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Vets Slam VA Tweet on Protecting Oceans

by Bryant Jordan on June 17, 2014

VA signA Department of Veterans Affairs tweet is drawing attention to threats to the world’s oceans spurred a Twitter tidal wave of criticism from veterans and others who felt the VA has no business talking about anything other than the ongoing controversy with patient wait times.

A VA spokesman on Tuesday said the tweet originated with the State Department but distributed through Twitter pages of VA and other federal agencies to spread the message.

“Our ocean is under threat. Join people all over the world and make a difference,” the tweet read, followed by #OurOcean2014 and a link to a State Department page. The tweet preceded Tuesday’s announcement by the White House of new steps being taken by the U.S. to protect the oceans.

But with the VA reeling from confirmed reports that 18 veterans died waiting for an appointment at the VA hospital in Phoenix, Arizona, more than 150 veterans and their supporters expressed online outrage at the VA addressing any other crisis.

“Why don’t you work on not killing vets 1st,” one reader replied, while another wrote “Instead of worrying about fish, could you guys hurry up w/ my paperwork so I can go to the doctor? Thanks.”

The oceans tweet was sent out as a “Thunderclap,” that is a single message originating at one source – in this case the State Department – but sent out through other Twitter accounts whose owners or managers have authorized the broadcast.

Thunderclap is the online platform that arranges the message burst. It is identified in the abbreviated Twitter link as thndr​.it, though it leads to the State Department’s page.

“We amplified the voice of a government partner as others have done for us. Our most recent Thunderclap was Veterans Day,” VA Deputy Director for Media Relations Linda West said.

For Veterans Day, the VA’s tweet – also sent out via Twitter accounts of other federal agencies – read: “This Veterans Day, and every day, my thoughts, thanks and gratitude are with our nation’s Veterans.” The VA message also included #HonoringVets and a link http://​thndr​.it/​1​f​k​k​biU.

The VA’s Office of the inspector General is currently investigating allegations of patient wait-times manipulation at 70 VA hospitals and clinics around the country. Following confirmation last month by VA investigators that 18 veterans on a secret list of people awaiting an appointment at Phoenix VA hospital died, VA Secretary Eric Shinseki resigned.

Since then Acting VA Secretary Sloan Gibson has been traveling around the country to VA hospitals and clinics, working to re-establish the VA’s credibility with veterans, veterans’ service organizations and Congress.

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{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

hibeam June 17, 2014 at 7:12 pm

To care for him, who hath fins, and swimith in the Oceans –O Bama


karen June 17, 2014 at 7:32 pm

This has Obama's filthy hands all over.


BWELCH June 19, 2014 at 1:47 am

Hey…..you need to get your "Story on the rigth page…… The VA has
been a mess since after Vietnam War, this ising somethings,that
pop-up over night…..I has been waiting on A Judge to hear my 'Case
since 2003….So now you tell me now who 'Fithy Hand wsa dealing
the deck of cards….You need to stop listing to Fox News and most
of all take down the Rebel Flag that you got in your front yard…..


oblatt22 June 17, 2014 at 8:53 pm

As anyone who has worked with veterans knows they are the most self centered people on the planet. Ive heard nurses for very severely injured veterans complain that their level of self absorption is just unbearable.

You can see why they are so upset about a broadcast tweet about anything else.


Stormcharger June 18, 2014 at 11:17 am

So, nurses complaining about vets being self centered explains why vets complain? If true, what exactly does being self centered have to do with the level of service within the VA and how the VA is going about fixing it?


@Lone_Rifleman June 18, 2014 at 6:42 pm

You mean we get upset when the agency that is tasked with caring for us tweets about fish while thousands of veterans (they are paid to care for) die due to being putting on hidden lists?


Joe Galone June 18, 2014 at 11:46 pm

I would love to sit down and have a nice informative chat with you, after I SUNY boot in your ignorant disrespectful ass. Been to a VA lately? Ever go to a VA mental health clinic, suicidal only to be literally laughed at(buffalo,ny va) at and sent on your way? I have.


Leon Suchorski June 19, 2014 at 5:31 am

I am one of those vets who has been hospitalized, and goes to the hospital for my care regularly. When they see me coming, they greet me happily, and treat me very well. I always thank them for caring for us. When I was on the ward, it was the same. So I do not know where you are coming up with your stories.


Musson June 19, 2014 at 8:22 am

The fact that veterans are so self centered must be why the VA has hid the fact that they permanently cancelled appointments for 65,000 veterans and why hundreds have died waiting for care.

