Ten Minutes Of Righteous Outrage
June 11, 2019 7:59 PM   Subscribe

 
Video duration: 9:11.
posted by migurski at 8:08 PM on June 11 [13 favorites]


@DevlinBarrett: After covering this issue for years, it is depressing how much everyone cares when Jon Stewart speaks, compared to how little they care when John Feal says the same damn thing. And when you watch irate Jon Stewart videos, you might ask: who is the guy sitting next to him at the witness table? How many rounds of chemo has he endured? How much more chemo can he take?

And that's not an indictment of Jon Stewart. I'd bet he agrees. But frankly, as laudable as Stewart's advocacy is on this issue—and it's shameful that this is even a debate, I'm more than a little irked that "the modern-day equivalent of Edward R. Murrow" has largely decided to fuck off to his farm whenever the 9/11 fund isn't up for renewal instead of occasionally speaking out about some of the other injustices of this moment.
posted by zachlipton at 8:29 PM on June 11 [23 favorites]


But frankly, as laudable as Stewart's advocacy is on this issue—and it's shameful that this is even a debate, I'm more than a little irked that "the modern-day equivalent of Edward R. Murrow" has largely decided to fuck off to his farm whenever the 9/11 fund isn't up for renewal instead of occasionally speaking out about some of the other injustices of this moment.

With all due respect, I'M more than a little irked that people continue to treat the host of what was always a COMEDY PROGRAM as "the modern day equivalent of Edward R. Murrow".

He's not "fucking off to his farm". He is RETIRED, and he has the right to do that. He could have stayed put on his farm for good, but instead he has chosen to continue giving his energy to a single cause - and this is that cause and dammit there SHOULD be someone with that much visibility devoted to this cause because Congress is doing FUCK-ALL for it.

You think it's depressing "how much everyone cares when Jon Stewart speaks" - what depresses me is that he's absolutely right how VERY MANY politicians continue to exploit 9/11 as a way to do performative patriotism once a year, only to go right back to ignoring New York City and its citizens the rest of the year. The hypocrisy he rails against in this has been rampant for the past 18 years, and it is exactly why I believe that there are people in this country who secretly deep-down don't think that the 9/11 attacks when far enough; it is why I believe that there are people who deep down wish that New York City got wiped off the map altogether, so they could put up a memorial and turn the whole thing into a landmark gravesite, a way to memorialize New York without any of us inconvenient New Yorkers getting in the way.

Jon Stewart doesn't owe us anything. He's doing this because he is just as pissed off as I am how many hypocrites in our government are continuing to exploit the worst day of my life for their own political gain, only to give us all just as big a "fuck you" the rest of the year. He SHOULD be on his farm for good and enjoying his ease. But he's disgusted by this kind of hypocrisy and he's not the only one.

Be depressed about THAT.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:44 PM on June 11 [216 favorites]


Nobody has to fight all the fights. He did a better job telling the emperor that he had no clothes during the Bush admin than any "real journalist." Let him enjoy his pigs and cows.
posted by nestor_makhno at 8:45 PM on June 11 [19 favorites]


EmpressCallipygos you put into words what was in my head. Thank you.
posted by nestor_makhno at 8:46 PM on June 11 [8 favorites]


H.R.1327 and S.546, a bill to sustain the budget of the Victim Compensation Fund out to 2090. Yahoo News says,
...while the bill is all but certain to pass the House, it will just as certainly meet resistance in the Republican-controlled Senate.
One of the news reports I've listened to tonight said that the House vote is supposed to be tomorrow but I don't remember which one.
posted by XMLicious at 8:50 PM on June 11 [2 favorites]


Republicans, and more specifically McConnell, control the Senate so there are no foregone conclusions.

...in fact, I'd bet it never comes up for a vote.
posted by aramaic at 8:57 PM on June 11 [3 favorites]


Perhaps a little reminder that it was Stewart who pushed for funding for First Responder healthcare in the first place when Congress wasn't even going to pay for a single dime at the beginning. The first bill that was proposed to pay for this health care failed in 2006. It wasn't until 2010 that funding was created. Stewart dedicated an entire episode of TDS to the issue (here's one segment), and is credited directly with getting it out of Republican filibuster and passed. Stewart has continued to rally for this cause ever since.
posted by hippybear at 9:12 PM on June 11 [34 favorites]


You sweat. Bunker gear is heavy and hot. We would pour pints out of our boots after only an hour in our gear in training.

