Wednesday, November 26, 2014






A friend at a VSO wanted to point out that Senator Murray never loses sight of veterans issues while, in the House, Corrine "Brown can't even find them."  That's a very good point and one that I have missed.

At Third on Sunday, we wrote "Editorial: Corrine Brown must not be named Ranking Member" which noted how US House Rep Tim Walz was qualified to be the Ranking Member on the House Veterans Affairs Committee and Brown is not. We noted the nonsense Nancy Pelosi and her cronies pulled as they insisted that Walz couldn't run for Ranking Member because he wasn't a member of the Committee and only took part via a waiver.  The editorial included this:

If he had to obtain a waiver to serve on the Committee?

That meant he served on the Committee.

That's what the waiver did, it made him a Committee member.

And Tim Walz asked questions in hearings, voted on the Comittee, etc.

He was a member and he participated.

Gov.track isn't confused:

Committee Membership

Timothy Walz sits on the following committees:

And he didn't just serve on the Committee and show up for hearings, he sponsored bills dealing with veterans issues:

H.R. 5680: Veterans’ Toxic Wounds Research Act of 2014 
Sponsor: Rep. Timothy Walz [D-MN1]
Introduced: Sep 19, 2014
Referred to Committee: Sep 19, 2014
H.R. 5059: Clay Hunt SAV Act 
Sponsor: Rep. Timothy Walz [D-MN1]
Introduced: Jul 10, 2014
Referred to Committee: Jul 10, 2014
H.R. 4191: Quicker Veterans Benefits Delivery Act 
Sponsor: Rep. Timothy Walz [D-MN1]
Introduced: Mar 11, 2014
Referred to Committee: Mar 11, 2014
H.R. 3569: Protecting the Freedoms and Benefits for All Veterans Act 
Sponsor: Rep. Timothy Walz [D-MN1]
Introduced: Nov 20, 2013
Referred to Committee: Nov 20, 2013
H.R. 2785: Military Reserve Jobs Act 
Sponsor: Rep. Timothy Walz [D-MN1]
Introduced: Jul 22, 2013
Referred to Committee: Jul 22, 2013

H.R. 1980: Quicker Veterans Benefits Delivery Act 
Sponsor: Rep. Timothy Walz [D-MN1]
Introduced: May 14, 2013
Referred to Committee: May 14, 2013
H.R. 975: Servicemember Mental Health Review Act 
Sponsor: Rep. Timothy Walz [D-MN1]
Introduced: Mar 5, 2013
Referred to Committee: Mar 5, 2013
H.R. 679: Honor America’s Guard-Reserve Retirees Act 
Sponsor: Rep. Timothy Walz [D-MN1]
Introduced: Feb 13, 2013
H.R. 6574 (112th): Servicemember Mental Health Review Act 
Sponsor: Rep. Timothy Walz [D-MN1]
Introduced: Oct 12, 2012
Referred to Committee: Oct 12, 2012
H.R. 1855 (112th): Veterans’ Traumatic Brain Injury Rehabilitative Services’ Improvements Act of 2011 
Sponsor: Rep. Timothy Walz [D-MN1]
Introduced: May 11, 2011
Referred to Committee: May 11, 2011
H.R. 1566 (112th): Protecting Servicemembers from Mortgage Abuses Act of 2011 
Sponsor: Rep. Timothy Walz [D-MN1]
Introduced: Apr 14, 2011
Referred to Committee: Apr 14, 2011
H.R. 865 (112th): Veteran Employment Transition Act of 2011 
Sponsor: Rep. Timothy Walz [D-MN1]
Introduced: Mar 1, 2011
Referred to Committee: Mar 1, 2011
H.R. 6188 (111th): Veterans’ Homelessness Prevention and Early Warning Act of 2010 
Sponsor: Rep. Timothy Walz [D-MN1]
Introduced: Sep 22, 2010
Referred to Committee: Sep 22, 2010
H.R. 6123 (111th): Veterans’ Traumatic Brain Injury Rehabilitative Services’ Improvements Act of 2010 
Sponsor: Rep. Timothy Walz [D-MN1]
Introduced: Sep 14, 2010
Referred to Committee: Sep 14, 2010
H.R. 5928 (111th): Veterans’ Disability Claims Efficiency Act of 2010 
Sponsor: Rep. Timothy Walz [D-MN1]
Introduced: Jul 29, 2010
Referred to Committee: Jul 29, 2010
H.R. 5400 (111th): Veteran Employment Transition Act of 2010 
Sponsor: Rep. Timothy Walz [D-MN1]
Introduced: May 25, 2010
Referred to Committee: May 25, 2010

