LOS ANGELES – What will it take for the Commander-in-Chief and President of the United States to exercise his entrusted responsibility on behalf of America’s Military Veterans and fire VA Secretary Eric Shinseki for his failed leadership and incompetence?
Just four days after news broke that Los Angeles Clipper owner Donald Sterling shared his bigoted views in a private conversation, Adam Silver, the Commissioner of the National Basketball Association (NBA), exercised his entrusted responsibility and permanently banned Mr. Sterling from the NBA along with a $2.5 million fine.
The National Basketball Players Association was also in agreement with the decision as it had heavy influence in bringing about the swift and harsh sentence.
As crude and repugnant as Mr. Sterling’s personal comments were with a confidant in a private setting, he didn’t cause any harm to his team players, coaches, personnel or any attendees to the Clipper’s games.
Nobody died nor was anyone denied earned benefits for their services.
Mr. Sterling’s team was not grossly mismanaged and he is not an incompetent leader. In fact, the Clippers have a successful winning record this year and are “at the top of their game” competing in the NBA playoffs.
Mr. Sterling and his wife own the Los Angeles Clippers franchise and it’s worth an estimated one billion dollars.
On the other hand, General Eric K. Shinseki (USA-Ret), was nominated by the President of the United States for a Cabinet position in his Administration and was subsequently approved by the United States Senate on behalf of “We the People” to provide quality healthcare and protect the best interests of millions of United States Military Veterans,, including those who are disabled and homeless.
One would have to be living under a rock not to know about the rampant mismanagement, malfeasance, crime, corruption and cover up at the second largest bureaucracy in Federal Government under Mr. Shinseki’s command. And it continuously gets worse, never better.
So, where does one even begin in trying to explain the endless failures of Mr. Shinseki’s stewardship as Secretary of the VA?
In brief, there’s the VA’s ongoing backlog of more than a half-million disability claims nationwide, the infamous “death list” torture of 40 Veterans at the Phoenix VA, and the “banning” of tens of thousands of war-injured and impoverished Veterans from the Los Angeles VA and forcing them to live homeless and hungry in deplorable and inhumane conditions on skid row and back-alley squalor.
That’s just scratching the surface.
Permanently Banned vs. Permanently Maintained
The NBA has rules and regulations that are strictly enforced.
The VA has rules and regulations that are enforced will-nilly.
When enforcing the word “permanently,” it’s important to know that it means forever, not temporary or changing.
The NBA has a rigid enforcement of the word permanently.
The VA has a weak and double standard for the word permanently.
In 1888, two land owners deeded 600 acres to the U.S. Government in West Los Angeles “to be permanently maintained as a National Home for Disabled Veterans.”
An 1887 Act of Congress preceded the Deed to ensure the permanency of a National Home for war-injured and impoverished Veterans and the prevention of Veteran homelessness in Los Angeles.
In addition to violating the lawful and moral obligations of the Congressional Act and legal Deed, the VA has also failed to honor the VA’s Administrative Procedures Act (APA) with Federal land use agreements that deal exclusively with healthcare providers and healthcare services for our Military Veterans,
Mr. Shinseki and his Los Angeles VA director Donna Beiter are Defendants in an ACLU lawsuit filed in 2011 with Vietnam Veterans of America as the major Plaintiff.
On August 29, 2013, U.S District Judge S. James Otero entered a Federal Judgment against the Defendants for violating the APA with nine separate real estate dealings that are “unauthorized by law and therefore void.”
All nine illegal agreements are with non-Veteran entities for non-Veteran use at the expense of tens of thousands of disabled and homeless Veterans who have been discriminatorily and “permanently banned” from this sacred property by Secretary Shinseki and his Los Angeles staff.
Meanwhile, Los Angeles remains our nation’s capital for homeless Veterans.
Even more shameful, Defendant Shinseki has appealed the Federal Judgment at the added expense of the American taxpayer and the prolonged misery of disabled homeless Veterans.
