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.

Obama “Embarrassed” For Republicans Because They Wrote to Ayatollah (His Secret Pen Pal)

I guess we’re supposed to all be too stupid to notice the hypocrisy here.

“I’m embarrassed for them,” said the president in an interview with Vice News.

“For them to address a letter to the Ayatollah,” Obama continued, “who they claim is our mortal enemy — and their basic argument to them is don’t deal with our president because you can’t trust him to follow through on an agreement. It is close to unprecedented.”

Let’s unpack Captain Bullshit’s bullshit, shall we?

• “For them to address a letter to the Ayatollah”…

Who happens to be Obama’s secret pen-pal. Obama has written to Iran’s most powerful political and religious leader,  Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, at least four times since taking office in 2009.

• “who they claim is our mortal enemy”…

Note he says THEY (the GOP) claim the Supreme Leader of Iran, (who says things like, “the Islamic peoples all over the world chant ‘Death to America!’ and  “this battle will only end when the society can get rid of the oppressors’ front with America at the head of it”) is our mortal enemy. Not he himself. No Obama seems to have found “common cause” with this person the unsophisticated troglodytes in the GOP think is a mortal enemy.

• “and their basic argument to them is don’t deal with our president because you can’t trust him to follow through on an agreement”…

No. That was not their argument at all – basic or otherwise. That is a flat out lie. The point of their short, blunt letter was to explain to Khamenei (who they –  but presumably not Obama –  consider a mortal enemy) that any agreement he makes with the president will not be binding, and could be overturned by a future congress.

It has come to our attention while observing your nuclear negotiations with our government that you may not fully understand our constitutional system.  Thus, we are writing to bring to your attention two features of our Constitution—the power to make binding international agreements and the different character of federal offices—which you should seriously consider as negotiations progress.
 
First, under our Constitution, while the president negotiates international agreements, Congress plays the significant role of ratifying them.  In the case of a treaty, the Senate must ratify it by a two-thirds vote.  A so-called congressional-executive agreement requires a majority vote in both the House and the Senate (which, because of procedural rules, effectively means a three-fifths vote in the Senate).  Anything not approved by Congress is a mere executive agreement.
 
Second, the offices of our Constitution have different characteristics.  For example, the president may serve only two 4-year terms, whereas senators may serve an unlimited number of 6-year terms.  As applied today, for instance, President Obama will leave office in January 2017, while most of us will remain in office well beyond then—perhaps decades.
 
What these two constitutional provisions mean is that we will consider any agreement regarding your nuclear-weapons program that is not approved by the Congress as nothing more than an executive agreement between President Obama and Ayatollah Khamenei.  The next president could revoke such an executive agreement with the stroke of a pen and future Congresses could modify the terms of the agreement at any time.
 
We hope this letter enriches your knowledge of our constitutional system and promotes mutual understanding and clarity as nuclear negotiations progress.

Nowhere in that letter do the Senators suggest that Obama can’t be trusted to follow through with an agreement.

Every single word of Obama’s answer was complete, unadulterated bullshit. It wasn’t – as Obama’s fanbois in the media would have it – “slick” – it wasn’t “too clever by half.” It wasn’t a brilliantly deceptive Jedi mind-trick or part of an awesome 3-steps-ahead chess move. It was transparently ridiculous nonsense.

But I’m not embarrassed for Obama. We expect him to be a lying hypocrite. We expect him to be a disdainful, treacherous cretin. It is his nature.

I’m embarrassed for his media toadies who allow him – time and time again – to get away with it.

 

 

 

 

Obama First Heard About Hillary’s Email Problem Through News Reports

He’s trolling us.

According to reports, the White House knew back in August of last year that Hillary had a secret email account. But Obama – as always – was left in the dark.

We can add this scandal to the host of other Obama-era scandals that he first learned about in the news:

Via WFB:

The President finds out a lot of things going wrong in his government from news reports.

