Free Markets, Free People

Redefining incompetence

I remember well the liberal Democrat echo chamber calling G W Bush “incompetent”.  It was their mantra.  Their rehearsed talking point.  And the went on the weekend shows and in front of every camera they could find to repeat it.  Over and over and over.

If Bush was incompetent, what in the world does that make Obama?  This inept and incompetent White House just outed their own CIA station chief in Afghanistan in a picture of the Obama trip there over the Memorial Day weekend.  A trip clearly designed to distract from the growing VA scandal goes south in a heartbeat because of  … gross incompetence.

Anyone remember Valerie Plame?  That pales in comparison to this idiocy. Pales? It doesn’t even get on the radar screen in comparision.

And don’t get me started about the VA.

But speaking of VA, it does indeed again make the point that the government  – and especially under this particular administration – can’t run health care … period.  And no, I’m not saying a more competent administration could.  The VA has been plagued by problems for decades.  The fact that they’ve gotten worse under this President doesn’t at all surprise me.  But what may surprise you is this:

Since 9/11, the VA budget has increased by 235%, from FY2001′s $45 billion annual budget to FY2014′s $150.7 billion. On a percentage basis, the only Cabinet agencies that had larger budget increases over that arc have been State (271%) and Homeland Security (245%), the latter of which barely existed at the start of that period. In the Bush era, comparing the final budget with his signature (FY08) to the final Clinton budget (FY01), VA spending rose 88.3% to $84.7 billion. Defense spending rose 104% in the same period.

Barack Obama ran in 2007-8 on failures at the VA, promising more resources and better management. In comparison to that final Bush budget — don’t forget that Obama signed the FY2009 budget in March 2009 with the omnibus spending bill after a Democrat-controlled Congress refused to deal with Bush — VA spending has risen dramatically as well. The annual budget rose 78% in six budget cycles, with double-digit increases in four of the six years — while Defense spending was flat. No other Cabinet agency had a larger budget increase by percentage during Obama’s tenure. The closest was Agriculture (64%), followed by State (59%, which tends to discredit the canard about the Benghazi failure being caused by a lack of resources). Only HHS had a larger annual budget increase in terms of dollars spent, but it amounts to a 37% increase in spending from the FY2008 baseline. The amount of increase in the VA’s budget in the Obama era, $65.9 billion, exceeds the entire VA budget in the FY2004 budget.

So it wasn’t money.  As usual it was leadership.  How many freakin’ times do we have to hear this incompetent who is President say he learned about the latest scandal from television news?  For 6 years it has been all his and he has no idea what is going on in his own executive departments.  For that matter, neither do his secretaries.  The Health and Human Services absolutely blew the launch of the health care website.  Something that is done successfully everyday in the commercial world.  And where did Mr. Obama learn about it?  TV.  He certainly had no idea that it was a bust before then.

Why?  Because he didn’t bother to check.  Didn’t bother to ask hard questions or require a demonstration.  He didn’t lead.  He had already waved his magic hand and told them to get it done.  Words equal action in his world.

Same with the VA.  After lambasting the former administration for its failures in reference to the VA, he, in 6 years and billions of dollars, hasn’t improved it on iota.  And more grating than anything is he didn’t care enough to check.  He didn’t KNOW!  His secretary didn’t know!   An pattern of failure repeated in this administration since the beginning.  Instead the usual liberal panacea was applied: throw money at it and the problems will go away.  Just check out public education to see how well that’s worked – or the “War on Poverty”, etc.

Nope, this was a culture problem and a leadship problem.  The culture still survives and thrives and the leaders are nowhere to be found.  Oh the guys who are supposed to be in charge are still kicking, but they’re sitting in front of their television sets to see if there have been any new developments.  Meanwhile, this is going on and has been going on:

The VA department has been directly providing health care to millions of veterans for decades and evidence is growing that relying on the system can literally be a fatal decision. The Washington Examiner’s Mark Flatten reported May 12 that a Texas VA clinic implemented a cost-cutting measure in 2010 that required a patient to undergo three positive bloody stool screens before the government would approve a colonoscopy. Dr. Paul Krugman, who protested the policy while serving in the VA facility, told Flatten that “by the time that you do the colonoscopies on these patients, you went from a stage 1 to a stage 4 [colorectal cancer], which is basically inoperable.”

