VASEC FALLS ON HIS SWORD–WE LOSE


downloadUnfortunately, General Eric Shinseki has chosen the least controversial exit of all. Rather than stand and fight the endemic corruption the VA is awash in, he has opted for resignation. We are the losers and I say this with great sadness. In Gen. Shinseki, we had a warrior-citizen who was cognizant of what many of us endured while serving. Having that commonality is a prerequisite for the job in my mind. Former VASEC Jesse Brown was the only other one who could boast of this association. He, too, was an above -average Secretary. I think we all know what is in store for us soon. Can you say “whitewash”?

Just as the GM folks got their neckties in the dirt on the ignition fiasco that caused 12 or more deaths, greedy VA employees has bamboozled Shinseki and given him bogus info. He, to his detriment, took it as gospel and now has to pay the price. Now, here’s why we lose out.

-Gen. Shinseki has five years under his belt and is up to speed on the problems.

-He is now acquainted with who the culprits are and is expertly situated to introduce changes to correct it.

– He is the first VASEC in history to effect changes that have benefited Vets of the Vietnam War (Parkinson’s, B cell hairy leukemia, IHD etc.) in over a decade. The IOM and their ilk have been dragging their heels for years on presumptive issues. Ric cut to the chase and rammed it through. His record on homelessness in Veterans is stellar.

-He has the capability due to his long tenure as a leader/warrior to make bold changes rather than small baby steps. VA needs this desperately.

-He isn’t concerned with stepping on political toes at this point. His focus is solely on us Veterans. He is one so he “feels our pain”. Make no mistake about it. He walks the walk.

– He doesn’t have any “baggage” that drags him down. He’s happily married and has no Monica Lewinskys in the wings. He’s bulletproof on that front. That’s no small feat in this day and age of the roaming eyeball. Witness Gen. Petraeus.

-Given the nod from Congress and the legal authority, he’d go in and sweep out the scalawags who infest the VA hierarchy. He owes no one for his appointment other than the President and Congress. That’s a very tall mandate if the President was willing to stand behind him instead of a golf cart.

-He honestly cares about us as individuals and doesn’t consider us a liability or a lead weight around his neck holding him back from greater things. His focus has always been on a repair order, not a stepping stone to Secretary of State or a Vice Presidency.

-After 38 years in the Army, we can safely say he’s seen it all and knows the repair order for much of what infects VA currently.

– He’s being 86’d for political expediency-quite possibly the worst reason to do away with him. Congress folk are up for reelection this fall and without going into the specifics of which party feels threatened, it is safe to say that the party that flies the blue flag is under considerable approbation from the voting public over a number of fiascos that do not need elaborating here. We all know what they are assuming we read the papers.

-When an agency head with five years under his belt is finally apprised of the shortcomings on his watch, it is asinine to show him the door before he can attempt to correct it. This imbroglio is going to be censured, downplayed and relegated to the back page by the PR wonks both at the White House and the VA. They don’t want the bad press. Everyone knows that. General Shinseki would eviscerate the VA as we know it and an utter massacre would be a given if he was given free rein. I’m sure the thought of that keeps many in the White House up at night wondering just who will be unmasked and convicted.

-Most of the objectionable personnel guilty of these crimes are-yup- political appointees whose careers are in jeopardy. The party in power put a lot of them in there over the last five years and they are not going quietly into the night without a fight. General Shinseki owes them nothing and thus any leverage they feel they possess is nil. Unless he gets the ax. He did-and now they can breathe a sigh of relief.

-After the dust settles in Phoenix, the investigation will uncover a few more minor players and then it’ll be back to lather, rinse and repeat the mistakes. Nothing will ensue other than a lot of new hot air emanating from the usual sources and promises never to let our Veterans down ever again.

-The whole idea of a strong agency head as envisaged by the 1988 VJRA is being tossed out in favor of a congressionally-brokered fix. By that, I mean throwing Gen. Shinseki to the wolves to appease the press and get reelected this fall.

10371483_10203157900141196_7246146644956922799_nMark my words. Nothing positive will come of this. An apt analogy would be to fire the Captain of the Titanic minutes after his ship hit the iceberg. Never mind that White Star senior management ordered him to crank it up to 25 knots. He’s in deep doo-doo because his watchmen were asleep at the wheel or worse. To fire him now before launching the lifeboats and saving lives is pointless and shortsighted. He is perfectly positioned to repair the problems or prevent them in the future now. Why would anyone take the star quarterback out in the 4th quarter in a tie game on 4th and inches-in the red zone? Why, Congress, of course.

