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.

Best Choice on Jan 21 of New Cover

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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Capturing the pulse of a nation at the end of an unjust war

While reading Last Plane Out of Saigon, an opinionated but accurate memoir by Richard Pena and John Hagan, I did a lot of reflection and here are some of my thoughts.

During a war, the U.S. government has the power to draft—against their will—recruits who might end up fighting in a just or unjust war. Then there are those Americans who join voluntarily to serve in the military. It’s been 49 years since I served as a volunteer in the U.S. Marine and fought in Vietnam, and for the last several decades, after a lot of research to understand what happened and why the U.S. started that war, I have concluded that the war in Vietnam was wrong and it was based on lies. I think the same about the Iraq War.

There is a big difference between volunteering versus being drafted and forced to serve, and two-thirds of the U.S. troops who served in Vietnam were volunteers and about 70% of those who were killed were also volunteers and 62% of the troops killed were age 21 or younger.

For me, a few weeks before I graduated from High school, I voluntarily surrendered the freedom most Americans take for granted and joined the U.S. Marines on a delayed deferment. In fact, once you join any of the branches of the U.S. military, you leave your free choice behind, and you don’t get it back until after you are honorably discharged. The military is another world with its own courts, hospitals and prisons, and the troops are trained to serve and obey without question. Disobey and a recruit might end up in prison or even executed for the crime of treason.

In the summer of 1965, I was in boot camp at MCRD in San Diego when we heard that the U.S. war in Vietnam was escalating and once we left boot camp every recruit was going to be on his way to fight. That scuttlebutt turned out to be true, and I arrived in Chu Lai, Vietnam, about 90 miles south of Da Nang on March 28, 1966.

About halfway through my combat tour, the first draftees started to arrive, and one was assigned to the communications platoon where I was a field radio operator. To me, and the other Marines in that platoon, it was considered wrong that anyone should be forced to serve in the U.S. Marines and fight in one of America’s wars, and we went out of our way to shelter that draftee.

In Richard Pena and John Hagan’s “Last Plane out of Saigon,” on page 100, Pena wrote something that I agree with: “I submit that the true American patriots are those who see the faults of our country and do not hide from them but instead attempt to rectify them.”

I didn’t always think that way. As a child, I grew up in a totally non-political family, and at the same time I was also being brainwashed by patriotic films disguised as adventures, thrillers and suspense out of Hollywood—for instance, most John Wayne movies. My parents never voted and the one time I asked my father why, he said all politicians were crooks, and it was a waste of time to vote because it wasn’t going to change anything. When I was in college on the GI Bill 1968 – 1973, I would become more aware and today I disagree with my father, because I think that when we don’t vote, the criminals in the White House and Congress get away with their crimes, but active, knowledgeable voters can change that.

To understand the dramatic attitude shift of the Vietnam War in the United States, in August 1965, when I reported to boot camp at MCRD, 62% of Americans agreed with the war. By the time I flew home from Vietnam near the end of December 1966, that number was down to about 52% and dropping. In 1968 when I was honorably discharged from active duty, support for the war was down to 37%, and by 1971, during my third year of college on the GI Bill, support was down to 28%.

“Last Plane Out of Saigon” is Richard Pena’s story, and it roughly captures the nation’s mood at the end of the war. Pena was drafted—forced to fight in a war that was clearly wrong. His book is a journal of what he felt, thought and did in Vietnam where he witnessed the horrors of war working in the operating room of Vietnam’s largest military hospital in Saigon.

I served in Vietnam in 1966 during the buildup. Soon after I left, U.S. troop strength reached about a half-million. But by the time Richard Pena arrived near the end of the war as a draftee in the fall of 1972, U.S. troop strength in Vietnam was down to about 100,000 and dropping.

I think many of American’s troops—both volunteers and draftees—served honorably for mostly honorable reasons, but many of the leaders of the United States who supported the war and sent the troops to fight justified their criminal actions based on lies and deceit.

That leads to a question I have no answer for. How does one serve honorably in a dishonorable war? As for the 5-stars I gave this book, how can I justify loving a book about a dishonorable war? I awarded the 5-stars based on the honesty of the book that revealed the reason why more than 70% of Americans were not allowing themselves to be fooled by the liars who started the war.

_______________________

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

 Low Def Cover 8 on January 20

His latest novel is the award winning suspense-thriller Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit 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.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was fighting for the other side.

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Killing Season was obviously too brutal for many Americans—even the critics

According to Box Office Mojo, Killing Season’s widest release was to 12 theaters for seven days and then it went to DVD. I think this decision was made because most film audiences in American prefer romance and fantasies—not the brutal, bloody reality of gory, brutal up close and personal hand-to-hand combat.

