Showing posts with label Republicans. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Republicans. Show all posts

Monday, November 7, 2016

Did Hillary Clinton have Classified Information on her Server?

Earlier today, against my better judgement, I got into a social media argument.

I know, like I said it was against my better judgement and I should have just walked away, but I couldn't. Unfortunately it ended with comments like: "I guess i'm that stupid" and "count me stupid too."

Why does it seem that people enjoy making a flippant comment, but when you point out how they are wrong they immediately take things personally? I'm sorry that you are not plugged in to the issues and that you rely on a corrupt media for your talking points.

For the record, yes, Hillary Clinton did have classified information, Top Secret & Above, in her unsecured emails. Information that was so sensitive that even members of Congress were kept from seeing / hearing about it. In fact, Congress was given redacted documents and had to issue a subpoena. Don't believe me, listen to those in charge.

FBI Director James Comey



FBI Assistant Director Jason Herring




Inspector General of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) Charles McCullough


NSA / NGIA / ODNI Hearing



The problem is that we have become so entrenched in our political party system that we have abdicated our responsibilities as citizens. We have put party over ethics, morality and convictions. It's the reason we are in the place we are today and we have no one to blame but ourselves..... oh, and those pesky little talking points as well !! 

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Who is Hillary Clinton and what has she done?

Apathy, Thy Name is Hillary
Many years ago, eight to be exact, I wrote about then Senator Barack Obama and asked the same question under my former Andrew, the Angry American persona.  

Mind you, this was during my pre-author days, and long before I found an effective editor, so don't judge me.

The truth is that we have a big problem in this country. We are electing people without any form of due diligence. We get too caught up in the empty promises, the campaign theatrics, and the party nonsense. Then, before you know it, it is the day after and we are left wondering what the hell did we just do? Unfortunately, at that point, it is too late.

Now a lot of folks seem to be repeating the same mistakes we did back in 2007/08, which is to not properly vet the candidates. I keep hearing about Hillary Clinton’s accomplishments, but to be honest, no one can actually name one. Heck, that’s not surprising considering the candidate herself can’t name one. To be fair she points to obscure things, but nothing tangible. However, you can read her book: Hard Choices, which promises to address these questions. It doesn't. 

Thanks, I think I’ll take a pass. You see, back in the 90's, when I was assigned to the NYPD's elite Intelligence Division, I worked on Bill Clinton's security detail when he visited New York City. I saw this 'loving' couple up close and personal. All I can say is do not believe everything you see and less than what you hear. 

If you enjoy political intrigue, I suggest reading my books. At least in my books no one makes excuses for their actions.

But let us consider who we are dealing with here:

  • She attended Wellesley College, majoring in Political Science, and Yale, where she graduated with a law degree.
  • During her college years she was very active in politics, Republican politics to be precise. She was even the president of the Wellesley Young Republicans. She left the party over the Vietnam War and Civil Rights issues.
  • She was an attorney for the prestigious Rose Law Firm in Arkansas where she would make full partner. She was twice named in the 100 Most Influential Lawyers by National Law Review.
  • She was Arkansas’ First Lady for twelve years (1979-1981, 1983-1992)
  • She served on the Board of Directors for WALMART, as well as several other firms.
  • She was the First Lady of the United States (1993-2001)
  • She served as Senator from New York (2001-2009)
  • She ran for President in 2008
  • She was Secretary of State (2009 – 2013)
And now she is the Democratic nominee for President.

She has been in the public eye for the better part of 3 ½ decades. So how in the hell can you not point to ONE tangible accomplishment? 

On the flipside, I can sure as hell point to an awful lot of controversies: Whitewater, Paula Jones, Cattle Futures, Filegate, Travelgate, Norman Hsu, Monica Lewinsky, FBI Background Records, Benghazi, E-Mail / Server, Clinton Foundation……

I’m sorry, someone with this much baggage shouldn’t be pointing fingers at anyone else.

