Saturday, August 4, 2012

Walker's War On Veterans Wages On

In this week's rendition of Scott Walker's weekly propaganda which he calls E-updates, his question of the week, which I suspect are fabricated, has to deal with ways to help veterans. His reply is a lengthy plug for several of AT&T's different programs on how to help veterans stay in communication with loved ones back home.

One thing he does not include in his reply is what the state is doing for veterans. I would presume that this is because the state is doing precious little for them.

Oh, sure, Walker has the state hosting an awfully designed website, which is dominated by a self-serving video of Walker making a show that he pretends about veterans, but that is about it.

The truth is, as I have been chronicling, Walker has done more harm to veterans than he has provided any help. Walker's ongoing war on veterans has included reinstating the corrupt and inept John Scocos as Secretary of Veterans Affairs and using veterans as political props, much as he did when he was Milwaukee County Executive and his bogus Operation Freedom.

Now we have a report from blue cheddar on the horrid conditions at King Veterans Center in Waupaca County. The report focuses on how workers at the center are being forced to work an unsafe number of hours of overtime due to understaffing and poor administrative decisions by Scocos.

By having the caretakers work so many hours in a row, they will become physically and mentally exhausted. And because of this exhaustion, mistakes will eventually happen which could lead to injury or harm, possibly even death, coming to a patient or a worker.

This is a pattern which Walker has followed time and time again. As Milwaukee County executive, he did the same routine of cutting staffing so deeply that overtime soared, workers became exhausted and/or overwhelmed. He did this at the mental health complex, the House of Corrections and the Income Maintenance Program. We are also seeing this on the state level, not only at the veteran centers, but also at state correctional institutions.

And the results were predictable. The mental health complex had a string of incidents ranging from sexual assaults of patients to deaths. The House of Corrections had many injuries to staff and inmates alike, including some inmates, like Alexander Orlowski, dying because of it. The income maintenance program was on the verge of failure, and would have failed, if former Governor Jim Doyle hadn't stepped in and took over the program. And the state correctional institutions are seeing the same increase in injuries and unsafe conditions as the House of Corrections did.

One might very well wonder why Walker would continue to do this if the inevitable results are high overtime costs and even higher human costs. Does Walker really hate veterans that much?

Well, Walker doesn't hate veterans, per se. It would be more honest to say he doesn't give a damn about them one way or the other.

But if you look at the previous examples of Walker's willful neglect, the answer becomes clear. Milwaukee County Supervisor John Weishan nailed it in a press release regarding the income maintenance program:
“This is yet another example of County Executive Scott Walker’s inability to manage County programs and services. The County Executive has a track record of running programs into the ground to achieve his goal of transferring programs to other entities.

“You don’t have to go far to find examples. Just look at his proposals to contract out call center functions and transfer control of the House of Correction to the Sheriff. He even supports transferring Milwaukee County’s parks to a parks district that would not be directly accountable to residents.”

“The County Executive’s incompetence is almost endless, and Income Maintenance just happens to be the latest victim. Scott Walker is an incompetent manager who relies on others to perform his work after he drops the ball. It’s clear that the County Executive cannot fix problems. He simply passes them on to others.”
Just like he is trying to do with the state's correctional system, he is setting up the veterans centers to fail and fail in a big way.

After a year or two, or if some poor veteran perished due to poor care, Walker will point to the skyrocketing overtime costs and the tragedy and say it's not working and will try to privatize the entire system. Odds are that the would be private agency taking over just so happens to be a campaign donor.

Indeed, I had warned of this very thing when I was discussing a court case in Michigan in which Governor Rick Snyder's efforts to privatize a veterans center there was thoroughly rebuffed because it would cause irreparable harm to the veterans:
But Manderfield said she was concerned about evidence of injuries caused to veterans at the hands of inexperienced contract workers. She said she's also concerned by recent ads the company has placed, still trying to fill the positions the state asked the company to take over. She also said drug testing for the new employees, as required under the contract, was "a joke" due to lack of security surrounding urine samples.

"The court believes the plaintiff has established there will be irreparable injury if the injunction is not granted," the judge said.


"Through the whole process, no one has really cared until now," union president Mark Williams said after the hearing. "Finally, today, quality of care trumped money."

Spallone told the commission he has lived at the home for more than two years after suffering health problems related to exposure to Agent Orange in Vietnam.

