"Many months ago, I made comments to several concerning something commonly referred to as the "Iron Triangle Conspiracy.” Many later asked me what I meant."
THE IRON TRIANGLE:
All Three Sides of the Greatest Shame in America's History.
All "triangles" have three sides.. in this case, all three are co-conspirators to one of the worse frauds, and most unconscionable assaults ever, on America's defenders, the Veterans of our many wars, and peacetime.
Those three are the Congress (or more specifically, the members of the combined House and Senate Veterans Affairs committees), the Veteran's Administration and the third and most insidious of all, the National Veterans Service Organizations (brev. "NVSO").
America as a whole considers our NVSO's to be as American as apple pie, supporting the needs and the rights of our soldiers and veterans returning from war. Wrong! The NVSO's are in fact, an "invention" of a very corrupt and greedy Congress, who found a unique way to use the veterans against themselves.
Sadly the veterans after all these years, nay generations, has yet, still not seen the light.
Before I continue, explaining exactly what I mean, let me throw at you, something that never occurred to the average Veteran. Ask yourself one of the simplest of all questions: have you ever wondered why there are 45 (now 48, I am told) different NVSO's, providing a "need" for every conceivable group of veteran?
Let me explain ... we have the MCL for marines, the FRA for sailors, one group just for Air Force Sergeants, yet another for military officers only, one just for NCO's, some that really specialize, like an NVSO just for Jewish veterans, one for Black veterans, others for those who are blind, for the paralyzed, those disabled, an NVSO for holders of a Purple Heart, or other higher rated awards, one for veterans who have fought on foreign soil, and yet others which allow others who may not qualify for any special groups. We even have NVSO's which caters to specific participation in certain wars or campaigns.
We even have one who would not allow Vietnam vets in because Vietnam "was not a real war".
In essence, with a choice of 45 different groups, one has to ask ... why? Would not just one or two good groups provide what is needed to secure the rights and need that Veteran seek?
Could not just the say, the DAV, or the MOPH, or the American Legion, offer to them, the facilities, the legal help, the support or the direction that the need to push through the system, their claims for VA compensation and help?
Further, one must wonder, why all of these groups offer the same so-called services, yet none seem to get the job done. And even more annoying, why is it all offer their own brand or form of "insurance" to help the Veterans or retirees cover expenses when they are sick.... rather than fighting to help the retirees to secure the promised free medical care for life, they were promised when they originally enlisted, or retired?
What? Kill the "cash cow" that pads their coffers? Not on your life!
They provide this supplemental insurance for one purpose only ...money. Hence, to fight for the promise of lifetime medical care for retirees, would undermine their need for wealth at your expense. Are they really your friend? Not when it comes to separating you from your hard earned pensions.
However, the Iron Triangle is still worse.
In order to explain exactly what the Iron Triangle is, we must first refer back to some aberrations of the law passed by Congress under United States Code 38, which is outrageously called "The Veterans Benefits Improvement Act of 1940", which is based on a reiteration of the very dictatorial principles of the highly UN-constitutional ECONOMIC EMERGENCY ACT of 1933, declared by the US Supreme Court, as being UNCONSTITUTIONAL in its entirety. The only difference between the two laws is that the "new" Veteran's law applies to only one class of persons (that in itself alone is unconstitutional), America's veterans.
The culprit, if such could be so labeled, is USC Title 38, Section 511 a) formerly known as 211(a)), which, for more than six decades has prevented Veterans from seeking relief from the VA's predatory and adversarial claims procedures, in a real court of law. It has had a binding affect on all veterans, often for life, to the VA's own "kangaroo court system", including its very own warped US Court of Veteran Appeals for Veterans Claims (or "CAVC").
Quite often, the veteran after serving his country in the military, is forced to walk the corridors of time sometimes 10, 20, and upward to as long as 50 years, never knowing why he has been abandoned by his government and why his perfectly meritorious claim is continually denied.
In November of 1988, the VA, in concert with their NVSO cohorts, and the members of the Congressional House and Senate Veterans Affairs committees, fearing a judicial review of the perverted VA claims decisions, gave us an "Article I" administrative court, which has proven to be an absolute farce; a quasi-court, with quasi-judges.