That being said, you have to ask yourself if the world is a better place for her involvement and the answer is simply no. I cannot see anything in the record that points to her as being singularly qualified to be President. In fact, don't take my word for it, but consider what President Obama said about her in 2008: "Hillary Clinton. She’ll say anything and change nothing." 

While First Lady, and despite having control over both houses, she was unable to get enough votes for the Clinton Health Plan and the proposal was ended in 1994.

In 1997 she did manage to get passage of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, but whether it was her, or the bill’s big name backers (Ted Kennedy and Orrin Hatch), is questionable.

As Senator, she managed to sponsor only three,….. yes 3, bills that became law:

S. 1241:  A bill establishing the Kate Mullany National Historic Site in the State of New York.
S. 3613:  A bill naming a post office the "Major George Quamo Post Office Building."
S. 3145:  A bill designating a highway in New York as the Timothy J. Russert highway.

WTF?

To be fair, she sponsored 355 bills, but of these, only twenty passed the Senate. I’m sorry, but you took over the seat of Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, probably one of the most prolific politicians of the 20th century, and this is the best you can do?

I will leave it to those of you, who are so inclined, to pour over the bills; perhaps you can glean something to polish her record a bit.

To be equally fair, then Senator Barack Obama only sponsored 127 bills, 2 of which passed the Senate. You be the judge of the effectiveness of these two constitutional juggernauts. Just remember Clinton’s comments in the 2008 campaign when she accused him of voting ‘present’ 130 times as an Illinois State senator. 

Neither seems very keen on the idea of doing the people's work.

When I look at her record as Secretary of State, I am even more disheartened.

During President Bush’s time in office, the left routinely referred to it as Cowboy Politics. They lamented our status in the world. Hell, even entertainers ‘apologized’ for him.  President Obama was supposed to ‘fix’ it all, and his appointment of Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State was meant to facilitate the repair work. Remember the infamous Russian ‘reset’?

Yeah, how’s that working out?

The truth is that, if you spent even a minimal amount of time watching or reading the news, you would have witnessed the decline in stability throughout the world under Hillary Clinton’s watch. From Russia to Libya, it seemed as if the United States government was asleep at the wheel.

And if one person points to the Iran deal as being an accomplishment, I will personally come to your house and slap you senseless or at least make you read Bishop's Gate !!

I actually heard someone point to the killing of Osama bin Laden as a positive. Then again, I also heard the credit given to President Obama.

Really?

Ultimately the credit is awarded to the person that answers the fateful question: ‘Mother, May I?’, but let’s be brutally honest for one moment. It was the operators on the ground who located bin Laden and it was the Navy SEAL’s who dispatched him to the afterlife. Giving the thumbs up, to go after the most wanted man in America, the mastermind behind 9/11, is kind of a no-brainer.

While we are on that subject, how did that work out for Shakil Afridi? Dr. Afridi worked for the CIA, running a cover program that ultimately led to the positive ID of Osama bin Laden. So what happened to him? He’s pretty much fucked as he was left out to dry. Pakistani authorities caught him trying to escape over the border and he was sentenced to thirty-three years in prison. Despite some political lip service from Clinton’s State Department, nothing has been done to help Dr. Afridi, but why should he be any different? In fact, it has been speculated that Afridi was made the sacrificial lamb by the CIA and Hillary's State Department.

No matter where you look, this administration has screwed the pooch. From Iran, to Egypt, to Iraq, to Afghanistan, to Russia, to Libya, to Syria, to Israel. To be honest, I’m surprised we haven’t managed to piss off the Canadians yet. The bottom line is that you can certainly argue that, when she left, the world was actually less stable than when she took the job.

What clinches it for me is that little diplomatic outpost in Benghazi.

Yes, yes, I see you in the back with your hand up and that wild look in your eye. I know what you are going to say: ‘The subject of Benghazi has been settled, it was all just a vast right-wing witch hunt meant to destroy her reputation….’

Sit down and shut up, you’re making a fool out of yourself. Just because the media fed you some talking points and Congressman John Lewis, along with the rest of the Democratic cheering section, pointed an angry finger at Republicans, doesn’t mean the issue was actually addressed. In fact, I actually had one person make the argument that Republicans were ‘never concerned about diplomatic attacks until Benghazi.’

