Veterans Affairs Cries Foul Over NPR Whistleblower Retaliation Story; Somewhere In Hell Someone Is Playing The Worlds Smallest Violin

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The Department of Veterans Affairs is crying foul after NPR published a story covering the retaliation experienced by more than two dozen current and former employees who were victims of the corrupt agency.

This week has seen the wheels come off Trump Administration’s assertion corruption at VA has been resolved by the Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection. And acting secretary Peter O’Rourke is actively obstructing a needed IG investigation into the Accountability Office he was responsible for standing up since last summer.

Isn’t it time O’Rourke pull a Sessions and recuse himself based on the obvious conflict of interest? IG wants to investigate O’Rourke’s handiwork, and following the coup that removed Shulkin from office, O’Rourke is now stalling investigations into his own work.

Convenient – – not much unlike the maneuvers we see from other agency leaders enjoying their own splendid isolation and free legal support that insulates wrongdoers from accountability while stalling out pushback from whistleblowers who cannot afford representation to combat the agency’s legion of attorneys.

In the NPR story, employees assert senior leadership subjected employees that blew the whistle to similar patterns of punishment including physical isolation (an agency favorite), bullying, physical abuse, and counter-investigations.

This is par for the course of employment at VA, especially for disabled veterans seeking reasonable accommodations who are ultimately forced out of the agency.

So what else is new?

RELATED: Executive Order Erodes Employee Rights

Crybaby

Responding to allegations, an agency spokesperson whined:

“NPR’s piece tells only one side of the story and, as a result, is highly misleading. Several of the individuals mentioned in the article have made allegations to the Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection that have been investigated.  VA does not tolerate retaliation. Any employee who feels he or she is experiencing retaliation should contact the Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection.”

Do we feel bad? Can you hear the tiny violin playing?

How ironic that the agency engaging in active bullying and abuse of authority in large part due to its massive budget and army of attorneys is complaining about NPR only reporting one side of the story?

Welcome to how every veteran or low-level employee feels when an agency decisionmaker refuses to address the evidence.

NPR Specifics

According to the NPR article:

“If you say anything about patient care and the problems, you’re quickly labeled a troublemaker and attacked by a clique that just promotes itself. Your life becomes hell,” one longtime employee at the Central Alabama Veterans Health Care System, or CAVHCS, told NPR. Like many we interviewed there, she requested anonymity out of fear for her job. 

[…]

Workers say the retaliatory tactics run the gamut from sophomoric (a shift manager pouring salt into a subordinate’s coffee cup) to hard-to-fathom (isolation rooms used as psychological coercion) and more.

“There’s no accountability,” Hyde says. “And it’s gonna be a never-ending cycle here until someone steps in and starts cleaning house from the top and putting people in who care about the veterans.”

But neither those charged with federal oversight nor the VA itself has taken those steps, months or even years after the first complaints were reported.

Typical Whistleblower Experience

That about sums up the experience of most whistleblowers I hear from and represent against the agency.

We all had high hopes with 38 USC § 714 removing corrupt agency leadership. But the agency has turned the spirit of the law on its head to gut the agency of many disabled veteran employees and others who are committed to helping veterans but require reasonable accommodations the agency refuses to provide.

Regardless of what anyone says, this is now President Donald Trump’s mess to clean up, just like a lot of the other messes he inherited, and he owes veterans a more aggressive stance against agency corruption.

So far, we are seeing the support of corruption and cronyism while spending record funds on propaganda and public affairs to at least keep up the perception of working hard for veterans.

Will the agency’s corrupt leadership ever get the red card they deserve?

Source: https://www.npr.org/2018/06/21/601127245/for-va-whistleblowers-a-culture-of-fear-and-retaliation

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37 Comments

  1. Nothing is going to change until someone draws a line in the sand. If cross and happens to be a doctor, the should reprimand or fire them. Was someone shows they are in charge will never change. Some VAs kiss doctor butt, still tell them fired. The biggest problem we have is when we see something horrible, don’t alert them. Take as many pictures you can and send to the White House VA hotline, otherwise they fix and make you an idiot. That’s what the patient advocate does, listens, says fill out in detail and we will get back to you. Never happens, to telll them squat.

    • What I can say is that The White House and President Donald Trump does listen. I agree the documentation tells the story. You also need to contact as many agencies as possible. These people need not only be fired, they need to be prosecuted and their paychecks taken and given to the victims. This will stop a lot of the mess that is going on at the Veterans Administration.

  2. I say, shut the whole thing down! Then start fresh with only disabled veterans at the helm. Let these disabled veterans be in charge of hiring of “who gets what job!”

    Of course, that ain’t ever gonna happen because, the VA has been an agency hell bent on “fleecing the American taxpayers” for more decades than we can remember!