Regardless of Mr. Sterling’s boorish behavior and incendiary remarks, he did not misappropriate one square inch of Veterans property nor did he force one disabled Veteran to live homeless and hungry in back-alley squalor.
At the Pleasure of Defiance and Irresponsibility
In a recent Wall Street Journal article titled “Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki Says He Won’t Resign,” the defiant and smug retired General boasted “I serve at the pleasure of the president.”
Those who work in the private sector are held to a different set of principles than government bureaucrats like Mr. Shinseki, and they accept appropriate responsibility for their actions, even when it seems unfair.
Consider Brendan Eich, the former CEO of Mozilla who was recently forced to resign from protests over his $1,000 donation made eight years ago in support of California’s Proposition 8, which defined marriage as the union of a man and a woman. At the time, it was the same view held by then-Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton along with many other prominent public officials. And Proposition 8 passed with the support of 7 million California voters.
Nevertheless, Mr. Eich was forced to resign over the campaign donation. It’s important to know that he did not misappropriate one square inch of Veterans property nor did he force one disabled Veteran to be homeless and hungry on skid row.
So why doesn’t President Obama take all of these VA matters seriously and bring in new leadership to head this Cabinet Department?
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney stated that “President Obama takes seriously the allegations that veterans died waiting for care at the Phoenix VA hospital.”
Mr. Carney further proclaimed “The President remains confident in Secretary Shinseki’s ability to lead the Department and take appropriate action.”
Instead of accepting responsibility and saving the President embarrassment by resigning, Mr. Shinseki declared: “I need to let the independent Inspector General complete his investigation.”
Yeah, sure, just as he let a Federal Judge investigate and rule on his illegal use of Federal VA property and then he arrogantly and defiantly appealed it.
This pompous and self-righteous General will disregard and defy anyone who proves him wrong instead of accepting responsibility and resigning for the greater good of his country and for the men and women who have defended it.
Why Does the President Support Failed Leadership
For years, the Old Veterans Guard has observed the failed leadership of Secretary Shinseki and been very vocal in calling for his resignation or termination. So have others.
In fact, when the highly respected Vietnam Veterans of America organization signed on as Plaintiff in the ACLU lawsuit, it was essentially a condemnation of Defendant Shinseki’s failed leadership.
Most recently, the National Commander of the American Legion, Dan Dellinger, boldly denounced Mr. Shinseki’s performance, proclaiming: “His record as the head of the Department of Veterans Affairs tells a story of bureaucratic incompetence and failed leadership.”
Even though Commander Dellinger called for the resignation of General Shinseki because of his incompetence, he refuses to step down and President Obama refuses to fire him.
The legendary General George S. Patton, Jr. wisely noted: “Government employees are like a broken cannon. They don’t work and you can’t fire them.”
General Shinseki and General Patton are both West Point Graduates where their code for Military leadership was founded upon “Duty, Honor, Country.”
In 1962, Cadet Shinseki was one of the fortunate few who sat at the feet of General Douglas MacArthur when he delivered his famous “Duty, Honor, Country” speech.
With all this revered training and discipline instilled for Military leadership, it’s deplorable to witness the failed stewardship that retired General Shinseki has displayed toward those who have defended our country.
Inversely, how many active-duty Generals has President Obama forced into retirement over the past five years because of a disagreement he’s had in their Military leadership?
Whatever disagreements they might have couldn’t even come close to the failed leadership of retired General Shinseki who was entrusted to serve our Military Veterans as head of the VA.
The Game is Over
If the NBA Commissioner can take immediate action on behalf of the recommendation of National Basketball Players Association, why can’t our Nation’s Commander-in-Chief take immediate action on behalf of the American Legion and other Veterans organizations?
Taking care of America’s disabled Veterans is not a game, but the ball is still in Barack Obama’s court.
In sum, it doesn’t take the President of the United States to determine who should be banned from what in this matter.
When presented with the facts, a class of second graders would unabashedly conclude that General Eric K. Shinseki needs to be permanently banned from the VA.
God Bless America and the Veterans Revolution!