Sunday, November 23, 2014

Congress and Veterans


Dona: Last Thursday, the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee held a hearing on military suicides.  C.I. reported on it in the Wednesday "Iraq snapshot," the Thursday "Iraq snapshot" and the Saturday "Iraq snapshot."  Kat included the Ranking Member Richard Burr's comments in "Mental Health and Suicide Among Veterans."  We'll discuss the hearing, but before that, there was another Congressional issue involving veterans last week.  C.I. covered it in "Corrine Brown is not fit to serve" and "Nancy Pelosi lost her brains on the plastic surgeo..." -- as well as in the snapshots already noted.  Ava covered it in "It's a shame the Democrats won't do what's best for veterans" and Kat covered it in "Corrine Brown is nuts."  There was other community coverage but the three of them and Wally attend the hearings and report on them.  This is an issue that's huge and that the media's missing because they work to cover for the officials, they don't care about reporting.  Pelosi is the House Minority Leader, a Democratic, and she was already under fire for refusing to allow US House Rep. Tammy Duckworth to vote by proxy last week in the election of leadership posts for Democrats in the House.  Duckworth is an Iraq War veteran, she lost both legs in the war.  She was not able to travel to DC because she was under doctor's orders not to fly.  This was due to her pregnancy.  She gave birth last Tuesday.  Pelosi already looked, at best, like a jerk for her actions.  Things only got worse last week.  Wally, why don't you give us an overview of what happened.

Wally: In the current Congress, the Republicans have had the majority in the House -- that will also be true when the new Congress is sworn in January 3rd.  Because of that, Republicans are Chairs on House Committees.  Because Democrats are in the minority, their leadership posts on Committees is Ranking Member.  The current Ranking Member on the House Veterans Affairs Committee is Mike Michaud.  He did not seek re-election.  So Democrats need to pick a new Ranking Member.  US House Rep. Tim Walz was endorsed for the post by not only Michaud but also many veterans group.  Nancy Pelosi and her gangsta tribe used arcane rules to eliminate him from running for the post so that she could install her pet US House Rep. Corrine Brown -- also known as the Congressional Disgrace From Florida.

Dona: Which is where Wally hails from and, my apologies for an oversight earlier, C.I. slid me a note reminding me that Wally's "THIS JUST IN! CORRINE SPEAKS!" and Cedric's "Exclusive interview with Corrine Brown" joint-post took on the nonsense of Corrine Brown.  Humor is obviously a very effective political tool.  We were talking, while working on this edition, with Isaiah who will have a new cartoon going up late tonight at The Common Ills on this topic and he plans to address it also on Thanksgiving with a special comic.  Thank you to C.I. for the note and my apologies to Wally and Cedric -- I did not mean to overlook their commentary and contribution. Corrine Brown is clearly unqualified.  Wally and Cedric did their joint-post as an interview with Corrine and Wally explain what the point was.

Wally: That she can't speak the English language.  She's a native American, born in this country, English is the only language she semi-speaks.  She invents words because she's so stupid -- and, yes, after getting into Congress, she got a degree but everyone laughs about that in Florida -- but beyond being stupid, when she gets excited, she starts dropping vowels out of her words and slurring her consonants and you can figure out what the hell she's saying.

Dona: And there are the ridiculous -- and ratty -- wigs.  The Congressional Black Caucus is backing Corrine, who is African American.  When her wigs were rightly mocked in the press, Jane Fonda's ridiculous Women's Media Center -- a whore outlet if ever there was one -- insisted Corrine was the victim of sexism.  No, she wasn't.  Jane needs to stick to doing more bad acting to remind people how her talents disappeared after The Morning After and that all the plastic surgery in the world won't bring back the talent or the relevance she once had.  But my point here is some may say, "Well she's being attacked for her race."

Wally: Some may say that.  Cedric's African-American. Isaiah's planning a series of comics, he's African-American as well.  Marcia's African-American and she wrote "Corrine Brown, show some integrity and step aside"  last week. Corrine's a national joke and that's on her.  She could have educated herself a long time ago.  But she's the one who didn't feel she had to.

Dona: Your from Florida, why is that?  Why didn't a member of Congress work to sound better instead of talking like an idiot?

Wally: She didn't have to work.  Her district guaranteed that any Democrat would win.  It was the most gerrymandered district in Florida.  Ava, in 2012, wrote about wishing Corrine wouldn't be re-elected.  After that went up, I explained to Ava that Corrine's district was drawn so ridiculously that she over 90% of African Americans from something like six different counties.  It was so ridiculous that it was struck down this year and Corrine whined like a baby because it lowered her African-American demographics to something like 70%.   With what she had before and even what she has now, she's in Congress until she retires or someone primaries her.  She won't lose to a Republican.

