The VA is a mess that needs serious oversight.
The next Secretary of the VA is going to have to roll up his or her sleeves and work harder than they ever have in their life to improve conditions. They're going to need focus, they're going to need energy.
And Toby's the best Barack can find?
The for-profit doctor is a Vietnam veteran. But isn't that the main reason to reject him for this post? Vietnam veteran's are an aging population.
Dr. Toby Cosgrove was Williams College Class of 1962. He's either 70 right now or turns 70 this year.
Whether you think the VA needs simple reform or a radical overhaul, Cosgrove doesn't seem the ideal choice.
I've argued for Shisneki's resignation here since the fall of 2009. I've argued that a younger person was needed for this post because the VA needs leadership with drive and energy. Since 2011, I've argued Patrick Murphy, Iraq War veteran and former US House Rep, would be ideal for the job. He's not the only one who could do the job.
In light of the current scandals, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America issued "IAVA’s 8 Steps to Restore Confidence in the VA" on Monday.
1. Appoint a Post-9/11 veteran, or someone very familiar with our community, who is a proven, dynamic leader capable of making dramatic changes and inspiring the turnaround VA needs. The VA needs a proven reformer at the top who can end the crisis and drive the VA to become the 21st Century organization our veterans deserve. America needs a unique brand of hybrid leader--a proactive change-agent who understands Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, technology, healthcare and Congress. The new Secretary must also be an effective communicator who can level with the public, operate effectively in the midst of a growing scandal that may span dozens of cities and continue for months, and inspire the best talent in America to answer the call to serve at VA.
I think youth matters in this case. I think it's a very difficult job that will require more than mere oversight.
There appears to have been no real thought put into this selection.
By the way, this was in yesterday's snapshot:
(I'm tabling an issue right now because I don't want it impacting whomever the nominee is. It has nothing to do with the VA or veterans. It has everything to do with the people who are getting nominated for posts. Barack needs to be vetting people for this post and once he makes his nomination, I'll probably stop biting my tongue on another issue.)
I'm done tabling it. A friend in the administration called an hour ago and said if I had anything to toss out to halt or slow down Toby's nomination to do it now because the White House is about to move much faster on Toby as the choice for VA Secretary.
What is Toby's qualification?
That he's got a penis?
I'm real sorry that Daddy walked out on Barack Jr. I'm even sorrier that a grown man can't deal with that all these years later.
Most of all, I'm sorry women pay the price for this.
And I'm enraged by the fluffers posing as feminists who stay silent as Barack does his male golf games and his male basketball games and we're supposed to pretend that's okay and not discrimination.
It is work place discrimination.
Not just for golf, but for basketball as well.
Barack can kid himself all he wants, he's not winning games because he's talented, he's winning because he's the president and nobody wants to suffer through a bad work week just because Barack's bent out of shape over losing.
These are occasions to bond and strengthen work ties and women are left completely out.
That is unacceptable and that is sexism.
I'm sorry Gloria Steinem will die a coward who refused to call out sexism. That's on her. That's not on me.
I've done my part and I can't be responsible for her cowardly and geriatric ass.
What's taken place is wrong.
Toby is wrong for the VA. His only qualification appears to be that he's a man. (The VA is not a for-profit facility.)
Do you know who that is?
The man's Ayad Allawi. He promoted a unified Iraq as the leader of Iraqiya, a unified Iraq where all could achieve. Iraqiya was made up of various sects and ethnicities and it was a coalition that recognized men and women. The Iraqi people backed Iraqiya in the 2010 elections. Barack responded by nullifying their votes with The Erbil Agreement (the legal contract the US brokered which gave Nouri a second term).
Iraqiya is no more. Maybe it will regroup. But despite being denied the post of prime minister, they had a very real and very strong accomplishment from 2011 to 2014.
That was their spokesperson.
The Iraqi news cycle is dominated by men.
On TV, women are often reduced to the most simplistic 'reports' on beauty and youth. Often, they're not even in those reports, they're just lectured to by men doing those reports.
Maysoun al-Damlouji is a woman.
