Monday, September 01, 2008

Earmark Hell

Since I'm not an opponent of earmarks, in a complete sense, the following may seem out of character. I'd like to qualify my approval of earmarks, I want them out in front of the voters - not hidden away. Alaska is the biggest beneficiary of earmarks, and Alaska lives on big oil.

Try out these numbers:
Alaska received $379,669,715 in pork during fiscal year 2008, nearly $100 million more than any other state, and the state of Alaska requested 31 earmarks worth $197.8 million for next year's federal budget. So Palin is an opponent of earmarks? Maybe her record as Mayor of Wasilla counts:

From 2000 through 2002, Wasilla received more than $5.5 million in federal cash for transportation and social service projects.

According to the group Citizens Against Government Waste, the city received $1 million for a bus facility in 2000. In 2001, the Wasilla Health Center was granted a half million dollars for a community mental health center. That same year the city's emergency shelter also was granted $500,000 for a transitional living program for homeless youth. A year later, the Wasilla regional dispatch center received $1 million in pork, the city was granted $1.5 million for water and sewer improvements, and received an additional $600,000 for a bus facility.

Now, Baker City (pop 10K) got The Interpretive Center some years ago, a historical center dedicated to the Oregon Trail. It has drawn some business into the area and is an actually important educational tool. Oregon is one of those states that sends more money to the Fed than comes back so that might seem sort of like sour grapes. Well, not quite sour grapes. Les AuCoin has made the argument to opponents that some of the things they are very much in favor of were the results of earmarks. This is absolutely true, and I also believe these things would have survived the light of day. Would Alaska's earmarks survive that?

John McCain says earmarks are the devil's work and he'll end the practice one way or another. Then there's Sarah Palin and the Alaskan addiction to earmarks and her lying about it. Did I use the "L" word? You bet, she spent money to do it.

As mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, she hired the firm of Hoffman Silver Gilman & Blasco to help secure spending projects for her town.
The Republicans seem to be congenital liars, that is the word that fits saying something that opposes facts known to you. Damn, I'll argue politics with a straight face and no temper, but I cannot abide lies as politics. I understand exaggeration, I understand minimization, I understand picking words carefully, but I will not abide lying and call it spin or some such. Sarah Palin said she is a fierce opponent of earmarks and that is an out and out lie as is her claim to have opposed the Bridge to Nowhere and to have been instrumental in cleaning up Alaskan politics. She served on Ted Stevens 527 and was even listed as one of 3 directors until 2005 and only this week scrubbed the Stevens endorsement off her website. Anybody who paid a particle of attention in Alaska knew Stevens was a crook a long time ago, hell, it was known in the lower 48.

A single look at the McCain campaign tells you that despite his earmarks nonsense that he's owned lock stock and barrel by special interests. His entire campaign management is lobbyists. He lies to you and POW, he's taken seriously, not on facts, on POW. I cannot understand why the American media will not call Bullshit on these people. There may be a boatload of opinions on various things but there are not two sides to a story, there are the facts and facts are not subject to revision,

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