Since that time, of some 17,000 (seventeen THOUSAND) veterans to apply to this farcical "court", at best only 120 cases have been resolved, with positive "wins" for the Veteran. Of these cases, almost all go unpublished, making it impossible for veterans or their advocates to utilize any for case histories, or to assist in future claims assistance to other veterans.
A special note of interest: as small as this number is, the amount of veterans who have won their cases, what is even more outrageous is that the infinitesimal number who have collected any back money owed them by the VA. Also, note that no form of interest is offered or paid to any USC Title 38 retroactive claims.
This law must be changed: such a change could put an end to the VA's transgressions in the way which they criminally adjudicated benefits claims.
A SOLUTION to the problem: when the VA denies a claim, initially (and within 90 days) the veterans must be allowed to take his claim to a legitimate Article III Federal Court, nearest to his home. Specifically, a federal district court, in front of a real judge ... or better still, a jury, just like all other Americans enjoy.
It can no longer be the fraudulent VA "kangaroo court" system currently in use, much to the veteran's harm.
The second part of this conspiracy against America's Veterans comes from USC Title 38, Section 5904, which prohibits a veteran from retaining his or her own attorney, to represent them in their benefits claims against the VA. The veteran can only seek outside help of an attorney AFTER he has received his final decision from the VA's infamous Board of Veteran Appeals (BVA).
This process rarely ever takes less than SEVEN YEARS, and could conceivably
exceed 30 or more years!
It literally becomes a game of constant remands, delays, "accidental mailings", illegal and deliberate purging and destruction of records, "forgotten signatures", an assortment of bureaucratic chicanery and other excused that can be dreamed up, during his life-long fight, including deliberate misrepresentation, all of which is aided and abetted by the NVSO's "service officers".
More on this later.
Why this UN-constitutional statute? Because the VA does not want the veteran to be properly represented by an attorney, making the VA "forced" to follow the letter of the law. They would rather have the VA friendly NVSO's "opposing" them, in their stacked courts.
The deck is stacked against the veteran from day one, by the misrepresentation of the NVSO's service reps, who are rarely trained to properly represent the veteran, by "practicing law" (without proper license), in a very controlled environment designed to protect the VA's very special "hidden turf".
Written by Steve Mungie, Houston County Alabama USA, Exercising my God-given First Amendment Rights to Speak Out for those who cannot, or will not. In association with Veterans For Constitutional Law, of New York, an independent Veteran's Rights advocacy group, seeking fairness and legal parity for ALL of America's honorable, yet dishonored veterans.
Congress has gone out of its way to protect the VA and NVSO's special vested interests, at the expense of the Veteran, since the 1930's.
Another Note if interest: the VA has on its payroll, more than 1200 of their own attorneys, using every conceivable tactic and devious means possible, to circumvent the law, to deny veteran claims. The harm and devastation that this has caused veterans and their families, because of USC Title 38, Section 5904, is irreparable.
During three separate oversight hearings by HVAC, debating legal aspects of real legal representation for veterans, no veterans, family members, nor survivors were invited to testify ... only representatives of NVSO's were permitted to do so. In addition, their testimony, as usual, was totally reprehensible, vehemently stating that veterans do not need lawyers when they have the "protection" of the NVSO's.
When the NVSO "Vietnam Veterans of America" rose to speak, they testified honestly, stating our Constitutional Rights were being ignored by the VA. The committee chairman immediately closed the hearings down to protect their friends, the NVSO's, and their "hidden legal turf".
The second hearing was blown out by a snowstorm. At the third and final hearing, the HVAC did not even address the issue (although scheduled) because they had no intentions of doing so, thus usurping the power of the their cohorts, the NVSO's.
Another archaic statute, fueling the unbridled power of this IRON TRIANGLE, is USC Title 38, Section 5902(a), joking labeled the "GRAVY TRAIN STATUTE" but for good reason!
This statute, a true VA "farcical law" reads: "The Secretary of the VA, at his discretion (remember these three words!) may give rent free office space in VA buildings to the National Veteran Service Offices (NVSO's)."
Please note: it says NO more, and NO less.
