JON STEWART SOUNDS OFF

September 07, 2018 at 5:00 am

Jon Stewart is best known as the former host of The Daily Show, but tonight, the comedian is teaming up with veteran and 9/11 first responder, John Feal of the FealGood Foundation, to sound off in defense of the thousands of rescue and recovery workers afflicted with illness from their service.

Aired on September 6, 2018.

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> TONIGHT WE OPEN OUR SERIES
ON POST 9/11 VETERANS IN
AMERICA, FRONT LINES OF THE HOME
FRONT, FOLLOWING THE 9/11
TERRORIST ATTACKS FIRST
RESPONDERS FROM ALL OVER THE
NATION CAME TO THE AID OF THOSE
IN NEED.
AND NOW THOUSANDS OF THEM ARE
SUFFERING AND EVEN DYING FROM A
RANGE OF ILLNESSES, MORE WILL
CERTAINLY BE DIAGNOSED WITH
THESE ILLNESSES IN THE COMING
YEARS, AND INDEED IN THE COMING
DECADES.
BUT EVEN SO, SOME NEW ADMISSIONS
ARE BEING CHALLENGED IN SPITE OF
STRONG OBJECTIONS.
AMONG THOSE OBJECTING IS ARMY
VETERAN 9/11 FIRST RESPONDER
JOHN FIELD WHOSE FOOT WAS
CRUSHED AT GROUND ZERO.
HE HAS BEEN BATTLING LAWMAKERS
WHO OPPOSE THE JAMES DROGA IN
2010 AND ITS RENEWAL IN 2015.
HIS FIGHT IS NOT YET OVER.
HE'S HEADING TO WASHINGTON
AGAIN, AND HE HAS STAR POWER
BEHIND HIM, COMEDY ICON JON
STEWART HAS BEEN SUPPORTING MR.
FIELDS' FIGHT WITH LAWMAKERS FOR
YIERS.
JON STEWART JOINS JOHN FIELDS
TODAY.
WELCOME TO BOTH OF YOU.
>> THANK YOU.
>> LET ME TALK ABOUT WHAT'S
GOING ON RIGHT NOW.
BECAUSE, AS WE KNOW, 2010, THE
ACT GETS PASSED, 2015 IT GETS
RE-UPPED.
I SUSPECT IF YOU ASK FOLKS ON
THE STREET ABOUT THIS, THEY
THINK IT'S ALL DONE AND
EVERYBODY'S BEING TAKEN CARE OF.
WHY IS THAT NOT THE CASE?
WHAT IS THE REAL STRUGGLE NOW?
>> IN 2010 WHEN WE GOT THE BILL
PASSED THE FIRST TIME, CANCER
WASN'T EVEN ADDED TO THE BILL.
>> RIGHT.
THEY HADN'T YET DONE THE PROOF.
THE BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT WAS
NEVER GIVEN TO THE FIRST
RESPONDER COMMUNITY.
>> YOU HAD TO PROVE,
INITIALLY --
>> 26 YEARS OLD WITH NASAL
CANCERS, REALLY UNUSUAL CANCERS,
REALLY UNUSUAL RESPIRATORY
ILLNESSES, STRANGE CLUST TERES
OF THAT AGE AND THEY WERE BEING
MADE TO PROVE TO THEIR
GOVERNMENT, ANYBODY WHO LIVED
DOWN THERE COULD TELL YOU
WHATEVER AIR WAS BEING BREATHED
DOWN THERE WAS NOT SAFE.
IT WAS CLEAR.
IT WAS THE TYPE OF BURN PITS YOU
WOULD ONLY SEE IN IRAQ AND
AFGHANISTAN.
AND THESE GUYS WERE ON IT FOR
MONTHS AT A TIME, 24 HOURS A
DAY, NO BREATHING APPARATUS
BECAUSE THEY WERE TOLD THAT THE
AIR WAS SAFE.
WELL, NOW HERE WE ARE, IT'S NINE
YEARS LATER, THEY'VE BEEN
WATCHING PEOPLE IN THEIR
COMMUNITY GET SICK AND DIE FROM
THESE BIZARRE ILLNESSES AND NO
ONE WILL LISTEN.
IT'S VERY SIMILAR TO WHAT THE
VIETNAM VETERANS FACED WHEN THEY
CAME BACK AND IT WAS THE AGENT
ORANGE ISSUE.
SO ONCE AGAIN, WHEN THEY WEREN'T
RIGHT ON THE FRONT LINES OF THE
POSITION TO HELP US THEY WERE
IGNORED.
AND IT WAS INFURIATING.
>> WHAT'S THE OBSTACLE?
POLITICIANS?
>> POLITICS AND IGNORANCE.
