Nemo me impune lacessit

No one provokes me with impunity

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No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.

Article 1, Section 9, Constitution of the United States

If this is the law of the land...why in a republic (little r) and as republicans, do we allow mere POLITICIANS to the right to use a "title of office" for the rest of their lives as if it were de facto a patent of nobility. Because, as republicans, this should NOT be the case...just saying...

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Monday, May 19, 2014

The VA's Issues

As some of you may know, I served in the USMC in the early 1980's. While in service, I damage ligaments and cartilage in both my knees.  In June of 1984, I was medically discharged...when I got home to Panama City, FL, I did what I was told to and went to the local VA office and filled out my paperwork so that I could start the process to get my knees fixed and start collecting my huge (10%) disability pay...

Well, after having jumped through all their hoops, and dotted all the 'i's and crossed all the 't's.  In early 1985 I was told to report to a VA hospital Alabama, since that was closer to my home than any in FL (one of those, now 7, that has "issues" with treating patients on time...nothing has changed in 30 years) in 9 months for an medical evaluation.  I did so.  I was then told to report to an orthopedic specialist in 7 months (it's now 1986...) for a further evaluation.  When I reported to the hospital for the ortho eval, I was told there was no record of me being in the VA system...WTF?

So, returned to the Panama City, FL VA office...where my records should have been on file, only to find out they were "missing".  I once more filled out all the pertinent paper work for the second time in mid-1986.  In early 1987, after having waited for 7 months, I received instructions to return to the same VA hospital for a medical evaluation.  I saw the same physician, who of course didn't remember me...and once more was told that yes, you do have a medical issue that was a "service connected disability."  I was then instructed to make an appointment with the ortho dept and report for an ortho evaluation.  My appointment was for late 1987...

...when I reported to the Ortho clinic...once more I was told there was no record of my being in the VA system, much less having served (I was smart, I brought along a certified true copy of my DD214)...and was instructed that I would have to refile all of my paperwork and then be evaluated by a physician as to whether or not I did in fact have a service connected disabililty...

By this time, I had married and moved to Tallahassee, FL(now it's early 1988 and I've been out of the USMC for 4 1/2 years)...and so I traipsed down to the Tally VA office and for the 3rd time filled out all of the necessary paperwork.  This time, I was told to report to a VA hospital in FL.  That appointment was in mid 1988...12 months or so after having filled out all the paperwork for the 3rd time!  I duly reported for my 3rd eval...and was told that yes, indeed, I did have a problem (by this time, my left knee was dislocating/locking at a rate of about once a week)!  So, make an appointment with the ortho dept, AFTER receiving my rating letter...

...said letter never arrives...so I go back to the Tally VA office and ask WTF?  They have no record of me ever having been there...so for the 4th time I fill out the proper paperwork (it's Jan/Feb 1989 by now)...and eventually get a letter instructing me to report for an evaluation in Sep 1989...when I go to the FL VA hosp, they "can't find my records...please return to your local office for instructions..."  At that point I gave up...for several years.

In 1990...Saddam invades Kuwait.  I start hearing from several of my friends who are now lifers that they are being deployed, me, being a good jarhead, go to the local reserve unit, Company H, 8th Tank Bn and enlist as a reservist.  Since I was "prior service" no boot camp necessary (thank G-d! I didn't have to do another 85 days @ PI), I get order to Fort Knox for training as a loader on and M60A3...and get as far as Knox before paperwork catches up with me saying that as I was medically discharged, I was unfit for service!  DAMN! At least the USMC remembered I'd served.  I figured that if the VA was that fucked up, so would the Crotch be so fucked up...my Company Gunny wasn't pissed, as I'd told him what was up (always tell the Gunny EVERYTHING, most of the time, if they're good guys, they'll cover your ass)...he was just bummed that he was loosing a loader...but WTF, it MIGHT have worked.  Unit goes to Kuwait and participates in the liberation of Kuwait City...big sigh...

...and so it goes...in fall of 2000, I move to Newark, DE and just for the fuck of it, go to the local VA office to see what I can do about getting my back pay...and for the 5th time fill out the necessary paperwork.  I get orders to go to the VA hospital in Philly...where once more, I'm told that I do indeed have a service connected disability...so go down stairs and report to the orthopedic clinic here and make an appointment...clinic won't make an appointment until I'm "in the system".  Call in 30 days and make your appointment.  I call, paperwork not processed yet...I call in Jan 2001, not in the system yet...March, same thing, July, not processed...Sep...system meltdown after 9-11, please give us a few weeks to figure things out...March of 2002, I get married for the 2nd time and move to MI...but keep calling Wilmington, DE VA office to see what is up.  In June, I'm told that they "can't find my records"...so, I go to the VA office in MI...and for the 6th time, fill out the paperwork necessary to process my claim...and never hear back from the VA at all...

By this time, the Michigan economic melt down is in full swing, so I'm packing up to move as there are no jobs anywhere...and move to Pikesville, MD in Sep 2004.  I call my local Congresscritter and explain my issues only to be told I'm not in his district.  I go to his local office in Towson and show my voter ID card where his staff do indeed admit that I am in District 3...they will look into my issue with the VA...by this time, I have serious doubts about the efficacy of ANY governmental agency to do anything useful.  I can't imagine why I'd think that, can you?

I call the office serveral times, leave messages...and never get return calls.  I move to the far side of Pikesville, in 2009, new Congressional district, this time with good old Dutch Ruppersberger...when I contact his office, I'm told that I don't live in his district, call the 3rd District office...when I explain that my new voter registration card tells me I'm in Dutch's district, the rather officious young man on the phone tells me I'm wrong and don't know what I'm talking about...so I call back the DC office and explain that I am a Vet, etc, etc.  I send an email as well...and finally got one back saying come into the office...when you have time...

...and that is where things stand. I've filled out paperwork ad infinitem (which seems to be what the VA wants), yet after 30 years (June 6 will be the 30th anniv of my seperation)...I have received no joy.  You want national health service, move to Canada or the UK, because the VA is what we'll have here, an incompetently run medical service where NO ONE IS HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR INCOMPETENCE!  EVER.

Someday, I'd love to get my back pay...because I really would rather have my wife and daughter working in a whore house than have the VA medical system get their claws on me. The VA's incompetence is systemic, not isolated.  It exists throughout the system, not just a few hospitals.  No one is ever held accountable for anything, so nothing will ever be done.  Personally, I think that we need to take a few of the administrators out behind the hospitals that have killed vets and just shoot them in the head as an example, and to encourage the rest to do their damn jobs.

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