The Resurrection of Citizen Irrelevant.

A year or so ago I began a blog in earnest with the specific goal of exploring historically-antecedent fascism, and demonstrating the parallels to the demagogue Trump’s neo-fascist American prototype.  But a funny thing happened, before I could get my effort off ground:  dozens of other writers, pundits, scholars, academics,—even comedians, all began to brand Trump and his cultish followers as American fascist.  Dozens and dozens of articles and features emerged which clearly made the connection between Trump’s authoritarian rule, and the tenets of fascism.

Therefore, it hardly seemed like I needed to add my two-cents worth, so I abandoned the project.  However, faced today with the unsavory prospect of American democracy having been subverted through the scurrilous machinations of the ‘shadow government’ and parallel reinforcing apparatus of the behemoth ‘deep State’, I would like to reconvene this blog, shifting my emphasis to our present voiceless, disposable, and utterly effete ‘citizen irrelevant’.

The forces arrayed against the individual in America today are so formidable as to resemble an impregnable fortress of Evil.  The highly-secretive and ultimately powerful tentacles of the shadow government are now so tightly woven into the fabric of this nation as to appear both inseparable and untouchable.  What, if anything, can the voiceless sheep and authoritarian lemmings who are ‘citizen irrelevant’ hope to do about these deeply entrenched forces?  And let me be quite clear at the onset:  I am, hypothetically, opposed to the belief that non-violent means can be used to effectively exorcise the demons sucking the essence from our once-constitutionally protected freedoms.  In other words, I am more in the camp of the Black Bloc, the anti-fa, and thinkers like Peter Gelderloos ( author of How Non-Violence Protects the State, and The Failure of Non-Violence ), than I would be under the aegis of the non-violent, peaceful protestor or academic intellectuals who disavow militancy, such as Chris Hedges.  Like Gelderloos, I believe there exists a very stark record clearly demonstrating that non-violence is a clear and proven failure.



[ BLOG containing the Politikal Opinions of the Bittermonk
              Article 1, December 8, 2016. ]

" Corruption and a lust for power defined the new ruling elites.  
The citizen, as in our system of inverted totalitarianism, became irrelevant."
                                 ( Chris Hedges; 'The Wages of Sin', April 2016 )

     With Trump's startling (to some) election to the Presidency, a 
large portion of Amerika is convulsing with alternating paroxysms of anger, fear,
and disbelief.  The Neo-Fascists can clearly be seen gathering beneath the
Capitol Dome. Amerika's remaining liberals & independents are spellbound and
to varying degrees, dumbfounded.  Amerika's once proud citizens, transformed
into an ersatz Citizen Irrelevant.

     Trump is surrounding himself with past & present military generals. The 
world has witnessed this phenomenon before, more often perhaps accompanying
a military coups, but always signifying the behavior of an autocrat with less
than benevolent intent, an authoritarian poised to become known as a tyrant. 
Trumphobia (newest entry to the American lexicon) reigns, and all this is
prior to the man's inauguration.  'Trumpodium' may better convey CITIZEN 
IRRELEVANT's feelings for billionaire con-man, Donald Trump.

      The President-elect, by many well-founded accounts, is already telegraphing
his imprimatur of iron-fisted, jackbooted demagoguery with the jackals he is 
beckoning to his side. Trump calls together the heads of the Free Press,---now
resigned to the status of an oxymoron---to make it clear he will not tolerate
any unflattering portrayals be broadcast; speaking unfavorably of this man,  
---misbegotten leader of a nation which has forsaken the very underpinnings
of liberty and source of justice,---any perceived slight will evoke immediate 
and harsh consequences at the hands of the Emperor's minions.  He has fired
a shot across the bow of freedom of the press, and he warns of dissent
in general. 

In nearly every utterance, every infamous "Trump-Tweet" he makes, he confirms 
his widely-defined narcissistic personality disorder, not to mention his overall
worrisome unstable ego and profound cognitive limitations. Alec Baldwin, who 
regularly "plays" Trump on Saturday Night Live, refers to our 45th President as
"Trumplethinskin".  Already social media voices are suggesting that criticism
may be Trump's Achilles Heel, and that since he is made visibly animated and
agitated when ever made an object of ridicule,---unable to resist ranting in a 
140-character pique on Twitter,---to focus on ramping things up in that vein.    