You can't see. There's always schmutz on the mask, either inside or out. It gets scratches and dings. The ones in 2001 certainly scratched easily. They still aren't great. But sweat too, and, unlike a SCUBA mask, there's really no way to self-clear an SCBA (self-contained breathing apparatus) when its on.

They had a very narrow field of view, the old Scott and North masks. Claustrophobic. Though those who got the heebie geebies from no peripheral vision tended to self-select out of the programs.

Breathing is harder, sure, especially if it's an APR (a "gas mask"), but most were on SCBAs. SCBA air has to be incredibly dry (or the regulator can ice up) and that can irritate your lungs too.

Back in 2001, many were still using the old steel tanks. I remember us getting our new fiberglass tanks in the post-2001 spending spree. The old tanks were heavy.

The worst part though is that the masks had a hose like an elephant trunk out the front. That, the mask and the valve assembly at the hose join got very heavy, very sweaty after even a shortish time.

It used to be common to see masks around neck even within hot zones. (It's not anymore) Masks are a pain to wear for any length of time SCBA or APR. When there's work to be done, it takes a real culture of safety to keep the protections in place at all times. IME that world is radically different now, but it's different in large part because of what these responders went though and continue to go through.
posted by bonehead at 9:12 PM on June 11 [58 favorites]


[A few things removed. I'm not gonna make any assumptions about motivations, but I think going into this on a vector of faulting people specifically for not being dutiful about safety gear in the middle of disaster response is gonna land badly no matter what and needs to be just let alone in this context.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:25 PM on June 11 [31 favorites]


Another thing to consider when saying that "we hardly do shit for victims of lesser tragedies" is to point out that "members of Congress are not regularly in the habit of publicly declaring that we should remember those lesser tragedies on an annual basis in an effort to display how 'Murican they are".

My attitude is not so much that "I personally think that 9/11 victims are more special". My attitude is more like "YOU MEMBERS OF CONGRESS like to exploit 9/11 victims to make YOURSELVES look special, and if you want to keep doing that then you need to put your money where your mouths are."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:27 PM on June 11 [39 favorites]


To be fair, most of our "lesser tragedies" are mass shootings done by home-grown terrorists. We have had very few that are organized coordinated attacks executed on a scale that even begins to measure what happened in 2001. And aside from McVeigh, we've had none that have even begun to approach the carnage, and McVeigh didn't even do all that much in comparison.

I hate to admit that we mostly venerate 9/11 victims because it was violence cause by brown people, but it's hard to draw any other conclusion considering all the "angry white guy shot a bunch of people" anniversaries which pass unnoticed.

But all that aside, the thing about the fight for continued health care funding for first responders is: they are having health issues which are extending across decades. Most of our other "lesser tragedies" don't have that going on with survivors.
posted by hippybear at 9:37 PM on June 11 [10 favorites]


Top six most americans killed on home soil (admittedly according to wikipedia) 9/11 is fourth. However, 4 out of those other 6, (the sixth being the san francisco fire) are tropical cyclones.

So I accept your idea that the continued fight for first responders is bullshit if not continued on for everyone, but I reject the idea that 9/11 was bad cause "brown people." Remembering Hurricane Maria? That would be awesome. Giving more time to pay attention to white murderers? Meh.
posted by wyndham at 9:46 PM on June 11


Hmmm. I was there. What safety gear? You would just show up and be put to work. The EPA said the air and the ash was perfectly safe. I even refused a free HEPA air filter.

I learned something from that experience. In a crisis, the government's primary concern is making sure the public doesn't panic. They will lie. It will be very hard not to believe them.

You see the same cognitive dissonance happening generally in regards to global warming. It's really hard to believe that everything is not fine or going to be.
posted by xammerboy at 9:56 PM on June 11 [64 favorites]


Counterpoint?
posted by sjswitzer at 10:07 PM on June 11 [2 favorites]


OK. That went badly. I'm sorry if i offended. I work in risk management. Getting people to wear PPE is a constant battle, and "it's fucking hot" isn't a good excuse to not do it. That said, I believe the first thing I said was we should pay for the health care of the responders. I did not mean to question the legitimacy of their need. But they should have been wearing respirators if they were available (and I allowed that they weren't always available) not because it would have saved the country money for paying for their health care, but because it would be better for them if they didn't have lung cancer.

