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Yesterday, Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie canceled his speech in Orlando to Student Veterans of America (SVA) citing the government shutdown.

Likely, the SVA topic de jure would be the Forever GI Bill and how the agency would handle fixing its completely botched rollout of the software processing platform in October 2018. As many of you remember, VA was forced to testify before Congress, twice, to explain why it failed to repeatedly update its software.

The explanation for the software failure to Congress?

VA hired Booz Allen Hamilton to perform the update, but VBA Under Secretary Paul Lawrence explained the contractor was unable to integrate a new software platform with the 50-year-old software platform. Innocent VA was unaware of the problem until it was too late.

So, VA would need an additional year to locate a new contractor to fix the problem, but the agency can provide no deadline projections to Congress for accountability.

So, VA would need an additional year to locate a new contractor.

Do we believe that? No. VA likely screwed up and Booz agreed to take the hard fall in front of Congress to maintain its legacy contracting relationship with VA.

Now, let’s turn for a second to Wilkie’s stated reason for canceling his speech at SVA, yesterday. Would the shutdown really stop Wilkie from speaking?

VA spokesman James Hutton excused the cancellation, “Due to the partial government shutdown, Secretary Wilkie will remain in Washington to ensure the VA continues to provide benefits and services to all our nation’s Veterans with zero interruption.”

Have they never heard of a telephone? How about the agency’s new Business Skype software on his computer? The Internet still works in Orlando, right?

Some readers attempted to excuse the cancellation stating trips like this one were precluded by shutdown policies. But that is not the reason given by Hutton. Instead, Hutton said it was to prevent any “interruption” to “provide benefits and services”.

I am unclear how Wilkie’s presence is required in Washington DC to prevent interruptions due to the shutdown since VA is funded one year in advance. Further, VA has been totally inept at preventing interruptions while Wilkie is at the helm at 810 Vermont.

Let’s see.

The GI Bill was not rolled out in time resulting in interruptions in veterans receiving their subsistence payments. The Caregiver Program client management software was not rolled out by the October 1 deadline and lots of caregivers were impacted.

So what could be interrupted by not being in the physical building?

The McDonald Factor

My contacts said former VA Secretary Bob McDonald was also slated to show up to possibly represent his views on how the agency should resolve the GI Bill glitch.

Methinks that sounds like the kind of move that might hurt someone’s feelings, no?

While we can never prove that Wilkie canceled because McDonald would be there, it certainly stands to reason McDonald’s possible attendance would rub Wilkie, and even more so Wilkie’s boss, Ike Perimutter, er, I mean, President Donald Trump.

Anyway, do you think Wilkie really canceled because of the shutdown?

Generally, government travel is limited to essential travel only, but that was not the position stated by Hutton. If that were the reason, it certainly would be a better excuse than the one provided, which makes VA simply seem inept.

More likely, I suspect Wilkie is not going because former Secretary Bob McDonald is showing up, which is kind of bush league in my view. Wilkie should show up. Take his lumps from McDonald and the crowd, and then take the opportunity to explain how the agency plans to make it right.

Ducking for cover following some of the most embarrassing congressional hearings I have ever seen is a sign of weakness. And, the reason the VA spokesman provided for his cancellation was poorly thought through.

Why not just say his dog ate the speech or he came down with a sudden stomach virus like everyone else. At least the latter excuse would not seem so weak.

If the agency is not careful, it will squander a real opportunity for President Trump to create a novel, pro-veteran legacy that was perfectly teed up for him by former President Barack Obama following the Accountability scandal, wait time fraud, benefits backlog, and information technology system malfeasance.

But don’t take my word for it. Here are some choice comments from veterans on Facebook.

SVA Wilkie Cancellation Comments

Cliff Wilkins That’s a load of crap. He’s the Secretary, has transportation, and support staff to make his attendance happen. He’s just a coward afraid he might get a few hard questions. What a POG!

Brent Rheingans Just like his predecessors. Probably has plans for a social function he didn’t want to skip.

Tim Gauthier Of course nobody could be bothered to read even the most basic guidance on travel. Despite what you may think, this is not an “essential duty”. This is just clickbait with zero research.

Joshua Anderson I don’t even stress at nothing any bureaucrat or politician does anymore. I just laugh. Its like the fucking twilight zone.

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21 Comments

  1. Sounds like great American Patriots, on the internet, have Wilkie and the VA all figured out.
    I’d love to see “Mickey Mouse McDonald’s” ass show up down here in Orlando. Especially when he’s a known proben liar!

    These young people today aren’t kept in the closet like older vets were at that age. One reason is the internet. It’s very simple to find out who’s screwing who in today’s society!

  2. Wilkie was afraid that pesky forever G.I. Bill problematic topic would open that rusted old can of worms containing accountability.

    Speaking of cans, all the VA has to do is connect their 50 year old cans and stings to the newer cans with string….or how about this novel idea: HOW ABOUT MODERNIZING ENTIRE SYSTEM INSTEAD OF ADDING MORE STRINGS OF SHIT CODE TO EVEN SHITTIER SHIT CODE?
    (too hard to understand?)

    EX: Would you only update your personal vehicle that’s over 50 years old by simply pouring more shit brown paint on it then a gold gloss coat and expect the shit engine, suspension, et all to be as spiffy?
    NO!!!!!!!!

    (still too hard?)

