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View Diary: Obama announces Shinseki resignation (350 comments)

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  •  The President has other responsibilities. (15+ / 0-)

    Shinseki did not. The management of VA administrators was his whole job, and he failed to do it.

    The President is responsible for Shinseki's failure, as he is the one who hired him, and he is rectifying he mistake by firing Shinseki.

    •  So Shinseki can fire (15+ / 0-)

      the people directly responsible for problem (saying 'the management of the VA was his whole job' is like saying 'management of the United States is Obama's whole job--there's a lot of 'whole' there), and he rectifies the mistake? This specific scandal isn't a sign of bad management on Shinseki's part.

      The truth is, I have no idea if he should stay or go, if he did a better job or a worse one than any other competent person in his situation. But this is almost literally scapegoating (except, y'know, for the goat and the scaping). Maybe it's wise, maybe someone new will turn things around. But I haven't seen a compelling argument other than 'people are yelling at us, make it stop.'

      I suspect that this is a step toward handling outrage, not solving problems.

      "Gussie, a glutton for punishment, stared at himself in the mirror."

      by GussieFN on Fri May 30, 2014 at 08:35:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The people directly responsible will go to jail, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        aaraujo

        their supervisors will go to the unemployment line.

        That's what you see happening right now.

        •  Right. The question is, (7+ / 0-)

          'how far up the ladder should that go?'

          The answer could be, 'depends on if we're more interested in handling the scandal or addressing the problem.'

          I suspect that the perfect person to address this would've been Shinseki: he's the one who was personally deceived, and who was penultimately responsible. He strikes me as motivated to the nth degree. But maybe I'm wrong. Maybe the new person will do a better job than he possibly could've.

          All I'm saying is, that's the question we should be asking. What's the best way to fix the problem? And, is there any argument that firing Shinseki is a step in that direction?

          I mean, it's done. So it's moot. Yay! We rooted out a bad administrator! Our job is done here.

          "Gussie, a glutton for punishment, stared at himself in the mirror."

          by GussieFN on Fri May 30, 2014 at 08:47:19 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  At this point, what fool would take the job? (13+ / 0-)

            As a news report said, the long waiting lists are because the VA doesn't have enough doctors.  That's because it doesn't have enough money.  A wise person wouldn't even consider taking the job of running the VA without an ironclad promise to increase the budget by 50%.

            We're all pretty strange one way or another; some of us just hide it better. "Normal" is a dryer setting.

            by david78209 on Fri May 30, 2014 at 09:06:58 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  In his many years as the head of the VA (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Militarytracy, david78209

              Why did Shinseki just "trust" his heads and never "verify" the facts.  There were always reports of long delays and he should have gotten thru some layers and reported the underfunding to the public. It was his job and had if he made it public, (like with Iraq) the recalcitrant Republicans in Congress would have been eventually shamed into the needed funding earlier.

              I knew when Charlie Crist stated that he believed Shinseki should resign that it was going to happen once the report was made public.  Charlie Crist's campaign manager was Obama's. (I kept my keyboard silent when I read all the comments dissing Crist and stating that he was suddenly separating himself from our President...which he never has done)

              Charlie was also, taking incoming feedback from having two huge regional VA hospitals in Tampa Bay. He has always been very involved with them and our active military in our Pinellas and Hillsborough Co. area.   He showed up to both of my National Guard Sgt. 1st class son's deployments to the middle east and the 1st time he traveled special from Tallahassee to attend.

          •  Motivated != good at your job (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Neo Control

            The guy may be a great guy, but he simply failed.

            Sure he may have been able to turn it around but there was no reason to be exceptionally hopeful about that. Past performance is the best indicator of future performance.

            "'how far up the ladder should that go?'"

            Thats rather strait forward.

            The directly responsible go to jail
            Their supervisors get fired
            The head of the VA got to resign
            Obama gets flack and should do some serious soul searching.

            You ask? "And, is there any argument that firing Shinseki is a step in that direction?"

            Thats rather backwards it would be better to ask if there was any argument that NOT firing him was a step in the right direction.

            The man was simply THAT bad at his job.

            No matter how much you like the guy, incompetence at that level is unacceptable.

