AFGE Union Protests Staff Shortage At Veterans Affairs Headquarters

An estimated 200 protestors including AFGE union workers protested staff shortages and its perceived dismantling of Veterans Affairs health care by President Donald Trump.

The protest was organized by the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE). Employees were armed with noisemakers and carried signs reading “Staff the VA” and “Hire, don’t fire”. The group of protestors enjoyed speeches from Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.; Rep. Mark Takano, D-Calif.; Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz.

“We want to march on the VA,” said AFGE National President J. David Cox. “We want the secretary to hear our voices loud and clear.”

Typical AFGE Fear-Mongering

Speakers fear-mongered in perpetuating the belief President Trump is singlehandedly dismantling VA health care. Democrats and the union have made hay promoting its contrived moral panic over the issue that is premised on a false understanding of the origins of privatization of the federal government.

RELATED: Politifact – Clinton Claim Trump Will Privatize VA ‘Mostly False’

Brief History Of Federal Government Privatization

If you are a reader of this website, you know my longtime position is the agency’s employees engaging in fraud and endangering the lives of veterans with waitlist manipulations are truly responsible for any moving of funds away from the agency toward the private sector. In other words, had VA employees not endangered veterans’ lives with the waitlist fraud, Veterans Choice would never have happened.

Further, much of the agency’s privatization started under President Bill Clinton and accelerated under Presidents Bush and Obama. Obama did not stop the trend and scandals exposed by the press under his watch that were allowed to fester until being exposed led to Veterans Choice. It also led to the privatization of much of the disability compensation claims adjudication process.

RELATED: Did Clinton Administration Create Present Veterans Affairs Dysfunction?

President Trump will no doubt carry the mission forward, but any concerns about privatization are purely political and devoid of a historical understanding of privatization of the federal government through public-private-partnerships starting decades ago.

AFGE On Veterans Affairs Vacancies

According to AFGE, the agency still has 49,000 vacancies. Many of these vacancies existed prior to President Trump taking office. AFGE argues the continued failure to fill these vacancies lowers morale and forces burnout by existing employees in understaffed positions.

RELATED: Waitlist History – Fixing VA Like Boxing A Glacier

It is noteworthy to point out Secretary Shulkin promised to hire 1000 mental health care workers last year. The agency hired 900 but lost 945 that same year.

There is no question the agency is understaffed in certain areas and needs to be fully staffed to function well.

AFGE claims it represents the interests of 230,000 VA workers.

Trump To Increase VA Budget – Highest Ever

Despite the criticism, the Trump administration is pushing for a $200 billion budget for the fiscal year 2019, which is the largest budget ever proposed for the Department of Veterans Affairs.

My take here is the agency should properly staff its various positions. Failure to staff parts of VA does lend itself to further scandals related to continued use of waitlist frauds to make numbers look better than they are. This fraud tactic is not a new invention, but Trump’s failure to staff the agency now that he is in charge is irresponsible.

However, since Trump has failed to put forth political appointees to ensure proper management of the agency, I do not expect much to happen, especially now that Shulkin is being pushed out alongside Bowman.

When any turnover occurs, it means lifelong bureaucrats win. Veterans lose. Every time. Each leader usually stays about two years and is ultimately pushed out by some scandal or another. The agency will never be fixed.


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  1. They hired 900 and lost 945 mental health care workers in one year. Lets be honest, this has been happening in the VA as long as I can remember in all areas of expertise. The reason is very simple. Good people apply to the VA and are hired by the VA every day because they want to help veterans. They find out very fast that the VA is not in the business of helping veterans. They either quite in disgust or become whistle blowers and the VA destroys their careers. The VA can’t keep good people because they themselves are not good people. And it really is just that simple.

  2. Need to shut the doors on the VA medical centers, establish veterans health insurance under Tricare or some other health insurance and allow veterans the choice on who treats them and cover a veteran for all sc injuries/illness listed until a determination is made then cover all sc 100% and the other accordingly. Simple. We, my spouse and I, are going on 6 months trying to bring light to a nationwide problem with the VA regarding the Caregiver Support program that’s affecting thousands of veterans and their caregivers and costing taxpayers millions of dollars because the social workers won’t allow the veteran’s doctors to do their clinical responsibilities required and authorized by law. So, not only can’t the VA take care of veterans, it can’t take care of our caregivers and they get screwed too.

  3. Cultural Corruption, Shulkin lacks the Moral Authority to clean up the VA (as reported on CBS Nightly News).

    POTUS Trump, get rid of this dumb ass. A disgrace to Veterans, Taxpayers, and YOU!

  4. There’s two comments missing.
    One from me, and a reply from “CorpsmanUp”!
    After I posted, and CorpsmanUp replied, there was no “reply” box on either comment.

    So, here goes again. (Only I’ll paraphrase)

    When VA starts hiring qualified healthcare providers, instead of the current “Third World Quacks”, then maybe veterans might start praising the VA!
    Until then —- well, y’all know exactly what my opinion is on the VA!

  5. ANutterVet, I’ve told various VA officials that if they were just honest with veterans they would see a huge change.

    Every single one of them looked at me like I grew a third eye.

    1. I truly believe that the corruption, crime, theft, fraud, etc., is totally ingrained inside the VA. I’m losing hope in all this. Frustrated as hell, PTSD symptoms have gone off the charts, chronic pain has become exacerbated, and the trust, well, you most likely know how far south that has went? It’s not there, been eroded away by how the VA PCP’s have treated me, or shall I say, hasn’t treated me. Hang in there Brother 91.