AND UNEDUCATED --
>> A LACK OF EMPATHY.
>> AND A LACK OF EMPATHY.
YOU KNOW, AGAIN IN 2010 WHEN WE
GOT THE BILL PASSED, WE GOT FIVE
YEARS OF HEALTH CARE ON THE
CONVERSATION.
WHEN WE GOT IT RENEWED WE GOT 75
YEARS.
EVERYBODY WAS JUMPING UP AND
DOWN, 75 YEARS OF HEALTH CARE
FREE.
THE COMPENSATION EXPIRES IN
2020.
WE'RE NOT GOING TO WAIT UNTIL
2020.
WE'RE RUNNING OUT OF MONEY AND
TIME.
THERE'S A DEADLINE FOR THOSE WHO
ARE SICK.
SO WE IMPLORE EVERYBODY TO GET
INTO THE WORLD TRADE CENTER
HEALTH PROGRAM AND FILE A
VICTIM'S COMPENSATION PLAN.
GOT FORBID YOU GET SICK AND THEY
CLOSE THESE PROGRAMS.
THOSE ALREADY IN THE PROGRAM
WILL BE GRANDFATHERED IN.
>> FOLKS NEED TO KNOW THAT, GET
THEMSELVES INTO THE SYSTEM.
>> WE HAVE 10,000 PEOPLE WITH
CERTIFIED 9/11, THESE NUMBERS
ARE GROWING, CLOSE TO 100,000
PEOPLE, MORE THAN 40% OF THEM
ARE BEING TREATED FOR MORE THAN
ONE ILLNESS.
THIS IS NOT A NEW YORK ISSUE,
THIS IS A NATIONAL ISSUE, AND
THIS IS A LIFELONG GENERATIONAL
EPIDEMIC UNTIL THE VERY LAST
PERSON DIES FROM A 9/11 ILLNESS.
>> HOW DOES THIS GET DONE?
YOU LOOK TO HOW LONG IT TOOK TO
GET THIS ACT PASSED, 2010
FINALLY GETS THROUGH, RE-UPPED
2015.
BUT IT WAS A BATTLE.
AS YOU SAID, YOU'RE WORKING THE
HALLS.
>> IT WAS DIFFERENT.
IN 2010, JOHN AND FEELGOOD AND
OTHER GROUPS WERE DOWN IN THE
HALLS JUST TRYING TO CONVINCE
CONGRESSIONAL LEADERSHIP AND,
YOU KNOW, CONGRESSMEN AND
SENATORS THAT THIS WAS A REAL
ISSUE, THAT THIS WAS A REAL
PROBLEM.
THE SCIENCE OF IT HAD NOT YET --
THANK GOD FOR THE FDNY BECAUSE
THEY HAD HEALTH RECORDS.
WITH THAT BASELINE YOU COULD
MAKE THE PROOF.
IN 2010 THEY WERE JUST FIGHTING
TO PROVE THAT THERE WAS A
CONNECTION, AND THAT THEY
WEREN'T CRAZY, BEING GAS LIT BY
THAT.
THEY FINALLY GET THAT DONE.
IN 2015 THEY HAD TO PROVE THAT
IT WASN'T JUST A NEW YORK ISSUE
OR THAT IT WAS JUST OVER NOW AND
EVERYTHING WAS FINE.
>> IT WAS ALSO A LITMUS TEST
THEY GAVE US IN 2010.
>> THAT'S RIGHT.
>> TO PROVE THAT THE PROGRAM
WORKED, GAVE US FIVE YEARS TO
PROVE THAT THERE WAS NO ABUSE OF
FRAUD.
>> THAT'S BEEN PROVED.
>> WE PROVED THEM WRONG.
THERE'S NO FRAUD.
THE WORLD TRADE CENTER HEALTH
PROGRAM IS NOT SPENDING MONEY
FRIVOLOUSLY.
LISTEN, WE'RE GOING TO GET THIS
BILL PASSED.
>> DO WE -- LOOK, THE
ENVIRONMENT HAS CHANGED
DRAMATICALLY IN THE LAST COUPLE
YEARS.
IT WAS HARD IN 2010 TO GET IT
DONE.
IT WAS HARD IN 2015.
>> IN 2015 IT WAS MORE POLITICAL
FOOTBALL.
>> KEPT MOVING THE GOAL LINE.
>> YEAH, AND THEN THEY WERE
USING IT FOR THEIR OWN PURPOSES
SO THAT THEY WOULD SAY THE MONEY
WOULD BE THERE BUT IT'S -- THEY
COULD TAKE IT FROM THE
TRANSPORTATION BILL.
>> WHERE IS IT COMING FROM?
