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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Was the American Revolution about freedom or slavery?

In 1772, Lord Mansfield’s judgment in the Somersett’s Case emancipated a slave in England, and that helped launch the movement that would abolish slavery in the British Empire. If the thirteen American colonies had stayed in the Empire, there would have been no Civil War to end slavery, because slavery in the United States would have ended peacefully without a shot being fired.

Is it a coincidence that this fight for independence from the British Empire followed the beginning of the movement in England to end slavery in the British Empire?

Comparing the two timelines offers a compelling argument that the American Revolution wasn’t about freedom—it was about slavery disguised as a freedom movement.

On December 15, 1773—about one year after the Somersett Case in the UK—the Boston Tea Party signaled a movement for independence in America leading to the formation of the United States of America. Then in April 1775, the shot heard round the world was fired when the Minutemen met the redcoats at Lexington and Concord.

In fact, when the so-called fight for freedom ended in 1783—followed four-years later in 1787 with the signing of the U.S. Constitution—slavery was still an institution in the United States of America.

Meanwhile, the movement to end slavery was growing in the British Empire.

While slavery was unsupported by law in England and Scotland and no authority could be exercised on slaves entering English or Scottish soil, this did not yet apply to the rest of the British Empire.

However, by 1783, an anti-slavery movement to abolish the slave trade throughout the Empire had begun among the British public—the same year, the United States and Great Britain signed the Treaty of Paris ending the Revolution, and slavery would continue in the United States for more than eighty years and end only after the bloodiest war fought on American soil, the Civil War (1861 – 1865).  Even then, discrimination and racial violence would continue unabated and unchallenged in the United States for another century before the Civil Rights era of the 1960s

If you have doubts, then consider the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 or the Japanese-American Internment camps during World War II where close to 120,000 American citizens were sent to prison camps (for a comparison, only 11,000 Americans of German ancestry were locked up).

How can any country claim to be a democracy while it discriminated legally at any time in its history? I suspect the answer to that question depends on an individual’s definition of freedom.

When I Googled what America is best known for around the world, the answer in the first hit was interesting: “A freedom fighter, the protector of the weak, generosity.”

Slavery was officially abolished in most of the British Empire in August 1834, and this was accomplished without a war that cost more than 600,000 lives in the United States, a country billed as a freedom fighter and protector of the weak.

The cost of the Civil war did not end in 1865. “In dollars and cents, the U.S. government estimated Jan. 1863 that the war was costing $2.5 million daily. A final official estimate in 1879 totaled $6,190,000,000. The Confederacy spent perhaps $2,099,808,707. By 1906 another $3.3 billion already had been spent by the U.S. government on Northerners’ pensions and other veterans’ benefits for former Federal soldiers. Southern states and private philanthropy provided benefits to the Confederate veterans. The amount spent on benefits eventually well exceeded the war’s original cost. …

“The physical devastation, almost all of it in the South, was enormous: burned or plundered homes, pillaged countryside, untold losses in crops and farm animals, ruined buildings and bridges, devastated college campuses, and neglected roads all left the South in ruins. ” Source: Civil War Home.com

Today, after calculating inflation, the Civil War would cost $181,818,181,818.18 in 2012. That’s almost $200 billion. Source: Dave Manuel.com

I’ve always believed that actions speak louder than words. The United States may have righted many wrongs since 1783, but how many remain and how long will it take to fix them?

For example, one manufacturing sector in the United States is the largest merchant of death in the world and sells weapons to almost anyone. Forty-four percent of global arms sales come from the United States. Second place is Russia with 17% of sales. China only sells 4% beat out by France with 8%, and the UK with 5% of the market.

Another example is the fight to end human trafficking in the United States. “In Fiscal Year 2007, the United States Government spent approximately $23 million on domestic programs to fight human trafficking”—illegal slavery in the United States that is mostly women and children forced into the sex trade. Source: Missionaries of the Sacred Heart

Did slavery really end in the United States at the end of the Civil War or did it just go underground in another form? Meanwhile, the US government pays American farmers more than a billion dollars a year not to grow crops on their land, and spends about $15 billion annually on the drug war. More Americans are arrested for drug crimes than any other offense, and the US has more people in prison than any other country.

Isn’t it wonderful being a citizen of the greatest country on the planet, a military super power, and the champion of democracy?

Discover Children as Weapons of Death

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Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, is the award winning author of The Concubine Saga.

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 trained to hate and kill Americans.

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One Reason Why “we” Wore the Uniform and Put “our” Lives on the Line

Less than one percent of Americans currently serve in the US Military defending their nation and fighting for its interests in foreign lands. Between 1964 – 1968, I was one of those troops serving for America wearing the uniform.  I put my life on the line just like the others that wore similar uniforms in the US Navy, Army, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard.

In 1964, I joined the US Marines and went to boot camp at MCRD in San Diego, California. While I was in boot camp, the Tonkin Gulf Incident took place and President L. B. Johnson used this as an excuse to go to war in Vietnam, where I served in 1966.  I came home with a bad case of PTSD and still suffer from it.  I cannot sleep without weapons close at hand.  One of those weapons is a seven-inch bowie knife with a razor sharp blade.  Another is a 38 caliber Smith and Wesson revolver loaded with hollow points. Remove the weapons, I cannot sleep. Every night sound brings back memories of Vietnam.

In Vietnam, my battalion, while it was there during the war, took 50% casualties and earned a Presidential Unit Citation.

I often ask myself, who did I sacrifice for?  Why did I put my life on the line and who did I put my life on the line for?

