Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Tuesday Tidbits

The appalling scandal at the Veterans Administration seems to be heating up as more hospitals are accused of having a "secret wait list" for services that resulted in unconscionably long waits for some veterans, some of whom died while waiting. There are calls from several quarters for the resignation of Gen. Eric Shinseki, the head of VA, and countervailing statements from many supporters who hold that he is doing his best to clean up the mess.

On the other hand, we have several surveys over the years, including the most recent one from the American Customer Satisfaction Index, an independent customer service survey, that confirm a very high degree of satisfaction among veterans regarding the services that they receive from VA.

No doubt, as in most cases, the objective truth lies somewhere in between, but there can be no argument that the backlog of claims which continues to dog the VA and the long wait for services at least in some areas is entirely unacceptable. It is also probably entirely predictable considering the fact that this country has been constantly at war for at least thirteen years. We have sent thousands and thousands of women and men into harm's way and many of them have come home damaged and needing help. It is a debt that we owe and that must be paid, but it is really not surprising that the bureaucracy charged with fulfilling that debt is overwhelmed by the numbers.

How do we solve the problems of the VA?

Well, my husband, the former soldier, has a suggestion. He says they should put an Army supply sergeant in charge. Those guys know how to get what's needed and get things done!

It's a thought. Maybe what's needed is not a general but a sergeant.

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A scandal of somewhat smaller proportions was the firing last week of Jill Abramson as editor of The New York Times.  At first, the Times tried to maintain silence on the story, which is irony itself for a news organization, but as the hubbub grew, the publisher felt the need to defend himself and put out a statement about Abramson's firing being a result of her "abrasive management style." It had nothing to do with the fact that she objected to being paid less that male editors had been paid in the same positions that she had held throughout her years at the Times.

So, no sexism here. Nothing to see. Move along! It's just a coincidence that the firing happened shortly after she hired a lawyer to look into the matter of the difference in wages.

For some reason, I find it just a tad convenient - and unbelievable - that the Times decided they didn't like her style, in spite of all the Pulitzers that were racked up under her "abrasive management," just when she started questioning whether they were paying her fairly.

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So, Karl Rove thinks Hillary Clinton's brain may be damaged. And, furthermore, she's old! So old!

Hmmm...considering brain problems, let's cast our minds and memories back to election night 2012. Barack Obama was reelected president in a landslide and that was fairly obvious early in the evening. By the time the trend of the vote in Ohio was clear, there was no doubt left. Except perhaps in the brain of Karl Rove, who insisted repeatedly to his Fox News cohorts that Romney was going to win and he had the REAL numbers to prove it!

Now Karl proves once again that he really has a problem with numbers, when he insists that Secretary Clinton spent thirty days in the hospital after her fall. In fact, she spent three. But then Karl and his minions have never allowed themselves to be constrained by facts.

Undoubtedly, when and if Hillary Clinton runs for president, she will hear all of this and much, much worse repeated daily. But no fears. I think her "old damaged" brain can handle it. Without breaking a sweat.

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Then, of course, there is the Republican fixation on the tragedy in Benghazi in September, 2012. It is a tragedy that has been investigated several times by several different entities, all of whom have found that there were mistakes made, but there was no cover-up and no scandal and no deliberate effort to mislead on the part of the Obama administration. The Republicans just can't accept that. After all, it happened just before the presidential election so there must have been an effort to hide things and make Obama look blameless. So, now they have their Select Committee to investigate further.

This is a tragedy turned into a farce by the Republicans. The only scandal is that they are using it to gin up passion in their base and to raise money for the coming campaigns.

How many more millions of taxpayers' dollars will be spent on this bogus effort? Where is the Republicans' vaunted fiscal conservatism? Apparently, it only comes into play when they are attempting to cut services for the poor and middle class.

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And, finally, back to Benghazi. Dick Cheney wants Hillary Clinton "held accountable" for the four deaths in Benghazi because she was Secretary of State at the time.

I want Dick Cheney and George W. Bush held accountable for the attacks on American soil on September 11, 2001, and for the thousands who died needlessly that day. Furthermore, I want them held accountable for all the thousands of American and allied military personnel as well as the innocent Iraqis who died in a phony unnecessary war that was promulgated simply to allow these chickenhawks to strut around and prove how macho they were.

Oh, and also, while we are holding people accountable, during the Bush/Cheney administration, there were at least thirteen attacks on American embassies and diplomatic missions around the world and more than 650 people, most of them American citizens, were killed. Where is the Republican outrage regarding those deaths? Where is the Select Committee to investigate?  Where is the accountability?

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Thanks for letting me get all that off my chest.



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