Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Will North Carolina Veterans Remember Richard Burr In 2016?


In the segment above, Rachel Maddow put into context Richard Burr's deranged attack on American veterans groups. A politicized lawnmower salesman who avoided military service himself, Burr claims to be a distant relative of Aaron Burr, who killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel. This Burr is also the ranking Republican on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, not the Senate Lawnmower And Small Appliances Committee. As far as I can tell, the only thing Burr-- the lawnmower guy, not the duelist-- ever did for veterans is to make sure that veterans who are declared insane or who have criminal records can still buy all the guns they want.

Burr is, in essence, just another garden variety Republican, vet-hating ,war-monger and extremist, who avoided the military because he was too busy selling lawn furniture for seventeen years and forging ties with the Big Business interests that would later finance his shady political career. He helped lead a Republican Party filibuster against a bill to expand Veterans Administration health care-- and now blames Shinseki for what the successful filibuster accomplished. [Only two Republicans, Dean Heller of Nevada and Jerry Moran of Kansas, voted with the veterans.] The only pro-war bill he ever opposed was on May 24, 2007, not because it made emergency supplemental appropriations for our military in Iraq, but because it also included appropriations to support efforts to save New Orleans (i.e., African Americans) from the ravages of Hurricane Katrina. The bill passed 80-14 despite Burr's obstinate Jesse Helm's imitation. Veterans groups would like to see the GOP replace him as ranking member on the Veterans Affairs Committee.
The Vietnam Veterans for America is slamming Sen. Richard Burr in a new letter, saying his comments about veterans service organizations were “insulting” and “ugly.”

“On behalf of the membership of Vietnam Veterans of America, we write to express our astonishment at your insulting remarks,” the group wrote Burr in a letter Tuesday.

VVA is the latest veterans organization to criticize the North Carolina Republican for an open letter he wrote last Friday, in which he criticized groups for not condemning VA Secretary Eric Shinseki strongly enough during the recent scandal.

In particular, Burr said that more groups should call for Shinseki’s resignation. The secretary has recently come under fire in light of reports that at least 40 veterans died while waiting for health care in the Phoenix VA system.

Burr, who serves as ranking Republican on the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, wrote in his letter that staff at various groups “has ignored the constant VA problems expressed by their members and is more interested in their own livelihoods and Washington connections than they are to the needs of their own members.”

On Tuesday, VVA said that specific claim “is blatantly false and, in reality, is perhaps more reflective of your lack of knowledge of the character, integrity and honor of these fine people who serve their membership.”

The group added that his comments do not help veterans. “Your letter of May 23 and its tone do absolutely nothing to serve the health-care interests of America’s veterans,” the group said to Burr. “Your ugly comments and false accusations about VSOs and their staff will not resolve any of the VA’s problems. VVA believes it is not the time, at this crucial juncture, for throwing stones or issuing caustic statements.”

Several other veterans’ organizations have responded angrily to Burr’s letter. Top officials at the Veterans of Foreign Wars called his comments a “monumental cheap shot.” The Paralyzed Veterans of America said the senator “clearly represent[s] the worst of politics in this country.”
Burr launched his attack against veterans on-- when else-- Memorial Day. His next election is in 2016, when Hillary Clinton is expected to sweep North Carolina and will hopefully provide the coattails to end Burr's disgraceful career.

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At 6:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No. GOP did it screw up...


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