While Vets Wait 5 Years for Benefits, VA Bought $562,000 in Art


The Obama era has been a terrible one for veterans. The cuts to health and pensions were bad enough, but the backlog for benefits grew even worse.

The ranks of veterans waiting more than a year for their benefits grew from 11,000 in 2009, the first year of Obama’s presidency, to 245,000 in December — an increase of more than 2,000 percent.

Since 2009, the number of Southern California veterans waiting more than a year for their benefits has increased from 262 to 21,567.

More than 3,000 Southern California veterans have been waiting more than two years for their benefits.

As a candidate, Obama had promised to revamp a “broken VA bureaucracy,” but the documents reveal that many of the administration’s attempts — including efforts to boost staffing and computerize claims processing — have fallen apart in the implementation.

The agency has spent four years and $537 million on a new computer system, 97 percent of all veterans’ claims remain on paper. Since those numbers were tallied by the agency in January, the VA’s two top technology officers have announced their resignations, saying they had accomplished their goals.

A closer look at the VA disaster would have told you everything you needed to know about how ObamaCare was going to work. Colin Powell recently advocated for government healthcare based on military healthcare.

It’s not clear how much actual experience he has had with it as a patient.

In 2010, Korean War veteran Gary Willingham, 80, went to the VA hospital in Dallas for what his family believed would be a short operation to remove a tumor from his neck. But the doctors accidentally clamped off his carotid artery and starved his brain of oxygen for 15 minutes. He had a massive stroke, which rendered him paralyzed and unable to eat or drink on his own. He died a year later.

Willingham’s family was never informed about the ghastly mistake made by VA doctors.

In just the past year, we’ve learned about at least 21 preventable deaths of military veterans at VA facilities across the nation as well as the spread of infectious diseases at these hospitals and clinics. In addition, there is evidence of bonuses awarded to executives at troubled VA hospitals and a lengthy ongoing disability claims backlog.

But the Department of Veterans Affairs under Obama seems to have the same priority as the State Department did, when instead of spending money on security for the diplomatic mission in Benghazi, it bought art.

This past week, the Department of Veterans Affairs bought $562,000 worth of artwork.

On Monday, VA paid $27,000 for an order of photographs showing sunsets, mountain peaks and country roads. They would go into a new center serving homeless veterans in Los Angeles; a spokeswoman described the art as “motivational and calming, professionally designed to enhance clinical operations.”

VA spent another $220,000 on artwork for its hospitals. On Thursday, VA was buying art again. It spent $216,000 on artwork for a facility in Florida.

Instead of improving operations at troubled VA hospitals, they spent a few hundred thousand dollars putting art up on the walls.

  • john spielman

    So how long do I have to wait for MSNBC to report this obsene waste of tax payer money?

    • kilfincelt

      Don’t hold your breath! Obama hates the military because they represent everything that he hates about America. Unfortunately, some of the Generals actually believe that he has their best interests at heart.

      • carpe diem 36

        he deceived everyone. no discrimination there. what a shame!!!

  • hanshpinto

    The worst dereliction was under the Bush administration. To say things have gotten worse under the Obama administration is preposterous. No group has further undermined VA benefits than the GOP. As for these purchases of art, WTF, as if the president himself is sitting down on Amazon.com picking things out. This is not journalism but an unsubstantiated harangue.

    • CowboyUp

      I’ll bite, what facts are wrong?

    • Berceuse

      While Bush’s record on veterans’ benefits was not great, the truth is, both sides of the aisle have had successes as well as failures in equal measure when it comes to supporting veterans. This includes Bush, whose overall VA budgets were too low, yet he significantly increased medical care spending and cost of living allowances while reducing processing time for claims. At the same time, the VA has a long history of fraud, waste and abuse, and this, too, has been a non-partisan problem.

    • Drakken

      You obviously haven’t been to a VA lately have you? It is a complete clusterfu**, and you like a typical Obummer pyscophant blame Bush. Your too efing stupid to fix.

