Shinseki Stonewalls, And It’s Ladies Day *Open Thread*

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The VA Hearing has concluded, but I don’t think we know much more today than we did after the Hearing. One thing I think we can agree on is that Shinseki isn’t the only one who is “mad as hell” about the allegations toward the VA:

Yeah, I could use some stronger language too, Gen. Shinseki. But here’s the thing: I am not in the position to actually rectify the fraud and gross mismanagement of the Veterans Administration. YOU, however, ARE in such a position. You have known about these problems, perhaps not the fraud, but certainly the scheduling problems for FOUR YEARS NOW. Yet, not only have those problems not been corrected, they have become considerably worse since that time. If the allegations are true, LIVES have been lost due to the gross mismanagement, and fraud. of the Veterans Administration. So, yeah, Gen. Shinseki, a whole BUNCH of us are “mad as hell” about what has happened at the VA under your six year leadership, and its impact on those willing to don the uniform of the United States.

Oh, and while I’m at it, another thing about which I am mad as hell is that there doesn’t seem to be enough money for us to fulfill our promises to these veterans, but there is a HALF A BILLION DOLLARS for new furnishings for VA Conference Rooms (h/t Facebook friend for reminding me of this today). HALF A BILLION DOLLARS, people! For FURNITURE:

[…] This upcoming fiscal year Obama requested a 3 percent increase for the Veterans Affairs budget. Obama’s FY 2015 budget request points out he has increased the VA discretionary budget by 35.2 percent since 2009 so veterans continue to access necessary services.

“VA’s 2015 budget provides the necessary resources to allow us to serve our veterans who selflessly served our nation,” stated the president’s FY 2015 budget.

As the embattled agency faces charges of record tampering and neglect of veterans, records reviewed by the Washington Free Beacon show the VA has not neglected upgrading and decorating its offices throughout the country.

The VA has spent a total of $489 million to upgrade conference rooms, buy draperies, and purchase new office furniture during the past four-and-a-half years.

A total of 15,010 contracts were awarded for office furniture by the VA for Fiscal Years 2010 through 2014. […] (Click here to read the rest.)

It is a bit hard to learn that while our veterans are waiting months for medical care, such a huge chunk of change of being spent on drapes. Talk about skewed priorities, this takes the cake.

But do we really know any more today than we did before the hearing? Nope. Shinseki still refuses to resign, and instead, we get the sanctimonious outrage. Spare me. While I have the deepest respect for his service to our country, including his being injured in the line of duty, one would think that would spur him to move heaven and earth for these wounded warriors, not play political games. Sadly, one would be wrong. We are still waiting for the answers to these questions from the Daily Caller:

1) Since there are now credible allegations from at least five VA facilities that employees manipulated data to make wait times appear shorter, why should we not assume this practice is common to many more, or all, VA facilities?

2) Given the allegations of manipulation of records at various VA facilities, how can we trust any data reported by the VA?

3) VA officials have received generous performance bonuses in recent years, but we are now learning that those bonuses may have been based upon fraudulent reporting. What consequences will VA employees who engaged in this fraud face?

4) You have claimed you have the managerial and administrative tools you need to enact the necessary change at the VA. Why have you not done so? Why has nobody in senior management been fired?

5) What are you doing to build a culture where people are held accountable for their mistakes?

6) There are 110 outstanding requests for information from VA for the House Veterans Affairs Committee. Why does it take so long to provide information? How can you expect problems to be fixed when you withhold information from committees that are trying to help?

7) VA is the second largest federal department. Do you believe that the department is too big to be managed successfully? Why or why not?

8) What protections against whistleblowers does the VA have to ensure that those who come forward to speak about malfeasance do not face retribution or retaliation?

9) During your years of service in the U.S. Army, a common command principle held that leaders who failed to perform, or who maintained command over failing missions, are to be replaced. Why does that standard not apply at the VA?

10) Leading veterans organizations have called for your resignation from the department, suggesting as significant decline in trust from the veterans’ community. What do you plan to do to rebuild that trust? […] (Click here to read the rest.)

Good questions all, and I, for one, would love to get the answers to them. Unfortunately, Shinseki does not seem inclined to answer them…

On a much lighter note, today is the Ladies Day at Pimlico. Yes, the second leg of the Triple Crown, the Preakness, is upon us tomorrow, but before we get to that, we have the Black-eyed Susan Race this afternoon, capping off a day of events for Black-eyed Susan Day at Pimlico (though there is one more race after that). It should be an exciting day of racing and other events at the track.

Lots going on today in the world, so feel free to talk about whatever is on your minds!

