House Votes to Turn Vets into Psychotic Potheads

By: Cliff Kincaid – Accuracy in Media


Donald J. Trump says vets are treated worse than illegal immigrants. But help is on the way. The U.S. House of Representatives recently voted to make it easier for veterans to get access to officially-approved marijuana. Rep. John Fleming (R-LA), a physician, argues that the proposal is “absolutely insane.”

It is estimated that nearly 30 percent of veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or depression. But Rep. Fleming notesevidence that marijuana “enhances psychosis and schizophrenia” in some people with these psychological problems.

Dr. Christine Miller asks, “Does no one remember Eddie Routh, the vet thought to have PTSD, who was diagnosed by psychiatrists for the prosecution with cannabis-induced psychosis, and who killed both Chris Kyle (“American Sniper”) and Chad Littlefield?”

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Veterans Continue to Suffer Under Obama Administration’s Care

By: Roger Aronoff | Accuracy in Media


While the Veterans Administration scandal lingers over multiple years, the mainstream media continue to perpetuate the fiction of a “scandal-free” Obama administration. Reporters are loath to report anything that might reflect badly on President Obama’s reputation and legacy.

Excluding the Christian Science Monitor and USA Today, there has been a virtual mainstream media blackout regarding the Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) recent investigation of the VA—an investigation which shows that wait time manipulation continues to be a problem for those serving veterans.

“This report proves what we’ve long known: wait-time manipulation continues at VA and the department’s wait-time rhetoric doesn’t match up with the reality of veterans’ experiences,” said Congressman Jeff Miller (R-FL), the chairman of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs, on April 18, when a GAO study that concluded in March was made public.

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How the “Bern” Burned the Vets

By: Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media

Will CNN use Tuesday’s Democratic Party presidential debate to challenge Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) on his atrocious handling of the Veterans Affairs (VA) scandal?

Hillary Clinton has big problems that include blood on her hands over Benghazi, a Russia “reset” that has resulted in Russian aggression in Europe and the Middle East, and the mishandling of national security information through a private server.

By contrast, Sanders has been portrayed as a Washington outsider, even though his political career spans 25 years as a member of Congress, first as a U.S. representative and now as a senator. He is a socialist but a “democratic” socialist, whatever that may mean.

Sanders portrays himself as a friend of veterans who tends to their needs but opposes the wars that leave them needing medical help and treatment.

The problem for Sanders is that his pitiful performance as chairman of the Senate Veterans Committee has come under serious scrutiny by CNN and other media for defending the VA bureaucrats and putting their interests above the veterans they are supposed to serve.

An observer might conclude that Sanders’ preference for big government programs and government-run health care had blinded him to flaws in the VA system.

The Washington Free Beacon noted that his performance got so bizarre at one point that, as the scandals were coming to light, the socialist Sanders tried to divert attention away from the flaws in the bureaucratic system and proceeded to accuse the Koch brothers of launching “a concerted effort to undermine the VA” and discredit government programs.

Sanders said the Koch brothers were picking on these “large, governmental institutions” because  they “want to radically change the nature of society, and either make major cuts in all of these institutions, or maybe do away with them entirely.”

John McClaughry of Vermont’s Ethan Allen Institute commented, “Bernie Sanders has become totally demented about the Satanic Koch brothers, to the point that he thinks they are responsible for anything that goes wrong anywhere. This man needs professional treatment.”

But Sanders has his supporters in the press. In the face of these crazy remarks, one of the senator’s most prominent media defenders wrote, “From the moment the long-gathering [VA] scandal broke into public view in April 2014, it took Congress less than four months to produce a new law—a split second by Capitol Hill standards.” Columnist Jill Lawrence noted that Sanders, who had become chairman of the Senate Veterans Committee in 2013, had worked with Republicans to craft a bill designed to fix the serious problems.

“It speaks volumes in particular about Sanders, who pushes for a single-payer government health system in every speech, that the law introduced a private-care option for veterans,” she wrote.

It actually speaks volumes about the failures of socialized medicine. At that point, after playing down the serious nature of the scandal, Sanders was forced to recognize that the government-run VA health care system could only be saved by giving patients a private health care option. He came to this “realization” because House Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Jeff Miller (R-FL) had pressed for letting veterans seek health care outside the VA system.