JSYK ixipkcams joined the site two weeks ago. Don't get too into debating them.

Um, yes, I've read for awhile and signed up to post recently. How long does one have to be here before their thoughts matter?

To be fair, most of our "lesser tragedies" are mass shootings

Actually, I meant stuff much more common. I didn't say lesser tragedies. I said "personal tragedies". Stuff like car accidents and, i dnno, heart attacks. Kids lose their Moms or Dads every day in many sad ways. No one is lighting a candle for them. Congress surely won't care. In contrast, the victims of 911 have received lots of attention. I'm not saying it isn't warrented, just that it's really weird to claim they aren't respected.
posted by ixipkcams at 10:20 PM on June 11 [5 favorites]


Everyone who didn't show up to that hearing opened themselves up to the world's most obvious campaign attack ad: a clip of Jon Stewart's statement played over a picture of their empty chair with their name placard in full view.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 10:45 PM on June 11 [16 favorites]


It's really weird to claim they aren't respected.

I think they would rather have the healthcare.
posted by xammerboy at 10:52 PM on June 11 [13 favorites]


From the article I linked above,
Steve Cohen, who chairs the subcommittee, should have stopped Stewart, cut his mic if necessary, and explained that 1) this is a subcommittee with only 14 members, 2) as is standard procedure, subcommittee members would be in and out throughout the hearing as they had to do business, including taking votes in other committees and subcommittees (the ranking member actually did this at one point)
I mean, yeah, this is Stewart's passion project and it's a good one. But 7 of the 14 committee members were there. The House is going to pass this bill and the Senate is going to sit on it. Whether his appeal will influence the Senate is unclear, but the quoted article suggests not.
posted by sjswitzer at 10:59 PM on June 11 [7 favorites]


Counterpoint?

That article is asinine on so many different levels, to the point where I find it hard to believe the author even watched the video:

1) The author seems to either misunderstand or misconstrue Stewart's "rant" as a complaint about there being physically empty chairs in the room, completely missing the point of a blistering critique of -- and I quote -- "the entire process" of getting this bill and its predecessors passed.

2) The author seems to think it's news to Stewart that the obstacles to the bill are likely to come from the Senate, even though he called out the Senate -- and Mitch McConnell in particular -- as having been the ones standing in the way of the previous reauthorization in 2015. The idea that Stewart is planning to hold onto this opportunity and use it to score some kind of PR coup for the Republicans in the lead-up to 2020 is the most galaxy-brain thing I've seen all week, and that's saying something.

3) And his suggested outcome -- that Stewart sit back, shut up, and let Congress use the VCF bill in whatever way effectively maximizes the "optics" for the Democratic party -- is literally the exact same shameless, rank hypocrisy that Stewart was railing against.

I didn't have high expectations of a site with the tagline "We can agree to disagree, but I'm right.", but that still managed to both disappoint and enrage me.
posted by teraflop at 11:01 PM on June 11 [21 favorites]


I transcribed his comments for the thread:
STEWART: I want to thank Mr. Collins and Mr. Nadler for putting this together but... 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.

Behind me, a filled room of 9/11 first responders. And in front of me, a nearly empty Congress.

Sick and dying, they brought themselves down here to speak... to no one. Shameful. It's an embarrassment to the country and it's a shame on this institution. And you should be ashamed of yourselves for those that aren't here, but you won't be. Because accountability doesn't appear to be something that occurs in this chamber.

We don't want to be here. [unintelligible] doesn't want to be here. None of these people want to be here. But they are. And they're not here for themselves. They're here to continue fighting for what's right. Lou's going to go back for his 69th chemo. The great Ray Pfifer (sp?) would come down here, his body riddled with cancer and pain, where he couldn't walk. And the disrespect shown to him and the other lobbyists on this bill is utterly unacceptable.

You know, I used to get.. I would be so angry at the latest injustice that's done to these men and women and another business card thrown our way. As a way of shoeing us away, like children trick-or-treating, rather than the heroes that they are and will always be.

Ray would say "Calm down, Johnny, calm down. I got all the cards I need." And he would tap his pocket, where he kept the prayer cards. 343 firefighters.