SEE ALSO:

Weasel Zippers: Breaking: Gowdy: Huge Gaps Of “Months And Months” In Emails Hillary Turned Over

Mike Brown’s Family Lawyer Was Also Head of Troubled St. Louis Area Police Dept

Last night on the O’Reilly Factor, in a segment on the alleged racism of the Ferguson Police Department, a stunning claim was made about the police department of a neighboring town. Toward the end of the segment,  McGraw Milhaven, radio talk show host on KTRS in St. Louis, noted that Pine Lawn has a population of 3,000 people and the  police there wrote 17,000 tickets last year. The most stunning part of the claim? The police Chief of that “small, impoverished, nearly all black community” in 2014 was no other than the Michael Brown family’s attorney, Anthony Gray.

O’Reilly also had on Jeff Roorda spokesman for the police officers association in St. Louis. He began by asking  Milhaven what he thinks of the Justice Department report.

MCGRAW MILHAVEN, RADIO HOST: Two things, Bill. First of all, they excoriated every one in Ferguson except Officer Darren Wilson, right? They said it never hands up don’t shoot. He was justified. African-American witnesses came forward and supported Officer Wilson’s claim. So, he is completely innocent. That’s one.

Two, you have to understand Ferguson. Ferguson doesn’t live in the middle of a cornfield. There are little communities all around Ferguson that are predominantly African-American. Those numbers, right, 67 percent of the residents of Ferguson are white. I want to know of those 90 percent who got those tickets, how many of them actually lived in Ferguson, how many lived around the surrounding areas? Just to take that number and put those numbers on it, you show me a good statistician, I will show you a good liar.
Jeff Roorda of the St. Louis Police Officers Association had this to say; “well, you noticed yesterday, Bill, that Attorney General Holder could barely bring himself to share that news. It struck me that this release or this leak of information the day before these reports came out were the most damning information that they could leak about the Ferguson police department was leaked out in advance of the announcement that the Justice Department determined the same thing that the much derided grand jury here decided. And that was that Darren Wilson was the victim of an attempted murder and that he used reasonable force…”
Toward the end of the segment, Milhaven ceded that there needs to be wholesale changes in the Ferguson police department. But he added, “Ferguson doesn’t live on an island. There are little municipals all around Ferguson that you have to drive through.”

And look, Floridale Hills (ph) during all of this invented their own police department. They have a population of 800 people. They are the mayors are black, the police chief are black, they are targeting everybody. That’s how they are surviving.

O’REILLY: Yes, because they want money. It’s a shakedown.

MILHAVEN: You mentioned Benjamin Crump. Pine Lawn has a population of 3,000 people. They wrote 17,000 tickets last year.

O’REILLY: All right. That’s got to stop.

MILHAVEN: Guess who their police chief is. Guess who their police chief is.

O’REILLY: And now the attorney general — who is your police chief?

MILHAVEN: The police chief’s name is Anthony Gray who is the family attorney for Michael Brown.

O’REILLY: I think the attorney general has got to start to clean up these towns in Missouri and stop.

MILHAVEN: Everywhere, yes — Everywhere. Not just Ferguson, the entire north county is being destroyed.

KMOV St. Louis did an investigative report on Anthony Gray on January 30: Attorney for Michael Brown’s family was also head of troubled police department:

It seems to me that this news went somewhat under the radar, so I am reproducing it here:

Anthony Gray seemed to be everywhere. As an attorney for Mike Brown’s family, Gray received international attention, blasting the city of Ferguson and insisting Officer Darren Wilson should be arrested for killing Brown.

However, at the same time Gray was turning up the heat on Ferguson, he was also the Director of Public Safety, and commonly referred to as the police chief, of nearby Pine Lawn. Pine Lawn is a small, impoverished, nearly all black community with a police department widely considered to be one of the worst in the St. Louis region.

Gray’s  top commander was Steve Blakeney, a scandal-plagued cop who is suing the city of Pine Lawn and the former City Manager. He argues that “he was fired because he was a whistleblower that helped build the criminal case that prompted indictments against current Pine Lawn Mayor Sylvester Caldwell. The suit also focuses on the role of Anthony Gray.”

