Another Day, Another Scandal Bombshell *Open Thread*

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It seems the evidence is hitting the fan in a couple of major scandals this week. First is the gross mismanagement and downright fraud of those working at the Veterans Administration. The extent of the fraud, which dozens of family members claim cost the lives of their loved ones, those who donned the uniform of our country, is heartbreaking and gut-wrenching. It is unimaginable that we would so violate our promise to those who stood for us, but apparently, we have.

As a result, the acting head of the VA, General Shinseki, will be questioned Thursday morning on the Hill. Fox News has the story:

[…] According to prepared remarks, Shinseki will say the alleged problems in the system are unacceptable and if substantiated he will take “responsible and timely action” to remedy the situation.

“I am personally angered and saddened by any adverse consequence that a veteran might experience while in, or as a result of, our care,” he plans to say.

Meanwhile, the chief watchdog for the VA will testify Thursday that it must immediately focus on delivering quality health care in order to save lives.

In prepared remarks obtained by Fox News from a congressional source, VA’s acting Inspector General Richard J. Griffin said: “The unexpected deaths that the OIG continues to report on at VA facilities could be avoided if VA would focus first on its core mission to deliver quality health care.”

The two officials, along with representatives from a host of veteran advocacy groups — including The American Legion, which has called for Shinseki’s resignation — will testify before the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs. The scandal started with allegations of patient deaths due to long wait times at a Phoenix VA medical center, but new reports are emerging almost daily of problems elsewhere. […] (Click here to read the rest.)

You can watch the hearing HERE. It is hard to fathom what Shinseki can possibly say that will comfort those who lost loved ones, or sustain those who have been shunted around waiting for care, not knowing those who are charged with caring for them are engaged in a shell game. What a shocking realization that must be for those who served our nation proudly, putting their lives on the line…

No doubt, those at the highest level, as well as those who actually perpetrated this fraud (and it IS fraud – they should be charged criminally), must be punished to the fullest extent of the law, and human decency. This cannot be allowed to drag out ad nauseum in the hope people will forget when the next scandal comes along. No. This must be dealt with quickly and swiftly to ensure our military know they can have full faith and confidence that the promises we make to them are promises we will keep for them. Anything less is unacceptable.

The second scandal is an on-going one. As Charles Krauthammer said Wednesday night, making fun of White House stooge, Vietor, “Hey, Dude -two year old story.” I am referring to the IRS Scandal for which more emails have now come to light. From the All Star Panel on Special Report:

Thank heavens for Judicial Watch. Without them, heaven knows if we would EVER have found out what was really going on with the IRS.

But there is more to it than that. At the very end of the clip, Bret Baier mentioned the emails from Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan. Levin holds a very powerful position in the US Senate, which makes this that much more egregious. From the Daily Caller:

[…] Levin, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs’ permanent subcommittee on investigations, wrote a March 30, 2012 letter to then-IRS commissioner Douglas Shulman discussing the “urgency” of the issue of possible political activity by nonprofit applicants. Levin asked if the IRS was sending out additional information requests to applicant groups and citing an IRS rejection letter to a conservative group as an example of how the IRS should be conducting its business.

[…]

Levin asked ”if it is not provided on a routine basis, approximately what percentage of such applicants receive an IRS questionnaire seeking information about any political activities, and how the IRS determines whether and when to send that questionnaire; and approximately how many days after an application is filed that questionnaire is typically sent.”

Levin cited a 1997 IRS rejection letter to the conservative group National Policy Forum, formed by former Republican National Committee chairman Haley Barbour, and asked Shulman, “Is it still the position of the IRS that a 501(c)(4) organization cannot engage in any partisan political activity, even as a secondary activity?”

Then-IRS deputy commissioner Steven T. Miller sent Levin a 16-page response explaining that the flexibility of IRS rules allow for the agency to “prepare individualized questions and requests.” […] (Click here to read the rest.)

Personally, I am not one bit surprised to learn of the very close coordination in Washington, DC, with the IRS going after the Tea Party. Heck, Sen. Chuck Schumer has not been the LEAST bit reticent in urging the government to go after the Tea Party. Below, Sen. Schumer flat out calls for the IRS to go after the Tea Party in his speech to the Center for American Progress (bonus commentary from Herman Cain):

This is just astonishing to see a high level official telling the IRS to target groups for political gain, nothing more. That he is unabashed about it says to me he thinks there is nothing wrong with using the IRS as a hammer, a bully, a bludgeon, for one political party over another. That is reprehensible.

