Call me Bob

CMB (Call me Bob)McDonald blogged to us today to let us know VA is once again dancing on their collective neckties and doing another faceplant-this right on top of their inability to find any fault with the way VAMC Director Sharon Helman & Co. were disposing of problem Vets down in Phoenix. At  40 243 deaths, any idea that they might have been predisposed to dying anyway, regardless of VA inaction, is now coming under closer scrutiny.

We had high hopes for CMB. Really, we did. I assumed he would grab the bull by the horns and wrassle the intractible VA sucker to the ground. Given the strong mandate from his boss down at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW, his record at Proctor and Gamble and a resounding new law from Congress, it was a given we were going to have a Saturday Night Massacre reminiscent of the Nixon Casa Blanca shakeup after Watergate. Ah, how soon we discover that words, rather than actions, are hollow and merely echo desires rather than resolve.

LawBob-The oracle at Battle Creek

LawBob-The oracle at Battle Creek

My recent communiques with him and his subordinates looked like they would bear fruit but as LawBob Squarepants is fond of saying- “be careful what you ask for.” I got exactly what I asked for, too. I told them to fix it. They did-but with a Statement of the Case asking me what part of “No” I was unacquainted with. That was the easy way out and probably not what CMB envisioned. Nevertheless, the plaque on his desk should bear the same mantra as Truman’s did in 1952- The Buck Stops Here. Many other Vets I  have talked with met with guarded success so that avenue is not entirely a dry hole and I certainly do not wish to imply it.

VA choice cards will eventually arrive in our mailboxes but how many, how soon and how timely to avoid any more senseless deaths? Likewise, will we still be reading next year about disgraced VA officials quickly strapping on golden parachutes just minutes ahead of being frog-marched down to the Justice Department for a photo op and fingerprinting?

In order to make a dent in the Veterans’ conscience, it will require stronger actions and steely resolve. Namby pamby wrist slaps and ten minutes in the corner followed by a promotion to VACO are not going to fly well now that Pandora is airborne. Congressman Jeff Miller has a mandate (as do many on the right side of the aisle) to investigate the VA’s storied history of delaying and denying us until we reach room temperature. Come January, the VA is not going to have their Vermont apologist (Col. Sanders) to run interference for them any more. Further Senatorial inaction on this is now a fig newton of the imagination. In the immortal words of our President yesterday after his press conference:


I’m not much for politics. When asked, I subscribe to the Crosby, Stills and Nash political philosophy- “When you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with.” It makes no difference who’s boat we use to get across the river of denial, the important thing to do is make the transit. Accolades can be ascribed to whoever wants or desires them. I’m not one for the limelight. Mr. McDonald might want to take a page from that book if he is serious about turning this around.

I would strongly suggest that CMB take a page from the Real Rules of Construction rather than the Building Code. Rule number one is inviolate. At some point, you have to shoot the engineers and begin production. Failing that, you have a piece of paper in your hand- a virtual blueprint- telling you what to do, how to do it, where to do it and a production schedule that keeps getting pushed back due to “contingencies”.  Pardon my French but it’s time to piss on the fire and call in the dogs. The VAMC kerfluffle began as early as 2005 in documented cases of VA scheduling “irregularities”. It  was assiduously annotated for all the intervening years by our VA Office of Inspector Gadget until a medical doctor spilled the beans and used the word “death by inaction”. Apparently the untermenschen VA employees were not credible in their whistleblower attempts all these years and it required the bona fides of someone with a college degree and Medical Doctorate to focus attention on it. This speaks volumes to what VA hierarchy thinks of us (and the OIG) but that  is a subject for another day.

