Posts Tagged ‘VA’

Abolish Government Unions

April 20, 2017

Government Unions are at War with U.S. Veterans by fighting VA reforms!

WHO DOES YOUR REPRESENTATIVE SUPPORT?

The answer to out-of-control government bureaucracy is simple: ABOLISH PUBLIC SECTOR UNIONS.

After Jimmy Carter allowed bureaucrats to unionize, the cost and effectiveness of government brough our country to its knees.

While our Armed Forces are prohibited from collective bargaining, most civilian employees of the Department of Defense, Veterans Administration, Homeland Security, Justice, State, Education, etc. are unionized.

Federal Law says Unions are good for America. Do you believe that?

All these unions work hard to grow government and increase taxes.

Bureaucrats negotiate with bureaucrats for benefits that cost billions and allow bureaucrats to work less. For example: Government Employees might get a fully equipped exercise room and time off to exercise. Those who don’t like workouts can simply leave work and go for a leisurely stroll.

Collective bargaining would only be legitimate if it took place between bureaucrats and taxpayers or elected representatives of taxpayers.

One of my additional duties as a Federal Director of Operations was Chief Management Negotiator. I could not do my job affecting National Security while I negotiated with members of the AFL/CIO and AFFE.

If I failed to negotiate in good faith it would have been a Federal Crime even though I knew full well the taxpayers were getting taken to the cleaners.

This is just one reason 600,000 combat disabled Veterans have wated years and years for the VA to resolve their claims. I am one of those Veterans whose claim is more than seven years old.

All of the VA employees you read about, who are responsible for countless deaths, are still on the VA payroll because THEY CAN’T BE FIRED!

Unions were formed because of child labor, poor working conditions, black lung and over working laborers. NONE OF THESE HAVE EVER BEEN PROBLEMS IN GOVERNMENT!

Have you ever seen an overworked bureaucrat?

There is an old joke about how many union workers it takes to change a light bulb.

While union membership has declined in the private sector, it has soared in government including Federal, State and local while taxpayers are soaked at each level.

I do not have a union, Lobbyist or Congressmen looking out for my interests. All I have is a President who is under siege from all of the above.

President Trump is standing alone between greatness and collapse.

Don’t expect your spineless Representatives to stand up to the NEA, AFFE, AFL/CIO or any other union, much less abolish them.

God help us.

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The Hero was Too Young

September 13, 2016

 

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★★Long struggles for our veterans are not hard to find. Here is the story of a 12 year old boy who joined the U.S. Navy after the Pearl Harbor attack.

Calvin Leon Graham (April 3, 1930 – November 6, 1992) was the youngest U.S. serviceman to serve and fight during World War II. Graham was born in Canton, Texas and was attending elementary school in Houston before he decided to join the Navy, after his father had died and his mother had remarried. He enlisted in the Navy on August 15, 1942 and was sent to boot camp in San Diego, California for six weeks, and afterwards was sent to Pearl Harbor at Oahu, Hawaii where he was assigned to the USS South Dakota in September.

The South Dakota left Pearl harbor on October 16. On October 26, 1942, he participated in the Battle of Santa Cruz. The South Dakota and her crew received a Navy Unit Commendation for the action. On the night of November 14–15, 1942, Graham was wounded during the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal, he served as a loader for a 40 mm anti-aircraft gun and was hit by shrapnel while taking a hand message to an officer. Though he received fragmentation wounds, he helped in rescue duty by aiding and pulling the wounded aboard ship to safety. He was awarded the Bronze Star Medal and the Purple Heart Medal, and he and his crewmates were awarded another Navy Unit Commendation.

The South Dakota returned to the east coast on December 18, 1942 for an overhaul and battle damage repairs after taking 42 hits from at least 3 enemy ships. Graham’s mother revealed his age after he attended his grandmother’s funeral in Texas without permission from the Navy, for which afterwards he spent three months in a brig in Texas He was not released until after his sister threatened to contact the newspapers. Although he had tried to return to his ship, he was released from the Navy on April 1, 1943, without any awards or benefits. The South Dakota’s gunnery officer, who was involved in handling his case, was Sargent Shriver.

