Sunday, January 11, 2015

Stopping Radical Islam


Also published at:


Forty world leaders, from every political and religious affiliation, led over a million people, from every political, ethnic, and religious affiliation, through the streets of Paris.  It was a vivid and historic show of solidarity for Western civilization and its freedoms.

What next?  Cynics have already said this high spirited unanimity will pass as politicians and normal people return to their daily lives. 

It does not have to be that way. 

There are strategic actions that can be taken to stop radical Islam, and its terrorist legions, in their tracks.

Cyber Warfare

It is time to shut down the social networks and websites used by radical Islam to recruit, fund raise, and mobilize. All internet services should ban websites associated with radical Islam.  Youtube and other media share sites should ban all images and videos that promote ISIS, Al Queada, BokoHaram, al-Shabaab, and all other terrorists groups. Except on legitimate news sites, these images should be banned the same way NAZI images are banned – across the globe.

All nations should launch a coordinated assault to crash and keep off the air all websites, servers, and communication technologies of violent Islamic groups.   There should also be a decision by all news outlets to not show any videos or messages from these groups.

Dismantle Sharia Controlled Zones

Western governments must dismantle radical Islamic “no entry” zones.  This can be done by passing laws enforcing the host country’s laws within all jurisdictions, and providing funds for law enforcement to be active and visible in these enclaves of hate.  Alternatively, Congress and other parliaments should threaten to end funding support of municipal governments that refuse to move against radical Islamic zones.

Over the last decade, Islamic radicals have established these “no entry” zones in major Western cities.  Block after block of major cities, in Paris, London, Detroit, Minneapolis, and many others, are ruled by radical Islamic councils.  Sharia law is enforced and holds itself exempt from host country laws and jurisdiction.

Alhurra, and other courageous news outlets, have exposed these beacheads of radical Islam.  This includes recording “no entry” residents proudly declaring that they are not immigrants, but “colonists for the Caliphate”.  These enclaves are recruiting hubs and staging areas for terrorism.  They exist because the West values religious freedom.  They exploit the West’s tolerance and naivet√© to promote intolerance and hate.

End Radical Islamic Madrassas

Wahhabi curriculum must be ended in all Islamic religious schools.  National and local governments must review and approve curriculum, educational materials, and faculty for these schools.  They are the primary incubators of treason against host governments, and for fermenting terrorism designed to destroy Western civilization and its values of freedom. 

This is a global war for hearts and minds. The West is fighting a losing battle unless these poisonous training sites are closed.

Wahhabism promotes the most radical interpretation of the Koran.  This includes complete oppression of women, hatred of the West, and approval of jihad against the West and even against more moderate Muslims. Wahhabi leaders have approved destruction and desecration of religious and historic sites across the world.

Promote Islamic Moderates

Western media needs to promote moderate Muslim leaders.  Western universities, think tanks, and other forums need to bring Muslim voices of reason into high profile public dialogues.

Recently, some Islamic leaders and commentators have promoted the need for the equivalent of a Council of Nicea or Vatican II to bring their religion into the modern world.  Some have referenced aggiornamento, a Catholic term meaning a sustained effort to embrace modernity in both doctrine and rite.

There are also substantial Muslim groups, such as the Indonesian- based Pengurus Besar Nahdlatul Ulama (“Awakening of Scholars”), the largest Muslim organization in the world, that promote a peaceful and forward looking interpretation of the Koran.  These groups need larger stages upon which to counter the radicals.

Use Oil as a weapon

America needs to use its growing energy independence as a strategic weapon.  American and Canadian oil needs to be pumped and subsidized until oil prices are driven below $30 barrel.  The West can then do to the oil producing Arab nations what they have done to the West since the mid-1970s.  The West can dictate ending funding of radical Islamic Madrassas, ending banking and funding of terrorist groups, and ending safe havens for terrorists. That would be exchanged for stabilizing and increasing oil prices.  If the Arab states refuse to work with the West, they will see their billions in revenue evaporate back in to the desert. 

