A friend on Facebook reminded me of Hubert Humphry today.
A reprinted a quote of Humphrey’s: “The moral test of government is how it treats those in the dawn of life, the young; those who are in the twilight of life. the elderly; and those in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy, the unemployed. Humphrey also said, “compassion is not a weakness, and concern for the unfortunate is not socialism.”
Mr. Humphrey was Vice President of the United States from 1965 to 1969.
Let me see, yes that was a troubling time also.
But not as troubling as this.
After all, that was at the time of the Vietnam War.
The time of the Tet Offensive. The time before the huge buildup up began.
Yes, that was a troubling time as I recall. (I wrote a blog post on an incident during my boot camp
Before we get into Trump’s State of the Union Address and believe me we will! I want to quote what Senator John McCainsaid in his speech upon receiving the LibertyMedal on October 16, 2017:
…“We are blessed, and we are a blessing to humanity in turn. The international order we helped build from the ashes of world war, and we defend to this day, has liberated more people from tyranny and poverty than ever before in history. This wondrous land has shared its treasures and ideals and shed the blood of its finest patriots to help make a new, better world. And as we did so, we made our own civilization more just, freer, more accomplished and prosperous than the America which existed when I watched my father go off to war on December 7th, 1941.”
He then began the most telling part of his speech:
“To fear the world we organized and led for three-quarters of a century, to abandon the ideals we advanced around the globe, to refuse the obligations of international leadership and our duty to remain ‘the last hope of the earth’ for the sake of some half-baked, spurious, nationalism cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems are as unpatriotic as an attachment to any other dogma of the past that Americans consigned to the ash heap of history. We live in a land made of ideals at home and their champion abroad. We have done great good in the world. Leadership has its costs, but we have become incomparably powerful and wealthy as we did. We have a moral obligation to continue in our just cause, and we would bring more shame on ourselves if we don’t. We will not thrive in a world where our leadership and ideals are absent. We wouldn’t deserve to.”
Reactions to the State of the Union Pictures
What were your reactions to the State of the Union? I saw the pictures that were painted when I read the various accounts.
1. I saw the picture of trump’s raised fist, copying another racist leader.
2. I saw the picture of Guantonimo remaining open, for political prisoners?
3. I saw republicans foaming at the mouth like rabid dogs
4. I saw trump abandoning the rule of law “I don’t have to enforce the sanctions against Russia”! I saw the picture of the Director of the CIA meeting with a sanctioned Russian spy. REALLY?
5. I saw trump, as I predicted: using a well-worn playbook written by Hitler.
6. I saw trump as smiling after the 2018 elections. The elections are rigged. The CIA director said so – mark that down.
A picture is worth a 1,000 words. Trump painted these pictures time and time again. They don’t deceive as his words do.
He has subverted the rule of law by forcing out the deputy director of the FBI. Mueller is to quickly follow! The repubs will make it happen.
Newspapers and news outlets will be muffled!
You think trump moved fast to destroy America last year?
He has lulled some critics to sleep or at least to shut up.
He has laid the groundwork for killing the Mueller investigations.
He has rallied the morally and ethically to do his bidding. They will not oppose him as they abandon the United States of America.
He has said what he will do.
The Eleven Lies
1. 2.4 million jobs have been created.
2. Rising wages.
3. Unemployment at a 45-year low.
4. Stock market gained $8 trillion in value.
5. Biggest tax cuts in history.
6. Tax cuts massive relief for the middle class.
7. Slashed corporate tax rate so companies can compete. Family income increases $4,000.
8. 5 million workers have received tax cut bonuses.
9. Tax cuts, Apple announced it will invest in America $350 billion. Apple may have planned at that earlier.
10. “Chrysler is moving a major plant from Mexico.
11 We are proud to do more than any other country to help the needy, the struggling and the underprivileged.
Robert Riech Facebook Posts written by Glenn Kessler, Salvador Rizzo, Meg Kelly of Washington post.
What the speech sounded like throughout America
Trump was declared “there has never been a better time to start living the American Dream”.
That overused phrase may have fallen on thousands of deaf ears.
