Sunday evening–shutdown woes

Here we go again.  The last shutdown rested with the GOP tea party.  Now it’s the Dems refusing to fund the CR because of their Dreamers cause, as Sen. Blumenthal recently spoke to.  

Last night I did my civic duty and emailed Senators Sanders (I) and Leahy (D) and gave them my views with an emphasis on the negative impact shutdowns have on veterans and the active military.

The Senate is in session, live on C-span (LINK);  Senators McConnell and Schumer have been meeting.  No “deal,” but there may be a vote tonight anyway.  It will take 60 votes to pass a short term funding bill.  Trump will either sign or veto a bill if they send him one.

They all speak with weasel words.  

Image: CLICK to go to CNBC.

Well, we’re not supposed to engage in partisan politics here–there is too much of that going on in D.C..  But your/our influence counts so whatever your opinion is–to fund the government short term (a yes vote), or not to (a no vote)–I would urge you to let your senators know your opinion on this shutdown via your senator’s official website contact form.  Your yays and nays will be counted, discussed, and archived.


Posted in Food for thought, General Messages, Guest authors | Tagged | 12 Comments


The new Logo…and then Trump changed the  tax laws. Back to the S corp., I’m afraid

I received an email from one of our members further illuminating what constitutes an unequivocal definition of the noun ‘shithole’. Forgive me the scatological associations of the word and focus  your memories on how utterly primative 11 Bravos’ existence once was over in RVN – by and large. Certainly, some of us didn’t notice the temperature and relative humidity fluctuations or served in not-so-shithole countries with amenities like electricity. Nevertheless, this transcends the ages in translation.

Earl of Mulligan circa 1535

Member John Mulligan submits for your reading and educational enlightenment, the following. John claimed ancestry with the Great Scottish Clan of Mulligan who were credited as the originators of Golf.  I secretly had him checked out on™. Turns out there was a a Mulligan listed on the Mayflower’s Manifest and John’s DNA matched his Ancestral saliva sample so he’s legit. Hey, he may be an asknod member but you vet everybody these days.  People are crazy. Some don’t even believe in Alien abduction and chemtrails. Can you believe that? Anyway, here’s how you can  use Phonics© to better sound out what a shithole assignment is.

1.If your Sargent tells you to update your Gamma Globulin, Yellow Fever, Malaria, Dysentery, Tetanus, Cholera and other painful immunizations–

You might be deploying to a Shithole country

2.If you are told not to waste your time bringing a radio, your cellphone or any other electronics, as there is no electricity or signals–

You might be deploying to a Shithole country

3. If the Travel Pay folks smile when they give you your travel advance and the Per Diem rate is only $8.00/day, for everything…

You might be deploying to a Shithole country

4. If the “Area Cultural” briefing is only 30 minutes long, but the briefing on communicable diseases is 3 hours long–

Yep. Your new Zip Code may be shitsville.

5. If the “Area Cultural” briefing instructs you not to be judgmental and to ignore leaders in the host country who keep young boys or girls as sexual slaves–

You might be deploying to a Shithole country

7. If the “Area Cultural” briefing includes facts that male members of that society have multiple wives, but nevertheless prefer sexual activity with barnyard animals–

You might very well be deploying to a Shithole country

8. If the “Medical Briefing” includes warnings to treat all reptiles and arachnids as poisonous and remind you there are no antidotes in-theatre…

Then you might be deploying to a Shithole country

9. If the AO Cultural Officer warns that staring at a female FORN (Foreign National) more than 10 seconds equates to de facto common law marriage–

You might be deploying to a Shithole country

10. If the DA 1594 Daily Report for your new assignment includes a large box for “Number of Personnel Med-Evacuated” from theater for_______________

You can rest assured you may be deploying to a Shithole country

In our time, they called you up to the Commander’s office and asked if you wanted to volunteer for a cool speshull assignment. If you paused before signing and asked “Where to?” the answer was invariably ” Just sign here, son, and I’ll brief you in on it”.  Your “Is it Remote/Isolated?” was always answered “Just sign here. I’ll tell you all about it. You’re not cleared in yet, boy.”  He did answer my last question -“What’s the casualty rate?”.  40%. Well,  when you’re 19 and you’re doing the math high as a kite on testosterone, 60% survive it. Shooo doggies. Color me signed.

