Archive for the ‘Corruption’ Category
When I wrote this post about President-Elect Trump’s drain-the-swamp initiative, one of the things I wrote about was the Tomah VA hospital. This article provides more detail on the things that allegedly happened there.
The biggest thing that the Wisconsin Watchdog article talks about is the dentist that infected people with HIV and hepatitis C. What specifically caught my attention is the part where it says “the dentist in question knowingly did not follow VA standards for a year, between October 2015 and this October. A dental assistant blew the whistle on the misconduct. ‘He had a replacement dental assistant, and she noted this particular piece of instrument being used … He brought in his own burs and cleaned them with Virex solution, salt and a wipe, which is nothing we endorse,’ Brahm told the news site. ‘She reported it the next day, Oct. 20, to the dental chief who reported it to senior leadership. We took action Oct. 21.'”
Actually, it isn’t just that the Tomah VA doesn’t endorse what this dentist did. This article gives a more detailed account:
Earlier this week, officials said a dentist at the Tomah VA Medical Center improperly re-used his own dental equipment instead of using the sterilized, disposable tools as VA rules require.
“It was purposeful that he was violating VA regulations,” said Victoria Brahm, acting medical director at the Tomah VA Center in a press briefing earlier this week.
“During all of the orientation, he used our equipment. He used it appropriately, so it was very purposeful from what we found in our investigation that he knew exactly what he was doing, and preferred to use his own equipment against procedure.”
It’s clear that the VA hospital system is one of the biggest swamps of corruption that needs to be drained. Then there’s this:
A current employee who asked not be identified said Brahm “puts on a good face,” but the hospital is “still bad and full of drug abuse and employee abuse.”
“I have even spoken with the director about this and how veterans are harassed in Tomah due to the VA. All that has been said is, ‘There’s still work to be done.’ The same tag line that is always used,” the source said.
Hopefully, the Trump administration takes the VA corruption seriously. This needs to stop ASAP.
Technorati: Donald Trump, Ron Johnson, Drain the Swamp, VA Hospitals, Tomah VA, Victoria Brahm, Hepatitis C, HIV, Corruption, Accountability
One of the things that Donald Trump campaigned on was draining the swamp in DC. Lots of people question President-Elect Trump’s ability to do that. Former Minnesota State Sen. Ellen Anderson is the latest person to question Mr. Trump’s ability to drain the swamp. I’d tell Sen. Anderson that it all depends on what you classify as swamp. While researching this post, I found this article that offers a definition for draining the swamp. The article says “At its bottom, drain the swamp is a metaphor: If you drain the swamp, you eliminate the mosquitoes (or snakes and alligators, in other iterations) that breed disease. But, ironically, the original disease the expression referred to was the very thing Trump has built his campaign on: big business. Etymologist Barry Popik has traced drain the swamp back to the socialist movement of the early 20th century. In a 1903 letter to the Daily Northwestern, Winfield R. Gaylord, state organizer of the Social Democratic Party, precursor to Eugene Debs’ Socialist Party of America, wrote: ‘Socialists are not satisfied with killing a few of the mosquitoes which come from the capittalist [sic] swamp; they want to drain the swamp.'”
I’d modify that definition because it omits too many things that are ‘diseased’. What person with a heart thinks that the Veterans Administration isn’t diseased and infected? I triple-dog dare anyone to read this article, then tell me the VA doesn’t need a major overhaul. This article should turn people’s stomachs.
As disgusting as the situation is within the VA, that’s just the tip of the iceberg in terms of draining the swamp in DC. This article highlights some of the corruption within the EPA:
Two EPA employees, Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo and Susan Morris, will be taking EPA back to court to expose its treatment of whistleblowers and the impact on public health and civil rights. Senior former and current officials within EPA will be deposed, such as Ray Spears, former Deputy Chief of Staff to three EPA administrators; Rafael DeLeon, former Director of Civil Rights and Human Resources as well as legal advisor to EPA administrators; and Karen Higginbotham, former Civil Rights Director now a special assistant in the Office of the Administrator. The depositions will cover decades of allegations of corruption at the highest levels of the EPA. Corruption that has, no doubt, placed the public and EPA employees in jeopardy.
The cases, scheduled for trial in the spring will demonstrate how EPA senior officials in key positions used their authority to retaliate against employees who raised prohibited personnel practices and warned of dangers to public health. Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo won a significant jury award in her case against EPA a decade ago that resulted in the passage of the 2002 No FEAR Act by Congress. She returned to the agency after her successful case only to face more retaliation and eventual termination of her career.
Progressives have pushed the notion that only big business is corrupt. That’s BS. The truth is that the government is every bit as corrupt.
