President Obama, Make That Phone Call
VA Secretary Shinesky’s military record is there for all to see and his Senate confirmation was unanimous and relatively swift. He was sworn in the day after his confirmation, on January 21,2009. It was a quick march into office from the initial announcement in December of 2008. Whether his long, slow retreat is finally coming to an end is still a touch unclear, but the bugle is starting to sound. At the Pentagon, Secretary Hagle has shifted slightly in the language he uses when asked about Shineski and the spreading scandal at Veteran’s Affairs. After stating that fixing the mess at VA was a number one priority for the nation he added, ” IÂ´m not going to get into General Shineski’s future. IÂ´ll leave that to others.” It wouldn’t be that the Defense Secretary was asking for a little leadership from the President on this, all too literally, life and death issue?
Posted by AllardK at May 29, 2014 5:07 PM
From its creation in 1930, through its expansion in 1945 and its elevation to Cabinet status by President Reagan in 1988, the Department of Veteran Affairs mission has always been clear; to care for those who placed themselves in harm's way defending the country. General Shineski does not need reminding of that, he served in Vietnam. What he does maybe need to focus on is that the tragedies that have come to light, despite attempts to conceal them, have been occurring under his command at the Department. The White House has played a game of delay and wait for more information, as if the recent inspector general report leaves any room for delay, even for Obama himself. Senators on both sides of the aisle are demanding action. While the President's go slow, this-is-not-a-firing approach might have been frustrating in the case of Kathleen Sebelius and the botched rollout of Obamacare, it is unconscionable in the case of veterans dying due to bad administration at the Department of Veteran Affairs. Not every problem in the world has a military solution; some just need a phone call from the Oval Office. And the political courage to assume responsibility in a very serious matter.
General Shinseki like the good soldier he is fell on his sword for the good of the country. I find it amazing that people hold President Obama to a higher standard than our previous Presidents. Say what you will but I am convinced that his determined approach to governing is exactly why people are so critical. They would rather see a rootin’ tootin’ cowboy like behavior that they could really get behind but he will not provide that and instead uses the power of his office and the patience of his personality to act accordingly in a very well thought and deliberate manner.
Oh and by the way:
In 2003 when the drums of war were being beaten furiously by members of both parties. The Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff went before congress. This was prior to the disastrous move on Iraq. He warned Congress of the dangers of a prolonged war and the cost of service men and women that it would take. But the drums of war were being beaten so loudly that not to long after his testimony he was forced to resign. His name was Eric Shinseki. So the guy that warned us about over using our military and incurring costs that we didn’t know would be caused by that, is now the guy being blamed for not handling 13 years of war and the damage that does to our military. The hypocrisy is astounding. I’m not sure if General Shinseki is the right guy for this job but at the least we owe him a debt of gratitude and an apology that we did not heed his warning.
I would imagine that General Shinseki is shaking his head and wondering what he has to do more for the American people but I don’t think his loyalty or military acumen should ever be in question. His skills as an administrator however could be.
On February 27th, Republicans in the Senate blocked a bill to expand coverage for veterans and reduce waiting times.
That is a fact. That is what happened.
But that’s what conservatives do. They pay lip service to our soldiers, but when the fighting is over and the veterans need care and it takes money, the GOP refuses to authorize the funds. They will authorize billions in tax cuts for the wealthiest among us, and then blame the VA for the problems caused by being insufficiently funded.
Produce a link to the bill and the oppositional reasons phx8. Don’t just dump something and run off like you did with the baloney about Texas education.
It had something to do with the cost or monies being allocated, Royal. It got 99-0 prior to the final vote then I think it failed on the final vote but it did have something to do with cost.
Thanks Rich. I suspect more money for the VA was included in some Ginormous overreaching omnibus spending bill.
Also Royal it didn’t have any wording for reforms. I just googled veterans bill 2014 you can get more info there.