Hmong shotgun marriage proposal

Nowadays, deploments aren’t voluntary. They are cush affairs with generators and Sat phones. Real “houses” with air conditioning, hot and cold beverages and heating at FOBs are the norm. To us, FOB was scotch neat with a water back.   At some OLs, we were forced to chill the Tanqueray® in a mountain stream all day-then come back and try to find it at dusk.  We had to crush quinine tablets and mix them in water to approximate  flat tonic water. Club soda was tonic water with quinine.  Limes? Are ya kidding me? Papaya or bananas were about it. That is the definition of shithole. Well that and the prohibition of even a lingering gaze at a passing Hmong maiden of marriagable age.

I certainly don’t want to impugn our Warriors who still fight over in Iraqistan but calling home in our day required a MARS SSB hookup when (and if) the skip was hitting in Arizona on the 10 meter band. A cell phone was a PRC 100. Alpha 6 was your ‘operator’.   We’ve come a long way baby.

This was our communication with the outside world in 1970.  


Posted in Humor, KP Veterans, Military Madness, Vietnam War history | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments


Former PFC Bradley Edward Manning, now Pvt. Chelsea Elizabeth Manning due to significant ‘gender dysphoria’, has announced her run for a US Senate Seat from Maryland. The former Oklahoma native has recently established legal residence in North Bethesda and it is presumed she seeks the seat of one of their two incumbant  Democratic Senators. She has not announced which party she seeks to represent at this time.

It is unclear as to how her previous court martial will affect her standing. Currently, she is on unpaid leave from the U.S. Army following her pardon by the President and subsequent release after her 7 year ‘staycation’ at the graybar hotel in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. A  future dishonorable discharge, would, on its face, seem to disqualify anyone from holding federal office. Until the legal ramifications are clarified, she intends to press forward with her desire to once more “be all she can be” and proudly serve America again. I applaud her choice.

I believe in letting bygones be bygones and heartily encourage her to seek office from the great state of Maryland. As a former Veteran, regardless of her unclear, muddled  military status now, she deserves the support of all Veterans in Maryland and towards that end, I urge my fellow Veterans there to help her in her bold quest for the candidacy. A noted progressive once pointed out that even a basket of deplorable zebras can change their stripes. I second that emotion and throw my unwavering support behind this courageous man cum woman. Her indomitable spirit and perseverance is a credit to Veterans everywhere.

I expect narrowminded, misguided zealots with a decided sexist bent will weigh in and disparage her aspirations but everyone has to begin rebuilding a shattered career from the ground up. File this one under Judge not lest ye be judged or We live in interesting times.

Posted in Humor | Tagged | 10 Comments


I belong to very few organizations and for good reason. Any time you attach your name to a group, you embody that group’s beliefs and aspirations. I hight three. I belong to the National Organization of Veterans Advocates, the National Rifle Association (Benefactor member) amd lastly the Udorn (RTAFB) Reseach Group or simply the URG. 

Many who know me recognize why I belong to these groups. My father bought me a life membership in the NRA when I was born in 1951. It wasn’t cheap then and it isn’t now. Such is the price and the courage to defend our heritage. I chose to do the same for my son and  upgraded both our memberships to the highest level of participation when I was able to financially. It’s a worthy endeavor. The NRA is responsible for teaching our police techniques they would not ordinarily encounter. In addition, they have taught untold generations of soldiers and kids the shooting arts and most importantly- gun safety. Seems they could take this program on the road to Chicago but that’s a blog for another day.

Likewise, I joined NOVA for the exact same reasons. No legal group is more focused on helping Veterans attain service connection in America and to my knowledge, there is no like group anywhere in the world devoted solely to the betterment of Veterans law. NOVA’s mission is narrow and focused on one goal. To that end, they provide me with many useful tools including a wide circle of others who are engaged in the same field to discuss and formulate policy and technique. I attend every spring session out here on the Left Coast with Cupcake and am grateful for the friendships I have developed. Quite frankly, I’m amazed that the group is so congenial as some organizations develop factions who advocate against themselves and create animosity where there should be mutual agreement as to the mission.