          •  Too late to rec the comment, but I agree... (0+ / 0-)

            I mean the DOJ has utterly failed at literally everything it's responsible for in terms of implementing the President's publicly-stated policies and positions. But Holder still has his job. Not only does Holder still have his job, but the heads of the DEA, and the US Attorneys who have gone overboard prosecuting marijuana cases, while completely neglecting Wall Street still have theirs. At least Shinseki was inclined to immediately get rid of the people responsible for implementing out-policy and dicking around with the President's stated commitments.

        •  The people directly responsible, (12+ / 0-)

          will get re-elected to Congress.

          The last VA bill was championed by Bernie Sanders of Vermont. The law, supported by President Obama and Sec. Shineski, would have specifically set aside money to attract and hire qualified health professionals and to alleviate backlog at the VA among other veterans benefits. Of course, the bill was blocked by Republicans — led by tea partiers in the House and by Marco Rubio of Florida, Rand Paul of Kentucky, Ted Cruz of Texas, and Jeff Sessions of Alabama in the Senate.

          This is all on video: https://www.youtube.com/...

          Republicans block VA benefits, then blame Obama when the VA doesn’t work. Just like they cut embassy security over Hillary’s objections, then blamed her when lax security led to Benghazi. Voters need to get rid of Republicans so we can properly fund our priorities and make government work again, but how to convince them to do that? Who knows.

          •  I totally agree with defiant one. It's the GOP'... (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            DaddyO, Vetwife, Zinman

            I totally agree with defiant one. It's the GOP's fault. They all have blood on their hands and have for years. They are traitors always have been. They are trying to privatize the VA and this is the way they will do it. They are scum and I hope the public wakes up soon and gets rid of all of them. SICK and tired of them.

          •  This is another one of the reasons why (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            freakofsociety

            voting for the "lesser evil" is so important.

            If the Democrats had their way, we'd have increased VA funding and maybe this crisis is mitigated or averted.

            It doesn't absolve the VA or the administration of all responsibility, but it's another real world implication of our elections.

            When we stop putting leaders from the past up on pedestals and ignoring their flaws, we can start seeing our present leaders for what they really are.

            by PhillyJeff on Fri May 30, 2014 at 01:35:12 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  It is just a step toward dealing w/ reality (5+ / 0-)

        High level bureaucrats who've already fallen short of their mission requirements can't be expected to elevate their game and transform a bureaucracy that serves 10 million people while also managing through a political shitstorm.

        Sometimes you need to clean house. It's not pretty but it's reality.

        Almost everything you do will seem insignificant, but it is most important that you do it.

        by The Termite on Fri May 30, 2014 at 08:42:53 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  That's the argument for (6+ / 0-)

          Secretary Clinton's responsibility for #Benghazi.

          I think it makes more sense to look at the actual facts and try to determine of the high-level bureaucrat was negligent, in some way. If so, fuck 'em, file charges if you can.

          If not, and 'cleaning house' will still help address the problem, fuck 'em. Clean house.

          But if there's no reason to think that 'cleaning house' will help, or might even add a level of disarray to the problem, then it's just 'sometimes we've got to pick up some crappy little administrator and throw him against the wall, just to show the media we mean business.'

          I've no idea if 'cleaning house' will help or hinder efforts to address the problems. But to my mind, that's the key question.

          "Gussie, a glutton for punishment, stared at himself in the mirror."

          by GussieFN on Fri May 30, 2014 at 08:54:10 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  What the VA needed was some good (5+ / 0-)

            whistle blowers.  But...  the military environment doesn't help that, or Obama's treatment of them.  

            "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

            by Ginny in CO on Fri May 30, 2014 at 09:08:18 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Assuming you are referring to Snowdon on this? (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              indres, Ginny in CO

              All those calling for Shinseki's resignation....where were they last week, or month, or year on these problems?  

              POTUS hit the nail on the head here:

              Aside from fixing the underlying problem, the president is also concerned about how it was possible for these problems to persist without being surfaced, because you can only fix a problem once you know about it.
              What is the solution to multiple problems in a complex world and how can serious problems (of all kinds) be effectively addressed?

              Where are the communication barriers???

              •  Fixing the underlying problem = S1982 (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Ginny in CO, akmk, Dilbatt

                A few months ago Senator Bernie Sanders introduced S1982, a Bill to greatly strengthen the VA by significantly greater funding, including the construction of dozens of new VA facilities. The veterans' organizations strongly supported the Bill, calling it a major corrective action for what was lacking in veterans' services. What happened was it was filibustered to death by the Republicans in the Senate. No Democrats voted with them.

