The VA Scandal One Year Later: Whistleblowers Say Retaliations Have Continued Unabated (Video)

At a subcommittee hearing of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs Monday, VA employees addressed lawmakers once again about the culture of whistleblower retaliation within the agency that keeps raising its ugly head.

Stars and Stripes reports that despite the increased scrutiny of the past year and a half, and the ongoing department overhaul,  whistleblowers are still facing retaliation. Indeed, if anything, according to Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL), “we’ve taken steps backwards.”

At the hearing, Monday, the employees described a workplace culture where speaking out comes at great cost, even though VA Secretary Bob McDonald has made whistleblower protection a top priority.

One doctor who testified, last summer about wait-time manipulation, was demoted “and embarrassed in front of his patients.” Another employee – an Associate Director from Alabama –  was demoted and publicly humiliated by his superiors.

“The hostility they receive for their conscientious behavior shows that the retaliatory culture, where whistleblowers are castigated for bringing problems to light, is still very much alive and well in the Department of Veterans Affairs,” Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Colo., said. “The truth of the matter is, the Congress needs whistleblowers within federal agencies to help identify problems on the ground in order to remain properly informed for the development of effective legislation.”

Dr. Christian Head, who testified in July about wait time manipulation at the VA’s Greater Los Angeles Health Care System, said he has been demoted, embarrassed in front of patients and nearly turned away from an operating room while his patient was under anesthesia, awaiting surgery.

Head says in August he found that the locks had been changed on his office, and he was informed that he had been moved to a “tiny, dirty, poorly furnished closet-sized office” on a different floor. He said his supervisors have engaged in a continuous effort to undermine him since July, including preventing him from meeting with McDonald when the secretary visited the Los Angeles VA system earlier this year, saying his identification badge was expired.

When he complained of his mistreatment, he told Congressmen Monday, a supervisor told him, “If you don’t like it, you’re a whistleblower, take it to Congress.”

In submitted testimony, Head also detailed instances where he said employees experienced racial and religious discrimination.

Richard Tremaine, associate director of the Central Alabama VA Healthcare System, complained that “his superiors took away his leadership role and humiliated him and another whistleblower in emails sent systemwide after he reported malfeasance by system director James Talton, who was eventually fired after an investigation showed patient wait time manipulation Alabama VA hospitals.”

“I speak with you today, with a heavy heart, disgusted by continued cover-ups, a discrediting campaign through open-ended investigations, and the attempted destruction of my career, by the very VA I have always loved being part of,” Tremaine said.

More than 25 VA whistleblowers have received legal settlements for retaliations related to the scandal and about 120 cases are still pending. Still, Carolyn Lerner, special counsel for the Office of Special Counsel, said that, while the VA is reforming, she expects 40 percent of the agency’s cases to come from the VA this year, far more than from any other agency.

 “Despite this significant progress, the number of new whistleblower cases from VA employees remains overwhelming,” she said.

She testified that “about 80% of the time – when people come to us with a disclosure, they experience retaliation.”

Rep. Annie Kuster (D-NH) called on VA to end retaliation against Whistleblowers and insisted that disciplinary action against the offenders is key to nipping the problem in the bud.

Nothing To See Here: Capitol Police Chief Who’s Been Stonewalling For Reid, Resigns

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Embattled U.S. Capitol Police Chief Kim C. Dine has submitted a letter of resignation to the Capitol Police Board, according to RollCall, citing “multiple sources with direct knowledge of the situation.”

It is not currently known whether the letter has or will be accepted by the three-member board, made up of the House and Senate sergeants-at-arms and the Architect of the Capitol. Multiple attempts to secure a comment from Dine were unsuccessful.

Dine has been under fire lately for refusing to release the Capitol Police event report of the New Year’s Day incident that resulted in Senator Harry Reid’s egregious facial injuries and cracked ribs.

Via the Las Vegas Badger:

The leadership of the troubled, 1,800 person Capitol Police force is withholding information about the circumstances surrounding Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV) gruesome New Year’s Day injuries.

Breitbart News poked holes in Reid’s story that the injuries resulted from a home exercise accident that occurred when the exercise band that he attached to the shower door in his bathroom “broke and spun me around and I crashed into these cabinets and injured my eye,” as he claimed.

Breitbart News has also reported that virtually all of the information concerning the events surrounding the New Year’s Day injury and Reid’s subsequent hospital treatment that day has originated from Reid’s office. It insists the senator’s Capitol Police security detail was with him at his Henderson, Nevada home when the injuries occurred on New Year’s Day and transported him from his home to St. Rose Dominican Hospital in Henderson for treatment.

