Let’s reverse “Those who can’t, teach”

•July 8, 2014 • 3 Comments

Lloyd Lofthouse:

When I retired from teaching in 2005, I decided that if for any reason I ever had to go back to work, I’d rather be an old U.S. Marine fighting in a war zone like Vietnam, Iraq or Afghanistan. In fact, to avoid teaching again, I’d be willing to volunteer and strap on explosives and blow myself up along with a group of al Qaeda or Taliban terrorists before I’d go back in the classroom to be demeaned and abused by students, parents, administrators and our nation’s elected leaders, who make all the decisions for the public schools but accept none of the blame for anything that goes wrong and doesn’t work.

Originally posted on Crazy Normal - the Classroom Exposé:

There’s an old proverb that disparages teachers. It goes like this: “Those who can, do; those who can’t teach.” It means that people who are able to do something well can do that thing for a living, while people who are not able to do anything that well make a living by teaching.

I’ve worked in both worlds—the private sector and the public, and I can assure you that old proverb is wrong and anyone who disagrees with me, well, those will be fighting words.

I started at fifteen washing dishes in a coffee shop nights and weekends thirty hours a week for three years while I went to school days until the day the mean boss told three of us that we had to stay later than usual and do someone else’s job who didn’t show up for work, and he wasn’t going to pay us. All three of…

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Veteran Medical Care through VA Neglected by Obama Administration and Congress

•May 13, 2014 • Leave a Comment

UPDATE for June 6, 2014

Maybe we can’t blame the Obama administration for all of what happened at the VA. Maybe the GOP is responsible for wrecking the VA medical system so it broke down and was failing in its mission long before Obama was sworn in as President and moved into the White House.

From Forbes, we learn: “In the “old days” of the VHA, before President Clinton, many of those eligible for care wouldn’t use the system – the care was considered sub-optimal. Through reforms implemented during the Clinton years by Dr. Kenneth Kizer, the VHA went through an amazing transformation – and patient enrollment surged. Great primary care, a beautiful and relatively easy to use electronic medical record, AND a culture of accountability. Veterans received wonderful care for a great price. Unfortunately, in 1999, the GOP made it clear they were going to refuse Dr. Kizer’s renomination, and instead of being slung through mud, he resigned and went to the private sector.”

http://www.forbes.com/sites/carolynmcclanahan/2014/06/04/fixing-the-veterans-healthcare-mess/

UPDATE for June 4, 2014

ProPublica reports: “The scandal surrounding long wait times within the Veterans Affairs’ health care system has garnered national attention as VA secretary Eric Shinseki resigned amidst growing opposition to his leadership. To help make sense of the institutional problems that led to the scandal, we’ve compiled some of the best reporting about chronic issues of mismanagement in the VA.”

http://www.propublica.org/article/the-veterans-affairs-scandal-and-more-muckreads-on-va-health-care?utm_source=et&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=dailynewsletter

UPDATE for May 29, 2014

“An array of lawmakers from both parties called on Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki to resign on Wednesday following the publication of a new report describing the “systemic” practice of mishandling medical appointments at a Veterans Affairs facility in Phoenix that may have led to the deaths of 23 veterans.” – Foreign Policy Magazine

http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2014/05/28/new_wave_of_lawmakers_call_on_shinseki_to_resign?wp_login_redirect=0

UPDATE for May 26, 2014

The American Legion reports that a Department of Veterans Affairs memorandum written four years ago warned that “inappropriate scheduling practices” were being used at some VA medical facilities “in order to improve scores on assorted access measures.” These practices were sometimes referred to as “gaming strategies.” The document, dated April 26, 2010, was written by William Schoenhard (appointed to the VA by President Obama in 2009), who then served as VA’s deputy under secretary for health operations and management. The nine-page memo lists several specific scheduling practices to avoid.

President Obama appointed Eric Shinseki as the US Secretary of Veterans Affairs in 2009.

Arne Duncan, who is orchestrating the destruction and dismantling of the democratic U.S. Public schools was appointed by President Obama to be the US Secretary of Education in 2009.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler was appointed by President Obama to lead the US Federal Communication Commission in 2013, and now he is attempting to end Internet Neutrality and allow corporations to control the Internet with pay to play power to choke anyone’s site from being easily accessed—a clear form of censorship.