A father in New Jersey, whose son died from a heroin overdose; in Phoenix, a mother of six from Mexico grew increasingly worried about the future of her two daughters (DACA).
In Denver, a veteran of the Afganistan war wondered why the President kept sending more troops without a clear plan of action.
“Trump: “We have gone forward with a clear vision and a righteous mission – to make America great again for all Americans.”
When Trump claimed the African-American unemployment rate is at “the lowest ever recorded” Kandice Webber dropped her fork in Houston.
I am dedicating this post and all subsequent posts to the graduating class of Grand Rapids High School 1967, Grand Rapids MN 55810
On the occasion of the 50th Class Reunion.
The class presented all the Vietnam Era Veterans with a Quilt of Valor:
I was not able to attend the 50th Class Reunion, Grand Rapids MN at the Sawmill Inn on July 22, 2017. The organizers of the reunion were Bev Johnson and Catherine McLynn.
A friend and classmate, Bryan Stenlund, presented this to me on Friday, February 16, 2018. He was in Duluth MN for a conference and took time, after a long day, to drive thru Proctor MN and spend an hour or so reminiscing of days gone by, good and some not as good, but all part of the fabric of our lives.
He took some photos to post to the Facebook page of the Class of 1967 and also asked me to write a little something about my time in the military. I have previously written about an experience in basic training and how I compared that of Captain John McCain on his release from a North Vietnamese Prisoner of War Camp. The post is titled: A Tribute to Senator John McCain – Prologue, published on December 6, 2017.
When I wrote that post, I had a thought floating around in my cobwebs, that maybe I would write another article of the times my wife, Becky and I spent the first years of our marriage hosted by Uncle Sam. As I was writing this piece for Bryan and the Class of 67, I realized that it was going to be much longer (much, much) longer than I had originally conceived. I was a bit tired of banging on my keyboard and I checked the word count. It was over 1,400 words and my abbreviated account only got me out of basic training and to set up our first household at Fort McClellan Alabama.
I’m not sure that I have that many more words in my story of those two years (I just chuckled as I thought of Mozart’s words in Amadeus, ” There are as many notes as there needs to be”), but we will see. I didn’t think there were that many words to get to this point either.
So enough chit-chat.
The title, “A Time to Sweat” does not mean that I sweated in the jungles of Vietnam as Matt Miltich did. No, my sweating was getting thru basic training and more than a year at Fort McClellan AL.
Becky and I were married on February 6, 1971. We arrived back in Grand Rapids from our honeymoon (a wild weekend in Duluth MN at the Radisson Hotel – don’t you DARE ask her for any details!). We walked in the door to her parent’s house, where we were staying, and found a letter. Any guesses? Yup. My invitation to join my fellow Americans in a 2 year all expense paid vacation with Uncle Sam.
Well, the expenses weren’t paid and it definitely was not a vacation. We waited for the dreaded departure date to arrive. I canceled classes at Itasca State Junior College, gave notice with my job as a busboy at Bridgeman’s Restaraunt and Ice Cream Parlor in Grand Rapids and waited.
The day came, the agonized goodbyes were said and I jumped on the bus to Minneapolis MN. There were several of us on the bus but I didn’t know anyone as I recall.
We had a few hours that evening to spend before reporting in the morning to MEPS (Military Enlisted Processing something). (I remember the name because we dropped oursons off for their processing into the Marine Corps as their dates arrived many years later.)
A few of us spent several alcohol-fueled hours crying in our beer. As I remember we really had several McMaster’s Whiskey and cokes.
We took in a few local bars that were within walking distance of the hotel. I recall a show at the Gay Nineties Bar. That was an eye opener for a small town boy!
The next morning broke with horrible hangovers. Whiskey! I swore off that stuff forever! But no sleeping in that morning.
Physicals to pass and swearing in to attend to. By then it was a late March day and we were bussed to the Minneapolis International Airport for a flight to? We didn’t know where.
We landed at St. Louis Missouri. Our plane had trouble so we waited while buses were arranged for our final leg to?
We made it, still, a bit hungover or travel sick early in the morning. We were greeted by Drill Sergeants who yelled and swore just like in the movies.
