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Joe Conason of Real Clear Politics makes several points in In VA Scandal, Accountability for All -- Including Congress, that I set as my goal to make today, when I woke up this morning. I posted some of my initial research in an earlier diary.  Our own LilithGardener just summed up the essence entire illusive message I have been aspiring towards in her brilliant "Put Vets over Old Jets," distillation of my last two posts, and proposed we think of a clever hash tag to start a campaign - maybe #VetsOverJets ?

Conanson says the secret waiting lists at VA facilities, are "a direct consequence of policy decisions made in the White House years before President Barack Obama got there." Republicans have refused nearly every Democratic proposal to expand the VA in the last 13 years, the modest increases in capacity we have made are nothing compared to what should have been expected given the wars.  A base surge of soldiers from 13 years of two major wars, has been amplified by major improvements to body armor leading to lower mortality.  

Higher combat casualty survival rate have yielded substantially higher numbers of returningg veterans with amputations, TBIs, PTSD, and other kinds injuries we've been tracking for a long time. We have a moral obligation to pay for will the lifetime of a higher level of care per veteran health care than any previous war. We've known this for almost a decade.

Trying to "cram" a massive surge of new veterans, with a higher per veteran need for health care into the VA system without a proportionate expansion of VA capacity is irresponsible. Let's fix this problem from the top down by allocating the proper amount of funds.  

A substantial portion of the estimated $ 3 trillion price of that war is represented by the cost of decent care for veterans. But even as the war raged on, the Bush administration and Republicans in Congress repeatedly refused to appropriate sufficient funding for veterans' health care. This financial stinginess toward vets was consistent with Bush's refusal to take any steps to pay for his expensive war (and decision to protect his skewed tax cuts instead).

As Alec MacGillis pointed out this week in the New Republic, legislators who voted for war while opposing expansion of the VA are hypocrites, particularly when they claim to care about veterans. So are the Republican governors who refuse to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, which keeps hundreds of thousands of impoverished vets from getting health care.

Republicans regularly propose cuts in VA funding and oppose increases sponsored by Democrats -- a pattern that extends back to the first years of the Iraq and Afghan conflicts and continues to this day. ... When politicians demand accountability from their betters, including a war hero like Shinseki, let's remember that they should be held accountable, too.

As I pointed out in a post earlier this morning the Republicans just filibustered a $20 billion bill, in February, that would have built 26 new VA facilities, just as they have done for 13 years.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, pointed out that the cost of this bill could have been easily covered by savings from savings from the wind downs of troop deployments in the two wars, but Republicans declared they would rather "dedicate the savings (of redeployment) toward deficit reduction.""

The most helpful thing we can do is probably let General Shinseki, the VA and the Obama administration do their best to fix this problem and vote for major funding increases comparable to the magnitude of the demand we can expect based on the number of new injuries, and the magnitude of those injuries in a post body armor world of war.

If the Republicans want to politicize his issues, perhaps, we should start clamoring that this 13 years of Republican congress peoples refusal to increase VA funding to adequate levels be the focus of a Benghazi-like hearing in the Senate and we can see which topic the American people find more interesting - sad and tragic storming of a diplomatic facilities years ago that everyone regrets, and has been investigated 7 times concluding no direct wrong doing, or the ongoing travesty and hypocrisy of the entire Republican congressional contingent's ongoing betrayal, disrespect, and mistreatment of our American veterans after they have loyally served our nation in wars the Republicans have demanded and started?

Another aspect of this crisis to remember is that the VA is the best model we have of a single payer health delivery system (dizzydean notes it also a government delivered health-care system, and Medicare is a better example of single-payer, and I guess he is right - vets like it either way) and it has been working well. Some Republicans are exploiting this opportunity to demand it be privatized. Conanson notes that in his testimony to congress last week, the American Legion commander Dan Dellinger asserted veterans are extremely satisfied with their health care and providers.

The  primary problem seems to be that a system that has been working well has been deluged with a surge of new demand as soldiers return from Ira and Afghanistan, but the system has not been expanded by a similar amount because of Republican opposition to funding increases.

We may have a rare and brief opportunity to get that funding now. Just a few days ago the House rejected the Pentagon's request to cancel funding for ancient and obsolete weapons systems such as the U-2 from the 1950 which has been replaced by safer unmanned surveillance drones. The Pentagon wanted to reallocated this money for expanded benefits for troops which might have improved mental heath for troops.

It would seem that Republican congresspeople would rather see this money go to arms dealers in their districts who are contributors to campaigns. The time to make this an issue is when the smoking guns are in their hands.

Our next step should be to urge the OFA, DNC, DCCC, DSCC, other party organizations, Move ON, and ourselves fired up to demand a 50% expansion of VA funding with new revenues coming from closing loopholes, as well as hitting all GOP congress people who voted against expanded VA funding in the last 13 years, and for defense budget pork, such as restoring money for obsolete weapons systems such as the U-2 that the Pentagon years hard in the November elections.

I know many here are boycotting "centrist" party organizations, I do not understand the details enough to comment on that, but please notice I am not asking that you send them money, but rather merely am asking that we urge them to do something useful for our veterans, and Democratic candidates for the fall elections. It seems clear that until we take back the Congress our nation's veterans are not going to get a fair shake, and the health care they deserve.    

2:18 PM PT: Dizzydean notes in a comment that the VA is really an example of a government delivered healthcare system, and Medicare is a better example  of a single payer system, and I guess he is correct. Couldn't the both be single payer and the VA additionally government delivered, or is that already inherently implied? I guess it is. Thanks Dizzy.

3:53 PM PT: We are fortunate indeed to have LilithGardener here with us today, who is, as far as I can tell, a marketing genius from one of those Major Marketing firms like we've seen on that TV show Mad Men she distilled my last two posts into the essence of what I was trying to say.