The suit says Pine Lawn provided up to 10 police officers for “riot control” in Ferguson. However, in November, when the decision of the grand jury in the Michael Brown case was announced, Gray allegedly told Blakeney that “he wanted no Pine Lawn officers in Ferguson.”

Blakeney claims Pine Lawn officers received supplies and months of training to assist Ferguson police, but Gray didn’t want them there after the grand jury decision was announced. Blakeney says he told Gray he had a conflict of interest, but Gray said there was no conflict.

More here.

According to KMOV Blakeney “has been accused of raping one woman, punching another, and was accused of harassing residents who repeatedly filed complaints against him.”

He has also been accused of using license plates seized by the Pine Lawn police department.

He has denied all the allegations made against him.

 

Incredible: AIPAC Crowd Cheers Susan Rice — For Policies the WH Opposes

White House Security advisor Susan Rice received raucous applause at AIPAC today – for mentioning policies the Obama administration actively opposes.

During her speech, when she discussed policies that she claimed were not realistic or attainable, the crowd leaped to their feet and cheered. When she offered the Obama administration’s (supposedly) more realistic (and wiser) alternative, you could hear a pin drop. The barely audible smattering you hear is probably pro-Obama press flacks.

Via NRO:

“We cannot let a totally unachievable ideal stand in the way of a good deal,” she began. “I know that some of you will be urging Congress to insist that Iran forgo its domestic enrichment capacity entirely –”

With that, Rice was cut off for over twenty seconds by raucous applause, as the crowd rose to its feet in approval of a total ban on Iran’s civilian nuclear program. “But as desirable as that would be, it is neither realistic nor achievable!” she finally continued, claiming that European nations would abandon sanctions altogether if that was the goal. Just seconds later, the crowd again turned on Rice. “I know some would argue we should impose sanctions and just walk away, but let’s remember –” she said.  Cue more rowdy cheering, with Rice at first trying to speak over the crowd before raising her arms in exasperation. “My friends, let’s remember that sanctions have never stopped Iran from advancing its program!” she finally finished.

This really is incredible – and mortifying for Susan Rice.

 SEE ALSO:

Gateway Pundit: Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei Goes Off on Jew-Hating Tirade Before Netanyahu Speech

 

 

 

No – Really? Obama Amnesty Will Allow Illegal Immigrants to Vote (Video)

A new revelation about Obama’s executive amnesty has all of Washington wearing their “shock faces.” A giant loophole that no one could have ever foreseen, will allow illegals to vote in American elections.

The Washington Times reported:

President Obama’s temporary deportation amnesty will make it easier for illegal immigrants to improperly register and vote in elections, state elections officials testified to Congress on Thursday, saying that the driver’s licenses and Social Security numbers they will be granted create a major voting loophole.

While stressing that it remains illegal for noncitizens to vote, secretaries of state from Ohio and Kansas said they won’t have the tools to sniff out illegal immigrants who register anyway, ignoring stiff penalties to fill out the registration forms that are easily available at shopping malls, motor vehicle bureaus and in curbside registration drives.

Anyone registering to vote attests that he or she is a citizen, but Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted said mass registration drives often aren’t able to give due attention to that part, and so illegal immigrants will still get through.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris W. Kobach said even some motor vehicle bureau workers automatically ask customers if they want to register to vote, which some noncitizens in the past have cited as their reason for breaking the law to register.

“It’s a guarantee it will happen,” Mr. Kobach said.

Here is Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) questioning of Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted about voter fraud, yesterday:

In a House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform joint subcommittee hearing, Rep. Jim Jordan, OH-04, questions Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted about voter fraud, and how President Obama’s executive actions on immigration could further undermine voting integrity.

SEE ALSO:

Katie Pavlich, Townhall: Kansas Secretary of State: Illegal Aliens Registering to Vote is a Massive Problem Nationwide:

During a House Oversight Committee hearing Thursday, Secretaries of State Kris Kobach from Kansas and Jon Husted of Ohio warned that a loophole in President Obama’s executive action on illegal immigration could lead to millions of non-citizens obtaining the ability to vote in U.S. elections.

