Chronicling the VA – May We Remember the “Pobrecito!”

I-CareA Spanish-speaking Mexican colleague taught me this term, “pobrecito,” meaning “poor little one.”  As I chronicle the VA ineptitudes, failures, criminal behaviors, and abusive actions, I am always conscious of the pobrecito, the poor little one, the poor victim who got harmed.  Too often, the victims never receive any compensation, acknowledgment, or retribution, nothing for having become a victim of the VA.  Too often, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) – Office of Inspector General (VA-OIG) investigates long after the abuse has occurred, and the victims are not covered in the scope of the investigation, or worse, the victim was killed, and the family is left to mourn, and nobody can help.

Angry Grizzly BearWhy chronicle the VA abuses; because the needs to be held accountable, speak the language, and have tougher skin and broader shoulders than the VA’s normal victims.  The VA is slowly learning they can harm me, but they cannot shut me up!  I will not stop fighting the VA for humane treatment, honorable service, and dedicated systems.  The VA is sick because apathy and inertia were allowed to replace common sense and decency, leadership was replaced with cost accounting and bureaucratic red tape, and human kindness was eradicated and replaced with drones and robots.  I know how to make the VA better; I do not have all the answers, but I know how to launch the revolution and begin cleaning the VA, and I will not stop calling upon those responsible for fixing the mess they created!

Starting this week’s VA-OIG headlines of crimes and inspections, we find a couple in South Florida who used the system to bilk more than $20 Million in purchase order scams.

Earron Starks was sentenced to 30 months’ imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay over $2.4 million in restitution. Carlicha Starks was sentenced to three years of supervised release, including one year of home confinement, and ordered to pay $501,000 in restitution. They paid kickbacks to VA employees as part of a large-scale bribery scheme, which enabled the Starks couple and other corrupt vendors to receive over $20 million in purchase orders from VA medical centers in West Palm Beach and Miami. Fourteen additional defendants were charged for their roles in this scheme.”VA 3

Who’s the pobrecito in this case; the taxpayers, the veterans, and the United States.  Federal Employees had to not only know the crimes occurring but be complicit in the crimes.  Will they lose their retirement benefits, have to repay their wages, and face criminal charges and jail time for their culpability?  Fourteen additional defendants, how many were supervisors in the know and on the payroll who were promoted during this scheme whose supervisors failed to do their jobs and scrutinize the work of their underlings?  The shadiest part of this entire scheme is encapsulated in the following sentence:

All VA Employees were either terminated or resigned.”

Name me one private-sector employer who could get away with a massive scheme and enjoy similar benefits!Survived the VA

We find another VA employee embroiled in theft of equipment which sold the stolen goods in Ohio.

Kevin Rumph, Jr., of Fairburn, Georgia, pleaded guilty to stealing more than $1.9 million in medical products while employed at a VA community-based outpatient clinic in Atlanta. Between 2013 and 2021, Rumph made hundreds of unauthorized purchases of equipment used to treat obstructive sleep apnea. He then stole and sold the equipment to a vendor in Ohio. Sentencing is scheduled for November 17, 2021.”

I have worked in purchasing in both the US Military and in the private sector.  If I went to my bosses with “hundreds of purchase orders for supplies,” they would naturally be curious.  Repetition of hundreds of similar requests would raise red flags and demand audits of my records and proof of need.  Why did this not occur at the VA?VA 3

In the US Navy, I was in charge of ordering stock and saw requests for certain o-rings spike, as I knew the Chief Engineer would spot this and ask why, I asked why, went to the equipment records, dug up the maintenance reports, and asked questions of the mechanics and technicians.  In doing so, we discovered an unreported problem with machinery.  This is called due diligence; why was it not being practiced by the supervisor of Mr. Rumph?  You cannot tell me a seven-year trend line is something that was an anomaly and easily missed in budget reporting year-over-year!