    Although, IF those at the “top”, in Washington DC, were to be handed their “pink slips”. Then maybe the administrators at the state levels would be more inclined to watch what their doing wrong!
    Think about it. Why is there a necessity to have a VA agency in Washington DC? They’re the ones who won’t make the state agencies follow the rules and regulations! Just tell them they have a few days to stop the criminal activities in the state agencies, or their FIRED! We all know that ain’t gonna ever happen. So, shut down the VA!

    Or, is this too much of a common sense approach?

    • If gov can’t, (can’t which, in this case means won’t or will not), give us accountability, and a system of management that is sane, then it needs to be shut down, before more serious catastrophes happen. Screw the management and their meal ticket. And who does the union side with, the VA of course, I mean the reason of having a union in the first place is solidarity, if you do this kinda of shit to one of us you do it to all of us. If their union will not provide cover and accountability, then they are just extorting money. Anonymous letters and sophomoric pranks, isolation tactics, and that’s probably just the tip of the iceberg. VA management is a disgrace, and will go down in history as one of the most corrupt organizations this country has ever produced. The number 1 threat to a veterans life today is the VA. If they will not fix and ensure accountability shut it down before one more veteran is negligently harmed or killed.

    • Shut is down; There is no comparison between VA medical care and private medical care. VA doctors have no competition, you just have to accept care from many lower qualified doctors, who are ass kissers of the Bureaucrats. Time to get back to reality and get rid of the VA medical care and let vets go to the best doctors,

      I was unaware that the I.G. needed the permission of the Sec of VA to investigate anything. Got to take legal action against VA

      Ben for Sec of VA

    • Elf I don’t think there is such a thing as much ‘common sense’ in America today. Surely not in DC. Just like ‘personal responsibility,’ real justice, ethics, or freedoms. Plenty of excuses, disconcern, complacency, cognitive dissonance, evil.

      Hear Mick Mulvaney’s (WH OMB Director) explanations on government bureaucracy today? How many departments are used for maybe just one issue, like Salmon as he explains. Sounds like the VA but the VA and connected is on steroids and speed. Oh no redundancy, games, or red tape there.

      Ol’ Senator Todd Young came through town today unannounced of course like most visits to the elite are. Not a word back from his office either, yet. It was swift, secret, and about small business start-ups. Pity he didn’t stop by for a cup of strong Joe and a chat. lol

      “The individual is handicapped by coming face-to-face with a conspiracy so monstrous he cannot believe it exists.”
      J. Edgar Hoover

      “The individual comes face-to-face with a conspiracy so monstrous he cannot believe it exists. The American mind has not come to a realisation of the evil which has been introduced into our midst. It rejects even the assumption that human creatures could espouse a philosophy which must ultimately destroy all that is good and decent.”
      J. Edgar Hoover

      “The American mind simply has not come to a realization of the evil which has been introduced into our midst.”
      J. Edgar Hoover

      Doesn’t just cover the excuse for it just being about “communism.” Well, the VA is socialized med care testing. That failed.

      Then those warnings from others that someone posted here:
      Smedley Butler
      Eisenhower
      JF Kennedy; secret societies, treason in high gov offices, secret anti-American oaths, foreign enemies, the Fed, anti-Americans, etc.

      Pity everyone in our sick society doesn’t, can’t, has not, done anything to appreciate the truth in the statements above like the first quote by Hoover. Hell he was part of it in his day. It’s huge, monstrous, unbelievable, vast, all encompassing. Then some say law suits or voting is the way for change? How when in some regions the courts and all are just as corrupt as any gang or mafia out there. Some know some don’t, some don’t want to know. Then why is there so much fear out there full circle to get involved or stand up to it all one all levels whether the home town or DC. All the fear should be a tell all.

      • Amen to that! Seems to me that throughout history, the only effective change in any societies government when new leaders are truly required – – – usually only happens as the result of an armed revolt by the people.

        Cyberwarfare now tops Nuclear Warfare as a threat. Chinese won’t nuke us, ever. Land is what they need more than anything else. And the banknote they hold on our nation is fairly substantial. Russia could nuke us, but most likely won’t – – – unless pushed REALLY hard.

        I once wrote on this blog that from where I sat it seemed to me that Vladimir Putin was the most honest “player” in Washington. How I seem to have understated things.

        Things going quite well for me compared to what they were six months ago. Got about 75% of stuff packed. PODS onsite. About a week to load, then PODS will be underway for mainland. About thirty days after that, Hawaii will be in my rearview mirror. Quite looking forward to walking into a market where the price of fresh milk is $2.30 or so a gallon, versus the $6.00 it is here.

        I’ll be RICH !!!