A poll from Concerned Veterans for America that was reported by Military Times showed that about 88 percent of respondents wanted to increase health care choices for VA patients, including access to private care physicians.

The Sanders campaign website ignores the senator’s failure in this important area, proclaiming, “As the former Chairman and a current member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, one of Sen. Sanders’ highest priorities in Congress has been ensuring that our veterans receive the care and benefits they have earned.” It goes on, “Amid reports of unacceptable wait times at many VA medical facilities last year, Sen. Sanders spearheaded a bipartisan effort to pass the most comprehensive veterans’ legislation in decades. The landmark Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act increases accountability within the VA and ensures that all veterans have access to timely health care.”

Notice the failure to mention that “timely health care” now includes access to private medical care. That was an initiative from Republicans.

Running for president as an avowed socialist, Sanders now promises “Medicare for All” rather than “VA Health Care for All” on a national basis. It’s a clever reformulation that ignores what Sanders did not do to get to the root of the VA health care scandal, and whether he has learned any lessons from those failures.

As noted by Bruce Parker of the Vermont Watchdog, an independent journalist group associated with the Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity, Sanders had made a “series of puzzling public statements” when the scandal broke that appeared to defend the government hospital bureaucracy. Sanders went on C-SPAN and CNN and urged the media “to remain neutral over claims that 40 U.S. veterans died at the Phoenix VA while waiting to receive care.” Sanders said, “The allegation is not that the delay in care caused that; only that that is what is now being investigated.”

As pressure grew on Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki to resign or be fired, Sanders defended him, saying, “The truth is that the V.A. is a huge institution. It does a whole lot of very important work. In many ways Shinseki has done a very good job.”

Sanders explained that Shinseki “has done a good job” but has been weak in terms of “communicating with the Congress or certainly with the American people and the media.”

Paul Rieckhoff, executive director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, was quoted as saying that Sanders had been “ineffective” as head of the Senate panel. He said, “It seems to have to do with his worldview. He seems to think that any kind of demand for accountability or criticism of the VA is an attack to dismantle the entire system. Nobody is saying that. We’re saying if you want VA to be supported, then make VA work.”

During an appearance on MSNBC in May of 2014, Rieckhoff said that Sanders had “basically been an apologist for the VA over the past few weeks.”

CNN Host Chris Cuomo interviewed Sanders, telling him “…you sound like a lawyer defending the hospital, as opposed to a senator trying to make sure the right thing is done.”

To its credit, CNN, which is sponsoring Tuesday night’s Democratic presidential debate, has done some excellent reporting on the scandal. The CNN Investigations unit reported on September 3 that a VA inspector general report found that 307,000 veterans may have died awaiting health care.

“Access to health care is a human right,” says Sanders. But his work as chairman of the Senate Veterans Committee doesn’t back up the campaign rhetoric.


Conservative Revolt Brewing Against Scott Walker Over Staffer Hired By His PAC

By: John Hawkins
Right Wing News

Last week, Right Wing News did an article about Scott Walker’s PAC hiring Brad Dayspring. If you don’t know who Brad Dayspring is, here’s an introduction from one of the conservative candidates he slimed during the GOP primaries.

“Brad Dayspring is well known as a despicable establishment operative who specializes in slander and character assassination against conservative candidates,” Mississippi state Sen. Chris McDaniel—one such conservative Dayspring personally frequently attacked—told Breitbart News exclusively on Wednesday. “He is the perfect example of why conservatives no longer trust the GOP. He’s little more than a paid attack dog, without principle and honor, the personification of everything wrong with our present political system.”

Brad Dayspring

McDaniel added:

“Scott Walker appears to be a good man with solid conservative instincts. But his hiring of the unstable Dayspring is an insult to honorable political discourse. If Dayspring is aligned with Walker, then conservatives should be warned to look elsewhere for leadership.”

Right Wing News has contacts with Scott Walker’s campaign and with his PAC. We reached out to both and asked for them to go on the record about Brad Dayspring. Unfortunately, nobody was willing to go on the record defending him — which should tell you a lot.

If Brad Dayspring is indefensible, why did Scott Walker’s team hire him? Well, you hire a guy like this either to stab conservatives in the back or to let your backers in the establishment know that you intend to do exactly that despite the rhetoric you’re using to trick the “bubbas” into voting for you.

