Contextless absurdity from the Washington Post argues for status quo Posted by: McQ
on Wednesday, April 04, 2007
You have to admire the ability of some writers to ignore context to try to make a point. For instance, this from Jonathan Weisman:
To President Bush, they are "pork-barrel projects completely unrelated to the war," items in the House and Senate war-spending bills such as peanut storage facilities and aid to spinach farmers that insult the seriousness of the conflict and exist only to buy votes.
But such spending has been part of Iraq funding bills since the war began, sometimes inserted by the president himself, sometimes added by lawmakers with bipartisan aplomb. A few of the items may have weighed on the votes for spending bills that have now topped half a trillion dollars, but, in almost all cases over the past four years, special-interest funding provisions have been the fruits of congressional opportunism by well-placed senators or House members grabbing what they could for their constituents on the one bill that had to be passed quickly.
Some points. A) They are "pork-barrel projects completely unrelated to the war". Anyone who denies that is denying reality.
B)Even if such spending has been part of funding bills past, it doesn't change the fact that what is in there now is "pork-barrel projects completely unrelated to the war".
C) The leadership of Congress has changed and the new leadership has pledged that it wouldn't do things like put "pork-barrel projects completely unrelated" to the bill being considered in those bills.
Incoming Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid vows to make reform of congressional earmarks a priority of his tenure, arguing that members need to be more transparent when they load pet projects for their districts into federal spending bills.
But of course, Weisman manages to forget that vow. Or that of Speaker Pelosi. Instead he makes his point context-free.
Weisman then argues:
In the face of a veto threat, many of those programs fell out of the final bill. But there were some noteworthy survivors, said Brian M. Riedl, a budget analyst at the Heritage Foundation, including $176 million to rebuild an Armed Forces retirement home in Mississippi that critics called absurdly overpriced, $500 million for agriculture relief, an extra $1 billion for community-development block grants, and $118 million for reviving the Gulf Coast fishing industry.
Of course what Weisman never suggests is that if worthy, they should be able to stand alone in a bill which is appropriate to the problem and should be able to survive debate specifically focused on that issue and not sneaked into a bill of a completely different focus.
Seriously, is that too much to ask? Was Weisman all for larding up the Minimum Wage bill when Pelosi was asking for a "clean bill". If not, why is it so outrageous that the administration is asking for the equivalent in a war funding supplemental?
Weisman concludes with what can only be characterized as an appeal to business as usual:
"These war supplemental bills have always had wasteful domestic spending added," Riedl said. "The difference is only in magnitude."
Heh ... yeah, can't demand that be changed can we? Might upset the waste, fraud and abuse that goes on in Congress, and that just won't do, will it?
Don’t be frightened. It is just me attempting to make a substantive comment.
One part of the pork in the bill is a provision to continue the cancelled “O&C” federal payments to Oregon counties that were affected when the environmentalists shut down timber logging on federal lands years ago. Very briefly, the so-called “tree-huggers” wanted to shut down all logging on federal lands (which is most of Oregon’s forests). However, they knew that if they did so, they were destroying the economies of a good many Oregon counties. Sort of like what some are proposing to do to combat Global Warming. So they got Congress to replace the money lost with annual federal payments for, oh, 25 years or so, and they shut down the logging. Now the 25 years are up and the federal payments have run out. One county faces bankruptcy, others are in dire straights. My own county is closing all libraries this Friday and taking other draconian steps. Part of the pork in this bill promises to reinstate the cancelled payments. Now, we should all know that, since this bill was born to be vetoed and there are not enough votes for an override, the Oregon legislators who got this provision included were simply pandering. I’ve no doubt that much of the other pork in the bill is of a similar nature. There was no chance of getting the payments continued with real votes on real bills, so this is a way to show the folks back here that, by golly, our legislators are really earning their pay. As an added benefit; as a result of including this provision, that mean old President Bush is going to veto our libraries and police and firemen. Of course, lost in this discussion is the fact that those same legislators ignored the need to replace the lost revenue from logging with other industry during the 25 years of federal subsidies. No, they simply spent and spent - much like they all will if we institute federal greenhouse gases programs. Now it is time to pay the piper and we all we get is pandering like this bill and that is the best that they can do. So, do we have bad legislators? No, we have legislators. That is how they are and ever will be. What we do have is bad liberals who refuse to face reality. When I talk with them they are like people in a movie theater. They have suspended disbelief and they live in a world where jihadists can be negotiated with, government programs solve problems and PC and multiculturalism are workable concepts to govern by. Those loud bangs and sirens outside the theater? The rightwingnoisemachine. Just keep on having faith in the NYT and the MSM and everything will be just fine. Oh, and what are the local liberals doing about the closing libraries? You know what they are doing. Soon comes the voting on a proposition to increase taxes to fund the libraries, etc. I guess I forgot to mention that 3 years ago (with legislators fully aware, but silent, that the federal funds faced termination) voters were asked to approve a huge bond initiative to provide brand new libraries in every sizable city in the county. It passed. One of the new (closing) libraries takes up a whole city block downtown. Nice marble, a fountain and everything. The old library sits vacant and unused. The library director was making five times the average salary of working people around here. Liberals. Phaugh!
A note for non-believers. All of the above is pretty much true. Of course, the part about liberals being stupid is opinion.
Your pretty amusing, except that you and the post miss a few key facts, the first of which is only an idiot states that supplemental funding is only a war funding bill...never has been, never will be, at least the Post was far closer to this point then you are...and if you wish to point out the hypocrisy of others, I see no mention of the fact that this bill was passed in June last year(and Congress took many more days off then) yet Bush is trying to make hay out of it now, what a chump...And as far as Reid goes, you don’t accurately portray what he was speaking of, the earmarks hewas speaking of are the ones placed on unrelated bills...you seem surprised that Congress attached spending measures in a spending bill, hmmmm.