      • Good to hear James. The culture shock of high prices here, cuts in product sizes and higher costs won’t seem that bad to you then. Damn them all. Twinkies and cupcakes are made smaller today! Beef, chuck, what used to be a $5 cut is now $15 or so.

        Being told more today by officials if our VA issues and other problems were so bad and frequent… surely the media would be reporting about it all and the public would be out in the street in protest. Ha. Yeah right between the heavy censoring, places not allowing anything negative to be reported about their towns, media or politics or health care, plus the attacks, make it impossible to get some truth and facts out. Plus the disconcern of officials and the public being more concerned about sports, the myriad of special interest groups, illegal foreigners, and Hollywood.

        Have a smooth move!

      • @T – – – Thanks for the well wishes on the move. I expect some sticker shock, but mostly the good kind. While I am not really going to have any more “real” money so to speak, the fact that I will be able to maintain my current standard of living at 50 to 55% of its current cost has got to be worth something . . .

        No fancy cars for me! But maybe a new bicycle such as a Bakfiets.

        Madame Pele is still a wee bit ticked off, and now the volcanic gases are beginning to affect people on Oahu that have breathing problems such as asthma and COPD. Plus Rift 8 continues to grow with zero end in sight. Not looking good for the Big Island. I pity those poor folks two years from now. I am quite grateful that I have been given this chance to escape.

        “Being told more today by officials if our VA issues and other problems were so bad and frequent… surely the media would be reporting about it all and the public would be out in the street in protest.”

        I suspect that is true for a lot of our fellow veterans. Heard something eerily similar from a VA worker the other day.

  3. let veterans have judicial rights for there appeals would limit most of the VA corruption.assemble force task teams under the American oppression veterans coalition by establishing American petitions of 10,000 signatures in every capital city of the nation .promote recruits .arm them, barracks them and show them leaders that are willing to take out specific targets in the American bureau system . make specific state officials disappear,plug medical mandate rights with in the united state employee union by capturing assets that feel arbitrary runs capital.send D.C a message no veteran will be able to seek the veteran affairs without being notified of how there rights are being compromised. if action is taken with in the senate , let civil war commence .

  4. cj ¯¯̿̿¯̿̿’̿̿̿̿̿̿̿’̿̿’̿̿̿̿̿’̿̿̿)͇̿̿)̿̿̿̿ ‘̿̿̿̿̿̿\̵͇̿̿\=(•̪̀●́)=o/̵͇̿̿/’̿̿ ̿ ̿̿

    .

  5. First off I’m surprised NPR even dared report on such a thing given who and what foundations support them and all those concerned won’t do shit for us. Remember they also canned poor ol’ Juan Williams for not being PC enough. And who came out in defense of them getting tax dollars? In huge part all those highly educated academics doing the social engineering and brain-washing. How dare us low-lifers dare question anyone of their status and caliber about anything including their own at the VA and around? All they have done in this state is ignore, hide, push their one sided crap on people, and don’t seem to care about us being censored, two sides of stories, or allowing many of their channels to be blacked out in certain areas or cable/sat providers.

    Legions and battery of lawyers is correct. That includes local ones like city/county/state’s who people falsely believe is on our side of issues and there to serve and protect us… wrong. They sure as hell are not called the ‘peoples counsel’ or tax serf’s representatives. Neither are those from local businesses to colleges that attend any meetings throwing their weight around claiming to inform us what is Constitutional or not? Telling us what or what not to discuss in a public forum that is taboo. Or what is best for us on any level. Or how they ‘speak for the majority or community’ like we all agree with anything they say and report, or want. Oh and with the states Supreme Courts who are definitely not on our side of things either due to “professional courtesies’ and club memberships.

    Very interesting article source read too. Types of attacks, to the thefts, professionals can also be bitten on the ass or ruined etc. Oh and used, forced, to play games with us vets and using their extended network’s arms of retribution… civvy health care and using politicians we already have issues with ‘top’ to bottom. Great example of why Indiana is so censored we rarely if ever hear of any whistle-blowing going on. Hell, we don’t get real news or decent amounts of local news. This state and town is sealed up tighter than a gnat’s ass stretched over a rain barrel. I think I have done a fairly decent job of proving that much. I have stepped on every toe out there to be stepped on, I believe.

    It can also explain why some thought to be excellent MDs at the VA I had turned to be rattlers or psychos after a ‘staff meeting.’ Oh, and with “orders from the top.” They sure as hell will not rock the boat here in Indiana for sure.