Exclamation MarkLet’s admit a truth for certain; COVID has been a farrago of gargantuan size from day 1.  In acknowledging this, no blame is being proportioned to the front-line workers in any way, shape, or form.  But, the administrators, policymakers, politicians, and government bureaucrats have certainly proved they could unscrew the inscrutable!  Worse, the bureaucrats proved that their idiocy was highly contagious, infecting more people than COVID, spreading faster than COVID, and killing more people than COVID.  Our proof of this concept arrives from Houston and the Michael DeBakey VAMC.

The VA Office of Inspector General (VA-OIG) conducted a healthcare inspection regarding allegations of incompletely screening for COVID-19 and treatment of a patient with serious mental illness who presented for same-day care at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center (facility).”

Findings:

      • The VA-OIG substantiated that facility staff did not complete the patient’s COVID-19 temperature screening.
      • The VA-OIG substantiated that facility staff failed to manage the patient with COVID-19 symptoms medically.
      • Sent the patient to the drive-through testing area without medical evaluation, did not isolate the patient, complete a care plan, or follow the policy for transporting patients suspected to have COVID-19.
      • The vulnerable patient disappeared while in the facility’s care, was found off-site four days later experiencing a medical emergency, taken back to the facility, and died the following day [emphasis mine]!
      • The VA-OIG determined that the Mental Health Intensive Case Management team failed to address documentation discrepancies related to the patient’s surrogate and educate the family on COVID-19 visitor policy and screening processes.
      • The VA-OIG identified the facility’s noncompliance with the missing patient policy.
      • Facility leaders’ failure to report an adverse event and ensure a timely review of the patient’s episode of care.
      • The VA-OIG identified facility leaders did not timely or accurately disclose to the patient’s family the medical mismanagement that led to the patient’s adverse clinical outcome, e.g., death!
      • The VA-OIG concluded the failure to screen, isolate, and evaluate the patient resulted in potential COVID-19 exposure to staff, patients, and the public when the patient moved through facility grounds.VA 3

What was not covered in the scope of the VA-OIG investigation was whether the staff had proper training on the written policies or if training had been suspended due to the “pandemic health emergency.”  Failure of training has been a running and recurring theme for the VA before the pandemic, and the failures of training have led to thousands of “adverse clinical outcomes” at the VA, up to and even including death.  Yet, as evidenced in this example, small decisions lead to catastrophic events.  The infected patient was mentally unstable and missing for four days; how many people interacted with the patient as a superspreader event?  Who is at blame at this VAMC for this event, the leaders!  They failed their people, failed this patient, and failed this family!

Detective 4Before continuing, we must pause and take a moment to send heartfelt congratulations to two VA Health Care Systems (VAHCS) who passed their comprehensive healthcare inspections (CHIp), if not with flying colors with significant improvement, and are deserving of the highest praise.  Would the leaders of the Fort Harrison VAHCS in Montana and the Western Colorado VAHCS in Grand Junction please stand and take a bow.  Your improvements, conduct, and capacity to achieve reflect that success is possible with good leadership.  Keep up the good work; find ways to improve daily, and may continual success be ever yours!

Finally, we come to a regular topic, the failure of the VA as a whole entity to manage to pass a simple audit on financial matters and the continuing debacle where hiring is concerned during the pandemic.  Let me refresh your memories on the hiring debacle; first, the VA-OIG found that VISN leaders “were generally pleased with the “flexibility” provided during the pandemic for speedier hiring.”  What did the American people get for reduced hiring practices at the VA?  More criminal employees, more employees with shady pasts, more employees with sticky fingers, and more employees who could not find employment in public schools, now working for the federal government.VA 3

How did that relaxing of hiring practices work out for the American people and the veterans receiving care; not very well!  But, let’s all relax; the VISN leaders are “generally pleased.”  Frankly, I would be shocked if anything ruffled the VISN leaders’ feathers long enough for them to care; they are mostly at the top of their career ladders and failing a presidential appointment to Washington, know they are set for life.  So, why rock the boat?!?!

