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Jon Stewart excoriates lawmakers for skipping hearing on 9/11 victim fund

May 22, 2018
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Jon Stewart on Tuesday torched lawmakers in emotional testimony for failing to attend a September 11th Victim Compensation Fund hearing, calling it "shameful" and "a stain on this institution."

"As I sit here today, I can't help but think what an incredible metaphor this room is for the entire process that getting health care and benefits for 9/11 first responders has come to," Stewart said at the beginning of his remarks at a House Judiciary subcommittee hearing on reauthorizing the victim fund.

"Sick and dying, they brought themselves down here to speak, to no one — it's shameful," the former "Daily Show" host said.

"You should be ashamed of yourselves for those that aren't here," Stewart said, his voice wavering at times, "but you won't be, because accountability doesn't appear to be something that occurs in this chamber."

"None of these people want to be here," Stewart continued of the sick and injured survivors. "But they are. And they're not here for themselves. They're here to continue fighting for what's right."

Stewart noted there wasn't a single lawmaker at the hearing who on the anniversary of Sept. 11 failed to tweet, "Never forget the heroes of 9/11."

"Well here they are!" the 56-year-old comedian exclaimed. "And where are they?"

"It would be one thing if their callous indifference and rank hypocrisy were benign, but it's not," Stewart, shaking his head, continued as he spoke to Congress. "Your indifference costs these men and women their most valuable commodity: time. It's the one thing they're running out of."

Later in the hearing, Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) appeared to respond to Stewart's remarks, saying, "I'm going to defend the institution, it's sometimes not easy to defend. But it's the bulwark of democracy — and that's the United States Congress."

Cohen pointed out that the hearing was held by the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties.

"My subcommittee, every single member on my side, which is eight of us, have been here today," Cohen continued. "All these empty chairs that's because it's for the full committee, not because it's disrespect or lack of attention to you."

Cohen noted that some lawmakers could have conflicting committee hearings and meetings, or be visiting with constituents or watching on TV.

Saying he appreciated what Stewart has "done and what you do, and what you've said," Cohen added, "the Congress will respond."

Stewart has been a frequent presence on Capitol Hill, urging lawmakers to ensure that the Sept. 11 victim fund remains fully funded. The victim fund announced earlier this year that it was running out of money, saying in February that it could face cuts of 50 to 70 percent. Proponents of the legislation to fully fund it say the compensation funding for survivors should be made permanent.

Stewart expressed frustration at the pace of the legislation, questioning why "this is so damn hard and takes so damn long."

"I'm sorry if I sound angry and undiplomatic. But I'm angry, and you should be, too. And they're all angry as well. And they have every justification to be that way."

"They responded in five seconds. They did their jobs," an impassioned Stewart said of the first responders.

"Eighteen years later," Stewart added forcefully, "do yours!"





And before the usual culprits dogpile on the thread because I am the one who posted it please actually read the OP and watch the video. This is something everything should be able to agree on regardless of which side of the aisle you come from.
 

desertdroog

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Aug 12, 2008
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He's not wrong. And more to the point, if the federal government can't/won't fix the VA, what chance do you think the first responders of 9-11 have?

What makes anyone think the Federal government can provide healthcare for the rest of us?
 
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#Phonepunk#

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Sep 4, 2018
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would be interesting to know when this hearing was, what the effects of it were, who was invited, and what else they had going on? i dunno seems like being mad at a bunch of people for not going to something bc it has "9/11 fund" in the title. how come this article gives me no further information?

also 1) im pretty sure there is 9/11 stuff happening all the time, are they supposed to hover over these people 24/7? they can write legislation wo being in the same room, right? 2) the press wouldn't be covering this anyways, because it isn't about Donald Trump or Russia. only way to cover it is do this half assed story.

we have the name of one congressperson there, who says "8 of my folks are here" but none of them are named. we don't even have the proper name of the hearing, where it was, etc. any concrete information. what a poorly written article. fucking news these days, just leaves people ignorant.
 
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Boss Mog

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Wow I was gonna post something that NI posted. I guess we can agree on some stuff after all.

Americans as a whole deserve affordable healthcare, so it goes without question that the heroes that went to ground zero to save lives and now suffer from respiratory illness and cancers should be covered 100% at no charge whatsoever to them. It's disgraceful that murderers on death row have better healthcare than the average American.

Good on Jon Stewart for speaking on behalf of these first-responders and their families and shame on the members of congress on both sides for not even bothering to show up.
 

Tesseract

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Dec 7, 2008
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good post nobody, it's disgraceful how they're being treated

hoping trump can do something, anything
 
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oagboghi2

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It wasn't on the news, none of the "respectable" magazines told people about this ahead of time. It wasn't on CNN, MSNBC or Fox. 9/11 just isn't a big deal anymore.
 
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A complete embarrassment.

Yet another example that all you get is lip service. These heroes have been forced to jump through hoops for nearly 20 years to get the help they deserve and countless are dead now. Sad.
 