Put Vets Ahead of Old Jets
Funding for Vets! GOP proves we CAN afford it!

There are veterans awaiting care in every district. Any investment in Veterans healthcare is an investment across the country.

Needs a catchy slogan and a hasthtag, to go with calls for action.

How about #VetsOverJets ?

I have to set up at Twitter and Facebook account, I guess. Do they allow dogs?

Thanks Lilith this is great. This is a great issue to highlight the contrast to Democratic and Republican approaches to social issues and we owe it to our vets to adequately fund the VA for the 50 years. We need probably need to double capacity. Let's start with a 50% increase, or whatever  expert analysis tells us we should expect based on data and get it in place right now. I'll bet we can get this done in a few months and funded by closing one corporate loophole.

Isn't there one we've talked about for the oil industry is skimming worth $30 billion? Harry Reid should put his  February $20 billion back on the table funded buy this and tells the GOP they have 72 hours to vote to approve it before he and Pelosi order the "release the HoundDog  and the Kracken!" (or now LilithGardener)

I have to go out and buy reading glasses,and a friend just pointed out I misspelled my own name since everything is so blurry o and a look the the same.  And a new keyboard. When I press the g  they keep on going until I hit delete. I have to cut and paste five letters.

I should be back in about an hour, unless I see any town festivals that sells hot dogs on BBq (make that six lettters that I need to cut and paste and there is not capital q to be found on this page.) -HD

3:58 PM PT: For those unfamiliar with the terrifying "release the Kracken" and the charge of the HoundDog video and picture, you can follow this link. My strategy with post is to keep it succinct, focused, and clean. = HD

Delays and staff shortages plague VA mental health services as 22 veterans commit suicide every day

I'll leave it to Lilith to decide if it is a good time to start a hashtag #VetsOverJets, or maybe even the full #PutJetsAheadofOldJets. I would be glad to write a new shorter, pithier post with the link to the defense spending bill if that would be useful when I get back from Staples with reading glasses and a new keyboard. What ever people decide is most useful. Thanks again Lilith.

6:22 PM PT: Lilith has already put up an action diary where she refers to this post and my last one an sends people over here. She is one ball of energy. You should check out her post at Put Vets Ahead of Old Jets!

I better go send a post to elffing, jotter, and our other technical wizards about what we've done here in case later this evening steam starts coming out of the Master Computer at Daily Kos Central Command, and every thing starts shaking like on those early Star Trek episodes when Spock programs an infinite recursion like this into the computers.

Because if I now send every one over to Lilith's post, and she sends people over to this post, people could keep going around and around until the computer overheat and all that steam starts coming out the side.

I never though they should keep water inside the computers and why didn'ts some one just pull the plug? (humor alert.) Apparently by the 24 Century computer science must have advanced to they point engineers put "oversteaming safety circuits" in the Enterprise's computers because Captain Picard never had that problem.

So, kogs, if this happens to you and steam starts coming out of your laptop, and the alarms go off, do not panic!, Just unplug the power chord and then take the batteries out of the back and you will be fine!! I'm sure elffing and the top flight DKos software engineers probably have already built in protections for this kind of thing they haven't even told us about yet.

Originally posted to HoundDog on Sat May 24, 2014 at 01:47 PM PDT.

Also republished by Barriers and Bridges.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (50+ / 0-)

    Humor Alert! No statement from this UID is intended to be true, including this one. Comments and Posts intended for recreational purposes only. Unauthorized interpretations may lead to unexpected results. This waiver void where prohibited.

    by HoundDog on Sat May 24, 2014 at 01:47:27 PM PDT

  •  Just a quibble--the VA is not single payer (18+ / 0-)

    Medicare is.  The VA represents a government run health system, where the medical providers are government employees and the facilities are owned by the state.  

    The VA is closer the UK's National Health Service.  http://www.nhs.uk/...

    Sinlge payer:  http://www.pnhp.org/...

    To be free and just depends on us. Victor Hugo.

    by dizzydean on Sat May 24, 2014 at 01:54:53 PM PDT

    •  And, BTW, notice the parallel with public ed? (23+ / 0-)

      Underfund the system.  When the system cannot perform as well as it should due to underfunding, the answer is privatization...

      To be free and just depends on us. Victor Hugo.

      by dizzydean on Sat May 24, 2014 at 01:59:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, these Republicans will destroy any and every (19+ / 0-)

        good thing their ideological zeal. I've just about lost any last bit of respect for most of them. Occasionally, we hear the rare story of the principled old style Republican but they are few and far between, and they are severely harming our country.

        A few hundred years in the future when historians are writing the stories of the Rise and Fall of the American "Empire," I believe right-wing extremism combined with fundamentalist Christian who deny science will be identified as one of the leading causes.

        Most other countries I am familiar with are eager to use every bit of science and knowledge they can, to advance their economies, and few countries I am aware of have such a large, organized, and politically influential constituency fighting against advancements with an ideology of backwards, regressiveness, intolerance, and hate. Well the last two are more common but having them all mixed up with a glorification of ignorance seems distinctively American.  

        Humor Alert! No statement from this UID is intended to be true, including this one. Comments and Posts intended for recreational purposes only. Unauthorized interpretations may lead to unexpected results. This waiver void where prohibited.

        by HoundDog on Sat May 24, 2014 at 02:12:25 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  OK dizzy, I'm happy to make that correction. My (7+ / 0-)

      main point is not changed. Veterans like it and do not want it privatized, and we should fight to defend and preserve it as one of many examples of things government and non-for profits can do well like roads, libraries, ... well, you know the lines.

      Thanks for commenting. Today seems really slow. I'm just realizing is probably because of the holiday weekend. My son is in Ohio, and G's daughter is in VA. so our house is like any other day, but I guess most people are having big weekend parties with their families?