Really?

The truth is that any attack is horrific, but it wasn’t the attack that got to people. It was the cover-up!

I spent twenty-two years in law enforcement. It’s a dangerous job and we all know it. Losing an officer in the line of duty is tragic, but imagine being a cop, under fire, and calling for help and somewhere the dispatch supervisor turns off the radio. Help isn’t coming.

Don't believe me? Well then, ask: Kris Paronto

That was the reality of Benghazi and no one has ever been held accountable. I’ve written about this before and why Benghazi matters in terms of this Presidential election. Once you get past the political speak, you begin to see a pattern of deception. Sadly, the folks who were there are being both marginalized and vilified.

Maybe some of the millennials can point to her increase in Facebook and Twitter engagements as a positive sign, but that’s not exactly a glowing endorsement for someone to be President of the United States. As for me, I’m tired of the Clinton’s and their political games.

I’m going to vote for Donald J. Trump.

Yes, I do have issues with him, but when I look at his business record: I will gladly gamble on the four bankruptcies, actually four Chapter 11’s over twenty-five years, which are not always the result of bad business decisions, as most actual  business owners will tell you, and his many successes’. Do I think he is the A+ candidate that we all want? No. But, truth be told, we have not had an A+ candidate in a VERY long time. What I want is someone who is business savvy and who will at least attempt to stop the ship and put it back on its proper course.

The alternative is Hillary Clinton, a woman whom I firmly believe is a pathological liar and someone who will continue the destructive pattern we are currently on. The threats we face, in terms of foreign and domestic terrorism, grow larger every day. Yet we cannot even begin to address these issues because we are focusing on the every growing Clinton scandals. Even now we are unraveling the details of a pay-for-play scam that would send any 'law-abiding' citizen to federal prison for a very extended sentence. 

You do not have to agree with me on Trump, but I beg you to consider the ramifications and the long term effects on this country. We are twenty trillion dollars in debt and I guarantee you that we won't last much longer.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The Orlando Terror Attack - It's Not About Guns, It's about Radical Islam

I’ve been staring at this blank page for the last few days. I’ve felt an urge to write, but the words have alluded me. It’s not that I don’t have anything to say, I am from New York City, after all, it’s just that I have too much to say and I am not even sure where to begin.

Now I know some of you will immediately want to know why I am not writing my latest book, but I promise you, I am. I just needed to get this off my chest.

The problem probably started where it always does, on Facebook. I’m not exactly sure what we did before FB, but I vaguely recall that it was a much more productive time. My quandary exists because I have what can best be described as very eclectic friends, who have posted a wide range of responses to the Orlando terror attack. What saddens me is the fact that there has even been a ‘wide range’ of responses.

In just over forty-eight hours I have heard some of the following diatribes play out in social media:

  • The attack in Orlando was a hate crime.
  • This has nothing to do with moderate Islam.
  • We need to ban these senseless weapons of war.
  • The police responded slowly because it was a LGBT club.

Let us set the record straight right from the beginning. This was, first and foremost, a terror attack committed by radical Islam. Anyone who wants to muddy the waters by mincing words is being disingenuous. When some try to claim that this was a hate crime, they are attempting to minimize the significance of what occurred at the Pulse Nightclub. While hate certainly played a role in the attack, it was part of a much larger picture that many are attempting to gloss over: Radical Islam.

This attack was carried out as a direct result of the theological beliefs of a particular group. Unfortunately, for some strange reason, a large majority of our politicians, pundits and ordinary people refuse to accept this. If I had a dollar for every time I heard: “These acts don’t reflect moderate Islam…” I’d be living on a tropical island, without Wi-Fi access, in a perpetual state of bliss.

The question then is: What is moderate Islam and what do they believe?

The answer to this question is one that many do not want to hear. They want to believe in this illusion that there is a moderate world that just chooses to remain quiet, yet when you pull back the thin veneer, you see a world that doesn’t seem all that different from the radical.

