Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Why you should be very, very angry!

Its not the pennies! 

Lord only knows who's idea this was, whether it was Congress, but more likely the VA, but we are incensed at the concept behind a survey sent out by our good friends at the Fleet Reserve Association. 

We were asked flat out if we were receiving disability benefits from the VA and if so would we be willing to allow the VA to "round down" to the nearest dollar our monthly benefit check...in an effort to pay for the Blue Water Navy Equity Act of 2015!

Its not the pennies. 

It is the gall of the VA and Congress to even conceive of such a scheme.  It is shameful of them to do so. 

Its not the pennies! 

The VA owns millions of square feet of building space that either stands empty or is rented out and much of what is rented out is undervalued and/or uncollected. 

A mixture of real estate liquidation and aggressive collection of all rents due, including back rents, would generate enough to pay for the BWN bill and then some. 

It's not the pennies. 

The VA takes line item budget money and reallocates it wherever and whenever it pleases.  As a result, it has to come begging to Congress to have the tax payers fork over funds to replace the mismanaged money the VA misused.  How about Congress forces the VA to do away with bonuses, do away with out of town conferences for employees, and moving money from one line item to another? 

Its not the pennies!

We spent years advocating in the halls of Congress to change the wording on the BWN bills introduced by Senator Gillibrand and Representative Gibson.  We pointed out that requiring the verification of the territorial waters would require months of research tracking down records from the National Archives, then plotting ship's courses on a chart to  see what days were spent inside the territorial waters off the Republic of Vietnam.  That costs a lot of time and money to do. 

We said, go back to the issuance of the Vietnam Service Medal or the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal for Service in Vietnam as the qualifier.  All that is required is a DD-214 with an other than dishonorable discharge, the issuance of either of the above awards, and verification of an Agent Orange-related disease.  Even a VA employee would require only about 5 minutes to approve the eligibility for presumptive exposure and order a Compensation and Pension Exam to determine the disability rating percentage.  Maybe this all takes a month...maybe five weeks. 

Consider the savings in administrative costs to get benefits to the Veteran that quickly. 

Yes, the VA will be paying some Veterans who we not exposed to AO, but have an AO related disease.  Those diseases are caused by more things than just AO.  But in exchange for that, all who were exposed will be eligible for presumptive exposure.  This is what Admiral Elmo Zumwalt recommended in his 1990 report to the VA and Congress that was the basis of the Agent Orange Act of 1991. 

The administrative savings will be far greater than any benefits granted to those who were not exposed. 

Further, consider the humanitarian factor of granting a claim within four to six weeks compared to granting a claim after six to twelve months of research on ship positions. 

Alright, we'll say it...limiting benefits to those who's ships sailed within the territorial waters of the Republic of South Vietnam is stupid and wasteful and criminally so!

Its not the pennies! 

Remember, you heard it here first: The VA is too big to succeed.  It is unable to attain and maintain competency at any level other than incompetence, malfeasance and waste.

We are starting to think the same situation with Congress. 

Its not the pennies. 

Its the dollars. 


”It is a stain on this nation's honor that the Department of Veterans Affairs has become a deadlier and more difficult adversary to the American veteran than any they have ever faced on a battlefield."-- VNVets

"The concept that Agent Orange, and its effects, stopped dead in its tracks at the shoreline is simply too illogical, and too ludicrous to accept. What does that say about the Obama Administration and his Department of Veterans Affairs?"--VNVets

"With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan--to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations." --President Abraham Lincoln

"It follows then as certain as that night succeeds the day, that without a decisive naval force we can do nothing definitive, and with it, everything honorable and glorious."--President George Washington

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