The bill was introduced by Sen. Bernie Sanders on 2/27/14. The WaPo givers a fairly non-partisan recount of its rejection:
In a nutshell, Republicans wanted off-setting spending cuts from other programs, and were unwilling to consider the costs of decreases due to the end of the various Wars as off-sets. The GOP also wanted to introduce amendments to stop negotiations with Iran, which Senator Reid prevented. The GOP was completely unwilling to consider any tax increases.
When a party seeks to block and obstruct and filibuster, this is what happens. The 113th Congress has passed less legislation than any other in history, breaking the previous low of the 112th. This is not the first time the US has had a divided government, but not since the mid-1800’s have we seen a party as broken and ineffective as the conservative Republican GOP.
GOP candidates for the House & Senate routinely run on promises of being absolutely unwilling to compromise with Democrats. That is their badge of honor. They voted over fifty times to repeal Obamacare.
This debacle with the VA is a direct result of the conservatism in inaction.
With over 50% of people not happy with Obamacare could it be that those GOP reps and senators are doing what their constituents want them to do? phx8. IMO throwing 21 billion to a system that is so F****D up without any wording for reforms is just throwing that money down the toilet.
Thanks to all for the links.
American Customer Satisfaction Index 2008
1997 through 1999. 2000, outperformed medicare, significantly better
Rand Corporation study in 2004 VHA outperforms all other sectors of American health care, VHA scored significantly higher
Congressional Budget Office 2009 VHA compares favorably
Harvard Medical School at least as good.
The VHA, from years 1997 through 2009 received high praise from the various entities evaluating it.
How can it be George Bush’s fault when the VA was getting better than average evaluation from multiple sources?
It wasn’t letting it’s patients die then, was it? Were these evaluations sugar coated to make the VA look good while it was really killing patients when Bush was president? I think not.
Again, I think we are being lied to when the Obama Administration points the finger at the previous administration in it’s effort to shift blame.
“Patients routinely rank the veterans system above the alternatives”, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index. In 2008, the VHA got a satisfaction rating of 85 for inpatient treatment, compared with 77 for private hospitals. In the same report VHA outpatient care scored 3 points higher than for private hospitals.
“As compared with the Medicare fee-for-service program, the VA performed significantly better on all 11 similar quality indicators for the period from 1997 through 1999. In 2000, the VA outperformed Medicare on 12 of 13 indicators.” 
A study that compared VHA with commercial managed care systems in their treatment of diabetes patients found that in all seven measures of quality, the VHA provided better care.
A RAND Corporation study in 2004 concluded that the VHA outperforms all other sectors of American health care in 294 measures of quality. Patients from the VHA scored significantly higher for adjusted overall quality, chronic disease care, and preventive care, but not for acute care.
A 2009 Congressional Budget Office report on the VHA found that “the care provided to VHA patients compares favorably with that provided to non-VHA patients in terms of compliance with widely recognized clinical guidelines — particularly those that VHA has emphasized in its internal performance measurement system. Such research is complicated by the fact that most users of VHA’s services receive at least part of their care from outside providers.” 
A Harvard Medical School-led study shows that cancer care provided by the Veterans Health Administration for men 65 years and older is at least as good as, and by some measures better than, Medicare-funded fee-for-service care obtained through the private sector.
What happened to this?
Obama and Joe Biden will ensure we honor the sacred trust to care for our nation’s veterans.
Obama in 2008: VA Will Be ‘Leader Of Health Care Reform’
However, instead of fixing the VA, the administration has had to defend its role in the death of veterans by neglect.
Liar! Liar! Why do we tolerate this liar-in-chief?
” The 113th Congress has passed less legislation than any other in history, breaking the previous low of the 112th.”
LOL !!!! OH HORROR !!!!This is a good thing. The less useless regulations and laws they are allowed to pass, the less damage they can do. We need to go to a part time federal legislative branch, and pay them as such. No benefits, go get a regular job like everyone else. That especially holds true for a lot of the self righteous clowns in the senate.
