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Veterans Affairs Has 346 Workers Who Do ONLY Union Work

(from Judicial Watch, in part)

An estimated 346 employees in the Department of Veterans Affairs do no actual work for taxpayers. Instead, they spend all of their time doing work on behalf of their union while drawing a federal salary, a practice known as “official time.”That’s according to a report by the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office. But exactly what those VA workers are doing and why so many are doing it is not clear. The VA doesn’t track that, and the GAO report offers no clue.

Rep. Jody Arrington, R-Texas, a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, thinks the number on 100 percent official time may be much higher. He also notes that the 346 workers don’t include those who spend most, not all, of their time doing union work.

“The lack of accountability at the VA when it comes to monitoring official time suggests it might be worse,” said Arrington, who has introduced legislation that would require the department to track the use of official time, among other reforms.

Pointing to the waiting list scandals at the department, Arrington said the official time situation is reflective of the “broken culture at the heart of the VA” and adds, “I haven’t heard one good, acceptable reason why the practice has continued.”

The VA was not eager to discuss the matter with the Washington Examiner. After several days of inquiries, it responded with the following statement: “VA believes that the appropriate use of official time can be beneficial and in the public interest as stated in the Federal Service Labor-Relations Statute, which governs how executive branch agencies treat official time. VA takes the position that labor and management have a shared responsibility to ensure that official time is authorized and used appropriately. VA practices are in compliance with the Federal Service Labor-Relations Statute.”

Official time is allowed under the 1978 Civil Service Reform Act. The idea behind it is to ensure that a federal employee who is also a union official won’t be penalized for being away from work if he or she is negotiating a contract or addressing a worker grievance, for example. It is essentially a trade-off for the limitations put on federal unions, such as prohibitions on striking.

At least 700 federal workers do nothing but work on official time, according to the GAO and data obtained from various Freedom of Information Act requests. The VA uses official time far more than any other agency.

“Employees spent approximately 1,057,00 hours on official time for union representation activities … In addition, the data show that 346 employees spent 100 percent of their time on official time,” the GAO found in a January report.

It is possible that even those figures are conservative. The GAO said the said the VA’s poor monitoring meant the data was “inconsistent and not reliable.”

The GAO didn’t know what the employees are doing with all of that time. “We just didn’t get into that in that particular study,” said Cindy Barnes, the GAO’s director of education, workforce and income security issues and author of the report.

Part of the explanation is that the VA is one of the largest federal agencies with 373,000 workers, making it second only to the Pentagon in the sheer size of its workforce. About 250,000 VA workers are covered by collective bargaining agreements, according to the GAO, citing 2012 data. Arrington puts the covered figure at 285,000.

By comparison, the Department of Homeland Security has 240,000 workers and the Department of Commerce has just under 44,000 workers. But those departments get by with proportionately far fewer people working exclusively on official time. DHS has 39, while Commerce has just four.

Another factor is that the VA’s workforce is represented by no less than five unions: The American Federation of Government Employees, the National Association of Government Employees, National Nurses United, the National Federation of Federal Employees and the Service Employees International Union.

National Nurses United representative Irma Westmoreland was the only union official willing to talk about the practice with the Washington Examiner. She is one of five nurses union members who work exclusively on union time at the VA. The union has another nine who spent 80 percent of their time at the VA on official time, she said.

Westmoreland said her work was necessary because nurses can’t simply stop taking care of a patient to do something like address a worker grievance. People such as her do the union work and make it possible for the other nurses to focus on providing care.

“I have to travel across the country working with 23 VA facilities in four time zones,” she said. “The management teams want somebody at 100 percent official time so they don’t have to pull somebody out of care.”

But not everyone at the VA is involved in care. So what are the other 341 exclusive official time workers doing? Westmoreland had no insight.

“I don’t know how the other people do it,” she said.

American Federation of Government Employees President J. David Cox told Arrington’s subcommittee in February that official time involved activities such as “designing and delivering joint training of employees on work-related subjects and introduction of new programs and work methods that are initiated by the agency or by the union.”

He added that “in no way did the [February GAO] report suggest that the use of official time presents problems for the department.” The report sought only to quantify the amount of time used.

