More smoke and more mirrors. I know a little about smoke. In the header-photo above, I am the one on the tail-end of the 2 1/2-inch fire hose. I know 2 1/2 inches of hose does not sound like much of a hose. But it is. A normal uncharged section of 2 1/2-inch hose is not the easiest of objects to maneuver. But once you charge that hose and the principles of fire hydraulics begin its activities, you have a whole lot of water and weight.
Now the picture above shows much more fire than smoke. It’s funny. When my lieutenant and I were fighting this blaze, it seemed to me that the heat, and smoke was much more intense than the blaze itself. As you look in this wonderful photo, you see the house outlined in fire. Thus, I saw much more in that picture of a house blazing than from when the house was right before my eyes.
lt is simple to say, the picture defies reality. What that means is something entirely different. This afternoon, I heard something that defied reality. That was when our president was collectively blowing smoke up our asses. It seems that Donald Trump does that quite often.
President Doofus was exercising his almost daily ritual, often times more than once, of blowing smoke and employing mirrors. Why? Well, if a little smoke looks good much more of it has to appear even better. Or so would such an argument — as stupid as it seems — might go.
Today’s grand illusion is the Department of Veterans Affairs.
By employing his weapon of choice, the presidential executive order, President All About Donald can claim all the credit should the VA order turns out to be an unqualified win. And if matters should fail … Well … ?
There is no doubt that the VA has many problems although many of its problems fall not so much in the area of health care.
The VA provides benefits to millions of veterans and their families. The third of the three largest branches of the VA handles nothing but cemeteries and veteran burial benefits. Even in the area of health care, a gigantic bureaucracy looms to ensure the agency will be paid, one way or the other.
It is amazing how many people believe all veterans are due free health care. I once corrected a member of Congress on that fact. Only certain groups of veterans receive free care, among those are those whose illnesses or injuries are connected to the vet’s military service. Then, the percentage of that disability is service connected goes into the equation of what amount, if any, co-pay a veteran will pay.
I am at the low end end of care which is means-based. Last year, quite suddenly, the VA decided I owed them co-payments for medicines and afterwards were charged for co-pays of actual medical care in addition to those for prescriptions. Many of those who know little of the VA may also not realize that one’s ability to pay is based on gross income. Let’s say my income is $45,000 a year. But I don’t work full-time so I might make no more than $24,000 after taxes. You see the problem there.
I spent quite a few years reporting on and writing about the VA. I saw the agency from a number of vantage points. Most recently I have seen the many views of fiscal accounting, or lack there of, from a patient’s point of view.
There are at least three and possibly more offices one must deal with in settling debts. These offices sometimes do not deal with each other directly.
If the president thinks he can sign a piece of paper and the VA will have its problem solved, then he will definitely require a lot of help. That, and much much more smoke and mirrors.