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is a sweetheart
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Discussion Starter #1
Business as usual: PORK!

A large military spending bill moving through Congress contains a little-noticed outlay for Boston that has nothing to do with national defense: $20 million for an educational institute honoring late Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts.

The earmark, tucked into the defense bill at the request of Senator John F. Kerry of Massachusetts, requires US taxpayers to help the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate realize its goal of building a repository for Kennedy’s papers and an accompanying civic learning center on the University of Massachusetts at Boston campus in Dorchester, next to the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum.

At Kerry’s request, Senator Daniel Inouye, a Hawaii Democrat who chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee, added the $20 million earmark to the defense bill, congressional aides said. The funding would come on top of $5 million secured with Kerry’s help earlier this year in a Labor Department spending bill, which provided money for the institute’s planning and design.
Hmm, wouldn't you think that the Kennedy's have enough pull to be able to raise the money for his library via wealthy private investors?

Beyond raising questions about the practice of slipping earmarks into bills in Congress, the provision also presents a potential ethical question for Paul Kirk, the longtime Kennedy aide Governor Deval Patrick appointed to fill the late senator’s seat yesterday.

Kirk, who stepped down yesterday as chairman of the JFK Library Foundation, has also served as a member of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute board and has played a key role in helping plan and raise funds for the new center. If he casts a vote in favor of the defense bill, he also will be voting in favor of an institute to which he has had close personal and professional connections.
Yay, yet another obvious conflict of interest, yet the (appointed) Senator's staff doesn't see it that way. "He resigned from the Edward M. Kennedy Institute board at 8 a.m. this morning, so we don’t expect a conflict to exist". Well of course not, that was at least 24 hours before he had to vote on the bill, he won't remember any ties to the library in that glacial period of time. :hmmm:

Using the national defense budget for such earmarks is considered a particular affront by those advocating for fiscal discipline in the midst of two wars that are straining Pentagon coffers. Overall, the Senate version of the bill includes 778 earmarks worth $2.65 billion, including a number that have little or nothing to do with military matters.

A major concern is what gets cut from the Pentagon budget to make room for things like the Kennedy institute, said Winslow Wheeler, director of the Strauss Military Reform Project at the left-leaning Center for Defense Information in Washington.

“The committee did not add money to the bill to pay for its billions of dollars in pork,’’ Wheeler said.
These last two points are particularly heinous because that $2.65 billion of pork directly takes away $2.65 billion which could be spent on protecting our troops and allies. $2.65 billion could buy A LOT of improved body armor, armored troop transports, ied countermeasures, etc. Hell, if that amount were simply to be offered as a reward for Bin Laden, how long do you think it would take before he was sitting in a US jail? MAJOR :thumbdown

And this is just ONE of the thousands of pork issues that are placed in bills throughout the Congress. Is it just me or does anybody else think it's time to flush the entire Congress (House, Senate, Reps, Dems, Independents)? They are NOT representing the people who put them in office.
 

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Rogue Assassin
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Certainly, the $20 million for the Kennedy Institute seems shameful, especially given the current economic climate and the tradition of private funding for projects of this sort.

BUT...

How about focusing on the remaining $2.63 billion of earmarks still unaccounted for? It's easy to take potshots at something with a famous name attached to it, but all it really does is deflect the public's attention from the real issue here; not Kennedy, but 777 other earmarks that make up the bulk of the pork attached to the bill but will probably slip under the radar because they don't have a famous name attached to them.

I'd like to know what that $2.63 billion is going to.
 

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Certainly, the $20 million for the Kennedy Institute seems shameful, especially given the current economic climate and the tradition of private funding for projects of this sort.

BUT...

How about focusing on the remaining $2.63 billion of earmarks still unaccounted for? It's easy to take potshots at something with a famous name attached to it, but all it really does is deflect the public's attention from the real issue here; not Kennedy, but 777 other earmarks that make up the bulk of the pork attached to the bill but will probably slip under the radar because they don't have a famous name attached to them.

I'd like to know what that $2.63 billion is going to.
With current levels of government transparency, I wouldn't hold my breath on that one.
 

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Lefties have rights, too!
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In 1963 when JFK was president NASA's space center was scheduled to be built in Cambridge, MA. Once he was assassinated and LBJ was president it was suddenly changed to Houston, TX. Hmmmmmmmmm.

This kind of stuff stuff has been going on for a long, long time.
 

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is a sweetheart
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Discussion Starter #5
This kind of stuff stuff has been going on for a long, long time.
And right there is the problem. It needs to stop sometime, why not now? If you look at the financial and ethical mess we are in right now, it can probably be attributed to about 75-80% of the people who are currently in Congress. And these same people have been there for a sufficient amount of time that they should have at least made an attempt to do something about health care, taxes, manufacturing, housing costs, education, military, .....

