MMQB – Secretary McDonald Op-Ed Sparks Conflict

McDonald Op-Ed

Benjamin Krause“Veterans need VA, and many more Americans benefit from VA” was the tweet from VA about the recent Secretary McDonald op-ed that sparked controversy among veterans online.

The Robert McDonald op-ed was titled, “VA is critical to medicine and vets.” You can summarize the McDonald op-ed in 15 words or less. ‘VA is big. VA health care makes neat stuff. Bob will fix VA health care.’ Or at least that is the hope.

I first noticed this curiously titled op-ed on Twitter, which was followed by two sharp reactions that I posted below, and thought the op-ed itself was worth writing about here. I will get into what I think concerning Bob’s op-ed in a second.

Welcome to this edition of Monday Morning Quarterback (MMQB) for Veterans. I am your host, Benjamin Krause, creator of the community. This is the number one place of unadulterated veteran centric news on the web. MMQB is where I hit on news from the weekend.

Here is what we will cover in brief today:

  • McDonald sucky pro-VA op-ed
  • Phoenix VA fraud known for years
  • Is McCain relevant on veteran issues?



What do you think Robert McDonald should write about in an op-ed in light of new scandals coming up on a weekly basis about the wait list and related VA employee fraud?

Now, take that idea in your mind and add in a ton of nonsense about things no one cares about. Shazzam, you have the McDonald op-ed.

This is not my first read of pro-VA propaganda from its trained press manipulators. And that propaganda is always the same. The McDonald op-ed, like past VA propaganda, talks up how huge VA is and proceeds to list off a few things the agency has done that are pretty cool. It then concludes with a short comment about VA problems after everyone has gone to sleep reading it.

Since most people never read to the bottom of any article, this seems to be a great pattern VA has developed over the years. That way, skeptics cannot slam VA for totally lying and the majority of the public never reads what the problem actual is. Instead, they get caught up ready a bunch of  heady nonsense that has nothing to do with modern issues and walk away believing that veterans are in good hands.

My critique of the McDonald op-ed is simple. “Dear Mr. McDonald. I would like to read an op-ed that you personally write. This op-ed style and topic has been reused so many times that it lacks any real value. Next time, write from the heart and hit the problems head on. Please have some respect for our time and stop writing nonsense that has little to nothing to do with the actual problems in VA right now. Also, do not let your press office edit the op-ed. Thank you.”

Apparently I was not alone. Some veterans were repulsed at the suggestion of tweet that passed around the op-ed around social media — that veterans “need” VA:

Do you think veterans need VA? Yeah right, like we need a bullet in the head.

I think veterans are stuck with VA but they really need a nonpolitical organization that merely does its job well. Wouldn’t it be something if USAA started an insurance line for health care that then took over all VA’s administration of fee basis health insurance and then offered that insurance to all of us?

Here is a shortened overview of what the article said regarding the cool things the agency accomplished:

VA is affiliated with over 1,800 educational institutions providing powerful teaching and research opportunities. And our research initiatives, outcomes and honors are tremendous. Few understand that VA medical professionals:

  • Pioneered and developed modern electronic medical records;

  • Developed the implantable cardiac pacemaker;

  • Conducted the first successful liver transplants;

  • Created the nicotine patch to help smokers quit;

  • Crafted artificial limbs that move naturally when stimulated by electrical brain impulses;

  • Demonstrated that patients with total paralysis could control robotic arms using only their thoughts — a revolutionary system called “Braingate”;

  • Identified genetic risk factors for schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s and Werner’s syndrome, among others;

  • Applied bar-code software for administering medications to patients — the initiative of a VA nurse;

  • Proved that one aspirin a day reduced by half the rate of death and nonfatal heart attacks in patients with unstable angina;

  • Received three Nobel Prizes in medicine or physiology; seven prestigious Lasker Awards, presented to people who make major contributions to medical science or public service on behalf of medicine; and two of the eight 2014 Samuel J. Heyman Service to America medals.

After waxing poetic over these issues for around 700 words, the op-ed concludes by acknowledging that VA needs to fix access to care:

Fixing access to VA care is important; we have a plan to do that and are dedicated to implementing it. That process will take time — but it must be done, and we will be successful. Those who fully understand the value of the department in research, training, and clinical care understand that veterans and all Americans need and deserve their VA to continue providing exceptional care to those we serve.

Read the op-ed via the link below and comment. Do you think there is more to say?