As for financial audits, the VISN leaders know that money continuously is appropriated to carry them and their poor decisions forward.  Just ask the Denver VAMC where the construction cost overruns are still costing the taxpayers, and no one was ever held liable for that boondoggle or any other crime and scheme for that matter.

Question 3Why?  Why are victims left to rot, the assaulters and victimizers promoted, and the VA as an organization left in the hands of disreputable, dishonest, unethical, and immoral people?  Why is the VA a culture of corruption, greed, envy, sloth, and disinterest when the US military is the exact opposite?  America is not what is found in the halls of the VA, why has the VA been allowed to become something anathema to the American people?

Knowledge Check!Great Britain, you find similar in your halls of government.  Your people are amazing; your government workers are just as despicable and deleterious as the American VA, IRS, and DMV.  Australia, great people, absurdly detestable government workers.  France, interesting people, but the government employee seems to have been drug from the bottom of the scum sucked from the Seine.  I have met incredible people in Italy, Greece, Germany, South Korea, etc., but the story rings true everywhere; the government does not represent you.  Pobrecito; what has happened?

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

Libya, and Afghanistan – Days American Governance Died!

QuestionI prefer not to quote radical far right, far left, or emotionally driven people.  However, Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity have made similar comments over the past 10-days that have resonated with me: any government’s purpose is to look after their people.  There is no higher duty!  In Afghanistan, Britain and France have sent special forces, heavily armed convoys, rescued their citizens and closed their embassies in good order.  America created a middle-of-the-night Charlie-Foxtrot for the world to handle, then left her citizens to barter with their lives.  Representing cowardice and treason most vile before an enemy most intolerant!

While the actions of the American Government in Afghanistan and the president specifically are deplorable and detestable from a military perspective and a government management perspective, words cease to describe the treasonous actions of abandoning American Citizens’ passports and visa holders to face an enemy unarmed!  How can any government claim they represent anyone if they first do not support their citizens; they cannot.  Thus, what are they doing in power or calling themselves a government?  I do not like it, but as a soldier, then as a sailor, I took the pay, I took the risks, I knew the score; soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, we live on the tip of the spear, and sometimes we lose our lives, and the political aspects make no sense.  It leaves people angry and bitter, but we knew the score and took the risks.  The civilians did not and were promised protection from the government.  Where is the government?Plato 2

Libya

Chris Stevens, US Ambassador to Libya - September 11, 2012 - Benghazi. Pinterest jpg ...From time immemorial, the death of an ambassador is considered a direct challenge to a host country and an overt act of war.  Spies, military members, lower-level representatives are like pawns on a chessboard; sometimes, they die in the back and forth of political negotiations.  But, ambassadors, legally recognized representatives are sacrosanct; their safety is secured and assured by the host country through legal and binding treaties, their family’s safety and security are inviolate.  The loss of an ambassador is a BIG FREAKING DEAL!

11 September 2012, while calling, pleading, begging for military help not 60-minutes away, available and ready, an ambassador was killed.  American citizens were terrorized, killed, wounded, and the president slept.  The Commander in Chief, the head representative of the American Government, was as distant from Libya as if he were on the moon.  His Secretary of State remains up to her neck in the Libyan scandal and death of an Ambassador, a direct employee, and several other direct employees.  The blood of American citizens stands as a bright testimony on the sands of Libya as if painted on a white sheet and hung from the White House door.UC Fund Honors Ambassador Christopher Stevens on Anniversary of His Death | Piedmont, CA Patch

From 1600 local time in Washington DC, the CIA, State Department, and the White House watched from drone footage, in real-time, as the Ambassador died and Americans bled out, refusing to send aid. They were actively refusing multiple requests from the embassy, countermanding written operational orders to go in support of the embassy, and allowing people to die.  Let this sink in for a moment; the Ambassador is being murdered, his bosses are watching it live and in color, and all relief and help is being actively refused and denied while it could have helped.  Long have I wept over this incident, but those tears are from frustration and anger for the loss of life and the senseless stupidity of the leaders in Washington; yet, was it stupidity or a design to creatively murder people and destroy evidence of crimes?