Government passes laws, not for the greater good, but for the self-righteous need to make themselves feel important.
Anyone who has the audacity to call themselves a political class needs to be swept out to sea!
In Texas, our legislature only meets every other year. Somehow, we manage to pass enough legislation to manage our state extremely well.
This was refreshing to read! Thank you AllardK!
I agree with phx8. This is what happens when people who refuse to govern are sent to Washington. Some of us knew that this was planned obstructionism but we did not envision taking it to this extreme. It is disgusting what has happened and the stink and shame should stay with the Republican/TeaParty/conservatives for a long, long time. I know it will with me. It’s just sad that they did not think that there would be repercussions for being so obstructionist as to jeopardize our treatment of veterans, among all of the other things, but I don’t think that factored into there reasoning. It has all been about discrediting President Obama. While Bush was president the seeds of the VA problems were being sewn through the use of an over-stretched military and ignorance of the outcome. Everything looked rosy to these same people then. Hypocritical at best, traitorous would be more apt of a description of this action.
Why doesn’t that surprise me, Speak4all, you’re agreement with phx8. Never mind the 6 years Obama has been in office. Never mind he campaigned for another 2 years or more on the issue. Never mind that he got in office and lied his ass off to get the ignorant to follow him.
Now you trot out the “Blame Bush” excuse, again. It’s really getting tiresome and people are seeing through it. Yawn. Bush’s fault, again. Yawn.
I wish you, your’s, and Obama would progress past this 9 year old mentality of blaming the monster in the closet. It’s getting old.
President Bush will continue to be tarred with blame for a lot of the problems his administration caused. It has nothing to do with me or you but more to do with the outcomes of a very bad 8 years of a failed Presidency. Your excuse to yawn is the childish reaction to the shame you should feel.
President Obama has told no lies and you have been explained this before. That you continue to use that as some sort of talking point is indicative of your inability to understand how ignorant you sound accusing a President of that.
For someone with the mind of a 9 year old, as you have exhibited many times, I wouldn’t try to denigrate their mentality.
No fingers in my ears here but me thinks your head must be in a very strange place to keep insisting on something that has been proven not to be true. Not surprising given the amount of rhetoric coming through your comments here. How noble of you, defending the previous administration’s ability to take a perfectly good military and screw it up in a short amount of time. You should not feel pride about this and I think you know that.
On an unrelated note I think we will be seeing more of this type of thing now that there are elections that need to be won.
NRA Calls Texan Gun Nuts Stupid
From the article:
“To those who are not acquainted with the dubious practice of using public displays of firearms as a means to draw attention to oneself or one’s cause, it can be downright scary. It makes folks who might normally be perfectly open-minded about firearms feel uncomfortable and question the motives of pro-gun advocates.”
Chickens roosting and all, my oh my must be elections coming.
Here is an example of a lie. It comes from the State of the Union Address delivered by Bush:
“the British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.”
That claim was a lie. There was not a shred of truth to it. It had previously been disproved beyond all shadow of a doubt by Ambassador Wilson when he visited Africa, and detailed in his article, published by the New York Times when Bush repeated the lie.
Columnist Bob Novak then published a column outing Valerie Plame:
“Wilson never worked for the CIA, but his wife, Valerie Plame, is an Agency operative on weapons of mass destruction. Two senior administration officials told me Wilson’s wife suggested sending him to Niger to investigate the Italian report. The CIA says its counter-proliferation officials selected Wilson and asked his wife to contact him. “I will not answer any question about my wife,” Wilson told me.”
One source was Richard Armitage. He publicly admitted it, and claimed it was an innocent mistake. The other source never stepped forward. Columnist Novak refused to identify that person, and changed his story so many times it is hard to make heads or tails of his version of events. Karl Rove testified before a Grand Jury seven separate times to clarify statements. Cheney’s Chief of Staff, Scooter Libby, lied to the Special Prosecutor and was convicted. He was convicted of Obstruction of Justice, two counts of perjury, and one of making false statements.