Here’s hoping that Trump cleans out the corruption in DC. It’s a tall task but it’s something that needs to be finished.
It isn’t a secret that Democrats aren’t fans of government reform. They’ve been the defenders of the status quo for years. Hillary Clinton was their presidential nominee. Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi are the faces of Senate and House Democrats. This trio of fossils aren’t mistaken for having fresh ideas. If they don’t want to be politically irrelevant, they need new management and fresh, appealing ideas.
In Minnesota, the DFL is slightly ahead of the game compared with the DNC. Still, they’re too reliant on cronyism. That’s what this article highlights.
Cronyism is the name of the game that Ted Mondale and Michelle Kelm-Helgen played with U.S. Bank Stadium suites. According to multiple reports, “Kelm-Helgen and Mondale, two government employees, control access to two lower-level luxury ‘Norseman Suites’ for all events at the stadium in downtown Minneapolis. The MSFA controls 36 tickets per game and the agency also got a nearly identical number of free parking spaces in the surface lot used by Vikings players.” That’s just the tip of the U.S. Bank Stadium iceberg. There’s more:
Kelm-Helgen and Mondale said they and the four MSFA commissioners use the suites to host potential clients who are looking to rent all or portions of the stadium, which opened in August. But they also acknowledge they regularly invite friends and family to the suites.
The two say they can’t reveal the identities of their guests because that would hinder their marketing efforts. However, they did release the identities of 12 current and former public officials who reimbursed the authority $200 for their tickets to the suite.
Here’s the description of what’s included in the Norseman Suites:
Norseman Lounge Suites
Highly exclusive 10 person Suites located between the 20 yard line and the end line just 36 rows from the field. Each Suite comes with access to the exclusive Lounge directly behind the Suite featuring a private bar and all-inclusive upscale food offerings, VIP parking, other event access, away game trips and much more. (NEWLY DESIGNED, ONLY 15 BUILT)
ABOUT THE NORSEMAN LOUNGE SUITES
• 36 Rows from the Field
• Side End zone – 20 yard line
• 6 fixed and 4 drink rail chairs with view to the field
• All-inclusive, unlimited beer, wine, high end food and non-alcoholic beverages
• Private/ Elite Lounge access
• 1 Annual Suite Holder Event on the field
• Super Bowl Access
• Away game road trips
• Access to other events
EXCLUSIVE SUITE BENEFITS
• VIP Parking Passes in a ramp in close proximity to the Stadium
• All-inclusive food and beverage package with a full-service concierge staff
• Participation in Team-arranged away road trips at points during the term of your Suite Agreement (limited to two (2) persons)
• The opportunity to purchase a to-be-determined number of Super Bowl tickets (not Suite tickets) in any year the Vikings participate in the Super Bowl or the Super Bowl is held at the new Stadium
Frankly, it’s disgusting that Kelm-Helgen and Mondale insist that they “can’t reveal the identities of their guests because that would hinder their marketing efforts.” That’s spin for saying ‘giving out that list would be politically embarrassing.’
I’d say that some DFL (sense of) entitlement reform is required.
Technorati: Michelle Kelm-Helgen, Ted Mondale, Minnesota Sports Facility Authority, Entitlement Reform, Accountability, Mark Dayton, US Bank Stadium, Norseman Lounge Suites, Betsy Hodges, Cronyism, DFL Culture of Corruption, Myron Frans, DFL
In Part I of this series, I highlighted how the SEIU Healthcare MN union are stealing families’ Medicaid benefits. From a moral standpoint, it’s difficult to justify SEIU’s actions. As Kim Crockett, the vice president and senior policy fellow at Center of the American Experiment, explained in her op-ed, “Minnesota’s Choice PCA program was created in the 1970s when the Legislature wisely decided it was more humane and more cost-effective to care for persons with disabilities in their own homes rather than in a state institution.”
It’s difficult, if not impossible, to think of something more noble or dignifying than a family member taking care of a loved one with a disability in their own home. Picturing that in my mind’s eye is an inspiring thought. What isn’t inspiring is thinking about the things that the Dayton administration has done to protect SEIU Healthcare MN. In fact, it’s a disgusting thought. First, Gov. Dayton assisted SEIU Healthcare in rigging the initial election. The Dayton administration saw to it that voter turnout was low. The result was the SEIU winning “the biggest labor election in Minnesota history with just 13 percent support of eligible PCAs.” It’s especially disgusting when you think of the fact that “most PCAs did not even know there was a vote.”