This is war – civilization must win.

[Scot Faulkner has served in executive positions in the government and the private sector.  He has worked in the Middle East since 2002, including Bahrain, Egypt, Qatar, and the UAE. http://citizenoversight.blogspot.com/ ]

 

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

INVITATION ONLY



How can the new Republican Congress signal that they are the co-equal branch of government? How can Republicans avoid being out maneuvered by President Obama?


It’s time to NOT invite President Obama to give his State of the Union Address before Congress. This is a clear and simple way Republicans can, in one master stroke, register their opposition to Obama’s Executive Orders and realign the balance between the Legislative and Executive Branches.
There is no official reason for the speech. There is not even a requirement for it to be annual. Article II, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution only requires the President to “from time to time give to the Congress information of the State of the Union”.


There is also no requirement that Congress grant the President the use of their Chamber for this ritualized infomercial.


On January 16, 2014, Rep. Eric Cantor sponsored H.Con.Res.75 authorizing “That the two Houses of Congress assemble in the Hall of the House of Representatives on Tuesday, January 28, 2014, at 9 p.m., for the purpose of receiving such communication as the President of the United States shall be pleased to make to them.” What if, in January 2015, no one sponsored a Concurrent Resolution or voted for it?


Republicans would prove that the Congress is a co-equal branch, not subservient to the President. They would not become a pack of trained seals clapping at dozens of cheap applause lines. They would not be the stage set for Obama's grandstanding to the nation and helping the media continue their “Obama is on the rebound” narrative.

They would also avoid being put in multiple political binds as the President introduces controversial people, daring the Republicans not to applaud. This may include Michael Brown’s and Eric Garner’s parents sitting next to the First Lady. Obama might even introduce Al Sharpton or some newly pardoned illegal aliens from his VIP delegation in the Chamber’s balcony.


Not inviting the President also brings the State of the Union back to its traditional position in American government.


President George Washington delivered the first State of the Union speech in person before a Joint Session of Congress on January 8, 1790. Since then, there have been 223 opportunities for Presidents to deliver their report. Presidents have delivered their report as a speech before a Joint Session of Congress only 98 times (44%). The other 125 times were through written communication.
George Washington and John Adams delivered their State of the Union reports as speeches, but Thomas Jefferson was more comfortable with the written word. For 113 years, no other President delivered a State of the Union speech until Democrat Woodrow Wilson on December 2, 1913. President Warren Harding continued this new practice as did Calvin Coolidge, once.


For ten years, Congress did not have to arrange a Joint Session for the State of the Union Address. Then Democrat Franklin Roosevelt asked for the forum in 1934. In 1946, President Harry Truman opted out of a formal speech because, during the previous nine months, he had spoken to five Joint Sessions of Congress relating to the end of World War II. In 1956, President Eisenhower opted out of the speech because he was still recovering from his September 24, 1955 heart attack.


No one really missed the Presidential vanity hour. Twenty six Presidents, including two of America’s greatest Presidential orators, Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt, choose not to speak to the Congress. Congress still operated. Legislative business continued.


Presidents issue a detailed Budget Message a few weeks after the State of the Union Report. This is a more tangible and actionable communication of the Administration’s priorities. Far more budget initiatives become reality than the dozens of empty promises made in a State of the Union address.
Congressional Republicans have an historic opportunity to reinvent government in the 21st Century.


They can start by ending this annual narcissistic charade, which promotes the image of a dominant Executive Branch. Let the President speak from the Oval Office - that would more than meet the Constitutional requirement.


[Scot Faulkner served as Chief Administrative Officer of the U.S. House of Representatives and on President Reagan’s White House Staff]

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Righteous Mind





[Guest Contributor - Donald G. Mutersbaugh Sr.]