      Humor Alert! No statement from this UID is intended to be true, including this one. Comments and Posts intended for recreational purposes only. Unauthorized interpretations may lead to unexpected results. This waiver void where prohibited.

      by HoundDog on Sat May 24, 2014 at 02:00:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm procrastinating while grading papers (8+ / 0-)

        this is the first day in awhile I have done more than one comment here or there.  Almost done, though!

        And like I said, it was just a quibble--your diary here and earlier were both excellent and are bringing attention to a long-standing issue.  

        If you have time to check out the link from my previous comment in the other diary from 2012, I think you'll find the current mess extends back to the Clinton admin....I bet there's a juicy Gingrich quote out there somewhere...

        To be free and just depends on us. Victor Hugo.

        by dizzydean on Sat May 24, 2014 at 02:06:35 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Sure thing, thants Dizzy I saw the comment. (6+ / 0-)

          Didn't you also comment in that post I did a few days ago about all the rock muscians that died early, like at 27? Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Kurt Colbain, etc.?

          Anyhow thanks a lot.

          I'm more than procrastinating, I'm ready for a nap. I've been getting up way too early after staying up way too late. I put a computer right next to my bed which may have been a mistake.

          Now, I'm staying up until 4:00 even last week a few time until 9:00 the next morning. reading and writing.  Then when I wake up in a few hours to pee, or just even turn over, I think, "hey, I'll just check in to see what's happening in the news, or my recent posts, and then get seduced into discussions or writing new stuff.

          When my sleep cycle gets disrupted, or deprived my short-term memory is disrupted so I can not even remember how much sleep I got last night. But I can tell it was enough, cuz now I'm so tired.

          Thanks for commenting.

          Humor Alert! No statement from this UID is intended to be true, including this one. Comments and Posts intended for recreational purposes only. Unauthorized interpretations may lead to unexpected results. This waiver void where prohibited.

          by HoundDog on Sat May 24, 2014 at 02:26:27 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Please take care of yourself (4+ / 0-)

            Your work is so valuable, and I cannot express how much it means to me. Please take care of yourself, for we cannot do without you.  Naps are good, herb teas are good, lots of water is good. Thank you!!!

            •  Thanks for such a kind comment hbk. I do need to (3+ / 0-)

              take better care of myself as everything seems to be falling apart around me and my sleep cycle is so out of whack I missed my doctors appointment by week. She had to cancel the last monthly one and substitute one was at an unusual time.

              Thanks again.

              Humor Alert! No statement from this UID is intended to be true, including this one. Comments and Posts intended for recreational purposes only. Unauthorized interpretations may lead to unexpected results. This waiver void where prohibited.

              by HoundDog on Sat May 24, 2014 at 04:58:29 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Ever since 9/11 (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                HoundDog

                My television is on 24/7 for the most part but sound is really low.  My computer is shut off and I should do the same with my cell but I don't.  I also am a bad sleeper (wasn't always like that but since I retired I find I sometimes find it hard to sleep) and can't make early appointments.  I sometimes resort to taking ZZZQuil to get some sleep so I know how you feel.  Take care.  

                Never be afraid to voice your opinion and fight for it . Corporations aren't people, they're Republicans (Rev Al Sharpton 10/7/2011) Voting is a louder voice than a bullhorn but sometimes you need that bullhorn to retain your vote.

                by Rosalie907 on Sat May 24, 2014 at 08:18:10 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Hey, we could be twins but I have some of the best (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Rosalie907

                  doctors around so if I can't sleep they prefer me to take zolpidem which you will find has less "occupancy" effect on the neurotransmitters.  Hangover grogginess.

                  I just ran out a week an a half ago, and I sort of have a bias of not wanting to take a lot of meds so I wasn't fast enough to refill it.

                  Humor Alert! No statement from this UID is intended to be true, including this one. Comments and Posts intended for recreational purposes only. Unauthorized interpretations may lead to unexpected results. This waiver void where prohibited.

                  by HoundDog on Sat May 24, 2014 at 09:54:21 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Sometimes a glass of wine (0+ / 0-)

                    Also helps.  Earlier tonight at a bbq I had wine and it reminded me that I need to get a bottle since I'm out of it.  I used to get it from my niece's husband who works for a wine distributor but he would never take the money from me even though he had to pay for it (cost plus 10%) so I stopped because of this.  

                    Never be afraid to voice your opinion and fight for it . Corporations aren't people, they're Republicans (Rev Al Sharpton 10/7/2011) Voting is a louder voice than a bullhorn but sometimes you need that bullhorn to retain your vote.

                    by Rosalie907 on Sun May 25, 2014 at 08:24:33 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

      •  In nationwide conferences with fellow (10+ / 0-)

        nurse practitioners in our specialty, VA nurses are noted (they discussed this issue) to be paid far less than others in public and private hospitals.  Most importantly, these nurses are highly dedicated to their patient populations, and often far more difficult to treat.  Some of the problems they had to deal with were incredibly daunting.  

        I admire the VA healthcare workers, in all fields, and we owe them a huge debt of gratitude and appreciation.  

        the dog you have, is the dog you need. - Cesar Millan

        by OregonWetDog on Sat May 24, 2014 at 02:53:12 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  This should also be used in the mid-terms to (11+ / 0-)

    fight back against a GOP controlled Congress:

    we should start clamoring that this 13 years of Republican congress peoples refusal to increase VA funding to adequate levels
    •  Yes! That's a great idea! Let's all jump up and (5+ / 0-)

      down and chant this together.

      Thanks Susan from 29.  

      I've been saying this for several days now and can't seem to get any response.