Arrington argues that the practice has to change if the VA is ever to be truly reformed. He has sponsored the Veterans, Employees and Taxpayer Protection Act, which would require the VA to track the use of official time. It also would prohibit employees involved with direct patient care from spending more than a quarter of their work hours on union activities and bar any VA employee from spending more than half of their time on official time.

The legislation would effectively put VA employees under right-to-work protection. The VA would be prohibited from agreeing to union contracts that force workers to join or otherwise support a union as a condition of employment.

Westmoreland said she has no trouble with better tracking the use of official time but warns against putting any limitations on its use.

“It makes it very difficult if you cannot have set official time,” she said.  (The Washington Examiner)

Our tax dollars at work?  Hardly.  The most regular visitor to the White House during the last administration was a big union guy.  One hopes this has changed, and that the inappropriate union influence in the federal government has ended.Or, as least, tricked down to STOP!

 

FBI Court Filing Reveals Grand Jury Targeted Hillary Clinton


(from Judicial Watch…)


Just when you think we’ve learned most of what there is to learn about Hillary Clinton’s emails a new mole pops up out of the hole.

This week Judicial Watch released State Department documents including a declaration from FBI Special Agent E.W. Priestap, the supervisor of the agency’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email activities, stating that the former secretary of state was the subject of a grand jury investigation related to her BlackBerry email accounts.

The declaration was produced in response to Judicial Watch’s lawsuit seeking to force Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to take steps to “recover emails of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton” and other U.S. Department of State employees (Judicial Watch, Inc. v. Rex Tillerson (No. 1:15-cv-00785)).  We originally filed the lawsuit against then-Secretary of State John Kerry.  The Trump State Department filing includes details of the agency’s continuing and shameful refusal to refer the Clinton email issue to the Justice Department, as the law requires.

In the filing, Priestap declares under penalty of perjury that the FBI “obtained Grand Jury subpoenas related to the Blackberry e-mail accounts, which produced no responsive materials, as the requested data was outside the retention time utilized by those providers.”

On April 30, 2015, Judicial Watch sued Kerry after the State Department failed to take action on a letter sent to Kerry “notifying him of the unlawful removal of the Clinton emails and requesting that he initiate enforcement action pursuant to the [Federal Records Act],” including working through the Attorney General to recover the emails.

After initially being dismissed by the district court, Judicial Watch’s lawsuit was revived on appeal by a decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on December 27, 2016.

While at the State Department, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton conducted official government business using an unsecured email server and email accounts. Her top aides and advisors also used non-“state.gov” email accounts to conduct official business. Clinton left office February 1, 2013.

The FBI convened a grand jury to investigate Hillary Clinton in 2016. Why is this information being released only now?

It is disturbing that the State Department, Justice Department, and FBI are still trying to protect Hillary Clinton.  President Trump needs to clean house at all these agencies.

 

 

Stop The National Carry Permit

Yes, Mr. Trump has a permit.

Yes, he supports the RKBA agenda (at least now where he sees his bread is buttered!)

BUT, a National Carry Permit?

NO.

Alan Korwin (the uninvited ombudsman, author of Page Nine and many gun law books) presents the argument:

The last thing you ever want is to have the federal government issuing national — or any — firearm carry permits.

The feds do not have this power. The feds should never have this power.

Your right to have a firearm anywhere in America should never depend on getting “papers” from any government, much less the federal powers in Washington, D.C.

If you have a gun — constitutionally protected private property — and you aren’t doing anything inherently wrong, that should never be a crime. There is no victim. No one is harmed. No actual crime is committed. The idea that you need a wallet card to be somewhere you have a legal right to be is preposterous.

Too many gun owners, including some leaders of the gun-rights movement, sincere but totally misinformed and misdirected, are salivating for our permit-carrying president elect to issue some sort of national carry plan. It cannot, must not, better not be a national permit in any way shape or form.

Over 20% of these United States have enacted ‘Constitutional Carry’, that is law-abiding citizens may carry firearms without the need for permitage.

Is there blood running in the streets in these States?  No, in fact crime is down.

Let’s cut to the chase, instead of pushing for more federal control and bureaucracy, let’s make The United States ALL Constitutional Carry!

