Monday, May 26, 2014

What you should read this Memorial Day about the VA

The one thing you should read this Memorial Day about the VA is what retired U.S. Navy Chief Warrant Officer Jim Wright at StoneKettle Station wrote about it.
The problem isn’t Barack Obama.

The problem isn’t George W. Bush.

The problem isn’t Eric Shinseki, or whoever takes the fall for this.

The problem is systemic and a symptom of a much larger malaise.

The problem is an ineffective deadlocked Congress who’ve abdicated their actual constitutional responsibilities and oversight for conspiracy theories and witch hunts, hysteria mongering and political theater. If these people had put but one tenth of their efforts into responding to their veteran constituents as they did chasing after blowjobs and Benghazi, if they would have allocated but a hundredth of the funds to veterans affairs as they wasted on cancelled weapons programs and pork barrel projects, if they had put half the effort into creating jobs for veterans as they did into protecting those who continue to liquidate American businesses and ship American jobs overseas, well then veterans wouldn’t be dying while waiting for treatment.

This weekend is Memorial Day, a day we Americans set aside to remember those who died in uniform while serving their country. There will be speeches and parades and wreaths will be laid upon the cold white granite. Politicians, one by one, will take this opportunity to solemnly rail against the outrageous treatment of our veterans, with a sly wink and a nod towards November – and 2016 – using us just one more time.

Meanwhile tens of thousands of living veterans stand in line.

Given how much our media plays handmaiden to those who are only interested in hysteria and outrage, this is not likely to be the story you'll hear elsewhere. But if you're interested in actually being informed, just click the link and go read the whole thing. Thank you.


  1. For the past 33 years we've been burdened with a political belief that only the private sector is worthwhile. The Laffer Supply-side Economic "Theory" (read wishful thinking or delusion) is that tax cuts 'free' money for investment that the government cannot do, that only corporations can provide. It has been a total failure. In retaliation, adherents to this aptly named 'voodoo economics' (GHW Bush's term for it) have attacked government at every turn, and when government seemed once again to be getting public support, they killed funding then blamed the programs they'd eviscerated for 'not doing their job'.

    Just how long will we fall for this? In every instance human lives are impacted, but with the Feb. 2014 stonewalling of VA funding by GOP members, it is our veterans who are deeply suffering. There is one cause for the huge backup at the VA - lack of funding for expanded services. Even letting private hospitals care for vets - a good idea in rural and other areas far from VA care - will not help if there is insufficient funding. Privatization is a joke - like Medicare Advantage that sucked money out of the system for a useless 'middleman' - VA 'middlemen' will make money for NOTHING. Funds will not go to services but to useless 'advice' and to for-profit entities that provide less reliable care than the VA ever has.

    My father, a WW II vet, had Parkinsons most of his adult life and got all his care from the VA. It was outstanding, and he lived a long, good life because of it. Private hospitals that took him in late in his life did half as good a job with far less interest in him and his remarkable story of 60-plus years with Parkinsons. The VA is essential, offers quality care to vets IF there is adequate funding to keep doors open, good doctors and medical staff employed, and services flowing. It all comes down to the GOP who are determined to kill every single government service except the military then let us cope with unregulated, unfettered, for=profit systems that may or may not finally kill us off.

    Keep your eyes on the prize - who is truly committed to the 'general welfare' promised in the Constitution. It is NOT the GOP.

  2. Wright writes an excellent article and lays the blame squarely where it belongs -- on Congress and the GOP for their lack of action.

  3. Is it possible to say "Republicans" instead of "Congress" when talking about deadlock and witch hunts? I hate feeding the 'both sides do it" idea, if only one side is really doing it. I read the article and it was very good. I also thought of the honest (not just politicking) steps President Obama has taken to improve health care access for veterans. One reason the backlog rose is that I believe he expanded coverage.

    1. Point well taken. But I don't know of many in Congress who have championed the cause of veterans the way POTUS and FLOTUS have done. Those who jump on that bandwagon now are being reactive to the hysteria rather than proactive. Jim does give a pretty big shout-out to Rep. Tammy Duckworth as an exception.

  4. I read JIm's article and passed it on on my FB page. He was spot on. We have to understand, this isn't something that happened just the last 5 years, it has been going on for decades and President Obama has been trying to correct all the shit that was left to him. Just think of the magnitude of putting all these records digitally and where they can talk to other VA clinics & hospitals. Just saw a report by Jason Linkus "On the road again" about the Mayo Clinic/hospitals and how it all started. Very informative. I will have to see if I can post it on FB.
    The VA is really there to treat all vets, but mostly they are way ahead of the private sector on doing the research and developing procedures to save lives and make them as whole as they can.
    I was really happy when POTUS got Shinseki to take the post for the VA. He had his hands full to modernize and clean up years of neglect. Are there rotten people in the system, you bet there is, just like any huge organization. It's what the repluicans want is privatize everything, how is that working our. G** I am really getting to hate these people. Thank you Nancy for posting this, your reach is much bigger than mine and this actually should be published nation wide.
    Sorry, I am rambling.

  5. Always read Stoneketlle Station. One of the best.