Disturbing Political News 1

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Winslow Wheeler, author of The Wastrels of Defense was interviewed on Booknotes (C-span) by Mr. Brian Lamb a few days ago. It was a very telling interview. The basic premise was that your Congressional representatives, charged with the responsibility for the checks and balances of our government, far too often elect to ignore, or even undermine, those checks and balances. They do so for two reasons, observing checks and balances is harder and more limiting than ignoring them, consuming more time and man-hour resources, and ignoring or undermining them enhances their political careers and insulates them from criticism by the public. Taking a stand draws criticism, not taking one goes unnoticed.

100’s of millions of your tax dollars earmarked for military workers, military supplies and protective gear, etc, have, and is, being diverted by your Senators sitting on the Senate Appropriations Committee, to programs like brown snake eradication in Hawaii to keep bird numbers from being depleted. Sen. Inouye and Alaska's Stevens on the Committee are responsible for a long list of pork spending in their respective states which diverted money allocated to military operations to pork projects benefiting their states and constituencies.

Sen. John McCain, often regarded as a watchdog on pork spending, is in fact part of the game. While McCain devotes a part of his web site to his speeches denouncing pork spending, the Senate record demonstrates that while McCain complains a lot, he almost never exercises the rights and avenues afforded to him in the Senate to take direct action against such pork spending or his comrade Senators responsible for stealing tax dollars from our troops in Iraq to fund fences at home, or a parking lot at a closed military base, or eradication of brown snakes in Hawaii.

President Bush is going to try to resurrect the line-item veto, knocked down by the Supreme Court in the 90's. The line item veto would allow the President to X out items in the Congressional Budget proffered by Congress thus allowing him to exercise Executive authority in determining how your tax dollars are, and are not spent. One can readily see with Constitution in hand, why the Supreme Court knocked the move down. Such a move also would allow the President to potentially alienate only a few pork spenders by vetoing line items in the budget and not offend the entire Congress which would balk at the President's veto of the entire budget. More sinister, however, the line item veto would give a partisan President the ability to pass spending by those of his own party while vetoing spending by those primarily backed by the opposing party. It appears clear another filibuster is on the way as Democrats attempt to stem line item veto legislation. It may even be the first test of the Senate's Republican increased majority to override a Democratic filibuster.

With analysts projecting 2005 oil prices to settle around $46 a barrel, twice the cost of just a few years ago, the President may be looking anew for oil drilling in the Alaska Wildlife Refuge in his second term despite the fact that such an effort would not produce a drop of oil for at least a decade. If the President is committed to oil 10 years from now, what does it say about his commitment to alternative energy source development? For millions of Americans Large expanses of pristine wilderness, rare in the lower 48, stand as great a monument to America as Mt. Rushmore. Would we allow the President to destroy Mt. Rushmore for oil? Why should we allow him to jeopardize one of the last great pristine monuments to what America was before we paved it over with asphalt and concrete?

With our borders as porous as on September 12, 2001, exiting Attorney General Ashcroft has apparently advised Bush that our borders are now safe. Nothing speaks as loudly to Ashcroft's gross incompetence as this statement at this time. The President has announced his replacement and that is a very good thing. Ashcroft, as a parting gesture, asked the Supreme Court to review, for the purpose of overriding, Oregon's only assisted suicide law in the states. Apparently, Ashcroft believes he knows best how dying should be conducted and is willing to use the Courts to limit Oregonian's choice as to how best to manage the most important last act of life. So much for compassionate conservativism, as Ashcroft seems to say 'let the dying hang on as an empty shell suffering the loss of all that once made them alive and vibrant as a human being, it is there own fault for getting old and not being able to afford to go to Switzerland for assisted dying with dignity.'

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This page contains a single entry by David R. Remer published on November 10, 2004 2:15 PM.

Saying It Will Not Make It So was the previous entry in this blog.

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