We were rushed into buildings with rows of tables for desks so we could fill out all the forms that the government wanted.
We may have been given a cheese sandwich on dry bread (the usual fare when standing guard duty I was later to learn).
I can’t swear to that since my bones were more interested in running away than eating.
Daylight broke and we were hustled off to get buzzcuts, fatigues, boots and all the other equipment that the Army provided free of charge. As we made our way down the lines with everything stuffed into a duffel bag.
That thing was stuffed so full and weighed so much by the end of the day I don’t think I carried it as much as dragged it around.
We were hustled, I say the word ‘hustled’ as in the supersonic sense of speed when in fact we learned that ‘Hurry up and wait’ was a true Army motto.
We were hustled to a wooden frame building leftover from the Korean War and probably from World War Two for that matter. Each of the next ten or so days (it was longer than usual since we arrived on a weekend) was filled with filling out more forms, more tests and whatever else the Army thought fit for us to do that day.
One day was a workday. We were farmed out to different parts of the for, oh yes it was Fort Leonard Wood Missouri, Little Misery was the ‘loving’ nickname’. I was farmed out to the officer’s horse stalls to muck manure. Bad Duty? No Way! My stiff, feet-killing boots came out buttery soft as soon as they dried. They were even comfortable when the smell finally cleared.
My very best day was when I volunteered to take the typing test.
Typing, geez I had not typed in four years or more. This was 1971 and it had been four years since high school graduation and I don’t remember typing much in school either. Maybe for Mr. Volker’s journalism class.
My hands were sore and bruised and scraped raw so that all I could do was pound on the keyboard (much as I am doing right now).
Little did I know the test was my salvation. The second to the last day of basic was ‘Order Day’. We would get our orders for AIT, Advanced Individual Training.
Some lucky fellows, this was definitely not co-ed by the way, got to stay at Little Misery and learn how to be combat engineers. Others were granted the not very enviable MOS, Military Occupational something, of 11Bravo or 11B – a one-way pass to Infantry School. They were headed to wherever those poor guys had to go.
I was NOT GOING TO AIT! No advanced schooling for this GI. I was assigned Permanent Party to Fort McLellan, Alabama.
That had a nice ring to it. Kind of sounded like a home away from home. Basic for ten weeks and then a one-stop ticket for two years less ten weeks, and then home.
I hoped anyway. I was even promoted to E2 and was told to wear yellow chevrons on each arm.
I was going home for two weeks leave before heading to Fort McClellan Alabama. Becky and I couldn’t even find it on a map! No Google back then either.
The time to depart Grand Rapids flew right into our faces. We packed our wedding gifts on top of our car and headed to Highway 65 to our new life. Wham! We were sucked out of our lane by a semi barreling past.
Then Becky and I noticed stuff. Stuff here. Stuff there. Stuff. Our stuff. In tatters and pieces and laying all over.
After the tears stopped flowing it did not seem like an auspicious start to our new life.
We limped back to Grand Rapids in our 1965 Pontiac Starchief.
I located a number for the fort and was put through to a sergeant. He didn’t offer much in the way of condolences but did give us a few days to regroup and then head out.
The trip from Grand Rapids to Fort McClellan, AL was the honeymoon trip we never had.
Let’s see, the first night we got lost in Chicago and ended up in Gary, Indiana. A wrong turn on a toll road. What the heck was a toll road? Bleak, dark, industrial, scary Gary.
It started to pour rain down in buckets.
We decided to find a motel because we just couldn’t see the road.
We had a cat and a dog. This was going to be fun! No point in telling the night clerk.
The cat got sick from riding in the car and we had to throw her in the tub (without water) to get her clean. This was vacationing in fine style.
The next night we camped out in someplace and woke loaded with chigger bites.
We, of course, had to be told what caused those horrible, itching, painful bites.
We just knew they were many times worse than mosquito bites. Many times. The next night we parked in a parking lot at Mammoth Cave National Park. We didn’t have the money to take the tour but we did get to sleep in the car out of the rain.
We did tour a cave further down the road and it was much cheaper than Mammoth.
The next day we did stop at a less expensive roadside cave. Pretty impressive and COOL way down in the bowels of the earth.