He then worked in a defense plant as a welder instead of going back to school. Graham joined the United States Marine Corps in 1948 at age 17, but his enlistment in the Marines also ended early when he fell from a pier and broke his back in 1951. Although serving in the Marine Corps qualified him as a veteran, he would spend the rest of his life fighting for full medical benefits and clearing his military service record.

In 1978, some 27 years later, he was finally given an honorable discharge for his service in the Navy, and after writing to Congress and with the approval of President Jimmy Carter, all medals except his Purple Heart Medal were reinstated. His story came to public attention in 1988, when his story was told in the TV movie, Too Young the Hero. He was played by Rick Schroder.

In 1988, 37 years after his injuries, he received disability benefits and back pay for his service in the Navy after President Ronald Reagan signed legislation that granted Graham full disability benefits, increased his back pay to $4917 and allowed him $18,000 for past medical bills, contingent on receipts for the medical services. By this time, some of the doctors who treated him had died and many medical bills were lost. He received only $2,100 of the possible $18,000. While the money for the rights to his story for the movie, Too Young The Hero amounted to $50,000, 50% went to two agents and 20% went to a writer of an unpublished book about Graham. He and his wife received just $15,000 before taxes.

His Purple Heart Medal was finally reinstated, and presented to his widow, Mary, on June 21, 1994, by Secretary of the Navy John Dalton in Arlington, Texas, nearly two years after his death from heart failure. He was buried at Laurel Land Memorial Park in Fort Worth, Texas.

If Calvin had not become somewhat famous, he would have been just another totally forgotten Veteran from a long forgotten war. Hundreds of thousands of Veterans have been waiting for years for the VA to rule on their combat disability claims. I know because I am one of them who has waited about 7 years. Some call us the Deplorables but the government and the VA pretend we don’t even exist.

It is more advantages to the government to strip our dignity, our benefits, our military decorations and our honor. Calvin’s Purple Heart Decoration came through 52 years after he was wounded. If the government could have reapproved the medal in 50 years, at least Calvin would have known about it.

Of course, he was eager to serve his country and was under the legal age during his first tour but he would have been treated much better if he had only been an illegal alien from Iran who crawled through the hole in the fence. I have been fighting for Veterans for decades and I will tell you a secret; it is an uphill battle!

MUST WE ACCEPT RAPE IN THE MILITARY?

June 19, 2016

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Rape in the military and the service academies is not a new phenomenon but clearly the Obama Administration places solving the rape problem way below fighting global warming.

A 2012 Pentagon survey found that approximately 26,000 women and men were sexually assaulted. Of those, only 3,374 cases were reported. The following year a Pentagon report found that 5,061 troops reported cases of assault. The Obama Administration was optimistic that this 50% increase in reports was indicative of victims “growing more comfortable in the system” and not that more cases were occurring. Of these reported, however, only 484 cases went to trial and only 376 resulted in convictions. Ninety percent of the assault VICTIMS were eventually INVOLUNTARILY discharged.

If that does not send a clear message to our Armed Forces Personnel, what would? Another investigation found that only one in five females and one in 15 males in the United States Air Force would report having been sexually assaulted by service members. I don’t want to get side tracked but this is the same reason military personnel are reluctant to report any Fraud, Waste & Abuse! Whistleblowers become targets of investigations and in ALL cases the Whistleblowers are the ones punished. Fraud, Waste & Abuse probably exceeds a trillion dollars in government and won’t stop until the system is totally changed.

With only 1.3 million active duty military personnel, the number rape cases is staggering. The 1.3 million number is somewhere between the populations of San Jose and San Diego California. The Obama Administration is eager to thrust women into all combat roles at the same time they can’t even protect women from rape in the sanctuary of service academies and military posts and bases.

There are only two possibilities that explain the danger women in the military face:
1) Military leaders believe rape is inevitable and nothing can stop it.
2) The best way to stop rape is to punish victims until they grin and take it.

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As mentioned above, most victims are kicked out of the military but there are other examples. At some overseas military installations, civilian clothes are never worn by our service members and they never leave the instillation. Most Commanders allow soldiers to wear Physical Training Uniforms while they are off duty. These PT Uniforms are comfortable and work well for physical fitness and leisure activities.