Why else would they go to the mat for a new staffer after the reaction Dayspring received?

Breitbart has written a negative article about the hire and so has the Daily Caller (Where it was noted Dayspring had been telling people he was going to work for Jeb Bush). Over at Redstate, where Walker wrote a July 4th guest diary, the Wisconsin governor has been compared to Thad Cochran over this. Brent Bozell, the head of the Media Research Center, wants Dayspring gone. Mark Levin, who has roughly 7 million listeners, has been smeared by Dayspring before and retweeted the Right Wing News article we put out about him.

Since the article came out, we spoke to another one of the grassroots conservative candidates that Dayspring vilified, Dr. Milton Wolf, who primaried Republican Senator Pat Roberts in Kansas. Here’s what he had to say about Scott Walker’s team hiring Brad Dayspring.

“It’s baffling that a principled conservative like Scott Walker would hire Brad Dayspring. Dayspring is an attack dog for hire who specializes in slandering and maligning conservatives in order to protect the failed insiders who have abandoned conservative principles and are destroying our Republican Party.”

Here are just a few of the tweets from dismayed conservatives that flooded Twitter since the Right Wing News article came out.

I agree 100% with that last tweet.

Maybe Scott Walker’s team didn’t do its due diligence before it hired Dayspring. That would be a mistake, but forgivable. On the other hand, if Walker’s team hangs onto Dayspring, it might as well be flat-out telling you to leave a spot open on your back so a knife can be slammed in there down the road. A veterans’ group wouldn’t bring in Jane Fonda and no conservative you can trust is going to keep Brad Dayspring on his team.


July 4, 2015 … Dancing on the Titanic

By: JB Williams
Capitol Hill Outsider

On the morning of April 15, 1912, the ship named the Titanic struck an iceberg in the Atlantic Ocean during its voyage from the United Kingdom to New York City. At least 1500 crew and passengers lost their lives in a frigid watery grave that day.

Under the command of Edward Smith, the ship’s passengers included some of the wealthiest people in the world, as well as hundreds of immigrants from Great Britain and Ireland, Scandinavia and elsewhere throughout Europe, all seeking a new life of personal freedom and prosperity in North America.

This is a story that has been told again and again in America since that fateful day and many lessons have been learned about the safety measures necessary to protect all who would travel by sea thereafter…

But the story few Americans know is how the ship’s Commander, Edward Smith, reacted to the news that his ship was indeed sinking and there would be nothing he could do to stop it or save more than 1500 of his passengers…

In short, Commander Smith instructed the band to continue playing. The band was to keep playing until the icy water consumed the dance hall, so that the passengers onboard would not panic. The band was to meet their fatal demise while playing on, as they watched the passengers dance on, knowing the entire time that they would all soon die…

The passengers knew nothing different for hours, dancing, drinking, celebrating and living it up, as if life could be no sweeter… The ship struck the iceberg at 11:40 PM the night before. But it wasn’t until 2:20 AM that the ship finally broke apart, capsizing and slipping to a watery grave in the depths of the Atlantic.

Today, our country is in equal distress and the band is still playing and the people are still dancing…

This Saturday, July 4, 2015, the country will again celebrate Independence Day… There will be plenty of food, drink, music and fireworks on display. But unlike previous July 4th celebrations, this one could be our last…

The number of Americans who will celebrate this weekend without any idea what they are celebrating is staggering… It is embarrassing… It is frightening… This 4 minute video will give you just a glimpse into the real state of our union, as a once independent, free, decent and prosperous nation…

Unlike the America I grew up in, this America is divided by race, religion, politics, envy, greed, perversions, competing global interests, ignorance and cowardice. In this new America, children place no value in human life, as a direct result of being taught that their lives have no value… they are mere organic tissue to be discarded for mere convenience of the mother, murdered in cold blood, over fifty million of them since the deadly Supreme Court opinion known as Roe vs. Wade.

In this America, children shoot innocent people in schools, churches, convenience stores and on the streets. Children cut themselves, finding Satan in their search for any comfort from anywhere, belittle and bully each other, just to feel powerful by whatever means necessary.

In this America, we are no longer an independent nation, or fifty sovereign independent states. We are no longer a decent moral society, but instead, a nation of crooks, perverts and cowards.