                The tragedy of insufficient funding for veterans' care continues solely due to Senate Republicans choosing to be obstructionists. Look how their game works: they refuse to fund required services, then they blame the Administration for insufficient health care for veterans. Meanwhile, real pain is felt by those denied medical care, but the Republicans don't care about that. Scoring points against Democrats is more important to them than the suffering of veterans in need.

                Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is now 401.25 ppm. That is "Climate Cluster Chaos". (hat tip to JeffW for CCC)

                by Zinman on Fri May 30, 2014 at 11:26:18 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Snowden, Manning, Thomas Drake and (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                akmk, Zinman

                the others that have faced nasty trials and imprisonment.

                I am also peeved about this: House GOP Backs Tax Breaks That Add $300 Billion To Deficit   [Huffpo]

                Your questions are excellent and need significant work to develop the answers and solutions. One that Obama promised and then ? abandoned, was transparency.

                 I do think the military culture contributes to this. While the VA is not military, all vets were military and some things are part of the bonding experiences of serving. Squealing has 2 barriers: making a unit look bad and backlash from command.

                So there needs to be a real clear process to make complaints and file grievances. I'm pretty sure Vetwife has written extensively on this problem, to the point of acknowledging Michelle and Jill's interest and efforts to help.  

                The way this developed really needs a lot of attention so that the next time a CiC wants to go to war, the US citizens demand a much better accounting of the upfront, duration and long term costs. We have not adequately funded the VA for at least 3 generations and 4 wars. The VA IT system is antiquated, the active military is still on paper from what I have read. They both need advanced electronic record systems that can be transferred or synched.

                 The increase in numbers of vets qualifying for care had several sources that dramatically increased the numbers. I heard or read a suggestion that funding the VA may need to be taken away from the whims of Congress and put into an entitlement style program. So much money per vet. Privatizing really doesn't work for vets  because the whole system has very different features - before you get to the actual care, which can be much more complex than the general public PCP is familiar with.

                There also need to be quality control and accountability assessments, which can't be faked, skewed or altered.

                "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

                by Ginny in CO on Fri May 30, 2014 at 02:53:17 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  Problem is, how do you blow the whistle? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Ginny in CO

              Hagel is now investigating active duty military facilities.  I think they may have been incentivizing civilian doctors to " meet budget there too".  All I know is that my contractor PCM is horrible at following through with treatments, proper testing, everything the HMOs did.

              There is no independent oversight anything to report to to look into anything.  Without that, someone has to be prepared to upend and destroy their whole life trying to get the word out.

              The system was/is designed that way on purpose too.

            •  Don't conflate VA and military... (0+ / 0-)

              "There is just one way to save yourself, and that's to get together and work and fight for everybody." ---Woody Guthrie (quoted by Jim Hightower in The Progressive Populist April 1, 2012, p3)

              by CitizenJoe on Fri May 30, 2014 at 10:20:57 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Despite the VA being vets, (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                akmk, Zinman

                they were all once military. The culture goes with them to a significant extent.

                "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

                by Ginny in CO on Fri May 30, 2014 at 01:59:38 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  For me, it's not "they"--- (0+ / 0-)

                  I've been in both systems. The differences are huge.

                  "There is just one way to save yourself, and that's to get together and work and fight for everybody." ---Woody Guthrie (quoted by Jim Hightower in The Progressive Populist April 1, 2012, p3)

                  by CitizenJoe on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 08:20:52 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

          •  The difference (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Limpbaugh

            is this scandal is a bit worse than the Benghazi incident, and Clinton has proven she was relatively ok at her job.

            This was not a partial failure, it was a complete failure.

            •  A complete failure? (11+ / 0-)

              Really? As per a poll downthread, 62% of veterans receiving care from the VA--not just veterans--said he should NOT be fired. Seems to me that they're pretty satisfied with the job he was doing. Seems to me that Obama would ENVY approval numbers like that. Seems to me that they have an even-handed point of view of Eric Shinseki, and you do not.

              "I feel a lot safer already."--Emil Sitka

              by DaddyO on Fri May 30, 2014 at 09:21:42 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Yes a complete failure (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Limpbaugh

                He has some popular support big deal? Plenty of incompetent people have had popular support before.