In fairness to Corrine Brown, we should note that during the same period above (2008 and to the present), she also sponsored some bills. 

Well . . . 


Because there was only one.

From 2008 to the present -- six years -- she only sponsored one bill having to do with veterans.  

But she thinks she's earned the right to serve as Ranking Member on the House Veterans Affairs Committee?

In fairness to Corrine, we should note she had other things to focus on.  In the same period, she introduced two bills on Haiti.  Maybe that makes her an expert on veterans?  And she sponsored four bills on National Train Day.

Of course, she also had to put in a lot of time going through those mail order catalogs to buy all her hideous wigs.

Is Corrine Ranking Member?


She's issued two statements already announcing she is but until January, when the new Congress starts, she's not.

And if the Democrats in the House are stupid enough to go along with Nancy, to oppose veterans groups on this issue, they better be prepared for the voter fallout in 2016, they better be prepared for the ignorant statements out of Corrine's mouth that the Democratic presidential candidate will have to respond to.  This is insanity.  The woman is a moron and who cannot speak.  Every time she opens her mouth she either embarrasses herself or attacks veterans -- or both!  

The whole party's going to suffer as a result of Nancy Pelosi's decision and that needs to be brought home to Nancy, loudly and clearly -- not the three person meet-up that took place this weekend where an attempt was made to reason with Nancy.

This issue isn't over yet, the decision can be overturned.

But if it's not, it needs to be remembered than Nancy Pelosi is responsible for Democratic losses in 2016 as Corrine Brown becomes the face of the party when it comes to veterans issues.

RECOMMENDED: "Iraq snapshot"

Tuesday, November 25, 2014








Chuck Hagel is now the departing Secretary of Defense. His rumored resignation is now official and AP notes that the resignation "comes as the president's national security team has been battered by crises including the rise of Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria and Russia's provocations in Ukraine."

This afternoon at the White House, US President Barack Obama and Hagel announced the Secretary of Defense's resignation.  We'll skip Barack's repeated use of "Chuck" and instead note Hagel's words:

