Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Mr. Stewart, The Four Cowards, and the Apocalypse

It is inaccurate to say that I hate everything.
I am strongly in favor of common sense, common honesty,
and common decency. 
This makes me forever ineligible for public office.
- H.L. Mencken

It likely reveals more about my outlook on the world than makes the average person comfortable to acknowledge that I am quite an admirer of H.L. Mencken.  I have been so ever since I first read Inherit the Wind and learned that Mencken was the inspiration for the character of Hornbeck.  Were Mencken still alive, he would have marked his 135th birthday on Saturday, September 12, 2015

So, his final day as a one hundred and thirty-four year-old would have coincided with the fourteenth anniversary of September 11, 2001.  A day marked, appropriately, by solemnity and remembrances.  A day, not unsurprisingly, pockmarked by abject hypocrisy.  

At last count there are - I believe - sixteen candidates in hot pursuit of the GOP nomination for the office of President of the United States.  In case you missed it, former Texas Governor Rick Perry recently suspended his candidacy for his party's nomination.  In a related newsflash that you also might have missed, several months ago former Texas Governor Rick ("Check Out My New Foster-Grants!") Perry declared his candidacy for the GOP nomination.  Rick Perry is an oaf but I nevertheless felt compelled to keep the "Other 99%" (a/k/a "not the 1% who actually supported Perry") abreast of his campaign's developments. 

The sound you are hearing with ever-increasing volume is the death knell for the James Zadroga 09/11 Health and Compensation Act and, critically, the September 11 Victim Compensation Fund unless Congress acts to extend the Act, which was passed in 2010 only after enormous public pressure was exerted upon Congress.  The funding for programs administered by World Trade Center Health Program, which programs include providing medical care for the individuals, including but not limited to first responders, who have become afflicted with devastating illnesses, which illnesses many of them contracted in the months following September 11, 2001 while working at Ground Zero, will evaporate altogether by October 2016 if the Zadroga Act is not extended.  

How serious an issue is it, you may ask?  Consider that the FDNY alone has lost 110 members to Ground Zero-related illnesses in the past fourteen years, which is a bit less than one-third of the members the FDNY lost on September 11, 2001, which is the single-worst day in the Department's history.   There are an estimated 33,000 September 11 survivors/first responders who receive medical treatment for their 09/11-related illness through the funding the Zadroga Act provides.  3,700 of them are battling one form of cancer or another.  

  • As a Candidate for President, will you join in urging Congress to pass HR.1786/S.928?
  • If elected, would you sign HR.1786/S.928 if it was passed by Congress? 
  • If you answered "No" to urging Congress to pass the bill or to signing it into law, why?
Among the sixteen GOP Presidential candidates are four members of the United States Senate:  Ted Cruz from Texas, Lindsey Graham from South Carolina, Rand Paul from Kentucky, and Marco Rubio from Florida.  Each of them shares two common characteristics.  First, each has little chance of actually ascending from the Senate to the Presidency in 2016.  Second, each has thus far refused to publicly support the Zadroga Act's extension.  

Damn - I just had my own Rick Perry moment.  I forgot the third characteristic common to each man. It just came back to me.

Each of them is a fucking hypocrite of the highest order.  On September 11, 2015, each of these preening frauds took to his Twitter account to remind his sheep (sorry, "supporters") of the solemnity of the occasion and - of course - to "Never Forget" what had occurred fourteen years earlier:

Senator Ted Cruz's Tweet

Senator Lindsey Graham's Tweet

Senator Rand Paul's Tweet 

Senator Marco Rubio's Tweet

As my great grand pappy Phineas used to say, "Ain't no gall like unmitigated gall", which all four members of the United States Senate who have spent approximately the same amount of time attending to the responsibilities of the office each currently holds - while pursuing another - as our Governor has spent attending to his, appear to possess in a quantity that might even make old Phineas blush.  

Today, the Jersey Guy who actually tells it like it is, Jon Stewart, is appearing before Congress in an attempt to implore Congress to extend the Zadroga Act.  For Stewart it is an encore performance.  He used his bully pulpit on The Daily Show five years ago to shame a number of members of Congress into voting for the Act.  Without that medium at his disposal presently, I wonder just how much of an effect his presence shall have on those members who are happy to wear lapel pins, to lay wreaths, and to pantomime wiping away a tear upon hearing a bagpipe play the first note of Amazing Grace but who have shown no willingness to actually assist those in need.  

I hope I am wrong.  I wish him well in his effort.  I would feel significantly better about the chances of those for whom he is entering the breach were he a member of Congress and not merely a person appearing before it.  


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