      • HANS

        it has always been a cluster fuck, why wasn’t anything mentioned about this on this site during the previous administration. Selective memory doesn’t make the Bush administration any less responsible

  • Caesari

    I’m a veteran and my medical needs reside in the greater Los Angeles VA medical system. Not only do I think this is ridiculous, but I am infuriated that I have to go to three different Hospitals within Los Angeles County just to get treatment. Also, the treatment I get is far from satisfactory.

  • Somali warrior

    One single hellfire missile cost $58,000.00
    So killing one unknown suspected terrorists with ak47 who is in Yemen or Pakistan or Somalia, cost 58k but the war veterans are homeless. If you trade one hellfire missile you can buy a house for a homeless vet.
    Caesari I’m sure you regret serving that country.

    • Daniel Greenfield

      How much does it cost to bury and pay the families of thousands of Americans murdered by 19 Muslim terrorists who could have been killed at a cost of a single hellfire missile each?

    • Drakken

      Hmmmm we seem to have missed you skinny? I am absolutely sure we won’t in the very near future and it will be worth every damn penny.

  • Major

    That’s not even the worst part…the pieces of sheet are giving illegal aliens 4.5 billion a year to break our laws while they cut Veterans benefits. Scum who’ve done nothing but break our laws and steal from us are rewarded? And those AMERICAN CITIZENS WHO’VE SACRIFICED SO MUCH….GET THE MIDDLE FINGER? These bastards need to hang.

    • Drakken

      I never in a million years would have thought that the American public is too ignorantly stupid to handle a Republic style democracy, but here we are, and the first to be thrown under the bus for social justice is us veterans. Heinlein was right.

  • http://vato21stcentury.blogspot.com/ Jim S.

    The expense on art was in contracts in building new and rehabbing long ignore VA facilities, much of that art purchased from Veterans who are the Artists!!!!
    How much is Miller and company paying for the extremely bad press and false charges?!
    The Abandoning of the missions and the purposes of, along with the once
    again promises to the Afghan people, first time was after the
    Afghan/Soviet long war, quickly after 9/11, with the Lives still being lost, those serving still being wounded!!! Giving rise to, with the rhetoric from within, not a victory over, and spread of al Qaeda type ideology criminal terrorism!!!

    The Cost of War, All Costs, the Responsibility of Those Served

    “12 years also is a long time. We now have a lifetime responsibility
    to a generation of service members, veterans and their families.” Dr. Jonathan Woodson 11 Sep. 2013: ‘With 9/11 Came Lifetime Responsibility’

    There’s only one branch of Government, Federal and States, consistently
    doing for not only us Veterans’ but also the Military personal and their
    Families and without the control of the Countries purse strings and combining
    the Cabinet agencies abilities to help where possible with their
    budgets. That’s the whole Executive branch under President Obama. Doing
    what Congress, and State legislatures in passing feel patriotic support bills that are unfunded, and the people represented by them and served by the
    Military refuse to do, Sacrifice, especially the wealthy!

    Decades, and wars of, of under funding the VA. With these two recent
    wars little was done for the Veterans of as well as the Military
    personal, i.e. Walter Reed as one example, and their Families, in the
    first years of both under the previous executive branch and those
    congresses. Rubber stamped war costs, off the books and on the countries
    credit card with no bid private contracts, including building an
    expensive private merc army! That’s not adding in all the other rubber
    stamped costs of the bush administration policy wants, especially in the
    first six years of!

    Rachel Maddow: “We got a huge round of tax cuts in
    this country a few weeks before 9/11. Once 9/11 happened and we invaded
    Afghanistan, we kept the tax cuts anyway.
    How did we think we were going to pay for that war? Did we think it was

    Then, when we started a second simultaneous war in another country, we
    gave ourselves a second huge round of tax cuts. After that second war
    started. The wars, I guess, we thought would be free, don`t worry about
    it, civilians. Go about your business.” 23 May 2013

    “If military action is worth our troops’ blood, it should be worth
    our treasure, too” “not just in the abstract, but in the form of a
    specific ante by every American.” -Andrew Rosenthal 10 Feb. 2013

    David (CBS News) Martin: “Then there’s the financial cost. To date,
    the Pentagon has spent more than $500 billion on the war in Afghanistan.
    A defense spending bill the Senate is expected to pass this week would
    add another $80 billion to that.” 17 December 2013

    That’s not counting those decades to come results from costs and the once again ignored, by those served, issues!