The official FDNY response time to 9/11 was five seconds. FIVE SECONDS. That's how long it took for FDNY and NYPD, for Port Authority, for EMS to respond to an urgent need from the public. Five seconds.

Hundreds died in an instant. Thousands more poured in, to continue to fight for their brothers and sisters.

The breathing problems started almost immediately. And they were told they weren't sick, they were crazy. And then, as the illnesses got worse and things became more apparent, "Well, okay, you're sick but it's not from the Pile."

And then, when the science became irrefutable, "Okay, it's the Pile, but this is a New York issue. I dunno if we have the money."

And 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.

There is not a person here, there is not an empty chair on that stage that didn't tweet out "Never forget the heroes of 9/11 Never forget their bravery, never forget what they did, what they gave to this country."

Well, here they are!

And where are they?

And it would be one thing if their callous indifference and rank hypocrisy were benign. But it's not. Your indifference costs these men and women their most valuable commodity -- time. It's the one thing they're running out of.

This should be flipped. This hearing should be flipped. These men and women should be up on that stage, and Congress should be down here answering their questions as to why this is so damn hard and takes so damn long. Any why no matter what they get, something's always pulled back and they've got to come back.

Mr. Johnson, you made a point earlier and it is one we have heard over and over again in these halls, and I couldn't help but to answer to it. Which was, you said, Look, you know, you guys are obviously heroes, and 9/11 was a big deal but you know, we have a lot of stuff to do here. And we've got to make sure there's money for a variety of disasters, hurricanes and tornadoes.

But this wasn't a hurricane. And this wasn't a tornado. And by the way, that's your job anyway. We can't fund these programs, you can.

Setting aside that no American in this country should face financial ruin because of a health issue, certainly 9/11 first responders shouldn't have to decide whether to live or to have a place to live.

And the idea that you can only give them five more years of the VCF 'cause you're not quite sure what will happen five years from now? Well, I can tell you I'm pretty sure what's going to happen five years from now. More of these men and women are going to get sick and they are going to die.

And I am awfully tired of hearing it's a 9/11, New York issue. Al Quadra didn't shout "Death To Tribeca" They attacked America, and these men and women, and their response to it, is what brought our country back. It's what gave a reeling nation a solid foundation to stand back upon.
To remind us of why this country is great, of why this country is worth fighting for. And you are ignoring them.

And you can end it tomorrow.

Why this bill isn't unanimous consent and a stand-alone issue is beyond my comprehension. And I have yet to hear a reasonable explanation for why. It'll get stuck in some transportation bill, or some appropriations bill and get sent over to the Senate where a certain someone from the Senate will use it as a political football to get themselves maybe another new import tax on petroleum.

'Cause that's what happened to us in 2015. And we won't allow it to happen again.

Thank god for people like John Feal. Thank god for people like Ray Pfifer. Thank god for all of these people who will not let it happen.

They responded in five seconds. They did their jobs. With courage, grace, tenacity, humility... Eighteen years later, do yours!

Thank you.
posted by hippybear at 11:06 PM on June 11 [47 favorites]


The official FDNY response time to 9/11 was five seconds. FIVE SECONDS. That's how long it took for FDNY and NYPD, for Port Authority, for EMS to respond to an urgent need from the public. Five seconds.

That's weird. I'm inclined to believe it was less than a second. I mean, fire departments gets a call, bell goes off, whatever, they're not gonna take 5 seconds to think about it, they react, instantly. I suspect that's the time it took for the call to be translated to a responder, that'd make sense.
posted by ixipkcams at 11:26 PM on June 11


teraflop: I was myself surprised with a takedown on Stewart's "rant." I don't completely agree with it, but it makes a few good points. Stewart was scolding the choir: the House will absolutely pass this bill and the Senate eventually will too, though probably with poison pills.

Whether it's good theatre or not, there is a huge difference between speaking to a half-full committee meeting and a "nearly empty Congress."

I support what he's trying to do here. I don't believe it was counterproductive, as the article argues. In fact, I think it usefully raises the visibility of the issue. But the "nearly empty Congress" thing was beneath him.

(The tagline rotates and is meant to be ironic.)
posted by sjswitzer at 11:55 PM on June 11 [2 favorites]


The author seems to either misunderstand or misconstrue Stewart's "rant" as a complaint about there being physically empty chairs in the room, completely missing the point of a blistering critique of -- and I quote -- "the entire process" of getting this bill and its predecessors passed.