Do you see the pattern here?

UPDATE for May 22, 2014

Only in this White House could a Cabinet Secretary (Eric Shinseki at the VA) get not just one but two public presidential statements of confidence. … as internal documents emerge ( a 2010 memo) showing that an agency (the VA) knew about fraud and left the problem to such an extent that people died while waiting for medical care. What does it take to get fired from a job in the Barack Obama Administration? (The Fiscal Times)

What does this tell us—that Arne Duncan after being connected to fraud and lies in the Department of Education will be with us until the end of 2016?  See Smoking Gun 1 and 2 to discover the scandal at the Department of Education and how that is also being ignored. When will memos and e-mails of Duncan’s incompetence and fraud be splashed across the media, and when will Republicans (the GOP) admit that America’s public schools are the best in the world and the problem is poverty (see Smoking Gun)?

The GOP continues to hammer the Obama White House over four deaths in Benghazi (after several Congressional investigations find nothing that leads to the White House) but ignores that fact that children are dying in the public schools due to cutbacks thanks to Arne Duncan’s Department of Education spending billions on useless testing leading to full-time nurses losing their jobs in the schools. See: Another student dies after falling sick at Philly school with no nurse on duty

UPDATE May 20, 2014

The top official for veterans’ health care resigned Friday, as the Obama administration and Congress begin to respond to a growing political firestorm over allegations of treatment delays and falsified records at veterans’ hospitals nationwide. The House has scheduled a vote for Wednesday on legislation that would give Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki greater authority to fire or demote senior executives and administrators at the agency and its 152 medical Centers. (You may read the rest of this report @ Military.com http://www.military.com/veterans-report/steps-taken-to-address-va-firestorm?ESRC=vr.nl)

First published May 13, 2014:

What’s going on? First the Public Schools and now the VA!

First: Under President Clinton and a Congress dominated by a GOP majority, the Glass Steagall Act of 1933 that was meant to protect the United States from another Great Depression was repealed in 1999 leading to the Great Recession of 2007-08 under President G. W. Bush, the 2nd worse global financial disaster since the Great Depression.

Second: President G. W. Bush—with approval from a GOP dominated Congress—enacts the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act and the U.S. Government declares war on its own Public Schools under the false claims that the public schools are failing when they aren’t.

Third: President Obama, with overwhelming approval from Congress enacts Race to the Top in 2009 along with the Common Core Standards as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act escalating the White House’s war on Public Education to Machiavellian levels.

Fourth: In early April 2014 the U.S. Supreme Court—dominated by a conservative majority—wipes out the overall limit on what a wealthy donor can give to political parties and federal candidates during an election cycle with the McCutcheon decision. This ruling reinforced the unwritten iron law that now prevails in American politics: Pay to Play

Fifth: A very real threat to Net Neutrality. Network neutrality is basically the principle that Internet access providers—[including] companies like Verizon, AT&T and Comcast—shouldn’t discriminate in how they handle traffic on the Internet. And without this neutrality, the Internet also becomes “Pay to Play” or vanish into obscurity.

Sixth: Now medical care through the Veterans Administration (VA)! Since the late 1990s under President Bill Clinton, the VA became an efficient model medical care system, and President Obama can’t reform something that works so what’s the best way to change that? The answer: make sure it needs reforming by introducing corruption through the VA’s top leaders.

The Obama Administration and the Congress seem hell bent to privatize government. The public schools are in the middle of an all-out war with the federal government to turn education over to private sector Charter schools that are riddled with corruption and mostly worse than the public schools. It also seems that the VA is under attack as services and support has been eroding under the Obama White House and Congress.

Does this mean the VA has also been targeted to be privatized just like the public schools, prison systems, and even the military? After all, if the VA failed to provide adequate services, then the White House will have an excuse to demand reforms and that usually means privatization.