Mr. President, thank you -– thank you for your generous words, for your friendship, for your support which I have always valued and will continue to value. And to my not old, but my longtime, dear friend Vice President Biden, who I have always admired and respected, and both the President and I have learned an awful lot from the Vice President over the years -– thank you. And I want to thank the Deputy Secretary of Defense who is here, Bob Work, and the Chairman and Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Marty Dempsey, who also is here. I want to thank them for being here this morning.
I also want to thank you both for your tremendous leadership of the Defense Department and what you mean to our men and women and their families all over the world; and for the honor I’ve had to serve with each of you and the privilege it’s been in every way.
And I want to thank the entire leadership team at the Pentagon. Without their support and wise counsel over the last couple of years our many accomplishments, and the President noted some, I have been part of that -– but it’s a team. It’s all these tremendous men and women, as you know Mr. President, that make this happen and I couldn’t be prouder of them and what we have accomplished over the almost two years that I’ve had the honor of serving in this position.
And as the President noted I have today submitted my resignation as Secretary of Defense. It’s been the greatest privilege of my life; the greatest privilege of my life to lead and most important, to serve -- to serve with the men and women of the Defense Department and support  their families. I am immensely proud of what we’ve accomplished during this time. We have prepared ourselves, as the President has noted, our allies and Afghan National Security Forces for a successful transition in Afghanistan. We bolstered enduring alliances and strengthened emerging partnerships while successfully responding to crises around the world.
And we’ve launched important reforms that the President noted -- reforms that will prepare this institution for the challenges facing us in decades to come. I believe we have set not only this department –- the Department of Defense -– but the nation on the stronger course toward security, stability and prosperity. If I didn’t believe that, I would not have done this job.
As our country prepares to celebrate Thanksgiving I want to –- you, Mr. President, and you, Vice President Biden, -– acknowledge what you have done and how grateful I am to both of you for your leadership and your friendship and for giving me this opportunity to serve our country  once again.
I will continue to support you, Mr. President, and the men and women who defend this country every day so unselfishly; and their families, what they do for our country, so unselfishly. And as I have said –- and as the President noted –- I will stay on this job and work just as hard as I have over the last couple of years, every day, every moment, until my successor is confirmed by the United States Senate.
I’d also like to express my gratitude to our colleagues on Capitol Hill -- my gratitude to them for their support of me, but more importantly their support of our troops and their families and their continued commitment to our National Security.
I also want to thank my international counterparts for their friendship and their partnership and their advice during my time as Secretary of Defense. Their involvement with me and their partnership with me -- in so many of these important areas as we build these coalitions of common interests as you have noted, Mr. President –- are so critically important and to them, I am grateful I will be forever grateful.
And finally I’d like to thank my family. My wife Lilibet, who you have mentioned, Mr. President, who was with me this morning as she has been with me throughout so many years, and during so many tremendous experiences. And this experience and opportunity and privilege to serve as Secretary of Defense has been one of those; and to my daughter Allyn and my son Ziller.

Mr. President, again, thank you. To you and to all of our team everywhere, as we know Mr. President, Mr. Vice President, it is a team effort. And that’s part of the fun of it, to help build teams and to work together to make things happen for the good of the country and make a better world. For all of that I am immensely grateful. And to all of you, your families, happy Thanksgiving. Thank you very much.

The repeated use of "Chuck" in Barack's remarks were most likely an effort to make shoving Hagel out of a moving car seem far kinder than it was. 

Selena Hill (Latin Post) notes:

[. . .] inside sources say that the former Nebraska senator was forced out by the president, CNN  reports. According to officials, the White House lost confidence in Hagel's ability to effectively lead in the Pentagon. Plus, the former Republican senator faced pressure as criticism of the president's national security team on a series of global issues mounted, including the threat of the Islamic State.
NBC News correspondent and MSNBC talk show host Andrea Mitchell Tweeted the following:

  • Truth is  brought in to manage troop draw down from 2 wars now U.S. is extending combat role in Afghanistan and "advising" in Iraq

  • MONTAGNE: Well, get down to why Hagel is resigning right at this moment?

    LIASSON: Well, the president had conversations with Hagel in October about the final quarter of his presidency, and he essentially asked Hagel to step down. I think the biggest reason was that the mission has changed. When Chuck Hagel came in, his focus was on drawing down troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, shrinking the Pentagon, dealing with the sequester budget cuts. But now the world has changed. We're recommitting troops to Iraq to fight ISIS. In Afghanistan, we're going to be leaving some more troops behind. And the White House decided they needed a strategic thinker. And they've really struggled to stay one step ahead of all of these crises - Ebola, Ukraine, even conflicts in Asia. And I think the thinking was that they needed somebody else to run the Defense Department, more of a strategic thinker, in the remaining months of the president's term.

    MONTAGNE: And beyond that, were there problems with Hagel?

    LIASSON: Well, Chuck Hagel did occasionally seem not be on the same page as the White House. He famously said that ISIS was beyond anything we'd seen before. He was kind of out in front on that. He clashed with the national security advisor, Susan Rice, on Syria. And he never really made it into that very small insular inner circle at the White House.

