Friday, September 9, 2016

Opinion: Veterans Harmed as Lawmaker Wages Political Vendetta

Not only do we need the current whistleblower protection program, we need to strengthen it. Especially when it comes to the Department of Veterans Affairs, whistleblowing is a must; given the disastrous shape this Agency is in. What is being reported is just the tip of a very large iceberg, which needs to be blown to “smithereens”, so the VA can be restructured to meet the needs of those it claims to serve. The article, below just came across my News Ticker.... | Sep 08, 2016 | by J. David Cox Sr.
J. David Cox Sr. is national president of the American Federation of Government Employees, which represents 670,000 federal and District of Columbia government employees nationwide, including 220,000 in the Department of Veterans Affairs. The views expressed in this commentary are his.
I've dealt with extremist politicians like Rep. Jeff Miller long enough not to take his insults personally ("Opinion: Union Bosses, VA Bosses Rigging System for Failure," Sept. 5).
But after spending 20 years caring for veterans as a psychiatric nurse, and the past decade representing more than 220,000 VA employees across the country, here's one thing I take very personally: our nation's sacred obligation to serve the women and men who have worn the uniform.
Our members take that obligation seriously, too. That's why they were the first to come forward to blow the whistle on VA managers and executives who were falsifying appointment records to hide excessive wait times for veterans seeking care.
Rather than proposing real solutions to the problem of veterans not getting timely access to care, Rep. Miller chose to exploit the wait list scandal to serve his own political agenda. Miller has introduced a bill that would gut the workforce protections that empowered whistleblowers to come forward in the first place.
Miller's bill is part of a concerted effort by the congressman to strip all federal employees -- not just those at the VA -- of their due process rights, allowing employees to be demoted or fired at will without any protections from partisanship or favoritism.
He also has waged an intense campaign to implement the extreme proposal by the Concerned Veterans for America to privatize the VA and dismantle the patient-centered system that veterans have endorsed time and time again.
Miller's obsession with gutting employees' rights and stripping the VA for parts has distracted the House Committee on Veterans Affairs, which he chairs, from focusing on staffing shortages and underfunding issues that, if addressed, stand to make a tremendous difference for the veterans he claims to serve.
Tell me, Congressman Miller, how is silencing health care providers and shutting down VA hospitals going to improve veterans' access to health care?
A far better VA reform bill has the bipartisan support of Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs Chair Johnny Isakson of Georgia and ranking member Richard Blumenthal.
Even though we do not agree with provisions attacking the due process rights of VA executives, we support his Veterans First Act because it will provide real accountability at the VA without hanging an ax over the heads of honest employees who choose to blow the whistle on mismanagement.
The Veterans First Act is far from a boondoggle for labor unions, as Rep. Miller suggests -- which is why many employee groups still oppose it. Yet we believe that our veterans deserve quality health care and that they indeed must come first, which this bill would accomplish by empowering VA employees to hold bad managers and opportunist politicians in check.
With its vast network of more than 160 medical centers and 1,000 community-based outpatient clinics across the country, the VA provides its 5.8 million veteran patients the best health care our nation has to offer.
If Congressman Miller would focus on providing the VA with the resources it needs to serve more veterans, instead of scapegoating the very employees who deliver that care, our nation's war heroes would reap the benefits they so justly deserve.
© Copyright 2016 . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

