Topic

administrative state

4 petitions

Update posted 2 years ago

Petition to Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, President of the United States, Donald Trump, U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Senate, Department of Justice, Department of Veterans Affairs, United States Department of Health and Human Services

Stop VA Bureaucrats from Retaliating Against Veterans

Stop VA Bureaucrats from Retaliating Against Veterans The primary reason VA bureaucrats and contractors are retaliating against veterans is because they have been unmasking administrative state despotism which is eroding our civil liberties and undermining the protective safeguards of our Constitution. There is a very disturbing reason many veterans are afraid to complain or comment negatively about the VA; veterans fear retaliation. Veterans intimately know what happens when they point out an error, a problem, something that needs improvement, a systems failure, and even malfeasance. Veterans are often discredited, their concerns minimized and gaslighted, and labeled a problem maker. The defenses of the bureaucrats rise fast and into an impenetrable bulwark that allows for the twisting of the "system" to be in the favor of the administrative army.  Veterans who complain are sent on wild goose chases until they give up. Most veterans do not have the resources or capacity to fight the administrative state. A Veteran's congressional representatives do not even have the power to protect the veteran from the Beast the VA has become. The VA has taken on a life of it's own. Some VA bureaucrats even have the audacity to refer to the VA as the "Dragon."  The Dragon has the power to giveth and taketh away. Some embolden power hungry VA bureaucrats and contractors have touted "federal regulations reign supreme" and usurped over the domain of the state.  In the Federalist Papers No. 51, James Madison, the architect of the Constitution and our fourth president, wrote that the human tendency to accumulate power required a government with checks and balances “…to control the abuses of government.” The administrative state describes a form of government that uses an extensive professional class to provide oversight over government, the economy and society. It stands in stark contrast to a representative democracy with limited powers and reach. The Administrative state violates the constitutional principle of separation of powers, threatens civil liberties including the right to due process, and undermines the ability of citizens to have a meaningful say in politics and public policy. The administrative state empowers a distinct knowledge class to make important political and policy decisions, largely unchecked and unsupervised, at the expense of citizens' voting power and the power of the legislature and the judiciary.  The Department of Veterans Affairs has turned into a delusional system best described by the Czech playwright (and later state president) Vaclav Havel (Vaclav Havel or Living in Truth; Vladislav, Jan; 1987) wrote, while the communist regime was still in power: Because the regime is captive to its own lies, it must falsify everything. It falsifies the past. It falsifies the present, and it falsifies the future. It falsifies statistics. It pretends not to possess an omnipotent and unprincipled police apparatus. It pretends to respect human rights. It pretends to persecute no one. It pretends to fear nothing. It pretends to pretend nothing. Individuals need not believe all these mystifications, but they must behave as though they did, or they must at least tolerate them in silence, or get along well with those who work with them. For this reason, however, they must live within a lie. They need not accept the lie. It is enough for them to have accepted their life with it and in it. For by this very fact, individuals confirm the system, fulfill the system, make the system, are the system. For the crust presented by the life of lies is made of strange stuff. As long as it seals off hermetically the entire society, it appears to be made of stone. But the moment someone breaks through in one place--a Solzhenitsyn--when a single person cries out, "The emperor is naked"--when a single person breaks the rules of the game, thus exposing it as a game [delusio!]--then the whole crust is exposed as a tissue on the point of tearing and disintegrating uncontrollably.  Walter Wink (Engaging the Powers 1992; p. 98) wrote, "When anyone steps out of the system and tells the truth, lives the truth, that person enables everyone else to peer behind the curtain too. That person has shown everyone that it is possible to live within the truth, despite the repercussions. 'Living within the lie can constitute the system only if it is universal.' Anyone who steps out of line therefore 'denies it in principle and threatens it in its entirety....If the main pillar of the system is living a lie, then it is not surprising that the fundamental threat to it is living the truth.' That is why it must be suppressed more severely than anything else. The VA “system” functions to service itself. In order to protect this delusional system and the stakeholders who are benefiting from it, anyone who allows the public to peer behind the curtain is silenced, which includes veterans, family members of veterans, and whistleblowers.  p.99 [T]he Dragon's strategy is to eviscerate opposition by a sense of induced powerlessness. To accept its delusional assumptions is, in effect, to worship the Dragon, to hold its values as ultimate, to stake one's life on the permanence of its sway."  “Who is like the Beast, and who can fight against it?” (Rev. 13:3-4)  Obeisance to the Beast requires as its gesture a continuous shrug. “Who is like the Beast, and who can fight against it?” (shrug). “I just carried out my orders. If I hadn’t done so, someone else would have” (shrug). “I don’t enjoy the violence depicted in my company’s films, but this is what the public wants” (shrug). “If I didn’t fudge the numbers like my VA manager told me to, someone else would have done it.” (shrug) “There is nothing I can do as one person to stop the system from hurting veterans.” (shrug). “I didn’t want to follow those orders that caused harm to veterans but I was afraid I was going to lose my job and I have a family to feed.” (shrug). As R.D. Laing put it, “each person claims his own inessentiality.” Veterans cannot do this alone. We need everyday heroes who have nothing to lose when confronting the "Dragon" and the Beast the VA has  become to take action. It appears the Administrative State has become more powerful than our 3 branches of government; many agency officials are not held accountable for even blatant malfeasance.  Let Congress and the President know you will not tolerate VA bureaucrats retaliating against veterans for any reason.      

