August 12, 2009

3 Congressional jets downed by Anti-Pork missiles

Nancy Pelosi suspects the work of a Nazi mob.

Congress has stripped out the money for the Gulfstream jets for Congressional use. While that's good, this may be the tip of yet another government corruption iceberg. Let's call it Jetgate. What it represents is yet another instance of government corruption. At a time when the country is fighting a steep recession, the government is amassing what can only be described as extreme levels of debt, and yet Congress and the President are still pushing for trillions of dollars more for health care. This may represent a tipping point.

According to John Fund at The Wall Street Journal suspects there will be more fallout from this;

House leaders hope that dropping plans to spend $550 million on elite Gulfstream jets to fly members around the globe will dissipate public ire. I'm not so sure. Voters are strapped by the weak economy and angry about how health-care reform is being rushed through Congress. More revelations about congressional travel are coming.

Frequent flying by Congress is a growth industry. As the Journal's Brody Mullins reported this month, House members last year spent some 3,000 days overseas on taxpayer-funded trips, up from about 550 in 1995. This month, 11 separate congressional delegations will visit Germany.


The House's official handbook requires that lawmakers use regular U.S. airlines "whenever possible, unless such service is not reasonably available." But congressional records show members routinely take military planes to London, Paris and other well-served locales. Members can fly for free with their spouses on military aircraft.

You'd think House Speaker Nancy Pelosi would be wise to the poor symbolism of a jet-setting Congress. But she's part of the problem. No one objects to her ability to fly on a government jet from time to time. But last March the watchdog group Judicial Watch obtained embarrassing internal Pentagon correspondence: "Any chance of politely querying [Pelosi's team] if they really intend to do all of these or are they just picking every weekend?" one such email read. "[T]here's no need to block every weekend ‘just in case.'"

The culture of corruption is nothing new to Washington. But what's different this time out are those 'unruly mobs'. They aren't plants. Even if some of them were, you can't afford to plant that many people. Neither are those people perma-protesters that are seen on the left protesting every single thing that they may not even have direct reason to protest other than it's not a socialist/liberal feel good issue. No these are real people.

Claire McCaskill you don't understand the rudeness at these town halls? Your side of the aisle perfected rudeness. The point is the pot has started boiling. Every little mistake, every excess that comes to light will be examined under a microscope. The largess can no longer continue. The no-longer-silent majority has had it, and they've got their eyes on you.

The flap over the now aborted Gulfstream purchases could shed light on just how big Air Congress has gotten. The executive branch routinely goes along with whatever Congress wants to spend on itself. This year legislative branch spending is up more than 10% over last year.

Some members are trying to force greater disclosure. Rep. Walter Jones, a North Carolina Republican, is pushing to require that costs of foreign trips that don't involve U.S. military base be made public. It's about time. In the 1990s, Vic Fazio, a California Democrat who once chaired the House subcommittee on the legislative budget, sheepishly admitted that the legislative branch's budget often exists to "do quietly what cannot be done openly." In an era when President Barack Obama has promised greater transparency, it's time to open the books.
Interesting that those who decried Republican corruption apparently were only upset that it wasn't their turn at the trough. Democrats seem oddly keen to plow back into self-service and they don't seem to care how they look doing it.
The thinking seems to be "I'm important, I've earned this." combined with a view that the country has to suffer through this recession and through the inevitable higher taxes because the Democrats are doing what they know is best for America whether Americans like it or not.
Has the GOP learned it's lesson from it's pork-barrel, losing touch with reality days - in at least some cases it would seem to be so. The Democrats on the other hand are verging on becoming a modern day party of Marie Antoinettes.
Good luck with that strategy Democrats - see you in 2010.

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