For President Obama’s criminal enterprise to be brought down by the VA scandal is a bit like Al Capone going away for tax evasion. After the Benghazi massacre and cover-up, the IRS hit-job on the Tea Party, Fast & Furious gun-running, government by whim and fiat, and myriad other scandals reaching all the way back to fundraising irregularities in his ’08 campaign, it’s a little anticlimactic to see this racketeering-influenced and corrupt organization brought low by an atrocity not of their own making.
Or is it?
In 2012, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs paid at least $11.4 million to 174 nurses, mental-health specialists, therapists, and other health-care professionals who, instead of caring for veterans, worked full-time doing union business.
The list of these taxpayer-funded union representatives at VA offices around the nation and their salaries was obtained through the Freedom of Information Act by Georgia representative Phil Gingrey’s staff and provided to National Review Online.
“So many health-care providers were on that list — nurses or physical therapists or whatever they may be — when so many veterans are falling through the cracks,” a Gingrey aide tells me. “It’s kind of shocking that these paid employees wouldn’t be fully dedicated to patient care.”
In total, the VA spent at least $13.77 million on 251 salaried employees performing full-time union work. Others, who were not included on the list provided by the VA, work part-time for unions at the taxpayer expense. In fiscal year 2011, the latest on record, the VA used 998,483 hours of this “official time,” costing taxpayers more than $42 million.
The newly released records show that in Baltimore, which has the nation’s longest wait times for veterans’ claims, taxpayers covered $372,674 in salary costs in 2012 for a clinical dietetic technician, a patient-services assistant, a health technician, a medical-support assistant, and two nurses to spend all their time at work on union issues and none of it working with veterans.
What difference, at this point, does it make?
Let’s ask someone who knows:
Somers was a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and served in over 400 combat missions. He suffered from fibromyalgia and PTSD and killed himself last year after he received treatment from the Phoenix VA hospital. He wrote that his body had become “nothing but a cage, a source of pain and constant problems.”
Somers’ parents read an excerpt of his suicide note on CNN Friday afternoon: “Is it any wonder then that the latest figures show 22 veterans killing themselves each day? That is more veterans than children killed at Sandy Hook every single day. Where are the huge policy initiatives? Why isn’t the president standing with those families at the State of the Union? Perhaps because we were not killed by a single lunatic but rather by our system of dehumanization, neglect, and indifference.”
It took three months for Somers to receive initial treatment because the VA was confused over his status as a member of the National Guard. He was shuffled around the system, going from the Phoenix VA hospital to a Department of Defense hospital before the Phoenix VA finally agreed to give him care.
If he’d only joined the union, he might a stood a chance. But it’s not another person’s words, however heartbreaking, that damn President Obama,
It’s his own words:
Before Obama was president, he promised to end wait times at the VA and streamline services. But six years later he simultaneously claims that he’s been working on the problems, and that he knew nothing about the problems.
“How can the president say that the VA’s problems had not reached the White House, when the president himself says he’s been working on this for six years?” he said.
Krauthammer said the president is “trying to have it every which way…”
A point we’ve been making for about a week now, Dr. Charles. But thanks for playing.
The Obama regime didn’t invent incompetence and malfeasance at the VA, as everyone attests. But no one else claimed to have all the answers, as Obama did while campaigning to be the commander-in-chief of the very vets he would later betray. No one else pointed to his running of the agency as the model of government-provided health care—all the while Iraq and Afghanistan (and Vietnam and Korea and WWII) vets were waiting and suffering like Daniel Somers, quoted above.
Perhaps it is fitting after all that this disgrace be the end of this RICO mob. Above all, Obama promised Hope and Change™. He delivered neither, at least as far as our wounded veterans were concerned. “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for” was another slogan. Too many are still waiting. And dying.
Let’s not forget how “mad” Obama is about this state of affairs. Hopping mad:
President Obama today is playing golf with Wall Street banker Robert Wolf, a megadonor to Obama and other Democrats who is also reportedly a personal friend of the president’s.
The two are playing at Fort Belvoir along with White House aides Joe Paulsen and Marvin Nicholson, two of Obama’s usual partners.
It’s a beautiful and breezy 74 degrees here in the Washington area.
It’s Obama 17th time playing this year and the 174th trip to the greens since his presidency began.