I see you in the back, waving your hand like a maniac, and yes, I know you know a Muslim who is moderate…… and I know a lot of Catholics who live their lives quite differently then what is taught in the Bible. Hell, I used to be one of them. I was even an altar boy…… stop chuckling. The fact is that there is a big difference between calling yourself something and actually being engaged. I am talking about those who actually believe in and follow the teachings of the Qur’an.

In considering political rights and civil liberties, the vast majority of countries in the Middle East are simply not free. At least not the ‘being free’ which those of us, here in The West, think of. I am often amazed when I see groups, who identify themselves as feminists or members of the LGBT community, come out in support of moderate Islam, yet in the majority of those Muslim countries they would face severe penalties and even death for their beliefs. It’s tantamount to seeing a ‘Jew’s for Hitler’ sign.

The simple truth is, that even in moderate Islamic countries, the penalty for being homosexual is: prison, punishment and / or death. I’m not talking about Iran, or one of the other hardline countries, but the moderate ones like Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar. If you are lucky enough to be a lesbian in Kuwait you get a free-pass, but males are still breaking the law…… don’t ask, I scratched my head on that one as well. These moderate nations have even used their influence to block advancements in LGBT rights at the United Nations.

Unlike the west, which enjoys a separation between politics and religion, the Muslim world does not. For some unknown reason, many people don’t understand or accept that theology is the driving force in Islamic government. Islam is not just a religious belief system, but a legal system as well. Sharia law is the religious legal system governing the members of the Islamic faith. And therein lies the real problem.

The lives we enjoy in western civilization are in direct opposition to the Muslim world. They don’t believe in our values and they don’t respect that we recognize individual rights.

In the United States we have the 1st Amendment right to freedom of speech. It means that I don’t have to agree or even like what you say, but you still get to say it. What I find extremely funny is the fact that all of the real cutting edge comedians and Hollywood celebrity types have a field day mocking Jesus, yet those same folks are nowhere to be found when it comes to mocking Muhammad. Ever wonder why? That’s because death threats don’t seem to lose any of their significance when they come from moderates.  

The Avant Garde folks over at Charlie Hebdo decided to push those boundaries, it didn’t end well for them.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a problem with Muslims. In fact, I’ve had the pleasure of working side by side with many of them during my career. I respect them, but I also understand that we have very different belief systems. If my path took me to a country where Islam was the rule, then I would act accordingly, but here in the United States, it is not, and that is what has always made us great.

Unfortunately for us, it seems the principle of America being one great ‘melting pot’ has been forgotten. Instead of people coming to here to become Americans, we have more and more people coming here who want to change us into something resembling what they left.

In 1907, President Theodore Roosevelt made a speech regarding the assimilation of immigrants into American culture. It was true then and even truer now:

"In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person's becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American ... There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag ... We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language ... and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people." 

Why is this important? Because America is different.

Contrary to what many ill-informed people believe, we are not a democracy, but rather a constitutional republic. What this means is that we are a country where the officials are elected as representatives of the people, and must govern according to existing constitutional law which limits the government's power over citizens. It is sometimes referred to as the rule of law, not man.

Why is this significant?

Because in a democracy, that is a political system in which the majority enjoys absolute power, the majority can vote to impose tyranny on themselves as well as the minority opposition.  Simply put, without the constraints of The Constitution, the majority can vote to elect those who will infringe upon our inalienable God-given rights.  Thomas Jefferson referred to this as elected despotism.

This brings us to the 2nd Amendment and the current argument that certain guns need to be banned; for our own good.

You might not like guns and that is your right, but you simply don’t get to choose that for me. That might not sit well with you. You might be one of those enlightened folks who believe that, by simply getting rid of all the guns, the world will be one big happy family and that is within your 1st Amendment right to profess, but I also have my 2nd Amendment right just in case you are wrong.

It’s like that old adage: Those who beat their swords into plowshares usually end up plowing for those who didn’t.

The truth is that we cannot legislate morality. 