    2. @91Veteran- next time you are having the VA rectal exam make sure at that moment to state while your third eye is facing the Dr., “…if they were just honest with veterans they would see a huge change.”

      Like the freaky talking insect typewriters in the movie adaption of Wm. S. Burroughs “Naked Lunch”, your own third eye may make your Dr. see eye-to-eye with our plight. 😀

  6. IF only the VA would hire qualified healthcare providers, instead of the “Third World Quacks” we’ve been having to deal with! Then veterans might sing praises!
    Until that occurs —–


    1. @Crazy elf – I explained to a few VA Physicians that Veterans have a good heart, and to believe it or not, that if the VA personnel would change their ways, and truly take care of Veterans like they should, that we Vets would sing the praises of their performance. I received no response, silent, dead, not even a facial, or tone of voice change. What’s up with this?

  7. I’m proud of my daughter, an RN, that did some of her training rotations at the VA here.
    She, truely, cares for Veterans and wheels me around whilst I go to my various clinics. And is present during all of them.
    She bumps into some of her former patients and, proudly , introduces me to them.
    During the course of these visits, other nurses urge her to apply.
    But, in her words, not mine, she doesn’t fit the weight “profile”.
    And, also, she was raised with certain ethics that would conflict with the environment.
    After generations of my family’s service to the Country, that stopped with me.
    Sadly, I’m pleased to say this.

  8. I’m certain it is quite traumatic for many AFGE members to be faced with a full productive day of work without new hires to back them up and cover for them. Th

  9. Lost opportunity to physically confront this criminal, big bag of hot air, and stick a pin in him and watch the balloon take off. Wish we could get advance info of his panned antics so we could meet him with overwhelming force and move his ass into the street to get run over; He is the most devious of the very devious persons in the federal bureaucracy. J. David Cocks, jerk off but very dangerous to the lives and health of veterans. Will some smart lawyers please set him up? The call us when the bowling can begin.

  10. I am reposting the entire text of the first LA Times article because the LA Times updated the article at the same link, and took out a huge amount of detail.

    Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin speaks during a House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs hearing on Feb. 6. (Jacquelyn Martin / Associated Press)

    An internal watchdog’s investigation has found that Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin improperly accepted Wimbledon tennis tickets and probably wrongly used taxpayer money to cover his wife’s airfare for an 11-day European trip.

    The report also questions Shulkin’s decision to direct agency staff on official time to arrange his personal sightseeing activities during the July trip to England and Denmark.

    The inspector general’s audit is the latest in a controversy over misuse of government travel by top Trump administration officials.

    “Although the [inspector general’s office] cannot determine the value VA gained from the Secretary and his delegation’s three and a half days of meetings in Copenhagen and London at a cost of at least $122,334, the investigation revealed serious derelictions by VA personnel,” the watchdog concluded.

    Shulkin is one of five current and former Trump administration Cabinet members under investigation by agency inspectors general over their travel expenses, an issue that forced Tom Price to resign as Health and Human Services secretary in the fall. Shulkin and other Cabinet officials have said their travel, often on private and military planes or to speak at political events, was approved by agency ethics officials.

    The Washington Post first raised questions about Shulkin’s Europe trip – in particular the Wimbledon tickets and his wife’s expenses – in a story in September.

    In a response to Missal, Shulkin called his portrayal of the trip “overall and entirely inaccurate” and said it “reeks of an agenda.”

    “It is outrageous that you would portray my wife and me as attempting to take advantage of the government,” he wrote.

    Shulkin also wrote that VA staff suggested his wife’s travel be paid by the agency and that he “had nothing to do with the process of obtaining approval.” He delegated day-to-day trip planning to his staff, he wrote.

    In an interview with investigators, Wright Simpson said she did not recall whether she altered the email, Missal wrote. In a second interview, he wrote, she did not directly respond to questions about the email, repeatedly saying “I responded appropriately to the email.”

    She did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment from The Post.

    Shulkin, a physician and former hospital administrator who served as VA’s undersecretary of health from July 2015 until last January, is the administration’s lone holdover from the Obama administration. He leads the second-largest federal agency and is a favorite of President Donald Trump, who made improving care for veterans a centerpiece of his campaign.

    On the trip to Europe last July, Shulkin and his wife, Merle Bari, were accompanied by Wright Simpson and Poonam Alaigh, then the acting undersecretary of health, as well as an aide and a six-person security detail. The group spent three-and-a-half days meeting with Danish and British officials to discuss veterans’ health issues. Sightseeing occupied the other days, including tours of Westminster Abbey and Denmark’s Rosenborg Castle, a cruise along the Thames and shopping in Sweden.

    In September, in response to The Post’s questions about the trip, VA issued a statement that said “all of Shulkin’s activities on the Europe trip, including his attendance at Wimbledon, were reviewed and approved by ethics counsel.”

    That statement was not accurate, Missal found.

    Before the trip, in response to a request from Shulkin, ethics officials reviewed only whether VA could pay his wife’s expenses, Missal found. After The Post’s inquiries, Shulkin asked for an expedited ethics review of the gift of Wimbledon tickets. When The Post story was published, ethics officials complained internally that VA’s statement had misrepresented their role and cast them in a poor light, Missal wrote.

