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Friday, April 22, 2011

Meet Rep. Cliff Stearns

April 22nd, 2011 UPDATE This article was modified from its original version to include information on Rep. Stearns' NRA rating and 111con H.R.2159

Meet Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL). On the Fourth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks he made this statement:

"Four years ago, the forces of terror launched an unprecedented attack on the United States. Although our nation had long been the target of terrorists, these events shocked us out of lethargy and into action... 

My prayers are also with the victims of terrorism, and with our brave men and women waging and winning the War on Terror. We must never forget the horrible events of that September day."

What a guy. What a "patriot."

Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL)
Fast forward to last fall. Many of the "brave men and women" who had fought for their fellow Americans on that very day and into the following weeks were in trouble. They were now also "victims." These heroes that politicians, especially men like Rep. Stearns, had used as props and backdrops for an uncountable number of money-raising schemes were in peril and agony.

Some were suffering from cancer. Some were experiencing the slow disintegration of their lungs. Others had developed neurological disorders. Almost none of them possessed the kind of wealth required to supplement their existing health care. These miseries were the result of having answered the call of duty.

Indeed, they may have sacrificed all but their last measure by rushing into the carnage on that September morning. So a bill was proposed to serve them as they had served us. It was to be called the James Zadroga 9/11 Health And Compensation Law, named for a NY City detective who died from a respiratory illness he contracted at ground zero.

How did the Republicans respond? Did they rush to the floor of the House and the Senate ensuring swift passage? 

Absolutely not. First, they framed the bill as an "entitlement". The firefighters and law enforcement officers who we had been told represented everything that was noble in our culture were portrayed as looking for a handout.

As the mess spiraled and everyone from Shepard Smith to Jon Stewart heaped much deserved scorn on their machinations, the Republicans played games with the lives of our most selfless citizens. They held them hostage to the extension of the W Tax Cuts. After the back door deals were done, the legislation finally passed. As it turns out, there was an interesting caveat in the law and it came from the office of Rep. Cliff Stearns.

From HuffPo today:

"The provision was added in an amendment by Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) during the heated debate over the bill in the House Energy and Commerce Committee last May.

Sept. 11 responders in the committee room at the time mostly shook their heads at the move, which Democrats accepted on a voice vote after battling to bar other amendments on abortion and immigration that might have killed the bill.

But suddenly the point is no longer just a strategic concession to get a law passed.

As doctors and administrators begin acting on the federal instructions, participants in the 9/11 treatment and monitoring programs will soon be told that their names, places of birth, addresses, government ID numbers and other personal data will be provided to the FBI to ensure they are not terrorists."

I guess that was just Rep. Stearns way of looking out for us. You never know how many of those "brave men and women," crippled by their own heroism, may actually be Al Qaeda. Or something.

I am sure Rep. Stearns was just protecting us by adding an extra layer of bureaucratic red tape to keep potential evil-doers from conning us out of our money. I mean, we can't possibly provide medical care to anyone on the terrorist watchlist even if they are proven to have behaved heroically on 9/11 or in its aftermath. If care is delayed for some during an as yet undetermined appeals process or is outright denied, shouldn't these union cops and union firefighters still feel lucky?

We don't keep these watchlists for nothing. Right? They are very serious business. 

Screencap from Stearn's Amendment
There's just one small problem. Stearns' position on the 111th congress' H.R.2159. Perhaps you have forgotten that bill. It's full title was the "Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorists Act of 2009." That proposed legislation was pretty simple. It attempted to prevent anyone on the terrorist watchlist from buying a gun. The NRA went nuts. The far-right cried that it was "anti-American."

Let's just say Rep. Cliff Stearns didn't get his A+ rating from the NRA for nothing.

So here we are. If you are on the terrorist watchlist and are provably a hero who saved fellow Americans or one of the thousands of souls who combed through the wreckage looking for remains or maybe even just one of those who helped amidst the chaos and maintained order, no medicine for you!

But if you are on the terrorist watchlist because you are a mouth-breathing, Stormfront member and a whack job with a history of anti-government threats? GUNS,GUNS, GUNS! All the guns you want!

Either way, Rep. Stearns is not really responsible for this. When the Zagroda bill finally came to a vote, he didn't vote yea and he didn't vote nay. He abstained from voting at all.

As I said. He just not responsible.

2370 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515-0906
Phone: 202-225-5744
Fax: 202-225-3973


  1. Florida is chock full of politicians like this. They jumped all over Alan Grayson and drove him out. Until the rigged election system is routed, this state's increasingly rational electorate won't have a chance to get rid of him, and he will continue to pander to ignorance and ruin important discussions in this country.

  2. The "heroes of 9-11" remind me of Boxer as he was carted off to the knacker after a lifetime of service to Animal Farm. I hope there is a hell and a just God.