In this America, words don’t mean what they used to… Marriage no longer means marriage, gay no longer means happy, good is evil and evil is good. In this new America, congress is no longer the elected representatives of the people. Congress is no longer the legislative body. States no longer have tenth Amendment Rights and the people no longer have any individual Rights as legal U.S. Citizens…

But since January 2009, illegal aliens and Jihadists flown in under the guise of Refugee Resettlement programs have Rights that even our veterans don’t have… paying your churches to help flood illegals across the country.

This July 4th, there is really nothing worthy of celebration. Our Constitutional Republic is gasping its last breath… The vast majority of Americans no longer even know what Independence is, most of them dependents of the bankrupt state themselves.

In just the past two weeks ahead of July 4th

  • Congress abdicated its constitutional authority over international trade and U.S. immigration to the Executive Branch that serves a Global interests.
  • The Supreme Court upheld ObamaCare, a law they openly admit is illegal, unconstitutional and opposed by most Americans.
  • The Supreme Court issued a federal mandate in an attempt to force all fifty states, every church and every community to recognized homosexual relationships as “constitutionally equal” to God’s institution of marriage between one man and one woman.
  • The government is forcing the removal of all Confederate flags in the U.S., erasing all true history behind that flag and the fight for state sovereignty and security against an over reaching and over bearing federal government that today operates far outside its constitutional authority.
  • Blacks and ignorant children are gathering in NYC and elsewhere for the purpose of burning Old Glory for Independence Day.
  • Hillary Clinton is committing open acts of obstruction in her circus style efforts to escape responsibility for her evil actions as Secretary of State, acts that resulted in the death of Americans in Benghazi and beyond.
  • As I write, America has a population of just over 300 million, half of them children and retirees, and more than 93 million of the rest out of work… Yes, 93 million…
  • Our national debt has been doubled under Obama and now reaches a level so high that they stopped the debt clock from calculating back in March 2015, without stopping the debt spending as it pushed towards $19 trillion.
  • The current administration has set the entire Middle East ablaze… warning now of ISIS (aka Al Qaeda) attacks on U.S. soil over the July 4th weekend… but how did ISIS get into America, as this administration has opened the floodgates at our borders and welcomed evildoers from all over the globe, openly refusing to enforce any of our immigration laws, including court orders.
  • And even the Oklahoma Supreme Court order the Ten Commandments to be removed from the Capital Square…

I could keep going for several pages, but you get the picture… America is in grave distress, like never before in American history… Still, the people keep dancing as the band plays on…

Saturday, Americans will light the backyard grill, put out the spread for family and friends, pop a top off a cold one, share a few laughs, take a swim and watch some fireworks… and most of them will have no clue why, or what they are celebrating, much less that they are dancing on the Titanic as the band plays on…

No, I’m not trying to be a buzz-kill for this weekend’s party… I’m trying to make sure there is something worthy of celebration…

Go ahead, get your party on… Remember to celebrate the free-will God who gave us our freedom, liberty and independence… Remember to celebrate the 56 men who acknowledged that and proclaimed it for America in 1776 and for all their posterity… Remember all who gave life and limb to protect it for us since 1776 and remember to fly Ole Glory high and proud this weekend….

…And when the party is over and the company is gone, remember to stand up Monday with your fellow Americans and reclaim our Independence, our State and National Sovereignty, our freedom and liberty and defend our Constitution and Bill of Rights by JOINING US in a National Conference Call moving the nation towards impeachment of the Barack Hussein Obama regime and all of their evildoers…

The Constitutional Accountability Coalition is hosting its second weekly conference call and it is focused totally and exclusively on impeachment alone…

Scheduled for July 6th, 2015 at 8:30 PM ET …

Call number – 209-647-1600

PIN code – 915138#

Real Americans who know what July 4th is really all about will be on this conference call Monday night. Those who are not part of the solution, remain part of the problem…


VA Still “Dysfunctional” with “Unaccountability at Every Level” Say Insiders Caught on Hidden Cam

In a new James O’Keefe video doctors, staffers, and a top official are captured on hidden camera speaking about the problems that continue to plague the Department of Veterans Affairs. VA doctor tells undercover Project Veritas journalist: “We’re way below water in terms of the ability to supply, to meet the requests that’s demanded.” According to VA Undersecretary/ Brigadier General: “Once you’ve entered the appeals process all bets are off, the only solution to that is changing the law or more people.”

