Monday, July 10, 2017

You've Got to Give Credit to Trump For This

Trump is playing the press like a master.  He can get them to do a full time week on a tweet about Mika whats-her-face-insky and have them not notice he fired 548 VA employees and put another 200 on suspension.
Five hundred and forty-eight Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) employees have been terminated since President Donald Trump took office, indicating that his campaign pledge to clean up “probably the most incompetently run agency in the United States” by relentlessly putting his TV catch phrase “you’re fired” into action was more than just empty rhetoric.

Another 200 VA workers were suspended and 33 demoted, according to data newly published by the department as part of VA Secretary David Shulkin’s commitment to greater transparency. Those disciplined include 22 senior leaders, more than 70 nurses, 14 police officers, and 25 physicians.
Stage magicians have got nothing on Trump when it comes to making the press watch the wrong hand.

Rush Limbaugh used the analogy of shining a laser pointer for a kitten.  The kitten never catches the red dot, never even feels the red dot with his paws, but will go chasing around the house smashing into walls and furniture in the never-ending quest to get that dot.  This is what Trump is doing to the media.

And it doesn't stop with those 748.  According to that Daily Caller piece:
  • Also disciplined were a program analyst dealing with the Government Accountability Office, which audits the department, a public affairs specialist, a chief of police and a chief of surgery. 
  • Many housekeeping aides and food service workers — lower-level jobs in which the department has employed felons and convicted sex offenders — were also fired.
  • One record shows a “senior leader” being removed January 20, while another record shows a “senior leader” being demoted April 21. Those appear to refer to the same person — disgraced Puerto Rico VA director DeWayne Hamlin — who returned to work in a lesser job after he appealed to the MSPB. (Merit Systems Protection Board)
  • There were five firings in the Veterans Health Administration Central Office, including one senior leader. There were also two in the Office of General Counsel, and one in the office of Congressional and Legislative affairs.
The MSPB has been one of the stumbling blocks to cleaning house at the VA, and VA secretary Shulkin has been fighting them since his appointment in March of 2015 by Barack Obama.
“Just last week we were forced to take back an employee after they were convicted no more than three times for DWI and had served a 60 day jail sentence … Our accountability processes are clearly broken,” Shulkin said at the White House.

In addition to reluctance by managers to vigorously pursue firings, the overturning of firings after the fact by the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) — often with little public acknowledgment — has been a longstanding problem.

Shulkin asked for new legislation that reduces the role of MSPB, especially when firing senior leaders. Congress passed the Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act in answer, and Trump signed the bill in June.
The problems at the VA are legendary; I mean it's widely known that veterans have died waiting for care, patient's medical files were hidden so that they couldn't get care, and all the while VA bureaucrats falsified data to procure monetary bonuses.  Fixes have been slow to come largely because the union that represents VA employees has used its political muscle with Democrats to emphasize job security for government employees.  That's getting to be an all too familiar story. 

While I'm not a vet and I'm not in the system, I know many who are in the system, and in various fights for care.  From what I can tell, here in small town Florida, the local VA facilities are not really bad, but they are still the VA and usually frustrating as all hell.  When I mentioned reading this to a couple of friends tonight, they both were astonished that they could successfully fire someone in the VA. 

Hats off to Trump for getting this done without firing off the media outrage machine.
(obviously from TheOatmeal)


  1. Reminds me of a joke: What do you call the firing of 548 VA employees? A good start!

    1. In that piece at Daily Caller, they said, "Former Obama Secretary of Veterans Affairs Bob McDonald seemed to have so little grasp on firing employees that in August 2016, he said that he had fired 140,000 employees, a figure that made little sense since that would be nearly half the workforce."

      Half the workforce? Maybe it should be 548 down, 140,000 to go. I'd like to believe it doesn't need to go that far, but you never know.

  2. Rush Limbaugh used the analogy of shining a laser pointer for a kitten.

    The elites (your betters) are just that much smarter than President Trump or the rest of us...what IS that pesky red dot?

  3. Bravo Zulu, President Trump!

  4. I definitely support this as they shouldn't be paid nor draw any retirement foe wrong doing. But we really need to see some crimal prosecutions as you quoted above that many vets lost their lives waiting for appointments in this circus.

    1. Apologies for my spelling.

    2. My errors don't show up until after I've posted.

  5. All it takes is someone committed to doing what is right ... for the people, not for themselves. Thank God for this President and his Administration.

  6. I worked for eight and a half years as an RN at the Roseburg, Oregon VA Medical Center. While there were still many dedicated employees there, the rot started at the top and trickled down from there. If you bucked the system, refused to be willing to post lying stats about care for the vets, about appointments made that the admin had no intention of making sure were kept, and about directors who short-changed both the vets and the staff who were actually trying to do their jobs, you got reprimanded and days off without pay. I quit just five months short of being able to start collecting retirement because it got so bad, and friends who still work there tell me horror stories of how much worse it has gotten.

    People who _should_ have been fired were promoted (like our director - moved to Albuquerque to be the director of that VAMC). People who _should_ have been supported in their attempts to see that vets were cared for were ignored or harassed.

    I just hope Trump has been firing the ones who really are the problem, and not some poor scapegoats offered up as sacrifices.

    1. I just hope Trump has been firing the ones who really are the problem, and not some poor scapegoats offered up as sacrifices. That's a good point. Also, we don't know how this is going to play out with the MSBP and unions. It would really suck to fire the right guys and then have to pay them anyway, like the legendary cases where the teachers' unions get teachers paid to sit around and do nothing.