VA scandal

Distrust in Government at Historic Highs Under Obama

“…generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal; this was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last, best hope on earth.” ~ Senator Barack Obama, 3 June 2008, speech to supporters in St. Paul, MN, at close of primary elections

 

Oh, how the mighty have fallen. In 2008, much of America was swooning over the charismatic, hopeful rhetoric of an inexperienced senator from Illinois. Barack Obama, having clinched the Democrat Party nomination for president, spoke the words above to throngs of cheering, weeping supporters, who sincerely believed this community organizer with no prior executive experience would completely change the face of politics for decades to come.

Alas, the Pied Piper of Progressives, the great Obamessiah, has been exposed as a naked emperor.

Incompetent and Corrupt: Scandals Pile Up for “No Drama” Obama

Six years into his presidency, Barack “No Drama” Obama has been anything but drama-free. His presidency has been one series of scandals after another, the magnitude of each increasing with each successive revelation. Initially, these scandals centered around partisan bullying, political cronyism, and general corruption, but as his second term unfold, more and more the scandals involve dead Americans.

One of the most fascinating aspects of the scandals surrounding the Obama presidency is that the sheer volume seems to inoculate him from being brought down by any one scandal. No sooner do we start making progress investigating one scandal than another one breaks. It’s like watching a dog chase a ball but suddenly stop and change directions moments before retrieving it when another ball is tossed in the opposite direction.

The current scandal involves Obama’s decision to negotiate with terrorists. In violation of the absolutely clear requirements of the law, the Obama administration revealed last week that it had negotiated the release of Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, who had been held by Taliban forces for five years. In exchange for Bergdahl, Obama released five senior Taliban fighters who are responsible for the deaths of countless Americans.

The outrage surrounding this exchange is multi-faceted. First, there is the fact that Obama broke long-standing U.S. policy of never negotiating with terrorists. Even were that not the policy, Obama’s negotiating skills were exposed as horrendously deficient considering the Taliban gets five hardened fighters in exchange for one relatively low-level American soldier.

Our Vets Deserve Better: Obama’s VA failed to see more than 57,000 veterans in 90-day period

VA Audit

Modern warfare and advances in life-saving medical technology have dramatically changed the way our men and women in uniform return home from the battlefield. Now, perhaps more than ever, our government under the inept leadership of President Obama and officials at the Department of Veterans Affairs are failing soldiers returning from combat and those seeking medical treatment.

It’s truly heart wrenching.

According to an audit released Monday, more than 57,000 veterans have waiting more than three months for an initial appointment at any of the 731 VA hospitals and outpatient clinics. In the past ten years, more than 64,000 veterans who have enrolled in the VA’s health care program haven’t had a single appointment.

POLITICO reports:

Revelations about an Arizona VA facility’s use of secret lists to hide long waits for appointments started the furor that led to Eric Shinseki’s resignation as secretary in late May. But the audit, first reported by The Associated Press, found that type of deception was hardly rare and by no means limited to Phoenix. Eight percent of VA schedulers said they have used an alternative waiting list. Another 13 percent said their supervisors directed them to falsify appointment dates to hide the true wait times, a practice that occurred at least once in 76 percent of VA facilities.

“Such practices are sufficiently pervasive to require VA re-examine its entire performance management system,” concluded the audit, which was based on interviews with 3,722 department staff.

Democrats only care about dying veterans when their jobs are in danger

Eric Shinseki

**After this story was written news broke that Eric Shinseki officially resigned today as Secretary of Veterans Affairs, and that wait times at VA facilities may be related to employee bonuses. No word yet as to what an official investigation into the matter may look like, but Congress has called for an inquiry.

In yet another entry in the annals of weird and conflicting policy ideas from the Democrat side of the aisle, Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Eric Shinseki is taking a beating from left-leaning politicians looking to hang onto their seats on the Hill in the wake of the abhorrent stories of veterans dying and committing suicide while awaiting treatment in VA facilities around the country.

There really is no excuse for what’s been going on because we’re not talking about annoying bureaucratic realities where you don’t get a tax return in a timely fashion. People who served their country were treated as secondary to a system that clearly couldn’t handle the demand.

But hiding that inefficiency came first in the form of secret waiting lists, while treatment of veterans took a back seat. And Shinseki is no doubt responsible for his agency’s negligence. But the calls for his head, as CNN points out, may be more about political savvy than concern for ailing vets.

Thos calls began after a damning VA Inspector General’s report indicating that “1,700 military veterans waiting to see a doctor were never scheduled for an appointment and were never placed on a wait list at the Veterans Affairs medical center in Phoenix.” But, also as CNN points out perhaps a bit more cynically, those on the Hill lighting torches have something in common:

Bruce Braley was so busy running for reelection that he didn’t bother to show up for VA oversight meetings

Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA) has apparently forgotten that his constituents elected to him to, you know, actually show up and do his job. The Iowa Democrat, who’s running for U.S. Senate, has been missing-in-action from his committee duties, according to a report from The DesMoines Register:

Over a two-year period, Democratic U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley missed 75 percent of meetings for a committee that provides oversight over the Veterans Administration, including one meeting on a day he attended three fundraisers for his 2012 campaign.

A few months later, news reports exposed systemic problems in patient care that have since resulted in the resignation head of the federal department of veterans affairs.

