The AFGE Union president J. David Cox published a scathing press release accusing Secretary Robert Wilkie of “disparaging” veterans who are “suffering” from the shutdown.

The press release further states Wilkie’s response to union pressure to end the shutdown was “despicable.” In the letter referenced in the press release, Cox says the Secretary’s earlier remarks on veteran suicide were “absurd.”

Cox, a former VA psychiatric nurse, lambasted Wilkie, “You have no standing to lecture me or anyone else about the factors that have created an epidemic of veteran suicide in this country.”

For some background, two weeks ago, AFGE Union issued through proxies numerous attacks against President Donald Trump fixated on veteran suicide. The allegations basically asserted that the shutdown will result in more veteran suicides.

Fun With Pundits

For example, one local AFGE Union president, Edward Canales, promised in an ABC interview, “If the shutdown does not stop, we are going to have fatalities. We’re going to have suicides.” Canales also said the shutdown was “shameful,” akin to “slapping every veteran in the face who has served their country.”

Hyperbolic Much?

In response, Wilkie issued a press release chastising AFGE for using veterans as pawns in its fight to reopen the government based on veteran sentiment. He was especially incensed about the use of the veteran suicide issue as leverage to garner public support to end the shutdown.

That same day, Wilkie doubled down when he published an op-ed that included an interview at Fox News to highlight the bang up job VA is doing to resolve the high number of suicides. This comes on the heals of two months of bad suicide press for the agency including a GAO report calling out VA for failing to spend monies intended for anti-suicide propaganda.

I wrote about both parties using propaganda strategies fixated on veteran suicide to further either agenda two days ago.

Now, AFGE’s Cox is punching back, at least in writing, and this is not the first time.

Previous Cox Threats

Three years ago, Cox threatened to “whoop” former VA Secretary Bob McDonald. In a statement to AFGE members, Cox stated, “But I am also prepared to whoop Bob McDonald’s ass. He’s going to start treating us as the labor partner… or we will whoop his ass, I promise you…”

In the most recent brush up, Cox is punchy as ever.

“Secretary Wilkie should be ashamed of himself for tarnishing the honorable name and reputation of Edward Canales and accusing him and other AFGE leaders of treating veterans as victims,” Cox said. “It is a fact that many veterans are among the 800,000 federal employees who are not getting paid during this shutdown – and no amount of shaming Mr. Canales will change that.”

The issue here, as noted above, is Wilkie’s critique of Canales for stating the shutdown would result with more veterans committing suicide.

I personally thought the AFGE’s use of veteran suicide in this manner was distasteful. However, VA also makes use of veteran sentiment in the same manner, making the ironic situation a bit like a pot calling a kettle black.

The tactic used by AFGE to amplify their message is rather textbook, as was VA’s.

Cox wrote Wilkie a letter making various allegations. That letter was published on AFGE’s website. The organization then repurposed the publication in a press release on PRNewswire. Now, the mainstream media, social media, and everyone else will run with the new fodder in a typical amplification of spin.

How much is AFGE spending on their spin to end the shutdown? Lots.

How much is VA spending on their spin to deflect responsibility over high suicide numbers? Lots.

Are both organizations directly or indirectly using taxpayer dollars and like-kind donations to fund their respective spin?

Absolutely.

So what do you think? Is this an effective discourse? Overall, doesn’t the spin by both parties negatively impact the very real problem of high veteran suicide?

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27 COMMENTS

  1. Ain’t that a purdy picture of all those caring (sic) caring folks? Hogwash.

    1) They won’t go out like that or in concert to aid or protect some vet being a target of their union, team members, or staff wrath and retaliation will they? Kinda like our fearless leaders to VSOs just sitting on their hands doing nothing.
    2) The devil is in the details and fine print, word-smithing. Cough, notice the “AFL-CIO” and all the implications/associations there? Never mind the evils behind the scenes and all under the same umbrella attacking vets, ignoring major issues, their united union/Gov PR firms, controlled media, censoring, self protectionism to the activism.
    3) How many of those freaks in that nice photo-op are actually veterans? I can see various other SJW types being represented there too. Oh move along don’t ask questions. Just suck up their flavor of Kool-Aid. And be sure to join in the pity party and expected group-think. What ever happened to some sacrifice for the common or nation’s good? Ha. Historically the AFL-CIO and others are not concerned about vets, nationalism, nation’s security, our health care, suffering, suicides or ethics. Suicides have been happening and increasing long before Netanyahu’s man got to be POTUS. As more restrictive laws over free speech and censoring more continues on. And who we aren’t allowed to criticize like unions or anything mainstream.