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bucyou

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from DM article-

"Legislation has set aside $7.3billion dollars to compensate the victims of the 9/11 attacks and their families, including those killed and first responders. But $5billion has already been paid out, and families and their advocates say at least another $5billion is needed to cover pending claims.

Lawmakers have since proposed paying out claims at 50 percent of their value - sparking backlash from supporters"

----

If those numbers are correct, these scumbag congressmen are balking at an overall additional cost of $2.7 billion.


Im disgusted, as those benefits were already promised and that promise should be followed through, especially at such a very small extra cost in the grand scheme of the budget
 

diablos991

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Jun 15, 2013
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His speech was remarkable and makes tons of sense.

Unfortunately congress will continue to not do its job, be corrupt as fuck, and continue using people for personal gain.

The majority of the country hates the way congress does things and this is an issue that crosses party lines. That branch of the government is broken.

Hell, it’s evident when one member of this subcommittee tries to blame the “other side” by saying their side was all there when there were reps from both sides in attendance.
 
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iamblades

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This is not going to be a popular opinion, but the whole idea of of the victim compensation fund has always rubbed me the wrong way.

It's not like the government goes around compensating murder victims typically. It seems to be a blatant violation of equal protection to me to compensate these victims but not the equal and greater numbers of people who are murdered every year in less newsworty quantities. Which is not even going into the fact that even among the 9/11 victims themselves the payouts were not equal.

I realize that this kind of cold logical first principles thinking does not lead to emotionally satisfying conclusions often, but I don't see how that makes it wrong.

This is entirely aside from the criticism of Congress for being completely unable to pass a budget or appropriate the required amount of funds for the spending that they mandate legislatively, which is entirely warranted. Congress has managed to actually pass appropriations bills on time 4 years since 1977, and never since 1997. It's fucking ridiculous that we have a whole branch of government that has basically refused to do it's job for most of over 40 years.
 
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infinitys_7th

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This is not going to be a popular opinion, but the whole idea of of the victim compensation fund has always rubbed me the wrong way.

It's not like the government goes around compensating murder victims typically. It seems to be a blatant violation of equal protection to me to compensate these victims but not the equal and greater numbers of people who are murdered every year in less newsworty quantities. Which is not even going into the fact that even among the 9/11 victims themselves the payouts were not equal.

I realize that this kind of cold logical first principles thinking does not lead to emotionally satisfying conclusions often, but I don't see how that makes it wrong.

This is entirely aside from the criticism of Congress for being completely unable to pass a budget or appropriate the required amount of funds for the spending that they mandate legislatively, which is entirely warranted. Congress has managed to actually pass appropriations bills on time 4 years since 1977, and never since 1997. It's fucking ridiculous that we have a whole branch of government that has basically refused to do it's job for most of over 40 years.
It is not exactly the same as compensating murder victims. A lot of these people were emergency workers who breathed in all that inorganic (concrete, etc.) dust and were exposed to fumes of combustion while working to save people and contain fires. That sort of exposure causes cancer and other issues. I see this more as taking care of those who did their job right and suffered consequences for it.
 

Kenpachii

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It's nothing unusual tho. Governments and all those political people are all high talk are all moral but the moment they have to cut in there budget for the greater good they all stay home and don't give a shit.

We got the same shit going on in the Netherlands here. Company's making 100's of billions of euro's a year with gas, now the ground is shaking, houses are getting destroyed and earthquakes are happening and nobody is home at the government.

All the safety bullshit and high morals all go straight out of the window. It's a total joke.

All this proofs is that if you are a fire fighter and you get into danger yourself, i should just bail out. Make it public knowledge that you can't be bothered putting your own people on risks because u don't care about them.

See how fast that last.

Sadly media and other idiots are all busy with banking in on the trump hate train and race / gender politics because that's what makes them money.
 
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Miku Miku

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Jan 13, 2018
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This is not going to be a popular opinion, but the whole idea of of the victim compensation fund has always rubbed me the wrong way.

It's not like the government goes around compensating murder victims typically. It seems to be a blatant violation of equal protection to me to compensate these victims but not the equal and greater numbers of people who are murdered every year in less newsworty quantities. Which is not even going into the fact that even among the 9/11 victims themselves the payouts were not equal.

I realize that this kind of cold logical first principles thinking does not lead to emotionally satisfying conclusions often, but I don't see how that makes it wrong.

This is entirely aside from the criticism of Congress for being completely unable to pass a budget or appropriate the required amount of funds for the spending that they mandate legislatively, which is entirely warranted. Congress has managed to actually pass appropriations bills on time 4 years since 1977, and never since 1997. It's fucking ridiculous that we have a whole branch of government that has basically refused to do it's job for most of over 40 years.
Nah, I totally agree with you. I want universal health care instead. Not just deciding to help foot the bill for one group of people in one state because its tied to politically useful optics.