Really? Is your response really to blame the patients for the quality of care?
You must really hate American servicemen and women.


OOrahsemperyut June 24, 2014 at 5:40 pm

You sound like you've never even met a vet. Not to mention when you say you've "heard nurses" It just means one person most of the time and now because it was evidence that proves your world view you decide to try an assert your world veiw on us, except in all your wisdom this nurse was also expressing an OPINION in which case it doesn't mean jack and its second hand information because its not the nurse saying it, its yourself.


JohnnyRanger June 17, 2014 at 9:31 pm

It's Chelsea with an "ea", you Neanderthal *sarcasm*


rtsy June 17, 2014 at 10:09 pm

I really find it hard to believe that a tweet is worthy of any news article whatsoever.


Mystick June 17, 2014 at 11:45 pm



Musson June 18, 2014 at 9:33 am

Only because it indicates one more thing that they feel is more important than providing quality medical care.


rtsy June 18, 2014 at 12:49 pm

A comment a staffer probably threw up in 5 seconds doesn't reflect anything an organization that size is actually doing. This is a non-story being used to stir up the mob.


Kurt Montandon June 18, 2014 at 2:12 am

So a bunch of anonymous people – not verifiably, or even likely – vets on Twitter, slammed a retweet from the State Dep't that probably took 20 seconds to write and zero seconds to be automatically retweeted.

Clearly, this is the worst thing ever.


d. kellogg June 18, 2014 at 7:36 am

The State Department being involved in ocean concerns is as senseless as the VA. Shouldn't such things (oceans) fall under Department of the Interior (energy concerns?), or even Department of Agriculture (ecology) ?
Heck, I was surprised that a quick query on NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), people who seem more "in tune" to ocean concerns, fall under the US Department of Commerce.

Environmental stuff isn't the State Department's area of expertise.
Then again, with questionable folk like Kerry and Clinton at the helm, international politics isn't really the State Department's area of expertise anymore, either.


Lightingguy June 18, 2014 at 11:59 am

Well, Dept of the Interior isn't the group to deal with stuff 2000 mile out in the Pacific. Neither is Agriculture. NOAA is the federal organization that deals with oceans and atmospheric, generally.

Part of the reason for State and Defense to get involved is 1) The need to coordinate how to better protect the oceans from dumping and over-fishing. That needs to happen as cooperation between nations, so State has the resources to facilitate those discussions and agreements (if any result). 2) Defense has recognized that global climate change will cause disruptions in living conditions as well as food resource availability, with both impacting migration, border control, etc…. so a long term need to deal with the issues. So a vested interest.


d. kellogg June 19, 2014 at 7:09 am

A vested interest?
By that same token, it would be a vested interest if the DoD, as well as other Dept's, expressed more interest AND actual effort in getting more US high school kids interested in STEM careers (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) as it's been suggested many times that we're losing that techno-edge to more and more foreign students,
but when's the last time we heard about the DoD building a new school anywhere in the US?
No, they think building schools in some third world armpit nation prone to instability as soon as the principal US forces vacate the area is more hearts-and-minds winning than actually investing more into instilling greater pride and personal appearance here at home (that's right: cut defense budget programs for base improvements and troop care here at home, but here's $2billion out of nowhere to sink into "stability" in a far distant foreign land).

This isn't about vested interests.
In this case, it's "dog waggery" attempts to distract attention away from their primary mission failures: care for the troops should be of more concern than some feel-good Hug A Whale story.


Jake June 19, 2014 at 10:19 am

Actually, DoD had an extremely active STEM outreach program called STARBASE until the sequestration cuts killed it.

Bernard June 18, 2014 at 8:31 am

People care about a tweet? I’m a veteran and that twitter message doesn’t bother me in the least. They need to fix the VA now, and we should want to save the oceans. A lot of people will starve to death if we don’t. We should care about both of those things, not the crap on Twitter.


Leon Suchorski June 19, 2014 at 5:21 am

The oceans are a world wide problem, not just an AMERICAN PROBLEM. We can not fix them by ourselves. But the VA is OURS ALONE. That we CAN fix.


Bernard June 19, 2014 at 10:38 am

That is true. We have to do our part for the oceans and hope that other's do their part as well. We also absolutely have to fix the VA. There is no either or here.


Jacob June 18, 2014 at 2:18 pm

Why does state think that every damn time they post a new comment that they are going to send it to all the other agencies and tell them to post it an compiles?