    For all the lies and pretense, this was not a happy exit.  Early this morning, Helene Cooper of the New York Times attempted to spin pretty because she's honestly that useless.  She always has been and she always will be.   In 2006, Ava and I dubbed her the Bobble Head Pundit and nothing in all the years since has demonstrated that she has the skill or ability to actually report. 

    Helene had the story but she couldn't do a thing with it because she's never had the skill for context.

    After her embarrassing 'report' broke this morning, other outlets -- including the Associated Press -- brought the skill and context Helene was incapable of.  And the editorial board of the Contra Costa Times probably had the least stomach for spin of anyone working the story:

    The White House announced that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel had submitted his resignation after he and President Obama "both determined that it was time for new leadership at the Pentagon."
    Time for new leadership? Really? Hagel's tenure is still being measured in months rather than years (18, to be exact), he has barely had time to locate all the elevators in the Pentagon. Yet it is somehow time for new leadership? This announcement is Washingtonspeak for "the guy we picked isn't working out." 

    TVNZ One News specifically notes,"Mr Hagel has had his own frustrations with the White House. In recent weeks, he sent a letter to national security adviser Susan Rice in which he said Mr Obama needed to articulate a clearer view of the administration's approach to dealing with Syrian President Bashar Assad. The letter is said to have angered White House officials."

    Aliyah Frumin (MSNBC) notes some Congressional reaction:

    “This announcement shows when you don’t have a strategy, it’s hard to come up w/a team to help you implement a strategy,” said GOP Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri on Twitter. GOP Rep. Andy Harris of Maryland tweeted, “Pres Obama’s national security policy is failing & world is in turmoil. It will take more than changing the Sec of Defense to fix it.” Similarly, House Speaker John Boehner thanked Hagel for his service but added, “New #SecDef isn’t enough…” And in an expanded statement, Boehner said Hagel’s replacement must accompany a “larger re-thinking” of the America’s military strategy, suggesting GOP lawmakers will take a tough-as-nails approach during the next confirmation process.

    Hagel has agreed to hang on until his successor can be confirmed.  That person will be number four.  He or she will follow Robert Gates, Leon Panetta and Chuck Hagel.  Four.

    Since January 2009, Barack has required 4 US Ambassadors to Iraq as well: Chris Hill, James Jeffrey, Robert Steven Beecroft and Stuart Jones.   Four.

    When the US could have provided stability, it provided a non-stop state of flux.

    RECOMMENDED:  "Iraq snapshot"

    Sunday, November 23, 2014






    The Oregonian reported that he helped raise more than half a million dollars for Obama's 2012  re-election campaign, and Federal Election Commission records show he's contributed thousands to Democrats, including former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and others.

    Iraq has a new prime minister, Haider al-Abadi -- or rather their prime minister has a new name.  Otherwise, things are pretty much the same in Iraq.

  • Human Rights Watch issued an alert Friday which includes:

    An attack on November 19, 2014, targeting Erbil’s governorate building killed at least 10 civilians and wounded dozens more. Attacks the same day in Baghdad killed or wounded 18 civilians. In early October, at the beginning of Muharram, the first month of the Islamic calendar and especially holy for Shia worshippers, five car bomb attacks in Karbala killed at least 15 people and injured another 48. Since then, other bombings have killed dozens more in Baghdad, Kirkuk, and elsewhere.
    “Bombings across Iraq are killing and maiming civilians in attacks so frequent they barely make the local news,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director. “But a government response that too often includes arbitrary arrests and summary executions will only fuel the cycle of abuses.”
    Iraq’s central government and the Kurdistan Regional Government should redouble efforts to protect all civilians – Sunni and Shia, Arab and Kurd, and other minorities – in their fight against the militant group Islamic State (also known as ISIS), which has claimed responsibility for many of the attacks. Iraqi authorities have frequently responded to ISIS attacks with human rights abuses against Sunni civilians, including arbitrary arrests and detentions. In July, Human Rights Watch documented government-backed militias’ summary execution of dozens of Sunni civilians in areas where they are battling ISIS.

    Does that sound like a new Iraq?