Simplicity.  And less federal intrusion.  What a concept!

THIS Is CNN, Part Two

from Brock Townsend

Unbelievable! CNN says it’s ILLEGAL for you to read the Wikileaks/Hillary Clinton emails; but they’ll tell you what they think! 🙂

Via Billy

The 300

No, not THOSE 300 (the Spartans – “Molon Labe”, etc.)

Those of you who have read this blog for more than a week (poor bast***s) know me well enough to know I was raised on TV and movies.  I’m still hooked, and love nothing more than wasting my time in front of the idiot box selecting from either live television or the DVR.

Besides, I cannot afford to do much else.

And television has evolved from my childhood in the 50’s (3, 4 or 5 channels, shutting down at night with The National Anthem, followed by a ‘test pattern’ – youngsters, ask anyone born before 1960!) to a multitude of cable and satellite networks broadcasting 24/7, numbering in the hundreds, visible on flat digital TVs, tablets, PCs and even smartphones.  From pretty much anywhere in the ‘civilized’ world!

Of course, much of it is crap!  😛

Didn’t Steve Martin say, “147 channels and nothing’s on.” ?

Of course, I can watch Underwater Argentinian Curling at 0300, if I choose!  (just kidding, but not by much.)

I didn’t pay much attention to the actors of my youth (except the character actors – love them!), specifically, the number.

The few shows from Hollywood, those from NYC, how many actors were in that pool in say, 1956?

Fast-forward to 2016, with all this technology, with all these networks and shows, all these choices…

How many actors in this pool?

I contend it’s roughly 300.  Because of my largely unscientific but copious viewing habits, I’ve noticed actor A on that series (lead) when that series gets cancelled, shows up on a new series (as a second lead) almost immediately!

And if THAT series gets cancelled, they magically appear in a third, almost immediately.  As a special guest.  One week, the guy’s a federal special agent, the next he’s a city cop.  And in 13 weeks (or less) he appears as a metrosexual TV reporter.

Of course, most of these folks are extremely ‘talented’, (or at least pretty people!)

Look at Ted Danson.  He began as a murdered cop in ‘The Onion Field’, Went to ‘Cheers’, then ‘CSI’, then ‘CSI Cyber’ and now ‘The Good Place’.  With lots more in between.

It just seems I keep seeing the same actors in different roles on different shows in different seasons.  Sometimes, it’s the only way I find out the previous show was cancelled!

And watching reruns makes it even more confusing.  I just watched an episode of Law & Order Criminal Intent (2001-2011), with Michael Emerson (as the main bad guy).  He has an ‘affair’ with Cara Buono, whom he ends up murdering.  (Victim #3).

Move to Person of Interest (2010-2015).  Michael Emerson is now Mr. Finch, the creator of ‘the machine’ who spies on everyone, and Cara Buono guest stars as Martine, whose job it is to assassinate Finch and his agents.  While I’m certain Mr. Emerson put in a good word with the casting folks, it further acknowledges the almost incestuous nature of the 300.

And why there are only 300.

Well, back to the idiot box…

Cara Buono

Cara Buono

Michael Emerson

Michael Emerson

The 22%

ccwI remember (way back in the 1970s – when I got into gun stuff as an adult) fantasizing that I lived in a State that had concealed weapon permits!  How cool would THAT have been?  Being able to be armed – discreetly!

One of the reasons I wanted to become a cop was that very reason.  It seemed sad that few States had permittage, and most of them were may issue.  Usually meaning unless you were one of the special few (or perhaps funds changed hands) you either did nor carry concealed, or did not carry concealed legally!

Now, here we are in the new century, and the tide has turned.  A significant number of States how have concealed weapon laws and some even passed Constitutional Carry – no permit needed!

Specifically, with the addition of Missouri, 11 States (22% of the 50!) no permit required!

41 States, and Guam(!)  now have some provision for shall issue permits! (Wikipedia)

Of course, we still have States like California (and New York), with their difficult to get may issue permits, and checkerboard of convoluted and restrictive gun laws.

And with the ever-present nonsense by the Statists equating gun ownership with terrorism.  (Hillary?)