The film was released on July 11, 2013, and it was a flop at the box office earning a total of $39,881 in theaters. Peter Sobczynski reviewed the film and gave it less than one star. Sobczynski says, “The film is quite awful—badly written, ineptly staged, horribly acted, historically suspect and boring beyond belief—and fully deserving of its ignominious fate.”

Here’s the thing, I don’t agree with Sobczynski. I didn’t think it was a bad film—and was that because I have no taste, or because I’m a former U.S. Marine who fought in Vietnam?

To me, this film reveals rather brutally what combat does to two men, and how war might leave mental scars that run deep. In fact, similar brutality appears in my novel, “Running with the Enemy”. If you have a weak stomach and lose sleep easily over reading about or watching extreme violence, this film and my novel are not for you.

Here’s a brief plot summary without spoilers: In Belgrade, Serbia, former Scorpions soldier Emil Kovač (Travolta) meets an informant to retrieve a file on American military veteran and former NATO operative Colonel Benjamin Ford (De Niro). Ford has fled to a cabin retreat somewhere in the Appalachian Mountains, to forget the war. Now a recluse, he meets Kovač, posing as a European tourist, during a hunting trip. The two men become friendly, until Kovač reveals his true identity. Intent on revenge for something Ford allegedly did in Serbia, he initiates a gory game of cat-and-mouse with Ford. The latter is badly injured but is quick to rebound.

I find it interesting that the film had 257 customer reviews on Amazon, and 132 were 4-and-5 star reviews—that’s 51%.  Only 62 were 1-and-2 stars—that’s 24%. More than twice as many reviewers enjoyed the film, and I was one of them.

The Most Helpful Review said, “Killing Season is a movie that thrills and leaves you thinking. It is timely because the tension echoes many of the current situations going on in society. In their own right each of the two in the movie have their reasons (and justifications) for their points and places. In the end (sorry, no spoiler here) the stark realization of the view from the other side really brings home the powerful moral of this movie. De Niro is his usual amazing self and Travolta delivers a nearly convincing eastern bloc persona. Well worth seeing.”

I also scanned the 1-star reviews and the most detailed one I read ended with: “If you’ve ever wanted to see De Niro piss on his own leg to heal a gaping wound this is your chance. You won’t get another.”

I asked Google why it might have been a good idea for De Nrio to piss on his wound, and Wise Geek.org says, “As difficult as it might be for some to comprehend, the medical benefits of urine have been widely studied in many areas including, but not limited to, the effect of pee on wounds. Normal urine is not only pH balanced, it is non-toxic and is believed to contain many nutrients and healing compounds. Normal urine is both anti-viral and anti-bacterial, making it a potentially ideal treatment for cuts, abrasions, wounds, and skin infections of any kind.”

>>>Focus on the key word there: “normal” urine.<<<

I don’t know about you, but don’t expect me to pee on my wound if I was in the same situation. I’d rather use powdered cayenne. I keep some in the car, bathroom, kitchen and my wood shop. In fact, Earth Clinic.com says, “For stopping profuse bleeding, we eagerly recommend using powdered cayenne to speed up the coagulation process and close the wound.”

I learned about using powdered cayenne on wounds when I belonged to a wood-carving club. Every veteran wood carver in that club had some fine ground pepper/powdered cayenne stored in their tool box with their super-sharp carving knives—just don’t put powdered cayenne or black pepper in your eyes, mouth or nose. It burns really bad, but surprisingly doesn’t burn when sprinkled on cuts and gashes—at least that has been my experience.

_______________________

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

His latest novel is the award winning suspense-thriller Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit 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.

Low-Def Kindle Cover December 11

And the woman he loves and wants to save was fighting for the other side.

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Who’s behind the Pentagon’s cooked books?

You may have heard of corporate welfare and subsidies from the federal government paid to millionaire farmers not to grow food. I’m sure you’ve heard of the GOP’s drive to cut Social Security and Medicare benefits—entitlements that were earned and paid for by US workers and employers.

But how much have you heard about the welfare—fraud might be a better word—to industries that build weapons for the US Military?

 “Because of its persistent inability to tally its accounts, the Pentagon is the only federal agency that has not complied with a law that requires annual audits of all government departments. That means that the $8.5 trillion in taxpayer money doled out by Congress to the Pentagon since 1996, the first year it was supposed to be audited, has never been accounted for. That sum exceeds the value of China’s economic output last year.” Source: Yahoo.com

And a special report from Reuters.com says, “The Pentagon’s doctored ledgers conceal epic waste. … In its investigation, Reuters has found that the Pentagon is largely incapable of keeping track of its vast stores of weapons, ammunition and other supplies; thus it continues to spend money on new supplies it doesn’t need and on storing others long out of date. It has amassed a backlog of more than half a trillion dollars in unaudited contracts with outside vendors; how much of that money paid for actual goods and services delivered isn’t known.”