    No.  And Robert A. Manning (National Interest) observes:

    The strategy, as announced, had a coherent logic to it. But it required some large leaps of faith. As Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey told the House Armed Services Committee last week, “One of our assumptions is that the government of Iraq will be inclusive. One of the assumptions is that the Iraqi security forces will be will to take back al-Anbar province…If those assumptions are rendered invalid, I will have to adjust my recommendations.”
    The strategy assumed that once Maliki was removed as Iraqi prime minister, a new leader would form a more inclusive government, one that Sunnis would not reject. Bombing would buy time until Iraqis could be trained to fight ISIS—boots on the ground that would complement our air war.

    But so far, Iraq’s new prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, has done little to change Sunnis’ perceptions of Baghdad. Appointing the head of the Badr Shia militia to the powerful post of minister of the interior hasn’t helped. Will Baghdad fully allow the fostering of Sunni national guard forces? A recent shake-up in Iraq’s defense ministry and senior military leadership may be a step in that direction. But it will be at least six to eight months before it is possible to judge whether Sunnis have any confidence in the new government.

    In fairness, Haider al-Abadi can point to one bit of success.  AFP reports, "The Iraqi government transferred $500 million to the autonomous Kurdish region on Wednesday as part of a deal aimed at ending long-running oil and budget disputes, the finance minister said."  Press TV explains:

    Hoshyar Zebari said in Baghdad on Wednesday that his ministry transferred the sum to the account of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) earlier in the day under the deal which requires Iraq to resume funding Kurdish civil servant salaries in return for a share of Kurdish oil exports.
    He said the KRG began supplying 150,000 barrels of crude oil per day to State Oil Marketing Organization (SOMO) storage tanks in the Turkish port city of Ceyhan on Tuesday.

    "This mutual implementation means that the two sides are ready to resolve all the other issues and all the issues are up for discussion," Zebari stated.

    That isn't minor.  For over a year now, the Kurds have been denied their part of the federal budget.  Nouri al-Maliki, the former prime minister and forever thug, attempted to use the federal budget to blackmail the Kurds.

    So resolving this isn't minor.

    But it's also true that the only resolution Haider al-Abadi can claim thus far also involves oil.  Stick a pin in that, we'll come back to it.

    I would argue you could even give him credit for a meet-up/photo-op this week.  Mu Xuequan (Xinhua) reports that  Haider met in Baghdad with Turkey's Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and the two held a joint-press conference at which Haider declared, "There is an agreement on information exchange and security cooperation (with Turkey), and moreover, the Turkish prime minister has offered military cooperation in fighting against the terror of Daash (IS' Arabic acronym), which is not only a threat against Iraq but also against Turkey and the whole region,,"

    That's news.

    And not because Xuequan reports, "Turkey will train Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga forces to fight Islamic State militants in Iraq, local Hurriyet Daily News reported on Friday.  Turkey and the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government have been in cooperation for a training program in northern Iraq for a month, according to the daily report."  That's an arrangement between the Turkish government and the Kurdish government and the two have been getting along amazingly well for several years now.

    The same cannot be said of the Turkish government and the central government out of Baghdad.

    And the only person to blame for that is Nouri al-Maliki.

    He repeatedly called the government of Turkey (which shares a border with Iraq) terrorists.  He insulted them non-stop and did so in a public fashion.  Nouri also attacked the governments of Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia -- pretty much every government in the region except for the government of Iran.

    RECOMMENDED:  "Iraq snapshot"

    Thursday, November 20, 2014






    Senator Bernie Sanders declared this morning, ". . . it's a very difficult hearing because what we are going to be touching on today is what happens to the men and women who come home from war, who have served us with great courage and what happens to them when they return to civilian life."

    He is the Chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee and they were talking about issues like military suicide.

    But let's use Sanders' words as a starting point -- and let's note that Senate Democrats actually do work to improve the lives of veterans.  The same cannot be said for the Democratic leadership in the House.

    How bad are things there?