As we traveled south we marveled at the freeway hewn out of the mountains.
Above the ribbons of concrete, up in the hills, we could just make out some shanties. What a contrast.
It seems to me about this time I started to listen to Becky as she was navigating our way to Anniston, Alabama. We even made it to Fort McClellan’s Headquarters Company, my new home, to sign in.
I was given instructions on how to collect some much-needed pay and directions on where to report to Personnel building which would be my duty station.
After formalities, we were given advice and directions on finding housing off base.
I have no recollection of why or how we made it to the town of Jacksonville, Alabama.
We stumbled on a row of apartments.
We knocked on the manager’s unit and were met by a guy in big muttonchop sideburns and a thick Alabama drawl.
Dwight said that rent was $100 a month. That was a problem. I was only paid $90 plus a small housing allowance.
He asked if we would like to earn a small amount by painting apartments.
We found a home and a part-time job all in one stop. I looked across the road at small tall buildings. A college. A college town. A college town beats Army barracks any day.
We looked at the apartment. Small but very inviting since it had air conditioning.
Did I mention that Alabama was HOT! And MUGGY! This was not Northern Minnesota.
The apartment was furnished. We brought in our meager belongings and crashed.
The air-conditioner worked well. Our first night in our new home. Everything looked pretty good.
The next day we took the paycheck and went shopping for groceries, drapes and some liquid refreshments.
No, we couldn’t. Jacksonville was in a dry county.
The only way to get any booze was in a state store in Anniston or on base.
Our time in Alabama was always eventful or it wasn’t.
The morning we woke to a quarter inch of snow that stopped traffic dead in its tracks.
One of the first oddities we noticed as we took evening walks with our black dog.
There were huge openings under the curbs seemingly without a purpose.
Then we met our first rainstorm.
Water ran was roaring into our apartment, we were on a slope wouldn’t you know.
The parking area for our car was right outside our door and a speedbump directed the torrent of water right under our door.
Those high and wide holes in the curbs? The torrential rain had to be directed into storm sewers somehow and the high and wide gutters were necessary to meet that need. Even after spending two months in Missouri I had not seen these rains of biblical proportions!
Another was the grasshoppers.
We lived in a low area which supported a lot of creatures. The first one we saw looked almost like a red-winged blackbird. With a red flag on its shoulders, it seemed only slightly smaller in size.
I wrote about a few experiences from basic training in a blog post here.
While writing and re-writing that post I was thinking there may be enough material for another post or two.
We had some interesting times, running out of gas on a trip home for Christmas, driving up a mountain for a party which featured a huge metal watering trough filled with ice for a cooler.
“Bring your own beer but we have a place to chill it”!
We were a dog, a cat, and two best friends off on our first adventure of married life. And to think, Uncle Sam was paying us on top of it.
I think I’m going to have to make you wait for my book.
Seriously this is probably much longer than Bryan was thinking when he offered the invitation.
I know it is longer than what you want to read in one sitting. So I will close here. It seems a reasonable place.
If I do write future articles on this topic I will post on the Class of 67 page.
Y’all were so kind to acknowledge our service and that of the other classmates who were veterans by honoring us with the fabulous quilts.
If you will send me the contact information to the people that made the quilts I will acknowledge the great work they did.
I am going to sneak in our thank you to our sons for their service. They did the heavy lifting. They enlisted in the Marine Corps for their duty to their country. Thank You.
Craig and Becky
Fort Leonard Wood Missouri Basic Training – Different Uniforms Now but Same Drills
Welcome To and First Stage Barracks
Welcome to Fort Leonard Wood Basic Training
Welcome Barracks Interior
Gas Mask ‘Experience’ and “Cattle Cars’ for long distance travel on base
Why this title? This year I am determined to make some changes so I can get posts out faster. This post has eight topics. Clever eh? This one is way behind due to my excursion into a hospital and rehab facility and hospital again. I hope we are done with that!
I am looking for a photo, graphic that helps tell the story about Lodestarandyou. I am not sure the graphic that I am currently using works with this subject matter.
Maybe I could use a Toddler Robot to help me get organized!