As the scandals continue to mount, it does beg the question: what in the world is it going to take for people to be held accountable by this Administration, and IN this Administration? I’d sure like to know…This is an Open Thread.

Before I leave this, though, I do want to mention the opening of the 9/11 Memorial Museum at Ground Zero. Hearing the stories, seeing the footage, is as painful now as it was that fateful day all those years ago. No doubt, it will be a powerful monument to visit, to relive that day, but also, to use the word of one survivor who just spoke, seeing the resiliency of Americans. The courage and the bravery of those who worked so hard that day, and the weeks that followed, is awe-inspiring. As is the American Spirit, on display for all to see.

I also want to lift up those in California who are being affected by the raging wildfires. My prayer is that it is corralled quickly, and those who live there are safe and sound away from danger.

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42 Responses to “Another Day, Another Scandal Bombshell *Open Thread*”

  1. Katherine B. Says:

    What exactly is it that Gen. Shinseki does all day that he wouldn’t be aware of this? What, in fact, has he done to improve the VA during his tenure? Perhaps he has done some good. I’m just asking. He looks painfully clueless to me. Just another stooge they put in place not to rock the boat.

    He apparently is disabled himself (I heard on TV this morning), but I imagine at his salary getting adequate medical care is not an issue. Do we think he waits on line to be seen at the VA? Perhaps he should. Maybe then he’d realize there is a problem.

    • kenoshamarge Says:

      A disabled person can quite easily read reports and send assistants to check on things for them. If they can’t do that – they shouldn’t be in the position. After all the welbeing of other vets depends on him, and the CiC doing their jobs, the vets did theirs.

      • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

        Those are good questions, Katherine. One would be hard-pressed to give Shinseki kudos for a job well done, so improve it? According to Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eric_Shinseki), he has been in place since 2009, so if he HAS improved them, then things were WAY worse before. Where things are now are simply unacceptable.

        Also according to Wikipedia, he stepped on a mine, and blew off part of his foot during Vietnam. I think they said he wears a prosthetic, but apparently, it didn’t affect his staying in until his retirement in 2009.

        And yeah, someone at his level likely has a personal physician. They should also be able to read reports, as you point out, Marge. Bottom line, after 5 yrs in that position, he OWNS everything that is going on under his watch.

  2. helenk3 Says:

    maybe congress should use the FOIA act like Judicial Watch to get information. It seems to work better on getting all the information

  3. kenoshamarge Says:

    The Democrats can quite safely act like lawless thugs in the USA of today. After all, there isn’t a media to call them out is there? In fact the media lapdogs are co-conspirators.

  4. Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

    A couple of stories of interest. Apparently, Condoleeza Rice also has questions abt what happened in Benghazi, and she has some good ones: http://dailycaller.com/2014/05/15/condoleezza-rice-i-think-there-are-still-unanswered-questions/

    And, the RNC is asking for an independent investigation into the shenanigans (i.e., criminal activity) at the VA: http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/senate/206193-rnc-demands-independent-investigation-into-va

    • mcnorman Says:

      Conoleeza makes far too much sense. That isn’t what ValJar et al want to hear or do.

      • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

        I know, right? No wonder that small group of Rutgers students and professors were afraid of her speaking. Then people would realize that she is brilliant, capable of analytic thought, and not an evil minion…

      • kenoshamarge Says:

        Not to mention that an educated, articulate Republican Black women is their worst nightmare. Might some day happen that black voters, especially female black voters might decide that they would rather listen to a woman like Condoleeza Rice than Beyonce’.

  5. helenk3 Says:

    http://www.jammiewf.com/2014/flashback-how-10-high-profile-democrat-senators-pressured-irs-to-harass-gop-and-tea-party-groups/

    flashback—–10 senators and the IRS

  6. helenk3 Says:

    http://newsbusters.org/blogs/ken-shepherd/2014/05/15/msnbc-cheers-feisty-campus-dissent-forcing-conservative-commencement-s

    msnbc are they a news channel?

  7. helenk3 Says:

    http://illinoisreview.typepad.com/illinoisreview/2014/05/speaking-at-univ-of-chicago-gore-blames-koch-brothers-and-gop-for-global-warming.html

    mr hot air himself blames Koch Bros and GOP for global warming.