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Who wants to wear combat boots and battle dress uniforms to a movie theater or bowling alley on base? At one overseas base this privilege has been suspended because a female soldier was raped while wearing a PT Uniform. In effect, everybody on that base is being punished because of what a rapist did. Does that make sense to you? Our society loves to blame rape victims because they wore provocative clothes or they were drinking and asking for it. At Gene McVay’s Base, a Commander who punishes victims or punishes all personnel for criminal actions of one rapist would be gone faster than you can say “scat!”

I am afraid almost all of the visionary combat commanders who possessed leadership ability are gone and replaced with diversity climate change warriors?

A report published in the New York Times about a survey of women soldiers’ experience in the Iraq War showed a significant incidence of post traumatic stress syndrome resulting from the combination of combat stress and sexual assault. At least 15% of female veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan who visited a Veterans Affairs facility screened positive for military sexual trauma.

Sexual assault is a crime defined as sexual contact upon a person or persons unwillingly, by means of force, physical threat, and abuse of authority which often leads to the victim or victims of the crime fearing to seek justice and the fear is instilled by the same means in which the act was opposed on the person or persons. Sexual Assault includes: Rape; Indecent Assault; Attempts to commit these acts; Witnessing these acts and not reporting them.

According to a 2011 Newsweek report, women are more likely to be assaulted by a fellow soldier than killed in combat. At least 25% of military women have been sexually assaulted, and up to 80% have been sexually harassed.

A substantial increase in reported sexual assaults was reported at the 3 U.S. military academies for the school year 2010 to 2011.

An alleged victim of sexual assault sued the sitting Secretary of Defense and the former Secretary of Defense in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia during 2011. Her claim was that their Department had failed to protect her from her assailant. The Court dismissed the claim on grounds that without Congressional invitation, the courts have little authority to intervene in military affairs because under Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution, regulation of the military is the responsibility of Congress. Can you understand the depressing hopelessness a young woman victim faces in the United States Armed Forces? She is shunned by military commanders, abandoned by the President and Congress and swept under the carpet by the Federal Courts. This IS NOT what I fought for during 34 years of military service. Is this really who we are?

Once, when one of my men was accused of sexual harassment, a female inspector investigated the case. I was pretty sure he was guilty. After her investigation she came into my office and reported she could not substantiate the allegations. She then added, “That’s what you wanted to hear isn’t it?” I told her I wanted to hear the truth. The Inspector General System in the government in its present form can never work. How many trillion dollars and ruined lives must we see before somebody realizes we must have an independent IG system?

In 2013, two male officers convicted by courts martial of sexual assault were given clemency consisting of having their convictions set aside by respective three-star generals, Lieutenant Generals Craig Franklin of the Third Air Force and Susan Helms of the 14th Air Force.

The clemency cases were followed in May 2013 with the arrest for sexual battery of an Air Force Lieutenant Colonel assigned to the Air Force’s sexual assault prevention program. Public pressure brought Marine General Jim Amos, Air Force General Mark Welsh and the Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley to testify on the subject.

Army General and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey was quoted saying, “We’re losing the confidence of the women who serve that we can solve this problem…. That’s a crisis.” Secretary Hagel “ordered the retraining and recertification of U.S. military personnel whose job it is to work to prevent sexual assault and assist the victims”. In Congress, the “Military Justice Improvement Act” was announced. The act “would mean that trained military prosecutors, not commanding officers, would decide whether sexual assault cases should go to trial, according to a group of at least 16 U.S. senators and members of the House of Representatives behind the legislation. It also would mean commanders cannot set aside the conviction of anyone who has been found guilty of sexual assault or downgrade a conviction to a lesser offense”, Representative Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), who once worked as a rape crisis counselor, said, “It is clear that something is not working.”

Two years ago there were some new initiatives on curbing retaliation that were aimed at addressing a long-standing problem in the Defense Department — that victims often are blamed for reporting crimes, shunned by colleagues, challenged professionally or depicted as having a mental health disorder and discharged. Anu Bhagwati, a Marine Corps veteran and executive director of the Service Women’s Action Network, said the retaliation issue must be addressed to improve reporting and ensure that victims feel supported and secure. “We’ve seen number of assaults increase and decrease over time — a little bump here, a little drop there — but the retaliation is a clear indication that the climate still isn’t safe for victims,” Bhagwati said. “Retaliation is a crime under the UCMJ. What’s being done with these people? Are they being punished?”