I have seen this same scenario far too many times in DC. Politics are Veterans’ worst enemy. Being beholden to them (senators and representatives) for our health and compensation is unworkable. What, exactly, the repair order is does not encompass firing the only one capable of fixing it in the shortest time possible and doing it professionally. I suppose that thought never entered Sen. McCain’s head.  That’s what happens when you’re buzzed on Coors, I suppose.

download (1)We understand the frustration Representative Miller feels over this but it is clearly a case of “Nobody told me” and ”I trusted the bastards”. You don’t just announce the buck stops here and unceremoniously boot him.  Much like a broken automobile, you fix it with the best tools, the best mechanic and newest technology available rather than tow the car to a new shop and hire a new, untried mechanic who is unfamiliar with the vehicle’s problems. Sometimes the shortsightedness of our politicians causes more harm to our Veterans cause than we imagine. Here, it is being perpetrated with anger and effrontery rather than with calm, reasoned logic. Such are the vagaries of politics.  Strangely, we didn’t see Secretary Kathleen Sebelius given this treatment after the Health Care Computer pancaked.  I guess it’s who you know, not what you know. SOP in DC-to our detriment again.

Onward through the fog of stupidity.

Hey kids. Can you say whitewash? Sure. I bet you can. Try it.

Hey kids. Can you say whitewash? Sure. I bet you can. Try it.

 

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7 Responses to VASEC FALLS ON HIS SWORD–WE LOSE

  1. Skywalker says:

    I was wondering whether firing Shinseki would really do any good. One of my suspicions was that they needed to make a “sacrifice” and he was the most obvious choice. Of course, that doesn’t necessarily help us, the vet–we need real action and change, not crap propaganda.

    I hope they end up doing a VA wide overhaul, revision, and fee basis, although these aren’t new ideas.

  2. Karen S. says:

    Just another sacrificial lamb……

  3. david j murphy says:

    Need a grand jury. Cooking the books for profit is a crime. That said it would solve everything to give us an id card and let us go where we want. The problem with that is it implies that the govt can’t run healthcare so that is dead in the water at least till 2016. Plenty of blame to go around here, the pres , congress and every admin back 40 years or more. NATIONAL DISGRACE.

  4. Clear Left says:

    Well fact of the matter is this happened on Gen Shinseki’s watch and the pols were possibly correct in asking for his resignation…. Buck stops here and all that.
    Oh wait a minute…Isn’t this Chairman Miller’s watch as well. Patty Murray, Bernie Sanders, and how bout “Dick” Burr and my very own Johnny (90 second) Isakson? Oh yeah it is their watch. How many disabled Veterans contacted them for assistance with VA malfeasance. Georgians have been on Johnny like stinky on poopy for years – like talking to a duck on a pond. Absolutely nothing, nada, zip.
    holy moly they should all present their letters of resignation…. Veterans would be a lot better off…

  5. John King says:

    Chopping off Shinseki’s head will not solve the VA’s problems. I personally think most of the VA’s services could be privatized via ” Medicare for All” or a Fee Base system that actually pays a decent reimbursement to providers. Why do I need to drive to a VA hospital to get blood work or a flu shot? Save the hospitals for those who need them as in-patients or maybe homeless vets who are sick. If I even had a ChampVA card that included dental and vision care that would be fine. Perhaps take service connected disabled vets into Tricare. There is an entire medical system that depends on medicare, medicade, and private insurance. Can’t we get into that system minus copays and deductibles for us 100% vets at least. Maybe all vets could get that benefit. Anything but the present VA system of poor care and shortages.