America is Weeping! - Corel Discovery Center11 September 2012, the night Ambassador Stevens died, so too did the American Government.  So to did the trust, honor, integrity, faith, and courage of the American people.  Craven government leaders were missing; they have dodged accountability, evaded responsibility, and abused American Justice for personal gain and pajama parties.  Here, I thought the American government could sink no further.

Satire? Obama ISIS Speech Depresses Nation | Hooper's War - Peter Van BurenAfghanistan

After promising a smooth, transparent, and well-laid transition plan out of Afghanistan to our allies at the G-7 meeting, the US President did a quick U-turn and abruptly removed American troops like a thief trying to flee a bank robbery, producing a hurried, fearful looking and fatal retreat full of confusion, stupidity, and betrayal.  Would a member of the US Press please ask why!  Would a member of the US Press establishment please demand answers to why the leader of the US representative government is camping and missing when American blood is being needlessly spilled in Afghanistan over a stupid and recalcitrant order to abandon the country in the middle-of-the-night?Pin by Lynn St. John on fracking & other enviro vandalisms | How to dry basil, Weeping, America

Dr. Mark Skidmore has been tracking $21 Trillion in missing Pentagon money for over a decade now.  Dr. Mark Skidmore republished a Julian Assange quote from 2011 that has me asking questions; I pass it along for your consideration:

“The goal is to use Afghanistan to wash money out of the tax bases of the US and Europe through Afghanistan and back into the hands of a transnational security elite. The goal is an endless war, not a successful war.”

Anti-Money Laundering Laws in India - iPleadersIt is being hypothesized that with a new strategy for hiding money, the Department of Defense no longer needs to be used to launder money out of America.  The security apparatuses of the United States can be employed for this operating better, and with fewer questions, long-term.  The intelligence community knows how to keep secrets better.  Hence, war and the Department of Defense are no longer needed; thus, closing the war in Afghanistan as quickly as possible was a prerequisite to moving on for the liberal and global banking elite.  Whether correct or not, I do not claim; I do claim there is a connection between large money interests and Afghanistan.  I do claim that China’s interest in Afghanistan will grow as Afghanistan offers China illicit drugs, useful idiots for long-term LIC, and a perfect place for laundering money.  When a major nation launders money for other major nations is it still money laundering?

What Can Be Concluded?

Knowledge Check!While Afghanistan and Saigon have been compared, I repeat, only for emphasis.  Afghanistan makes Saigon look like a tip-toe through tulips on gossamer wings of spun sugar plum spice.  Both are catastrophes that represent politicians making policies they should be utterly ashamed of!  Both represent days when America broke her promise, people died, countries were abandoned, and the world took a hit for representative government.  Worse, both incidents spun off years of pain, sorrow, and destitution for millions, and those responsible need held accountable for their despicable behavior.  I hope they live long and healthy lives to appreciate the breadth and depth of their disastrous decisions fully!

Americans are in danger right now; I call upon the US Military to honor the UCMJ by refusing the orders to stand by and watch.  Get out, gather the Americans, bring them into safety, and honor your promise to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic!  The US President has hung the Americans in Afghanistan out to dry. Will you allow them to die?

Image - Eagle & FlagTo our allies, but more importantly to our enemies, America is not our government!  We might be saddled by this deleterious administration through fraud and deception, we might have too many weak-kneed, yellow-bellied, no-spine bureaucrats in positions of power, but they do NOT represent AMERICA!  You will find AMERICA is a whole lot different than what you see surrendering on TV.  Do not test us, especially we, the sheepdogs of war!

Quoting from President Roosevelt, “We, too, born to freedom, and believing in freedom, are willing to fight to maintain freedom. We, and all others who believe as deeply as we do, would rather die on our feet than live [life] on our knees.

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

NO MORE BS: Prelude to the Declaration of Independence

LinkedIn ImageLong have I argued with myself how to complete the needed article on America’s most important founding document, “The Declaration of Independence.”  I thought I would merely write the article, then I argued about how long it would be as I add commentary, then I debated what should be included as personal commentary.  Hence, there is a prelude and a postlude planned for this important document, and over the coming days, all will be written and posted.