The American Legion.org reports: “At a May 5 press conference in Indianapolis, American Legion National Commander Daniel M. Dellinger called for the resignation of Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki (appointed by President Obama in 2009), as well as Robert Petzel (appointed in 2010) and Allison Hickey (appointed in 2011), VA’s undersecretaries for health and benefits, respectively. It was a decision the Legion arrived at gradually, after years of support. …

“Dellinger noted two of the most recent revelations that finally convinced him that top VA leadership in Washington needed to change: allegations that the Phoenix VA medical center kept a secret list of patients waiting months for medical care, which was linked by CNN to preventable deaths of about 40 veterans; and findings by a VA investigation that workers at the VA clinic in Fort Collins, Colo., had been instructed on how to falsify appointment records. …

“The American Legion expects when such errors and lapses are discovered, that they are dealt with swiftly and that the responsible parties are held accountable,” Dellinger said. “This has not happened at the Department of Veterans Affairs. There needs to be a change, and that change needs to occur at the top.”

The American Legion may demand changes within the VA but the problem originates from the White House and a neo-liberal president and his administration, who have clearly signaled that they are allied with neo-conservatives in the Republican Party with a common goal to privatize most if not all of government services.

Once the VA, the public schools, the military and the prisons are turned over to private sector, for profit corporations, does that mean the Constitution and Bill of Rights will be meaningless. After all, what the Founding Fathers wrote in 1776 was meant to protect all U.S. citizens from their own elected government and not private sector corporations (that didn’t exist in the 18th century) run by billionaire oligarchs and CEO autocrats.

For instance, the 1st Amendment freedom of speech protections only protects Americans from their elected federal and state governments. The 2nd Amendment’s right to own and bear arms also protects America’s citizens only from our elected governments—the feds and the states can’t legally take away a citizen’s right to own firearms.

But what happens when there is only a puppet government owned by the wealthiest 1% of Americans and all federal and state services have been turned over to, for instance, Bill Gates, Eli Broad, Michael Bloomberg, the Koch brothers, the (Wall-Mart) Walton family, and Hedge Fund billionaire’s on Wall Street?

Imagine what will happen if the IRS is turned over to Microsoft or Rupert Murdock’s Media Corp; if the U.S. Forest Service is privatized and turned over to the Koch brothers, and if President Obama is successful in doing away with Internet Neutrality.

Also Recommended:

President Obama’s Failure of Leadership

Who crowned Bill Gates the Emperor of Education?

Education Bloggers Network Supporting the Public Schools

The compulsory Common Core standards and the facts behind the Controversy

The challenge of teaching At-Risk Kids reveals why Charter schools are abandoning them

The successful history of—and the threat to—Public Education in the United States

_______________________

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!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was never a POW but what about the next American War?

•May 11, 2014 • 6 Comments

Two things happened in the last few days. First, I was shopping at Wholefoods and while waiting in line to buy dinner, I saw the cover of a May 2014 Economist Magazine with an Eagle sitting on a desktop globe and the banner headline asked: What Would America Fight For? The question haunting its allies

Cover of Economist Magazine May or June 2014

In that cover piece, The Economist said, “A survey last autumn by the Pew Research Centre suggests that 52% (of Americans) want the United States to ‘mind its own business internationally’, the highest figure in five decades of polling.”

After reading that, I laughed and thought: Americans may not have any say about the next war just like they had no real say in Vietnam or the 2nd Iraq War because they were lied to.

That leads me to mention one of my favorite quotes from President Abraham Lincoln: “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”

You see, the reason I laughed is because all Congress and the President has to do is come up with a lie that fools more than half of all adult Americans to have the okay from the people to start the next war—and when that happens will probably be decided by those who profit the most from war.

It wasn’t that difficult to discover the corporations that benefit the most from death. I Googled: “who profits the most in the United States from wars” and discovered from USA Today that the business of war is profitable. In 2011, the 100 largest contractors sold $410 billion in arms and military services. Just 10 of those companies sold over $208 billion. Based on a list of the top 100 arms-producing and military services companies in 2011 compiled by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the 10 companies with the most military sales worldwide.”

The top five were:

  • Lockheed Martin with arms sales of $36.3 billion in 2011—total sales were $46.5 billion
  • Boeing with arms sales of $31.8 billion—total sales were $68.7 billion
  • BAE Systems with arms sales of $29.2 billion—total sales were $30.7 billion
  • General Dynamics with arms sales of $23.8 billion—total sales were $32.7 billion
  • And Raytheon with $22.5 billion in arms sales and $24.9 billion in total sales

What happens to individual fortunes and lost jobs when 78% of Lockheed Martin’s income comes from arms sales; 46% of Boeing’s; 95% for BAE Systems; almost 73% for General Dynamics, and more than 90% for Raytheon?

