GOP Stalls House over Earmarks

15 06 2007

The “grand old party” — no longer so grand — has stalled operations in the House of Representatives in a bid to insert more wasteful spending into the budget. Such pork spending exploded since the Republicans took control of Congress in 1994, and was one factor in their electoral defeat in 2006. Nevertheless, these crazy fascists have decided to derail the Congress rather than give up their pet projects. Such earmarks are simply a way to by themselves another term in office, a shameful and degrading act that violates the spirit of their individual mandates. For shame! For shame!

An excerpt from the •San Francisco Chronicle•:

House grinds to a halt in rift over earmarks

Republicans stall Homeland Security spending bill

Edward Epstein, Chronicle Washington Bureau
Thursday, June 14, 2007
(06-14) 04:00 PDT Washington — For the second straight day, minority House Republicans ground the House to a standstill Wednesday as they drove home their objections to a Democratic plan to deny a floor vote on lawmakers’ thousands of pet projects.

Public anger over the surging number of special member projects called earmarks — derided as pork barrel spending — was a factor in the Republicans’ loss of House control last November, GOP members concede, and now they say they’ve gotten religion on the need for openness in government.

Charges of hypocrisy flew in floor speeches as House leaders huddled behind closed doors to seek a way out of a dispute that Republicans said showed Democrats led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi had backed down on promises of openness and disclosure made when they took power last January.
Democrats had hoped this week to pass four of the 12 annual bills that pay for federal operations beginning Oct. 1. Instead, Republicans have offered 116 amendments to a $37.4 billion Homeland Security spending bill — the first of the bills on the floor — in a bid to stall it. And on Tuesday they offered repeated motions to adjourn the House, each requiring a vote, keeping a wary House in session until 2:10 a.m. Wednesday.

Democrats argued Republicans were engaging in partisan attacks to try to embarrass Pelosi. They charged the GOP lawmakers lacked credibility on earmarks, the number of which exploded during their 12 years of House rule.
But Republicans cried foul over a plan by Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey, D-Wis., for the House to pass all of the dozen spending bills without any earmarks.

Obey said House members from both parties — even while expressing concern about rising government spending — had inundated his committee with 33,000 earmark requests. He said it would take the committee’s staff four weeks to study all those pork barrel requests and pare them to a manageable level.

Obey proposed to put the earmarks into the bill as the House prepares to confer with the Senate to reconcile the two chambers’ different versions of the spending bills. Obey promised to disclose the list of the earmarks a month before such a conference, which Democrats hope to hold by late summer, so members and the public will have time to scrutinize and react to the projects.

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Congress Thinks You Are Stupid

16 04 2007

Surprise, surprise. As glad as I am to have the Democrats in charge on Congress, not much has changed. Congressmen and women and STILL running around the globe on “junkets,” usually to vacation spots, on your dime. What a bunch of crooks.

You can find this full article •HERE•.

Here are the relevent parts, which should give you a good laugh!

Congressional junkets picking up steam

Apr 15, 2007 10:13 PM (2 hrs 8 mins ago)
by Charles Hurt, The Examiner

WASHINGTON – Congress is keeping Andrews Air Force base plenty busy this year ferrying lawmakers all over the globe at taxpayers’ expense. Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi took his wife, nine Democrats and two Republicans – Reps. Dan Lungren of California and Mike Rogers of Alabama – on a whirlwind tour of the Caribbean last week. After stops in Honduras and Mexico, they stopped in the U.S. Virgin Islands, where the delegation stayed at the five-star Caneel Bay resort.

[Note: this is my favorite bit!]

Thompson’s office said he toured the Caribbean because he now chairs the Homeland Security Committee and wanted to see vacation hot spots to “examine border security and port security.” Three other members of the delegation also brought along their spouses.

“They are going from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. everyday,” a committee spokeswoman told The Examiner. “They do not have down time.”

At the Caneel Bay resort, where room rates reach $1,100 per night, the spokeswoman said Thompson and his wife paid the “government rate.” But, according to the reservations department, Caneel Bay doesn’t “offer any government rates.”

After Caneel Bay, the group headed to Key West, Fla., for a “classified briefing on inter-jurisdictional agency task forces,” a Thompson spokeswoman said.

The Caribbean trip led by Engel, who is chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, explored the “best practices for emergency disaster relief” and energy policy, according to his office.

