Veterans’ Voting Bloc
From Charles Heckman
Quote of the Month
“In front of a packed auditorium at Vanderbilt University, the antiwar activist and Yale University chaplain, William Sloane Coffin, verbally dismembered a young veteran for voicing that he was proud to have fought for his country in Vietnam. The audience of intelligent Americans was on its feet, hooting and jeering the soldier. I thought that they were going to lynch him. Then, I saw his legs. They were cut off at the thighs - blown off by a VC land mine. I was sick and angry; I ran outside and vomited.”
Legacy of Discord, Preface, p. xi
While the Voting Bloc will continue seeking veterans and their friends to support in elections to public office, a large number of our members have undertaken the step of founding a political party to advance the kind of government that all decent Americans desire. This step has been undertaken because in many Congressional districts throughout the country, neither the Democratic nor the Republican Party is supporting candidates who are acceptable to anyone but members of special interest groups. Too often, voters have to vote for a candidate they do not like just to try to keep an even worse candidate out of office.
The major parties have not given veterans a fair chance to hold public office or even compete for civil service jobs. The Veterans Party will support candidates who are either veterans themselves or support issues important for servicemen and veterans.
Looking for candidates for 2004
The Veterans’ Voting Bloc is looking for major party candidates to support in 2004 and to identify those districts in which neither party is nominating a satisfactory candidate. Members of the Voting Bloc are encouraged to contact incumbents and people seeking office to find out their views on veterans’ issues.
Candidates we cannot support
The first member of Congress from Washington to get on our do not vote list is Brian Baird. He recently supported a veterans’ rally to save the Vancouver VA Medical Facility, but do not be fooled. He may use this issue to discredit the Republican administration, but he had let us know that he does not stand behind us.
If you go to Brian Baird’s website, you will find the following statement: “In my time as a psychologist, I spent many years counseling Vietnam veterans who came home after risking their lives seeing their friends killed and maimed only to be spat upon by “peace loving” people back home. Those experiences, and that treatment, only further scarred people who had already suffered far more than anyone should. Regardless of how we feel about the war, we must never repeat that treatment of our troops. Never.”
This statement says that Congressman Baird is not ignorant of the problems facing veterans. But what has be done to prevent the treatment from being repeated? Nothing! I was not even permitted to raise questions concerning veterans’ affairs at his town meetings because of the negative impact my questions were having on the audience. If he knows something is badly wrong and does nothing about it, in spite of the fact that he is a member of Congress, then something is wrong with his sense of duty.
Will he be able to save the Vancouver Medical Facility? I think not. I hope that the veterans can save it, but if we do, we will not have Brian Baird to thank for it. He sent a letter to Secretary of Veterans’ Affairs Principi. Good. Will this have any effect? As a member of the party out of power, he does not even have as much influence with Principi as I have, and my influence with Principi is zero, zilch, nada, nichts!
Our main reasons for working to have Congressman Baird replaced include the following:
1. When he was asked whether he would promise to support the four bills being promoted by the Veterans’ Voting Bloc before the 2002 election, he refused.
2. In a letter to one of our members asking him to support reform of the horribly unjust Uniformed Services Former Spouse’s Protection Act, he not only said that he would not help to reform the law, he indicated that he would oppose any changes. He justified this decision by stating that spouses suffer many hardships because of service life. This is true, so why reward those spouses who desert the marriage and penalize those who stick with their spouses?
Also on his website, Brian Baird has written “Some have criticized me for saying I support our troops.” This says something about the kind of people Brian Baird associates with. Lets find a new congressman!
It is likely that unless the Republican Party changes its position on concurrent receipt, Junnifer Dunn, Doc Hastings, and George Nethercutt, Jr., are going to join Brian Baird on our do not vote list. We need concurrent receipt to become law before the 2004 election. If this does not happen, many Republican candidates will not get our votes.
We will have to look closely at Christine Gregoire, who hopes to go from a failed term as attorney general into the governor’s office. She has spent at least $185,000 of the taxpayers’ money to have veterans’ preference abolished by the Washington courts. At the same time, she has failed to file charges against violent criminals within the time required by law, causing those criminals to be released. One of them, a violent sex criminal, attached another women almost as soon as he stepped out the door of the jail. The excuse for all of her failings is that her office lacks money. She has enough to fight lawsuits to keep veterans out of jobs, however. Do we want a governor with these kinds of priorities.
Christine Gregoire is the front-runner for the Democratic Party nomination because she has raised more money than anyone else. We all know why big spenders contribute money to campaigns, and it is not love of their country. When the big spenders contribute $1000, they expect 10,000 back in business from the State after their candidate is elected. Candidates who are able to collect lots of money may not always be our friends. The best way to attract contributions is to let it be known that you can be bought. If anyone thinks that I am wrong in my opinion of Christine Gregoire as a candidate for governor, let them speak now or forever hold their peace.
GAO report shows how Federal agencies cheat preference veterans
On August 22, 2003, the General Accounting Office issued a short report about how several agencies handle the hiring of veterans for the Federal civil service. It is on the internet at the site: http://www.gao.org Although I hold the report to be a whitewash, it does give some interesting insights on how agencies have avoided hiring the best qualified veterans. In one case, the agency said that it did not hire the veteran, who was first on the list, because it tried to telephone him, and the telephone had been disconnected. A sharp-eyed invetigator noted that the telephone number called was not the number the veteran had listed on his application. This trick is easy. Just phone any number that you know is not in service, then hire the non-veteran you want, alleging that you could not reach the veteran by phone.
Another trick was to say the veteran could not be reached by FedEx. He did not respond, so the agency was forced to hire a less qualified non-veteran. The investigator asked to see a copy of the letter or FedEx receipt and discovered that the agency personnel office had none.
In a large number of cases, the personnel office hired the non-veteran they wanted and then just eliminated all the evidence, so the investigators could not determine what they had done or why they had not hired the veteran.
So, if you are a veteran and apply for a Federal civil service job you are highly qualified for, don't expect to be hired.