published Saturday, May 31st, 2014

Take a Number

about Clay Bennett...

The son of a career army officer, Bennett led a nomadic life, attending ten different schools before graduating in 1980 from the University of North Alabama with degrees in Art and History. After brief stints as a staff artist at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Fayetteville (NC) Times, he went on to serve as the editorial cartoonist for the St. Petersburg Times (1981-1994) and The Christian Science Monitor (1997-2007), before joining the staff of the ...

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fairmon said...

alprova said...

Fairmon, you're determined to place the blame for this VA mess at Obama's feet.

I have never said he was the only culprit to not effectively deal with the mess. Why should he not share the blame? Check out all the speeches and campaign promises not kept. Who selected the key person to head up the VA system and assure it functioned right and as he promised?

The hypocritical congress now demanding investigations and acting alarmed make me "mad as hell" and thinking most of them have been there too long. It is the typical reaction, investigate and let it die down then business as usual with some increasing their personal wealth. Nancy Pelosi is a conniving, evil, ignorant bitch that appears spaced out on something when she appears on camera. Her and John McCain have similar "I am smarter than most" attitudes, they sound like they are talking to kindergarteners.

May 31, 2014 at 5:52 a.m.
joepulitzer said...

Little Boy al come blow your horn, The sheep's in the meadow the cow's in the corn. But where's the boy who looks after the sheep? He's under a haystack fast asleep. Will you wake him? No, not I - for if I do, he's sure to cry.

May 31, 2014 at 7:05 a.m.
alprova said...

How cute. But what does it mean? Why do you have such a boner for me Joe?

You're quite the chicken, taking anonymous pot shots from behind your firewall.

May 31, 2014 at 7:56 a.m.
alprova said...

Fairmon wrote: "I have never said he was the only culprit to not effectively deal with the mess. Why should he not share the blame?"

Could that be because he was not aware of it? I know you like to believe that the President watches everything going on around the nation on a big screen and that he should know it all, but common sense should tell you that it is impossible.

I wrote a very good explanation last night, which you seem to be ignoring. Local VA Administrators have been the problem for decades.

"Check out all the speeches and campaign promises not kept."

Sir, can you name one President who has kept all or even most of their campaign promises? You have to know that this President has been hamstrung from the moment he walked into the Oval Office.

Very few of those campaign promises were broken because he was not overruled.

"Who selected the key person to head up the VA system and assure it functioned right and as he promised?"

Eric Shinseki was a former GWB appointee, who was fired and then exonerated later of any and all wrongdoing. I'm sure Obama was simply giving the man a well deserved second chance.

There is absolutely no evidence that Eric Shinseki is to blame for a damn thing this time around as well, but he resigned anyway. I'm quite sure that whomever heads up Veteran's Affairs has a very tough road ahead of them.

"The hypocritical congress now demanding investigations and acting alarmed make me "mad as hell" and thinking most of them have been there too long."

Agreed.

"It is the typical reaction, investigate and let it die down then business as usual with some increasing their personal wealth."

Ditto.

"Nancy Pelosi is a conniving, evil, ignorant bitch that appears spaced out on something when she appears on camera. Her and John McCain have similar "I am smarter than most" attitudes, they sound like they are talking to kindergarteners."

I'm not a Nancy Pelosi or a John McCain fan either, but so long as those in their districts keep voting them in, we're stuck with them.

May 31, 2014 at 8:16 a.m.
tbs1015 said...

it's interesting to see people now all of a sudden are getting mad and frustrated at the VA, when the VA has been screwed up for decades now.

May 31, 2014 at 9:53 a.m.
GaussianInteger said...

Little boy blew...he needed the money...Ohhhhh!

May 31, 2014 at 10:01 a.m.

BO didn't create the VA, but he sure looks like a phony ass giving the impression that he's shocked given that in 2008 he mentioned those problems, and that later he said it could be a model for BOcare. The problems have festered on his watch, so he made a scapegoat of Shinseki. Shenseki isn't responsible for the VA's problems either. It's sucked for a long time.

May 31, 2014 at 10:12 a.m.
TheJackDennis said...

alpoo says "I'm not a Nancy Pelosi or a John McCain fan either, but so long as those in their districts keep voting them in, we're stuck with them." McCain has a district? Is he serving one of those 4 yr House terms?

May 31, 2014 at 10:32 a.m.
fairmon said...

alprova said..

Could that be because he was not aware of it? I know you like to believe that the President watches everything going on around the nation on a big screen and that he should know it all, but common sense should tell you that it is impossible.

No one, including a CEO of a large corporation can know everything that goes on in their company. Therefore, the successful ones are those that select people that know how and will set up systems to assure things function as designed and none of those successful are prone to be lenient with non performers. In fact Jack Welch, one of the most successful CEO's ever terminated the lowest rated 10% of his managing staff annually. He also had a unit of auditors and investigators to assure adherence to his business principles.

