A Clear and Present Danger to the Republic

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.

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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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The Donald Trump Campaign’s Latest Stupidity Explodes on Twitter

Donald Trump’s spokeswoman, Katrina Pierson, who is as ignorant as the Donald is and probably has the same narcissist ego, took to Twitter and blamed President Obama and Hillary Clinton for the death of Captain Humayun Khan, who Trump insulted when he insulted the hero’s parents when the mother did not talk at the DNC.

But Captain Khan sacrificed his life to save his men from a suicide bomber in 2004 when G. W. Bush was President, four years before Obama was elected president.

Of course it isn’t Katrina’s fault if Trump ordered her to do it. From what I’ve read of his business history based on the experience of people who once worked for him, the Donald is an extreme micromanager and no one does anything without him knowing and approving.

In addition, this is what I’ve been thinking. Captain Khan deliberately risked and then lost his life to give his men time to fall back from a suicide bomber rushing their position in a car. Why did he only get the Bronze Star, why not the Medal of Honor?

How was it Hillary Clinton’s (HRC) fault? Because in the Donald’s twisted brain, she voted for the bill that approved the Iraq War.

On 60 Minutes, Donald Trump clearly blamed HRC for voting for the bill that approved the Iraq War – watch the next video to hear him say it with your own ears – and you will also hear that he didn’t blame Mike Pence, his VP running mate, who not only voted for the bill that authorized the Iraq War, but authored it. That means Pence helped write the bill.  All HRC did was vote for the bill. Since then, HRC has publicly admitted she made a mistake signing the bill that approved the Iraq War, but Pence has never admitted it was a mistake that he wrote and voted for it.

In the 60 Minute’s clip, Trump also claimed he never supported the Iraq War since the beginning.

However, FackCheck.org reports that “On September 11, 2002, Howard Stern asked Trump if he supports invading Iraq. Trump answers hesitantly, “Yea, I guess so. You know. I wish it was, I wish the first time it was done correctly.”

Conservative Critics often dismiss fact check sites that reports conservative lies, because they think these sites are biased against conservatives – even though the same fact check sites report the lies that liberal politicians also say in public – but that doesn’t change the fact that Trump said what he said in 2002.

In addition, on January 28, 2003, Trump appeared on Fox Business’ “Your world with Neil Cavuto,” on the night of President Bush’s State of the Union address. Trump says he expects to hear “a lot of talk about Iraq and the problems,” and the economy. He urges Bush to make a decision on Iraq. “Either you attack or you don’t attack,” he says. But he offers no opinion on what Bush should do.

How can anyone that is sane, who’s knows about this and calls themselves an American citizen, support Donald Trump?

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine, Vietnam Veteran, journalist and award winning author.

His second novel is the award winning love story and suspense-thriller Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he didn’t do while serving in Vietnam, 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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The Ignorance of Donald Trump on Display with another Foolish Twitter Rant as he insults a U.S. Marine

Donald J. Trump went on another Twitter rampage after the Democratic National Convention ended, and in one Tweet he said, “General John Allen, who I never met but spoke against me last night, failed badly in his fight against ISIS. His record = BAD #Never Hillary”.

This is another example of how ignorant and foolish Donald Trump is.

How could General John Allen (click link to discover Allen’s accomplishments) fail badly in a fight he never fought? Although he served in Iraq, he never had command of the Multi-National Forces West, and he retired from active duty more than a year before the Islamic State of ISIS and/or ISIL was established.

Who is General John Allen? CNN reported, “Allen graduated with honors from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1976, and has racked up a long and distinguished list of accomplishments both on the battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq as well as an attempted role as peacemaker to one of the longest and most intractable conflicts in the Middle East.”

General John Allen commanded the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan from July 18, 2011 to February 10, 2013, and then he retired from active service after having served the United States as a U.S. Marine for 37 years — something the Donald has never done because during the Vietnam war, Trump managed to avoid being drafted with several deferments. Read all about it in Was Trump a ‘draft dodger’?

In fact, in June 2014, Aljazeera reported, “Sunni rebels declared new ‘Islamic caliphate’. Armed group ISIL changed name to Islamic State, and says its empire extends from Iraq to Syria’s Aleppo.”

ISIS has operated out of Iraq & Syria since 1990 under several different names and did not appear in Afghanistan until 2015 about two years after General Allen retired from active duty.

Do we really want a president who is this ignorant and libels and slanders people without knowing what he is talking about? Donald Trump is a liar. Donald Trump is a loser. Donald Trump is a fraud. Donald Trump has a thin skin. Donald Trump is a coward and a bully. Donald Trump is a small man no matter what size his body parts are.

