Thursday, September 29, 2005

Corruption in Government...

...according to the Wizard of Id today...

Leadership sets the cultural values of the organization - it doesn't matter whether we are talking about the private or public sector. For the last several years, the focus has been on corporate malfeasance, beginning with Enron. But now with the disasters of two hurricanes, along with the unending revelations of corruption, the public sector, including federal, state, and local governments have had the same sorts of defects revealed once again - often rooted in a leadership style of power without morality or competence.

In a democracy, voters are often urged to make the needed changes at the ballot box (assuming that the ballot boxes/machines can be properly protected). So, it starts now, voters. Whether you decide to get into the political arena yourselves or actively support those who can make a real difference - it's time for the complacency to stop.

Our institutions are infected with a virus, much more dangerous than the bird flu or a 'trojan horse'. Shockingly few in leadership in our governments (or the corporate world) now understand the concept of a conflict of interest, or even the appearance of a conflict of interest. These same people are using your tax dollars to further their own interests, or they are wasting your tax dollars because they are incompetent - the results can be disastrous.

The question is: Do you care?

We'll see next Fall.

Posted by a Vet -- -- permanent link

Wednesday, September 28, 2005


Ex-FEMA IG, George J. Opfer, has been nominated by President Bush to be the new IG at the VA... Opfer is currently Deputy IG at the Dept. of Labor. He was formerly with FEMA as IG. So why the demotion? It appears Opfer PO'd the brass, including Mike Brown, when he issued a "we done bad" report after 911...Now, Bush wants him to be the big IG at VA. Why? How about his link to FEMA. There is a move to put the VA's emergency management programs under FEMA. Rep. Steve Buyer (R-IN), Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs has indicated as much...VA was the ONLY government agency to have an adequate emergency response to Katrina. VA does NOT need to answer to FEMA (Homeland Security)...

Watch this one closely vets. Just as FEMA does not belong under Homeland Security, neither does the VA need to be run by FEMA, an agency that needs to put its own act back together.

Posted by a Vet -- -- permanent link

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

DAV Shines Light on Forgotten Veterans

The Disabled American Veterans is a nonpartisan apolitical organization whose main purpose is to advocate for, and support the needs of disabled veterans. During the early days of the war in Iraq, DAV representatives attempted to visit wounded soldiers but were refused entry into their rooms at Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, D.C. for 'security reasons.' The absurdity of this action became known to Congressional representatives through action by the DAV and other veterans support groups.

The DAV has been fighting for disabled vets for a long time and has continued to do so. Last month they detailed the ways in which this administration's representatives are removing and/or not addressing critical needs for these vets.

DAV Executive Director David Gorman, in a letter to R. James Nicholson, Secretary of Veterans Affairs at the V.A. stated:

Dear Mr. Secretary:
On behalf of the Disabled American Veterans, I write to express our organization’s concern about the position of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) on the disability compensation program, as presented to the Veterans’ Disability Benefits Commission by Undersecretary for Benefits Daniel L. Cooper.

The Undersecretary’s statement included several disturbing views that can only be described as insulting to the men and women who have borne or are today bearing the extraordinary burdens of military service. It is all the more objectionable that such attacks on the benefit program for disabled veterans came from the agency whose mission is to “care for him who shall have borne the battle.”

Though it disingenuously purports, on page 2 near the beginning, to encourage the Commission to consider program changes to “make a substantial difference in the lives of veterans, as well as a difference in our ability to serve veterans better,” the statement has a poorly camouflaged self-serving focus leading to suggestions that are all adverse to veterans. In proceeding to the program changes suggested for consideration, the statement cites statistics on an increasing workload, with claims backlogs and a consequent decrease in timeliness despite VA’s process reforms for improving productivity and timeliness of claims decisions. The statement attempts to blame this predicament on Congress and veterans themselves, and thus suggests changes that would accommodate VA’s deficiencies by limiting veterans' entitlements and restricting their access to the system.

Read the whole statement itself vets, and make up your own minds. But I think it's clear the DAV has put its finger on a key characteristic of this administration: Support the troops, but forget the veterans.

Posted by a Vet -- -- permanent link

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

I've Got a Secret, Inc.

The administration's battle to protect its own rear end sometimes reaches absurd heights - usually with the excuse of 'national security.' Now they are trying to stonewall 9/11 information, much of which was already out in the open. Even Repub Senator Arlen Specter seemed 'surprised' at this latest attempt to surpress information on a 9/11 ringleader, known to the Pentagon a year previously.

Posted by a Vet -- -- permanent link

Monday, September 12, 2005

Colin Powell - Too Little, Too Late?

Now, over two years too late, Colin Powell tells Barbara Walters what we already knew - there never was any tie between 9/11 and Iraq, and the administration knew it. Colin Powell, alone from this administration, admits that our reasons for going to war were not supported by the evidence. Stand by for a frontal attack on Powell by Rove and his raving maniacs.

Of course W himself, in a moment away from his handlers, said that there was no tie, but since then has acted like he never said such a thing. Everything, in fact is related to 9/11, including a shameless stretch, tying Katrina to 9/11.

