July 9th, 2010
July 9th, 2010
All Original Content Open Source & Copyright Free
Appropriators really cannot help themselves.
Obama's silver lining.
Obama's latest scheme to pretend to cut spending.
Who bankrolled Daily Kos' fraudulent polls?
By Bill Wilson
Cynical, abusive Leftist Democrats just cannot stop stealing. They cannot help themselves. Call them the Kleptocrats.
In 2006, Democrats took control of Congress in large part because of voter discontent with Republicans' spending habits and the appearance of corruption. Rhetoric that midterm election year was of transparency and fiscal responsibility. Of course, as soon as they took power, they took on the majority's functional role of distributing goodies to special interests. Some symbolic reforms were made, but nothing substantive.
Thanks to the financial crisis, Democrats swept the 2008 elections under the banner of "change" and dissatisfaction over government bailouts to politically-favored firms and to delinquent homeowners. This ushered in… the age of "stimulus" in 2009, a Renaissance of government spending, more bailouts, and unparalleled largesse.
$862 billion, subsequent omnibus legislation, and trillion dollar deficits later, suddenly Democrats were once again the Party that spends too much. The waste included in those bills was on a scale never seen, and the national debt, now $13 trillion, has never grown at a faster pace.
This drew criticism from all sides of the political spectrum, such that today spending is once again a dirty word. Throw in the sovereign debt crisis overseas in 2010 and now wasteful spending has come with a far higher risk premium for the majority. Democrats find themselves in a similar position Republicans did in 2006.
In response to concerns over spending excess, in March 2009, Pelosi undertook some more token reforms, including so-called earmark "reform". One of the rules: special spending requests by House members could no longer go to for-profits, they could only go to nonprofits, local government, universities, and charities.
As reported by the Cleveland Plain Dealer, no sooner had House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey changed the rules regarding the awarding of earmarks to for-profit entities that House Democrats simply told previous beneficiaries of taxpayer subsidies to form partnerships with universities or other not-for-profit organizations.
That way, the companies could still get the dough. And the representatives could still get the big campaign donations.
So, nothing "changed" at all, despite all of the fanfare of bringing an end to the "culture of corruption." Earmarks still are going out, just in a different form. House Democrats have once again proven that the temptation of the majority to subsidize and thereby buy off special interests is irresistible.
The Plain Dealer reports Congressman Tim Ryan's (D-OH) office justifying the practice: "Our office is, and has always been, in compliance with all earmark regulations. Per Chairman Obey, the new clauses were instituted 'to prevent for-profits from masquerading as nonprofits,' but does not forbid partnerships between established nonprofit and for-profit entities. It is the role of our office to actively pursue appropriate government support for projects… Should the committee decide to create a rule banning partnerships, we will comply with that rule…"
By that, Ryan's office apparently means that they will then tell the companies to simply form their own non-profits. After all, that's what his colleague, Nancy Kaptur (D-OH), told Imaging Systems Technology, an Ohio defense contractor, to do. They had received $8.4 million in earmarks from Kaptur in the past, and under her direction the company established the not-for-profit Great Lakes Research Center. Kaptur (lush with tens of thousands in new campaign donations) requested $10.4 million for the new organization.
One way or another, appropriators find a way to keep right on stealing from the taxpayers. Ryan and Kaptur are joined by Corrine Brown (D-FL), James Moran (D-VA), Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), Ciro Rodriguez (D-TX), Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ), and Steve Rothman (D-NJ). All engaged in similar practices.
So, Obama, Pelosi and Obey's grand proclamation forbidding earmarks really had no impact at all, since it was set up to bypass their own rule. They missed an opportunity for real fiscal reform, and instead ushered in a kleptocracy of the first order.
Meanwhile taxpayers are demanding that government subsidies, wasteful spending, and picking winners and losers — all with their hard-earned money — come to an end. When such dissatisfaction reaches critical mass, the American people have proven they will "throw the bums out." That may be what is happening now.
Bill Wilson is President of Americans for Limited Government.
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A Worthless Contest
By Adam Bitely
Almost everyone can agree that the Federal government wastes taxpayer money. Apparently, even those inside the Federal government think so. And those bureaucrats with ideas on how to save money can enter in the second annual SAVE Award contest (http://saveaward.gov).