    John Ullyot, VA’s assistant secretary for public and intergovernmental affairs, told investigators that Shulkin dictated the language saying that all of his activities on the trip were reviewed, Missal wrote. Shulkin told investigators he had “no idea” where the statement originated.

    In a separate response to Missal, private attorneys for Shulkin wrote that, “to the extent the statement could have been drafted more clearly, it is apparent that the statement was the result of haste, not an intentional effort to mislead.”

    In addition, at a Washington Post Live event in November, where he rebuked The Post for what he called “poor reporting,” Shulkin said he had purchased the Wimbledon tickets, Missal wrote. Asked by a moderator if they were given to him “by folks from the Invictus Games or anything like that,” Shulkin said they were not.

    That statement also was not accurate, Missal found.

    As he planned the trip, Shulkin contacted Victoria Gosling, chief executive for the 2016 Invictus Games, a sports tournament for wounded veterans founded by Prince Harry. Gosling was a strategic adviser to the games at the time, according to the report.

    Gosling offered Shulkin two tickets and a grounds pass to the July 15 women’s finals tennis match at Wimbledon, Missal wrote. She also treated Shulkin, Bari and their son to lunch before the match – which Venus Williams lost – in a private, members-only dining room. The tickets for the same match in the 2018 Wimbledon are selling for a minimum of $1,700 a piece, the report says, though Shulkin’s attorneys said the tickets cost $450 in total.

    In their response to Missal, Shulkin’s attorneys wrote that the inspector general had misinterpreted his remarks.

    As part of the review he sought after The Post’s inquiries in September, Shulkin told an ethics official that Gosling and his wife were friends, Missal wrote. The official concluded that Shulkin could accept the tickets based on a “personal friendship” exception to rules prohibiting the acceptance of gifts, he wrote.

    But the inspector general found the evidence of a friendship thin. When investigators interviewed Gosling last week, she could not recall Bari’s first name, according to the report.

    The findings were presented to the ethics official, who then reversed herself, concluding that “the documents totally indicate that they’re not friends, as represented in [Secretary Shulkin’s] response to me.”

    Shulkin told Missal’s investigators he and his wife had offered to pay for the tickets before the trip, but that Gosling “insisted on taking us as friends,” the report says.

    Shulkin also told investigators he did not seek an ethics review before accepting the tickets because the tennis event “had absolutely no business connection whatsoever,” the report says. “I wouldn’t think about clearing it with ethics,” Shulkin said.

    In concluding that the gift was improper, Missal wrote: “Ms. Gosling gave a gift of the Wimbledon tickets, valued at thousands of dollars on the secondary commercial market, because of Secretary Shulkin’s official position.”

    Shulkin’s attorney said the secretary was not prohibited from accepting the tickets because Gosling neither does nor seeks to do business with Veterans Affairs.

    Even so, they wrote that Gosling and Bari are friends and that Gosling attributed her failure to remember Bari’s first name because she was pressure from investigators. “The investigators unexpectedly called me on my mobile phone whilst I was driving on a very busy highway,” she wrote in a statement provided by the lawyers. “I felt like the investigators were twisting my words and trying to put words into my mouth.”

    Ethics officials initially declined the request to pay travel expenses for Bari, a Philadelphia-area dermatologist, “on the grounds that the available information did not show that her presence would serve a ‘sufficient government interest,’ ” Missal wrote.

    Wright Simpson, the chief of staff, became personally involved, Missal wrote. She pressed for Shulkin to receive an award from the Danish government, which she understood to be the criterion that would justify Bari’s status as an “invitational traveler” whose expenses would be covered.

    In emails to James “Gabe” Gough, the aide in the traveling party who was coordinating with VA’s European counterparts, Wright Simpson pressed for confirmation of an award. Gough said no award was planned.

    “We’re working on having a dinner at the US Ambassador’s Residence in the honor of SECVA, but that has not been confirmed by US Embassy Copenhagen yet,” Gough wrote, using the acronym for the secretary of Veterans Affairs.

    According to the report, Wright Simpson then altered the email to make it appear that Gough had written, “We’re having a special recognition dinner at the US Ambassador’s Residence in the honor of SECVA.” With confirmation in hand, she told ethics officials that an award was definite. Bari was approved as an “invitational traveler,” all expenses paid.

    Shulkin received no award or special recognition on the trip.

    Missal wrote that Wright Simpson’s actions may have violated federal criminal statutes and that he referred the matter to the Justice Department. The Justice Department declined to prosecute, he wrote.

    Once his wife was on the official list of participants, Shulkin directed Gough to coordinate with her to schedule meals and visits to tourist attractions. “Boss told me ‘if she’s happy, I’m happy and you’re happy,’ ” Gough told a colleague in an email, according to the report.

    Gough told investigators his involvement was necessary to coordinate security coverage for Shulkin.

    Investigators came to a different conclusion: At Shulkin’s direction and on official time, they wrote, “Mr. Gough was serving as a de facto personal travel concierge to the Secretary and his wife.”

    “Is there earlier flight from Copenhagen? Wimbledon tickets? High tea? Roman baths in [B]ath. Would want to do baths not just tour,” Bari wrote to Gough in June.

    In another email she said ” . . . we like to be busy, we often don’t spend too much time at palaces or cathedrals. Secretary agrees that need some time to check in with work answer emails or call back each weekday so can be flexible in later afternoon after we do sightseeing.”

    Gough complained to a colleague about Bari’s many requests, writing, “I would have been finished with this a week ago.”

