One thing he does not include in his reply is what the state is doing for veterans. I would presume that this is because the state is doing precious little for them.
Oh, sure, Walker has the state hosting an awfully designed website, which is dominated by a self-serving video of Walker making a show that he pretends about veterans, but that is about it.
The truth is, as I have been chronicling, Walker has done more harm to veterans than he has provided any help. Walker's ongoing war on veterans has included reinstating the corrupt and inept John Scocos as Secretary of Veterans Affairs and using veterans as political props, much as he did when he was Milwaukee County Executive and his bogus Operation Freedom.
Now we have a report from blue cheddar on the horrid conditions at King Veterans Center in Waupaca County. The report focuses on how workers at the center are being forced to work an unsafe number of hours of overtime due to understaffing and poor administrative decisions by Scocos.
By having the caretakers work so many hours in a row, they will become physically and mentally exhausted. And because of this exhaustion, mistakes will eventually happen which could lead to injury or harm, possibly even death, coming to a patient or a worker.
This is a pattern which Walker has followed time and time again. As Milwaukee County executive, he did the same routine of cutting staffing so deeply that overtime soared, workers became exhausted and/or overwhelmed. He did this at the mental health complex, the House of Corrections and the Income Maintenance Program. We are also seeing this on the state level, not only at the veteran centers, but also at state correctional institutions.
And the results were predictable. The mental health complex had a string of incidents ranging from sexual assaults of patients to deaths. The House of Corrections had many injuries to staff and inmates alike, including some inmates, like Alexander Orlowski, dying because of it. The income maintenance program was on the verge of failure, and would have failed, if former Governor Jim Doyle hadn't stepped in and took over the program. And the state correctional institutions are seeing the same increase in injuries and unsafe conditions as the House of Corrections did.
One might very well wonder why Walker would continue to do this if the inevitable results are high overtime costs and even higher human costs. Does Walker really hate veterans that much?
Well, Walker doesn't hate veterans, per se. It would be more honest to say he doesn't give a damn about them one way or the other.
But if you look at the previous examples of Walker's willful neglect, the answer becomes clear. Milwaukee County Supervisor John Weishan nailed it in a press release regarding the income maintenance program:
“This is yet another example of County Executive Scott Walker’s inability to manage County programs and services. The County Executive has a track record of running programs into the ground to achieve his goal of transferring programs to other entities.Just like he is trying to do with the state's correctional system, he is setting up the veterans centers to fail and fail in a big way.
“You don’t have to go far to find examples. Just look at his proposals to contract out call center functions and transfer control of the House of Correction to the Sheriff. He even supports transferring Milwaukee County’s parks to a parks district that would not be directly accountable to residents.”
“The County Executive’s incompetence is almost endless, and Income Maintenance just happens to be the latest victim. Scott Walker is an incompetent manager who relies on others to perform his work after he drops the ball. It’s clear that the County Executive cannot fix problems. He simply passes them on to others.”
After a year or two, or if some poor veteran perished due to poor care, Walker will point to the skyrocketing overtime costs and the tragedy and say it's not working and will try to privatize the entire system. Odds are that the would be private agency taking over just so happens to be a campaign donor.
Indeed, I had warned of this very thing when I was discussing a court case in Michigan in which Governor Rick Snyder's efforts to privatize a veterans center there was thoroughly rebuffed because it would cause irreparable harm to the veterans:
But Manderfield said she was concerned about evidence of injuries caused to veterans at the hands of inexperienced contract workers. She said she's also concerned by recent ads the company has placed, still trying to fill the positions the state asked the company to take over. She also said drug testing for the new employees, as required under the contract, was "a joke" due to lack of security surrounding urine samples.Now you and I can plainly see the folly in Walker's ways, regarding both he financial and the human costs of privatizing everything he legally can. The Michigan case only confirms this.
"The court believes the plaintiff has established there will be irreparable injury if the injunction is not granted," the judge said.
"Through the whole process, no one has really cared until now," union president Mark Williams said after the hearing. "Finally, today, quality of care trumped money."
Spallone told the commission he has lived at the home for more than two years after suffering health problems related to exposure to Agent Orange in Vietnam.
He described what he said were unsanitary practices by contracted resident care aides, such as throwing urine- and feces-stained sheets on clean floors.
Sadly, as Walker had demonstrated at Marquette University and then throughout his career as a professional politician, Walker is not a good student and won't take anything away from the lessons he has been repeatedly taught.
Sadly, it is the brave men and women who risked and sacrificed so much who will be done the worst harm for Walker's avarice and folly.