As RollCall notes, Dine has also been under scrutiny for a number of other snafus:

…the handling of a car chase the night of the State of the Union, which ended without an arrest despite the fact that the suspect was driving without a license. Members of Congress also grilled Dine after the October 2013 fatal shooting of Miriam Carey, as well as the decision to call back officers from the September 2013 Navy Yard shooting.

You can read Poweline’s latest theory as to what happened to Reid on New Years Day, here. (It definitely doesn’t involve exercise equipment.)

Debbie Wasserman Schultz: ‘Why Yes – I’m For Killing 7 LB Babies in the Uterus’

Wednesday morning, in response to an abortion “gotcha” question, 2016 presidential candidate Rand Paul challenged a reporter to ask DNC Chair Debbie Blabbermouth Schmutz about her extreme abortion views.

When quizzed on his about his views on abortion, Republican Kentucky Senator Rand Paul avoided the gotcha game and told NH1 reporter Paul Steinhauser to ask DNC head Debbie Wasserman Schultz if it was okay to “kill a 7-pound baby in the uterus.”

“Why don’t we ask the DNC: Is it okay to kill a 7 pound baby in the uterus?” Paul reportedly said. “You go back and you ask Debbie Wasserman Schultz if she’s okay with killing a seven pound baby that is not born yet. Ask her when life begins, and you ask Debbie when it’s okay to protect life. When you get an answer from Debbie, get back to me.”

Well, Schultz provided a partial answer in a DNC press release:

“Here’s an answer.  I support letting women and their doctors make this decision without government getting involved. Period. End of story.  Now your turn, Senator Paul.  We know you want to allow government officials like yourself to make this decision for women — but do you stand by your opposition to any exceptions, even when it comes to rape, incest, or life of the mother?  Or do we just have different definitions of ‘personal liberty’?  And I’d appreciate it if you could respond without ’shushing’ me.” [Emphasis added]

By stating that she favors letting women and their doctors decide (period!) – she’s admitting that she supports aborting full term babies. Her answer is not only gross – it is grossly out of step with the American people – especially women.

Only 28 percent of Americans believe abortion should be “legal under any circumstances” according to the most recent Gallup poll.

But Schultz failed to answer the the specifics of Rand’s gotcha: When does life begin? When is it okay to protect life?

Until she answers all the questions with specificity, Rand should ignore hers.

And she gets a special demerit for trying to pretend she’s the victim of male chauvinist “shushing.”

I know, I know – we all want to claim special victim status, these days. But stick a cork in it, Debbie. Nobody thinks you’re a victim.

MORE:

Rand Paul addressed DWS’s answer on CNN with Wolf Blitzer:

400 Soldiers in GA Forced To Sit Through “White Privilege” Presentation

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A U.S. Army diversity training session featuring slides on “white privilege,” resulted in lots of eye-rolls and at least one mass walk-out in Georgia, last week.

According to The Blaze, the US Army is investigating the unauthorized diversity training presentation.

The Equal Opportunity training presentation was shown to about 400 soldiers of the 67th Signal Battalion at Fort Gordon on Thursday, according to Captain Lindsay Roman.

The portion of the program involved a slide projected on a screen entitled ”The Luxury of Obliviousness,” which listed elements of “white privilege.”

The slide read: “Race privilege gives whites little reason to pay a lot of attention to African Americans or to how white privilege affects them. To be white in American (sic) means not having to think about it.”

A Facebook page called, The Army’s WTF Moments, posted the following: 

“Remember the #Awkward EO brief? … A member of the community called them out. This is the outcome.”

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If you read the comments at the FB page, this little exercise didn’t go over well, at all. One soldier wrote:

“True story: I went to a forced [Equal Employment Opportunity] EEO class and the white female SSG said we white folks were a problem. I looked around the room and everyone of every race were rolling their eyes,” said Scott Hampton Truelove. “We of all races went fishing, eating out, having BBQs, went to the club, together. We all never had a problem with race. We as a group stood up and walked out. She was cutting into our beer drinking time.”

Captain Roman told USA Today  that the instructor was out of line.

“The unit (Equal Opportunity) instructor deviated from the authorized topic and content which was provided,” Roman told USA Today. “To prevent further instances, all unit instructors will receive additional training on the importance of following Army EO training requirements.”