      Channeling the Reactionary Nationalism (*the Flavor du Jour of this new
Fascism the tyranny of the majority has given rise to ) which has enthroned 
this cardboard-Leviathan, this double-chinned reality-TV celebrity that the
willfully-ignorant Les Deplorables have chosen, he tromps like Godzilla through a
low-budget movie set, trampling across the Bill of Rights. Freedom of dissent
is firmly in his sights, and he is the true 'American Sniper'.
      Everything positive Amerika has represented over several centuries, how the 
rest of the world has regarded us, is suddenly cast into doubt, and all
bets are off. Leaders around the globe are taking a giant-step back away from
this man.   No man living today knows where this all may lead, nor 
where it all may end. Is this the advent of Neo-feudalism, as some maintain?

     With each new appointment that Trump announces,  he seems to overshadow the previous, and appears, by order of magnitude  with a more preposterous fit, a School of the Absurd’s choice,  like drawing anti-matter to matter,

 incredulously, consistently worse than the last, promising to produce a more 
fearful and well-calculated, but I can assure you not well-intentioned, 
Neoliberal outcome. Les Deplorables are too stupid, too universally afflicted
with Dunning-Kruger's, to appreciate that Trump's plan, a form of 'Eugenics-Lite'
dipped its toes in austerity, includes them as well. And not as true 
      By any reasonable soul's estimation, American democracy, already weakened
through the structural violence manifest by ideologues entrenched within the 
labyrinth of government under the mantle of the Corporate State, has suffered 
a fearsome blow, and American's "guaranteed", taken-for-granted freedoms are now
under what may prove a prolonged & relentless, violent assault.  
Citizen Irrelevant knows not which way to turn.

       My intention with this blog is to share my thoughts, reflections, & 
opinions of the current transformation of Amerika, into whatever it is apt to
become.  I have begun to read 'The Anatomy of Fascism' ( Robert Paxton; Random
House, 2004 ) in accompaniment to beginning with this blog.  Hopefully, through 
the lens of this authoritative study on the subject of fascism, I will be able to 
provide examples which suggest current & contemporary parallels with what is 
taking place in our country today. Interestingly, in a way which I believe will
prove helpful to my undertaking, Paxton's work focuses more closely on the 
actions of fascists, rather than their words.  My study of Trump and his 
malevolent contingent, shall emulate this approach.

Switching Adversaries: From the VC to the VA?

Big Hole Valley Hwy in Freezing Fog

Switching Adversaries: From the VC to the VA?