Website: http://projectveritas.com/
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Project Veritas:

Here’s our latest undercover video showing that after more than a year of significant public outcry over incredibly long wait times, which in numerous cases resulted in the deaths of veterans, the VA is still failing to meet the basic needs of our veterans. Project Veritas investigative journalists captured on hidden camera a host of VA doctors, staffers, and one top official speaking about the many problems that persist at the VA despite official claims to the contrary.

This is the second video we have release dealing with serious issues at the VA: “Hidden Camera: Senior Veterans Administration Official and Staff say VA Turning Veterans into Drug Addicts” may be viewed here.

Among the outspoken in this video was Dr. Kristoffel Dumon, a general surgeon for the VA in Philadelphia, who told a Project Veritas undercover journalist that the VA has a “culture of unaccountability at every level.” VA Undersecretary and Brigadier General Allison Hickey was captured on hidden camera saying that once veterans enter “the appeals process all bets are off, the only solution to that is changing the law or more people.”

A Project Veritas journalist also spoke with Scott Westguard, a VA contractor, who said on hidden camera that “it’s messed up, it’s dysfunctional, it’s incapable of getting the job done because people are there simply picking up the paycheck. There’s no accountability.”

Project Veritas also caught up with Dr. Raul Zambrano, a VA Medical Officer in the VISN & Network Office, who stated that: “we’re way below water in terms of the ability to supply, to meet the requests that’s demanded.”

It has been over a year since the truth about the VA’s abysmal and unacceptable practices were thrust to the forefront of American politics, and yet there has been no discernible change in this bureaucratic nightmare. Our nation’s veterans deserve so much more and this continued mistreatment of our nation’s heroes is a troubling trend that shows no signs of any, let alone imminent, improvement.

Our first VA video has already been used to brief Congressmen about overprescribing dangerous medications to veterans at a recent hearing on Capitol Hill. It’s crucial for us to continue to shed the light on the VA, so please consider making a donation immediately below to help us continue to expose the way our veterans are still being treated.


Green Policies Kill Military Readiness and Vets

By: Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media

As the world waits for the pope’s climate change encyclical, new attention has been focused on how the Obama administration’s green energy policies are undermining U.S. military readiness and diverting resources from caring for America’s veterans.

We reported recently that the Obama administration didn’t have time to develop a strategy to fight against global Islamic terrorism because it was too busy putting homosexuals into the Armed Forces and celebrating gay pride. In fact, there was something else on the agenda that Obama had ordered the military to handle that had assumed more importance than global terrorism—climate change.

On May 20, in his remarks to the United States Coast Guard Academy commencement, Obama actually told the Coast Guard grads that “It is a dereliction of duty” for them to ignore this alleged problem.

The speech got enormous favorable attention from our media. “Obama Recasts Climate Change as a Peril With Far-Reaching Effects,” was The New York Times headline over a story covering the speech. CNN reported, “In Coast Guard commencement address, Obama buoys climate change.”

Obama even went so far as to imply that climate change was behind terrorism. He said, “…climate change did not cause the conflicts we see around the world. Yet what we also know is that severe drought helped to create the instability in Nigeria that was exploited by the terrorist group Boko Haram.”

The bizarre claim that Islamist terrorists kill Christians because of climate change has been echoed by the British Guardian and Mother Jones, both of them far-left outlets.

The other side of the story was provided by two excellent speakers at the recent 10th International Conference on Climate Change in Washington, D.C. Jay Lehr, Ph.D., who is the science director at The Heartland Institute, said the U.S. Navy is being transformed into a “Green Navy” that will cost $1.9 billion in alternative fuels alone. The same money, he said, could buy a new aircraft carrier.

“The money that we are spending in this manner is going to reduce our weaponry and reduce our ability to protect our fighting men and women, and it is entirely disgraceful,” Lehr said.

James M. Taylor, vice president for external relations and senior fellow for environment and energy policy at The Heartland Institute, discussed his group’s publication of the report, “Climate Change, Energy Policy, and National Power.” It was written by three retired military officials who argue that the Obama administration’s so-called National Security Strategy pays lip service to a balanced energy strategy, while in reality it is actually “defaulting on its responsibility to develop and execute a credible national energy policy.”