EGADS! Robo toddlers! Not only are robots still being ”taught” in new ways (think AlphaGo which taught itself how to play the human game ‘GO’. It taught itself so well it beat the computer that beat the best human to play the game!).
Now, engineers are ‘planning’ the flexible skills in the complex real-world situations’. In human speak that means they are training robots to think ‘new’ again. New ways of looking at things, very much like a toddler.
In practice ‘thinking like a toddler’ would enable your new self-driving car, say a Tesla 3 running down the road. Not only is it looking for your destination, it will also be looking around so it can anticipate events.
Fourth Industrial Revolution
I write posts to my blog regarding topics related to the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
How are your studies doing? Picked the field(s) of study? Signed up for the classes? On-line I assume?
This is going to be ‘ “The Year”. For years engineers and researchers have been gathering data, testing ways to enter the fastest with no errors. They have I been writing the algorithms and re-testing them so that no prejudices from the authors exist.
This is going to be the breakout year when so many products, disciplines, and new pathways open up, come together, spin around and open up even more new paths.
I recently spoke with a former coworker and he was relaying all of the improvements in the oil and gas industry. I chimed in that it was just in oil and gas. Manufacturers are putting sensors into a multitude of products going ‘out into the field’. These sensors keep the people using them informed as to its status. When was the last major repair? When is the next preventative maintenance check due?
Isn’t that magic to a paper pusher’s ears. The machines will track the metrics. Soon, in reality, the machines will know more than their handlers. They will be smarter about filing reports too!
Researchers at the University of a Queensland in Australia say the world has to produce up to 80% more food by 2050 to feed the world’s 9 billion people. They are developing ways to get that much food grown especially in a diminishing amount of space. All of this: the jobs lost, the new jobs created and trained for, the new jobs that are going to be available are going to be a major upheaval that the world has never seen before.
This flu season is going on 10 weeks. The CDC is expecting another 10 weeks. A Stay of December 30th 46 states has serious flu cases. The week before it was 36. Last year just 12 states reported widespread flu activity.
As of the end of January, 7.1% of hospital outpatient visits were related to flu symptoms. Even more alarming is the rate of hospitalizations. From October 1st to December 31st the rate of hospitalizations was 14 per 100.000 hospital visits. For Senior citizens that rate soared to 57 per 100,000! Last year the rate of flu hospitalizations was just 5 per 100,000.
The question then arises: why is the flu so bad this year?
The flu is notorious as to its timing, locality, severity, and longevity. All of these factors vary from year to year.
This year the strain of flu going around is strain H3N2. This is a particularly virulent strain and harder to create a vaccine for. Additionally, an issue developed in the creation of the vaccine. An abnormal mutation occurred which rendered the vaccine less effective against the virus. This aberration seemed to be 30% in the early phases of the season.
Now it is projected that the effective rate is a low as 10%! I think all bets are off as to the end of the season, the total number of people afflicted. It will be considered a “Notable” season.
Doctors advise that even if your vaccination does not reflect the most prevalent strain completely ( other strains currently circulating such as another type A and a Type B) is that your body benefits from any vaccines since it still helps you ward off the most severe symptoms and recover faster.
The good news is? Sorry I am not aware of any specifics regarding this season. The effectiveness rate over the period 2004 to 2015 has been 33 percent for the H3N2 virus. With 61% effectiveness for the H1N1 and 54% against influenza B viruses.
Hang on almost 10 weeks to go.
A Heart Risk Factor Doctors Didn’t know about
THIS IS REALLY IMPORTANT!!
Have you watched the TV show “The Biggest Loser”? Remember Bob Harper? He of the ripped muscles, the chiseled physique with every muscle in the right place? He could run faster and longer all the while talking and then turn around and run backwards without getting tangled in his shoelaces!
He had a heart attack! Last February he had a MASSIVE heart attack at a New York gym. He was saved by a bystander that performed CPR. The paramedics got him to a hospital but he was in a coma for two days!his annual checkups indicated he was in excellent health. So what happened?