    People act like I am the Lone Ranger out in real life with such issues. Anyone I have called, written to, or contacted have told them to read Ben’s blog and info. That includes state agencies, senators, Congress critters, media, et al. I have written to non-idiot media like Daily News, Michelle Malkin, Tucker Carlson, RBN (Lacovara), Caravan to Midnight, Faux, ain’t gonna bother with ABC, NBC, MSNBC, blah blah. Crickets. Oath Keepers, VSOs, Freedom Army, free speech or freedom of media advocates, anti-corruption cliques, etc. All they want is money and do nothing outside of their safety zones or willing to help those catching tons of flak. Not even reaching out to tell a guy if there are any other hurting vets, groups, contacts, help, or real patriots in my area or state….none of this partisan politics or special interest shit… crickets and tree frogs.. one tree frog farted. Gribbet gribbet.

    Multi-layers of agencies, heavily layered redundant offices and agencies dealing with everything out there from top to bottom ie Human Rights, civil rights, etc., and can do nothing or have time limits on filing complaints… ooops past those by. Oh, offices and positions created to ensure nepotism is wide spread and generational, agendas met. Pass the buck, kick the can down the road, hire an attorney, free legal aid for illegals/immigrants none for us, etc. Oh and possible legal aid the AG staff told me call has never called me back, yet. Legal in America to be attacked, threatened, persecuted, mob ruled, to corporate hospitals having the right to with-hold medical records and to ensure health care is kept out of the hands of their…. targets? All the covering-up and deep seated corruption??? Gotcha! Damn that “white privilege.”

    • You are right except for your last comment saying “White Privilege” In D.C. it is Black privilege. Evil in D.C. is not limited to white or black and you should realize that. Making it a “white” or “black” issue does not correctly identify the problem. Other than that I agree with you.

      • Oh I realize that and many things. I am also very aware of local race relations. Those at the state and federal level too. Also at the VA hospital locally, and much more. I gave reference to “white privilege” due to it being used so often by others and as shown on past posts on this blog about the issue, and used by VA staff.

        Activist and people think a white person or guy has it made, or there is no such thing as White hatred or “Self hating White People” when there is and shown well on about every college campus out there. It is not ‘the’ problem just one part of the problem or the many issues. It it were not a huge problem I would be like others out there with special rights, various groups to rally around me, get free legal aid from, etc. I am not so fortunate or a reality of life. Just the way things are in the real world.

        I live under three major college campus rule. I live it just not speak about it or make mere claims. If there was NOT such hate or activism against men, vets, White men, over “Identity Politics” things would be very different for me and others as well in this state. People also claim there is no censoring going on when there is and has been for many years locally then on to what it is today for the aware.

  6. I recall what it was like to submit an Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC) formal complaint against the VA, under the document header “In accordance with and protection by the Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989,” and how quickly reprisal occurred. It took all of one week to terminate my employment after declaring wrongdoing against the Agency (in this case, the VA). Back then, I knew very little about how slowly justice moved. It is now my aim to educate others.

    What about all the VA Talent Management System training I underwent which assured me that discrimination against employees was unacceptable? What about federal EEOC policy that outline I was part of a federally-protected class of individuals who were not to be discriminated against while in the workplace? What about the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 that applied to my circumstance? What about my Weingarten rights that guaranteed my right to American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) representation during investigatory interviews, of which I utilized appropriately? What of the Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989 that assured reprisal wouldn’t result when identifying wrongdoing?

    None of it mattered. None.

    After exhausting the proper channels outlined to resolve formal complaints such as mine (i.e., Alternative Dispute Resolution, mediation, Office of Resolution Management EEO counseling, etc.), a formal investigation was launched. “This is it,” I thought, “Now justice will come.” Think again, bucko. I quickly learned that the manner by which the EEO process is set up essentially favors the Agency. When a complaint makes it to the investigation level, it is the responsibility of the Agency to conduct an investigation into its own wrongdoing.

    Imagine a governing body instructing you to investigate a loved one of wrongdoing. Results of the investigation could lead to dismal consequences that include imprisonment or issuance of a hefty fine (think thousands or millions, not hundreds) and public humiliation once the results are revealed. Would you find the spouse, sibling, parent, or child you love so dearly guilty of the crime? If you believe in the process of justice and are able to place aside personal bias, chances are you still may not be able to conduct a proper investigation that would lead to a dreary outcome—that is unless there was a fail-safe in place that would absolve the wrongdoer of guilt, despite the investigation outcome.

    Enter the EEOC process. EEO investigations aren’t, by design, meant to determine guilt. They are used simply to state what occurred and provide evidence in support or refute of a claim. Of the numerous violations I brought against the VA, the EEO investigator who was hired by the VA—and who completed the investigation beyond the prescribed time allowed to investigate—submitted the contrived results for review by the Agency. You read that correctly. The results were turned over to the VA for inspection.