      I don't know you well enough, and with only this black and white little text box I can not tell if you are deliberately teasing me to see if you can get me to scream and go bonko, for a good laugh,

      But, at this point, I am so happy to have someone who agrees I don't care which it is, yes! that sounds like an excellent idea Susan.

      Maybe if you say it we can get some traction on this idea now?

      I see that I need am apostrophe after the s in peoples' so I gotta go. I can't figure out why my brain doesn't see those things when I proof read. Some folks thing I do not proof read, but I do. Somehow some of these clunkers go right by me no matter how many times I check.

      It seems like if my mind knows what I'm intending to say, it stops wasting processing time processing photons to assemble the image and just presents the correct image to the part of my brain where I see things.

      Because when I saw my sentence above I couldn't figure out what the heck it meat. Congresscritters' would have been a better choice. Actually Congressmen's would have been best, but sexists then I thought critters' then I thought disrespectful to our great constitutional system of government, then I thought, damn I don't even get for this this kind of bs, it a holiday weekend and this is like working...

      So while my upper mind centers were off on a tangent whinging that my girlfriend/s.o. of 10 years has O.C.D. so bad she can't really play and is cleaning out closets and will not go and and play, my fingers apparently kept on typing the rest of the article.

      And, didn't do a bad job, overall, but since I was off in a different place ....

      Whatever...

      Thanks for commenting.

      I hope people listen to your great idea. It's about time some one in the Democratic Party thought of this!  Hey, maybe Harry Reid should threaten them behind the scenes that he will hold Benghazi-like hearing in the Senate if they don't knock this silly B.S. off and grow up?

      Humor Alert! No statement from this UID is intended to be true, including this one. Comments and Posts intended for recreational purposes only. Unauthorized interpretations may lead to unexpected results. This waiver void where prohibited.

      by HoundDog on Sat May 24, 2014 at 02:45:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  No joke. I think we should harp on this and harp (6+ / 0-)

        on this, showing how often the Democrats have tried to clean up the mess that two wars created without the help of a single Republican who helped to create the mess in the first place.

        Our veterans deserve better. And we should stop being afraid of the military as a campaign issue and start owning up to the fact that the Democrats have always done more to improve the status of the military service members than the Republicans have ever dreamt of doing.

        They used a credit card to finance their wars so they would not have to look at the dollar cost, and are now refusing to acknowledge or provide any relief for the human cost. Someone needs to call them on it.

        •  I'm with you Susan. You've got my vote! (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          hbk, LilithGardener

          Humor Alert! No statement from this UID is intended to be true, including this one. Comments and Posts intended for recreational purposes only. Unauthorized interpretations may lead to unexpected results. This waiver void where prohibited.

          by HoundDog on Sat May 24, 2014 at 04:00:33 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  You have to ask Lilith she's the expert on action. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Susan from 29

          I just like to talk and complain. (humor alert.)

          Humor Alert! No statement from this UID is intended to be true, including this one. Comments and Posts intended for recreational purposes only. Unauthorized interpretations may lead to unexpected results. This waiver void where prohibited.

          by HoundDog on Sat May 24, 2014 at 09:55:56 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  This One Fact Could Trigger a Dem Wave Election (11+ / 0-)

    if only it could become known to the electorate.

    Republicans have refused nearly every Democratic proposal to expand the VA in the last 13 years,
    Here from the world's only climate-change-fighting billionaire Tom Steyer's group is an example of how to make one point hard and fast:

    The Republicans have done so much damage through policy and blocking, surely there's material enough for dozens of these kinds of ads of this impact.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sat May 24, 2014 at 02:06:25 PM PDT

  •  Think about who got those trillions; (9+ / 0-)

    Cronies, corporations, the MIL, oil companies. Now think about where funds to the VA would go; caring for the disposable meat-props who already served their purpose. To the Rs in power, that's an easy calculation to make.

    "Jika Anda membutuhkan produk untuk meningkatkan kualitas hubungan seksual Anda atau membutuhkan produk obat pembesar penis!" - Bintangpasutri

    by Fordmandalay on Sat May 24, 2014 at 02:09:00 PM PDT

  •  Thank you for chasing this story down, HoundDog (6+ / 0-)

    I hope you expand it into a series and the meme goes viral.

    Needs a catchy slogan and a hasthtag, to go with calls for action.

    Put Vets Ahead of Old Jets

    Funding for Vets! GOP proves we CAN afford it!

    There are veterans awaiting care in every district. Any investment in Veterans healthcare is an investment across the country.

    "The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.” — William Arthur Ward

    by LilithGardener on Sat May 24, 2014 at 02:44:24 PM PDT

    •  Hey Lilith, you are fantastic. You've got the (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ericlewis0, LilithGardener, hbk

      gift! I'm may just send all my future posts to you so you can distill them down to their essence.

      Put Vets Ahead of Old Jets
      This is exactly what we need.

      And, we could even consider taking out "Old" because the Pentagon is lock into a new Joint Serviced Jet Fighter that over its entire predicted 50 year life cycle is going to cost us over $1 trillion.

      The vision for the thing started out great, rather than have each service branch have their own separate jet, with separate parts, maintenance service people, training for those service people, software, weapons systems etc. the DOD decided to standardize one fighter since all the research indicated this would produce substantial cost savings, efficiencies, and inter-service maintenance mobility.

      Now the fighter is many year late, over cost, and each service branch has asked for, and received approvals for so many custom adaptations we essential have separate jets again for the Navy, Air Force, and Army.

      Are you a marketing genius from some major Silicon Valley  corporation who just likes hanging out on political blogs to wind down on the weekends?

      You should write a post explaining to Democrats how we could win more elections if we thought about our messages more like you do.

      You just summed up my last two posts, and another one I have in the workshop in about 10,000 fewer words.

      Holy Smokes, I'm impressed.