Read the McDonald Op-Ed:



The wait list cover-up was apparently only a cover-up to the American public. VA knew about it for some time according to recent revelations on the Hill.

One VA OIG report from 2008 found that workers at the Phoenix VA were manipulating records to improve performance reports for years. The manipulations focused on manipulating wait times to make it look like veterans were seen sooner than they actually were.

The report was not released under the ludicrous claim that it violated the Privacy Act. However, VA OIG has no problem redacting reports where personal information shows up, a reality that renders the agency’s current excuse as a total farce.

The findings of the report were reiterated in a 2010 memo saying employees were gaming the system with the wait list manipulations. So how is it that the problem was not addressed before even more veterans were killed in the name of personal profit and fraud?

Politicians decried the cover-up, but no one will probably notice since Congress refuses to act to hold anyone accountable for failures to make true statements under oath.

Read More:



MY SHORTER ANSWER – No. That is all…

MY LONGER ANWER – No, Senator John McCain is not relevant on any veteran issues. And no, I still have no idea why veterans even bother to show up to listen to McCain at rallies, at least related to veteran issues.

He pushed against the new Post 9/11 GI Bill. He ignored thousands of calls about the fraud going on at the Phoenix VA. He likes to send America to war while cutting spending to care for vets at home.

My experience through the veterans McCain is supposed to help is that veteran problems are not well received by the Senator. According to these voters, McCain is out of touch and lacks true compassion.

Time to send that old duff out to pasture. That is all.

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  1. Sorry, for I lack the patients to phrase this eloquently. The VA is literally the worst thing to happen to Veterans. The VA will eventually be shut down and used as a scape-goat to fund Obama-Care. VBA will remain open and be a bunch of paper pushers. A good portion of the money that was just passed in a bill to fix VA problems is, in reality, going to benefit 3rd world countries. The other half lines congressmen’s pockets. The FOIA from GSA and USAID has not been released yet. but you might want to check that out when you see it. The VA is the largest crime syndicate you’ll never hear about.
    -VA Employee

  2. December 10, 2013, for 4 years & 10 months prior, The Buffalo DVA denied my claim(s) for compensation and health care… ( The Proof is in the Pudding that agent orange made of my body and mind)… because The Buffalo DVA could not find military/ government records, including of Buffalo DVA’s own INTraNET , of my service IN Vietnam exposed to herbicides. However, ” I ” found on the INTerNET ( : ) The DVA’s January 2010 (yes, Jan. 2010) Compensation & Pension Bulletin Policy (211) provides Information on Vietnam Naval Operations… ships list grants… presumption of exposure to herbicides…to the crew of ships… that operated in “rivers” and “deltas” ( : ) The history of the USS Newport News includes operations in the VINH BINH Province in the Mekong “DELTA” December 1968. And, The June 2010 (yes, June 2010) Compensation & Pension Bulletin Policy (211) provides ADDITIONAL Information on Vietnam Naval Operations …ships list…received by The Senate…lists the USS Newport News for operation(s) : Cua Viet “RIVER” April 1969. Would the New York State Veteran Service Officer have shared of the $118,000 awarded had ” I ” not found The Compensation & Pension Bulletins Policy (211) Information ??? Also, OF Buffalo DVA’s June 2014 Decision: The examiner indicates a diagnosis of …ischemic heart disease as early as 2000. The Nehmer Court Order (Nehmer Training Guide Feb. 2011 Revised), states: The claimant need not file a new claim or a claim for an earlier effective date when a new presumptive is added. VA must search it’s records to find eligible claimants and award benefits, without action on the claimant’ part. Medical records noting the existence of a condition made later presumptively service-connected can in some instances result in an award without a formal claim ever being made. The Buffalo DVA’s April 2014 examiner’s exam / REVIEW to include my medical records, provides THE DIAGNOSIS that meets the requirements of the Nehmer Training Guide for retro compensation. And, Nehmer requires the compensation paid within 21 days. I addressed the issue also to DVA Attn: Nehmer Working Group Policy (211A) 810 Vermont Ave. Washington D.C. : Nehmer states: VA compensates class counsel for all of it’s work on Nehmer Claims. No reply from The Nehmer Working Group (class counsel) not even the postal return receipt green card. Hence, further delay (denial) is taken as my claim(s) / case files has been sent to the Board of Veterans Appeals (board). However, The Nehmer training guide is quite clear. The Nehmer Training Guide Policy (211A) Feb. 2011 indicates sanctions against DVA’s for not strictly complying. Likewise, The Nehmer Court Order should also apply sanctions against The Nehmer Working Group (211A) that has offices within The DVA Washington D.C. The Nehmer Court Order gives priority to Nehmer claims. Today is October 29, 2014 !!! The Buffalo DVA does is of defiance to the Nehmer Training Guide Feb. 2011 Revised: hence, in contempt of The Nehmer Court ORDER !!!