As Iraqiya's spokesperson, she was in the hard news cycle every week, sometimes several times a week.
Only one other woman regularly appeared in the hard news cycle, MP Susan Said.
Even Said did not appear as often as al-Damlouji.
Iraqi women are strong and capable and they led the fight for equality in the Arab region.
They fought for and won tremendous rights which made Iraq the most advanced of Arab countries.
Then comes the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.
And all the US government wanted to do was install men.
Didn't matter that these men were often anti-woman.
They installed exiles with chips on their shoulders who couldn't lead because they were so dragged down by the past.
And Iraqi women had to protest to protect their rights from being slashed repeatedly.
So al-Damlouji mattered (as did Susan Said).
Iraq has very young population. It would be very easy for their glorious and proud past to be forgotten because what the US-imposed upon the country is life in Iraq for so many young Iraqis.
The woman in the photo with Ayad Allawi?
That's Stephanie Duhaime, Canada's Charge D'Affaires in Iraq, their top diplomat.
Their top diplomat is a woman.
What has the US offered?
Under Barack Obama, five men have been nominated and three confirmed.
The first four nominated were: Chris Hill, James Jeffrey, Brett McGurk and Robert Stephen Beecroft. All but McGurk were confirmed.
Barack has now nominated Stuart E. Jones to succeed Beecroft.
Which means Barack has now nominated five people for Ambassador to Iraq.
Never once has he nominated a woman.
Despite the fact that the US government has seriously harmed the rights of women in Iraq.
They can't even speak out, the State Dept, the White House, about the move to lower the marrying age for girls to 9-years-old or younger.
While the rest of the world is striving towards progress, Iraq's current government wants to start marrying off 9-year-old girls to dirty old men.
And the US government doesn't do a damn thing.
They make things worse for Iraqi women.
Instead of using the tools they have to help Iraqi women, they work to further destroy.
The US Ambassador to Iraq is a diplomatic tool.
Who the person is says a great deal about where the US government stands.
And what the US government is repeatedly saying to Iraq is that it does not feel women are up to leadership.
Instead of elevating the image of women -- after the US government destroyed it -- Barack continues to insist -- by his choices -- that women aren't qualified, that women lack leadership skills.
He has now made five nominations for US Ambassador to Iraq.
Though there are many qualified women in the State Dept and many qualified women who have left the State Dept, Barack can only find men to nominate.
He's had three men as Secretary of Defense -- no women.
Now if he wanted Vietnam experience for Secretary of the VA -- Shinseki was a Vietnam veteran, Toby is a Vietnam veteran -- then why not Marsha Ford?
1st Lt Marsha Ford's much more qualified than Toby. Toby's experience is for-profit. He went to college, he served in Vietnam, he went back to college, he created a for-profit hospital.
Marsha Ford's post-Vietnam life is one of advocating for veterans.
While Toby was getting rich, Marsha was busting her ass for veterans.
Ask her what's wrong with the VA and she won't say, "Let me get back to you on that."
She doesn't need to research, she's been appearing before Congress for years now explaining what needs to be done.
How do you claim to respect veterans and refuse to consider the veterans who've made it their life's work to advocate on behalf of other veterans?
Toby's going to need to learn the VA system, he's going to need to be brought up to speed, there are all these elements he's unfamiliar with.
Marsha Ford knows the system.
Why is it that women are repeatedly shut out of posts by Barack Obama?
He's not the feminist president and Ms. magazine never self-embarrassed more than when they pimped that lie.
I don't have time for this crap nor does the world.
Jane Fonda, I love you, but stop being such a damn tool.
You look like a hypocrite, which is why your book is not selling, pimping the alleged importance of equality for girls and women when you refuse to call out what's happening in Iraq. You look like just another rich bitch trying to turn a fast buck.
Now maybe your book's amazing and wonderful (I've avoided reading it due to the charges of homophobia, if it is homophobic, I'd have to call it out, so I've avoided reading the book). But the world sees another rich, White woman saying she's concerned yet while the furor was building globally about the attempt to lower the marriage age for Iraqi girls, Jane had nothing to say on the matter.
