Huh. The Arizona VA Kept Veterans Waiting Over A Year For Lifesaving Treatments

And falsified a list of wait times, treatments given.

The video at the CNN link starts immediately, so you might want to turn off sound before visiting link.

At least 40 U.S. veterans died waiting for appointments at the Phoenix Veterans Affairs Health Care system, many of whom were placed on a secret waiting list.
The secret list was part of an elaborate scheme designed by Veterans Affairs managers in Phoenix who were trying to hide that 1,400 to 1,600 sick veterans were forced to wait months to see a doctor, according to a recently retired top VA doctor and several high-level sources.

For six months, CNN has been reporting on extended delays in health care appointments suffered by veterans across the country and who died while waiting for appointments and care. But the new revelations about the Phoenix VA are perhaps the most disturbing and striking to come to light thus far.

Internal e-mails obtained by CNN show that top management at the VA hospital in Arizona knew about the practice and even defended it.
Dr. Sam Foote just retired after spending 24 years with the VA system in Phoenix. The veteran doctor told CNN in an exclusive interview that the Phoenix VA works off two lists for patient appointments:
There’s an “official” list that’s shared with officials in Washington and shows the VA has been providing timely appointments, which Foote calls a sham list. And then there’s the real list that’s hidden from outsiders, where wait times can last more than a year.

Question to BTL readers: If the government health care system causes loss of functioning or death due to long delays, who can you or your relatives sue? In the age of ObamaCare, I’d say that is a mighty important question.

Now read this carefully:

“The scheme was deliberately put in place to avoid the VA’s own internal rules,” said Foote in Phoenix. “They developed the secret waiting list,” said Foote, a respected local physician.

The VA requires its hospitals to provide care to patients in a timely manner, typically within 14 to 30 days, Foote said.
According to Foote, the elaborate scheme in Phoenix involved shredding evidence to hide the long list of veterans waiting for appointments and care. Officials at the VA, Foote says, instructed their staff to not actually make doctor’s appointments for veterans within the computer system.

Instead, Foote says, when a veteran comes in seeking an appointment, “they enter information into the computer and do a screen capture hard copy printout. They then do not save what was put into the computer so there’s no record that you were ever here,” he said.
According to Foote, the information was gathered on the secret electronic list and then the information that would show when veterans first began waiting for an appointment was actually destroyed.
“That hard copy, if you will, that has the patient demographic information is then taken and placed onto a secret electronic waiting list, and then the data that is on that paper is shredded,” Foote said.

“So the only record that you have ever been there requesting care was on that secret list,” he said. “And they wouldn’t take you off that secret list until you had an appointment time that was less than 14 days so it would give the appearance that they were improving greatly the waiting times, when in fact they were not.”

I feel very sorry for the people who work at the Phoenix VA. They all wish they could leave ’cause they know what they’re doing is wrong.

Foote estimates right now the number of veterans waiting on the “secret list” to see a primary care physician is somewhere between 1,400 and 1,600.

Incidentally, has the NY Times reported on this yet? WashPost? No?

In case they’re interested in covering this, others at the VA have reported the same to CNN:

Several other high-level VA staff confirmed Foote’s description to CNN and confirmed this is exactly how the secret list works in Phoenix.
Foote says the Phoenix wait times reported back to Washington were entirely fictitious. “So then when they did that, they would report to Washington, ‘Oh yeah. We’re makin’ our appointments within — within 10 days, within the 14-day frame,’ when in reality it had been six, nine, in some cases 21 months,” he said.

And it is deadly:

In the case of 71-year-old Navy veteran Thomas Breen, the wait on the secret list ended much sooner.
“We had noticed that he started to have bleeding in his urine,” said Teddy Barnes-Breen, his son. “So I was like, ‘Listen, we gotta get you to the doctor.’ ”
Teddy says his Brooklyn-raised father was so proud of his military service that he would go nowhere but the VA for treatment. On September 28, 2013, with blood in his urine and a history of cancer, Teddy and his wife, Sally, rushed his father to the Phoenix VA emergency room, where he was examined and sent home to wait.