The lie by Bush was told in order to convince the citizens of the United States that Iraq had a nuclear program. It did not. Virtually nothing the Bush administration told the American people about WMD’s in Iraq turned out to be true. The resulting war resulted in over 4000 American dead, over 30,000 wounded, more than $600 billion of treasure squandered, with total costs anticipated to top $1 trillion by a wide margin. In addition, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis died during the Occupation. It was one of the biggest foreign policy blunders in the history of the United States.
The Democratics started screwing up the military when Clinton was president. Far more than what Bush 41 did.
I’ll make it easy on you when it concerns Obama lying, Speak4all. Answer this question:
When is Obama telling the truth?
Here is an example of Bush lying:
“I don’t think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees.”
Bush talking about Katrina on September 1, on ABC “Good Morning America”
Bush received information prior to Katrina about the potential damage, including breaching levees.
“The hurricane’s Category 4 storm surge “could greatly overtop levees and protective systems” and destroy nearly 90 percent of city structures, the FEMA report said. It further predicted “incredible search and rescue needs (60,000-plus)” and the displacement of more than a million residents.
The NISAC analysis accurately predicted the collapse of floodwalls along New Orleans’s Lake Pontchartrain shoreline, an event that the report described as “the greatest concern.” The breach of two canal floodwalls near the lake was the key failure that left much of central New Orleans underwater and accounted for the bulk of Louisiana’s 1,100 Katrina-related deaths.”
I believe President Obama has been truthful however I do understand how you could be misinformed by all of the wingnut websites that you frequent. Try to be a little more diverse in how you get your information and you may discover that the country is not made up of President Obama haters. In fact he defeated Mitt Romney by a majority in the last election. This means that a majority of voters chose President Obama over Mr. Romney. I know this is hard for you to understand but it is because you dislike President Obama so much that it clouds your thought process.
Do you believe President Bush was truthful?
The sad part isn’t that the left excuses or outright ignores the lies told by President Obama, it’s that they demand past Republicans be strung up for what they perceive to be lies.
Is it really that hard for you all to be at least somewhat consistent in your beliefs?
“The breach of two canal floodwalls near the lake was the key failure that left much of central New Orleans underwater and accounted for the bulk of Louisiana’s 1,100 Katrina-related deaths.”
BS! What accounted for almost all of the deaths was stupidity. People either ignored the warnings or sat around waiting for government to take care of them.
What President Bush should have said was: I don’t think anybody anticipated the stupidity and laziness of people who knew a freaking huge hurricane was coming.
OK phx8 for how many years prior to Katrina did prior presidents know about the problem?
Yes, those bed ridden patients in New Orleans hospitals should have just sucked it up and crawled their way to safety, dragging their IV’s behind them. It happened on his watch so it doesn’t matter how many prior Presidents knew. Come to think of it a whole lot of bad stuff happened on his watch. Do you think he could have prevented any of it?
phx8, better do some quick reading on the history of the levee project in New Orleans before you start blaming your monster in the closet. Those levees were started in 1927, estimated time of completion was 13 years. They weren’t completed in the 60, or even in 2005. Upkeep was a local responsibility.
Speak4all, phx8, how can you expect anyone to believe a party that lies, is hypocritical, fabricates issues, exaggerates for political reasons, destroys their opponents instead of debating them. Your party will take any issue and blow it out of proportion to make political points. I expect it from your party. It’s a commonplace occurrence.
phx8, we were talking about Obama lying. He is a liar! If you choose to believe his lies that’s your prerogative. I don’t trust your party to speak a word of truth because I have seen and heard them lie for decades now, so I guess we’re going to have to agree to disagree, that is unless you want to argue about that also.
What did Obama promise you two to get you to vote for him?