Let's note these words:
I haven't spoken at an antiwar rally in 34 years, because I've been afraid that because of the lies that have been and continue to be spread about me and that war, that they would be used to hurt this new antiwar movement, but silence is no longer an option. My daughter, who is here with me today -- come here -- she was a little girl when she would come with me to the anti-Vietnam War protests. She's here today with her two little children, my grandchildren. I'm very proud that they’re here, but I'm so sad that we still have to do this; that we did not learn the lessons from the Vietnam War; that we've made the same mistakes, blindness to the realities on the ground, hubris and arrogance in dealing with a people and culture far older than we are; and that we understand so little, carelessness and thoughtlessness in our approach to rebuilding a country we've destroyed, allowing billions of dollars to be stolen, squandered at the hands of private contractors, just as this administration has done in our own gulf in the post-Katrina era.
That's Jane Fonda speaking at a peace rally in DC in 2007.
Those words were quoted in an e-mail from an Iraqi refugee in Europe. She wrote this week wondering why Jane uttered those words when she "clearly did not mean them" and why Jane thinks it is acceptable, while Iraqi women suffer, "to act like she doesn't even know of our existence"?
It's a damn good question.
I dictated back a reply which included that Jane lacks the spine, the guts and the courage to take any action that might require Barack do something or might result in criticism of Barack.
She's not really a feminist so much as she's a hybrid of corporate power and corporate wealth with a dash of feminism which flickers on and off over the years.
Those words are going to hurt.
Wish I didn't have to write them.
But stop, Jane, stop going on TV and radio and in print talking about how important girls and women are because most people don't get that you're a huckster now. They take you seriously. They think you're brave. And they wait, around the world they wait, for you to use your name recognition to help the women and girls who suffer.
And you do nothing.
And it hurts them and they feel betrayed.
And that's why your book's not selling well.
Feminism is about equality and opportunity, about destroying the barriers that oppress girls and women.
Feminism is not about providing cover to or for powerful men.
Five people have been nominated by Barack to be US Ambassador to Iraq.
Every single one was a man.
Forcing Nouri and/or the next prime minister to deal face to face with a woman and the news coverage that would follow those dealings would have tremendous impact in Iraq.
Canada can be a leader on this, why won't Barack let the United States be a leader?
Barack's gotten away with his worship of the penis because American feminists have looked the other way and stayed silent. I hope these cowardly leaders realize they can't come back in two more years and suddenly argue against a Republican man who's doing the same thing Barack's done.
Gloria and Jane have both demonstrated just how cowardly a person can be once their one of the elderly. Neither should present themselves as a leader when they're both silenced by fear.
Shame on them.
And shame on anyone who wants to pretend that in all of America there is no woman who qualifies to be the US Ambassador to Iraq.
Shame on anyone who wants to pretend Wealthy Pants Toby understands the average experience of veterans or that the VA has time to waste for Toby to learn the job that he currently lacks qualifications for.
Shame on Barack for repeatedly refusing to value women.
(While I am sad that the remarks here will hurt Jane I don't give a damn that they'll hurt Gloria. She's done enough harm to others and to the feminist movement. She's basically lobbed a ticking grenade that goes off the day she dies and we're left dealing with the fall out because she can't get honest about her political beliefs. Instead, it will be the feminist movement that has to yet again explain that we were not Communist controlled despite leadership having a few political closet-cases. Thank you for that bomb, Gloria, thank you for f**king over the movement and refusing to clean up your own damn mess. If I had a visual for this, it would be middle finger salute just for Gloria poses as a Democrat Steinem. And, again, nothing wrong with being a Socialist or Communist, but there's no reason to hide in a closet. And when you do that, you make others take on the responsibility of cleaning up your mess. Gloria, get honest, and admit to the American people what you are and admit that you lied for press coverage. Don't make those us in the movement spend the next 20 years after you die trying to explain your deceit. The feminist movement deserves better.)
The following community sites -- plus Jody Watley, Susan's On the Edge, Marc Lynch, Jake Tapper, Black Agenda Report and Pacifica Evening News -- updated:
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