I’m truly sorry for the loss of lives in Orlando, but if anyone believes that the sole responsibility for what happened resides with a mechanical object, I suggest you seek some immediate help. In over two decades in law enforcement I have had a front row seat to man’s inhumanity to man. In his desire to kill another, man has no limitations. I have seen baseball bats, hammers, steak-knives, cars, ropes, broom-sticks, machetes, rocks, handguns, dogs,  arson, poison, swords, rifles / shotguns, explosives, and planes, along with a few I have probably forgotten, used to kill other human beings.  This absurd belief that, by somehow removing one item from the inventory list, we will somehow be able to bring peace to modern civilization is not only patently false, but extremely dangerous.

We look for simplistic answers to complex questions that we don’t want to address, like thinking we can we hangone of those stupid little 'no gun' placards outside of or homes, schools and offices and think that we are safe.

Let us take the 1994 ‘Assault Weapons Ban’ as an example. This was supposed to cure everything. In fact, after the Orlando terror attack, many are calling for its re-instatement. The truth however is much different than what the politicians and pundits would lead you to believe. A number of academic studies determined that this ban had little to no effect on gun violence and that the re-institution of the ban would have no significant merit.

Now granted, when we have an attack like this, it does seem to grab the headlines, but is it the gun or the person wielding it that is the real problem?

There’s the complex question that no one wants to address.

Whether it was Adam Lanza, Nidal Hassan, Jared Loughner, Dylan Roof, James Holmes, and now Omar Mateen, each had clearly observable mental health issues that went unreported / unaddressed. These issues should have precluded them from having access to any firearm. In essence, they were already breaking the law long before they ever pulled the trigger.  Unfortunately, society does not have an answer for mental health issues, so they look to shift the blame to something else and that is most often guns. Guns can be banned and restricted. Politicians can pass more laws and the media can sing their praises, at least until the next shooting.

You know, it is kind of ironic.  After every terror attack I hear the admonishment that we shouldn’t judge all of Islam because of a few bad ones. When we have a mass shooting, the mental health community is quick to remind us that we should be wary of stigmatizing the many, in an attempt to stop the few. Yet if the NRA, or a responsible gun owner, protests, they are quickly attacked as being evil.

We don’t want to fix the problem; we simply want to pass the buck.

Which brings me to my final thought: Blame the police.

It seems that our men and women in law enforcement have become the political piñata when all else fails.  To aggressive, not aggressive enough, too militaristic, ill-equipped, and the complaints and accusations just continue to flow, ad nauseum. They speak of them in abstract, as if they are some foreign entity brought in to punish them.

I have a question for those who enjoy bashing the police: just where exactly do you think they come from?

In over two decades of law enforcement I worked with people from every walk of life: Heterosexual, Homosexual, Christian, Jew, Buddhist, Muslim, White, Black, Asian, Hispanic, and the list goes on. The NYPD is comprised of well over fifty thousand uniformed and civilian members which covers the entire spectrum of the population of New York City.

We are not aliens, recruited from some distant planet, and brought here to subjugate the people.

We are the people.

We have just chosen to be that thin blue line which separates the innocent from the evil in the world. 

One of the best analogies I have ever read was Lt. Colonel David Grossman’s On Sheep, Wolves, and Sheepdogs.

Simply put: We hunt the evil that you pretend doesn’t exist.

This vilification and dehumanizing of law enforcement is done for one purpose and that is to pretend that the underlying problem is someone else’s fault.

I read a 2015 New York Times article that outlined a series of seventy-three (73) fatal police shootings, over the course of a 1 year period, from August 2014 to August 2015, throughout the United States. While the story strives to paint a picture of cops killing unarmed people, I could not help but note, that in all but three cases, the shootings where the end result of what started off as some type of criminal activity.

Look we have to be honest about things. Cops are not rolling down the streets of Chicago’s South Side doing drive-by shootings. Nor are they pulling up at playgrounds and schools to pop off a few rounds for giggles. In my twenty-two year law enforcement career I never worked with a cop that put on his gun belt and said ‘God, I hope I get to cap someone tonight.’ Yet, if you listen to the media and all the activists, you would think this nation was being patrolled by brutal mad-dogs Hell bent on killing everyone they encounter.