Now that the PCAs are fighting for a vote to decertify SEIU Healthcare MN, the Dayton administration is fighting these parents. First, “a coalition of caregivers and advocates called ‘MNPCA.org’ was formed to demand a new vote.” The Dayton administration is assisting because the “MNPCA has a very short window of time to demonstrate a ‘showing of interest,’ defined as handwritten signatures of 30 percent of PCAs, to call for a new vote.”
The Dayton administration is fighting these families:
Getting signatures requires a good contact list. The SEIU receives updated PCA contact information every two weeks. But when MNPCA requested an updated list, the state stalled for five months and refused to give them accurate information, instead giving MNPCA two bad lists. Also, the SEIU and state began negotiating a new contract almost year before the current one expires. If that process is completed before MNPCA gets a new election, the decertification effort will be defeated.
With the window to call for a new vote rapidly closing; the last date to file for a new election is Dec. 2; MNPCA took the state to court. A Ramsey County judge ruled that PCAs must be given the data they requested. Yet even with a judge’s order, the state failed to give MNPCA a complete and accurate list. MNPCA asked the judge to help but for now has to assume the deadline will not change.
It’s impossible to believe that the Dayton administration can’t get an accurate list of PCAs to MNPCA in a timely fashion when they’re updating SEIU Healthcare MN with a list every 2 weeks.
Remember this the next time you hear Tina Smith or some other DFL political hack talk about being for the little guy. That’s BS. They’re for whoever will contribute large sums of money to their political campaigns. It has nothing to do with fighting for the little guy.
In this instance, Gov. Dayton and the DFL aren’t fighting for the little guy. Instead, they’re fighting the little guy. What’s worst is that the DFL is fighting the little guy on behalf of a big money special interest group.
The thieves wearing SEIU union uniforms, along with their DFL political allies, have stolen money from families. This article highlights how the theft happened.
According to the article, “Recently, the union’s stooges in the capital declared some 27,000 of the state’s personal-care assistants (PCAs) ‘public employees’ – but only for purposes of collective bargaining, i.e., so they can be unionized. As a result, the SEIU is siphoning 3% of its members’ very modest Medicaid supplement.”
Kim Crockett’s op-ed explains SEIU’s racket, saying “Minnesota’s Choice PCA program was created in the 1970s when the Legislature wisely decided it was more humane and more cost-effective to care for persons with disabilities in their own homes rather than in a state institution. The Legislature funds a Medicaid benefit, given to a person with a disability, to pay for PCA care at home. Most often, PCAs are family members or close friends.”
First, let’s hear SEIU explain how family members taking care of loved ones with disabilities are government employees. Next, let’s hear SEIU explain why they deserve a penny of these families’ Medicaid benefits. Third, let’s hear Gov. Dayton and the DFL legislature of 2013 explain why they sided with the SEIU rather than with families caring for loved ones with disabilities.
PCAs are people who have chosen to be the primary caregiver of a disabled person; in the vast majority of cases, a family member (usually a spouse or child). Some of the disabilities are so severe that the caregiver is unable to work outside the home. And so Minnesota established a PCA program which allows them to receive some Medicaid support.
In the old days, many of the disabled would have been institutionalized in a government-run facility, a system that was costly and scary. The current PCA Medicaid program allows these people to stay at home and be cared for by someone who loves them.
The heartless SEIU thinks it deserves a portion of these families’ Medicaid support. Gov. Dayton and the DFL legislators from 2013 agree with the SEIU. What isn’t known is why Gov. Dayton and the DFL agree with the SEIU from a policy standpoint. It isn’t difficult to figure out why Gov. Dayton and the DFL agree with the heartless bastards in the SEIU from a political standpoint.
When it comes to standing up to heartless special interests, Gov. Dayton and the DFL aren’t profiles in courage.
SEIU Healthcare insists that it’s helping these PCAs:
Key victories in the contract include workers receiving a paid time off benefit for the first time (five days of paid time off for full-time workers), raising the pay floor from $9 to $11 by 2016, a grievance and arbitration procedure to address wage theft, and a training fund to improve the quality of care they provide to people with disabilities and seniors.
How many parents can take time off when caring for a child with a severe disability? The ‘benefit’ is mostly a mirage.
This article highlights what happens when a campaign gets caught with its pants down. Actually, it’s happening because a pervert married to one of the campaign’s top people got caught with his pants down. But I digress.
The truth is that there’s tons of blame to go around in the aftermath of the FBI’s announcement that they’re re-opening their investigation into Mrs. Clinton’s email scandal. One staffer was upset with Mrs. Clinton. That anonymous staffer was quoted as saying “I’m livid, actually. This has turned into malpractice. It’s an unforced error at this point. I have no idea what Comey is up to but the idea this email issue is popping back up again is outrageous. It never should have occurred in the first place. Someone somewhere should have told her no. And they didn’t and now we’re all paying the price.”