I have belonged to the Udorn Research Group for a number of years as well. It began as group of individuals who were stationed at Udorn Royal Thai Air Force Base (RTAFB) who wanted to share their experiences and photos from the base’s inception in 1961 through its eventual closure in 1975. Gradually, that group has grown to encompass any who were stationed at Air Force Bases in Thailand. And well it should. We all share a common heritage born in war.

Gradually, as we all grow older, diseases and illnesses crop up and we look to a reason for them. In our case, many diseases presumptive to Agent Orange exposure in the RVN are rearing their ugly head. Being stationed in Thailand doesn’t give you the presumptive of exposure accorded Vietnam Vets with boots on the ground. Look no further than the rude awakening all the Blue Water Navy Vets got when they applied for benefits due to exposure. Eugene Haas became the poster boy for that one.

Some were inadvertently granted service connection by virtue of being awarded the Vietnam Service Medal early on. Fortunately for them, the VA cannot declare CUE and claw back their awards-or at least they have not yet. I wouldn’t put it past them. Likewise, a small number made it under the wire from Thailand, the Philippines and even Okinawa based on the award of their VSM. Eventually, VA also looked for the award of a Vietnam Campaign Medal which, early on, was only awarded to those in-country for six months or more. Gradually, the award was expanded to include any who had directly supported the war regardless of where they were stationed in Southeast Asia. That’s about when VA decided they needed to give a haircut to entitlement to AO exposure.

About 1998, VA began to notice a major uptick in claims filings for Agent Orange secondaries. In order to squelch this influx and reduce awards, they began to examine their M 21 verbiage, revise it and clean house to rid themselves of the outliers. One of the first to feel this brushoff were the Bluewater Navy folks who were gayly sailing the bounding main in the South China Sea. I submit that this denial logic might have been  justified as most rarely flew missions a) unless they were on flight crews and b) they never flew behind C-123s assigned to Ranchhand AO spray missions. Any deckhand’s claims of getting AO on themselves due to residue from the aircraft were patently bogus. Another argument that mitigated for exposure,which certainly has far more merit, was their water systems drew in seawater through reverse osmosis and “manufactured” fresh water that was contaminated with AO runoff from the numerous rivers. Not. AO is a heavy metal and sinks like a rock into the sediment in the estuaries that spill into the South China Sea. Exellent induration of soils on the mainland along with a very shallow water table allows it to rapidly permeate the water supply and reside there for eons. Witness the plethora of birth defects to this day-over fifty years later. The coastal areas of South Vietnam were barely above sea level. In fact, as an example, Base Ops at Tan Son Nhut was 33 ft. ASL. I snapped this photo while we were refueling one morning in 1970.


After numerous battles with Veterans over the years, a list of Navy ships was eventually drawn up with documented records of touching land. These were then granted service connection. Next, certain lines were drawn across estuaries to deliniate what was an inland waterway and what was not. Bingo. Again, another group was disenfranchised out of Cam Ranh Bay. Since most Navy Vets arrived on their respective ships, it was difficult to segregate others who arrived via aircraft to Tan Son Nhut AB and were ferried out to their assigned ships. This further winnowed the list down. For some reason, the VA neglected to consider Rest and Relaxation (R&R) leave on shore at Vung Tau or Australia. How would you find orders showing that? I submit no Aircraft Carrier or Destroyer departed Yankee Station and headed south to Sydney for a week. I rest my case. So does VA.

In the meantime, VA set out to discover who, and who was not, entitled to service connection based on the broader application of the award of the VSM and VCM. There went the Thailand Vets. Extensive investigations by many of these Thai Vets turned up various evidence but none that conclusively showed AO usage at the seven acknowledged bases nor the numerous secret Operating Locations that were never documented anywhere other than on Air Force or AirAm maps. The best Thailand’s Vets could ascertain or prove was that “commercial” or “tactical hebicides” were deployed. Very few of these Thai Vets have won their AO claims which drew my attention to determine why.