BUT ... a very very liberal interpretation of this law (remembering those three words), it also gives them FREE heating and electricity, FREE furniture, FREE computer equipment, FREE postage, FREE telephone service, FREE stationary, and sometimes, FREE staff, to run their offices, and ... oh yeh, a totally tax free status, although the assets of most of these congressionally chartered NVSO's could put some of our nation's larger corporations to shame!
MILLIONS of dollars of "freebies" are literally given to these NVSO's annually as "payback" (or should I say "loot"?) to help "keep the veterans in line", by the "grateful" VA, for the NVSO's representation, given to the veterans seeking their benefits claims under the perverted USC Title 38.
QUOTAS? Naw ... you're kidding, right? The VA's hidden quota of FOUR PERCENT (4%) on service-connected claims is never to be exceeded!
This is fact, proven and documented over the past fifty years.
The VA has released all kinds of false figures stating 11 to 12 percent of all service-connected claims are approved and paid. A higher up VA executive once revealed (either inadvertently or for whatever reason) that the VA "padded" their figures: if a veteran is asking for 3, 4, or more different things within his claim, and the VA grants one, they count it as FULL ADJUDICATION of the claim. This, he labeled as the VA's "creative mathematics". But ... this could not have been done alone. This is where the third side of the Triangle comes in ... the House Veterans Affairs Committee.
It is not by chance, but by design, that for more than six decades, decent Veterans legislation passing through the HVAC gets "BOONDOGGLED IN COMMITTEE" and never reaches the floor for discussion or vote. It is no accident that this committee has been kept under strict control by the VA; first through luminaries like Roberts (VA), Sonny Montgomery (MS), Stump, (AZ), and now today .... the Republican's BUYER, who follows the Bush party line to the mark!!
Justice for Veterans has been held hostage for sixty, nay SEVENTY years, by these influential friends of the VA, completing the third side of this infamous IRON TRIANGLE.
This side of the TRIANGLE in spite of bantering by politicians is NOT bipartisan, nor is it partisan politicking. It is NOT the congress-critters who occupy places in these committees, but instead, the lawyers and others, who are there year in and year out, maintaining a stranglehold on Veteran rights.
It is not question of Conservative or Liberal, Republican or Democrat. It is plain and simple, GREED.
It is the extent of connection with the VA and the NVSO's ... the NVSO's hold most of these congress-critters in fear ... the fear of being "bad mouthed" by the NVSO's, and losing an election, if they do not shown deference to them, doing what they want! Any politician's worse nightmare is losing an election, and thus his grab for power!
THIS IS THE REASON THAT THE VETERANS MUST QUIT ALL MEMBERSHIPS IN ALL NVSO'S ... or all efforts to change the status quo, is in vain.
Should a veteran write letters to any government agency or to anyone in power, or in Congress, to inform them of this on-going thievery, they will be answered and "snowed" with form letters using the words like "alleged" and "allegations" multiple times, and more likely, not even answered at all. Many vets and the families can positively testify to this fact.
At the creation of the VA's "Kangaroo court system", the then- chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee (SVAC) stated in a four-page statement in the Senatorial Congressional Record, that if the VA's court does not effect real judicial review, within a year or two, the Senate will revisit the question to allow real article three federal courts to adjudicate veterans benefits claims. Being that almost from the beginning, it was proven that the VA's "funny court" wasn't working, (I) wrote to the senator on four separate occasions. The first three times, he did not answer me. The fourth letter received a reply of "Thank you for your comments on the Economy".
(That Chairman at that time was the senator from Pennsylvania - lets rear end the veterans one more time - SENATOR ARLIN SPECTER.)
Yet another veteran from Pennsylvania, received an answer similar:
"Knowing of your interest in humane and ethical treatment of animals, I wanted
to take this opportunity ..... " Heard enough yet? As you can see, the Congressional leadership are ignoring and evading the real questions.