    The next step, having declined other lesser and absurd methods of resolution, was to request an EEOC hearing with a federal judge. This impartial entity would review the investigation, question witnesses, and determine whether or not the VA was guilty of wrongdoing. “Finally, justice,” I thought. Slow down, bucko, you’re still unfamiliar with how the EEOC process actually works (and I use the word works with air quotes). As though I was watching a nostalgic infomercial, I could almost hear within my mind, “But wait, there’s more!”

    I pondered lawyering up, yet as Ben suggests, whistleblowers often “cannot afford representation to combat the agency’s legion of attorneys,” and I was no exception. An unemployed and disabled veteran has few monetary resources. The AFGE was uncertain as to whether or not they would provide legal representation for my case. I then contacted a myriad of legal representatives, to include Ben, all of whom respectfully declined to represent me for various reasons. Finally—and thankfully—the AFGE assured me that I would be provided legal representation. Not all AFGE members were as fortunate.

    At the EEOC hearing, the judge didn’t issue a bench decision. In fact, my case currently remains in limbo. Despite that my supervisor admitted to wrongdoing, numerous witnesses corroborated my testimony, physical evidence validated my claims, and a number of federal laws were violated, the judge would need more time to issue a decision. My former supervisor, however, remains employed by the Agency. Still, I wait. What’s the next step, you may wonder?

    If the judge’s ruling is in my favor, all is not won quite yet. Like the EEO investigation, the judge’s decision is simply another piece of the mystifying puzzle, not the be-all, end-all measure by which justice is served. The judge’s ruling will be submitted to the Agency, at which point the VA will issue what is referred to as a Final Agency Decision. Yes, you read that correctly, the VA will have the ultimate say in the matter.

    Remember the example I proposed concerning an investigation of a relative? Suppose you found your mother guilty of having murdered someone. You love your mother and wouldn’t dare set her up for legal consequences that could wreck life as she knows it. Still, you’re among the morally superior few whom values justice above else and your determination of the matters suggests guilt. Considering your decision, the powers that be allow your mom to then decide whether or not she is guilty, and in the event that she is she will be allowed to conclude her own punishment.

    This is why only a reported 1% of federal claims against agencies are in favor of complainants (Workers Win Only 1% Of Federal Civil Rights Lawsuits At Trial, Fast Company, Sean Captain, Jul. 31, 2017), and perhaps why it was exceedingly difficult for me to find an attorney to represent me. Understanding how the whistleblowing system and the EEOC process actually works, I find it no wonder as to why stories such as the one Ben has highlighted exist. As Ben so eloquently stated, “This is par for the course of employment at VA, especially for disabled veterans seeking reasonable accommodations who are ultimately forced out of the agency.”

    Concerning the “army of attorneys” Ben references and the federal legal process as a whole, I thought of Spartan King Leonidas from the movie 300 when he stated, “Immortals, we’ll put their name to the test.” I put it all to the test. My struggle isn’t quite over. I persevere and spread knowledge about what’s behind the proverbial curtain, in hopes that others who face similar challenges may know what they’re up against. This response is for them, not naysayers. Per historical account, not only did the Battle of Thermopylae not end well for the Spartans, King Leonidas was beheaded. I’m fully aware of what I’m up against. If you, too, are facing a similar fate it is my hope that you will now be aware of what you’re up against.

    • I have always known what the VA is all about and it is not to help veterans; hang in there and hang them, brother.

    • May I suggest force multiplication, like Leonidas find that pinch point, I’m sure you know the story. Force multipliers, there is a bunch of them out there to be utilized. Anyways good luck in your quest.

      • @march hare
        Thank you. All the fighting has been done. It’s a waiting game at this point. Time will tell if justice will prevail.

  7. Now VA upper managements are claiming the “suicide rates” of veterans is “…misunderstood, according to a report released this week.”

    From: “military.com” via “Stars and Stripes”

    “VA Reveals its Veteran Suicide Statistic Included Active-Duty Troops”

    “The VA released its newest National Suicide Data Report on Monday, which includes data from 2005 through 2015. (U.S. ARMY RESERVE)”

    “Stars and Stripes”
    Dated: 21 Jun 2018
    By: “Nikki Wentling”

    “WASHINGTON – For years, the Department of Veterans Affairs reported an average of 20 veterans died by suicide every day — an often-cited statistic that raised alarm nationwide about the rate of veteran suicide.”

    “However, the statistic has long been misunderstood, according to a report released this week.”

    “The VA has now revealed the average daily number of veteran suicides has always included deaths of active-duty service members and members of the National Guard and Reserve, not just veterans.”

    “Craig Bryan, a psychologist and leader of the National Center for Veterans Studies, said the new information could now help advocates in the fight against military and veteran suicide.”

    “The key message is that suicides are elevated among those who have ever served,” Bryan said. “The benefit of separating out subgroups is that it can help us identify higher risk subgroups of the whole, which may be able to help us determine where and how to best focus resources.”

