Saturday, May 31, 2014

Whatever Problems The VA Had, Money Wasn't One Of Them:
VA Budget Nearly 
TRIPLED From 2000-2012

As usual when a scandal erupts involving a corrupt, incompetent government agency, the Lefty pushback is that the real problem is a lack of funding.  Everything would be just fine and dandy if only Agency X had gotten more taxpayers money to spend on it's services.  The answer is ALWAYS to make government bigger and more expensive and more powerful. Always.

This is certainly nothing new. Every single time it's pointed out how badly public schools are failing, Democrats dial up their tired excuse that things would be so much better if only we'd increase the funding for public education.  Like spending on public education hasn't tripled in this country since the 1970's.  And yes, that's adjusted for inflation.

When the Benghazi attack happened, the excuse ultimately proffered as to why a diplomatic post in a terrorist hot zone continued to have what little security it possessed stripped from it was that Congress cut the State Department's budget.  As if somehow it wouldn't have been up to the people running the State Department at the time to prioritize their now-reduced budget and eliminate things like $2.5 million to decorate embassies or a $16.5 million contract to buy Kindles [that was later scrapped only AFTER it became public and complaints were made].

Your State Dept. spent $1 million bucks to buy this rock. 

The fact is, as Sean Davis at the Federalist explains in the following chart, the VA's budget almost tripled from 2000 to 2012, going from $45 billion/yr to $124 billion

The real problem the VA has is the same problem that infects every government agency where public employee unions are allowed: full time workers devoting all their focus into how to get more of any new incoming money into the hands of their union members.

That's right. The VA had over 250 full time employees who spent all their days working on nothing but union business.
In total, the VA spent at least $13.77 million [in 2012] on 251 salaried employees performing full-time union work. Others, who were not included on the list provided by the VA, work part-time for unions at the taxpayer expense. In fiscal year 2011, the latest on record, the VA used 998,483 hours of this “official time,” costing taxpayers more than $42 million.
$13.77 million of your tax dollars went to pay for unionized gov't employees who devoted all their time to improving pay, benefits, bonuses, working conditions, & rules and regulations that favor union workers rather than doing anything to improve treatment of our sick veterans.

Unions exist to serve the needs of their union members. PERIOD. Full stop.  End of story.  Whether you're talking about a teacher's union, air traffic controllers or whatever, public employee unions exist to serve their members, NOT THE PUBLIC.  Teacher's unions don't exist to meet the needs of schoolchildren and the VA employee's union most manifestly DOES NOT do a single thing to meet the needs of our veterans.  Time and again I meet people engaging in confused thinking on this issue, as if teacher's unions are looking out for our kids in the public schools or the VA union spends some of it's time looking after veterans.  They don't.   

The VA scandal is really about career 'civil servants' gaming the system and mistreating our veterans with illegal secret waiting lists in order to protect their jobs and score bigger bonuses for themselves.  It's about MONEY, all right, just not in the way Democrats want the public to realize. 

Had the waiting lists remained accurate, it would have become evident how broken and backlogged the VA system was when getting medical treatment to the veterans who needed it.  So the VA employees decided to maintain two different lists: a public list that demonstrated how 'well' the VA system was working, and then a secret, accurate waiting list that reflected the real state of things. 

When the present system is broken, and yet your fortunes are tied to it, there will be a compulsion to cover up problems.  This is exactly what happened here. VA employees avoided all kinds of messy problems that would have forced changes by simply doing some deceptive bookkeeping.   If people got a true sense of how messed up things were at the VA, the present people in charge and working there might not get pay increases, promotions, advancement and so forth.  Better to sweep the sick veterans under the rug and keep the thing chugging along by putting up a facade that things were working splendidly.  

In fact, these corrupt bureaucrats did such a smashingly good job of faking how well the VA was working that Liberal pundits proffered the VA system as a sterling example of how awesomely awesome gov't run health care was going to be for the rest of us

The #1 job of any gov't employee union is: protecting it's members from any accountability.  America is about to get an infuriating education into just how well these unions have gamed the system over the past couple of decades.  

In NYC, the teacher's unions there created such a Byzantine system full of legal regulations and stalling tactics it's become a financial and time-consuming nightmare to fire a dangerous or incompetent teacher.  So the city's politicians have found it cheaper to continue to pay them to do....nothing while their cases drag on indefinitely.

That's right. NYC ends up paying hundreds of dangerous and incompetent teachers millions of dollars a year to sit around all day and play games and watch television.  Because the process of firing a teacher takes years and years to do.  Think I'm joking, that it couldn't possibly be that bad due to the way the teacher's unions have been allowed to set things up? 

