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News Section: Opinion

Letters: Let's Hold Vern Accountable

Published Monday, May 26, 2014 12:02 am

Area resident Charles Senf has been a prolific writer of letters to the editor to various local papers for many years. Recently, he took aim at an email that he received from the Vern Buchanan for Congress campaign. Below is the email followed by his response.

Subject: Holding Government Accountable  From: Vern Buchanan Sent: Wednesday, May 21, 2014 3:32 PM

As your representative in Congress, one of my most important jobs is holding government bureaucrats accountable for their actions and there sure have been a lot of questionable actions lately that demand accountability – the IRS targeting of conservative taxpayers, the VA's scandalous treatment of our veterans, Obamacare’s false promises, Benghazi, government surveillance of ordinary Americans…the list goes on. I have consistently been a champion of reigning in the size of our government, especially when that government treats citizens unfairly or with a heavy hand. The IRS targeting of people because of their political beliefs is outrageous and unacceptable. How can the public have confidence in government when a top IRS official invoked the Fifth Amendment against self incrimination? We can disagree over policies, but using the full weight of our government for political retribution is unconscionable. Rest assured that I will continue demanding answers until the truth is brought to light. Vern - Paid for by Vern Buchanan for Congress.

Well, I suppose this makes it 'official' that Vern's still running for office.

But look at what our would be lawmaker says above before you vote for him again - please.

"The IRS targeting of conservative taxpayers" Note, he does not say 'alleged' targeting - which would be legally correct as no one has actually been found to have 'targeted' any but the flood of groups seeking tax exempt status (after the Citizens United USSC Decision) the names and objectives of which did not 'on their face' appear to be apolitical.

A significant distinction that might befuddle our local Tea Party Republicans, but Vern's asking us to make him a law giver. Certainly one who would write our laws needs to be able to abide by those currently 'on the books!'

"The IRS targeting of people because of their political beliefs is outrageous and unacceptable." If we had him in court, we would object that he is stating facts not in evidence - another of those pesky distinctions the law includes to protect us from the likes of a Senator Joe McCarthy or a Congressman Vern Buchanan's hysterics.

"How can the public have confidence in government when a top IRS official invoked the Fifth Amendment against self incrimination?" This is a tough one on its face. Our constitutional prohibition against compelling our citizens to testify against their own best interests was established because Kings (and, evidently Congress) are adept at extracting statements under oath that can be used to impugn the conduct and character of a witness without that witness having his or her actual 'day in court.'  Vern should know this, right?  After all I learned about it in grade school and high school and in college. Surely Vern graduated from one of these.

"using the full weight of our government for political retribution is unconscionable"  Well, Congressman, it certainly would be if what you impute to the administration with all these innuendos and allegations had been proven to those not running or working for Faux News.

"Benghazi," Huh!? Benghazi what? The bad guys attacked our embassy (another one) and killed the Ambassador who didn't want his embassy to be an armed garrison - wanted to walk among the people, etc. What set it off? A Movie, the anniversary of 911, sixty years of the Jewish State of Israel, our attack upon Iraq, our presence in Afghanistan, a combination of all of that? Hell, under Bush they blew up New York and Washington, DC - was that Bush's fault.

"government surveillance of ordinary Americans" (as authorized - and re-authorized - by Republicans and Democrats alike in a law they passed so hastily - literally within days - after 911) And, just what is an 'ordinary American' anyhow? Would Theodore John Kaczynsk qualify? Or ‎Timothy McVeigh or ‎Terry Nichols or ‎Michael or Lori Fortier?  What about an 'ordinary guy' who calls Tehran several times a month? And how do we discover who's doing stuff like that before the bomb goes off in Boston?

"the VA's scandalous treatment of our veterans" Hell, Vern never served. I did. I have private insurance, Medicare and can see any doctor I choose. But I go to the VA Hospitals and Clinics for my care and find it outstanding "Second to none."  But Vern's less interested in the truth than scandal and uses the 'exceptions that prove the rule' to castigate an entire army of Medical Professionals who serve us vets admirably and, of course, attack the administration.

"Obamacare’s false promises" Vern, you were in Congress when it passed, it is called The Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act. It was originally conceived and proposed by the Heritage Foundation (which specifically urged a universal mandate) and was first enacted by some Republican Governor you may have voted for recently - his name escapes me at the moment.

After one hundred and seventy years, the defacto motto of these united states of America was changed via an 'act of congress' during another crisis (The Cold War) from E Pluribus Unum to In God We Trust. We need to remember the original, as it was the ideal upon which this nation was founded - bringing together all those equally created (albeit, white) men (and later women) to form one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

One indivisible nation - not at all what we see in Washington today or hear from 'our' representative therein.

It's a shame. I want the old motto back.

Charles Senf

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