I noticed I was getting a lot of hits from another Veterans’ oriented website so naturally I was intrigued. I found this criticism from an ASKNOD reader: “Attention Bloggers: This is why we don’t rant. When you rant and speak about VA or any other veterans organization, you’ll sometimes get away with it. There is a lot to be angry about these days. But anger isn’t any reason to resort to attention grabbing headlines using untrue statements, rumors, or innuendo. The facts will set you free. Rumors and outright lies will get you sued.”
Had the owner of the website come to me, he would have received a background briefing on what actually ensued and why the retraction was published. He also would have realized that the “attention grabbing headlines” as he describes them, were simply passed on to you readers from you readers. This was an unfortunate occurrence and a poor decision on my part but it was a far cry from a rant. Rants are reserved for the VA. That is the function of a website like asknod.org. We have always prided ourselves on our conviction to speak out when we perceive wrongs. Overstepping those boundaries have consequences but it was not done to increase our readership.
In a nonadversarial setting such as the VA describes it’s ex parte process, Veterans often find themselves particularly disadvantaged by those they depend on to represent them. This has always been our focus and the raison d’être of our being. Occasionally, you readers bring other things to the forefront for inspection. Therein lay the problem. Publishing is a finely balanced ballet that requires emotion be divorced from the equation. On that, I stand guilty as charged.
While I find defending myself in VA Courts or the CAVC to be daunting and anything but nonadversarial, I firmly believe depending on the National Organizations authorized by Congress for us are a fool’s errand. If that, too, constitutes a rant, so be it. Asknod was begun with one and only one ideal. After reading over 10,000 VA BVA decisions, one thing was undeniable. No one on any Veterans blog site, including Mr. Strickland’s, had a clue that you needed three prime ingredients to win a claim. No one. We set out to change that and we have succeeded beyond our wildest dreams. Caluza, Hickson and Shedden are almost household names in the lexicon of successful Veterans who win their claims around here. The VA has even included a blurb on it when you file telling you this. Meanwhile, large National Service Organizations continue to allow their representatives to permit unsuspecting Veterans to be led to slaughter at the BVA with no nexus letter .
I was publishing these legal precepts on how to win and writing my book all the while viewing numerous other websites askance and wondering why they failed to teach the same knowledge. With the exception of Hadit.com, Theresa’s website, very little useful knowledge was being disseminated. Helping Vets is the program here. Helping Vets win is the paramount consideration. While I may have concerns about other websites, I do not attack them or denigrate the owners/authors/publishers. As Veterans, it is important to stand as one and be counted. Fracturing us into many small subsets of dissatisfaction accomplishes nothing and diminishes our strength of numbers.
As an aside, my dual publications on Veterans Today were what provoked this. Sadly, the publication has nothing to do with Veterans and is a misnomer. The term hornswoggled comes to mind when I was invited to publish there. We learn from our mistakes. I, for one, have no problem admitting that.
While I freely apologize for my indiscretions regarding WWP, I feel no remorse for ranting or publishing attention-getting headlines about the injustices visited upon us by Mother VA. Had I never begun that line of discourse, there would be 500 or more less Veterans service connected-most at 100% schedular or TDIU. Most all suffer from the terminal diseases of HCV and AO. That wasn’t accomplished with rumor or innuendo.
The teaching moment from this is valuable. Apologies have been rendered to those whom I offended. If Watchdog.org wants to use them as attention-grabbing headlines to up his/their readership, fly at it. I’ll be your huckleberry. Meanwhile we’ll continue teaching all of you the secret handshake and the Caluza password. And that’s all I’m going to say about that.