It should come as no shock to anyone that there are criminals in the world. If you engage in criminal behavior, eventually you will cross paths with law enforcement. There are unintended consequences of actions. Does that mean you should be killed for breaking the law? Of course not, but if it is 2 a.m. and you are coming out of a home, that you just burglarized, and you quickly reach into your waistband, as the cops approach you, there is a very good chance you are going to get shot. If it turns out you didn’t have a gun, well what can I say? Your mother raised an idiot.

I’m reminded of the Michael Brown case in Ferguson, Missouri. Here is someone who just robbed a store, then assaulted a police officer, while attempting to get control of his firearm, and then after running away, turned and charged back toward the officer. He was shot and killed.

The media and the political activists attempted to paint this picture of a mad-dog cop who gunned down an innocent child. The fact that the innocent ‘child’ was 6’4”, weighed 294 lbs., and had drugs in his system at the time of his death, seemed to somehow get lost in the translation.

  • Crime 1 – Illegal Narcotics
  • Crime 2 – Robbery
  • Crime 3 – Assault / Attempted Robbery
  • Crime 4 – ?

Well, let’s just say that I don’t think he was running back to surrender. Remember, “Hands Up – Don’t Shoot” was definitively proven to be a lie by eye-witnesses who testified that they believed Wilson’s life was in danger and that he fired in self-defense.

I’m sorry, but these are the unintended consequences of a criminal behavior.

Did Darren Wilson get up that morning thinking he was going to kill someone? No.

Did Michael Brown get up that morning thinking his illegal actions would lead to his death? No, and that is the problem.

We have turned a corner in society where we are abdicating personal responsibility. We are living in a new world, where it is always someone else’s fault for our actions and more and more people are buying into that premise.

  • Bad grades in school: The teacher is at fault.
  • Choose to pursue a useless degree program in college and now you can’t find a job when you graduate:  Greedy capitalism.
  • Engage in bad behavior: The U.S. is a brutal police state.

I understand the allure. Let’s face it, who wouldn’t want to enjoy all the benefits, but none of the responsibility for ones actions?  But this is the real world.  The politicians and activist’s lie to you, the media paints a narrative they want you to believe, but ultimately it is up to us to search for the truth.

In the aftermath of the terror attack some are claiming that the police were at fault, that they were slow to respond because it was only a LGBT bar.

I was not there so I won’t comment on the tactics that were used, unlike some self-proclaimed experts who jumped at the chance to promote themselves. I will say that the moment Omar Mateen took hostages inside the club, and claimed to have explosives that he was going to strap onto the hostages, the entire situation changed.

Imagine the headlines Sunday morning had the police immediately entered and he detonated a bomb killing countless people. The press would have crucified the entire police department as well as the mayor and everyone in city government.

The problem with Monday morning quarterbacks is that, in most instances, they have never actually played the game, but have the luxury of being right 100% of the time. This causes them to think they are smarter than the people who actually do the job. Sorry Skippy, but you don’t get the right to judge me from your living room, twenty-four hours after the incident. You want to play Mr. or Mrs. Expert? Then I suggest you put on a uniform and get some skin in the game.

You might find that the BB gun, which looks so obviously fake, under the brilliant light of the TV cameras, looks a helluva lot more realistic at 1 a.m. when it is being pointed at your face.

In law enforcement this is called: damned if you do, dead if you don’t.

To the members of the LGBT community, don’t think for one second that the cops in Orlando did things any differently because it was a gay club. We don’t play games like. You needed help and they came and I can state with almost absolute certainty that in the group of cops who responded that morning a number of them were also members the LGBT community.

We are not the enemy, we are you.

The real enemy is the politicians we have elected. They don’t want to be bothered addressing the real problems and finding actual solutions; that would take honesty and require actual work on their part. They count on our ignorance and drive the wedge of division between us. One day soon we will have to wake up and realize that we are not Republicans or Democrats, but Americans. Only then will we be able to finally fix what is truly broken.


