Reporting while under the influence…. enter at your own risk;-)

Back to my blog finally, hooray.  Two weeks ago,  I slipped getting out of this stupid “garden tub”.  One step, replete with textured slip-resistant surface, but there I went.  Of course, to be honest, in 20 years in this house, I’ve slipped on that step a few other times and landed flat on my behind, with nothing more than my pride injured.  This time, I smacked my back ribs on the way down.  It hurt a lot  and it took me a few moments to catch my breath but I got dressed and went to work.    Four days later, the injured rib hurt a lot more, so I went to the ER.  After a rib series of X-rays, the verdict was it’s just bruised.  Rested two days, then back to work.   A week later, the pain got much worse and it hurt to breathe in.  My doctor decided more X-rays were needed and here I am, drugged up on pain pills and muscle-relaxers, with a fractured 8th rib, but ready to blather on about politics, under the influence of pain-killer and muscle-relaxer……. to tamp down on my inhibitions, so here it goes.

First up the VA scandal.  VA skeletons, dragging their chains of infamous bureaucratic snafus, callous disregard, gross negligence and deliberate (maybe even criminal) misconduct, like uniformed Jacob Marleys from the VA’s ignoble past,  charged the Hill and launched air raids via the media.  The Obama administration beat a hasty retreat and remains hunkered down, trying to formulate a battle plan.  Of course, the GOP, anxious to use this for political advantage wants to cart as many of these skeletons before a microphone to bury the Obama administration and Dems  in November.   President Obama, always the portrait of inspired leadership, opined, that he just learned about the VA problems from the news, just like everyone else and never fear, he’s on it….

Long before this administration, I knew the VA only does one thing promptly and it’s not handling your claim.  They promptly send out monthly reminders, to inform you they are working diligently to expedite your claim and your claim matters to them.  The VA administration scandal provides a harbinger of what Obamacare has in store for the rest of us.  The problem isn’t funding with the VA, it’s corruption.  So, let’s go to a basic civics lesson, which apparently isn’t taught in our government-controlled public schools:  government is a necessary evil – it’s not a cure-all for what ails us.  President Obama did inherit a troubled VA administration, but rather than change the culture within that organization, his default action was to throw more money at the problem rather than do a thorough housecleaning first, air out the stench and begin with fresh paint (new rules and new leadership).  Whether General Shinseki should stay or leaves matters less than coming up with a new strategy to fix what’s broken, discard what can’t be fixed and put in place new rules, with stringent oversight and reporting guidance.  Same old theme here with the Obama administration – they put more money into the VA than Bush did…… yada, yada, yada and more colossal corruption and waste than Bush had too.  President Obama is awaiting more reports in the VA situation, Congress wants to have more hearings and the VA skeletons trudge on, left, right,left…

On the foreign front(s), let’s see, Libya, the Obama  war-light endeavor, alas, no stability in sight there and Obama can proudly tout that victory, oh yes, we left a volatile power vacuum that we can all be proud of……… well, probably not.  Here’s a Nightwatch report from a few days ago with a good Libya update.  Ukraine’s still a mess.  #BringBackOurGirls really quelled Boko Haram, okay, not really.  Boko Haram launched raids on several villages, killing suspected vigilantes who oppose their group.  The UN imposed sanctions designating Boko Haram a terrorist organization and allowing for the freezing of its assets.  Our UN ambassador, Samantha Power, heartily approved the sanctions, but of course there’s a catch as reported in this BBC piece;

“”Boko Haram commanders and their leaders do not travel with passports, they travel on the ground in hijacked vehicles; they don’t have any formal assets that anyone can point to – it is not a formal organisation,” Omoyele Sowore of Nigeria’s citizen journalism website Sahara Reporters told the BBC.”

Enough of the bad news, so I’ll end with a link to a powerful piece, “Good Vibrations”, by Keith Nightingale in the Small Wars Journal (h/t JK).  It’s Memorial Day weekend and the perfect time to listen to these echoes from the past

“The Normandy invasion is usually depicted with great crashes, bangs and volcanic energy combined with broad scenes of masses of material and manpower.  But we should remember and reflect that the invasion began with subtle sounds and vibrations and brought the message of liberation to Europe on cat’s paws growing to crescendo.  We remember and depict the crescendos but forget the subtlety of sounds that brought it all together.”

 

 

8 Comments

Filed under Foreign Policy, General Interest, Military, Politics, Uncategorized

8 responses to “Reporting while under the influence…. enter at your own risk;-)

  1. Kinnison

    …You missed Egypt. Obama supported the Muslim Brotherhood there during the “Arab Spring”. Mohammad Morsi, the military coup-deposed president, was MB. The Army is currently in charge and the MB is outlawed, with Morsi headed for prison on corruption charges. Egypt is a ticking time-bomb, and one that we are violating our own export rules to send, gratis, F-16 fighters, M1-A tanks and Apache attack helicopters. Watch the news and see Egypt rapidly descend to the category of “failed state” like Somalia…

  2. Minta Marie Morze

    Liberty, even under the influence of medicine, your posts are great!

    You wrote “President Obama did inherit a troubled VA administration, but rather than change the culture within that organization, his default action was to throw more money at the problem rather than do a thorough housecleaning first, air out the stench and begin with fresh paint (new rules and new leadership).” Boy!, are you right!! The VA and Obamacare both need the same treatment—the private sector. Throwing more money at a bureaucracy instead of systemic overhaul, is an incitement for corruption.

    Any of us who had someone we love dealing with the VA Health system knows all too well the nightmares involved.

