll at least have ammunition to backup what you’ve stated.
      Stay strong and loose. They can’t win every battle. From where I sit, they may even be losing the war.
      Btw, I don’t care what some of our ‘Elected Officials’ are saying about Donald Trump right now (concerning the “few sound bites” over what he said about Sen. John McCain). Because, I saw his full interview yesterday. I, as were many others, was very impressed. He “tells it like it is”. He “…can’t be bought!” There were many things he said I agree with. Especially where the news media is, in my opinion, being told what to say and what not to say! That’s censorship…
      That’s my rant for the day, as namnibor would say…..

      • Be careful, I think Donald Trump is more of a snake oil salesman than anything. He just trying to make sure he can get the veterans vote. At election time the percentage of veteran votes does make a difference.

  8. How long should we wait? About 5 seconds. If this waste of space thinks he is too good to “engage” with us peons, which is the reason for his existence, then I suggest contacting the VA committees in Congress, and those he voted to confirm such a tool. I doubt any of them would have voted to confirm if they knew he was going to tell us to go pound sand.

  9. I have written to members on this website also with no response. My husband was a Vietnam combat Marine that served as a machine gunner and a few times went into the tunnels. I HAVE ALL VA documentation to support everything I write. I think people don’t want to read what I have either because they are afraid or don’t care. I really hope for vets neither is true. After all the Marines don’t leave their own behind. Right? So I would think the vets would care to read the documents and help a Marine widow to get justice for this neglected Marine (NOT money) and to help me to make things even a little better for the vets NOW. I had asked if this VA center would place call bells in all of the vet’s rooms (how ancient are they? Call bells were around when I was a child-a long time ago). Don’t the vets have a right to a device to help them get help if they cannot speak or even be conscious for too long? How much could they really cost? Isn’t the cost worth it to save a vet’s life? They served in fierce combat zones with situations no human, or any living thing, should have to face. Then they come home and they can’t even get a way to summon for help? Really? I received a letter from the acting Director of this facility where I was told that there was no need for call bells!! Well there was when Mike was there as he had NO WAY to summon for help. No one can say that they believe that Mike is the only one. The first thing that is done in many facilities is a button to the call bell is placed in the patient’s hand. I also would like to see this in effect for ALL VA medical centers and I would like this done in honor and respect for Mike and all others we do not know about. He went into a VA medical center for help with his severe PTSD. After he was there for about 6 weeks he complained that he did not fell well and a few other vets felt the same. Mike had 3 respiratory code blue calls over a period of approximately 13 hours. Ultimately, Mike was left lying on the floor for at LEAST 7 minutes ACCORDING TO VA documents!! Their documents-not mine. The only VA employee on duty that night had the job responsibility of giving CPR. HE DID NOTHING but call 2 code blues 4 minutes apart. It took the VA MERT team at least 7 minutes to arrive and during that entire time Mike was left struggling to breathe. Mike had been wheezing hours earlier. I wanted to call the facility but Mike said he was in a “medical facility” that had ALL his records so Mike thought he should be OK. Vets are dying, mandatory VHA policies are NOT being followed, Standard of Care is not beng followed, and many at the VA know these FACTS. Why aren’t we holding these employees accountable? Why aren’t we mad as hell when our vets are dying at these MEDICAL CENTERS? Why isn’t the veteran community rallying around their brothers? I do not understand. I need the vets help. I need their support for change so that no other vet dies this way and no other vet and his/her family suffers the way had and the way we continue to do. There is no “closure.” A vet’s life was taken because it was “a lot of work for staff” tosend him to a higher level of care. It continues….Please help.

    • Marie,

      I don’t read the comments of every issue brought to this forum. I do read many though.

      I could say many things, but the words may be wrong.

      The VA has issues, but not everything is wrong. Each veteran has issues.

      It will take us veterans to make a change. Congress falls short. The VA needs re-organization as well as, leadership that focuses on veterans and their issues.

      May be what I have said makes sense, may be not.

      • Sorry, we do care about every veteran and spouses. Sometimes I am just so hurt by the way the va is treating our veterans. Most here are just like you, asking for help with the va. I think you need to sit down and write a letter from your heart and make many copies and send it to the white house and all your state representatives. I know this isn’t what you want to hear, but if enough of us keep writing our officials, they can’t say they didn’t know about what’s going on. With this in mind all veterans care, just don’t know how to fix it, without congress helping find a solution. Congress needs to make it a federal crime when va uses their positions to harm or retaliation against a veteran who complain about their treatment or lack of. Please take some time for yourself today and find something to make yourself laugh. Just remember there are thousands of veterans that are fed up with the system and are trying to have things changed for the better. We can really use a leader or advocate to assist us in the fight. But trying to find someone seems impossible.