One little fatty particle in his blood called lp(a). During blood tests, we are tested for lipoproteins HDL and LDL cholesterol. Very few people are tested for lp(a). At high levels, it will triple the chances for a stroke at an early age.
Most people do not have to worry. Levels are strongly determined by genetics and the majority of people produce very little lp(a). This may be why so few people are tested for it during a routine procedure. BUT if you have parents, especially fathers die young even though they appeared in good health must be made aware of what they also may be facing.
I worked with a man whose father died young. Indeed this man barely reached age 50 when he passed on. We must work so these tragedies will be avoided. If not we are derelict in our duties.
2 in 5 Americans carry levels that are periodically high. What’s more diet and exercise have ALMOST NO effect on l(p(a). What’s more, cholesterol-lowering drugs ONLY MODERATELY lowering it.
Columbia University expert on lp(a) says that somewhere between 15 and 20% of the population would clearly benefit of the population outdated clearly benefit from knowing that this is their problem!
Lp(a) was discovered in 1963 by a Norwegian scientist Kare Berg. He noted that it was especially common in people with coronary artery disease. What lp(a) does on a regular basis is not known.
The downside of excessive lp(a) is clear: It accelerates the formation of plaque in the arteries and it promotes blood clots.
Dr. Donald Lloyd-Jones is a cardiologist at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. He helped write the American Heart Association’s Guidelines on cholesterol says that it is a “double-whammy. Biologically it, lp(a), gets into artery wall and causes the coming damage to be accomplished more easily .”
Studies show the levels between 150 and 300 as being at high risk. So, if your levels are above 30 you need to be alert. If they are above 60? Get your butt in gear.
Many people at high risk appear similar to Bob Harper. They appear fit, health conscious, and dietary conscious. Obviously wider testing needs to be done because there are too few signs and once symptoms of heart failure are noticed it is often too late for a good outcome.
Another stress factor caused by this lipoprotein, lp(a) is the lack of effective pharmaceutical drugs. There are two drugs currently in use, niacin which is a B vitamin but is known to have some unpleasant side effects. The other is PCKSK9 inhibitors which have had modest results in lowering lp(a) levels. Additionally, if PSCH9 is used off-label it is not covered by insurance. Costs can range up to $14,000 per year.
Ionic Pharmaceutical is one company working on a new drug but it is many years before it is commercially available.
Mr. Harper now has a new mission: raise awareness of heart disease and urge people to get tested for lp(a).
If you have a father or other family member that died young of apparent heart disease especially if there were no “markers” for heart disease it is necessary for you to manage your physical health and get tested.
Bob Harper has written of his approach to his new life in “The Super Carb Diet.”
A parasite is killing America’s Veterans, 40 years after the War in Vietnam ended. Hundreds of Vietnam War veteran’s who’ve died, or are dying, of bile duct cancer which is called cholangiocarcinoma.
This cancer is rare in the United States and is caused by parasitic worms, called liver flukes, that are found in fish in the waters of Vietnam and other Southeast Asia countries.
Humans who eat raw or undercooked fish can ingest the parasite larvae, which mature in the bile ducts. These ducts or slender tubes carry digestive fluid bile and the larvae produce carcinogenic irritation.
Thousands of Americans who served in Vietnam can be at risk for this cancer.
The disease can take decades to manifest and once the cancer is discovered the overall duration of survival is less than six months.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is making it difficult for diagnosed veterans with this disease to get their benefit claims approved. Indeed most claims have been denied by the agency and this includes survivor benefit claims for the spouses.
The Associated Press reported last year that about 700 veterans with bile duct cancer have been seen by the VA in the past 15 years. Of the claims that were submitted, most were not approved because the correlation to service in Vietnam had not been established. Only 20% of claims have been approved!
The reason the VA has not been approving claims? According to their science, the lifespan of liver flukes is a maximum of twenty years. The Vietnam War ended more than forty years ago.
Dr. Paul Brindley, a professor of microbiology, immunology and tropical medicine at George Washington University, said that is beside the point. “The science suggests exposure for even some of those 20 years may have been sufficient for cancer to originate and then be dormant there for a number of decades.”