    “The VA released its newest National Suicide Data Report on Monday, which includes data from 2005 through 2015. Much in the report remained unchanged from two years ago, when the VA reported suicide statistics through 2014. Veteran suicide rates are still higher than the rest of the population, particularly among women.”

    “In both reports, the VA said an average of 20 veterans succumbed to suicide every day. In its newest version, the VA was more specific.”

    “The report shows the total is 20.6 suicides every day. Of those, 16.8 were veterans and 3.8 were active-duty service members, guardsmen and reservists, the report states. That amounts to 6,132 veterans and 1,387 service members who died by suicide in one year.”

    “The VA’s 2012 report stated 22 veterans succumbed to suicide every day — a number that’s still often cited incorrectly. That number also included active-duty troops, Guard and Reserve, VA Press Secretary Curt Cashour said Wednesday.”

    “VA officials determine the statistic by analyzing state death certificates and calculating the percentage of veterans out of all suicides. The death certificates include a field designating whether the deceased ever served in the U.S. military.”

    “Information in the 2012 report wasn’t as complete as the newer ones. At the time, only 21 states shared information from their death certificates. California and Texas, which have large veteran populations, were two of the states that didn’t provide their data.”

    “Since that report was released, we have been closely collaborating with the [Department of Defense] to increase our level of accuracy in reporting,” Cashour wrote in an email.”

    “Following the release of the new National Suicide Data Report on Monday, some veteran advocates responded on social media with questions. One person said the community was “thrown off.”

    “Bryan said the situation “highlights a common source of confusion regarding who is and who is not considered a ‘veteran.’”

    “Heidi Kar, a project director at the nonprofit Education Development Center and a clinical psychologist with expertise in veteran suicide, said she had previously understood the statistic to be a veteran-only number.”

    “Overall, Kar thinks the VA put more emphasis in its latest report about suicide as a public health issue that requires the help of multiple agencies and community-based groups. The report shows that of the 20.6 veterans and service members who died by suicide every day, six had recently used VA health care services. The suicide rate among the people who didn’t receive VA care increased faster than ones who did.”

    “The biggest message is that suicide prevention is everyone’s job,” Kar said. “It’s a problem for active duty, it’s a problem for vets, it’s a problem for the elderly and for young people. So, the response has to be multidimensional, and different sectors have to problem-solve together.”

    “The VA said in a statement that it’s working with the Defense Department and the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to publish 2016 suicide statistics in the fall. The agency said it’s part of an ongoing review of millions of death records that could lead to improvements in the VA’s suicide prevention programs.”

    (And, of course, I’ve left the “comments section”!)

    James Austin19 hours ago Sad as it is how does one have a 20.6 rate a day? Does the .6 not really die? I know the answer. I just found that fact strange when dealing with it. Why not round up like most would and make it 21? I do not understand why someone would want to take their life after they get back from hell. All I can do is say to those whom have lost their love ones I am sorry for your lost. I think it would be interesting to see some research on the rates from WWll to now on the numbers of those that have taken their life. Could it be the way we train, meds given or is it more of a cultural change in our country?

    Conrad Vonblankenburg21 hours ago This entire story is about accounting! Not even one word about solutions! What is the Cause of the “Brain” disorder that contributes to people loosing hope and giving up? I can think of several factors but this does nothing to help family and friends know what to look for and how to help. Any bean counter can write this.

    3677854421 hours ago That is approximately 8,000 suicides a year, that is horrifying, what is being done ?????????????

    Conrad Vonblankenburg3677854421 hours ago Not enough! —–“Life is Cheap in America!”—– Every year about a million human babies are murdered by their Mothers and Quack doctors. Tens of thousands are KIA by Chemical weapons in one of the longest wars is American history. The “War on Drugs!” Only the Korean War is longer.

    3684997822 hours ago Well hate to say it folks you would have not veteran suicide had America I hate to say quit sticking their noses in everyone business. Don’t we have enough problems at home. It is time to stop making empire and fix this broken country of ours before it is way too late and that is coming faster than ever if we don’t wake up fast enough.

    Conrad Vonblankenburg3684997821 hours ago I agree that is a major part of the problem.

    367785443684997821 hours ago We are headed down the tubes fast!!!

  8. I actually now believe that veterans should TAKE OVER the VA and kick out the boobs and ramrod through corrective measures. We are too busy finding soft pillows for immigrants instead of taking care of our own.

    Ben for Sec of VA

    • Sorry, Flotmorton, Veterans are by far the biggest segment of VA employees and the worst of the corrupt. I’ve never been to a counselor or a VSO rep that wasn’t a veteran. They all have 100% and got it by shafting deserving veterans. How many do you suppose a VSO or counselor can shaft out of compensation per year to validate their bribe?