In his own talk, Taylor discussed in detail how the costly energy schemes being imposed on the U.S. military impede military readiness and waste resources, even at the expense of veterans in need of health care.

Dominance in the world, he said, requires the projection of military power, which rests on a strong and growing economy. But Obama’s plan for less reliance on fossil fuels and the increased usage of so-called renewable sources such as solar and wind power can only weaken the U.S. economy, he said. He noted that Russia is already moving into the Arctic area, with no credible U.S. military response.

What’s more, Taylor noted, Obama has ordered the Defense Department to rely increasingly—as much as 25 percent of its energy—on “grossly expensive” solar and wind power that detracts from military preparedness. “This is coming out of the defense budget,” he said. “It’s a budgetary boondoggle that takes away from money that could be spent on men, machinery and weaponry, and instead is being spent on more expensive power.”

He cited a machine made for the military that is supposed to be dragged around on a battlefield and transforms trash into electricity, rather than being buried or burned. The contraption was highlighted by the Mother Nature Network news service as one of the “6 green things the U.S. military is doing.”

Citing another boondoggle, he said the Navy is paying an incredibly high price of $67.50 per gallon for a “camelina-based fuel” made from a plant in the mustard family.

Even more shocking, he cited a case of money from the Department of Veterans Affairs intended for military care that is instead being used to purchase solar panels. “That’s coming at the expense of folks who are not getting the care they should be getting,” he said.

Indeed, the VA announced in 2011 that it had awarded $56.7 million in contracts to build solar panels.

However, it was reported in Arkansas in April of this year by local television station KATV that a section of solar panels at the Little Rock Veteran’s Affairs Hospital was being torn down after being built only two years ago and never turned on. The panels had cost $8 million.

The VA Secretary at the time, Eric Shinseki, said that “in order to continue providing Veterans with the best health care and benefit services, VA must adapt to climate change.”

Shinseki’s green campaign included installing a wind turbine at the Massachusetts National Cemetery. The turbine cost $533,000 and was funded under Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The VA issued a news release about this development, saying, “Under the leadership of Secretary Eric K. Shinseki, who flipped the switch at today’s wind turbine dedication, VA is transitioning into a 21st century organization that better serves America’s Veterans.”

The VA scandal over poor or non-existent care for veterans forced Shinseki’s resignation more than a year ago.

But he has bounced back, recently joining the board of First Hawaiian Bank. Bob Harrison, First Hawaiian Bank chairman, president and chief executive officer, said, “He is a man of great integrity and character who has dedicated his entire career to serving our nation.”


Hidden Camera: VA Director says VA Turning Veterans into Drug Addicts

Project Veritas

Caught on hidden camera, Deputy Veterans Administration Chief of Patient Services (for the entire VA) Maureen McCarthy, MD, said many of our military veterans “have drug problems, some of which are caused by us and our prescribing.”

In the undercover video, she admitted that the combination of “opiates, like morphine and benzodiazepine like Ativan and Klonopin” are like “candy” for a lot of veterans, “it’s like they want it, they want it, they want it.”

“He had a ten foot step ladder and a rope,” says Bob Cranmer, the father of a Marine Iraq veteran named David who recently took his own life. “And for some reason decided to hang himself.”

On average each day, twenty-two U.S. veterans take their own life. In David’s case, he waited over a year to be seen by the VA, and when they did eventually see him, they prescribed him a combination of opiates and psycho-pharmaceuticals very similar to the ones described by Dr. McCarthy in the undercover video. When you watch the video above/on the right, you will see one VA official after another saying what Nurse-Anesthetist Joe Salmon admitted: “The VA does push pills.”

“In my opinion, they are creating drug addicts,” opined a senior volunteer at a New York Veterans Administration facility.

A VA facility in Wisconsin is under heavy fire for patient deaths due to over medication. This video illustrates that the over-medication problem extends to facilities in Pittsburgh, Little Rock, Buffalo, Minneapolis and the DC area. As an institution, the VA is far too eager to simply write prescription after prescription and quickly move on to the next patient, instead of dealing with the actual problems veterans face on a daily basis.

Bob Cranmer blames his son’s suicide on the VA. So do a lot of VA staffers, when caught on undercover video. Watch it here to find out why.

Our veterans deserve better!


