UNQUESTIONED ALLEGIANCE?

OPINION:

VETERAN

Am I no longer patriot?

In 1962, I voluntarily swore, “I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”

Today, the Constitution is no longer pertinent.  That document has been twisted, misinterpreted, and ignored by government leadership to serve and preserve its own agenda.

The government no longer embraces the values that were instilled in me so many years ago.  Back when there were only forty-eight stars on the flag.  Long before I took that oath.  A moral code built on the foundation of compassion, honesty, integrity; accountability, responsibility, and the rule of law.

FINAL FLAGS AT SBVCC

It is this government’s direction that has caused me to question my patriotism.  I still believe in that moral code.  This country’s leadership no longer values those beliefs.

Self-serving deceit and deception have surpassed the moral code.  The debacle of the Department of Veterans Affairs, the scandal at the IRS, senseless wars with distorted objectives, prisoner exchanges — all confirm that leadership has gone awry.  Leadership at all levels of public service can be enticed to perform obscenities beyond the pale.

It was instilled in me at a very young age, the ideals — the virtues of patriotism — the unquestioned values and intent embodied in the Constitution.  Those values firmly embedded in our government, and our leaders.  That was then.  It was a value system to be followed.  That is what I was taught; that is what I believed.

I have not wavered. I no longer question my patriotism.  My patriotism remains firm.  It is the patriotism of the leadership that I question.

Government leadership has distorted the term “patriotism” by encouraging and rewarding the quest for power and control through the use of deceit, and deception.

 

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CONTROLLED MEMORY

HAS THE COUNTRY TURNED THE PAGE ON THE SCANDAL AT THE DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS?

OPINION:

VETERAN

The Veterans Affairs debacle has already slipped from the front page, having been replaced by yet another scandal.

Still, the VA leaves thousands of wounded, infirmed, and dying veterans to languish on long waiting lists.  Waiting for the fulfillment of yet another promise delayed.  The promise made to the young and the naïve enlistees years ago, and that has come back to disappoint them.

A nation’s anger, outrage, and memory do not extend beyond the lead story on TV or the front page.  We have an insatiable appetite for the crisis of the day, but are quick to forget yesterday’s news.

“Leave no man behind,” is the current mantra that excites and gets our swift and undivided attention; yet efforts to relieve the veterans’ health care crisis moves ever so slowly.

Mainstream media controls the focus of our thoughts.  Media deflects our attention from one newsworthy item to another, forcing us to prioritize. The extent of deceit and deception experienced by those veterans who, unquestionably, served with honor and distinction, may also be forgotten.

Already forgotten is our outrage about the girls of Chibok; our obligatory outrage shared with Richard Martinez has faded.  The shooting in Seattle has been forgotten, replaced today by another school shooting in Oregon.  That too will soon be replaced by yet another sensationalized senseless act.  Acts that have become part of the fabric that weaves seamlessly into entertainment.

As soon as we hear about another atrocious act we react much as a child reacts to the bell of the ice cream truck.  We run to embrace it.  Gather in as many of the tiny details as we can so that we may engage in the conversation.  To be the first to impress; to express an authoritative, uninformed opinion as to the cause, effect, and remedy for everything evil.

Congressional fact-finding committees are an exercise in redundancy.  Many have known about the failures in the VA for years.  It only took the effort and courage of one man to bring the truth to the forefront; Dr. Samuel Foote.

Now, veterans must remain involved, informed, and continue to put pressure on those that can make a difference and are committed to doing so.

Evidence is surfacing that the service organizations have done little more than further their own objectives, maintain the current condition, and resist or delay any change.

Watching the news, the Veterans Affairs scandal is no longer the top story.  It has been replaced by the health concerns of one service member with questionable credentials and, sadly, the deaths in an Oregon school while the VA continues to mismanage and delay the health care of thousands of veterans.

The VA has demonstrated that it is incapable of self-governing.  It will only change through unrelenting efforts of the veterans themselves and  independent, critical oversight.

It will change with the persistence of veterans willing to keep it from being just a faded memory.

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To stay informed:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/federal-eye/

http://www.burr.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=PressOffice.PressReleases&ContentRecord_id=aa65233d-d544-d911-5730-974ef9952220

CHAOS

OPINION:

VETERAN

 

It is not only the Department of Veterans Affairs scheduling scandal. It is the overall level of incompetence, poor communication, poor medical staffing, and inadequate planning that plagues the entire VA system and jeopardizes veterans’ health.

It starts with the smarmy attitude of the administrative employee on the phone and continues to the unprofessional behavior of medical doctors; to outbreaks of Legionnaires disease in Pittsburgh; to an MRSA infection in Virginia. The VA is a failure at all levels and the study should encompass the entire operation, not just scheduling.

 

McGuire VA MEDICAL CENTER

 

One concern is that the VA will overlook the ultimate goal; the delivery of quality and timely medical care. There must be the resources available.

At this point, the most viable option suggested is to force an increased demand onto the private sector. Is the private sector equipped for the influx of the needy veterans? Does anyone have an accurate number as to what the total number veterans needing health care from each facility might be? News reports have suggested that some on the waiting lists, and the waiting lists themselves, have just disappeared.

One approach would be to have the responsibility fall on the individual VA medical centers to triage and coordinate wait list reductions with the local hospitals and clinics that have known specialist and expertise.

The private sector providers must be willing to “volunteer” for the compensable service and must have the capacity to handle the additional workload. Oversight must be in place to insure that no one requiring medical care, be it a private patient or veteran, suffers a delay in treatment.

Each care provider would have to assume the responsibility, and that would play havoc with the insurance providers. Would the liability insurance providers even extend their coverage? Some veterans may feel that they will get better care and request the private sector. Does the private sector even want to become involved with the VA?

Will the private providers and physicians receive timely payments from the VA?

The VA has shown little ability and even less enthusiasm to do anything in a timely manner.

 

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