  3. McDonald forgot to point out that Veterans Affairs doctors and administrators also wrote the Bible, they invented the wheel before that, and have perfected the perfect order of fries, a double hamburger with cheese, and an extra-large coke that actually causes you to lose weight. Oh, I almost forgot, the VA also invented the telephone, television and contrary to other beliefs, they invented the internet as well as the smartphone. So, yes, McDonald is a genius and he really cares about vets, including the 47,000 vets who have died according to Fox TV New reports a few days ago as cited by the VA whistleblower that got trampled by the VA for being a whistleblower. Finally, the VA also invented an honest and safe way for whistleblowers to be protected from corruption by VA staff and executives.

  4. The VA is pulling at straws. Any straws it can pull on. The truth is there are no more straws left to pull on, nor were there any ever. I really think the general public – US citizens that are not connected to the VA – have by now either shown interest in this VA crap or decided they have other issues on their mind – many issues – mostly with the government. They feel that the VA scandal is all part of 1100 other things they don’t like and really don’t know what’s going to be done, or just don’t give a shit at this point in time.
    Enter the dragon – Bob – to write at least something that sounds nice about the VA and VAHS. Even if it comes off like you discussed above. Grasping at srtaws. What he wrote in his op-ed seems to be largely geared to convincing new medical graduates to join the VA right now, which is his current #1 project as he is on a speaking tour visiting as many medical schools as he can. You don’t hear anything at all about “Medical students feel the VA is a good choice for me when I graduate here. Just look at how cutting edge they are!”, now do you?
    The VA is finished but will hobble along like Sears and K-Mart.

  5. Considering McCain literally married the Budweiser Family, YET collects 100% Pension, AND his salary for Congress along with all the associated perks…yes, he is COMPLETELY OUT OF TOUCH! He is a walking oxymoron! His voting record proves that his interests are whatever BIG MONEY, aka Koch Brothers, want and they get it and become even more wealthy on the backs whom help preserve our freedoms.

    I have respect for all Sen. McCain went through as a P.O.W., but he has proven to only USE WE VETERANS WHEN IT SERVES WELL TO HIS SELF-SERVING INTERESTS…AKA RE-ELECTION. He and many other wackos need to be voted out and retire already!
    Wouldn’t it be interesting if we made ALL Congressional Reps. to be MEANS TESTED??

    1. I do not quite know what to think yet of VA Sec Robert McDonald. The fact he made it LOOK like people got fired when in fact they were simply allowed to retire with pensions…well, I guess I DO hold a measure of initial disdain for that first “public service announcement”…still, want to see if he will do what’s needed.
      **UNTIL** VA officials are required to be sworn-in to tell the truth before Congress, I probably will continue to believe they are all lying to us all the time.

  6. I am a fan of VA Sec Robert McDonald, but his op/ed upsets me, because it muddies the water. Secretary McDonald, allow me to clarify the issue for you, veterans care about only TWO services from VA, those are health care and compensation. And, VA botches the delivery of BOTH. The fact that VA may do some OTHER things in an acceptable manner does not matter a WHIT to veterans. We vets want safe dignified health care and justly dispensed compensation. We are not interested in what VA does beyond those two things. You apparently have us vets confused with the corporations who feed off of VA, THEY are interested in all the tangential VA malarkey, NOT us vets, we just want SAFE health care and just compensation. Make a note of that, will you Bob?

    1. Anyone who thinks John McCain is a hero, or is relevant to vets or citizens is uninformed. The article cited is correct, he has led the charge against pay raises and retirement pay, disability compensation and VA reform, while inciting crimes for “use of troops” so his real friends, the rich, progressives, and the defense industry can make huge profits for shoddy work.

      As a vet who retired in AZ and lived there for 20 years, McCain is in truth anti-2nd amendment, pro-amnesty, and pro big government. Just look at his loud mouth daughter and you see her father.

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