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All of this reminds me of the smoke and mirrors used by the VA to avoid caring for Veterans and ruling on Combat Disability Claims. The simple truth is that our weakened military under this Congress and this President cannot even defend our military recruiters on military installations or our daughters serving in the Armed Forces anywhere! I could call or visit my U.S. Senators or Representatives but it would be a total waste of time. They are probably giving some Communist group a tour of the Capitol or away on a junket visiting the French Riviera? They will take time to ask me for my vote in a couple of months.

Do Bureaucrats Work for You?

May 23, 2014

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Have you noticed that federal employees have become termites eating away at the very fiber of America? You watched as the Obama Administration fenced off National War Memorials while government workers held lavish conferences replete with expensive wine and suites. Federal employees receive pay and perks that far exceed those of the private sector, especially retirement benefits that are almost unheard of in the real world. But maybe the biggest advantage of all is job security, immunity from getting fired no matter how serious the delinquency. There is a pattern of acceptance of wrongdoing that is bound to produce more misbehavior in the absence of fear of losing one’s job. You better set down before you read the rest of the story. While veterans are dying while waiting for treatment that never comes because of phony appointment lists, bureaucrats get merit bonuses on top of huge salaries. IRS employees received these bonuses while targeting conservative groups even though the bureaucrats owe back taxes. You can’t make this stuff up!

Jim McElhatton reports in the Washington Times:

A program analyst at the Department of Housing and Urban Development spent up to three hours a day for five years working on private business deals — including once arranging to supply lap dancers for a private party — while he was supposed to be doing government work.

Another HUD employee — an auditor — was investigated for running a trucking business from her government office, according to investigative records obtained by The Washington Times.

In both cases, the investigators referred their findings to prosecutors, who declined to press criminal charges, sending the cases back to HUD officials, who let both employees remain on the job.

Why should they be allowed to steal from taxpayers and keep their jobs? They have been paid for the time they were using for their own private benefit. They stole that pay. Case closed.

Out of millions of federal bureaucrats, Rep. John L. Mica of Florida said at a hearing into the EPA misconduct, “I can probably count all the people on two hands I’ve seen fired, but something needs to be changed when people are breaking the law, when you have this GS-14 sitting there abusing his position, his salary, ripping off the taxpayers.”

For the most part Rep. Mica was right. I have a good memory, in fact, I never forget. Thirty-three years ago Air Traffic Controllers demanded an across the board pay raise of $10,000 and a 32 hour work week. That was when starting pay was about $20,000. To get their way, 13,000 controllers walked out causing chaos and airline flight cancellations. While Jimmy Carter made sure bureaucrats could unionize, it is not legal for bureaucrats to strike. The 11,000 controllers who refused to return to work were fired by President Ronald Reagan. They were fired and they stayed fired. Yes Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas any more. Do you think these bureaucrats at the Veterans Administration Hospitals, IRS, EPA, DOJ, BLM and NSA would still be on the job if Ronald Reagan was president? President Obama is mad as hell but too busy fund raising and golfing to actually do anything. Eric Shinseki is mad as hell but has reigned over the VA for a long time while veterans die waiting for help. What has Shinseki done besides fiddle and make promises? Do you remember that Obama fired hundreds of Generals, Admirals, Captains and Colonels. One Four Star General because of comments made by his staff that were reported in the Rolling Stone Magazine.

The day the Post Office allowed workers to become unionized was the day the Post Office began to die a slow agonizing death. Talk about bad ideas, the worst of all is to allow government employees to belong to unions. One bureaucrat negotiates with another bureaucrat for benefits. Labor wants three hours a week to exercise while being paid. Heck, what’s good for the goose is also good for the gander. Management would like some of that free exercise time too.

There is no black lung, child labor problems, sweat shops or poor working conditions in the government. There is no excuse for unions. If government employees are going to bargain for benefits it should be between federal workers and taxpayers, not between federal workers and federal workers. The only reason federal employees are permitted to unionize is because almost 100% of their donations go to Democrats.