President Bush was a truthful as Jay Rockafeller was truthful. He was as truthful as Hillary Clinton was truthful. He was as truthful as John Kerry was truthful. He was as truthful as Dianne Feinstein was truthful. I could go on 107 more times but I choose not to expend effort knocking down straw men.
Then your straw man statement that President Obama lies is knocked down by your own admissions. We all know how you feel about liberals and progressives. You are not a reliable source of information about Democrats or liberals because your mind is so clouded by hatred as to make much of what you say unrecognizable to any thinking person. But that has never seemed to bother you much.
Speaks, please enlighten us on how many of “those bed ridden patients in New Orleans hospitals” actually drowned due to the levees breaking.
“What did Obama promise you two to get you to vote for him?”
He’s a liberal Democrat, what he says and actually does really doesn’t matter to blind partisans who only care about policy.
Secret U.S. mission hauls uranium from Iraq
The removal of 550 metric tons of “yellowcake” — the seed material for higher-grade nuclear enrichment — was a significant step toward closing the books on Saddam’s nuclear legacy.
He didn’t need to get it from Niger since he was producing it all by himself in Iraq! He had 550 tons of it. He got it from somewhere! It must have been produced in Iraq, right? Yea, right!
Did Wilson go to the other dozens of countries that mine uranium to see if Hussein tried to get yellowcake from them? He got it somewhere! Why didn’t Wilson find out where Hussein got 550 tons of the stuff? Or, was it really just a ploy by Democratics to discredit Bush?
Based on the history of the Democratics my vote goes toward a cheap political trick by Democratics to discredit a president. Remember, “the war is lost!”!
I quote my sources, Speak4all. I don’t attack the messenger to deflect like Democratics do.
A whole lot of bad things are happening on Obama’s watch. Do you think he could have prevented any of them Speaks?
From the article you linked:
“Israeli warplanes bombed a reactor project at the site in 1981. Later, U.N. inspectors documented and safeguarded the yellowcake, which had been stored in aging drums and containers since before the 1991 Gulf War. There was no evidence of any yellowcake dating from after 1991, the official said.”
There was no Iraqi nuclear program for more than a decade prior to the US invasion, and no plans to resurrect it. The yellowcake in Iraq was had already been identified, documented, and safeguarded by UN inspectors.
Bush said “the British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.” This was false.
As Speak4 says, you get into trouble with the right-wing web sites. A lot of it is simply wrong, or made-up conspiracy theory. It puts you in the position of denying what happened in reality, then complaining because your sources are proven time and again to be wrong, and nothing more than sources of misinformation and Obama hatred.
Disagreeing with Obama does not mean Obama is lying. It is possible for two reasonable people to disagree about a controversial issue without one of them being a liar.
Bush, on the other hand, was briefed about what could happen with Katrina. It is even on video! I can provide links if you would like. Yet Bush pretended no one could have known the levees could be breached. He knew, and so did a lot of other people in the federal government. Bush lied.
Talk about denying what happened in reality.
There is no “disagreeing” with Obama or what he said. He VERY clearly stated that it was not a tax and that if we liked what we had, we could keep it. He knew these things were not true, but he still promoted them as truths to the American people every chance he got. That is fact.
From day one, the left has had to explain what Obama “really” meant when he said anything. They are constantly attempting to shift the blame to Bush, insurance companies, racism etc…
Reasonable people would acknowledge the pattern and demand accountability.
Being wrong and lying are not the same thing. Obama was wrong about whether people would be able to keep insurance that did not meet standards. No one knew it until the time actually came (other than the staffer or staffers who actually wrote that part of it). When Obama realized the mistake, he acknowledge he was wrong, apologized, and made good by allowing people to keep those policies for a year.
Bush, on the other hand, was briefed more than once about the possibilities with Katrina, but then said no one could have foreseen the levees would breach. It was a lie. He knew it- his briefing is even on video- but he said it anyway. He did not apologize or acknowledge it.