Sponge-Bob-Square-Pants-spongebob-squarepants-16769717-259-314Our new Secretary has a glorious mandate that he risks destroying by delaying his reforms. Caution is all well and fine, as is an orderly legal path to ridding us of the self-serving SES’s infesting 810 Vermin Ave. NW. But caution couched in inaction and recalcitrance to show a backbone merely emboldens the miscreants to assume the status quo will go on unabated. LawBob says a new day is dawning. I prefer to get up each morning and take a measurement. To date, all I see is pages turning on a calendar with a remarkable similarity to the months before. Remember our glee when this all broke in the news? That was April. Seasons change. VA doesn’t, apparently. Yet. Say it ain’t so, Bob.

Please do not read a political diatribe into this epistle. It is merely one more post to effect change in what is decidedly a lopsided judicial and medical enigma in the Veterans Administration. Far too much time has been invested in proving everything is hunky dory and time will cure all ills. Were that the case, we’d all be happy and the term “backlog” would not inhabit every other sentence  at VA press conferences. UnderSecretary for Benefits Allison “Accenture” Hickey had better be sharpening up the Kaizen and Six Sigma protocols. 2015 and those promised whirlwind 125-day adjudications with 98% accuracy are right around the proverbial corner. I await them with parted lips, bated breath and a sixth sense of “Well, not exactly”.

P.S. Forgot to add this from Maple State Frank:

About asknod

VA claims blogger
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  1. I agree with the Arizona Republic’s assesment: “The only reform the VA will accept is additional funding”. So far, that is the only reform I have seen..the VA got more money. Time after time the VA gets into trouble and gets more money as a result. Is it any wonder they keep getting into trouble if the answer is always the same? (More money for VA). The VA gets paid for scandals and trouble. Before we throw more money at the problem we need to fix that, as more money fixes “nothing” at VA.

  2. hepper74 says:

    It will take a great deal of shoveling to get all of the BS out of the barn known also as the VA. It, not unlike our Senate and House, is rife with greed, corruption, dementia and lobbyists. If you remove the head of the snake . . . . The system is way too bloated and it appears as though this is one of those fights you saw when you were in Jr. High where one boy was afraid and the other was glad of it but neither wanted to show the truth. Who is holding an office high enough to force their hand? I’m sorry but I do not see anything changing unless we elect someone high enough and with a set of brass testes. Just the way I see it. Another option might be to try and get as many Vets together via online and hit Millers office with an avalanche of emails and/or phone calls.

  3. says:

    If CNB’s intent is what he projects it to be, he needs to make an across the board statement to the effect of something like this, In the Voice of a young crazy A – – s Drill Sargent ” The US Government has took a decades long CRAP. This Crap has worked it’s way into the nooks and crannies from the top to the bottom, infested, and infected good intentions throughout a meaningful, proud and powerful mission called the Department of Veterans Affairs.
    The Department is massive so I can not see all of the crap at one time but I am looking and sniffing every day. If I find S – – – T or even smell it near you OUT YOU GO. if IT STINKS REALLY BAD YOU WILL GO TO JAIL########### NOW SOME BODY PLEASE GO TELL CMB MY BRAIN STORM SUGESTION BECAUSE I SMELL SOME REAL STANKY S – – – T BETWEEN ME AND MY CORRESPONDENCES TO CMB. COMUNICATION IS BEING INTERCEPETED MISS DIRECTED AND MISSLABELED.

  4. Frank says:

    Ask NOD: “My recent communiques with him and his subordinates looked like they would bear fruit …”

    Mine with him got no response at all. And as for his subordinates, the entire lot I had the misfortume to come across couldn’t muster up an ounce of dealing in good faith to save their lives.

    I’d summarize my experience with them this way (and the record would bear me out): “One lied and the others swore to it.”

    General Shinseki was, well, a general, and arguably a war hero, but that wasn’t enough to keep the VA brass respectful, or keep them from snookering him.

    CMB was a captain.

    Anyone want to bet the farm that they’ll deal with him any differently?

  5. david j murphy says:

    As much as I would like to blame the current ADMIN, this problem has gone on for years from both parties. One must ask the question. WTF, over. Probobly all we will get in return is WTF, out. Hope bob the law dog is right and I am wrong.

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