Jamie Fox
12 supporters
Update posted 2 years ago

Petition to President of the United States, U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Senate, Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of Justice, United States Department of Health and Human Services

Save Veterans from Tyrannical VA Bureaucrats

The VA has become a very serious administrative threat because, often faceless, government bureaucrats can take away the civil liberties of veterans. The rule of law can serve as a safeguard against tyranny, because just laws ensure that rulers (government bureaucrats) do not become corrupt. Tyranny occurs when absolute power is granted to a ruler (or in this case a government bureaucrat).  The rule of law is the principle that no one is exempt from the law, even those who are in a position of power.  Yet at the VA, many government bureaucrats commit crimes every day with impunity because our agencies are failing to enforce the rule of law.   The administrative state describes a form of government that uses an extensive professional class to provide oversight over government, the economy and society. It creates a "network of small complicated rules" bringing about "soft tyranny." It stands in stark contrast to a representative democracy with limited powers and reach. The Administrative state violates the constitutional principle of separation of powers, threatens civil liberties including the right to due process, and undermines the ability of citizens to have a meaningful say in politics and public policy. The administrative state empowers a distinct knowledge class to make important political and policy decisions, largely unchecked and unsupervised, at the expense of citizens' voting power and the power of the legislature and the judiciary.  James Madison, wrote that the human tendency to accumulate power required a government with checks and balances "...to control the abuses of government."  As you will see from some of the facts shown below, the Department of Veterans of Affairs has been allowed to police itself with very dire consequences for veterans. Petty tyrannical paper pushers are allowed to destroy the lives of veterans. The paper pushers have been able to infiltrate and control veteran's lives using a dangerous language that denies choice. The Nazi's coined this language by calling it "Amtssprache" which can be loosely translated into English as "office talk" or "bureaucratese".   The Nazi's found ways to disconnect any emotional sensibility they might have felt from prohibitive thoughts in order to continue their grisly work. They did it by developing a language that helped them to deny the reality of what they were doing and transfer the responsibility for their actions onto a faceless entity, like VA policy. In this extreme disconnection of thought and feeling innocent people died and perpetrators continued, immunizing themselves with their words and rationalizations. They blinded themselves to what they and their colleagues were doing in order to satisfy superiors' orders so they could keep their jobs. During the Nuremberg trials, when Adolf Eichmann was asked, "was it difficult for you to send those tens of thousands of people to their death?' Eichmann replied, 'To tell you the truth, it was easy. Our language made it easy.' Asked to explain, Eichmann said, 'My fellow officers and I coined our name for our language. We called it an "amtssprache"--"office talk." In our "office talk" you deny responsibility for your actions. So, if anybody says, "Why did you do it?" you say, "I had to." Why did you have to?" "Superiors' orders. Company policy. It's the law".' Eichmann's defense is also known as the "Nuremberg plea."  In fact, what Eichmann said about the power of bureaucratically--obscure, euphemistically--mentioned language, shadowing operations few people participated in, provides a very clear example of how, by creating a culture that values following the rules, you risk also creating a culture that loses its moral compass or code.  The Eichmann defense is the most dangerous language (-have to, -can't) because it is a language that denies responsibility for choice. Stating, "It's my job"; "They told me to do it"; "I'm only following company policy"; "It's the rules"; "It's not my job"-- shields ourselves from doing what is best and right.  There are many areas where the VA bureaucrats are acting with impunity, but one of the most insidious ways in which it exerts threats, fear, and control is by violating veterans privacy. The VA and other agencies are not enforcing existing privacy laws.  1) The prevalence of privacy violations at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has become an epidemic system wide; and 2) Even though the VA is one of the top Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) privacy offenders, the Office of Civil Rights, an arm of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), that enforces HIPAA, has largely ignored the VA’s problem; and  3) Office of Inspector General (OIG) released a report April 2016, in which the Veterans Benefit Administration (VBA) had not integrated proper audit logs in their new veterans’ processing computer system, called Veterans Benefits Management System (VBMS); and  4) The VA has not been making everyone with access to its computer systems, who have committed a privacy violation, accountable for their actions, subsequently removing deterrents for those individuals who might be thinking about breaking laws and regulations or who might be inclined to be less diligent about adhering to existing laws and regulations; and  5) The VA has not been holding upper, middle and lower level managers accountable for privacy violations; and 6) The VA has not effectively stopped managers and employees from accessing the private information of both current and former VA employees who are Veterans; and 7) The VA has not been cooperating with other federal agencies responsible for enforcing and complying with existing privacy laws and regulations; Veterans need your help with supporting legislation and changes to applicable regulations that require the VA to comply with and enforce existing privacy laws and regulations, as well as, make everyone, who was given access to the VA computer systems, accountable for violating privacy laws and regulations.  