I would like to share my thoughts about a book whose subtopic should be of interest to all political animals and religious leaders: The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion. Jonathan Haidt's words of wisdom can be summed up: whatever position you have politically or religiously, always try to question what else it is that you are missing. Henry Ford had similar thinking: “If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as from your own.” What makes Haidt’s rather scholarly work different centers on this: Reason is often less decisive in deciding what the best moral or political position is; rather, it’s our emotions and intuitions that react first. The following presentation will include quotes from Haidt’s book, The Righteous Mind.  Please keep in mind that this is more of a book review than an editorial. Also, be aware that there are many other points to his theory, but space limitations prevent me from presenting all of them; this is a summary of the main topics.
Haidt starts with notion that our views are the product of reasoned thought. Haidt uses the metaphor of an elephant and rider. The rider is our conscious (rational) mind, which you may believe is in charge. But the elephant is our unconscious (intuition) mind, which is far bigger and stronger. The rider is really the elephant’s servant whose job it is to come up with rationalizations justifying the elephant’s position and movement. This is the first principle of moral psychology: “Intuitions come first, strategic reasoning second.” As Heidt recommends, “Thinking in this way [rider and elephant] can make you more patient with other people. When you catch yourself making up ridiculous post hoc arguments, you might be slower to dismiss other people just because you can so easily refute their arguments.” He then presents “The social intuitionist model. Intuitions come first and reasoning is usually produced after a judgment is made, in order to influence other people. But as the discussion progresses, the reasons given by other people sometimes change our intuitions and judgments.”
In the next section Heidt presents the second principle of moral psychology: “There's more to morality than harm and fairness…. Moral matrices bind people together and blind them to the coherence, or even existence, of other matrices. This makes it very difficult for people to consider the possibility that there might really be more than one form of moral truth, or more than one valid framework for judging people or running a society.” Heidt uses a metaphor that the righteous mind is like a tongue with six taste receptors (the following is directly quoted):
The Care/harm foundation evolved in response to the adaptive challenge of caring for vulnerable children.
The Fairness/cheating foundation evolved in response to the adaptive challenge of reaping the rewards of cooperation without getting exploited.
The Loyalty/betrayal foundation evolved in response to the adaptive challenge of forming and maintaining coalitions.
The Authority/subversion foundation evolved in response to the adaptive challenge of forging relationships that will benefit us within social hierarchies.
The Sanctity/degradation foundation evolved initially in response to the adaptive challenge of the omnivore's dilemma, and then the broader challenge of living in a world of pathogens and parasites…. It makes possible for people to invest objects with irrational and extreme values – both positive and negative – which are important for binding groups together.
The Liberty/oppression foundation… evolved in response to the adaptive challenge of living in small groups with individuals who would, if given the chance, dominate, bully, and constrain others.
You might ask why this is important. It is because liberals, conservatives and libertarians all place differing degrees of emphasis on these different foundations. In the Liberal Moral Matrix, the most sacred value is care for the victims of oppression. In the Libertarian Moral Matrix, the most sacred value is individual liberty. And in the Social Conservative Moral Matrix, the most sacred value is to preserve the institutions and traditions that sustain a moral community. “Republicans understand the social intuitionist model better than do Democrats. Republicans speak more directly to the elephant. They also have a better grasp of Moral Foundations Theory; they trigger every single taste receptor [six, not just two or three].” This is why Republicans have a hard time understanding Democrats and why Democrats have a hard time understanding Republicans. All of these people are good people, intelligent people, and mean well; it's more of a comprehension or lack of understanding type of problem.
The third part of the book deals with our “groupishness”. As he explains, “Yes, people are often selfish, and a great deal of our moral, political, and religious behavior can be understood as thinly veiled ways of pursuing self-interest…. But it's also true that people are groupish. We love to join teams, clubs, leagues, and fraternities. We take on group identities and work shoulder to shoulder with strangers toward common goals so enthusiastically that it seems as if our minds were designed for teamwork…. our minds contain a variety of mental mechanisms that make us adept at promoting our group's interests, in competition with other groups.”This leads us to the third and final principle of moral psychology: "Morality binds and blinds. It binds us into ideological teams that fight each other as though the fate of the world depended on our side winning each battle. It blinds us to the fact that each team is composed of good people who have something important to say." Once we understand this, it makes it easier for us to understand who we are, and more importantly, it helps us to understand the opposing viewpoint of another group. With this approach, we hopefully avoid the tendency to negatively confront the other group – just because it's the other group. It also helps explain why people make decisions within the group that might be different than what the individual wants: it's because we are “groupish”!
So, if you’re ready to trade in anger for understanding, do as Haidt concludes: "We`re all stuck here for a while, so let`s try to work it out."
____________________________________
Donald G. Mutersbaugh, Sr. earned his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Maryland and his Master of Business Administration degree from Mary Washington College. He is the former Associate Administrator of Information Resources for the U.S House of Representatives under Speaker Newt Gingrich. He is also an ordained minister and has a Doctor of Divinity degree.
 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

