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The Perfect VA Secretary Replacement For Shinseki


VA Veteran's Administration

Okay, there's a big job opening now in the Washington area -- a cabinet post. It's the position of running the Department of Veterans Affairs.

There's probably not a less desirable position right now as the scandals and systemic problems have blown wide open. There's trouble in this most important Veterans division and it's not going to be solved by the normal political appointment to someone who's been faithful to the president and gets tabbed onto the cabinet to fulfill a political favor.

This time it's different. Whoever takes this job is most likely going to fail. At best, he or she will be under such scrutiny that they'll be tested beyond most mortal breaking points.

Let's face it, the VA is on life support. Without a heart transplant, the patient will never recover.

So what's a president to do? Fortunately President Obama is getting a lot of suggestions. Here are the top five, according to a report from The Hill: (abridged)

Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) A member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal who was forced to resign from his position as a top commander in Afghanistan [because he couldn't control his personal staff], Retired Army Gen. Peter Chiarelli who served in the Obama administration as the former vice chief for the Army, Retired Admiral Michael Mullen who chaired the Joint Chiefs of Staff in both the Bush and Obama administrations and finally, Rep. Tim Walz (D-MN) who is the highest-ranking enlisted soldier to ever serve in Congress.

All of these folks are serious contenders to replace VA Secretary General Shinseki. And all of them are WRONG.

First off, the problems with the department are not military. They are organizational. They require a man or woman who can handle the demands of building a corporate structure from the ground up. The new leader doesn't need to know how to handle a weapon or understand the horrors of war. They need to understand a monetary bottom line and hospital administration. We saw what a stellar job General Shinseki did during his stint. He may have been a terrific military general and leader, but he didn't have a scintilla of skills in hospital administration. He was clueless as are the other military leaders on this list. So strike off McChrystal, Chiarelli and Mullen. Brave military personnel, sure. But knowing how to build a hospital's cost-effective flow chart, not so much.

That leaves Reed and Walz. Start with Reed. A lawyer, he might be able to see some of the issues but again, this isn't a legal problem, it's structural. And even more important, the control of the Senate is in the balance this year. No reason for another Democratic-held senate seat to be put in play. So Reed's out.

Finally that gives us Walz. He's a good guy, a military background capping out at sergeant. Hardly admiral or general, but again, rank isn't the issue here. This is a hospital and health care problem. When Walz wasn't in the army, he was teaching history. Good for him. And good for us. But not good for the job at hand.

So where should Obama turn? Why to the Republicans, of course. As this is a thankless job and there's really no one outside of the political realm with the skill set to handle it, there are two choices. One is grab a hospital administrator from a flourishing medical organization or... wait for it-- pick a sitting GOP senator. Even one not up for reelection this year. Put their seat into play to increase the chances for the Democrats to keep control over the Senate.

Here are a few names --Roy Blunt. Maybe take him out of the Senate and his state's Democratic Governor, Jay Nixon will appoint a Democrat there. Or how about a lady like Kelly Ayotte? Maybe this whole thing needs a woman's touch. And coming from New Hampshire, with a Democratic Governor, she could be replaced with a Democrat. Certainly John McCain and Lindsay Graham would be losing their shadow, but if it's for the good of the country they could never vote against her. The same could be said for Senator John Boozman from Arkansas or Mark Kirk from Illinois. Both their states have a Democratic governor.

Obama should see this opening as a legacy opportunity. He can save the back half of his second term if the Senate stays blue. The VA isn't going to be fixed over night, but with a Republican in the position of having to fix things, it's never going to work and yet the GOP won't be able to stymie any legit chances to make changes, even if it's going to cost money. Remember, 44 senate Republicans voted against increasing the VA's budget.  So this becomes a win-win for Democrats and more importantly, for our brave veterans.

Hopefully Obama and his advisers are listening.


Afternoon-Evening Links


links McConnell

In Kentucky, Mitch McConnell Crushes Tea Party Challenger Matt Bevin

Air Force Is Reviewing Rule That Bars Proselytizing By Superiors

Sea Level Rise Forces US Space Agency To Retreat

Piscine Molitor: The swimming pool where Tarzan was a lifeguard

ROGUE ELEMENTHow an anti-government militia grew on a U.S. Army base.