Jamie Fox
53 supporters
Started 2 years ago

Petition to President of the United States, U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Senate, Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of Justice, United States Department of Health and Human Services

Make the Reporting of Privacy Violations Super Easy at the VA

Answer #1: Many But really it depends on the complexity of the light bulb. For some veterans it can look more like answer #2 and that's no joke. Answer #2: 25 phone operators, 20 admin staff, 2 social workers, 3 supervisors, 2 program directors, 1 upper level manager, 1 director, 1 VSO, 1 U.S. Congressional Representative, 1 U.S. Senator, Office of Inspector General, media and a patient experience specialist.  Why should so many people be involved with helping a veteran at the VA on any single issue? Let alone the reporting of violations of privacy laws that have deleterious effects on Veterans? Like most things at the VA, it takes a lot of willpower to get past the VA's firewall and into the matrix to find someone who can get you the help you need. This is one of the reasons the VA budget is so big because it needs to pay for the inefficient beast of bureaucracy that it has become. Veterans know this intimately. Well, any veteran who truly interfaces with the VA's underbelly. Relatively healthy veterans with the least complicated cases tend to have minimal contact with the VA and are more likely to report a good experience. Many others are too afraid to criticize the VA for fear of a backlash or retaliation. Unlike the public, a veteran cannot simply switch doctors (or regional offices); there is an approval process that includes confronting the doctor who you no longer want to see. And even then the veteran will still see that doctor in the hallways of the facility where he/she gets care.  Because of the VA's monstrous size, the right hand often does not know what the left hand is doing. In any given day, on any given need or question, a veteran could be told dozen different ways on how to do the same thing.  Additionally, anyone who has gone in circles in the VA's round robin system knows exactly where it ends up. Staff often pass the veteran off to someone else who "may know" until the veteran gives up. For veterans who get so mad and frustrated they are just flung like a hot potato from one VA staff to the next  and will most likely end up before the behavioral board where all the blame of the VA's incompetency is placed on the veteran who simply could not cope and his/her behavior was no longer tolerated. How dare you mistreat VA staff who are doing the best job they can in a system that doesn't allow them to do the best job they could. Welcome to the VA loony bin. VA bureaucrats know they can also get away with a lot in a system that is so fraught with problems. Take for instance the mass violations of the rule of law at the VA where bureaucrats can violate a veterans privacy and get away with it. The whole system for reporting privacy violations is a sham. It is designed to PREVENT people from reporting privacy violations. I know this is a hard concept for some, since VA provides privacy training and instructions on how to report privacy violations, but most of those reports never go further than the privacy officer. The privacy officers will make an example out of those who faxed to the wrong number etc., but if the privacy violations have to do with a larger system failure or a specific individual who someone wants to protect, then those rules do not apply. The problem is that when laws and rules only apply to "some" people, well then, we have ourselves what is referred to as "soft tyranny". And when a bureaucrat gets a little taste of power, well then, a lot of veterans are screwed along with the people who truly want to help veterans.  Laws & regulations are not any good if they are not enforced (please sign our other petition on this that demands that our government enforce the law on all bureaucrats).  Reporting privacy violations should not be a difficult nor dangerous process. No one should jeopardize there job for doing the right thing. No veteran should be harassed for wanting their privacy and for restricting those from seeing their private information.   1) The prevalence of privacy violations at the VA has become an epidemic system wide; and  2) Even though the VA is one of the top Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) privacy offenders, the Office of Civil Rights, an arm of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), that enforces HIPAA, has largely ignored the VA’s problem; and  3) The process of reporting privacy violations is a very long, complicated and confusing process for many Veterans, often resulting in more negative consequences than providing the protection and relief the Veteran seeks; and  4) The Veteran must report privacy violations to the same Regional Office suspected of the privacy violation, which is a conflict of interest; and  5) It is an extremely poor plan and accountability practice to have any individual and/or group of people, police itself; and  6) The current regional office Privacy Officer position is an ineffective because it is a peripheral duty assigned to a person who has a primary job description that makes them co-workers, subordinates and/or supervisors to the people who must report privacy violations to; and  7) VA employees are more likely to report privacy violations if someone was hired specifically to be the Privacy Officer with its own job description, duties and responsibilities, as well as, supervised under a completely different and separate chain of command from the regional office where they work. Veterans need your help with supporting legislation and changing applicable regulations that requires the VA to make the reporting of privacy violations easy and efficient to unbiased Privacy Officers, who do not have a conflict of interest.  

Jamie Fox
16 supporters
Started 2 years ago

Petition to President of the United States, U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Senate, Department of Justice, Department of Veterans Affairs, United States Department of Health and Human Services