TRUE COLORS


 
 
On November 4, 2014, the Republican Party rewrote America’s political map.  It is now time to rewrite the media’s political map.
 
During the 2000 Presidential election recount battle, long time Democrat turned pundit Tim Russert took the unilateral act of swapping out the long standing political colors for Republicans and Democrats.  His liberal media colleagues jumped at the chance to rebrand Democrats away from their 20th Century left wing affiliations.
 
Unfortunately, Fox News and conservatives also embraced this swap.  As a result, a two hundred year global tradition of blue meaning conservative and red meaning liberal ended in America. Along with swapping colors, media pundits and political scientists began using “red state; blue state” to simplify and “dumb down” their analysis of America’s richly nuanced civic culture.
 
Republicans and conservatives should be deeply offended at the liberal media’s unilateral and unofficial propaganda act.  Realizing the history of these colors should cause an outpouring of conservatives to demand at least their media friends at Fox and Talk Radio take a stand and return to the GOP’s noble blue color.
 
Colors have meaning. Uniforms and banners on the battlefield have identified friend and foe since the beginning of human history.  Most of history linked colors to nations and dynasties.  The most famous was England’s 15th Century dynastic war symbolized between the white rose of York and the red rose of Lancaster. In the late 18th Century, blue became the first modern political color.  It was worn as boutonni√®res by British parliamentary candidates supporting Pitt the Younger (the leader who helped William Wilberforce end slavery). Blue evolved into the permanent color of the Conservative Party of England and of center-right movements around the world, including the Republican Party in America.  Radicals and pre-communist activists did not have their own color until the French Revolution.
 
On August 9, 1792, antimonarchist provocateur, Jean-Paul Marat, called upon the people of Paris to rise up and overthrow King Louis XVI.  This was a reaction to recent French reversals on the battlefield and a rising concern by Robespierre over some Legislative Assembly delegates seeking national unity through reconciliation with the powerless King.
 
The next morning, mobs swarmed the Tuileries, where the royal family was under house arrest.  The King allowed the mob into the complex and ordered his Swiss Guard not to fire.  Previous incursions had ended peacefully as moderate voices prevailed. Not this time. The mob slaughtered the surrendering Swiss Guards and then sought out servants and kitchen staff to tear apart – limb from limb.  One observer called it a “mad festival of blood”.  The King and his family were imprisoned in a fortified monastery with the guillotine looming ahead of them.
 
The mob stripped the blood soaked red uniforms from the Swiss Guards and paraded the shards on long pikes as revolutionary banners.  Thus red became the color of the most radical factions of the French Revolution and of left wing movements to this day.
 
Remember that the next time a conservative uses “Red State” to describe Republicans and conservatives.
 
Scot Faulkner served as Chief Administrative Officer of the U.S. House of Representatives and as Director of Personnel to Ronald Reagan.
 