As an aside, I have realized over the years that photos of jetguns could not prove the existence of Hepatitis C virus on the nose of a gun. A black and white photo showed a Vet getting inoculated and nothing more. Similarly, a guy standing in front a hootch could have been photographed in Okinawa- or Clark- just as easily as it could have been taken in Phu Cat-or Udorn. A photo does not a nexus make. Unfortunately, very few of these photos show the defoliation of the perimeters to prove the use of herbicides. A bulldozer or lawnmower can scrape the land as efficiently as AO.

Which brings us to the URG. Over the last few years I have contributed advice, a generalized “buddy” letter and photos of some of my wanderings around Thailand and Laos. I have shared this information with the group and noticed there was absolutely no change in the battle plan to win service connection. Virtually to a man ( but not to exclude any round-eye members), they cling to a belief that the ticket to a win is photographic proof, CHECO reports and proof of duty on the perimeters of the bases. Any and all advice I offer on VA law is met with derision or outright guffaws. The last straw was a fellow telling me to quit publishing mistruths and to change my “opinion” to comport with his highly regarded “opinion” that any who served on the perimeter via proof of their AFSC/MOS were automatically entitled to “presumptive exposure”. The actual mistruth I am asked to retract to comport with accepted URG orthodoxy is the  belief that Thai Vets’ need  an IMO/nexus letter to prove exposure on a direct basis (i.e. 38 CFR §3.303(a)(d)) versus the URG philosophy of a  more liberalizing  interpretation of §§3.303(b), 3.307(a) and 3.309(e).  Wishing doesn’t work in this poker game. Neither does bluffing.

Here is Mr. McCay’s reasoned opinion and my reply.

Presumptive exposure

Today, I spotted yet another who insisted that “brushkillers” were analogous to herbicide agents -ergo merely calling AO a brushkiller was documented proof of the use of Agent Orange in Thailand. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, over?

Special attention to Mr Graham

Here’s the document that “proves” AO was used in Thailand

_AFATL-TN-70-1 (1)


Hey. I don’t mind getting called out when I step on my necktie. Shit happens and I might disremember the regulations after a few adult beverages. Here, I rarely do so. AO is one of my staples as well as SMC and CUE. I can smell it, sense it and detect it from afar. Hell. I ate it, breathed it and drank it for two years. I have Porphyria Cutanea Tarda rated at 100%. I think I speak from a position of authority. I began coughing up blood a year after I landed. You might catch me out on PTSD or favorable ankylosis. For that reason and others I won’t go into here,  I don’t include those in my repertoire.

For all my brothers in the URG, I wish to say I have no ulterior motives. I am defininitely not shopping for customers to represent before the VA. I have plenty to go around. Just ask Dan Smith, Bob Walsh and a host of other NOVA attorneys. I hand out candidates who come to me like Halloween candy. I simply cannot serve everyone. But I must say it does irk me when someone with no training or knowledge calls me out and tells me I’m a boob and/or poorly educated vis-à-vis VA regulations. I’d allow as you can call me Buckwheat or late for dinner but I draw the line there. I reckon this diatribe might get me booted from the URG membership but a man has to stand up to this tomfoolery.

And that’s all I’m going to say about that.


Posted in Agent Orange, All about Veterans, AO, DM II, KP Veterans, NOVA Attorneys, Porphyria Cutanea Tarda, SMC, VA Agents, VA Attorneys, Vietnam Disease Issues | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments


I read a lot of claims and appeals to better understand and absorb VA law. I often ascribe an apt analogy to a VA claim- it’s a recipe- just like baking cookies. You would never go off the reservation and cut a new legal trail to win a VA claim by ignoring the necessary ingredients (Caluza, Shedden, Hickson requirements) because that would be futile. The same holds true for baking a cake. If it calls for baking powder and you’re out, you don’t substitute baking soda solely because they sound the same. I speak from experience. You could have broken windows with my cake. I had to bake a new one correctly to get my Bear Badge for Cub Scouts. That was in 1958 and a lesson that sunk in.