    The travelers’ expenses in some cases were inadequately explained or poorly documented, investigators found. A member of the security team’s expense voucher included “an inexplicable $3,825 overpayment for airport parking and a $2,718 overpayment for lodging.”

    Last-minute itinerary changes inflated airfare costs by $15,700, bringing the total to $42,230. Much of that covered an upgrade to business class on the return flight for Shulkin, who was suffering from back pain, and a member of his detail. Wright Simpson also modified her ticket to expand a 3½-hour layover by nearly two hours, a change that increased the price to $4,041 from $1,101.

    The report mentions another unusual expense: VA had official “Trip Book” itineraries printed for the entourage, 15 copies at a cost of $100 each.

    10:20 a.m. Updated with reporting from the Washington Post.

    This article was previously published at 8:53 a.m.

  11. Off topic, and someone may have posted already but….

    The LA Times is dropping a MASSIVE bomb on Shulkin right now in an article about his travel.

    The IG could not determine ANY value in Shulkins trip, which cost over $122,000.

    The article is kind of chopped in that it mentions Wright Simpson, Shulkins chief of staff altering an email, but it doesn’t say how that pertains.

    The article makes very clear that Shulkin lied to the IG, and was very misleading in other areas. Shulkin claimed he asked ethics to review his entire trip, not just his wife’s travel which was a lie.

    Shulkin dictated a statement on his trip claiming the above which is directly contradicted by ethics officials.

    His chief of staff was told his wife couldn’t go under “invitational travel” orders, so his chief if staff arranged for Shulkin to get an award from the Dutch in order to justify her travel.

    Shulkin never got an award.

    The IG referred Wright Simpson to DOJ for prosecution, but DOJ declined.

    Oh, and one of Shulkins security detail? He had an overpayment on his voucher for $3825 for airport parking, and a $2718 overpayment for lodging.

    The VA also had official “trip book” itineraries printed for $1500.

    Meanwhile, a veteran can’t collect under $50 in owed travel pay for months.

  12. I’m tired, that’s for sure. Worn out battling for decent health care. My experience is when I have a medical appointment, I’m very often told that I can’t have the treatment I need. Whaaat? On the other hand, I have received treatments that were beneficial and had been treated well. In the near past, I almost died due to a wrong diagnosis and prescribed a medication that almost killed me. However, the VAHCS brought me back to life, not the one I had before, but I am alive.

    This happens all too often in the private sector also. Still, I would like to have an option to use both the VAHSC and Veterans Choice.

  13. Got a lot balls those pieces of crap! Don’t see protesting when someone takes their lives. The know ain’t getting anything until know which way Choice go. I’ve asked many times in life why I could have had a job as there

  14. In the meantime, Veterans keep going around in circles. While we’re the ones getting fucked over. Fuck you AFGE, and pieces of shit Cuntie Coxie, and Shyster Shithead “Shitty” Shulkin. You bass-turds are fucking worthless. Always were. One kissing the ass of the other, so that there’s a straight and clean pathway to the damn VA cookie jar.

    And you worthless fucking pussy-assed Politicians. No good for nothing splatters of tail-less Spermocites. You people were a waste since the beginnings of your manufacturing in the Seminiferous Tubules, and during your travels you sprouted out of the Testes, into the Epididymis where your maturity never occurred in waiting for the moment of your Pap’s ejaculation.

    Then when you moved from the Epididymis, during your travels you banged against the walls of the Van Deferens, causing the top layer action potentiated Myelin Sheath of your neurons to be scrapped off, then your sheath continued to be damaged as you traveled up the Spermatic Cord located in the Pelvic region, then over the Ureter to the Prostate behind the Bladder.

    By then, as it is now, is when it was permanently set that no Electrical Messages are able to be sent for communication and decision making processes (per any activities that need to be looked into problems at the VA). Then from the Vas Deferens, you continued in your travels, then joining with the Seminal Vesicle into the ejaculatory duct, where you became stuck as a little one, and became hard for movement, so that your path of movement was hindered could going through the prostate, and then emptying into the urethra.

    Then when your Pappy ejaculated, his rhythmic muscle movements propelled you forward, and out of his penile porthole, but you didn’t end up in the state of Virginia. You were entwined in the cloth material on the bed. After the cloth was washed, you continued through your journeys into the bowels of the sewer, where today, you still reside; YOU FUCKING DICK (all you pussy assed Politicians).

    No Time for Being Nice Anymore.

  15. I JUST got an idea!

    Today’s article about the AFGE protesting and their protesting is nothing but a smokescreen to attempt to cover-up current extra scrutiny VA Sec. Shulkin is over with wifey-poo’s vacation itinerary.

    I very-well just have an overactive mind, so maybe no relation at all.

  16. The OIG REPORT just came out on Shulkin, they never interviewed him so that his lie to the press could not be prosecuted.
    Typical OIG FRAUD.

    1. “[WASHINGTON — An internal watchdog’s investigation has found that Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin improperly accepted Wimbledon tennis tickets and likely wrongly used taxpayer money to cover his wife’s airfare for an 11-day European trip.

      The report also questions Shulkin’s decision to direct agency staff on official time to arrange his personal sightseeing activities during the July trip to England and Denmark.

      The inspector general’s audit is the latest in a controversy over misuse of government travel by top Trump administration officials.