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Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

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Lofthouse’s first novel was the award winning historical fiction My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. His second novel was the award winning thriller Running with the Enemy followed by his award winning memoir Crazy is Normal.

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A Semper Fi Hero in Orlando

What would Donald Trump say about an American citizen called Imran Yousuf if all he heard for the first time was this young man’s name in connection to the night club massacre in Orlando, Florida?

The odds are that The Donald would think that Yousuf was from the Middle East, a Muslim and a danger to all Americans and then say it without fact checking. After all, soon after the Orlando nightclub massacre, Trump was demanding a ban on all Muslim travel to the U.S. before the FBI released any verified information on the shooter and his motives. The Donald didn’t waste any time to demonize an entire religion of 1.6 billion people in his campaign full of hate, racism, lies and deception in his race to become President of the United States.

To sum it up, I’ll turn to Jennifer Williams who reported on Vox.com that “Donald Trump’s speech scared me as an American Muslim. It should scare you, too.”

I think The Donald should scare every American, because to me The Donald is the Bogeyman in the flesh. The Bogeyman is a common allusion to a mythical creature in many cultures used by adults to frighten children into good behavior. This mythical creature is no longer a myth. The Donald is real, and parents now have a real person to frighten their children with. Parents can now say, “If you don’t behave, The Donald will come for you in the night, and he will demonize and bash you on TV in front of the entire world.”

I want to introduce you to the real Imran Yousef, a former U.S. Marine and Afghan veteran with a first and last name that sounds like he could be from the Middle East and a Muslim.  Click this link to discover more about Imran:  The Marine Corps Times says, “Marine Vet’s quick actions saved dozens of lives during Orlando nightclub shooting.”

What name sounds more Middle Eastern and Muslim – Imran Yousuf or Omar Mateen? Before you answer that question did you know that Omar is not only an Arabic name but is also of Hebrew (Jewish) origin, but Imran only has Arabic roots – yet CBS reports Imran Yousuf is a 25 year-old Hindu?

That led me to ask another question: Is The Bible More violent Than the Quran? The answer to that question will probably surprise most people who read it. In 2010, NPR ran a story to answer this question and referred to a study by religion historian Philip Jenkins who decided to compare the brutality quotient of the Quran and the Bible.

For readers who don’t have the patience and/or time to click the previous link and discover the entire answer, here is one short quote from Philip Jenkins: “Much to my surprise,” he said, “the Islamic scriptures in the Quran were actually far less bloody and less violent than those in the Bible.” Violence in the Quran, he and other say, is largely a defense against attack.

Semper Fi is Latin and it means Always Faithful.

According to CNN, there are almost 500 Muslims and 86 Hindus serving in the U.S. Marines, and if you are curious for more facts and truth, here is a link to a story about U.S. Muslim Serviceman who Have Died in the Service of Our Country.

Send a message to Donald Trump to delete his mouth, and make sure to vote in November but not for him.

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine, Vietnam Veteran, journalist and award-winning author.

His second novel is the award winning love story and suspense-thriller Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he didn’t do while serving in Vietnam, 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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The Politics of Deceit

Every Thursday afternoon I drive to a local VA medical clinic and join a veteran writers group. One of the regular members, who never served in combat, seems obsessed with the glory of war. He can’t seem to hear enough stories from us combat vets. To listen to him, it seems that he sees war as wonderful and proof that the United States is defending and supporting democracy and freedom everywhere in the world.

Most combat vets don’t think the same. In fact, I haven’t known a combat vet yet who doesn’t question everything an elected representative or corporate CEO claims on almost any topic that leads to more profits or power for a member of the 0.1%. For some reason, being shot at by bullets, mortar rounds and rockets—not counting the threat of stepping on a land mine and getting your legs blown off—creates skeptics of most combat vets who saw action.

Now I have read for the first time in Newsweek [RECOMMENDED READING] that the POW-MIA flag was another propaganda campaign backed by President Richard Nixon to fool the American people and demonize the enemy and create justification for the Vietnam War and his illegal bombings of Cambodia and Laos that he kept secret from the U.S. Congress (National Geographic Magazine). The POW-MIA flag was originally created to embarrass President Lyndon Johnson as a way to end the war instead of turning the Communists in North Vietnam and their South Vietnamese Allies into monsters who—it turns out—in reality didn’t hold a candle to the monsters the United States and its dictator in South Vietnam were.

If the United States is a great country that supports democracy and freedom throughout the world, why have there been so many repeated lies to start wars?

