LLAD: Your tax dollars down the VA rathole

Here’s “General George S. Patton Jr.” telling personnel clerks for the VA how important they are, interspersed with personnel clerks and extremely-highly-paid managers of personnel clerks talking about (can you guess?) how important they are.

Repeat after us: The VA clerks are the bravest, kindest, warmest, most wonderful human beings we’ve ever known.

Lord love a duck! Would you pay over $50,000 for that video? Ha! Trick question. If you’re a taxpayer, you already did.

But that’s just the visual punchline to this sick joke which is, alas, dear taxpayer, on you. The video was made for a VA conference for which its personnel clerks spent a week at a vacation an offsite conference (doesn’t that sound better?) in the family playground of Walt Disney World the very serious business city of Orlando, Florida. But VA’s so big they couldn’t fit everyone in one conference so they held a second one the next month, with many of the same higher-ups kicking back and goofing off displaying supreme bureaucratic leadership at both conferences.

It’s unclear whether the $5 million plus bill was for both conferences, or for each. (Does it matter? It is only the difference between monstrosity and enormity). We do know about the $52k spent on the above short film, which must have the original Patton beating on the lid of his sarcophagus and threatening blue murder if he can get out. And we know about the $84k spent on custom-labeled souvenirs like coffee cups and pens. In all, this VA clerks-gone-wild party conference wasted seven to fifteen times as much as the GSA boondoggle that was in the news a few cycles ago.

Exit question: is the VA run for the benefit of the troops, or the benefit of the employees? Exit clue: the department is headed by Rick Shinseki, whose sole lasting accomplishment as Chief of Staff of the Army was the social promotion of every cook, clerk and combat messkit repair specialist to the black beret that was formerly the mark of a Ranger.

HR Professionals (“no, seriously, what’s your real job?”) lead the way. Hooah.