*printed as Letter to the Editor, Bitterroot Star, 08.13.2014

At this time, a large segment of the general public has been made aware of the corrosive culture, scandalous practices, and abuses of authority which are rampant within the Veterans Health Administration, and how this bureaucracy has become the disgrace of the nation. However, there are issues within the VHA which you may only be knowledgeable about if you are a veteran dependent upon this organization for your medical care. The purpose of this letter is to unmask one of the most insidious units, and their role, which has managed somehow to evade the current media limelight: Disruptive Behavior Committees.
Comprised of secret committees charged with policing veteran’s behavior, these DBC units act upon allegations ( denunciations ) of “disruptive behavior incidents” reported by anonymous VA Staff members: there are no specific guidelines as to what constitutes disruptive behavior, so it is entirely subjective in nature. Anyone employed by the VA may present these denunciations, from phone intake personnel and janitorial workers, to nurses and doctors and other medical staff.
Once these denunciations are received by the secret DBC unit, circumstances of the incident are reviewed and the DBC renders a judgment. There is no due process provided the accused veteran; i.e., no opportunity to face one’s accusers and defend oneself in an open hearing. The DBC may choose to impose any of an ascendingly severe host of punishing restrictions; they run the gamut from a slap on the wrist warning to the more severe: having one’s medical records “red-flagged” (called a PRF within the system). If a veteran receives a PRF, they may find their access to health services increasingly restricted, to the point of de facto denial of care or treatment. They may be forced to check in with the VA Police anytime they step foot on the grounds of a VA medical facility, and in some cases, they may be required to be accompanied by a police officer the entire time they are on VA property.
Secret committees of “behavior police” (therefore, ‘secret police’?) act upon anonymous informant’s denunciations, with no due process or ability for the accused to defend themselves. Does this sound vaguely familiar? How many reading this recall East Germany’s so-called ‘Sword & Shield’ Stasi police? ‘Informants’ often fabricated denunciations for personal advantage: seeking revenge on someone they had a conflict with, or perhaps simply eliminating someone who posed some form of competition to them (for a girl, for a job, etc.). The Stasi then reacted by imposing draconian punishments, humiliation, and intimidation upon those accused, who often had zero chance to defend themselves, and were often not even present at any adjudications.
So, let’s review: secret committees. Bullying. Retaliation. Secret “waiting” lists. Covering-up veterans deaths. Intimidation tactics. Judgments rendered with punishing consequences, without so much as a hearing. Intentionally withholding or delaying medical care and treatment, where veterans suffered, and died, as a direct result. Apparent indifference with no sign of accountability on the part of the Veterans Health Administration.
Where is the outrage, where is the dissent, where is the unified voice of the dishonored veterans protesting such police state tyranny and treatment from an organization whose mission is not to police, but to provide medical care and services?
In the present climate permeating the corrosive culture of the VHA, these secretive DBC committees operating behind closed doors should be immediately disbanded or suspended. It is my belief that there is a direct correlation between the restricted access to health care these committees impose, and the delays ( and in an uncertain number of cases, resultant deaths) the VHA is now notoriously known for: how many of the veterans who died waiting care that never came were ‘red-flagged’?
Secret police units like this are unquestionably prone to abuses of power; it is criminal that the DBC’s have not been properly exposed to date, and even worse that they are permitted to continue to operate.
As if it were not bad enough that Disruptive Behavior Committees are acting with impunity to punish what they decide to be inappropriate behavior by veterans, DBC authority is also being used as a tool with which to bully and retaliate against veterans who dare to complain about their care (or lack of it); in fact, any actions the VA may deem as ‘non-compliant’ will result in greater restrictions to receiving health care. Heaven forbid a veteran have the temerity to bring a civil suit or malpractice case against the VA: this will insure the veteran’s medical records are fast-tracked to be flagged.
This is nothing short of tyranny, and it is indefensible that a secret unit with unheard-of sweeping powers, and such rampant abuse of these powers, continue to operate under the aegis of the Veterans Health Administration.
For the VHA to regain credibility, DBC committees must be completely reformed. Group members cannot remain anonymous, nor can the informants or accusers bringing claims against a veteran enjoy such anonymity. The entire process needs transparency, and to reflect respect of the rights and interests of the individual veterans involved. The secrecy must end as it invites injustice and further abuse. A veteran’s right to due process and hearings needs to be re-established before any judgments are rendered, and subsequent rights to appeal should be an acknowledged part of the process.
When I was 20 years old, I spent two years of my life with the VC as my enemies and adversaries. Now that I am 67, I find it sadly ironic that my adversaries have become the VA, the very organization upon which I am dependent for health services, medical care, and a modicum of compassion.

Secretive “Behavior Police ” Unit within the VHA

Anyone who reads or watches the news outlets has no doubt been recently made aware of the rampant abuses of authority and corruptions of power revealed within the Veterans Administration. The defiance and hubris expressed by top VA officials who have been called on the carpet is indicative of an autocratic agency which believes itself autonomous and not subject to external influences. They could be very mistaken about this.

Although a very long laundry list of the VA’s disgraceful policies, misdeeds, and arguably criminal actions has come to the attention of the American public (which I personally have coined “VA-Gate”), I would like to focus here on one quasi-secretive element within the VHA which has been handed a mandate to police ( and punish) the behavior of veterans enrolled for medical benefits, care and treatment. The secretive bodies who oversee and adjudicate “unacceptable” behaviors are known as ‘Disruptive Behavior Committees’.

Disruptive Behavior Committees have received their mandate through CFR 38 17.107, which is dedicated to patient issues and conflicts titled:  VA Response to Disruptive Behavior of Patients.  This regulation can be traced back to broad new authority conferred upon various federal agencies via the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), post 9-11.  According to a Dept. Of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General review, ‘Management of Disruptive Patient Behavior at VA Medical Facilities’, [March 7, 2013], incidents and behaviors which are tracked and overseen by DBC committees include:  verbal aggression, drug seeking behavior, physical violence toward a person, threat of harm with no weapon mentioned, unspecified or vague threat, threat of harm with a weapon, threat of suicide threat of property damage, or an active suicide attempt.

The DBC is empowered to impose a variety of ascending severe consequences upon vets accused of disruptive behavior.  This regulation is blatantly unconstitutional, because it does not allow for the veteran to have a hearing BEFORE being admonished (or punished) for their alleged behavior.  A veteran may be allowed a chance to appeal only AFTER a decision to restrict medical access has been implemented.  This process may be triggered by something as simple as an argument, or raising your voice to staff while on the phone. It is worthwhile to point out that a full 57% of alleged disruptive behavior incidents are categorized as “verbal aggression” or verbal attacks.