It’s obvious that the Vietnamese, who fought the United States, were not doing anything different than the Vietnamese have done before when they fought for 1,000 years to be free of China’s occupation starting in 111 BC and continuing to 938 AD.

The Vietnamese also fought French occupation for decades—French Indochina was formed in October 1887. After Gia Định fell to French troops in 1859, many resistance movements broke out in occupied areas. In the north, most movements were led by former court officers and lasted decades, with Phan Đình Phùng fighting in central Vietnam until 1895. In the northern mountains, former bandit leader Hoàng Hoa Thám fought until 1911. Even the teenage Nguyễn Emperor Hàm Nghi left the Imperial Palace of Huế in 1885 with regent Tôn Thất Thuyết and started the Cần Vương (“Save the King”) movement, trying to rally the people to resist the French. He was captured in 1888 and exiled to French Algeria. By 1900 a new generation of Vietnamese were coming of age who had never lived in precolonial Vietnam. These young activists were as eager as their grandparents to see independence restored.

Then beginning in 1950, American military advisors arrived in what was then French Indochina. U.S. involvement escalated in the early 1960s and escalated dramatically after the so-called Gulf of Tonkin incident that resulted in Congress giving the U.S. president authorization to increase U.S. military presence.

I arrived in Chu Lai, Vietnam in 1965 with the 1st Marine Division’s 1st Tank Battalion. At the time we didn’t know that the Tonkin Gulf incident was exaggerated and based on a lie. The original American report blamed North Vietnam for both incidents, but eventually became very controversial with widespread claims that either one or both incidents were false, and possibly purposefully so. While four North Vietnamese sailors were claimed to have been killed and six more wounded, there were no U.S. casualties.

In 1995, former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara met with former Vietnam People’s Army General Võ Nguyên Giáp to ask what happened on 4 August 1964 in the second Gulf of Tonkin Incident. “Absolutely nothing”, Giáp replied. Giáp claimed that the attack had been imaginary—manufactured by President Lyndon B. Johnson’s White House staff with his permission.

Then there is President G. W. Bush’s lies about Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq causing Congress to once again authorize another war based on more exaggerations and lies.

If you have watched the videos and read this post, are you still a deaf, dumb and blind U.S. patriot totally obedient to the elected and corporate leaders of the United States?

I wonder if you also know that similar lies and propaganda have been used for decades in the United States to destroy the labor unions of middle class workers and also demonize public school teachers—all for profit and power.

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran.

His second novel is the award winning love story and suspense-thriller Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he didn’t do while serving in Vietnam, 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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Fuel for thought — a few facts about the 4th of July and who votes in the United States

After posting Will the Real 4th of July Please Stand Up on July fourth, this is my sequel. Smile, hopefully Big Brother is not watching you on camera yet.

  • 35.5 Million: Number of People Traveling by Car to celebrate the 4th of July with family and friends.
  • 150 Million: Number of Hot Dogs Consumed Over the Weekend
  • 68.3 Million Total cases of beer sold [at 24 beers a case, that is more than 1.6 billion beers] on Independence Day weekend, the most popular holiday for beer purchases, followed by Labor Day, Memorial Day, Father’s Day and Christmas.


Correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t these all democracies?

  • $247.1 Million: Value of Fireworks From China (no wonder the Chinese love the U.S. 4th of July holiday)
  • About 42.6 percent (103 million) of the people celebrating the Fourth this year will attend a fireworks display or community party, while 11.5 percent (27 million) will watch a parade, according to the National Retail Federation.
  • Millions of American flags are actually manufactured abroad. Nearly all of them – 97 percent – came from China last year, which sold us $3.5 million worth.
  • 48 Million: Consumers Shopping for Red, White and Blue
  • More than 48 million Americans will be shopping for decorations, apparel and party supplies this Independence Day, with average household spending jumping up to $71.23 – 4.5 percent higher than 2014’s $68.16 per household.

Then—to honestly measure patriotism—there’s this:

  • 2014 midterm election turnout lowest in 70 years – Just 36.4 percent of eligible voters turned out in 2014
  • Voter turnout dipped from 62.3 percent of eligible citizens voting in 2008 to an estimated 57.5 in 2012.
  • That figure was also below the 60.4 level of the 2004 election but higher than the 54.2 percent turnout in the 2000 election.

How would you measure patriotism—by the number of beers one drinks on the 4th of July or if they voted on election days?

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran.

His second novel is the award winning love story and suspense-thriller Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he didn’t do while serving in Vietnam, 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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This is a love story that might cost the lovers everything—even their lives.