The Declaration of Independence was a legal notice of charges filed with the then King of Great Britain, presenting facts, logic, and legal grounds for ending the relationship with Great Britain.  Long has The Declaration of Independence intrigued me.  Long have I wondered the how and why of the declaration’s wording and structure.  Then, I asked what would happen if a majority of the states disregarded as “Fly-Over States” made a similar document to the Federal Government that run away our money, left us in terrible debt, lied, and beguiled the citizens, and treated America like cat vomit on an expensive rug.Apathy

The Declaration of Independence includes a line that, in my opinion, is as applicable today as it was when The Declaration of Independence was first drafted:

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.”

Currently, the American Citizen is suffering from “governments long-established” and “abolishing” the government to which we have become accustomed looms larger every day.  Long have I asked, “Do you trust your government to represent you and not the special interests, lobbyists, and personal interests of the current politician in office?”  Federal, State, local government, do you trust the office holder?  Would you invite them into your home to babysit your children, pet sit, or watch your home while you went on vacation?  Your answer is your choice, and the consequence affects all of America equally.Government Largess 2

I know my answer; I do not trust the government’s current representatives locally, State, and especially Federally.  I refute my right to be governed by such soulless and despicable people!  I refuse to be associated with anyone who plays skin color, race, gender, etc., games over character and ability.  Business, media, or political, I hold the same disdain!  Twist words to plasticize and reign in tyranny, and I will refute and oppose you every step as I will not bow to tyranny!

Yet, from all my observations, this is where America currently sits.  Worse, many of the Democratically Elected governments across the globe find themselves in the same boat as America.  Politicians are more interested in minutia than in working together to solve problems.  Despots threatening war and the nations of the Earth sit in silence, twiddling their thumbs and complaining about claptrap and doggerel, chasing their tails in circles, instead of taking definitive action to thwart the evil in the world.  Worse, being so wrapped up in the influencer culture, they forget they are temporary elected representatives, not hereditary political classes with life-long appointments.Patriotism

From The Declaration of Independence, we find words that fit today’s US House of Representatives and Senate almost perfectly:

The history of the present King of Great Britain [US House of Representatives, US Senate, and US President] is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States.”

Debt is long-term captivity.  Taxation without representation through printing money and the Federal Reserve, including Quantitative Easing, deprives value of savings and increases debt. They are depriving farmers and ranchers of the ability to compete inside America for shelf space in supermarkets and the theft of farm goods to regulate prices.  The refusal to balance a budget and scrutinize the government’s operations, wasting time and energy on tasks outside their two mandated jobs and the list of grievances grows daily!  Tell me, and be truthful, is it not time to throw off the current government and reclaim the rights and privileges under the Rule of Law?

Let me state, again, only for emphasis; I am NOT advocating for armed rebellion!  I am advocating for a change in the paradigm we have accepted as “government.”  For too long, we have suffered as the US Government’s property as declared by Charles Reich in “The New Property,” and America needs to correct this governmental action!The Duty of Americans

Now is the time to decide, are you stamped, “Property of the US Government?”  If not, why should we, the citizens of a representative government, allow ourselves to be treated as such any longer?  Are we scared and frightened kittens hiding deep in the shadows, or are we the proud inheritors of a heritage of freedom and warriors worthy of taking on the greatest challenge to liberty and freedom, an inert and intractable government?

These questions and more need answered as we discuss The Declaration of Independence.  How you answer individually will collectively result in change or death to the US Constitution and the Republic of the United States of America.  Worse, if America falls, so will the rest of the democratically elected governments across the globe, and the world will slide into barbarism.  Anarchy is too small a word for the resulting confusion.Never Give Up!

I know my answer; I choose a “Liberty FIRST Culture,” where I am protected by the Rule of Law in a constitutional republic!  Join me?

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.