      Shulkin’s lawyers say he did nothing improper. A department spokesman says Shulkin “travels far less than any recent VA secretary” and takes no private jets]”

      ^”travels far less than any recent VA secretary…”^- THAT is like a bank robber that gets caught and his public defender announces to the judge that he robs far LESS banks than the average swamp rat! Right?! 😀

    2. The Full Report is at:

      The full report is very damming for Scamming Shulkin and seems to indicate that it is very likely he is being investigated by the DOJ and will be prosecuted. Just reading the Letter by the IG that precedes the report it is very clear about Shulkin being a lying scamming criminal fraud not VA Sec material. It is even pointed out in the letter the number of times and gives the examples of when Shulkin has lied to the media and the public about his European Vacation.

      Although I am not finished going over the full report yet. Several Statements are of interest.

      Contained in a Letter that precedes the report VAIG makes the following statement; “Since Ms. Wright Simpson’s false representations and alteration of an official record may have violated federal criminal statutes, the OIG referred this specific matter to the US Department of Justice (DOJ) to consider it for potential criminal prosecution; DOJ decided not to prosecute at this time.”

      In additional statements made in the letter the IG points out numerous times Shulkin lied and produced false statements to the investigator also manufactured evidence. In this case the IG only states that it is recommended that appropriate actions be taken.

      Personally I would think that Shulkin being referred to the DOJ is a required action at this point.

      1. You are absolutely correct! But will OIG do it, with Shulkin being cabinet level with absolute immunity? DOJ has to indemnify his actions . A writ of mandamus can be filed by the Senate to the President for Trump to take action.

    3. Just wow. Did the report say he declined to be interviewed? Or that they just didn’t ask?

      I can’t fathom how the IG thinks their little sham investigation can be conducted without interviewing the prime target.

      Does it say whether he submitted written answers to written questions?

  17. Make a fist, close your eyes, open your mouth and start hitting yourself all over your forehead with your fist, like your pounding on a desk in reverse. That’s my impression of a blind cocksucker.

    Shithead Shill-kin is one of these.

  18. Well there’s the problem right there under your nose “lil” Cox, “AFGE claims it represents the interests of 230,000 VA workers.” No doubt, that IS the case, you fucking idiot!!! What your “suppose to be doing is, ‘taking care of the needs, and interests of over 21.8 million “Veterans”.

    ╱┗┛┗┛╱╱╱┗┛┗┛╱╱ ..┈┈┈╰━┳┓┏┳┓┏╯┈┈┈
    …………………….. ┈┈┈┈┈┗┻┛┗┻┛┈┈┈┈

    You see that number you DC assholes? that is over 21.8 million, last I checked, 21.8 million was greater than 230,000, you best start serving the interests of those Veterans, because come voting day? WE WILL REMEMBER WITCH ONES OF YOU HAVE BEEN FUCKING US OVER. Hows that for a threat “lil” Cox?

    ┈┈┈┈┈┈┈┈┈┈┈OOH OHH aah aah aahh aahh
    ┈┈╱▔▔▔▔▔╲┈┈┈means “fuck you AFGE”
    ┈╱┈┈╱▔╲╲╲▏┈┈┈in monkey
    ….”lil” cox

  19. Did you forget you articles pointing out the lobbyist action that set up the Choice privatization netting Health Net and Tricare over 27 billion dollars in “Choice Contracts” that aren’t really choice but are essentially billing contracts to provide Medicare services to veterans who are not otherwise qualified for Medicare. Look at the contracts.

  20. The picture shows a bunch of worthless swamp rats.
    The AFGE protesting the lack of staff outside VA HQ. On a work day. They must have considered their regular work duties to be non-essential for the entire week they were in DC.
    49000? After a year of increased hiring? I don’t believe that for a minute. Of course, who can believe Cashcow claiming 35000?

    How many veterans would be arrested if protesting the VA outside VA HQ on the sidewalk?

    If they were concerned over staffing they would find out why more mental health staff left than were hired. Burn-out? I doubt it. There are still vets being denied care and killing themselves, so who are they treating? It seems to me mental health staff are spending their time updating resumes to bail off a sinking ship.

    Short staffed? Perhaps looking at how funding is misappropriated for IT projects might be a hint. What other funds are being misdirected?

    Perhaps looking at the pathetic managers in the VA, like the process of moving Paxton around instead of firing him is causing problems.

    I disagree with you Ben that Trump should be hiring at VA. I do agree with you though on getting good appointees in the VA. Those are the ones responsible for hiring and firing and fixing the mess there. I also believe Congress should be conducting oversight of fixing this agency rather than conspiring with agency officials to insure certain contractors get rich.

    I have zero sympathy for these thugs. If they were smart and actually had concern for veterans, they would have used the temporary Choice program to get caught up both in appointments for veterans and getting staff hired. Instead, they sabotaged and continue to sabotage the program in any way possible, after raiding Choice funds to hire more staff to oversee the sabotage. Now it is turning into more of a permanent program, and they wonder why they might be soon out of a job.

    Oh, and if the AFGE didn’t protect their criminal members at every turn, particularly those that beat elderly veterans to death, they might gain some sympathy.

  21. ….ZZZZZ…. uhh..what..??? Just a bunch of rambling , screaming kids again?? Ill go back to sleep until something actually is done….ZZZZZ….ZZZZ….

  22. “[…AFGE claims it represents the interests of 230,000 VA workers….]”