Congress should be the auditors that assure compliance but they have abdicated to the extent they often have not a clue how money is spent and wasted or how legislation is enacted. There is enough waste and fraud in Medicare to provide the greatest care possible for veterans but congress keeps doing nothing about it.

I only hope that what comes out of this is that every veteran that has served a full term or was seriously injured promptly receives the best care available including by private physicians if needed to avoid extensive traveling and long waits.

I have said before and will say again, there should be an added line item on taxes called war and defense tax with no deductions, exceptions or exemptions. A flat tax of "X" percent to cover the cost of all military expenses. This would work even in the fair tax proposal with a percent of the consumption tax allocated for that purpose.

May 31, 2014 at 11:27 a.m.
fairmon said...

alprova....successful coaches in various college and professional sports are those that have an uncanny ability to select and develop good assistants. Bear Bryant was not so football smart but he had more assistants go on to head coaching jobs than most coaches. He did a great job of hiring the right assistants. Look at your man Obama and the background of those he appoints. How many are experienced business people compared to former presidents including Bill Clinton who was pretty good at selecting effective people. Ronald Reagan was surrounded by people much smarter with good business sense and more capable than he was and it did have a good effect on the economy.

May 31, 2014 at 11:34 a.m.
fairmon said...

I have to admit Obama doesn't have much to work with in "relic" Reid and "boohoo" Boehner.

May 31, 2014 at 11:36 a.m.
GaussianInteger said...

"The problems have festered on his watch, so he made a scapegoat of Shinseki."

Tell that to the GOP. Last Sunday, you had a Republican senator blasting certain Veteran's groups (including the VFW) for not publicly calling for the ouster of Shinseki. The GOP was the one rallying for the firing of Shinseki, Obama never attempted to make a "scapegoat" out of him. Way to go right-wingers, making a political argument out of something that both parties share total responsibility. As if veterans haven't suffered enough, now you have GOP blowhards and conservative talk show hosts pissing all over the faces of veterans. How patriotic.

May 31, 2014 at 11:39 a.m.

That is true, fairmon, Reid may be senile or nuts. Boehner isn't much of anything..he's not much of an opposition, and he's not a leader in his party either. BO has assembled some of the worst people ever. What about that commie appointee, Van Jones. What's with all the "czars" he seems to love that title.

May 31, 2014 at 11:44 a.m.
TheJackDennis said...

^ Boehner is a joke. McCain senile. Reid/Pelosi laughable. Clean house. Term limits.

May 31, 2014 at 12:05 p.m.
alprova said...

Fairmon wrote: "No one, including a CEO of a large corporation can know everything that goes on in their company. Therefore, the successful ones are those that select people that know how and will set up systems to assure things function as designed and none of those successful are prone to be lenient with non performers."

Okay, but how many of these lower level administrators have been in place for years? If the man at the top is fed reports that are falsified, and there is nothing else to indicate any wrongdoing, how is he to be aware that anything is amiss?

"In fact Jack Welch, one of the most successful CEO's ever terminated the lowest rated 10% of his managing staff annually. He also had a unit of auditors and investigators to assure adherence to his business principles."

That's all fine and good for one corporation, but we're talking about 1,858 VA hospitals.

"Congress should be the auditors that assure compliance but they have abdicated to the extent they often have not a clue how money is spent and wasted or how legislation is enacted."

And how much money would it take to regularly audit 1,858 hospitals every year? Which political party is far less likely to authorize such an expenditure?

"There is enough waste and fraud in Medicare to provide the greatest care possible for veterans but congress keeps doing nothing about it."

Actually, you're a little out of touch. Medicare has been handed over to iron-fisted insurance companies, who have trimmed the vast majority of the fat from Medicare.

"I only hope that what comes out of this is that every veteran that has served a full term or was seriously injured promptly receives the best care available including by private physicians if needed to avoid extensive traveling and long waits."

Who can disagree with that?

May 31, 2014 at 12:42 p.m.
fairmon said...

alprova said..

That's all fine and good for one corporation, but we're talking about 1,858 VA hospitals.

That was a world wide corporation with multiple businesses. There is only one head of the VA with several direct reports which is no larger task than some CEO's have.

alprova said....

Actually, you're a little out of touch. Medicare has been handed over to iron-fisted insurance companies, who have trimmed the vast majority of the fat from Medicare.

Not exactly, you may want to see the latest few billion that was discovered.

alprova said...

And how much money would it take to regularly audit 1,858 hospitals every year? Which political party is far less likely to authorize such an expenditure?