Then there is this from The Wire.com: “Accounting Fraud and Waste Is Standard Procedure at the Pentagon”.


Examples of Waste in Defense Budget

And when Republicans want to cut budgets, where do they want to slash and burn? Business Insider reports on a list of “20 [so-called] Huge Spending Cuts Republicans Want to Make Right Now”.

1. Eliminate the Presidential Campaign Fund that was intended to make elections more honest

2. Eliminate funding for administrative costs of Obamacare

3. Repeal the David-Bacon Act that required federal government construction contracts include provisions for paying workers prevailing wages and benefits.

4. Eliminate funding for National and Community Service Act programs like AmeriCoprs, Senior Corps and Serve America

5. Prohibit union activities by federal employees

6. Eliminate education programs for children like Head Start, career and technical education programs, etc.

To discover the rest of the twenty budget cuts the GOP wants to make, visit Business Insider @ Business Insider.com, and if you do, see if anything on that list cuts Pentagon waste/fraud; corporate welfare or farm subsidies?

In conclusion from Truth-Out.org: “Most Americans don’t know that ‘long-term reforms’ to ‘entitlement spending’ specifically means cuts to Social Security and Medicare.” And that Reuters, Truth-out.org says [a foreign news service based in London] is the only outlet carrying this news.

Complicity is a doctrine that operates to hold persons criminally responsible for the acts of others.

“An individual is complicit in a crime if he/she is aware of its occurrence and has the ability to report the crime, but fails to do so. As such, the individual effectively allows criminals to carry out a crime despite possibly being able to stop them, either directly or by contacting the authorities, thus making the individual a de facto accessory to the crime rather than an innocent bystander.”

But what happens when an individual who is complicit in a crime is a member of Congress? Are elected representatives in Congress exempt from the law?

_______________________

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

His latest novel is the award winning suspense-thriller Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit 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.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was fighting for the other side.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

 

Acronyms Describing Women in the US Military

In the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars, “military sexual trauma” has been so pervasive it got its own acronym: MST.

There are other acronyms—some now obsolete and some not listed—that are used to describe women in the military. I’ve listed a few here that I found from several lists.

Be warned, some of these acronyms and what they mean may offend a few, and I’m sure the last one will offend many.

­­WAAC = Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps and individual members of – now obsolete

WAC = Women’s Army Corps and individual members of – now obsolete

WAF = Women (in the) air Force and individual members of – now obsolete

WAVES = Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Services in the US Navy – now obsolete

WM = Woman/Women Marine(s)

BAM = Broad Assed Marine; pejorative term for women Marines

field 10 = a physically unattractive female service member who becomes an object of desire for male service members after extended time in a field or combat environment away from civilian women.

ma’am = proper method of addressing female officers in particular and all women in general.

WACB (AR 310-50] = Women’s Army Classification Battery

WACSM [AR 310-50] = Women’s Army Corps Service Medal

WEST = weapon effectiveness simulated threat, (AR 310-50] Women’s Enlistment Screening Test

There’s one more acronyms that I could not find—but one I heard more than once from more than one Marine in 1967/68 while I was stationed at Camp Pendleton after my 1966 combat tour in Vietnam.

Marine men called—at least in my unit, the active duty nucleus for the division headquarters of the 4th Marine Division—women Marines SPAM.

Before I define what SPAM meant forty-six years ago, I want to warn you that you might be offended in this age of political correctness with so many words that are considered offensive by one group or another. Just remember, that the SPAM acronym was used by some Marines in the 1960s, and it was never official enough to make any of lists that I researched for this post and probably became obsolete soon after political correctness became a fact of life.

SPAM = Special Prostitute Assigned to the Marines

Considering all of the news about rapes and sexual harassment in the US military today, the use of SPAM to describe women Marines during the Vietnam War might reveal what some military men think about women serving in the military today telling us that maybe the way some men thought back then hasn’t changed much.

Should we be surprised?

The Justice Project reports, “The global sex trade has been increasing over the past 10 years and has now become one of the largest money-makers for criminals, presently taking place as the second largest criminal industry worldwide.”

800,000 are estimated to be trafficked across international borders each year.

80% of these people are females and 50% are minors

The vast majority of these victims will be forced into prostitution, requiring them to service high numbers of clients a day.

There are increasing demands for younger children in the sex slave trade.

Discover Stanford Study shows effect of PTSD trauma on brain

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
is the award winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition].

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit 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.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was fighting for the other side.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”