 

Saturday, October 25, 2014

SAVE TIME SEND A MESSAGE

I have only voted straight party ticket twice since moving to Jefferson County in 1987.
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I voted straight Democrat in 2006 and I will be voting straight Republican this year.
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Most of my local friends and neighbors know that I usually vote for the person.  Jefferson County politics are highly complex and nuanced.  Both political parties have offered up the best and worst over these past 27 years.  My friends, who are Democrats, have always cheered my crossing party lines to work and vote for Democrats.  This year I call on them to cross over and vote for Republicans.
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There are times when voters must make a clear statement.  In 2006, President Bush made a total mess of American foreign policy, squandering billions of our tax dollars and thousands of American lives on ill-conceived and poorly executed foreign adventures.  In 2005, the Bush Administration displayed epic incompetence in responding to Hurricane Katrina.  Republicans in Congress were wantonly spending and earmarking public funds, ignoring their political roots and their promises to the voters.  They had to be punished.  A straight ticket rejection was my most vivid personal statement.
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This year it is the Democrats who must get the wake-up call. President Obama is exceeding Bush in installing a delusional foreign policy that is devastating the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Ukraine.  Obama and Congressional Democrats are spending America into oblivion while fixating on covering-up or delaying the full accounting of countless scandals.  As Obama has stated in recent interviews, his policies and his ability to continue his destructive course are on the ballot this year.  Voters must send a clear message of rejection by voting straight Republican.
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In West Virginia, 83 years of Democrats running our House of Delegates have solidified our state at the bottom of everything that is good and at the top of everything that is bad.  West Virginia is toxic to new business.  It is easier to exchange funds from foreign banks with America than to transfer funds in and out of West Virginia.  The only way to change the future of our state is to change the players in Charleston.
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I know all candidates who are running for House of Delegates.  They are all good and sincere people.  However, the incumbent Democrats have been lap dogs, not watch dogs, regarding the wanton corruption and dysfunction of our state government.  Their silence in holding state officials accountable must end.  Their silence in advocating for Panhandle priorities must end. Change our future - vote straight Republican.
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In Jefferson County, our local politics have never been about Republican versus Democrat. It is all about the good-ole-boy Court House elite versus reform minded citizens.  The elite swaps business deals under the table while giving each other civic awards. The Court House crowd wants to turn our tourist gateway into one big strip mall, and build a sea of new houses that will stress public services and bankrupt us.  Their worst nightmare is an engaged electorate demanding complete transparency and accountability.
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Our two local Democrat candidates are perennial favorites of this Court House elite.  They are also hoping voters do not remember their pasts.  The appointed Sheriff was crushingly defeated in 2002.  Jefferson voters were fed-up with his arrogance and cronyism as President of our Board of Education.  They were also tired of his suppressing public access to public records and meetings.  Since his appointment as Sheriff, he as steadfastly refused to correct long standing material weaknesses in our public accounts and financial processes.
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The only way to bring real integrity and transparency to our County’s finances is to vote for STEVEN SOWERS.  Steve knows the world of first responders, having held multiple leadership positions in law enforcement and in firefighting for 31 years. Steve is a certified arson investigator, CPR instructor, and has been trained in emergency response with terrorism, HAZMAT, emergency vehicle operations, and leadership. Steve was born and raised in Ranson.  Most importantly, Steve is working with audit and financial experts to map out his actions for bringing full accounting compliance and transparency to our county.
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The Democrat running for Harpers Ferry District Supervisor was crushingly defeated in 2010 when she ran for Clerk. In 2010, she was openly funded by the developers.  Her first wave of yards signs were openly funded by her employer – Lee Snyder.  Her platform included limiting access to Court House records and increasing public access fees.  This year she is cloaking herself in new found environmentalism, but the most damaging developers are still funding her campaign. 
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Only voting for ERIC BELL will change things.  Eric represents the new wave of young entrepreneurs who are shaping a bright economic future for our County by embracing its uniqueness.  Eric’s stellar military record is matched by his solid business record as the CFO/COO of Bloomery Plantation Distillery.  Eric will be our watch dog over public finances and help Jefferson County attract job generating businesses that build upon, not undermine, the identity of our county.
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I call on all Jefferson County citizens to SAVE TIME – SEND A MESSAGE – VOTE STRAIGHT REPUBLICAN.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Medicare Plans to Penalize Hospital Use