If you’re curious how much the defense (arms) industry spends to lobby Congress, all you have to do is visit Open Secrets.org to discover that 978 lobbyists who worked for this industry in 2011 spent/donated $138,182,721 to influence elected representatives to make sure the federal government continued to spend heavily on defense and of course the best way to justify this much spending is to start another war, and who will the U.S. attack next?

Then Sunday Morning (May 11), I went to the theater to see “The Railroad Man”, and the horror of war hit home hard. I think this is a film that every adult American should see—especially the CEOs of the arms industry, the lobbyists who work for that industry, Congress and the President. “The Railroad Man” was based on a powerful, real story of British troops who became POWs in Singapore during World War II. The main character, Eric Lomax played by Colin Firth, survived the war but came back with a severe, traumatic case of PTSD that makes what I brought home from Vietnam seem tame in comparison, but I was never a prisoner of war—water boarded and tortured.

Let’s look at the cost of two recent wars: the Vietnam War (1965-1975) cost $738 Billion with 58,209 U.S. deaths and 153,303 wounded, and the 2nd Iraq War (2003-2010) cost $785 Billion with 4,800 U.S. deaths and 31,965 wounded—according to a report issued June 29, 2010 by the Congressional Research Service.

The reason I mention only these two wars was because both were started based on lies fed to America through the corporate owned media so enough Americans would be fooled long enough to support the wars.

What do you think the next lie will be, and where will that war be fought?

_______________________

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!”

Divorcing AT&T and breaking up with Yahoo!

•April 21, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Lloyd Lofthouse:

You might ask why I Reblogged this post here, because business is war too and we may now be at war with AT&T and Yahoo.

Originally posted on Lloyd Lofthouse:

Divorces, as you may know, are often expensive and divorcing AT&T was no different. This divorce—so far—has cost us more than $1,000, and it seems that AT&T wants to suck more green from our bank account.

Here’s the latest demand dated April 10, 2014: “Return all equipment listed below, including all cables and remotes associated with these items (unless needed for replacement). Note: If you are disconnecting all of your Wireless Receivers, then you must also return the Wireless Access Point device (connected to your gateway).”

I have no idea what they’re talking about. If AT&T thinks I’m going to crawl under the house to retrieve the cables their people installed for the slower internet speed that was supposed to be faster, I have news for them that will be apparent by the time you finish reading this post.

Back in March, soon after we filed for divorce with AT&T…

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A rare and close look at what war is really like through China Beach

•April 11, 2014 • 3 Comments

There’s no fantasy, hero worship or fake humor in this TV series. Everyone is flawed and injured from the war—even Americans who never served in Vietnam or wore a uniform.

“China Beach” was a TV series from 1988 to 1991, and I didn’t view it until recently after I first heard about it and bought a copy of the series on DVD at Costco. I didn’t buy the complete series that comes with almost 60 hours of run time. I bought Seasons 1 + 2 with about 22 hours.

And I think I know why this excellent TV series was cancelled after four seasons—although the series has more than 249 reviews on Amazon with 4.8 of 5 stars, most Americans can’t deal with the harsh reality of war. After all, less than 7% of Americans are veterans and even fewer have served in combat.

“China Beach” is set in a combat hospital during the Vietnam War in the late 1960s. The title refers to My Khe beach in the city of Da Nang, which was nicknamed “China Beach” in English by American and Australian troops during the war.

The main character is first lieutenant Colleen McMurphy who is a triage nurse dealing with often severely wounded troops.  The directors focused on reality and there were real combat nurses who were consultants. There’s a bonus DVD with this set where we get to meet some of the nurses who served in Vietnam.

The fictional nurse, McMurphy, takes her job saving lives seriously and when she loses wounded troops, she takes the loss personally and is emotionally injured. Her PTSD is visible from the beginning. At times the suffering and drama were so intense, my eyes filled with tears from my own memories.

If you want a close look at the reality of combat and the price the troops and civilians pay, I highly recommend this series. You’ll have a safe front row seat to watch these characters become friends, lovers and then suffer loses that would break most people and scar them for life as it must have scarred the real nurses who served there.

You may question my opinion of this series so it may help to know that I’m a Vietnam combat vet who was a field radio operator in the U.S. Marines. And I was fortunate to never have to be medevaced to a combat hospital although some of the Marines in my unit were.