                The man got a fair few people killed by nothing but incompatible.

                You can choose your own poison for what type of incompetence. But that detail does not matter.

                It sounds like he may be great as an advocate or some other type of position, but at this particular one he was/is not capable of doing well.

                Never hear of "promotion to the point of incompetence?" Its a real thing.

                •  Big deal? In the case of the VA, it means that (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Jackson L Haveck, Zinman, van353

                  veterans are gettting some decent care, because that is primarily what the VA is about.

                  Here's a good question:

                  Was the VA better or worse under Shinseki than it was before?

                  While pondering that, you might want to consider the US economy and how terrible it is.  Should we ditch Obama for that or do we find hope in the meager improvements that have taken place?

                  LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

                  by dinotrac on Fri May 30, 2014 at 09:45:01 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Is that really the right question? (0+ / 0-)
                    Was the VA better or worse under Shinseki than it was before?
                    It may be a good question since, obviously if the answer were "no", his removal would almost certainly be called for (assuming no exceptional circumstances such as simultaneous terrorist attacks destroying all major VA facilities and killing most of staff).

                    However, a "yes" answer means little so it's not the "right" question.

                    Suppose my house needs repainting before winter and I hire a contractor who understands that the job needs to be completed by December 21st but when December 21st rolls around only the west side of the house is painted. Obviously, this is a complete failure on the part of the contractor, but the answer to "Is the house in better shape now than when the contractor started?" is "yes".

                    A "yes" answer to this question is necessary, but not sufficient, to judge success.

                •  I certainly have heard of it (6+ / 0-)

                  Did you read the comment below asking folks to compare those who die waiting for care in Medicare, private insurance, etc? That the numbers are at least comparable, if not better, at the VA?

                  Popular support from the people most directly affected and INTERESTED in the issue has to be the most important poll and support one could ask for...and you pooh-pooh it? They're just easily-persuaded dupes, those veterans who HAVE RECEIVED CARE from Shinseki's VA?

                  I get the feeling no argument or data is going to change your mind, so...but one thing almost everyone can agree on except maybe you is this: This is about politics and headlines, NOT about improving care or making those responsible face the consequences. If it really were...then Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Rice would all be facing FIRING SQUADS.

                  "I feel a lot safer already."--Emil Sitka

                  by DaddyO on Fri May 30, 2014 at 09:45:55 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  failure? (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  DaddyO

                  I think you both make good points. It seems like a complete failure in an impossible situation. The problem won't be easy for anyone to fix. The fact that Shinseki didn't know more about what was going on could very well be an indication of incompetence. But he might also possibly be the best person to improve the situation now that he does know about it. I would favor leaving him on probation while investigating the details of why he didn't know myself. Since I don't know why he didn't know more, either keeping him or not keeping him could turn out to be the best choice.

                  •  That's pretty much my opinion, summed up (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Zinman

                    Throwing the baby out with the bathwater is rarely the right decision, but we almost always choose it inevitably in this headlines-driven America.

                    THAT'S the bottom line here. What do we do? Respond to the NEED, or the HEADLINES?

                    "I feel a lot safer already."--Emil Sitka

                    by DaddyO on Fri May 30, 2014 at 12:04:27 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

      •  ? (0+ / 0-)

        Just curious...I'm assuming your name refers to Gussie Finknottle???

    •  I agree (7+ / 0-)

      If this had happened under GWB, liberals would have excoriated Bush.  Same thing applies to Obama -- he owns this disaster.

      •  This DID happen under GWB. Google Walter Reed. (14+ / 0-)

        Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!

        by bigtimecynic on Fri May 30, 2014 at 09:07:23 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  and Bush had huge warnings in 2004 (7+ / 0-)

          about how out of control things were getting. He ignored them. Mush like he ignored 9/11 warnings.

          What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

          by agnostic on Fri May 30, 2014 at 09:24:00 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Mother Jones has some good analysis out (0+ / 0-)

            I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

            by Satya1 on Fri May 30, 2014 at 09:54:04 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  I've heard pretty much these same stories since my (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            DaddyO, mmacdDE

            uncle came home from Korea in 1953. The BIG difference now is that so many veterans think VA care is good to excellent. Back then, VA health care was widely believed among its recipients to have been second rate -- or worse.