    And, Liberty, JK, I can’t thank you enough for the link to the D-Day post. I’ve read a lot of serious writing, seen a lot, and watched even the Military channel re-creations, but there was something particularly and profoundly wonderful about Keith Nightingale’s rendition. The theme of silence and vibrations that ran through it was masterful. I kept getting goosebumps, and then, in a moment or two, they were back.

    There is so much I want to write about the military and the ones who face such moments in history, but I would like to apologize in advance for taking up more room than I should, and post here parts of a speech/poem I wrote years ago that I imagined could be given at a Memorial Day ceremony at a veteran’s cemetery:

    (part of) A Memorial Day Speech by Minta Marie Morze
    in remembrance of my brothers, Craig and Brian.

    We come in silence to this place.

    Memorials exist to touch our souls –
    And any dialogue that may occur at first
    Begins at levels far too deep for sound.

    Although at first we feel too strongly yet for speech,
    Our silence finds whatever outward voice it can:
    A little flag we plant to wave in pride.
    The trembling hand that traces out
    A name that’s carved in stone –
    A soft caress that seems to find
    Both pain and solace in the chiseled form;
    The jaw hard-clenched against the surge
    Of fierce emotions barely held in check –
    Beneath the mantle of the mind a domed volcano seethes;
    The sudden flame of tears that burn and blur the eyes,
    That forces the embattled stare within
    To meditate yet once again
    On mysteries of the soul.
    Impassioned statements by the hand and jaw and eyes
    Proclaim our love.

    At first we cannot speak.

    But we are made of stardust and of sound –
    And it is we who give expression to the world.
    It is our nature to speak out,
    And so we will.

    This is Memorial Day –
    And as we gather here
    It is a solemn and a precious enterprise
    We undertake today.
    I wish to emphasize this point:
    This is an enterprise –
    It is a thing of moment, and of risk,
    Because we much prefer to bear a private grief.
    Yet we have come together in a public place.
    There is no private bound’ry here.
    We here must face the risk that all will see
    How deeply some of us are scarred,
    How deeply felt the love we bear
    That shakes us to our core.
    We here must speak of things
    That give us pause —
    Our hesitation comes because some words
    When spoken here
    Tremble in the air
    And voice immortal thoughts.
    We here must speak of heroes,
    Of loyalty, and love,
    Of valor, fear controlled –
    And, yes, of death –
    That fearful price that those who’re named here paid.

    Oh, we speak these words quite often,
    Out there, beyond the fences and the streets,
    We use these words and others in a normal,
    Mundane way.
    But never here.
    Here loyalty and love,
    Here valor, and a conquered fear —
    And death —
    Here, such words have meanings
    That demand of us
    A true attention to their call.
    A greater gratitude than we can here express.
    Here fallen heroes lie.
    The ones we’ve come to honor,
    And celebrate their lives.
    They were the ones who paid –
    In Lincoln’s words –
    “The last full measure of devotion.”

    [snip]

    There were some moments in the lives
    Of all we honor here —
    When barriers of time and space dissolved.
    When they were One
    With all the Giants of the past
    Who heard the call to arms —
    And went.
    All those we honor now
    Reached out into the future,
    Grasped it, and remodeled it
    With valor and with love:
    All were strong when strength was needed most.
    The freedom we so dearly love,
    Was forced from evil hands.

    To look at you . . .
    To think of them . . .
    So we might know what could have been
    Their lives,
    And all that they gave up,
    Here fills us with a silent debt.
    There is a hungry need in us
    To thank all those who fought,
    For us.
    To thank you now for what you did —
    To call God’s blessings on you all.
    To celebrate your lives.

    And so we’ve come.

    But there’s no way
    To find the words that can express
    The magnitude of what we owe,
    How high indeed we hereby rate
    Such sacrifice.

    There are some thoughts
    Too precious now to say aloud —
    Unspeakably wild and sweet —
    Fierce words that shake the soul.
    Such gratitude as this we feel is of that Sacred Realm.
    And I have said all that to which
    I can give voice to here and now.

    The rest is silence.

    That demand of us
    A true attention to their call.
    A greater gratitude than we can here express.
    Here fallen heroes lie.
    The ones we’ve come to honor,
    And celebrate their lives.
    They were the ones who paid –
    In Lincoln’s words –
    “The last full measure of devotion.”

    [snip]

    • Kinnison

      To stand in the U.S. Military Cemetery above Omaha Beach, amongst the thousands of simple white markers, as my wife and I did two years ago, is to stand in the company of heroes.

      • Kinnison, Very true and yet it seems so few of our young people even know anything about WWII. Military history gets paid short shrift, so I wonder how our republic will survive with no one left to pay any heed to the sacrifices of so many heroes.

      • Kinnison

        Someone once said, “America is better-served by its armed forces than it deserves.” Early in the War on Terror a wounded Marine in the very first “Wounded Warrior” barracks at Camp Lejeune, NC, wrote on the white board in the passageway, “America is not at war. The Marine Corps is at war. America is at the mall…” Keep killing our vets at the VA. Keep breaking promises to our military personnel on their pay, benefits and retirement. Keep raising the minimum wage for McDonald’s burger-flippers and not our enlisted men. Close the military commissaries—which clocked $100 million in Food Stamp use last year, as hurting military families qualified for them and used them. Keep cutting “boots on the ground” ground combat units at the expense of keeping high-tech, corporate-pushed, shiny, over-priced, airplanes in the budget. One day, when the nation calls, no one will answer. (Sorry, it’s Memorial Day Weekend and I tend to think of dead friends and get a little bitter…)

    • Take as much space as you like Minta and if you ever want something posted as it’s own blog post, just let me know. That’s a beautiful tribute!

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