      Does anyone have DC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Schutlz' home phone number? We should call her up and see if we can  the presses on those lame "Gonna turn your Red State Blue" posters, bumper stickers, and lapel pins.

      Your idea is much better.  

      Thanks Lilith.
       

      Humor Alert! No statement from this UID is intended to be true, including this one. Comments and Posts intended for recreational purposes only. Unauthorized interpretations may lead to unexpected results. This waiver void where prohibited.

      by HoundDog on Sat May 24, 2014 at 03:04:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  it's catchy, it might work, to our detriment in (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      HoundDog, LilithGardener

      the long run I'm afraid...One of the planes saved was the U-2...Did you know that even today there isn't another plane with the distance and altitude of the U-2  and sometimes eyes in the sky are needed..like in Nigeria right now...I'd bet there's a u-2 with upgraded cameras taking pics of every inch of that jungle....

      Did you realize we still don't have a plane the equal of the SR-71 Blackbird?  and they destroyed the tooling in the 60's after Grandpa made those hi bypass turbofans work at Mach 3.5+....

      Another plane saved in the recent budget addition was the Grunts best friend, The A-10 Warthog,  a plane that gives close air support like no other.......the pilot safe in a titanium tub while riding a 30mm Gatling/Rotary Cannon that literally removes obstacles  recoil impulse so great the plane actually reverses in a long burst, just for a sec.......ask any ground pounder what they think of the A-10 esp if they've seen combat in the last 20 years....I haven't met one yet who didn't have a tale of at least 1 ass saving by CAS via A-10.....

      Not to mention the saving of the A-10 saves Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, which in turn saves a good portion of Tucson's economy.....

      We can afford both as a nation....Keep proven weapons systems working and lets start over on the F-35 disaster  a plane so underwhelming it really doesn't excel at any of it's multiple roles unlike our current fleet of specialized planes.....

      We already have the air superiority fighter in the
      F-22 and from what they say, it makes serious weapons systems like the F-15 and 16 look like dogmeat in comparison...granted both China and Russia are also fielding Gen 6 fighters...all the more reason to dump the unworthy F-35 and get to work again....If we can't, by now,  produce something with the agility speed and sheer asskicking force of an F-15 which the 35 can't touch nor the 16...then it's too much all things to all services....they want it to be a Harrier, an A-10,  an F-15, an F-16, and a  Hornet/Super Hornet....nothing can do all that and be the best at each.

      The savings from combat operations alone are enough to fund the V.A   Which btw, we have a beautiful old campus here in Tucson that every vet I know loves, or at least likes well enough....I know my ex FIL used to come down here from Phx for treatment on occasion.....

      Vaya con Dios Don Alejo
      I want to die a slave to principles. Not to men.
      Emiliano Zapata

      by buddabelly on Sat May 24, 2014 at 04:49:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I have a tremendous respect for real experts in (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        LilithGardener, buddabelly

        their own fields Buddabelly so I'll defer to you knowledge.

        What about the Global Hawk which is what the Pentagon is purportedly using in Nigeria from a base in the U.K. And there is reputed to be another whole generation of classified next generation drones that are leaps ahead of our current generation.

        I've read a great deal about the A-10, but the thing to realize is the next generation of drone technology is putting a lot of that kind of fighting capacity on unmanned aircraft so we can now get in close with a whole networked system airborne and ground surveillance craft feeding information into a networked computer system with the kill shots coming from a variety of platforms, some in the form of missals that can be distant, or drones with which in the near future may have sufficient weight to back up A-10 firepower with zero pilot risk.

        When writing about Boco Haram last week or two weeks ago, I learned we have a drone base in Niger, adjacent to Nigeria, but it turns out it is was more convenient to use pilots and the Global Hawks based in the UK which have sufficient range.

        In that article the author mentioned there are already prototypes, or possible existing but top secret drones with significantly longer range and flight time than the Global Hawk and the other long range one whose name I foret, SK-10 or some bunch of letter and numbers, that took 3 or 4 digits.

        My brother is a robotics software and hardware designer who has designed several robotic cars that drive themselves around.

        From what I gather technology is past the point that where aircraft, or land vehicle that a human can pilot or drive they have been able to install remote control and telemetry capacity to for some time. There is probably even a remote control Boeing 757 somewhere just for the fun of it.

        The cutting edge 5 or more years ago, is going beyond remote control to complete AI control.

        One group is working on an AI program to control an exploratory vehical, that its going to be sent to one of the moons of Jupitor, the one with the vast underground ocean under the ice. Is that Euroro, Io?  I do not remember which it was from an article I read over 5 to 7 years ago, and I read 30 to 50 articles a day nearly 360 days a year, (not bragging Budda, I just don't want people to think I'm having senior moments because my memory is not perfect. One article suggests older people minds are like much bigger libraries. Yes, one kind find a book  faster in the High school library than the state library)

        So when this probe lands on Europa, or whereever, it is going to look around for a good spot on the ice over the ocean then start melting its way down through it for however many hundreds of feet it takes, and then swim around down there looking for signs of life and interesting experiments to do, while avoiding obstacles, that could damage it, or get it stuck.

        The distance is so far, even at the speed of light signals are going to take a couple of hours to get to earth.

        So when the Pentagon is given the task of chosen the least useful weapon systems it wants to get rid of so it can improve troop benefits I have to believe they've thought it through.

        With regard to the Davis Monthan  A-10 base in AZ. This is a perfect example of the problem we have Budda.

        Once we get a base we can never close it. I read some where we still have bases from the Civil War.

        We have 800 military bases around the world and the Pentagon ways at least 200 of them are not needed but Congress will not let us even discuss closings because of a vast conspiracy of everyone protecting the bases in their district.

        But then we keep adding new bases for the new tech.