Welcome to the Obama presidency.


retiredmilitary June 18, 2014 at 3:21 pm

HOPE nobody notices, AND if they do, CHANGE the subject. This is Obama's and the Dem's m.o., and it's working thanks to the complicit media.


JamalTheBanker June 18, 2014 at 4:10 pm

Defense Tech?
VA=Defense, Twitter=Tech..
I guess this article works?


Al A. Akbar June 18, 2014 at 5:16 pm

I thought their primary focus was recently clarified to be "Muslim Outreach"?


Liam June 18, 2014 at 5:16 pm



glenn57377 June 18, 2014 at 7:39 pm

This isn't news. Someone made it news. Someone else got a hold on it and elevated this news. This is now news and is not worthy of thought. Stay vectored on your goals and the direction you are heading. Don't waste your time with these trivial things. Like I just did.


ronald w.childers jr June 18, 2014 at 9:53 pm

I just cannot believe the va. I was a dependent when my father died when I was 6 and he was in the navy reserve. I did not even know that dependents could get anything fro the va. Now I am a totally disabled vet getting 100% benefits but only back to when I reapplied for benefits after I had been ordered not to talk about my experiences and knowledge of certain classified things and threatened with court-martial under the national security act of 1946 and eternal imprisonment if I did! I finally decided to tell all. The doctors I saw at Hines VA hospital, say I am "Delusional NOS" and so far after 2 + years, I have yet to receive anything but medication.. at least I got group therapy in the service.. but nothing to speak of here.. I WAS TOLD WHEN I WAS DISHARGED THAT MY RECORDS WERE 'DESTROYED OR BURIED SO DEEPLY THAT THEY EWOULD NEVER BE FOUND|" I this is true because I have never received all of them. Since I am "Delusional NOS 100%", there is no reason to look for my records. Anything I say is delusional… I contacted Senator Durbin and got a reply that once again showed me t hat no one in power cares. no one as actually read my records or my letters etc. Has anyone else experienced something like this? I would appreciate knowing about it….. I feel like an "untouchable" with the doctors and the va… I cannot even get physical therapy even though I walk poorly and with a cane!!!


David June 18, 2014 at 10:42 pm


I think you are unaware that anyone who served in any armed forces/ with a govt agency etc has a DD241 on file—except the ones burned in the St Louis records center fire—-and even these are mostly reconstructed by now from various other sources.

2. Also, a valid Discharge document (which does not state anyone's unit/assignments/co-lateral service—just that they were discharged (Hon, disHon, Other)—you should at least have that innocuous form to verify just that you served and were discharged.

3. Therefore they are AT LEAST 2 ways to verify services—one can even get past tax forms that show military pay—etc etc.

4. I would not worry about "eternal" imprisonment—when you die, even at Ft Leavenworth—there is and end.

5. Dig up the paperwork you should have somewhere—meanwhile..keep taking the pills.

Best regards, a fellow vet


SFCret June 19, 2014 at 9:39 am

I surely hope that you made a copy or two of your medical records…. because the problem is how many trees will you kill by having them print out your record? And they will not look for anything specific; however, you must sign an authorization to release medical records from each and every clinic or med center you had treatment with, they should have that information. Good luck


John Fourquet June 19, 2014 at 6:32 am

This just shows that VA management expects this to blow over without ant serious consequence to them. And when it does blow over, it will be back to business as usual, that being make the numbers look good so senior management can collect their bonuses! They said before and now veteran are the priority, but they could care less about veteran's. Al they care about in manipulating the system to make the number look good so they can collect that big annual bonus!

The only way this will change is fire every VA manager from VA Central office down to the hospital/regional office level and recreate the VA from the bottom up!


JJ Murray June 19, 2014 at 7:44 am

So once again, the disconnect for this Administration shows itself for all to hear. Of course this stupid twit pales in comparison to the acting head of the VA saying no one should be fired for what has happened in the VA. THAT guy should have been fired the very next day…but most likely he was just parroting the words of his boss – the President.


SFCret June 19, 2014 at 9:43 am

I think its inappropriate for the VA to be sending out smoke screens to divert attention away from its mission; and, that is to take care of our veterans that need care not trying to spend time in other fields that it does not put its efforts nor should put their efforts in. Our government will simply create an office to do just that if one is not available. The VA has more important things to do and should concentrate on those problems first before expanding their ideals elsewhere.


Mike June 20, 2014 at 7:26 pm

Taking care of our disabled should be a top priority point blank.
Semper fi!


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