    • Everyone on here has great ideas. Here’s another one.
      Go on “Twitter”. Post your concerns and what happened to your husband. Send it to ALL your Friends. Send it to the White House, Congress and the Senate. When your friends get it, have them send it to those places. Also find the Twitter account of John Boehner. He’s very vocal of VA’s inaction when it comes VA.
      My wife, almost daily, twitters everyone. They in turn send comments to all elected officials.
      You may not believe it, but putting Shame on an individual is a powerful tool. You just got to keep the pressure on. Sooner or later they will get the point. Hopefully it will be sooner!
      Another thing is, get as many people as you can who have gone through similar situations as you. Then bombard the “Elected Officials” with as many “Tweets” as possible. Trust me, someone will contact you. It just takes time. You know how all government agencies work!!!!!!
      Our prayers are with you!!!!

    • @mariekeating: I have had to watch my husband while in a VAMC. I can relate to what you are saying. Just so you know, what I learned that the VA Police will handcuffs an unarmed 79 year old because he wandered off the ward but not the employees whose job it was to care for him. The employees were unable to redirect him and called the VA police and they handcuffed my husband. Also, the VA Police took a complaint about me assaulting an employee that was standing behind a closed door in which I had no knowledge she was behind the door because I was on the other side. I was detained, questioned, threatened to be removed from the facility for someone who did not have the brains to not stand behind a door that was swinging their way. Then I was ticketed for parking to unload my husband who is in a wheelchair with dementia and I could not leave to roll himself back to his room. Then there was the incident where our dog was banned from being taken for my husband to visit because the same dim bulb that was standing behind the door swinging their way complained about our dog. The dog never even looked her way. But if you can get away with stealing the patients money, leaving them to sit in their own bodily waste and urine for hours, it is a pretty wise guess that she is doing someone instead of her job. This same person had her thug boyfriend in the facility around our veterans, and he was neither detained or handcuffed by the VA police.

      Our dog, by the way, had been approved and it was therapy for my husband to see his dog. But…a low class employee can dictate who comes and goes. The police were told about incidents of this woman doing drugs with her thug boyfriend on the grounds of the facility and nothing happened to either of them.

      So again, I do understand. I cannot explain all the medical errors or (incidents that caused my husband many issues) that I complained about to everyone, even in writing.

      The Director that was at the facility when my husband was given three (3) different antipsychotic drugs at the same time and he had a stroke, was moved to another facility and given a total of over $25000 in bonuses for the year this happened to my husband and the following year. I confronted the director while my husband was struggling to survive from those drugs and the stroke and sent him letters showing him the information on the drugs from the FDA. The Black Box Warning on all three of these drugs stated: DO NOT GIVE TO ELDERLY PATIENTS WITH DEMETIA. CAN CAUSE HEART ATTACK, STROKE OR EVEN DEATH.

      Reported all of this to the OIG, nothing was done and of course the investigation turned up no problems found. Then three years later, I learn from someone in the Office of the Medical Inspector, that my husband did in fact have a stroke during the time those drugs were being administered.

      There was even an incident where I got a call from a staff member alerting me that baby powder had been placed on the floor of my husband’s room and this person almost fell when entering the room. They wanted me too know in case my husband showed signs of falls.

  10. Congress needs to take a page from undercover boss and have people go in as trainees, and train in each area, ask questions of the employees how they feel and then report back to congress. I did this when I worked for the va . I suggested the program, titled Rover and trained in every position of medical administration. Purpose to cover that area when employees were absent for one reason or the other. Only way to get the inside scoop, right from the horse’s mouth.

  11. The va has us forever pinned down like scared sheep who fail to kick their ass on their constant scandals. No one has the balls to use the same aggressive tactics on them that they use on us. Why am I the only one who says we have to stand up to their tyranny. Every vet could do a citizens arrest of just one va asshole then hand them over to police. There are plenty of vets who are cops to process these asssholes as 5150 dangerous to others.

