Tuesday's "Iraq snapshot" covered a House Veterans Affairs Committee hearing and Wednesday's "Iraq snapshot" covered more of that hearing and also a Senate Veterans Affairs Committee hearing. There were a few e-mails about that, specifically why the Senate received so little coverage?
I'm just not impressed.
I think the Senate committee is doing lousy work. I think that's partly due to it being phoned in and partly due to new members coming in under someone who doesn't know how to team build.
Socialist Bernie Sanders could have made history by doing a strong job as the Chair of the Committee. Instead, he's allowed the Committee to wither in every way possible.
Senator Patty Murray is not weak. She is also not someone who worries about being polite if the situation calls for strong talk.
I say that because she has and will call out Republicans -- by name or just those in the Senate in a blanket form.
But she'll also work with them. She'll work on legislation with them, she'll reach across the aisle. She was Chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee before Bernie Sanders. Before Murray, Daniel Akaka was the Chair.
Akaka and Murray cared about the Committee working together.
Akaka fostered and encouraged comrade on the Committee. Murray could have coasted on Akaka's efforts. She didn't.
And Akaka and Murray had the respect of Democrats and Republicans on the Committee for that reason. There were bills that weren't the most pressing ones for them but that were huge for veterans in a Republican members' district. They went out of their way to assist that Republican because it helped their colleague and because it helped veterans.
That's not the way things go today.
And it's really hard to build a team spirit when every thing is one slam at a Republican after another.
First sentence right now on his website under week in review? "Senate Republicans on Wednesday blocked an attempt to protect the rights
of women workers to company-sponsored health care benefits."
And it's like that every week.
Here's a reality Bernie will never grasp since he gets about one out of every two hundred bills he proposes passed. If you want something to pass, you have to work it.
The measure he's referring to needed four more votes to reach magic sixty.
If you don't know how to build consensus and/or to horse trade, you should probably find a career outside of Congress.
It's kind of a job requirement if you're a member of Congress.
Bernie's really good about flapping the gums.
Not as good as he once was.
But he's not good as a member of the Congress.
And he's a lousy Chair.
If Dems control the Senate after the next elections, it's said Bernie won't be Chair of the Veterans Committee.
The writing is on the wall but Bernie's apparently not only a lousy Chair, he's also illiterate.
I didn't start off disliking him as a Chair. I was rooting for him, I wanted him to succeed.
I wasn't a Bernie groupie.
I had already seen him sell out in the House. And heard the excuses which went like this: 'He has to do that or the Democrats will run someone against him!' And it was said if only Bernie could get into the Senate some day, he'd have a six year term and be able to show real leadership and bravery.
But that excuse went down the drain when Bernie finally got into the Senate.
He showed no backbone.
So I was never a Bernie groupie.
But I thought he would do well as Chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.
I thought, as a Socialist, he'd play fair. Wrong. Instead he appears to be the hyper-partisan individual, he appears to play hyper-partisan in order to convince Dems he's one of them.
And it's destroyed team spirit on the Committee.
I hoped he could turn it around.
Then came the VA scandal regarding the wait list.
He was an embarrassment.
Veterans were suffering and some were dying as a result of this scandal.
The hearing he called and held right after the scandal broke?
He might have gotten away with it if he'd shown leadership in addressing the scandal.
He showed no leadership.
So he's made himself a joke with veterans.
He earned it.
Veterans are suffering and dying due to a secret wait list and Bernie Sanders is chairing a hearing on sticking pins in your body.
I believe in acupuncture. I have and will utilize an acupuncturist if I have a bad headache that lasts over one day.
But that's not the issue.
The issue is that vets are suffering and dying and Bernie's off holding a hearing on alternative medicine.
If he'd followed that with a strong hearing on the scandal, I think some of the anger from veterans would have gone away.
But he couldn't be bothered.
Then he goes on CNN and is defending Eric Shinseki so much that Chris Cuomo points it out on air.
When CNN is noting that you are more committed to Shinseki than veterans, you've got a problem.
Bernie was Shinseki's biggest defender and kept insisting that if these rumors turned out to be true, he'd be all over this.
Well they're not rumors. They're confirmed. They were confirmed by reporters when Bernie was acting as though they hadn't been. They've since been confirmed by the US government.
Where's Bernie's apology?
He chose to stand with Shinseki -- not with veterans.
He kept insisting the allegations might be false. They weren't.
Not only has he refused to acknowledge his error, he's failed to show leadership on this issue.
He's a joke to veterans who attend the hearings.
But let's grasp what Bernie doesn't.
His job isn't to reach over and hold Eric Shinseki's cock.
His job is to represent the public -- as a Senator -- and veterans as the Chair of the Senate VA Committee. He somehow confused his role as Chair to mean he is the defender of the VA Secretary.
He's an embarrassment whose lost support of veterans and two leaders of two VSOs have already made clear to Democratic Party leadership that Bernie better not be back to chair again.
In May and June, here and at Third, I would talk about how Bernie could turn it around.
He never did.
It's really too late.
He's lost the trust of veterans, two VSO leaders are meeting with party leadership to ensure that someone else is named Chair (or Ranking Member if the Dems lose the Senate in the mid-terms).
I wanted him to succeed. He failed.
I'm not participating in his failure. By that I mean, I did make a point in the past -- most recently with the House -- to make it clear that my donations could dry up (to the Democratic Party) if a certain idiot was named Ranking Member. I wasn't the only one to do that. I was part of a large group of big donors who said, "Oh, hell no, _____ _____ is not going to be the Democratic leader of the House Veterans Affairs Committee. ___ _____ can't even speak the English language. We're going to let ______ _____ be the Committee leader so Democrats can be the joke of Congress?"
That I participated in.
But I'm not participating in the takedown of Bernie and very few people are.
He's done such a poor job that mass resistance to him is not needed.
I feel sorry for him because he's blown a great opportunity.
And the Committee's suffering and veterans are suffering.
It didn't have to be this way.
It's over, I'm done writing songs about love
There's a war going on
So I'm holding my gun with a strap and a glove
And I'm writing a song about war
And it goes
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Oh oh oh oh
-- "I Hate The War" (written by Greg Goldberg, on The Ballet's Mattachine!)
The number of US service members the Dept of Defense states died in the Iraq War is [PDF format warning] 4489.
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i hate the war