Ah, go to the link and read it. This is health care in America, and it will soon affect all of us except Party Members of the Highest Rank.

- Aggie

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Snap Quiz

Quick question: who’s the US Ambassador to Egypt?

Wait, wait, don’t tell me…oh, I know this! Dude with the glasses and the gray suit. Gave heap big wampum (as Elizabeth Warren would say) to the Obama campaign.

Sigh. Okay, I give up. Tell me.

NOT FAIR!

This absence of a US ambassador in Cairo for the last eight months could be for several reasons. First, it could be strong evidence of tension between the two countries and hesitation by the US administration on what it should do about developments in Egypt. Second, it could confirm the reliance on defence relations as the basis of bilateral relations; there have been more than 30 phone calls between US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and his former counterpart Field Marshal Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi, or one call every six days.

Third, it could be Washington’s desire not to be directly present inside Egypt, especially after the bad experience of Ambassador Anne Patterson that ended with her returning home in August to become US assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs.

Oh yeah. Seems we read about it at the time:

Patterson was heavily criticised last summer before and after protests following the ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi. Some Egyptian newspapers printed headlines describing her as “Ambassador from Hell” and “The US High Commissioner to Egypt” along with “Shameless Patterson” and “White Beetle Patterson” and dozens of other inappropriate headlines. Thus, some people believe that senior US diplomats are hesitant to serve in Cairo right now.

That pitch!

Buncha sexist bastards, the Egyptians.

But why the hostility?

I am honored to be in the timeless city of Cairo, and to be hosted by two remarkable institutions. For over a thousand years, Al-Azhar has stood as a beacon of Islamic learning; and for over a century, Cairo University has been a source of Egypt’s advancement. And together, you represent the harmony between tradition and progress. I’m grateful for your hospitality, and the hospitality of the people of Egypt. And I’m also proud to carry with me the goodwill of the American people, and a greeting of peace from Muslim communities in my country: Assalaamu alaykum. (Applause.)

They’re not applauding anymore.

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Clown School

I’ve never watched Stephen Colbert, but I understand his shtik is to play a conservative blowhard unconsciously lampooning the right through outrageous and over-the-top statements.

He should sue someone named Chris Hayes for copyright infringement, on the left:

Chris Hayes says that the only comparable time in history where rich and powerful interests have relinquished wealth to the degree that oil companies would have to do to prevent catastrophic climate change is in 1865, the liberation of the slaves. Slavery represented half of the wealth of the South in 1860.

Further:

Now, before we go any further, I am not comparing slavery to the burning of fossil fuel. The evil of slavery is specific, distinct, and incomparable. The only thing comparable to slavery is slavery.

What followed was the bloodiest conflict this nation has ever seen and 600,000 people dead.

Why do I feel he’s aroused by the very thought of that? Six hundred thousand fewer people is an environmentalist’s wet dream.

Anyway, who would possibly think he’s equating global warming with slavery? All he did was equate them for the purpose of not equating them. People are so sensitive.

PS: The “evil of slavery [may be] specific, distinct, and incomparable”, but hardly unique. It’s all over the world, even today, and always has been.

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Voting Early and Often…and Oftener

Try not to let this story destroy your faith in the integrity of elections

A crosscheck of voter rolls in Virginia and Maryland turned up 44,000 people registered in both states, a vote-integrity group reported Wednesday.

And that’s just the beginning.

Working with the Privileges and Elections committees of the state House and Senate, VVA identified 31,000 dead voters via the Social Security Administration’s Death Master File. Subsequent processing by SBE found 40,000 to 60,000 dead voter registrations.

“Dead voter registrations are prime targets for voter fraud which generate few complaints,” George noted.

More broadly, George said, “Virginia must control the registration process, as well as the form used to register voters. The current system is the perfect vehicle for identity theft and ‘lost’ registrations.”

“There needs to be a clearinghouse for all voter fraud referrals statewide,” he said. “The SBE would be the perfect place to assume that role and provide transparency for the public.”