No, they point out that the issue is how optics work - Stewart may be talking about "the entire process", but he's aiming his ire at the House hearing even though the actual problem can be summed up in three words, those being "Addison Mitchell McConnell".

The author seems to think it's news to Stewart that the obstacles to the bill are likely to come from the Senate, even though he called out the Senate -- and Mitch McConnell in particular -- as having been the ones standing in the way of the previous reauthorization in 2015. The idea that Stewart is planning to hold onto this opportunity and use it to score some kind of PR coup for the Republicans in the lead-up to 2020 is the most galaxy-brain thing I've seen all week, and that's saying something.

No, the point is that Republicans, having no shame, will happily twist Stewart's rant into an attack on the very people who are supporting and backing Stewart. As the author points out, McConnell is not stupid and will never give Stewart the chance to upbraid him in a Senate hearing. Furthermore, rebroadcasting his speech today will only serve to make it look like the problem is the House and the Democrats running it - an image that McConnell, having neither shame nor a soul, will be all too happy to encourage.
posted by NoxAeternum at 12:19 AM on June 12 [8 favorites]


You think it's depressing "how much everyone cares when Jon Stewart speaks"

Well, sometimes people won't fucking listen to the message if it's through the "wrong" messenger, rather than the "right one" that people actually care about and pay attention to. Sad but true.
posted by jenfullmoon at 12:25 AM on June 12 [3 favorites]


This should be flipped. This hearing should be flipped. These men and women should be up on that stage, and Congress should be down here answering their questions as to why this is so damn hard and takes so damn long. Any why no matter what they get, something's always pulled back and they've got to come back.

This hit me really hard. I'm in the process of going through disability. It's a nightmare. And I have it relatively easy. But this summed up how I feel about the process. Not to mention healthcare.

And beyond that, I see NO reason why these people shouldn't have ALL of their medical bills covered. I mean, that event was unlike anything in recent history. And these people literally jumped in to help.

If you think Jon didn't say things the exact right way, or you don't like his tone, or you don't think he's the right messenger, then you better be doing something big for the cause. The garbage that sick people have to deal with in this country is a monstrosity and often NO ONE cares.
posted by Crystalinne at 1:35 AM on June 12 [28 favorites]


Yes, it's very sad that it's such a tough slog to even take care of the people who heroically responded to a national tragedy. They deserve to be cared for and nobody can fault Jon for putting his back into that. But what about the "lesser" heros, including the ones who just want to provide for their families as best they can? What about them and their children?

It's great to advocate for these heros and I don't mean in any way to say they don't deserve the best care we can give them. But down this path is the notion that there are people more and less deserving of healthcare and I don't think that is a a path I want pursue.
posted by sjswitzer at 2:13 AM on June 12 [2 favorites]


No one cares until something tragic happens to their loved ones and friends. If the seats were reserved, the committee members would care more and definitely give a better applaud to Jon’s words than the limp-wristed claps from the committee that I viewed at the end of the video.

This makes me think of how we silently returned fallen soldiers to prevent media display rather than pulling the ugly truth from under the rug. Let’s ignore it. We have bigger fish to fry. Let’s do the minimum to look good. Time heals. No it doesn’t.

Jon Stewart is using his pulpit in a way to help others. It’s commendable that he’s acting on his conviction. Put misspeaks aside, I think it’s valiant of him (or anyone who would) go to the committee to speak on the first responders behalf.
posted by ascrabblecat at 2:26 AM on June 12 [3 favorites]


Actually, I meant stuff much more common. I didn't say lesser tragedies. I said "personal tragedies". Stuff like car accidents and, i dnno, heart attacks. Kids lose their Moms or Dads every day in many sad ways. No one is lighting a candle for them. Congress surely won't care. In contrast, the victims of 911 have received lots of attention. I'm not saying it isn't warrented, just that it's really weird to claim they aren't respected.

The kind of "attention" you're seeing the First Responders get is hollow and exploitative. It is not "respect", it is nothing more than lip service and means nothing.

That is the entire point. This isn't about the First Responders wanting to get "more attention", this is about the First Responders wanting Congress to back up their attention with help.