    Last week, US House Rep Nancy Pelosi was in the news for denying US House Rep Tammy Duckworth the right to vote by proxy on party positions in the House:

    Tammy Duckworth is not only a member of Congress, she's also a veteran of the Iraq War.  Nancy Pelosi chose to 'honor' veterans this week by announcing that a veteran who lost both legs in combat would not be allowed to vote by proxy on the issue of who would hold what office -- for example, who would be the next Ranking Member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
    Duckworth is at home in Illinois.  Why doesn't she just fly to DC?
    CBS News notes Duckworth "was told by doctor that it was unsafe for her to fly at this stage in her pregnancy."

    Last night on Comedy Central Jon Stewart was rightly mocking the disgraceful US House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi in a segment of The Daily Show entitled "Petty Woman" which ended with Jon observing, "And that's how the precedent was set that a woman leader can be every bit as craven as her political male counterparts.  Let me say this, You go, girl.  Seriously, you should go."

    Erik Wemple (Washington Post) explains:

    His takedown of Pelosi’s denial of a pregnant woman’s vote in House Democratic elections proceeds in merciless fashion. Availing himself of Pelosi’s trail of accomplishments over the years, he documented how she has established herself on key issues that bear on the Duckworth  situation. For instance: The National Partnership for Women and Families, noted Stewart, celebrated Pelosi’s advocacy for “working women.” Also highlighted by Stewart: Pelosi said at an event for the Voting Rights Act, “The right to vote must be the cornerstone of our democracy.” 
    Stewart: “You’re a recognized champion of working women and voting rights.” 
    From there, the rip was easy: “You rejected, you’re suppressing the vote of a minority pregnant woman who is a wounded war veteran. She is everything you supposedly stand for stuffed into one individual. She is a Democratic demographic tur-Duckworth,” said the host. 

    Jaime Fuller (Washington Post) notes: 

    She denied Rep. Tammy Duckworth's request to cast a proxy vote in the Democratic leadership elections. Duckworth was advised by her doctor not to fly to Washington in her eighth month of pregnancy. Duckworth (D-Ill.) also is a double-amputee Iraq War veteran, or, as Stewart put it, a Democratic demographic Turduckworth. The reason for denying the proxy vote? Pelosi said it would set a precedent ... and Duckworth happened to be supporting someone other than Pelosi's chosen candidate for a committee position. 

    Poor Nancy, it's week two and it's not going away.

    Even worse for Nance, it's now her.

    This is her to America.

    It's as though she tripped at a party and knocked a table over and now every time she waivers a little when she walks, people will giggle.

    It's the New Nancy.  Somewhere lower on the evolution scale than Billy Carter or Dan Quayle.

    Not a good position to be in when over a third of Democratic members of the House want you gone.

    Not a good position to be in when Dems are gearing up for the 2016 elections and can't afford to have a leader be a laughingstock.

    And now she has an image as a person who trashes veterans.

    Senator Sanders today puzzled about "what happens to the men and women who come home from war, who have served us with great courage and what happens to them when they return to civilian life."

    What does happen to them?

    Last week, Nancy Pelosi made clear that they will not receive fair treatment, that the work environment will not change to meet their medical needs.

    Today, she demonstrated something else:  Their experience means nothing.

    Maybe you know of Senator Patty Murray's work on veterans employment?  The Hire A Hero campaign and other programs she's steered and implemented.

    Murray and others have worked very hard to stress that veterans have important skills they can offer employers.  In the House, US House Rep Gerry Connolly has stressed the skills veterans have and the need for these skills to be translated into the civilian workforce.

    Nancy Pelosi doesn't believe veterans have any skills or insight.

    Which is why she used an arcane rule to force US House Rep Tim Walz out of seeking the Ranking Member post on the House Veterans Affairs Committee in favor of Pelosi pet Corrine Brown.

    Native-born Corrine Brown struggles with the English language, attacks veterans in hearings (when she shows up for the Veterans Affairs Committee hearings), attacks witnesses, attacks the Office of the Inspector General and so much more. 

    This is not a new development.