Union activity in the private sector has been dropping for years but there are more than a million union members working for the federal government. Maybe that’s why the Obama Administration has no qualms about cutting pay and benefits for veterans and Armed Forces Personnel, they are not represented by unions. When a pension cut is mentioned for federal employees, the unions start screaming. The President of the American Federation of Government Employees had this to say, “Despite the extraordinarily hard work of several Congressional leaders, AFGE cannot support any budget deal that asks for more from federal employees. AFGE represents more than just the 670,000 federal and D.C government employees on the rolls today, but every other federal worker who will one day take the oath and be forced to live with this needless pension cut.” I wonder, can we ask federal employees to do more? Maybe give us taxpayers a day’s work for a day’s pay?

Employees at a Missouri facility awarded $1.2 billion to process Obamacare applications told a local news station that they were “just doing nothing — absolutely nothing” over the past several months.

“You sit there and you wait and you wait and you wait,” one employee told KMOV, a Saint Louis TV Station.

Over her six months at the facility, she said she processed only six total applications; another employee was told by her supervisor that processing just one or two applications per month was sufficient.

To pass the time, employees would play Pictionary, 20 Questions, and create other games.

“Just doing nothing — absolutely nothing,” the first employee described her day. “Looking at each other, comparing each others’ scarves — ‘Oh, that’s cute’ — that’s it, no work.”

KMOV reports that the Wentzville, Missouri operation is run by British-owned company Serco, which received $1.2 billion to hire employees to process applications.

If government employees can enjoy a stay in a luxury hotel made famous on The Bachelor, then surely Congress could find somewhere to make spending cuts. In November, a group of federal government employees connected with the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force enjoyed a trip to St. Croix, courtesy of taxpayers. Though no reports of long bar tabs and souvenir receipts have surfaced like the General Services Administration run up at their Las Vegas conference, a few details have raised eyebrows.

Government employees stayed in the Buccaneer Hotel, a beachfront resort made famous by the television show The Bachelor. At a time of supposedly tight budgets, the task force could have at least proposed a more modest way to hear from regional governors and others about the status of the coral reefs.

Further, the trip itself did nothing directly to improve the environment. Taxpayers can only hope the week of lecturers and public events along with the annual business meeting will eventually produce something in the way of improved environmental quality.

Perhaps no obscenely wasteful spending took place over the week, that much is unclear. But also unclear is why this program exists in the first place. With the task force spread across 11 different federal agencies, it is difficult to understand how much it costs taxpayers and whether it is successful or not. There are many nonprofit organizations, research institutes, universities, clubs, community groups, networking coalitions, and businesses in the Caribbean alone working to improve coral reefs and educate the public. The Coral Reef Alliance lists 10 pages worth of organizations working on coral reef issues in the U.S. With such a clear and committed effort, why are taxpayers footing the bill (the size and effectiveness of which is unclear) for the federal government to join the party?

Even with a national debt of $17 trillion and counting, some in Congress are maneuvering to replace spending cuts from sequestration with even more spending. But stories of wasteful spending cropping up now and then make clear that if the federal government can “afford” such questionable purchases, clearly there is room to cut. The longer Congress waits to budget, the more important cutting wasteful spending and tackling the nation’s debt becomes.

Have you heard any politician run on a platform of holding federal employees and contractors accountable for their behavior? Are any politicians advocating doing away with the great federal union experiment? Who’s watching YOUR money? Do federal bureaucrats work for you or the union bosses?

The VA is Yet Another Wretched Failure

May 6, 2014

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Enough is enough, the VA has failed miserably and American Legion National Commander Dan Dellinger has the courage to call for the resignations of the Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki, Under Secretary of Health Robert Petzel and Under Secretary of Benefits Allison Hickey. The American Legion is the largest Veterans organization and a loud voice for Veterans, not for heartless, ineffective bureaucrats. I served on the National Executive Committee for three years and I can tell you it took real leadership and courage to move the Legion to this decision. This is NOT PARTISAN, Veterans are more important than politics.

