Posts Tagged ‘Veterans Affairs’

Will You Believe Me Now?

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008

You may have heard about the lawsuit.  Evidence presented includes emails from Ira Katz.  He is the main mental health bureaucrat at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

In this email Katz tells Everett (Call me Ev) Chasen to keep quiet about internal numbers on Veterans suicides.

In this email Katz acknowledges what is being widely reported that there are 120 Veterans per week committing suicide.  In that same email, the Under Secretary for Health at the VA, Michael Kussman, states that 120 Veterans per week committing suicide “Sounds awful but if one is considering 24 million veterans.”

So the Under Secretary for Health at the VA, who is an Army Veteran, believes that 120 Veterans committing suicide per week is OK because there are “24 million”.

Since these emails became public, politicians were quick to jump on the bandwagon and feign righteous indignation.

Message to politicians:  Too Little, Too Late.

These same politicians who are now feigning righteous indignation are the same politicians who have heaped praise on these VA bureaucrats for “Doing the right thing for Veterans”.

We have been telling these politicians for a long time that their praise is misguided.  we have been telling them that there is a culture in the VA bureaucracy of Obfuscate, Deny, Manipulate, Lie, Spin, and apply the full weight of the VA propaganda machine to make sure that the VA “message” is one that disparages critics and buries bad press.

These emails are the absolute best evidence to completely obliterate the rosy facade the VA propaganda machine has built to mislead the public.

Our heartfelt thanks go to CBS News, Armen Keteyian, Pia Malbran, and the rest of the crew that worked so hard on the exhaustive investigation into the epidemic of Veterans suicides.

Our heartfelt thanks also go to all of the good people involved in the lawsuit.  Godspeed.

Please join us in telling Congress that we expect that these VA bureaucrats who have lied to Congress, under oath, will be prosecuted for that felony.

Maybe if one or two dozen of the most heinous of these people are given a perp walk, the rest of the VA bureaucrats will take notice and straighten up their act.

 

 

 

 

Them & US

Tuesday, January 8th, 2008

How many politicians and bureaucrats have you heard say that we treat our Veterans better than any other country in the world?

When they say that, they might not have all of the facts.

Example:  The UK pays an GBP equivalent average of $30,000.00 per year.

The USofA pays an average of $ 8,575.oo per year.

Just the facts.

Merry Christmas? Maybe Not.

Monday, December 24th, 2007

The VA staunchly maintains that there is no suicide epidemic among Veterans. They claim that the numbers that CBS News reported are not reflective of the actual numbers.

For the sake of this argument let’s assume the VA is right. Let’s say that the reported 120 Veterans suicides per week is exaggerated.

Let’s further assume that the actual number of Veterans suicides is only 60 per week. Half of what was reported.

Now, let’s say that we believe the VA when they say that they have the most greatest, biggest, most venerated, fail proof, most respected suicide prevention program in the
known Universe.

Now to the questions: If the assumptions above are true, then why is the entire home page of the VA website largely covered with pictures and stories about the new VA Secretary, James Peake?


Wouldn’t it make sense that if the VA did, in fact, have such a great suicide prevention program, and that it is widely believed that the suicide rate increases during the “Holiday Season”. Wouldn’t it make sense that the VA website, where many people go to try and find helpful resources for themselves or a Veteran family member in crisis.

Wouldn’t it then make sense that instead of trying to find the link to suicide prevention buried in a list between “Job Opportunities at VA” and “ Summary of Benefits for Veterans and Dependents”.

Wouldn’t it then make sense that the homepage of the Government agency charged with preventing suicides among Veterans, the agency that has several Federal laws that mandate more aggressive suicide prevention among Veterans. Wouldn’t it then make sense that the home page of that agency have a very prominent, easy to identify, and easy to access “banner” that leads to suicide prevention information?

Let’s Do a Compare and Contrast:

If you do a Google search for “veterans suicide”, which is probably a very likely search phrase someone in crisis trying to find help, or a concerned person trying to find help for their Veteran, would use, this is what you would get These Results.

However, if you do a Google search for just suicide you get These Results.

OK. More questions:

The VA spends millions of dollars each year on their Public Affairs Propaganda Machine. Why is it they won’t spend a few bucks to get Google AdWords, and other similar advertising programs that cause the issue to be prominently featured in web searches? Like the well managed private suicide prevention providers do.

Why don’t some of those Veterans Charities that claim to care so deeply about Veterans Issues spend some of the exorbitant amounts of money they spend on fundraising, conventions, executive salaries, executive travel, gourmet meals, and political lobbying on buying some advertising targeted at spreading information about the epidemic of Veterans Suicides?

O, we forgot. There is no suicide epidemic among Veterans.

What Part of DONT TREAD ON ME do you not understand?
–The Reverend Larry D Fagre, Founder

General Peake Senate Confirmation

Saturday, December 15th, 2007

Vetsburg News Release

For Immediate Release

Media Contact:

Rev Larry D Fagre

info@vetsburg.org

12/15/2007

 

Senate Votes Unanimously to Confirm Peake as VA Secretary

JOHNSON CITY– The Senate voted unanimously yesterday to confirm the nomination of James Peake as Secretary of Veterans Affairs. Peake may be best known for being the senior military officer in charge of Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Like General Kiley, General Peake didn’t do barracks inspections either. The unanimous Senate vote came less than twenty-four hours after the Senate Veterans Affairs committee voted unanimously to send the nomination to the senate floor. We were told by a committee staffer on December 12th that no vote had been scheduled and we would have at least a forty-eight hour notice of the pending committee vote. 

Senator Akaka, Chairman of the committee was not aware of this as he scheduled the committee vote “expeditiously”. Within two hours of our conversation with the staffer, Akaka announced that the committee would vote on the nomination the following morning immediately following the first roll-call vote. By scheduling the vote “expeditiously” Akaka was able to avoid the masses of Veterans Advocates that would have shown up to protest the nomination. And further, by rushing the nomination to the floor of the Senate, it prevented those Veterans Advocates from undertaking a last minute push to cause the nomination to be blocked. 

Not only was there calls for the nomination to be blocked because of Peake’s failed leadership on the Walter Reed scandal, there was a great deal of concern expressed over his most recent employment as the second in charge of QTC Management, a company that describes itself as “The largest private provider of government- outsourced occupational health, and injury and disability examination services in the nation.” The company is headed by Anthony Principi who was the first Secretary of Veterans Affairs in the George W. Bush administration. In addition to Peake’s employment with QTC, he was also employed as Executive Vice President and COO of Project Hope, where he had a salary of over $250,000 dollars a year.

With his Army retirement of over $100,000 dollars a year, his retirement benefits from QTC and Project Hope, and his salary of $186,000 as VA Secretary, General Peake will become a very, very wealthy man on the tax payers dime. It makes us wonder why the approval rating of Congress is so low. Perhaps if they gave everyone the same great deal they gave General Peake, they could move up to over 15% approval. We expressed all of our concerns to both Senator Alexander and Senator Corker; however, they chose to participate in the, perhaps unprecedented, multi-millionaire making action of their colleagues. With the Peake confirmation, and the VA’s unwavering position that they are the most comprehensive suicide prevention agency in the nation, it has been a bad week for Veterans.