In VA law, similarly, you are tasked with “building” a claim. I’ve taught thousands of you how to do this since the recipe light bulb went on over my head in 2007. It’s a sobering moment when you realize you’ve been beating a dead horse for nineteen years and it suddenly dawns on you why others doing this have won with little fanfare and even less effort.

One of my cohorts in the biz sent me several decisions recently. In each, the Vet showed up on his doorstep after expending some extensive frequent flyer miles on the VA Hamster wheel.  What both the decisions pointed to was a lack of case or controversy and a strong helping of violin music-aka how long the Vet had persevered in pursuit of his benefits and everything but pointing to egregious violations of VA regulations (case) or misconstrual of evidentiary fact (controversy). Case and/or controversy are the bookends that hold a claim or appeal together legally. In fact, they are also the meat and potatoes of Clear and Unmistakable Error (CUE) claims. We live or die by these standards of legal review.

 The Yoda Technique

Nevertheless, in VA jurisprudence, failure to assert error appropriately or to dispute material findings of fact with sustainable rebuttal will result in ultimate failure. As Yoda said on Dagobah one day (in a galaxy far away) “Do. Or do not. To try implies inevitable failure.” Oh what the hey. Maybe he didn’t say it. He should have. It would certainly seem (and sound) more profound emanating from his pie hole. Similarly, if you have no legal or factual leg to stand on, getting the sympathy violin out and trying to evoke tears of compassion from a DRO or a Veterans Law Judge is equally as futile as a halfhearted try at jacking an X-wing fighter out of the soup. Ditto the CAVC or Fed. Circus. If you ain’t got no ammo, it makes for a pretty silent machine gun. Sympathy, as a legal defense, is a dry hole.

We all know the proper recipe- or should by now. I will grant that a majority of the 146 Veterans Service Organizations chartered by Congress might not have received that email yet but it has been disseminated. Granted the 2001 VCAA wasn’t grossly explicit in discussing the minutiae of the Hickson elements but enough Veterans blogs, including this one, have pounded on the drum of requirements to the point of redundancy. That the importance of the requirements still eludes some explains why Congress finally let attorneys and Agents in to help out.


Sympathy at the VA is not in short supply. No siree, Bob. Read any denial letter and you’ll see VA is très careful to let you down gently. Boy howdy they sure don’t want you to depart post haste from your mailbox to the VAMC/Veterans “Service Center” or Community Based Outpatient Clinic(CBOC) nearest you and develop a bad case of self-inflicted lead poisoning due to sucking on a .45 calibre lollipop after you receive the ULUZ letter. Sadly, this is increasingly common.

Those Dear John letters now are replete with an upbeat “Thank you for your uncompromising effort to keep America free by your military service. Without you, America would be in a world of shit. While we’re on that subject, we’d like to take the time to point out that your claim is, too. We tried like the devil to make this pig fly but we were simply unable to. The DAV putting lipstick on the pig didn’t improve things.  The fact is, John,  your evidence just didn’t cut it. Fortunately for you, the law permits us to take another gander at it-but only if and when you refile to reopen it. Our door is always open. Y’all come back now. Hear?” Sympathy and $5.50 will get you a killer cup of coffee at Starducks©. However, it cannot be a substitute for probative evidence and a bulletproof nexus letter/IMO.

I was called in just before Christmas to put out a BVA appeals fire. A gal had lost her husband to a nasty cancer with their claim on the cusp of a decision in D.C. She performed admirably before the VLJ at the Travel Board Hearing considering she was essentially pro se with no magic paper or viable argument. Worse, Glioblastomas are not on the list of CJCW (Camp LeJeune Contaminated Water) diseases. Perhaps you folks don’t know this but representation by a VSO is not considered “legal representation” any more than dressing up as a cop on Halloween makes you one. DAV was busy that day or I suppose they would have trotted out a minder to argue for the Benefit of the Doubt in her defense. Shoot. Maybe they did. I disremember. Oddly, the VLJ in question, Kimberly Osborne took pity on this woman and gave her some breathing room by deferring the inevitable “No way in Hell”” and asking for an Independent Medical Evaluation IME. This is one of those rare occasions when the sympathy violin worked like a charm. It bought her enough time to call me and prepare a counterattack. Counterattack we did. Yessssssssssssssss.