Dona: Ava, as Wally noted, you've long opposed Corrine Brown.  Talk about that.

Ava:  In the Bully Boy Bush years, Corrine was a vocal critic of the VA -- you could even call her a vicious critic. Which I was fine with.  Congress is far too comfy with the officials they're supposed to provide oversight on. I thought, "Here's someone who will hold the VA accountable."  And veterans need that.  But then Barack was sworn in and, at that point, Corrine used her time in hearings to insist the VA could do no wrong.  We have documented this repeatedly here and C.I. at The Common Ills.  But in addition to those archives, you can also refer to  West 12th Road Block Association News which noted last May:

Despite a myriad of indications of problems with the VA in her own district, Rep. Brown states that "I did my own reconnaissance in Florida. I can tell you that we are doing fine in Florida.....I went and talked to various V.A. groups in Florida and not one single complaint because we're doing our jobs."

Rep. Brown then goes on to blame President Bush and the Republicans for a lack of funding for the VA, but that under President Obama and "when we had a democrat House and a Democratic Senate we got the largest increase in the VA budget in the history of the United we got the money but we got to know that we're not just  talking the talk but we're walking the walk".

In addition to Rep. Brown's remarks regarding the VA scandal on the House floor being blatantly partisan, they are also remarkably disjointed as well as sophomoric for a member of Congress, totally ignoring the VA problem staring her and the rest of Congress in their respective faces.

In response to what is going on with the VA today Rep. Brown proudly states on the House Floor that "we have new cemeteries in Florida..."   If our nation depends on Rep. Brown's personal "reconnaissance" of this issue to address the serious problems within the VA, our veterans may need those cemetery plots!

Dona: Thank you for that, Ava.  I pulled some outside coverage as well.  I'm not including it.  We had a record number of e-mails on an issue come in.  We get tons of e-mails about our coverage -- some positive, some stinging -- and we get e-mails about what we should be covering but aren't.  We had, according to Ty's count, 1471 e-mails on the topic of Corrine Brown come in from Wednesday through Saturday night.  Over 1200 were from people identifying themselves as veterans.  All expressed outrage over the thought of her heading the Democratic side of the House Veterans Affairs Committee   A little over two-thirds of the veterans e-mails noted that Eric Shinseki left his post as VA Secretary in disgrace and that while the media propped him up for years we called him out here and said he should resign.  The e-mails applauded that but pointed out that Brown, even to the end, was against Shinseki resigning. That's a very important point and goes to why she has the image problems she has with veterans.  And those e-mails are much more important to me than the articles I found in various Florida newspapers where Corinne gave cover to the VA -- one scandal after another, she offered excuses for the VA and blamed the veterans.

Kat: I'd agree with you and let me jump in to note that we were in DC last week.  Tuesday night is when we heard, from members of veterans group, that Nancy was pushing Corrine for the post.  There was so much anger and dismay.  And it's not a formula for winning votes.  Nancy Pelosi is insane and so is the Democratic Party if they're going to let her run off voters.

Dona: I would agree with that.  And I wish we could it explore it more but we are under time limitations so let me turn to C.I. and ask you, in two minutes or less, to give us an overview of Wednesday's Senate hearing.

C.I.: Okay, in my reports, what I focused on was three examples -- there were many more -- where basic numbers were beyond the VA officials capabilities.  How many women -- or what percent of women veterans -- are taking their own lives?  The 'answer' the VA gave to that question was that women don't usually attempt to take their own lives with guns and guns are more decisive in turning an attempt into a suicide.  What that had to do with the question?  Nothing at all.  The VA attempted to distract repeatedly.  Senators Mike Johanns, Richard Blumenthal and John Boozman were among the ones pointing out that while the VA was spinning success on suicides, they were actually talking about older veterans and that the younger veterans cohort had a very troubling detail -- younger veterans seeking VA help and assistance were more likely to try to take their own lives than those who ignored the VA.  So the people they were supposedly helping were, in fact, being in some manner harmed by the VA.  And the officials didn't want to talk about that either.  They didn't want to deal with anything, they sought to waste time and eat up by being evasive and flat out lying.  And that's why Committee leadership matters and why the House Veterans Affairs Committee cannot afford to have Corrine Brown as the Ranking Member.

Dona: Thank you for that and I'm sorry that we have so little time on this.  We might have time to return to it next week.  We may not.  It is a serious issue and, for the first time in the almost ten years of this site, our editorial will not be on Iraq.  We will instead focus on the issue of need for a real Ranking Member on the House Veterans Affairs Committee.  This is a rush transcript, enjoy all typos and errors.

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