    They are all jokers and game players. How many suicides has dear ole Cox caused with that ego while seemingly acting like a phony Dr. Phil and his choreographed Hollywood BS? Circus, musical chairs, all the classic activist tactics, PR crap, in-fighting, distractions, etc. And if the public cared this blog and veterans issues would be “viral” and in the public’s faces daily like puppy and kitty stories are. They all need their asses “whooped.”

  2. I believe it came out a few days ago, where President Trump “…is ordering 68,000 (non-essential) government employees back to work!” I think that’s about 7%.
    I’m not sure, only it might be he’s going to take a play out of President Reagan’s book! Remember what happened to the air traffic controllers and its union.

    As far as David “little” Cox Jr. and the Secretary of VA is concerned, this kind of bullshit they’re pulling is just another way to get more taxpayers monies! Wait for it! They’ll be back in front of the Veterans Committee very soon!

    • PS
      BTW, President Trump has signed legislation to insure these “non-essential government employees receive their back pay”!
      On top of that, non of them are starving as the MSM’S are claiming. They can receive unemployment benefits!
      Lastly, if your unaware, a majority of the government (union) employees are democrats. That was shown to be the case after the election. Remember how VA employees talked about Hillary? They wouldn’t even admit President Trump won!

  3. Treatment focus is wrong headed. Doesn’t address subtle anosognosia and its affects on human mental health. Focus is totally behavioral and does not incorporate any organic deficits that exist.

  4. Poor cuddly-wuddly AFGE members on TV saying they’re in lines at pawn shops and selling their vehicles, boats, getting evicted….WAIT A BIG FATTY ASS MINUTE…no landlord is evicting anyone from ONE missed or late rent or even a mortgage payment…if that’s really the case, the shut-down IS NOT the pile of incompetence you’re looking for….it’s that meatsack crying yet not planning ahead like Suzy Orman recommends.
    This shutdown also shows the AFGE is indeed a Gov’t works welfare program…but all for the Vets…

    ….Dear David little Cox: We Vets for Nat’l hug day will be sending a pack of hungry, hungry hippos to your boss hogg ivory towers.

  5. 7 v.a. hospitals in 15 years. Until 2014 the v.a.’s primary treatment was opiate dispersion. After placing a v.a.patient in a “pain clinic” the only treatment that patient receives is massive doses of opiates and assignment to the , “non-treatment list”. At the Albuquerque n.m. v.a. that list consisted of 2,657 veterans. This list was discovered by a surprise investigation of the Albuquerque v.a. medical center in September 2014. The investigation team included; cong. Grisham, sen. Heinrich, and sen. Tom Udall. I was on that list. I did not receive any neurological treatment for 6 years even though they were treating with opiates for a broken neck at c5 received during the Vietnam war. I did not receive cardiology treatment for 5 years resulting in many heart attacks (some while at v.a hospital) and 3 emergency heart surgeries.
    (All surgeries were outside the v.a. as they would not treat me, even after the heart surgeries). 3 years to get chemo therapy and then only after litigation threat from civilian doctors.
    Theft of travel a pay with several different formats for doing so, resulting in death and suffering of veterans. Including myself.
    Hiring so-called doctors without medical licenses or suspended licenses or under indictment for medical mal practice, I.e.; Dr schlict. A doctor under indictment in Oklahoma for med. Mal practice was hired as the “neurosurgeon” for the Albuquerque v.a. medical center. No experience what so ever in nuerology. His experimental treatments for spinal cord injuries killed over 400 people (veterans). He injected them and me with fiberglass and or cement. 100′ and 100’s were paralyzed. So many people were injured and killed in one town in new mexico it had to file for bankruptcy. After Dr. Schlict disappeared he was captured in Japan working as a flight surgeon for the air force.
    There are 100’s of documented stories like Dr schlict.
    If you want to know why American hero’s/veterans loose all hope and commit suicide, look to the veterans administration and the government who created this monster and continue to support the v.a. on the backs of suffering and dying American veterans.