But instead we get more of the same status quo shit that they all spew. I'm sick and tired of hearing "the longtime chairman of the powerful blah blah blah committee". Heads of committees should only last 1 term and then someone else should be chosen, there should be term limits for congressmen and senators, the public should have a way of removing corrupt/unethical/incompetent congressmen and senators before an election.
 

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Rogue Assassin
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...the public should have a way of removing corrupt/unethical/incompetent congressmen and senators before an election.
Huh?!? Are you nuts? Who -- other than the voters -- do you think should have the right to remove someone from office???

You do realize that we live in a democracy, right?
 

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Huh?!? Are you nuts? Who -- other than the voters -- do you think should have the right to remove someone from office???

You do realize that we live in a democracy, right?
In all fairness, he did say "the public". Perhaps some sort of federal "recall" election would suit him.
 

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is a sweetheart
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Discussion Starter #10
...Didn't Obama say he was gonna read line by line to veto any pork, before he signs?
Muwahahaha, perhaps some of the funniest words ever spoken. Oh, and don't forget the very first promise made in office which was loudly proclaimed with all of the hype and fanfare possible; "Gitmo will be closed by January 2010" (even though the planning panel has been given a 100% extension to their original 6 month deadline, which means it will be ....... wait for it ......... ta daaaaa January 2010 before they even recommend what to do with the prisoners. :crazy:).


JazzMatt said:
Huh?!? Are you nuts? Who -- other than the voters -- do you think should have the right to remove someone from office???

You do realize that we live in a democracy, right?
No shit Sherlock, I clearly stated "the public", which usually means the voters, unless "the public" means something totally different to you. Yeah, we live in a democracy, but it's turned out to be more like a one party gang rape of the American people lately.
 

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Huh?!? Are you nuts? Who -- other than the voters -- do you think should have the right to remove someone from office???

You do realize that we live in a democracy, right?
A lot of people get that wrong. We live in a Representative Republic. It's like a democracy, only better because it sets baseline rules to follow....if the government chooses to anymore. Just needs to be fixed.
 

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Founder of the STFA
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This kind of stuff stuff has been going on for a long, long time.
So has most everything else bad in government. So is it acceptable or unacceptable to you? Does Obama's stated priority to reduce/eliminate pork not mean anything? It's clearly about alot more than the Kennedy Institute.
 

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Lefties have rights, too!
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So has most everything else bad in government. So is it acceptable or unacceptable to you? Does Obama's stated priority to reduce/eliminate pork not mean anything? It's clearly about alot more than the Kennedy Institute.
Is it wrong or right for an elected government offical to fight for government contract in his or he state? If the Navy wants to close down a naval base in your state because it's too expensive should you say great or no way as it will hurt employment?
 

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is a sweetheart
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Discussion Starter #15
Is it wrong or right for an elected government offical to fight for government contract in his or he state? If the Navy wants to close down a naval base in your state because it's too expensive should you say great or no way as it will hurt employment?
Tom, I completely agree that the elected officials should do their best to look out for their local interests. But in this case it's not about looking out for the interests of the representative's constituents. Kerry took millions of dollars out of both the defense and labor department budgets to help fund a private venture, at federal taxpayer's expense. And I realize that Kennedy had a loyal following, but in all honesty he was a senator not a president or vice president, why should millions in federal funds be made available to a private library in his honor, especially when it takes away from money that could be spent protecting our troops? Will all multiple-term senators now demand that millions of dollars from various non-pertinent budgets be allocated for them when they leave office or pass away?
 

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Is it wrong or right for an elected government offical to fight for government contract in his or he state? If the Navy wants to close down a naval base in your state because it's too expensive should you say great or no way as it will hurt employment?
Nothing wrong with fighting for it at all. What's wrong is the backdoor negotiation, tit for tat, method of obtaining the funding by attaching it to mostly or totally unrelated legislation. But that's the way it's always been done, right? This method is wrong at face value, gut level, and in direct contradiction with what Obama claimed to be addressing. Also in direct conflict with what many elected in the legislation have spoken out against. Yet, for at least some, when they have the opportunity, they pile it on. Over the years it has become so commonplace that I'd guess a list of pork is solicited because its become the norm. The problem is since they're playing with other people's money, all of our money, and there's a virtual unlimited supply, there's a lack of rational thought in the process. They know exactly what they're doing, but reform is always something to promise (again) the next time around.

I believe it's the real problem with getting something like a health care package passed because there's too much visibility and not enough pig left to pass the pork around and make everyone happy enough to buy the votes necessary to pass on its merits. it's a complicated enough topic without the process getting bogged down with arguments along partisan lines and "what else is in it for me if I vote the right way".

Something tells me you knew the answer to your question.
 
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