BUT, things have definitely improved since the 1940’s, and in spite of warnings to the contrary regarding every CCW (carry concealed weapon) and Constitutional Carry law being passed, there has been no blood in the streets!
(It seems every time such legislation is suggested, the ANTI-RIGHTS folks trot out the same, tired meme.)

It’s been said that the American Revolution was started and maintained by just 3% of the population.  In spite of the ubiquitous onslaught of the anti rights control folks, we seem to be winning!

Hooray for the responsible, law-abiding citizens, going about their private business invoking their right to possible self-defense!

Now, if we could just reverse the rampant surveillance and searching without warrant!  I know, one Amendment at a time…

Sigh.

Running Away Doesn’t Mean You Did Something

Black men who try to avoid an encounter with Boston police by fleeing may have a legitimate reason to do so — and should not be deemed suspicious — according to a ruling by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.

Citing Boston police data and a 2014 report by the ACLU of Massachusetts that found blacks were disproportionately stopped by the city’s police, the state’s highest court on Tuesday threw out the gun conviction of Jimmy Warren.
MORE

-Crazyeighter

(from Wirecutter)

Okay.  I get if you come from a fractured subculture wherein male leadership is largely lacking, and you are poor and a minority, and have been taught to fear ‘the man’, you might want to run if confronted.

Even if you hadn’t done anything.

BUT, the idea that fleeing the police (IF you are a Black man) your flight cannot be viewed as suspicious(!?)

WTF?

Not to mention the whole racist component – What about a Black woman?  Or a Latino?  Or a White?  Or someone of mixed race?

I see a whole can of worms being opened here for additional court cases…

Once again, activist judges take the reins, in lieu of those who swore to protect and defend The Constitution.

What?  They DID swear?

I’m not surprised.  So have Presidents, Congressmen, Senators, FBI heads and Supreme Court Justices over the past 60 70 100 years.

And no one (of any power) has called them on it!

frustrated

 

It’s That Man Behind The Curtain, Again…

Pay no attention to him.

The powers-that-be no longer care to hide their secret machinations!

“Election Fraud Underway” – NBC Affiliate Posts “Election Results” For Florida Race That Hasn’t Happened Yet

Via David

Laurel Bennett

Republican candidate for Florida House District 86, Laurel Bennett, was a bit shocked over the weekend when she discovered that a local West Palm Beach NBC affiliate, WPTV, reported that she had lost a race even though votes hadn’t been cast yet.  Why do we need voters when it’s far easier to just skip straight to the results?

The note from WPTV showed Laurel getting 12,189 votes or 45%.  Laurel posted the following comment to her facebook page in response to the erroneous report:

“Election fraud is already taking place here in Palm Beach County!  WPTV is posting election results, today, when the race is Tuesday! Please spread the word and contact everyone you know to vote Bennett on Tuesday! I have a snapshot of it! End corruption in Palm Beach! It begins with you, the voter!”

More @ Zero Hedge
Let’s see…
Foreign governments hacking into American voting systems…rampant voter registration fraud, especially in swing States…protest and court decisions AGAINST voter ID…movements to register illegal aliens and felons…
It used to be that those of us who speculated the Presidential elections weren’t decided at the polls, but rather by a committee of powerful men in a smoke-filled room somewhere, were thought of as wild-eyed paranoiacs.  Not as much, anymore.
Things have changed.
They don’t allow smoking most places, anymore!
201-Smoke Filled Room

Bilderbergers? Zionists? Democrats?

Like I’d Wear THEIR Clothes!

Borepatch posted:

The latest idea from the Left

Don’t let old people vote:

GQ Magazine went all out, producing: “WE SHOULD BAN OLD PEOPLE FROM VOTING”. Writing about “them” as if the older generations are some foreign species, the reasons given by the author included:
“The EU referendum result will have less effect on older people”; “Over 65s read the Daily Mail”; “There was no ‘golden age’ of Britain”; and “We take pensioners’ driving licences away… why not their right to vote?”