  12. Nestle is a god here… but why did he block me from VA is Lying when his followers teased me and made me look delusional because I said on his site that VA police false arrested me when they tried to frame me. My congressman shut the VA police shit down on that but all nestle did was was suck up to the VA. Even after I gave proof of VA police written apologies nesler continued to block me from his two faced site. He is shit in my book and Ben also failed me and my family and just hob bobbed with nesler. This is a great example of why the VA abuses vets… because of self important prick like nesler. Double prick.

  13. I will say it again. Use the VA but if you have other healthcare keep it if you can. Especially if you qualify for Medicare. Even get some Affordable Healthcare Act plan or something to backup your healthcare. To rely on just the VA can be deadly as we all have seen so much off —- Just saying…………

  14. BREAKING NEWS
    Orlando, Florida Commissioner Regina Hill is being very quiet. It seems a house she owns was “raided” over the weekend.
    Now, one might ask, “What’s so interesting about that?”
    Weeeeelllll, it seems there were five people arrested. Two were her sons. They “…face the worst charges!” according to Channel 9 news. Plus they are still in jail. The “…other three have already bonded out!”, again, according to Channel 9 news.
    Also, according to Channel 9, The commissioner “… come under fire recently…” because of her past. It seems she was busted for drugs and there have been many questions over her “spending habits” with taxpayers credit cards!
    I thought I’d bring this to everyones attention. Because, not only does possible illegal acts happen at the federal level. It happens at the local level as well….
    Our whole country needs an overhaul, in my opinion.

  15. The VA in Martinez and Mare Island California is FUBAR and the more a veteran complains the further down the toilet they are flushed. The Congressmen, Mike Thompson and George Miller are useless as are the VSO and NSO’s in this area. They are in partnership with the VA and what is more insulting to me one of the VSO was a Post Master and that explains part of the fail in this area. The Martinez, California VA Medical Clinic is among the lowest quality medical care units in the FUBAR Northern California VA Health Care System. They should drop the word “Care” from their introduction! Because…you know it already Veterans, they don’t! It is like the sign says, “If the enemy don’t kill you the VA will!” Taken off the bathroom wall at the Concord Veterans Outreach Center, which has a team leader related to Pol Pot…

  16. For me it is somewhat premature to comment on the new leader of the V.A,, but my only comment is if this one doesn’t meet the veteran’s expectations then treat him as you would any other incompetent and give him his walking papers, but I would suggest before this is done find a candidate and give him a test and trial on what a competent person in this position requires along with a resume to show his qualifications then hire him or her for the position, just as it would be done in any other high technical position.

    If the person qualifies for the position then hire him or her.

  17. Hello Everyone!

    Here is some contact information I found on a website for the new Under Secretary: Dr. Shulkin.

    https://www.drshulkin.com/home.html

    “If you wish to contact me at my office my address is US Department of Veterans Affairs 810 Vermont Ave, Washington DC 20420 or please call me at 202-461-7000 or email me at [email protected]

    We can attempt to contact him and we will see if he responds.

    Good luck.

  18. Hey Ben!

    What do you think about Donald Trump?
    He was right about McCain imo:
    – he was bottom of his class,
    – he snitched on US forces as a POW,
    – and he hasn’t ever done anything I know of for Vets (please CORRECT me if I’m wrong.)

    Donald looks like the ringer for the Republican circus parade of characters this term. The other Republicans believe him I think, but don’t have the political backbone to stand up for the Vets, esp. McCain!

    Trump is a big force of integrity among spineless Republicans who back the one-percenter’s to screw the VA as much as possible. I hope Trump sticks a big a$$ stick up the Republican A$$ and breaks it off, lol.

    Go Vets! Power to the Those who Served!

    • People like John McCain need to pass the torch on to new leaders.

      I am disappointed that he became a career politician regardless of his military service. People should not become career politicians, ever, because it causes them to lose touch with issues outside the Beltway. And, it does not seem like the intent of founding fathers for such to occur at least as often as it does today. Our career politicians across the aisle have failed America and failed its political process in part because their entrenched interests no longer align with the needs of the people. Republican or Democrat. And let me tell you, there is only a scintilla of difference between the mainstream elements of either party when you take a look at what they are really doing off camera.

