HADIT.COM RADIO SHOW FOR 11/15/2018

I just received a request for my appearance on the Hadit.com podcast two days hence. We’ll be discussing an SMC client of mine with an interesting fact scenario. We’ll also be discussing an interesting precedential decision from the CAVC promulgated waaaaaay back in 1991. I attach it below so all of you can digest prior to Thursday afternoon.

We need every tool we can assemble in our “toolbox” of cites to win our claims. I guarantee you’re going to like this one (MacWhorter).

Same Bat time. Same Bat channel. Thursday the 15th at 1600 Hours on the Left Coast and of course 1900 on the (l)east coast.

Call in to listen and push 1 if you desire to ask us a question during the show. I am personally look forward to this one. Hadit.com and asknod.org  are like peas and carrots.

347-237-4819

Attached here are the discussion items:

MacWhorter_90-935a

Breniser_09-728_published_opinion_September_19

Posted in ASKNOD BOOK, CAVC Knowledge, CAVC ruling, CAVC/COVA Decision, Earlier Effective dates, KP Veterans, SMC, SVR Radio on hadit.com, VA Agents, VA Medical Mysteries Explained | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Veterans Day 2018

By some miracle, I’m still alive to celebrate again this year. Thank you Gilead Sciences. With Hepatitis C, that which doesn’t kill you nevertheless kicks the shit out of you forever. I think the same applies to VA health care but that is the subject of another blog on another day. Today is a celebration of being alive. Many who served are not. Today is a day for the living and to honor their faithful service. Europeans are free to mope around and put wreaths on graves. That isn’t what this is about. It’s a celebration of the end of a period of man fighting man over politics and religion. Those two subjects are the third rail of civility. 

My joy, as it should be, is devoted today to celebrating being alive with all my Veteran friends who are also as lucky. Far too many confuse Memorial Day as part and parcel of this gig. Today, we celebrate the end of a war and, by extension, all Veterans who have served to preserve America and its sovereignty. Some who served in peace feel their service is not as glorious. Hogwash. How many of you signed up on September 1st, 2011 only to shit your pants on the 12th? None, I venture.

Being a Veteran nowadays is becoming more the rare exception rather than the rule. No longer do we have cattle drives to the AFEES station a la draft or due to an attack on us. With the exception of 9/11/2001, things have calmed down somewhat. According to the poohbahs at the VA, there are 20.4 million of us. Given the VA’s inflated self-worth of themselves and their statistical veracity on any subject Veteran, I don’t buy it. Here’s Pew Research’s take on it. I would prefer a Remington Rand Think Tank statistic. They are always willing to spill the beans. Here’s one about AO from the Chinese. They have an excellent field laboratory next door in the DRV. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5126552/pdf/srep38012.pdf

I suppose it’s accurate but the fact remains we are becoming more exclusive than the fabled “Entitled White Misogynist Male” club. In point of fact, the numbers of my fellow Vietnam Veterans-those who actually served on the land mass of the Republic of South Vietnam- continue to decline in astonishing numbers. I personally watch in sorrow as the numbers of those who served there decline. Incredibly, every year I google this question and the number seems stuck at 850,000. Notwithstanding that, I know for a fact 28 of my Brothers-in-arms have departed since 2010. Seems they’d revise the list downward to 849,778 to comprehend the loss. Therein lies the problem. What good are stale statistics? How do you adjust the needs or finances of the VA’s medical system if the number of patients remains static in spite of their known demise? Seems similar to Chicago’s voter rolls last week. I do so wish  Roseanne Roseannadanna were still alive to opine on this phenomenon. She always brought an open mind to the table.

Fortunately for us “real” Vietnam Veterans, there are a new cohort of stolen valor pseudovets willing to step in and restore equilibrium. About the only place you don’t see them is at Veterans Day parades.  Perhaps that’s why the percieved numbers remain static. The 2010 census was a hoot. The DoD insists to this day that our numbers never exceeded 2.7-3.0 million. In spite of that, the 2010 census declared 9-12 million were absolutely sure they set foot on the easterly portion of the Indochinese peninsula fronting the South China Sea. That’s a extremely large number of delusional thinkers disremembering where they served-assuming, arguendo, that they served at all. The most fascinating thing about this is its recentness. Most of my fellow Vets who served in-country (including me) didn’t come out of the closet until after 2001. It wasn’t fashionable yet. It sure wasn’t something we bragged about or regaled our civilian counterparts with tales of when we arrived home.