Republicans argue that Braley, who missed 15 of the 20 Veterans’ Affairs Committee meetings in 2011 and 2012, has shown a lack of commitment to conditions within the health care system for veterans.
[…]
Veterans affairs have been in public floodlight because of news reports about sometimes-fatal delays for veterans waiting for care at VA hospitals, and fraudulent record-keeping meant to cover up the delays. The House Committee on Veterans Affairs, of which Braley was a member for two years, is responsible for oversight over the operations at the VA.

Today in Liberty: Obama secretly argued against your Constitutional rights; Republicans will decide Cochran vs. McDaniel today

“Political success over time is determined by the number and effectiveness of activists on either side.” — Morton Blackwell, founder and president of the Leadership Institute

— You have no constitutional rights: Because they can be revoked by the federal government whenever we’re at war. At least that’s what the Obama administration argued in the July 2010 legal memo it used to justify the assassination of Anwar al-Awlaki. “We do not believe that [al-Awlaki’s] U.S. citizenship imposes constitutional limitations that would preclude the contemplated lethal action under the facts represented to us by DoD, the CIA and the Intelligence Community,” the memo says (begins on p. 67). “Based upon the facts represented to us, moreover, the target of the contemplated operation has engaged in conduct as part of that organization that brings him within the scope of the AUMF.” More here. Two things about the memo. Once we begin sacrificing constitutional protections, for whatever reason, we begin going down a very dangerous road. But let’s remember that this isn’t the first step down that road, just the most recent. The other point is that David Barron, the author of this memo, was recently confirmed by Senate Democrats to serve on the First District Court of Appeals.

There’s an avalanche of bad news for Obama and Democrats in the latest Fox News poll

There are nearly five months — 148 days, to be exact — between now and election day, and the latest Fox News poll shows that President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats are in terrible position.

President Obama’s approval rating is still anemic, at 40 percent, and his disapproval rating has jumped from 49 percent in May to 54 percent this month. But the low approval ratings have been around for a while, as Real Clear Politics’ poll aggregator shows, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg of his problems.

Obama’s approval rating on key issues has taken a nose dive

President Obama’s approval rating on the economy and healthcare were in the 40s last month — 46 percent and 43 percent, respectively — and though he was still underwater the disparity wasn’t that large. His approval rating on foreign policy fell from 39 percent to 34 percent this month and his disapproval jumped from 49 percent to 56 percent.

Voters believe his administration less competent than Bush, Clinton

Today in Liberty: Remembering D-Day, 4 million uninsured Americans will pay Obamacare tax

“Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force! You are about to embark upon a great crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty loving people everywhere march with you. In company with our brave Allies and brothers in arms on other fronts, you will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world.”Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, June 6, 1944

— Remembering D-Day: Seventy years ago today, Allied forces led by Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower stormed the beaches of Normandy, beginning Operation Overlord, a two-plus month campaign to drive the Nazis out of France. As many as 5,000 Allied soldiers were killed on D-Day, including 2,000 Americans. You can check out more D-Day photos herehere, and here. And if you’re a history buff, you may want to watch The World Wars. It’s the cliff notes version and leaves a lot out, but it’s worth seeing.

Today in Liberty: Left-leaning law professor slams Obama’s lawless presidency, Bergdahl was never listed as a POW

“A lot of Republicans tend to have top down Soviet style campaigns. It’s very odd for a party that believes in the free market that they run campaigns through command and control centralized control and so they have the politburo. ‘You will go do that. You will go do that.’ And that is disempowering and it doesn’t inspire. It is far more effective having a race that empowers the grassroots.” — Sen. Ted Cruz

— Republicans shift away from “repeal and replace”: Republicans may still want to get rid of Obamacare, but you may not know that from the ads you’ll see this fall. “We are now fighting well across the center line. The entire right half of the country is galvanized against Obamacare,” one GOP ad-maker told the Washington Examiner. “We are now working to pick off people who are not ideologically opposed to it  but who believe it has failed.” David Drucker points out that some strategists are leery of the repeal because it suggests “that the GOP wants to move the country from one disliked health care system (Obamacare) to another disliked system (pre-Obamacare.)” That, of course, is a failure of congressional Republicans. They’ve focused so much on “repeal” in the last four-plus years that they haven’t gotten behind an alternative healthcare reform proposal.

America’s veterans deserve better: One resignation doesn’t solve the systemic problems at the VA

Learning President Obama admitted to being “extremely troubled” by the VA reports is the closest any of us will ever get from an official response from any elected official taking responsibility for a government-run health care program that has utterly failed to do what it was designed to accomplish.

“The knowledge of facts is widely disperse,” said once Nobel-prize winning economist Friedrich Hayek. “We want to make use of knowledge processed by millions of individual people,” which is why an unrestrained price system should be in use when the matter regards the markets, including health care; ultimately, a service we rely on to stay healthy or recover from ailments.

Hayek later concluded: “the signals tell you about facts, which nobody knows concretely, [and] in their totality.”

Not even the government.

The incompetency linked to the countless stories of poor services provided by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is not only a tale of abandonment, disregard, irresponsibility and misconduct, it’s a tragic example of how poorly the government acts when it takes upon itself the task of regarding disperse knowledge as widely known facts.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) showed concern after reportedly receiving countless complaints from Kentucky veterans regarding the troubles they have been faced with when attempting to obtain any service from the VA facilities in the state.


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