Allegations from multiple whistleblowers of a secret waiting list at the Phoenix VA Health Care System that may have resulted in the death of approximately 40 veterans have finally made the news. Last year even the VA’s own Office of Medical Inspector reported that clerks at the VA clinic in Fort Collins, Colorado, were instructed how to falsify appointment records so it appeared the small staff of doctors was seeing patients within the agency’s goal of 14 days. “These disturbing reports are part of what appear to be a pattern of scandals that has infected the entire system,” Dellinger said, noting issues that have come up in Pittsburgh, Atlanta and Augusta, Georgia, “Those problems need addressed at the highest level – starting with new leadership. The existing leadership has exhibited a pattern of bureaucratic incompetence and failed leadership that has been amplified in recent weeks.”

Dellinger said that the failure to disclose safety information or to cover up mistakes is unforgivable – as is fostering a culture of nondisclosure. “VA leadership has demonstrated its incompetence through preventable deaths of veterans, long wait times for medical care, a benefits claims backlog numbering in excess of 596,000, and the awarding of bonuses to senior executives who have overseen such operations,” he said. “Some veterans have waited years to have their claims decided. That same leadership has failed to provide answers to why these issues continue to occur.”

Dellinger said that while errors and lapses can occur in any system, “The American Legion expects when such errors and lapses are discovered, that they are dealt with swiftly and that the responsible parties are held accountable. This has not happened at the Department of Veterans Affairs. There needs to be a change, and that change needs to occur at the top.“

When asked by media what the Legion would do if the trio didn’t resign, Dellinger said a draft of the request was being sent to the White House. “This is a very serious situation,” he said. “The administration needs to take steps now. It’s long overdue. Whenever you’re talking about a patient’s life – a veteran’s life – in jeopardy, it’s always serious.”

James Pert served as a Marine in Vietnam. Diagnosed with skin cancer, diabetes and Post Traumatic Stress, he died as he waited for a medical appointment at the Phoenix VA Medical Center. “How could they treat him so badly, when he served his country so honorably?” his widow, Sandy Pert, said to the International Business Times.

The interview came on the heels of a shocking CNN report that administrators at the hospital kept a secret waiting list, which included veterans waiting more than 200 days for an appointment. Not surprisingly, more than 40 veterans may have needlessly died while waiting. The other list – the one that was not kept secret, according to Dr. Sam Foote –included only patients that would be seen in the next 15 days, a reasonable period intended to make executives look good and earn generous bonuses for the top brass.

More disturbing is that this is not isolated to the Grand Canyon State. More reports of “fixed” scheduling are coming from places like Fort Collins, Colorado, and Cheyenne, Wyoming.

As national commander of The American Legion, Dan Dellinger was able to meet with President Obama in the Oval Office a few weeks ago. He expressed The American Legion’s strong concerns about service at the VA and also discussed the unacceptable benefits backlog and poor access to facilities with Shinseki. American Legion Senior Staff Members met with top VA officials and found the meetings far less than satisfactory and the answers not very forthcoming. In fact, the secretary didn’t seem to fully appreciate the seriousness of the situation and, at the time, didn’t feel anybody needed to be replaced. If it were a private institution or if the executives were still in the military, they would be relieved of duty.

VA’s senior leaders didn’t seem to realize that one great tragedy of these delays and needless deaths is that they undeniably besmirch the compassionate work of thousands of dedicated VA employees and the outstanding care that many facilities provide. A few years ago, Unfortunately, the Legion does not see VA enacting the culture change that it so desperately needs with the current leadership in place. Senior VA leaders have isolated themselves from the media and, more importantly, from answering to their shareholders, America’s veterans.

The Legion looks forward to hearing the results of the VA Inspector General’s report and The American Legion welcomes Senator Bernie Sanders’ intention to hold hearings based on the IG’s findings.

Putting Phoenix VA director Sharon Helman and two other senior executives on administrative leave with full pay and benefits is a typical response for government Agencies. VA clearly has a widespread problem that goes beyond the misbehavior of three people. Moreover, VA has been dragging its feet in dealing with the backlog of disability claims and modernizing its records. The private sector would never tolerate such inefficiency and callousness. Neither should veterans.