    • Titled;
      “Disabled veteran says life ruined by Calif. illegal immigrants, Kamala Harris ‘basically refused’ to help”

      Dated: “June 22, 2018” | BPR Wire

      “Then-California Attorney General Kamala Harris didn’t take action against illegal immigrants who stole the identity of a disabled Iraq war veteran when he asked for her help, according to a 2013 letter.”

      “James Di Napoli told The Daily Caller News Foundation that his father sold his social security information to illegal immigrants when he was 17, and his life has been in limbo ever since.”

      “The amount of trauma this has caused me has been overwhelming, it’s just destroyed my life,” Di Napoli said.

      “Illegal immigrants in California allegedly used Di Napoli’s social security number to work illegally in the U.S., generating fraudulent income on his Federal Student Aid records. As a result, Di Napoli owed thousands of dollars in tuition and was forced to take a leave of absence from Colorado Christian University.”

      “Colorado Republican Rep. Doug Lamborn’s office in 2012 attempted to address Di Napoli’s student loan default, but the Department of Education did not take further action when lobbied by the office, Di Napoli said.”
      ****************************

      There’s more to this article. I couldn’t “copy” all of it!

    • “Flotmorton”,
      Read the article I just put on.

      “Military.com” also had another article about how the DOD is going to be housing illegals, somewhere around 23,000+, at military bases.
      Guess our military members’ “new occupational code” is going to include being “nursemaid”!

      Lots of Americans are definitely PISSED about this crap.
      Billions of taxpayers monies used for these “ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS” and NOT for our veterans! DISGUSTING!!!!

  9. This is what happens when you shine that VA kryptonite called accountability near them. Keep-up the great work. If it angers the assholes it must be working…

  10. No matter how you slice, dice, argue, consider, or otherwise ponder all that has gone down at VA over now eight decades it is clear that people of great power have been in charge of VA and the vast wealth it controls.

    None of them has EVER been named “Mr. President”.

  11. 06/22/2018

    Dear Benjamin Krause,

    Northstar—is that a real name?

    According to Google and Yahoo—this is a FAKE NAME
    So is NPR pulling one over on us or is the VA pulling one over on us or are both of these parties trying to deceive us?

    “Jan Northstar, the VA’s Southeast District public affairs director, said by email that they cannot discuss individual cases without written consent. She added the ‘VA does not tolerate retaliation. Any employee who feels he or she is experiencing retaliation should contact the Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection.’”
    FAKE STATEMENT.

    I’ll ask my girl in the FBI about this —“Special Agent” Jo Craycraft.

    Sincerely,

    Don Karg

  12. Legions of attorneys? In my experience, their attorney (and whomever supports her) isn’t as good as she thinks she is. She and other loser attorneys like her, can get away with winning because the Merit Systems Protection Board (“MSPB”, aka ‘Agency Systems Protection Board’) holds them to a lower standard. They can be wrong, late, or whatever…MSPB gives them a “pass”. They abuse of you under those ‘administrative procedures/kangaroo court’. You have NO due process rights.

    This attorney had the audacity to use a deposition to threaten me with the use of my response to the deposition to leverage PERJURY charges against me. Yes!!! What attorney uses a civil and/or administrative procedure to threaten perjury (criminal) charges on a person? Then, the VA also sent me a “notice” where they told me any responses I gave them in their investigation of my EEO claim(s) would/could be considered a “Privacy Act” violation. Excuse me? Isn’t EEO where you should be able to disclose confidential/sensitive information to “authorized” personnel – in order to conduct a proper investigation?

    So, with all those threats of criminal actions against me – I barely responded to anything. So, they turn and have the audacity to tell the Administrative Judge that I am hiding something, bla bla. That idiot attorney she got away with so many violations that IMO, she should have been disbarred from. She isn’t/wasn’t that competent – she simply had on her side the abuse of intimidation and the kangaroo courts to back her up.

    Oh, and the VA accountability Office??? Ha!!! Going on over a year and no response from them. I tried taking that to the MSPB and they dismissed it as me trying to re-litigate my termination (which is pending appeal of the MSPB decision). IMO, the Accountability Office is COMPLICIT in whistleblower retaliation…Because if they are gonna sit around and do nothing, that’s the same thing as carrying out the retaliation. But noooo, the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) and MSPB don’t think so.

    They are garbage. I am very disappointed with President Trump. He did sign into laws this or that, but no teeth. Can’t sign in a law and walk away. He needs to follow up with the VA. He needs the VA to do regular meetings with him and show him proof.