As King Canute discovered to his dismay, you cannot hold the tide or justice back from its inevitable course. As promised, that new BVA-requested IME arrived back licketyspit December 26th and was negative. It did not support her and her now-deceased husband’s contentions that his glioblastoma was service connected on a presumptive basis due to all those Camp LeJeune additives they enhanced the water with to help build strong Marines’ bodies twelve different ways. I guess there was no Gomer Pyle surprise there, huh? Calling any VA IMO or IME “independent” is as defective semantically as describing MREs as Meals, Ready to Eat. In the latter instance, it amounts to three lies in one sentence. A VA IMO usually runs to at least two pages.

Fortunately for us, VBA  often can’t even communicate to their personnel the proper way to write a nexus letter or IME that passes muster. VA’s first attempt with a lady doctor at the Agency level was a daisy. She used Wikipedia™ for some of her cites. In addition, in violation of Norris, Moody, Roberson and Hodges, she cited only to risk factors regarding  Camp LeJeune’s Aqua Vitae and ignored any discussion on direct service connection (a la Combee v. Brown). To add insult to injury, when you get the vapors in the heat of writing an IMO, you might try to avoid referring to vinyl chloride as “polyvinyl chloride”. When that happens it makes you look like an ignorant boob. This is not a sexist comment. In my day, no gender association or demeaning allusion (other than stupidity) attached to the comment. Our parents also called the TV a “boob tube”. Little did they know that misnomer would metastasize into HD boob reality in the present day. In any event, it reduced the credibility and probative value of the “independency” of her IMO. VA likes to employ the term ‘speculative” as in ‘farfetched’ when we do it. It’s satisfying to see the shoe on the other foot.

True to Judge Osborne’s word, a Judas VA doctor was standing in the wings awaiting his 50 pieces of silver (COLA increase). In this case it was a doctor named Mohammad Khalil of Oke City fame. He gets $240 K a year for doing this in his spare time in addition to his regular duties as a VA doctor. Now, you’d think anybody such as this famous Amos would have a list of MD², FACS, and about sixty other initials after his name to signify he was sooooooome kind of IME Wunderdoc. Negatory. He was so humble he even tried to obscure the fact he was employed by the VA by subtly referring to himself as

“Hematology and Oncology Physician

Medical Service, Oklahoma VAHCS

Clinical Assistant Professor, Univ. of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center”

Sure sounds like humble pie to me except for the rooster crowing at the end. I looked it up on the Google map and it’s hard to discern where the UO Health Sciences Center grounds end and the Ok City VAMC begins. Independent my ass. His nexus was as equally flawed as VA’s first attempt. He plagiarized heavily off the other gal’s original one. He evoked the “rabbit out of the hat” trick of ‘absence of evidence is therefore negative evidence’. It didn’t fly at the Fed Circus in McLendon and I doubt it will here. Simply running on to two or three pages reciting that there is no proof that chemical X causes Cancer Y is not demonstrable proof it never occurs. Worse, failing to even squander a sentence or two on peer-reviewed articles that mention it in passing makes the IME as probative as tits boobs on a boar hog. I wrote this up in a great blog to get this legalism across back in 2011. Check out Kahana v. Shinseki.

Fortunately for this gal, I have a fairly new resource on my rolodex. I would loosely call it “Dial-a-Nexus”. I pushed the pronto button to Adam and had a killer IMO in my hands in less than two weeks. As most know, there are a few Nexus Letter writers out there who will do this for $6-10,000. I won’t mention any names. You probably know who I’m referring to. Adam’s stable of IMO writers do this for a guaranteed $2 K as fast as you can say Jack Robinson-by legitimate doctors who do have a gazillion letters after the MD². We shall see what transpires. I’ll get back to you with an after action write up on the KHA/WHA.

