Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Texas VA Run Like a ‘Crime Syndicate,’ Whistleblower Says

Last week, President Obama pledged to address allegations of corruption and dangerous inefficiencies in the veterans’ health-care system. But before the president could deliver on his pledge, the scandal has spread even further. New whistleblower testimony and internal documents implicate an award-winning VA hospital in Texas in widespread wrongdoing—and what appears to be systemic fraud.

Emails and VA memos obtained exclusively by The Daily Beast provide what is among the most comprehensive accounts yet of how high-level VA hospital employees conspired to game the system. It shows not only how they manipulated hospital wait lists but why—to cover up the weeks and months veterans spent waiting for needed medical care. If those lag times had been revealed, it would have threatened the executives’ bonus pay.

What’s worse, the documents show the wrongdoing going unpunished for years, even after it was repeatedly reported to local and national VA authorities. That indicates a new troubling angle to the VA scandal: that the much touted investigations may be incapable of finding violations that are hiding in plain sight.

“For lack of a better term, you’ve got an organized crime syndicate,” a whistleblower who works in the Texas VA told The Daily Beast. “People up on top are suddenly afraid they may actually be prosecuted and they’re pressuring the little guys down below to cover it all up.”

“I see it in the executives’ eyes,” the whistleblower added. “They are worried.”

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U.S. FOOD INFLATION RUNNING AT 22%

After five years of the federal government telling the public that despite a $3.5 trillion increase in monetary expansion, the inflation rate is below +2%, the Department of Agriculture (DOA) just warned the American public that the consumer price index for food is up by 10% this year.

The DOA tried to blame food inflation on the drought conditions in California, but last year’s drought was worse and food prices fell by -6%. The real problem is Federal Reserve monetary stimulus is stimulating inflation. I reported in “Food Price Inflation Scares the Fed” two months ago that commodity food costs were exploding on the upside. Given the lag in commodity costs impacting prices on grocery store shelves, annual U.S. food inflation is now running at +22% and rising.

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Friday, May 23, 2014

Rand Paul Stands Up for Civil Liberties Again. And Against David Barron

“I rise today to oppose the nomination of anyone who would argue that the President has the power to kill American citizens not involved in combat,” Paul will say on the Senate floor Wednesday. “I rise today to say that there is no legal precedent for killing American citizens not directly involved in combat and that any nominee who rubber stamps and grants such power to a President is not worthy of being placed one step away from the Supreme Court.”

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), whose filibuster last year against the nomination of Barack Obama’s pick to head the CIA won plaudits from across the political spectrum, is pushing back against the nomination of David Barron to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.

As Paul explained in The New York Times, Barron authored at least two memos justifying the killing by the U.S. government of a U.S. ciitzen abroad. No trial necessary. Paul isn’t alone in wanting more information about Barron’s role in the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC).

I agree with the A.C.L.U. that “no senator can meaningfully carry out his or her constitutional obligation to provide ‘advice and consent’ on this nomination to a lifetime position as a federal appellate judge without being able to read Mr. Barron’s most important and consequential legal writing.” The A.C.L.U. cites the fact that in modern history, a presidential order to kill an American citizen away from a battlefield is unprecedented.

The Bill of Rights is clear. The Fifth Amendment provides that no one can be “deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” The Sixth Amendment provides that “the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury,” as well as the right to be informed of all charges and have access to legal counsel. These are fundamental rights that cannot be waived with a presidential pen.

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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Stockman slams Justice Department scheme to stamp out businesses Obama disagrees with

Congressman Steve Stockman (R-TX 36) demanded the Obama administration suspend the Justice Department’s “Operation Choke Point,” in which government agents are pressuring banks to close the accounts of legal and law-abiding businesses engaged in commerce contrary to the political views of Barack Obama.

“(T)he Justice Department has launched Operation Choke Point, a credit card fraud probe focusing on banks and payment processors. The threat of enforcement has prompted some banks to cut ties with online gun retailers, even if those companies have valid licenses and good credit histories,” The Washington Times reported Monday morning.

“Under Obama’s ‘Operation Choke Point’ banks are complaining that government agents are threatening them because they service legal businesses engaged in legal commerce. Often the customer is a gun retailer or other businesses that poses no risk, but differs with Obama’s political agenda,” said Stockman.

Thousands of gun retailers have had their bank accounts forcibly closed, despite engaging in no illegal activity whatsoever.

“This is just the latest example of the Obama administration exploiting executive power to target political opponents. It would appear the only purpose of Operation Choke Point is the choke the life out of businesspeople with political views that may differ from the President,” said Stockman.

“Unable to pass gun control in Congress Obama is seeking to stamp out gun ownership through the kind of threats and harassment you’d expect from Third World dictators or Mafia bosses,” said Stockman.

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We are all veterans now

The national scandal and disgrace at the VA (Department of Veterans Affairs) is the perfect example of the disaster that awaits America with ObamaCare. We’re about to find out what it’s like to receive health care from the government.

The VA scandal is proof that with government in charge of health care, it will bankrupt the entire country.

Countless Americans will die through bureaucratic incompetence, neglect, long waiting lists and fraud.

Just like what our veterans have already experienced.

Sadly, the VA scandal is nothing new. Conservatives have warned about the dangers of government-run health care for many years, often using the VA as Exhibit A.

We have known about some of this for a long time. About the only thing we didn’t know was that there was outright criminal negligence which could lead to murder charges.

We didn’t know government employees kept secret waiting lists to cover up the long delays — even though they knew patients had life-threatening illnesses. That sounds like murder to me.

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