    Medicare for ALL!

  3. This is a lie. The VA is funded for FY 2019. To claim that he could not travel because of travel shutdown restrictions is false since the shutdown does not affect VA and the other agencies whose budgets were approved and signed by the President. It appears that he did not travel because he did not want to appear before the convention/conference because of questions that might be asked.

  4. I gotta sneaky suspicion Wilkie ain’t gonna last much longer as Secretary of VA. Liars don’t last! Just like “snitches are a dying breed!”

  5. Lots has been written on the Blue Water issue. However, I have not found anything new on the Presumptive List addition of bladder cancer and the other things that were supposed to have been added. Is this issue just being sat on?

  6. Rise and Shine Veterans today Senators or Representatives got voting today In so be Chicken Shit contract the Veteran Affairs Committee your belief how improve Veterans Health Care and how to fix Veterans Health Care no excuse like they don’t listen and Spread to your Veterans Friends and you don’t have to be a Veteran email their Senators or Representative contract the Veteran Affairs Committee….SEMPER Fi

  7. The VA is spreading out, not fixing anything. Choice Doctors in Roseburg Oregon are part of the VA. They see what VA wants, and do it. For myself, the Dr’s in America and their associations are responsible for the mess. Instead of standing up on medical issues, they allowed the countless number of untrained and unskilled so called directors and gaggles of clerks and directives that break the laws dictate our lives. I’m sick of all of them. Roll Tide Roll…

  8. Because of my illness, I sort of re-arrange and chop the article to basic bones. Here is what I read, chopping the rest off:
    Wilkie at the helm: Blubber-Head, liar, Lamb Chop Face, unclear, X-DOD-PR-Guy, needs neck surgery, G-man, afraid, coward,
    VA was unaware, Ducking for cover, embarrassing congressional hearings, poorly thought through, sign of weakness, nobody could be bothered, completely botched rollout, need an additional year, not rolled out by the deadline, Unclear, will squander a real opportunity, failed repeatedly, the fucking twilight zone.
    Bob McDonald’s views, not valid, thinks he is worth something, need additional year or two or three or four or five
    Booz Allen Hamilton, biggest New World Order player of them all, N.W.O. richest people in world dictates to governments exactly what to do to make them richer and stay in control of world population, “agreed to take the hard fall” in front of Congress to maintain its legacy contracting relationship with VA.

    • THANK YOU. FUCKINAA. YOU MY MAN! Lets go out and have a few drinks and some good herb (if I could). I agree totally with your comment and I will back it up with my life if I’m put into a position will I have to. Thanks for charging my batteries. You nailed it with the lamb chop face thing. The whole point of this rant is to point out is that we’re tired of this shit and we are getting old with not much help to look forward to. Thanks for your critizim towards our enemy to try and help us all. I’m hurting now but I wouls to say more.

  9. I’ve been looking at this comment section for some time, now. I have yet to see anyone mention anything about a realistic fix for VA. Has anyone ever heard of “Tricare”? The original “Tricare” program had just about everything in it you could possibly need. In its original form, a little tweak here and there, some additions to coverage, and changes in co-pays, and we would have Veterans’ healthcare back where it should be. Of course, competent leadership would be needed to run it, but it could be done; all the basic parts are already there.

    • Tricare West was supposed to pay 52 authorized Choice Program visits for me. The paid 8 of 25 before the provider dropped me. I’m 100%. What do you think Tricare is going to do for anyone but retired military if Congress doesn’t fund them? Or don’t you recall the Democrats balking at extending Choice because it didn’t include funding and then knuckled to let the Republicans extend Choice without funding?
      Face it. Unless Congress wants to take care of veterans more than they want their rich contributors tax breaks the vets aren’t going to get shit.

  10. “Due to the partial government shutdown, Secretary Wilkie will remain in Washington to ensure the VA continues to provide benefits and services to all our nation’s Veterans with zero interruption.”……..I literally laughed at this BS!! It was such a poor excuse that could be ripped apart so easily, I couldn’t believe someone in his position would use it! What’s he doing? Fixing the software reading a “How to fix 50 year old software so there’s no interruptions for Vets-for Dummies” handbook??? Pretty pathetic excuse…

  11. I agree with most of the subscribers the secretary of the VA does not support veterans as he suggest .i wrote him a letter about some medical issues i was facing in my healthcare system at the James A. Haley hospital relating to several important issues concerning my health and refusal by that hospital to grant me medications for service connected disabilities and other issues that I deem to be fraudulent and misrepresentation as it relates to Veterans healthcare and medications at the hospital. the secretary refused to respond to my written correspondence to him, the veteran healthcare administration and the Visn8 Director in my region in St. Petersburg Florida.

    • The Secretary’s Office always forwards letter’s to his office back to the VA facility you are addressing. The only way anyone in his office will read your letter is if you direct it to your Congressman. It will then be read and forwarded to the VA facility again, but your Congressman’s Office will read the response and your response to the response as well as the Congressional liaison. If your beef is valid it will be addressed. Speaking from experience. Some Senators will also support their constituents against the VA if they believe your Congressman’s Office isn’t doing its job.

  12. SucVA Wilkie, his personality is silkie
    He thinks hiding out is fair.
    Too bad, Silkie’s dad was a breeder,
    Silkie thinks he’s a leader.
    But he really needs to grow a pair.

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