I’ll tell you. Out of patriotism, I served to defend the American way of life—the freedoms this country provides and the opportunities offered by a capitalist, consumer economy that is supposed to reward merit and hard work.

My wife was born in China. She experienced severe hunger during the famine of the Great Leap Forward (1959 – 1961) and she lived through the insanity of Mao’s Cultural Revolution (1966 -1976). In the mid 1980s, she came to the United States on a student Visa, earned an MFA from the Chicago Art Institute and went on to write her memoir, which became a New York Times Notable Book of the Year and won the Carl Sandburg Literary Award.  As an immigrant and a naturalized US citizen she benefited from what America had to offer to all immigrants and citizens that live and hopefully work here.

Therefore, I served in the US Marines and fought in a war to preserve the right of immigrants to come to the United States and succeed.  Since less than 2% of the US population are North American Natives, that means 98% of the population in America are either descended of immigrants or immigrants.

According to Index Mundi in 2012, 79.96% of Americans are white, 12.85% are black, 4.43% are Asian and 15.1% of the total US population is Hispanic (Latino). Note – there is a separate listing for Hispanic since the origin may be white, black, Asian, etc.

For example, I fought for Jessica Sanchez (age 16), so she could have a chance at the American dream. Her father, a Mexican-American born in Texas and a US citizen served in the US Navy and wore the uniform, so he also served for his daughter and others just like her.

In fact, Jessica’s grandfather (a Filipino), who wasn’t a US citizen, joined the US Navy and wore the uniform.  When a Navy transport carried my battalion from Okinawa to Vietnam in 1966, Jessica’s grandfather could have been serving on the crew of that ship. In addition, the United States, out of gratitude, offers citizenship to foreign nationals that serve in the American military and are willing to fight and even die for this country.

If you do not know who Jessica Sanchez is, I’ll tell you. She started singing at the age of two and her dream is to become a professional singer.  For fourteen years, she competed until she became a finalist at the age of 16 on Season 11 of American Idol where she came in second place losing out on $300,000 and a guaranteed recording contract.

Another young American, a white boy, may have cheated Jessica from achieving her dream. In fact, this other young American who never wore the uniform, may have cheated others out a chance to win too, because he claims that he is responsible for the person that won the contest. He admits that he rigged it and he did it legally because there is no law against what he did.

The American military is not a white-man’s club.  In January 1948, President Truman ended segregation in the armed forces. The most decorated unit in the US military during World War II was the 442nd Infantry Regiment—the Nisei, Japanese-Americans born in the United States.  This unit became the most highly-decorated regiment in the history of the US Armed Forces, including 21 Medal of Honor recipients.

In fact, during World War II, over 250,000 to over 400,000 Filipinos served/fought in the US military. In addition, the US army reported in an Army Profile in September 2005, that 17.4% of the troops were female, 60.8% were white; 21.6% were black (African-American); 10.5% were Hispanic (Latino),  and 4% were Asian.  Source: http://www.armyg1.army.mil/hr/docs/demographics/FY05%20Army%20Profile.pdf

The US even offers citizenship to foreign nationals that serve in the US military because so many Americans are not willing to serve or are not qualified for one reason or another.

However, one white boy is so proud of being the creator of “Vote for the Worst.com” that he boasted on his site, “We did it, Worsters! 132 million votes were cast last night, and in the end, we helped the fifth straight white guy with a guitar win American Idol… we succeeded yet again and helped make sure Pinoybot Jessica Sanchez was left in the loser’s circle.”

The week before, only 90 million votes were cast to decide who the final 2 would be.

This white boy’s name is David Della Terza, and he launched “Vote for the Worst.com” in 2004. To discover his alleged influence rigging votes on American Idol and other TV talent contests, it helps to understand that an active Website-Blog often doubles its viewers annually, and a recent Alexa Ranking shows that Terza’s infamous Blog is ranked in the top .01% of all global Website and Blogs.

For a comparison, we will use my iLook China.net Blog. In 2010 (the first year), there were 28,341 total views; in 2011, there were 126,557.  So far in 2012, there have been 95,050.  The average per day views in 2010 were 84 with 347 for 2011, and 645 for 2012 (that number could go up or down before the end of the year).

At my iLook China.net Blog, daily views increased by 400% in 2011 over 2010.  So far, in 2012, daily views have increased by about 180%, and there have been almost a quarter-million total views since the January 2010 launch.

If we use the conservative estimate that a Blog’s views will double each year and use the same number that iLook China saw in its first year, then “Vote for the Worst.com”, since it has been active for eight years, may have reached more than seven million views annually or more than 20,000 a day, and those numbers could be much higher.

If a white boy uses the media (a Website or Blog is media when it reaches these numbers) and called an African American by the “N” word, what kind of reaction would result?

One talented contestant that was voted off the week before the final round was Joshua Ledet, and I believed he was so good that he was a contender for first place. How would many in America react if David Della Terza’s ‘Vote for the Worst.com’ had posted, “We succeeded yet again and helped make sure ‘N-word’ Joshua Ledet was left in the loser’s circle.”?

How is that different from calling Jessica Sanchez, a Hispanic-American born in Chula Vista, California, a Pinoybot as he gloats that he rigged the vote on a popular TV talent show such as American Idol and possibly cheated her out of several hundred thousand dollars and a recording contract that might be worth millions?

The reason why I wore that uniform and put my life on the line was not for someone like David Della Terza.

To discover more on this topic, see The True Value of American Idol – (Viewed as Single Page) and learn more about David Della Terza and contestants that have competed on American Idol.

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Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, is the award winning author of The Concubine Saga.

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 trained to hate and kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper right-hand column and click on “Sign me up!”