P.S. Please forward this to the veterans (and their family members) on your list so they know they aren’t alone.


Media’s Ongoing Attempts to Downplay VA Scandal

By: Roger Aronoff
Accuracy in Media

While some in the media have demonstrated they are willing to challenge the narrative emerging from the Obama administration that downplays ongoing abuses by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), others on the far left such as MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow have cast the administration’s chronic disservice to ailing veterans as a vast right-wing targeting conspiracy. VA Secretary Bob McDonald recently aided Maddow’s agenda by claiming during his appearance on her show that the VA was becoming “transparent” and desires “sunshine.”

“It’s hunting season at the VA,” VA Secretary Bob McDonald told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review on April 24, announcing a special medical advisory group to fix the VA’s problems. “Nobody wants to talk about the good things. We’re the largest medical system in the country, so when something goes wrong, it becomes news.”

More than a few “somethings” are going wrong at the VA if the ongoing scandals in Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Denver, Phoenix and Tomah, Wisconsin are any indication. Yet, as I noted in a previous column, when President Obama recently traveled to Phoenix, Arizona he asserted that “there were deficits with the way the VA is being run” but then called this a “case of bad apples and systems run awry.”

Secretary McDonald has presented similar talking points to the media, and some, such as Maddow, seem to be buying this narrative.

In reality, the VA scandal represents an insidious form of government corruption and mismanagement which will not cease until those responsible are held accountable. But accountability is the one thing lacking in Obama’s Washington largely due to a complicit media. They fail to hold President Obama accountable for government corruption and malfeasance by blaming low-level civil servants or ignoring ongoing scandals entirely.

The New York Times deserves credit for a recent story outlining the lack of accountability in the continuing VA crisis. However, it relegated this breaking and relevant news to page A16.

Secretary McDonald, who replaced disgraced former VA Secretary Eric Shinseki, told NBC’s Meet the Press in February that “the department had fired 60 people involved in manipulating wait times to make it appear that veterans were receiving care faster than they were,” reports Dave Phillips for the Times. Then the VA clarified that “only 14 people had been removed from their jobs, while about 60 others had received lesser punishments,” he writes.

“Now, new internal documents show that the real number of people removed from their jobs is much smaller still: at most, three,” writes Phillips. Sharon Helman, “the only person fired” was “removed not for her role in the manipulation of waiting lists but for receiving ‘inappropriate gifts,’” continues Phillips.

In the meantime, VA employees feel empowered to retaliate against whistleblowers within the VA, likely because of these weak accountability measures.

“Once you talk to the media, you are on your own…The VA does not support you, and you are not representing the organization,” declared a Denver, Colorado VA Medical Center Director, as I pointed out in March. She continued, “The only thing you are representing is yourself, and then, once you are in hot water, nobody will help you.”

CNN also reported in March that a Los Angeles, California VA representative, Dr. Sky MacDougall, actually lied to Congress about wait times at the Greater Los Angeles Medical Center, and that Congress was investigating this incident based on their CNN report.

VA crises are spreading throughout the country like a wildfire. On March 30 Congressional members traveled to Tomah to hold a joint field hearing to discuss a death resulting from the over-medication of one patient, the over-prescription of drugs to other patients, and the neglect of an older veteran who came in and suffered from a stroke while waiting for care at the Tomah VA. The older veteran, Thomas Baer, died from complications due to a stroke after delays at the VA Urgent Care center, an unavailable CT machine, no helicopter, and after being driven by ambulance to a new facility long after the initial onset of his symptoms.

One of the witnesses, Ryan Honl, a combat veteran who suffers from PTSD, was a whistleblower at the Tomah VA Medical Center. Honl testified about how his electronic medical file was accessed by multiple persons at the VA. “However, as soon as I blew the whistle, I started hearing about my instability from other employees,” he writes in his official testimony. “In an interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, [Dr. David Houlihan’s] attorney alluded to my mental health status,” he states. “Shortly after while VA investigators were in the Tomah VA, Police Chief Huffman directed that a police report be done on me by my former supervisor…and two coworkers…four months after I resigned over a supposed ‘threatening incident’ that took place while I was an employee before I resigned.”

“Clearly, my mental health diagnoses are being used by those I reported in order to discredit me,” he writes.