        We can not keep doing this if the GOP will not raise taxes, or cut Defense Budgets. Or we will soon have zero social programs. This is the GOP strategy and the Democrats are playing right into their hands. I'm beginning to worry that I am going to expire before handing off this torch to younger Democrats who can keep this understanding alive.

        We absolutely must draw a line in the sand as firmly as the GOP has drawn the No New Taxes line that all

        Military Bases and Manufacturing from this point onward is done on a Zero Net Sum Basing and Congressional District Distribution Basis  
        or less.

        For example, If it is true that we have a top secret new drone that replaces the capacity of the A-10 Warthog which explains why the Pentagon is willing to give it up on last week's proposed budget, and Congress refuses to go along with that proposed budget then the replacement technology has to be produced in, are operated by the manufacturing plants, or in this case solders on the base of the replaced technology, in this case Davis Monthan.

        Do you see what I am saying. OK, so we are keeping Davis Monthan, but not as a useless base just so Tucson gets to have community parades and the local coffee shop has jobs. Because without new tax revenue which Boehner will not give, or military cuts, which even Dems will not go along with.  What it means is that that  'feel good base" for A-10s which will no longer be used in real combat because they endanger real pilots lives when cruise missals or new drones do the jobs safer and better, s going to be paid for by cutting food stamps, Headstart, winter heading assistance, and even though it shouldn't be connected, the GOP almost convinced Obama to go along with chained CPI for Social Security so the Government does not have to pay back as much to the Social Security Trust Fund.

        Humor Alert! No statement from this UID is intended to be true, including this one. Comments and Posts intended for recreational purposes only. Unauthorized interpretations may lead to unexpected results. This waiver void where prohibited.

        by HoundDog on Sat May 24, 2014 at 05:50:32 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  robotics are a wonderful thing in some areas, imo (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          HoundDog

          our pilots need to be in the plane if they are killing people with it.  Maybe I'm old fashioned but I'm sorry....pure drone is just too damn easy to go use our new toys....At least with a pilot in theoretical danger, they might think twice....

          And honestly, the Generals hate the A-10 because, it's not sexy, it's not fast, it doesn't win them awards and get them flashy vacations and junkets.....

          It just does the job better than any other plane or helicopter in the world without a single pilot loss in combat that I've ever heard of or could find on a quick google....

          I did find this article that kinda explains the unique abilities of the plane

          http://theaviationist.com/...

          Honestly, I don't believe all the whiz bang talk I hear about drones....They aren't there yet even considering the ethical implications.

          there is a drone space shuttle that has done a couple years in orbit....we hear about it once in a while, not often and there have been Global Hawks on the border for years....always denied, they claim only Predators but I have seen it in glass and it wasn't a predator...just a lucky catch with high power glass and good sun.......

          Still, I don't think we're anywhere near ready for all drone warfare....

          Vaya con Dios Don Alejo
          I want to die a slave to principles. Not to men.
          Emiliano Zapata

          by buddabelly on Sat May 24, 2014 at 08:29:27 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well I agree with you that we should replace (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            buddabelly

            pilots with AI units. That a one ways street the SkyNet of the Terminator fame. Sorry for that tangent, Budda.

            But, tell me where I'm wrong. Are not the remote pilot things like having the pilot in the plane now?

            On earth the speed of light is fast enough for real time control and they've apparently figured out how to over come telemetry problems like jamming but just choose not to talk about it.

            Humor Alert! No statement from this UID is intended to be true, including this one. Comments and Posts intended for recreational purposes only. Unauthorized interpretations may lead to unexpected results. This waiver void where prohibited.

            by HoundDog on Sat May 24, 2014 at 10:00:44 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  it's video game war, no risk to the pilot at all (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              HoundDog

              and imo that just encourages their use....and what does that do to the pilot, I've read some pretty damn disturbing shit coming out of our drone program...."Bugsplats" is not how we should wage war....against a country and a civilization  that literally has no way to retaliate except against civilian targets...at least once the withdrawal is complete and the drone strikes continue.

              Where is the honor in that?  I guarantee you that with their honor code, they see no honor in it...and as such we are without honor, thus unworthy of any consideration.  And every little "collateral damage" lying there bleeding just created another 20 or 30 of their relatives who hate all our guts equally with a passion that burns...  Flat dumb and tone deaf policy and has been forever.

              I really think if a pilot in a 16 was put in jeopardy every time they want to drone some sheepherders, there would be a lot fewer missiles flying.

              As to true AI in a war fighting machine?  Ghu I hope we are smart enough to never allow such a thing and nuke to eternity anyone who tries...(hopefully without nukes but you get my drift)  

              Way too dangerous imo.  I think the 3 Laws are a mighty fine idea in any AI doing anything.........

              Vaya con Dios Don Alejo
              I want to die a slave to principles. Not to men.
              Emiliano Zapata

              by buddabelly on Sun May 25, 2014 at 04:20:03 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks, I did not know all this (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        buddabelly, HoundDog

        And this is an especially interesting humanitarian mission, which our military gets called on for all the time.
         

        Did you know that even today there isn't another plane with the distance and altitude of the U-2  and sometimes eyes in the sky are needed..like in Nigeria right now...I'd bet there's a u-2 with upgraded cameras taking pics of every inch of that jungle....

        "The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.” — William Arthur Ward

        by LilithGardener on Sat May 24, 2014 at 06:36:44 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't know for certain but I'll bet there's a (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          alx9090, LilithGardener

          U-2 doing a high search...

          Interestingly enough, Remember a few weeks back when LAX's air control system went nuts and shut down causing delays all over the country?     The cause turned out to be a U-2, flying over the airspace at over 90k feet and causing the computer to shutdown because planes don't fly that high....heh.....