Guest Contributor Paul Burke



Medicare plans to penalize hospital use for 4.9 million seniors who get health care from Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs). ACOs are groups of doctors and hospitals which sign up to receive rewards from Medicare if they cut Medicare spending on their patients. They also receive protection from antitrust and kickback rules.
 
The rewards which ACOs receive are changing. Out are rewards for cholesterol management and anti-clotting treatment. In are rewards for keeping patients out of hospitals.
 
Three quarters of ACOs do not cut costs enough to get rewards, so the changes are not aimed at them. Most ACOs include hospitals, so the new incentives to avoid hospital stays are not aimed at them either; they will just bring other patients into the hospitals, with little or no net saving.
The new rewards do show Medicare's thinking about how to care for seniors.
 
Medicare plans to penalize ACOs when patients in three categories have unplanned hospital stays. The three categories are: diabetes, heart failure and multiple chronic conditions. Even when these patients need hospital stays, such as for appendicitis or heart attacks, Medicare proposes a penalty on each stay.
 
ACOs are already penalized when their patients go to hospitals for treatment of heart failure, emphysema, chronic bronchitis or asthma, on the reasoning these can be treated without hospital stays. ACOs are supposed to minimize hospital stays for those treatments, and now are also supposed to minimize hospital stays for patients with diabetes, heart failure or multiple chronic conditions.
 
ACOs have also faced penalties each time a patient leaves a hospital and is readmitted within 30 days to the same or another hospital, for related or unrelated treatment. An extra penalty will apply in the future if the patient goes to a nursing home in between. Penalties are additive, so six penalties will apply for example to a patient with multiple chronic conditions who goes into a hospital for emphysema, then to a nursing home and back to a hospital for heart failure within 30 days.
 
Doctors and Medicare patients can avoid these penalties on hospital stays. They can try to identify ACOs which have cut costs enough to care about the penalties and avoid them, or avoid all ACOs, or choose hospice, which ends all curative care. Avoiding ACOs is wise, according to Regina Herzlinger, PhD, of Harvard Business School, when patients have serious issues such as "diabetes, cancer, or congestive heart failure. You need specialists for that. They are the opposite of organizations, such as ACOs, that do everything for everyone."
 
ACOs may not want seriously sick patients anyway. Simon Prince, MD, President of Beacon ACO in New York, which does earn rewards, presciently said before Beacon became an ACO, "If they're going to put the risk back onto the ACO and onto the physician, it's going to be more difficult and we could start self-selecting which patients we want to include in our ACO."
 
In each measure ACOs need to be above the 90th percentile to get full rewards, so for example they get full rewards if they hospitalize fewer diabetes patients than 90% of their competitors. This high target shows Medicare's high priority for reducing hospital use. Medicare has already extended hospital readmission penalties to patients outside ACOs. It also cuts general hospital payments based on total patient cost from 3 days before the stay to 30 days after.
 
As Medicare extends penalties outside ACOs, it will be harder for patients with chronic illnesses to avoid the penalties and keep getting complete care.
 
Many goals of quality medicine are not covered in this reward system. There are no rewards for keeping patients alive or for prevention or treatment of most conditions, such as cancer, HIV, disabilities, osteoporosis, kidney disease, or pain. Tonya Saffer of the National Kidney Foundation says, "Quality measurement is not exactly where it needs to be yet. We need true outcomes measures that are associated with morbidity, mortality, and patient quality of life."
 
Medicare struggles even to follow medical guidelines. They are dropping rewards for cholesterol management and anti-clotting therapy because guidelines changed.
 