    If they actually put-in the labor and effort of truly motivated 230,000 workers, the VA would have no shortage whatsoever.
    I have worked for various companies that had major unions and I know for a fact that any union dictates how much and how long any worker of any variety works and all breaks are even negotiated. Take UPS and the Teamsters for instance. Short of slave labor, how UPS keeps things efficiently rolling is a highly organized shift but can say that our Union Steward for Teamsters was useless and was the Teamsters are ONLY there because UPS gains contracts they only would get with such a workforce…and benefits. One ten minute break. That’s it.
    The AFGE not so much. Seems it was just a short two years ago a former medical professional neighbor of mine told me in their highly regarded cancer treatment dept. their very BEST and BRIGHTEST M.D. cancer researcher was quiting to go work for the VA.
    They asked him why and he told them gleefully: At the VA I will only see a few patients a week, banker’s hours, no malpractice to worry about, and cannot easily be fired and easy retirement.
    My neighbor said they questioned his motives further day before he left.
    She said they checked, and the HIGHLY SPECIALIZED cancer treatment research is not even available at the VA he jumped ship to…the VA often send those very patients to…either Dayton…or the very Univ. Medical Center he quit from to work for the VA.
    How’s that for efficient use of medical personnel and the AFGE?
    Stacked hacks and they want more?!

    Nope, it’s not a lack of personnel problem at the VA, it’s a lackadaisical personnel problem at the VA.
    Rant really out.

  23. It’s one thing to staff and another to staff with qualified employees. The evaluation of the employees is BONUS driven. Paint each other in blazing colors and the cash will flow. Discredit and dollars will dry up. In the mental health department you do not dare complain about anything. If you do you are deemed a potential problem. Since in each town the VA is a monopoly, you are pulling the rug out from under you’re selves and suffer the consequences, you have no other option.

    1. Here I north east PA the “ monopoly” is referred to as nepotism, which goes back generations.

      1. ‘Nepotism’ is what keeps the chairs weighted at the VA and they only roll-out to go home and feed and roll right back with a nephew or two paying AFGE dues too. 😀

  24. I don’t know about the healthcare side of the VA but I’ve worked in different departments/divisions of the Benefits Administration side of the VA and they need more workers because they hire lazy and/or inept people. Next, poor training, equipment/systems and organization/management of labor.

    My recent position? They literally had us sitting for months in a training room with nothing to do.

    I’ve seen the same in other agencies too. It takes two people to do one person’s job because they don’t wanna get rid of stupid and lazy – because the union will sweep in and defend them till the end.

    1. I couldn’t agree more TaB. My RO is Philadelphia. Whenever I call there or they happen to contact me about my 7 year old appeal, I’m shocked that it is such a struggle to use proper English, and the stupidity of the thing at the other end of the phone.

      1. Well, not to be insulting, but the people they hired with me and the VSOs I met were literally illiterate. They could not spell. They lacked basic grammar/punctuation skills and were just stupid.

        I grasped the material and displayed ten times better customer service/ability to aid veterans who simply needed assistance with their claims (despite me never being exposed to the VA and/or how the claims process worked) than mu fellow new hires and tenured employees…and, all it did was infuriate them.

        One time this one she got upset because I finished my online material before them – what business does she have looking at my screen? Why wouldn’t she just concentrate on her work?

        I don’t wanna go work there ever again. Cesspool of garbage.

  25. Staff shortage at VA? Really AFGE?? Whenever I happen to visit a VA hospital or I am in DC at VA HQ, all I ever see are the AFGE piggies in line, snorting and squealing at the canteen.

    To quote my dog….. “I smell bacon”…..

    1. What they really mean is the vending machine service teams are not sufficient enough for the cows frequenting the machines.

      Did someone say BACON?!

  26. The “fix” cannot be “fixed” because the VA AFGE Purple Teams are “fixated” on “fucking” with the original “fix”.

    The AFGE complaining and crying foul is sweet music to my ears and wish we could bottle/package it so Veterans can drink the life-force nectar of crying union thugs and become drunk in their perceived misery.

    To AFGE David “little” Cox: I’m leaving a little something for you to find in the swamp water this morning and since it’s valentine’s day, it will be a brown-form-factor heart. Thanks for keeping me regular and the laughs… 😀

  27. The only remark I have to post is “THE UNIONS AT THE VETERANS AFFAIRS ARE HALF THE PROBLEM THAT THE VA HAS.” Standing up for nonproductive flounders and rewarding the nonproductive slag.

    1. I agree with you about unionizing federal employment APCduck. Unions were formed to protect the rights of workers against the employer, NOT the rights of the employer at all.

      Well then, just who is the employer? The employer is We The People in the case of a federal public servant. We The People are the source of the rights and we arrive at what is good and just through means spelled out clearly for us collectively. We The People in other words say what is right and what is wrong, guided by The Constitution.

      Unions inside of government bastardize this process because it takes these mandates from The People and turns them instead into bargaining chips at some negotiation table. Inside VA right now are two chains of command: union and federal. I didn’t vote for that and we only need one.

  28. The battle lines are drawn and the deep state is mobilizing their troops in a preemptive strike against the Trump Administration and coming reforms to how business is done in Washington. Several people who are currently looking at public corruption charges and about to be removed from their position are the Scam-Man, David Shulkin, and the Schemer, Thomas Bowman.

    How much of the VA’s 2018 budget to provide medical services to Veterans were burned up in this little staged photo Op orchestrated by none other than the administration at the VA. Let’s see, 200 VA employees paid to meet and hold signs for limited time for a photo op while being paid by the VA. Travel pay to and from their normal place of working for the AFGE at the VA.