How do you say no to a mean-spirited, manipulative, corrupt bitch intent on hiding information? Good luck with that.
After the FBI news broke on Friday, the campaign seemed resigned to Trump and other Republicans campaigning on the email issue in the final days of the race. “In the short term at least, this does provide Republicans with something they can all hang their hat on, at a time when they’ve been fighting with each other so much — so that can have a salutary effect by shoring up the GOP base and distract from the daily drama around Trump himself,” one longtime Clinton adviser said.
I don’t know who’s sleazier — Wiener or Mrs. Clinton. If that question doesn’t turn your stomach inside out, nothing will.
This is a good place to stop at:
It’s Huma Abedin’s computer. Shouldn’t she know what’s on her laptop? If the Clintonistas are upset, they need only look at each other.
This summer, the Democratic Party faced a moment of truth right before their convention when they fired Debbie Wasserman-Schultz as their chair of the DNC. The woman picked to be the DNC’s interim chair, Donna Brazile, is apparently just as unprincipled as Ms. Wasserman-Schultz.
This article highlights the fact that the upper echelon of the DNC was on a mission to elect Hillary regardless of what they had to do. What’s telling is the paragraph that says “The Democratic National Committee is ‘clearing a path’ for Hillary Clinton to be its presidential nominee because its upper power echelons are populated with women, according to a female committee member who was in Las Vegas for Tuesday’s primary debate. Speaking on the condition that she isn’t identified, she told Daily Mail Online that the party is in the tank for Clinton, and the women who run the organization decided it ‘early on.'”
Thanks to the Daily Caller’s article on the latest Wikileaks dump, we now know that Donna Brazile, the interim chair of the DNC, is corrupt, too:
Donna Brazile, the current head of the Democratic National Committee, appears to have tipped the Clinton campaign off to a question about the death penalty that was going to be asked during a CNN town hall in March, newly released emails show. “From time to time I get the questions in advance,” Brazile wrote in an email to Clinton campaign communications director Jennifer Palmieri on March 12.
Clinton Syndrome is already setting in. The chief symptom of Clinton Syndrome is the feeling for the need to take a long, hot shower after listening to the Clintons or their Clintonistas speak. Donna Brazile is definitely a Clintonista because she’s been part of a cabal to do whatever it takes to get Mrs. Clinton elected. Further, I feel the need for a long, hot shower after reading what Ms. Brazile has done to get Mrs. Clinton elected.
First, Ms. Brazile, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz rigged the Democratic primaries and Democratic presidential debates so Bernie Sanders couldn’t win. They scheduled the debates on Saturday nights so Bernie Sanders couldn’t gain name recognition. Next, they limited the number of debates, which protected Hillary from gaffes. (A political gaffe is, by definition, when you “accidentally tell the truth.”)
Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are right. The system is rigged. What they didn’t get right, though, is that it’s the Democrats that rigged their presidential primaries so they didn’t have a chance. That’s thank directly to the actions Ms. Brazile and the DNC took.
Technorati: Donna Brazile, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Hillary Clinton, John Podesta, DNC, Corruption, Presidential Debates, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Democrats, Wikileaks, Election 2016
Donald Trump wasted a valuable commodity this week — time. The week started right, with him winning the first third of the debate. Then he forgot his purpose and started chasing ghosts. The lesson that his advisors need to teach him is that he needs to focus on things that will help him connect with blue collar workers. The other thing that Mr. Trump must highlight is the Clinton Foundation’s pay-to-play scandal and the FBI’s faux investigation.
By highlighting the FBI’s faux investigation, Mr. Trump would connect with Bernie Sanders’ voters that think that the system is rigged. The FBI’s faux investigation would play well with suburban voters who think Mrs. Clinton isn’t trustworthy. It’d be great if he could flip those voters. At this point, Mr. Trump’s campaign would probably be satisfied if it drove Mrs. Clinton’s turnout with suburban voters down.
The Clintons are disgusting, immoral people who’ve lived in the mud their entire lives. Spending 5 more weeks there to win the presidency means nothing to them. Trump’s path to victory is to highlight the things that matter most to people. When in Ohio and Pennsylvania, Mr. Trump should highlight Mrs. Clinton’s statement that she’s going to put coal companies out of business. Wherever he goes, he needs to highlight his plan for energy independence, then contrast that with Mrs. Clinton’s green energy policies.
Part of Mr. Trump’s presentation on green energy should highlight the rigged game that Solyndra tapped into. Mostly, though, Trump should highlight the fact that coal-mining and fracking jobs are just waiting to be filled. Ask people if they want to subsidize Mrs. Clinton’s and President Obama’s special interest allies or whether they’d like to keep doing what’s worked for the last half-century.
If Trump gets back on message, he’ll put pressure on Mrs. Clinton because people want change. They don’t want Mrs. Clinton’s more-of-the-same policies.
Technorati: Donald Trump, Change Election, Energy Independence, Blue Collar Voters, Fracking, Republicans, Hillary Clinton, FBI Investigation, Clinton Foundation, Pay-to-Play Scandal, Solyndra, Crony Capitalism, Barack Obama, Democrats, Election 2016
Thus far in this series, I’ve highlighted the fact that the ISD742 School Board hasn’t talked about St. Cloud’s high school enrollment forecasts for the short-, medium- and long-term. They didn’t tell voters that they’ve already purchased the land for a new Tech HS. That wasn’t announced on the District’s website. It was announced this past week on Dan Ochsner’s radio program when a current school board member called into Ox’s show and blurted that information out.
Last year, voters found out in the newspaper that there wasn’t a finalized set of blueprints for people to look at because, according to Barclay Carriar, “with the cost of designing a building, 80 percent of it isn’t going to be designed until after the referendum. And the plans we’ve got now are still tentative.”
Last year, taxpayers didn’t know that the plans were “still tentative.” This year, we didn’t know that the District had already purchased the land where the new Tech HS is supposed to be built at. The next logical question that taxpayers should demand answers to is what other information the School Board hasn’t disclosed. At this point, taxpayers don’t know where the money came from to pay for the Tech HS land. That’s certainly something that we should know. Did the District have enough money tucked away to pay for the land? At this point, taxpayers don’t know.
The thing that taxpayers know, though, is that they aren’t writing any blank checks this year. This isn’t the time when people are trusting politicians. The School Board is asking taxpayers to approve the biggest property tax increase in St. Cloud history without telling taxpayers that they’ve already bought the land for the new high school. That’s terrible because the taxpayers haven’t approved the bonds yet. That tells taxpayers that the School Board is taking them for granted.
Just because the School Board is a rubberstamp doesn’t mean that taxpayers are a rubberstamp. Taxpayers don’t want a canned presentation. They want input from start to finish. That’s something that the School Board isn’t willing to relinquish.
In my estimation, the ISD742 School Board has transitioned from being public servants to being arrogant taskmasters. That’s why the bonding referendum must be defeated. That’s why we need new School Board members elected ASAP.
It isn’t surprising that the Establishment has a different perspective on whether to build a new Tech High School. The title of their Our View Editorial is “Vote ‘yes’ twice to deliver best value for schools.” To be fair, not everything in the editorial is foolishness.
For instance, they have a legitimate point when they say “If you think it’s adequately built to educate today’s youth — not to mention future generations — you have not been in its crowded hallways between classes, especially if your mobility is impaired.”
The question isn’t whether doing nothing is an option. It isn’t. The question is whether the options on this November’s ballot represent the best value for students and taxpayers. They don’t. The current options are the School Board’s choice. The School Board started with a goal, then they tried figuring out how to make it happen.
They didn’t ask, in any meaningful way anyway, what the district’s enrollments would be in 2020. They certainly didn’t think of what the district’s need would be in 2050. It’s certain that ISD742 will look dramatically different in 2040 than it looks today. This argument is total foolishness:
If both questions pass, the monthly increase in taxes for a $150,000 home will be about $13. Approving just a new Tech costs about $9 a month.
So what? The important question that still hasn’t gotten asked is what the district’s needs are. Telling me that the payments on something are $13 a month for the next generation doesn’t tell me whether that something will be useful for the next generation.
The other question that hasn’t been asked is why these prices reflect prevailing wage bids. The cost of everything is increased with prevailing wage bids. The quality doesn’t increase, either. Why would taxpayers want to pay extra for something that isn’t dramatically better? The unions might howl about this but that isn’t my responsibility. My responsibility is to vote for the best product at the least expensive price.
For example, to address neighborhood concerns about the future of the Tech campus, the district has said it will move its administrative offices and welcome center to the older parts of Tech. Similarly, more thorough research was done — and remains available — about the costs of building new compared with rebuilding old.
There’s no question that more information is available this time. Still, there’s no question that the School Board still hasn’t answered the most important questions. There’s no question that building a new high school and renovating Apollo doesn’t represent a great value to students and taxpayers. It’s too expensive and it’s too big for our needs.