What next? Did 9/11 cause the incredible debt thrown on our children and our grandchildren. Did 9/11 cause the deep divide in this country from someone who said he would be the great uniter? Did 9/11 cause a new policy of pre-emptive warfare, now to include nuclear weapons? Did 9/11 cause the incredible mismanagement of Katrina from top to bottom? Did 9/11 cause our borders to become conduits for potential terrorists? Did 9/11 cause my transmission to fail last week?

Conservatives love to rail at the supposed 'victim mentality' of liberals. They should look in the mirror at their leader.

UPDATE: FEMA director Mike Brown, the latest administration failure to claim victim status*, has actually become the victim of his own lack of ability and judgment, having apparently resigned this morning. (*Courtesy of Buzzflash)

Posted by a Vet -- -- permanent link

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Protecting Those Who Protect Others

Getting out ahead of potential health problems to our troops, one veterans organization is trying to prevent the mistakes and neglect of the past:

Washington, DC -- Veterans for Common Sense (VCS), a nonpartisan veterans' organization with 14,000 members, delivered a letter to the President today calling for National Guard units deployed in support of relief efforts in the Gulf Coast to be federalized.

The letter, sent September 8, cited the serious contamination of water and soil in the New Orleans area, noting that many service-members are expected to be deployed in the area for months and may suffer long-term health effects due to exposure to some toxins.

"The big lesson from Gulf War illnesses," says Charles Sheehan-Miles, the group's executive director, "is that we must have data in order to track what's going on with the troops. That's why we believe the federal government must coordinate not only deployment of troops, but also long-term health monitoring."

Sheehan-Miles also pointed out that National Guard units activated by the state, rather than the federal government, are not eligible for health benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The complete text of the letter is available online at

Posted by a Vet -- -- permanent link

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

The Blind Leading the Blind

Responding to Rep. Nancy Pelosi asking W to fire FEMA Secy Brown, after "all that didn't go right" last week in the gulf,

W: "What didn't go right?"


This, a week after he, himself, said that the response to Katrina was "unacceptable." His words, again, defy reason as he and his clones attempt to place all the blame on others. This has little to do with politics and everything to do with competence to lead. Interesting isn't it how his press secretary said it's too early to play the blame game - for others, that is.

Posted by a Vet -- -- permanent link

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Hats Off

The military knows how to do this kind of thing, and they are doing it well in the Gulf, now that the various inept, incompetent, and unprepared government bureaucracies are being put into a secondary role of support.

One federal agency stands out from the beginning - the Coast Guard. When all is said and done, during the first three days, they alone waited for no one, and did their job. They didn't wait to see who had jurisdiction or who was in charge - they took charge for what they could do. By themselves, they have saved thousands who also might have perished. Hats off.

Similarly, local law enforcement agencies, for the most part have stayed on the job without sleep for days, some coming under gunfire. Hats off.

The Red Cross & Salvation Army know how to respond but dozens of other nonprofits are also providing literally tons of help in resources and support. Hats off.

And in the vacuum created by the initial lack of timely response at all levels, the people of this country have responded - they too have saved many lives and have opened their wallets, their cities, their homes, and their churches. A very big hats off...

Posted by a Vet -- -- permanent link

Killed By Indecision

From Paul Krugman:

Each day since Katrina brings more evidence of the lethal ineptitude of federal officials. I'm not letting state and local officials off the hook, but federal officials had access to resources that could have made all the difference, but were never mobilized...

Here's one of many examples: The Chicago Tribune reports that the U.S.S. Bataan, equipped with six operating rooms, hundreds of hospital beds and the ability to produce 100,000 gallons of fresh water a day, has been sitting off the Gulf Coast since last Monday - without patients.

Experts say that the first 72 hours after a natural disaster are the crucial window during which prompt action can save many lives. Yet action after Katrina was anything but prompt. Newsweek reports that a "strange paralysis" set in among Bush administration officials, who debated lines of authority while thousands died...

But the federal government's lethal ineptitude wasn't just a consequence of Mr. Bush's personal inadequacy; it was a consequence of ideological hostility to the very idea of using government to serve the public good. For 25 years the right has been denigrating the public sector, telling us that government is always the problem, not the solution. Why should we be surprised that when we needed a government solution, it wasn't forthcoming?...


Posted by a Vet -- -- permanent link

Thursday, September 01, 2005

We're Going After the Real Terrorists...

Right wing spin talking points to subscribers this morning emphasize going after the lawlessness and looters. Yes, order needs to be established and maintained.

But how about the #1 priority right now: saving lives. Find that in the talking points.

Less-Than-Intelligent-Leadership doesn't know who to bomb or who to start a war with after the hurricane, so how better to proceed than against a new set of terrorists who clearly must have been responsible for starting the hurricane.

And where is a third of our National Guard and Reserves? 40% of the troops in Iraq are guard and reserves...

Oh, and where is Halliburton? At least we could buy them off this time to do some good for our own people...

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Goat Book, Part III

....9/11, Tsunami, Hurricane Katrina

Leadership - where has it been?

Quote from this morning: " would could have predicted that the levees would break..." GWB. Check with your own FEMA Mr. President...oh yeah, that's one of the organizations that doesn't have priority in the budget.

Picture 9/11 with W and his bullhorn on the rubble of disaster. Then check New Orleans and Baghdad - where is Mr. Bush? Playing golf. That says it all. You should be very angry. I am.

Posted by a Vet -- -- permanent link