As a U.S. Marine, I came back from the Vietnam War in 1966, and PTSD followed me home like an evil, second shadow, and that PTSD conspired to wreck my life and drove me close to suicide a number of times. There was no support for combat vets with PTSD until the 1980s. Before then, we were mostly alone.
In the last decade the mental health support from the VA has helped me to manage my PTSD instead of letting it dominate me, but last week I heard from a reliable anonymous source within the VA that a transition team from the Trump administration has already visited the VA and told the top leadership they were planning to privatize the VA.
From what I heard it wasn’t “if”; it was “when” and “soon”.
A former old friend, we’ve known each other for about 60 years since we were children, already triumphantly explained in an e-mail soon after the election, right before I blocked him from sending me any more of his crap, that the VA was going to be closed, everyone that works there fired, and every vet would get a voucher of about $8,500 annually to pay for medical insurance in the private sector. This former old friend is also a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam vet that relies on the VA for his medical care, but he is also a fundamentalist, evangelical Christian, tea-party sympathizer, and libertarian thinker who listens to and believes many of the same misleading sources Littlefingers, who he voted for, relies on for his allegedly smart thinking.
The VA leadership told Trump’s transition team that the VA couldn’t be privatized easily, just because Littlefingers snapped his fingers expecting total obedience (my words, not theirs). It would take an act of Congress and even then it would be complicated, because the VA is funded by both mandatory (more than half) and discretionary spending. The mandatory part is based on previous legislation passed by previous presidents and Congresses going back to the beginning of the VA all the way to 1811 when the federal government (and most of the Founding Fathers were still alive) authorized the first medical facility for veterans, and in 1917 when the US entered World War I, and Congress established a new system of veterans benefits, including programs for disability compensation, insurance for service personal and veterans and vocational rehabilitation for the disability.
For Littlefingers to legally erase the VA, or any element of the federal government, the Republican dominated Congress would have to cooperate and support him every step-of-the-way.
And last week, the Koch brothers, ALEC, tea-party people dominated Republican Party in Congress took a step that clearly signals they are ready to do just that.
New York Magazine reports, “The GOP Just Gave Congress the Power to Cut the (annual) Salaries of Individual Civil Servants to $1 … and the budget of any individual federal programs right down to zero.
“They executed this attack on the independence of the civil service by reviving an obscure provision enacted by Congress in 1876: The Holman Rule, named after the Indiana congressman who devised it, empowers any member of Congress to submit an amendment to an appropriations bill that targets the funding of a specific government program or employee.” …
“It remains unclear how aggressively Republicans will use the Holman Rule, which inspired some opposition within their own ranks. …”
But it is clearly obvious to me that the Trump administration and the Koch dominated GOP plans to roll the U.S. back to a time right after Abraham Lincoln’s Civil War (1861 – 1865), back to the Jim Crow era of racial discrimination and injustice, back to a time when there was no income tax, and the federal government was weak, very weak, when it came to protecting the people and the environment from racists, liars, frauds and con-men like Littlefingers Donald Trump, who will never be my President, and back to a time when there was little to no job protection and more than 40 percent of Americans lived in poverty.
And instead of creating jobs, Littlefingers will soon be in a position, with possible support from the GOP dominated Congress to get rid of and/or bully most if not all of the 2.8 million civil servants that work for the federal government with a legal threat to legislate many of them into poverty.
The VA, for instance, employs almost 345,000 people at hundreds of VA medical facilities, clinics, and benefit offices across the country. They are mostly civil servants and few working Americans can survive on $1 a year.
This is what “draining the swamp” really means to Littlefingers, with a long history of contempt and obvious hate for the law and anyone with more power than he has, and soon he will be the most powerful person in the world with help from Russia. Littlefingers is clearly the Kremlin’s President of the United States, a clear-and-present danger.
Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine, Vietnam Veteran, journalist, and award winning author.