DeLancy and Wheeler urged the board to open its voter-crosscheck data to the public and to publicize cases of voter fraud.

DeLancy said groups that downplay or dismiss the incidence of ongoing voting irregularities use “pretzel logic.”

Maryland is a solidly Democrat state, but Virginia’s 13 electoral college votes are up for grabs. And grabbing is just what the Democrats do, with all four hands.

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All Americans Look Alike

That can be the only rational explanation for this bizarre outburst:

A prominent Japanese politician has raised hackles as Barack Obama visits Tokyo by claiming it’s an ‘open secret’ that he and the first lady are headed for divorce, and that the president has been using Secret Service agents to cover for him as he pursues extramarital affairs.

Kazuyuki Hamada, who sits in the upper house of Japan’s parliament, earned his PhD a half-mile from the White House at George Washington University, and emerged as a shrill commentator on America’s economy and foreign policy.

Hamada complained April 5 on his official blog about Obama’s decision to visit Tokyo without first lady Michelle Obama in tow. ‘His approval numbers are dragging down near 30 per cent,’ Hamada wrote, according to an English translation, ‘and his failed leadership in some places brings him scorn as the worst president of the postwar era.’

‘The biggest reason – of many – for the collapse of his reputation is his failed relationship with his wife,’ Hamada claimed.

‘It is an open secret that the pair are already negotiating their divorce, and that they are waiting for his term in office to be over, and then they’ll separate.’

He had stiff words for the impact of the first lady’s multimillion-dollar ‘goodwill’ trips to far-flung places on the taxpayers’ dime.

The Japanese pol claimed that ‘if you ask the president, he will tell you, “I can’t show my face to the voters after how she’s spent so much money”.’

‘On the other hand,’ Hamada added, ‘if you get his wife to talk, she’ll tell you: “The president is a pathological philanderer. He uses the Secret Service for this, and has used them to hide evidence that he’s a cheater”.’

I believe he means the Clintons, doesn’t he? I mean, we’ve dipped our toe in the National Enquirer stories about the Obamas’ marriage, but we didn’t believe them. Any more than we believe in the president’s African birth. (What African would treat his extended family so coldly?)

That shrill sound you hear is not the First Lady letting her hound dog of a husband have it (unless it’s an echo of 20 years ago), it’s the shrieks of dog whistles blaring like sirens at a nine-alarm fire. I think the Japanese need some racial-sensitivity training—and have had for about a century.

PS: Obama may cheat in elections (throwing candidates off the ballot), fundraising (millions in shadowy contributions), governing (executive orders), and killing (trials for some American citizens, drones for others), but that doesn’t mean he cheats at the important stuff like marriage and golf.

PPS: Well, no one’s accused him of cheating at golf.

PPPS: Do you think Michelle would have gone to Japan if she knew that its legislature was called the Diet?

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Burn, Baby, Burn Indeed!

Remember the story we had a few weeks ago about British hospitals burning aborted babies to heat their buildings? A lot of people were justifiably upset.

I hate to bring it up, but:

The British Columbia Health Ministry has admitted that the remains of babies destroyed by abortion in B.C. facilities are ending up in a waste-to-power facility in the United States, providing electricity for residents of Oregon.

The province’s Health Ministry said in an email to the B.C. Catholic that “biomedical waste” shipped to the U.S. to be incinerated includes “human tissue, such as surgically removed cancerous tissue, amputated limbs, and fetal tissue.”

“The ministry understands that some is transferred to Oregon. There it is incinerated in a waste-to-energy plant,” the email stated.

The ministry said that contractors handling the province’s “biomedical waste” follow “health and safety protocols, as well as federal, provincial, and local regulations.”

We burn dead babies only in strict adherence to the laws and regulations. Good to know.

A 2007 article about the Marion waste-to-energy facility that appeared in the Willamette Live — ironically titled “Burn, Baby, Burn” — stated that at the time the incinerator burned about 800 tons (1,764,000 pounds) of medical waste per year.