As many as 15,000 vets were subjected to this treatment. There is no way of knowing how many died because they spent their final days at home or in a private facility. Suffering and dying in obscurity due to a cost-cutting measure by a government-run health care system is the ultimate SNAFU, and nobody can guarantee it won’t be an commonplace under Obamacare.

Hell of a way to treat our veterans, isn’t it – but then when its all about bureaucrats and budgets, the focus isn’t on patients is it?  That’s government run health care in a nutshell.

Silver lining?  The VA, with a population of 9 million to serve, can’t get the job done competently and has, for the most part never been able to do so. THAT is the story of government run health care.  And all you need to cement that fact firmly in your head is to read the open letter one of our veteran triple-amputees penned this past week:

I remember candidate Obama promising to overhaul the VA and reduce the backlog.  You claimed that America’s support for its veterans is obvious by the way we treat our vets. You really nailed that one didn’t you?

Just like you were going to fix Detroit or fix foreign policy.  Your high school like approach to solving complex issues can’t be fixed by tweeting hashtags with propaganda to people who want to kill us. Anyone with an ounce of common sense can see you’re unfit to lead our nation, let alone act as our Commander In Chief.  What our country needs now, more than ever is real leadership, someone who doesn’t wait for a crisis, but is able to foresee an issue and deal with it before it happens. Unfortunately for America, you’ve been too busy campaigning and don’t have time to deal with the health care crisis of our veterans. The only thing you seem to care about is your own radical agenda, and now our vets are paying for your negligence with their lives.

As I sit here typing this out I’m dealing with my own VA nightmare which involves the Phoenix VA.  I have given 3 limbs for this country, but apparently that is not enough.  A “clerical error” made by a VA employee has resulted in nearly a year of abuse and mismanagement of my case. In other words, the VA is stealing over $7000 from my disability compensation that I earned when I lost 3 of my limbs for our country.

On this Memorial Day, as I battle your incompetent bureaucrats my family would like to thank you for once again failing our veterans. We can’t help but wonder about the disastrous socialized medicine program that we will surely be dealing with if Obamacare is allowed to be fully implemented. If our incompetent VA cannot handle government healthcare for a fraction of our population, who would be foolish enough to believe a massive health care system designed to provide health care for all American’s would be any different?  You can’t even find someone to build a competent website to work for your socialized medicine program when you had your name attached to it, so why would you care about our veterans when you could so easily push the blame off on someone else?

And the irony of it all?

The Department of Veterans Affairs says it will let more veterans obtain health care at private hospitals, VA Secretary Eric Shinseki announced Saturday.

That’s right … just like Canada used US private hospitals to bail its government run system out when it came to wait times, the VA is planning the same thing.  To anyone with an IQ above a donkey, that ought to tell you something.

~McQ

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19 Responses to Redefining incompetence

  • I don’t even think this is a matter of leadership, per se.
    This is a matter of bureaucracy and possibly unions.
    The clear fact is that bureaucrats act like bureaucrats because they cannot be fired.
    (This is also why voucherization would be the best reform: nothing makes you change faster than customers walking away.)
    Is this due to government rules or due to unions, I do not know, but this malaise is now infecting all of our government.
    Screw up security in Benghazi?…get moved. Not fired.
    IRS? Retire early.
    VA issues? Get transferred.
    EPA chief uses private email under name of Richard Windsor? Get hired away by Apple. Apple!
    Being fired is an important incentive to perform.
     

    • Workers only do what the boss checks.  Here we have at least two layers of “the boss” who had no idea.  Leadership … or the lack thereof..

  • Literally.  Redefined to mean exactly the opposite of what it used to mean.
     
    And he went out and rounded up as many of his fellow Incompoops as he could find, and he put them in charge of as many executive branch organizations as he could manage because when you’re THAT ‘competent’ you want to be REALLY REALLY ‘competent’.

  • I have to disagree.  I think what you are seeing as incompetence is more correctly not giving a good shit.
     
    Pres. ScamWOW is quite competent at doing the things he values.  Where you are right is in observing that he is no executive.  He is a wrecker and “transformer”.
     
    There’s this wrinkle, too.  The President of the United States can BUY excellent managers.  Baracula does not need to be a good manager so long as someone he empowers to manage is in place.  But he has not even done that.  This suggests to me that he literally does no care about what you and I normally think of as “performing”.  He has his eyes on another prize, and so do those surrounding him.
     
    Finally, the regulatory/bureaucratic state relies on “audits” for management feedback.  Obama has all but blinded the IGs in place for that purpose.  I cannot remember a more IG-hostile administration.

    • I think they’re competent at deliberately wrecking things – I think they’re incompetent about things that people with real life competency could deal with, or would deal better with that take them, CONSTANTLY, by surprise.
       
      Two examples – the gulf drilling cock-up where they refused the help offered from around the world because, it seemed at the time, “the cool kids don’t ask for help”, they let their pride in how competent they supposedly were interfere with that one.
      Benghazi (actually the entire Arab Spring & Libya thing) which was a cock-up from the get go.   Of course they in no way planned on losing an ambassador, etc.  Now sharp people could see the way Libya was likely to go, but they, being the cool competent kids, thought that their mere cool competency meant that nothing could or would go wrong with their half ass plan, which I’m fairly sure involved sending serious weapons to people we probably spend months on trying to kill with drones, when we’re not sending them to Syria and training them of course…. so they not only didn’t have contingency plans in place, they stood slack jawed with their trousers trailing while the murderers hoisted Barack’s skivvies on the flag pole for all the world to see.
       
      they’re very competent when it comes to passing business, especially fossil fuel business, regulations that will strangle the industry, they’re competent when they hand out money to make their repayments and payoffs, they’re competent when it comes to strong arming and otherwise using government to screw with their domestic ‘enemies’ both real and merely imagined and to put forth their twisted little agenda.   I mean, using the system to screw their opponents has been the very thing that Obama used again and again to get into whatever office he fancied he was entitled to.
       
      They really really suck at anything that will require quick thinking.

      • Yah.  Like I said…
        You just have to look toward really BAD stuff to find their competencies.  They HAVE them, but they are hard to see until you have the key insight they are nothing you would want/expect from Americans.

        • I think a lot of us can’t get our hands around that.  In many ways we’re still convinced that they don’t REALIZE how what they’re doing will cause problems and they think they’re doing good.
           
          It takes it too another level to have to assume malice aforethought in their actions and that what appears to be incompetent behavior is actually willful deliberate attempts to destroy things.
           
          However, you’re right, what I used to view as incompetence, say in the instances of,  the Keystone Pipeline, EPA ‘Green’ regulation, Healthcare Insurance, gasoline prices, all appear to me now as very competent sabotage, whereas Benghazi, the VA, Fast and Furious (the actual outcome) and so forth are incompetent results of competently executed stupid nefarious plans.

      • the gulf drilling cock-up where they refused the help offered from around the world because, it seemed at the time, “the cool kids don’t ask for help”, they let their pride in how competent they supposedly were interfere with that one

        Are you sure? You don’t think it was a “never let a crisis go to waste” opportunity to beat the fossil fuel bogeyman and set-up more regulations, law suits etc?

        • They may have ultimately played it that way, but for a while they looked like idiots, which folks forget I guess since they then used it to slam the door on rigs drilling the gulf (so success).   But they could have contained the damage, and didn’t and for a while they looked really stupid.
          Why, they looked as dumb as George W. Bush! for a bit, and that was not consistent with the smartest man in the world leader they’d sold us at the store.   I think you can tell when they’ve screwed up by whether or not Obama looks like a weak dumb ass.  That’s why I say, Benghazi, Fast and Furious, the Gulf.   Those might have started as plans, but they went off badly enough that even the media noticed.
           
          As opposed to the price of gas staying at record highs for, what, 1000 days?  So that’s an Obama success, barely a media eye blink.  Recall when HaliBush was in charge and we were told that he was profiting from those $3.00 a gallon gas fill ups we were bemoaning.   Ain’t seein that with Barack now, so, success.   If it gets bad enough that Jon Steward notices – the VA, Obamacare, that’s a screw up.
           
          They may ultimately get what they think they want, but they don’t want his numbers to tank in the process if they can help it.  There’s only so much good will the unicorn moon pony promises can restore between disasters.

          • Recall when HaliBush was in charge and we were told that he was profiting from those $3.00 a gallon gas fill ups we were bemoaning.   Ain’t seein that with Barack now, so, success.

            Then: windfall profits! Oligarchs! Chimpy!
            Now: reducing carbon emissions! encourage smaller cars! Obama rah rah rah!

        • I suppose it could be that they were punishing the Red gulf states….but Florida got punished too.   It may be they wanted a little pain and got more then they bargained for.
           
          Again, it’s hard for me to keep in mind that often the ‘disaster’ is completely intentional, intended to be blamed on Republicans, (gun nuts, bible carriers, birth control foes, etc)

  • I was actually thinking about the incompetence thing with Bush last week too.
    Of course, Bush was not incompetent, or at least not especially so. (Being the President is a hard job, regardless of the exact circumstances.) He competently executed plans that the Democrats didn’t like, which is not actually “incompetence”, of course.
    Now, at the time I assumed that when the Democrats were just flinging around the word “incompetence”, it was simply an example of the “every argument at hand” approach to argumentation that politics (regardless of the side) so often creates. I figured it was something they were just trying to tar him with, knowing that the media would play right along. I mean, politics are politics, right?
    Now I find myself with a far more cynical conclusion, which is that the Democrats really did believe Bush was incompetent and really have believed that Obama was competent (until quite recently), which leads to what I would consider the far more disturbing conclusion that the Democrats were not coldly and calculatingly flinging accusations at Bush, but that they are collectively utterly incapable of recognizing competence.
    That’s… way scarier. But, alas, seems to fit the facts pretty well. The party that pushes the government as the solution to everything is systematically incapable of telling whether the government is doing a good job.
    The good news is that this is probably the terminal phase of that party’s dominance. What shall rise in its place and how the map shall redraw itself, I don’t know, but while I wish it was fatal more quickly, it is still a fatal blow to liberalism.

    • Look at who they push towards the big seat: Kerry, Edwards, Obama, Biden, and Hillary.
      Prior to 2008, their combined actual executive experience consisted of 4 months commanding a swift boat in 1968.

    • Jeremy, that’s just part of the left’s postmodern worldview. You implicitly believe there is some sort of objective way to decide if someone is competent or incompetent. The left doesn’t.

       

      For them, everything is about how you define it. And they always, always, always define the meaning of words so as to advance leftist arguments. Therefore, Bush can be “incompetent” for any number of things that have no connection to objective reality, but labeling him that way advances leftist arguments. Therefore, in there mind he is incompetent – for the ad hoc meaning of the word “incompetent” that their post-modern reasoning requires at that point in time.

       

      Similarly, calling Obama “competent” advances leftist arguments, and obviously calling him “incompetent” detracts from them, so the left is going to define competence in their own heads so that they can call Obama competent, and laugh or sneer at anyone who calls him incompetent. Objective reality doesn’t matter to them, because they don’t believe it even exists.

       

      We’ve been seeing examples of this from our resident political science troll in the comment section here for years. No matter what Obama does, it’s smart and competent. No matter how much he f*cks up, such episodes are handwaved away – “phony scandals”, etc.

       

      That feeling you are getting that they can’t recognize competence is simply their slippery postmodern style of argument at work. It’s the reason I find it pointless to argue with the left. We don’t even agree on meanings of words, or on the existence of objective reality. How is it possible to have any meaningful communication with such people?

      • How is it possible to have any meaningful communication with such people?

        It isn’t, because if all else fails and you back them into a corner then some smart-ass will ask you to “check your privilege” which is just a patronizing way of saying “shut up bitch!”

  • This is too funny.
    I was looking up some stuff for a response when I went to https://www.va.gov/ and got a message that said “This Connection is Untrusted”

  • Former Secretary of Veterans Affairs Jim Nicholson said on one of the cable channels that the Bush Administration was installing a new appointments system  in the VA hospital system, at a cost of $200 million, when Obama came into office and they scrapped the whole thing.

  • Here’s What We Get From The REGIME…
    A Country Founded by Geniuses but Run by Idiots!
     
    If you can get arrested for hunting or fishing without a license, but
    not for entering and remaining in the country illegally — you might
    live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.
    If you have to get your parents’ permission to go on a field trip or
    to take an aspirin in school, but not to get an abortion — you might
    live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.
    If you MUST show your identification to board an airplane, cash a
    check, buy liquor, or check out a library book and rent a video, but not
    to vote for who runs the government — you might live in a nation that
    was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.
    If the government wants to prevent stable, law-abiding citizens from
    owning gun magazines that hold more than ten rounds, but gives twenty
    F-16 fighter jets to the crazy new leaders in Egypt — you might live in a
    nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.
    If, in the nation’s largest city, you can buy two 16-ounce sodas, but
    not one 24-ounce soda, because 24-ounces of a sugary drink might make
    you fat — you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is
    run by idiots.
    If an 80-year-old woman or a three-year-old girl who is confined to a
    wheelchair can be strip-searched by the TSA at the airport, but a woman
    in a burka or a hijab is only subject to having her neck and head
    searched — you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but
    is run by idiots.
    If your government believes that the best way to eradicate trillions
    of dollars of debt is to spend trillions more — you might live in a
    nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.
    If a seven-year-old boy can be thrown out of school for saying his
    teacher is “cute,” but hosting a sexual exploration or diversity class
    in grade school is perfectly acceptable — you might live in a nation
    that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.
    If hard work and success are met with higher taxes and more
    government regulation and intrusion, while not working is rewarded with
    Food Stamps, WIC checks, Medicaid benefits, subsidized housing, and free
    cell phones — you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses
    but is run by idiots.
    If the government’s plan for getting people back to work is to
    provide incentives for not working, by granting 99 weeks of unemployment
    checks, without any requirement to prove that gainful employment was
    diligently sought, but couldn’t be found — you might live in a nation
    that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.
    If you pay your mortgage faithfully, denying yourself the newest
    big-screen TV, while your neighbor buys iPhones, time shares, a
    wall-sized do-it-all plasma screen TV and new cars, and the government
    forgives his debt when he defaults on his mortgage — you might live in a
    nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.
    If being stripped of your Constitutional right to defend yourself
    makes you more “safe” according to the government — you might live in a
    nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.
     

     

    If the media panders to your openly socialist leader while the IRS targets groups with dissenting views— you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.
    If your government ‘cracks down’ on legal gun sales to law abiding citizens while secretly supplying illegal guns to Mexican drug cartels— you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.
    If your local government (Chicago) outlawed gun ownership for ‘the safety of its citizens’ and now boasts the worst murder rate in the country — you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.

    What a country!
    How about we give God a reason to continue blessing America?
     
    This was borrowed from another blog, please spread it far and wide!

  • It’s going to be Bush’s fault for the next 8 years of the Hillary administration as well.