Veterans Voting Bloc
Washington State Chapter
Charles W. Heckman
A note on veterans’ employment
I received an interesting comment from a long-time intelligence operative through an alumni group. He stated that a GS-16 employee of the Civil Service Commission, forerunner to the Office of Personnel Management, had told him that veterans’ preference in public employment is “immoral.” Not just wrong or unconstitutional but “immoral.” This GS-16 had been too young to fight in World War II, in college during the Korean War, and too old for Vietnam. This is a useful insight into how the number of veterans working for the Federal Government decreased from 1.5 million in the mid-1970s to less than 450,000 today. It is only a short jump from this opinion to one that giving a veteran a job is immoral.
Quote of the day
(Servicemen who actually fought in the Vietnam War are) “not the best and the brightest.”
Famed Clinton Oberbureaucrat
Brian Baird on the “do not vote list”
This is to announce that the letter shown below was delivered to the office of Congressman Brian Baird on August 12, 2003. His refusal to consider supporting our issues during the election of 2002, as well as his answer to one of our members concerning his refusal to support reform of the horrible Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act, are sufficient reason for placing him on our “do not vote list.” He is the first congressman in Washington to be officially placed on this list. We sincerely hope that the Republican Party selects an acceptable opponent for him in 2004.
Ironically, Congressman Baird has noted on his website that veterans returning from the Vietnam War received extremely poor treatment. Since he knows about the problems faced by veterans, we can only assume that veterans are very low on his list or priorities. His silencing me at his town meetings underscores his desire to keep the general public from learning about the problems veterans are facing as well as the obvious solution to shortages of funds, i.e., reforming our Federal agencies. We should therefore make it our highest priority to see to it that he is replaced. It is noteworthy that Brian Baird’s predecessor was a Republican, Linda Smith, whose voting record was rated by Vote Smart to have been 100% favorable for veterans. She left office to unsuccessfully run for the United States Senate against Patty Murray in 1998.
Veterans’ Voting Bloc
Washington State Chapter
315 93rd Ave, S.W.
Olympia, WA 98512-9101
August 12, 2003
Tel. & FAX (360) 352 8564
Honorable Brian Baird
United States Congress
House of Representatives
Washington, D. C. 20515
FAX: 352 9241
An open letter
Dear Congressman Baird:
After being told not to ask questions at your town meeting, I submitted the attached news report to the Veterans’ Voting Bloc. I have been asked by our National Coordinator to accept the unpleasant duty of informing you that you are the first Washington legislator to be placed on our “do not vote list.” That means that our members residing in the Third Congressional District and nationwide will not vote for you under any circumstances in any subsequent election. It is not unlikely that three Republican congressmen will join you on the list if H.R. 303 is not passed by the House before the next election.
The reasons for placing you on the list include your failure to announce support for our legislations before the last election and the letter you wrote to one of our members explaining why you are not supporting reform of the horribly unjust Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act. Under the present law, a person could make a career of marrying servicemen or women, divorcing each successively and collecting half of everything each victim earns for the rest of his or her life while benefiting from promotions and pay raises earned long after the divorce.
Personally, I believe that there is another important reason for questioning your performance in Congress. As you know, the United States Forest Service controls a vast amount of public property in Washington, and numerous reliable organizations have accused the Forest Service of irresponsible if not outright criminal actions in recent years. The Sierra Club uses the Forest Service as a horrible example of a “predatory” organization in its fund raising literature, citing the report of the General Accounting Office that the Forest Service has been selling off the trees on Federal land at a loss of as much as $100,000,000 per year, which the taxpayers must make good. It calculated that this policy had cost the taxpayers a billion dollars until the timber sales were stopped by a Federal judge in 1999. According to the Government Accountability Project (GAP), lumber companies had frequently complained that they were unable to purchase timber on Federal land because the contracts were being awarded on a political basis that excluded them. A GAP study also revealed that the Weyerhaeuser Corporation had been unduly favored in the awarding of contracts.
A special group of Forest Service inspectors had been assigned to determine whether the loggers were cutting more trees than their contracts allowed. They determined that roughly $30,000 in lumber was being wrongfully taken at each site. The Forest Service reacted to the clear and unequivocal proof of fraud by firing the inspectors and disbanding their unit.
Each year, you have been dutifully voting to approve the budget for the United States Forest Service, even though you have enough evidence in your office to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that this agency is engaged in serious criminal activities, thereby defrauding the taxpayers out of vast sums of money. It seems to me that it should be the duty of a legislator with this kind of proof to call for an investigation of the actions of the responsible Forest Service personnel. It should also be your duty to vote against any budget that includes appropriations for corrupt agencies until proper investigations and reorganization of the management have been completed.
The Forest Service has many competent employees who are forced to live in fear of consequences for failure to cooperate with improper and illegal activities being promoted by their supervisors. While employed at the Olympia Forest Sciences Laboratory, other scientists told me that they had scheduled meetings among themselves to decide whether it was safe to honestly report the results of their research. Although the official announcements affirmed that it was safe, there was considerable mistrust of the persons making these announcements. This mistrust increased considerably after I was terminated for refusing to change two reports that documented the inadequacies in the research being funded by the Forest Service. When Station Director Thomas Mills was removed as Director of the Pacific Northwest Research Station, he was moved to a higher position in the bureaucracy in Washington, D.C., rewarded rather than punished for his criminal activities, outlined in great detail in documents I have already sent to your office.
It should not be necessary to remind you that many commitments to veterans are not being honored by the government on the grounds that the funds are lacking. Clearly, the amount of money being misappropriated by the Forest Service and other chaotic agencies is far more than that needed to honor all legal and moral commitments to veterans.
I do not know what your motives are for suppressing the facts in these matters, but I think that it shows a lack of accountability for our public funds and natural resources. A place to begin exercising accountability would be to press my Freedom of Information Act (FOI) request to determine the whereabouts of the $27,000 remaining of the $30,000 appropriated to purchase my basic equipment. The Forest Service could not account for this money when asked before the Merit System Protection Board. My FOI request was made to the United States Department of Agriculture, which forwarded it to the Pacific Northwest Research Station. I still have not heard from their office and cannot help but suspect that this money was also misappropriated, perhaps to bribe certain people to settle my appeal in favor of the agency.
Charles W. Heckman
Dr. Sci., habil.