His second novel is the award winning historical-fiction love story and suspense-thriller Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he didn’t commit, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence, or he will never go home again.
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Reblogged this on Lloyd Lofthouse.
I used to go with my dad to the VA hospital on 23rd Street in Manhattan when I was a kid. There, as a boy, I met men in wheelchairs as well as those who lost limbs. I learned a valuable lesson there. I learned that the disabled were human beings. This experience led me to become a special education teacher. On hindsight, besides his physical pain from injuries during the war, I am sure my dad had PTSD. There were things he would never talk about and when upset, he became explosive. People who work for the VA spend years working and studying the disabled to understand their needs. A friggin voucher to a private doctor will not help veterans deal with their mental anguish or help someone accept their disability or learn how to use a prosthesis with empathy and understanding. Veterans and their families must fight to keep the dignity of those who sacrificed. In my eyes, all veterans are heroes and only a narcissist would not understand this.
I wrote a long reply to your comment and then lost it. That has happened too many times on WordPress. It is frustrating and maybe this is something that WordPress should look into and fix.
To keep this 2nd reply shorter, I had private-sector medical providers for 30 years when I was a public school teacher. The district was always looking for the cheapest medical provider available and switching between contracts, and this meant that sometimes health care would be denied or short changed by the insurance company and/or medical provider.
I retired early before I was qualified for Medicare and left teaching without any medical care (most teachers retire without medical care programs), and soon learned I was eligible for medical care through the VA. That was a decade ago and now I have a comparison between my thirty years of private sector medical care and a decade under the VA.
The VA wins hands down as a medical provider that does not weight profits vs the health care an individual might need to survive and keep their health. I have never felt shortchanged or neglected by the VA medical system.
The VA doesn’t need fixing by turning it over to autocratic, private-sector, greed-is-great, for-profit corporations. All the VA needs is adequate funding and support to serve all of the military veterans that risked all to protect their country while fighting endless bush wars around the world that in the end mostly profited the largest, autocratic, private-sector, for-profit, greed-is-good, weapons industry in the world.
Putin thinks he will cripple the US with Littlefingers Donald Trump as president. But he’s wrong, because that private sector weapons industry will eliminate Littlefingers if he threatens their profits, but Littlefingers has made it clear he is going to spend even more money on weapons and the military. Putin should be losing sleep over that, because the US weapons industry needs wars to make profits and Russia could end up one of its eventual targets.
And the weapons industry needs troops that cost less than mercenaries to fight the wars that fuel its profits. Take away the VA medical care programs and the supply of volunteers to fight those wars might dry up. Why fight for a country that treats is wounded like throw-away garbage?
Lloyd Lofthouse: Trump is a Clear and Present Danger to the Republic | Diane Ravitch's blog
Reblogged this on David R. Taylor-Thoughts on Education.
I used to go with my friend to the VA on 23rd Street described above. My friend was an insulin dependent diabetic. I also saw many severely disabled vets on my visits to the VA. It is incomprehensible to me that the new administration is seeking to sabotage those individuals who sacrifice so much for this country. Next, they will take away the education benefits.
What if they end the VA home loan program too?
Links 1/10/17 | Mike the Mad Biologist
Good articel, thanks. The soon to be fascist in chief is indeed a clear and present danger, along with the present day Republican Party, Koch (John Birch Societ) traitor brother.
I see 2 of your books I want to get, although I hate Amazon. I’m always interested in the history, fictional or not about Asia, I live in Thailand with ties in Lao. Running with the enemy reminds me of a friend from back in the day that was USMC “intelligence”. He lived with a Viet lady until the US had her killed as a VC spy.
USMC Sgt-Vietnam 1966/67
Sorry, I didn’t spell check and there is no edit, article and Society.
Typos are not a problem for me in comments as long as I can figure out what a comment means from context clues. I have typos all the time in my comments.
My e-books are also available through iTunes bookstore, Barnes and Noble, Kobo and others.