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Monday, October 19, 2015

Anatomy of a Political Letter

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post entitled: How “Never Forget the Heroes of 9/11” turned into “Who?” In it I chronicled how Congress failed to permanently extend the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act which were brought up as H.R.1786 and S.928

It is amazing to me how so many of those, who have chosen to not sponsor either bill, were all too eager to wrap themselves up in the flag on September 11th and remind all of their social media followers to #NeverForget This included my local representative, Congressman Rodney Davis (IL. – 13).
Not to let things rest, I decided to contact him directly and ask why he hadn’t co-sponsored the House Bill. I anticipated a positive response, seeing as I know him personally, so you can imagine my surprise when I received the reply letter from his office. To be fair, I know that he didn’t write this letter, as I saw him in town, zipping by me on the road. That being said, his name is on the document so it lands in his lap.

The letter opens with him thanking me for taking the time to contact him about the bill. So far so good, but then it begins to go south. The next paragraph stars off with “As you may know” and goes on to tell me about the matter in question.  Of course I know about the topic, remember I contacted you about it. I don’t make it a habit of writing to people about things I don’t have a clue on.

Then we make a left turn and completely change the subject. The third paragraph has nothing to do about the Zadroga Bill, but he wants me to know how he stands with 1st responders. He proceeds to tell me how last year he introduced legislation that would “enable veterans with medical training to more easily pursue careers as EMT’s.”

HUH? How the heck does this have anything even remotely to do with what I wrote you?

I asked one simple question: Why haven’t you co-sponsored H.R. 1786, a bill that would provide much needed funding for health problems 9/11 1st responders are dealing with, and I get a reply that talks about an employment program? Are you for real? Who the hell do you have working for you in D.C.?

You see, this is exactly why nothing ever gets done in Washington, D.C., because politicians never answer simple questions. Ask them the price of milk, they tell you how they support cattle farmers in Minnesota. Then they wonder why the latest polling puts them in the low teens when it comes to approval.  Americans are sick and tired of the weasel responses, and overall lip service, they get from their elected representatives.

But the best line is the one in paragraph four in which he ‘assures’ me that he will keep my views in mind should the bill come to the full House for a vote? Really? You won’t co-sponsor it to improve its chances of reaching the floor, but you’re going to keep my views in mind should it. This from the man that sponsored H.R. 3745: Keep Your Chiropractor Act. 

Wow, we have thousands of 9/11 1st responders dying because they had the audacity to respond to the worst act of terror ever committed on U.S. soil, but, if the cancer doesn’t kill you, you can continue seeing your chiropractor. SMH

Paragraph five also gets an honorable mention for insanity when it says “if you are facing a challenge with a federal agency…” What like challenges in dealing with my congressional representative?

Here’s a news flash, you’re going to be campaigning to get re-elected soon and I can personally ‘assure’ you that I will sure as hell keep this in mind when casting my vote.

Update: On October 26th, Congressman Davis finally signed on as a co-sponsor of the bill. I guess you can get something done in D.C. with a little pressure !!


Follow me on Twitter: @Andrew_G_Nelson

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

How “Never Forget the Heroes of 9/11” turned into “Who?”

On September 30th, 2015, Congress failed to reauthorize the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act H.R.1786 and S.928. To say that I am a little upset would be a gross understatement. I am embarrassed that our elected representatives would turn a blind eye to those of us who continue to suffer to this day.

I am one of the lucky ones. My symptoms are insignificant compared to those suffering from horrific ailments, like my old NYPD partner who developed cancer of the appendix. On 9/11 we lost 23 members of the NYPD, since then we have lost dozens more. The same is true for the PAPD and FDNY. Countless more, from civilian survivors to construction workers, have also paid with their lives.