      Nonetheless, I hear McCain turned a deaf ear to many veterans harmed and killed at the Phoenix VA, and for that reason he needs to step aside. Further, he fought AGAINST the current GI Bill because he feared more entrepreneurial servicemembers would seek to make their own fortunes via higher education by pulling themselves up by their own bootstraps, literally. His alarmist and elitist view on this is not aligned with what America wants for its veterans.

      A person can be ex-military and be a horrible leader later in life, and that is what I think of John McCain – horrible and out of touch leader. He received a great deal of privilege from his Admiral daddy who in turn had an Admiral daddy. McCain was bad in school. He crashed at least 5 planes, etc, (less planes than George W. Bush). And now, he fails both veterans and his country except for moments when the spotlight is shining bright on the issue.

      I am constantly surprised at how some people believe affiliation in some group, be it veteran or minority or other, somehow get immunized from criticism for failing to lead and protect the country. I am not sure that answers your question, but I think it gives a hint of what I think about McCain at least. I hope he retires and a person more in touch with America takes his place who also stands up to protect veterans when the camera is on and off.

      His nickname should be “Camera is On” McCain. Otherwise he is big business, big war all the time. And he should retire to enjoy the last couple years of his life. He has paid his debt to society. It is time to let some other leader in Arizona without big business ties do the good work America needs over the next few decades.

      As for endorsing Trump, I do not know enough about him or his actual policy positions to make a comment.

      • Well said Ben, to which I would add since your comment spurred my thought…for a veteran who has been through so much, and for one who constantly advocates military action, one would think he would have advocated for veterans at least a little bit over his career. That he has not tells me that he likely has never set foot in a VA as a patient. As for him being in front of a camera, and I have probably commented on this before, but throughout the 90s when I was advocating on behalf of Gulf War veterans, I don’t recall hearing a single time from him on veterans. I do recall when veterans were testifying before a House committee. There were a few vets, 2 VA hacks and a reporter from USA Today left in the room. After the hearing I was walking down the hall, and there was a comotion outside another hearing room. I peeked in, and it was standing room only with press sitting on the floor in front of the hearing table. McCain and his cronies were holding another hearing on cable TV rates, and if they had to be further regulated. That was a favorite schtick of McCains for a couple of election cycles.
        No matter what he claims to have done, nobody can tell me his Phoenix office did not hear about what was going on there.

      • McCain also married into the Budweiser Family Dynasty (his wife/heiress), so I would be surprised if McCain even uses the VA for anything more than photo ops when the next election machine revs up. Sad but true.

        The fact that all that’s taking place (Whistleblowers still tormented) at Phoenix VAMC, I lost respect for him when it was evident he was oblivious that we vets see that as it’s his own back yard, the very STATE he represents, yet…he never used what influence he has to force sweeping changes that could make things better.

        I agree with comments about the “career politician”. I still think if all these politicians were forced to utilize the VAMC’s their self-absorbed brains might just make great changes, if only because they were directly affected…another sad, but true.

  19. 07/20/2015

    Dear John and Benjamin Krause,

    I really cannot stand most Attorneys [Shook the Crook, Augur, Chessmore, Pratt–just to name a few], I have been around some big ones in Century City [Wachtell], not too far from Reagan’s old office.

    Time management is everything being an Attorney—and having two attorneys fight over this is amazing.

    Benjamin you are doing fine—thank you for your efforts.

    John must live in Torrance, CA or nearby to have such a wonderful attitude.

    Back in Torrance there were plenty of Attorneys who never pick-up the case, even Baker & Baker would not pick up the case [Later they were awarded Billions for another case], I still remember the Sheriff watching the Mayor’s house burn to the ground as the un-knowing Fire Department arrived without a notification from the Sheriffs Department [Mitoma/Carson].

    Attorneys are people they get scared real fast, O’Neil and McKee found out the hard way.

    Keep your eye on issue—the Genocide of our Veterans.

    Ask Elisabeth Clark, Assistant City Attorney for Torrance [Stan the Man], about her statement on Genocide back in 1988 [$1 Million]. Senator Feinstein and the State Department are still looking for 5,000 Donaschwaben since 2006.

    Sincerely,

    Don Karg

  20. Just another example of how the VA is never really going to change. When I go to my VA facility for my appointments all I see is a bunch of whitewash. Clinical and non-clinical staff alike often seem to feel entitled to their job and give me the feeling that they find dealing with veterans to be beneath them. Thank god for the few providers who actually give a damn. If it was not for them I am not sure what I would do.

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