As the appeal was advanced on the Board’s docket prior to the Veteran’s passing, it will continue that way and be heard soon. Better yet, as it is at the Board, we asked them to nail it down there with a Waiver of Review in the First Instance in order to prevent a War of the IMEs back and forth and a one year remand back to the Regional level. The score is currently two private doctors in favor without any supporting rationale, one IMO from a Wikipaedia Doctor, VA’s rebuttal IME by a proctologist(?) cum oncologist-for-a-day and our newest IMO from a whizbang oncologist. Sometimes the beauty of the Ex Parte form of Justice is that it can be transposed.  This is one of those times when we get the last word in edgewise and VA cannot rebut it with another bogus IME that desperately tries to cast aspersions on ours.

Here’s our take on the subject.

Filed IMO to BVA 1-8-2018 redacted

Today’s teaching moment was brought to you by the true makers and shakers of VA justice. And that’s all I’m gonna say about that.


Posted in Camp Lejeune poisoning, IMOs/IMEs, VA Agents, Waiver of Review in the First Instance | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments


Willie and Alex in the Man Cave being politically incorrect.

Great Police song. I was humming it when I went in to the Seattle Regional Office last Thursday to report for fingerprinting and my Criminal Background Investigation (CBI) check. I told the gal doing the fingerprinting that the OGC had a pretty intense CBI already in their files that they ran on me for my Agent accreditation. Seemed they could just reuse the old one as it’s barely a year old.  Nope. VBA doesn’t trust OGC. They want their own CBI.  Do any of you in the Industry realize just how assbackwards this is? VA is aspiring to make sure VA Agents and attorneys are above board when their very own employees are busy shredding evidence, denying en masse via the Fully Developed Claims program and a host of other sins like addicted pharmacists and VISN directors getting busted for DWIs. 

Life can’t get any more humorous than this. That’s why it’s difficult to keep a straight face visiting at the RO when all the employees are grinning from ear to ear as they arrange your Texas-style Necktie Party. Only at the VA can you have a dismal approval rating of 15% of all claims submitted and point to it as evidence the system “works”. Where else but in a Government-run agency can you spend $1,000,000 over twenty years denying a claim for tinnitus- only to eventually cave in and grant it at 0%- and then point to that as validation that you are a bulwark against the injustices perpetrated upon Veterans? Idiot’s delight.


Devious Maids

In a different vein, Happy New Year. My Cupcake has me watching what can only be described as a chick flick- only a series- on  Roku© Hulu called Devious Maids. It’s about Beverley Hills Hispanic Maids and their escapades with their employers. Cupcake enjoys these shows, and to humor her, I started watching.

My observations:

The shows positively drip estrogen. I could feel my breasts grow a complete cup size after one episode. I began to crave chocolate. The next day I became depressed and got the vapors-not once but three times-accompanied by deep sighs. That third time I had to call my best friend to help me get through it. It was brutal.

Someone is getting whacked, stabbed, dismembered or rendered room temperature in every show and it becomes addicting beyond words. For an extra $5, you can download the whole package commercial-free. It’s well-worth it because you can cram not one but two episodes in every night before retiring.

As for all you VA law dogs and agents with LLCs- my tax accountant/son says convert  to an S corp. to avoid a tremendous tax liability. LLCs are going to get whacked to the tune of 69% but the new corporate rates of 21% will be easier on the pocketbook come April 15th.


Posted in Humor | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Happy New Year


The count down to the Times Square traditional ball dropping will begin soon.  I think this photograph on Instagram is a cheerful sight.  The New Year has already been welcomed in many parts of the world and our U. S. Eastern time zone is next.  

“As the famous New Year’s Eve Ball descends atop One Times Square, an estimated one million people in Times Square, millions nationwide and over a billion watching throughout the world are united in bidding collective farewell to the departing year and expressing joy and hope for the year ahead.”

This celebration is free to watch online if you’ve cut the cable.  (LINK)

Enjoy tomorrow wherever you are.  God bless America!



Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments