US NEWS Summary 5/20/14


VA Whistleblowers Coming Forward
Lawyers who have represented VA informers say the agency is a heinous abuser of rights.
                     U.S. Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki, left, and Veterans Affairs Undersecretary for Health Robert Petzel testify before the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee about wait times veterans face to get medical care on May 15, 2014, in Washington, D.C. The American Legion called for Shinseki to resign amid reports by former and current VA employees that 40 patients may have died because of delayed treatment in Phoenix.

Conscientious workers at the Veterans Health Administration aware of their employer’s reputation for punishing people who expose wrongdoing were given a new outlet last week.

The Project on Government Oversight (POGO) and the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America unveiled an encrypted web submission form Thursday soliciting horror stories in the wake of a nationwide furor about fudged wait time records and related veteran deaths in Phoenix.



He KNEW! Obama told of VA health care mess bac in 2008
                  President Barack Obama autographs a banner while visiting a wounded service member at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., June 28, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

This official White House photograph is being made available only for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House.

The Obama administration received clear notice more than five years ago that VA medical facilities were reporting inaccurate waiting times and experiencing scheduling failures that threatened to deny veterans timely health care — problems that have turned into a growing scandal.

Veterans Affairs officials warned the Obama-Biden transition team in the weeks after the 2008 presidential election that the department shouldn’t trust the wait times that its facilities were reporting.



China/U.S. Web Conflict

                     

China’s decision to suspend its involvement in a cybersecurity working group with the U.S. after being accused of commercial spying threatens to undo efforts aimed at finding common ground to tackle hacking.

China halted the dialogue and threatened further retaliation after the U.S. indicted five Chinese military officials yesterday for allegedly stealing trade secrets. China’s Foreign Ministry called the U.S. move a “serious violation of the basic norms of international relations,” while China’s State Internet Information Office likened the U.S. actions to “a thief yelling ‘Catch the thief.’”



Did the President Take a Pay Cut Like He Promised? White House Won’t Say
Year after pledge, confusion over whether Obama is writing checks

The White House is refusing to confirm whether President Barack Obama followed up on his pledge to take a five percent pay cut due to sequestration last year.

Obama promised last April to take a 5 percent pay cut in “solidarity” with federal employees who were furloughed as a result of the automatic budget cuts, known as the sequester. The cut was meant to equate to the level of spending cuts imposed on nondefense federal agencies.

“The president has decided that to share in the sacrifice being made by public servants across the federal government that are affected by the sequester, he will contribute a portion of his salary back to the Treasury,” a White House official said at the time.



GOP Optimistic Primaries Will Deliver Victories for Senate Takeover


Establishment Republicans are optimistic that the results of Tuesday’s Senate primaries in three closely-watched states will deliver the right candidates to defeat Democrats in November, bringing the party one step closer to taking control of the Senate.

Hard fought primaries in Kentucky, Georgia, and Oregon have been the focus of national politics as pundits pitted races against the backdrop of the tea party vs. establishment that set the tone  during the government shutdown.

“It’s a victory for the pragmatic common-sense conservatives who are the majority of the Republican Party, who are more interested in winning a majority than falling on their sword and losing,” GOP strategist Brian Walsh, a former National Republican Senatorial Committee communications director, told The Hill.


    

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