    I really think I will write in the Koch Bros for all political offices. they are the most powerful men on earth

    • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

      Their obsession with these men is off the charts nuts. Seriously. That they continue to blame them for EVERY ILL that befalls not just the country, but the WORLD, is lunacy, sheer lunacy.

      Even Jon Stewart gets it, as he nails Harry Reid abt his hypocrisy:

      • kenoshamarge Says:

        Good rant by Stewart – one of the few he manages about a Democrat – even a lunatic like Reid. I still don’t like or trust Stewart and find him very unfunny most of the time. I can understand why the young crowd likes him – juvenile mugging for adolescent minds.

        • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

          You got that right abt the juvenile part, and that does seem to sum up the general mindset. But yes, glad he went after Reid a bit, though as they pointed out on The Five (I think it was), there are PLENTY of Dem. donors, like Steyer and Soros, after whom Jon could have gone to make his comparison, though I get that it is because the one he picked lives in Nevada. But yeah – abt time he went after Reid. “Lunatic” sums it up nicely!

  8. helenk3 Says:

    http://www.whitehousedossier.com/2014/05/15/obama-sends-cleaner/

    backtrack sends in the cleaner.
    is this guy going to be another susan rice and will the VA investigation be like the benghazi investigation where hillary was not even questioned?

    • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

      Oh, if Obama is sending in one of his aides to tale care of this, I am SO sure he will get to the bottom of it. AHAHAHAHAHA…

  9. helenk3 Says:

    http://dailycaller.com/2014/05/14/harvards-kennedy-school-will-make-white-privilege-training-mandatory-for-orientation/

    because I really am sick of this BS i will ask will there be classes on the white man’s burden?

  10. Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

    This piece, performed by the NY Philharmonic, closed the ceremony at the 9/11 Memorial Museum. Very powerful indeed:

    http://video.foxnews.com/v/3568823920001/051514song1100/

  11. helenk3 Says:

    I was surprised that President Bush was not at the 9-11 museum opening. Whether you liked him or not he brought us together that day and was a very important part of it. IMO he had more right to be there then backtrack

    • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

      From what I heard this morning, it was a scheduling conflict for Bush. And I agree – it would have been most appropriate for him to be there, regardless of what one thinks of him.

  12. mcnorman Says:

    I assume that the short staff means that they don’t have enough people in house to work with. Solution: there are many physicians on the outside of their system who will gladly work in tandem as vendors to take care of these vets. The VA doesn’t pay any less than Medicare. Many physicians feel a duty and responsibility toward vets. With their help, they could help ease the bottleneck.

    From personal experience, I have witnessed firsthand how they (top administration at the VA) do not want to allow their power to dwindle (over the physicians) by allowing them to go outside of the system (even if it would be in the best interest of the patient). Napoleon syndrome imho. Such bs.

    • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

      Thank you, mcnorman – there is nothing like the voice of experience. It is astonishing, isn’t it? “BS,” indeed…

      • mcnorman Says:

        If this truly takes down this inept and corrupt administration, so be it. I don’t think that this country will stand for vets to be pushed under the bus.

        • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

          Sure hope you are right. I have never seen so many scandals in such a short time for one president, and not have ANY of them touch him. I realize Obama has the MSM propping him up, but still.

          But this does seem to be one issue that is bipartisan, Bob Beckel’s responses on The Five last night notwithstanding…

  13. helenk3 Says:

    http://www.ijreview.com/2014/05/138572-17-yr-old-girl-says-politicians-job-isnt-rocket-science-just-unseated-incumbent-legislator/

    this young lady gives me hope for the future. whether she wins or not she gives the politicians a message they really should listen to. I would vote for her in a heartbeat

    • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

      Holy smokes, that is amazing! Good for her. I hope she is able to keep that attitude if elected!