>> THEY WOULD SAY, OKAY, IF
WE'RE GOING TO GIVE YOU THE
HEALTH CARE AND THE
COMPENSATION, YOU HAVE TO GIVE
US A CHANGE IN IMPORT/EXPORT
TAXES.
>> RIGHT.
THEY'RE LOOKING AT THAT SAYING
WHAT DOES THAT HAVE TO DO --
IT'S CONGRESS IS THE PROBLEM.
>> I KNOW WHERE YOU'RE GOING
WITH YOUR QUESTION.
THE ANSWER IS WE DON'T CARE WHO
CONTROLS THE WHITE HOUSE, THE
SENATE OR THE CONGRESS, WE'RE
GOING THERE TO GET A BILL PASSED
FOR TENS OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE.
>> ARE YOU WORRIED, I'M SURE YOU
ARE, BUT LET'S TALK ABOUT WHY.
IT'S A DIFFERENT CLIMATE.
I'M TALKING ABOUT BOTH SIDES OF
THE AISLE.
TIME AN INDEPENDENT.
I'M LOOKING AT IT FROM BOTH
SIDES OF THE AISLE.
THE NOTION OF COMPROMISE IS
OBSOLETE NOWADAYS.
AND IT'S PROBABLY THE APT
METAPHOR TO USE, WE HAVE A TOXIC
ENVIRONMENT DOWN THERE TOO.
SO ARE YOU CONFIDENT THAT YOU
CAN GET BOTH SIDES TOGETHER AND
SAY, ALL RIGHT, LET'S -- WE'LL
WALK AWAY FROM OUR TOXIC
ENVIRONMENT, LET'S DEAL WITH THE
TOXIC ENVIRONMENT AND THE
CONSEQUENCES FROM 9/11.
>> 9/11 WAS UNPRECEDENTED,
CHALLENGED HUMANITY, DIDN'T CARE
IF YOU WERE BLACK, WHITE,
JEWISH, REPUBLICAN OR DEMOCRAT.
AFTER 1,100 MEETINGS, WE HAVE
THIS DOWN TO A SCIENCE, WHOEVER
GETS IN OUR WAY AND VOTES
AGAINST US, SO BE IT, BUT IF
THEY'RE GOING TO OBSTRUCT US,
AND DO STUFF THAT WE DON'T FIND
SUITABLE FOR MEMBERS OF
CONGRESS, WE'RE GOING TO MAKE
THEIR LIVES MISERABLE.
DON'T UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER WE
YIELD.
THE AMERICAN PEOPLE ARE BEHIND
US.
WE HAVE A LOT OF INFLUENCE.
WE PUT 400,000 SIGNATURES
TOGETHER ON 2015.
WE HAVE 400,000 MORE AFTER THAT
NOW.
I'LL BRING A MILLION PEOPLE ON
PETITION TO D.C. WITH MY HARD
CORE ASS-KICKING MEMBERS OF
FIRST RESPONDERS, AND I'LL BET
MY ONE KIDNEY THAT WE GET THIS
BILL RENEWED.
>> LAST QUESTION FOR YOU, JOHN,
SIMILAR TO WHAT I ASKED JOHN.
IT'S A DIFFERENT ENVIRONMENT,
TIME HAS PASSED.
HAVE PEOPLE LOST THE SENSE OF
EMPATHY FOR THE PEOPLE THAT WE
NEED TO STEP UP AND DO THINGS
FOR?
DO YOU THINK THERE'S A POLITICAL
WILL DOWN THERE?
THERE'S CERTAINLY THE WILL HERE.
BUT WE NEED THE POLITICAL WILL
COMING OUT OF WASHINGTON TO GET
THIS DONE.
DO YOU THINK IT'S THERE?
>> I THINK POLITICAL WILL IS
LESS THE ISSUE NOW.
BECAUSE IT WAS -- WHEN THEY
FIRST HAD TO GET THIS DONE, THE
ENTIRE PROGRAM HAD TO BE
FORMATTED.
THE LEGISLATION HAD TO BE
WRITTEN.
THE CONDITIONS THAT WOULD BE
ASSOCIATED WITH 9/11 HAD TO BE
IDENTIFIED AND HAD TO BE PROVEN.
ALL OF THOSE THINGS, THEN THE
PROGRAM HAD TO COME THROUGH,
WHETHER IT WAS THE ZADROGA
HEALTH CARE PROVISIONS OR THE
VICTIM'S COMPENSATION FUND.
THE BUREAUCRACIES HAD TO BE
ESTABLISHED AND STREAMLINED TO
CREATE AN EFFICIENT PROGRAM SO
THAT VICTIMS COULD FIND THEIR
WAY THROUGH THE SYSTEM AND GET
THEMSELVES INTO THE PROGRAM AND
THEN SERVICED BY THE PROGRAM.