He described what he said were unsanitary practices by contracted resident care aides, such as throwing urine- and feces-stained sheets on clean floors.

"It's bad enough we're disabled and can't go back to work," Spallone said. "Now you want us to be thrown to the wolves."
Now you and I can plainly see the folly in Walker's ways, regarding both he financial and the human costs of privatizing everything he legally can. The Michigan case only confirms this.

Sadly, as Walker had demonstrated at Marquette University and then throughout his career as a professional politician, Walker is not a good student and won't take anything away from the lessons he has been repeatedly taught.

Sadly, it is the brave men and women who risked and sacrificed so much who will be done the worst harm for Walker's avarice and folly.


  1. The real concern, other than using Veterans as a political football, is expressed well by the actions of Tim Russell. They care about Veterans!?
    I've been wondering, with all Scott's maneuvers to starve government agencies, wilfully denying the required funding to operate properly, if some laws might be broken using some form of negligence.

    1. He probably is, but proving it would be so difficult that no prosecutor would touch it.

  2. As fiscally prudent as he is, a good case could be made that Walker doesn't have the real world business experience he needs to manage government as efficiently as a business needs to be run. But that same same argument only re-in-forces governor Romneys bid for the presidency, not to mention Hovdes qualifications for senate.

    1. If you ever paid attention, you'd have figured out Walker is anything but fiscally prudent. That's why state spending and the deficit are up, but revenue is down. Or are you paying attention and just lying?

    2. I have wondered how the budget is so much bigger, and how it all gets paid for if all the taxes are cut.

  3. Where in the Constitution does it say that government is a business? Doesn't the Preamble have a clause that provides for the general welfare?

    1. It doesn't say the government is a business. But a business that is run efficiently is a succesfull business. Same with government.

  4. This is not fiscal prudence, IMBR. Walker's intention, of course unstated, is destabilization of government-provided services, in order to send business to private companies, funded by tax dollars. So instead of knowing that my tax dollars are being used to pay Jane C NurseAssistant to provide care to Mr. Veteran, for instance, my tax dollars will go to MegaHealthServices. That contract to provide care will provide profits to the owners of MegaHealthServices, and lower wages to the nursing assistants caring for Mr. Veteran. The profits don't even have to stay in Wisconsin (like the money being spent on drivers' licenses that are now physically created in California, rather than at our own DOT offices). Nursing assistants who get paid less (and probably have fewer benefits) quit more frequently, creating more cost for recruitment and lousier care for the veterans. Lose, lose, lose for Wisconsin residents -- but win for the corporations who support Walker and win these contracts.

    Walker's experience is with corruption. Hidden, yes, but corruption nevertheless. Capper has laid out several of the ways that Walker has tried and continues to try to tear down the government that has provided his livelihood for so long. What's going on at King is more of the same.

    1. I've heard the conspiracy theories too. From both sides, its been said that healthcare reform is only meant to cause a crisis resulting in single payer healthcare. That the free market system is regulated in order to cause collapse, thus making socialism more pallet-able.
      Because you have a theory doesn't make it true.

    2. Also, I've proven the pattern for Walker. It's not a theory, but a verifiable fact.

    3. Thanks for the spelling. A string of theories don't make a fact.

    4. Those aren't theories, cupcake. Those are documented events.

      Walker refused to staff more than five people in the Income Maintenance Program's call center even though he had funding for thirty people. He then tried to contract it out to Impact.

      Walker was in talks to privatize the House of Correction.

      Walker stated he wanted to privatize the mental health complex.

      Sorry, but I back my stuff up. And that's more than I can say for you.

  5. Walker is a predatory thief. He is God's chosen one, the conman with the experience and inclination to rip off either a business or a government, thus his Elmer Gantry like appeal to the rubes.

  6. While I can appreciate his Baptist upbringing and jump to the Pentacostal, his behavior could be accomplished by someone believing in Frisbees.
    Yes he is a thief, but he is working hand-in-hand with corporate interests to ram through the corrupt laws he represents. He would like nothing better than having a corporatist form of government: think Italy 1920s and Confederate States of America during the Civil War.
    You have to decide who's side you are really on. That's what today's progressive Democrats are up against.

  7. Vets get too much support as it is these days. We can't afford it, anymore!!!!

    Walker will save us!!1!!!!1

  8. Lots more on Walker and Scocos failing veterans at