When "attention" is nothing more than "hey let's everyone talk about how great you are once a year, but then when that day's over we go back to ignoring you," that doesn't actually help when you're struggling with health challenges caused by doing the very thing people are celebrating you for.

I don't know why this is difficult for you to understand.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:09 AM on June 12 [17 favorites]


The sort of attention that Jon Stewart is bringing to this cause can help get the bill passed, which is fine. It will also continue to inflate the hypocritical and empty lip service that people give to 9/11 victims and first responders, which is not.

Stewart's point about the stalled process is completely valid. His point about the empty seats isn't. Too many hearings are already just theater--unless the members are actively engaged in questions they wouldn't be able to get answered otherwise (doubtful), they're opportunities for grandstanding, or incidents where some staffer tries to get their boss to read a relevant question off a notepad to get the right answer from the witness on the record. Too often, it's just theater that operates in the place of transparent policymaking, and heightening the theatrics doesn't help that.
posted by pykrete jungle at 4:31 AM on June 12


The kind of "attention" you're seeing the First Responders get is hollow and exploitative. It is not "respect", it is nothing more than lip service and means nothing.

The same hollow support is offered by too many politicians to veterans as well: "I honor your sacrifice, but I won't find the VA decently".

True honour is how you support people AFTER their service.

As for why people are listening to Jon Stewart? Yes, he's famous, but it's more than that: he is a powerfully talented rhetorician. I was talking about the speech with someone who is a public speaker and teacher, and they were impressed at how he used language to get his point across. He doesn't have to do anything. But he's using his talent and experience for something he cares deeply about.
posted by jb at 4:35 AM on June 12 [16 favorites]


It’s a page right out of the Agent Orange playbook from Vietnam: stonewall, deny, delay as much as you can and let the diseases run their course so you only have to throw a pittance at whoever is left over.
posted by dr_dank at 4:35 AM on June 12 [12 favorites]


I think Jon Stewart is smart enough to understand how House subcommittees work, and -- logical as it may be for members to drift in and out of the hearing -- it's still an effective metaphor. I don't understand what the "optics" concern is about scolding members of Congress who, last time I checked, are nobody's favorite people. It's theater, Stewart knows it's theater, and he's using the moment appropriately -- to draw public attention to a hearing that probably would not get as much media coverage otherwise.
posted by AndrewInDC at 5:40 AM on June 12 [12 favorites]


I suspect Steve Cohen is happy to be yelled at, used as a punching bag, whatever will help draw attention to this issue. He’s a good man with very loyal constituents. He and Stewart and the first responders are used to the political circus at this point.

I learned something from that experience. In a crisis, the government's primary concern is making sure the public doesn't panic. They will lie.

Putting aside the liars—in an unprecedented emergency situation you also get people slotted into leadership roles without any experience, knowledge, or sleep who are doing the best they can and still messing up in unforeseen ways.
posted by sallybrown at 5:54 AM on June 12 [2 favorites]


A lot of political optics expert in this thread about a bill that we would not be talking about at all were it not for this video.
posted by Think_Long at 6:02 AM on June 12 [11 favorites]


Yes, and that's precisely the problem. We're paying attention whenever a celebrity does, and to the issues celebrities pay attention to, and the issues that make us feel good about our positions on them. And, just like when Stewart lambasted Crossfire, people will fix the most superficial symptom of it (temporarily cancel Crossfire, give more lip service to 9/11 victims), and them proceed to make the problems that underlie it worse, while patting themselves on the back. Optics matter not just in terms of getting attention, but in drawing attention away.
posted by pykrete jungle at 6:22 AM on June 12 [1 favorite]


I am sure Stewart would gladly rage at the Senate if given a chance, or at all of Congress if they would give him the minutes. All those first responders would show up too, just like they have for 17 years. This was the forum given.

The fact that we have a committee standard practice of half listening to people begging for help because they are dying is the problem. Stewart calling them to task for how Congress half asses and disrespects constituents routinely is well deserved. Fuck Congress. Do your jobs better. Most of these assholes have endless time to fundraise and appear on talking head shows. Maybe schedule more meetings to do your job if you otherwise have to duck in and out of hearing first responders talk about how they are sick and dying.

And screw this idea that this isn’t absolutely effective. The Senate heard this loud and clear. Their Representatives from their states heard it too, and I bet phone calls were made to the Senate side saying, “This is bad. Stop fucking around.”

As to all the other issues that of course people now want to bring up as also important - Did you notice how even Stewart punched the House on how nobody should go without healthcare? That is magic. He had one job, and without distracting from the goal, drew blood. You have to just keep jabbing. This all stops being theater when bills pass. Then it is law and action. Get this done. And the next. And the next. That is how we fix this country, one John Stewart rant and result after another. Keep ranting. Rage.
posted by Muddler at 6:44 AM on June 12 [10 favorites]


It did make it easier for Senator McConnell to claim another scalp.
Oh no, the Republicans are going to be mean about this and lie about it! And the only reason they would have done those things is because of Jon Stewart getting a little tetchy in front of cameras!

Good.

I hope McConnell does try to set himself up as fighting bravely against Jon Stewart and the 9/11 first responders, because every time McConnell opens his lying fucking mouth in front of a camera, Jon Stewart and the 9/11 first responders get another turn. And every time they get on the air and talk about how Mitch McConnell is personally blocking care for the 9/11 first responders, another couple of Kentuckians who reflexively vote R will hem and haw and wonder whether they really need to be quite so public about how much they love Mitch McConnell.

Does anyone really think that McConnell can "win" that fight? That it will increase the number of people that will vote for him? That a single, solitary, even fucking one Kentuckian is actively pondering whether to vote for Mitch McConnell (and Donald Trump) and will be tipped because Jon Stewart said something bad about Congress?

Take that scalp, Mitch. I fucking dare you.
posted by Etrigan at 7:13 AM on June 12 [19 favorites]


I'm with Etrigan. If McConnell's opponent and the Dems in KY play this right, it will be another nail in Mitch's coffin. Hell, his popularity in the state is below 20 right now. Time to put the motherfucker down!
posted by Ber at 8:30 AM on June 12 [1 favorite]


To put this in perspective, the people who have been held up as the greatest heroes in my lifetime are fucking groveling for healthcare and a basic social safety net.

This isn't even about 9/11. This is the focal point of a system that is so dysfunctional, so corrupted by greed -- that the wealthiest society in the history of the world isn't able to provide the basic needs of its members. The fact that we can't do this for the people we trot out as evidence for our heroism and patriotism whenever it's convenient is just the underscore on this country's shameful epitaph.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 9:33 AM on June 12 [11 favorites]


Like I'm a cynical bastard, by a LOT. But this had me tearing up. I can't see how any of these politicians just sit there and pretend politics as normal is just A-OK.
posted by symbioid at 10:44 AM on June 12 [2 favorites]


Also, and Stewart did a very good job highlighting this, there should be no discussion of healthcare for the 9/11 responders without mentioning that the U.S. government did this to them. The George W. Bush EPA lied about the WTC area being safer than it actually was, which meant emergency workers walking into air that was saturated with asbestos and other cancer-causing, toxic-as-hell shit, with minimal or zero safety gear (or, what xammerboy said). Nobody on Earth should be going bankrupt paying for cancer treatment, but if the government has to prioritize anybody it should be the people it fucking gave cancer to.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:47 AM on June 12 [17 favorites]


So, for the record, here is what happened when someone asked Mitch McConnell for a comment about this.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday morning, McConnell appeared unaware that the fund for 9/11 victims was even running out.

"Gosh, I hadn't looked at that lately. I'll have to. We've always dealt with that in the past in a compassionate way, and I assume we will again," he said when asked by a reporter on Wednesday if he would support reauthorizing the fund during a press conference.


Two things to consider:

1. Congress has had to renew the fund on an annual basis for the past few years. Being unaware that the fund was running out is like forgetting an anniversary.

2. Any response other than "absolutely we are reauthorizing the fund" is completely unconscionable.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:40 PM on June 12 [11 favorites]


Speaking of optics, Stewart's rant made it on the morning news, at least here in New Jersey. It is extremely rare for C-SPAN subcommittee footage to get on the news. There was no indication that this was a dinky little subcommittee hearing. It didn't even say whether he was speaking to the House or Senate. It seemed like Stewart was "aiming his ire" at Congress as a whole.

Jon Stewart knows what a subcommittee is and he knows who was in the damn room and he understands who's "really at fault" or whatever. He also knows how cameras work. What got communicated to the country at large was "Congress won't help 9/11 victims because they're too hung up on petty bullshit to do their job."

maybe I have some New Jersey bias but slamming Jon Stewart's public communication skills is the silliest thing I've heard.

whether 9/11 victims actually deserve shit, idunno, i sometimes think about how the those attacks compare to the violence and bombings, in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. Lots of buildings have been blown up there. Lots of people dead. Is it like a daily 9/11, in some places? How does it stack up? I don't know. I think about how the 9/11 attacks happened for a reason, and I don't entirely understand what those reasons are.

None of that changes the underlying relationship between emergency personnel/first responders and the population as a whole. They took extraordinary risks and suffered extraordinary damage, simply to help save people's lives, without thought of cost or reward. We owe them. That's not a matter of us being oversensitive to violence, or fragile, or absorbed in our own trauma. It's a moral relationship that holds true in war and peace alike.
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 4:41 PM on June 12 [3 favorites]


And the 9/11 attacks, I think, if you conceive it as one volley in the crypto-war between the USA and the Middle East, idk. I think that means the US has a responsibility towards the US victims.

In general this is the closest thing we've had to an act of war touching the civilian population, basically ever. Even Pearl Harbor was a military base.
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 4:45 PM on June 12


Congress has had to renew the fund on an annual basis for the past few years. Being unaware that the fund was running out is like forgetting an anniversary.

This may be true in the sense that the last bill in 2015 covered up until 2020 but was insufficiently funded, though in the reports I've read (e.g.) I have not seen anything about annual reauthorizations. I may have missed it!

The bill passed by the subcommittee today lasts until 2090 and has no limit on funding!
The new bill would extend the expiration to 2090. It does not call for a specific amount of funds but whatever sums necessary through 2090.
I think that's great but I wonder if a bill with unlimited funding could even pass the House. It will certainly never pass the Senate in that form. But hey, go big or go home. The Senate will negotiate to less than initially proffered, so start with your aspirational goals.

(Also, I want to apologise for not mentioning/noticing that Stewart said, "... no American in this country should face financial ruin because of a health issue...." That was a terrible oversight on my part.)
posted by sjswitzer at 5:10 PM on June 12


Fuck Congress. Do your jobs better. Most of these assholes have endless time to fundraise and appear on talking head shows.

They also have a gold-plated taxpayer-funded healthcare system.
posted by HiroProtagonist at 9:24 PM on June 12


Related: Jason Scott was handed 2,400 photos taken by a worker at the world trade center site in September and October 2001. Twitter thread about the photos. Full set of photos on flickr.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 10:29 PM on June 12 [2 favorites]




Oh wow, I was actually down the hall when that happened. I was waiting in line for an unrelated hearing near the Financial Services room, and heard somebody talking in a raised voice but couldn't make out what they were saying. A couple of minutes later Stewart walked past us holding something I didn't recognize (the jacket, I realize now) and looking like he was trying not to cry. Which, yeah, no shit.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:38 AM on June 14


Mitch McConnell went on Fox News this morning for a sympathetic hearing on Donald Trump's favorite morning show…

Daily Beast (w/video): Mitch McConnell Wonders Why Jon Stewart Is ‘All Bent Out of Shape’ Over 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund—‘It sounds to me like he is looking for some way to take offense,’ the senator added.
Following his emotional House testimony on behalf of 9/11 first responders in which he excoriated Congress for seemingly not caring about the plight of the victims, Stewart appeared on Fox News Sunday and shamed McConnell for not prioritizing the bill.

“I want to make it clear that this has never been dealt with compassionately by Senator McConnell,” the former Daily Show host said. “He has always held out until the very last minute and only then, under intense lobbying and public shaming has he even deigned to move on it.”

Appearing Monday on Fox & Friends, McConnell was asked to react to Stewart’s comments. The Kentucky lawmaker essentially shrugged and said this is just how Congress works.
There's an element of performative cruelty to McConnell's parliamentary game-playing, especially since he knows Trump is watching him stick it to the libs. He knows he can't dismiss the issue, much as he'd obviously like to if it causes pain to ideological opponents like Stewart, but he can procrastinate for however long he likes.
posted by Doktor Zed at 8:58 AM on June 17


Stewart made an unannounced appearance on Colbert's Late Show last night to punch back. Includes righteous outrage, sarcasm, astute political observations and the requisite turtle gag.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:17 AM on June 18 [1 favorite]


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