SO ALL THAT HAS BEEN DONE.
THE INFRASTRUCTURE IS LAID.
THIS IS NOT A COMPROMISE
SITUATION ANYMORE.
IT'S JUST A QUESTION OF WHAT DO
YOU VALUE?
DO YOU VALUE THE LIVES WHEN
WE'RE IN TROUBLE AND WE CALL
UPON FIRST RESPONDERS AND WE
CALL UPON VETERANS AND WE CALL
UPON VOLUNTEERS AND WE CALL UPON
THE TRADE UNITS, WE EXPECT THAT
THEY'LL BE THERE BECAUSE
THAT'S -- WE UNDERSTAND THAT
THERE'S A CERTAIN MIND-SET THAT
SOME INDIVIDUALS HAVE THAT WHEN
SOMETHING GOES DOWN THEY DON'T
RUN AWAY FROM IT, THEY RUN
TOWARDS IT AND WE COUNT ON THAT
AS A SOCIETY TO SUSTAIN OUR
SENSE OF SECURITY AND BALANCE.
BUT IN TURN, WE OWE THEM, NOT
JUST WHEN WE NEED THEM, BUT WHEN
THEY NEED US.
AND IF WE CONTINUE TO TREAT
FIRST RESPONDER COMMUNITIES AND
VETERAN COMMUNITIES IN THE
MANNER THAT WE DO, WHICH IS WE
WRAP OURSELVES IN THE FLAG AND
WE MAKE ALL KINDS OF SYMBOLIC
GESTURES TOWARDS PATRIOTISM AND
WE SAY ALL THE RIGHT THINGS AND
STAND WHEN WE'RE SUPPOSED TO AND
SALUTE WHEN WE'RE SUPPOSED TO,
BUT THE TRUTH IS REAL
PATRIOTISM, REAL LOVE OF
COUNTRY, REAL COMPASSION COMES
FROM THE ACTIONS THAT YOU TAKE
WHEN THOSE INDIVIDUALS THEN NEED
US.
YOU CANNOT DISCARD THEM IN THIS
WAY.
AND YOU CAN'T SAY WE HAVE
$1.5 TRILLION FOR TAX CUTS, WE
HAVE $15 BILLION FOR THIS AND
SAY THAT WE DON'T HAVE THE MONEY
TO TAKE CARE OF INDIVIDUALS WHO
ARE SUFFERING BECAUSE OF THEIR
HEROISM, AND THEIR DEDICATION TO
SERVICE AND TO COMMUNITY.
AND THERE'S NOTHING MORE
INFURIATING THAN GOING INTO A
POLITICIAN'S OFFICE WHO'S BEEN
TWEETING OUT, NEVER FORGET THE
HEROES OF 9/11 AND WON'T LOOK
THESE GUYS IN THE EYE.
IT HAPPENS WAY MORE THAN YOU'D
IMAGINE.
THIS IS WHAT SUSTAINS MY
INVOLVEMENT AND CONTINUES TO
GIVE ME THE GREATEST ADMIRATION
FOR IT.
JOHN IS SELLING HIMSELF FOR
HUMBLY AND SHORT.
HE MADE THIS HIS LIFE'S WORK.
IF HE HADN'T, IT WOULDN'T HAVE
GOTTEN DONE.
AND, YOU KNOW, YOU'RE TALKING
ABOUT GETTING GUYS LIKE RAY
PFEIFFER WHO HAS HAD STAGE 4
CANCER, CANCER ATE AWAY HIS LEG
WHERE HE HAD A STEEL ROD AND THE
CANCER ATE AWAY THE STEEL ROD
AND HE'S SPENDING HIS LAST WEEKS
ON EARTH GOING DOOR TO DOOR IN
CONGRESS AND HELP OUT HIS
BROTHERS AND SISTERS AND YOU
CAN'T WITNESS THAT AND NOT THINK
I HAVE TO GIVE WHAT I CAN GIVE.
>> LET'S CLOSE WITH A FAVORITE
CHURCHILL QUOTATIONS, HE STOOD
UP AND SAID NEVER, EVER, EVER
GIVE UP.
I THINK HE WOULD BE PROUD OF YOU
GUYS.
>> HE SAID THE SAME THING.
NEVER, EVER, EVER GIVE UP.
>> I'M A STRONG ABE LINCOLN --
>> ANY NATION THAT DOESN'T HONOR
ITS HEROES --
>> EXACTLY.
HE'S MAKING YOU MARIANO --
GENTLEMEN, AGAIN, A PLEASURE
TALKING WITH YOU.

Mutual of America PSEG

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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