I lucked out and arrived at SF International in camo fatigues fresh out of the jungle at 0200 on May 17th, 1972 after two tours back to back. I was greeted warmly by the Hare Krishna swing shift. Who would have thought they man the tambourines 24/7? Many of my friends, like Butch Long, Bob Lockett and Chris Dellinges, were deprived and came in on Medivac flights foregoing any warm welcome from their fellow citizens. I certainly don’t feel slighted in the least for missing out on my Flying Spit Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters. I also don’t hold a grudge towards these folks. Everyone is entitled to an opinion in America. From what I can gather, most have issued their politically correct, obligatory mea culpas and now circulate at Veterans Day parades and utter inane phrases like “Welcome Home, sir!” or “May I shake your hand? I’d like to honor you today personally.” Thank you for your service grates on my ears worse than fingernails on a chalkboard now. Somebody ought to point out that’s passé.

Congressman Derek Kilmer

To my way of thinking, real Veterans don’t need to seek accolades. We don’t need to wear hats proclaiming our affiliation or bravery. We don’t need free dinners at Applebee’s. We’re smug in that inner satisfaction that we kicked ass and took names when other wimps chose to be all they could be in Canada. We bask in the warmth of a fellow Veteran’s handshake and genuine feelings of camaraderie. We don’t need “stand downs” and handouts. We don’t need quotas or special dispensations for our service. From what I can gather, real combat Vets are not “parade” kinds of guys. We mostly shun being dragged on stages for political purposes by eager politicians wanting to be perceived as “Veterancentric”. Fortunately, I have a great Congressman (Derek Kilmer) who is pro-Vet 24/7/365 rather than motivated on a specific day. His crew is always ready to step in if a problem arises in our district. He is an anomaly in this regard and revels in it. Look at all the congressmen who seek out your votes only to evaporate into thin air a week after an election to become rarer than hen’s teeth. I’m blessed in my little pied-a-terre here at the ass end of Washington (state).

Veterans are the 3%er crowd. We know how rare we are. We don’t need to put on our old uniforms and hang out in airports hoping for praise.  We understand the concept of Keeping America Free. We are not inherently racist as we all served in a post-segregation military. We are not weirdo White Supremacist wannabes. We got our yah yahs out in a real military setting-not in psuedo-military organizations that profess hatred.

In a word, we are the perfect, quintessential American. The Citizen Soldier who returns to his plowshare after bearing arms for his Country is one who basks in his mental self-sufficiency and needs no attaboys for his former one-time profession.

Ronald Reagan, a Veteran himself, summed it up best in my mind.

Some people live an entire lifetime and wonder

if they have made a difference in the world.

A Veteran doesn’t have that problem.

Happy Veterans Day to you my Brothers. Live long and prosper.

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

Posted in KP Veterans, Veterans Day | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Veterans’ Day, Centenary of WWI 1918-2018

U. S Embassy Twitter -Click

Image: Vimy Foundation, Canada Click image to go to their Twitter

BBC article-Click

A melange of resources:

UK Royal British Legion–Poppy Legion Twitter (Link)–They went all out. 

White House Twitter (Link)

Battle of Belleau Wood Wikipedia (1–26 June 1918) (Link)

White House Flickr photos (Link)

VA Twitter (Link)

It’s a big weekend in France and while mainstream journalists are busy putting their tedious political spins on the events, we think about other things.

From U.S. Embassy French Twitter

” …Over 68,000 U.S. service members are buried or memorialized at American cemeteries in France.

Aujourd’hui au Cimetière américain de Suresnes, le président Trump a rendu hommage au sacrifice accompli par nos militaires. Les cimetières américains en France conservent les tombes ou la mémoire de plus de 68 000 militaires américains.

From BBC

“…Armistice Day takes place on 11 November each year and marks the end of the First World War. It is a day of commemoration, an occasion to remember the some 8.5 million soldiers who died across the world during the 1914–18 war – as well as those lost in the conflicts that followed.”

Younger Veterans, welcome home and enjoy your day.

Kiedove

Posted in All about Veterans, Food for the soul, Food for thought, General Messages, Guest authors, Inspirational Veterans, Uncategorized, Veterans Day | Tagged , | 2 Comments

VBMS–EVERYTHING YOU EVER WANTED TO KNOW

VBMSmobile

Those of us who have made the jump into the VA’s computer system known as the Veterans Benefits Management System (VBMS)  have many things to say about it. Paleolithic, Neanderthalic, slower than the seven year itch and more are just a drip in a deluge of negative aspersions. I can walk out to the kitchen and scramble four eggs-and walk back to the office- in the time it takes to be allowed into the entrance to VBMS. 