          Vaya con Dios Don Alejo
          I want to die a slave to principles. Not to men.
          Emiliano Zapata

          by buddabelly on Sat May 24, 2014 at 08:32:42 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  The last article I read indicated they are using (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          LilithGardener

          the Global Hawk and another drone with two letters and two numbers in the name based out of the UK. It has the range and flight time and by flying closer can even detect where the jungle grass has been cut with machetes days later so they know where people have walked on the ground.

          Plus they take not just photographs, but just about the full electro-magnegetic spectrum picking up any use of cell phones, other electronic euipment, including infrared.

          If necessary, in a battle situation they can be close enough to the ground to detect sound as well so if someone fires a gun, or artillery shell, either a second drone, or a ground based unit can feed the information into a network, a computer can triangulate the signals and someone in the U.K. or the Pentagon, and make the decision to land a cruise missal on it our drop a special force team on the exact GPS coordinates.

          It seems like we no longer should think of these as single units but rather like "Force Systems" the way an Aircraft Battle Group is like a floating dome with a 500 miles perimeter.

          All the planes, ships, submarines, and satellites are all wired together.

          The idea that a bunch of corndog House Republicans are going to do an better job in the bars in in the back rooms of the House than experts in the Pentagon at optimizing the the cost - benefits trade-off in the allocation of our nation's defense budget for weapon's systems is a joke.

          Only they know what the plans are for 5, 10, 20 and 50 years down the road are. Half of these idiots in the House will not even admit that they "believe" in math or science.

          If Harry Reid decides he wants to to a Benghazi style hearing on the interesting juxtaposition of the House Republicans votes on the VA administration budget expansion votes and the obscene defense budget BS all he has to do is say the word and choose a level of "acceptable lack of civility" and "acceptable losses on our side" and I could right a script to shred their miserable butts.

          I don't like to use "harsh and ugly language," in public but for this special occasion I might be able to make an exception, if it was thought to be useful.

          I think a classy low key approach from the prosecutor is better though.

           

          Humor Alert! No statement from this UID is intended to be true, including this one. Comments and Posts intended for recreational purposes only. Unauthorized interpretations may lead to unexpected results. This waiver void where prohibited.

          by HoundDog on Sat May 24, 2014 at 10:25:11 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Please expand this comment into a diary. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        buddabelly

        We need to be able to tell our elected reps what we want them to approve and disapprove and why. And your comment expanded to a diary could give Kossacks the right language and context to be more persuasive.

        Perhaps the slogan should be Put Vets Ahead of New Jets!

        "The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.” — William Arthur Ward

        by LilithGardener on Sat May 24, 2014 at 07:32:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  esp the abominable F-35 kill it and take all the (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          HoundDog, LilithGardener

          contracts for the advanced avionics and electronics/hydraulics and let them make artificial limbs that work better than their jet........The tech should transfer, esp the miniturization and redundancy plus the advancements in "fly by wire"...

          I'm not saying the program has been a total loss....It just won't end up with our guys and gals having better fighting machines under them....

          Vaya con Dios Don Alejo
          I want to die a slave to principles. Not to men.
          Emiliano Zapata

          by buddabelly on Sat May 24, 2014 at 08:21:37 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You should explain the F-35 Budda. All I know (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            LilithGardener, buddabelly

            about it is from a couple articles I read when I was looking for examples of "boondoggle" weapons systems.

            But the best last article I read, after about 5 lengthy pages of problems, delays, cost overruns, frustrating "too  big to fail type situations," like we can not let this one aircraft manufacturer fail by making them absorb the cost of any mismanagement concluded with one of the top Pentagon people who built up a tremendous about of credibility by his ruthless, honest, and objective candor up to that point, concluded by asking "what can we do? We need a new fighter, for the next 50 years, and this one should be better than we are flying now.

            He didn't say so, but after thinking about it I have to imagine that even though the individual services managed to argue for customized versions we still have probably achieved major improvements and saving towards standardization.  And there could be differences, in a Navy jet that has to take off and land on a carrier lets say and and Air Force jet.

            Starting over from zero after what sounded like what has probably been 20 plus years of R and D, would probably be more expensive.

            Had this guy tried to gloss over problems I'd have been mad as hell, but we wouldn't have known any of this had he not told us. I don't like punishing people when they they are doing things the way we would like them to do it in a perfect world, and that what this guy was doing. He wasn't responsible for any of these problems, he was bringing them our attention.

            If I had been the President I'd have been P.O. about how the management of the program got to this point, but if this guy had the right management background, I might have put him in charge of making it better.

            But, all I had to go on was this a few articles. But based on this one, I decided the New Joint Fighter was probably not the best example for me to use.

            There is and expensive and apparently unusable and worthless "universal automated anti-artillery system that is purported worthless that some powerful House constituency well not allow the DOD to kill, and I'm going to look into the ones mentioned Friday.

            You should write up the Joint Fighter Buddha.  

            Humor Alert! No statement from this UID is intended to be true, including this one. Comments and Posts intended for recreational purposes only. Unauthorized interpretations may lead to unexpected results. This waiver void where prohibited.

            by HoundDog on Sat May 24, 2014 at 10:43:03 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Put Vets Ahead of old GOP... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LilithGardener
  •  So many of today's problems can be attributed... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HoundDog

    to past administrations, especially Republican administrations.

    "... a direct consequence of policy decisions made in the White House years before President Barack Obama got there."
    But perhaps the biggest problem of all has been the failure of the past two Democratic presidents to begin serious mitigation of those many serious problems.

    Instead, both essentially became Republican-lite, tinkering around the edges to placate the base -- but never actually fixing anything -- while, at the same time, continually jostling for a coveted spot to feed at the corporate trough right next to the Republicans.

    It's time to end this socially-regressive pathology.

    Only a Democrat can do it.

    But it's got to be a real Democrat.

