A Viet Vet–About Time

Closing Thought–26Apr18

A Viet vet has finally been awarded the medal that he richly deserves……

With a Marine down and several dozen heavily-armed enemy fighters approaching his location, 1st Lt. Philip H. Sauer grabbed his .45-cal pistol and ordered his other three men off the hill outside Khe Sanh.

Just a few hours earlier, the five-man artillery observer team had organized and set out to recon Hill 861 and potentially set up an observation post. But enemy bunkers and trenches teeming with North Vietnamese troops dotted the key, high terrain northwest of the Khe Sanh combat base.

When his point man was cut down by enemy fire, Sauer, used his own .45 pistol to provide covering fire as the Marines dove for cover and scrambled out of the kill zone.

Only one Marine survived that April 24, 1967, ambush, the first major fight with NVA in the area. It would mark the start of what became known as the “Hill Fights” during the siege of Khe Sanh the following year.

https://news.usni.org/2018/04/24/51-years-later-fallen-vietnam-marine-honored-silver-star

About time!

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VA Makes The Headlines Again

As usual the VA is making the news….this time it is because Trump has Twitted the replacement of the head of the VA……many think it was because Shulkin got a couple of freebies….but in reality it is because of his objection to the privatization of the VA…..

In hindsight, the only thing surprising about last week’s ouster of Department of Veterans Affairs chief David Shulkin was that President Trump fired him via Twitter. The agency’s size (360,000 employees, $186 billion annual budget) is second only to that of the Pentagon. Its internal turf wars may be just as epic. Consequently, Shulkin’s downfall had less to do with a European travel junket than with a bureaucratic brawl regarding the scope and pacing of VA reform.

Shulkin’s replacement—Trump’s official physician, Rear Admiral Ronny L. Jackson—has his work cut out for him. “As a job, [VA chief] may very well be several orders of magnitude more difficult than dealing with President Trump,” writes Independent Institute Research Fellow Craig Eyermann, creator of the Government Cost Calculator at MyGovCost.org.

Since the VA became a cabinet-level agency almost 30 years ago, seven of its nine chiefs have left office before their term expired. The agency’s culture of corruption goes back decades further, as the late historian and Independent Institute Research Fellow Ronald Hamowy has explained. Making the VA an effective and efficient servant of the nation’s veterans must therefore go hand in hand with ridding the agency of its toxic culture. “And so it must go,” Eyermann writes, “whether the VA wants it to be, or not.” For a sound approach to reforming the VA and many other government agencies, see Better Than Government: A New Way of Managing Life’s Risks, by Independent Institute Senior Fellow John C. Goodman.

Reform Coming to the VA, Whether It Wants This or Not, by Craig Eyermann (MyGovCost News & Blog, 4/2/18)

Failure to Provide: Healthcare at the Veterans Administration, by Ronald Hamowy (3/18/10)

Better Than Government: A New Way of Managing Life’s Risks, by John C. Goodman (10/6/16)

It is sad that the vets are nothing more than a tool to be used during a campaign and then thrown aside once the election is won.

Our veterans have been asked to do a lot and have never been given the respect they deserve….we owe the vets more than we could ever pay and yet they are lied to daily and they hope for the best….and they NEVER get it.

New Front For Gun Reform

Closing Thought–12Mar18

After the last mass killings at Parkland School in Florida the country is having that darn pesky conversation on gun reform….it is not the same as before……this time the students have taken the lead in the call for gun reform.  And as usual the NRA is pulling out all stops to squash the conversation but it is not working as before…..you see the NRA does not hold the students over a barrel like they do the cowards in ghe Congress and White House.

This time a new player has entered into the call for gun reform….for reasonable background checks….for reasonable mental health issues……for reasonable thoughts on assault weapons, extended magazines and those damn bump stocks…..in essence a little common sense…..the new players are our veterans!

Dave Baril has served in the US Marine Corps for over 18 years, deployed twice to Iraq, and is a gun owner.

But after a teenager killed 17 people in Florida last month — the deadliest school shooting to hit the country over five years — he took his personal AR-15 rifle to a local police station and turned it in for destruction.

Baril is one of a group of U.S. military veterans calling for tighter firearms regulations in an effort to reduce gun violence in America, bringing their knowledge of weapons and war — and accompanying credibility — to the contentious debate.

