In the book “Common Sense” Thomas Paine stated:
“Some writers have so confounded society with government as to leave little or no distinction between them, whereas they are not only different but have different origins. Society is produced by our WANTS, government by our WICKEDNESS; [society] promotes our POSITIVITY by uniting our affections, government promotes NEGATIVITY by restraining our vices. [Society] encourages intercourse, [government] creates distinctions. [Society] is a patron; whereas [government] is a punisher.”
Why is this distinction important; only a government could create a punishing culture in the name of providing support. Only in this role as punisher does a culture of abuse survive, thrive, and plasticize words and actions of hate into support and charity. Society breeds working together and simplicity and are the natural state of all people. According to Thomas Paine, the government “Is a necessary EVIL,” breeding contempt, envy, greed, and malice.
As the Department of Veteran Affairs – Office of Inspector General (VA-OIG) continues to record and report, I continue to summate these reports. Calling for all free-thinking people everywhere to understand the core problems and aid in cutting this millstone from the necks of Americans. Until we can understand the principles which have allowed the government to infiltrate and supplant society, abuses, fraud, and waste will continue.
Consider the case of Dustin James Ortiz of Des Moines, Iowa, sentenced to 27 months in prison after pleading guilty to wrongfully obtaining and disclosing individually identifiable health information. Ortiz conspired with a then-employee of the Des Moines VA Medical Center to obtain individually identifiable health information of an individual without authorization required by law and then disclosed the records to a third party, as investigated by the VA-OIG. To commit fraud, a VA Employee had to cheat and steal data for personal profit. Has anyone of the government agencies considered the victims; no, because the government breeds a society of liars, cheats, and thieves to empower job security to those who officiate the government.
Had the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) been a societal construct, the victim would not only be compensated, but revelations of fraud and theft would be treated as they are, crimes against all members of society, not merely a criminal complaint against those who choose to take advantage of others for personal gain. Yet, how often can we express this sentiment and have naysayers claim this is not possible or euphemistic; too often, because populations have been carefully taught and molded into a belief that government is everything but what it is, wickedness, or a necessary evil.
Consider a VA-OIG investigation into Veterans Benefits Administration education programs where personal data is not secure, not legally protected, and this is designed as a standard business practice. Imagine being placed by legislators in charge of safeguarding taxpayers/veterans/customers’ private data and shirking this primary duty for personal gain and political profit. Is this not the ultimate definition of wickedness and evil? From the VA-OIG investigation, we find the following:
“The lack of standard procedures and oversight has resulted in personally identifiable information not being consistently safeguarded as required. The OIG did not assess whether any information had been inappropriately disclosed but requested that VBA provide follow-up information. VBA agreed to review, research, and evaluate the OIG findings and take corrective action as needed.”
How long will the leaders of the VBA and the VA provide cover and refuse “to review, research, and evaluate the OIG findings and take corrective action as needed.” History has proved that the VBA and the VA are masters of evading discovery, reporting problems, and fixing issues they are legally bound to follow. Why have they become masters at obfuscation; because the legislature (the US House and Senate) refuses to hold people accountable for their wickedness and evil. Lacking accountability and having people responsible allows for more examples of dastardly behavior in the name of the government.
For example, clear contractual guidelines govern how, when, and what can be purchased or contracted. An entire industry revolves solely around procuring items for government agencies, auditing those transactions and products, tracking the products and services, and more. Yet, what is regularly found in this labyrinth of legislated procurement processes? More fraud, waste, abuse, and nefarious creatures bent on breaking the rules. One of the more egregious examples was the VA-OIG inspection of the VA Boston Healthcare System. What was found:
- From the healthcare system’s 421 open obligations, the team selected 20 totaling $20.6 million and found half were at least 90 days past their end date, most without being reviewed to see if they were still valid and necessary. Two had residual funds totaling approximately $4,439 that should have been released from obligation and used elsewhere to support veterans.
- Of 36 purchase card transactions totaling $441,000, the team found 28 lacked evidence to show they were properly approved and that payments were accurate, and 25 were processed by cardholders and approving officials whose duties were not segregated as required. The team also identified ten purchases that should have been procured through contracting but were intentionally split into multiple transactions to stay below the cardholder’s single purchase limit.
- The team found inaccurate entries in the inventory system that caused it to show insufficient amounts of stock on hand in more than 70 percent of tested cases. The inaccuracies result in inefficient purchasing and receiving and could adversely affect patient care.
In a society, we would not need the VA-OIG to investigate wrongdoing, a simple audit would be conducted, assistance in correcting errors made, and the victims recompensed properly. More to the point, the expensive regulatory bureaus would also not be needed to validate proper action was taken by officials charged with conducting business in the taxpayer’s name.
It is not a secret that the VA cannot follow its aborted processes where fiscal sanity and fiduciary responsibility are concerned. Imagine being investigated for failures and telling the investigating authorities the following:
- Unclear policies and systems
- Ineffective oversight of the closeout process
- Contracting officers also informed the team that a heavy workload and the prioritization of awarding contracts affected their ability to comply with contract administration requirements.
What never ceases to blow my mind is that only government workers can use these lame excuses and remain employed. Employed on taxpayer funds, supported by governing authorities, paid on taxpayer funds, and never overseen by any political party or the constitutionally bound House or Senate. Honest question if you raised these points with your boss, would you keep your job?