    I betcha NPR did this because it’s time (again) to put a black eye on Trump. It’s all a publicity stunt now a days – from this ongoing immigration issue, down to this with the VA. The liberals/democrats are all about showing Trump’s failures. Unfortunately, I am disappointed with Trump regarding the VA. Same thing like each previous Presidential Administration, lots of talk, four years go by and nothing changes.

    • @TaB
      I was advised of something similar concerning the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) investigation regarding claims pertaining to the VA. I was questioned for information while simultaneously being told that some of the evidence I planned on presenting could potentially violate the Freedom of Information Act, Privacy Act of 1974, and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). Present the case…and…don’t provide evidence to support the claim. It wasn’t until the Agency’s attorney violated HIPAA by failing to fully redact information at discovery that my attorney and I were able to cite the necessary evidence.

      That wasn’t the sole error the VA’s attorney and witnesses committed; it was simply the first of many. During the EEOC hearing the federal judge had to admonish witnesses, direct government counsel when questioning was improperly executed (i.e., leading, adversarial, not properly formed questions, etc.), and much more. While our circumstances are different, believe when I say your frustration is shared by me. As well, we agree concerning the Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection. I wish you the best with your case. Hang in there.

  13. 06/23/2018

    Dear Benjamin Krause and Just Passing Through,

    Present the case…and…don’t provide evidence to support the claim—this is an act of legal sabotage.

    That happened once to Karlheinz Halter who was dealing with his Attorney [Shook/who received the evidence]. Halter never saw the evidence again, and the case was never brought to trail; and hence, no courtroom proceedings. This is a very slick attorney move—Perry Mason special.

    Every Judge is going to ask for evidence immediately, what and who are these guys—1700 British Bankers?

    In San Pedro, California in May of 1988 I brought the Aerospace Crimes to the forefront of the Small Claims Courtroom—the Judge could not believe this case was in front of him nor could he believe the allegations presented until the factory Manager back up the claims and verified crucial information in front of the Owners. The Owners and the Courtroom heard about the on-goings at Hughes Electronics and Allied Signal. The Judge accepted the case and ruled in my favor—telling me—“I do not want to see you ever again in my courtroom!!!”

    As he [the Judge] gave a stern look at the Bailiff [a spying LA Sheriff—who was paging through the document before the Judge had his first look].

    Expect the un-expected in the courtroom—-there are always major surprises.

    In Halter’s attempted conservatorship proceedings, both legal sides [Ulger and Pratt] could not believe the Judge Changed the Transcripts [End result the Aerospace Company was buried in confusion and speculation as the monopolies gained more power over the community—1998 Cox Report].

    The VA Empire is not going to let go of its power, either —“You also appear to misunderstand the independent nature of your role and operate as a completely unfettered and autonomous agency. You are reminded that the OIG is loosely tethered to VA and in your special case as the VA Inspector General. I am your immediate superior. You are directed to act accordingly. Sincerely, Peter O’Rourke” [June 5?, 2018]

    Remember to duck!

    Sincerely,

    Don Karg

    • I hear ya.

      Unfortunately I don’t trust attorneys out there – many are former fed employees (i.e. HR, Agency attorneys, Administrative Judges) that cannot be trusted and while I know they have to discuss the pros/cons of your case with the Agency as part of discovery and/or attempts to reach settlement – I believe they give away evidence in your case to harm you because they do not want the maximum result for you, they just want to close out your case and get you a crappy settlement and move on…worse, they get paid whether or not you win (i.e. retainers) – so, they have no incentive to work hard for you.

      You have to be careful in what you reveal because yes, they will make the evidence disappear. One example was my 2nd round of discovery (to follow up with what the Agency revealed to me in response to my 1st discovery). Well, they played the o’l “Why is this relevant?” game with me. So, I had to explain why it was relevant and “pooof”, their response was that ‘oh, no more docs exist’. Ok, whatever. No way you can get into their computer systems to prove if they are telling the truth, so they can just play games all day and hide evidence while the MSPB will support them.

    • @Don Karg
      Congratulations on the victory concerning your case. I, too, hope for victory in my case. As I’ve reviewed many Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) cases via the EEOC website, I’ve discovered atrocious violations of an immeasurable level committed by various governmental agencies—the VA not being the least of them. Also, I agree with your statement (“The VA Empire is not going to let go of its power”). As well, I believe that if I don’t stand for something I could fall for anything. My EEOC case is the hill I’ve chosen to die on, metaphorically speaking.

  14. T, and diabetecs will tell you that though the size has reduced the quantity of sugar has gone up. Sugar industry salesmen remind food processors that sugar is addictive and they’ll sell more if they add more sugar. Ask any steer in the feed lot if the molasses makes them eat more corn.

    We are being fattened for the kill just like a beef all for the profit of the sugar beet processors.

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