Now I’m thinking about the seasons of “China Beach” I haven’t seen.

_______________________

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!”

What happens if Russia starts a war in Europe? You decide

•March 22, 2014 • Leave a Comment

The Daily Beast reported, “The Pentagon Isn’t Ready for a New Cold War.”

I read the Daily Beast’s post and burst out laughing. The first thing I thought was the Pentagon is addicted to massive budgets. This is a ploy to stir up fear in Americans (again—it’s worked so well in the past. I’m thinking Vietnam and Iraq.) who’ll demand that Congress and the President increases the shrinking defense budget.

Let’s look at some numbers to see if Russia really wants to start a war with the United States and NATO.

First: The US has the third largest population in the world at 316.6 million, and 120 million are considered fit to serve in the military if we needed to call them up. There are 1.4 million active military with an active (trained) reserve of an addition 850+ thousand. In addition, the European Union (the EU is mostly made of NATO nations) has more than 1.5 million in its military and a total population of more than 500 million.

How about Russia? It has a total population of 145.5 million (Less than half of the US not counting the EU). Russia only has 46.8 million considered fit to serve; its active military numbers 766,000 with an active reserve of about 2.48 million (you can bet that they aren’t as well trained as the US reserves).

Second: The US has the largest manufacturing sector in the world. No matter how much we hear about the US losing jobs to China, China is only number two. If you doubt that, check out what Carpe Diem has to say: If Separate, America’s Manufacturing Sector Would Rank as the Tenth Largest Economy in the World

Compared to other countries, Russia only ranks 9th—a fraction of America’s manufacturing ability.

Carpe Diem also says, “American manufacturing is alive and well and poised for even greater growth in the future. Flush with record-level profits, the manufacturing sector has never been financially healthier than it is today and the future of American manufacturing has never looked brighter.” In fact, jobs are starting to come back from foreign countries.

Third: the US has ten active nuclear powered Nimitz-class super carriers. No other country in the world has even one carrier with the capability of any one of these ten. In addition, the US is building three Ford class super carriers that will be even more advanced and lethal. The US has a naval fleet of 473 ships. In addition, the European Union has 543 more naval ships.

What about Russia? It has one active aircraft carrier that’s about half the size of a Nimitz and it isn’t nuclear powered. Russia has 352 ships in its naval fleet.

According to Global Fire Power, the US has 13,683 total military aircraft and 6,012 helicopters. In addition, the EU adds another 2,037 fighter aircraft.

What about Russia? Total military aircraft of 3,082 in addition to 973 choppers.

What about tanks? The US has 8,325 tanks (several thousand are already in Europe). The European Union has another 6,510 tanks. Russia has 15,500 but only 1,667+ are its latest main battle tank—most are outdated (see embedded video). All of America’s tanks are the latest version.

The stupidest thing Putin could do is to pick a war with the European Union and the United States. Of course national leaders aren’t known to think rationally, but I’d place my money on the fact that Putin is bluffing, Obama may have blinked, and the US Pentagon is using this as an excuse to drum up support for bigger budgets.

Why is Putin bluffing?  Because Americans are war weary after more than a decade of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. He’s gambling that public opinion in the US will hold back NATO, Obama and Congress from acting boldly to push Russia back with a show of force that Russia couldn’t match in its wildest dreams.

_______________________

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!”

The Realty of Honest Reviews and Book Blog Tours

•March 3, 2014 • 1 Comment

Lloyd Lofthouse:

A story of war so violent one reviewer couldn’t finish reading it.

Originally posted on Lloyd Lofthouse:

Last Saturday, March 1, 2014, I received an e-mail from the publicist who arranged the March Book Blog Tour for my novel, Running with the Enemy. She was writing to let me know that one of the tour hosts who’d agreed to read my book and review it on her block wasn’t going to read it and there wasn’t going to be a review posted on that Blog (I’ve removed the blog’s name and it’s host’s name from this post).

Here’s the reason for the change: “I wanted to let you know that (the book Blog host) handed the book off to one of her other readers who requested it. She never told me that it was for one of her reviewers and not herself.  That reader found it too violent and couldn’t finish it. (The blog host) won’t be posting a review but will be posting a spotlight…

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