    • Chris,
      I too was victimized by the VAMC-Albuquerque. 4850 mg morphine by mouth per month for years. Chemo came easy as did 20 something other medications; benzodiazipines, heart meds, allergy meds, statins, psych meds galore–you name it. They offerd to fry my Brain with ECT. I told Doctor Berger [I saw the movie “Frankenstein”, no thanks schmagaygee]

      We are both lucky to be alive– I can tell you that.

      I finally had to leave New Mexico for my health, the VAMC and the VARO on Gold Street were killing me which i am lead to believe, really was part of their plan.

      I may not have many days left but I’m not going to let them kill me. Peace to you and your family , Brother.

  6. Cox needs to shut his pie hole. If he thinks he is speaking for veterans I got (sic) some news for the Obama liberal, suck-up, cracker, you don’t speak for me and you don’t speak for my brothers in arms.

  7. I find it more than hyperbolic that the AFGE President would openly threaten violence on the VA Secretary. Aren’t people more concerned with this behavior? Who do these people think they are? This isn’t about veteran suicide. This is about lazy paper-pushers (many of them that is) feeling the pinch and using veteran suicide as a political pawn. It’s both dirty and disingenuous. I have come to learn VA doesn’t care about anything until they are called on the carpet and publicly held accountable. What a despicable bunch.

  8. AFGE is a cancer plain and simple, once you get can’t wrangle it’s grips, if they can’t get what they want or when they want it, it’s pretty much a fight till someone gives in

  9. I agree with everyone’s comments. The days of yore when the VA and AFGE could exploit the “Silent Generation who endured the Great Depression, WWII and the Korean war have passed. We’re on to their self-serving antics, and it aint over until veteran’s get their due and are treated with the respect they deserve. We are not expendables! We did are part, now it’s time that this country does theirs. BAM – take that!

    Peace Out

  10. I think they all better quit the bickering and fighting about a government shutdown and not getting paid. Waaa Waaa Boo Hoo. That just means more veterans sitting back on their hands waiting for a now even longer process of finding out about their claims and applications for benefits, etc. Oh, but they didn’t fail to send me a letter in the mail telling me that they received my benefits application but can’t give me a time and date when they will even look at it. So, they are not the only ones suffering, and personally I have absolutely no pity for them. Screw the AFGE right along with Cox and Wilkie!

  11. A commenter indicated that a furloughed government worker can apply for unemployment benefits. This is only true if they are deemed non-essential. If you are classified as an essential employee, but not receiving pay, you cannot apply for unemployment benefits. Non-essential employees can apply for unemployment benefits but when they return to work, they must pay back any monies that they received from the state for unemployment.

    Also, there is a misconception with respect to the VA and funding. The VA appropriations bill was passed by both houses of Congress and signed by the President. This means that the department has been funded. There may be restrictions put on travel for individuals of the Secretary’s Office but those restrictions will have come from the White House.

    • Strange how the VBA UnderSecretary, Paul Lawrence, keeps posting articles on social media (LinkedIn) about his (and crew) seemingly non-stop travel to meet with VA people all over the US. Have they not heard about the technology of video conferencing? Oh that’s right they have spent Billions on network technology that still has their staff using 3+ platforms to do their jobs so may be technology is beyond them.

    • dunno how that yerp thing happened.

      Anywho – Ben: Hyperbola/hyperbolic – geometry/curve related. Hyperbole – exaggeration. Don’t blame me man, I was the one raised by a woman who taught one room school…. OK, so I’m not a victim but you get the idea.

  12. Why is the Flag flying half mast at night now? Just wondering. Every day Veterans lose, AFGE wins. The Dr.’s ARE disappearing. It’s let the Veterans suffer, they have more important things to be doing. Now it seems the VA staff is at war with us. What will they do when……we’re all gone….

  13. I actually think that this shutdown may be a good thing for the workers it affects. Teach them a bit of humility with respect to how entitled they are, and that their ‘comfy living’ can all evaporate in a second on someone’s whim. Something many disabled veterans have learned through (often brutal and unplanned) experience.

    I have no sympathy for any of them.

    I do however, see where as this ‘shutdown’ continues – – – it could be instrumental in setting the United States up for another 9/11 incident, or similar.

    That saddens me. High time America learns to get her priorities straight, as a nation.

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