One of the criticisms, and subsequent areas of recommendation, focused on in the VA OIG inspection of this management program was the wide variation in what facilities documented in regards to disruptive incidents, referrals to DBC’s, deliberations by DBC’s, and the recommendations or actions taken as a result.  Their discussions with VHA officials support that there is no clear guidance or agreement on this issue. In other words, accusations of disruptive behavior can be made by any staff member who interacts with a veteran;  these allegations are completely subjective.  “Some officials told us that they did not support having guidelines that are too specific—instead, they believe employees should report any actions or incidents in which they feel at risk.  The officials’ concern is that overly prescriptive guidance will discourage employees from reporting potentially dangerous incidents, or incidents with the potential to escalate.” [ VA OIG Inspection Report]

Subsequently, this unconstitutional,  Orwellian-designed behavior-modification & punishment division of the VHA does not have a comprehensive definition of what constitutes disruptive behavior.  Facilities apply their own definitions, which are not consistent from facility to facility.  Therefore, the program is being administered more subjectively than what is appropriate.  This would seem to pose grave doubts as to the validity of this ersatz-Politburo arm of the VHA in and of itself:  but wait, it gets much, much worse!      *see next installment:  Red Flags have Veterans Seeing Red!


PLEASE NOTE:  For timely, indepth articles on VHA GATE, please see Benjamin Krause’s website, ‘Disabled Veterans’.  This is, bar none, the best source and most comprehensive collection of articles, essays, and veteran’s comments/stories related to the breadth and depth of abuse, bullying, retaliation, illegal secret committees, unconstitutionally-invoked punishments without hearings, corruption, and intentional restriction of access to health care and services occurring within the VHA today.


“I Don’t Believe Anybody at the Tables is Telling the Truth from the VA”; Rep. Jeff Miller, Chair of House Veterans Affairs Committee


It is now July 17, 2014, and despite NBC’s total blackout of the scandals erupting from within the Veterans Administration, the public has become aware of the toxic culture & corruption rampant at this agency;  top officials at the VA have been named in a lawsuit for alleged violations of corruption, abuse of power, abuse of process, and tortious conduct.  The officials are accused of abusing the powers entrusted in them to violate the rights of veterans.

Within the past decade, the Staff of the VA have displayed conduct revealing that VA employees are careerist who have no concept of justice and will do almost anything to insure their incentive bonuses keep coming, up to and including sabotaging veterans files.  Derrick Storms makes a case that their conduct is in fact unconstitutional.  ( ‘Make no Mistake, VA Officials do not have Veterans’ Interests in Mind’;  VetLikeMe Weekly Issue 5.6)  This would stand to reason as we read where more & more erudite American scholars and leading thinkers refer to the US as “post-Constitutional” today.

We have ex-Presidents who articulate that the US is no longer a Democracy, and pedagogical institutions of the highest-repute (Princeton University) disclosing survey results which illustrate Americas’ form of governance as most akin a neoliberal oligarchy.  Still others have defined leadership as everything from inverted totalitarianism, to a corporatocracy.  It seems clear to me that in the US today, most if not all large bureaucracies operating under the aegis of the federal government, have styled their management style and personnel structure after the corporate model.  As such, most exist as authoritarian, autocratic, repressive and tyrannical’ punishing’  cultures, where whistleblowers are retaliated against harshly, and those who bury the truth ( along with an occasional veteran or two ), are amply rewarded.

But, I digress, and although I should like to expand upon the VA and its self-anointed role as an advocate of the punishing State, let us try to first assemble a list of bullet-points highlighting the VA’s “gaming the system” series of  transgressions & criminal activities which have come to light since late April, early May of 2014:

  • According to findings in the Oversight Report conducted by Senator Tom Coburn’s offices, over 1,000 veterans may have died while awaiting delayed care or treatment, over the past decade
  • Whistleblowers within the VA who try to bring attention to problems inside the organization are severely punished, retaliated against, bullied, humiliated, transferred to other locations, or summarily terminated
  • in 2013, over $100K in bonuses went to location directors or admin staff who had imposed retaliatory measures on whistleblowers in their unit
  • In 2013, while veterans died awaiting long-delayed (or deleted!) care, the delay times were systematically and intentionally purged from their records in order to insure the continued receipt of “incentive bonuses”;  over $278 million in bonuses went to some 243,00 VA employees
  • VA officials vigorously defended these bonuses before a House Veterans Affairs Panel
  • Acting VA Secretary Sloan Gibson suspended all bonuses for Senior Executives in 2014
  • The VA spent over $300 million on conferences, i.e., parties, while handing out undeserved bonuses: over one-half billion dollars was expended in these two categories, money which would have supported many badly needed clinicians to help lessen the delay time
  • Dept. of Veterans Affairs employees destroyed veterans’ medical records to cancel backlogged exam requests
  • VA Greater Los Angeles Radiology department chief Dr. Suzie El-Saden initiated an ongoing discussion in the department to cancel exam request and destroy veterans’ medical files so that no record of the exam requests would exist, thus reducing the backlog
  • Fear of not meeting performance measures leads to manipulating the scheduling system in order to keep local VAMC’s eligible for monetary rewards (bonuses)
  • The shortage of clinicians leads to this “gaming” of the scheduling system
  • VA is overpaying workers by millions of dollars through misclassification of jobs, internal audits find
  • Focus on Montana VA;  a.)  the VA Inspector General has ranked Montana VA in the bottom eight in wait times, i.e., 122/128 facilities;  b.)  the Montana system was ranked in the bottom three in employee satisfaction;  c.)  the Montana system was ranked in the bottom 10 for its high rate of turnover among registered nurses;  and d.)  coincidentally, the director of the VA MT Health Care System retired suddenly at the end of June, “to spend more time with my family”. How original.

In my next harangue,  let us drill down on what it means to emulate the characteristics of the punishing State.

—Keep your head & ass down ( and good luck trying to run that way!)

Devil Doc Landry, aka, the boonieman


VA GATE : “You can’t have veterans die and just say it was mismanagement.”

*This is a copy of a letter I have sent to Montana State Governor Steve Bullock, Senator Walsh, and Senator Tester.  There is much more to be said/written about this, but this is a beginning point.———Devil Doc.

As a Navy Hospital Corpsman veteran of two combat tours in Vietnam, I believe what has just been revealed to the public about the inner machinations of the Veteran’s Administration clearly displays this organization to be a national disgrace. As a 100% disabled vet, I can assure you, from my experience (it took me 14 months between visits to see my own VA doctor most recently) and those of my fellow veterans, that what the public has learned about is merely the tip of the iceberg.

Now, addressing those “bonuses” these people were raking in while cooking the books and criminally covering-up their misdeeds: it’s reassuring that there is a Bill planned to suspend future bonuses through 2016, but pressure needs also be brought to demand all the bonuses paid out,— while these unconscionable and arguably criminal practices were ongoing–,be returned. This 108.7 million dollars should go into a trust account, and once this process is completed and the majority of funds recovered, a Congressional committee oversee that these monies be evenly distributed to the next of kin of the veterans we KNOW of who died while awaiting delayed care and treatment. “You can’t have veterans die and just say it was mismanagement.” (Rep. Frank LoBiondo)  Unfortunately, accounts vary dramatically as to the numbers involved here, ranging from 8 deaths in Phoenix, to another unreported 18 to raise the toll to 26, then I read 40, saw the term “scores” used to describe the deaths in a piece in the Missoula Independent, and finally,  an online essay used “thousands”.  Do you get the feeling we will never know precisely how many Vets died awaiting delayed treatment because of the corrosive-culture of the VA and their self-justifying  cover-ups?  They were all in on this, folks, and they were doing it out of collective greed: to insure those bonuses!

VA officials have lined-up to defend these outrageous bonuses, yet these egregious practices were endemic throughout their organization, and they are all equally complicit, IMHO. This money is blood money, and no one “deserves” to retain such tainted funds. Veterans like me have lost trust in the VA, because it appears they care much more about financial incentives to employees that they do about providing veteran’s adequate care.



* I will be blogging more about the Veteran’s Administration in a piece which will focus on their transition from wounded veteran’s care providers to an authoritarian regime with a punishing State ethos…I will introduce the existence and actions of the VA’s own little federal autonomy’s “Disruptive Behavior Committee”.  I have studied the Dept of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General’s report  on this so-called “Management of Disruptive Patient Behavior” at VA Medical Facilities.  Of course the bigger VA Hospitals have their own security or police force on campus, but the DBC is the administration’s own authoritarian arm used to intimidate vets angry with their care (they have been DYING while waiting, you know, and I think this is a pretty solid reason to sound off, don’t you?)…What they can, and cannot do, next…