Traveling with Engel and his wife were Reps. Yvette Clarke, D-N.Y., Sheila Jackson-Lee, D-Tex., and Barbara Lee, D-Calif. Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., who went to Belgium in a delegation led by Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., earlier in the week, also joined Engel’s Caribbean trip. She brought her husband with her.

Frank’s trip to Belgium and London was related to his work as chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, according to his office. The trip, which also included Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Wis., was designed “to further understand the interrelationship between various issues related to the financial services regulatory structures” of the United States, the United Kingdom and the European Union, according to Frank’s office.

Rep. Jim Oberstar, D-Minn., also led a trip to Belgium over the two-week Easter recess. In February, Sen. Bob Bennett, R-Utah, took a delegation there.

“We’re at war with Iraq and Afghanistan, but apparently our members see Belgium as our most urgent international destination,” scoffed one Republican member of Congress.

What a bunch of scumbag liars! These people really are incredible. Not only do they mismanage everything they touch — and I writing of both major parties here — the come up with such incredible lies to score a free vacation. Bring the revolution!





Federal Debt now $9 TRILLION!

30 03 2007

From •Cnn.com•, the head of the General Accounting Office is travelling the nation warning about the dangers of the federal debt, which has reached the staggering figure of $9 trillion.

Absolutely unconscionable. Every politician in Washington should be put on trial for malfeasence. Starting with the Idiot-In-Chief and his demonic lackies.

An excerpt:

By Kyle Almond
CNN

(CNN) — He has recently made stops in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, giving speeches and holding town hall meetings. But he’s not seeking the presidency.

David M. Walker, the nation’s top accountant, is instead touring the country to warn Americans about the consequences of a federal debt he says is on an unsustainable course.

Walker, who heads the General Accountability Office (GAO), has visited college campuses, spoken to lawmakers in Washington and toured 19 states in the last year and a half.

He plans to continue through next year and is focusing on states that could affect the 2008 presidential race, in hopes that candidates will heed his message.

“If [the candidates] don’t make [the debt] one of their top three priorities, in my opinion, they don’t deserve to be president and we can’t afford for them to be president,” he told CNN.

The federal debt has soared during the last two decades — from $2.13 trillion in 1986 to $5.22 trillion in 1996 and $8.51 trillion in 2006.

The federal debt now stands near $9 trillion.

The way programs such as Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare are structured, the government will incur an additional debt of $50 trillion during the next 20 years, according to GAO figures.

The $50 trillion total amounts to about $440,000 per American household, Walker said.

The primary drivers behind the additional rise in spending are the baby boomers, who start becoming eligible for Social Security in 2008 and Medicare in 2011.

“We are talking about an unprecedented change in the demographic landscape of America,” Walker said. “And we are not prepared for this oncoming wave.”





US Income Gap Widens

29 03 2007

Big surprise, thanks to the corporate fascist in the White House and the corporate whores in the Congress!  The idea that the concentration of wealth is in the fewest hands since 1928 (right before the Great Depression) is very scary.  Hard times coming, I think!

From the •New York Times Online•.

An excerpt:

March 29, 2007
Income Gap Is Widening, Data Shows
By DAVID CAY JOHNSTON

Income inequality grew significantly in 2005, with the top 1 percent of Americans — those with incomes that year of more than $348,000 — receiving their largest share of national income since 1928, analysis of newly released tax data shows.

The top 10 percent, roughly those earning more than $100,000, also reached a level of income share not seen since before the Depression.

While total reported income in the United States increased almost 9 percent in 2005, the most recent year for which such data is available, average incomes for those in the bottom 90 percent dipped slightly compared with the year before, dropping $172, or 0.6 percent.

The gains went largely to the top 1 percent, whose incomes rose to an average of more than $1.1 million each, an increase of more than $139,000, or about 14 percent.

The new data also shows that the top 300,000 Americans collectively enjoyed almost as much income as the bottom 150 million Americans. Per person, the top group received 440 times as much as the average person in the bottom half earned, nearly doubling the gap from 1980.





Republican Party Scam!

28 03 2007

Check out •this article• (and my attached comment) about a bizarre fund-raising scam being run by the Republican National Campaign Committee. I It has to do with “winning” a fake “award” for a contribution to the RNCC!

Sleazy!