I write this for all of you-attorneys, agents and Veterans. I want you to get a glimpse into what we can see-and what we cannot. I continue to roam around and discover I can go places my Change Management Agent (CMA) insists I cannot. For instance, I was told I was not allowed to have access to VA’s Oracle System known as VACOLS. That is the black hole our appeals descend into for years and years until we get our BVA decision. By rights, I need to view my Vet’s appeals in real time and not have to call up the 800-923-8387 BVA Dial-A-Prayer. Well, surprise , surprise surprise. We can view VACOLS! I will grant that the booth bitch (yes, that’s a politically incorrect, nongender specific acronym for the folks tasked with answering our calls) often knows far more than the chowderheads they hire to talk to you at the VARO-level (800-827-1000).  Those are new hires and don’t even have a GS 1 rating yet. Even the VA poohbahs have relented and updated recently and now permit their phone bank technicians to look at the VBMS in read-only mode.

A fond reminder of a time long ago was when we could call our VA Puzzle Palaces directly. An 800 call went to the regional office nearest you as it was presumed that’s where your c-file was.  Along about 2009, some efficiency expert decided to use the India call center model and all of a sudden your VA technician on the other end was in Pittsburgh instead of Seattle. Or Atlanta. S/he could not give you real-time information on your claim progress.

My CMA also avers that we are not allowed to view our own claims files. Aruuuu? Just for shits and grins, I filed a VAF 21-22a to represent myself and three weeks later I can see my 14,000+ page Gutenberg Bible cum claims file in all its shining splendor on VBMS. I do know that VA employees and VSOs certainly aren’t permitted to but we agents/attorneys respect no such constrictions on our access. We get Level 6 with printing capabilities which is higher than my CMA’s. That bugs her.

I love to wander around in there and see where the roadblocks are. But back to the VBMS lesson. Check this out. To begin with, you have to get a card reader for your brand new VA ID card. These PIV (Personal Identification Verification)cards are a Godsend too. I no longer have to take off my belt and shoes and empty my pockets for the metal detector. Since I’ve now been criminally background checked, my Government photo ID permits me entry with just a wave of the card-at any government building. Cool beans.

You begin this Odyssey by going to the Citrix VA Gateway at  https://citrixaccess.va.gov/vpn/index_citrix_splash.html and come out here.

You then insert your smart card mentioned above into the SCR 3310 card reader and it asks for your six-digit PIV code. Hey, half of this rigmarole is remembering what all those acronyms stand for. VA pukes live for this. I found out DRO is a word-not a D-R-O. I wonder if that makes a CMA a See-má or a RVSR a Riv-sir. I’m sure there’s a method to this language. Onward. After being waved through, we then enter the Citrix library of endless confirmations

 

 

Click OK and the below opens

This is the first PIV Card entry point.

The next step after you gain entry to Citrix is to choose the Citrix VBMS entry gate:

You click on  the desktop…

and choose the RO5 VBApp:

If you’re lucky and haven’t screwed up on your typing yet, you’re only into this about 3 minutes. And then… Bingo, you’re in the foyer.

Now you begin to segue into the outer hallways of VBMS. It’s now time to promise (again) not to divulge all the deep dark secrets you’re about to gain access to.

 

 

Having promised, you wait for another PIV card check:

Hum a few bars of Jeopardy music and bingo…

Click on your smart card symbol and voilà… another PIV card confirmation code

Here you get to memorize how to spell welcome for a minute or two.

After a while you move to a minute or two of this one. Apparently, they have a booth bitch who checks everyone in manually. For the next minute or three they will confirm you are allowed to do certain things and determine which level of entry you possess, whether you have permission to print, etc. etc.

Finally, you go through the last metal detectors and are deemed permitted to enter.

And now, the last magic button that opens VBMS. Misty 21 is cleared in hot, bubba.

You click on start and it opens the VBMS window

then click VBMS and it opens to the second level entry…

And then another click on VBMS #2:

And last but not least, the actual VBMS claims file queue

You’re finally in… sort of. But wait. Just one more profession of honesty and a guarantee not to share it with your Russian handler.

On this screen you enter in your 3-digit VBA regional office number and hit okay. Seattle is 346.

IMG_0649.JPG

One last check to make sure you is you:

You’re found and you click okay.