I'm not.  

Many people expect heads to start rolling at the VA any minute now that Shinseki has resigned.  But they're in for a shock. Any VA employee found to have engaged in deception with these secret waiting lists who fights to keep their job is going to have a stunning array of legal and financial tools at their disposal, thanks to the union.  Anyone who's followed the long and frustrating stories of attempts to fire unionized government employees knows what's coming.  

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Obama To America's Employers For The Past 3+ Years: Don't Worry About New Costs of ObamaCare; You'll Be Allowed To Put Your Workers Into The Exchanges! 

Obama Today: HA HA, YOU SUCKERS!

The I.R.S. today unveiled a new rule that bars employers from sending their employees into the exchanges to buy their own health insurance. 

WASHINGTON — Many employers had thought they could shift health costs to the government by sending their employees to a health insurance exchange with a tax-free contribution of cash to help pay premiums, but the Obama administration has squelched the idea in a new ruling. Such arrangements do not satisfy the health care law, the administration said, and employers may be subject to a tax penalty of $100 a day — or $36,500 a year — for each employee who goes into the individual marketplace.
The ruling this month, by the Internal Revenue Service, blocks any wholesale move by employers to dump employees into the exchanges.
Under a central provision of the health care law, larger employers are required to offer health coverage to full-time workers, or else the employers may be subject to penalties.
Well leave it to the NYT's to leave the REAL NEWS out of it's own story.  

"Many employers had thought they could shift health costs to the government by sending their employees to a health insurance exchange...." - note how the NYT's doesn't spend even one second on where America's employers might have gotten this idea from. 

How about...from the Obama Administration itself, which repeatedly claimed employers would be able to dump their workers into these exchanges for the past 3+ years?  For over 3 years this White House maintained an illusion that employers would have a choice.   Then they waited until the Memorial Day 3-Day weekend in May 2014 to drop this bombshell.  

The MSM has already shown how they are going to help this White House on this issue.  With the NYT's leading the way, they are just going to announce the bare facts & move on with no mention of over 3 years worth of broken promises.  

It's clear the Obama administration intended to do this all along if their argument is that allowing employers to shift workers into the exchanges doesn't 'satisfy the health care law'.  The brazen nerve of these people is infuriating.  They had THREE FREAKING YEARS to speak up about this.  They watched all the debate, the discussion, the numbers crunching, and never breathed a word about their intention to force employers to foot the entire bill. 

Let's see a show of hands. If this administration had told the TRUTH three years  ago and informed America's employers they wouldn't have any choice but to eat the new costs of the ACA themselves with no ability to move workers to the exchanges, who thinks the ACA passes? 

Obama, Sebelius, EVERYONE in this administration lied about EVERYTHING to do with this horrible law.  Can't keep your plan, can't keep your doctor, your new plan costs more, and now another lie bites the dust.  
This latest ObamaCare lie to be exposed will have far-reaching consequences.  Remember all those CBO figures on how many job losses the full ACA implementation would result in? All those figures presumed employers would be able to shift some of the new rising costs by moving workers into the exchanges.  Now that the IRS has barred them from doing that, all those CBO figures are going to have to be redone.  And the projected job losses will now be greatly increased over what was expected before. 

And remember: these pricks in the White House could have spoken up at any time over the past three years & informed the CBO & America's business class that, why, no, in fact they weren't going to allow businesses to send employees into the exchanges.  

It's becoming more clear than ever that EVERYTHING this White House ever said about the ACA is up for grabs.  You can't trust it on anything.  The ACA is whatever they say it is at any given moment.  This is not rule of law, this is exactly what Adam Baldwin said it is in a tweet today: 

Friday, May 9, 2014

The *Real* Reason Hillary Clinton Didn't Designate Boko Haram As A Terrorist Group When She Had The Chance

When Boko Haram was killing hundreds of people in Nigeria the past few years, the mainstream media here in the West didn't really pay it much attention. You'd see a brief news article in the paper or some 200-300 word blurb on a news blog.

But now that this radical Islamic terrorist group has graduated from merely killing hundreds of people in their attacks to kidnapping hundreds of girls....the Western world is sitting up and taking real notice. When hashtags about something start trending on social media, you know that issue has hit the big time n' stuff.

Now I know how media works. I've been studying the media and it's biases for over 30 years. I'm not complaining about that. One white girl disappears on a Caribbean island = months of intense, non-stop media coverage. That's just the way things are. Dozens of black girls can disappear all across the fruited plain in America in that time & it doesn't create the slightest ripple in the national news. 