The US Department of Justice (or more appropriately "Just Us", which no longer protects the rights of the people, but serves now, the corruption of the administration and their corporate sponsors) was sent some information on the criminal transgressions of the VA and the manner of their assault on America's defenders, including multiple newspaper articles about two of the VA's attorneys who were sent to prison for 15 months each, to pay for their crimes of altering and destroying disabled veteran's claim files, in order to deny claims, so that they could collect larger bonuses. Of course, this a common practice within the VA, because of a multitude of employee incentive programs based on the denial of veteran's claims. The letter we received in response from the Just US Department as predicted, used the words "alleged" and "allegations" several times, and yet ... these people, their employees, are serving time.
The IRON TRIANGLE is a bonding, a "melding" of the VA, the two Congressional VAC's and the NVSO's, which must be broken up, melted, and terminated.... permanently!
Will we continue to allow the greed of Congress, the administration, and these other cohorts in crime, make life miserable for men and women who have already given far too much already?
Our only hope is to topple this IRON TRIANGLE, once and for all, by attacking its weakest link ... the NVSO's. TO do so requires only one commitment on our part. Desert them, put an end to their stranglehold, by bankrupting them. ALL OF THEM.
QUIT YOU MEMBERSHIPS IN ALL 45 OF THE "CHARTERED BY CONGRESS" NATIONAL VETERAN SERVICE ORGANIZATIONS, TODAY.
Membership fees and drives
Refuse to support them
Refuse to participate
Refuse to pay "Dues"
Refuse to acknowledge them
Do not attend their meetings, their bars, their clubs
Your choice, Veterans
While I do not agree entirely with Steve's take on action; he does describe what I found in my research as it applies to the corrupt VA, the NVSO's, and the facts as I have stated this government is now applying unconstitutional laws to only veterans; and we have no recourse.
Of course Steve did not mention the absolute criminal activity of the government toxin studies as well as the NAS/IOM; and the Secretaries of the VA.
Veterans have fought the enemies of this country proudly with the weapons given them, only to return from the battlefield to be totally disarmed illegally and unconstitutionally; that gives them nothing to fight with legally against the very politicians and the nation that sent them to war.
In all legal circles, nationally and internationally, this is defined as "Tyranny." Ironic the very thing our warriors are sent to suppress; and then upon returning home they are subjected to the exact same treatment by our own government.
Steve Mungie was shot, wounded by a missile, and poisoned repeatedly while serving his country.
Having joined the Navy fresh out of high school in Alameda, Calif., Mungie was sent to Vietnam in 1968. In August that year, he took a bullet in the head while serving as a seaman aboard a patrol boat on the Ham Luong River.
"There's nothing more scary than to look down and find blood running down your face," said Mungie, who lives in Divide.
He wasn't out of the action for long. "They stitched me up, gave me 10 days off, and sent me back."
Just weeks later a missile hit his boat but didn't explode. Mungie picked it up and threw it in the river. "Then it exploded," he says. "All I remember is waking up in a hospital in Japan."
His worst injuries, however, were inflicted by an enemy he didn't even know about -- Agent Orange. On at least six occasions, he was doused with the chemical defoliant, which U.S. airplanes sprayed over Vietnam's dense jungles to deprive the enemy of cover.
"It came down off these planes in a real fine mist, and it sticks to you like oil," Mungie recalled. He and his fellow crewmembers would jump in the river and wash it off.
Get a buck, give a buck:
Today, Mungie is 100 percent disabled and diagnosed with end-stage kidney failure, which he says was caused by the exposure to Agent Orange. He also suffers from asthma, diabetes and the neurological disease myasthenia gravis, all of which he attributes to the chemical.
Mungie figures the least he deserves for his troubles is to receive his full military retirement and disability pay. After all, President George W. Bush and members of Congress have been urging the country to "support our troops" in this time of war.
But the support, Mungie learned the hard way, goes only so far. After he first began experiencing symptoms of his illnesses in 1986, he had to fight the bureaucracy for a decade and hire a lawyer before the Department of Veterans Affairs would acknowledge the connection between his illnesses and his exposure to Agent Orange.
And when the VA finally recognized him as a disabled veteran, he discovered something that the recruiting officers had never told him back in Alameda: Under a federal law dating from 1891, veterans are barred from receiving both full retirement pay and disability pay at the same time. For each dollar he would receive in disability pay, Mungie found out, the government would deduct a dollar from his retirement check……