I agree that its awful to see people like this suffer without health care. Thats why everyone should have health care. 30,000 die a year due to lack of health care and many more are bankrupted and ruined, starting gofundme's or taking other desperate measures.

Everyone should have access to health care.

And honestly, this is the perfect example of why we have to take a universal approach. These are all career city workers with great benefits. And they still have nothing now. Basically anyone can end up with nothing when you get sick if these people all with high quality benefits and unions are now still dying with nothing. That is proof right there that the system is not working.
 
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btgorman

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Nah, I totally agree with you. I want universal health care instead. Not just deciding to help foot the bill for one group of people in one state because its tied to politically useful optics.
It’s not optics you goober. It’s the right thing to do.

You exploiting the terrible position that these 9/11 heroes are currently in to turn it into a podium for pushing universal healthcare is slimy as fuck. Just stop.
 

Miku Miku

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It’s not optics you goober. It’s the right thing to do.

You exploiting the terrible position that these 9/11 heroes are currently in to turn it into a podium for pushing universal healthcare is slimy as fuck. Just stop.
Its the right thing to do for everyone.

All these people had good jobs and insurance, and hell - even union jobs. Why does the government have to do anything if the current model works? The existence of these people is evidence it doesnt work.

What's slimy is insurance companies who take large amounts of their money every month for coverage and employ a fleet of lawyers and lobbyists to rig things so they dont have to cover people when they get sick. They literally make record profits off of watching sick people die and refusing their care.

Call me whatever names you like in place of a coherent argument. Its clear the mods here wont stop you.
 
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Miku Miku

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You want the people who couldn't even handle funding the 9/11 emergency workers to administer health care for everyone in the country?

Come on now.
They can handle it. They just are refusing to. They handle their own healthcare very well. Congress has great benefits.
 
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DragoonKain

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Great speech by John Stewart and apparently they came to a deal for them today? That's what I read anyway, maybe I misread the news link, I haven't read the story yet. The ugly part of human nature, whether it be politicians or regular old citizens is we all suffer from "out of sight, out of mind" syndrome whether we intend to or not. Our minds simply don't have the capacity to feel empathy for every single human being on the planet at once, it's overload, so we're conditioned to want to help those right in front of us or in the spotlight. You see it in situations like these. These heroes from 9/11 are no longer in the spotlight, so people stop caring. It's important to keep them in the spotlight and fight human nature and get them what they deserve and that's access to all the care they need.
 
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DragoonKain

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“Universal healthcare” is a general term. It really doesn’t mean anything until you see the Bill and how it’s implemented. I’d love for every single person in this country to have access to all the care they need. Promptly and quality.

In a country of 330 million, not an easy thing to do without drawbacks on the other end. And it could potentially screw over those currently insured depending on what the Bill does with private insurance. Once you implement universal healthcare you have to decide if you want to allow people to keep their private insurance plans or not, or force them to be part of the Medicare for all.

If you keep private insurance around, then most doctors will likely no longer accept Medicare anymore and continue to get their business from those privately insured patients. Which means you now have an influx of all these newly insured people through Medicare for all, with few doctors accepting Medicare. So that obviously will mean you have hundreds and hundreds of people lined up to see select few doctors, which could spell months long waiting lists to see doctors. Potentially you could have like an 8 or 9 month waiting period to see a family doctor depending on your state and city and how populated it is.

But if you decide to scrap private insurance and just throw everyone on the universal healthcare. You won’t have waiting lists quite as long(though it would still be longer than we have now) but then people who like their insurance and their doctors would have to then leave their plans and potentially leave their current doctors... who they have already built up a rapport with and possibly be signed to new doctors.

Nothing is definitive until you see the Bill, like I said, so there are obviously varying degrees of issues you could come across, all potential issues, but the potential is there, it’s not cut and dry. And then there are questions like will the quality of healthcare decline in a universal system?
 
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Cosmogony

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What a feat it must have been, to walk into a room feeling morally superior to all politicians in there, as one should after a career in comedy.

All the problems of the world can be solved by this approach: dress yourself in the cloak of moral superiority and simply walk into a gathering of politicians you disdain.

They're bound to cave in.
 
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Riven326

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Its the right thing to do for everyone.

All these people had good jobs and insurance, and hell - even union jobs. Why does the government have to do anything if the current model works? The existence of these people is evidence it doesnt work.

What's slimy is insurance companies who take large amounts of their money every month for coverage and employ a fleet of lawyers and lobbyists to rig things so they dont have to cover people when they get sick. They literally make record profits off of watching sick people die and refusing their care.

Call me whatever names you like in place of a coherent argument. Its clear the mods here wont stop you.
You can't say it's the right thing to do for everyone. There are many people who like the system we have now who are not opposed to reform that makes it better. Is the system flawed? Yes, without question. Does that mean we should make the jump to universal healthcare? I don't think so.