            If the WHOLE truth comes out, people will learn that our entire medical system -- not just for veterans but for everybody -- is badly damaged if not completely broken. A few years ago, when my husband went in 6 months from being a daily runner to walking with a walker to using a wheelchair while going from 175 to 125 lbs., it took 4 months for his primary care physician to get him an appointment with a local neurologist who referred him to another neurologist a few hundred miles away who also had his own 4-month waiting list. The first thing I did every morning during that wait was check to see whether he was still alive.

            System wide, we do NOT have enough physicians, and we will have fewer and fewer on a per-capita basis as long as the incentives to assume the debt load for training and the work load as an employee of some huge medical corporation are so dispiriting. These corporations are actually doing Kafkaesque time/motion studies to get physicians to see more patients faster than one every seven minutes!

            As Ronald Reagan asked (I'm paraphrasing), "do you hear that giant sucking sound?" That's corporate executives at for-profit hospitals, medical centers, and insurance companies slurping up the biggest chunk of the resources that should be available to treat both veterans and the rest of us.

            Firing Shinseki won't change much at all.

            "Portion of the adolescent prisoners in solitary on Rikers Island who have been diagnosed with a mental illness: 7/10." Tell someone.

            by RJDixon74135 on Fri May 30, 2014 at 10:47:21 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  And I think keeping him would have made a (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              RJDixon74135

              ...statement that Obama and he were going to FIX it. NOW. Like Sebelius. She had his confidence. Hell, she was ready to step down, but she COULDN'T because of the shitstorm of the rollout.

              They've sent the wrong 'message' by firing him, or by accepting his resignation. Eh. Giving in to GOP maniacs has been a bad habit of this administration from the very first day.

              "I feel a lot safer already."--Emil Sitka

              by DaddyO on Fri May 30, 2014 at 12:07:02 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  The VA system should be better, but (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              RJDixon74135

              wait times are ridiculous in general. I finally got health insurance under the ACA and it took 3 months I believe to get my first family doctor appointment.

              It's not just the VA. The VA should be run better, but who in America gets a first appointment with a doctor in under 14 days?

              When we stop putting leaders from the past up on pedestals and ignoring their flaws, we can start seeing our present leaders for what they really are.

              by PhillyJeff on Fri May 30, 2014 at 01:38:14 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  Y'know... (14+ / 0-)

      I think the GOP Congress and the sequester and two un-funded wars and Benghazi! and Obama sniping had 90% more to do with ANY problems in the VA than Eric Shinseki.

      I used to say the same thing about every President, and I stil do. But all you can do is complain about a President. You can't remove him or fire him. So, yes, as Harry S said so long ago, the buck stops here.

      But firing Shinseki? Who is going to do a better job? How is this NOT simply sweeping the real problem under the rug? As soon as this story cools, NOTHING is going to be done about the problems. If Shinseki were allowed to stay, I would trust him to make changes much better than any alternative I or anyone else could come up with.

      In war and in peace, sometimes the best thing to do is NOTHING. Try telling that to any American screeching for a fall guy...

      "I feel a lot safer already."--Emil Sitka

      by DaddyO on Fri May 30, 2014 at 08:41:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yup. I look at it this way. You can only put out (0+ / 0-)

        wildfires so fast. And Shinseski inherited a huge multistatate/multi-terrain fire.

        If there were a massive fire in my area, I'd be pleased if he were heading up the logistics of getting it extinguished. I mean that quite literally. He has a great mind, a good heart and works tirelessly.

        I don't know who they're going to bring in that can command respect and manage a desperately underfunded VA better. Maybe the GOP would give Petreaus money if he took the job.  The Republicans really dig him, and he is pretty good with guerrilla warfare.

        But he's working as a consultant making good money. And there's that pesky issue of how he left the government previously.

        © grover


        So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

        by grover on Fri May 30, 2014 at 10:32:51 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Shinseki (11+ / 0-)

      also had a complex job to do and your categorical label on him as failure is simply not fair or realistic.

      He succeeded in some areas and failed in others.

      I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

      by Satya1 on Fri May 30, 2014 at 08:44:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  His failures were very significant. N/T (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AnnieR, Militarytracy
        •  What were his failures? (7+ / 0-)

          I'm not very familiar with the VA except for the underfunding by Congress, some past scandals and this latest scandal. I'd like to see a ledger of Shinseki's successes and failures. Some polls indicated that vets were satisfied with Shinseki, trusted him and wanted him to stay in the position. I assume vets would know something. Are you a vet?