Locals at the time protested the “importation and burning of medical waste,” expressing concern about breathing “toxic emissions.”

What kind of monsters are we?

PS: Aggie sent me the link. She was busy with something else, but wanted us to get this up.

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Hey, BTL! What Was Obama Doing During Auntie Zetunie’s Funeral????

I can’t believe the NY Times published this

BOSTON — After Zeituni Onyango, the woman President Obama once called Auntie, died in a South Boston nursing home this month, her closest relatives gathered her belongings at her nearby apartment. There, framed photographs of her with the president covered the wall.

Weeping before a polished wood coffin at her wake this past Saturday, they described Ms. Onyango, the half sister of the president’s father, as “the spirit of the Obama family” and talked about raising money to send her body back to Kenya. Mr. Obama helped pay funeral expenses and sent a condolence note, Ms. Onyango’s family members said, but the president did not attend, as he was golfing.

Ah, the NY Times is channeling Tolstoy:

Every complicated family is complicated in its own way.

Feel free to post some photographs, BTL.

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Pies Not Lies

If I could think of a good rhyme for “brownshirt”, I’d suggest it, but until then:

For years, Jewish and pro-Israel groups have been debating how best to combat the [BDS] movement, but according to British activist Simon Cobbs, the answer may be simpler than they might think: “By laughing at them.”

The topic of boycotts is, of course, a serious one – and the BDS Movement itself is no laughing matter, as Cobbs himself well knows. Like many other British Jews, he accuses BDS of stoking anti-Semitic sentiment through its “bullying tactics”, by singling out the Jewish state not just for criticism, but with calls to dismantle it completely.

He points to the links between groups individuals associated with BDS, and anti-Semitic groups spanning the far-left and far-right, including Islamist hate preachers. That atmosphere has spawned violence on many occasions…

So how have they done it?

The key, says Cobbs, is to always stay on the front foot, keep it simple, and avoid falling into the trap of being reactive – and a good dose of Jewish humor.

SFI’s first ever major campaign, for example, was titled “Bagels Against Bigotry,” and simply involved supporters turning up to share bagel sandwiches at the regular SFI rally. “It was so successful we ended up giving three carloads to the local homeless shelter.”

That was soon followed by “They Bring Hate, We Bring Cake,” and the group’s most successful event to date: “They Tell Lies, We Bring Pies,” (“It was the only thing which rhymed with lies!”)

“The best way of attracting people from the Jewish community is not through letters about why you should support Israel, but with food!” he quips.

“The topic is incredibly serious… but the way to combat that is to laugh at them… to ridicule them. Because they really are foolish.

“When you say to them ‘you say you support gay rights and women’s rights but you also support a regime that would outlaw homosexuality and sideline women…’ at that point they go quiet, because they are unable to answer the questions.

“That’s why we stand up to them week after week, because when you scratch the surface and stand up to these bullies and show them for what they are, the truth comes out.”

And, he chuckles with a sense of incredulity, “they do it to themselves… they keep giving me stuff that is video gold!”

If you don’t understand the duck call, SFI has taken to calling the BDS-ers “ducks”, as in if it walks like an antisemite and talks like an antisemite…

All it takes is one candle to illuminate a dark world.

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Vegetables Don’t Prevent Cancer?

Say it ain’t so!

This is from the NY Times, so we know it must be accurate…

A trip to almost any bookstore or a cruise around the Internet might leave the impression that avoiding cancer is mostly a matter of watching what you eat. One source after another promotes the protective powers of “superfoods,” rich in antioxidants and other phytochemicals, or advises readers to emulate the diets of Chinese peasants or Paleolithic cave dwellers.

But there is a yawning divide between this nutritional folklore and science. During the last two decades the connection between the foods we eat and the cellular anarchy called cancer has been unraveling string by string.

This month at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, a mammoth event that drew more than 18,500 researchers and other professionals here, the latest results about diet and cancer were relegated to a single poster session and a few scattered presentations. There were new hints that coffee may lower the risk of some cancers and more about the possible benefits of vitamin D. Beyond that there wasn’t much to say.