Veterans Demand Transparency from the VA

The VA has not been honest with Veterans and the public. Instead of revealing who has been spying on veterans they will stone wall veterans until they give up or die and if that doesn't work the VA will attack and discredit any veteran who demands the VA to do the right thing.  When people served their country by joining the military - they did not give up their constitutional rights in order to defend it. However, some people who work for the VA never served and have no idea what service and sacrifice means, yet they have been allowed to take away some of our rights. Some of these people are more interested in their careers and in gaining power to control others. These power hungry bureaucrats are really faceless cowards that create ways to make themselves money and to feel important.  The VA can add a extra layer of defense to safeguard veteran's privacy by allowing veterans to become their own watchdog over their own private information. The VA can released unredacted audits of the Veteran's private information to the Veteran and/or beneficiary. Every veteran and beneficiary has the right to know who has been snooping in their private information. Every Veteran has the right to know if their ex-wife or ex-husband or neighbor or former boss or whoever was not authorized has had access to their private information.   The VA and other agencies are not enforcing existing privacy laws. One of the ways the bureaucrats escape accountability and are allowed to continue to violate the privacy of veterans is by keeping the bureaucrats faceless. Every Veteran has the right to know who has been accessing their private information.  1) The prevalence of privacy violations at the VA has become an epidemic system wide; and  2) Even though the VA is one of the top Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) privacy offenders, the Office of Civil Rights, an arm of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), that enforces HIPAA, has largely ignored the VA’s problem; and  3) The VA is required by several regulations (e.g., Federal Information Processing Standards Publication) to develop, sustain, and retain audit records to supervise, analyze, and report on inappropriate access of information systems; and  4) The VA’s own VA Handbook states that information systems are required to create detailed audit logs that can help recreate a data security incident; and 5) The VA does not send out unredacted “accounting of disclosures” (aka audits) even through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in a timely manner – it often taking months to years to receive an incomplete audit; and  6) Regional Office Directors are redacting important information on claim file audits generated by the VA’s Office of Information and Technology (OIT) before mailing the FOIA requests to veterans – important information that identifies privacy violators -- thus preventing Veterans from obtaining recourse; and  7) It is every Veteran’s right to know who has accessed their private information, in a timely manner, and why; and  8) It is every Veteran’s right to restrict who sees their information. Veterans need your help with supporting legislation and changing applicable regulations that requires the VA to allow every Veteran and/or their guardian, to become a watchdog over their private information, if the Veteran so chooses, by releasing unredacted audits of the Veteran’s Claim file (C-file), also known as accounting of disclosures and FOIA requests, that shows everyone who has been viewing the Veteran’s information and why, in a timely manner upon request, and whenever requested. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Why the Administrative State is a threat to Veterans' Civil Liberties The VA has become a  very serious administrative threat because, often faceless, government bureaucrats can take away the civil liberties of veterans. The rule of law can serve as a safeguard against tyranny, because just laws ensure that rulers (government bureaucrats) do not become corrupt. Tyranny occurs when absolute power is granted to a ruler (or in this case a government bureaucrat).  The rule of law is the principle that no one is exempt from the law, even those who are in a position of power.  Yet at the VA, many government bureaucrats commit crimes every day with impunity because our agencies are failing to enforce the rule of law.   The administrative state describes a form of government that uses an extensive professional class to provide oversight over government, the economy and society. It creates a "network of small complicated rules" bringing about "soft tyranny." It stands in stark contrast to a representative democracy with limited powers and reach.The Administrative state violates the constitutional principle of separation of powers, threatens civil liberties including the right to due process, and undermines the ability of citizens to have a meaningful say in politics and public policy. The administrative state empowers a distinct knowledge class to make important political and policy decisions, largely unchecked and unsupervised, at the expense of citizens' voting power and the power of the legislature and the judiciary.  James Madison, wrote that the human tendency to accumulate power required a government with checks and balances "...to control the abuses of government."  As you will see from some of the facts shown above, the Department of Veterans of Affairs has been allowed to police itself with very dire consequences for veterans. Petty tyrannical paper pushers are allowed to destroy the lives of veterans. The paper pushers have been able to infiltrate and control veteran's lives using a dangerous language that denies choice. The Nazi's coined this language by calling it "Amtssprache" which can be loosely translated into English as "office talk" or "bureaucratese".   The Nazi's found ways to disconnect any emotional sensibility they might have felt from prohibitive thoughts in order to continue their grisly work. They did it by developing a language that helped them to deny the reality of what they were doing and transfer the responsibility for their actions onto a faceless entity, like VA policy. In this extreme disconnection of thought and feeling innocent people died and perpetrators continued, immunizing themselves with their words and rationalizations. They blinded themselves to what they and their colleagues were doing in order to satisfy superiors' orders so they could keep their jobs. During the Nuremberg trials, when Adolf Eichmann was asked, "was it difficult for you to send those tens of thousands of people to their death?' Eichmann replied, 'To tell you the truth, it was easy. Our language made it easy.' Asked to explain, Eichmann said, 'My fellow officers and I coined our name for our language. We called it an "amtssprache"--"office talk." In our "office talk" you deny responsibility for your actions. So, if anybody says, "Why did you do it?" you say, "I had to." Why did you have to?" "Superiors' orders. Company policy. It's the law".' Eichmann's defense is also known as the "Nuremberg plea."  In fact, what Eichmann said about the power of bureaucratically--obscure, euphemistically--mentioned language, shadowing operations few people participated in, provides a very clear example of how, by creating a culture that values following the rules, you risk also creating a culture that loses its moral compass or code.  The Eichmann defense is the most dangerous language (-have to, -can't) because it is a language that denies responsibility for choice. Stating, "It's my job"; "They told me to do it"; "I'm only following company policy"; "It's the rules"; "It's not my job"-- shields ourselves from doing what is best and right. 

Jamie Fox
11 supporters