    The wars, neither Afghanistan nor Iraq, have yet been paid for. Nor
    especially the now decades to come, DeJa-Vu all over again, the of
    results for those sent, over and over, and the continuing under funding
    the Peoples Responsibility, the Veterans Administration charged with
    much more then just caring for the wounded, as those served ignore most
    of those results from!!

    ‘Cost of War’ site {real and estimated costs}: “Total
    US federal spending associated with the Iraq war has been $1.7 trillion
    through FY2013. In addition, future health and disability payments for
    veterans will total $590 billion and interest accrued to pay for the war
    will add up to $3.9 trillion.” 19 March 2013 © 2011 Watson Institute, Brown University

    USN All Shore ’67-’71 GMG3 Vietnam In Country ’70-’71

    • http://vato21stcentury.blogspot.com/ Jim S.

      Army Times Oct. 16, 2008 – VA claims found in piles to be shredded

      CNN iReport October 25, 2008 – House Vets’ Committee To Probe VA Shredder Scandal

      Tampa Bay Times Oct 27, 2008 – Hundreds of VA documents improperly shredded, review finds {Tampa Bay Times search page and series of articles}

      CBS News February 11, 2009 – Veterans’ Claims Found in Shredder Bins

      And more disturbing in relation to even before and through the early years of the Afghanistan, quickly abandoned missions of, and Iraq occupations, this:

      ProPublica and The Seattle Times Nov. 9, 2012 – Lost to History: Missing War Records Complicate Benefit Claims by Iraq, Afghanistan Veterans
      “DeLara’s case is part of a much larger problem that has plagued the U.S. military since the 1990 Gulf War: a failure to create and maintain the types of field records that have documented American conflicts since the Revolutionary War.”

      Army Says War Records Gap Is Real, Launches Recovery Effort

      The War On Military Records
      “12/10/2013 – The era of big data has arrived on the battlefield and we need to find new ways to deal with it.”

      • Anonymous

        “Art” is not only pictures, but a means to helping the healing process for our Veterans. It is our duty to support the health and healing of Veterans returning from missions where they are exposed to lasting uncomfortabilities. I do not wish to welcome our Veterans home to sit and wait for medical treatment while starring at blank walls in old, below-par facilities.

  • rc acosta

    mr obama fire eric shenisik asap also fire every gs 10 and gs 15 at va hq in dc asap

  • rc acosta

    VA BUDGET FOR VA IN 2014 IS 155 BILLION $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$4 TOTAL RIPOFF SCAMS FRAUD CON GAMES ON VETS AND US TAXPAYERS

  • carpe diem 36

    obama’s finger prints are all over his administration with this disgrace of the VA maybe the most revealing one. shame on him, but then he only knows one thing: he lies! big time lies, all over the place, all the time. shame that the VA is doing what he apparently wants done, or maybe they are doing in on their own. buy buying art instead of good medical care is totally disgusting.

  • siuol11

    Faulting the VA, a multibillion dollar agency for spending half a million on art is the very definition of a tempest in a teacup, and I say this as a veteran who has been fighting for several years for my benefits. Not that I expect quality journalism from this rag, but I do object to veterans such as myself being used for political purposes.

  • dyno2

    A picture paints a thousand words, they say.
    fraud and corruption in the good ole USA

    I have waited for nearly 5 decades for the VA to acknowledge my injuries
    The last 10 have been at the BVA, 3 remands with no end in sight.

    The judges use paper shuffling techniques and remands to legally delay claims until the veteran dies, or until they deny it and the veteran goes to court and the BIG hamster wheel is brought in.

    The president and congress do absolutely nothing except hold meetings. I say the next war that they start Americans should insist that they are in the front ranks leading the fight. This way maybe they will really appreciate what a veteran is….