What’s wrong with America? Welfare claims are expedited at the speed of light, heck just about anybody can get food stamps including millionaires, drug dealers, high class call girls, illegal aliens and yes, even government bureaucrats. Have you forgotten about the $2,000 debit cards handed out like candy after Katrina? Many of them fell into the wrong hands like the Captain of the crippled Costa Concordia cruise ship tripped and fell into a lifeboat. By the time it was all said and done, a billion dollars was wasted giving aid to people using prison inmate’s names or claiming their home was in a cemetery. Stuff happens but stuff just does not happen that favors Veterans of the United States Armed Forces.

On a personal note, I was exposed to Agent Orange in Vietnam and at Fort Chaffee in Arkansas. Eventually, I was awarded a couple of hundred dollars a month for ONLY one of my ailments and that money was taken out of my pension. The VA robbed Gene McVay to pay Gene McVay. I know, I know, that should have made me ecstatic but I am one of those greedy Veterans who would like to have what I’m owed according to the law. Like hundreds of thousands of other Veterans, I appealed the VA decision making sure the “i’s” were dotted and the “t’s” were crossed. After a year or two I was offered the privilege of driving 340 miles round trip to discuss my case to somebody on TV. My Veteran Service Officer (VSO) and I agreed that nothing needed to be added to my appeal and the VSO notified the VA that I did not desire the meeting. We thought that might expedite consideration. Of course I wasn’t surprised after some time when I received a notification that my scheduled TV meeting had been postponed and rescheduled. Again my VSO notified the VA that I still did not desire the TV meeting.

So, over three years have passed, I lost a kidney, received chemo and radiation paid for by my health insurance and still no word from the VA. I wonder where that claim is setting? Maybe somebody can set it near the water cooler where a bureaucrat might happen to see it? Don’t cry for me, cry for the hundreds of thousands of Veterans in my same boat but without health insurance and even without a home. Veterans are twice as likely to be homeless as the general population and female Veterans are more likely to be homeless than males. I believe the treatment of our Veterans is a preposterous National humiliation but who am I?

I have been a leader in various Veterans Organizations and attended meetings with high ranking VA officials and listened to speeches by the VA Secretary and Under Secretaries promising grandiose things. Veteran Leaders and VA Leaders praise each other while exchanging plaques year after year. The only thing that changes is the faces. The Veterans still languish. Those who can’t take the abuse and lack of care take their own lives. The Suicide rate among Veterans is another National embarrassment. At least 22 Veterans kill themselves every single day and that published rate may be low. The suicide rate among young Veterans under 30 soared by 44% between 2009 and 2011, the latest data available. Americans and our Legislators are concerned about things like Amnesty for Illegal Aliens, saving Desert Tortoises and stopping oil pipelines but prefer to keep Veterans out of sight and out of mind.

Don’t think for a moment that I am a dreamer. I expect nothing to change, in fact, I expect things to get worse. We will NEVER get a day’s work for a day’s pay out of bureaucrats, NEVER. Congress will NEVER outlaw government unions, the workers must be protected from child labor, poor working conditions in air conditioned marble buildings, poor pay that averages twice what is paid in the private sector and black lung disease (sarcasm). Congressmen can write letters and Veterans can plead, hat in hand, but NOTHING will change. The show must go on. The unofficial VA Motto, “Delay, deny and wait until they die” should become the official VA Motto. Our Federal Government is above the Law. Congressmen and Governors go to prison but Bureaucrats are put on PAID administrative leave. Veteran’s claims should be contracted to India or China where they are 1,000 times more efficient. President Obama wants universal healthcare, maybe we can include Veterans. Veterans are people too. With the money spent on VA Healthcare, Veterans could get real Healthcare in real hospitals like real people.

The VA was a good idea in the beginning and worked fine for a while with Five Star General Omar Bradley as Administrator. Bradley told VA workers, “We are dealing with veterans, not procedures; with their problems, not ours.” Make no mistake, Omar Bradley was a great leader and they are all gone. Omar Bradley would not make Major in today’s military. I will leave you with another quote from General Bradley given during a Veterans Day Speech in 1948:

“We have men of science, too few men of God. We have grasped the mystery of the atom and rejected the Sermon on the Mount. The world has achieved brilliance without conscience. Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants. We know more about war than we know about peace, more about killing than we know about living. If we continue to develop our technology without wisdom or prudence, our servant may prove to be our executioner.”