Special Counsel Carolyn Lerner told Congress earlier this month that “The number of new whistleblower cases from VA employees remains overwhelming,” according to Joe Davidson of The Washington Post. In fact, Davidson reports that her testimony revealed that “whistleblower cases reviewed by her office are almost 150 percent higher than historical levels. Nearly 40 percent of her office’s incoming cases are from VA, although her office takes cases from across the government.”

If VA whistleblower cases are up 150 percent when compared to “historical levels,” why aren’t the media questioning President Obama’s leadership on this issue?

“Monday’s session demonstrated that VA’s entrenched culture of retaliation against whistleblowers endures, a year after revelations exploded over poor service and the covering up of long patient wait times,” writes Davidson.

Then he defends Secretary McDonald, writing, “The retaliation continues despite the solid efforts of the current VA secretary, who replaced one driven out by the scandal.”

Accountability and professional standards are set by those at the very top. Secretary McDonald was confirmed last July, yet it appears that little change has happened at the VA under his leadership, nor that of his boss, President Obama.

In previous articles covering the ongoing VA scandal I pointed to the media’s reluctance, if not outright refusal, to implicate the Obama administration for its role in facilitating the ongoing corruption at the VA.

But in some far-left circles this has been taken to the furthest possible conclusion, that the scandal is about to be exploited by the “right wing” for its own purposes.

MSNBC’s Maddow recently minimized the poor treatment received by veterans at the VA, warned that the right wing would soon push to privatize the VA, and gave Secretary McDonald a platform to claim that the administration was actually being “transparent” on this issue.

“One of the reasons I want you to be here tonight, Mr. Secretary [Robert McDonald], is because I do feel like VA is about to have political challenges that it has not faced in at least a generation, if not more, and veterans groups have been able to hold off some of those challenges in the past,” said Maddow on her April 15 show. “…I’m not sure that VA has the political backup right now to fight those battles. And honestly, I’m here partly because I want to sort of raise the flag that this is coming.”

The graphic on the MSNBC broadcast read, “V.A. Secretary on Right-Wing Efforts to Privatize VA.”

Secretary McDonald responded to her by emphasizing the VA’s alleged transparency and desire for “sunshine.” He said:

“That’s why we’re here. We want to get out. We want to be transparent. We now publish our data every two weeks online. Sunshine is a great, transparency is a great benefit to us. We’re gonna do our share. We’re gonna improve the results of the VA. We’re working very hard to do that, and hopefully veterans will be happy with the care we provide them. It’s the most exciting mission that we could possibly have.”

Both participants in this highly disingenuous interchange may have wished to assure the public about the VA’s integrity, but the growing news about corruption at the VA, prompted in part by Congressional hearings held by Rep. Jeff Miller’s (R-FL) House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, makes it less and likely that the public can be fooled by such false assurances.

Veterans actually served by the VA certainly aren’t being fooled, and a number of them have contacted me after reading my articles on this continuing scandal to say that things are bad, and in some cases even worse than I described.

As is true for most MSNBC shows, Maddow’s presentation of this scandal was highly misleading as well. Veterans groups are now actively asking for change themselves. For example, the price tag for the VA Medical Center in Denver, Colorado has ballooned from $328 million to $1.73 billion. As a result, “The American Legion in Colorado held a protest last year in which members held up ‘JUST BUILD THE DAMN THING’ signs and carried shovels, symbolically ready to build it themselves,” reported The Washington Post’s Emily Wax-Thibodeaux in March.

There is no doubt that the VA is a behemoth of a bureaucracy, and McDonald seems like a sincere and capable manager. But regrettably he also seems to have been captured by the Obama administration’s culture of deceit, of punishing whistleblowers, and of failing to hold people accountable. Hopefully, for the sake of America’s veterans, of which he is one, that culture will change, and change fast. McDonald was caught exaggerating his service history earlier this year, which may have contributed to skepticism about whether he is the right man for this job.

Rachel Maddow’s transparent attempt to cast the VA scandal as the fabrication of right-wing political forces bent on destroying an embattled institution serves as a red herring designed to provide Secretary McDonald, and thereby this administration, with a platform to praise the past successes of this corrupt, mismanaged bureaucracy—at the expense of those veterans who have died or been neglected. But MSNBC and other complicit media aren’t interested in accountability, they’re interested in covering for the Obama administration.