While this contest appears to have good intentions, the outcome is nothing more than a gimmick. Considering that the top prize for the best idea is a personal meeting with Obama who has sworn to include that idea in his fiscal 2012 budget proposal, this contest exposes exactly the wrong mentality that has led the Federal behemoth down the road to fiscal train wreck.
Think about all the ideas that will be offered by Federal government workers. One can assume that none of the ideas would include closing worthless departments or agencies because one would not suggest their own job as valueless. This is why the merit of such a contest is lost.
Just look at the winning idea from last year's contest, a suggestion to save an estimated $14.5 million by 2014 at VA medical centers by permitting patients to take home extra bandages and medication once discharged. If a savings of $14.5 million is the best idea when the budget deficit is push $1.556 trillion, clearly the contestants of this contest are not terribly serious about saving taxpayer money.
The people tasked with executing the legislation of Congress have proven as inept as the congressman themselves. Waste of taxpayer dollars is not at all uncommon in government. Asking the people who as a matter of routine waste money to find areas to cut is akin to asking thieves to recommend security to their next victims. It simply makes no sense.
What is further troubling is the reward. There is no guarantee that the idea will even be implemented. For all we know, Congress could simply reject it outright by not passing a budget, as they have done this year. And further, what happens to the other suggestions? Are they tossed in the trash?
If the goal of the contest was to simply make the appearance of being fiscally responsible stewards of taxpayer money, then they have achieved their goal. But it is quite another thing to actually carryout actions that back up such intentions.
Once this contest wraps up, perhaps Congress can hold a contest of its own where they would vote amongst themselves for the best piece of legislation that saves taxpayers money. The winning legislation would then be immediately enacted. Any takers on how unpopular this idea would be in Congress?
Contests like this are simply theatre, serving only as a tool for the agents of government to say they are on the side of the people. Their actions speak louder than their online database of suggestions that go unimplemented. Clearly our government is out of touch, and no amount of internal government contests aimed at "saving" money will render a solution that truly stops wasting taxpayer money.
Adam Bitely is the Editor-in-Chief of NetRightDaily.com.
Supporting one-sided disclosure
By Rick Manning
With scandal swirling around the Daily Kos and Research 2000 polls, there are many questions that need answers. Since these polls were widely reported as fact by many in the mainstream media, and since Daily Kos has declared support of the DISCLOSE Act, one wonders what might have been public record had the DISCLOSE act already been law.
For instance, Kos paid for over 150 operator assisted polls. That is quite expensive. I mean millions of dollars expensive. Where did Kos, and more specifically, Markos Moulitsas get the cash for such an operation? Surely, as a supporter of DISCLOSE, he wouldn't mind publishing his cash sources.
Also, the groups that paid for this operation are most likely exempt from disclosure, should DISCLOSE become the law of the land. The money most likely came from left-wing orgs, which the Democrats carved out of the new disclosure regulations to protect their money trail.
Under current finance laws and under the House of Representative passed, partisan DISCLOSE Act, we are left to speculate about whether labor unions or others are big donors to an operation like Kos, which continually pumps up their candidates and peddles their talking points.
So, it remains up in the air if Daily Kos was just fronting for Big Labor, providing unreported in-kind contributions to favored candidates or just trying to skew the public debate related to attitudes toward their favored leftist candidates.
One thing that is absolutely clear, is that Markos Moulitsas feels that he got ripped off by his pollster, and is demanding that all the research be provided to him through the legal discovery process.
The irony shouldn't be lost on anyone that while Markos is demanding full disclosure from his pollster, he is hiding behind the laws from providing the public full disclosure on his shady left wing front operation.
If it turns out, as many suspect, that these fraudulent polls were funded using money taken from union treasuries, this might turn out to be the most politically expensive lawsuit in history. We might just be witnessing the permanent tarnishing of the carefully cultivated golden boy sheen of Markos Moulitsas, who could be revealed as nothing more than another big labor shill. At best, Moulitsas will be seen as a naïve political player who thought he could buy millions of dollars worth of polling at pennies on the dollar and expect it to maintain high quality standards.
Perhaps he should have been clued in by his pollster doing his statistical compilations at the local Kinko's.
Kos' only hope for redemption is to open his books and answer the following questions:
Failure to answer these simple questions will leave political insiders snickering when the latest golden boy launches his next venture. It is time for Kos to come clean.
Rick Manning is the Director of Communications for Americans for Limited Government.