In the opening plenary session, Dr. Walter C. Willett, a Harvard epidemiologist who has spent many years studying cancer and nutrition, sounded almost rueful as he gave a status report. Whatever is true for other diseases, when it comes to cancer there was little evidence that fruits and vegetables are protective or that fatty foods are bad.

About all that can be said with any assurance is that controlling obesity is important, as it also is for heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, stroke and other threats to life. Avoiding an excess of alcohol has clear benefits. But unless a person is seriously malnourished, the influence of specific foods is so weak that the signal is easily swamped by noise.

And this is truly astounding:

But now that smoking is on the wane in this country, obesity is on the rise. Being fat (as opposed to eating fat), Dr. Willett proposed, may now be causing more fatal cancers than cigarettes.

Why astounding? Because most people gain a lot of weight when they quit smoking. Jeez. Yet more evidence that the Food Nazis were just that.

- Aggie

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#mynypd

The New York Police Department reached out on Twitter to ask people to tweet pictures of their interactions with New York’s Finest. Oh sure, they got a couple of nice shots of cops smiling in selfies.

And then they got this:

The NYPD showed it knows a lot more about fighting crime than it does about Twitter when it asked users to post pictures of friendly cops on the Web site — and online trolls responded with a flood of tweets depicting police brutality.

The NYPD’s attempt to court Twitter members blew up in its face on Tuesday, shortly after the department started the Twitter hashtag #myNYPD.

“Do you have a photo w/ a member of the NYPD? Tweet us & tag it #myNYPD,” they wrote.

Instead of a social-media coup, the department’s net naiveté was exposed by cop-hating members of Occupy Wall Street, who used the hashtag to post every photo they could find of officers manhandling people.

The hashtag hijacking soon went viral and left the NYPD with egg on its face.

“Here the #NYPD engages with its community members, changing hearts and minds one baton at a time,” a user of Occupy NYC’s twitter handle wrote under a picture of cops struggling with protesters.

It’s hard to judge on the basis of a snapshot. Arrests of violent or disorderly people can look awfully rough when the only goal is to render the person harmless to himself or others. We all know examples of excessive brutality, but as all the reality TV shows like Cops and the prison shows make depressingly clear, cops face much more violence in their line of duty than they dish out.

And if these were indeed Occupy Wall Street people, I can’t very well criticize cops for doing what I so very badly wanted to do myself.

Lest ye forget the true… uh, face of the Occupy movement:

Here’s one picture I can’t see my way to defend, however:

Police can and should be held accountable for excessive force. And the unwashed anarchists of Occupy wherever can and should be doused with a fire hose if their pestilence ever returns.

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Fatah, Hamas One Terror Organization

Israel cancels “terror talks” or “appeasement talks”.

Israel cancelled a planned meeting Wednesday night with Palestinian officials over extending the negotiations in an apparent response to the earlier announcement of a Fatah-Hamas reconciliation.

In recent days Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and PLO chief negotiator Saeb Erekat have met on several occasions looking for a way to extend the talks past next Tuesday’s deadline.
The decision to cancel Wednesday’s meeting came after a meeting in the Prime Minister’s Office dealing with the Hamas-Fatah move, and how Israel should respond.

Israeli politicians criticized Abbas and were skeptical about the future of the negotiations following Wednesday’s announcement of the plareconciliation between Fatah and Hamas.

Economy Minister Naftali Bennett said that the Palestinian Authority had turned into a terrorist organization following the Fatah-Hamas agreement.

“We don’t talk to murderers,” Bennett stated. “The agreement between Fatah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad brings the Middle East to a new diplomatic era. The Palestinian Authority turned into the largest terrorist organization in the world, 20 minutes from Tel Aviv.” According to Bennett, Israel shouldn’t negotiate with terrorists, just as the US does not talk to Hamas, Islamic Jihad or Al Qaeda.

How soon before the Banana Republic of the United States demands that Israel enter appeasement talks with Hamas and Islamic Jihad. One day? One week? What do you think?