As with Agent Orange, this disease and the necessary claims approved are being thwarted by the VA. Again and again, veterans who’ve filed claims related to exposure to Agent Orange are STILL BEING DENIED.
The Caregiver Support Line is 1-855-260-3274
The Game Changer
Dr. Joshua Baker, a physician, and researcher at Duke University School of Medicine discovered an unconventional way to provide 3D scanners for $10.
He upgraded 2D ultrasound scanners with a $10 chip used in video games! He used the inexpensive chip, which normally tracks the movements of wireless controllers to give 2s scanners the ability of 3D scanners. Otherwise, a 3D scanner is about $1,000 per scan or $2,000 per MRI.
He was playing Nintendo with his son and wondered if the ultrasound probes he uses to work similarly to the digital tennis balls he was whacking around with his son.
He took the question to Duke’s Pratt School of Engineering and together they were able to produce a rounded 3D image. This game-changing discovery will help people not only in the United States that may not be able to afford a scan or MRI and especially in developing countries.
Just published that affects every UNITED STATES MILITARY VETERAN and all Veterans Administration Employees:
Senate Committee and Director Shulkin
VA Administration head John Shulkin was called out by the Senate’s Veteran’s Affairs Committee. The following information was published in ‘Task and Purpose’. The author was Nikki Wentling Stars and Stripes January 18, 2018.
Top Veterans Administration Positions Not Filled
On Wednesday, January 18, 2018. John Shulkin was askedwhy four top positions had not yet been filled. It has been almost a year since Trump took the oath of office.
VA is the Second Largest Federal Agency
To me, that is cause for alarm! The VA is the second largest federal agency! Working shorthanded would seem to be a path to trouble, especially considering the positions that haven’t been filled: Benefits Administration, Health Care System, IT, the new assistant secretary for accountability and whistleblower protection office.
Now, that number smells fishy and secondly, not the intelligent management of the healthcare system.
What we know: Trump’s cabinet officers have not filled large numbers of vacancies such as the State Departments 113 positions.
Trump when asked a similar question in his usual asinine mentality he told New York Magazine on November 3, 2017 ‘I am the only one that matters”.
Other Federal Departments Budgets, Personal
We also know that the State Department is being cut by one-third and thousands of jobs cut.
That may be a smart move.
However, how much can we trust an administration who lied through their collective teeth on the tax cut bill?
Whose staff have again been caught changing numbers on reports to make it appear that foreign terrorists had committed terrorist activities when it has been established that the majority of such activities have been committed by homegrown terrorists.
Why? To buttress their attempt to not allow Islamic immigrants in this country.
So what is at stake here.
The second largest agency is short four top administrative positions.
John Shulkin came from the healthcare section. He was appointed by President Obama.
The VA Healthcare system: is the country’s largest; has 160 medical centers; 900 outpatient clinics; and serves 9 MILLION Veterans. Mr. Sulkin came from this job and calls it “one of the hardest jobs in this country”.
Expectations and Encouragement
My hope is that Mr. Shulkin finds a qualified replacement for the healthcare system very quickly before bedlam, chaos, and shenanigans kill all the good that he brought to this organization.
I am sorry for the great length of time between posts. I am writing this while recovering from a six-day stay in the hospital and I am now recovering in a rehab facility.
Soon I will be back in control.
“Keep the tiny humans alive”
“This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it or their revolutionary right to overthrow it.”
This was originally posted to my Blog “To Everyone”. I am considering collecting three blogs into one. A challenge. This was originally written on the Blogger (Google) platform.
I have consolidated before but now I am getting to the ‘meat’. Please bear with me while struggle.
I am working on cleaning up the formatting issues.
Originally written January 14, 2018
I am going to start by recalling the words of one of the towering presidents in American history.
Indeed it is the president that is said to be the founder of this modern political party.
Let’s see if you recall this quote: “This country with its institutions belongs to the people who inhabit it.
Whenever they grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it or their revolutionary right to overthrow it.”
Abraham Lincoln the father of the Republican Party. It is called “The Party of Lincoln”.
I wonder if Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, and Trump have forgotten his words of admonishment?
They sure are acting like.
If they ever knew these words of President Lincoln, their actions say it is OK to ignore them.