It does not have to be a frequent in person observation and there is a simple process to monitor system for compliance. Apparently the care is OK once in the system and no indication the facilities cleanliness and maintenance has not been an issue. The money for auditing is already in the budget but is not effectively utilized.

The right person could have most VA issues resolved in 100 days if congress were not involved and allowed them to make changes with approval after the fact instead of the campaigning and camera ops they seek while talking it to death and calling it debate.

May 31, 2014 at 2:59 p.m.
alprova said...

Fairmon wrote: "That was a world wide corporation with multiple businesses. There is only one head of the VA with several direct reports which is no larger task than some CEO's have."

Sir, I think you're underestimating what it takes to administer one hospital, much less 1,858 of them.

"Not exactly, you may want to see the latest few billion that was discovered."

Humor me. Enlighten me to that discovery and what it encompassed.

"It does not have to be a frequent in person observation and there is a simple process to monitor system for compliance. Apparently the care is OK once in the system and no indication the facilities cleanliness and maintenance has not been an issue. The money for auditing is already in the budget but is not effectively utilized."

You don't think that the VA system is currently over-burdened? With people like yourself calling for downsizing Government, and others desiring to trim the budget, where do you believe all this money is supposed to come from. that is not already being used to provide care?

"The right person could have most VA issues resolved in 100 days if congress were not involved and allowed them to make changes with approval after the fact instead of the campaigning and camera ops they seek while talking it to death and calling it debate."

I truly don't think you have the slightest comprehension how complicated the VA system is, and always has been.

No one man could ever straighten it out. But you can certainly send in your resume. They are actively searching for the next, future head to go on the chopping block when nothing changes at the administrative level.

May 31, 2014 at 3:45 p.m.
TheJackDennis said...

alpo says "I truly don't think you have the slightest comprehension how complicated the VA system is, and always has been." But of course Alpo does.

May 31, 2014 at 3:53 p.m.
inquiringmind said...

For Boehner and all you red folks to try to cloak President Obama or the former head of VA as the cause just ignores reality. This should have been fixed in Bush the younger's first term since he started these illegal wars and let soldiers become victim of a systemic and longstanding agency.

I heard the best comment that shows Boehner's flagrant hypocrisy:General Shinseki can rely on a 20-something corporal to radio in a situation that give the General reason to launch a military operation, in fact military disciple depends on it, but it is a tragedy he could not rely on his VA staff fort he same candor and honesty.

May 31, 2014 at 4:25 p.m.
Rickaroo said...

Bush and the GOP were not even willing to pay for the wars. Why is it suddenly a surprise that there are not sufficient funds or services to cover the cost of the tens of thousands of maimed vets returning from those unfunded wars?

Recently almost every member of the GOP voted AGAINST the VA bill authored by Bernie Sanders which would have designated $28 billion towards improvement and expansion of services. Lack of funding is not necessarily the root of the problems but without sufficient funding the problems most certainly will never get fixed.

It's disgusting to see the Republicans blame Obama for problems that have been festering for a long, long time, due more than anything to a pitiful lack of funding, which he and the Democrats have tried to procure. The GOP has been methodical and resolute over the years in starving the beast (of all federally funded programs) and now they are trying to make us believe that the problems are inherent in the system, that government itself is incompetent and that privatization is the answer. Screw all the Republicans who are crying their crocodile tears over the vets. They don't give a damn about the vets, they just want to do whatever it takes to privatize everything they possibly can, from the Post Office to Social Security to Medicare to prisons to education, and to the Veterans Administration.

May 31, 2014 at 4:37 p.m.
alprova said...

Amen Rickaroo.

May 31, 2014 at 4:48 p.m.
TheJackDennis said...

Any bill introduced by bernie sanders should get the default no vote.

May 31, 2014 at 4:59 p.m.
TirnaNOG said...

It wasn't under the present administration that comatose and paralyzed vets unable to perform the most basics had flies and maggots crawling and flying out of their nose, ears, mouths and every other orafice on their bodies. The problems with VA were there long before president Obama came Into office and this present head of theVA took over. The problems have more to with a lack of funding and being short staffed and all these wars started under the bush admi istration. The same will happen when public and private hospitals become overwhelmed with more patients overload them and there isn't enough staff to care for the patients. Remember in the past hospitals were allowed to care for vets, and they did such a poor job that VA hospitals and clinics were created to care for their own. Private and for profit hospitals are like private and for profit prisons. The goal being to spend as little as possible and make a profit.

May 31, 2014 at 5:49 p.m.

Rickaroo, nice rant, but it's just diarrhea. There have plenty of Democratically controlled congresses going way back. Both parties are to blame for this, and many Presidents of both parties allowed it to fester. BO needs to own up to his portion of the blame. He's been POTUS since '08. He acts as if he's shocked. Phony.

