Ed's Blog

"Some people know everything, but that's all they know."

The Transplants, you’ll never forget it

The Transplants, you’ll never forget it. http://ewross.com/transplants.htm


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By now, if you pay any attention to politics, you know that on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace President Obama signaled to the Justice Department and the FBI what he expects the outcome of their investigation into Hillary’s email server should be. Mrs. Clinton should receive nothing more than a mild slap on the hand for carelessness. Since then, even those who have been predicting Mrs. Clinton would be indicted have begun to back away from their prediction.

Hillary Clinton is the one and only hope to ensure that the policies Barack Obama put in place will continue for another eight years. President Obama has no intention of following in the footsteps of George W. Bush and retiring to a quiet life, out of the media’s attention. With Hillary in office, Barack Obama will be nearly as omnipresent in the media as he is now. Neither will he stop apologizing for America or saying that “there is no difference between capitalism and communism.” He has a thousand and one reasons for preventing the Justice Department from indicting Hillary Clinton.

People who know FBI director James Comey say that he’s not the kind of man to yield to President Obama’s will if the evidence calls for more than a mild rebuke. And among the 100 or so FBI agents on the case, you can be sure they won’t remain silent if they believe their investigation has been subverted.

At issue here, however, is not just whether sufficient evidence exists to prosecute Hillary (I believe it does); it’s whether or not the Justice Department believes it would get a conviction. It’s not unusual for the FBI/Justice to decide not to prosecute a case, even if they believe the subject of an investigation is guilty, when it believes it’s not likely to get a conviction. Consider the egg allover Comey’s face if that happened.

On the other side of the ledger, if Clinton gets away with nothing by a slap on the hand, the apparent cover up will make Watergate look like a man wearing a hat to cover up his bald head. Richard Nixon knew the rules applied to him, he just broke them anyway. Hillary believes the rules don’t apply to her.

Whatever the outcome Hillary has a big problem. If she’s indicted, it’s the end of her campaign for president. If all she gets is a slap on the hand, the details of the FBI investigation will leak out in the middle of the general election campaign. The liberal media may want to sweep all that under the rug, but I doubt they’ll be able to do that. Once the general election campaign begins negative political ads reminding Americans of Hillary’s dishonesty, poor judgment and lack of achievement will fill the airways; and the email scandal will loom large in the presidential debates. Hillary can run, but she can’t hide.

Of course, every presidential election is a contest between the nominees of the two major political parties. As Will Rogers once said, “It’s a good thing that only one of the son-of-a-bitches can win.” Democrats will be equally if not nastier in attacking the Republican nominee, who will have his weaknesses, and American demographics tend to favor Democrats. Nevertheless, Hillary is not the politician her husband is, and Americans may decide that she is not above the rules.

Filed under: Politics, , , , , , , , ,



Why is it that no matter how much national media attention problems at the Veterans Administration receive, serious problems affecting the care of millions of veteran’s health care persist?

Most recently, while long delays in wait times for veterans at VA health care facilities continue, problems mount with the Choice Card, intended to allow veterans to seek private medical care if VA is unable to provide it within a month of being requested, or if there is no VA facility near their homes. The program, opposed by senior people at the VA because they believed it undercut their reputation, is under siege because the VA has not paid millions of dollars to doctors. The result is the hounding of veterans who have used the card by bill collectors.

According to investigative reporter Like Rosiak writing in the Daily Caller, citing the Miami Herald, “A survey of non-VA hospitals in Florida, for example, found VA owed more than $100 million in unpaid claims for services provided to veterans under the Choice Card program. Sixty percent of the hospitals described the problems in getting paid as inexplicable, with their claims mysteriously getting lost. A growing number of doctors across the country are refusing to treat patients using the Choice Card for fear of never being paid.”

What will it take to give veterans the health care they deserve?

They way I see it, three problems are at the root of this scandal. First, is the nature of the federal bureaucracy. Firing incompetent or simply lazy federal employees is an enormous challenge. As a former senior executive in the Department of Defense I can tell you that the time and effort it takes to fire these employees is such a disincentive that most supervisors simply transfer the employee or ignore the problem. The result is a level of incompetence exists in the federal government that is not tolerated in private industry.

Even so, the VA has made progress on this front. According to Government Executive magazine, “The VA has fired 400 more employees this year so far than in 2014, according to Secretary Bob McDonald. McDonald said VA has fired 1,500 employees this calendar year compared to 1,100 people last year – a 36 percent increase. The former head of Procter and Gamble added that 2,280 employees have been terminated since his confirmation as VA secretary in July, and that the department has proposed disciplinary action against 300 workers for ‘manipulating scheduling.’” The VA has a workforce of roughly 330,000 employees. The question is, is this enough?

Second, health care, in and of itself, in the United States is fraught with difficulty. Costs are out of control. The demand for health care is on the rise while the number of doctors available is rapidly decreasing. In the case of the VA, 14 years of war has created a large number of physically and mentally disabled veterans. This compounds the increase in the demand for healthcare by a greying American population. Obamacare has only exacerbated this for Americans in general and driven some veterans to the VA system who otherwise may not have needed VA care.

Third is gross mismanagement by the VA leadership. Even after Congress gave the Secretary of Veterans Affairs the power to fire underperforming senior executives, very few, if any, have been fired. The VA has approximately 400 Senior Executive Service employees, but firing SESs has been difficult. In January and February of 2016, the VA lost three successive personnel decisions under this new authority, leading the VA Secretary to propose shifting the employment jurisdiction governing all VA SESs from Title 5 (Government Organization and Employees) to Title 38 (Veterans Benefits) of the United States Code.

What is the solution? Until all three of these problems are adequately addressed, veteran’s healthcare at the VA will not substantially improve. Perhaps with a new administration more progress is possible. A new National Security Management System introduced by the Bush administration to better rate employees on performance was quickly junked under federal employee union pressure when Obama came to office. Congress and the new president have their work cut out for them.



Filed under: Healthcare, , , , , , , , ,

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