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Will the Real 4th of July Please Stand Up

While I’m an apple pie fan, my thoughts were not on fireworks or celebrating the 4th. My wife, who arrived in America in 1986 on a student visa from China and who is now a U.S. citizen, is the one who bought the flag that hangs outside our house.

My job was to install the bracket for the flag, and while installing the flag a lot of conflicting thoughts were running through my head. For instance, the reason I don’t go to fireworks shows is because of the PTSD that came home with me from Vietnam as a U.S. Marine—a war that was based on lies by a U.S. President just like the war in Iraq.

I was thinking of the Swift Boat Veteran campaign against Kerry when he ran for president and how G. W. Bush probably won that election when he was a coward who used his family influence to keep him out of the war.  You see, Kerry served in Vietnam on a swift boat and he was wounded more than once. He even held dying friends in his arms. Yea, they were close calls for Kerry, flesh wounds, but they were still wounds, and even though the rounds, rockets, and mortars that came close to me never cut flesh, close is still too close because an inch more and bam you might be crippled or worse, dead.

I was thinking of the Koch brothers and all that they are doing to sabotage the People’s Republic of the United States that the Founding Fathers gave to America’s citizens. In fact, this morning, I read that non-profits that the Koch brothers fund are waging a PR campaign to get rid of the national parks. It seems the Koch brothers want the federal government to turn all the national parks over to the states and give the states the power to sell them off to the highest bidder in the private sector. — Koch-Backed Group Calls For No More National Parks

And the Koch brothers aren’t alone among the billionaire oligarchs who are out to destroy our people’s republic. There’s Bill Gates, Eli Broad and the Walton family waging an all-out war against America’s democratic, transparent, non-profit public schools to close them down and turn our children over to for profit, opaque, undemocratic corporate Charter schools to teach.  Bill Gates even wants to put Big Brother in every public school classroom by installing video cameras to spy on every teacher and make sure they are doing what Big Brother wants them to do with the so-called Common Core crap.

In fact, I’m reading a book right now that keeps me awake at night.  The book is about a conspiracy that isn’t a theory and it’s like reading a true crime novel but one that is based on the crime as it is happening instead of after the criminals were caught, tried, convicted and sent to prison. The book is called Common Core Dilemma – Who Owns Our Schools? by Mercedes K. Schneider.

And I keep asking myself as I’m reading the book—I’m almost done and then I’m going to write a review—why the conspiracy this book reveals isn’t front page news in our corporate owned and controlled media. Then I tell myself I already know the answer: 90% of the traditional media is owned by six huge corporations and one of those media corporations is controlled by Rupert Murdock.

Then as I stand there watching the wind rippling the stars and stripes hanging from a flag pole attached to the side of our house, I think, how many Americans really represent the United States our Founding Fathers gave us—who reads and votes?

In the 2014 election, fewer people turned out to vote than any election in the last 70 years. In the 2012 Presidential election, 64% of eligible voters voted. The biggest excuse is they were too busy to vote (17.5%) or they were just not interested (13.4%).  And the turnout for the 2014 election was the lowest since World War II at 36.4% and look what we got.

Of all the socioeconomic factors impacting voter turnout, education has the greatest impact. The more educated a person is, the more likely they are to vote, as they have a better understanding of how the system works, how to influence the system, and why participation is important.

Thinking of the voter turnout, I ask myself: How many Americans celebrate the 4th of July with a barbecue, hot dogs, beer, apple pie and fireworks—the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air?  The 4th of July holiday makes for a great party atmosphere, doesn’t it?

I was also thinking of the Fairness Doctrine (1949 – 1987). The Fairness Doctrine was a policy of the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC), introduced in 1949, that required the holders of broadcast licenses to both present controversial issues of public importance and to do so in a manner that was, in the Commission’s view, honest, equitable and balanced.

The Fairness Doctrine was eliminated by two U.S. Presidents on the excuse that it was a violation of our freedom of expression: Ronald Reagan followed by the first Bush to live in the White House.

Does freedom of expression also guarantee the right to lie and mislead the public?

The last thought I’m going to share is this: studies show that 91% of elections in the United Stets are won by the candidates who spent the most money on the campaign propaganda they spin out to fool voters. – Supreme Court Strikes Down Overall Political Donation Cap

Will the real 4th of July please stand up.

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran.

His second novel is the award winning love story and suspense-thriller Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he didn’t do while serving in Vietnam, 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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This is a love story that might cost the lovers everything—even their lives.

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