Shootings at a Las Vegas concert last year and at the Parkland, Florida high school “really woke me up the most,” he said.

https://www.military.com/off-duty/2018/03/08/us-veterans-join-forces-gun-reform.html

Veterans!  Maybe now we have another group that the NRA cannot buy.  Maybe now someone will pay attention…..and maybe now there can be a real conversation that is not controlled by the NRA.

Good to see the vets wading into this mess….a swamp created by the NRA.  If anyone can get in the face of the NRA it is the vets.

Man’s Best Friend

Hopefully you remembered to Spring forward…..`the most worthless governmental program….daylight savings time.

Sunday and I am sitting in the garden with my best friend Jazzy, she and I became friends just after Hurricane Katrina and since she had nowhere to go she came home with me and we have been thick as thieves ever since.

I have always been a dog person…..cats are cool but to me nothing beats a dog…..so when I read some news about mistreatment of dogs I usually go ballistic…..so I read some disturbing news and the mistreatment is from the US military……

A report finds that the Army failed to do right by some of the more than 200 bomb-sniffing dogs that served with US soldiers in Afghanistan, detecting roadside bombs and saving lives, the AP reports. The Defense Department’s inspector general has determined that, after the program ended in 2014, some soldiers struggled or were unable to adopt the dogs they had handled. This included two dogs among 13 that were given to a private company to be used as service dogs for veterans but then abandoned at a Virginia kennel. The report says Congress amended the law in 2015 to give handlers top priority in adopting their dogs. The inspector general also faults the military for not properly screening those adopting the dogs, including law enforcement agencies and private individuals.

More on this situation…….

https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-usa-defense-dogs/canine-war-heroes-mistreated-by-u-s-army-pentagon-report-idUKKCN1GE30O

Despicable treatment of a soldier that saved lives and served honorably….if they do this then how badly are they treating the two legged veterans?

This story made me sick!

As long as we are focused on the VA here….

To say things are strained at the VA would be a massive understatement. That’s the thrust of a report from the Washington Post, which interviewed 16 Trump administration officials and others. Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin has lost trust in his senior staff and may be facing a mutiny. He’s attempted to fire at least six members of his senior management, and some officials are pushing the White House to remove him. It’s gotten so bad Shulkin has posted an armed guard outside his office, banned staffers he thinks are against him from his executive suite, stopped meeting with political appointees of President Trump, and hasn’t spoken to his public-affairs chief in weeks. “Things have come to a grinding halt,” a senior manager says. “It’s killing the agency. Nobody trusts each other.”

There are a number of issues at play outside of personality differences. For one, Shulkin is the only Obama administration official to get a post in Trump’s Cabinet. There’s also the report stating that taxpayers were misled into paying for Shulkin’s wife to join him on a 10-day European vacation. But most recently Shulkin has upset some in the White House by pushing for a compromise on the Trump-supported plan to allow veterans to choose private doctors that will still be paid for by the VA. There’s fear among veterans groups and unions that the plan will lead to downsizing at the agency. However, some see Shulkin’s unwillingness to buy in fully with that plan as reluctance to “drain the swamp.” Read the full story here for why the national director of veterans affairs for the country’s biggest veterans group says what’s happening is “salacious conspiracy and … treason.”

There seems to be NO department that is not involved in some sort of drama….a dining set at HUD, a $100,000 door for Zinke, and now the VA……and you thought the Teapot Dome was a drama…..the Trump White House beat them all hands down.

I am gonna try and enjoy the rest of my Sunday and let Jazzy know how important she is to me…..thank you for your visits…..chuq

Screw The Vet As Usual

All the vets that have put their trust in the Trump admin need to step back and prepare for the screwing that is coming…..

Trump told a massive lie to America’s veterans on Monday as he promised them great healthcare as he is moving behind the scenes to privatize the VA.

The President tweeted:

We will not rest until all of America’s GREAT VETERANS can receive the care they so richly deserve. Tremendous progress has been made in a short period of time. Keep up the great work @SecShulkin@DeptVetAffairs! https://instagram.com/p/BddOPJfAngh/ 

Here is what is really going on according to The Wall Street Journal:

David Shulkin said in an interview that he wants to make the VA’s hospital system compete with private-sector providers for military veteran customers, which he said would give veterans greater choice over their health care.

….

“The direction I’m taking this is to give veterans more choice in their care,” Dr. Shulkin said, speaking from his office, “and be the decision maker for their care, which I fundamentally believe is a concept that has to be implemented.”