    Dona moderated a "Congress and Veterans" roundtable May 13, 2012 about a House Veterans Affairs Committee hearing the previous week that we had covered in the community:

    Kat, Wally, Ava and C.I. attended the hearing.   Kat reported on it with  "Congress Member Gone Wild" and C.I. reported on it with "Iraq snapshot," "Iraq snapshot," "Congress is supposed to provide oversight"  and "Iraq snapshot." 

    From the roundtable:

    Dona: Thank you, Kat.  That perfectly set up a point I wanted to get to with Ava.  Kat and C.I. reported on US House Rep. Corrine Brown.  Ava, what was your take?

    Ava: Brown's an embarrassment.  I can't believe the crap she pulled.  She didn't give a damn about the veterans and made excuses for the VA and lied and misled.  She's an embarrassment, I hope to hell her sorry ass is voted out of Congress.

    Dona: She attacked a witness, what was that about?

    Ava: Another reason her sorry ass needs to be pulled out of Congress.  The second panel was people who worked outside of the government including Dr. Nicole Sawyer who is a psychologist.  Corrine Brown wanted to show that her bad wigs weren't the trashiest things about her.  She went off on Dr. Sawyer because Chair Miller asked about the comments Shinskeki made.  Corrine Brown cut off the doctor started screaming her head and acting like a crazy woman when usually she just sounds like an uneducated one.

    Dona: What set her off?

    Ava: The reality was that Shinseki was being critiqued and she wasn't going to have that.  She lied and stated it wasn't fair for the doctor to critique Shinseki.  But, in the first round, when Shinseki was asked about Dr. Sawyer's written remarks, Shinseki offered a critique and Corrine Browne didn't say one damn word.

    Dona:  Wally, your take?

    Wally: The same as Ava's.  I'll pick up where she left off.  So Corrine Brown cuts off the witness who is answering Miller's questions --

    Dona: Brown doesn't even have the floor.  She just barged in while the witness was speaking?

    Wally: Correct.  And then after she has her rant, Jeff Miller, the Chair, sort of gives this look like, "Now that the crazy lady is done . . ."  He goes back to asking Dr. Sawyer a question.  Dr. Sawyer is sort of stunned and she replies to Miller's question, starts to, and tries to explain she wasn't trying to offend anyone when Brown cuts her off again and starts screaming her head off about how Miller needs to tell the witness to address her remarks to the Chair.  And it was just embarrassing.  I'm from Florida, Corrine Brown is the Congressional joke of our state.

    Dona: So, let's --

    Ava: Sorry.  It's not over, Dona.  Miller is attempting to calm down Crazy Corrine.  The hearing's at a complete standstill.  And the crazy woman is insulting Dr. Sawyer, stating she won't listen to Dr. Sawyer because Dr. Sawyer isn't a "doctor."  She calls the woman an "educator."  As an insult.  Miller notes that remark's not going to please educators and Brown doesn't care.  She was just so rude.  If you'd been in that hearing, you would have been shocked that a member of Congress would act the way she did.

    Dona: Okay, thanks for that.  C.I., is this typical Corrine Brown?

    C.I.: Since January 2009, it has been.  She makes excuses for the VA and rushes to excuse Eric Shinseki's many problems.  I remember an October 15, 2009 hearing on the VA's inability to get checks to veterans -- the GI Bill checks -- for the fall semester and how Corrine Brown was offering excuses for the VA in that hearing too.  That's just one example.  She's disgraced herself.  I have no use for her.

    Dona: Kat, closing thoughts?

    Kat: The hearing's not going to accomplish anything, the Committe's not going to, until everyone can agree that the veterans are the most important thing.  Corrine Brown was not serving veterans, she's usually not.  When a Republican is in office, there's the pretense that she's tough and will ask questions to protect the veterans.  But when a Democrat's in office, she reveals she's just a partisan and doesn't give a damn about veterans.

    And that was 2012.  It's only gotten worse.

    RECOMMENDED: "Iraq snapshot"