“I want to bring to your attention my concern that the President’s recent Immigration Accountability Executive Actions will make it more difficult for elections officials to determine if all voters meet the primary standard for voting – U.S. citizenship. I am not here to debate immigration policy or the President’s executive actions. However, I am here to emphatically say that we cannot follow both the federal law and the executive action and ensure the integrity of the elections process without further assistance from Congress and the Obama administration,” Husted said in prepared testimony. “For an estimated four to five million non-citizens, the President’s executive actions provide access to Social Security numbers and driver’s licenses. These are the same documents that federal law requires the states to recognize as valid forms of identification for voter registration. Under federal law, anyone with a valid Social Security number or driver’s license number can register to vote, provided they attest that they are a U.S. citizen. However, there is no way for us to validate this citizenship statement, since under the executive actions previously undocumented non-citizens will have access to the same documents as U.S. citizens. The issue becomes especially complicated in states like Ohio where millions of dollars are spent on third – party voter registration drives where no election official would be present to make clear the eligibility requirements for voting.”

Here’s Immigration hawk Senator Jeff Sessions fighting his own Republican colleagues on the Senate floor earlier this week.

After Meeting With State Dept Officials in DC, Muslim Brotherhood Promptly Declares “Open Jihad” In Egypt

An update to this story – which was disturbing enough – becomes even more troubling:

Via the Washington  Free Beacon:

The Muslim Brotherhood called for “a long, uncompromising jihad” in Egypt just days after a delegation of the Islamist group’s key leaders and allies met with the State Department, according to an official statement released this week.

Just days after a delegation that included two top Brotherhood leaders was hosted at the State Department, the organization released an official statement calling on its supporters to “prepare” for jihad, according to an independent translation of the statement first posted on Tuesday.

The State Department meeting was attended by a deputy assistant secretary for democracy, human rights, and labor and other State Department officials.

The Muslim Brotherhood statement also was issued just two days before a major terror attack Thursday in Egypt’s lawless Sinai region that killed at least 25.

A State Dept flack told the WFB, “We meet with representatives from across the political spectrum in Egypt.”

The Muslim Brotherhood has been designated a Terrorist organization by Egypt, Syria, Russia, UAE, and Saudi Arabia.

Supposedly, this is “an embarrassment” for the State Department, according to “Egypt experts.”

“The fact that the Brotherhood issued its call to jihad two days after its meeting at the State Department will be grist for endless anti-American conspiracy theories about a supposed partnership between Washington and the Brotherhood,” said Eric Trager, a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP). “The State Department should have foreseen what an embarrassment this would be.”

The fact that the Obama administration backs radical Islamist groups over stable regimes is embarrassing indeed.

The Obama administration conducted an assessment of the Muslim Brotherhood in 2010 and 2011, beginning even before the events known as the “Arab Spring” erupted in Tunisia and in Egypt. The President personally issued Presidential Study Directive 11 (PSD-11) in 2010, ordering an assessment of the Muslim Brotherhood and other “political Islamist” movements, including the ruling AKP in Turkey, ultimately concluding that the United States should shift from its longstanding policy of supporting “stability” in the Middle East and North Africa (that is, support for “stable regimes” even if they were authoritarian), to a policy of backing “moderate” Islamic political movements.

To this day, PSD-11 remains classified, in part because it reveals an embarrassingly naïve and uninformed view of trends in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region.

The revelations were made by Al Hewar centre in Washington, DC, which obtained the documents in question.

Through an ongoing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit, thousands of pages of documentation of the US State Department’s dealings with the Muslim Brotherhood are in the process of being declassified and released to the public.

US State Department documents obtained under the FOIA confirm that the Obama administration maintained frequent contact and ties with the Libyan Muslim Brotherhood. At one point, in April 2012, US officials arranged for the public relations director of the Libyan Muslim Brotherhood, Mohammad Gaair, to come to Washington to speak at a conference on “Islamists in Power” hosted by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

It’s not a “conspiracy theory” to notice that this administration always come down on the side of Islamists – even over moderate Muslim reformers like the Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. It’s the absolute truth.