    The time plotting and planning all while being paid by the VA to represent the Union. The cost of the signs and the all the time to notify the different press agencies about the planned photo op. We have to be looking at somewhere in the neighborhood of half a million of the 2018 VA Health Care Budget going up in smoke for this photo op.

    Hoping to hear LipShit Curt Cashcows press release on this bogus VA Turd-athon

    Also worth mentioning is that a very large majority of the Jobs they claim are being left unfilled in reality have already been filled by J1 Visa holders who are temps and by display screens connected to universities and the VA Tele Med System.

    1. The Deep State Attorney Justin Shur, the former deputy chief of the Justice Department’s public integrity section who ran interference while Clinton was Secretary of State, and who is the lead Attorney of Shulkin’s legal defense team, no doubt is the sponsor of the AFGE photo Op.

      The Timing of Shur’s leaking of the letter to the VAOIG and the timing of the AFGE photo Op is just too coincidental.

      Given there is no set time for the VAOIG’s report to be released and the VAOIG has been very slow to issue reports in the past and present. At times holding them back for years or letting them go unpublished and never released to the public.

      It seems clear that the VAOIG has referred this matter, and likely other additional matters to the DOJ for possible prosecution. That is the only reason why Shulkin would hire three attorneys who are high dollar attorneys who specialize in White Collar Criminal Defense and public corruption.

      Most certainly Shulkin will be paying his legal team more than he could legally make working his position at the VA for the next Five Years.

  29. The agency cannot be fixed because the fix is in.

    I learned yesterday that the reason some of my bills went unpaid and the inexplicable drain on my savings was because SSDI had stopped sending my direct deposit. I do not monitor my bank account for this except to set it up for direct payments for stuff so it caught me by surprise that my benefits were suspended three months ago – my savings vanished.

    Do you know what? I do not recall anything but a transient, “oh shit” while I called the SSA hotline. I left a callback number and they promised a one hour turn around call back. I took a taxi down to the office with ID while I waited for the call. I have dealt with SSA guys before and I simply had no memory of being treated poorly so my anxiety was pretty damn low.

    I was greeted by simple one desk securtity and took a number. The SSDI guy called back on the phone in LESS than an hour. Within minutes the problem was discovered. My number came up in the SSA building right after the call and the proper forms were filled out and the problem is 100% solved and payments are promised to begin in two days of the back pay. Not ONE of those SSA guys looked hassled, tired, uncaring, or unattentive. There was no hate in the air at that place. I was there maybe an hour and the same day I noticed the problem it was fixed.

    Now let me switch to VA – I noticed my healthcare benefits terminated over a year ago. It has now taken 6 agencies (if you count my congressmans relentless help, and VA police investigating drug fraud) and four case numbers just to investigate, a whole ghost committee to decide how best to limit their help (not solve the problem) to me (DBC) and AT LEAST 22 signature blocks to be signed just in my record book alone for all the entries made just to ALMOST comply with all the other federal people now involved and the law.

    As of this date the CBOC still refuses to assign even a provider or PACT team and still more phone calls, now totally DOZENS already will be neeeded to solve the same problem as SSA – a discontinuation of earned benefits. Despite finally getting an appointment for mental health a few days ago, I have still to hear back on even getting a PACT team assigned. Obviously even more folks are going to be involved and the retaliation case VA initiated in D.C. on my behalf involves even more lives.

    The fix is in and AFGE wants even more people involved than the ten to one ratio they already enjoy.

    1. By the way, the SSDI form to fill out asked for all medical care taken during the last 12 months as proof of continuing disability. I told him I would list VA but had not seen a doctor there for a long time becasue I was banned. He said, “We get that all the time. Don’t worry about it – just list them as your provider and leave the rest (of that section) blank.”

      1. You know what I DID NOT SEE from ANY seating area or even the service window at SSA? I did not see ONE single picture of POTUS or whoever the hell heads up the SSA.

        Now tell me, have you EVER been in any VA facility that follows this example? Nope.

        Why? What sets VA apart in this custom? Is it too much to ask instead to see the Marines hoisting Old Glory up on Mt. Suribachi instead of POTUS? How about a copy of the Constitution next to it? How about a snippet framed and displayed of a bloody parachute from the guy that didn’t make it back?

        The allegiance demanded is for two photos side by side instead and looking over the servants and back at the veteran.

    2. Good points Dennis. Their short staffed argument goes right out the friggin window when looking at the number of staff involved in screwing over veterans. Not just you, but every VA facility in existence. Hell I would not be surprised at all to find out the Interior Designer is involved in screwing you around.

  30. Ben, I think there are no easy answers or remedies or fixes for any of it, VA or civilian health care. I seriously think none of them involved including the AMA, VA, gubbermint, medical corporations, stock-holders, unions, colleges, etc., want anything to be fixed or a return to good old fashion patient care minus all the many negatives, corruption, cover-ups, unethical treatments, politics, to many being forced to hire incompetent staff using affirmative action types or those whose lesser qualifications or low class scores are hired before others with higher capabilities. Not fun going in to see someone with gang tats on their necks, face, sleeves, to having metal all over their faces and having five inch long finger nails. Or old people on the verge of retirement that can’t do their jobs at all or can’t remember blood pressure results or what low blood sugar is.