I don’t like it, but I understand the need for the VA-OIG to raise recommendations for improvement in VA Hospitals, Clinics, and other offices. Continuous improvement is a process, and the process requires a long view and steady effort. However, if the same points arise inspection after inspection and the inspectors cannot see change occurring, then continuous improvement is not the term to describe what is transpiring at these facilities.
The investigative reports come in month after month, the same issues are raised year-over-year, glaring deficiencies are mentioned, recommendations are put forward, and the local site agrees to review, fix, and improve. Nothing ever improves—the exact opposite of continuous improvement. The question is, why does nothing ever improve? The answer, unfortunately, comes back to the difference between society and government, specifically how a government is wickedness personified.
Is calling a government agency wickedness personified harsh or cruel; no! Allow me to explain using a VA-OIG investigation:
“Beginning in the fall of 2017, former VA cardiologist John Giacomini of Atherton, California, repeatedly subjected a subordinate electrophysiologist to unwanted and unwelcome sexual contact, including hugging, kissing, and intimate touching while on VA premises. On November 10, 2017, the victim explicitly told Giacomini she was not interested in a romantic or sexual relationship with him. Nevertheless, Giacomini continued to subject his subordinate to unwanted sexual advances and touching, culminating on December 20, 2017, when Giacomini turned out the lights in an office, pulled the victim out of her chair, and fondled her until a janitor opened the office door and interrupted the encounter. The victim later resigned from her position at VA, citing Giacomini’s behavior as her principal reason for leaving. Giacomini was sentenced to eight months in prison after pleading guilty to abusive sexual contact.”
In the full report, the victim claims she testified because she did not want this to happen again. Meaning that this VA Employee had been accused previously, or as hospitals always do, gossipmongers had related previous episodes. Regardless, for this Chief of Cardiology to feel comfortable abusing another person while at work, there is an issue with sexual harassment and abuse of employees at the VA. This incident with the cardiologist is not the only incident of VA employee sexual harassment in 2022, and the failure of the VA to clean house and correct behaviors anathema to good social order has reached a tipping point. No society or government can long survive with these inhumane actions, so why is the VA allowing these issues to culminate until it can no longer pretend not to see or know about them?
Society focuses on the victims of crimes; government justifies the abuse of the victim under the name of criminal rights. What happens when the offense is so enormous that statistics represent the victims? The VA-OIG investigated two VA leaders from the Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center in Spokane, Washington, where a previous investigation had discovered wrongdoing. These leaders had promised swift review and corrective actions. What did the second investigation find:
“The investigation revealed the leaders’ lack of diligence resulted in delays and misinformation being submitted, which impeded oversight efforts. Failures included:
(1) Submitting a training evaluation plan without disclosing to the OIG that it was in its “infancy” and had not been fully implemented or even approved.
(2) Delaying production of requested proficiency check datasets that should have been available under the submitted evaluation plan.
(3) Providing three summary statistics with errors that doubled the training proficiency test pass rate from initial findings of 44 to 89 percent without the requested methodology.
(4) Overlooking red flags indicating that all failing scores had been removed from reported rates (with the total number of proficiency tests dropping by more than 3,000 in submitted recalculations).
(5) Failing to disclose concerns regarding data reliability and that data were excluded.”
Summing these findings in more straightforward language. The leaders lied and misled investigators, but since the bar for “intentionality” is so high, they were allowed not to have personal responsibility and retained their jobs. How is this an extreme example of wickedness; could you mislead the police or other investigative bodies and avoid jail? Could you lie, get your employer’s reputation tarnished, keep your job and pension, and stay out of jail?
Maybe the following is a better example of how coordinated and detestable wicked government is:
The VA-OIG announced “criminal charges against 36 defendants in 13 federal districts across the United States for more than $1.2 billion in alleged fraudulent telemedicine, cardiovascular and cancer genetic testing, and durable medical equipment (DME) schemes. The alleged schemes involved the payment of illegal kickbacks and bribes by laboratory owners and operators in exchange for the referral of patients by medical professionals working with fraudulent telemedicine and digital medical technology companies. The charges include some of the first prosecutions in the nation related to fraudulent cardiovascular genetic testing, a burgeoning scheme. One case involved the operator of several clinical laboratories, who was charged with a scheme to pay over $16 million in kickbacks to marketers who, in turn, paid kickbacks to telemedicine companies and call centers in exchange for doctors’ orders. As alleged in court documents, the defendant and others used orders for cardiovascular and cancer genetic testing to submit over $174 million in false and fraudulent claims to Medicare—but the testing results were not used in treating patients” [Emphasis mine].
Do you want to see how corrupt the government is, specifically how abusive the VA is? Feel free to check out the following link, sign up for the email delivery, and become informed; then, you can make your own decision. Thomas Paine discusses how the citizenry builds the government by which they suffer. Have we suffered the slings and arrows from this government sufficiently to throw off the security blanket of government and hold the people punishing us accountable for their crimes against society? The laws of America are sufficient to correct course, provided the citizens are willing to reduce the size, and therefore the abuse, of government and return to a more societal and civilized method of living.
© Copyright 2022 – M. Dave Salisbury
The author holds no claims for the art used herein, the pictures were obtained in the public domain, and the intellectual property belongs to those who created the images. Quoted materials remain the property of the original author.