Trump is trying to take away healthcare from veterans who have risked their lives and their health for their country. The Trump tweet should sound familiar because it is the same language that he used before he tried to take healthcare away from 32 million Americans by repealing Obamacare. The Republican dream has been to privatize the VA and replace free healthcare for veterans with a capped voucher that they can use at private medical facilities.

Veterans were promised health care in exchange for their service, but Donald Trump is trying to break that promise with a privatization scheme to benefit the wealthy.

Our vets deserve better, and they should stand up, speak out, and let Trump know that they won’t allow him to steal their healthcare.

(politicususa.com

I do not understand the loyalty that wets show this lying toad that has NEVER cared one iota about their health or the families……they still slither along with the head reptile.

 

An Old Killer Arises

Most everyone knows of the problems Viet vets had upon their return from the war zone….PTSD and those damn symptoms of Agent Orange….well a new killer has been discovered after all these years….

A half a century after serving in Vietnam, hundreds of veterans have a new reason to believe they may be dying from a silent bullet—test results show some men may have been infected by a slow-killing parasite while fighting in the jungles of Southeast Asia. The Department of Veterans Affairs this spring commissioned a small pilot study to look into the link between liver flukes ingested through raw or undercooked fish and a rare bile duct cancer, per the AP. It can take decades for symptoms to appear. By then, patients are often in tremendous pain, with just a few months to live. Of the 50 blood samples submitted, more than 20% came back positive or bordering positive for liver fluke antibodies, said Sung-Tae Hong, the tropical medicine specialist who carried out the tests at Seoul National University in South Korea.

“It was surprising,” he said, stressing the preliminary results could include false positives and that the research is ongoing. Though rarely found in Americans, the parasites infect an estimated 25 million people worldwide. Endemic in the rivers of Vietnam, the worms can easily be wiped out with a handful of pills early on, but left untreated they can live for decades without making their hosts sick. Over time, swelling and inflammation of the bile duct can lead to cancer. Jaundice, itchy skin, weight loss, and other symptoms appear only when the disease is in its final stages. The VA study, along with a call by Sen. Chuck Schumer for broader research into liver flukes and vets stricken with the cancer known as cholangiocarcinoma, began after the AP raised the issue last year. About 700 veterans with cholangiocarcinoma have been seen by the VA in the past 15 years.

Just great!  As if these vets did not have enough on their shoulders…..now this….

May you all have a good Sunday…..be well, be safe…..chuq

America’s (Dis) Regard for its Soldiers and Veterans

We have just celebrated Veterans Day…..a day when we hold our veterans in high regard……think about that statement for a moment……

We thank them for their service…..but do Americans really care?  Do we as a society really give a sh*t?  My thought is that we do or say these things because it is expected of us….not because we really care…..

I believe that if we had a shared experience our concern would be more real…..how real can the concern be when about 1% of the country actually experiences military service and the horrors of war?

I recently read an article on this subject in the American Conservative (yes, the old professor finds some worth in a conservative publication)…….

The American people and their leaders have been swooning for years over the boys and girls in uniform. Our national crush on the armed forces reflects in part symptoms of lingering collective post-9/11 traumatic stress syndrome. The al Qaeda attacks represented the deadliest terrorist strike in American history, and that incongruous bolt of death and destruction from the blue skies of an otherwise lovely fall day compounded our terror. Our armed forces rushed to protect us after the attack and then quickly visited righteous retribution on the perpetrators and their Taliban allies in Afghanistan.

In addition to our gratitude for the military’s protection after 9/11, the public’s affection for our military is reinforced by the fact that we now regard it as one of the few truly functional sectors of our society. In a recent Gallup poll, 73 percent of respondents demonstrated confidence in the armed forces, compared with only 41 percent for organized religion, 18 percent for big business, and 9 percent for Congress. Another polling organization finds that 78 percent of the public holds our soldiers’ contributions in high regard, above the share that feels the same of teachers (72 percent), doctors (66 percent), and even scientists (65 percent). Not surprisingly, Pew detects a general, if diffuse, sense of gratitude among the 91 percent of respondents who declare they are “proud” of the military.

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/americas-dis-regard-for-its-veterans-soldiers/

Ask yourself if you regard for the soldiers and veterans is genuine or is just something that is expected of you…..