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24 Responses to “Shinseki Stonewalls, And It’s Ladies Day *Open Thread*”

  1. Katherine B. Says:

    Shinseki, like Hillary Clinton, chose to serve in the Obama administration and I have no sympathy for either of them when their reputations suffer accordingly. As I’ve said before, when you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas. Shinseki is a gonner. When the outrage starts moving closer to the Commander-in-Chief, as it eventually will, Shinseki will be thrown overboard.

    • kenoshamarge Says:

      I doubt that Shinseki is a gonner. The Obama Administration needs him around to take the flack lest some actually think that the CiC, who has all ready said he would see this fixed, take the heat.

      Remember the left going batshit over the problems at Walter Reed Hospital? Did any one excuse George W. Bush?

      Not to mention that this is a good example of what happens to health care when the government is in charge. Bonuses are so much more important that lives. /s

    • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

      So true abt the company one chooses, Katherine. A dear friend mentioned the other day that when the President asks you to serve, you do. BUT, that does not mean you have to stay in that position or fall on one’s own sword, especially when one’s integrity is at stake, never mind one’s reputation.

      And Shinseki could have at least done his damndest to address the issues raised in 2010. Rather than those being resolved, they are many times worse (like wait times). Ugh.

      And Marge, that is EXACTLY what I was thinking abt healthcare and the impact of having the Gov’t run it. There are VASTLY more civilians than veterans, and if we cannot even care for them adequately, how in the HELL can the entire population expect decent healthcare?

  2. helenk3 Says:

    http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Journalism/2014/05/15/First-Female-Editor-of-New-York-Times-Editor-Fired-in-Part-for-Investigating-Paper-s-CEO?utm_source=e_breitbart_com&utm_medium=email&utm_content=Breitbar

    Whoa is this the real reason Jill Abramson was fired and is being trashed as greedy

    • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

      DANG – now THAT is a scandal! Holy cow, Helen – if that is true, that opens a HUGE can of worms, doesn’t it? Wow…

      • kenoshamarge Says:

        I thought them getting rid of her was an open can of worms – all that hypocritical war on women b.s. seemed to be coming home to roost. If she got fired for investigating it seems a pretty good bet that now that they fired her, and really made her mad, she will be more inclined to investigate further.

        And what’s the bet that like Sharyl Atkinson, once out from under she may be better able to speak out more.

        Although I still think that part of what got her fired was her saying that the Obama Administration was the most secretive administration she had ever seen. My guess is that the PTB at the NYT didn’t like that.

        • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

          Good point there, Marge. Yep, that could very well be the open can.

          Wouldn’t THAT be something if she took a page from Attiksson’s play book?? That would be something to see!

          I am certain that did not go over well – her comment abt the Administration. I am sure Dan Pfeiffer was on the phone immediately demanding something be done abt her…

  3. helenk3 Says:

    stolen from a commentor at the crawdad hole

    http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/feds-approve-cost-control-strategy-expensive-health-procedures/

    Amy you will understand the damage of this better than a lot of people

    • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

      Helen, that is exactly the kind of thing we feared was going to happen under this horrible law. I am so, so glad I had my last knee replacement (hope springs eternal) last year. I had a feeling they were going to pull something like this. As it is, with the increased premiums, deductible, and out-of-pocket expenses, it was STILL pricey, but not like it will be in the future.

      Good GRIEF, we have got to get this law repealed…

  4. helenk3 Says:

    BTW

    did I tell you my horse California Chrome is going to win the race?

    • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

      LOL – that would be great! He’s an amazing horse. Sure would like to have a new Triple Crown winner!

  5. helenk3 Says:

    i JUST SOLD MY HOUSE

    • Katherine B. Says:

      No small accomplishment in this market. Congrats!!!!!

    • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

      WOOHOO!!! That is outstanding news, Helen! Congratulations!! 😀

    • helenk3 Says:

      Thanks. only had two people look at it. one was investor that looked at it twice but bought another in the area that was cheaper. he was buying to rent out. the 2nd loved the house and made a good offer so I took it. just happened

      • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

        That is just incredible, Helen. But hey, all it takes is just the right person seeing it and falling in love. Very happy for you!

    • foxyladi14 Says:

      Great news Helen. 🙂

  6. Katherine B. Says:

    The undersecretary for Veterans’ Health at the VA, one Robert Pretzel, has resigned. This must be devastating to Mr. Pretzel who had, according to the news report I just read, previously announced his retirement scheduled for 2014.

    • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

      Oh, yes – it must be a misery to resign now, at this time, when he was already planning on retiring (when, like next month or something? Ahem,).

      So glad folks like him will get their full retirement benefits, aren’t you? Not…

  7. foxyladi14 Says:

    Yes!! It is actually past time. 😦

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