See the difference?
It is well known what happened in New Orleans. I know you like to think that it was just a bunch of shiftless, lazy poor people but you should know different. Use your Google machine if you like but we all know what happened. As a TeaParty person I understand your deep hatred of everything Obama although understanding does not give you warrant to make unsubstantiated claims. You would be wise to heed my and phx8 advice to ww and look for some sources other than wingnut websites. I was promised a President that would work for me and my countrymen and women and have not been disappointed.
As a TeaPartyic that is all you do is attack, attack, attack. With no substantial offerings of what to really do to accomplish what our current President is trying to do. You want sources? Go look for them, as I explained above there is lots of information about what happened in New Orleans. Still with the he lied nonsense? You need to get a new script writer, this is getting old. No blame shifting here, just evidence of the previous administrations inabilities to handle their situation.
Let’s see. Ended the war in Iraq, ending the war in Afghanistan, killed OBL, brought the country out of a terrible economic condition, got re-elected, gets things done despite the rabid partisan obstruction that he has to deal with, and much, much more. Looks pretty good to me. Comparatively speaking he has been outstanding.
The stink and shame of Republican’s votes on 2/27/14 will linger for a long, long time. Veterans remember stuff like that as they are the ones who pay the ultimate price. Thank you to all who serve and have served, you deserve better and Democrats are working on that.
Being wrong? It is HIS law. And now you are laying all of the blame on the lowly staffers? Come on man.
He knew the voters didn’t want to hear about another tax, he knew they didn’t want to hear they would lose their plans and doctor. The facts are not on your side my friend. He lied.
I don’t care about Bush, but I do know one thing about the whole Katrina thing: If Obama had been President and had said the exact same thing, you would now be defending him by saying what he “really” meant was that nobody thought they would break as bad as they did.
I know what happened in New Orleans, before and after the hurricane hit. The WHOLE world knew what was coming and what was going to happen. Those who ignored the warnings or who were waiting for government to save them were idiots, not “shiftless.” Those who sat around waiting for government afterwards, many of who I met while working, were lazy.
IF you had been watching the TV before and actually down there helping after, YOU would know different than what you have been told to believe.
“As a TeaParty person I understand your deep hatred of everything Obama although understanding does not give you warrant to make unsubstantiated claims.”
While most Tea Party people are nice folks, I am a Constitutionalist.
I have no hatred for Obama, I do not know the man. My dislike is of the unAmerican policies he promotes and forces onto the American people.
“I was promised a President that would work for me and my countrymen and women and have not been disappointed.”
Then you are blinded by partisanship or get your info from only left wing nut sites. Half of your fellow countrymen are VERY disappointed with how things are going.
“Thank you to all who serve and have served, you deserve better and Democrats are working on that.”
Yes, we veterans/baby killers/MIC brainwashed/terrorists/murderers really owe the Democratic Party a lot.
With no substantial offerings of what to really do to accomplish what our current President is trying to do.
That’s it in a nutshell, Speak4all. Republicans won’t help Obama fundementally transform our country. Yep, you’re right, we won’t help. It’s all on you and your’s.
OK, you two are stark raving loons. I’ll just leave it at that and hope you can some day get help. You can call yourselves whatever you want but don’t let that be an excuse for denigrating a man trying to do a difficult job. You have your opinion and I have mine. That you seek to denigrate me along with our President says a lot about what you really stand for, which doesn’t appear to be much.
Here’s the funny thing, Speaks. If we are both still here when we next have a Republican President, and you are condemning him for the very same things you are defending Obama on now, I will be right there in agreement with you.
Is that all you got, Speak4all? Namecalling?
Welcome to the 2nd grade classroom, kctim.
Pretty soon our mothers will be wearing combat boots!
His name is not Shinesky, It’s Shinseki. I would think people could tell by looking at him that he’s not Russian.