May 31, 2014 at 6:10 p.m.
Easy123 said...

Why doesn't anyone else have to own up to their share of the blame? How would President Obama go about doing that anyway?

Why wouldn't he be shocked? Right Wing-Nuts never brought this up before and the VA has had problems for years. Why is it an issue now? I think I know, but you'd never admit the real reason, phony.

The phony, contrived outrage about everything Right Wing-Nuts deem important is laughable. You dipsh!ts had nothing to say before this, yet now your panties are in a wad about nearly everything.

May 31, 2014 at 6:24 p.m.
alprova said...

Z-man wrote: "BO needs to own up to his portion of the blame. He's been POTUS since '08. He acts as if he's shocked. Phony."

How do you TRULY know what it is that the President was aware of could have been aware of?

You call the man a liar all the time, but I just don't see how it is that you, or anyone else is in a position to know what the President knows and when he knows it.

The VA mess is not the failure of our President. It is the failure of many lower level people to do their jobs honestly and to provide accurate details in their administrative reports.

You can lay charges all day long, but they will continue to be quite meaningless. You could not possibly know what the President knows, and not one conservative writer of an anti-Obama article does either.

You Obama bashers know as much about the President as you do how many times a day I personally take a dump.

Why can't you people stick to the truth and the facts, rather than to embrace conspiracies all day long, every day?

It's just like the poster who wrote yesterday that the Obama Administration was the most corrupt ever.

What the hell do they base that on? Rumor, speculation, and moronic musings by people who could not possibly have the first clue what goes on up in Washington, much less the White House.

Everything is not a scandal. Everything is not a conspiracy.

Some people in this nation need to grow the hell up and start using their own brains to reason and to think for themselves, rather than to act as if they are grazing sheep.

May 31, 2014 at 6:27 p.m.
fairmon said...

Rickaroo said...

Bush and the GOP were not even willing to pay for the wars. Why is it suddenly a surprise that there are not sufficient funds or services to cover the cost of the tens of thousands of maimed vets returning from those unfunded wars?

I don't totally disagree although both administrations increased funding but not enough and did not address the systemic failures of the system.

May 31, 2014 at 6:58 p.m.
fairmon said...

alprova said...

How do you TRULY know what it is that the President was aware of could have been aware of?

The only thing for sure is what he described in his campaign speeches which he started making when still in the senate. Many in congress acting so indignant now knew as much or more and did nothing.

alprova said...Some people in this nation need to grow the hell up and start using their own brains to reason and to think for themselves, rather than to act as if they are grazing sheep.

At least you admit it! However thinking for themselves obviously may often not yield good results.

You amaze me pointing out how big and unmanageable the VA is but react and object to any suggestion the government is too big and unmanageable.

May 31, 2014 at 7:04 p.m.
fairmon said...

alprova said...Everything is not a scandal. Everything is not a conspiracy.

Very true, not everything is, some are just ignorance and incompetence.

May 31, 2014 at 7:07 p.m.
fairmon said...

Who is the most likely candidate sans Hilary? Before 2016 she may suffer a major health failure or some scandal she can't get around. Or, she may just decide not to make the grueling effort. So, who do the democrats have as an alternative should that happen? Please don't make the choice be between Joe Biden and some goofy republican candidate.

May 31, 2014 at 7:13 p.m.
joepulitzer said...

Hey, al, do you like iced tea?

May 31, 2014 at 10:04 p.m.
alprova said...

Fairmon wrote: "You amaze me pointing out how big and unmanageable the VA is but react and object to any suggestion the government is too big and unmanageable."

I don't believe you're representing my stances correctly. You're the one who believes that Government is too big. I don't happen to subscribe to that theory.

Now, is Government managed all the time efficiently and perfectly?

Of course not. Nothing on this planet is perfect.

But I'll take our Government over that of any other nation on the face of this Earth.

Jack Welch may have been a fine CEO, but he wasn't in charge of 1,858 Hospitals and other VA related facilities, where the circumstances, as well as names and faces changing every single day of the week.

May 31, 2014 at 10:15 p.m.
joepulitzer said...

He's ignoring me, but I bet he does like iced tea.

May 31, 2014 at 10:32 p.m.
alprova said...

Okay Joe...I'll bite.

I love iced tea. Drink it about 70% of the time.

May 31, 2014 at 10:56 p.m.
wallyworld said...

Senate republicans blocked $21 Billion for VA clinics because it's 'not paid for'. Then they advance $600 Billion in CORPORATE tax cuts, NOT PAID FOR. Republicans have taken hypocrisy to a whole new level. They know their constituents are so brainwashed they'll never look up actual facts or even consider them.

June 1, 2014 at 5:31 a.m.
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