About 450 More US Troops Arrive in Iraq to Back Mosul Drive

No, I guess we don’t have any “Troops” in Iraq; as per the consensus of our politicians and the Department of Defense.
Oops! They let the cat out of the bag, again. The article, below, just came across my News Ticker..... | Sep 08, 2016 | by Richard Sisk
About 450 more U.S. troops have arrived in Iraq in the past week to support the imminent offensive to drive ISIS from Mosul, the chief U.S. military spokesman in Baghdad said Thursday.
Air Force Col. John Dorrian, spokesman for Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve, declined to give a time frame for the start of the offensive but added, "We're going to have to get started soon" if Mosul is to be wrested from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria by the end of this year.
Army Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend, task force commander, appeared to suggest in a Wall Street Journal interview that the Mosul offensive could begin as early as next month to fulfill Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's prediction that the strategic northwestern city would fall before the end of the year.
However, in a Pentagon briefing from Baghdad, Dorrian denied that Townsend said that the Mosul push would begin in early October.
To support the coming offensive, more than 400 additional U.S. troops have arrived since last week to boost the total number of U.S. troops in Iraq from about 4,000 to 4,460, Dorrian said. The additional troops are from the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, out of Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
The deployment of the 2nd BCT was announced by the Army in August. The troops are expected to be assigned to the Qayyarah West airfield about 40 miles southeast of Mosul, which is being built up as a logistics hub and forward operating base for the Mosul offensive.
Dorrian said more than eight Iraqi Security Force brigades were ready for the Mosul offensive against what is believed to be about 3,000 to 4,500 ISIS defenders.
However, the offensive is temporarily on hold while the Iraqis form and train a follow-on force to occupy the city, provide relief and defend the population, Dorrian said. The size of the follow-on force had yet to be determined, he said.
Townsend predicted a difficult fight to retake the city, Dorrian said. ISIS has held Mosul for more than two years, and "they've had a chance to build intricate defenses."
Townsend, who took over the task force from Lt. Gen. Sean MacFarland three weeks ago, also has responsibility for the campaign to retake Raqqa, the self-proclaimed ISIS capital in northeastern Syria, in what Dorrian described as an "increasingly crowded battlespace" since Turkey sent troops and tanks into northern Syria late last month.
Dorrian said the task now is to "deconflict" the various opposition groups under the banner of the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces from clashing with the Turks, who have closed off the last remaining section of the border that gave ISIS access to resupply and reinforcements by foreign fighters.
The Turkish forces initially clashed with the Syrian Kurdish YPG, or People's Protection Units, which are part of the Syrian Democratic Forces and have been the most effective rebel force against ISIS in Syria.
Dorrian said the clashes have subsided since the YPG met the Turkish demand to move east of the Euphrates River.
"We're glad to see it's been relatively peaceful between those two," he said.
-- Richard Sisk can be reached at
© Copyright 2016 . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Monday, September 5, 2016


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Congressman Seeks Answers On Allegations Of Outsourcing For Veterans Crisis Line
September 4, 2016  
Iowa Congressman David Young is seeking answers from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary, Robert McDonald, to respond to claims that some VA contractors are using workers from outside of the country to staff the Veterans Crisis Line. Young says he has grave concerns over the allegations, “and how potential outsourcing and contracting Veterans Crisis Line operations may impact our vulnerable veterans.” Young says it is the VA’s duty to ensure their choice have a positive impact on our veterans, especially when it comes to mental health assistance.


Sunday, September 4, 2016

The VA's Org Chart - short version

Copy/paste this link to your browser for the ride of a lifetime. And, you thought you knew what bull-crap was?
If it takes 368 pages to describe your organization, you might want to reconsider what you’re doing and how you’re doing it... Granted this Organizational Report is two years old, but not only has nothing changed much, some of it has gotten worse (a lot worse).

Why does the Veterans Administration insist on getting this back-ass-wards?

Here's the link to the latest VA report on suicides. The breakdown of the numbers is excellent. The resultant conclusions are bull-crap! To read this report correctly, please start from the last page and work your way forward. Just another typical example of how this Government Agency works!
Cut/Paste this link to your Browser for the 46-page report; PDF format.

Navigate the VA System - A No-Win Situation

Please click on this link and read......
Vietnam Veterans Struggle With The VA System
One of the best things about this man's story is that he didn't give up and commit suicide. Most People regard the IRS forms as totally intimidating. The IRS is a "walk in the Park" compared to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' forms, paperwork, and protocols!
If you read carefully, you see the gross contradiction in the Appeal numbers as stated by the VA. It's as if they keep two separate sets of books on their statistics; one set that is real, and one set they push out for the Public's consumption. Every once in a while the VA screws up and quotes from the wrong set on numbers.
This system has become so overweight that it is close to imploding. Veterans who served their Country in uniform need this Agency, but they need it to work properly, efficiently, and effectively. It is not too late to restructure this behemoth since all the necessary parts exist. It simply takes a leadership team that knows what they're doing.