    On top of that is dealing with the nasty attitudes, the activist, identity politics, to not having any voice or a safe place to find some remedy without the retaliation or retribution they can deal out from all over… happily. All the while hospitals are bragging about record profits, building more cell hospitals, teaching colleges, then bringing in more foreigners to train than American or veteran labor and staff. It’s all a total freaking mess with all hear of is total BS and propaganda. Leading to from what I have seen from privatizing other things like road repair, VA claims, contractors, etc., has also turned into a mess and things never changing just the names, idiots, corrupt, nepotism, greedy administrators, foreign ownership, possible union crap, or whatever.

    The stuff I am encountering in ‘socialist styled’ civilian health care isn’t much better than the ‘socialist styled’ VA system which I think the civilian’s care is borrowing ALL their actions, IT failures, activism, games, failures, and treatments from. Private practice (practice mind you), private clinics, no different from the others or VA type thinking or state medial boards enforced rules and demands. Plus seeing to it we deal with more retaliation and some pay backs down the line… and from every angle possible. And been told by VA staff the civilian model is akin the VA’s since they run it all supposedly along with medical boards, government, and medical colleges. Seems a lot of crap like blood testing to using the PCP method of care started in the socialist styled VA system then flooded out to the rest of the sheep or pawns since it was accepted for generations. That the majority apparently think it’s all a good thing… while they die off and are mistreated but not a bah bah bah bleat bleat out of them.

    Remember it was good ol’ Nixon that signed bills, circa 1972, allowing medical services to go the way of full profiteering mode and less about decent patient care, professional ethics, over-sight, or our best interest in mind.

    Now there is more money flushed down the secret budgets of DC and elsewhere. More money for the war machine and foreign aid/interest, and vets get crap… still. What can the liars and corrupt in DC do about AFGE antics like having call-in days creating shortages clinic to clinic in the same days so the VA is forced to hire temporary staff who can’t get anything done, the veterans pay and suffer for it. During contract times or not it is done. Been there, seen it, dealt with it, heard it bragged about, temp workers claiming it’s good cause they needed the extra money, etc. Oh yeah, what fun dealing with such crap trying to get health care while feeling like shit and hundreds of miles to drive.

    Turn the VA joints into homes for the homeless and needy vets. Save the money. Stop the wars. Give vets a card to use in the ‘socialist styled’ civilian world and ‘force’ medical boards and all those in the fields to treat us and give us what works and is needed… no excuses, no games, no run-arounds, no threats, no BS, no telling us we are all criminals or can’t live our own lives. And allow US free legal aid to sue those scum MDs and clinics, state workers “immune from prosecution,” that think it’s ethical or good to threaten us, or play games, to see us sit and wait for six hours or longer per visit to be seen for care or get a script filled. Or MDs not seeing us due to our not meeting their required added charges and the like. Or one charge for males, another lower charge for female shit. Identity politics and warfare in the medical field.

    Something more to consider. True of false.

    How much more BS are we being led to distract, believe, or entertain, that isn’t the whole truth coming out in media or DC?

  31. David dick lips Cox was a fat ass VA nurse. Fat ass nurses will remain fat during all aspects of their nursing careers. They hover around kitchens, salivating over the pictures of chicken in Crisco Times magazine.
    This is a chronic condition that really should be addressed. It affects their judgment in discerning their responsibility of oath to take care of their patients., leading to wanting to join unions to get out of work.
    I urge Congress to pass the Manatee Act now!
    If your love one, who is experiencing these symptoms and is a nurse, call our We Tip hotline at 1800 my nurse is blowing up.
    Call now!
    Lives are in the balance!
    (Your friendly neighborhood Corpsman is not responsible for the contents of this ad)

    1. Those way too low handrails in wide hospital hallways are not handrails at all. They are NASA designed hard rubber bumper guards in the unfortunate event of two or more VA nurses colliding with the resulting patients in hallways being the bowling pins. Not pretty at all. Not one bit.
      Excellence in healthcare means you SHOULD be able to look down at the scale each morning and read it instead of placing your breakfast in your bellybutton as a placeholder.
      Obese healthcare workers piss me the fuck off. AFGE “not-so-little” Cox is a classic example of the Engorged Purple Teams he supposedly represents. The head purple grimace cox.
      Rant Out.

      1. You know nam, if the AFGE were truly concerned over staffing and providing good care for vets, perhaps they would not be demanding surgeons spend their full work day conducting union business.

        How many others throughout the VA are taking up a care provider slot, but spending even just a half day on union business?

      2. Again, until we flood our roles with volunteer attorneys who can and will file lawsuits and criminal charges as private prosecutors, nothing will get done. What is necessary is an immediate legal attack for every time one of these idiots farts in a closed space. The have intimidated us and now is the time to make them deathly afraid to screw up or screw with us. Any physician who is allowed to jerk the VA system off by performing non medical duties needs to be fired on the spot. Lil Cocks can be manipulated into a losing position. CAN E DONE

    2. the va @ afge union are beyond salvage the va is the titanic it hit the iceberg all we are doing is arguing over the color of the carpets pointless va one big rico crime rackets vola de pendjos !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      1. Don’t forget, it is the jelly belly pendejos!
        Big difference! The fat and nasty type pendejos coupled with sheer fuckery!

    3. Love your comments funny if they were not so true and thus so sad for us vets. We must take this SOB down one way or another. Send out a recon team to determine the enemy’s weakness and then strike hard and fast in their rear.

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