    "If one would give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest man, I would find something in them to have him hanged." - 17th-century French clergyman and statesman Cardinal Richelieu.

    by markthshark on Sat May 24, 2014 at 02:49:25 PM PDT

    •  I do not disagree with what you say. Or rather (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      markthshark

      perhaps I would rather say, Mark, the implications of you remarks do not escape me, and I would not wish to take issue with them at this time.  Yes, that's the ticket. Strike that "do not disagree" stuff at the beginning of my comment Mark. It is much too clear.

      Don't you know towards the end of the Obama administration a whole lot of the current people are going to be leaving to lock in big time jobs? I could be up for some position in Washington, and I wouldn't want to be confused with one of those critical kinds of people that were always complaining about something.

      There are probably lots of people around here with names that sound like HoundDog. Like that one fellow who puts a space between them Hound Dog, and some other guy who says he is The HoundDog.

      I'm the one who is always saying upbeat and positive things about all the Democrats, the wonderful and wise Obama Administration.

      What were we talking about? Oh, yes, Umm those are some interesting commets, you have their Mark. I would have to think about them more before I could make any comment on such a complicated subject. Strike all that confusing stuff above.  (humor alert.  I'd like to remind every one about my sig line that points out that every thing I say has been a joke. I've never had anything but the most positive thought about the impressive Democratic Party that has never rested in making every effort to make our country a better place for all Americans. If it every appeared otherwise in the past, just remember I was just joking. It was just pretend. Ha, ha, ha.)  

      Humor Alert! No statement from this UID is intended to be true, including this one. Comments and Posts intended for recreational purposes only. Unauthorized interpretations may lead to unexpected results. This waiver void where prohibited.

      by HoundDog on Sat May 24, 2014 at 06:02:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  lets us save some of that righteous scorn (4+ / 0-)

    for Democrats and Democratic candidates (I'm looking at YOU,  Michelle Nunn) willing to throw President Obama and General Shinseki under the bus, rather than speak truth to the Re THUGlicans who deny funding to the VA.

    don't always believe what you think

    by claude on Sat May 24, 2014 at 02:50:17 PM PDT

  •  The politics of the VA (3+ / 0-)

    For one thing, the cowards who vote for wars and spend the money don't want the truth. Caring for veterans is part of the cost of war, and these scumbags want to make these costs as low as they can.

    Its not that they don't care about the vets, its just um, they don't want those costs to show up on the books. They didn't want to admit PTSD was real, because that dramatically increased the cost of the war, and they will fight against funding the VA for this very reason.

    A true craftsman will meticulously construct the apparatus of his own demise.

    by onionjim on Sat May 24, 2014 at 04:05:08 PM PDT

  •  Needs to be noted that not ALL V.A. facilities (5+ / 0-)

    are having those problems of chronically long wait times.   The hospital in my area has a good reputation.  But maybe it's not as overloaded with patients as other areas.
       V.A.  programs should be expanded/improved.  In the meantime, perhaps the locations with the worst problems can find out what's working at the locations with minimal problems.

    My Karma just ran over your Dogma

    by FoundingFatherDAR on Sat May 24, 2014 at 04:07:35 PM PDT

    •  Agreed (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      HoundDog, LilithGardener

      My VA healthcare facilities have been great. Where I run into severe problems is other areas of VA, where it's nearly impossible to get anything done because my caseworker keeps getting changed every year, and the workload is ridiculous.

      Two hundred fifty years of slavery. Ninety years of Jim Crow. Sixty years of separate but equal. Thirty-five years of racist housing policy. Until we reckon with our compounding moral debts, America will never be whole. - Ta-Nehisi Coates

      by moviemeister76 on Sat May 24, 2014 at 05:50:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'll leave the twitter stuff to twitter warriors. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HoundDog

    I'm a novice there.

    "The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.” — William Arthur Ward

    by LilithGardener on Sat May 24, 2014 at 06:27:42 PM PDT

  •  I truly believe (3+ / 0-)

    That one of the best ways to solve the VA problem is to give Veterans a card like those issued to both Medicare and Medicaid claiments and allow them to get the help they need at Hospitals in their area.  The VA can be used to treat PTSD, amputees, those recovering from gun related injuries, burns and mental issues.  If a veteran has a medical problem that can be treated in a non VA Hospital they should use that and the VA should cover their claim.

    As for the Republicons, if people are not aware of what they're doing then Shensiki, Obama and the Dems will take the hit.  It's easy to have Rachel, Hayes, et al do a story on this over at MSNBC, but that's not enough.  We need MSM and maybe a few newspaper and magazine articles about this and what's going on.  Also, keep in mind that Dems also vote for those antiquated systems, jets etc for their districts.  

    Never be afraid to voice your opinion and fight for it . Corporations aren't people, they're Republicans (Rev Al Sharpton 10/7/2011) Voting is a louder voice than a bullhorn but sometimes you need that bullhorn to retain your vote.

    by Rosalie907 on Sat May 24, 2014 at 06:29:22 PM PDT

  •  Great diary! (0+ / 0-)

    As a retired vet, I think one of the challenges we face is that many veterans (and much of the public) believe the GOP hype about how much more they care about vets than the Democrats. We have to dispel that notion. Anyone who reads the Congressional Record knows the GOP rhetoric is total bullshit. Unfortunately, not many folks read the CR or other objective sources. Truth be told, the GOP loves defense contractors and little else.

    We certainly need to get the message out regarding GOP obstruction over VA funding, but it will require a constant and large scale effort to penetrate the conservative information cocoon inhabited by many Americans (unfortunately many of them vets) and the general ignorance that exists regarding the topic. It will be a challenge, but not an impossible one.

    Guns are never the principal in the commission of a crime, but they are usually an accomplice

    by MadGeorgiaDem on Sun May 25, 2014 at 08:22:33 AM PDT

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