  14. helenk3 Says:

    http://www.buzzfeed.com/daves4/facts-that-will-teach-you-a-damn-thing-for-once-in-your-l?bffb

    since i believe you are never too old to learn something, I thought I would share this

  15. kenoshamarge Says:

    Tapper Confronts McDonough on Shinseki

    by Keith Koffler

    CNN’s Jake Tapper, who is sorely missed in the White House briefing room, showed why today as he confronted White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough with a letter showing the White House was warned by the Republican VA Committee Chairman a year ago about “serious and significant patient care issues.”

    http://www.whitehousedossier.com/2014/05/15/tapper-confronts-mcdonough-shinseki/

    • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

      Jake Tapper is a great journalist, one of the few MSM ones who is. He does not shy away from the tough questions, and yes, he is missed from the WH press pool where mainly Ed Henry asks the tough questions now (and once in a blue moon maybe someone like Karl).

      All the news coming out abt this is really disconcerting. If I heard correctly this morning, Shinseki has known there were problems since 2010…

      • kenoshamarge Says:

        You can see Tapper’s frustration with McDonough dancing around the questions. Good questions. Tough questions and ones that will NEVER be answered or even addressed by this Administration. I’ve come to believe that they simply are not capable of an honest answer.

        They certainly have no problem looking people straight in the eye and lying. All that is needed to know about Obama, his administration and the Dems who support him is – they lie. They lie all the time. Why would anyone vote for any of them? Are Americans so used to being lied to that they now simply accept it as business as usual?

        • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

          No, they really don’t. They will look you straight in the eye, and lie through their teeth. For McDonough to continue on with his patented talking points in the face of ALL evidence to the contrary really says it all.

          And Marge, I wish I could answer that question. To just assume a politician will lie to you, and ACCEPT that, makes no sense to me. I think that is why someone like Gowdy is resonating with so many people – because he is a straight shooter. That is so rare these days – but it shouldn’t be, especially since we are trusting these people with our government, and our country.

          Oh, and speaking of liars, Obama just endorsed John Conyers in MI, a crook who is married to a crook. That says it all: http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/house-races/206256-obama-endorses-conyers-for-reelection

  16. kenoshamarge Says:

    Thought you might find this article interesting. I wonder what I would have done if I’d read something like it before I voted for Hillary in 2008? But then I was a Democrat back then so I was only using about 90 of my IQ points. I would never have read anything written by a conservative about anything.

    Once I became an Independent I saw her in a whole new light. I still think she got a raw deal in 2008 – from her own party and other liberals. That said I think she was a big disappointment as SoS. Frequent Flyer miles don’t count as success.

    Is Hillary Clinton the World’s Biggest Blunderer?

    A career littered with mind-blowing errors.

    http://pjmedia.com/tatler/2014/05/14/is-hillary-clinton-the-worlds-biggest-blunderer/?singlepage=true

    • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

      Interesting article, Marge – and it highlights what both you and I have said in response to those who claim she had such a successful career as SoS: frequent flyer miles do not a successful stint make. Libya, Egypt, and the relationship with Israel are ALL areas that suffered under her leadership at State, and then, of course, there was Benghazi. Uh, yeah.

      And I hear you – I probably wouldn’t have believed this back in 2007 abt her. I would like to think I might have looked it up to verify it, but probably would still have come out to support her anyway. Yep, I admit it – she had a D after her name, after all. And I still think she would have been TONS better than Obama, but maybe not, considering the SoS results…

      Absolutely no doubt she got a raw deal, from liberals, the DNC, and the media. Just this morning, they mentioned on Fox and Friends that they were told by one of her top campaign people that Fox treated her the best of anyone in 2008. I know that to be true, and that is how I started watching Fox in the first place, the respectful manner in which she was interviewed and treated. (And I realized I had been sold a bill of goods by the Dems abt Fox being the anti-Christ – for straight news and reporting, CNN cannot hold a candle to Fox. I believed the meme, without ever having watched it. Now that I have, I know they afraid of the actual reporting Fox does.)

      Anyway, good piece – thanks for that!

      • kenoshamarge Says:

        That’s when I started watching FOX too. I bet a lot of Dems and former Dems had the same experience. So the liberals can thank themselves and their unfair and digusting treatment of Hillary Clinton – woman – to support a black man.

        I wonder if Jill Abramson is feeling a bit like that these days. After all, black MEN got the vote in 1870 and women didn’t get the vote until 1920 with the passage of the 19th Amendment.

        • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

          True that, Marge – they unwittingly pushed us there, and lo and behold, there was a whole lot of news we weren’t getting elsewhere. Again, I could see why they demonized it – they wanted people to remain clueless.

          Good question abt Abramson. Just more, “Do as I say, not as I do” from that segment…

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