Arianna Huffington Settles Website Theft Lawsuit

In jail-free Alaska village, banishment helps keep peace

Judge Rules Pennsylvania's Gay Marriage Ban Is Unconstitutional

Crazy Tea Party Congressman Suggests Only Property Owners Should Be Allowed To Vote

Operation American Spring Leader Announces ‘Phase II’ Of Plan To Overthrow Obama, Of Course


Fort Hood Is Front For Military Whorehouse


military prostitutes

Last week Senator Kirsten Gillibrand's (D - New York) proposed a bill to overhaul military sexual-assault policies, taking these cases out of the military's hands and putting them in civilian court failed. This was mostly accomplished by Republicans nay votes. It came five "yeas" short of the 60 needed to overcome a filibuster.

So was this really needed? A resounding YES!!!

For starters, here's why. Raw Story--

Ft. Hood sexual assault prevention coordinator accused of running prostitution ring

A Fort Hood Army sergeant, who coordinated the post’s sexual assault and harassment prevention program, faces multiple charges after he allegedly set up up a prostitution ring involving cash-strapped female soldiers.

So the man responsible for overseeing the sexual assault and  harassment program turns out to be the base pimp, running a whorehouse. How convenient.

According to ABC News, Sgt. 1st Class Gregory McQueen was charged Friday with 21 counts related to pandering, conspiracy, maltreatment of a subordinate, abusive sexual contact, and adultery and conduct of a nature to bring discredit to the armed forces.

If no changes are made to the military laws right now, this man's future falls into the hands of his fellow soldiers. He's reported to his next highest officer in rank. And if that soldier is a friend of his, or doesn't want to prosecute this case, it could ultimately be dropped. 

Another Fort Hood soldier, Master Sgt. Brad Grimes was court-martialed in the case and convicted in December for conspiracy to patronize a prostitute and for solicitation to commit adultery. Grimes was subsequently reprimanded and demoted.

Sgt. McQueen remains suspended from his duties but is free pending trial.

That could and would never happen in civil court. If found guilty in civilian courts, these guys would be doing time.

So is Gillibrand's bill important to bring back up? You bet. And maybe it's this military case that will be the deciding factor by those military bought and paid for Senators to vote "yes" next time around. If we don't want to see the military become a government whorehouse, steps need to be taken. This could just be the straw that broke the pimp's back.


ALL Is Okay in Oklahoma


Oklahoma Air Force BaseYou know how some people see the glass as half empty while others see it as full. Well, there's a universal solution to this age old dilemma. Don't see the glass at all. Such is the case in the Sooner State, Oklahoma.

Mary Fallon is the governor of one of four hold-out states, firmly against recognizing same sex marriage in the military. She even points out that it's the law in her state that same sex marriages are prohibited, so she feels she's in the right there.  Okay, I can see her dilemma. State vs. Federal. There's definitely a difference of opinion. But in this case, the military, including the National Guard falls under a larger umbrella of the Federal Government. Oh, the National Guard may be state controlled, but it's final orders must be approved by the Federal Department of Defense. Just ask all of those guardsmen and women who are serving over in Afghanistan right now. Their states didn't call them up, the U.S. did.

Despite a reprimand from Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel expounding the military rules now fully accept and acknowledge same sex marriages, the individual states can't discriminate against them and must let all military, including the national guard, have full access to all military services and benefits. Anything less would be discrimination.

This didn't fall on deaf ears in Governor Fallon's state, which BTW is home to six military bases (including two Coast Guard - yup, in this land-locked state).

Sister, er, Governor Mary F's totally against discrimination. So she took immediate action. She's not going to single out same sex marriages and legal civil unions. She's going to restrict state services to ALL marriages, straight or gay. So now, if you're stationed in Oklahoma, and have a legal  marriage or civil union, NO SERVICES by the state will be provided for you or your family. The governor has spoken. There will be no discrimination in her state. If you're married to anyone of any gender, you're out of luck. Single soldiers don't have to worry. They can still utilize state facilities under their military identification.

You gotta hand it to Marriage-minded Mary. In her spite of being told what to do against her will, she's not only lopped off her nose but also her entire head. She's a total moron. Here's how the wonderfully apoplectic Rachel Maddow summed it all up.

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