It’s time for the Government to dissolve the People and elect a new one …

(via)

When  did a men’s ‘fashion’ magazine begin taking it upon itself to dictate public policy ideas?  And, why should I care?
walterGol’ darn young whippersnappers!
Obviously, useful idiots of Lenin will suffer more, if they cannot get more freebies from government.  And, as they will live longer (in their nice, fashionable clothes) it only stands to ‘reason’ that they want the old folks disenfranchised…
Didn’t they ever see Logan’s Run?  Don’t they realize one day they will get old?
old man

The Panama Papers

(As stolen borrowed from Counting Cats in Zanzibar)

The Panama Papers - Mossack Fonseca

 

The Panama Papers are an unprecedented leak of 11.5m files from the database of the world’s fourth biggest offshore law firm, Mossack Fonseca. The records were obtained from an anonymous source by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, which shared them with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). The ICIJ then shared them with a large network of international partners, including the Guardian and the BBC.

What do they reveal?
The documents show the myriad ways in which the rich can exploit secretive offshore tax regimes. Twelve national leaders are among 143 politicians, their families and close associates from around the world known to have been using offshore tax havens.

A $2bn trail leads all the way to Vladimir Putin. The Russian president’s best friend – a cellist called Sergei Roldugin – is at the centre of a scheme in which money from Russian state banks is hidden offshore. Some of it ends up in a ski resort where in 2013 Putin’s daughter Katerina got married.

Among national leaders with offshore wealth are Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan’s prime minister; Ayad Allawi, ex-interim prime minister and former vice-president of Iraq; Petro Poroshenko, president of Ukraine; Alaa Mubarak, son of Egypt’s former president; and the prime minister of Iceland, Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson.

An offshore investment fund run by the father of British prime minister David Cameron avoided ever having to pay tax in Britain by hiring a small army of Bahamas residents to sign its paperwork. The fund has been registered with HM Revenue and Customs since its inception and has filed detailed tax returns every year.

The Grauniad – What are the Panama papers?

As a libertarian and someone who believes that all tax is theft, I have some measure of sympathy and indeed support for those who go to extraordinary lengths to avoid taxation and government meddling in the private affairs of citizens, for example Facebook’s Eduardo Saverin who paid a 15% exit tax on his US assets to expatriate to Singapore in 2011.

Those who are unworthy of such libertarian acclaim are those who use illegal means to hide wealth arising from bribery and corruption or who enforce taxation on the little people, but evade it themselves.  (Agree – Guffaw)

Traditionally, this has been 3rd world dictators or the governors of oil rich provinces in Nigeria and such places who essentially steal the wealth of their own populace / electorate. So it was not surprising to find these “usual suspects” in the Panama papers.

Even Vladimir Putin is not someone that I am particularly surprised at given that he has ruled Russia as President and proxy for nearly 20 years.

The sorts of names that you don’t expect are the legislators of modern Western countries such as Iceland’s PM (but not I suspect for long), Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson. Bastards like this who illustrate Leona Helmsley’s view that “We don’t pay taxes. Only the little people pay taxes”* should face the full force of the law.

[EDIT: and as predicted, less than a day later he’s quit]

For UK politicians and business leaders, it is not just tax evasion that the Panama papers might reveal, but also crimes committed under the Bribery Act 2010 and earlier criminal statutes. For example, those cosy little 3rd world arms deals so recently brought to life in the BBC’s adaptation of John Le Carre’s “The Night Manager”.

I suspect that quite a few of the worlds elite will be having sleepless nights over the revelations and since the papers go back 40-years, I expect we will be pissing on the graves of quite a few ex politicians and members of the elite as well. GOOD!

* – Leona Helmsley disputes that she ever said this.

Why should we as Americans care?

Bilton, Richard (April 4, 2016). “Panama Papers: How a British man, 90, covered for a US millionaire”. BBC News. Retrieved April 4, 2016.

Hall, Kevin G.; Taylor, Marisa (April 4, 2016). “Americans, including a Bellevue man, show up in Panama Papers”. Seattle Times. Retrieved April 5, 2016.

Is this just the tip of the iceberg?  Or has malfeasance at the highest level of someone other than Americans made the papers for a change?

Interesting that in the list of those nations investigating this matter the United States is absent*

 

"Round up the usual suspects."

In Loving Memory…