- Aggie

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Another Reason To Hate The Military…

Some of them are talking about Benghazi

As usual, if you want to know what happened in the US, read the British press. We are such a banana republic.

Benghazi attack could have been prevented if US hadn’t ‘switched sides in the War on Terror’ and allowed $500 MILLION of weapons to reach al-Qaeda militants, reveals damning report
Citizens Committee on Benghazi claims the US government allowed arms to flow to al-Qaeda-linked militants who opposed Muammar Gaddafi
Their rise to power, the group says, led to the Benghazi attack in 2012
The group claims the strongman Gaddafi offered to abdicate his presidency, but the US refused to broker his peaceful exit
The commission, part of the center-right Accuracy In Media group, concluded that the Benghazi attack was a failed kidnapping plot
US Ambassador Chris Stevens was to be captured and traded for ‘blind sheikh’ Omar Abdel-Rahman, who hatched the 1993 WTC bombing plot

The Citizens Commission on Benghazi, a self-selected group of former top military officers, CIA insiders and think-tankers, declared Tuesday in Washington that a seven-month review of the deadly 2012 terrorist attack has determined that it could have been prevented – if the U.S. hadn’t been helping to arm al-Qaeda militias throughout Libya a year earlier.

‘The United States switched sides in the war on terror with what we did in Libya, knowingly facilitating the provision of weapons to known al-Qaeda militias and figures,’ Clare Lopez, a member of the commission and a former CIA officer, told MailOnline.

She blamed the Obama administration for failing to stop half of a $1 billion United Arab Emirates arms shipment from reaching al-Qaeda-linked militants.
‘Remember, these weapons that came into Benghazi were permitted to enter by our armed forces who were blockading the approaches from air and sea,’ Lopez claimed. ‘They were permitted to come in. … [They] knew these weapons were coming in, and that was allowed..

‘The intelligence community was part of that, the Department of State was part of that, and certainly that means that the top leadership of the United States, our national security leadership, and potentially Congress – if they were briefed on this – also knew about this.’

The weapons were intended for Gaddafi but allowed by the U.S. to flow to his Islamist opposition.
The Citizens Committee on Benghazi released its interim findings on April 22, 2014 in Washington. Pictured [at link] are (L-R) Clare Lopez, Admiral (Ret.) Chuck Kubic, Admiral (Ret.) James ‘Ace’ Lyons, former CIA officer Wayne Simmons and civil rights attorney John Clarke

‘The White House and senior Congressional members,’ the group wrote in an interim report released Tuesday, ‘deliberately and knowingly pursued a policy that provided material support to terrorist organizations in order to topple a ruler [Muammar Gaddafi] who had been working closely with the West actively to suppress al-Qaeda.’

‘Some look at it as treason,’ said Wayne Simmons, a former CIA officer who participated in the commission’s research.

Retired Rear Admiral Chuck Kubic, another commission member, told reporters Tuesday that those weapons are now ‘all in Syria.’
‘Gaddafi wasn’t a good guy, but he was being marginalized,’ Kubic recalled. ‘Gaddafi actually offered to abdicate’ shortly after the beginning of a 2011 rebellion.
‘But the U.S. ignored his calls for a truce,’ the commission wrote, ultimately backing the horse that would later help kill a U.S. ambassador.
Kubic said that the effort at truce talks fell apart when the White House declined to let the Pentagon pursue it seriously.
‘We had a leader who had won the Nobel Peace Prize,’ Kubic said, ‘but who was unwilling to give peace a chance for 72 hours.’

More at the link, including names and pictures of committee members. Then, take the Aggie Challenge! Go to the NY Times and the Washington Post and see if you can find any mention of this. BTW did you notice that those weapons are now in Syria? If this President and his administration had declared their intent to allow the murder of as many Muslim civilians as possible, they couldn’t have done a better job. How many have died in Syria? How ’bout The Arab Spring™? Libya? Various drone attacks on wedding and such-like. You can see why they might not care for us.

- Aggie

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