Thursday, October 20, 2011

I Hate The War

A number of visitors are writing about today's snapshot. Most are sharing horror stories they've had with the VA.

There's one that has me laughing. It's accusing me of "deliberately and intentionally" refusing to cover the October 12 House Veterans Affairs Committee hearing until today because I wanted to wait until after Barack had spoken to service members so I could make him look like an idiot.

So I'm devious and all powerful?

Devious enough last week to have plotted it out and all powerful because if we don't note a hearing here, apparently, no one else could ever hear of it.

Yesterday, in the car, on NPR, I heard a headline news piece probably around ten or eleven and it did not that Barack would be speaking to service members. I did think, 'I should use that as a jumping point to the House Veterans Affairs Committee hearing.' But that was provided I had time for it.

As noted at the end of Wednesday's snapshot: "Last week, I attended part of a hearing that I keep trying to include but we haven't had the space. I'll try again tomorrow. Other things that have been on hold due to space? Adam Kokesh and Iraqi Christians."

Last Friday, I was exhausted and we had enough to cover. I had hoped to carry it over to Third but we ran out of time. Monday wasn't going to happen just because there were the weekend events to cover. Time and space caused a problem.

US House Rep Jeff Miller (Chair of the House Veterans Affairs Committee) being a Republican did not, as another e-mail insists, mean I was ignoring the hearing.

If someone demands accountability in a hearing, I applaud them for it. I don't really care whether they're a Republican or a Democrat (I am a Democrat). We've been covering Congressional hearings here since at least the Alito and Roberts confirmations. And it doesn't really matter to me what someone is (what party) when covering the hearing.

I do try to pick the most important moments from what I attended (I don't always attend the full hearing -- especially if it's a three panel hearing and the third panel is all government employees who are going to spin, spin, spin). And that might be what a Republican said, that might be what a Democrat said.

If I had had more space, I would have included Phil Roe who is a Republican member of the Committee. I note him in the snapshot, but I would have gladly included some of his exchange if there had been more space.

One person objected to blaming Shinseki. Eric Shinseki is the Secretary of Veterans Affairs. I'm glad someone supports him and encourage that woman to continue to do so. But I'm not hear to hand out gold stars. Shinseki is the head of the VA and the VA has had one embarrassment after another.

To me, that says replace him. His failure to alert Congress to the problems with the Post-9/11 GI Bill payments, when, by his owns tatements, he was aware of them at least eight months before they began is a problem. He should have informed Congress. He hid it from them.

And what's going on with the Miami VA Medical Center demands accountability. Not only the events, but also that they got to such an extreme and also that Mary Berrocal even testified. She should have been let go months ago and she was in no shape to testify. That reflects on the VA and Eric Shinseki is the VA.

Again, I'm glad he's got a supporter. But I'm not one of them. The VA has too many problems. And, I'd argue, the politicians are the ones creating an expectation of VA service. They're the ones making statements -- that includes Shinseki. They're going to have to expect that the VA will be held too all the statements praising the men and women in the service and insistng that they deserve the finest of care, etc.

I'm not asking for the impossible.

I'm saying that when people end up with a strain of hepatitis or AIDS because a VA center 'forgot' to clean their instruments, heads need to roll. If that had been a private care hospital, that would have been a huge scandal with Congressional hearings.

Mary Berrocal seemed to think that she did her job just by showing up. She didn't even meet the bare minimum of her job. And then, a point Dr. Phil Roe made in his questioning, the people weren't notified. Roe has talked about that topic before, how, as a doctor, if he made a mistake, he didn't push it off on anyone else to break the news, he did it himself.

People weren't notified in a timely manner. Some only learned of the infections by reading it in the papers. And not only did Berrocal, the director of the medical center, not do the calls herself with regards to the most recent problem (the arrest of an employee selling veterans information), she didn't even think to inquire whether they had been made.

She should have. She should have cared enough to ask, "Have we made the calls?" That shows a strong lack of sensitivity.

But don't forget the stupidity.

She knows the Committee is very dismayed by reports and she shows up at the hearing apparently never having bothered to review the key topics.

And this idiot is running the Miami medical center.

That reflects on Shinseki, in my opinion, and on Barack as well.

Whether it's information being sold or risking serious infection by refusing to clean equipment, time and again that center has been a huge disappointment and Mary Berrocal is still in charge. That says no leadership to me.

It's over, I'm done writing songs about love
There's a war going on
So I'm holding my gun with a strap and a glove
And I'm writing a song about war
And it goes
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Oh oh oh oh
-- "I Hate The War" (written by Greg Goldberg, on The Ballet's Mattachine!)

Last Thursday, ICCC's number of US troops killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war was 4481. Tonight it is [PDF format warning] 4482. Here's the screen snap:


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