Now, if you somehow arrived here after the above 25 steps, and the VBMS is not feeling well or the servers have a hangover, you get this

Yeppers. You claims queue is a dry hole. You can wait patiently for 15 minutes in hopes it will populate. If it doesn’t, you time out and it’s back to the beginning at Citrix again. On the other hand, if you have Jesus in your heart and are pure as the driven snow, a miracle happens. It populates and you actually get to see your client’s files. Elapsed time? about 12 minutes on a good day. I go in after 1500 hrs (left coast time). By then all the Fort Fumbles back east have gone home for supper. It really starts humming to about dial up speed then.

If it won’t populate, you can go to the top and hit search and look each of your clients up manually by entering their claims file number or SSN. You can find your clients in the claims queue and jump back and forth between them with multiple tabs open. The left side looks like this on an individual file.

We representatives always cry when we get a claims file from St. Louis. It looks like someone played 52-card pick up with it. Stuff from 1968 is right next to something that was inserted last month. There is no rhyme or reason to how it could be assembled helter skelter. But look above at VA’s nice, tidy file. Everything is chronologically arranged with subject and date. You can find a SOC from 2013 right after the denial and the Confirmed rating sheet. This is where VBMS is a Godsend. You can find things you are not supposed to-such as §3.156(c) Service treatment records introduced last week for the first time.

The claims queue can be changed to show the most recent activity first by clicking on the last changed date arrow several times.

By going up to the top right near your name, you’ll find the Veteran’s profile widget. Clicking it divulges a wealth of info about your client and you can check the profile for flashes to keep VA honest. If your Vet is dying, you’ll be wanting to flash him for terminally ill. Or homeless. Or financially in jeopardy. Or whatever it is that deserves an advance on the docket. Look in the “Go to work” column on the claims profile. I find my DRO hearing transcripts hidden in there all the time. Always look in the raters’ Notes section to see if it’s ready for decision.

And a lot more. I have only begun to reveal the mysteries of the VBSM here today. And speaking of widgets, here’s Cooper and Widget this morning at breakfast. It’s amazing how much you can cram into that tiny skull and it still only works as well as the 1480 lb. horse’s brain next to him. God works in strange ways and colors.

And that’s all I’m gonna say about that.

The Fourth Caravan

Posted in VA Agents, VA Attorneys, vA news, VBMS Tricks, Veterans Law | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

THE HALLOWEEN POST-GAME WRAP

Pop Smoke

As most  know, my April Fool’s gene always comes out around Halloween. To say I’m addicted to humor is a masterpiece of understatement. This is a product of being told I’m going to die. Well, duh. The only problem with that diagnosis is that it’s been delayed a few years. I did read somewhere this week that people who embrace humor live longer. I owe all these latest cartoons to Dennis Stenftenagel, a fellow Hepatitis C survivor of our unofficial group HCVets. Enjoy.

 

To all my readership, I wish you a happy Halloween and a Happy Veterans Day.

Posted in Humor, KP Veterans | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Time to smile for Halloween DoD-style in California, Virginia and Georgia

” Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Cassandra Liriano hands out candy during a “trunk-or-treat” event hosted by the First Class Petty Officer Association and the Second Class Petty Officer Association in San Diego, Oct. 20, 2018.” Image: DoD

“A volunteer hands out candy to trick-or-treaters during the eighth annual Trunk or Treat at Travis Air Force Base, Calif., Oct. 26, 2018.” Thousands attend! Image: DoD.

A military child gets his face painted during 2nd Battalion, 69th Armored Regiment’s “Tank or Treat” Halloween event in the battalion motor pool, Oct. 30, at Fort Stewart, Ga. Soldiers brought their families and children to “trick-or-treat” at decorated tanks, ride horses and paint pumpkins.

“Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Courtney Goodman paints the face of a trick-or-treater during the First Class Petty Officers Association’s annual Harvest Fest in Portsmouth, Va., Oct. 19, 2018.” Images: DoD

Making happy memories for good kids–nice!

Kiedove (Guest author)

 

Posted in Food for the soul, Food for thought, Future Veterans, General Messages, Guest authors, Humor, Uncategorized | Tagged | 1 Comment

BROWNWATER RAMBO AND PEPÉ LE PEW

Everyone would like to think they have the mustard to contend with any catastrophe in, on and/or around their haciendas. That’s probably why you see so many of them folks after a hurricane standing on their roofs waving a white flag whist clutching a bottle of Jack Daniels™.  Saturday is humor day. Listen to the story ’bout a Vet named Jim, a rich electrician who loved to go fishin’.  