          •  My gosh, really? (0+ / 0-)

            Only vets are really qualified to have an opinion here?

            Almost everything you do will seem insignificant, but it is most important that you do it.

            by The Termite on Fri May 30, 2014 at 09:54:06 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Sure you can have an opinion. (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Jackson L Haveck, Zinman, pashber, van353

              I'm asking if you have an informed opinion, what facts and experience you use to form your opinion. I don't put any stock in opinions unless I know their basis.

              •  You weren't challenging anybody else's opinion... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Neo Control

                ...or credentials.

                Just the one whose conclusions you didn't cotton to.

                Information, believe it or not, can come from a variety of sources beyond the personal.

                I have no doubt that there are a few veterans whose VA experience has been a wet dream.

                Almost everything you do will seem insignificant, but it is most important that you do it.

                by The Termite on Fri May 30, 2014 at 10:33:37 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  Well the assertion is out there (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Zinman, SoCalSal

              "His failures were significant."   If so, it shouldn't be hard to enumerate what those failures are.

              Clearly, he didn't get the wait times down. And he didn't prevent people under his administration from lying about it.

              The important question is: what could he have done to prevent those failures?

              I can understand the position that states, even if there was nothing he could have done about these things, he needs to resign to preserve the principle of accountability.

              That's fine, but if there was nothing he could have done about these things, and we simply appoint someone new into exactly the same situation, then that's not exactly adhering to the spirit of accountability.  It's more like scapegoating.

              I've lost my faith in nihilism

              by grumpynerd on Fri May 30, 2014 at 10:21:33 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  I AM a disabled veteran. I am not happy with him. (0+ / 0-)

            N/T

        •  You're generalizations about Shinseki (6+ / 0-)

          and the singular focus on him while giving the Bush administration and GOPers in Congress a pass is an overly simplistic view that has no place in a reality based discussion.  

          At no point do I dismiss Shinseki's part in this (as soon as we know the fuller scope of what that part is).

          It turns out the VA has attempted to work on the wait-list incentive system problems in Obama's term.  It turns out that the whole suspect system was started and ignored under the Bush administration.

          But according to VA inspector general reports and other documents that have gone overlooked in the current firestorm, federal officials knew about the scheme at the heart of the scandal—falsifying VA records to cover up treatment delays—years before Obama became president. VA officials first learned of the problems in 2005, when George W. Bush was entering his second term, and the problems went unfixed for the duration of his presidency.

          The underlying issues date back even further. In 1995, as part of a broader overhaul, the VA began pressing clinics to cut wait times for new patient appointments to 30 days. But there was no system for tracking which facilities were meeting this target until 2002, when the VA introduced electronic waiting lists to keep tabs on patients who couldn't be seen within a month. Managers who slashed wait times were given bonuses and other perks. This created an incentive to game the system, especially after veterans of the Iraq and Afghan wars began flooding into VA clinics and straining their already stretched resources.

          ...

          VA higher-ups certainly knew about the ongoing problem. In April 2010, William Schoenhard, the VA's deputy undersecretary for health for operations and management, sent a lengthy memo to the VA's regional directors that outlined 17 "gaming strategies" schedulers were using to hide treatment delays—including paper waiting lists.

          But the 2010 memo shows that the VA took some steps to solve the problem. Schoenhard called on VA network directors across the country to take "immediate action" to "identify and eliminate" the gaming strategies and offered detailed instructions for detecting these schemes, which he warned "will not be tolerated."

          ...

          While the VA pressed its managers to redress the backlog, the Obama administration opened the VA health system to a flood of new claims. In 2010, the administration expanded treatment for post-traumatic stress and diseases stemming from Agent Orange exposure—a move that veterans and their advocates had sought for decades.
          http://www.motherjones.com/...

          This is obviously a deeply embedded systemic system with a large number of people trying to profit from it (or keep their jobs) in the face of GOPers denying them the funds they need to do the job.

          I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

          by Satya1 on Fri May 30, 2014 at 09:49:41 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  The President has additional responsibilities, but (0+ / 0-)

      the VA is his responsibility.

      LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

      by dinotrac on Fri May 30, 2014 at 09:40:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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