But why not?
They are ignoring the rule of law, the Constitution, the past practices and etiquette that have made this country great.
WHY SHOULDN’T THEY JUST DO AS THEY PLEASE? DO WHAT SUITS THEM AND SAY ‘TO HELL WITH THE REST’?
During the past two days, we have found the answer to the question that has me stymied for almost two years.
Why are the leaders of the Republican Party not performing their duty and getting Trump out of office.
He is not suited intellectually nor is his heart in the right place.
He flagrantly abuses the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Rule of Law.
Our first discussion began with a look at an article in “The Daily Beast” written by CliveIrving and published on January 12, 2018.
The title of the article is “Trump’s War on the Press Follows the Mussolini and Hitler Playbook”.
The second article that brought my question into focus was “How RepublicansNormalized Donald Trump’s Racism” published on January 13, 2018.
It was written by David Corn on January 12, 2018, in response to Trump calling some countries “shithole nations”.
Some people immigrated to this country from “shithole nations”.
David Corn is the Washington bureau chief for Mother Jones News wrote this proactive article.
These two articles focused my thinking.
I have now arrived at a conclusion as to why the Republican Party from which its leadership: which forces policies and forces retributions for not adhering to these policies and decisions. The most junior congresspeople are intimidated.
We followed Joseph Goebbels tactics and tenets, as Hitler’s Minister of Entertainmentand Propoganda, as he brought the independent press of Germanyunder his control within one year of his appointment.
Trump’s glory, in addition to being crowned the Great Dictator of the News Cycle is his ability to “get people to readily accept the aberrant as normal was one of Hitler’s most effective tactics.”
This is what Ron Rosenbaum demonstrates in his writing in the Los Angeles Review ofBooks.
The second article by David Corn of Mother Jones News explains how dizzyingly swift the Republican Party has fallen under the sway of Trump.
They will not challenge his vulgar open racism as shown by the events of January 12 and Trump’s “shithole of nations” quote.
To this day not one Republican has broken ranks, to tell the truth about what Trump said.
An encouraging but in the end, an empty slap in the face to Trump is the speech that Senator Flake is going to deliver on the Senate floor on Wednesday, January 17, 2018.
As he did in his resignation speech I am sure that Senator Jeff Flake R-AZ will scold Trump with well-framed words.
He will bring all of a Trump’s errors, personality flaws, and his crimes since taking office before the American people thru TV and the Internet.
The downside is that the good Senator will be addressing an empty Senate chamber and a president that is ignoring the TV on this great occasion.
Party leadership is counting the days until they can actively work to replace him.
In an article on CNN “ Donald Trump is a racist who preys on the powerless” by ScottLucas.
Professor of International Politics at the UK’s University of Birmingham, he unilaterally states that ” Trump is a racist.”
“This should be said without excuses, without evasions, without caveats.”
He continues “trump dislikes entire groups of people based on their place of origin to religion”.
Trump’s latest disruption “shithole nations” has drawn criticism from around the world.
Two missing counties from that list are China and Russia.
Since the two strongmen running these counties are also “governing in the paths of Goebbels and Hitler” their silence is not a surprise.
So where does that leave us or more accurately point us?
One answer is that our independent press will have to be ever more watchful for attacks by Trump and his henchmen.
We, as citizens, will have to be on guard to support a free and open press.
If we fall silent the media will be dumped into the place where all dictators, strongmen, and criminals leave a free press,castrated and powerless to continue shining a bright light on their crimes and misdemeanors!
Our vigilance will call on us to Cry Out when we find ‘Fake News’ – the Real Kind.
We will have to query each congressperson to identify those we can trust and those that have fallen prey to the criminals and who should fall on their swords.
Each of these articles by expert writers is damning evidence of the fall and failure of the Republican Party.
Other articles throughout the Internet are making the case that the Republicans should be concerned regarding this year’s elections.
I am not as optimistic as the other writers are.
I will continue to add my voice to theirs in decrying the corrupt policies against the American people.
I do not offer my opinions as expert testimony but as personal opinions of an aggrieved American citizen watching our country being ripped asunder by these crooks.