I need to tip my hat to a fellow named John Feal, who started the FealGood Foundation. John is one of the construction workers who responded to the WTC and lost half a foot as a result of his work. He and a friend of mine, retired ESU Detective Glenn Klein, along with many others, have led the fight to assist those who continue to suffer from 9/11 related illness. Likewise, I applaud comedian Jon Stewart for his stalwart support. I’ve never been a Jon Stewart fan, but he earned my utmost respect by not turning his back on us.

Congress had an opportunity to truly #Neverforget when the Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act came up for re-authorization. Certainly, based on the amount of tweets and Facebook posts that were made, by our representatives, on 9/11 about ‘never forgetting,’ you would have thought this was a no-brainer.

Imagine my shock when, on September 30th, it was not extended.

Unlike many things that originate in Washington, this program is run pretty well. So well that the program will be able to continue financially, at least for the short term, although most involved admit that some programs will begin to be affected as early as January / February. It seems inconceivable that those dealing with the medical hardships from the attack would be left out in the cold.

What happened to all those politicians who expressed their annual outrage and promised to “Never Forget”?

Several years ago, retired NYPD Lieutenant named Bill Dement Jr., wrote the book "Delay, Deny, Hope They Die: World Trade Center FirstResponders - The Battle for Health Care and Compensation."  Lt. Dement passed away in August 2014 from illness attributed to 9/11. After the re-authorization failed, the title seems to be more than a bit appropriate.

Perhaps someone should write one titled: We Were Heroes.

What saddens me even more, are the names of those who chose not to co-sponsor the bill. You would think that both sides of the aisle, republican and democrat, would have been eager to protect those suffering from the greatest terror attack in U.S. history. You would think, but you would also be wrong.

Honestly, I had expected the majority of the support for this bill to come from republicans. After all, they tend to rally around the flag and surround themselves with heroes. So who better to champion a cause like this? Apparently Messrs. Boehner and McConnell didn’t get the memo. No, those championing this cause turned out to be Mmes Maloney and Gillibrand.

Of the three current republican presidential candidates, only Lindsey Graham co-sponsored. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio both did not. I have been an ardent supporter of Ted Cruz, but I can no longer support him. In fact, many republicans did not co-sponsor either the House or Senate bills. My favorite is Sen. James Risch (R – Id) who co-sponsored on June 22nd, then withdrew on June 23rd.

Imagine my surprise when I found myself in agreement with the likes of Senator’s Durbin, Feinstein, Frankel, Boxer, Warren and Schumer. I felt as if I was in an episode of The Twilight Zone.

I’d like to say that my own congressman, Rodney Davis (R-Il), someone whom I personally know, had co-sponsored the bill, but he didn’t. I’ll remember that come election time and I will remind a lot of my friends as well. Once again, I found myself surrounded by democratic members like Charles Rangel, Alan Grayson, and Sheila Jackson-Lee.

This has really hit home for me and is causing me to rethink my traditional support. I’ve been a republican since 1982 and had the honor of voting for Ronald Reagan. A lot has changed since then and I’m thinking now might be a good time to go independent. It’s time we start voting for the individual and not the party.

To be fair, this is just about those who didn’t sign-up to ‘co-sponsor’ the respective bills. Theoretically, someone could have chosen not to be a co-sponsor, but still vote for the bill. However, since Congress failed to act, how they would have ‘voted’ is a moot point. The truth is that these bills should have been given a straight-forward, up/down vote. Unfortunately, this didn’t happen. Why did the republican controlled Congress fail to act? The answer is: I don’t know.

Perhaps they were just too busy being politicians. Heaping praise on the 9/11 heroes, when the cameras were around, then turning a blind eye when the moment passed. Perhaps you should click on the links above and find out whether or not your representatives supported the bills. If they didn’t, ask them why not. The bills are currently in limbo, and require pressure from us to move forward.

Here is some fair warning to those up on the Hill, who waved the flag, said the right things, and claimed to support the ‘heroes of 9/11’……… Actions speak louder than words and we saw what you did when it mattered. Each and every one of you will come up for re-election and we will certainly Never Forget!

UpdateOn October 26th, Congressman Davis finally signed on as a co-sponsor of the bill. I guess you can get something done in D.C. with a little pressure !!

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