  6. Jim says:

    May 30, 2014
    These are my comments on the resignation of Mr. Secretary Shinseki:
    Two week ago. The US Department of Veterans Affairs has always been a cash cow for everyone chasing a greenback from political public works and building projects, bogus US OPM Merit pay for federal employees and some would suspect even the Pentagon receiving some of the VA funding?
    RE: Secretary Eric Shinseki. Secretary Shinseki doesn’t need any of this BS from everybody. He can stand on his own merits without any help. He don’t need the money and don’t your approval One thing that he cannot do is override Mr. Obama’s and his cabinet at staff call for the re-allocation of resources. The last Secretaries as with James Nicholson abused funding, needed every penny and gave bonuses to his friends. Mr. Shinseki cannot fire those hired by Mr. Obama, i.e., Allison Hickey and the rest of the VA that has been appointed by Mr. Obama and confirmed by a Democrat Majority in the US Senate as with Senator Reid. D-NV. Lot of corruption in the VA placed there by the Democrats and Mr. Obama. Got the wrong guy here to place blame. I share some of the experiences as Mr. Shinseki and while making an assessment of the situation, I’d tell Mr. President a house cleaning is in order at the VA hierarchy or I’m out of here. So every veteran loses because his hands are tied with malfeasance and some corrupt officials. Also you might want to place blame on the US OPM Commissioner for scandalous bogus bonuses for SES personnel.
    About 9 days ago.
    I’m sad for you Mr. Shinseki because you have been shielded from corruption over the years serving in the military. It’s time to get real and see what Washington politics are all about. You are welcome to join rest of us to witness corrupt politicians at work. Mr. Obama has used and tarnished your reputation as a honorable soldier and veteran while pleading ignorance and he himself served in the Congress(s) and he knows the VA is a cash cow for all of the federal government. Thank you for your military service.
    Mr. Shinseki has had his word and honor as a retired military officer disgraced by Mr. Obama, Senate Democrats, political SES Under-Secretaries appointments to the point of resignation? What would one think when President Obama himself micromanages the VA and appoints a VA czar master to investigate when there is a sitting VA Secretary? The VA trouble shooter simply is the son of a retired general and his only qualifications were as a academic and having never served in the military while claiming his father’s credentials by association. I’m very suspicious of cronyism at the same time declaring foul. If Mr. Obama fired Mr. Shinseki the whole case of politics falls apart on Mr. Obama attending to the needs of veterans. Better Petzel went instead of Shinseki and he simply took his regular retirement as a involuntary separation.
    About 2 days ago. The abuses of VA directors and personnel with waste, fraud, and abuse began with the first Director of the VA during the 30s with Charles Forbes. Some greed, corruption and fraud continues thru this day everywhere federal money can be had with the devices of corruption. More recently with the change in government retirement plans during the 80s and US OPM Merit Pay abuses. Bogus cash performance awards prevail in step and grade, upward mobility, and performance cash up to $30-$40K. Dr. Petzel we think received more yearly salary at $279k almost $100k more than Mr. Secretary Shinseki. Anyone can see there is a problem within the SES pay grades. Call me a low level fed and call me gone from the federal pay system from researching first hand since the inception of FERS pay & retirements during the Reagan years.
    Posted yesterday. Everyone should realize the problems with the VA are longstanding for the greed of a source of money and position. Now it as become a issue of sacrifice as to whether Mr. Secretary Shinseki’s honor is stained and he resigns or Mr. President Obama is impeached. Taking into consideration Mr. President meddled in the VA with micromanagement and the appointment of a like mind czar of VA affairs it appears that Mr. Shinseki is to be gone soon. Democrat majority in the Senate and impeachment is out of the question with zombie followers like Ms. Senator Patty Murray D-WA who rubber stamps every piece of manusha published and uttered by the White House. How did you folks in the State of Washington ever elect Patty Murray to the US Senate is a wonder? At least she made two of the four quotas to become elected
    Some would think Shinseki was the better VA chief in a long while. Considering James Nicholson was practically bed fellows with some of the same long serving SES Executives currently serving and appointed as under secretaries and hospital administrators. Nicholson routinely allowed many October cash performance awards. The blame goes on Mr. Obama and some groupies on the VA US Senate Veterans Committee as with Sen. Patty Murray D-WA who would rather see Shinseki fired than vote for impeachment of President Obama. My two biggest candidates for the worst VA secretaries are modern day James Nicholson and back in the beginning Charles R. Forbes. Many in judgment of Shinseki does not know about the micromanagement of Shinseki while using his reputation and VA resources for other pork projects. Just because your grandfathers served in the Civil War, WWI, WWII and your father was a general does not qualify you for a public office. It’s a common excuse to justify those for public office for their nomination and appointment to BS the opposing political senate party for confirmation of appointment. Mr. Shinseki was a political casualty of the Obama administration to be forced to leave the VA. Many readers are shallow and cannot remember what they were served for breakfast. The same with Secretary Shinseki that he was sacrificed for the Democrats saving political face. Bottom line as a retired general that he doesn’t need the money and never did. My belief that he felt he had work to be done. Thank you.

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