But it is important to understand the reasons as to why in the past few years Boko Haram slaughtering 100's of young boys in attacks on Christian schools didn't get this terrorist group the kind of attention it craved, but kidnapping & selling 100's of young girls into sex slavery did.

In more than a dozen countries worldwide radicalized Islamic terrorists have demonstrated a commitment to NOT living in peace with their neighbors. But attempting to discuss the world-wide issue of radicalized Islamist violence brings out the PC crowd in force with screams of "Islamophobia!", and so opportunity after opportunity to discuss the problem keeps being missed because people are afraid to broach the subject.

While there isn't a single country where a radicalized CHRISTIAN group is blowing up it's fellow citizens over their religion, in places like Yemen, Turkey, Pakistan, Indonesia, Thailand, Egypt, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Mali, Nigeria, Kenya and about 10 more I'm too lazy to list, radical Islamists are waging war on fellow citizens while repeatedly claiming they are engaged in a jihad of religious cleansing.

The smart Western PC thing to do, according to our Liberal so-called 'elite' class is to completely discount the stated reasons these terrorists give for their actions and instead understand the 'root causes' of all of this jihadic violence. Which they claim is usually poverty.

Perhaps the recent events of the past year shall lay to rest the false idea that groups like Boko Haram do what they do because of 'poverty', not their radical Islamist beliefs. When the Boko Haram leader tapes himself giving Islamic reasons for his sex slavery, good luck palming that off on poverty that you can fix with 'social justice'. There are plenty of poor regions in Africa where radicalized terror groups aren't kidnapping girls & selling them as sex slaves.

"I will sell them in the marketplace...!"

About the 50th time some Islamic terrorist radical screams out some religious justification for his violent acts and the local Liberal holds up a hand and confidently tells everyone "Ignore what he just's really just poverty, you know.", everyone's going to start realizing he's not 'explaining' anything - he's attempting to rationalize something away, which is a HUGE difference.

While the Left tries to process what Islamic terror groups like Boko Haram do based on convoluted ideas about 'poverty', the reality is radicalized Muslims in Nigeria are engaged in a religious war of eradication aimed at that country's Christian population.  These fanatics aren't burning down mosques or slaughtering young boys who are attending Islamic schools.  But don't hold your breath waiting for the MSM to point out the religious nature of this violence, how it's violent Muslims slaughtering peaceful Christians.  They haven't done that in Syria, Libya, Egypt or anywhere else, so why should they point it out in Nigeria? 

For the time she was in charge of our State Dept. Hillary deliberately refused to designate Boko Haram as a terrorist group despite being urged to do so several times. Why?

Her husband, Blow Job Bill, was forthright at the time about the true nature of the problem that Boko Haram presented:

Bill Clinton Claims 'Poverty' Is Real Cause Of Boko Haram

"Now an average person would look at Boko Haram & think religion is what motivates
all that slaughter.  Thank God you guys have me to tell you the *real* reason!"

For the same reason the Ft. Hood terrorist attack had to become 'workplace violence'. We have idiots in charge of our gov't determined to prove over and over again just how 'special' and 'sensitive' they are. And this is demonstrated by rejecting the common sense interpretation of events in favor of an interpretation that will manifest their awesome special insight.

Once you understand this, what motivates the way these people look at policy, a lot of the stupid, counterproductive crap they do will make sense. Policy pursued by Leftist ideologues like Obama & Clinton isn't about it 'working' or being 'practical'. It's all about THEM.

"I will demonstrate how special, elite and sensitive I am by implementing this policy that rejects hundreds of years worth of practical experience. Who cares if it WORKS or not?  I will have shown the world how SPECIAL I am!"

Thomas Sowell exposed this character trait of Liberals in his book "Vision of the Anointed: Self-Congratulation As Basis For Social Policy".

You think people like Obama, Hillary, Holder, etc. implement policy based on effectiveness, practical results, fixing problems? Nope. The only goal their policies really have is to confirm to them how special they are. That's it. It's about congratulating THEMSELVES.

This is why any NORMAL, practical, non-ideological person looking at Boko Haram goes 'Yep, that's a radical Islamic terror group' but.....a Hillary Clinton looks at that same group as an opportunity to implement policy that shows how SPECIAL she is.

"Why, this isn't a TERRORIST GROUP! This is obviously a result of poverty that social justice policy will fix! Only *I* could see that!"

"I'm so awesome, sometimes I even amaze myself!"

Yes folks, these are the kind of people running the country for the past 6 years. Every problem is reduced to just being a chance to show how special they are.

Conservatives, at their heart, are utilitarians. "Is it going to WORK?   Will it be BETTER or will it make the problem WORSE? Compared to WHAT? Who pays for this?"

Progressives don't think this way. Their lofty ideology DEMANDS only 1 course of action. How can they prove their specialness if they don't take it? And it's no accident that the course of action they take is often a direct rejection of what experience and practicality would demand. Because doing the practical thing that experience demands, why, that's how 'average, ordinary' people would solve that problem, you know. They're NOT average OR ordinary! Stand back, peasants....and watch them AMAZE you!

This leads to Progressives actually hiding from reality. They are so wrapped up in themselves they can't deal with real world problems. This is why on foreign policy the Obama administration is one long story of shocked surprise and missed opportunities when the world out there won't conform to their anointed vision.

This is also why ObamaCare turned out to be a flaming trainwreck. Just PASSING it proved they were special. The heavy lifting of crafting a new gargantuan centrally planned bureaucracy that would successfully implement something that freaking large and complicated? There's no fun in that!

ObamaCare was about Progressive self-congratulation. They proved they cared! They showed they were special! So WHAT if it never even comes close to achieving all the results they claimed that it would?!  Looking at the dismal results just gets in the way of basking in the glow of their own self-congratulation. 

How frightening is it to realize the people making the important policy decisions on the issues & dangers we face make them based on THIS?

"How is this policy issue going to help me demonstrate how special, out of the ordinary, and sensitive I am?"

 That's it. That's the basis.

On foreign policy, on domestic policy, the economy, jobs, you name it, this is the motivation these 'elites' are functioning under.

"How will this issue allow me to prove how racially sensitive I am? How much I care about the poor?" - Hillary looking at the Islamic TERRORIST GROUP Boko Haram just two years ago.

Hillary 2 years ago: Proving how special she was by spotting that poverty was root cause of Boko Haram, while all the people who weren't as smart or perceptive as she was were ignorantly demanding it be designated a terrorist group.

Hillary today: Proving how much more she cares & is special by standing up for 'our girls' and demanding Boko Haram 'bring them back'.

See how it works? Two years ago Hillary was special for not declaring Boko Haram a terror group. Today Hillary is special for caring about those poor kidnapped girls more than you do.

I actually feel kinda sorry for John Kerry right now. If Clinton had done the 'ordinary' thing 2 years ago instead of trying to prove how special she was, we'd be further along in stopping Boko Haram at this point.
"How come *I* had to play 'Captain Obvious' & declare these guys a terrorist group?"

Their compulsion to self-congratulation leads to incredibly bad policy and then attempts to cover over the results of those bad policies.  This might work for a year or two, especially with the help of a complicit mainstream media.  But history will take the long view, and it's going to be most unkind to an administration that was full of people determined to spend 8 long years proving how special they were at the expense of the country they were supposed to be leading.  

UPDATE:  OK, not sorry for John Kerry after all.  Just this Wednesday, our current Secretary of State trotted out the 'poverty' excuse for Boko Haram.  The 'smart power' set will apparently STILL go to any lengths necessary to say religion isn't the cause of this.

UPDATE II: And now Sen. David Vitter of the Senate Armed Services Committee is saying he has proof that Hillary's State Department broke the law and  deliberately mislead Congress about Boko Haram so they could avoid having to call it a terrorist group:

Sen. David Vitter (R., La.), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, petitioned Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday to explain why Clinton’s State Department misrepresented and downplayed key informationabout Boko Haram’s terrorist activities in its annual reports to Congress.  
Former Secretary of State Clinton lied to Congress when she said that the State Department lacked the necessary information to designate Boko Haram as a terror group, according to Vitter’s letter, which presents new information about the State Department’s purported efforts to downplay the terror group’s impact.  
Clinton’s State Department fought against efforts to designate Boko Haram for nearly two years, a move that likely limited U.S. efforts to confront the group earlier and allowed it to grow in strength.
Vitter charges that officials working under Clinton intentionally manipulated words and mislead Congress in its annual reports to create the impression that Boko Haram posed little to no threat.
Clinton’s State Department “repeatedly stated in the year leading up to the designation that it did not have data available or the necessary understanding to make the determination,” Vitter wrote to Kerry, according to a copy of unreleased letter obtained by the Washington Free Beacon. 
However, “recent evidence suggests Secretary Hillary Clinton and the State Departments not only knew of the extent, but also deliberately attempted to obfuscate the issue in order to avoid having to make the designation of Boko Haram as a [Foreign Terrorist Organization], including downplaying the State Department’s own Country Reports on Terrorism (CRT),” Vitter writes.
It's more clear than ever why this woman must NEVER become President.  She doesn't possess the judgement for the job.