The episode is reminiscent of the time a US Army Equal Opportunity training brief on extremism,  listed Evangelical Christianity, Catholicism, ultra Orthodox Jews, and the Church of Latter Day Saints among Al Qaeda, Hamas, the Ku Klux Klan, Sunni Muslims, and Nation of Islam as examples of religious extremism.

In Obama’s America, even the military falls prey to the the left’s most obnoxious cultural Marxist rot-gut.

Trey Gowdy: “There Are Gaps of Months and Months and Months In Hillary’s Emails (Video)

According to Rep. Trey Gowdy, the SC Republican who is leading the House investigation on Benghazi, there are “huge gaps” in the emails the State Department have provided to his select committee.

After playing a clip of Obama talking up his “most transparent administration ever,” on CBS’s Face the Nation, Sunday morning, Bob Schieffer asked Gowdy the $64,000 question:

“By using this private account on a private server, she could not only keep those emails out of the reach of the government…but she could delete the emails without anybody knowing it,” Schieffer  noted. “So she could have sent you some emails – but are there any gaps in the emails you’ve received thus far from her?”

“Uh yes sir,” Gowdy replied, brightening. “There are gaps of months and months and months – and if you think of that iconic picture of her on a c-17 flying to Libya, she has sunglasses on, and she has a handheld devise in her hand – we have no emails from that day. In fact, we have no emails from that trip. So it strains credibility to believe that if you’re on your way to Libya to discuss Libyan policy, and there’s not a single document that has been passed over to congress. So – there are huge gaps, and in respect to the president, it’s not up to Secretary Clinton to decide what’s a public record and what’s not. We need someone (and frankly I’ve lost confidence in the State Department to make that determination.) They’re the ones who allowed this arrangement – they’re the ones who did nothing about this arrangement until they got a request from our committee.”

Obama, of course, only found out about Hillary’s unorthodox email practices when he read about it in the newspaper. But he has full confidence that she has provided all of her emails to the committee. Because in case you haven’t heard – his is the most transparent administration in American history.

 

 

JW’s Tom Fitton: HillaryGate a 7 Year Cover-up With Criminal Violation Potential

Tom Fitton of Judicial Watch was on The Kelly File, Thursday night, to talk about his group’s years-long efforts to get Hillary Clinton’s emails from the State Department.  Six+ years of document requests had turned up nothing.

“It was notable,” Fitton said. “So notable that we filed additional lawsuits just to make sure they didn’t have an out not to give us the material.”

He said they ended up dismissing one lawsuit after the State Dept told them that they had searched her office and didn’t find anything.

“They had an obligation to tell us,” Fitton declared. “They’re not only lying to us, they’re messing with the courts – and this is a seven year cover-up. The administration knew this from the beginning. As soon as she began using this email account – and it’s not a private email account. It was a government account that was disguised and hidden from the American people.”

He said that Clinton’t lawyer’s should no longer have access to the emails because “there’s a criminal violation potential, here.”

“You can go to jail for mishandling classified information,” Fitton noted.

More from The Kelly File, last night with Ed Henry and Judge Napolitano:

SEE ALSO:

Charles C.W. Cooke, National Review: There is no Plan B for 2016

Andrew C. McCarthy, NRO: Did Hillary Clinton Violate the Federal Embezzlement Law?

AoSHQ: Obama White House Admits to Knowing About Secret Emails Since Last August; Hillary Asked Them to Keep It Secret

Petulant President Schedules Video Conference With Top Western Leaders To Coincide With Netanyahu Speech

When the word got out that Obama’s schedule was too full for him to listen to Netanyahu’s speech today on the existential threat Iran poses, I figured he would be “busy” watching SportsCenter.

But no – this petty, petulant president decided to schedule a video conference with Western leaders at the last minute, ensuring that they missed the speech.

Via Keith Koffler, White House Dossier, the “Spite House” has struck again.

President Obama has added to his schedule an 11:30 am ET video conference with America’s top allies to discuss the situation in Ukraine, ensuring that neither he nor them will watch Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plea before Congress and the world to reconsider the Iran nuclear deal.

Koffler reports that the conference was scheduled just this morning and included “British Prime Minister David Cameron, French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, and European Commission President Donald Tusk” with Obama participating in the White House Situation Room.

Of course any one of these world leaders can view the speech later on YouTube, but as Koffler notes, “what a petty insult to Netanyahu.”

Does he think people don’t notice?

Is this the behavior of a confident, mentally stable leader? Sources say no….