Aco.globe1234.com lists all the rewards, and it lists the 369 ACOs, which serve 4.9 million patients. Most doctors, 61%, do not plan to join ACOs, so patients have choices. Medicare accepts comments until Sept. 2 on the new reward structure. ACOs which cut costs will start earning the new rewards in October 2015.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Vacuous VA



The following was published in The Washington Examiner.



Shinseki must go.  It is unconscionable for a leader to be so asleep at the switch.
 
Secretary Shinseki’s lack of curiosity is a fundamental flaw.  No leader, especially a Cabinet Secretary responsible for the well-being of America’s veterans, should be allowed to remain after their inaction caused unwarranted deaths.  Shinseki’s after the fact display of concern is not a sufficient atonement for what happened. 
 
Real leaders are pro-active and follow-up.  No matter how much they trust their subordinates, a real leader random checks and deep dives within their organization to independently verify actions, gain important insights, and connect with their colleagues.  Shinseki did none of these and lives were lost.
 
An example of a real leader is Gerry Carmen’s tenure as Administrator of the General Services Administration (GSA) under Ronald Reagan. In1980, the GSA was one of the most scandal ridden agencies of the federal government.  President Reagan picked Carmen, a no nonsense auto parts entrepreneur from New Hampshire, to clean up the GSA. 
 
Carmen immediately took steps to turn around the GSA. He elevated three whistleblowers (who had been ostracized and marginalized under President Carter) to key positions and began to hold people accountable. In league with the whistleblowers and investigative journalists, Carmen and his team dusted off mountains of unread Inspector General Reports, worked closely with the Justice Department, and sent forty eight corrupt GSA officials to jail.   The signal was crystal clear; GSA was to be an honest agency with zero tolerance for waste, fraud, or abuse.
 
His first opportunity for operational change was reducing processing time for federal supplies.  The average “work in process” (WIP) time for an agency supply order to move from order entry to shipment was 45 days.  Carmen ordered that WIP be reduced to nine days. A new reporting unit, Program Control, was established to directly monitor operations and measure performance. 
 
Within the first weeks, WIP magically fell to nine days in reports from the GSA warehouses.  Carmen did not believe it.  An immediate audit of the warehouse reports showed that warehouse managers had redefined WIP to only cover activity related to preparing supplies for shipment.  Just like at the Department of Veterans Affairs, career bureaucrats created a parallel set of measures to erase a backlog.  Unlike the V.A., Carmen and his team, ferreted out the subterfuge and fired those who cooked the books.
 
One Washington, DC area GSA warehouse did not “cook the books”.  However, the warehouse manager complained that he could not reduce WIP unless he had ten more fork lifts.  Once again, Carmen wasn’t buying it.  He made an unannounced visit to the warehouse and discovered forty fork lifts, fifteen of which were disabled waiting long overdue repairs.  Carmen also reviewed the operational logs and unearthed the fact that there were only twenty certified fork lift operators.  No effort had been made to certify new operators after a dozen had left or retired.  The Washington warehouse manager was immediately placed on administrative leave and was jettisoned from government service within the month.
 
Shinseki was not confronted with flim flams over supply chain management; he confronted manipulations that impacted lives.  His passivity is unforgivable.  He insulted everyone involved by hiding behind the lamest excuse of all – trying to minimize the scope of his negligence.  Shinseki declared, “Most veterans are satisfied with the quality of their V.A. health care, but we must do more to improve timely access to that care.”
The removal of Dr. Robert A. Petzel, the under secretary for health, is clearly not enough. Tom Tarantino, with The Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, correctly asserted, “We don’t need the V.A. to find a scapegoat. We need an actual plan to restore a culture of accountability throughout the V.A.”
That can only happen with a new leader, who actually knows how to lead.

[Scot Faulkner led the Office of Program Control for Gerry Carmen at the GSA.  He also led the clean-up of Congressional operations as the Chief Administrative Officer of the U.S. House of Representatives. http://citizenoversight.blogspot.com/ ]