Obama's Mr. Terrific
Shortly after VA secretary Robert McDonald proved to the world that he is in a Disneyland state of mind by comparing lethal wait times for treatment to the lines in the amusement park, Barack Obama gave him a strong backup. This time we were to be taken for a ride without having to stand in a queue. Obama stated: “I think Secretary McDonald has done a terrific job,” as if scandals and the VA’s despicable treatment of veterans were not enough to manifest the contrary.
If the results of “Mr. Terrific” (officially handpicked in June 2014) are said to be great, then what exactly was expected of him?
McDonald’s self-promotion campaign takes after a disinfectant claiming “our product kills 99.9% of germs” and inevitably brings to mind debatable accuracy of the “ad.”
In his remarks (United Veterans Committee of Colorado, April 10, 2016), the VA secretary affirmed: “And real-time customer-satisfaction feedback we´re gathering with Vet Link – our kiosk-based software-tells us that about 90 percent of Veterans are either ‘completely satisfied’ or ‘satisfied’ getting the appointment when they wanted. But about 3 percent told us they weren´t satisfied, so we have more work to do.”
According to a VA I.G. report, more than 300,000 American veterans died while waiting for health care. Are we talking success?
Assuming that thousands of our homeless veterans have all the reasons to be in the tiny “3 percent” dissatisfied group, it is doubtful that they were given an opportunity to express themselves.
Robert McDonald has some presumably great news for them: “We’ve made important progress ending veteran homelessness. Twenty-five communities and two states have ended veteran homelessness.”
Two states only? Veteran homelessness was to end in 2015, wasn´t it? Let’s do the math: two states since 2014, one year per state...it means that the Obama´s administration, including the VA’s Mr. Terrific, would need 50 years to end veteran homelessness. The argument that fighting poverty is a grueling mission doesn’t work if paired with the easy “task” of blowing billions. How about “misspending” $6 billion annually or “creative misuse” of $5.2 million for a botched VA marketing campaign while our veterans’ lives are endangered?
Secretary McDonald seems to have no problem adding a few zeroes on the taxpayers’ tab, but he just can’t separate from professional zeroes in the VA. Even if “you can´t fire your way to excellence,” you can save veterans’ lives by getting rid of evidently harmful elements.
While commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War, McDonald sermonized: “Please take advantage of the opportunity this commemoration presents to express your gratitude for the service of this generation of American service members. Thank a Vietnam veteran, and welcome them home!”
Interestingly enough, the Los Angeles VA harasses whistleblowers who served in the Vietnam era. Elderly veterans are continuously stalked and charged with idiotic “offenses” such as hanging the American flag, which, according to the VA, is a crime of “displaying placards.” According to Robert McDonald, “embracing our Vietnam veterans and their families are in keeping with the intent and spirit of our MyVA transformation, focusing on our customers and improving their experience with the VA.” Are “embracing” our elderly veterans with handcuffs and calling the American flag “a placard” parts of the “transformation”?
VA workers are quick to label our veterans as “potentially dangerous” PTSD carriers, but it seems they are unwilling to get accustomed with the World Health Organization’s definition of elder abuse, and they are absurdly clueless about honoring veterans. How many stars and stripes for the VA’s customer service?
Over the last few years, many of our veterans, no matter if in their 20s or 90s, have proven to be true guardians of our values and our freedom. Many have lost their jobs in order to keep the oath. Many have never really retired and have been standing sentinel to protect the truth.
Secretary McDonald has “misspoken” on several occasions, embellishing his military record and magnifying the number of unfit employees who were fired, but this is the biggest lie of them all: “Still, simple words from West Point´s Cadet Prayer guide me – choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong.”