At the ripe age of 67 7/8, when the shit hits the fan, I now call in an air strike. There was a time when I was adventurous but with an onboard defibrillator and a few other 100% disabilities, Echo 6 actual no longer feels quite as bulletproof. I can still whack a coyote at 2 AM in the bottom pasture from my back deck in my skivvies but that’s about as adventurous as I get nowadays.

Brownwater Jim lived two doors over from us way back when.  The fact is we were well-known by our local constabulary and our neighbors back in the 90s. It seems there was a mobile home down range of my house we rained some bird shot down on inadvertently during a New Year’s party one year. My hunting buddy, Deputy Bob Larson, whose house I had built, dropped by a third time and told us to put the 12 ga. away or he was going to take it. Without admitting guilt, we promised we’d find the culprit and make him cease and desist if we heard him do it again. Problem solved. Jez, I can imagine a SWAT team out there in this day and age.

One late spring morning in 1995, the Jimster theorized he had a large, smelly cat under his house. They’d heard it banging around down below the night before. I’m not sure if he ID’d it on the aroma or a confirmed sighting inside the wire. Apparently, a screen in a foundation vent had parted company allowing entry. After reconnoitering the crawlspace from several other vents, he determined it was a skunk.  Here in the Northwest, we generally have an 18″ deep crawlspace with plumbing and ducting below the joists. Jimbo’s crawler was about 30′ by 40′.  Now, if’n you’re gonna go skunk-fishing, you need good lighting. Jim, the consummate fisherman, armored up with his Navy®-approved 12 VDC Tactical  aircraft landing light rated at 2.1 million candlepower. This is like a four-deuce battery of acrylic white flares going off on a moonless night. You almost need sunglasses even if you’re holding it. It requires a 12 Volt car battery and will suck it dry in about 3 minutes unless your engine is running. It also works well for deer hunting on the way home after dark.

Not knowing how well-armed the skunk was,  Brownwater Jimbo decided on his Glock 19 in 9mm.  Anticipating a charge if it was rabid, he took an extra clip.  Full well knowing he might be fighting in close quarters, he wisely chose his trusty Ka-Bar for backup. His entry into the crawler was through the floor access in the master bedroom closet – a  22″X 24″ hole. It’s a 360° blind entry until you’re in and down flat. Depending on which version of the story you’ve heard, he went in hot—- feet first with the knife between his teeth, the Glock in the right dominant cocked and locked and the light in his left. Sadly, this was before phone cameras. A thousand words can never suffice to paint this picture.

Mr. Skunk was setting up shop about 20 feet away in a big pile of underfloor insulation  requisitioned from overhead. Jim said they stared at each other for a few seconds before he realized the light had him paralyzed. Carefully lining up, he made sure there was no plumbing behind Pepé. Jim, of all people, is well-acquainted with the acoustical properties of supersonic bullets so I’m not sure why he went in with no hearing protection. I’m equally sure he wonders himself to this day. As most know, shooting 9mm, .357 mag, .40 S&W and .44 mag (or 5.56mm and 7.62x39mm) inside or in extremely close quarters is an OSHA violation as well as conducive to extreme permanent hearing loss.

Jim pulled his first shot and winged Mr. le Pew and that was all she wrote. Pepé cut loose before the kill shot a second later. A quick retreat was notably unsuccessful in trapping the smell below. In spite of sealing the carpeted lid with duct tape, the aroma continued wafting up through every nook and cranny elsewhere. His son was on the verge of departing for school and picked up a sizable amount of the smell as well. By this time, you’d never know if you were hosed or not anyway. The smell even made it down to my place. By this time the neighbors were congregating out front to see if there was any good gossip afoot.  Twenty minutes later, when Jimbo’s son arrived, the school sent him home. His car was equally hosed by now, too.

What to do? Call the Fire Department. They arrived but did nothing more than commiserate it was an unfortunate situation. At this point, Jim finally did what I would have done from the get go- call in the airstrike. It was an expensive repair order but the smell gradually returned to normal. We still give him shit about missing from 20 feet. I can almost guarantee someone’s gonna drag that story out at his Eulogy. That’s good. Folks should always remember the good times of their friends’ lives at their wake. I wonder what they’ll talk about at mine? Deerhunting with my Dodge “.30-06” 1 ton van?

And that’s all I’m going to say about that… until the wake.

 

Posted in Humor, VA Agents | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment