Thursday, July 01, 2010

Distraction as strategy

BULLY BOY PRESS & CEDRIC'S BIG MIX -- THE KOOL-AID TABLE

WHEN YOUR FELLOW CRONY IS ON TRIAL AND WIRE TAPE AFTER WIRE TAPE PLAYED TO THE JURY KEEPS MENTIONING YOUR NAME WHAT DO YOU DO, PRINCESS, WHAT DO YOU DO?

GO BITCHY.

THAT'S WHAT CELEBRITY IN CHIEF BARRY O DID YESTERDAY SPEAKING IN WISCONSIN AND COMING OFF LIKE JOAN RIVERS WITH LESS CHARM.

REACHED FOR COMMENT, BARRY ASKED THESE REPORTERS, "WHAT DO THE TAPES SAY? IT'S NOTHING IMPEACHABLE, IS IT?'


FROM THE TCI WIRE:

Chair Harry Mitchell: You mentioned at the very beginning, all the great satisfaction reports you've received from your clients. Who are your clients? They're not veterans are they?
Will Gunn: Sir, we do not directly serve veterans, you're correct.
Chair Harry Mitchell: Who are your clients?
Will Gunn: Ultimately my client is the Secretary of Veterans Affairs. And so as the department's top lawyer, my job is to make sure that the Secretary is well armed.
How every nice for Gunn. Chair Mitchell had to provide that walk through for clarity and it may have been necessary (my opinion is that it was necessary) because Gunn's opening remarks appeared to portray his work as "service" and "continued service" to veterans when, no, that is not who he serves. Along with confusing that aspect -- apparently deliberately -- Gunn wanted to declare that their "customers" had rated them 4.75 on a scale (with 5.0) being the highest in customer feedback. But those customers, as Chair Mitchell established, were not veterans.
Chair Mitchell was holding a Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations hearing to provide some sort of evaluation of the Office of General Counsel -- of which Gunn is a part. The hearing was made up of two panels. On the first panel was attorney Matthew B. Tully (Tully Rinckey PPLC) who painted a disturbing picture. Disturbing but at least two Subcommittee members (not the Chair) grabbed onto the safety line of a 'few bad apples.'
Tully allowed that the problems did appear to be from a few bad apples but cautioned that these apples have been in the OGC for some time. Tully outlined how the law was broken (that's my judgment, not his, he was very cautious and calibrated in his testimony). For example, altering the date on an official government document. That is breaking the law -- altering an official government document is breaking the law and that's before you get into the intent which was to 'protect' the VA. Ranking Member David Roe pointed out that in a court case, altering a medical document would automatically get the case kicked out.Tully agreed and pointed out that there was no ethics check, that there was no place within the OGC for people to report problems. He painted a portrait of a legal arm with no oversight and no accountability.
From Tully's opening remarks:
For example, a fellow attorney had witnesses privately badgered by a VA lawyer prior to a hearing. A VA lawyer threatened disciplinary action against VA employee witnesses if their testimony did not conform to the agency's desires. In my firm's dealing with the VA's Office of General Counsel, VA lawyers had utilized numerous litigation tactics that would have been -- or would have made the lawyers for BP, AIG or Enron proud. In one case earlier this year, our client was demoted based on charges of misconduct and our firm appealed to the -- appealed the VA decision to the Merit Systems Protection Board The VA lawyer in this case failed to respond to our discovery request and even our motion to compel discovery. This unprofessional conduct translated into greater financial cost for our client due to the VA's tactics.
Gunn was wrong about who his client was. As Tully would explain on the first panel (possibly Gunn was snoozing or texting?), the OGC serves the tax payers, its responsibility is to fairness and to the tax payers. It's refusal to grasp that is why it gets into so much trouble (this is me not Tully) by taking sides in battles they shouldn't take sides in and changing official records which just cannot do.
Matthew Tully: The VA attorneys have an obligation not to the manager that is involved in the employment dispute but to the tax payers and to the government as a whole. I am a legal mercenary. I go to the highest bidder and I do my best to protect the people that retain me. The VA attorneys do very similar things but that's not their job. Their job is to protect the tax payers. Their job is to make sure justice is done. And routinely in these EEOC cases, in particular, they spend a great deal of time trying to protect the manager that allegedly -- and has often been proven -- to have engaged in unlawful conduct versus doing what was right for the person who was subjected to injustice.
Mitchell asked about financial penalities for this behavior and Tully explained that there was none but if this were a federal court manner -- not an OGC -- he could face fines and disbarment.
Tully was panel one. Panel two was the OGC's General Counsel Will Gunn. If the above didn't disturb you, this might. The discussions? Completely knew to Gunn who told Mitchell he found out about these problems just an hour before the hearing. Apparently, the OGC told him he'd be testifying but forgot to tell him what about? Is that the story he's gong for? If so it makes him look even more out of touch of an out of control agency. For someone who only learned of the problems an hour before the hearing, he must have spent at least 40 minutes writing that opening statement. Or, are we to believe, he just has 'customer feedback scores' and other data memorized? (Why did he need to look at the paper in front of him repeatedly if that is the case?) More importantly, you're not allowed to make an opening statement if you haven't submitted it ahead of time. You can't show up day of the hearing and say, "Here's my prepared remarks.'' You have to submit them to the committee or subcomittee ahead of time. Is no one supposed to notice that either?
We'll note this exchange.
Chair Harry Mitchell: You know there have been times in the past where the VA frequently declines to produce a witness either requested to testify at hearings or brief Subcommittees. And the OGC's guidance often gets cited as the reason for not producing witnesses at either hearings or briefings. Two questions. What role does OGC play in the VA deciding who either testifies or briefs the Subcommittee and does the OGC provide an opinion when the VA refuses to produce certain information as requested by Congress or through the public?
Will Gunn: Sir, with respect to the first issue in terms of, uh, whether or not OGC plays a role in who will testify, I will say "no." We do not see ourselves as having a role with respect to that. In terms of the second issue, we do play a role in terms of providing to requests for documents and our advice is focused on two things. What can we, uh, provide, what is permissable? And secondly, what are we required to provide?
So he opens as the big veteran and big veteran defender, citing military code and how he has to be his best and he's going to make those civilians under him be their best and blah blah blah but it really all comes down to "what are we required to provide?" Not the bluster he was shining on in his opening remarks.
The Republican side of the House Veterans Affairs Committee issued the following this month (it was e-mailed today to the public account, we would have noted it June 15th if we'd had it then):
For more information, contact: Brian Lawrence (202) 2225-3527

Washington, D.C. -- In recognition of his longstanding dedication and commitment to serving veterans, the Blinded American Veterans Foundation (BAVF) today presented its prestigious George 'Buck' Gillispie Congressional Award to Congressman Steve Buyer.

The Gillispie is awarded to Senators and Representatives who, in the opinion of the BAVF, have made significant contributions toward furthering the foundation's efforts on behalf of sensory disabled American veterans. Buyer, who serves as Ranking Member on the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs, received BAVF's award during the foundation's annual Flag Week celebration.

"I am deeply honored and humbled to receive recognition from this esteemed group of veterans who have sacrificed so much in the name of liberty," Buyer said. "It has been my privilege to serve the men and women who have defended our nation and freedom we cherish. For me, there is no higher calling."

In 2006, when he served as Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs, Buyer secured support to direct funds to conduct a series of tests and evaluations on combat helmets to improve protections against blasts from improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) associated with IEDs are among the leading cause of impaired vision due to damage to the occipital area of the brain. More than half of all TBI patients treated at Walter Reed Army Hospital and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Polytrauma Rehabilitation Center in Palo Alto, California have vision dysfunction.

Buyer, himself a veteran, is a 1980 distinguished military graduate of The Citadel and a career Army Reserve officer who continues to serve with the Judge Advocate General Corps as a colonel. He has received numerous military honors, including the Bronze Star.

Buyer also worked with Congressman John Boozman in the 110th Congress to help pass the Blinded Veterans Paired Organ Act and to authorize $5 million to create military vision centers of excellence.

For more news from House Committee on Veterans' Affairs Republicans, please go to:

http://republicans.veterans.house.gov/

http://www.youtube.com/user/VetAffairsRepublican

Closing with independent journalist David Bacon whose latest book is Illegal People -- How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants (Beacon Press) which won the CLR James Award. Bacon can be heard on KPFA's The Morning Show (over the airwaves in the Bay Area, streaming online) each Wednesday morning (begins airing at 7:00 am PST). "Dying for an iPad?" (Political Affairs) is a photo essay:
Chinese immigrants and Chinese-Americans in San Francisco protest the long hours and bad conditions at the Foxconn factory in southern China, where the Apple iPad is manufactured. They lined up in front of Apple's flagship store in San Francisco, holding signs with the names of workers at the factory who have committed suicide because of the conditions.
Those conditions include 80 hours of overtime a month, according to the Chinese media. Chinese law limits overtime to 36 hours per month. No one is allowed to talk on the production line, and workers complain of constant high line speed and speedup. Most workers live in huge dormitories, where often 12 people share a room.


RECOMMENDED: "Iraq snapshot"
"The Ambassador rejects Tony Blair's spin"
"The fallen"
"The dull hearing"
"The economy"
"You don't celebrate that, honest"
"gulf disaster and bribe disaster"
"The Gulf Disaster"
"Lilith and Hulu"
"Dead Zones"
"Hmmm"
"Gulf Disaster, Katty-van-van and more"
"Nominees and candidates"
"Spunky Brewsters"
"THIS JUST IN! WHO'S BEEN TALKING!"

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

[URL=http://imgwebsearch.com/35357/link/buy%20cialis/15_mycialis.html][IMG]http://imgwebsearch.com/35357/img0/buy%20cialis/15_mycialis.png[/IMG][/URL]

Anonymous said...

[URL=http://imgwebsearch.com/35357/link/casino%20online/4_style_casino.html][IMG]http://imgwebsearch.com/35357/img0/casino%20online/4_style_casino.png[/IMG][/URL]